Standing Stone Brewing Company

Food

By in Food 0

Tips for Baking With Beer & Vegan Mocha Stout Cupcake Recipe

As lovers of craft beer and fine food, we’re always looking for new ways to unite them. So, naturally we were in seventh heaven when we tasted chocolate-stout cupcakes from Sweet Desire, a local bakery & confectionery, at this year’s Oregon Chocolate Festival. Made with Chocolate Stout we brewed for the festivities, they’re one of the sweetest food-beer pairings we’ve encountered. Sweet Desire makes vegan and gluten-free treats, delivering decadence to all, and uses as many local and organic ingredients as possible. We asked founder Stephanie Friedman to share tips for baking with beer and making vegan treats, and a recipe for you to savor at home. Enjoy!

1. What inspired you to focus on vegan baking?

I’ve always loved baking and decided to explore vegan desserts a few years ago when a friend asked me to make truffles for her wedding. My initial batches used cream, as is typical, but, as I’m lactose intolerant, I decided to try hemp milk instead. I was surprised and thrilled at how delicious and creamy they were. After that, I went on a vegan cupcake-baking craze. I started to sell my products on a small scale while working in the kitchen of the Morical House Garden Inn. People were enjoying my truffles and cupcakes, so, when I was offered the chance to share a commercial kitchen, it seemed like I should go for it. Sweet Desire has been growing rapidly ever since.

2. How did you learn to make such delicious vegan and gluten-free treats? My mother was a great cook and baker, and my father was extremely health conscious, so I was exposed to healthy and alternative food choices since childhood. I learned to make delicious vegan and gluten-free treats by my own experimentation and a few great cookbooks.

3. What local and organic ingredients do you use, and how do you find them? I have a strong commitment to using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. We’re lucky to have so many options in Ashland, OR! My favorite jam for layer cake fillings and frosting is from Pennington Farms. Berries and produce come from a variety of local farms, and I choose based on what’s in season and fresh. Last summer I picked masses of berries from Eagle Mill Farm. I use Oregon-based distributors including Hummingbird Wholesale, which specializes in local products, including flours. 

4. What are some simple ways to adapt baking recipes to be vegan?

There are a few ways to swap out dairy and eggs. Dairy is usually easy to substitute with nut milks, hemp milk, soymilk, or even water! Eggs are harder, as they are used as a binder (and contribute to rising), but bananas and ground flax seeds work well. I usually use a baking powder/baking soda mix with apple cider vinegar for rising, a depression era baking solution.

5. Can you share a few tips for using beer in baking recipes?

I’d add beer as a percentage of the liquid that the recipe calls for, from 25% to 75%. The cupcakes I made for the Oregon Chocolate Festival with Standing Stone’s Chocolate Stout had 25% of the liquid as beer. Next time I would try increasing the amount for a stronger beer flavor.

6. Can you share a recipe for beer lovers to try?

Sure!

Sweet Desire’s Vegan Mocha Stout Muffins/Cupcakes

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee (or instant espresso)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup stout beer (like Standing Stone’s Oatmeal Stout)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Line muffin/cupcake tins with paper liners.
  • Whisk together all oil, vinegar, almond milk, vanilla extract, and stout beer. Add instant coffee and sugar. Mix well.
  • Sift all other dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add to wet.
  • Do not over-mix.
  • Fold in Chocolate Chips
  • Fill muffin cups almost to the top.
  • Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out dry (unless it hits the melting chips!)
  • Let cool until you can remove from tin and place on cooling rack.
  • Enjoy!

Thanks Stephanie! We can’t wait to try the next batch of beer cupcakes, and hope this blog inspires some great beer-infused baking.

(last two photos by Stephanie Friedman)

By in Food, Restaurant & Menu 1

Morning Lovers Rejoice! Standing Stone Breakfast Returns and Expands May 5th

It’s officially springtime in Southern Oregon, and with its arrival comes the return of breakfast at Standing Stone! We start serving scrumptious morning meals this year on May 5th, matching the beginning date for the Saturday Growers and Crafters Market in Ashland, OR.

