Posted by The Editorial Desk / Thursday, May 20th, 2010
This week, May 17-23, is American Craft Beer Week (ACBW). It’s a time to celebrate the small, independent, and traditional breweries.
To be classified as a craft brewery, the Brewers Associations defines a craft brewer as:
- “small”- having an annual production of beer less than 2 million barrels,
- “independent” whereby less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer, and
- “traditional”- a brewer with either an all mat flagship or at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which used adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.
Can’t understand any of those terms? Fortunately there are classes throughout the Northern Virginia region. Shenandoah Brewing Company hosts classes and allows customers to brew their own beer in Alexandria.
(Video: Shenandoah Brewing Company)
Virginia Tech students can take a Brewing Science and Technology class. Just another reason why I love Tech.
During 2009, 1595 small craft breweries operated in the US, which is the highest amount of breweries since before Prohibition. The craft brewing industry has grown since last year and sold an estimated 9,115,635 barrels of beer during 2009, compared to 8,501,713 barrels in 2008.
Congress recently toasted American Craft Brewers in a Resolution stating:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives supports the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week, as founded by the Brewers Association; recognizes the significant contributions of craft brewers to the economy of the United States; and encourages beer-lovers of the United States to celebrate American Craft Beer Week through events at microbreweries, brewpubs, and beer stores across the United States to appreciate the accomplishments of craft brewers.
That’s right; Congress is telling you to drink craft beer! BrewFanatics even has a convincing Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Drink Craft Beer.
While the week is almost over, it doesn’t mean you can’t pay a visit to local Northern Virginia restaurants serving a variety of microbrews or take part in some ACBW events. Below is a list of craft beer events this week and in the next month to keep you happy.
Rock Bottom Brewery is featuring a unique beer each day of the week. Thursday’s brew is the Naughty Scot Oak Aged Scotch Ale, Friday’s is the house Red, Saturday’s is the Belgian Golden Ale, and Sunday’s brew is the Braggot (the house brown aged in a bourbon barrel with honey and pomegranate).
Legend Brewery of Richmond will be at the Alamo Drafthouse lobby in Winchester from 5-8p.m tonight. Taste a variety of Legend’s beers and Alamo snacks for free. For $5 you can stick around for the film Legend, which stars Tom Cruise.
Old Dominion Brewery will have beer tastings at Total Wine Fairfax on Friday, the 21st from 5-8p.m. and at Martin’s Market in Pickett Shopping Center on Saturday, May 22nd from 1-5p.m.
This Saturday, May 22 is the 2010 River City Beer Fest at The Diamond in Richmond. The event will be from 12-6 and include a children’s fun area, local bands, and over 50 microbreweries from across the nation. Representatives from the breweries will be around to educate consumers. A $2 donation is appreciated, as the event benefits the Cullather Brain Tumor Quality of Life Center at Bon Secours.
As Rustico’s General Manager Jason Asher puts it, “Every day is American Craft Beer Week at Rustico.” While they may not have any events lined up for this ACBW, read on for their meet & greet events with brewmasters before and after Savor DC (which is sold out). All events include glassware.
On June 4th meet Terrapin brewmaster and cofounder Spike Buckowski from 6-9pm for a tasting of four beers, including Hopsecutioner with Centennial dry hops, Jope Karma with Vanilla and Cinnamon, Gamma Ray, and Boomshakalager.
On June 5th meet Stone owner Greg Koch from 11:30a.m.-2p.m. Taste the Double Dry Hopped Stone IPA Keg, the Stone 10th Anniversary Blend Imperial Russian Stout Keg, and the Ruination IPA Cask.
On June 6th meet Coronado founder Rick Chapman from 2-5p.m for a tasting of the Nutter Brown Cask and the Coronado Irish Stout Cask.
Make a trip to Richmond for the World Beer Festival on June 12th. The event, produced by All About Beer Magazine, benefits FETCH a Cure and consists of two sessions (12-4pm; 6-10pm) priced at $40 per session in advance; $50 at the door; and $75 for VIP. Over 200 breweries will take part, including Old Dominion Brewery and Legend Brewery
Check out the Northern Virginia BrewFest in Leesburg from June 26-27. Over 50 of America’s best breweries will participate. Included in the price of admission is a 6.75oz sampling glass and 4 beer sampling tickets. Additional tickets can be purchased for $1 a piece. Wine will also be available for tasting. There will also be live entertainment, a BrewFest Marketplace featuring local and regional vendors/crafters/artisans, and a family fun area for the kids. Tickets are $20 online and $25 at the door for adults, $15/20 for designated drivers and can be used for one day only but can be used for either day of the festival.
