Pilgramage to Dark Lord Day 2009

After the fiasco of last year, I considered not attending the 2009 event, but it feels like with the new “golden ticket” program, Three Floyds may have a handle on the event today. Except that it’s pushing 7 AM Central, and they haven’t posted how many bottles a ticket holder can purchase yet – cash only, $15 – I’m thinking the ATM lines are going to be the ones to worry about this year!

I’m (voluntarily) stuck in Philadelphia, so I missed out on the pre-DLD festivities, but the text messages and Facebook updates sounded like everyone is having a great time.

Can’t wait to be there!

From Chicken Feet to Eisbock

D and I decided to have a night out together to try out a restaurant near our house, then come home to a Raspberry Eisbock.

Mitaka, located at 560 S 29th St in Harrisburg, is a Japanese restaurant that also offers an extensive menu of hot and cold Dim Sum along with an extensive menu of sushi, hibachi, miso soup and  a variety of traditional noodle soups including beef, shrimp, seafood, chicken and vegetable. The sushi was all very nicely presented, and there were several rolls on the menu that appear to be unique for this area.

Dim Sum is not the sort of thing found in Harrisburg, so we approached the menu with enthusiasm and the spirit of adventure. The Spring Roll was a simple choice, as were the Stuffed Egglants with seafood. Spicy Kani Bowl was extremely interesting and delicious – a complex mix of crab, cucumber, spicy mayonnaise and something crunchy (maybe tempura bits?)

Our only disappointment was the Phoenix Claw with Black Bean Sauce (we should have asked…I found a recipe, and anything that starts out , “Wash feet, chop off toenails…” should not be eaten by humans.) I don’t know if they were poorly prepared, or it this is just the way these things come out, but they were stinky and I could not find a piece to eat off. I stuck one in my mouth – more than once – attempting to bite something off, but I couldn’t. We were surprised and pleased that our waitress offered to replace the order with something we could eat, so we opted for the Scallion Pancakes. These were a really nice choice.

As for sushi, we enjoyed all three rolls. Smokie Roll was made with smoked salmon, mango and avocado in a tight inside-out roll. Star Roll was made with tuna, white fish, salmon, avocado and masago (roe)  in the middle of a seaweed roll. And our final choice was the Boston Red Sox Roll, which I can’t even describe, other than to say it was one of the best rolls ever. It was done with the lightest touch of tempura and spicy heat – I should have paid more attention to what was inside.

When we got home, we decided to share a bottle of Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock (2007). This beautiful beer weighs in at 11.9% ABV, and comes in a 187 ml bottle – see the size comparison with a standard 12-oz beer below.

Eisbock - tiny bottle

The back of the bottle states, “Real raspberries abound in this chocolate caramel after dinner treat,” and I’m not sure I could describe it much better than that. The mysterious dark liquid in a tiny green bottle dipped in red wax with a homemade label gives this bottle a sense of mystery.

There is a really fruity nose to this beverage, and flavors of raspberry, molasses and milk chocolate abound. It lingers in the mouth as if I just ate a box of fruited chocolates. The appearance hovers between cough syrup and port as it swirls in the glass, and particulate matter is obvious. We shared the 6.3 oz bottle which was both a blessing and a disappointment. The sweetness and alcohol burn are more than I need in a small glass of beer, but the flavor and aroma are so pleasing, it leaves me wanting more – unlike the chicken feet.

Bald Eagle Brewing Company (Mifflinburg, PA)

They almost put us over the top! At 315 Chestnut Street in Mifflinburg, there is a sweet looking storefront property with nicely painted signage declaring Bald Eagle Brewing Company is taking up residence. Inside there was a guy obviously working hard on Easter day, but (without poking my head in the door) not much evidence of exactly what’s going on.

Bald Eagle Brewing Company

A brewing company in Mifflinburg has the possibility of being the core to a beautiful circle of brewpubs. With Selin’s Grove Brewing Co. less than 30 minutes drive to the south, Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks approximately 30 minutes to the west (and, while not a pub, Copper Kettle Brewing is even closer), Bullfrog Brewery just over 30 minutes drive to the north, and a similar distance to the east, Old Forge Brewing Company, the valley would be filled with local beer.