Last year, we launched our first-ever breakfast service to coincide with the Growers and Crafters Market’s new weekend location – downtown on Oak St, right in front of Standing Stone. With fresh produce right outside our front door, we couldn’t possibly miss out on the opportunity to whip up locally inspired breakfast meals and beverages to match.

This year, we’re expanding this well-received offering by serving breakfast starting at 8am on both Saturdays and Sundays, celebrating morning meals all weekend long. Breakfast will be available until 2pm, with our lunch and dinner menu items available from 11:30am. Even better, breakfast will continue after the Saturday market season ends. We’ll be serving breakfast year-round!

With the Standing Stone Farm Project well under way and our chickens happily laying, we’ll feature pasture-raised eggs from our farm on Eagle Mill Rd. As the planting and growing season continues in Southern Oregon, we’ll also use a variety of herbs and veggies from our rooftop garden and the market in quiches, omelets, scrambles, scones and more.

Of course, we won’t forget the breakfast beverages, too. We have our Noble Coffee Stout on tap, which combines our Oatmeal Stout with a generous kick of Noble Coffee Roaster’s Mokha Java blend. Or, try a lighter beer to perfectly pair with your morning pastry. We also have an espresso bar featuring Noble Coffee’s World Tour roast. For breakfast-lovers of all ages, fresh-squeezed Orange Juice is always available, as is organic Apple Cider and Cherry or Ginger Lemonade.

Here’s a sneak peek at our breakfast menu, with lots of weekly specials to come, too. We also have kids’ options available and lots of great sides to make a perfect breakfast plate.:

Two Pasture-Raised Eggs with Toast and Marionberry Jam
Chilaquiles with Blue Corn Chips
Quiche of the Day
Oregon Coast Shrimp and Crab Cake Benedict
Salmon Omelette

*All above served with Homefries

Buckwheat Pancakes
Oatmeal Molasses French Toast
Breakfast Burrito

Be sure to stop by for breakfast and the Growers and Crafters Market on Saturday, and check us out on Sundays, too. Just like our craft beer and terrific lunch and dinner offerings, breakfast is here to enjoy year-round.

Starting Up Our Rooftop and Farm Gardens + Tips for Yours

In Southern Oregon, spring keeps farmers and gardeners busy sowing seeds and transplanting starts. This year, we’ve joined the action. Our efforts launched last summer when we started a rooftop garden, and we began leasing farmland last fall to grow produce for our restaurant menu. We’re excited to get going on our farm and rooftop garden, with a full season ahead of us.

Melza Quinn, Standing Stone server and chicken caretaker (photo below), is also a gardener with a super green thumb. She’s been planting seeds for vegetables, herbs and flowers, including artichokes, basil, cauliflower, pink corn, kale, tarragon, tomatoes, hollyhocks, poppies, morning glories and sweet peas.

If you visit our restaurant and brewery, you’ll see some of our seedlings in the front window, getting their start in compostable cups. We’ve got many more inside under our skylights and grow lights.

When they’re ready for transplanting, we’ll take them to our rooftop garden and farm. We’ll leave a few inside the brewpub, too, to beautify the space while educating and captivating our guests.

On our farm, we’ll test them in different areas to find the best growing conditions. Over the winter, our farm team constructed some raised beds using a sheet mulching method. They laid down corrugated cardboard to squash out star thistle, then added a layer of mulch from spent grain and a layer of farm-fresh compost. This is a quick, easy, low-cost and successful way to start a garden in any area where you have grass or poor soil. Try it at home!

