Homebrewed Beer Shaving Soap

Homebrewed Beer Shaving Soap

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a company called Homebrewed Soaps based out of Maine.  They make a ton of products that range from beer shaving soaps to beer bug repellent soaps.  I’ve heard of people making soap incorporating beer before and even know a friend who used to use beer as conditioner for his hair.  In Europe there are baths where you can go and sit in a hot tub of beer to help moisturize your skin.  Although I was aware of these practices, I was yet to try any of them for myself.  Homebrewed Soaps was nice enough to ship us a few of their soaps to put to the test.

I was most excited to try the beer shaving soap.  I’ve had a beard ever since I was able to grow one.  I have never particularly enjoyed shaving, it was always something I dreaded.  My skin has always been prone to razor burn and dryness.  I’ve tried just about every shaving cream available that had claims of moisture and a “smooth glide,” but none of them have ever lived up to their claims.  On the packaging of the Men’s Shaving Soap they say “You won’t want to use shaving cream ever again,” and I’m inclined to believe them.  WOW, is one of the only words that comes to mind to describe the experience.  This is truly the best shave I’ve ever had, even better than the barber shop.  I actually can’t stop touching my face and neither can my girlfriend.  Needless to say, I’ve added a new product to my daily regiment.

Another great benefit of these soaps is you don’t need an advanced degree in chemistry to understand the ingredients.  Every ingredient in these is there for a reason.  No filler or crazy chemicals.  Oh and did I forget to mention they all have Beer in them!

Make sure to support this awesome company and their amazing products.  Their soaps are available at HomebrewedSoaps.com.

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Deschutes Black Butte Porter Pork Chops

Deschutes Black Butte Porter Pork Chops

Ingredients

2 large ½ inch cut pork chops (center-cut, bone-in)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup Deschutes Black Butte Porter
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup raisins
2 apples, cored and sliced
¼ tsp rubbing sage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat. Rub chops with salt, pepper and rubbing sage. Brown pork chops on both sides. Add beer, cider vinegar, and brown sugar, stir until dissolved, scrapping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add apples and raisins then cook uncovered until the sauce turns into a syrup like glaze 20-40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Goes great with sweet potatoes.

Note: This recipe would be delicious with most dark beers, just stay away from the hoppier ones.

Brewery Profile: River North Brewing

River North is one of the newest breweries to open their doors in Downtown Denver.  They moved into the old Flying Dog space at 24th and Blake in the Ballpark Neigborhood.  They’re brewing some awesome beers with a strong Belgian influence.  Matt Hess is the head brewer and owner here.  He assembled most of the brewery and tap room himself with the help from some friends and family.  Hess is a former Lockheed Martin Engineer who was bitten by the brewing bug in 2009.  Just two years later he decided to make a go of his passion and quit his job to begin the planning of River North Brewing Company.

River North Bar

A view of the bar

River North Beer List

The Hello, Darkness and Hypothesis are my two favorites.  The Hypothesis Double IPA is incredibly balanced for having such a high IBU level.  It’s not the hop bomb you would expect.  It’s more of a bouquet of hops that hit the palate.

Hello, Darkness Black IPA

Hello, Darkness Black IPA

River North Brewery

Assistant Brewer Patrick Annesty recently began full time at River North.  He’s no stranger to the craft beer scene though, he used to stand behind the bar at Euclid Hall.

River North Brewers Platform

River North Fermenters

A view of the fermenters

Be sure to check out River North sometime soon.  They’re only a few blocks from the ball park and brew some really tasty beers.  If you’re lucky they’ll still have the double IPA on tap.

River North is located at 2401 Blake.  You can view the map here.

Hours of Operation

Thursday – 3-9pm
Friday – 3-10pm
Saturday – 3-10pm
Sunday – 3-9pm

For additional information you can visit the River North Website – http://rivernorthbrewery.com/

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Sam Adams Irish Short Ribs

Sam Adams Irish Short Ribs and Colcannon Recipe

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

3 lbs beef short ribs (4-6 bones)
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
10 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
4 – 12 oz bottles of Sam Adams Irish Red Ale
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp rosemary
8 cloves, whole
4 tbsp grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Apply a liberal amount of salt, pepper and oil to the short ribs.  Heat some oil in a heavy pot over high heat.  Just as the oil begins to smoke add the short ribs, searing on all sides until brown.  Remove the short ribs and set aside on a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-high then add the carrots, onion and garlic.  Cook about 3 minutes stirring occasionally until translucent.  Return the short ribs to the pot and add beer, brown sugar, parsley, cloves and rosemary.  Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until super tender, 3-5 hours.

Remove ribs and tent them with tin foil on a plate.  Reduce the remaining liquid by half.  Remove bones and puree the liquid.  Strain and serve as a sauce over the short ribs.  Serve on a bed of IPA Colcannon Potatoes.

Ignite Rooftop Bar in Denver.

