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Next week: Mardi Gras Dinner at Local Gastropub in Memphis

March 02, 2011 By: mike Category: Events, Memphis

Madi Gras Dinner at Local GastropubMemphis’ “Beer Guy” Steve Barzizza is hosting another beer dinner — this one on Fat Tuesday at Local Gastropub Downtown.

The Mardi Gras Dinner on March 8 will feature five courses, each paired with a beer from Louisiana’s Abita Brewery.

There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Cost is $35 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  Call 901-473-9593 to make reservations.

Here’s the menu:

Reception
Abita S.O.S. (Save Our Shores) Pilsner, 7% ABV

Appetizer
BBQ Fried Oysters with creamy mascarpone grits, paired with Abita Andygator, 8% ABV

Salad
Creole Caesar salad with cornmeal grits and tasso ham with spicy Caesar dressing, paired with Abita Jockamo IPA, 6.5% ABV

Entree
Blackened 8 oz. filet with sweet potato hash, caramelized onion and crawfish demi-glaze, paired with Abita Amber, 4.5% ABV

Dessert
Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, paired with Abita Abbey Ale, 8% ABV

Beer drinkers converge on Hernando for Square on Tap

October 20, 2010 By: mike Category: Events, Memphis

I think one beer festival per month is my limit.

So after the Cooper Young Regional Beerfest on Oct. 9, I decided to skip  The Square on Tap beer festival last weekend in Hernando.

Plus, I was a little turned off that Square on Tap, which marketed itself as a “microbrew festival,” was promising that it would have “all your favorites” — Budweiser, Miller and Coors — in addition to football on TVs and live music. The Cooper Young festival was more about sampling and learning about different styles of beer, which is more my speed.

Nonetheless, the festival drew more than 550 people to the Hernando town square, and featured oatmeal stouts, mocha porters and brown ales, according to the DeSoto Times Tribune.

About 70 different beers were served, and the festival attracted regional brewers that included Lazy Magnolia, Abita and Ghost River, according to a story in The Commercial Appeal.

Here’s a video that gives you a sense of what the event was like:

So, did any of you make it to The Square on Tap? If you did, let us know how it was in the comments below.

Recap of the Cooper Young Regional Beerfest

October 10, 2010 By: mike Category: Events, Memphis

The Bluff City Brewers and Connoisseurs table at the Cooper Young Regional Beerfest

Saturday was a milestone for us at FuzzyBrew.com — the first public tasting of one of our homebrews.

Jeff and I served an American Stout at the sold-out Cooper Young Regional Beerfest. We were really happy with how the beer came out, and also got a lot of great feedback.

It was a perfect October day for the festival, which was in its inaugural year and drew a crowd of 400, plus lots of brewers and volunteers.

It was a great size for a beer festival. Not a lot of walking required, and no long lines, so it was easy to try everything you wanted. And the four hours we spent serving beer flew by.

I missed out on the education tent, where brewers talked about their beers and answered questions.

I did, however, get to sample some beers. The best beers I tried were Ashville Brewing Company‘s Ninja Porter, follow by Schlalfly‘s Dry-Hopped APA. Other breweries at the festival were Ghost River Brewing, Boscos, Abita (which served from bottles), French Broad, Lazy Magnolia, Vino’s and Yazoo. More later on an interesting contraption named “Marvin” used by Boscos for extra hop flavor and aroma.

We shared a table and tent at the festival with B.C., Matt and Richard, who are fellow members of the Bluff City Brewers and Connoisseurs and who brought some really good beers.

At the homebrewers’ table, the most popular beers were the Ginger Snap Ale (it floated fast), Coriander Hefeweizen and the Honey Blond, all lighter beers that were a good option for people with all the heavier beers served by the craft breweries around us. People who tried our stout liked it, but it wasn’t the first choice for most people. Good thing to know when brewing for an event like this.

Overall, we had an absolute blast.

Thanks to Andy Ashby and the other organizers of the Cooper Young Regional Beerfest.

We tried a lot of good beer and got to share ours. We met good people who brew beer, people who love to drink beer, and even a few readers of our blog. And we learned quite a bit in the process.

We’ll definitely be back.

FuzzyBrew's set-up

A Zoo Brew review (by guest blogger Diana)

September 09, 2010 By: mike Category: Events

Sadly, the boys of FuzzyBrew did not make it to Zoo Brew at the Memphis Zoo this past weekend. But as luck had it, our friend Diana, who blogs over at Eating Local in Memphis, scored some tickets and agreed to share her thoughts about the event. She has some great insights on Zoo Brew and the many beers she sampled.