We chose heirloom varieties from Seed Savers Exchange, which specializes in heirloom varietals and gathers seed from a network of individuals who save seeds from home gardens and small farms. When buying seed, look for local growers and family farmers, too, like the Rogue Valley’s Siskiyou Seeds. If you have several friends who want to share a bulk seed order, the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative is a great option. They’re a co-op of small farmers in the western US who produce open-pollinated, organic varietals, including lots of heirlooms and select varietals adapted with traditional breeding. Their seed is available in bulk online.

We can’t wait until our efforts bear fruit – or veggies, herbs and flowers, to be exact! Growing food is a fascinating process that rewards us with fresh food, slashes food miles and eco-impact (especially if organic methods are used) and gives us exercise, fresh air and sunshine. What a delicious deal!

We hope you’ll join the fun and fulfillment by growing some of your own food. If you need guidance, contact your local Extension program or seed companies for information about when to plant specific crops in your area (from seed or transplanting starts), and optimal growing conditions for them. The Rodale Institute is a great source of information on organic gardening, too. If you need inspiration, stop by Standing Stone to say hello to our seedlings. Happy planting!

( photo credits: Top left – Rachel Koning, others – George Rubaloff

By in Brewery & Beer, Events, Food 0

Check Out the 8th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival 3/17 (and Cheese and Beer Pairing Ideas, Too)

We invite craft cheese and craft beer fans alike to check out the 8th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival this Saturday, March 17th from 10am-5pm at Rogue Creamery in Central Point, OR. Put on by the Oregon Cheese Guild, this delicious event will highlight cheese makers from across the state, and present classic wine and beer pairings to complete the tasting experience.

Like independently brewed craft beer, craft cheese is worth seeking out, and Oregon has some of the best. The multiple-award-winning Rogue Creamery has long been known for their Rogue River Blue, which has won national awards and international recognition. They’re also committed to sustainable farming and business to the core, which makes their products even better, we think.

We like to feature Goat Cheese from Mama Terra Micro Creamery and Pholia Farms, both from Southern Oregon, on our restaurant’s specials board in pizzas and grilled sandwiches. Our chef has even decided to join the fun, bringing cheese making in our own kitchen with crafting Queso Fresco.

Standing Stone is sending along a few ales to the festival to savor through a free class, “Tasty Beers and Fabulous Cheeses: Classic Flavor Partners,” lead by Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer. Regional wineries and other Southern Oregon breweries are lined up to participate, too, so you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to try local, artisanal fare from some the best our state has to offer.

A BIT ABOUT BEER AND CHEESE PAIRING

Several of beer’s key characteristics make it an excellent choice to pair with tasty, crafted cheeses. Hop bitterness, roasted flavors, and carbonation are all characteristics that can enhance a pairing experience. Bitterness and carbonation are helpful to cleanse and refresh the palate between savory bites of rich cheese. Toastiness that comes from roasted malt is also a classic beer attribute that complements cheese’s velvety mouthfeel (think grilled cheese sandwiches on toasted bread…mmm). As with other food and beer pairings, intensities are important to match, too. Heavier, stronger cheeses pair best with full-bodied, robust beers, and lighter flavors and mouthfeel should be matched up as well.

Inspired by the Cheese Festival’s pairing suggestions, we came up with a few yummy cheese and beer coupling ideas of our own, featuring our own Standing Stone brews and cheese varieties we typically feature on our menu and specials board.

Double IPA – Blue Cheese

Hefewiezen – Fresh Mozzarella

Oatmeal Stout – Sharp Cheddar

I Love Oregon Ale – Queso Fresco

Amber Ale – Chevre (Goat Cheese)

Dive in to these tasty partnerships at our restaurant or at home, with beer to go. And you’re sure to get more ideas at the Cheese Festival this Saturday. Savor the great craft beer and craft cheeses of our region, and invite others to do the same! Getting friends together over cheese and beer is our idea of a great weekend.

2012 Winter Beer Dinner Brews Up Great Times

We want to thank everyone who joined us for our 2012 Winter Beer Dinner! This is our yearly event to celebrate two of our greatest passions: beer and food. Our brewmaster and chef, Larry Chase and Eric Bell, enticed our guests’ taste buds with carefully concocted food and beer pairings. This year’s dinner was held on January 12th at Standing Stone.

