Monthly Archives: October 2012

Guinness Believer Tasting Lands in Philly

My friend Tarun and I were lucky enough to attend the Guinness Believer Tasting last night at the World Cafe in Philly.  When I first received the press release for the event, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical.  Described as a “unique multi-media event led by a Guinness ambassador,” I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But after attending the packed  event, I can wholeheartedly say Guinness has made a believer out of me.

The evening began with a lesson in pouring, in which the audience got to pour their own pints of Guinness Draught.  We learned that it takes one minute and 19 seconds to pour the perfect pint.  For the perfect pint, tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle and fill the glass about halfway, pulling the handle towards you.  Once the foam settles, straighten the glass and fill it to the top, pushing the handle away from you, until the head is proud of the rim (meaning that the foam curves just over the glass, but doesn’t spill over).

Following the pouring lesson, our Guinness ambassador came out to start the show.  Both he, and the show, were quite entertaining and informative.  We raised (several) pints, chanted slàinte!, and learned about the history of Guinness.  Some interesting facts: Arthur Guinness, the founder, signed a 9000 year lease for the brewery at St. James Gate in Ireland, which is still the location of the Guinness brewery today.  And to those who’ve heard that Guinness is like a meal in a glass, apparently 12 oz of Guinness only has 125 calories.

We also sampled 2 other Guinness brews.  The Guinness Foreign Extra Stout was rich with a decadent chocolate flavor, reminding me of a more refined version of chocolate sodas from an old-fashioned soda fountain.  The Guinness Black Lager was lighter, with a heavy coffee flavor and slight bitterness from the hops.  Both were new reincarnations of the classic Guinness Draughts that I’d never tasted before, and I really enjoyed both brews.

The Guinness Believer Tasting was certainly a success in Philly, and it may be coming to a city near you soon!  Next week, they will be heading to Washington, DC, and to Chicago the following week.  Best of all, this event is free to all; just make sure to RSVP in advance.  Join Guinness enthusiasts and rookies alike to raise a pint in your city–slàinte!

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Win Tickets to the Third Annual Cheesesteak Challenge!

Calling all Philly cheesesteak fanatics!  This Sunday, from 2-5pm, City Eats and Hotel Palomar will host the Third Annual Cheesesteak Challenge: High Steaks! Block Party at the Hotel’s restaurant, Square 1682.  Chef Guillermo Tellez, along with 12 of the city’s top chefs, will present their own renditions of Philly’s iconic sandwich.  Radio host Matt Cord and cheesesteak legend Tony Luke will judge the challenge and crown the cheesesteak champion.  Attendees will have a chance to sample each chef’s version, as well as local beers from Victory Brewing.  Live entertainment will also be provided by Technical V.

Tickets are on sale for $17, with proceeds going to Philadelphia Academies, a nonprofit organization that aims to expand life and economic options for Philadelphia public school students through career-focused programming.

But thanks to City Eats, The Unpaid Gourmet has free tickets to give away to 3 lucky readers!  To win a free ticket, be one of the first 3 readers to leave a comment, telling me your favorite spot for cheesesteaks in Philly. Each winner will receive 2 tickets to Sunday’s challenge and will be notified by email.  Good luck!

Serious Coffee at Shanghai’s Sumerian

Though replete with cafes, Shanghai is still lacking in serious, high quality coffee. Sumerian, which opened this past summer in Jing’An District, successfully fills that void with its emphasis on Fair Trade beans and sophisticated brewing techniques.  All of the beans are roasted in-house by owner David Seminsky, ensuring a fresh, high quality cup of coffee.

Upon walking into Sumerian, patrons are greeted with a sunny, clean, modern interior.  The main counter is lined with Japanese siphons, which slowly drip intense cold brews, perfect for iced coffee.  There is also a small pastry case filled with delectable looking baked goods, some of which are imported from the U.S.

On all of my visits to Sumerian, I ordered the Kyoto ice drip coffee (RMB 32).  Smooth and light, with pronounced chocolate flavors and subtle sweetness, it was the perfect iced coffee.  Even now that I am back in Philly, the land of La Colombe, I still dream about the Kyoto iced coffee from Sumerian.

Though coffee junkies like me are certainly willing to pay a premium for great coffee, many customers in Shanghai are more reluctant.  In an effort to educate their customer base on the virtues of third wave coffee, Sumerian offers weekly cupping classes on Saturday afternoons, from 12-2pm.  Cupping, which is very popular here in the States, is quite rare in Shanghai, and I’m really glad that Sumerian provides this service.  For coffee geeks seeking serious coffee in Shanghai, look no further than Sumerian.

Sumerian
415 Shanxi Bei Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu
陕西北路415号,近北京西路
136-2174-0969