Posts from the ‘Food and Beer’ Category

Is there a perfect beer? Why is there 40 kinds of mustard and only one type of Ketchup?

Perfect BeerI just love this question.  Why is there 40 kinds of mustard but only one dominant player in the Ketchup market?  Why is there 40 kinds of salsa and spaghetti sauce but only 1 kind of mayonnaise?  One of my favorite writers, Malcolm Gladwell answers this in his new book “What the Dog Saw”  You might know Malcolm Gladwell from his award winning book’s Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers.  All of which are AMAZING books and I recommend you buy them right away, or if you live in Atlanta, I can let you borrow mine for a few days!

Anyways, In his new book, What the Dog Saw, he addresses that very issue.  Basically people used to think that there was a perfect food.  A perfect salsa, a perfect potato chip, but what Dr. Moskowitz, a pschophysicist, discovered that there was not a perfect food, but rather perfect foods.  The best example is spaghetti sauce.  The food industry in the 70s and earlier, thought that everyone wanted a thin spaghetti sauce, but actually 1/3 of the people wanted a chunky sauce, even though they would never say so in a food study panel.  People don’t know what they want, you have to tell them!  Here there was, an entire 1/3 of the population unhappy about their spaghetti sauce because of the assumption of perfect foods.

That’s why nowadays you have 40 types of chips, and 40 types of salsa and all this variety.. but why only 1 type of ketchup (Heinz)?  The reason is two fold; 1. Heinz ketchup hits all 5 of your tastes buds: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (a savoryness best tasted as the thickness in chicken soup) which very foods do, and you start using it as a toddler during those crucial years when everything you taste, usually you enjoy for the rest of your life.  As your parents give you a new food, you can create some certainty by adding ketchup to the flavor of it.  Also, the flavors are so well blended together in ketchup, that it is very hard to distinguish between the different flavors themselves.  Since you don’t taste any one flavor in ketchup, your palate never grows tired of it.  Here you can read the entire article written by Malcolm Gladwell.

Is there a perfect beer?

No.  For many reasons, which I’m sure most of your craft beer connoisseurs already knew, but here’s some science behind it, using Malcolm’s research.

1. You aren’t exposed to beer as a toddler (well you shouldn’t be at least!) so therefore you won’t develop that crucial life-long taste for it such as ketchup and other foods.  It is definitely an acquired taste.

2. Usually with most beers, you can pick out individual flavors so your palate will eventually tire of those flavors and you will want something else.  I love double IPA, hop bombs, but I can think of many situations where I want something a bit more sessionable.

There is no perfect beer only perfect beers, and perfect beers for certain people or situations.  Beer seems to be an interesting subject, because to me I really enjoy the variety of trying new beers all the time, but my favorite fruit and juice is hands down grapefruit.  Always has been always will be.  I very rarely drink OJ or pineapple juice if grapefruit juice is available.  The palate loves consistency but also craves variety at the same time.  The next time you see someone you know drinking the same beer they always drink, before you criticize them, think about that one food item you would want to eat or drink everyday and to your perfect food is their perfect beer.

What is that favorite food item?  Mine is a tie between grapefruit and tomatoes.


If you live in Illinois you might want to try some beer with your pizza-beer??

Tom Seefurth has created the worlds first culinary beer, “Mamma Mia Pizza Beer” and its now available in Peoria, IL and throughout the region. I haven’t had a chance to try it but a girl I am dating is flying up that way for a conference, so hopefully she can bring me back some!  My question is, when can you get it with pepperoni or anchovies?

Big Breweries trying to get smaller, smaller Breweries trying to get bigger!

I wrote an article back about the macrobreweries, namely Anheuser-Busch (AB), Miller and Coors all trying to act smaller with lines of their beer trying to be marketed as craft beer. AB has taken it to a whole new level deciding last month after 111 years that Michelob is now a craft beer! If you watch football at all, perhaps you have seen these new commercials. I think its pretty funny that the big guys are trying to do this and just shows how desired will be even by the big guys, who I originally thought would have no interest in me. The article I read interviews Gary Fish the owner of Deschutes Brewery out in Oregon, whom I have talked to on several occasions, and has advised me well, as well as Julia Herz the Director of Craft Beer marketing for the Brewers Association who is helping me market Gary states that he is not bothered by the big guys thinking small because if they can convert typical Bud drinkers to try other styles then it will be easy to bridge the gap from AB’s Longhammer IPA to a much more delicious Inversion IPA made by Deschutes. You can read the entire article here.