Our dining room was full of eager Standing Stone Brewing fans, excitedly awaiting each beautiful dish to harmonize with each tasty beer during our six-course annual dinner. As each course was served, Larry and Eric took a moment to explain the flavor profiles of their creations and the characteristics that make for exquisite pairings.

If you missed this year’s dinner, here’s a recap of the flavor and fun:

Milk and Honey Ale with Feuillete de Poisson

I Love Oregon Ale with Warm Artichoke and Mizuna Salad

Amber Ale with Sushi Lasagna with Vodka Gravlox, Flying Fish Roe and Matchstick Ginger

Double IPA with Standing Stone Farm Black Angus Rib Eye and Chanterelles

Oatmeal Stout with Mont Blanc

Barley Wine with Caramel Chevre Crème Brulee

We captured lots of great moments this year, both in the dining room and behind the scenes. The colorful dishes coming from the kitchen and our guests’ happy faces made for some great pictures. We want to share a few of these photos and highlight this great night! You can also view our full photo album for more tasty snapshots.

For those of you who attended, thank you for joining us and we were thrilled to see everyone there! This is our favorite Standing Stone event of the year, and we couldn’t be happier to see lots of our regular customers and new faces as well.

Keep your eyes open on our event calendar for the next Standing Stone Beer Dinner on the horizon. Remember, you can always create your own food and beer pairing at the restaurant any time, too. Feel free to ask one of our servers or bartenders for suggested combinations, or get inspired to try your own. Cheers!

By in Food, Sustainability 0

Year-round Food Gardening: Tips for Cold Weather Cultivation

Photo: M. Schweisguth

Once fall comes into full force and edges toward winter, we often see this as end of the produce growing season. However, in Southern Oregon, and many climates, we can cultivate food year round. We just need to do a little digging to learn what can weather the winter, and how to protect plants and soil from the elements. Several crops can be plated in the fall or late winter for harvest through the winter or early spring. Others are traditionally planted in the fall and mature later in the spring.

At Standing Stone Brewing Co, we’ve been doing a bit of research to help us expand our rooftop garden into a year-round source of fresh ingredients for our restaurant.

To help get more folks into the fulfilling, sustainable fun of four-season gardening, we thought we’d share some of what we’ve learned. While it’s a bit late to plant all but a few roots and bulbs for the fall, you can start planning to get an early start on your 2012 garden.

Choosing Crops

Lots of well-loved veggies can take the cold, including beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, chard, collards, kale, parsley, parsnips and scallions. Garlic and fava beans are generally planted in mid- to late-fall and mature in spring. Don’t forget perennial crops like sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), which sustain themselves year after year. To determine what will work where you are, look for localized gardening calendars and information, check seed packets and plant tags, or ask seed providers for temperature ranges needed for germination, growth and survival.

Raise the Temperature

Reuse old windows and doors, laid on bricks or a wooden frame, to make a cold frame. Cover rows with home-size tunnels from a garden supply store, or make some from reused plastic sheeting or pallet wrap on a frame of bamboo or flexible branches. Those with more space and extra cash might consider a small greenhouse. We’ve built a cold frame for our rooftop garden and are devising a way to route heat from our waste heat recovery system to our garden to warm it in winter.

Protect Plants

Pallet wrap garden cover (photo: M. Schweisguth)

Cover plants that aren’t in a cold frame or other shelter when nighttime temperatures are predicted to get close to or below the lowest temperature at which they can survive. Reused large plastic bags and pallet wrap work well. Gardening stores sell various plant coverings, too. Put leaves, reused plastic sheeting or seasonal row cover over the tops of root vegetables to keep them alive during hard frosts and snow, then uncover during the day to promote growth.

