MBWH Brewery of the Month: Oskar Blues from Colorado

Oskar-Blues-at-Burgerby Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Each Month Max Burger West Hartford has a brewery that we like to focus on and pay a little extra attention to.  There are so many great craft breweries in the United States, at this point, that we feel it is important to support this effort and recognize the great brewers in and out of CT.  For the month of September, we have chosen Oskar Blues Brewery from Longmont, Colorado, as our feature.oskar

Why Oskar Blues??

The make great beer.  At affordable prices.  Only in cans (and kegs, which are big cans). They have a lot of fun doing it. We have a lot of fun drinking it.

Founded in 1997, by Dale Katechis, who now owns several related breweries and brew pubs, Oskar Blues made a statement by being the first craft brewery to “bottle” their brews in cans, rather than bottles.  They are basically credited with starting what has become a national trend in brewing by using lighter weight, recyclable aluminium cans, kind of the way a lot of older styled brands were consumed.  They also like to do things like Mountain Bike and Hike, and since cans are lighter than glass these beers are often found along for the ride.

2012_7_13_oskarblues_fullline

 

Oskar Blues makes 6 different styles of beer:

  • Dales Pale Ale (the first, 6.5%abv and lighter than an IPA),
  • Old Chub Scotch Ale (8%abv and made with a variety of malts that lean toward the heavier side),
  • G’Knight, a fuller style of beer that is brewed in honor of Gordon Knight, a Colorado firefighter who lost his life in 2002 (8.7%abv),
  • Ten FIDY and Imperial Stout at about 10%abv, this is the seasonal’s seasonal as it is big and hearty
  • Mama’s Little Yella Pils, which is a smaller batched Pilsner style made with German malts and Bavarian hops (5.3%abv)
  • Gubna an Imperial IPA that is dry hopped and and comes in at 100 IBUs and 10%abv

Max Burger West Hartford will be featuring a selection of Oskar Blues Brews throughout the entire month of September, plus on the third Wednesday of the month, we have a very special keg that will be tapped at 5pm.  Join us in person to taste and enjoy this great beer and all the others from Oskar Blues all month long in West Hartford.

Beer on Tap This Week (and Next) @ Max’s Oyster Bar West Hartford

At Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford Center, we have a great selection of rotating draft beers.  We try to keep the options changing in order to give our guests the best and freshest choices around.  We do have our standards that are always on tap: Brewtus Maximus, Guinness Stout, etc., but the other lines are dedicated to regional and national craft brews, ranging in style from lighter lagers and session ales to fuller bodied porters and stouts, with all kinds of styles in between.  Check out what we have coming up in the next few days and weeks…

Line #1 – IPA / PA – first up: Dogfish Head Test Batch 61 IPA; then Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA; then Maine Brewing Company MO (Madeline & Oliver) Pale Ale

Line #2 – Seasonal – first up: Two Roads Saison; followed by The Cambridge House Copper Hill Kolsch; then Backeast Bachtoberfest

Line #3 – Pils – on line: Victory Prima Pils

Line #4 – the Limited / Local – going first: Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Quad; then Stone Enjoy by 9/13/13 IPA; followed by Thomas Hooker Brewing Liberator Doppelbock

Line #5 – Fruit / Wheat – first selection: Founders Rubeus; followed by Brooklyn Brewery Companion; and then Stone Coconut IPA; and finally Allagash White

For those who really need to know (and we are in that camp) here is some background info on these beers…

Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA
Stone Brewing Co. California, United States
American Double / Imperial IPA | 9.50% ABV
Notes:
Inspired by new experimental German hops, our brewing team is celebrating our 17th Jahrestag by taking palates on an unconventional tour of Deutschland by way of Southern California. In doing so, we used a grain bill comprised exclusively of pilsner malts and German hops with crazy awesome names: Herkules, Hersbrucker, Magnum, Merkur, Opal, Smaragd & Strisselspalt. Dry-hopping with Sterling, a U.S. hop with Saaz parentage, lends a bit of familiarity, but be forewarned, this is a unique beer that takes the IPA–a style we’ve already pushed far beyond it’s previous limits over the years–to interesting new territory.

