Mar 18, 2015

That time again, the Great American BBQ and Beer Festival!

Its that time of year again folks, for The Great American BBQ and Beer Festival!


One of my favorite events of the year! Combines 3 of my favorite things, beer and BBQ of coarse, but also, great music.
This year, its The Eli Young Band!

The event is this Saturday, in downtown Chandler. Gates open at noon, Eli Young Band till take the main stage around 8!

You will also experience some 60 pitmasters, cooking up over 20,000 lbs. of their award winning bbq! All washed down with some of Arizona's finest brews from SanTan. What isn't to love about this event?

For more information, tickets, times, directions,  etc, check out the event website here.....

I really hope to see you there!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Mar 17, 2015

Cooking with Beer: Beer Brined Corned Beef with Pickled Cabbage Sliders

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!

One more recipe for this day, I turn once again to my on-line crush, The Beeroness, for this
AMAZING recipe for Beer Brined Corned Beef and Pickled Cabbage Sliders!!

I am actually making this tonight for the family! I'll report back to you, how it is. While its too late to brine your own corned beef, you can still make the sliders! (check out her complete write up on this recipe here.....)

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!

Beer Brined Corned Beer with Pickled Cabbage Sliders
Corned Beef 
  • 3.5 lb beef brisket
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbs kosher salt
  • 3 tbs whole allspice berries
  • 1 tbs whole cloves
  • 1 tbs ground ginger
  • 2 tbs mustard seeds
  • 2 tbs whole peppercorns
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 (12 ounces) bottles of stout
  • 8 cups ice
  • Pickled slaw:
  • 2 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cup savoy cabbage, shredded
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp groung ginger
  • 2 tbs whole dried allspice berries
  • 2 tsp whole cloves
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • _
  • 12 soft potato dinner rolls, split to resemble hamburger buns
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, add brown sugar, 3 tbs kosher salt, 3 tbs allspice berries, 1 tbs cloves, ginger, mustard seeds, 2 tbs peppercorns, along with 2 cups of water.
  • Cook on high just until the salt and sugar dissolve, remove from heat. Add 2 bottles of stout (reserve the last bottle for cooking) and 8 cups of ice, stir until ice has melted and brine is cool.
  • Add the brisket, cover with lid and refrigerate for 3 days and up to 10.
  • Remove from brine and rinse well. Discard the brine and clean the Dutch oven well.
  • Place the brisket back in the cleaned pot, along with the onion, pour the remaining bottle of stout and then cover with cold water until the brisket is fully cover with one to two inches of water above the beef.
  • Bring to a low boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for 3 hours or until the meat if fork tender. Move to a carving board, thinly slice against the grain.
  • While the brisket cooks, make the pickled slaw. In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, sugar, ginger, allspice, cloves and peppercorns in a pot. Bring to simmer just until the salt and sugar dissolve, remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, add the cabbage and onion. Pour the cooled pickling liquid over the cabbage and onion, refrigerate for one hour.
  • Slightly warm the buns, fill with corned beef and slaw before serving.
Hope you have a safe and happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone!!!!
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar

Mar 13, 2015

St Patrick's Day is coming up...a few things.

Hey there
 Saint Patrick's Day is coming right up, and I have a favor to ask you....If you would, please, send me your pictures of how you are celebrating this great day! It helps if you have a beer, but not required by any means...

You can email me your pic's at, or post them on our Facebook page, whatever is easiest for you.

Also, can't decided what to eat? Here are some great recipe's for you to check out....

Saint Patrick's Day Recipes

Grilled Corned Beef and Cheese Sandwich with Guinness Caramelized Onions
(if you want to make that sandwich super good, maked your own Corned Beef! Click the link below to find out how)

Beer Czar's Older Brother shows you how to Corn your own beef.

And for dessert, Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes!

These look just fantastic!

Do you have a favorite Irish, or St Patrick's Day recipe? We would love to share it, email it to us at, and we will add it to our list!!!


So, there you go, a few things to think about this weekend, and next Tuesday!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends!

The Beer Czar

Mar 11, 2015

Craft 64 is Opened for Business! (and you really need to visit!)

You may recall, a few weeks back I wrote about my good friend James Swann's new adventure, the soon to be craft beer and wine bar "Craft 64". Well, I was lucky enough to be in the area this afternoon, so Mrs. Czar and myself paid James a visit, to see how things were going. I am so glad we did.

