Posts Tagged ‘events’


Grand Cru hosts fun afternoon of beer, BBQ and stogies

October 2, 2010

Grand Cru Wine and SpiritsI spent the whole day at school today…a Saturday.  The first half of the day was spent at TSU (my school) taking a practice test, four hours long, in preparation for an eight hour long test (Fundamentals of Engineering exam) October 30.  The latter half of the day was spent at W.O. Smith Music School, enjoying great beer, really tasty BBQ, and the beautiful weather we had today.

I’ve got to express my appreciation for some people before I go into this any further.  First, I am very grateful to Katya at Aleksey’s Imports.  She got me on the guest list for this event and made it all possible for me.  Thank you, Katya!  I am also very appreciative of the people with Grand Cru Wine & Spirits.  They sponsored this event and provided the beers, but more than that, they all, especially Jason, made me feel very welcome.  Jason even purchased a tasting glass and a great BBQ sandwich (courtesy Peg leg Porkers) for me, because I had brought no cash and no one was set up to take debit cards.  Thanks, Jason, and the Grand Cru staff.  I will definitely be paying you a visit soon!

The website for the beer tasting promised a large variety of beers available for sampling, so I was definitely excited.  I already had a couple of beers in mind for tasting, but I also hoped for some surprises along the way, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The first beer I tried, which I had looked forward to trying, was Dogfish Head’s Theobroma.  Their website says, “Dogfish Head’s Theobroma (translated into ‘food of the gods’) is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).”

I expected to be completely blown away by this beer, but I simply wasn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, it was quite tasty, but perhaps I had my expectations too high.  I’ll have it again though, for sure, so I can do a full review. I thought this had some spicy notes and a touch of honey.  The higher alcohol (9% ABV) came through on the finish, bringing a nice warmth to it.  The distinctive flavors of the chilies came through very late on the finish.  It was almost like a very late surprise.  I had finished my couple of swallows and was thinking about what to try next when it came through. Overall:  at first blush, a tasty brew with the chilies acting as an interesting addition.

The next beer I tried I had actually had before, but it has been a long time.  When I first tried Yazoo’s Sue (a smoked porter), it was relatively new.   At the time, I was not a huge fan of it.  I had heard it had changed since last time I tried it, though, so I gave it another shot.  I was very pleased with the changes they made to it!  The nose was excellent, featuring good smoke and oak notes and hints of whiskey.  On the palate the smoke is there but not overpowering.  It makes its presence known as a mildly musty smokiness that acts as a pleasant backdrop for dark fruit and sour cherry notes with some malt sweetness.  It tasted far better than the first time I tried it, and, as a matter of fact, won a silver medal at this year’s GABF.  Overall:  even if you don’t like smoky beers, you’ll appreciate this one.

The next beverage I tried was Viking Blod, a mead made with hibiscus and hops.  I don’t generally love honey in beers, so I wasn’t sure about a mead, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from the hibiscus.  This 19% ABV mead (yes, 19%!) surprises though.  The nose consists of floral and honey aromas wafting up on the vapors from the higher ABV.  Honey is in the foreground of this mead, as is to be expected, but the hibiscus and higher alcohol come out on the finish and complement each other well.  Overall: the hibiscus brings welcome, unique flavors to this mead.

Next up was Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock.  According to, “Eisbocks are created by freezing off a portion of the water, and removing it from the beer. This form of concentration, of sorts, increases the beer’s body, flavor, and alcohol content.”  This had a great nose, with spiced notes mingling with the prominent wheat.  This beer had a mouthfeel like carbonated honey with a wheaty flavor.  Overall: this was a pretty tasty brew.

The highlight of my tasting, and the most interesting beverage there, in my opinion, was the 2009 Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut De Normandie.  I’m not a fan of ciders, at least the ones you buy in six-packs at the better beer stores.  But I am a big fan of this one.  The nose is probably the smelliest of any fermented beverage I’ve had. Katya referred to it as a “stinky French nose”, which I thought was hilarious, and completely accurate!  It smacks of green apple and stinky cheese…yes, stinky cheese.  The nose definitely has a funkiness to it, a sort of sour earthiness, perhaps.  But there is just something I loved about that aroma.  On the palate it is much more simplistic, with green apple being the dominant flavor.  I will definitely try this again and do a full review.  Overall: this is something to be experienced and savored.  Excellent!