Cambridge Brew House Copper Hill Kolsch
Cambridge Brew House (Granby, CT)
2005 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner!
2005 & 2006 Great International Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner!
German Style Light Ale. Smooth, easy drinking with subtle noble hop character. 4.8%ABV

Ovila® Abbey Quad with Plums
Rich, dark, and infused with the complex sweetness of abbey-grown plums.
Ovila Abbey Quad is heady with aromas of caramel, rich malt, and dark fruit balanced by the spiciness and delicate fruity notes of a traditional Belgian yeast. This complex beer is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux. It features sugar plums grown on the grounds of the Abbey and harvested by the monks in Vina. We hope you enjoy this collaboration ale.
Quadrupel (Quad) | 10.20% ABV

Two Roads Workers Comp Saison
Stratford, CT 4.8 % ABV
A traditional farmhouse ale made with a very expressive yeast strain that contributes an array of tropical fruit, spice flavors and aromatics. Brewed with a variety of harvest grains including barley, wheat, oats and rye as was likely the case with farmhouse brewers of yore. The result is a complex, refreshing and distinctive example of this esoteric style. Intensely fruity (passion fruit, pineapple, mango, lychee), slightly spicy (clove, white pepper)

Maine Brewing Company MO
Our first run at an American Pale Ale. Flavors and aromas of zesty citrus, passionfruit, and pine present themselves throughout. A very subtle malt sweetness for balance, but this is intended to finish dry
Freeport, ME- 6 % ABV
http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/maine-beer-mo/167472/

Dogfish Head 61 Minute
6.5 % ABV
Whenever Dogfish Head President Sam Calagione and his neighborhood friends gather for drinks, they give each other a big ol’ man-hug and order a round of 60 Minute IPA. A few years ago, Sam also ordered a glass of his favorite red wine and poured a little into each pint of 60 Minute. They all dug the combination of fruity complexity and pungent hoppiness, and the blend became a beloved tradition.Sixty-One captures that tradition in a bottle and marries two Dogfish Head innovations: beer/wine hybrids — which Dogfish has focused on for well over a decade with beers like Midas Touch and Raison D’être — and continually-hopped IPAs. The name Sixty-One is a reminder that this beer is Dogfish Head’s best-selling 60 Minute IPA plus one new ingredient: syrah grape must from California. The label, painted by Sam, is a twist on a typical watercolor. Rather than using water, Sam mixed the green pigment with beer and the red pigment with wine. And because Sixty-One pairs so well with chocolate, he painted the browns on the label with melted chocolate

Stone R & R Coconut IPA
7.7 % ABV
http://www.stonebrewing.com/collab/rr/
Originally dreamt up by homebrewers Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan, who earned themselves the top prize in our 2013 American Homebrewers Association homebrewing contest, this innovative beer marks a refreshing sea change for IPA lovers everywhere. It was brewed with 280 pounds of coconut and an unusual blend of hop varieties, including a few from faraway lands or just brand spankin’ new, and is guaranteed to taste like no IPA that’s gone before. Prepare yourself for a tropical breeze of a brew that will lull you to a place of tranquil contentment for a little R & R.

Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock
Style: Doppelbock Lager
ABV: 8.5%
Available: Year Round
Hopped with German and Czech hops and fermented with Bavarian lager yeast, this traditional doppelbock blends an extensive amount of select dark malts to achieve its rich and creamy character. Rich and filling, this brew is a malt lovers dream.
Ingredients
◦Malts: Bohemian Pilsner, Munich, Vienna, Caramel Munich, Carafoam, Chocolate, Roasted Barley
◦Hops: German Select, Czech Saaz
Stone Enjoy BY IPA …9/13/13
9.4% ABV
You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers- especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs- we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the bottle, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and beer fans. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.

