Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beer and Food. What's Not to Love?

Here at Newport Storm, we love partnering with local establishments to bring social events to the public and showcase what our company is all about. Another great opportunity has risen in the 2013 Winterfest beer dinner held tonight at The Brick Alley Pub, one of the many famed Thames Street establishments, where a variety of our beers will be paired with a specially crafted menu. In honor of this event, I thought I would give a few tips and tricks on how to pair your favorite brew with the dinner specials at your weekly hangout or with what’s cooking in your own kitchen. First off, let’s see what's brewing for tonight’s event.
                Three courses will be featured with our very own Newport Storm Rhode Island Blueberry, India Point Ale, and Cyclone Vlad Russian Imperial Stout, finished with some Hot Buttered Thomas Tew rum and a desert. Everything from a Wheatberry salad washed down with our fruity version of Kolsch ale, to brie and chutney sliders alongside an India Point, to coffee crusted pork tenderloin with all the trimmings and a Vlad will be placed in between your fork and knife. Even chocolate covered bacon (yes, I said bacon) will be served. Each menu item has been expertly crafted to pair perfectly with each chosen brew.
                Now I'm sure you’re wondering how to become your own personal guru on beer and food pairings. It’s all about synergy, and best matching beer flavors to food flavors is the way to go. Although, if you’re a bit spontaneous, you can always try best to contrast flavors and see what whacky combinations arise. Craft beers like stout and porters have richer notes from the malt and go well with chocolate desserts or even your summer barbeque. Spicy and exotic foods are best paired with beers with a kick, such as a hoppy Pale Ale (like our very own India Point Ale for instance!). Beers higher in yeast such as Hefeweizens go great with a lighter fare such as chicken, salads, or seafood. We know you like to get carried away on your own excursions of trying daring new brews and all of your childhood dreams of becoming a mad scientist can come true by creating endless combinations, but keeping it simple and listening to your taste buds is really all it takes to become the culinary expert of food and libations you’ve always dreamed of (and one your friends are jealous of, too!)

Cheers from the Intern,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Great Ideas

I’m not sure if it is because I am closing in on 15 years in the business or the current explosion of activity in it, but I’ve had several people strike up conversations with me about “great ideas”. Most of these have been in reference to various products and inevitably I’m asked to give my opinion about each of them. In the past I’ve been happy to put in my two cents and analyze why I think a new or existing beer or spirit is a “great” or “terrible” idea. I’d reference the past, current trends, a similar product, or even the experience of the people executing on it. However, recently my approach to this stuff has changed.
When these types of questions are posed to me now, my response has turned from one of thoughtful engagement, to simply “I’ve stopped trying to pick winners and losers”. It is still interesting to me what is successful and what isn’t, but predicting it with any certainty seems oddly difficult. I don’t recall anyone shouting from the rooftops that $30/bottle vodka was going to blow up and “ice” beer was going to all but disappear (Monday morning quarterbacks can now start pontificating about the reasons we all should have foreseen these outcomes) .
As for now, there are bunches of new spirits and beers hitting the shelves each day. The last year has seen the emergence of a half a dozen new packaging breweries in RI alone. Each brewer and distiller has their own unique approach to the business and none of them would be doing it if they didn’t think their ideas were great. You’ll continue to hear about the winners (which we may be one). You may never hear of the losers (which we may, also, be one). For my part, when we develop something new I rarely worry about whether it will be the best selling thing we could make and find myself, instead, worrying more about making sure we are making it the best we can and doing our best to let others know why we made it. As you may have guessed, I’ve stopped trying to predict how many others will actually agree with us about our “great idea”. Rest assured we think all of our ideas are great and fully understand that we’re the only ones that think that.