A Morgan Experience – Guinness Beef Stew

Written By:  Morgan Ellsworth (@jarg0naut)

Living in San Francisco is a pretty unique experience. We have the coldest summers in the US (seriously), which may seem like a bad thing but when you consider Philly and New York have reached triple digits and humidity above 80, it isn’t all bad. We have the most iconic bridge in the world but also have fog that makes it invisible. Surrounded by water on three sides, the city of San Francisco is only 7 square miles, which makes it easy to get around. Then again, we have some of the most exotic wildlife (read: transients) that live on our public transit system, Muni. In spite of these quirks the denizens of San Francisco seem to get a long relatively well. Except for one particular group. The hipsters. Yes, these assholes. I know that hipsters exist, very prevalently, in many other cities notably Portland and New York. I’m not going to argue which city has the worst hipster virus (cough Portland). In fact I’m not even here to hate on them. I’m here to applaud them…kind of. They enjoy being different, engage in counter culture, are not mainstream whatever you want to call it. Unfortunately they do it to an extreme. Everybody likes being different. Everybody hates this dude. And that is what this article is hopefully all about, doing something a little different but not so much that it is incredibly obnoxious.

Originally, I was going to do your basic cooking piece making Guinness Beef Stew but I couldn’t figure out angle that didn’t make me want to dropkick babies. So I’m going to do a retroactive running diary of me, attempting to make this delicious meat slop and telling you what works at the same time. Here is the recipe I kind of used. Hope you enjoy this little experiment.

7:37pm-8:26pm: My least favorite part of any kind of cooking has to be the shopping. As a general rule anything involving crowds, food I can’t eat until I pay for it, small children and people that are actually happy and smiling make me want to fling feces. Plus I am one of those assholes who reads all the labels so it takes me twice as long as it should.

8:47pm: Arriving home, sweaty, pissed off and sober is not how I want to start cooking. Beer. Lagunitas Pilsner. Sweet snowman Jesus that is good.

8:50pm: Chopping veggies also known as avoiding losing appendages, fingers and/or doing bodily harm to those around. And I didn’t use celery; cause, you know, fuck celery. (Tip: cut your potatoes in half lengthwise, then in thirds widthwise. You’d much rather your guests choke on meat rather than on veggies. Yeah…that was terrible. I’ll go sit in a corner.)

8:55pm: Ok, stew meat goes in a bag, then flour and season liberally. I’m able to not fuck this up save for getting flour under my eyelid some how. Still managed to shake the meat sack without shrapneling the entire room with chunks of seasoned beef.

9:05pm: Time to sear the everlasting shit out of the meat. Unfortunately, my burner looks like this when I really need something like this. So this was a pretty lackluster sear job. Basically, I think I cooked the flour and nothing else. Damnit. (Side note, I actually googled giant flamethrower stove to find an epic picture. Pretty disappointing.)

9:25pm: After warming the meat up, I added the onions and garlic to the pan. I doubled the amount of garlic. Nothing on earth has ever tasted worse with more garlic. I think even the sex addicted wildebeests on the Jersey Shore could tell you that. You can use a normal amount of garlic if you want but I will assume you punch baby animals.

9:31pm: Once the smells in the room makes you want to hump the pan, deglaze it with the beef broth. Simmer. Open another beer. Smile.

9:38pm: After pouring the beef broth-garlic-onion nectar of the gods into the crock-pot, it is almost impossible to mess up. Just chuck everything else you got into the pool and let it ride for eight or so hours.

9:39pm: DON’T FORGET THE GUINNESS (or stout of your choice). This is a beer blog you know, I’d be ashamed if we went on this ridiculous journey together and you messed it up by being incompetent.

8:00am: Wander sleepily over to the cauldron, your concoction a rolling boil, dark molasses in color. Thick and foreboding but warm and enticing all the same time. Finally, almost climatically, a single, solitary tear drips from your eye. Just kidding. Go stir your damn stew. If it isn’t thick enough for your liking, take a quarter cup of water and mix it with two tablespoons of flour. Cook for another fifteen minutes and it should thicken right up.

Serve over rice and with dollop of the crack cocaine of condiments, mayonnaise. (Seriously, don’t knock it till you try it.)

