Recipe: Beer-Soaked Grilled Cheese

Beer-Soaked-Grilled-CheeseOn a cold winter’s day there is nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of tomato soup and the traditional grilled cheese accompaniment. But, what if you could amp that grilled cheese up a bit with one of the world’s other sublime pleasures: beer? That is just what Erica Shea and Stephen Valand of the Brooklyn Brew Shop have done with this delicious and somewhat decadent twist on the classic gooey sandwich.

The original post of this recipe comes from the Brewers’ Association’s blog


Beer-Soaked Grilled Cheese


Beer Batter
2 eggs
1 cup Chestnut Brown Ale or other nutty, brown ale
1/8 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into eight 1/2″ slices
1 block mild or sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
2 tablespoons butter, plus more if needed
Optional toppings: bacon, sliced ham, prosciutto, avocado


In a large shallow bowl, whisk eggs, beer, flour, salt and chili powder. Dunk one slice of bread into the batter on both sides, giving it a second to fully absorb the batter. Let the excess batter drain back into the bowl.

Move to another plate and top with cheese and additional toppings if desired (cooked bacon, sliced ham, etc.).
Repeat with another slice of bread to complete the sandwich.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Place the sandwich in the middle, and let cook on each side 3-4 minutes, until it reaches a crispy golden brown and a gooey cheese middle. Repeat for all sandwiches. Plate, add garnishes and enjoy.

Brooklyn Brew Shop

Erica Shea and Stephen Valand started the Brooklyn Brew Shop out of the Brooklyn Flea in the summer of 2009 to get space-strapped New Yorkers brewing. With the idea that making beer (real beer from real ingredients) can be simple, tasty, and most important, fun, they created stylish, easy-to-use Beer Making Kits designed especially for stove-top brewing and ingredient mixes for seasonally inspired beers. Their goal is to get everyone brewing by simplifying the beer making process without dumbing it down.

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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Recipes


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Queens brewery produces high-wattage brews

Big Alice head brewer and co-owner Kyle Hurst talks about his brews.

Big Alice head brewer and co-owner Kyle Hurst talks about his brews.

Nestled, almost hidden in an industrial area of Long Island City in the New York borough of Queens, is a tiny brewery amping up the volume on beer taste. Big Alice Brewing is one of several small breweries popping up in the rapidly-gentrifying Vernon Street neighborhood. But, Big Alice has a hook; they make small batches of beer in flavors that do not exactly fit in to mainstream beer categories.

The brewery is named for a giant electric power generator in Long Island City originally commissioned by ConEd and built by the Allis-Chalmers Corporation in 1965. Dubbed Big Allis by the power plant workers and locals alike, the generator is easily located by the towering smokestacks that vent it. Coming from nearly anywhere in Queens or Brooklyn, it is nearly impossible to miss the four stacks – Big Allis is the third from the left as you approach from Queens.

In a nod to the local landmark and the first one million kilowatt generator — big enough to serve 3 million people – the brewers decided to name the brewery Big Alice, changing the name to avoid any possible legal entanglements.

Big Alice, like so many other breweries, began life with a couple of friends who also enjoyed brewing beer at home. After a few drinks at the 2011 New York State Beer Festival, NY Tap, an idea began to ferment in the minds of founders Kyle Hurst and Scott Berger.  In 2013 the duo’s dreams came to fruition with the opening of Big Alice Brewing, a small-scale brewer dedicated to creating interesting beers in small batches to provide beer-lovers with an ever-changing array of brews to taste and enjoy.

According to the brewery’s website, “Big Alice Brewing’s first batch was a Belgo-American Red Ale that was made with local organic cheese pumpkin (Cinderella pumpkin), a large amount of American hops, and a Belgian yeast. The second batch was an IPA that was made with a very fragrant citron fruit, Buddha’s Hand, from California.”

Unique and inspiring, Big Alice proves that a small operation can make a big impact. The flavors created in this boutique brewery are amazing and demand is sure to grow. But, if Hurst has his way, they will remain a small operation. By staying small they are free to experiment rather than get tied down to a particular style or flavor profile.

“We can do things the big boys can’t,” says the website. “That’s the really cool part.”