If that’s not enough to keep you satisfied visit CraftBeer.com for a list of Virginia breweries that are worth checking out. Just this past April, Virginia won the highest percentage of medals (8 medals out of its 54 entries) at the Craft Brewers Conference.
If you’re trying to transition from wine to beer, try these ales as recommended by DC Beer Week co-founder Teddy Folkman and Againn beverage director Elli Benchimol.
Support your local brewery by keeping up with national and state issues. And having a drink, of course.
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Last week, May 9-15, was Food Allergy Awareness Week. Established in 1997 by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), the week serves to increase awareness about the growing food allergy problem.
Over 12 million American have food allergies and one in every 17 children under the age of 3 has food allergies. According to the CDC, the number of people diagnosed with food allergies increased by 18 percent over the last decade.
However, the New York Times highlights a recently published National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study, Diagnosing and Managing Common Food Allergies, which states the prevalence of food allergies is limited by a lack in consistent diagnostic methods, including the actual definition of a food allergen. Some people often confuse food intolerance for a food allergy. The release of the report coincided with Food Allergy Awareness Week.
Current testing includes testing for the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE). But, according to the NY Times article and an ABC News report, just because IgE is present, it does not necessarily mean one is allergic to a certain food. According to Dr. Hugh Sampson, chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “a positive skin test only translates into a true allergy 35 to 40 percent of the time.”
(Video: ABC News)
So what’s the best way to determine if you are allergic to certain foods? The following excerpt from the ABC News report provides some helpful information:
The two main allergy tests, the skin test, and a blood serum test — which looks for antibodies in the blood for specific foods — are not conclusive on their own, Sampson says.
“The tests are good for telling us if someone has antibodies for a food, not so good for telling us if someone will have a reaction to the food,” he says. “The more antibodies you have, the higher the likelihood of an allergic reaction, but even that’s not full proof,” he adds.
So if you’ve been diagnosed as allergic after one of those tests, but you haven’t had an allergic reaction to that food in the past, it’s likely that you are not actually allergic, Sampson says.
The “gold standard” of allergy testing is something called an oral food challenge, Riedl says, in which small amounts of the food in question are disguised and given to the patient while they are under observation. This is best done if the patient doesn’t know if they are actually getting the food so they don’t anticipate a reaction.
Unfortunately, this type of test is time-consuming, so many doctors are reluctant to do it, Riedl says.
The results of the study will help experts re-write guidelines on defining, diagnosing, and treating food allergies by the end of June.
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Thursday, May 13th, 2010
While I try to encourage healthy eating habits and have posted about the importance of good nutrition, I can’t help but drool every time I visit the blog This is why you’re fat
I heard about the blog (now turned into a book) through another intern and have not stopped thinking about it.
People can submit their own suggestions, but to be featured on the blog you must meet 3 categories to be featured on the blog:
1) It has to be fat
2) It can’t be too disgusting
3) It has to have a good name
Here’s a preview of the tasty recipes:
Bring on the Baconnaise and McNuggetinis!
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Prepare your taste buds for several fundraisers to benefit five local charities.
Shula’s 48-Ounce Challenge will take place on Thursday, May 13th at 6:30pm to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Local celebrity contestants Corey Raymer, DC 101’s Flounder, The Redskins’ Fred Davis, and Mike “Mouth” Moss will compete at Shula’s Steak House at Tyson’s Corner Marriott. The event is free to the public.
The DC 101 Chili Cook-Off , which benefits the National Kidney Foundation, takes place on Saturday, May 22; 11a.m.-8p.m at RFK Stadium in DC. The event is an International Chili Society (ICS)-sanctioned event, which requires participants to prepare their chili on-site under certain restrictions. Contestants will compete in 7 categories:
Several bands (Stone Tempe Pilots, Alice in Chains) will be performing during the event. Tickets are $35 in advance, $55 day of the show. Last year the event raised over 1.5 million dollars to support the NKF.
The Chicks with Chips Ladies Poker Tournament returns for its second year on May 23rd at 4p.m. The charitable women’s poker tournament will be held at Whitlow’s on Wilson to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A quick rules tutorial will be provided and cards will be dealt by Chippendales-outfitted University of Maryland students. Ladies will have the chance to win several prizes and enjoy food and drinks. All participants will receive swag bags as well. Tickets are $60 per player.