Next I had to try Granitbock, from Brauerei Hofstetten Krammer GmbH & Co. KG in St. Martin, Austria.  According to B. United International, Inc., the importers of this beer, “The Granit Bock is brewed in large granite open troughs. The granite stones are then heated to be white hot and added to the wort. This causes the sugars in the malt to caramelize around the stones and gives the beer lovely caramel and roasted flavors. It also gives the Granit Bock a unique smoked flavor.”  I was intrigued by this and thought I’d give it a shot.  The nose was odd, in how much it smelled like a slab of granite.  I liked the nose, though.  The beer itself tastes minerally, like granite, but with slightly bitter hints on the finish.  I will be reviewing this fully soon.  Overall:  it’s interesting smelling that granite on the nose.  I haven’t passed final judgment on the taste yet.

The next one I tried was recommended to me by Katya and the Grand Cru staff.  Hitachino’s Nest Nipponia is brewed using two Japanese original materials; “Kaneko Golden,” the Japanese ancient barley, and “Sorachi Ace,” the hop which once was bred in Japan.”  I was picking up very interesting floral notes on the nose, and lavender was what kept coming to mind.  I also noticed lemon and perhaps coriander notes.  The beer itself displayed floral and interesting spiced barley notes on the palate. Overall: this was my first Japanese beer and I am intrigued.  I will try more Hitachino beers.

The final beer I tried (I had to drive home at some point after this you know!) was Boulevard Brewing Company’s Seeyoulator Doppelbock.  The nose gives olfactory proof that the beer was aged in cedar.  Woody cedar highlights the nose and gives the taste a spicy woody profile, with a little malt sweetness and a hint of citrus. Overall: I like the scent of it in the nose and the taste of it on the palate but wonder the cedar shouldn’t be toned down a little?

So those are the beers I selected and enjoyed today.  There were so many there that I wanted to try, but I think it’s better to be moderate and make sure I can drive home safely.  Again, biggest thanks to Katya and the Grand Cru staff for a fun, tasty afternoon.

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Coming July 27: Nashville Abita Beer Dinner at 55 South

July 11, 2010

This beer dinner sounds like a great time, even if you think you might not want to try souse!  I’ve only been to one of these types of brewery hosted beer dinners (thanks, Yazoo!) but it was an awesome experience.  Check out the menu…crawfish cheesecake brulee?!  I’d like to try that!  And the price is great, only $35 per person!

Franklin Chef Crafts Specialty Menu to Celebrate New Orleans Beer

NASHVILLE  — On Tuesday, July 27, Chef Jason McConnell will give Franklin an even bigger taste of the Delta with an Abita Beer Dinner at his New Orleans-inspired restaurant, 55 South. Sure to be an unforgettable night, guests will gather at the neighborhood eatery at 6:30 p.m. for a reception, and dinner will begin at 7:00 p.m. The five-course event will feature some of Abita’s most unique and seasonal offerings paired with McConnell’s clever menu, true to southern and delta-inspired flavors.  Additionally, members of the Abita Brew Staff, as well as representatives from the local distributor, will be on hand to provide a behind-the-scenes discussion of the brewery and beers poured. The dinner will cost $35.00 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required for this event and can be made by calling 615.538.6001. For more information visit For information on the featured beers, visit


Souse with Beer Mustard
Crawfish Cheesecake Brulee
Abita Golden

Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese
Abita Andygator

Mexican BBQ Shrimp
Abita Jockamo IPA

Bacon Wrapped Quail, Beer BBQ slaw, Hoe cake
Abita Abbey Ale

Angel Food Cake Bread Pudding with Fresh Citrus Strawberry Halves and Satsuma Beer Coulis
Abita Satsuma Harvest Wit

Abita Brewing Company was founded more than 20 years ago in Abita Springs, LA, only 30 miles from New Orleans.  Abita uses premium ingredients from all over the world in their beers, including British and North American malted barley, yeast strains from Germany and the United States, Pacific Northwest hops and the pure water of Abita Springs. The beers are cold-filtered, and contain no preservatives. Due to their passion for quality, not only does Abita Beer have a fine and fresh taste, but an array of loyal customers, including Chef McConnell.  For more information visit

Named for the highway that spans from Memphis to New Orleans, 55 South brings a Delta-inspired dining experience to downtown Franklin. Chef Jason McConnell has developed a menu that runs deep into southern comfort, even offering patrons a daily oyster happy hour. 55 South offers lunch and dinner service Monday – Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Friday – Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. The restaurant also features a traditional New Orleans-style Sunday brunch from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. 55 South is located at 403 Main St., Franklin, TN, 37064. Visit or call 615.538.6001 for more information.