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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Craft Beer Brewery


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The Beer Guy on the Road: Birreria in Manhattan

Atop a roof in Manhattan's Flatiron District sits Birreria, an oasis of great beer and superb food.

Atop a roof in Manhattan’s Flatiron District sits Birreria, an oasis of great beer and superb food.

New York City, as everyone knows, is a non-stop thrill ride of a city. From white-knuckled rides in the omnipresent New York taxi cabs to the noisy crush of humanity known as the subway, New York is a never-ending onslaught of sounds, sights, sensations and even smells. So, where do world-weary New Yorkers go when they want a bit of a respite from the rat race? Many opt for a rooftop in the Flatiron district above the insanely popular Eately Italian market and restaurant complex. At Birreria guests can settle down to a well-crafted beer and a delicious meal while enjoying the skyline of one of the world’s greatest cities.

Birreria is a collaboration on several fronts. First, the restaurant is a meeting of the minds of famed chef and television personality Mario Batali and restaurateur Joe Bastianich through the group they own. the food, as one would imagine from this powerhouse duo, is superb. The menu includes a long list of Italian specialties and even a few German favorites. But, it is the marriage of of Dogfish Head Brewing Company, Baladin and Birra Del Borgo that truly stands out. The three breweries collaborated for the restaurant to brew unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated cask ales in a 5-barrel brewing system right on the premises.

The bar boasts 20 taps with beers culled from the portfolios of the three collaborators and local New York breweries. On our visit they were pouring Other Half Brewing Short, Dark, & Handsome Stout, Baladin Nora, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Birra del Borgo Hoppy Cat, Black IPA and Empire Brewing Amber.

The three beers produced on site are made with a process combining aspects of both Italian and American brewing methods. The beers are cask conditioned and change with the seasons, but a classic Italian mild chestnut ale named Wanda was on tap and quite delicious.

Because the rooftop is enclosed in a glass structure that resembles a greenhouse, it is open year-round providing breath-taking views of the city particularly at night when the buildings light up like glittering jewel boxes reaching for the sky. In the summer, Birreria is a welcome respite from the sweltering heat of the city and in the winter it is a toasty — thanks to the many space heaters — retreat from the Christmas crowds below.

For any beer-lover who is also interested in outstanding food and unique atmosphere, Birreria is a must-visit. But, get there early, the line at the ground-floor check-in desk grows quickly as the work day ends.

For a look inside Birreria, watch the video below.

uber_logoThe Jax Beer Guy has partnered with the UBER car service in Jacksonville. Because of this partnership, you can receive a $20 credit for your first ride by simply using the promo code “JaxBeerGuy” when you register for UBER on your smartphone.

Click HERE to sign up now!

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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Beer Restaurants


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Sierra Nevada releases first national beer with wild hop

neomexicanus-hopSierra Nevada Brewing Company has long been an innovator in the craft beer industry. Founded in 1980, the company is unarguably one of the forefathers of the entire movement. In keeping with their pioneering attitude, the brwery is the first to use a newly-discovered wild hop variety — the Neomexicanus hop — in a nationally-released brew.

read more about the hop and Sierra Nevada’s release below.

Chico, CA—For the finale of its five-bottle 2014 Harvest series, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is showcasing the wild Neomexicanus hop for the first time on a national stage. Originally found during a backcountry quest in the foothills of Taos, New Mexico, the bizarre cones of the Neomexicanus hop produce multiple heads—aptly nicknamed Medusa—and Harvest Wild Hop IPA boasts their vibrant melon, apricot and citrus aromas. The 24-ounce bottles ship to distributors starting this week and will be available through January 2015.

Quick stats on Harvest Wild Hop IPA:

• ABV—6.5%
• BU—55
• Hop(s)—Neomexicanus
• Malts—Two-row Pale, Caramel

“There’s a fun sense of adventure in our final Harvest beer of the year,” said Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder. “The Neomexicanus hop was a lucky find by a rogue hophead combing the wild landscape, and he’s essentially gifted it to craft beer. We’re always looking for new aromas and flavors, and when they’re unexpected, it’s all the more exciting.”

