Jan 24, 2015

Cooking with Beer: Beer Braised Pulled Pork Sliders with Chipotle Beer Cheese Sauce

The lovely and talented Beeroness
I mentioned earlier that with the big game fast approaching, I wanted to supply you all with some great recipes and ideas for hosting a Super Bowl Party that are not only easy, but delicious. Well, I figured I would turn to my absolute favorite beer cooking blog, the lovely and talented Beeroness! If you haven't checked out here site, please do. If you are a fan of food, and beer, and cooking them together, this site is for you! (click here to check out her site....)

This time, I found an amazing pulled pork slider recipe! Pulled Pork, that is beer braised, served with Chipotle Beer Cheese Sauce.....seriously, check this out! AMAZING, another hat time to The Beeroness, she continues to amaze me!

Beer Braised Pulled Pork Sliders with Chipotle Beer Cheese Sauce

    For the pork:
  • 2 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 4 lb Pork butt (also called pork shoulder)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups (2, 12ounce bottles) stout or smoked porter
  • 24 slider buns

  • For the cheese sauce:
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 cup beer (wheat beer, blonde ale, pale ale, pilsner)
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar, do not use pre shredded
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • In a small bowl stir together the salt, brown sugar onion powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, smoked paprika and mustard powder together until combined, set aside.
  • Take out your pork and stab 6, 2-inch deep holes fairly evenly spaced through the meat. Push a clove of garlic into each hole until no longer visible.
  • Rub the entire surface of the meat with the spice mixture, using it all.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until very hot. Sear all surfaces of the meat, even the sides, until browned. The entire process will probably take about 10-15 minutes. Pour the beer over the meat, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 3 hours, turning the meat over about every 30 minutes, until the meat is tender and falling apart.
  • Once the meat is tender remove from heat, use two forks to shred into pieces while still in the pot (or remove, shred and return to pot). Return to the pot to heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and discard the liquid.
  • Add all cheese sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor. Process on high until very well blended, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Transfer contents to a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk rapidly and continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fill slider buns with pork, top with cheese sauce, serve warm
OK, so, there you have! Try this amazing recipe, and look for more from this amazing chef at her site, The Beeroness, its impressive! Check out her notes and entire right up for this recipe here....
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends!
The Beer Czar

Jan 22, 2015

All new look for Mr. Pineapple!!!!

Although most of the country is waist deep in snow, and staring at temps hovering around the wrong
side of 0, we here in Arizona are lucky enough to avoid all that. I lovingly refer to temps in the 50's as "chilly" now. Here, we are already thinking ahead to sunshine, warm weather, bikini's and pool parties. Of coarse, for any good pool parties, you need a great beer. Again, we here in Arizona are lucky enough to claim SanTan Brewing as ours, and with them we can also claim Mr. Pineapple as our own, one of the best summer beers for pool parties, golfing, barbequing, you name it.

Set to hit shelves in just a few weeks (February, just in time for the big game!), Senor Pineapple has undergone a few exciting changes this year. First of them being, SanTan Brewing Company has teamed up with Chiquita to use Rainforest Alliance Certified Pineapple Juice for a more sustainable, socially conscious and tasty can of craft beer. Founder and Brewmaster Anthony Canecchia says
“We’re also very excited to be partnering with Chiquita to improve the quality of our beer by using a premium juice that allows us to support sustainable agriculture and to be more social responsible.”

The other change, and certainly the most obvious, is Mr. Pineapples new look! SanTan gave Mr. Pineapple a new can, a cooler, more laid back look, Anthony has this to say about the new can....

“Mr. Pineapple knows how to get the party started. We wanted to give his can a new look, something exciting that’s going to make you smile from the first sip to the last drop,”
So, anyone that has read this blog for more then 15 minutes, knows I am a HUGE fan of this beer! I have 3 staple summer beers that I turn too when the weather warms up. Bell's Oberon has been my go to summer beer since I first had it at my wedding reception back in 2008. Recently, Hanger 24's Orange Wheat has muscled its way into my top 3 as well. However, the one I turn to most often, is this one, the one that is brewed 6 miles down the road from my house. To me, its just a perfect summer beer. It tastes like summer. A traditional German Wheat Ale, this is a very flavorful, yet easy to drink beer. I guess its technically a "fruit" beer, but the pineapple is more subtle then a lot of fruit beers. It has a fruity aroma, and a light, refreshing citrus/pineapple flavor that goes well a lot of great summer dishes.
I am not the only one that loves this beer however.....winner of many awards, and SanTan's top selling seasonal beer, and I have no data to prove it, but I would venture a guess that this is the best selling seasonal beer brewed in Arizona (if this is not that case, if someone could please correct me....thanks!).
Here is a little beer geek info on Mr. Pineapple

Style:   Pineapple Wheat
Malt:    2-Row, White Wheat, Caramel, Munich
Hops:   Columbus
Yeast: German Wheat
OG:     13 Plato
ABV:    5%
Color: Hazy Straw Gold
IBU:     15

