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Archive for May, 2009

For some time now I have been longing to divide my blog posts into 5 different themes:

  1. Drink With The Wench (tastings & reviews)
  2. Cook With The Wench (recipes with beer – both created myself and others)
  3. Travel With The Wench (brewery tours, bar adventures etc.)
  4. Brew With The Wench (home-brewing & guest brewing – this category is still in beta)
  5. The Wench -Uncensored (name is in beta, this is the section in which I will detail my non-beer-yet-beverage-related passions such as wine, scotch and cigars)

Beer Will Change The World

Tonight marks my first ever Cook With The Wench post. And it is about damn time. Those who know me well know that I’m a devil in the kitchen. I love food, I love cooking – and I can pretty much out eat anyone I’ve come across (just ask my friend Matt from A Good Time With Wine).

mussel & beer

I originally wanted to make mussels in a beer sauce. Not one single store (including a seafood market) had fresh mussels … so I scratched the plan and went with what I am calling The Wench’s Drunken Shrimp Scampi.

MISC Beer 087

The greatest part about cooking is that there is no science to making food taste good.

As long as you have quality ingredients and treat them with the respect they deserve – the end result is almost always pleasant. BUT then again, I take for granted the fact that I am very knowledgeable about food, ingredients, herbs, classic pairings and culinary techniques. Despite that, though, I still believe that anyone can be a wizard in the kitchen.

So on to my recipe, eh? Oh but wait. I need a disclaimer.

warning

WARNING: This is not your mother’s shrimp scampi. In fact, it is probably unlike any shrimp scampi you have ever had in your life. Many chefs will probably “spit in my general direction” (note: Monty Python reference). This recipe is not for the faint of heart … or the faint of palate. No sir. The Wench’s Drunken Shrimp Scampi is for hopheads … and those who do not like hops should stay far, far away. The recipe is bold, bitter and insulting … yet adventurous and deliciously satisfying.

MISC Beer 088

THE WENCH’S DRUNKEN SHRIMP SCAMPI
Featuring Dogfish Head 60 min IPA

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. large fresh shrimp – whatever kind you want – shelled, gutted & deveined
1/2 stick of unsalted BUTTER (real butter you sissies)
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic – minced, sliced, or chopped to preference
1/4 yellow onion – diced
3 (firm) Roma tomatoes
Juice of one lemon
Flat leaf parsley – finely chopped
2 12 oz. bottles of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper (if you are like me and need to kick EVERYTHING up a notch)
A loaf of FRESH baked bread

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INSTRUCTIONS

The first instruction is vital. It must be followed EXACTLY as written or the whole recipe is a big FAIL.

  1. Open the first bottle of Dogfish Head 60 min IPA. Pour into a brandy snifer, tulip glass … oh hell … pour it into a freaking glass and take a big long sip. Ahhhh. Isn’t that nice? Thought so … but don’t get soft on me now. There is still work to do here. dogfish-head-60-ipa
  2. Fill a super big pot – the bigger the better – with water. Salt the water. Put it on the stove and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting you can either:
    1. Shell, gutt and de-vein the shrimp
    2. Mince the garlic, chop the onion and dice the tomatoes
    3. Continue drinking the 60 Minute IPA as you watch family members and/or friends complete the previous tasks.
  3. When the water reaches a boil – add the pasta. Cook until is is “al dente” – aka slightly undercooked, with a bit of a “bite.” Strain pasta at the point and set aside. boil pasta
  4. At the same time the pasta is cooking … Heat the EVOO in a large skillet heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté the shrimp, until just cooked through. Takes approximately 2 minutes. This is a good time to open another beer. Once the shrimp is cooked (ie: turns PINK) … transfer those bad boys over to an adequate sized bowl with a slotted spoon (we want to retain as much oil as we can in the pan so a regular spoon esta no bueno).MISC Beer 067
  5. Add the garlic to the oil remaining in skillet. Heat for a hot minute (i.e: just long enough to release some juices, yet not burn). Add the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, salt, pepper, lemon juice and (optional, yet HIGHLY suggested) red pepper flakes. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is reduced down to desired thickness. According to The Wench, this will take around 10ish minutes. Add butter to skillet, stirring until melted. THIS IS A CRUCIAL STEP. The fat in the butter helps to cut the intense flavor of the IPA. Stir in the shrimp. Remove skillet from heat.
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Somewhere in this process, either you or your sous chef (aka – child, friend, random guy off the street) will have chopped the flat leaf parsely. This, my friend, is the opportune time to add the parsley to the garlic butter beer shrimp mixture. Toss the pasta into the skillet with all of the other ingredients and ….