 Safeguard Your Soil

Mulch around plants to keep soil from freezing. Mulch or cover unused garden beds to prevent soil compaction from heavy rain, sleet and snow, too.

Grow Indoors

Small plants like herbs and greens can thrive indoor in pots, and you won’t need to brave the elements to harvest them. Turn sunny windows into winter gardens, and delight in the flavor, clean air and ambience this provides.

Happy gardening!

By in Food 0

Thanksgiving Recipes and Beer Pairings: Two Simple, Tasty Treats

Thanksgiving can seem hectic, with food to prepare and guests to tend to. To help you out, we thought we’d share some easy and appealing appetizer recipes, with beer pairings, to keep everyone happy and well-fed.

Our  chef, Eric Bell, was recently featured on Southern Oregon news channel KDRV where he shared the Thanksgiving Day appetizer ideas we’ve posted here, along with preparation tips. They’re are easy to prepare and perfect to enjoy while your other entrées and sides are baking away for dinner.

Eric suggests pairing these spreads, which we’ve highlighted at Standing Stone on both our daily and special menus, with fresh baked bread spread with olive oil and garlic (toasted at your oven’s highest temperature – see the KDRV video for tips). We think a loaf of our baguette, which is made fresh every morning, makes for a real Standing Stone experience. You can order these to go but sure you come by and grab your a day early, as we’ll be closed on Thanksgiving Day to spend it with our families.

Photo: KDRV

We also asked our brewer, Larry Chase to give us some perfect beer pairings for each of these spreads, since offering guests with some fun, flavorful pairings is a great way to entertain a houseful. We offer our beers to go in liter and half gallon bottles, and kegs, perfect for the holidays, and any day.

Heirloom Tomato & Feta Salsa

Ingredients

2 large heirloom tomatoes, or a few roma, juice removed & diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1-2 Tablespoons fresh thyme minced
1-2 Tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade
½-1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
¼-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (like Rogue Brambles, available at the Growers and Crafters Market)
¼-1/3 cup Spanish sherry vinegar (12 years old- yes, you can find it!)
Pepper (coarse fresh grind) to taste
6-8 oz feta cheese
Salt (coarse sea salt is best)

Instructions

Incorporate all ingredients except salt in a large bowl. Since feta is already fairly salty, it’s good to taste first, and only salt as you need.

Food-Beer pairing

A great way to balance the acidity of this dish is pairing it with a maltier beer, like Amber Ale. Our current specialty beer, NPK Ale, also has delicate flavors and a light mouthfeel that wouldn’t overpower the light, fresh flavors in this bruschetta.

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Ingredients

12 oz chevre goat cheese (we like Mama Terra)
8 oz cream cheese
16 oz sour cream
1 can artichoke hearts with water, coarsely cut
6-8 oz shredded parmesan cheese
1 c chopped fresh spinach
1-2 cloves minced garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructuctions

In a mixer, using the paddle, incorporate all ingredients except artichoke hearts. Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. When smooth, add artichoke hearts and mix on low for 1 minute. Move to an oven-safe bowl and bake at high heat until the top starts browning. We suggest heating the oven as high as it will go, around 500 degrees, and toasting your bread at the same time to enjoy both servings warm.

Food-beer pairings

A great beer to go with this dip is the Oatmeal Stout. Both have a creamy mouthfeel and rich flavors. You could also try an India Pale Ale, or our Double IPA, as the hops offer an astringent property that cuts through richness, refreshing the palate after each drink.

Thanks Eric and Larry! We hope you enjoy these Thanksgiving food and beer pairing suggestions. Let us know how they go, and feel free to some creative twists and pairings of your own!

By in Events, Food 0

Savor the Fine Fresh Fare Dowtown Ashland November 5th and 6th

We just heard some great news! The Ashland, OR Growers and Crafters Market that takes place out front of our restaurant on Oak Street every Saturday will extend its season one more week to coincide with the Ashland Chamber of Commerce’s 5th Annual Food and Wine Classic. We couldn’t be happier that these two fun festivities will be together downtown the weekend of November 5th and 6th, right next to Standing Stone! Both events have a “local” theme in common, with workshops on shopping in your local community, and vendors at both venues offering fresh, local fare.