So, be on the look out in the coming weeks, I am told Mr. Pineapple will be hitting shelves come Feb (less then 2 weeks away...). Need to know where to find it? Check out SanTan's beer finder here....
So, break out the swim trucks, fire up the grill, and get the cooler ready to throw in a few six packs of Mr. Pineapple....
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar
About SanTan Brewing Company

Open since 2007 under the leadership of founder and brewmaster, Anthony Canecchia, SanTan Brewing Company has established a strong reputation as one of Arizona’s favorite craft breweries. In addition to brewing, SanTan features a friendly neighborhood brewpub in Downtown Chandler, which has quickly become one of the top local food and beer destinations in the Phoenix metro area.  
All SanTan Brewing Company craft beers are Southwestern Style Ales. SanTan’s brews are fermented to completion and carbonated higher than traditional American beers for a more effervescent, crisp and refreshing hand crafted beer – perfect for quenching your thirst in the hot Arizona sun and throughout the southwestern region of the US.

In 2009, SanTan Brewing began distributing their Southwestern Style Ales throughout the state of Arizona, operating with a mission to pair craft beer with craft food that would inspire great conversation and good times. 2014 marks the beginning of taking this journey throughout the Southwest and California.  

SanTan beers have won numerous national and statewide awards including two medals at the US Open Beer Championship: bronze in 2013 and gold in 2011. SanTan Brewing also took home a silver medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival and won Best Brewery in Arizona, selected by the Phoenix New Times and the Arizona Republic, in 2013 and 2011.

Visit them on the web at www.santanbrewing.com



Jan 19, 2015

Guest Contributor: Arizona Breweries Need Your Voice Now! PLEASE HELP!

The following piece was written by my good friend and strong advocate of Arizona beer, Mr. James Swann. Please take a minute and read what James has to say, and if you agree with him (and myself on this) please take a moment and sign the attached petition, and help keep Arizona Beer growing!!!

Arizona Breweries Need Your Voice Now!  PLEASE HELP!

In recent weeks I have been asked on multiple occasions to weigh in on the proposed AZ. Beer Bill
and legislation that has captured the attention of our community, so here it is.  Although the outcome of this law making will greatly affect how local Arizona breweries will be allowed to operate in the near future, believe me when I say that the eyes of the nation are indeed upon us.  To see legislation of this type pass in such a quickly populating place as Arizona will also make a mark on how other states perceive, interpret and change their laws as well.  This is quite an important ship we are sailing!

Now that that is out of the way, how do I feel about the proposed changes?  The short answer is that I completely support the modifications as they will allow for significant growth in the industry and create jobs here in Arizona.  As a consumer of fine brew, you should support these changes as well.

What the AZ. Beer Bill does is allow Arizona breweries to lift the current forty thousand barrel (eighty thousand keg) production cap and at the same time maintain the connecting pubs and tap rooms associated with each brewery.  This is important as current law would force most local breweries to shut down these tap rooms in order to move beyond the forty thousand barrel limit.  This could potentially put many Arizonans out of work.  Do you want to put your favorite barman at SanTan, Four Peaks or Huss out of a job?  I certainly don’t.

This legislation will in fact create jobs and strengthen our local economy as each brewery would be allowed to own and operate up to seven satellite tap rooms and supply them with product without the worry or concern of production caps.  In truth beer brewing, distributing and retail in the United States supports 20,430 jobs, $606,325,300 dollars in total in wages and has a total economic contribution of over one billion.  Craft brewing had a $664 million dollar impact in Arizona in 2012 and created 3,486 jobs.  Those numbers are hard to argue with and are growing.   

Some may argue that these new alterations undermine the basic checks and balances our government’s Three Tier System put into place at the end of Prohibition all the way back in 1933.  In a nutshell that system allows for the controlled and structured sale of all alcoholic beverages while maintaining three tiers of taxation keeping each state’s coffers full money for education, roadways and all things municipal.  While I will not argue that methods for regulating the sale of alcohol will always be necessary I would contend that the proposed changes will only serve to strengthen structure, limit liability, keep more money here in Arizona and create even more tax revenue for our great state.

Sign the petition at www.azbeerbill.com

While most laws are put into place with the best of intentions we all must realize that things change.  Much of the current law governing this matter is almost a century old and is at best out dated and antiquated.  Why on earth should we penalize our local breweries for their own success?  The simple answer is we shouldn’t. 

Lastly, the forces opposing this bill are for the most part spirit producers or resellers and have an
incredible amount of money and lobbying power.  The Worst Part?  Most of these spirits aren’t even produced here in the United States!  SO WHAT DO WE HAVE?  WE HAVE YOU.  

For your state, for the love of beer, for your local brewery please go to www.azbeerbill.com and sign the petition showing your support.  This will take you less than five minutes.  They need your voice NOW!
James Swann

Again, please take a moment and sign the petition attached (find it here...) and help us keep this momentum going!!


Jan 18, 2015

Who's ready for Arizona Beer Week, 2015???

If you aren't already excited, or unaware that Arizona Beer Week is fast approaching, here is a little video the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild put together to help with both.....

Stay tuned for more info, or go to the official Arizona Beer Week website here for a complete list of festivals, dinners, tap take over's and other events here.....