Sound Bites, an event featuring local musicians and chefs, will benefit the DC Central Kitchen on May 23rd at the 9:30 Club. 18 DC and Virginia caterers and restaurants, including EatBar and Harry’s Tap Room, will participate in the first event to be held in the 9:30 Club’s outdoor space. Seth Hurwitz, the owner of 9:30 Club, has been a long-time friend of DC Central Kitchen. Sound Bites resulted after the two organizations put their heads together. Restaurant tastings will begin outside at 5p.m. and the bands will kick off indoors at 6p.m. Local acts include DJ Will Eastman, US Royalty, Bluebrain, Fatback DJs, Midnight Kids, and Beautiful Swimmers. The event costs $30.
3 Bar & Grill will host a Charitable Pig Roast on Sunday, May 30 beginning at 4p.m. to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The 250 pound pig will be provided by Virginia’s Eco-Friendly Foods and drink specials will be available from 4-9p.m. Specials include $2 Miller Lite, $3 Bell’s Oberon Ale, and $5 Bacon Bloody Marys. Smoky pulled pork sandwiches will be available for suggested donations of $5.
The Fourth Annual Brainfood Grill-Off benefits DC high school youths by providing them a fun and creative environment to develop new skills and learn about food, nutrition, cooking, and the restaurant industry. Teams consisting of five adults, a Brainfood graduate, and celebrated chefs (such as Daniel Giusti of 1789 and Shannon Overmiller of The Majestic) will receive a surprise pantry of ingredients and have one hour to create their masterpiece. Local chefs, food writers and personalities, restaurant owners, and Brainfood students will judge the competition. The Brainfood Grill-Off will be held on Thursday, June 10th; 6:30-9:30p.m. at Decatur House in DC. Tickets are $75 and include food and open bar.
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Friday, May 7th, 2010
P. Brennan’s occupies the space behind the old Arlington Hardware façade, but in order to create the interior’s mezzanine owners Greg Whelan and Brian Dolphin needed approval from the neighborhood’s civic associations. The neighborhood was very receptive to the new pub, which left the Irish owners content as they wanted to create a contemporary version of the traditional Irish Public House that would be family friendly and bring the neighborhood together.
Whelan and Dolphin, who also own McGinty’s Pub, want to cater to everyone, “from 21 to 81.” That’s the feeling I got on Thursday night as I tasted small bites of Executive Chef Trent Conry’s menu and spoke with Whelan, his wife Emma, and General Manager/part owner, Mark. The bar was just about full with suit types and sports fans while the main dining areas were filled with families of all ages.
The interior is reflective of their late friend “Little Pat” Brennan’s personality, whom the bar is named after. A portrait of “Little Pat” greets you as you enter the restaurant. It’s painted by the same person who painted The Auld Shebeen, where Mark used to be a regular while studying at George Mason and Dolphin is still a partner. The 47 foot bar, the stairs, and the pickets are handcrafted by an Irish carpenter.
Pat Brennan had just passed away in 2008 and the idea of a bar named after him was brewing when Whelan and Dolphin were presented with the opportunity to open a bar in a new location. They decided to go for it. Fast forward 15 months, and P. Brennan’s is the first Irish pub on Columbia Pike, right across from Arlington Cinema & Draft House. It’s just one of several new additions as part of the Columbia Pike Revitalization.
Born and raised in pubs, Whelan says the hospitality industry fits him well. He jokes Mark was their #1 customer (when Auld Shebeen used to be known as Ned Devine’s) and asked him to join them as they opened both of their McGinty’s locations and P. Brennan’s. Who knew you could make the gradual switch from bar regular to part-owner.
Executive Chef Trent Conry, formerly of Ardeo and 701, notes that everything on the menu is $20 or less, which is great for customers during this economy. While it was a slight challenge to create the traditional Irish portion of the menu (Whelan and Dolphin are from different regions of Ireland), he has the flexibility to change the menu to accomodate the neighborhood.
The restaurant will serve brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night dishes.
DC Gluttony blogger, Khristina, and I enjoyed a tasting of Irish Breakfast, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Beef Stew, Wexford Lamb Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, Roasted Beet Salad, and Grilled Marinated Calamari. It’s not your typical bland Irish food (no offense to anyone who is Irish, but I’ve had some bad Irish food in the past) as Chef Trent puts his personal touch on each item.
Emma’s favorite dish is the calamari while Greg enjoys the Fish & Chips since it reminds him of being back in Ireland. Of the ones I tasted, my favorite was the Irish Breakfast.