Allagash White
Our interpretation of a traditional Belgian wheat beer. Brewed with a generous portion of wheat and spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel, this beer is fruity, refreshing and slightly cloudy in appearance.
Description: Belgian Style Wheat
ABV: 5.0%
Profile: Light, Crisp, Fruity, Spicy
Serving Temperature: 38°-50°F

Backeast Brewing Bachtoberfest
Back East Brewery and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra are releasing Bachtoberfest, an Oktoberfest-style seasonal beer produced by Back East Brewery. Beginning the week of August 26th, Bachtoberfest will be available on tap at many great restaurants throughout the Greater Hartford and New Haven markets, including several restaurants in downtown Hartford
Bachtoberfest also will be available for purchase at the Hartford Symphony’s 70th Anniversary Opening Night performances at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts October 11 and 12. Beginning August 28th, Bachtoberfest will be available for purchase in half-gallon growlers in the tasting room at Back East Brewery in Bloomfield, CT. Back East will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each growler sold to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in support of their artistic, educational, and community programs.
Back East Brewery Co-Founder Tony Karlowicz says, “It is an integral part of our mission as a local brewery to support this vibrant community. The Hartford Symphony’s 70 year dedication to the arts speaks for itself and we are thrilled to partner with them for this special edition beer.
Back East Brewing Company is a small, craft brewery located in Bloomfield, CT. Founded by cousins Tony Karlowicz and Edward Fabrycki, Jr., Back East opened in July 2012 and is now distributed on draft and in cans throughout Greater Hartford and New Haven. For more information on Back East Brewery, please visit www.backeastbrewing.com
Marking its 70th Anniversary Season in 2013–2014, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra (HSO) is Connecticut’s premier musical organization. The Hartford Symphony is the second largest orchestra in New England and is widely recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. Under the musical direction of Carolyn Kuan, the HSO presents more than 100 concerts to over 120,000 people each year. For more information on the HSO, please visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.

Max Burger WH Brewery of the Month: Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn, NY

Sixpoint-BreweryThere are few people who would not agree that the beers from Sixpoint Brewery, located in Brooklyn, are some of the tastiest craft brews being made on the East Coast these days.

Originally founded in 2004, by two college room-mates, Sixpoint has only been distributing its brews outside the local area for a few years now, and canning product only since 2011.  But, the styles and quality they have developed in that short period of time has put them on the map with top line brewers in the US.

This month (August), Sixpoint Brewery is the featured brewery of the month at Max Burger West Hartford.  All month long you will find at least one if not multiple beers on tap from Sixpoint.  Plus, on the 17th, the guys from Sixpoint have promised us a special cask that will be tapped just at Max Burger and when its gone, its gone.

One of the things that makes Sixpoint so interesting is that they make a lot of beer; not just in volume but in selection.  It seems as though they love to experiment and keep things moving.  By building a loyal base of fans with an ever-changing collection of Ales, Sixpoint essentially always has something for everyone available. In fact, one of their series is called the Mad Scientist Series which has a rotating selection of smaller production brews.

Check out the Sixpoint website for the latest news and availability.  

This is one of the things that we love about this brewery, there is always something great coming from them, either seasonally or as part of one of their more limited series and is why we have picked them to feature this month.  Come in to Max Burger West Hartford all month long as see what the latest offering is from Sixpoint.  We are sure you will enjoy it!

Seven Reasons to Visit Max Burger Today – IPA Day

by Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director Max Restaurant Group

Today is IPA Day!  And to celebrate one of the most iconic beer styles, Max Burger in West Hartford is pouring seven IPA styles from seven of our favorite breweries.  On draft until they are gone, we have gotten a selection of local and national products that are recognized for their top quality and individual style.  See the range below, but first a quick history of IPA…

I.P.A. (or India Pale Ale, to your and me) – The Historical Angle

Ales have been produced in England and other regions of Europe for over 600 years, and by the 17th and 18th centuries, several things began to happen to influence the traditional styles of beer being produced.  With more advances toward the industrial revolution machinery and technology began to modify the roasting process, making it larger (more commercially scaled) and the raw resources changes from primarily wood ovens to larger coal or coke fired).  This allowed for greater control of the roasting process and lighter, or paler, malts began to be produced and used for brewing.  This led to paler styles of beer than had previously been made, hence the names Pale Ale was used for these brews.

