Archive for April, 2008

Chocolate spas, seaweed wraps, sugar scrubs, mud & milk baths … spas around the world are constantly incorporating food into spa treatments.

People across all cultures have been mixing herbal and botanical ingredients together for thousands of years, in an effort to create natural and holistic health treatments and stress solutions.

Personally, I have taken no interest in any spa fads. Partly because I’ve never been to a spa and partly because I do not see it as a valuable investment. I would rather spend the money EATING the actual chocolate. BUT, this is only my opinion. Or it was until I discovered the spa of my dreams.

It makes perfect sense. Beer is all natural and chocked full of delicious herbal aromas. Not to mention, scientists believe that xanthohumol (found in hops) has powerful cancer-fighting properties. Hops has been used since Roman times to treat menopausal conditions and improve digestion. Beer rinses have long been known to add shine to hair. (True story. The Beer Wench has experimented with this several times.)

Unfortunately, there are currently no beer spas inside of the United States (hmmm the Beer Wench may be on to something here. A Beer Wench Brewpub & Beer spa anyone? Currently seeking investors…)

So where can you have the ultimate experience? During the last decade, a pack of beer spas have opened in the hills and lowlands of Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.

The Chodovar Family Brewery in the Czech Republic has turned their basement into a beer spa. The facility offers beer baths, beer massages, beer wraps and beer cosmetics. There is a bathside bar, which allow its customers to sip beer while floating in beer.

The Landhotel Moorhof in rustic Franking, Austria offers what may be the most complete beer treatment — from the spa to the dining table. In the cellar, four couple-size wooden tubs are filled with a special brew. The Moorhof’s therapeutic brew is composed of a 2 percent-alcohol lager made for it by the local Schnaitl brewery, fortified with brewer’s yeast, malt and two scoops of hops, all thrown into a barrel-shaped tub and topped with warm water. Bubbles rise from the bottom, stirring the mix and causing a head to form — much like a jacuzzi or giant mug of beer. During the soak, a few pints of Schnaitl’s beer are offered, further inducing relaxation. A beer-bath weekend for two at the Moorhof includes two nights at the hotel, breakfast and two four-course dinners. The menu has featured a yeasty beer soup, beer-battered broccoli and chicken schnitzel with sour beer gravy as well as beer crepes for dessert.

The Beer Wench feels the need for an “educational” trip to one of these beer spas for some business “inspiration.”

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As with most cool new trends, NYC is miles ahead of all the other cities.

The latest new gadget is a website that tracks the beer selections of NYC bars. The website is called BeerMenus and operates similar to MenuPages. BeerMenus just launched yesterday -April 24, 2008- and is already generating hype.

It uses two types of search methods. One is by bar, which is typical and expected. The other is actually pretty damn awesome. People have the option of searching by BEER. Just type in a desired beer, and all the bars that offer it will appear on a Google map. INGENIUS.

BeerMenus indexes special events at bars as well. I might be willing to take a trip to NYC if anything sparks my interest!

Here is the creation story:

Brothers Will and Eric were drinking beers and debating their favorites before heading out for the night. Eric backed Arrogant Bastard and Will was pushing Dogfish Head 90 Minute. They searched for a bar serving their favorite beers on google. They came up empty handed, but their disappointment faded when they saw their destiny. As avid beer lovers who started homebrewing at ages 4 and 7, they had to create a website where people could browse and search beer menus.

Today BeerMenus.com has over 150 beer menus, including over 1200 beers. And we’re just getting started. We add and update beer menus every day and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I encourage everyone to check out the BeerMenus Blog.

It would be great to have something like this for the city of Columbus. Any tech savvy individuals interested in assisting The Beer Wench with such a task?

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The first Tip Top “Drink With The Wench” beer tasting went off without a hitch last night. The event was a collaboration between The Columbus Beer Wench and Tim Lessner, local entrepreneur and owner of Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails.

The goal of the event was to create a “Community Inspired Beer Menu.” The concept is rather simple. Let Columbus citizens choose the beers they want Tip Top to offer on its beer menu. Let them also choose the ones that should be discontinued.

