I realize you’re reading this post-Valentine’s Day but that doesn’t diminish the inherit pleasure of a shared experience with a special someone at any time of the year.  Now.. if only that shared experience could involve beer… Read on for some informed thoughts on this topic.

Beer and Cooking
The always thoughtful Mrs. KBM got us a Food and Beer Pairing course for the holidays and it was terrific!  Offered and hosted by Zwilling Cooking Studio in Pleasantville.  Zwilling makes high quality knives and kitchenware but also has a top-notch cooking studio where they offer an array of classes.  The beer end of things was sponsored by The Tapsmith craft beer pub in Croton-on-Hudson, NY in partnership with the terrific Alewife brewery out of Long Island City Queens, NY

The experience itself was attended by about 15 culinarily thirsty students and hosted by the knowledgeable Chef Bernard Janssen with staff that guided everyone through the preparation and cooking of a restaurant quality meal.

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At the onset, Chef went over the four-course menu, divided us into groups and sub groups so that you and your partner were responsible for preparing a course (more on what we cooked below).  It was fun to work together along with new friends on our courses and Chef was quite happy to show us cooking techniques that made our efforts more efficient and knife skills to keep our digits attached.  Post chopping and while our creations were cooking we sipped on Alewife Altered State Double IPA 8.1% with a delectable prominence of Passion Fruit.  

After the cooking and plating were complete, we sat down as a group to enjoy the foods of our labor and of course, the beer.  Pat Fondiller, the brewer from Alewife picked out beers for each course and we had them in order of complexity and taste, least to most, and then voted on which one paired best.  Democracy at work!

During the 1st course, our Beet Carpaccio adorned with goat cheese cream and toasted hazelnuts, we sampled Alewife’s Thousand Stars Pilsner 5.2% abv and Electric Rhino Session IPA 5.0% abv.  The crisp mellowness of the pilsner and the delicate tropical vibe from the IPA were each complementary and reminded me that my days of filibustering at the dinner table as a child to avoid eating beets are long gone.  Sorry it took this long Mom…

Our Root Vegetable Soup paired magnificently with Alewife’s Frau Holle - Schwartzbier 6.6% abv.  The beer’s dark toasty-ness with hints of coffee and chocolate played well with the soup’s sturdy yet subtle profile.  I’ve touted the Schwartzbier style before and most are in the 5% abv session range, give one a try. No, I am not a paid sponsor for the Global Schwartzbier Council but open to opportunities nonetheless.

The not insignificant amount of effort in making the Wild Forest Mushroom Risotto was worth it when served as our entre under a simple chicken breast.  Evoking a meal at a Swiss Chalet in Austria, I stuck with the Schwartzbier as it also paired well with the earthiness of this dish. 

No holds were barred for dessert!  To follow up our repast, we enjoyed Apple Tart Tatin named after the French hotel serving it as its signature dish.  A pastry in which the apples were caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.  Topping it off with vanilla ice cream seemed all the more righteous as we had 2 dessert worthy stouts to try, both with creative-though-slightly-creepy names. Remember sweet goes with sweet.  First up was Alewife’s Don’t Disturb My Friend, He’s Dead Tired Stout 9% abv with a terrific cherry, apricot, & chocolate taste that kept pace well with the dessert.  Next up was the Alewife They Mostly Come At Night, Mostly Stout 8.1% abv… This was a very unique beverage that has both crushed red pepper and cinnamon in it.  Sort of a Yin and Yang battle in your mouth thing going on.  

A great way to spend an evening doing something a bit different and even better that it was spent together.  We received the recipes to try at home and we will for sure!

The same course with a different lineup of food will be offered this September 29th and rumor is that Alewife will brew something special for one of the courses.

Check out www.zwillingcookingstudio.com for other course offerings and the Alewife.beer website for more about their beer and how to get a hold of it to consume.

Beer and Food Shopping
I hope you’ve had a chance to check out the new Greenway Market in Cross River and welcome our very favorite kind of new neighbor – the kind that has great beer on tap!

You’ll be happy to know that Greenway continues the unique to our area Bars in Supermarkets trend and I applaud that.  Recently, Mrs. KBM and I checked out Greenway where we had lunch, a few yeast and barley based refreshments on premises, and then did some grocery shopping.  I can recommend that order of activities but be prepared to bring home more bags of snack food than is typical.

At the front of the store they have a bar for standing/leaning but that’s fine because there is also an adjacent semi-private area with plenty of seating and super cool lighting that helps to distinguish it from the rest of the store. 

After grabbing some delicious prepared salads and soup we headed to the bar to pick out some thirst quenchers from their very impressive list of 9 craft beers on tap and a cider, all sold in sizes small and large.  I chose the large (no surprise) version of Trial By Wombat 7%abv, a “Juicy New England Style IPA” from a terrific brewery from Buffalo, NY (yes, I’m biased).  To update you on the lingo, “Juicy New England Style IPA” means citrusy and cloudy/hazy.

We had a nice hang and had the pleasure of meeting 2 of the 3 brothers-owners Bill and Esteban who have made an impressive commitment to the community with their store (beer and otherwise).  Coffee and wine also available along with food like burgers made to order and a robust hot and cold food bar.  Their beer aisle was also solid with a nice selection of singles available at reasonable prices.  For example: Arrogant Bastard Ale, a delicious American Strong Ale 7.2% abv in tall boy can form for only about $3.  And no, it is not an eponymously named beer thank you.

Give them a try.

20 N Salem Rd, Cross River, NY 10518, corner of rt 35 & 121, https://www.greenwaymarkets.com/stores/green-way-market-of-cross-river

Beer and Chili
Please join me later this month at one Katonah’s best annual events – The 11th Annual Chili Cook Off on Friday February 28 from 6-8pm.  Held at the local party venue that also has books (Katonah Village Library) $30 ahead of time or $35 at the door will bring you into a chili connoisseurs dream.  Several versions of this homey dish are prepared in traditional and not-so-traditional ways for your gastronomic pleasure all from local chefs who keep their family recipes close to the vest.  Curated beer and wine selections will be on hand to pair with the chili along with non-alcoholic choices.  And if that wasn’t enough, there will be live music! 

Purchase your tickets on the chamber website: https://katonahchamberofcommerce.wildapricot.org/event-3720390

Beer and Irish Music

Oh my goodness.. we’re gonna be busy this spring.  You may be tired of hearing me blather craft beer terms in person at all these events (IPA! Juicy! Chewy! Dry-hop! Secondary Fermentation!) but, if not, please join me on March 14 at the St Mary’s St Patrick Dance & Celebration on Saturday March 14th from 6:30-10pm.  Live Irish Music and Step Dancers along with traditional Irish fare, Guinness and other beer, wine, and soft drinks will be available while you socialize with community members of all ages.  Ticket purchase is old school so dig up an envelope, write a check for $50 per adult, $5 per child 13 & under made payable to St. Mary’s and send along to St. Mary’s Rectory 117 Valley Rd Katonah NY 10536.  Include a note about # of guests and an email you can be reached at. Or just pay the door for $10 more.  Slainte!

Ok, so you’re going to cook, shop, eat chili, and dance to Irish music together – with a few nice beverages along the way.  That’s a lot of togetherness.  You’re welcome.  Enjoy!


The Katonah Beer Man
e:  TheKatonahBeerMan@gmail.com 
i: Instagram thekatonahbeerman, who wants to be the 32nd follower?
s: Smithsonian archive of past articles can be found here: https://www.tapinto.net/ and searching “bart”