Also, the British Empire was expanding its boundaries and domains, which now included the far east and India.  Shipping beer to these outposts created a situation where preservation of the products was key.  By using hops in greater and greater quantities, British brewers discovered that they could maintain the stability of the beer over long sea voyages, plus it made the bees taste really good, as well.  The highly hopped pale ales were often designated for shipment to India and so the name India Pale Ales was soon coined and stuck.

Today we know the style to be relatively mild from a malt point, but highly hopped for both aromatics and bittering.  Just about any respectable brewery makes a version (or two or three) of IPA, including the now regularly found Imperial IPA, which usually have an even elevated level of hop.  Enjoyed by many, the IPA has become well known and in high demand, so that we even see single variety hopped beers being produced, almost similar to the single vineyard expression of wines.  Enjoy one of these seven brews on tap today at Max Burger West Hartford…

Gandhi-Bot1 – Gandhi-Bot Double IPA – New England Brewing Company (Woodbridge, CT) – produced with three varieties of American hops, this is a CT State favorite and is usually found in limited release on draft.  We are big fans of beers from NEBCO, and are very pleased to have this in the line-up today.

Victory Hop Devil

 

2 – Hop Devil IPA – Victory Brewing Company (Downington, PA) – a big styled IPA utilizing American hop varieties for the robust but balanced style that Victory is known for.  Coming in at 6.7% abv, it is right in the middle of what you can expect from an IPA.

Ballast Sculpin

 

3 – Sculpin IPA – Ballast Point (San Diego, CA) – one of the harder to get beers from this 15+ year old brewery, the Sculpin just arrived and is a bit more Pale than most, but still packs a bit of a punch at 7% abv, just like the tasty fish it is named after.  This is a real treat.

Back east imperial IPA

 

4 – Imperial IPA – Back East Brewing (Bloomfield, CT) – local it is with this top of the line Imperial style from local brewers Tony, Ed and Mike.  The Back East style is out of the premium range and comes in at a hefty 9.5% abv, but maintains a balance and freshness throughout.  Great drinking beer, just need to watch the intake levels (a bit).

Green flash le freak

 

5 – Le Freak IPA – Green Flash Brewing (San Diego, CA) –  obviously a great place for brewing beer, San Diego’s other great brewery is Green Flash.  The Le Freak IPA is an award winning style that merges the Belgian Tripple style with an American Imperial IPA style.  Nearly at the top of the register at 9.2%, it is a beauty of a beer.

 

Sierra Blindfold6 – Blindfold Black IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing (Chico, CA) – the classic northern California Pale Ale brewer makes a statement with the Blindfold IPA, a brew that almost doesn’t exist.  Very limited availability on this keg, this is a beer that should be on everyone’s must-try list.

 

six point galaxy7 – Spice of Life Series: Galaxy IPA –  Six Point Brewing (Brooklyn, NY) – this series celebrates the HOP, by brewing and releasing with a single variety each month.  The 2013-2014 releases get kicked off this month with the Galaxy hop from New Zealand and Australia.  Big, fruity expression of hops in this brew.  Quite lush and tasty for the style.  Six point delivers with this one.

Max’s Tavern Pours Tree House Brewing Tornado IPA (LIMITED!!!)

by Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Max’s Tavern is Springfield is turning a new leaf of sorts and will be featuring a very special and limited brew this weekend.  We have one log of the Tree House Brewing Torando IPA, a beer that was born during the June 2011 Springfield tornado (click here to read the brewery’s account of that fateful day).  Tree House Brewing Co. is located off-the-beaten-path in Brimfield, mass, and due to recent zoning issues, may or may not be continuing producing the highly regarded brews they have become known for over the past year.

Brewery description of the Tree House Tornado IPAtree house brewing

“Tornado” – An extremely liberally hopped APA.  Tornado was crafted during the unfortunate events surrounding the June 1st, 2011 Brimfield Tornado.  We created the beer in honor of the circumstances as we experienced them and luckily escaped the path by 1/2 mile.  Tornado is loaded with notes of pine, tropical fruit, and citrus.  At 5.6% alcohol, it’s super refreshing.

We are very fortunate to have secured one of the handful of remaining kegs and will be tapping it at 5 pm on Saturday, July 20.  Typically there are only about 45 pours from a log, so when the beer is gone, its gone, maybe forever, but not forgotten…much like the tornado it is named for.

Join us at Max’s Tavern in Springfield at the Basketball Hall of Fame to get a taste of this special brew.  Call 413-746-6299 for additional details.

Drink of the Week at Max’s Tavern: Moonshine Mojito

By Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director Max Restaurant Group

Moonshine mojito (summer 2013)

Max’s Tavern in Springfield, Massachusetts, has been working very hard to bring some really creative and tasty cocktails to their menus.  This summer we have a great lineup of cocktails to offer guests, and the response from those trying the drinks is absolutely fabulous; everyone is happy and thrilled with the selection.

One drink in particular seems to be doing very well – the Moonshine Mojito.  This drink was created and placed on the summer menu to take advantage of some great product coming out of a local distiller, Bully Boy Distillers from Boston.  We use their White Whiskey as the base and hit it some fresh mint and lime juice, juts like a classic mojito recipe.

bully-boy-white-whiskey

 

Refreshing and smooth is the best way to describe it, with no heavy “whiskey” fl
Come on down to Max’s Tavern (at the Basketball Hall of Fame) and try another great Max Cocktail.avors, this beverage is delicate and very drinkable, especially during the summer heat-waves.

Cheers!

Max Burger WH Brewery of the Month: Hooker (Bloomfield, CT)

Max Burger CircleEach month Max Burger of West Hartford selects a brewery to feature and showcase special beers and drink nights around.  For the month of July, the select Brewery of the Month is Thomas Hooker Brewery of Bloomfield, CT.  The Max Restaurant Group has a close working relationship with the Hooker staff as they brew the Brewtus Maximus American Pale Ale, which is the house beer at the Max Group and the Pale Ale selection in the Hooker beer line-up.

hooker logoAside from Brewtus Maximus, Thomas Hooker beers will be on feature all month.  Plus, there will be a special evening on Wednesday July 17, featuring small batch variations on some of Hooker’s regular beers, including a Rauch style Helles.  The guys from Hooker came over to Max Burger last week and smoked some malts in the smoker at the restaurant.  They have used this custom smoked malt as an ingredient in this very limited production version of the Munich Helles Rauch Bier, which is a “lighter” style smoked lager beer perfect for summer and smoked/grilled meats.

Here is how the brewery describes the beer – Munich dark, pilsen and vienna malts blended with special grains smoked right on site at Max Burger. This light style lager has a smokey flavor with a bready finish. This sessionable lager is sure to please a variety of palates.  ABV 5%

The concept for this style and the quality of the Hooker products can be attributed to the two brewers at the company.  These are two young but experienced brewers that have recently joined forces at Hooker and are making huge strides in quality and taste improvements.  They have a smaller brew system for making variations on their regular line plus some test batches.  The future is bright for Thomas Hooker Brewery and their brewmaster, Stephen Andrews, and his assistant Sean Piels (see their bio’s below).

SpinsterAnother Hooker beer that you will find on draft throughout the month at Max Burger is the Hooker Spinster XPA – the Spinster name comes from the fact that this is a single hop varietal Ale, hence the Spinster…Single…get it?  Tasty though, not mean and nasty.