An ideal pairing for this meat feast would probably be a darker beer but you don’t want something too dark as this a pretty heavy meal. You really cannot go wrong with Newcastle Brown Ale or a Boddingtons, which is an enjoyable English Pale Ale. Personally, I’d probably go with an Extra Special Bitter, one of my favorites is Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Boont ESB.

So to recap, I started out explaining how strange this city is, disparaged hipsters, then praised hipsters (sort of), and tried to (not quite sure how, there is a good chance I blacked out) tie this all together with Guinness Beef Stew. I wanted to avoid the pitfall of doing a boring “here is the recipe, here is step one, step two etc.” piece of writing. I may or may not have succeeded in this cockamamie scheme but the recipe is damn good. Regardless whether the process or execution was a victory, you’ll at least have a fantastic meal. Even if you’re a hipster.

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Moylan’s Hopsickle Imperial Ale – Triple Hoppy!

Written By:  Bill Rightnour

I love a lazy Sunday afternoon. Summer weekends are dominated by birthdays, graduation parties, family barbecues and domestic chores. While I love the company of others and the excitement of a good party; I covet an afternoon in which I can roam around the house with little clothing, watch the Phillies, and indulge in a great beer.

Got the mental image? Too sexy!

This past Sunday the stars aligned and I found myself with a wide open afternoon. With an early Phillies game already in the books, I opted to put together a snack of cheese and crackers, flip on Mumford & Sons Unplugged and pour myself a Moylan’s Hopsickle Imperial Ale – Triple Hoppy. I was not familiar with Moylan’s, which hails from Novato, California, but this 22oz. brew was a gift and one that I was quite happy to accept.

As I cracked the beer open, I was immediately engulfed in hop aroma. With a stated 100 IBU’s, there was no mistaking that I was in for a seriously hoppy experience. The Hopsickle poured a gorgeous burnt orange and built a creamy white head of about one finger’s width. The head remained in tact for quite a while before dissipating. As I began to drink the beer, I was immediately reminded of Victory’s Hop Devil IPA. From the florally citrus aroma right down to the after taste, it was very similar. This observation makes sense considering Cascade Hops are a significant part of each brew. What really stood out to me was the balance this hop-crazy beer had to offer. The folks at Moylan’s did a great job of controlling the bitterness of all those hops with their use of American Two-Row malt. For those of you that love lacing, this beer was second to none. From top to bottom, it appeared as though someone blew a coating of artificial snow over the entire surface area of my glass.

I really enjoyed this beer. There are no tricks or subtle ingredients that only those “seasoned” palates could discern. Hopsickle is a straight forward, balls-out brew that makes no apologies for its boldness. If you tend to cower and cringe at the thought of hops, this beer is not for you. But for those who consider themselves “Hop Heads,” Hopsickle will without doubt be in your wheelhouse.

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Drake’s Brewing Drakonic Imperial Stout

Written By:  Morgan Ellsworth (Twitter @jarg0naut)

When I don’t like a beer it bothers me. It makes me think that there is something wrong with my palate, or that I got a bad batch, or even that I am low life scum that doesn’t deserve to live and should commit seppuku on the spot. OK. Maybe not that last one but I do honestly second-guess myself when a beer makes a single tear roll down my cheek. Part of it is that I KNOW some bastard out there does like this beer and might even find it more divine than the ambrosia of Mt. Olympus and he is chortling endlessly at my ignorance. Why can I not feel the same way, laughing at pithy fools who dare try my favorite brews and languish helplessly? Luckily, whenever I find myself wallowing in self-pity, my arrogance takes over and this fleeting moment of vulnerability is gone. But still, the thought lingers, building with every single beer that I have a slight distaste for. I feel like I might snap and run screaming into the night, flogging random strangers. If you happen to see a guy bellowing, “AM I NOT WORTHY?!” into the San Franciscan night, that probably isn’t me but still, it would be pretty glorious.

The beer that I have so horribly set up is Drake’s Brewing Drakonic Imperial Stout. Like I may have alluded to in the absurd paragraph above, I want to like every beer I try. I really do. But I can’t bring myself to like this particular one. It starts off sweet and malty, but the bitterness soon takes me unawares. A striking coffee characteristic shines through, although it brings more bitterness than anything else. However, the subtle hops are accentuated by the coffee, so we must give it some credit. Drakonic Imperial is relatively complex and not particularly smooth despite the lack of hops. This beer is only hopped once and has a paltry 40 IBUs. That being said, “Imperial” isn’t there just for shits and giggles. At 8.75 percent, the brew carries a hefty blow – especially for a stout. The beer just left something to be desired. I feel like an idiot saying that but for me, that was definitely the case. I was left wanting more.