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The Village at Lake Las Vegas and Buckbean Brewing Co. Present Brew’s Best

February 18, 2010

A Hand-Crafted Beer Festival Benefiting the New Vista Community

(Las Vegas, Nev.)The Village at Lake Las Vegas and Buckbean Brewing Company, the largest production microbrewery in Nevada, will host Brew’s Best Hand-Crafted Beer Festival Saturday, March 13, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Taster kits are available for $25, which include 30 sampling tickets and a souvenir tasting mug. All proceeds will benefit local charity New Vista Community.

Brew’s Best is the third installment of successful craft beer festivals hosted at The Village at Lake Las Vegas. The festival has grown to more than 20 breweries sampling as many as 75 craft beers, and the highest expected attendance to date. More: The Village at Lake Las Vegas and Buckbean Brewing Co. Present Brew’s Best

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Join Chef Brian Owenby at 2009 Flavors of Nashville event to benefit American Liver Foundation

September 10, 2009

In early August I was honored and privileged to be able to attend a Craft Food and Craft Beer dinner at Gaylord’s Opryland Hotel during the Southern Food & Wine Festival.

Chef Brian Owenby, executive chef of the area of the resort known as The District, was charged with blowing away our taste buds and did just that. As I mentioned previously in this blog, the food was excellent and paired perfectly with each beer. He is definitely a chef of distinction.

Today I learned through Facebook that Chef Owenby, who has been doing charity work for the Liver Foundation for the last few years, has been diagnosed with advanced liver disease and will find out in the coming months whether he needs a liver transplant. (See the story at

September 14th, 2009, he will participate in Flavors of Nashville for the foundation. Please consider attending this meal and/or making a donation to the American Liver Foundation. If nothing else, attend the dinner and let him thrill your taste buds while contributing to a good cause. For more information, please contact the Mid South Division at 866.756.7668 or Space is limited and Flavors of Nashville will sell out – so please confirm your attendance early!

Along with the dinner is a silent auction with great items up for bidding. Here is a list:

Item Company Value
Backpack Office 2007 (Ultimate) Vista (Business) Sleeve of Golf Balls, Mouse, Water Bottle Microsoft


3 Night Cabin Rental Moon Shine Hill


1 Round of Golf for 4 People Governor’s Club


1 Night Stay With Dinner for 2 Loew’s Vanderbilt Hotel


Professional Take-Home Whitening Kit Mitchell Ward, DDS


2 Box Seats for 1 Classical Concert and dinner for 2 at Arpeggio Nashville Symphony


Lamp The Lamp Store


Round of Golf for 4 People Gaylord Springs Golf Links


Portrait Session Lane Photography


2 VIP Passes Next Big Nashville


20 Person Taco Party Qdoba


Dinner for Two Capitol Grille


Tickets for 2 Nashville Opera


3 Night Stay Miss Kitty’s Bed and Bath


Gift Certificate Breon Hair Salon


11×14 Bob Dylan Photo Further Images


Brunch for 6 Macke’s Restaurant


2 pairs of Season Passes (4 Total) Alias Chamber Ensemble


The “Best of Doc” Box Set The Documentary Chanel


Gift Certificate for Skin Care Products Tiba NU Spa


Family Membership Adventure Science Center


4 Entrees and 1 Top Shelf Guacamole Cantina Lerado


2 Tickets Grand Ole Opry


4 Zoo Passes Nashville Zoo


1 bottle of wine, autographed by Kix Brooks Arrington Vineyards


$50 Gift Certificate Gigi’s Cupcakes


Cooking Class The Viking School


Gift Certificate Levy’s Clothier For Men and Women


6 Adult Passes Frist Museum


6 Free Studio Visits Brushfire Pottery Studio


2 Passes Belle Meade Plantation


Open Bounce Card Bounce U


Gift Certificate Firefly


Golden Fiddle Charley Daniel’s Band
Gift Certificate Wild Iris Restaurant
Home Cleaning and Organizing Sharon Millward
Hatch Show Print
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Buckbean Brewing Company teams with Grand Sierra Resort & Casino for CANFEST- Reno International Canned Beer Festival

August 12, 2009

Oh, how I wish I could attend…

Reno, NV (August 2009) — Buckbean Brewing Company, Nevada’s largest production microbrewery, will bring to Reno this October the first ever CANFEST – Reno International Canned Beer Festival, the first international beer judging and tasting for canned beer, to take place at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, Oct. 23, 2009.

Buckbean, a company that packages their beers in environmentally-friendly 16 ounce aluminum cans, hopes to shed light on the various breweries across the US that distribute their brews in cans and crush the many myths regarding beer in cans. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Nature Conservancy and the Great Basin Bird Observatory.

The competition will commence and finish in the Grand Sierra Theater October 23, from 6:30 p.m. -10:30 p.m. Judging will take place prior to the public tasting. Celebrities from the beer world will judge the beers individually, based on categories still to be decided. Beer seminars, beer and food pairings and a forum of brewers that can beer are planned.

