A Greener Mood Lights Up Pike Pub

September 22, 2009

Pike Brewmaster Drew Clulely at a Brickskeller Beer Tasting a couple years ago.

Washington Post Beer Columnist Greg Kitsock (L) chats with Pike brewmaster Drew Clulely (R) at the Brickskeller a couple years ago.

As a result of the first-ever Seattle Carrot Mob (now called “Agent Green”) event held at the Pike Pub, and sponsored by Green Drinks Seattle on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Pike committed 25% of that day’s sales to energy efficient retrofits.

So they partnered with Seattle City Light to upgrade their lights to LEDs. The upgrade saved 51,584 kWh per year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 30 tons. And they implemented a new composting program with Cedar Grove Compost which they estimate will reduce their waste to landfill by 95%.

The brewery has other sustainability advantages too. Like many traditional breweries, it uses the natural force of gravity (the Pub is built into a hill) rather than electric pumps to transfer beer during the brewing process. They use steam for brewing, that comes from Seattle Steam, a public utility located one block away. Fortunately for Pike, Seattle Steam is introducing a new biomass burner (using urban waste wood), which will lower their carbon footprint (and that of the nearly 200 buildings, including Pike Brewery, they serve) by fifty percent.

Sustainability Is Delicious
Part of Pike’s commitment to sustainability comes in the form of deliciousness. Much of their food comes from local and sustainable producers. Burgers come from Heritage Meats in Olympia, wild salmon is fresh from Kodiak Alaska, and cheeses are all from local artisan cheesemakers: Quillisascut in Rice Washington;  Mt. Townsend from Pt. Townsend;  River Valley Cheese from Fall City, who also use Pike’s spent grain to feed their herd; and Estrella Family Creamery in Montesano who rind wash their Pike Brewleggio with Pike’s Tandem Double Ale. They buy tuna from Joe Malley’s Fishing Vessel, St. Jude, and their smoked salmon comes from Solly at Pure Food Fish, only steps away from the brewpub in the Pike Place Market. Uli’s Sausage makes bratwurst with Pike Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale and Salami comes from Salumi Salami just a few blocks away. Prosciutto travels from Iowa but is from the country’s first organic prosciutto maker, La Quercia.  For dessert, Pike XXXXX Gelato is made by Gelatiamo Gelateria a block away using Pike XXXXX Extra Stout in the recipe. Pike also offers an Ale and Choclate Pairing with Carter’s Chocolates from Port Orchard where Matt makes four truffles with Pike ales. And the Pike bar also features local, northwest spirits.

Whew! I’m full!

Green Drinks Thank You Event
Not all of this was a result of the Agent Green carrot mob, but Pike wants to thank them for pushing them to go greener with the LEDs and composting. With breweries, thanks usually comes in the form of beer. So if you’re in Seattle, stop down at the Pike on Wednesday, October 7th for a Green Drinks gathering from 4-6pm with specials on food and beer.

Chicken Wings for the Beer Drinker’s Soul

September 6, 2009

ChickenWingsLast weekend at the Traverse City MicroBrew and Music Festival, I ran into Bob Maier, who gave me a copy of his book Chicken Wings for the Beer Drinker’s Soul.

The catchy title echos it’s inpiration: the series of Chicken Soup books comprised of heartwarming stories that make you feel better about your life, or in this case, your beer. Bob recasts some of the oft-told beer myths, including the transformation of Enkidu from animal to man by drinking beer in the  Epic of Gilgamesh; and the one about the Egyptian goddess Hathor and how beer prevented her from destroying humanity. Good stories on their own but Bob has a good storytelling flair that makes these short reads a lot of fun.

He also invents some beer myths of his own, including ones about seeing angels while drinking beer in the Mississippi delta, and launching a lawn maintenance company fueled by cheap beer. The last story is title Timmy the Tinkler – I’ll let you connect the dots.

On a more personal note, Bob throws in a story to which I think we can all relate: a beer-fueled teenage romance.

And on a practical level, this slim volume of beer-inspired comfort contains a mittful of recipes as well as the requisite sections on beer appreciation and brewing. To learn more about Bob and to order this book, click here.

One week ’til Savor, an American Craft Beer & Food Experience

May 11, 2008

Move over wine, here comes craft beer. Savor is America’s first modern national event aiming to elevate beer to a seat at the grown-ups table of high cuisine.

For as long as anyone can remember, beer has been the pedestrian beverage that knows its place: the bar, the barbecue grill, and the front porch after cutting the lawn. Meanwhile, we reach for the wallet and the wine bottle when it comes to toasting high occasions: the hot date, weddings, anniversaries, and fine dining.

an American Craft Beer & Food Experience

The Brewer’s Association is launching Savor with the ambitious and admirable goal of raising public awareness of beer’s complexity, versatility and appropriateness alongside the most haute of cuisines.

