Arizona Craft Beer in Tucson

Arizona Craft Beers in Tucson

Looking for a quick getaway in Arizona? We highly recommend Tucson! Just 2 hours south of Phoenix, the city of Tucson offers golf, spas, resort living, and amazing craft beers! We booked a weekend stay at Loews Ventana Canyon and couldn’t have been happier! On our way in… we stopped at Barrio Brewing Company. The food was delicious, the atmosphere authentic, and the beer oh so tasty!

It was hot outside that day, so I ordered Taylor Jayne’s Raspberry Ale. Although the menu says that this beer was brewed for those who don’t like “real beer”… I happened to enjoy it very much… and I *love* real beer! The raspberry flavor is light and not overly fruity. My guy had the Barrio IPA. This beer has a higher alcohol content and is quite hoppy but finishes quite cleanly!

We were pleasantly surprised upon arriving at Loews that they carry a wide variety of local Arizona craft beers- including some from Barrio Brewing Company! Here are some additional local craft beers that are served in restaurants on the property:

Thunder Canyon

  • Deep Canyon Amber
  • IPA

Dragoon

  • IPA
  • Stronghold Session
  • Seasonal

Nimbus

  • Blonde

Barrio

  • Rojo
  • Blonde
  • IPA

Borderlands

  • Horchata Cream Ale

Four Peaks

  • Hop Knot IPA

Beyond the fabulous selection of local beers and delicious food offerings at Loews Ventana Canyon Tucson… We enjoyed fabulous service! Their social media team is really on it and provides not only social media support to guests, but also takes genuine interest in their adventures! Give them a tweet today @Loews_Hotels and use #LoewsVentana!

Hopheads & Cheeseheads at Mission Cheese!

I love cheese. Scroll down to read my bio–I wrote that months and months ago. I am committed to the saturated fatty goodness which is all kinds of cheese. This week I had the good fortune to attend a wine & beer pairing event with Faction Brewing at Mission Cheese, in San Francisco. It was incredible! I’ve heard of wine & cheese pairings, but beer and cheese? Yes. Yes that is a real thing and anyone who likes cheese should experience it. They joined forces with Faction Brewery Mission Cheese this week to put some thoughtful pairings together and they hit it out of the park!

IMG_4908

 

The Faction pilsner was okay but their IPAs were outstanding! The Def Con III–a traditional Belgian Dubbel–was paired with the Glacier Blue cheese wedge and the only phrase I can think of to describe it is “mouth feel”. This pairing was so rich, decadent and smooth on my tongue–a real sensory experience–and then the sweetness hit me! It reminded me of that intensely rich taste when you get a forkful of buttercream frosting but no cake. It was so savory and so divine, I dreamed about it last night and woke up with diabetes. (I’m kidding.) (At least, I hope I’m kidding.) I couldn’t remember anything after that Glacier Blue wedge, but overall I think the pairings were really great.

Faction Brewery is a new craft brewery in the East Bay, in Alameda. They’re open from Wednesday-Sunday and are “dog & kid friendly”! You can try & buy in their tasting room as well as purchase growlers and other merchandise. The easiest way to get there using mass transit is to get off at the Lake Merritt BART stop and order an Uber to go the last 3.5 miles. You can connect with them on Twitter and Facebook too!

IMG_4913Faction Brewing

Mission Cheese has been here for four years and is a small venue (maximum capacity of 49 people) with some outdoor seating, but are looking for investors to open a second, bigger location in San Francisco. They serve wine, craft beer and cider, cheese flights and charcuterie, sandwiches, dessert and coffee. They also have a small retail shop where you can purchase cheese, accessories and apparel. Mission Cheese is closed on Mondays to the public, but the rest of the week you can jump off the BART at the 16th St & Mission stop and then they’re a five minute walk–and now that I realize they serve Raclette (an indulgent cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland, all thick and gooey and melted over bite-sized potatoes) I will be back! They also host wine & cheese pairings, which is another reason to watch Sosh for future cheese-centric fun.  Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then head over to their website to get on their email list and for advance notice of special events.

Mission Cheese
  Mission Cheese

Please Wash Your Hands

 

 

 

 

Jägermeister + Tea = Delightful

Jagermeister(1)

We *love* entertaining at home! What better way to show off your new fancy pants bar set than by serving up a custom cocktail!? This recipe was shared with us by the awesome people at Jägermeister. We’re often sent fun things to share with you by a variety of people… but this one was so unique… we couldn’t pass it up.