Here is what they says about this one…

Dry Hopped Spinster XPA (cask conditioned)- We took our newest creation, the Spinster XPA, and dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops. The unfiltered XPA’s citrus aroma from late addition Summit hops blends with the Mosaic’s mango and lemon notes as well as the Citra’s tropical tones. ABV 4.8%

Meet the Brewers…

Stephen Andrews – Head Brewer

A graduate of Chicago’s World Brewing Academy International Diploma in Brewing Technology Program at Siebel Institute of Technology and Doemen’s Academy in Munich, Germany, Stephen also has a degree from the London based Institute of Brewing and Distilling. While studying and training as a brewer, Stephen’s travels have brought him to Bavaria, Austria, Belgium, England and an expansive tour of Germany. During his time in Germany, he trained in authentic German styles using a 7 barrel Steinecker brewing system. Back in the states, this Simsbury local joined the Thomas Hooker team in early 2011, where he has brought a wealth of creativity and brewing knowledge.

Sean Piel – Brewer

A graduate of Brewlab School of British Brewing Technology, Sean first found his passion for beer home brewing with his father at a young age. After attending Brewlab, Sean traveled to Belgium, Scotland and Ireland. Sean ended up spending time living in England and Germany to learn about different breweries, techniques of brewing and different beers. He rounded out his stay in Europe with a year long internship at Stoettner Brewing Company in Pfaffenburg, Germany. Upon his return to his native Connecticut, Sean came on board as a brewer at Thomas Hooker Brewing Company in the end of 2012.

 

Max Downtown’s New Drinks Perfect for Summer Heat

By Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director

At Max Downtown in Hartford, our lead bartender, Mike Mills, created this drink for the summer menu.  He is a big fan of Russian Vodka and the way it takes to infusions, such as the pepper mix he uses for this drink.  The depth of flavor achieved by combining three pepper elements is great and really makes this drink pop.  The spicy note added by combining Jalapeno and pepper corns, plus the touch of spice from the Habanero shrub, play off of the fruity elements from the mango and the sweet bell pepper.  I think it is this sweet and spicy play that has really made it a popular drink among our guests, plus this drink is surprisingly light and refreshing, perfect for battling the heavy heat and humidity of summertime.

This drink is called the Spicy Tango

spicy tango - MDRecipe:

2oz Pepper Infused Hammer & Sickle Vodka (see below)
.5oz Pierre Ferrand Curacao
1oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Mango Puree
5 drops Bitterman’s Habanero Shrub

To make the House Infused Vodka:

1 liter Hammer & Sickle Russian Vodka
½  red bell pepper, sliced
2 table spoons Black peppercorns
1 Jalapeno, sliced, no seeds
Let infuse for 3 days, stirring once a day.

Big Wine Wednesday kicks-off with: Jordan Winery 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

By Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

A rare opportunity to taste some of the best wines from our award-winning wine cellar, offered by the glass for the first time by the glass at great prices.

All summer long, every Wednesday a different ‘Big Wine’ will be available by the glass during lunch and dinner for you to enjoy.

 

First up this week…Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jordan Vineyard & Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (from Magnum)
$25/glass

Winery Tasting Notes:
A seamless wine with beautiful, dense, blackberry aromas that echo through the mid-palate. The mouthfeel is silky-smooth with soft, round tannins accented by a vanilla quality from the French oak. The silky, soft finish is reminiscent in style of a Bordeaux Saint-Julien. Enjoyable now or worthy of cellaring through at least 2020.

Aged 12 months in 70% French oak and 30% American oak barrels (39% new), allowing
the flavors to marry and full tannin integration to take place. The lots were then reassembled to create the final master blend before aging two years in bottle.

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, less than 1% Malbec

Each week, we will be posting the featured ‘Big Wine’ on our Facebook page
and on the Max Blog.

For additional information, please call Max Downtown at 860.522.2530

Max’s Tavern Summer Solstice Cocktail Party this Thursday

By Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

This week at Max’s Tavern in Springfield we are very pleased to announce the first of a series of Summer Cocktail parties.  The theme for this week will be a celebration of the Summer Solstice along with the introduction of our brand new summer drink list.  Come on in and enjoy tastings of our new line-up of summer drinks prepared by Max’s Tavern’s Craft Bartenders, music by the Floyd Paterson Band, and tasty bites paired with our cocktails.  

As a bonus feature we will have a sampling and cocktail demonstration using the Boston-based Bully Boy Distillers‘ award winning White Whiskey.  Produced on a local farm right here in Massachusetts from Prohibition-inspired recipes rediscovered after being buried for 70 years, these libations are catching the eye of some of the top media and drink makers in the country.  We are fortunate enough to have their local representative on hand for this evening to share the story and help you taste these great spirits.

The party runs from 4-6 pm, this Thursday June 20th.  See you there!

More this summer:

July 18 – Tiki Drinks

August 22 – Lazy Days and Long Drinks

September 19 – Endless Summer

For more info call Max’s Tavern at

413-746-6299

or visit our site at http://www.maxrestaurantgroup.com/calendar.php

Rhubarb – perfect for Dessert and for Drinks

By Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Rhubarb is an early spring ripening plant in the northeast US, and it has been a favorite addition in desserts for many years, especially this time of year where it is often found paired with the seasonal strawberries.  With its slightly tart side, it works especially well with sweet berry flavors in pastry desserts such as pies.  

Technically classified in 1947, by the US Government as a fruit, as this is how it predominantly used, rhubarb is a plant that grows around the world in moderate climates.  Because it is an early ripening perennial it is often ready to eat just about the time strawberries are in season, adding to the close association of the two foods.  We make use of the petioles, which are the stem-like parts that hold the large leaves.  These look like large stalks and are usually sliced up or pureed to be used in cooking.

This past Friday night (June 14th), I made a cocktail using some rhubarb and other ingredients.  This drink was a featured cocktail at the first Chef to Farm Dinner at Rosedale Farm in Simsbury, CT., and was served alongside the amuse course.  It is a light and refreshing drink with a sweet/tart component plus that added floral component from the gin.  I received so many requests for the recipe that I am listing it here.  

Rhubarb Botanical (this was served in a Mason jar, so the overall size is about 16oz)

1.5 ounces rhubarb syrup/puree (see below)

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

1.5 ounces Cold River Gin (Maine)

dash of home-made Meyer lemon bitters (or similar)

2-3 ounces tonic water

mix everything in Mason jar or highball glass except tonic, fill with ice and then top with tonic

Garnish with sliced strawberries

Rhubarb Syrup

1-2 stalks of rhubarb in a quart of simple syrup (1:1 water and sugar)

let soak 24-48 hours, puree some or all of the rhubarb for added texture

Beer Education: Summer Styles

Now that the days are good and long and our guests are enjoying the patio dining, warm temps and lighter dining options, it’s time to put aside the Porters and Stouts and enjoy some of the refreshing beer options for summer.  But what are summer beers?  Is there a definitive “summer brew” style like the all-powerful IPA style?  The answer, like all things in the beverage world, is a bit yes and a bit no.

Summer Beers are part of the large array of ‘seasonals’ produced by American brewers and we probably have Sam Adams to thank for making the seasonal “craft” brew category what it is today (Sam Adams Summer Ale is currently in rotation on draft at many Max locations, including Max’s Tavern in Springfield).  20 years ago there were really not many options for brewery specific summer beers, you just moved to a lighter style of beer, often by another brewer.  Now we have loads of options and the breweries do what ever they can t get you to stay with their brand, but are all summer beers made the same?  Doubtful.

Kölsch, Wheats and Fruited beers are probably the closest to true or classic warm weather styles, although there are many folks that would add other styles to this mix.  But let’s focus on these, as they can represent some of the best beer drinking during the warm months.

KÖLSCH – this style of beer comes from Koln, Germany, and is traditionally served icy cold in smaller, 8oz glasses to keep it cold-to-the-last-drop.  American brewers are recreating this style that is essentially an ale that has been lagered (cold stored to create a smooth, creamy texture).  Look for Flying Dog Tire Biter, Harpoon Summer (currently on draft at Max A Mia in Avon), Cpt Lawrence Kölsch, or for an authentic German style get the Reisdorff Kölsch (Max Burger Longmeadow).

