Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The New Drake's Blog


For those of you loyal Drake's blog subscribers, and those of you newcomers, I have something exciting to share with you...

...I’m changing up the style of this here blog.

I’m going to be including a lot more about what's going on at the brewery, with the people who work at the brewery, with the Bay Area beer scene, the California beer scene, the US beer scene... heck, even the world beer scene! I’ll also be throwing in some brewer's blurbs, food and beer pairings and recipes, and more. So, be sure to subscribe to the Drake’s blog if you haven't already-- subscribing makes reading the blog nearly effortless, meaning, it's time to relax with a nice cold Drake's beer...

And while you enjoy that beer, why don't I take a few moments to tell you who “I” am and what’s going on at Drake’s.

My name is Brittany, and I’m new here at Drake’s. I recently moved back to the Bay Area from beautiful Boulder, Colorado. I'll be helping out with Sales and Marketing. You’ll probably see me around the brewery, at events and, very likely, at pubs around the Bay Area.

A Guide to the Blog

1. Brewery Happenings

2. New Beer Alert

3. Beer & Food Pairing

4. Current events, Hop Topics & Legislative Matters

* Hop Topic- Women, Craft Beer & the Beer Bloggers Conference 2010


Last Friday, we hosted our First Friday Event. Beer was flowing, people were in TGIF-mode and Emergency BBQ provided us with some tasty dinner. For those of you who didn’t make it, or are newcomers and would like to attend the next Drake's event, find out more on the website. Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter for monthly brewery news. For those of you who did go, feel free to share some of your stories and pictures on our Facebook page!


Drake's Jolly Rodger 2010: Our holiday beer, is being released this week. Every year, Jolly Rodger comes to us in a different style, and this year, it's an Imperial Red Ale, a big, malty beer with a huge hop aroma. Hmmmm, hops... Weighing in at 8% ABV, this beer is sure to satisfy you hop-heads, malt-lovers, and those who like a nice kick-in-the-head every now and then. Jolly will be available in stores in 22 ounce bombers, and on draught around the Bay Area sometime later this week, so keep your ears and eyes open.

Alpha Session Ale: Looking for a beer with a bit lighter alcohol content? (What? Why? Just kidding! We all enjoy a great-tasting beer with less alcohol so we can drink A LOT MORE of it!) Our brewers created Alpha Session Ale with the same big flavors as an IPA, but lower alcohol content… so you can drink more of them. I’m definitely not complaining about that...


Ravioli with a Creamy Carbonara Sauce

For you foodies out there, you may have already realized how well craft beer goes with food. Even if you haven't experimented with craft beer and food pairings yet, it's never too late to start. Craft beer has earned its place at the table, and I’m here to experiment with you. That being said, I’m no expert (though I wish I was...), and if you have any suggestions or beer and food pairings of your own, share them here. While I am proud, I enjoy constructive feedback, so dig in…

With winter right around the corner, leaves falling off of trees, rain, and frost covering everything in the mornings, I was in the mood for something warm and rich. Hoppy beers help cut through rich dishes, balancing out the meal. When I got home last night, after sitting in some painful Bay Area traffic for an hour and deciding to skip out on my trip to the grocery store, I ended up finding inspiration for the perfect dish—ravioli with a creamy carbonara sauce. This recipe took me an hour from start to finish, and that was with me being distracted on the phone, chatting with my family, browsing the internet and enjoying a beer… point being, it could probably take you as little as thirty minutes if you were motivated.


Serves 3-4

1 bag ravioli

1 cup milk or cream

3 tbsp chopped garlic

3 tsp flour

3 tsp Dijon mustard

3-4 mushrooms, diced

¼ cup yellow onion, diced

1/3 cup diced ham (lunch meat works great!)

½ cup shredded Parmesan or Asiago

2 eggs



Red pepper flakes





Boil the water (extra salted and a bit of olive oil). Add ravioli. Cook for about five minutes.

