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Monday, November 9, 2015

Beer Expert Jeff Alworth Comes to Town

The author of "The Beer Bible" will be signing books at Fountain Bookstore.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Jeff Alworth will stop in at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9, at Ardent Craft Ales in Scott's Addition, to talk about and sign copies of his new book, “The Beer Bible.”

It’s a massive, 644-page explainer, reference work and guide. Everything from the history of a particular style to recommendations fill the book’s well-designed chapters. Readers can take a quick dip to learn the basics or read a more detailed, in-depth explanation of styles.

And breaking down beer styles is harder than you might think. Alworth solves this by grouping varieties into traditional beer-making methods or four families of beer — ales, wheat beers, lagers, and tarts and wild ales.

“It’s a way to create coherence,” Alworth says. “Writing ‘The Beer Bible’ was a massive education — and I discovered the importance of national traditions.”

Alworth came of age when craft beer was taking off and he was in a good place to start his education: Portland, Oregon. “It was a turning point for me,” he says. “I became aware of what a ‘good’ beer was.”

The rest of the world, he says, is amazed at the variety of beer the U.S. is producing. Craft brewers here aren’t constrained by national traditions and experimentation is the new normal. The U.S. now influences the way European brewers are creating new beers instead of the other way around.

“I’ve had some of the best beer I’ve ever encountered,” Alworth says, “and half [the breweries] are less than five years old.”

One of the ways that he encourages people to expand their beer palate is to try something similar to what they normally drink. “Any beer you like creates flavor sensory maps that will help you navigate,” he says. Those particular flavors that you can identify can lead you to new discoveries.

“Each chapter in the book has a section that says, ‘If you like this, then try this,’” Alworth says. “Snobs say that this particular beer is good and that one is bad. Drink what you like.”

The Latest Reinvention of Bistro 27

Chef Danial Oakes offers a fresh take on European fare.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 1:08 PM

Bistro 27 has brought in a new chef and a new menu. Johnson & Wales graduate Danial Oakes, veteran of the Six Burner, Heritage and the Rogue Gentlemen, is drawing on his classically French culinary training while bringing Spanish ingredients to the pan-Mediterranean restaurant at 27 W. Broad St.

The restaurant, which opened in 2005, underwent its first revamp when chef Carlos Silva left in 2014. This latest menu from Oakes will include dishes such as five-hour braised lamb shank and skin-on duck breast with orange gastrique.

“I want to keep the southern European focus and concentrate on the freshest locally sourced ingredients,” Oakes says in a press release. “I’m going for simple, clean, strong flavors.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Food Notes: Nacho Taco Week, Craft Beer Harvest + More

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 10:44 AM

Fired up: Richmond is in the midst of Nacho Taco Week, which offers $5 deals on special dishes at nearly 20 restaurants across town. To see the participating restaurants, visit nachotacoweek.com.
Honors: Tuffy Stone and his team, Cool Smoke, are the grand champions of the 2015 Jack Daniel’s World Championship International Invitational Barbecue. Cool Smoke also won the title in 2013. Only one other team, Smokin’ Triggers, has won the honor twice.

Openings: Brewer’s Café at 1125 Bainbridge St. opened the doors and now serves its fresh coffee in Manchester. … The long-awaited Belle & James opened last week at 700 E. Main St. … The Times-Dispatch reports that former owner of the Magpie, Owen Lane, is on the cusp of opening a new spot, Vagabond, in the Coda space next to the National at 700 E. Broad St. … Home Sweet Home will take over the old Mezzanine location in Carytown. Richmond BizSense says it will serve “fanciful grilled cheeses.”

Happenings: The Shoppes at Willow Lawn will be the site of the Craft Beer Harvest on Friday, Nov. 6, from 6-9 p.m., to benefit FeedMore. willowlawn.com/wlevents/craft-beer-harvest. …The University of Virginia Club of Richmond will hold the first annual Wahoo Cup at Lickinghole Creek on Saturday, Nov. 7, from noon to 6 p.m., to benefit the Children of Fallen Patriots. It’s a competition between brewers from Charlottesville and Richmond, including Three Notch’d Brewery and Strangeways Brewing, among others. wahoocup.com. … On Sunday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m., the Roosevelt will serve a four-course wine dinner for $60, with dishes such as snail bourguignon, potato gnocchi and monkfish cassoulet with winemaker Michael Shaps. rooseveltrva.com. For more food-related events, visit styleweekly.com.

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