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends!

The Beer Czar

Jan 14, 2015

Cooking with Beer - Founders Beer Cheese Dip

America loves football, especially this time of year. I know I am rooting for my beloved Patriots to make another appearance in the big game! Even the most casual of football fans becomes a MUCH bigger fan come Super Bowl Sunday. Even if it is just to watch the commercials.

Well, the time honored most American of traditions to take part in while watching the game, is, of coarse eating, and drinking. I hope to bring you a series of tips on what to eat, and drink while watching the game. First up....lets start it off with a little dip!

I love beer, and I love cheese, so you can imagine, I just LOVE beer cheese. Founders Brewing Co in Grand Rapids Michigan is one of my favorite breweries. So, when I see a recipe for Founders Beer Cheese (3 of my favorite words in one phrase!), you can imagine a get a little goosey.....

So, here it is, Founders Beer Cheese everyone!


1 pound cream cheese (softened)
1 ounce smoked Gouda cheese (grated)
6 ounces Founders Centennial IPA
1/2 ounce fresh baby spinach
1/2 medium-sized red bell pepper (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine and mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a casserole dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring halfway through baking. Serve with crostinis, toast points and/or tortilla chips.

To check out the complete write up on the recipe, and others from Founders, check out their website here...

One of the great things about beer cheese is, its just so damn easy to make!! How can you go wrong with smoked cheese and great beer?

Anyway, keep an eye out for more fun recipes and suggestions in the weeks to come!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Jan 12, 2015

Arizona Beer Week 2015!!! Its almost here.....

Its almost that time of year again folks, Arizona Beer Week 2015!!!! Now, I was to comb all the brewery sites, event sites and everything, and put together a nice, comprehensive list of all the events going on during Arizona Beer Week this year. Well, I started looking, and writing them down, and realized there were just a ton of stuff going on. Another thing I realized, I was getting most of the info off of one site, and I realize the stuff I didn't get off this site, had the stuff listed already that I thought I had "found". So, instead of reinventing the wheel I'll just supply you with a link to all the great festivals, tap take over, beer dinners, walks, tapping's and just about everything else you can think of.

So, here is a link to the official "Arizona Beer Week" website!!! I may post reminders or suggestions of certain events I plan to attend, or that look worthy of future notice, but until then, here is a complete list of events....

Official Site for Arizona Beer here.....

Hope to see you out and about!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

James Swann is back, with big news!

King James Swann
If there were to be a Mount Rushmore for Arizona Beer, you could certainly make a case that James Swann (lovingly referred to locally as King James) would be on it. James's fingerprints are all over the beer community here in Arizona, especially the east Valley. Chances are, if you have enjoyed a beer in Chandler, be it a beer bar, or brewery, James probably had a hand it getting that place started and off the ground.

Well, for that last half of 2014, James has been laying a little low (well, by James' standards anyway) working as a sales rep for a distribution company. Well, as many of you know, he gave his 2 weeks notice just about 2 weeks ago, and now he is ready to announce the next phase of his journey.

James has taken on a few partners, and is helping to get a new Scottsdale beer bar "Craft 64" off the ground and up and running. Craft 64 is a beer and wine bar that will be in downtown Scottsdale, quite literally in the shadow of the Hotel Valley Ho.             
Now, I know there are a lot of beer bars and tap rooms operating, or opening in the valley, but this one will be a little unique. Craft 64, will be serving exclusively fine Arizona craft beers!!! There will be 30 handles, all of which will be pouring beer made right here in our state. While they will have some of the local staples from the Arizona "big boys" (SanTan, Four Peaks etc) their will be a focus on the very small, lesser known breweries not in regular distribution. Of coarse they will also be serving those rare, limited release gems from the big boys as well. While talking to James about this a few weeks ago, he explained to me how he plans on visiting these smaller breweries, and grabbing kegs from them, and showcasing them in Craft 64.
While previously, you may have only been able to get those beers at their taprooms, pubs or tasting rooms, or maybe in very select places near them, Craft 64 will have a steady rotation of small breweries all the time. So you don't have to worry about stopping by and them having all the "same ol' stuff on tap. Each trip will be a unique experience for you to try beers you not only may have never had before, but there's a good chance you may even have a beer from a brewery you didn't even know existed, and THAT my friends, is awesome!

In addition to the 30 handles, they will have an extensive fine wine list (the wine will not be exclusive to Arizona, but will feature wine from the rapidly growing Arizona wine industry). There will also be a brick pizza oven, so there will be some amazing, artisanal, brick oven pizza's on the menu, as well as other appetizers and menu items.

Looking to be opened in just a month or so (no exact date yet, but rest assured, I will be keeping you all well informed of any and all information)

Craft 64 will be located at 6299 E Main St, Scottsdale AZ (major cross streets will be Goldwater and Indian School).

You can follow their progress here at The Beer Czar, or check out their Facebook page here, or website here.....

Again, check back here for more news and updates about James, and Craft 64. As soon as I get an opening date, I will be sure to pass it along, but it won't be long!!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar