Patrons enjoying a day at Rockmill

A daytrip to Rockmill Brewery

I love to support local breweries as much as possible, so I was thrilled to finally visit Rockmill Brewery this weekend.

I first discovered Rockmill at an unlikely place: our local grocery store. The lovely corked and caged bottles stood out amongst the standard six-packs. After further inspection, I discovered that the beers were all Belgian style and brewed just two hours North. Nothing left to do but snatch one up and give it a try.

Spending the day at Rockmill
Spending the day at Rockmill

That first beer I tried was their Witbier – a crisp and spicy Belgian beaut. I was immediately hooked, and excited to try more. Over the past year I’ve tried the Saison, Tripel and cask-aged Tripel, all which were quite good. I knew we’d need to make a trip to the brewery ASAP. Continue reading

the last CollaBREWation Supper

The Last {CollaBREWation} Supper

It’s a bittersweet day in the LBLF world.

The time has come for my dear friend and chef collaBREWator, Dan Higgins (and his lovely lady), to move to Portland, Oregon. Cue sad trombone. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Dan and can say that without a doubt, my cooking skills have improved as a direct result of his mentorship – I can’t thank him enough. *tear*

We knew the only appropriate send off would be a beer and food pairing dinner so glorious, it would at least temporarily soothe the sting of their departure.

But before we get to that – some crazy and fun updates!

On May 26th I launched ‘Beer Ed,’ an interactive beer and food tasting series with none other than one of my favorite places on earth: Findlay Market. The event is monthly, and features three courses of Findlay food paired up with Cincy brews. This upcoming class is Sunday June 29th at 2 pm and will feature dishes from Eckerlin Meats and Christian Moerlein beers! If you’re here locally, I’d love to see you there!! Learn more and get tickets HERE.

But that’s not all!  Friday I got an email from Fox 19 that they wanted to do a live tv segment, basically a ‘preview’ of the event! At first I was super nervous but it actually turned out to be really fun.
Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV
You can check out the video above, or if that doesn’t work, by clicking here to get an idea of what to expect at our Beer Ed events.

OK, now, onto the real excitement of the hour: Six courses of beer and food pairing heaven. Continue reading

Make your own sourdough starter

Tartine Bread: Tips for Successful Sourdough

I freaking love bread.

Not the flimsy, spongy white stuff that comes pre-sliced.I’m talking about real, crusty, glorious bread.

You might remember that I’ve been playing around with a basic and easy no-knead bread for a while. Over the past year I’ve been  making all sorts of little variations and generally just changing it up for fun.

Stout Bread
LBLF version of the classic ‘no knead’ bread

Though it truly is awesome, and an excellent place to start as a bread-baker, I decided recently it was time to step up my game.

While wandering around Portland, Maine on our recent vacation, me and the hubs sought shelter from a stray rain shower in a quaint book store. He picked up this great book all about the history of, and how to make cocktail bitters (don’t worry I’ve commissioned him to write a guest post all about it), and I found the new love of my life.

Enter the Tartine Bread book.

Using the Tartine Bread book

Continue reading

Easy, garlicky hummus

Basic, Easy-Breezy Chickpea Hummus

In our household we have a pretty serious hummus addiction. We’ll buy one of those giant party tubs and a bag of pita chips, and poof! Demolished in under a week.

Mike, aka ‘the hubs,’ literally eats it a cup at a time.

Then I discovered how ridiculously easy it is to make hummus at home and my life is forever changed. Basically, if you own a food processor or a powerful blender, you too can make delicious hummus in five minutes or less.

ingredients for hummus

It’s just so simple and flavorful: lemony, garlicky, spreadable heaven.

I can’t get enough! Continue reading

Breweries: Do this, NOT this.

Breweries: Do this, NOT this.

As a beer writer, I find it extremely hard to deliver negative criticism. Partly, that’s because there is so much positivity in the craft beer world that it’s really easy to focus on the good stuff. There are times, however, when a little honesty is important, and needed.

In order to illustrate this point, let me share a little about our recent trip to New England. We visited six breweries – some old favorites, and some brand new to us.

We started out at the new Harpoon Beer Hall.

We’ve toured Harpoon many times, but since our last visit, they’ve had a massive expansion, including adding a canning line, increasing the size of the brewhouse, and building a massive, beautiful beer hall. The hotel we were staying at happened to be within walking distance, so we popped into the Beer Hall on a very busy Saturday afternoon to check it out.

The wait was sizable when we arrived. At first we thought it was just people waiting for the tour, but no, it was just folks trying to get in. The line moved quickly though, and before long we were joking with the salty Boston doormen and walking inside.

The vibe at the Hall was vibrant and the staff was pretty friendly, though you could tell they were a little harried from the extreme busy-ness. We ordered some beer right away – the cask conditioned offering, an unfiltered version of the Harpoon IPA, dry hopped with Centennial hops (it seemed a little ‘catty’ for me), and their 100 Barrel Series, a fantastic citra-hop bomb. I love visiting Harpoon because they always have special edition beers you can only find at the brewery.

Continue reading

the brewing and culinary adventures of a Certified Cicerone®