Beer has a number of characteristics that make it a desirable choice for the linen-draped table. Beer has a far wider range of flavors than wine due in part to the fact that more and more variable ingredients are employed in its production. It is also far cheaper, on average, than wine and therefore can be more economically matched with each course in a meal. Wine, on the other hand, is expensive and discourages diners from pairing an appropriate bottle or glass with each course which means at best one course will be well-paired while the others might clash distastefully. Beer is also a bit more approachable while wine has an ingrained culture of snobbery (despite some laudable attempts to change this).

Savor will bring together fifty of America’s finest craft brewers and offer attendees a food pairing specifically chosen to match their beers. And I do mean fifty craft brewers – unlike many great beer festivals, Savor will not be staffed by volunteers but instead the brewers booths will be tended exclusively by brewers and brewery owners. This is not meant as a slight to volunteers. In fact, there will be volunteers helping with certain logistics, but the intention is to allow direct face-to-face experiences between attendees and the highly skilled and knowledgeable experts responsible for crafting the selections.

In addition to the food and beer pairings, there will be talks and presentations from some of America’s foremost beer and food experts, including a lively debate between Sam Calagione and Marnie old entitled “He Said Beer, She Said Wine” after their new book by the same name. Savor is an event not to be missed. My partner Seung and I will be there during the Saturday evening session. Get your tickets now before they sell out.

WHAT: Fine beer and food pairing event
WHEN: Friday-Saturday, May 16-17, 2008
WHERE: W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
COST: $85 all inclusive
INFO: http://beertown.org/events/SAVOR/index.html

Savor the Beer and Food in Washington, DC

February 3, 2008


Tickets go on sale online tomorrow for Savor, a first-of-its-kind beer and food event featuring pairings of haute cuisine from Federal City Caterers and craft beer from 48 different breweries.

The event unfolds in three separate sessions, each limited to 700 attendees. Brewery booths will feature one or two specially selected beers served by the brewers and brewery owners themselves in two ounce pours paired up with tantalizing culinary delights such as crostini of figs and prosciutto, a selection of artisanal cheeses, and chocolates infused with unexpected enhancements such as rosemary and tropical passion fruit.

Big names in brewing will provide schedule full of educational salons, such as Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewing covering beer and cheese pairing, and Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head going toe-to-toe with wine-bibbing “cross drinker” Marnie Old from the French Culinary Institute.

Surprisingly, I don’t detect even a tinge of the local and sustainable craze that has been coursing through the foodie community. Witness the growth of organizations such as Slow Food International, the ‘locavore‘ phenomenon, the 100-mile diet, and the continued double-digit growth in organic food. I suppose the simple concept of beer being a partner worthy of thoughtfully pairing with food is revolutionary enough without complicating matters by weaving sustainability into the agenda. Still, it seems a lost opportunity to showcase fine regional and organic foods from small companies that are such natural allies to the small brewing movement.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be perfectly happy to slowly savor a “Shell-fish Free ‘Crab’ Cake” with a glass of saison, but wouldn’t it have been nice to feature a real crab cake instead, made with blue crabs from the Chesapeake bay, and thus providing an educational opportunity about the collapse of this species? Lots of brewers are hip to the local/sustainable food phenomenon and it seems like the industry really ought to make a point of highlighting regional delicacies that are themselves in danger of becoming as rare as good beer was a couple decades ago. I guess I just want it all. I should just shut up and be happy that they decided to locate Savor right here in my own fair city.

Les Dames d’Escoffier

October 2, 2007

That means the ladies of Escoffier, which refers, I believe, to George Auguste Escoffier, a French chef and culinary writer. According to the Washington DC chapter website, Les Dames d’Escoffier

“. . . is comprised of influential women of high achievement in the culinary, beverage and hospitality industries. Membership is by invitation only, and DC Dames range from top chefs, restaurateurs and caterers to renowned journalists, authors and hospitality executives. Our members are at the forefront of shaping decisions regarding what we choose to eat and drink everyday. As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Washington, DC offers scholarships to women seeking advancement in culinary-related fields, and offers grants to non-profit organizations that support women and help better our community. Members of Les Dames d’Escoffier share their expertise by offering educational programs which are open to the public, and volunteering for worthy food-related causes throughout the year.”

I mention this group because one of their members got in touch to let me know about an upcoming event they are hosting called the Octoberfest Dinner and Beer Tasting. Details as follows:

RusticoWHEN: Monday, October 15, 2007 at 6:30 PM

WHERE: Rustico, 827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703.224.5051

COST: Tickets are $75 for members of Les Dames d’Escoffier; $85 for non-members. Price includes dinner, beer, wine, gratuity and tax.

REGISTRATION: Reservations close October 11, 202.973.2168. Space is limited.

Seung and I ate at Rustico about a month ago and were impressed by the atmosphere, food, and absolutely superb beer and food pairing program. They have an option called the “Trio” – tastes of three items each paired with a four ounce sample of beer. We got three of these sets, sharing everything and loving every minute and bite of it.


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