Tag Archives: Bison Brewing

TheArtofBeer and Life..2013

My Year in Review


2013 kicked off with a new chapter in my career.  After a 2nd layoff in 4 years in my old industry, I decided to pursue something that I have passion for. ::Insert Legally Blond quote:: “Luckily” Stone Brewing Company took a chance on hiring this geeky beer girl and the rest is history.  It has not been an easy year for me.  Learning the beer industry is far more challenging on the inside than it appears from the outside looking in.  I have battle scars but I have also learned so much.  I have had respect for Stone Brewing Co from my very beginnings in San Diego in 2002.  Stone was the company that flipped me from a wine drinker to “TheArtofBeer” and that was no easy feat.  But wowser this industry is tough!  I cut my teeth on amazing craft beer because of Stone and I came to appreciate the heart and soul of the craft brewing industry.  I learned so much in 10 years and I developed friendships across the country because of this silly little blog and my life on Twitter.  How amazing is it that I ended up working in the industry?

Craft Brewing is not an easy row to hoe and I have respected just how challenging the path is from the very beginning.  Now that I have spent a year selling beer, I can honestly say that it is the hardest thing I have ever done.  Despite a conviction deeply set in the core of my being, I have had to face the reality that craft is still just a small blip on the screen that is the overall beer market.  The masses just haven’t caught on yet.  Since passion is something I have always had plenty of, even when selling mundane plumbing/hvac products , this became a very personal mission for me. Game on!

I am most thankful for the amazing wins I have been able to chalk up and I am thankful for some of the great chains that have been patient with me as I navigated my way through this very foreign industry .  I have made mistakes but hopefully I have learned from them.  I am also thankful for some of my Stone comrades that have helped me make it through some very challenging times.  My favorite motto learned “It’s Just Beer” has helped me through some rough days and every win I have made has meant the world to me.

Aside from World Peace, my wish for 2014 is that we are able to get more people to venture into the amazing world of craft beer.  As main stream retailers take a chance on bringing craft into their stores, I hope my fellow craft beer drinkers will remember to appreciate the fact that this is how we can expand our share from 8% to 20% and beyond in the coming years.  Don’t get caught up in beer snobbery and judging breweries for selling in more places than just our beloved Bottle Shops.  For every new consumer that passes by a corporate beer to pick up a Stone Mixed 12 pack or (insert any craft beer package) on the shelf, it’s a win for craft.  It paves the road for the tiny new craft breweries that open daily and gives them a path to success.  When we expand the base of craft beer drinkers, everyone wins.  The larger craft breweries are making it possible for new breweries to have a chance of succeeding.  Please remember that.

This year has not been without some personal hardship.   As I prepare to walk away from my home, the lesson learned is that home will always be where I make it.  Trust me when I say, this is the hardest thing I have ever gone through short of losing my parents, but… I will survive.  I also had another good health scare that left me minus some flesh but it’s a blessing that I was given the ability to make a difficult choice before it was too late.  My vanity has taken more of a beating but I feel good about the outcome.

Even my closest friends do not know that once again, I exposed my heart and once again I made a bad choice.  I guess I have resolved myself to having the worst taste in men EVER — but I blame myself for being a difficult person.  At the end of the day, I have to own my faults.  As much as I wish I could find love, I am beginning to find peace with being alone.  The holidays are always the hardest for me.  It has been so long since I have had family, I don’t remember what it even feels like.  But I do appreciate the friends that stand by me…no matter how difficult I tend to be.

I am thankful for so many good people in my life.  There are too many to name.  You know who you are and I appreciate each and every one of you.  Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and for putting up with me when I am being a royal pain in the ass.  Please forgive me if you are not in the photo montage  I did my best to capture as many people as possible but it was impossible to get everyone that matters.

My Year in Review

My Year in Review

Thanks for putting up with me…World Peace



Curry & Beer…

My Mom's Recipe File

My Mum, Alexandrina, was an amazing cook.  She had an uncanny ability to replicate things she tasted in restaurants throughout our travels.  She was constantly clipping out recipes from magazines or writing down a list of ingredients on an index card. She stuffed her favorites into a cheap little card file you see pictured to the left.  I cherish this box because the very sight of it fills my heart and mind with visions of my youth.  I can smell the aromas of the foods my mother would make and picture vividly sitting at the table enjoying every bite.

An all time favorite in our house was chicken curry.  My dad first acquired at taste for curry in Malaysia and my mum got a basic recipe from a friend that had also spent time there and in India.  The recipe is more of a British-styled rendition but it is absolutely delicious and oh so simple to make.  My mum’s recipes were never about exact measurements so I play around with quantities when I make things.

I use humanely raised, organic chicken breasts and thighs purchased from either Whole Foods or my local Farmer’s Market.  I realize I preach a lot about choosing ethically raised meat, but the significance is huge.  Please make an effort in 2010 to make better food choices when possible.  It takes a lot of drops to fill a bucket but everyone can contribute to change!