MISC Beer 090

VIOLA! There you have it … The Wench’s Drunken Shrimp Scampi. Don’t forget to slop it up with some fresh baked bread (garlic bread if you feel ambitious). And I would be utterly insulted if you did not pair this dish with a beer – preferablely the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. But I would not be insulted if you paired it with and equally delicious IPA … or craft brew of some sort.

NOTE: If you do NOT like to drink IPAs, you will not like cooking with them either. This dish definitely has a BITE. I do not suggest using the DFH 60 minute IPA unless you love the flavor of the beer, otherwise the meal will be a disaster. Feel free to substitute the IPA with your favorite beer – I suggest a Hefeweizen or Belgian-style white ale.

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Any questions? EMAIL me at – drinkwiththewench@gmail.com

Otherwise, enjoy! And, as always … CHEERS!

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I am a gypsy.

gypsy_sisters_phillip

I can call no one place home. To some of you, this may sound sad. And sometimes, the life of a gypsy does get very lonely. However, the excitement and adventure of a nomadic lifestyle often makes up for the “lack of belonging“.

Since September, I have moved 5 times. The major move was from Columbus, OH (my original Beer Wench stomping grounds) to Orlando, FL. I have moved 4 times since I have been in Orlando – and most of them were NOT by choice.

covered wagon

Needless to say, I have not adjusted well to the city of Orlando. A series “difficult” experiences combined with a disinterest in the culture and lack of involvement with the community have prevented me from completely acclimating to my new environment.

And I am entirely way to young, smart and ambitious to waste my time in a place that is sucking me dry. Which means … I am on the road … again.

This time around, my relocation is not as extreme. I am moving to Tampa – only about 2 hours from my current location.

City_of_Twilight_Tampa

Why Tampa, you ask?

Why not Tampa? That is really the best answer I can give at this time. No, I don’t have a job. No, I don’t have a place to live (yet). No, I don’t know what I want to do or where I want to live … at this moment.

decision

Lucky for me, I have some good friends in Tampa who are helping me to cushion the blow. A couple that I know and love dearly are traveling to Italy for two weeks. They have graciously offered to let me house-sit and pet-sit until they return.

This gives me roughly two weeks to “figure things out”. And considering that my life has almost always been the result of spontaneous and ambitious choices – I am confident that things will be okay.

moving

I move late tonight. I am extremely excited to start yet another adventure and another chapter of my life.

Thank you all so much for supporting me through these past few months. It broke my heart to let my blog and passion for beer fall by the wayside while I struggled to pull the pieces of my life back together. I have regained strength and momentum, though.

Beer-Wench-Painting-400

Be prepared to see a revamping and rejuvenation of The Beer Wench – both the person and the blog. I’m coming back stronger than ever :)

CHEERS!!!

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My father is a big American history buff. He is also obsessed with researching our family’s genealogy.

Recently, my father revealed that my sister and I are “Daughters of the American Revolution.” Technically, I am not an official DAR yet – because I have not officially activated my membership. However, according to the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution – I am eligible.

DAR_Corp_logo

What exactly qualifies one to be a DAR?

Any woman 18 years or older-regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background-who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership.

As of now, my father has uncovered lineal decent from at least 3 patriots of the American Revolution from his side of the family (definitely Benajah Gustin & William Bennett – and possibly John Robeson). Even more interesting is that one of those patriots – William Bennett – was a French immigrant who served as a flag bearer in the Battle of Bunker Hill and (more importantly) served as George Washington’s personal guard during the Battle of Yorktown.

yorktown

Speaking of George Washington and the American Revolution, I recently was informed about a craft brewery in Philadelphia that brews a line of historic beer re-creations based on the original recipes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin.

yards

In 2003, Yards Brewing Company partnered with the City Tavern — a favorite bar of the nation’s founding fathers — to create Ales of the Revolution. The website only highlights three of these ales – however, I am certain that they have produced more styles in the past.

tavern porter

The molasses-based Tavern Porter™ reflects Washington’s admiration of Philadelphia-style porters and follows a recipe Washington used himself. Considering the harsh winters that the Northeast are known for, I am certain that this particular beer receives quite a warm welcome during the colder months.

tavern spruce ale

Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale™ was originally brewed to celebrate Ben Franklin’s 300th birthday.

