We're Jessi and William: writers, designers, beer makers. See William's reviews at and look for our homebrewing cookbook, Beer Craft, in stores soon.

  • Website
  • Location: Cross-country tour

Latest Comments

Denver food recs

Fuel Cafe is pretty great, and has an awesome brunch, if you catch them on the right weekend (they only serve it occasionally).

Adam Richman's take on Cleveland

It's awesome. The fish market rocks, the smoked meat and jerky from Czuchraj is the best ever, and Great Lakes Brewing Co. is right across the street. Plus, the building the market is in is just gorgeous. A huge, 100-year-old yellow-brick warehouse with a cool clock tower and a big arching ceiling. Definitely go. I didn't know Richman dug it too. Usually Ruhlman is the only Cleveland booster we have, and I hear he skipped town for Columbus anyway.

Serious Beer: The Best Pumpkin Ales

Hey Maggie - I'm also wondering if you found out which of these use real pumpkin, vs. canned stuff or—horrors—extracts and flavorings? You gotta wonder with some of the neon-orange pumpkin beers out there...

Serious Beer: The Best Pumpkin Ales

Yeah, agreed, weird to skip Dogfish Head, but in truth, this year's batch tasted cidery and over-spiced to me. It definitely changes year to year.

It's pretty impressive that Elysian has three of the top five beers here—are they really that good? I've never tried any of their stuff (or even heard of them). What do people think?

Santa Fe Recommendations

Vinaigrette has delicious local salads. Bright, fun, laid-back, definitely kid-friendly, with great booze for the parents.

Speaking of which... Maria's: the margarita's fertile crescent. Decent Mex food (their posole is great) but even better drinks.

(And I'm sure you're already planning on it, but don't miss the Folk Art museum.)

The Problem with Canadian Whisky

The mighty have fallen: "When Don Draper orders rye on "Mad Men," he's actually ordering Canadian whisky."

Ha! Put that in your glass and swirl it, cocktail snobs.

Serious Beer: Mostly Sour American Fruit Beers

Acetobacter isn't always bad; in fact Djmutik's Rodenbach is full of it. I had no idea it came in six packs though—is it the grand cru?

Serious Beer: Mostly Sour American Fruit Beers

Festina Peche isn't actually a sour — it's a wheat beer mixed with peach syrup, like a berlinerweisse.

Beer of the Month Club?

Maggie's right. I've had bad experiences with clubs—some months you win, some months you're stuck with a case of crap. Plus they're pricey, and if your friend's into beer, I'll bet he'd have more fun picking the bottles out himself. So I agree—put the $100 towards a gift certificate to one of the city's great beer stores.

I need pizza and burger advice in Madison, WI

Dotty Dumplings is of course the Madison standard for burgers, but I hear you can get even better at a gas-station-turned-dive-bar called Three Brothers.

There's a semi-norwegian, or swedish, or something, place called Natt Spil (it's right next to Great Dane, if you decide to go there. Their beer is alright, the food is standard bar fare). They have good wood-fired, thin crust pizza. But it's pretty clubby (DJ booth in back) and the service blows.

hoppy beer

Obv. 13% is the ABV.

@dank, Brooklyn Brewery's Blast is pretty hoppy, but definitely nowhere near 100 IBUs.

@dude, I'd just ask your local bars to recommend something, or the guys at Bier Kraft or American Distributors, if you're looking to buy a bottle or two. Pac Std has the Green Flash IPA on tap now. I'm not a big fan (too heavy for an IPA) but it is packed with hops—the citrussy American kind, if you like that (Summits and Nuggets).

Serious Beer: IPA from the Midwest

Shucks, you didn't like Commodore Perry. Try the "Commodore River"—1/2 Commodore Perry, 1/2 Burning River—it might change your mind. Or just splurge for a 4-pack of Lake Erie Monster. Don't discount Great Lakes on only one beer!

Craft-Distilled Whiskies Start to Catch On

@gable - hey man, keep up the awesome work! I just snagged one of your old barrels to age some homebrew in. I'll bring up a bottle when it's ready.

Craft-Distilled Whiskies Start to Catch On

@Lorenzo - agreed! Legalization of homemade whiskey is one thing, but I wonder if another hindrance to craft distilling's catching on is the same three-tier distribution system that's wreaked so much havoc on craft beer by forcing the little guys to hitch their wagons to the big guys' distributors. Has anyone talked to a micro-distiller about how they deal with this? I wonder...

Craft-Distilled Whiskies Start to Catch On

I'd add to the list all the craft breweries that have been tacking on distilleries, like Jolly Pumpkin in Michigan and the venerable Rogue out west (try the gin).

And yeah, Tuthilltown is great (and they run an awesome tour, if you ever find yourself thirsty in the Catskills), but nothing beats what you make yourself.

I'm Going to Spain...for 5 months...

I lived in Seville a few years ago. Do NOT ever eat the oranges. No matter how late it is, and how hungry you are, and how sure you are that no one is watching. They are insanely bitter and full of seeds. Inedible. But the nuns at the Convento de Santa Paula make delicious marmalade out of them. (Go to Convento de Santa Ines for pastries.)

Seville is not a restaurant town—it's a bar town. Don't bother with sit-down meals, don't order sangria, and avoid paella. Them's for the tourists. The best advice I can give is to hit the bars, get a caña of Cruzcampo and a tapa or two at each one, and discover what you like. Seville can feel a bit boring at times, but don't worry—just go to the bus station and get out of town for a weekend. Doesn't matter where—there are so many great tiny towns around Andalucia. Ronda is the most famous, because of its huge ravine.

And yeah, uh, no bagels, and no Chinese.

Time for a Drink: the Michelada

"A lime in your beer is an exit application from the human race." But I bet Kingsley Amis never had a michelada.

Serious Beer: Summer Seasonals

Yeah, saisons are great, and trendy. But at least it's good to see the list isn't too heavy on the hefes—despite what Budweiser says, there's more to summer than "golden wheat," or, god forbid, lime beer.

Bread Baking: Malted Barley Dark Rye Sandwich Loaf

@dbcurrie, right on. Yeah, I just pop the wet grains in the oven to dry them out a bit, then mix them into the dough as is. Husks aren't for everyone, I guess. But make a thicker dough with flour, spent grains, and some peanut butter, spread it on a cookie sheet and bake until crispy, and you've got some epic dog biscuits.

Bread Baking: Malted Barley Dark Rye Sandwich Loaf

I use spent grains for making bread (that is, malted grains I've used to make beer) and those are ground less finely, and come husks-included. The husks don't change the bread's taste too much, but they do get stuck in your teeth. No biggie—wash 'em out with beer.

buying beer online?

Where are you trying to have beer shipped to? Thanks to our archaic three-tier alcohol distribution system, each state has its own rules about what can be shipped, and how much. Twenty-eight states say it is illegal to ship beer directly to a consumer, but plenty of internet merchants ignore the law. Still, it's worth familiarizing yourself with the red tape, in case your brews fall into inquisitive hands. If Bierkraft doesn't carry the brand, I'm assuming it's a pretty small, local brewery, in which case you might get lucky just asking them nicely to sneak a couple bottles to Fed-Ex for you.

A Pint With: Greg Hall, Goose Island Beer Company

"Sour is the new hoppy" - seconded! I'd add barrel-aging to that trend list, although Goose Island has been on that for a while now. I'm not a huge fan of their Bourbon County Stout (try Founders KBS instead), but hey, at least they're doing it.


beercraftbook hasn't favorited a post yet.