This is one of our new favorite spots to relax on a sunny Colorado afternoon.  They’ve got tons of local craft brews on tap and provide the perfect venue for their enjoyment; a rooftop patio just a few blocks from the Ballpark.  The view from Ignite will be tough to beat come summertime.

Great Divide Hoss Photo, Ignite Rooftop Denver

A shot of Great Divide’s Hoss with the Denver skyline.

Upslope Pale Ale at Ignite Denver

I couldn’t help but enjoy an Upslope Pale Ale from our friends at Upslope Brewing Company.  It’s one of their flagship beers and still one of my favorites.

Ignite is located at 2124 Larimer in Downtown Denver.  You can visit the Ignite website at – http://www.ignite-denver.com

Ranger IPA and Basil Mashed Potatoes

Ranger IPA and Basil Mashed Potatoes

Serves 5-8

Ingredients

4 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, roughly peeled and sliced ¼”
3 tbsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp butter
¾ cup milk
½ cup New Belgium Ranger IPA
9 leaves basil, chopped
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Put potatoes in a cold pot of water and add salt.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes until fork tender.  Drain and return to the pot.

Sauté garlic in olive oil just until it begins to brown.   Add butter, milk, and IPA.  Cook until warm, then add to potatoes and mash them.  Fold in basil, adjust seasonings and serve.

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The Rise of the Publican

The Mayor of Old Town

A View of the Bar at The Mayor of Old Town

Bars with expanded draft beer selections are beginning to pop up everywhere.  Falling Rock Tap House has long been a Denver staple but now we have new places like The Mayor of Old Town and Backcountry Pizza and Tap House jumping into extensive draft offerings.  The average number of drafts lines being installed at new restaurants is somewhere near double what it was just a few years ago.  The goal of these venues is to make their bar more of a destination.  “Having more beers on tap gets more traffic through the door,” says Rueben of Rueben’s Burger Bistro.  With the rise in beer tourism, venues like this offer everyone who has been taking brew tours all day a place to bring it all together and have some dinner.  It may surprise you that the US is the largest beer destination in the world, surpassing Belgium and Germany.  With local craft beer scenes flourishing, bars with the largest draft selections are able to provide an overall feel for the beer scene of a particular area.

The Brewers Association defines this style of bar with an emphasis on craft beer as a “Publican” or a “Better Beer Provider.”  To most people knowledgeable on the beer industry, one thing is certain, draft is king.  Draft largely outsells bottled beer and most customers walking through the door prefer draft beer.  By having an expanded draft selection, Publicans are able to offer flights of beers and a wider range of samples.  They’re able to appeal to every level of beer drinker whether they have an advanced, intermediate or beginner palate.  There will always be a selection on tap that each segment of beer drinker has never tasted.

Ale House at Amatos

Taps at the Ale House at Amato's

“Draft is the preferred medium for craft beer,” says Julia Herz of the Brewers Association.  Especially since many small brewers currently don’t offer bottled selections.  With more draft lines, places like the The Mayor of Old Town in Fort Collins are able to spread the love around without stepping on anyone else’s toes.

But at what point are there too many beers on tap?  Do the beers that are on tap get old?  Do the lines get funky since there are so many of them?  There are people out there who are skeptical of venues that sport tons of beers on tap.  We caught up with a few Publican owners and bar managers to get some insight.

New Belgium Clutch, The Mayor of Old Town

New Belgium Clutch at The Mayor of Old Town

Most places with a focus on draft have an extremely thorough cleaning regiment, (as they should) since it is a core part of their business.  The Mayor of Old Town, cleans their lines between every keg change.  Even if it’s the same beer going on.  In addition to this, a draft tech from the distributor comes every two weeks.  Many establishments even have a dedicated employee in charge of draft and making sure the quality is there.  As for the beers staying on the line for a long time, one month seems to be the industry standard.  After 30 days the keg is at risk of oxidation.  If a certain beer isn’t selling well, the bar owner has the ability to adjust price on the spot and offer a special on this beer until the keg has run out.

Having an expanded draft selection is also a huge marketing advantage in the present day beer scene.  Rueben’s Burger Bistro in Boulder is currently expanding from 12 taps to 42.  Rueben, the owner, expects this to increase business by about 10%.  Beer sales are a huge part of the business that Rueben brings in and he says it just makes sense to have additional offerings.  Another advantage of having beer on draft is the ability to offer samples before people make a commitment to any given beer.

With such a large draft selection, education of employees is crucial.  Some business owners are requiring staff to pass the Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam, which is the equivalent of a level one wine Sommelier.  The more educated the staff is on the product, the better they will be able to serve the needs of the customer.  Frequent questions not only revolve around style and flavor but also why certain beers come in specific glassware and why prices tend to have a significant range.

The aspect that I like most about a Publican is you never have to drink the same beer twice.  I’m always looking for new flavors to try and I usually trust the bartender to find something special.

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