They had a sort of "unannounced" soft opening this past weekend. Despite virtually no press, aside from an announcement on social media, I am told it was pretty successful. Despite not being completely up and running yet (most noticeably, the 30 more taps that still need to be installed by next week (ish). (So, please note, if you do plan on going in the next few days, or week, there is a limited (albeit very good) tap selection as well as beer in cans and bottles.)

Now, before I talk at all about my impressions of Craft 64, I will admit, from the start, I was excited about the concept. A scratch kitchen, with artisanal, wood fired, hand crafted pizza, homemade breads, fine wines and most importantly (at least to me) an "All Arizona", local only tap list. That is why I was so excited when they finally opened their doors, and I got a chance to check it out. Here is what I found out....

James greeted us upon walking in (we were the first one there this day), and excitedly advised me to check the
place out, walk around, take pictures, explore whatever. Craft 64 has a small, cozy front patio, as well as a larger, equally cozy patio in the back. The day we were there, it was a beautiful, 80 something plus degree's out, the kind of weather patio seating was designed for! Despite this, we elected to sit at the bar so we could listen to James proudly boast about their kitchen, their wood burning oven, his partners, their team working for them, and especially their food. The dinning room is good size, and features quite a few tables, a large community table, and bar seating. James made sure to point out there is no high top seating. This is a restaurant, not just a bar, he is proud the food they serve here, and we soon found out why.

James went over the menu with us, consisting of about 7 different pizza's, various boards, bruschetta, and about five or so salads. Despite being a smaller menu, trying to decide what to have was still an issue, since just about everything I saw on the menu looked very appealing.

On James recommendation, we decided on the "Fico" (fig) pizza with prosciutto. This was a pizza made with fresh mozzarella (made in house, every morning by the way), buratta, parmigiano, truffle oil, and fig sauce topped with arugula. I know what you are thinking, fig, on a pizza? HELL YES! This is a very unique, savory pizza that has a sweetness to it that is just to die for.

Chef "Lachos"
While we were enjoying our own pizza, we where also enjoying watching the various items leaving the kitchen bound for the diners that had been slowly making their way in while we chatted at the bar and enjoyed our beers. From the mounds of colorful salads (one made with rainbow Kale) to the impressive, ample sized bruschetta, and out of this world pizzas, everything that left the kitchen was beyond impressive. The man behind the impressive menu at Craft 64, is Chef "Lachos", who has spent the last 17 years perfecting his craft at the famous, and renowned Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix (voted the best pizza in the country a few years back...).
OK, so say you are just out shopping in Scottsdale or something, and just want to swing in for a glass of wine and some dessert? No problem. Craft 64 has a small dessert menu as well, and by small, I mean it only has 2 items currently. However, on of those items prominently featured the words "Nuttella", so I didn't get any further then that (I am told the other item is a classic tiramisu). We got a "Nuttella Sandwich, which is more like a large calzone, stuffed with Nuttella, plantains, butter and topped roasted hazelnuts. Plenty big enough for 2 or 3 people to share (I would say, too large for just one person), this dessert is just a decadent, delicious pile of goodness.

While we were there they only had 6 beers on tap. As I previously stated, they will be installing 30 more next week (ish).
The tap list will include nothing but local craft beers all brewed here in the state of Arizona. When asked if he had any criteria as to what kind of beer he will serve there (batch, brewery size, region, style etc.) James simply stated, "if its brewed in Arizona, and its good, we will serve it". Pretty simple criteria. James told me a few of the kegs he has waiting in the wings, and, while I won't give anything away right now, I will say, its the kind of stuff people have been known to line up and wait for. You can always expect something special on tap here, as well as the local favorite "go to" beers. So there will be something for everyone, of every taste.

Its not just for beer folks either. A large portion of their menu was dedicated to wines. While it may not be the largest selection of wines you'll find (its by no means small, don't get me wrong), the ones they serve are carefully selected. If you can't decide what wine to have with your food, they even have a sommelier in house to help you out!

Fresh made bread, made in-house,
every morning.
So, come for the beer and wine, stay for the food. Like I mentioned before, its a scratch kitchen, there isn't even a freezer in the whole place (aside from the ice machine). As much of their ingredients they use are sourced locally and organic (whenever possible). Everything from honey, to sausage, to flour, all made here in Arizona. The bread and pizza crust, all made fresh daily, in house, as is, like I mentioned before, the mozzarella cheese, which, I will say, is just wonderful.

So, if you find yourself in Old Town Scottsdale, craving a beer, or wine, or some incredible pizza, check out Craft 64 (right next to the Old Tortilla Factory Restaurant on Main St.). It is, already a great place to do just that.