Awaken your senses this spring by pouring a Jägermeister cocktail with tea! Imagine your guests sipping this drink while the sun is setting, the air is cooling off, and the food is grilling. How do you make it? I”m so glad you asked…

Ingredients

1.5oz Jägermeister

.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice

.5oz Black Tea

1 barspoon Maple Syrup

1 barspoon Orange Marmalade

Orange Peel to garnish

 

Now What?

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and give it a few good shakes. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with orange peel. Then sit back. Sip + enjoy!

 

A brief history of Jägermeister

Jägermeister, the favorite shot of millions, is an iconic and legendary German tradition with a rich and mysterious heritage of craftsmanship. Jägermeister’s name and trademark derive from the legend of the Patron saint of hunters, St. Hubertus.  As legend has it, while on a hunt, the wild and unrestrained hunter Hubert was moved to devote his life to good work after he was confronted by a white deer carrying an illuminated cross between his antlers.  It is this story that inspired the prominence of the stag in Jägermeister trademark and poem around the label, which was trademarked in 1935.

*Note- This was not a paid endorsement. It’s actually not an endorsement at all. We’re just in the sharing kind of mood and thought you might like an interesting new cocktail.

XO

Kelly

Oreo Nutella Wine Cupcake Recipe!

No. Really. We have a recipe for Oreo Nutella Wine Cupcakes! This little gem came to us from Illumination PR and their client Nuvino. We tried to secure a sample of Nuvino, but one wasn’t available. We still think the recipe is pretty cool and would make for some good content… so here it is! This isn’t a paid endorsement or brand recommendation… so feel free to substitute with your favorite *red wine*!

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of your favorite Red Blend Wine
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Nutella
  • 10 Oreos
For the filling:
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • 5 Oreos
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup red wine, any kind you like
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste

Oreo-Red-Wine-Nutella-Cupcakes.jpg

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. The cupcakes: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the egg and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in Nutella and Nuvino’s Red Blend until evenly combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Place an Oreo cookie on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Pour batter over each Oreo cookie and fill each cupcake liner about ¾ of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. The filling: In a ziplock bag, place the Oreos and use a mallet to crush the cookies into small pieces. In a small bowl, combine Nutella with crushed Oreos. Set aside.
  4. The frosting: In a small saucepan, combine Nuvino’s Red Blend and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and wine comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (until the liquid is reduced to about ¼ cup or a light syrup texture). Let to cool.
  5. Beat the butter until until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time), vanilla, and ¼ cup of prepared wine syrup. Beat until no lumps remain. Taste the frosting and add salt to cut the sweetness, if you prefer.
  6. Assembling the cupcakes: Cut out the center of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Fill the cupcakes with Nutella & Oreo filling. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake. Enjoy!

#WineWednesday Splurge: Napa Valley’s Tournesol

I’ve had $50 bottles of wine that taste like $20 bottles of wine.  (Don’t you hate that?)

I’ve had $10 bottles of wine that taste like $40 bottles of wine. (Don’t you love that?)

So to finally drink a $100 bottle of wine which tastes like a $150 bottle of wine tasted amazingly indulgent!  Moving from the peninsula to San Francisco was the special occasion and Tournesol found itself in the celebration–it could not have been smoother, fruitier, more compact or more satisfying.

Tournesol is a small, organic winery near Napa which farms sustainably. I bought this one from Vintner’s Collective near downtown Napa a few months ago. If you too are a fan of Napa Cabs, you can still buy this 2010 selection here, but I tasted all their varietals and found them all to be remarkable and delicious.

As a side note, not only was the Vintner’s Collective building formerly the site of a brothel it was also one of several Napa Valley structures affected by the 2014 quake in American Canyon–they just reopened at the end of 2014, and still with significant ongoing repairs happening. This place is absolutely worth stopping in for a flight if you find yourself in Napa anyway, but especially now while they continue their rebuilding efforts!

IMG_2878

Wine Blending at Dogpatch WineWorks!

Wine Blending at Dogpatch WineWorks!

Recently we paid a visit to Dogpatch WineWorks near Portero Hill in San Francisco as part of a group wine blending event.

WineWorks was super easy to get to–a five minute walk from the 22nd Street CalTrain station–and in a pretty neighborhood. The interior is a rustic warehouse space with an almost overwhelming number of racks and racks of wine barrels. The strings of lights lent atmosphere and ambience to the evening.

IMG_4356

Our large group started off at the tasting area/wine bar, and then we grouped ourselves into teams and settled down for a proper wine tasting of all the varietals from petite verdot to cabernet franc.