The Food and Wine Classic showcases our region’s premier culinary artists and local bounty through a weekend of workshops and a Chef Showdown at the Historic Ashland Armory from Noon to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. This year, seven talented chefs will compete against 2010 Top Chef Chandra Corwin for the reigning title, creating dishes with surprise fresh ingredients, unveiled right as the cook-off begins.

During the Chef Showdown, Standing Stone will be pouring beer among over 30 other local vendors. We’ll be serving up tastes of some of our cherished brews, and selling pints for those who thirst for a bit more. There will also be wine and sweet and savory fare, and the beloved dessert competition on Saturday from 2-3pm.

The Food & Wine Classic will also include workshops to help you make the most of local foods. Guests can purchase a variety of admission packages to attend events over the course of the weekend. Visit the Chamber of Commerce website for ticket and package info. We suggest Saturday morning’s workshop How to Shop Your Farmer’s Market – Shop and Tour Ashland’s Saturday Grower’s Market.

Don’t miss out on the last chance to browse fresh, local produce straight from our local farms right downtown in Ashland. And if you live in the area, remember the Tuesday Ashland Growers and Crafters Market continues until November 22nd, with even more fall harvest to savor.

We hope to see you downtown this first weekend in November!

Standing Stone Farm Project Launches!

Melza, Alex Brandon and Rachel at our farm (photo: M. Schweisguth)

There’s an extra special buzz around here lately since we moved onto our new farmland on October 1st, launching the Standing Stone Farm Project. To prepare this new home for our chickens and cows, our farm team is spending lots of time there, especially Co-owner Alex, Server/Sustainability Coordinator Brandon Schilling, Server/Chicken Caretaker Melza Quinn and our fence and irrigation team. We’re excited about this latest step in our journey to produce our own food and shrink our environmental footprint.

We’ve long made it a priority to purchase sustainable and locally produced ingredients to maximize quality, reduce environmental impacts and support our local economy. Our menu features produce from diverse family farms, beer made with Alpha Beta hops, Rogue Creamery Cheese, regional wines and Noble Coffee, among other regional delights. We’ve also undertaken significant measures to reduce waste through landfill diversion while slashing energy use and installing solar panels.

In 2009, we began using beef from Valley View Beef in Ashland, OR and started musing about raising our own food. Since Valley View raises grass-fed beef on expansive, chemical-free pasture using rotational grazing, we asked owner Dave Westerberg if we could start a chicken flock there. He heartily agreed, and we got hens that produce all the eggs we need. We started our own composting operation there, too.

Seeking to produce more of our ingredients, we developed a plan for our own farm and began looking for land. Our plan included adding chickens for poultry, purchasing our own cattle and composting kitchen waste. As luck would have it, the City of Ashland put out a Request for Proposals for City-owned pasture a mile from our restaurant, so we applied.

After the City approved our proposal (hooray!), we started preparing by raising breeder chickens for poultry and purchasing cattle from a neighboring farm. Melza, who plays a central role in caretaking our egg layers, took the lead in researching and selecting heritage chicken breeds  for full-flavored poultry. We purchased chicks this summer, which are now growing hens that will reproduce to create our poultry flock. They’re Delaware, New Hampshire, Wyandotte, and Australorp breeds, coloring the pasture white, red, orange and black feathers. We also bought three Anatolian Shepherd sheepdogs, named IPA, Stone and Ruby, whom we’re training to herd our cows.

On October 1st, we began preparing the site for our chickens and cattle, starting with fence building. We’re looking forward to seeing our livestock make themselves at home in their spacious digs. Like Valley View, we’re using a rotational grazing system wherein cows and chickens cycle through different sections of pasture to prevent over-compaction and over-grazing, and help the land rejuvenate.