 

 

WHEAT BEERS – a widely used grain, especially in southern Belgium and Germany, where the lightness and freshness of these beers, as well as their affinity for fruit, make them delightful for warm weather.  Arguably the best are the Hefeweizen styles from Germany, such as Schneider (Trumbull Kitchen) and Weihenstephaner (Max Burger Longmeadow), but great American examples can be found as well, such as Allagash (Max’s Oyster Bar), Victory Summer Love (in rotation at Max Burger West Hartford), Harpoon UFO (Max Downtown), and Southern Tier Hop Sun Wheat.

FRUITED BEERS – maybe not everybody’s cup of tea (so to speak) but fruit beers are very popular and sell like crazy this time of year.  The tradition comes down from Europe, especially Belgium, where many ingredients, not just fruit were added to beer to mask what was probably poor quality.  Over time these techniques and styles were perfected so the best are the Lambic styles from Belgium.  American brewers have been making delicious fruit beers in a variety of style for years, as well.  Look for Magic Hat #9, Hooker Watermelon, or Harpoon’s UFO Raspberry and 21st Amendment Watermelon (in the can at Max Burger Longmeadow).  Traditional Lambic from Lindemans are still popular, as well.

A side category to the fruited beers is the Shandy, which is a mix of beer and lemonade – usually 50/50.  This is a light, refreshing style that is low alcohol and easy to drink in the warm weather.  Pale Ales (such as Brewtus Maximus) are great here.  You can also add Ginger Beer to the mix instead of lemonade.  This is called a Gaff, or Shandy-Gaff, and is quite tasty if you like ginger.  Each of these beer drinks are available at any Max location, year round.

Patio Dinner at Max A Mia – June 17 Wine from Piedmont

We are pleased to announce that the 2013 Summer Patio Dinner Series at Max A Mia in Avon, will kick off with a regional dinner focusing on the wines of Piemonte in Northwest Italy, featuring the wines of Marchesi di Barolo, one of the most historic properties in the entire region.

It is at Marchesi di Barolo that the modern style of Barolo was created in the mid-1800s, and is today where innovation and tradition combine to move the region forward with stylish wines.  Chef David Stickney from Max A Mia has created a pairing menu that highlights his modern approach to classic northern Italian cuisine served along the selections from Marchesi di Barolo.  David Rudman, Wine Specialist from Brescome Barton, Inc, will be on hand to discuss the wines.  This is the first of a monthly series at Max A Mia, and the plan is to hold the dinner on our patio, which seats about 40.  Please make your reservations early as we expect this event to sell-out quickly.

Max A Mia Presents an Italian Regional Wine Dinner

Featuring Piemonte and the wines of Marchesi di Barolo

Monday June 17, 2013 – 6:30

With Special Guest David Rudman of Brescome Barton, Importers & Distributors

I

-Marchesi di Barolo Gavi, 2010-

Veal loin carpaccio, morel mushroom salad,

ruccola, tonatto aioli, Reggiano cookie

II

– Marchesi di Barolo Barbera Monferrato Maraia, 2010 –

Cacciatorini agnolotti,  green onion pesto, cured

 olives, castelmagno cheese

III

– Marchesi di Barolo Dolcetto d’Alba Madonna, 2009 –

Cotechino & carnaroli stuffed quail, crispy

lardo polenta, bing cherry fresca

IV

-Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Cru Sarmassa, 2006 –

Braised Piemontese oxtail, saffron spatzle,

horseradish greens, marrow demi

V

-Marchesi di Barolo Moscato d’Asti Zagara, nv-

Fritto misto dolce, nutella brodetto

$68.00 per person, not including tax & gratuity

Seating will be on the patio and is limited.  In the event of inclement weather the event will be held in Max a Mia’s main dining room.

Please call Max A Mia in Avon for reservations

860-677-6299

70 East Main Street, Avon, Ct