But in this case, the name “Brewing Company” does not refer to a brewery or pub at all. Instead, the goal of owners Tom and Brenda Sweet appears to be to create a business dedicated to supplying ingredients and equipment to the homebrewer, as well as wine and soda makers. Bald Eagle Brewing Company will offer classes to new home brewers, and special order ingredients by request.

The business was slated to open April 1, according to initial news reports, but delays have pushed that date back to May 1. It will be easy to find – right downtown (close to the Scarlet D Tavern) – on the south side of Chestnut Street (Rt. 45). There is meter parking on the west-bound side of the street, and the contact information is listed below.

315 Chestnut St
Mifflinburg, PA 17844
(570) 966-3156
info@baldeagle-brewingco.com

Buying Beer at the Grocery Store in Central PA

It was welcome morning news from the Patriot-News:

By the end of the month shoppers will be able to purchase six-packs of beer from Wegmans supermarket in Silver Spring Twp.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Wednesday approved a restaurant liquor license transfer to the Silver Spring Square store, said board spokesman Nick Hays.

Restaurant-category liquor licenses allow beer, wine and hard liquor to be sold for drinking at the restaurant and the equivalent of two six-packs of beer per customer for takeout.

Wegmans is the first midstate supermarket to purchase a restaurant liquor license; however, it is not the first license the chain has acquired.

It should be there by May 2009, joining Wegmans stores in State College, Scranton, Williamsport, Easton, Bethlehem and Wilkes-Barre and the Erie area as PA grocery stores selling beer.

I probably won’t need to use the service (although you never know…), but I can see friends and family members taking full advantage of this added service to their local grocery shopping experience. Hooray for us!

Russian River Brunch

Teresa’s Next Door in Wayne, PA did a really wonderful job of  hosting a Russian River Brunch today! There was a large crowd at the door for opening, and the welcoming host made an announcement assuring everyone that they would be let in and would get a table. People were quickly seated and served so efficiently. The staff did an amazing job handling this well-attended event.

We were extremely pleased with the 3-oz pours of Temptation (Batches 1, 2 and 3; 7.25 % ABV) – a blonde ale aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces – and found that batch 2 was most favorable at our table.

Next, we shared Vinnie’s Flight, which included taster pours of Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder, Damnation, and Salvation. At this point, the staff brought out a round of pastries, and started taking food orders.

With our lovely cheese plates, we had glasses of Pliny the Younger (10.5% ABV, a triple IPA that is hopped three times more than Pliny the Elder, then dry hopped four different times)and Consecration (10.5% ABV; a strong dark ale aged with currants for six months inside Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.) Also, the Holland’s ordered and shared a bottle of Supplication (Batch 3; 7.0% ABV; brown ale aged in French oak Pinot Noir barrels with sour cherries andthree strains of yeast.) PtY is always my favorite, and I milked it throughout the morning, but the sixtels of Younger and Consecration didn’t last very long!

Collaboration not Litigation was also flowing from the taps at Teresa’s. This blended Belgian-style strong ale weighs in at 8.72% ABV, and is a joint effort of Avery Brewing and Russian River Brewing. I won’t repeat the story behind it, but it’s easily found other places.

After that, I honestly have to say that I lost track of where my tastes were coming from… I mean, two friends and my husband were bringing me taster glasses, but I’m not sure which were from private collections and which were available for all, But a fine man named Kevin shared so many things that I’ll give him the credit. The beers were Depuration (Batch 1; 7% ABV; blond ale aged 15 months in oak barrels, with Chardonnay grapes and four strains of yeast added), Perdition (Batch 2; 6.1% ABV; Belgian-style pale ale with aromas of spicy hop, cinnamon, and pear), Beatification (which the website describes as a 100% spontaneously fermented beer using the oldest barrels that no longer have any wine flavor or oak flavor left in them), and Sanctification (Batch 3; 6.25% ABV; blonde ale fermented with 100% Brettanomyces.)

Again, I must compliment the staff of Teresa’s on such a well run tasting event. It wasn’t a cheap morning, but it was a fun time with friends we’ve known, and new friends made. Looking forward to another one soon!