I used 3 breasts and 4 thighs this evening. I leave the skin on because it keeps the chicken more tender but you can remove for less fat.  Other ingredients include one each: tomato, green apple and yellow onion along with 2 tablespoons of curry powder, 1 tablespoon of chutney, 1/2 cup of raisins and a pinch of chili powder.  Finely dice the apple, tomato and onion and place all ingredients (including the chicken) in a nice big pot with a cup or two of water to cover. Bring to a gentle boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about an hour.  Once the chicken is tender, remove it all from the pot and allow to cool down.  Remove skin, take meat from bone and place in a separate bowl.  Check the pot and remove small bones that may have fallen off during cooking.  Taste for season check and add salt to taste.  I sometimes add a little extra curry powder if needed at this point.  I also pick out the raisins – I love the flavor of them but there is something about the texture that gives me the willies! – Brit saying  🙂 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/willies

If the apple and onion are sufficiently cooked down, thicken using 2 tablespoons of flour with water.  Add some chicken stock or bullion.  I use an organic one from Whole Foods.  Add the chicken piece back to the pot and simmer on very low heat.  This dish should be served over white rice – I use Jasmine or Long-Grain but you could choose brown rice if you prefer it.  Place rice on the plate and spoon chicken and sauce over it.  In India or Malaysia curry is often served with side dishes such as peanuts, fruit, coconut, etc… My mum’s rendition included mandarin oranges, tomato, apple, chutney, pineapple, banana and anything she happened to have around that she fancied.  I know it sounds bizarre but the flavors contrast the spiciness of the curry seasoning.  Spoon selections on top of curry.  It’s actually delicious.  I made this one mild because my friends Renee & Jordan (seen in photo at right) are not particularly good with really spicy dishes.  I added crushed red peppers to mine because I like things extremely spicy.  I also have to carry Rolaids where ever I go!

We wanted to sample several different beer styles to see what paired best with the flavors in the dish.  We selected Lagunitas Sonoma Farmhouse Hop Stoopid (8% ABV) a Imperial/Double IPA, Bison Brewing Organic Farmhouse-style Saison (5% ABV), Witkap-Pater Abbey Singel(Brouwerij Slaghmuylder-6% ABV) and Brasserie DuPont Avril, a very light (3.5% ABV)Saison-style table beer.

Renee really liked the light contrast of the Avril to rich flavor of the curry.  All three of us liked the Witkap and noted the sweet malt and lemon brought out the complexity of the curry spice.  I enjoyed the Bison Saison combination of fruit and spice. It really brought out some of the flavors in the curry.  The Hop Stoopid was also very good but all three of us seemed to move to it as the finishing beer for the meal.  In the end, we liked all of the beers and agreed it was amazing how different the food tasted when sampled with the different beers.

There is no right or wrong with beer and food pairing.  You should let your senses run wild and explore all the amazing possibilities.  If you like it, that is the important thing.  I adore the endless possibilities of beer and food pairings and celebrate the sheer delight of flavor explosion in my mouth!  This is what I love about craft beer.  It’s all about the journey…


Bison Brewing Organic IPA

I needed a little afternoon pick-me up after my visit to the Little Italy Mercato, my neighborhood Farmer’s Market.  My pick for a Saturday afternoon beer…Bison Brewing Organic IPA!  I am a big fan of Bison Brewing and of Daniel DelGrande, the owner/brewmaster.  Daniel is an exceptional person and he pours his heart into his beer.  He will be coming to San Diego in January so stay tuned for details on an opportunity to meet him!

The beer pours a beautiful, hazy amber with about a one inc fluffy white head. Light lacing on the glass as the head dissapates.  I chose an oversized wine glass because I am in a very girly kind of mood today.  I swear it’s from the freshly ironed sheets I slept under last night :0 Oh my…  I really like the way this beer looks in my glass.  The color is rich and for some reason it is exactly the way I think a Certified Organic Beer should look.  Call me silly, but that’s how I think about things.  I develop a picture in my mind of what something “should” look like.  In this case my perception was spot on.  I am a huge supporter of all things organic so this beer speaks to my soul…

I closed my eyes and put the glass to my nose to soak in the aroma of the beer.  It has a rich, earthy smell that made me sigh the way I sigh when I like something.  This beer uses Tomahawk, Cascade and Centennial hops and I swoon at first sniff!  I also get hints of citrus, perhaps grapefruit.

I follow  @StoneBrewCo Dr. Bill Sysak’s (@BistroBeer on Twitter) style for tasting my beer. For a great detailed description watch the New Brew Thursdayhttp://www.newbrewthursday.com/ –  Double Bastard Episode.  Dr. Bill is the guest and he gives great advice for tasting.  The first taste I swish vigorously in my mouth to cleanse my palate .  Next I take a small taste in the front of my mouth and pull in some air to open up the palate.  The 3rd taste is when you really get the taste of the beer.

The mouthfeel is clean and medium in body.  The carbonation light.  The hops are well balanced with malt and not overpowering.  I like the earthiness.  There are light citrus tones — again grapefruit for me.

This is not a big hoppy beer, which I do love,  but rather a pleasant, highly drinkable session beer that would pair well with a myriad of food choices.   I think I will be creating a special “Grilled Cheese” creation just for this beer.  It comes in at 6.8% ABV so I could definitely get used to drinking this beer more often.  If you get the opportunity to try any of the Bison beers.  Please do so.  I think you will be very pleased.