We’re working on additional farm activities to localize more of our food (bees…honey..mmmmm), further our environmental goals and welcome our community to learn and enjoy. For starters, we’re holding our Third Annual Pumpkins and Pints there on October 23, and invite all to attend. In additional to the usual pumpkin carving, food and drinks, Brandon and Melza will share our vision and plans for the farm, and you’ll be able to get up close and personal with our chickens and cattle, who will be moved onto our farm by then. We hope to see you there!

Tips for Hosting a Fabulous Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is September 17th to October 3rd – let the fun begin! Our Oktoberfest lager will be on tap around September 29th, and available to-go for celebrations.

Last year, we shared a bit of history on the occasion. This year, we thought we’d help you prepare to host your own with insights from our friends Steve and Rebecca Pierce, of Alpha Beta Hops Farm. They lived in Germany for four years, enjoying many Oktoberfests. They host a fabulous party each year, keeping the tradition alive in Ashland, OR.

What aspects of German Oktoberfest celebrations stand out most?

Steve & Rebecca: The amazing “tents,” holding 4,000-6,000 people, the happy folks eating and singing, and, of course, the beer. People join strangers at the tables and, before you know it, food and beer arrive. Oktoberfest is like the Bavarian Biergartens—the friendly atmosphere, the hum, or roar, of good conversation, great beer, a rousting oompah band, and the sights and sounds of Bavaria.

The normal fare consisted of half a haehnchen (chicken), brotchen (pretzel) and a liter of beer. Food on the midway included pickled herring sandwiches, lebkuchen (gingerbread) heart cookies, steckerlfisch on a stick and cinnamon seasoned nuts. Since food was consumed in the tents or as you walked along, there were lots of finger foods like freshly cut fries with curry ketchup and hot dogs (no buns) that we dipped in ketchup or dark, sweet senf (German mustard).

What do you usually make for Oktoberfest?

Rebecca: We have 40 to 60 guests so our delicious dishes have to be easy to prepare and serve to a crowd. We always include traditional Munich dishes: sauerkraut, pork, sausage, kartoffelsalat (potato salad) and blaukraut (red cabbage). Radi (large white radish sliced paper thin and salted) is traditionally served. We use Daikon.

What foods do you recommend for aspiring hosts?

Rebecca: Try blaukraut and kartoffelsalat. There are lots of recipes online. Find ones that sound good and easy. For an authentic kartoffelsalat, avoid recipes with mayonnaise—it should be vinegary. Roasted or grilled chicken is authentic. Sausages and good crisp skin “hot dogs” are easily prepared. Serve them without a bun so they can be dipped in senf. Try to find large bread pretzels (also dipped in senf). And, of course, good beer and a few “eins, zwei g’suffa!” (one, two, down the hatch!). Add a couple of Bavarian oompah CDs for a great tasting, authentic celebration.

Tell us about the beer you’re brewing for Oktoberfest

Steve and Son/Farm Partner, Spencer with a homebrew (Photo: Steve Pierce)

We brewed a Lager with Two row, Munich Malt, Belgian Pilsner and Carapils. Of course, we use our organic Cascade hops – not very authentic. We should use Saaz, Tettnanger or Hallertauer. The secret with any lager is to use a good active yeast. I use Wyeast Oktoberfest and brew early enough so the beer can age and condition at about 40-45 degrees for months.

What’s Oktoberfest like at Alpha Beta Hops?

Steve and Rebecca: We celebrate with the folks who volunteered to pick hops with us. It’s a chance to repay them for their hard work and dedication, break out the Weis und Blau (white and blue – colors of Bavaria) decorations and relive the wonderful times we had in Munich and Bavaria. We grill, sample good bier and continue the conversation.

Thanks Steve and Rebecca! We hope this inspires great times with good friends, craft beer and tasty food.