Category Archives: Food and Beer

Ja! Das Ist Gut! Oktoberfest at Penn Brewing

Last night TDY was present at the Penn Oktoberfest.  What a perfectly run event.  The party was very very packed, yet all lines moved quickly.  There  were several beer lines and they all moved tons of people through very quickly.  The food line worked like clockwork.  The men’s line was non-existant, all thanks to the porta-john trough.  This was the best porta-john system of all the beer/festivals of the year!!!  I think Mayor Luke should hire the Penn staff to organize the bus lines for the city.

So much to talk about in such little time.  Let’s start with the beer.  Penn was serving all the hits.  We personally drank the Oktoberfest all night.  Pitchers were 1/2 gallon plastic jugs.  Beer and food were cash only.  After a few pitchers it was time to find an ATM.  En route to the ATM we spoke with a salesman from Penn about the bottling line.  It was an interesting tour while waiting for the ATM.  Did you know they still handle bottles coming off the line by hand?!?!  Yep so every bottle of Penn is truly hand crafted and cared for.

The food was great.  We each had the sausage platter.  Wunderbar!  A brat and kilbasa with hot potato salad and kraut.  As beer and food pairings go, the Oktoberfest brew with dinner was a perfect match.  Those Germans really perfected the art of beer with food over the past centuries.

And of course there was entertainment.  The band wasn’t holding anything back.  We heard the Steelers’ Polka with orginial German lyrics and several more times with the lyrics we all know by heart.  “We’re from the town with that great football team, We cheer the Pittsburgh Steelers. Winning’s a habit, not only a dream, Go out and get them Steelers!”  The Pirates even added to the fun.  From Penn we had an excellent view of the Skyblast fireworks with the city skyline as the backdrop.

No worries, if you missed the fun this weekend, you can still head over to Penn for a liter, brat w/ kraut and lederhosen next weekend.  The fun starts on Friday 9/24 at 5pm.  Check Penn’s website for all the details.  http://www.pennbrew.com/data/english/oktoberfest.htm

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BYOB: TDY @ Thai Cuisine

TDY was out and about on another BYOB night.  This time the genre was thai and the restaurant was the Thai Cuisine in Bloomfield.  I will be the first to admit, we didn’t do our homework ahead of time.  We picked up 6 random beers we never had before.  The trend was to stay mostly light with low bitterness, but a dark and fruity beer made it to dinner to mix it up a little.

Thanks to Packs and Dogs on Mt. Washington for having a nice selection of beers to choose from for dinner.  The six beers for dinner were:  Erie Derailed Black Cherry Ale, Fort Collins Chocolate Stout, Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Uber Pils, Blue Point Brewing Toasted Lager, Blue Point Brewing Hoptical Illusion and Southampton Keller Pils. Also a big thanks to our kind waiter at Thai Cuisine who offered to refrigerate the rest of our six pack as enjoy the first few beers.

For starters we had the Angle Wing, it’s a Thai stuffed chicken wing  with sweet spicy sauce.  I really want to know how this was prepared, because it’s mind boggling!!  The Blue Point Toasted Lager (aka amber ale) was decent, the sweet spicy sauce was able to cut through the slightly malty amber ale.  The Chocolate Stout was a little too heavy and overpowered the Angle Wing and sauce.

For the main course I had the Bird’s Nest with chicken at 6 on the spice scale.  The Bird Nest was crispy egg noodles, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, onions, bamboo shoots and house special sauce.  The sauce was great!  Garlic was the main flavor with some spice to it.  Again the Toasted Lager went well with this meal, even though I only had a few sips left.  The Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Uber Pils provided an interesting twist.  The Saaz hops gave the garlic sauce another dimension of spice.

Mark enjoyed one of the specials Thai Cuisine was offering that day. It was a fried rice dish of sorts, made with fresh basil and coconut milk and finished off with chicken and shrimp. Turned out to be a good choice as Mark spent more time stuffing his face with rice than focusing on the brews, which is not uncommon to any meal.

The Erie Derailer was not a good selection for this meal.  It was too fruity and too heavily contrasted the spice in the meal.  It is, however, a good solid beer for those who enjoy a sweet, cherry flavored beer on a hot summer’s day.

BYOB: TDY @ The Fajita Grill

TDY enjoyed a nice BYOB night at a great local restaurant, The Fajita Grill

From left to right:  Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale, Breckenridge Summer Bright Ale, O’Fallon Hemp Hop Rye, Dogfish Head Pangaea, Widmer Drifter Pale Ale, Ithaca Partly Sunny Belgian Wit and Yards Pale Ale.

While selecting the beers for dinner we kept a few things in mind.  What’s for dinner?  What’s the weather?  and What haven’t I had before?  IPAs are not best suited for spicy foods.  Hops will accentuate the spice.  Mostly we wanted a light, crisp, refreshing beer to keep us cool but provide some taste while not overwhelming our wonderful mexican dinner.

Dinners with beer pairings:

  1. Grilled Enchilada w/ Caribbean Chicken and Mole sauce.  Paired with Breckenridge Summer Bright Ale and Yards Pale Ale.  The Breckenridge was perfect with this meal.  It was crisp and clean tasting, with just enough flavor/bitterness to cut the mole sauce’s sweetness.  The Yards Pale Ale was a good beer, but was slightly too hoppy for this meal.  The hop flavor overwhelmed the meal. – Jake
  2. Grilled Enchilada w/ Caribbean Chicken and Mole sauce.  Paired with O’Fallon Hemp Hop Rye and Widmer Drifter Pale Ale. I hadn’t tried either of these beers prior to this dinner. While I can’t say one was the clear winner when paired with the food, I can say that both did a nice job of accentuating the overly sweet mole sauce. With the sauce’s prominent cocoa taste and lack of any heat, each beer took on a pairing role we couldn’t have predicted with Mexican food, yet proved versatile and complemented the warm summer night nicely. No complaints from me. – Mark
  3. Grilled Enchilada w/ Chicken and Red sauce.  Paired with Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale and Ithaca Partly Sunny Belgian Wit.
  4. Salmon and Shrimp in Salsa DeMango.  Paired with Dogfish Head Pangaea.  I brought the Pangea with me, but was a bit skeptical about finding some mexican dishes to pair with it.  Knowing that the Pangaea is brewed with crystallized ginger I was looking for something sweet to complement the spicy/sweetness of the ginger.  This paired perfectly with the fruity citrus notes of the mango salsa and citrus glaze.  The ginger really exploded off of the tongue.  The meal itself was excellent and the side patio at fajita grill is an excellent place to spend a summer evening – Tim