Along with Buckbean Brewing Company, Big Sky Brewing Company, Oskar Blues, Ukiah Brewing Company, Maui Brewing Company, Surly Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Uncommon Brewers, and Rochester Mills Brewing Company are a few that have confirmed they will attend the event.

Ticket prices are $35 per person and room packages will be available for attendees. For more information, please contact Constance Aguilar from Abbi Public Relations at or by calling 775.323.2977.



Buckbean Brewing Company recently expanded into the Las Vegas and Northern California markets. The craft beer company produces its two signature beers, Original Orange Blossom Ale and Black Noddy Lager, in 16-ounce, environmentally-friendly cans, giving beer fans the opportunity to take their favorite brew with them hiking, biking, golfing and boating without the worry of glass breaking.

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The Village and Buckbean Brewing Company host second Village Craft Beer Festival Saturday, September 19

August 4, 2009

Event benefits The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Southern Nevada

The Village (MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas) and Buckbean Brewing Company, the largest production microbrewery in Nev., host the second Village Beer Fest on Saturday, September 19, from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets for the festival are available at the event for $20 per person which includes an engraved commemorative glass, with proceeds benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Southern Nevada (MDA).

Riding waves of success from the March 2009 festival, Buckbean Brewing Company and MonteLago Village anticipate crowds of more than 2,000 attendees, and expect to exceed the nearly $30,000 raised previously for the MDA.

The Village Craft Festival showcases craft beers from around the U.S. served along The Village’s cobblestone streets with waterfront views. Jazz music is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. to cap off a great day where guests can enjoy these hand-crafted brews in support of a great cause.

Guests wishing to take advantage of MonteLago Village Resort’s luxury lakeside lodging can do so by calling 888-600-2688. Complete with scenic balconies, full kitchens and living areas, lodging at the resort starts at only $99 per night, plus resort fees and taxes. Mention “Beer Fest” when calling to receive the special rate. A special Beer Festival package is also available and includes an overnight stay and two passes to the event for $125, a 35 percent savings (plus resort fees and taxes).

For more information on this event, please visit For sponsorship information during any MonteLago Village event, please call 702-564-4785.


Buckbean Brewing Company recently expanded into the Las Vegas and Northern California markets. The craft beer company produces its two signature beers, Original Orange Blossom Ale and Black Noddy Lager, in 16-ounce, environmentally-friendly cans, giving beer fans the opportunity to take their favorite brew with them hiking, biking, golfing and boating without the worry of glass breaking.


Located just 17 miles from the heart of Las Vegas, The Village (MonteLago Village) creates the calm and leisurely pace of a Mediterranean town with cobblestone streets, sweeping mountains views and more than 30 unique shopping and dining options along the way. A perfect lakefront location for a celebratory dinner, a night out with the ladies or a romantic weekend away – The Village is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. MonteLago Village Resort offers world-class accommodations located within The Village and Lake Las Vegas. Services at The Village and Lake Las Vegas include shopping, dining, boat cruises, spa services, gondola rides, fishing, golfing and other activities.


The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is a voluntary health agency – a dedicated partnership between scientists and concerned citizens aimed at conquering neuromuscular diseases that affect more than a million Americans. The MDA of Southern Nevada serves over 455 families affected by muscular dystrophy in Las Vegas and surrounding areas. MDA funds worldwide research, provides free clinics, assists with the purchase and repair of wheelchairs, leg braces and communication devices, provides loan closets, facilitates support groups and provides the MDA Summer Camp for youngsters.

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Chef Brian Owenby, Yazoo Brewery present Craft Food and Craft Beer Tasting at Southern Food & Wine Festival

August 3, 2009

The first to be held at the Opryland Hotel, the Southern Food & Wine Festival was a great success. According to Kim Keelor, Director of Public Relations at Gaylord’s Opryland Hotel in Nashville,

We felt the Food Network Southern Food and Wine Festival year was a great success, especially considering the fact that it was the first time we have undertaken such an expansive event with our Food Network partners. Our guests had positive comments and seemed to really enjoy it. The food culture is remarkably strong, evidenced by the popularity of the network and its celebrities, and the fact that we had guests attend the festival who drove from as far away as Abilene, Texas. We are looking into having a second festival next summer.

Approximately 7,000 guests attended the festival, and as far as I’m concerned, approximately 6,985 of the guests missed the best part. No offense to Alton Brown, the Neelys or Bobby or Jamie Deen, but the Craft Beers and Craft Foods event, held in a VIP room behind Findley’s Irish Pub, was the best part of the entire festival.

