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De Maas in the Nickel City

NIPAC!

…Oh. The National IPA Challenge is done. I’m just so used to including a section in my weekly updates. It feels weird without it.

Well, okay, while we’re here, you know we took second place out of 128, right? Of course you do. But, dammit, I’m going to take the opportunity to brag about it.

Nickel City Chef

The next feather in our cap came on Sunday, as the Iron Chef-like cooking competition Nickel City Chef featured us in Season Five, Competition 3: Battle Ale. De Maas was the ingredient that Chef Carmelo Raimondi (Carmelo’s) and Brian Mietus (Bacchus) had to use in three dishes, to be judged by Ivy Knight (Swallow), Chef James Roberts (Park Country Club, who won the 2011 Battle: Beer featuring Flying Bison beers) and Chef Chris Dorsaneo (Lloyd’s Taco Truck).

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This was my first Nickel City Chef competition, and I had a great time. I’m not a chef by any means but I do love to cook, and much like how watching the Sabres makes me want to set up the net in my garage I left itching to make some food. I actually made risotto and hush puppies for dinner, having seen much more competent (and beer-infused) versions of them made shortly before.

I had a realization during the judging: throughout the course of the event there were numerous jokes made in the theme of drinking too much beer while cooking. They were made in good fun, but I can guarantee that wine wouldn’t have been discussed in the same way. It’s illustrative of the mindset many people still have: wine is for savoring, beer for getting drunk on. No insult was intended or perceived, of course! But our subset of the fermented beverage world still has some way to go before we’re treated with the same reverence as our viticultural cousins.

Ninkasi was a woman, after all!

While we’re on the topic of beliefs most people have which are no longer true: how about the one that beer is for men?

ninkasiDespite ham-fisted attempts to gain a foothold on “the female demographic” with ideas like strawberry beer and pink labels and so on, many breweries have come to the startling conclusion that women are people too and treat them like they would any regular customer. (ow, my cheek hurts from tonguing it so hard)

Even so, many beer events and even more public-facing beer roles are filled by men. Why, look at CBW: six smiling bearded white dudes. The Spree‘s Julia Burke (who you may recognize from such other events as stabbing me in the back during Risk) had noted that the kickoff press conference for last year’s Buffalo Beer Week was a sausage festival twice over, so when Sara Ann posted in the Buffalo Beer Geeks Facebook group that she’d love to start a WNY beer group for women there was an instant chemical catalyst.

Presenting: the Buffalo Beer Goddesses!

I’m very glad such a group exists, and if you’re a woman in the area I hope you’ll check them out.

The nice thing about our industry conferences is it’s your job to drink beer

Strange bedfellows indeed

Strange bedfellows indeed

Rudy and Ethan are currently in Washington DC for the annual Craft Brewer’s Conference. That’s right: they’re rubbing elbows and toasting glasses with fellow brewers while the rest of us are sitting here doing all the work like chumps.

I kid! They’re learning a lot from the sessions, and doing much more than just drinking all the time. They’ve been so busy that it’s been hard to get a picture out of them from the conference, but Ethan eventually obliged with a shot of the booth of SMT, the company that manufactured our brite tanks. We’re in some strange company there!

Happy anniversary

Hopefully you haven’t forgotten that April 20th is our one year anniversary and that we’re celebrating with a party at Cole’s and Mister Goodbar. There’s no cost to get in: just show up and have some beer with us!

Why, there’s even a Facebook event if that’s your sort of thing.

We’ll be bringing a few special surprises with us, and while we had been revealing one a week I’m going to take this week off. Rudy’s busy enough in DC without me bugging him for a style to talk about.

And, finally, Artvoice

know you know I want you to vote for us for Best Blog in Artvoice’s Best of Buffalo. I know this because I put a reminder at the top of every page of the site in large friendly letters.

I’ll level with you. My ego needs constant validation or else it deflates and causes a severe physiological reaction. That’s a lie. Well, not the validation part. But I’d be awfully chuffed* if I could have tangible proof that you all really love me. Don’t you love me?

* What? People say “cheers” all the time without batting an eye, so if we’re stealing British colloquialisms then I’m going with it.