Tag Archives: Publix

Orange Blossom Brewing Company buzzing in to Publix Aprons cooking school for dinner

ApronsCookingSchoolThe cooking school inside the Publix Supermarket on San Jose in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville is the domain of Chef Tony Charbonnet. His passion for cooking can be seen on various television programs on WTLV-12 in Jacksonville as well as in front of his classroom multiple times a week. Over the past few years, the charismatic chef has been expanding the cooking school’s – Aprons – craft beer dinner program. And with good cause, the craft beer movement is showing no signs of slowing. On Saturday, August 29, Chef Tony welcomes Orange Blossom Brewing Company to his kitchen with a lineup of delicious dishes paired with equally scrumptious brews.

OBBC_4C-300x277According to the brewery’s website, Orange Blossom Brewing Company originated as a homebrew project in the garage of founder Tom Moench. His love of beer led him to tinker with a recipe for an interesting pilsner that soon became the popular Orange Blossom Pilsner.

Moench loved brewing and selling his unique, tasty brew so much that he sold his successful craft beer distributorship and took his prize-winning brew to the next level of production. After carefully laying out a plan for building his beer empire, Moench settled on South Carolina brewer Thomas Creek as the contract brewer for his three core brands. But, due to limited capacity, the search for a new facility became a necessity.

When the Brew Hub in Lakeland, Fla. came on to the scene, Moench began discussions on taking his brewery from a contract model to a partnership model. With Brew Hubs all-in-one solution, the decision was made to transfer production to the facility in 2014.

The dinner at Aprons will feature cooking demonstrations by Chef Tony and his team along with anecdotes from Moench about his brewery and beers.


Course 1

Asian Chopped Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette paired with Orange Blossom Pilsner

Course 2

Vanilla Orange Barbecued Seared Snapper paired with OBP2

Course 3

Grilled Jerk Chicken over Smoked Citrus Saffron Rice paired with Back in the Day IPA

Course 4

Chocolate Coconut Cheesecake paired with Toasted Coconut Porter.

Tickets for the dinner are available by calling the Publix Aprons Cooking School at (904) 262-4187 and cost $45 per person.

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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Beer Dinner


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Lagunitas Brewing Co. featured at Publix Aprons Cooking School beer dinner

lagunitaslogoFounded in 1993 by Tony Magee, Lagunitas Brewing Company started in its namesake city in California but quickly outgrew its rural location and moved to Petaluma. Currently rated as the fifth top-selling craft beer brewery in North America, Lagunitas is also known for its irreverent beer names and the stories that go along with them. On Friday, May 1, 2015, Publix Aprons Cooking School hosts the storied brewery for a beer dinner that pairs the iconic brews with delicious dishes.

For its first decade of life, Lagunitas was a sleepy producer of regional craft beer, little known outside of its local area. But, by the mid-2000s, the California brewery had begun to branch out to become one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the United States. Output rose from 27,ooo barrels in 2004 to an astounding 106,000 in 2010. As demand rose, Magee began to look towards expansion again. So, in April of 2012, he announced that his brewery would build a brewery in Chicago with a capacity of 600,000 barrels annually. Just two years later, the brewery began production.

A penchant for sarcasm led Magee to name many of his beers irreverently, perhaps most noteworthy is Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale. On what is now known in California beer culture as the 2005 St Patrick’s Day Massacre, Lagunitas was targeted and shut down by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). The shut-down stemmed from a loose weekly party held every Thursday at 4:20 in the afternoon. The party featured discounted beer, blues and, for some attendees including Lagunitas “Beer Weasel” and marketing director, Ron Lindenbusch. On the fateful day of the massacre, Lindenbusch was arrested by ABC agents who had infiltrated the party in hopes of catching the brewery in illegal activity. They succeeded. The resulting investigation found the brewery guilty of operating a “Disorderly House” and shut them down with a 20-day suspension of their liquor license.

In typical sarcastic fashion, the brewery’s website describes the incident, “We did the crime. We did the time. We got the bragging rights.”

At the Publix Lagunitas beer dinner you can expect to hear a few of the stories surrounding the beer names as well as more about the brewery and its scrappy beginnings. You can also expect Chef Tony Charbonette and his cast of entertaining chefs to demonstrate how they create the delightful dishes created for the dinner as they serve them for your enjoyment.

A partial menu for the event includes:

  • Lagunitas Pils paired with Steamed Mussel Frites (Beer Steamed Mussels, Fennel Butter and Crispy Fries)
  • Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ paired with Kung Pao Style Chicken Wings
  • Lagunitas IPA paired with Spicy Caveman Porterhouse Steak and Poblano Pan-Fry

Tickets for the event are available by calling 904-262-4187 and cost $45 each. But, according to a Twitter posting by Chef Tony, if you act quickly, you can take advantage of a buy-one-get-one-free offer on tickets.

For more on this blog about Lagunitas read: European Street Taps New Lagunitas Brew

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Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Beer Dinner


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Bold City beers provide inspiration for Publix Aprons beer dinner

l106579-11092009-newPublix Aprons Cooking School located in the Mandarin Publix on San Jose Blvd. has a long history of hosting exceptional beer dinner. Chef Tony Charbonnet has a knack for entertaining as well as educating at the dinners with witty banter and a knowing hand during demonstrations. He also is excellent at concocting delicious food made and paired with amazing craft beers.

On March 25, Charbonnet and his staff at Aprons will host a beer dinner featuring locally brewed Bold City Brewing company beers. THe dinner will feature four courses and five beers.

Dishes included on the menu are:

  • Welcome drink — Killer Whale Cream Ale
  • Kale Salad with Duke’s Brown Ale Vinaigrette paired with Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale
  • Citrus Spice Shrimp Scampi paired with Mad Manatee IPA
  • Coffee Rubbed Brisket & 1901 Roasted Red Ale Mashed Potatoes paired with 1901 Roasted Red Ale
  • Spice Cake with Rhino Rye Cream Cheese Frosting paired with Archie’s Rhine Rye Pale Ale

Tickets are $40 per person and may be purchased by calling the Aprons Event Planning desk at 904.262.4187 or online at:

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Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Beer Dinner


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Oskar Blues & Sierra Nevada beer dinners coming to Publix Aprons Cooking School

ApronsCookingSchoolOver the next few weeks, the Aprons Cooking School located in the Publix Supermarket on San Jose Blvd. in Mandarin will feature two outstanding beer dinners. On October 25 join Geoffrey Hess and Noah Tuttle of Oskar Blues Brewing Company for a pairing dinner featuring favorites like Dale’s Pale Ale and Old Chub. And on November 7 the chefs of Aprons “Bring Home a Celebration” with Sierra Nevada beers.

Located in Lyons, Colo., the original Oskar Blues brewery was the brain storm of Dale Katechis. His restaurant, Oskar Blues Brew and Grill was founded in 1997 and was known for its Southern comfort foods, Cajun and creole cuisine. To compliment his foods, Katechis wanted quality beers and decided to begin brewing his own in 1998 in the basement of the restaurant. His beers were so popular he moved his brewing operations into a 60-year-old shed behind the restaurant where in 2002 Oskar Blues became the first craft brewery to can their beers instead of bottle them. Controversy ensued.   But, 11 years later, the practice of canning craft beers has spread throughout the industry and has become common practice.

Now the brewery owns several other restaurants in the Front Range area of Colorado including Oskar Blues Liquids and Solids as well as ChubBurger in Longmont, Colo. The brewery has also moved to Longmont along with its attached Tasty Weasel Tap Room. In 2012, the company opened a second brewery and tap room in Brevard, NC not far from the beer destination of Asheville.

Presenting the dinner at Aprons are Geoffrey Hess and Noah Tuttle. Hess is responsible for Chains and Grains at Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont Colorado. He Works closely with their national chain accounts and runs the Hops and Heifers brewery owned Farm.  Noah Tuttle started off in the packaging line at the company’s Longmont, Colorado, facility as well as the Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids restaurant in Longmont. He worked his way up to senior brewer, and last year was offered the opportunity by Oskar Blues owner Dale Katechis to be the Head Brewer for company’s new expansion brewery in Brevard.

The menu for the dinner includes:

  • Grilled Shrimp Soft Tacos with Lemony Roasted Poblano Salsa paired with Mama’s Little Yella Pils
  • Dale’s Marinated Crispy Chicken Sliders with Pickled Red Onions paired with Dale’s Pale Ale
  • Deviantly Braised Lamb Shank with Grapefruit Gremolata paired with Deviant Dales
  • Blue Cheese & Pine Nut Shortbread Cookies with Cherry Poached Pears paired with Old Chub

The dinner begins at 6:30 and tickets are $45 each. Go to for more information or to purchase.

Ken Grossman learned to homebrew from the father of a close friend. From an early age, he was enamored by the sights and smells of the fermenting jugs of bubbling beer, wine and sake. His first attempts at making beer were rudimentary at best, but began a lifelong passion for the art of fermentation.

Grossman opened a homebrew supply store in downtown Chico, simply named The Home Brew Shop. As he and fellow homebrewer Paul Camusi got more into the craft, Grossman’s brewing became more and more elaborate, and, soon enough, people were eager to sample his new brews.

Grossman began planning a new small-scale brewery based in Chico. He took the name of his favorite hiking grounds in the nearby mountains and decided to launch Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Grossman knew he wanted to make a hop-forward Pale Ale, but he also knew that the key to convincing people to try the beer and come back for more was consistency. He spent the last of his money and countless months to make sure he could reproduce identical batches of beer. He dumped 10 batches before getting the perfect balance into his Pale Ale, the beer that helped to launch the American craft beer movement and changed the tastes of millions.

The holidays have always been about gathering with friends and family to share a great meal, but nothing makes a meal better than pairing it with some very special Sierra Nevada beer. Publix and Aprons Cooking School invite you to “Bring Home a Celebration” with an evening of fun, featuring world-class beer and food pairings just in time for the holidays. Sierra Nevada’s Beer Ambassador and resident beer geek Bill Manley will join Publix chefs to present a cornucopia of food and beer filled with exciting holiday flavors.

The menu includes:

  • Celebration Popcorn paired with Sierra Nevada Celebration
  • Shrimp and Kellerweis, Ginger, Garlic, Cilantro, Orange and Lime paired with Sierra Nevada Kellerweis
  • Porter Sausage Turnovers paired with  Sierra Nevada Porter
  • Grilled Steak with Torpedo Smashed Red Potatoes with Chilies paired with Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere
  • Narwhal Ice Cream Float paired with Sierra Nevada Narwhal

The dinner begins at 6:30 and tickets are $45 each. Go to for more information or to purchase.

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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Beer Dinner


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Heading for the Mountains – The Sierra Nevada Mountains

A few weeks ago a friend of mine and I had the opportunity to attend a truly wonderful beer event. The event, a beer pairing dinner with Sierra Nevada beers and Publix’s Aprons Cooking School in Mandarin showcased the great brews of Sierra Nevada and the cooking talents of the chefs at Aprons. In all, five courses were offered, each paired with a different brew from the Chico, CA brewery.

Before each course Terrence Sullivan, assistant brewmaster and field educator for Sierra Nevada spoke about the brewery and the specific beer paired with the course. Terry studied at the University of California at Davis were he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1994. While going to school, he worked for Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley for two years, and later worked for Golden Pacific Brewing Company in Emeryville.  In May of 1994 he joined Sierra Nevada as a shift brewer. In 1997 he was promoted to Cellar Manager when the brewery expanded. Recently, Terry was promoted to Field Educator, working closely with the brewery’s marketing department. In this new role, his technical brewing knowledge is an asset while working with consumers and wholesalers to educate them about the Sierra Nevada brewing process. His insights were witty, succinct, and very informative.

As is the case with many great breweries, Sierra Nevada had humble beginnings and rose from the founder’s love of exceptionally good beer. Back in 1976 Ken Grossman, a recent chemistry and physics graduate of Butte Community College and California State University at Chico opened a brewing supply store called The Home Brew Shop in Chico. He supplied the local home-brewing community with equipment, materials, and advice, but dreamed of opening his own brewery.

Soon his dream became a reality when he and co-founder Paul Camusi assembled – just two years after Ken opened his brewing store — a brewery from second-hand dairy tanks, a soft-drink bottler, and equipment salvaged from defunct breweries. They used only premium ingredients and, as would become their brew’s signature flavor, large amounts of hops. The result was a stunningly good pale ale first produced in 1980 from a brewery named after the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The rest is brewing history right out of a fairy tale (one that involves beer instead of princesses, of course).

Demand for Sierra Nevada products grew rapidly and by 1989, Ken was looking for a new site for his operation. He traveled to Germany to look for a brew house and found a traditional copper, 100-barrel house which he immediately bought and brought back to California, piece by piece. This met demand for a while, but the brewery soon needed to expand again. In 1997, Ken commissioned the original coppersmiths to match new kettles to the originals, bringing the brewery’s total capacity to almost eight hundred thousand barrels per year.

Today Sierra Nevada is revered world-over as a pioneer in highly-hopped, premium quality beers. They were at the fore-front of the craft beer revolution and are poised for even greater things in the near future. The company also maintains an environmentally conscious attitude through its recycling, composting, solar energy (they have one of the largest solar cell arrays in the country), heat recovery, and CO2 recovery programs.

The Courses and the Beers

First Course – Huevos Rancheros paired with Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Normally considered a breakfast dish, this version of huevos rancheros fit in nicely as an appetizer course for the tasting. The enticing mixture of egg, chorizo sausage, refried beans, cheese, and spicy salsa roja all piled on a fried corn tortilla was a welcome treat to begin our epicurean journey. Paired with the refreshing Kellerweis wheat beer this tasty treat was a perfect starter.

Kellerweis is unique in that it is brewed in the traditional Bavarian style of open fermentation – meaning that instead of being sealed the fermentation tanks are open at the top. This technique imparts depth and flavor in the beer not found in many American wheats. The brew pours a hazy yellow with a good frothy head and smells of clove and banana. The taste is citrusy, as are most wheats, but this one also had a touch of apple to me. It was a perfect match for the spicy strong flavors of the dish.

Second Course – Handmade Sauerkraut Pierogies paired with Sierra Nevada Glissade Golden Bock

Though I am of Bavarian decent, I have never been a huge fan or sauerkraut. These pierogies, however, were delicious! Pierogies, for the uninitiated, are small dumplings filled with an assortment of sweet or savory fillings. In this case, they were filled with well drained sauerkraut. They were then sautéed in butter with sweet onion slivers and served with a dollop of sour cream. Not too heavy, and not too tart, this second offering went down very well with Sierra Nevada’s Glissade Golden Bock.

Glissade is a mountaineering term that means to slide. Mountain climbers often slide, or glissade, down mountains once they have climbed to the peak. The word fits this refreshing seasonal offering as it smoothly slides down your palate. The beer pours a golden yellow with copious head that hangs around to the last sip. Your nose is tickled by the scents of sweet malts, floral hops, and just a hint of citrus. The brew drinks remarkable well with a slight sweetness, breadiness, and nuttiness. The richness of the sour cream and sourness of the sauerkraut played nicely with this refreshing mid-season treat.

Third Course – Spicy Thai Steamed Mussels paired with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

When I was in Belgium I discovered a renewed love for the humble mollusk known as the mussel. The Belgians are quite found of this tasty shellfish and bring you bucket upon bucket of them. This iteration of the dish was a bit different with the addition of spicy Thai seasonings which made the broth accompanying them, and the mollusks themselves, practically explode with flavor. This intriguing and flavorful dish was paired with Sierra Nevada’s flagship brew, the Pale Ale.

What can be said about this brew that has not already been said many times? This is the beer that Sierra Nevada built its reputation on and continues to be nearly synonymous with world-class pale ale. My advice, drink it and drink it often!

Fourth Course – Country Fried Steak with Sweet Onion Porter Gravy paired with Sierra Nevada Porter

Good down-home cooking kicked up to city folk eating is hard to come by. Yet, the chefs at Aprons managed to find a way to put a decidedly different spin on an already decadent dish. As the chef prepared this dish his banter began. “Ya know, when I was thinking about a dish to pair with the porter I asked myself, ‘Self, you like beer and you like fried stuff, what would go together with this?’” A eureka! Look followed and he continued, “Fried stuff with gravy made from beer!”  And that is just what he did. He created a crispy country-fried steak then used the pan scrapings and a dark roux combined with the stout beer to make a gravy any beer lover would eat with a spoon right out of the pan – the heck with the steak!

With the gravy already deliciously rich over the steak, paring the dish with Sierra Nevada Porter was a given. This thick, dark beer pours robustly into your glass and smells of chocolate and caramel. The taste is of darkly roasted malts and chocolate. A perfect accompaniment to the rich food it was paired with.

Fifth Course – Pear and Blue Cheese Ice Cream paired with Sierra Nevada Torpedo

The final course was somewhat experimental and interesting in concept if not execution. But, alas this was not a very good finish to the food portion of the evening. The ice cream had very little pear in it and way too much blue cheese. The result was a salty, cheesy, yucky mess. Had they amped up the pear and just made the blue cheese a hint, it may have been better.

On the other hand, Sierra Nevada Torpedo was, as were all the other beers, excellent. Torpedo is called an extra IPA because it is dry-hopped using a revolutionary device – the torpedo – developed by Sierra Nevada. These guys are serious about hops and wanted this beer to be a big IPA. Through innovation, they succeeded. This beer pours into your glass a beautiful amber color and assaults your nose with wonderful grapefruit, lemon, and pine notes. The flavor is a wake-up call of big, hoppy, pine with grapefruit and herbal notes. If you like hops, this brew is for you!

The evening I spent with the guys from Sierra Nevada and Team Hophead at Publix was a treat on many levels. Not only was the company great – Steve Flores of Kickback’s, old friends Bill and Heather , David and his wonderful wife of Team Hopheads, and the gang from Sierra Nevada – but, the venue was fun and classy. Given an opportunity to attend another beer pairing at Aprons, I will leap at the chance – and you should, too!

Long Live the Brewers!


Marc Wisdom


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