Throughout 2014, the inaugural Harvest series explored newly developed hop varieties and different hopping methods: single hop (Yakima 291 and Equinox), fresh hop (Southern Hemisphere Harvest®), wet hop (Northern Hemisphere Harvest®), and wild hop. Sierra Nevada will reimagine the Harvest series for 2015, with the first release slated for February.

Tied to the Harvest series and its celebration of hops, Sierra Nevada last month hosted its second annual Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild Harvest Festival in Chico, Calif. More than 50 brewers from across the country celebrated the annual hop harvest, pouring a selection of their beers that included at least one single hop, fresh hop, wet hop or wild hop beer. “With arguably the
greatest brewers in the country setting up camp next to the newly harvested hop fields,” said the Chico News & Review, “it’s pretty much the perfect beer experience.”

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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Beer Styles


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Funky Buddha to bottle beers

fb_packageBeer lovers in South Florida have known that the beers at Oakland Park’s Funky Buddha were remarkable from the brewery’s inception in 2010. But, in order to taste the beer, they had to go to a the brewery taproom or visit a bar with their beers on tap. In just a few weeks that will change as Funky Buddha launches its first two packaged brews.

Read the press release below for all the details.

OAKLAND PARK, FL – Florida, it’s time to Get Funky! That’s right: Funky Buddha is proud to announce that bottles of its acclaimed beers will be hitting distribution for the first time on Wednesday, December 10. This anticipated launch will see six-pack, 12-ounce bottles arriving on the shelves of major retailers throughout South Florida just in time for the holiday season.

“The launch of package is a huge leap in our growth as a company and a dramatic step forward for the evolution of craft beer in South Florida,” says KC Sentz, General Manager and Co-Owner of Funky Buddha Brewery. “Our customers have been demanding this for a long time, so the fact that they will finally be able to walk into a store and purchase a six-pack of our beer is an extremely proud moment.”

This launch truly has been a long time in the making. In February, Funky Buddha set out on a three-million dollar expansion to its Oakland Park facility that included taking on an additional 21,000 square/feet production space, technical upgrades to the infrastructure of the facility, and a host of new equipment – including a bottling line from industry leaders CFT and a centrifugal separator from Westfalia Group. This state-of-the-art equipment will ensure the highest level of quality and freshness for Funky Buddha’s beers, all while preserving the bold flavors the brewery has become known for. Simply put: this expansion has cemented the framework for Funky Buddha to create and distribute over 600,000 cases of beer throughout Florida by the end of 2016.

“Florida is thirsty for our beer, and we’re excited to say that we’re ready to deliver,” says Head Brewer and Co-Owner Ryan Sentz. “We’re humbled by the response we’ve received to our beers in the past two years, which just makes the future that much more exciting.”

That future begins on December 10, when Funky Buddha will launch six-packs of its best-selling flagships Floridian Hefeweizen and Hop Gun India Pale Ale at major retailers throughout Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties. Now, a little more on these launch beers:

Floridian Hefeweizen (92 rating on is a perennial favorite on draught throughout Florida and the best-selling beer in Funky Buddha’s acclaimed line up. This German-style wheat ale is full on flavor yet light on the palate, with the compelling notes of banana, citrus and clove. Available year-round, Floridian Hefeweizen will be packaged in cases of four six-packs. (image attached)

Hop Gun IPA (95 rating on is Funky Buddha’s East Coast-style India Pale Ale, delivering a payload of good ol’ American hops that burst forth with the flavors of grapefruit and pineapple. Smooth caramel and honey malts balance out the complex hop finish – just like any good wingman should. Also available year-round, Hop Gun IPA will be packaged in cases of four six-packs. (image attached)

Funky Buddha isn’t stopping there. In January, the brewery plans to launch Zen Session IPA (formerly known as Crusher IPA), a light-bodied, 4.5% ABV ale brewed with Citra hops for lush citrus aroma and flavor. That month will also see the release of the brewery’s first limited, 12-ounce four-pack, Last Snow Porter. Ranked as the #2 porter in the world by the 2014 Rate Beer Best awards, Last Snow is an ode to Florida “winter” brewed with real coffee, white chocolate, and coconut.