Mix milk/cream, flour, Dijon, and a bit of salt and pepper in a bowl. Saute onions in a little olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes (just before they caramelize). Add garlic and cook for about one minute. Add milk mixture, and whisk in to combine. Let sit on low heat, stirring occasionally. Do not let boil! Add dash of tarragon, rosemary, salt and pepper, basil and red pepper flakes, and diced mushrooms while it heats up and thickens (about 15 minutes).

In a separate bowl mix eggs, shredded cheese, salt and pepper.

Saute ham in a separate pan until crispy.

After ravioli is cooked, drain all but 1/8 cup pasta water. Reserve in separate container. Return ravioli to low heat and warm up. Pour thickened milk sauce onto ravioli and mix. Pour reserved pasta water into egg mix, whisk quickly, then pour over ravioli and stir. Add ham and mix up. Let heat for about a minute or two and turn off heat. Let sit for several minutes, then serve.

I tried this dish with Drake’s 1500, IPA and Jolly Rodger 2010. First, I tasted it with the 1500. While the floral hop aroma and taste are enjoyable, neither complimented or helped the dish. I moved on to the IPA and found a similar problem. Both the 1500 and the IPA have huge hop characters that actually overpowered the dish (much to my surprise). However, I realized that my dish wasn’t as rich as a traditional carbonara or cream sauce is because I used lunch meat ham, which is pretty lean, instead of bacon, and low fat milk instead of cream. I thought maybe I’d botched up the pairing, when I came to the Jolly Rodger. One sip and I knew I’d hit the jackpot. The malty character of the beer, mixed with its higher alcohol content, and hoppy undertones from being dry-hopped, cut the mild-richness of the dish while adding other big flavors and a touch of sweetness.

Let me know what you think about this pairing, and add any of your own suggestions in the comments section.


Current Events

  • Pumpkin beer? Sure. Sweet potato beer? Uhhh... sure? Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, North Carolina makes a sweet potato beer each year, and now breweries like Allagash Brewing Company out of Maine, and The Bruery in California are trying their hand in the unique beer style. Read more here.
  • Breweries are poppingup all over California, especially in the Bay Area. Southern Pacific Brewing, currently under construction, will hopefully be open in early February. Check out the article here.
  • San Diego Beer Week is in full swing. For more information on events and what's going on in So Cal, click here.
  • Beer = the rise of civilization? Archaeologists have long been proponents of the belief that ancient peoples domesticated grains to turn them into beer, and new evidence strengthens the claim even more. Recently, archaeologists found indications that people traveled great lengths to procure grains despite the tedious process necessary to make them edible, combined with the knowledge that feasts were central to community-gatherings, support the hypothesis that grains were being turned into beer. Read the full article here.
  • On November 18, the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society will present the William C. Ralston Corporate Award to Fritz Maytag and Dave Burkhart on behalf of Anchor Brewing Company. Read more about Maytag and Burkhart.

Hop Topics

Women, Craft Beer & the Beer Bloggers Conference 2010

Last weekend marked the first ever Beer Bloggers Conference. Staged in Boulder, Colorado, the conference was set up for beer bloggers to gather and discuss trends, barriers, and leading ideas in the beer blogging world.

Of all the topics discussed, one session sparked quite a debate. Several women spoke on how to attract more female beer blog readers. The session quickly turned into a discussion on whether or not female-oriented beer blogs and groups are appropriate and necessary, or if they divide female and male craft beer drinkers even more. Sites like Girls' Pint Out and Ladies of Craft Beer help educate new and veteran female craft beer drinkers alike. They provide an atmosphere where women don't feel intimidated discussing and learning about beer. One blogger, Jim Pavlik (writer of Central State Asylum) wrote in response to the session, "Women are a marginalized group. This marginalization is exaggerated in the world of beer where women are always sexualized commodities meant to sell beer, not drink it." Sites like GPO help more women feel comfortable taking part in the craft beer world, but do they further the stereotype that female craft beer drinkers are different than male craft beer drinkers?

