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Brew Dogs Airs Philly Episode on Tues Oct 8!

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Attention Philly beer enthusiasts!  Brew Dogs, a new show about craft beer, will feature Philadelphia’s thriving craft beer scene tonight at 10|9c on Esquire Network.  Brew Dogs stars James Watt and Martin Dickie, owners of the UK’s fastest-growing craft brewery and makers of the world’s strongest ale, and chronicles their travels to America’s top craft beer cities. 

In each city, the boys collaborate with a top craft brewery to make unique and oftentimes bizarre locally-inspired drafts. The boys’ draft in Philly may be the craziest yet–a colonial-era beer infused with 320 copies of the Declaration of Independence and corn that the boys grind themselves. And as if that wasn’t crazy enough, the boys partner with Victory Brewing to brew the beer atop a Fourth of July parade float!  They claim it’s the “most American beer ever made.”     

I chatted with James and Martin about their brewery, the show, and their time in the city of brewery love. Below is the interview:     

1. Tell me about Brew Dogs. How did you guys decide to start the brewery? What sets Brew Dogs apart from other brewers in the UK? 

Martin and I have been longstanding beer enthusiasts and we were increasingly dissatisfied with the selection of industrially brewed and buttoned-up ales that dominated the UK market.  So in 2007 we started BrewDog to make our own beer.  We started in small batches, bottling by hand and selling our beer wherever we could.  We were only 24 then and put everything we had into the success of our beer and our overall mission of producing not just better beer than what was out there – but the best beer you can find.  We are not afraid to experiment with bold flavors and uncommon expectations of what beer should be – whether that means making the strongest beer in the world or giving our beers names that raise an eyebrow.  We’ve been very proud of the product we’ve produced since then.

2. What are your impressions of the American craft beer scene?

We love it! Unconstrained by tradition or convention American craft brewers follow their muse and riff on classic beer styles creating the most exciting beer culture anywhere in the world.

3. This season, you guys make beer with some pretty unique ingredients, including sea kelp, chiles, and cactus! What ingredients turned out well? Were there any that turned out badly? What is the weirdest ingredient you guys have used in your beers? 

We used the world’s hottest chiles, pharmaceutical grade caffeine, meat-smoked malt, foraged yarrow and kelp from the bottom of the Pacific and even harvested fog to use for our brewing water in San Francisco. The weirdest thing had to be in Philly, when we added 320 million copies of the Declaration of Independence to the beer.

4. While in Philly, you collaborated with Victory Brewing on a colonial style beer. What exactly is a colonial style beer?

A colonial era beer is the type of beer Ben Franklin would have made when he home brewed. We used a recipe that dates back to the American revolution and also used ingredients they would have had available at that time like corn which we actually ground ourselves on a working mill from 1750!

5. You guys brewed the beer atop a Fourth of July parade float. How did that go? 

Epic. We love the 4th of July, the day when all Americans celebrate Will Smith single-handedly defeating an alien invasion.

6. What is the craziest place you guys have tried to brew beers? 

The bottom of the Atlantic was pretty crazy. We have also brewed on train, on a ferry, on a sailing ship, on a float, on top of a 15,000 ft mountain and on a raft made of beer kegs floating down the Willamette River!

7. In Philly, did you have a chance to try any local restaurants? Or cheesesteaks?!

We definitely got our hands on at least one cheesesteak while we were in town.  Only wish we were able to stay in Philly longer to experience more of what the city had to offer.  We’ll definitely be back.  

8. What is your favorite experience or memory from this season? 

In the first episode while we were in San Diego, Martin stripped in an old folks home during a rousing game ofdominos.  I loved it.  The ladies were quite taken with him.

Be sure to check out Brew Dogs and the most American beer ever made tonight on Esquire Network at 10|9c!

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Girl Power and Top Chef

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After tonight’s epic finale (part 1) of Top Chef, I had to break my 3-month radio silence and express my sheer joy that 2 fierce females are the finalists! Readers and Top Chef fans, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time in the show’s history that two women are the sole finalists. It’s a truly momentous occasion, showing just how far women have come in the culinary world.

And yes, I realize that a woman has already won Top Chef–Stephanie Izard, the insanely talented and bubbly chef from Chicago, now of Girl and the Goat fame. But somehow, I’m even more excited for the Brooke-Kristen battle, and truly admire both of these women. They not only outcooked the boys in the kitchen, but did so with grace and integrity. Neither of them had to be loud (unlike…ahem…JOSIE) or attention whores (ahem…STEPHAN), resort to cooking copious amounts of bacon (ahem…JOSH) or exude sultriness a la Padma (although I have to admit, I do kind of have a girl crush on Kristen). They both just cooked their asses off, stayed cool under pressure (except when Kristen “peed in her pants a little” as Tom barked for more tuna), and stayed true to who they are (which was ultimately poor Sheldon’s downfall).

This is not the first time that Top Chef has broken barriers and glass ceilings. Last season, Paul Qui, an adorably introverted and incredibly gifted chef from Austin, was the first Asian American to be crowned Top Chef. Here’s hoping that an Asian American woman–Kristen Kish (there, I said it!)–wins the title next.

Photo courtesy of BravoTv.com

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope everyone celebrates with something yummy today!  As for me, I celebrated earlier this weekend with a trip to Fogo de Chao–nothing says Valentine’s Day romance quite like all-you-can-eat beef.  It’ll be a quiet night at home tonight, and I might make these to get into in the V-day spirit.  Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

(Photo via someecards)