The turnout was great. Roughly 24 local citizens showed up for the event, 20 of which participated in the beer tasting. The tasting was officially led by Andy, a representative from the Columbus based beer distributor Premium Beverage Supply. Of course, true to her nature, The Beer Wench had some input to provide.

Participants tasted six different beers, three from the current Tip Top menu and three new beers. In order to preserve anonymity and ensure genuine voting, the beers were placed in random order and the tasters were not informed which of the three beers were new. After all six beers has been tasted, the tasters were asked to vote for their top three favorites — essentially, which three of the six beers should be offered on the Tip Top beer menu. Beers chosen by the group will be featured as local selections.

The order of beer tasted was as follows:

1. Southern Tier Brewing Company: HOP SUN. American Pale Wheat Ale, 4.30% ABV, Summer release. Commercial Description: Pour Hop Sun Summer Wheat Beer into a pint glass, give it a long whiff and you’ll realize that this isn’t your average wheat beer. Filtered to a golden clarity and dry-hopped to perfection, Hop Sun is a fantastic session ale in which flavors of wheat, barley and hops co-mingle to a refreshing and zesty conclusion. Hints of lemon and sweet malts waft to the fore as a touch of bitterness contributes to Hop Sun’s bright finish. Enjoy Hop Sun all summer long as a perfect balance to your outdoor recreation. Summer never tasted so good.

2. Flying Dog: Garde Dog Bierre de Garde. German Pilsner, Belgian Biscuit, 5.5% ABV, Spring release. Commercial Description: Proving the French may actually know something we don’t… Garde Dog is a traditional French Biere de Garde or “beer for keeping”. This classic farmhouse ale was brewed in March for drinking during the spring and summer months. With it’s toasted aroma and spicy, malty sweetness Garde Dog will liberate you from the winter doldrum.

3. Southern Tier Brewing Company: Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale. American Pale Ale, 5.6% ABV. Commercial Description: When Phin and Matt sat down to collaborate on their new beer, they knew it had to be different if they were to call it extraordinary. “Let sprinkle it with fairy dust and wave our magic wands,” said Phin. “No way,” said Matt, “We’ve got to do better than that. This beer has to be better than any other in the galaxy.” “Let’s do some market research.” So the two strapped on their rocket pack packs and traveled to the intergalactic beer store. After sampling an array of beers from acrossed the galaxy, the duo hit on an idea. “I’ve got it” exclaimed Matt, “we’ll use vast amounts of whole hops, the finest malt, and put a little more love in every batch.” “Eureka!” shouted Phin. And thus became a beer so fresh and tasty the duo put their names on it. 37 IBU’s, 5.6% ABV

4. Flying Dog Brewery: Old Scratch Amber Lager. Amber Lager, 5.4% ABV. Commercial Description:
Ideal for the Lager drinker who prefers amber beers, the “Scratch” is a smooth, malt-accentuated lager. Brewed in the “Steam-Style” tradition, scratch is a so-called hybrid beer that is fermented at medium temperatures to develop some ale and lager characteristics. Ingredients: Water; Malted barley; Malted wheat; Hops.

5. Fort Collins Brewing Retro Red. A Classic Ruby Red Ale, 5.2% ABV. Commercial Description:
Retro Red, our hoppiest Specialty Ale, has a ruby red color and a distinct malty flavor, unlike any of our other brews.