P. Brennan’s has a variety of wines and beers, including 16 drafts on tap. Weekly live entertainment is in the works, with traditional Irish music on Sundays and trivia on Tuesdays. P. Brennan’s plans on having events during the World Cup, perhaps even in spite of France and the Thierry Henry handball scandal. Looks like I may have found a new watering hole during the Cup.
P. Brennan’s official Grand Opening is this Saturday, May 8th at 7p.m. The event will feature live, traditional music and a performance by Eddie Pasa at 9p.m. Prizes will be availabe throughout the night. “Little Pat’s” wife will be in attendance as will co-owner Brian Dolphin’s family from Ireland.
(Note: the food portions presented here are much smaller than the menu portions as we were given a tasting menu).
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Earlier this week, the D.C. Council approved tougher school lunch provisions, which includes encouraging purchasing organic foods from Virginia and Maryland farmers.
In a recent interview with Katty Kay on BBC News America, he described the food served to DC children as “garbage” and wants to see private sector involvement in order to fund healthier foods. You can watch the interview here.
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
In February, Katie Couric reported on an investigation on animal antibiotics.
The National Pork Board responded with a letter to CBS, stating the report lacked accuracy in certain areas. In particular, the letter stated the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) data “show that resistance in animal products has been either steady or declining in recent years.”
On April 14 I observed Senate and House briefings on Antibiotic Use on the Farm and Public Health: A Looming Crisis. The briefings were sponsored by Keep Antibiotics Working, Infectious Disease Society of America, American Public Health Association, The PEW Charitable Trusts, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Obviously, it was one-sided but there was some important information.
The speakers included:
- Margaret Mellon: Director, Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists (served as the panel moderator)
- James Johnson, MD: Infectious Diseases expert at VA MedicalCenter-Minneapolis, Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota who presented Untreatable Infections: A Dangerous Trend
- Maryn McKenna: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota; author, Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA who presented Drug-Resistant Staph: from farm animals to humans
- David Wallinga: Director, Food and Health Programs, Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy who presented Antibiotics, bacteria and trade
- Lance Price, Ph.D.: Director, Center for Metagenomics and Human Health, Translational Genomics Research Institute who presented Drug Resistant Bacteria and Food Safety
The speakers addressed the global consensus about the urgency of antibiotic resistance and trade issues that could result if the problem continues. Proponents of reducing antibiotics believe the use of non-therapuetic antibiotics have resulted in emerging strains of drug resistant Staphylococcus infections, known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
They briefly mentioned possible solutions to the problem, including the 10 x ’20 Initiative to develop new antibiotics to stimulate public-private partnerships; Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act (H.R. 2400) to strengthen efforts for antibiotic surveillance, research, prevention, and control; and The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) (H.R. 1549/S.619).
PAMTA is endorsed by about 350 groups ranging from agricultural/farming to health and environmental groups and requires FDA to review the use of 7 drug classes that are essential for human medicine for growth promotion and routine disease prevention in food animals. It defines ‘non-therapeutic use’ as “use of a drug as a feed or water additive for an animal in the absence of any clinical sign of disease in the animal for growth promotion, feed efficiency, weight gain, routine disease prevention, or other routine purpose.”
Scientists are concerned bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics because of their overuse in both in human and animal medicine. Antibiotic resistance is suspected to spread through uncooked meats (typically E.coli or Salmonella), contaminated run off water, and animal-human contact with contaminated meats (MRSA). MRSA is believed to have spread in the food chain throughout Europe and Canada. In Canada and the US, MRSA is carried by 25% of pigs in Ontario and 20% of farmers. According to information presented by McKenna, MRSA is carried in 49% of pigs in Iowa and Illinois and in 45% of farm workers. Operations with confined pigs tend to carry MRSA moreso than organic swine operations.
This was the fifth briefing on the topic, however the April 14 briefing did not have representatives from the agricultural and farming industry or veterinary medicine. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a not-for-profit association representing over 80,000 veterinarians, opposes the legislation on PAMTA. The AVMA believes it would increase animal disease and death without assuring improved human health and contradicts veterinay medicine.
According to the speakers, there are skeptics within veterinary medicine, human medicine, and public health. A one-health intellectual approach, which seeks collaboration between “physicians, veterinarians, and other scientific-health related disciplines” would be a great way to achieve a solution.
Do you think antibiotic resistance is a problem? Do you think either of the above-mentioned solutions could work?
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Time Magazine announced its annual list of Time 100: The World’s Most Influential People. Included in the list of 100 are six leaders within the food and agriculture sector.
- Michael Pollan is a best-selling author, journalist, and professor best known for his book The Omnivores Dilemma and his work on the film Food, Inc. Pollan credits Wendell Berry as his biggest influence, who will be at the Arlington Central Library on May 4th.