Many historians attest that Ben Franklin never uttered the infamous quote – “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” However, I prefer to give my boy Ben the benefit of the doubt and chose to believe that he actually said it.

Yards Brewing Company recreated Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale™ to celebrate Franklin’s affinity for fine ales. Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale is based on Franklin’s original recipe, which called for spruce essence and molasses. Apparently, barley and hops were not readily available at the time and recipe adjustments had to be made. I must admit that, of the three revolutionary ales, this beer intrigues me the most.

jefferson's tavern aleThe last of the Revolutionary Ales currently offered by Yards Brewing Company is the Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale™ — a strong golden ale, based on Jefferson’s original recipe, which included ingredients specified and grown on his Virginia estate.

brewery_tours_main

YARDS BREWING COMPANY FACTS:

  • Pennsylvania’s first 100% wind-powered brewery
  • Current production capacity of 12,000 barrels a year
  • Tasting Room under construction
  • Floors made from recycled concrete
  • Hot water collected and recycled whenever possible
  • All glass and cardboard recycled through Pedal Co-op
  • Grains and dregs sold to local farms as feed

our_crew_main

I am extremely impressed by Yards Brewing Company. It appears to me that they only produce ales (which everyone knows is my preferred style of beer. No matter how much I force it, I can’t seem to fall in love with the lager family.) On top of creating only ales, Yards is also creative. I love how they are using brewing traditions and recipes from our founding fathers. Brilliant! And the fact that they are environmentally conscientious and support the local community as much as possible is just wicked cool.

Yards has a good thing going. Great concept, great back story, great people … and I would only assume they also produce great beer. Unfortunately, I have not tasted their product yet. However, I have definitely added Yards Brewing Company to  my lists of “must visit” craft breweries.

tours_brewery_tanks

But let us not forget all about our beer brewing founding fathers! George, Ben and Tom are my heroes. They are with out a doubt three of the most important & greatest men in the history of the United States. Not only did they fight for our freedom, create our government and found our country … but they were also beer connoisseurs and craft brewers.

In conclusion, brewing high-quality craft beer is essentially as important as running a country.

The children of America should no longer aspire to be president of the United States. Instead, they should fulfill their patriotic duty to brew the best craft beer in the world. Heck – if politicians, presidents, kings, dictators etc … all spent more time brewing and drinking craft beers, the world WOULD be a better place.

And this brings me to my closing comment … “Beer will change the world. I don’t know how, but it will.”

Beer Will Change The World

Cheers!

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Once upon a time, there lived a man by the name of Arthur Guinness. Arthur dreamed of owning his very own brewery.

arthur_guinness

And in 1759, his dream became a reality with the signing of a 9,000-year lease at St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin. Ten years later, Guinness exported his ale for the first time (mostly to England). To this day, St. James remains the flagship brewery for Guinness.

In the beginning, Arthur mostly brewed ales. He decided to stop making ales and start making porters in 1779. The Guinness that we know today  is based on the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century.

140px-mygoodnessmyguiness

Despite common folklore, Guinness did not invent the “stout” style. In fact, Guinness did not start using the stout label until the 1840’s. The first Guinness beers to use the term “stout” were the Single Stout and Double Stout. They had an original gravity of over 1.070. The contemporary Guinness Draught and Extra Stout are significantly weaker today.

140px-guinness_toucan-ad

Guinness stout is available in a number of variants and strengths. The most popular by far is the Guinness Draught. More than 1.8 billion pints of it are consumed in 150 countries each year.

In honor of the 250th anniversary of the signing of the lease for St. James’s Brewery, Guinness has released a special beer. The anniversary stout will be available only in the U.S., Australia and Singapore. The length of release is rumored to be 6 months, starting from the end of April.

guinness-250-stout

Unlike the Guinness Draught, which uses a combination of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout soley uses carbonation. The anniversary stout also contains more alcohol, weighing in around 5% (Guiness Draight is 4.2%).

guinness-is-good-for-you

Whereas Guinness is definitely not my favorite beer on the market, it is definitely a “go-to” beer when my only options consist of the Evil 3 corporate beers, imported lagers and Guinness. To me, Guinness is a really light beer. I laugh at all my friends who try to tell me Guinness is too rich for them. Put Guinness Draught up against De Struise Brouwers Black Albert and the Guinness will taste like water.

struise-black-albert

I am keeping my eyes and ears open for the arrival of the Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout in my local market … and I urge you all to do the same. Guinness is rich with history and deserves to be celebrated!

guinnessCHEERS!!!

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