6. Lagunitas: The Censored. Rich Copper Ale, 5.9%. Commercial Description: Anyway, we were going out to, uh,the ,uh, you know, thing, and all, and when we got there, well, uh, the dude was, like- “whoa man!” I mean, and we were all, uh, you know – “whoa!” and stuff, and when I said to him, like, you know, “hey man”, and all they, I mean he, was all “what?” and stuff- and I just told him what you said and all and they were all man- “not cool dude”, but whatever- so, uh, we split and went back to my lair and just hung out and whatever, but the whole thing was, like, just SUCH a bummer and all but, you know, it was cool and stuff, but you just gotta, you know, about the dude and all, like, it’s cool and all you know, but what’s up with that “blah blah blah”? Whatzit got to do with beer and all? I mean, really, dude, whatever…but, it’s cool and all…

And the results? The number one choice was almost unanimous with 16 of the 20 eligible votes. The favorite of the evening was Hop Sun, the summer seasonal wheat ale from Souther Tier Brewing Company. This beer has not been previously offered at Tip Top! In close second was Flying Dog’s Old Scratch Amber Lager, followed by third place winner Lagunitas Censored Ale. Both Old Scratch and Censored are currently on the beer menu at Tip Top, and will remain there for the time being.

As a result of feedback from its community, Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails will be offering a new seasonal beer — Hop Sun — on its beer menu and it will be continuing to offer two of its current beers — Censored and Old Scratch. All three winners will be on some sort of seasonal promotion.

Last but not least, I would like to send a huge THANK YOU out to Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails, Andy from Premium and all the members of the community who came out for the beer tasting! It was truly a success!!!

There are plans for more tastings in the works, so keep your eyes and ears open for Beer Wench announcements. (We have a potluck grill-out coming up as well as a beer tasting with Surly Girl Saloon and possible one with Studio 35.)

About Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails
A tipsy downtown neighborhood bar featuring Ohio Comfort Food, mean whiskey concoctions, draught microbrews, pinball, smiling faces, whiskey, Columbus pride, great local and not-so-local music, Cafe Brioso coffee and delicious pies. Located in the heart of downtown Columbus: The Independent Art Capital of the World!


About The Columbus Beer Wench
The Columbus Beer Wench is a local Columbus based beer blog written by Ashley Routson. With the creation of “Drink With The Wench,” Ashley has been successfully closing the gap between the interactive realms of social media with the real world Columbus community.


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Whether or not you believe that the economy has entered a recession, inflation is undeniable. An enormous increase in transport expenses due to the rise in fuel prices has resulted in an increase in the price of products and services across all categories. On top of that, the American dollar has become severely devalued. These two factors alone spell disaster for any company.

Disaster is brewing in the world of beer making.

Inflation is not the only issue affecting brewers. Since early fall 2007, brewers have been faced with an unprecedented worldwide shortage of hops and an unusually short supply of malted barley. And it is only getting worse.

American brewers are dealing with a 10- to 15-percent shortfall in the worldwide supply of hops, largely caused by farmers cutting back on the crop. Recently, rain and drought added to the shortage by significantly diminishing yields. Organic hops are almost impossible to find.

In early October 2007, fire destroyed a 40,000-square-foot warehouse operated by hop company S.S. Steiner. An estimated four percent of the U.S. hop crop was lost at a cost of between $3.5 million and $4 million.

The craft-beer industry is at the edge of turmoil, as high expenses cut into profits and threaten the closure of several microbreweries and brew pubs. Craft brewers across the country are scrambling to adjust recipes.

A hops shortage is not the only problem facing brewers. A reduction in the production of malted barley has more than doubled the of the average price for barley in the past two years.

Climate change may be one factor in the shortage of both hops and malted barley. Both barley and hops have turned into global commodities, driving up prices and further reducing the supply.

How long will this shortage last? Well the good news is that, accompanying the high cost, hops has become an enticing crop for farmers. Unfortunately, it takes three years for hop crops to fully mature, so the shortage will continue for a bit longer.

It is important to note that the rising costs of both beer and food also impact restaurants, especially the smaller, local establishments. Do not be surprised to see a spike in menu prices over the year.

As much as it may hurt the wallet, we need to make sure we keep spending money on craft beers. It will help insure that some of our favorite small craft breweries will still be around a year from now!

HERE is an excellent article about the Hops shortage in Home Brew Beer Magazine.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – COLUMBUS, OH April 4, 2008 – Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails has joined forces with local beer blogger, The Columbus Beer Wench, to develop an original beer tasting initiative.