Moving forward in 2015, seasonal four-pack releases will include favorites Nib Smuggler Chocolate Milk Porter, More Moro Blood Orange IPA, Blueberry Cobbler Ale, and Sweet Potato Casserole. Limited 22-ounce “bombers” will also hit distribution in 2015 and include the brewery’s sought-after specialty release and barrel-aged brews, the first of which will be Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, scheduled for release at the brewery on January 10. Package product will be distributed by Brown Distributing of West Palm Beach, with distribution throughout the Orlando, Tampa, and Northern Florida markets by the end of 2015.

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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Craft Beer Brewery


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Gulf-coast brewery opens new taproom

Grayton-Beer1More proof that Florida is becoming a craft beer powerhouse popped up last week when Grayton Beer Company opened its new taproom. Grayton, founded in 2011, is a locally owned and operated brewery on the Northwest Florida Coastline with over 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities to brew classic, contemporary beers. Grayton Beer Company brews its beers with an easy-going, approachable Gulf-coast state of mind, using the finest available ingredients to provide pure, simple refreshment.

Learn more about the brewery and its new taproom in the press release below.

SOUTH WALTON, Fla. – Nov. 25, 2014 – Located in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., Grayton Beer Company is pleased to announce the completion of the brewery’s new taproom, which opened on Nov. 21. Taproom hours will vary until January, and updates can be found on or the brewery’s Facebook, Twitter andInstagram pages. A grand opening event will be announced in the coming weeks.

Currently open to the public, the taproom boasts a 40-ft. bar made of recycled wood pallets and 25 taps where customers can enjoy all of Grayton’s unique brews. This includes Grayton’s specialty small-batch beers that are exclusively available in the taproom. The bar will also feature guest taps for other craft beers as well as collaboration beers between Grayton and other local craft breweries.

“Opening a taproom at the brewery has always been part of the vision for us at Grayton Beer Company,” says Jamey Price, president of Grayton Beer Company. “We’re really excited for people to have the opportunity to come experience how we make our beer, meet the characters who brew it and then enjoy the beer itself.”

The taproom is the newest upgrade to Grayton’s 30-barrel brewhouse located at 217 Serenoa Road in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. The 30,000 sq.-ft. brewery features a brand new equipment from Allied Beverage Tank (ABT), a Markyl 125 bottles-per-minute bottling line, a state-of-the-art lab run by a Harvard Ph.D. and over 10,000 barrels of annual production capacity.

“Fortunately the demand for our beer has been so high that we’ve never stopped brewing which delayed the taproom opening,” says Price. “Finally being able to add this new element to the experience of Grayton beer is a great milestone for us.”

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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Craft Beer Brewery


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Black Friday brings 2014 release of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout

goose-island-bourbon-county-stoutFor many, the day after Thanksgiving — referred to as Black Friday — is a day of getting up before the rising sun, standing in lines for hours to grab great prices on electronics and other gifts meant to reside under a Christmas tree. But, for beer lovers in the United States it means something different. Black Friday marks the annual release of Goose Island Brewing Company’s coveted Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS).

Once a year the brewing experts at Goose Island pull out all the stops and release several varieties of this brew that has been rated as one of the top 20 beers in the world. This year, the brewery has gone over the top in several cities including Jacksonville, Fla. to host a release event that will live on in the memory of those lucky enough to attend. This year’s event will feature partnerships with local artisans Edgewood Bakery and Brew Five Points, in addition to custom Goose Island gifts to the first 200 beer fans in line.

Continuously pushing boundaries and flavor profiles of the lauded beer collection, this year’s BCBS varietals include: Coffee, in partnership with Intelligentsia, Vanilla Rye, Barleywine and Original. First crafted in 1992, Goose Island’s BCBS has paved the way for the art of aging beer in bourbon barrels, and is widely considered the standard of excellence for this specialty craft beer category.

This is the fifth year Goose Island is releasing Bourbon County Brands on Black Friday. In 2013, at the release event in Chicago, more than 500 people lined up to experience the Bourbon County phenomena firsthand. In 2014, with special Black Friday events in additional cities featuring unique collaborations with local artisans from coffee roasters to donut makers, the company expects an even greater turnout.

In Jacksonville, Beer:30 at 1271 King St. in Riverside will host the festivities.


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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Craft Beer Brewery


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