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Last Friday, Mark and I went to ZooBrew, a semiannual fundraiser at the Memphis Zoo.  It was sold out, but it didn’t feel completely packed.  After the initial logjam at the table to get your plastic cup, the event was nicely spread out around the front parts of the zoo.  Winding our way up and down the paths gave us a chance to mingle and to walk off some of the beer.

We went without much of a plan beyond “Let’s try things we’ve never had before.”  Since the ‘brew featured over 100 different beers, many of which we hadn’t tried, this turned out to be a bad plan.  Enter Nate, husband of a good friend, home brewer extraordinare, and beer festival spirit guide.  After asking us what we like to drink, he turned out amazing recommendation after amazing recommendation.

Between the two of us we sampled 28 different beers, from Abita to Xingu.  There’s no way we could talk about all of them (literally—my notes from that night are virtually incomprehensible), so I’ll run down the unexpectedly solid, the wonderfully weird, and the offensively wrong.

I started out with a Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout from Japan.  It was super smooth and had a finish that tasted like coffee whipped into fresh cream.  Mark finally found his groove with Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, which he praised extensively until we tripped onto the Dogfish Head table and Nate recommended the Indian Brown Ale. We both liked that one for its fantastic balance of hoppiness and warm roasty malted flavors.  My pick at Stone was the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, which the guys behind the booth described as “very heavy” but tasted basically like a grapefruit bomb.  Which was totally okay with me; I don’t mind a little hop explosion every now and then.

Sadly, we skipped the Unibroue table (I love love La Fin du Monde), but the nice surprises at Sierra NevadaVictory and Abita (almost) made up for it.  As the FuzzyBrew guys have noted, Sierra Nevada is rolling out Tumbler, which we liked for its solid drinkability.  I’ll have two, please.  Oh, wait, we did (we came back to it).

Victory was new to me, as I am apparently the last to board the Hop Devil train.  I tried a Prima Pils here, which had a super refreshing citrus taste without all the aggressive hops of an IPA.  Palate cleared, check.  Not so for Mark — he went to a Baltic Thunder porter.  The notes I have indicate only that it was “v. good,” but trust me, he was making yummm sounds as he drank it.  Finally, I had no idea Abita made beers other than the standbys AmberTurbo Dog and the like.  So wrong!  They made a very excellent IPA called Jockamo, for which I have no notes but highly recommend you drink.

Now, the weird.  So basically, this is the entire Dogfish Head table, sans the Indian Brown Ale.  I am totally down for what Sam Calagione, the founder of the brewery, is trying to do: resurrect forgotten brewing methods and combinations and basically show us that the things we’d never think would make good beer actually do.  The problem, I think, is that it sometimes gets a little unapproachable.  Like, take the Midas Touch, a supposedly 2700-year-old recipe.  It tastes like honey and mead and is great one ounce at a time.  I’d never sit down and drink a whole bottle.  I’d pour the bottle into one-ounce cups for dinner guests so we could all try this crazy drink without going into a diabetic coma.  The Palo Santo Marron was interesting, too.  At 12% alcohol, it was a wood-fermented beer that the guys behind the table doled out in tiny splashes, saying “You like it, I’ll give you more.”  One of my friends described it as “rough.”  Maybe rough around the edges, certainly nothing a year of letting it age in the bottle couldn’t cure, our spirit guide assured us.  And he should know, because he’s done it.  Finally, I can’t say enough nice things about the Raison D’Etre, brewed with sugar beets and raisins.  With enough maltiness to balance the winey undertones, it was one we both liked.  It was a great example of weird done right.

Now, the ugly. Saranac‘s table was kind of a bust — its Black Forest reminded us of cottage cheese.  I don’t like fruit in my beer, so the strawberry flavors of Flying Dog Garde Dog (a biere de garde, which I always like at Boscos when it’s a seasonal) put me off my cracker.  And why were we even surprised when Kasteel‘s Rouge fruit beer tasted exactly like Robitussin?

It was a hugely fun night and one I’d love to do again.  We never even got to the England, Germany or the Belgian tables.  We definitely learned a little bit (thanks to Nate), and already I don’t feel paralyzed with indecision when I stand in front of the beer selection at Joe’s.