With the goal of becoming more educated on the world of beer, The Columbus Beer Wench invites blog readers to join in her venture towards becoming a beer connoisseur. As of this February, The Wench has been hosting informal beer tastings with local citizens at a various local establishments.

The Beer Wench recently reached out to the owners of Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails for potential collaboration. Known for consistently listening and responding to the wants and needs of its community, Tip Top owners Liz and Tim Lessner jumped at the opportunity to support its local beer loving population.

In turn, Tim Lessner reached out to The Beer Wench for local input on Tip Top’s beer menu.

This past Friday, The Beer Wench met with Tim and Steve, Tip Top bar manager, to brainstorm ideas. The three minds collaborated to create the distinctive concept of a “community inspired beer menu”.

The concept is rather simple. Let Columbus citizens choose the beers they want Tip Top to offer on its beer menu. Let them also choose the ones that should be discontinued.

Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails, in conjunction with The Columbus Beer Wench, invites the citizens of Columbus to explore this new concept on Sunday, April 20th. The inaugural Tip Top “Drink With The Wench” will take place from 5pm until 8pm. The event will cost $15 dollars a head and includes the beer, various appetizers and Tip Top’s infamous sweet potato fries.

Tasters will sample six different beers, three from the current Tip Top menu and three new beers. Each person will have the opportunity to provide input to which of the current beers should be discontinued and which of the new beers should be offered on the Tip Top beer menu. Beers chosen by the group will be featured as local selections. All guests are encouraged to stay and socialize further after the tasting. As always, the kitchen and bar will be open till close.

The Columbus Underground has also volunteered to collaborate as a partner in this effort.

About Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails
A tipsy downtown neighborhood bar featuring Ohio Comfort Food, mean whiskey concoctions, draught microbrews, pinball, smiling faces, whiskey, Columbus pride, great local and not-so-local music, Cafe Brioso coffee and delicious pies. Located in the heart of downtown Columbus: The Independent Art Capital of the World!


About The Columbus Beer Wench
The Columbus Beer Wench is a local Columbus based beer blog written by Ashley Routson. With the creation of “Drink With The Wench,” Ashley has been successfully closing the gap between the interactive realms of social media with the real world Columbus community.


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You are all invited “Drink With The Wench” and celebrate legal beer drinking!

WHAT: 75th Anniversary of the Beer and Wine Revenue Act

WHO: The Wench & EVERYONE who A. loves beer B. likes beer C. hates beer but wants to come out

WHERE: Josh’s House, Italian Village (email me for the address)

WHEN: MONDAY. April 7th – start 6pm (Stragglers are free to come whenever).

WHY: In celebration of the re-legalization of beer drinking in the United States.

HOW: Bring your favorite domestic beers to share and taste with the group!

“Drink With The Wench” Background
My ultimate goal for this group is to start up a gathering for fellow beer lovers and hopheads in the Columbus area. The invite is open to anyone and everyone interested in learning about and drinking beer. Ideally, I’d love to meet up with people who are more knowledgeable about beer than I am — and are willing to assist me in my voyage to beer connoisseur land.

I intend on this being a great social forum and conversation starter for beer lovers across all levels of expertise. Even if you do not know me, I still encourage you to come out and play. Everyone that has turned out has had much fun thus far.

There have been lots of new faces meeting me out, as well as some lovely regulars. I’m really enjoying meeting new people and sharing great conversation!

As always, I will be bringing along copies of a tasting sheet I found at Ratebeer.com. It helps serve as a great learning tool and conversation facilitator.

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Please pardon The Beer Wench while she does a little shameless self-promotion.I’m excited to announce that I’ve been asked to be a regular guest correspondent on the Columbus Foodcast blog. (Some may remember that this blog got a mention in Episode 5.)

My first official correspondence on the Columbus Foodcast has been released today. I encourage everyone to check out Episode 7: Food Parties on the Columbus Foodcast blog. Disclaimer: It is my very first podcast, so please excuse my stumbling. Practice makes perfect.