Jennifer Litz of Girls' Pint Out makes a strong statement in a recent blog post about why she does believe in female-oriented craft beer sites. She explains how many brewers and industry members, both men and women, ask her why she created a divisive site that separates women from men. She retorted with "It's as divisive... as Boy's Poker Night," and then went on to explain that the real focus should be about the discrepancy between the number of male versus female craft beer drinkers, and how Girls' Pint Out is helping to close the gap by educating women about craft beer, but in a fun way. Litz sums up her point with the following: "Female craft beer consumers can't agree on a unified representation of themselves, because there isn't one. The overly dramatic, emotionally charged spat going on right now quite ironically ignores this point. We are all different, and we should politely accept it... In fact, the cat-fight is looking a lot like an old school beer ad's dream. Just Photoshop us in a vat of 'Fizzy yellow beer.'"

Here's my take on the issue: I'm a woman (or a girl, lady, female). I'm 5' 1", I'm muscular, I run, I love craft beer. Sometimes, when I go into a restaurant and want to order beer, the server suggests something light, like a Blue Moon (offensive). I get raised eyebrows occasionally from strangers while I peruse the beer selection at the grocery store. Most of my girl friends cringe at the thought of "grabbing a beer," (oh no, the calories! Because apparently there aren't calories in other alcoholic beverages...). Most of my guy friends stare at me with wide eyes and open mouths when I start talking about the beer process. My parents used to think this "beer thing" I liked would pass. Their friends aren't quite sure what to think about my being involved in the beer industry-- a mix of aw and confusion ("So, uh, do you actually... brew the beer?") And while me brewing beer isn't the craziest idea in the world (aside from the fact that I have almost no upper body strength and because I've actually never brewed beer before... at least not yet!), a female brewer is a rare gem. Whether that's a result of stereotypes or the ratio of females in the craft beer industry, I don't know. What I do know is that more and more women are enjoying craft beer and working in the craft beer industry. However slowly we're moving, we're still moving in the right direction.

My advice to women getting into craft beer-- do what makes you happy and the most comfortable. If you want to, join a group like Girls' Pint Out, or, don't. I lived in Boulder for the last four years, which is where I met craft beer. While I knew most of my female friends weren't interested in the the good stuff, that didn't stop me from learning everything I could about beer. In fact, I love it when a person sizes me up (me being kind of small and whatnot) and asks in shock if I actually drink beer. YES! And I show them my pearly whites because I've just taught them a few lessons. One, girls like beer. Two, you can love beer and be a petite woman. I am a woman. I have womanly tendencies. I talk like a woman. I dress like a woman. I enjoy being a woman. I LOVE craft beer. And, I proudly own all of that.

To sum up, I don't care what method you prefer in terms of getting into craft beer- just get into it!

Legislative Matters

The Beer Maker Dinner bill, A.B. 2134, put forth by the California Small Brewers Association, has become law. According to Support Your Local Brewery, "The legislation allows licensed brewers to conduct and participate in events featuring craft beers paired with food called 'Beer Maker Dinners.' Such consumer events may be held a restaurants that purchase a brewer's products. This measure creates a tied-house exception similar to one in existing law for winemakers." Read more about this bill here.

California State Proposition 26 passed, requiring a two-thirds vote to pass new taxes and fees, and thus provides a defense for small craft brewers who already have the burden of high taxes. Read more here.

The CARE Act of 2010 (Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2010) is being reviewed by the House of Representatives (H.R. 5034). The bill was introduced in late Spring of 2010 due to wholesalers' concerns. According to the Brewers Association, as the bill currently stands, the CARE Act "would amount to an abandonment of Congressional authority over interstate commerce in alcohol beverages. It will undermine existing federal authority over taxation, product composition, labeling, advertising and importation of goods from other nations... H.R. 5034 invites states to enact inconsistent laws that needlessly raise costs and impede small brewers' efforts to expand into new markets." To read more about the bill, click here.

Well loyal readers, our time here is up. I'll be back next week with more on Drake's, the beer world, and another food and beer pairing. Feel free to leave some suggestions for future pairings, and any other comments you have. Cheers, and hoppy drinking!


No comments:

Post a Comment