The food and beer event was capped at 40 people, but there were only approximately 15 people in attendance, including hosts Linus Hall, owner of Yazoo Brewery, and his gracious and lovely wife, Lila. Chef Brian Owenby, executive chef of the area of the resort known as The District, absolutely wowed us with his selections. Some of the meal pairings featured a dish and a beer designed to complement each other’s flavor profiles, while other combinations were designed to show a contrast in flavor.

Passed Hors d’oeuvres
Most of us in the tasting were previously unknown to each other, so we modestly sampled the hors d’oeuvres. Modesty was gone with later courses as we happily devoured practically everything placed before us. Pimento cheese and Ritz crackers were served, as were deviled eggs with pulled pork and barbecued ham biscuits with raspberry jelly. This was paired with Yazoo’s  Hefeweizen (see my review), which I have had before and thoroughly enjoy. Wonderful yeast and wheat, as well as banana flavors, are found on the nose and the palate, and it is just an excellent hefeweizen. Excellent flavor and smooth and delicious.

First Course
Our first course consisted of a chicken liver and pork paté featuring cranberries, along with house made crackers and pickles. I’ve never had paté before, but it was quite good. I’m no food critic, so I’ll spare you any review of the dish. It will suffice to say it was rich and creamy, and the richness was complimented by the richness of Yazoo’s dark, richly brown Sly Rye Porter.  I had never tried this beer before, but I am a fan of porters, so I was eager. The first nose hit me and I was in love! I picked up dark plummy fruit and good slightly sweet and smoky maltiness. It was even better on the palate. You could really pick out the plummy fruit flavors, as well as some cherry and good, slightly smoky malty goodness. On a couple of sips I thought I picked up hints of chocolate as well. It was full bodied and had a crisp and very clean finish.

Second Course
The second course was a play on bacon and eggs. House cured pancetta was paired wih a fried farm egg and romaine hearts. It’s hard to mess up bacon and eggs, but judging by Chef Owenby’s efforts, it’s possible to make them terrific. This was paired with Yazoo’s Pale Ale. Their pale ale is their most popular beer. It features Amarillo hops, which give it more of a citrusy and grapefruit profile than beers using English hops. This is very clean and smooth pale ale and worked very well to cut through the fat and richness of the bacon and eggs and cleanse the palate.

Third Course
The third course was a Pig Trotter Terrine served over lentils and topped with maché salad. (Here is one recipe for the dish, to give you an idea of what it is, because I couldn’t describe it accurately enough). This was very rich as well and was served with Yazoo’s Hop Project (#16). This IPA style beer had a very hoppy nose, full of juicy citrus and grapefruit. The taste was very dry, clean and floral, with hints of citrus and grapefruit.

Fourth Course
The fourth course was a Southern Style “Porchetta“, served over braised greens, corn and heirloom tomatoes. This was very well seasoned with rosemary and perhaps cloves and the fat of the pork melted in your mouth. This was paired with Yazoo’s Dos Perros, which is a style of beer Linus Hall is accused of making up: Mexican Amber. It is made with chocolate malts and also features some flaked corn to make this a lighter bodied beer, despite it’s rich dark color. This beer complemented the dish well, with corn in the dish and flaked corn in the beer.

Fifth (and final) Course
The fifth and final course was, of course, dessert. We were served a single scoop (by this time, any more would have been impossible to consume) of malted chocolate and hop ice cream. It was made with bitter chocolate and crushed Whoppers candy and was served with dark cherries. This was paired with Yazoo’s new high gravity beer,
Sue.  Yes, a beer named Sue. A sort of homage to Johnny Cash? Sue is a smoked porter and is 7.5% ABV. The barley used in making the beer was smoked with cherry wood, which imparts good sweet and tart flavors to the beer. The beer has a mildly smoky nose and is quite smoky on the palate. I have only had one other smoky beer before (Rogue’s Smoke Ale) and hated it. I had reservations about this beer, and while I don’t know if I’ll ever try it again or not, it is a very well crafted beer, and was a great complement to the ice cream and a good beer with which to end the tasting.

As a beer lover and self-designated beer snob, this was an amazing experience. The food and beer in and of themselves was amazing, but having it all with Linus Hall of Yazoo made it even better. My eternal gratitude to Chef Brian Owenby, Director of Public Relations Kim Keelor, and Linus and Lila Hall for making this event possible. The whole event blew me away and I can’t thank them enough. Should they offer this event next year, I encourage everyone reading this to make reservations as early as possible and plan on attending. The cost was $65 per person, and I don’t believe anyone in attendance would argue with me when I say it was worth far more than that.

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