About Columbus Foodcast

Columbus Foodcast is the brain child of Zach, a tech savvy food enthusiast, and Jim, a local food blogger known as CMH Gourmand. Essentially, it is “a podcast about the great tastes in the Ice Cream Capital of the World.”

Zach and Jim have been extremely successful with the first 7 Episodes and I look forward to contributing to future success! Thanks guys! This is going to be a fun adventure!

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Dogfish Head Brewery, located in Delaware, is hands down one of my favorite American brewers of craft beers. International beer writer Michael Jackson calls Dogfish Head “America’s most interesting and adventurous small brewery.” Each one of their beers has a unique story and interesting character. I have not been disappointed by them yet.
In my opinion, one of Dogfish Head’s most interesting beers is the Midas Touch Golden Elixir. The recipe is a re-creation of the ingredients found in King Midas’ Tomb, as revealed through molecular archeology.

BEER WENCH REVIEW: “This is the beer for wine drinkers, and the wine for beer drinkers. It is mild enough to please even the most fickle, yet flavorful enough to impress the pretentious. Winos will enjoy the subtle hints of white muscat grapes, foodies will appreciate the honey and saffron undertones, and hopheads won’t be disappointed its balance and body.” MIDAS TOUCH GOLDEN ELIXIR: bottle, 9% ABV. Appearance: Off-white/spare head, little lacing, hazy body, caramel amber orange color. Aroma: moderate malt, grassy hops, light yeast, honey, grapes, spice. Palate: full body, thick texture, lively carbonation, sweet finish. Flavor: long duration, moderate tart acidity, heavy sweetness, light bitterness.

Take heed, this beer packs a powerful ABV!

Here is Dogfish Head’s official description:


Availability: Limited monthly release, Year-Round

This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! Our recipe showcases the known ingredients of barley, white Muscat grapes, honey & saffron found in the drinking vessels in King Midas’ tomb! Somewhere between a beer, wine and mead, this smooth, dry ale will please with Chardonnay or I.P.A. drinker alike.

9.0% abv

20 ibu

Calorie content (per 12-ounce serving): approx. 307

Tasting Notes: Honey, saffron, papaya, melon, biscuity, succulent.

Food pairing recomendations: Pan-Asian dishes, risotto, curries, baked fish and chicken.

Glass recommendation: White Wine

Comparable wine style: Sauterne Champagne

If you like our Midas Touch, try our Zwaanend’ale – it has some similar honey characteristics! Of course, you’ll have to come to Delaware during the 2006 375th Anniversary celebration because the beer is limited release (only in Delaware, only in 2006!)

More on Midas… His golden touch may have conferred fabulous wealth on King Midas, but he nearly starved to death when even his food and drink were converted into the precious metal. The well-known legend is based on an actual ruler of the ancient kingdom of Phrygia in central Turkey around 700 B.C. Under a huge mound at the capital of Gordion, a University of Pennsylvania Museum expedition in 1957 excavated an intact burial chamber which likely belonged to King Midas himself. The body of a 60-year-old male was laid out in state on a thick pile of purple and blue-dyed textiles inside a unique log coffin.

Most remarkably, the tomb held the largest Iron Age drinking set ever found–157 vessels, including a ram-headed and lion-headed situla–for preparing, serving, drinking and libating a special beverage at the funerary feast of the king. The secrets of the beverage were revealed by the new methods of Molecular Archaeology. Dr. Patrick McGovern of the Museum discovered that the residues inside the vessels belonged to a “Phrygian cocktail,” which combined grape wine, barley beer and honey mead. Starting with the ancient chemical evidence, Dogfish Head Brewery “re-created” a marvelous golden elixir, truly touched by King Midas.

Here are just some of the comments made about Midas Touch by world-renown beer expert, Michael Jackson… “A wonderfully complex beer, a wonderfully delicate beer, a dangerous thing, a great drink to welcome people to a party… Fill your bath full of ice, put some bottles of Midas Touch on there a serve it in champagne flutes. Not some freak of nature, not some gimmick, it’s something to be taken very seriously… It used to be wine… but King Midas touched it and turned it to gold!


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