Drake’s Brewing has been around since 1989 and while I haven’t personally had any of their other offerings, you don’t last that long in this business without making a ton of quality beer. They are based out of San Leandro in Northern California and, according to their website, have about 14 year-round and seasonal beers so they have a wide variety to choose from. Even though my first taste of their beer wasn’t quite up to snuff, it makes me want to seek out what else they have to offer to either validate or destroy my (probably) ridiculous claims. I will definitely be back to Drake’s Brewing- probably more quickly than if I had loved this beer.

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On Tap – Craft Beer and Baseball

Citizens Bank Park - Home of the Philadelphia Phillies

Written By:  Sarah Murdock (Twitter @sarah_maria)

Baseball season is by far my favorite time of year. No matter how big other sports become, baseball, to me, will always be America’s past time. As a proud Phillies fan since birth, I can say without question that I believe Citizens Bank Park (CBP) is one of the best, if not THE best, ballparks in the country. This of course comes from someone who spent her early years watching games at the frightening and unkempt Veterans Stadium. Continue reading

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Dogfish Head Theobroma: Review

Written By:  Bill Rightnour

Dogfish Head. The name itself is catchy and unforgettable. Much like its name, its mark on the craft beer world is most certainly unforgettable as well. Dogfish Head has become synonymous with creativity. Many craft breweries attempt innovative brew recipes, achieving varying levels of success, but none compare to the daring adventures the folks at Dogfish Head Brewing take you on. They challenge your taste buds to work through the complex chemistry of each brew with combinations of ingredients only a mad scientist could dream up. Continue reading

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Stone Brewing Smoked Porter: Review

Written By:  Morgan Ellsworth (Twitter – jarg0naut)

The Gargoyle scares me. I haven’t even tried the beer yet and I can feel my apprehension rising. Stone Brewing Company out of San Diego comes with a reputation that precedes it. Merciless, unfeeling, powerful, they take no prisoners; words that would best describe a medieval warlord and not one of the best breweries on the west coast, if not the country. But Stone Brewing doesn’t care what you think. They don’t listen to pleas for a nice light beer to drink lazily in the afternoon sun. Nor do they yield to parishioners begging in the streets for an easy drinking lager. Stone Brewing doesn’t give a damn what you think. They think their beer is too good for you. They are probably right. Continue reading

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Anderson Valley Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema: Review

Written By:  Morgan Ellsworth (Twitter @jarg0naut)

I hate summer. I know, I know. I’ve heard it all before. “I love summer! Summer is awesome, the weather is nice, I can finally put my parkas away and stop cutting firewood.” I get it. Sun drenched days and cloudless nights sound amazing in theory and I was even raised in Hawaii. But I hate summer. The heat seems to melt pavement. The Earth becomes humid, muggy and miserable. I need a damn flamethrower to deal with the bugs. Don’t act like mosquitoes aren’t the very bane of your existence. Feeling moist where I shouldn’t makes me sob daily. You cringed a bit when moist entered the picture, didn’t you? Continue reading

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Philly Beer Week – It’s Here!

Friends and fellow beer lovers, for the next ten days (June 3rd – June 12th), the city of brotherly love will be ensconced in craft beer. The city has events scheduled all over town full of breweries from across the country – there’s even a guest from Belgium. So check out the Philly Beer Week website for event listings and all other pertinent information surrounding the festivities.

Cheers beer lovers!

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Cigar City Bolita Double Nut Brown Ale: Review

Written By:  Bill Rightnour

Today I consider myself a lucky man. I get to indulge in a Cigar City creation for review. Cigar City has quickly become my favorite brewery over the past year. I owe a debt of gratitude to a carpenter who was only asked to fix the squeaking in my hallway floorboards and instead changed my life as a craft beer lover. Continue reading

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Ninkasi Total Domination IPA: Review

Written By:  Morgan Ellsworth

Ninkasi is the Sumerian Goddess of beer. Total domination can aptly be described in several different ways, all of them seemingly involving the diabolical plans of evil masterminds. When you combine the two, you are left with one of the best India Pale Ales on the market in Ninkasi Brewing Companies’ Total Domination.  Continue reading

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