Highland Brewery at Muss & Turners
Last week, I wrote an article on the beer tasting events at Muss & Turners, and I must say that those people are on the front lines of the craft beer industry. They have beer tasting events every week and last Monday, I had the rare treat of a food & beer tasting event. The owner of Highland Brewery in Asheville, NC, Oscar Wong drove down and allowed the head chef of M&T Ryan Hidinger to sample each and every beer and use his expertise to pair it with the food. The results were absolutely fantastic!! Besides Oscar being a fun and interesting man, who interestingly enough was an engineer for 22 years, the pairings complemented themselves far better than I could have tried to do! I will try and remember this the best that I can:

Gaelic Ale paired with steamed mussels (of course, I cant remember what sauce was used but the flavors went very well)

Kashmir IPA which had a very noticible bitter sawgrass flavor (which I love by the way.. I am becoming a total hophead) paired with this most amazing green salad with a creamy aeola dressing

Tasgall ale (scotch-style) that had a very dark and rich flavor paired excellently with Scotch eggs (hardboiled eggs wrapped in a spicy sausage)

I may have these next two confused and I promise to take much better notes from now on. As you can see this is the first time I have really been doing these things, so I am learning what I need to remember and what I don’t, and frankly after I got to this part of the night, remembering specific details became a little more difficult!

Oatmeal porter and the Black Mocha Stout paired with smoked pork and a chocolate cake a la mode with spiced and candied peaches.

Click here for a listing and description of Highland Brewery’s beers.

Soon, when the website is up, I will be taking FAR better notes and I will use a flavor wheel on each beer that I try. I will also be having weekly tastings at my apt, so if you want to drink some free beer and don’t mind adding your thoughts to my website, contact me and I will try and get you in!

Here is a picture of Oscar Wong and me.

Owner of Highland Brewery, Oscar Wong

Site updates:

As you saw in my last post, I got a design spec from Solar Velocity, my web developers. I was a little worried about all the blank space of barley (which a lot of people thought were wheat, or corn btw) and talked to the head of design and he told me that that would be the area where I would have rotating blurbs of featured bars, restaurants, breweries, site news etc etc. I know I asked you guys to tell me your thoughts but there is a lot of things that the picture just did not do justice. For instance they are going to animate bubbles, ever so subtly of the beers on the front page. The background is also going to change with the seasons. I promise to show you everything new as it happens! As for today, I am driving out to Athens, GA to speak with the owner of Terrapin Brewery who I met last Thursday at Muss & Turners to see how we can help each other out. Cheers for now!

Muss & Turners, Design specs, Updates.

Hey guys,

I hope you all had a great weekend.  I know that I did.  Last Thursday, I went to Muss & Turners for a $20 beer tasting hosted by Bob Townsend of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The event was fantastic with about 20 people all trying beers that were well over $20.  We had an imperial stout, and barley wines including one that was cellared for 8 years from the  Dogwood Brewing Company that no longer is in existance.  Many of the beers were priceless in that sense.  I took great notes on each of the beers, but like an idiot, I left them on the table so I cannot remember them by name, although with a little research, I could probably figure it out.  I do remember an American-style barley wine (think: hopped beyond belief)  which tasted absolutely brilliant and had a wonderful grapefruit aftertaste.  Anyways, M&T does these tasting every week and I plan on going to more and this time, remembering my score card and keeping track!!  Besides giving Bob a media kit, the owner of Terrapin Brewery in Athens, GA, Spike, was also there.  I set up a meeting to talk to him so that is very exciting as well!  Here is a candid picture in the middle of the explanation of the styles.

Muss & Turners

Design Specs-  I just got my first design mock ups from my web developer.  Please comment and tell me what you think.


There is a food & beer pairing going on at M&T tonight so if you want to come out, I will be there from 6:30 to approx. 8:30.

That is about it for now!  Won’t be long now!

What to drink for Thanksgiving?

I hope everyone is about to have a great Thanksgiving long weekend. I know that I am. If you are wondering what beer you should be drinking with thanksgiving, then look no further. The great guys and girls over at the Brewers Association have explained it all. Just go to their Thanksgiving beer pairing website aptly named I am going to visit my family in Pittsburgh tomorrow so you probably wont see an update from me until next week. Happy Thanksgiving all!!

PS I had a professional photoshoot and the results are excellent! Here is one of my favorites. My photographer is a personal friend of mine and his name is Robert Combier

The picture says it all