- David Chang, who was raised in Northern Virginia, is chef/owner of Momofuku and author of the cookbook, Momofuku. He has won two James Beard Foundation awards and is nominated for another this year.
- Temple Grandin, PhD is a professor and animal scientist focusing on reducing animal stress. She works as a consultant to the livestock industry and advocates for autism. She is also known from Oiliver Sacks’ book, An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales.
- Will Allen is a leader in the urban agriculture movement and owner of the non-profit Growing Power Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The mission of Growing Power Inc. is: “to grow food, to grow minds, and to grow community.”
Congratulations to these influential individuals within the food industry!
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
According to their websites, they are seeking:
“Dynamic duos who are a cut above all the rest in personality and talent. Can be cousins, friends, rivals, whatever! Above all else the two of you need to be charismatic on the ultimate buddy road trip for food.
Bold individuals who have all the right ingredients! We are looking for funny, adventurous, larger-than-life personalities with a passion for food, especially eating who are always up for the challenge to try the newest, the biggest, the spiciest and the weirdest culinary curiosities on the planet.
Both shows require larger than life, outgoing personalities with a sizzling passion for all things food and a smoking food vocabulary to host, star and represent the network.”
Contestants have to be at least 21 years of age and comfortable on camera. Think Amazing Race (minus the competitive edge) meets Bizarre Foods.
Interested parties may apply online.
Best of luck!
Also, special thanks to Open Kitchen for calling my attention to this event.
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
A few weeks ago I wrote about restaurants holding Earth Day events around Northern Virginia. For some Earth Day is a marketing tool, for others it’s a good way to spark conversation and encourage involvement. Well, there are a few more events worth checking out to spark that conversation.
The Butcher’s Block in Alexandria will host a complimentary wine tasting from a certified biodynamic and organic winery, Quivira Vineyards and Winery. Jenalyn Johnson of The Country Vintner will lead the tasting of four Quivira wines. In addition, Anne Amie Winery wines, a certified LIVE winery, will be available. The tasting will occur between 6-8pm.
The Grille at Morrison House will offer a four course, 100-mile candlelight dinner with the majority of the ingredients being sourced from local farms within a 100 mile radius. The dinner is $55 per person. Call 703-838-8000 or visit the website to make a reservation.
Jackson 20 will unveil its “J20 Eco Hour” where a large selection of canned beers and boxed wines will be available. Cans are easier to recycle as it is more readily available than glass recycling. The new program will feature $2 “working man’s canned beer” and $5 “craft canned beer.” Eco Hour will start April 22nd and occur daily from 3-7p.m.
Jackson 20 will also unveil its new “late night blackout happy hour” on Earth Day. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11pm to close the restaurant will turn off the lights and instead use candlelight, turn up the music, and serve their Eco Hour beer and wine specials. Expect the event to last during the spring and summer.
Firefly will recycle wine corks from the 22nd until the end of April. For every cork you bring in, $1 will be taken off your bill (up to $22) in honor of the day Earth Day is celebrated. You could also use corks to make wreaths, bulletin boards, and business card holders.
Several companies will offer Earth Day freebies; however it seems you have to print off a coupon for some places, which seems to defeat the purpose of Earth Day. Hopefully these places are recycling the paper used for coupons.
On Saturday, April 24 from 11am-3pm all Wegmans stores will trade you a reusable bag for a bag of tightly packed Wegmans plastic bags, which they will then recycle.
DC also has a plethora of Earth Day activities this weekend.
Other Earth Day notables:
SunChips will donate $1 for every Facebook fan it receives today (up to $100,000) to environmental education programs. SunChips is also debuting its new 100% compostable bag today. Visit the Biodegradable Products Institute to get your own compostable trash bags, food service items, and packaging materials.
- Chef Jaime Oliver and Edible Communities publishers and editors, Brian Halweil and Stephen Munshin, are two of The Daily Green’s 2010 Heart of Green Award recipients.
- Treehugger has a list of funny SomeeCard’s to send to your friends.
- Bon Appetit Magazine has lots of information about how to celebrate Earth Day. Anything from turning old t-shirts into grocery bags to eco-friendly gadgets and how to throw Earth-Friendly dinner parties.
The Daily Green also has some handy tips on how to reuse products you’re considering throwing away or don’t know what to do with. Highlights include egg shells, plastic bottles, and mason jars. You could even build your own house out of plastic bottles. The world’s first plastic bottle building was unveiled in Taiwan recently.
Happy Earth Day!