To view the entire photo album from my visit there, click here.....

Craft 64 is located on

6922 E Main St,
Scottsdale, AZ

Craft 64's Website
Craft 64's Facebook Page

Mar 6, 2015

Cooking with Beer: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Just in time for St Patrick's Day, here is a wonderful dessert made using all the ingredients of an Irish Car Bomb (Guinness, Baily's and Jamison). All amazingly combined to make a delicious, pretty easy to make dessert!

Recipe is from the site "Brown Eyed Baker" (all credit, for the recipe, and photos, go to that site! Check out the complete write up on the recipe here....)

So, here are cupcakes, inspired by the drink (well, shot) "Irish Car Bomb", check it out!

Guinness, Whiskey & Irish Cream Cupcakes (aka, Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes!)


For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey
For the Baileys Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream


1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

OK, that sounds amazing, and just in time for St Patrick's Day!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends!

The Beer Czar

Mar 4, 2015

Friends and Fan's Winter Beer Pic's!! 2015!

A few weeks ago, amidst seemingly never ending weather reports and news stories about the constant barrage of freezing cold wintery weather blasting most of the nation, I asked people to send me their photos of how they are dealing with all the snow, and cold, school delays and cancellations, and everything that comes with life in winter.

The response I got was nothing short of awesome! I want to thank everyone that sent in their photos, or allowed me to use their photos for this piece. This group of photos is just proof that beer is fun, and people that enjoy beer, know how to make the best of a difficult situation, and enjoy their favorite beverage, regardless of the weather outside! So, whip up a cup of some Stout Hot Chocolate (with ice cream) and enjoy!!

This is John, my ex-wife's cousin. This was the photo that inspired me to ask for your photos! John doesn't seem bothered by the snow or freezing temps in the slightest.
This set of photos was sent to me by Roger, in CT. Roger always sends in some great photos, and these are certainly no exception!

At least your beer won't get warm!
Probably my favorite photo of the bunch! I found this posted on a beer page on Facebook by Matt, on his summit trek up Mt Rainer! Amazing photo!
This next set of photos was sent to me from a few "friends of a friend" in Hanover MA.
The old "Irish Yard Stick"!

What a great snow cave!!! I love this picture as well!
I thought the above pic was pretty much the ultimate beer drinking snow cave, until Kodi, in Norwalk CT sent me this set of photos. Kodi wrote me and said "My Landlord plowed a full 1 story high pile of snow in my parking spaces, so we made the best out of it.  Built a fort and threw a party. Word spread fast around town and people are begging to come drink in it too."
It was 15 feet deep, and held over a dozen people!

Thank you Kodi!!! Awesome pictures!
Marc, Warminster PA
Another Mark, this one in NE Ohio
This was taken off the Green Flash Facebook page, taken while they were visiting NYC!

Harry, in East Berlin Conn, finds it easier to stay warm inside (I couldn't agree more!). A bottle of Backwoods Bastard doesn't hurt either!
Jannine, in my home state of Maine, making the most of it for sure. Just looking at this picture makes me chilly......
Jenna, in Indianapolis, keeping the beer chilled is easy!

Thomas, in Fredricks MD, probably needs this beer to cool off!!
Stephen, in Worchester, MA
Trent, in Cody WY. All the snow is making that very large bottle of (wonderful) beer look pretty small!
I liked this pic too. Taken from Mother Brewing's Facebook page.
(Springfield, MA)
Actually, even here in Arizona, we are not without snow (at least some of us). These pic's come from just up the hill in Flagstaff. A picture of Mother Road's patio, and the entrance to Beaver Street Brewery.

However, not all of us in Arizona have snow. I took this picture while trying measuring the amount of snow we got so far this winter......
Pretty much the same amount as it was last time I checked......
What would a "friends and fan's" post be without a picture of the lovely Kayla? Here she is either heading out for the evening, or coming home.....
We here in Arizona are not the only ones that get off easy in winter......
Enjoying a beer in Florida.....
Dwayne, in Llwaco, WA needed a beer to help him get through a little landscaping...
..and to finish it off, probably THE BEST way to enjoy a beer in the winter, let Jan from Playa del Carman show us how!!!
Again, many thanks to everyone that sent in, or allowed me to use your photos for this set. These are always fun posts, and I you seem to enjoy them almost as much as I do!
Not sure what the "theme" for the next Friends and Fan's photo post will be, I'm open to any suggestions....send them to me.
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar