Monday, September 26, 2011

Captain Lawrence Brewery

At first, I was afraid of growlers. (I was petrified).

You see, once a growler of beer is opened, it’s basically a ticking time bomb waiting to go flat. Ideally, once it’s been opened, it should be consumed in one sitting. But what if I didn’t get around to drinking it all at once? Will I have wasted half my beer? Why would I do that when I can just buy a 6-pack and drink them whenever I want?

All these fears were of course alleviated when Kyle and I split a growler of Gandhi-Bot. Then we started to think about the good things. You know the beer’s as fresh as it gets. You can get fill-ups of beers the brewery may not even bottle. It’s a reason to get together with friends. And best of all, it’s satisfying to have a huge, bulky, brown, half-gallon glass bottle of beer in your fridge that gets in everything’s way and pisses off your girlfriend.

With that in mind, we took our empty growlers down to Pleasantville, NY, for a taste of what Captain Lawrence had to offer and, of course, to bring some home.  We were so excited on the way down, we played a little jug band music with our growlers and an old rusty washboard.

 Feel free to comment if you find yourself in this picture.

The first room in the brewery is the tap room, which is fine, because that’s our favorite room. Here, brewery workers hand out sizable free samples of everything on tap. On the day we visited:

Captain Lawrence Kolsch: Light and clean tasting, with a hint of hops. A light sipper.

Captain Lawrence Extra Gold: Sweet, Belgian-y, with a bit of citrus. If not for the obvious selection of the IIPA, this would have been my favorite.

Captain Lawrence Pale Ale: Moderately hoppy with a nice malt backbone (though I had to pick it out, as I don’t like bones in my beer)

Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale: Nice malts and spices, though I didn’t get a whole lot of pumpkin.

Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA: Super floral & sweet, really hoppy without managing to be very bitter. Naturally, this is what both Kyle and I got our growlers filled with.

$10.50 for a growler of Imperial IPA. It's what Jesus would have done.

We also went on the short brewery tour with awesomely-named-tour-guide Ryan, who showed us the inner workings of the brewery, all the shiny machines, and the disgusting barrels of spent yeast that they donate to local farms. Eww.

Ryan also mentioned that in the next few months, the brewery will be expanding substantially with a move to its new location in Elmsford, which will finally allow them to produce 6-packs of Pale Ale and other 12 oz. offerings. Big things coming from the Captain. Be on the lookout at your favorite bottle shop.

No brewery review is complete without pictures of big shiny things.

We didn’t realize it before we plugged the address into Kyle’s GPS, but Capt. Lawrence is about 10 minutes closer than New England Brewing Co., making it our closest commercial brewery. It’s an awesome place to grab some samples of a year-round favorite or something seasonal, the growler prices are totally reasonable, and the staff is friendly. Next time you’re in Pleasantville (and why wouldn’t you be), definitely plan to stop by.

Grrrrrrr, (I’m growling. Get it?)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Best Mac and Cheese Recipe EVER!

So you've read the title and your first thought was "yeah right".  It's a bold statement I know, but true none the less.  Don't believe me?  Try the recipe, and if you still think that you have a better Mac and Cheese then feel free to cook some up for me!

Prepare for the second installment of Food Plus Beer's Sunday Football recipes.  The mouthwatering cheesiness pictured below is sure to win the hearts of your family and friends.  As always, grab a beer before you start.

The Best Mac and Cheese Recipe EVER!

1 lb curly pasta (gemelli or cellentani)
1/2 lb Bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
9 Tablespoons bacon fat (reserved)

3 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons of flour
3 cups whole milk
1 lb extra sharp yellow cheddar cheese (buy a block and shred it yourself - a MUST)
2 cups cheddar crackers (like Goldfish or Cheez-It)
Fresh cracker black pepper

Boil water for pasta.  Salt the water and par-cook the pasta just shy of al dente.

Cook Bacon in a frying pan over medium heat until crispy.

While bacon is cooking grind cheddar crackers.  I find that the easiest way to do this is to just put them in a Ziploc bag and have at them with a rolling pin.

Remove bacon and reserve fat drippings in a jar, as well as leaving about 3 Tablespoons of grease in the pan.

Add butter to pan.  When melted combine flour with the butter and whisk constantly until incorporated to form a roux.  When flour begins to brown a little slowly add milk and continue whisking.  Do not add all of the milk at once.  Add a little bit at a time and combine thoroughly before adding more.

Once all of the milk is mixed in add 3/4 of the cheese.  Mix until cheese is melted and fully combined.  Add crushed black pepper and salt to taste.

Put pasta in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Cover with cheese sauce and half of the bacon then mix.  Top with the remaining 1/4 lb of cheese.  Next, combine ground cheddar crackers with 6 tablespoons of bacon fat and cover the top of the pasta.  Last, crumble the remaining bacon on top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Finish off on broil for about ten minutes for a nice crispy crust on top.

Now that is some ROCKIN' Mac and Cheese.  If you try it, post a comment below and let us know what you think.  Enjoy!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York Craft Beer Week

If you like New York, love craft beer, and can’t get enough of weeks, New York Craft Beer Week is the place for you.

Every night from 9/16 to 9/25, the city will be teeming with tap takeovers, beer dinners, meet-the-brewer nights, and more. In addition, for $10, you can buy a beer “passport” that entitles you to one $3 pint at every participating bar in the city. All you have to do is use it 3.33333333333333333333 times and it’ll pay for itself.

Not a bad way to usher in Fall. (I really hope Usher falls off a stage somewhere so we get hilarious search results for this post).

Happy drinking, and don’t fall asleep on the train.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon Burgers

NFL kick-off is an exciting weekend.  Now you have yet another excuse to drink beer and eat terribly unhealthy but deliciously fatty crave worthy food.  Each week we are going to post a Food Plus Beer original recipe that's worthy of Sunday Football.  So grab a beer, the remote, and get cookin'!

Warning: These burgers are monstrous and totally delicious and devastating to your circulatory system.  Do not operate machinery while under the influence of these burgers.  Beware of flowing melted blue cheese that not only covers, but also fills these abnormally juicy burgers.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon Burgers
1/2 lb bacon
1 1/4 lb Ground Beef
4 T Bacon Fat (reserved)
A couple splashes of Amber Beer
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 t Salt
1/3 lb Blue Cheese (divided)
Crushed Black Pepper
1 Small Onion Caramelized

Garlic Balsamic Mayonnaise
1 Clove Garlic (crushed)
4 T Mayonnaise
1 T Balsamic Vinegar
Crushed Black Pepper

Fry Bacon in a pan. Reserve 4 tablespoons of fat and dry bacon on a paper towel.

Combine Beef, Bacon Fat, Beer, Worcestershire Sauce, and Salt.

Divide beef mixture into 4 even amounts and form 4 patties, about 4 inches in diameter.

Divide half of the blue cheese between 2 of the patties.  Make sure that the cheese is in the center and leave room around the edges.

Place the empty patties on top of the blue cheese topped patties and pinch the sides together.

Generously coat each side in crushed black pepper.

Grill on high heat for the first two minutes and then lower to medium high for 8 minutes.  Flip burgers and top with the remaining blue cheese. You'll want to put the cheese on soon after you flip because it takes a while for the blue cheese to melt.

Load up each side of the buns with the Garlic Balsamic Mayonnaise.  Put the burger on, smother with bacon and caramelized onions, grab another beer devour and be happy! Your mouth will thank you.