Then we learned the tenets of wine blending and understand the “rules” for the night–this was a competition to see which team could concoct the best tasting blend of wine! The big rule is that our blend had to contain no more and no less than 50% of a single varietal, and then we used pipettes to measure the rest in milliliters. Our entries even included a wine label and name, which was an interesting exercise in brainstorming with mates after tasting so many varietals all evening, heh heh. But it was so much fun that even participants who don’t consider themselves wine drinkers enjoyed the process. As it turned out my team did not win but it was quite a tasty process of losing, if you catch my drift.

IMG_4358

WineWorks would be a great place to reserve for your private party or wedding, and they also hold wine-themed dinners, corporate team building events and even “crush camps”! They also open their tasting room to the public on Thursday-Sunday afternoons–check their website for hours.

wineworks2

Thanks for a wonderful evening and wine experience, WineWorks! Everyone in our party had a blast. I can’t recommend you more highly to anyone looking for a unique venue and wine experience in the San Francisco Bay area!

Arizona Craft Brews

unnamed

Arizona craft breweries are springing up all over! We recently got an email (as did all BevMo enthusiasts) about their local craft brews. Did you know that you can choose from over 80 Arizona craft brews at BevMo alone? We’ve been local enthusiasts for years now. I (Kelly) can pretty comfortably say that my cohort, Cassandra, would order a Four Peaks Kilt Lifter almost every time. It’s a 4-time award winning Scottish Ale. Full bodied + amber in color. That’s her go-to brew. I’m more of a seasonal kind of girl. If it’s summertime… I’ll undoubtedly go with a Papago Orange Blossom. It’s a wheat ale made with mandarin orange and vanilla. It tastes just like a creamsicle! If it’s cooler out… I prefer a nice milk stout! Bold + filling + with milky characteristics… it’s like dessert in a bottle! One of my favs? Left Hand Milk Stout. They’re in Colorado… but I love them just the same. :) What are your favorites?

#SrirachaStout

Late last year Rogue Brewery released a novel new brew made from the infamous “cock sauce” that is Sriracha hot chili sauce. I know what you’re thinking: “whaaaat?”

Stout + Sriracha = well, some mixed reactions.

If you think a beer made with Sriracha would taste a little spicy, you’re a lot correct. If your palate is so mild that roasted garlic shows up on your spiciness radar then you need to skip this one. If you like Sriracha and can’t get enough spicy, you should consider this brew but I caution you to go slowly. It can be a little intimidating. It is a force with which to be reckoned.

I’ve had and enjoyed a jalapeño lager and a chipotle ale (including Rogue’s own). I liked them. They were fun and creative and interesting. This one is different. The flavor profile overwhelmed me. I need it served ice cold in a frosty glass, and then it’s just a sipping beer.

I drank it without eating anything, which may have been a mistake.  I could have paired it with a spicy Italian dish or pizza, spicy sausage and peppers, spicy curry, a pepper encrusted steak, or anything else with bold, strong flavor with a kick. As I chatted with the bartender at the Rogue Ales Public House in San Francisco’s North Beach, we talked about cooking with it–and I think it’s a fantastic idea!  The Sriracha Hot Stout is only sold in 750mL bottles, which is enough for you and your wok!  A shrimp and broccoli stir-fry made with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and Sriracha Hot Stout would totally work for this. Chicken or beef stir-fry with red, yellow and green bell pepper + Sriracha stout sounds great, too! Throw some sliced jalapeño in there if your taste buds can handle it. Maybe pour some in your homemade BBQ sauce as it simmers–mix it with honey and serve as the sauce with your buffalo wings at your next party! I can’t wait to try cooking with the Sriracha stout and will keep you updated!

Right now you can purchase Sriracha Hot Stout online here or in a Rogue Ale brewery pub. It’s not on tap in the tasting rooms–you have to buy it in bottles, like I did. You know you want to try it–give it a shot!

IMG_4157

If you like us here, don’t forget to Like us Facebook and give us a follow on Twitter!

Napa’s Tank Garage Winery: Never Dream Alone

You won’t find Tank Garage wines anywhere except their tasting room (and online, naturally), but put this one on your list to check out when you visit Napa. “Never dream alone” is their mantra, and could make a great tattoo if you’re so inclined.

Located in Calistoga (~20 minutes drive north from downtown Napa up highway 29), the fine folks at the Tank Garage repurposed a vacant gas station into a simultaneously nostalgic and hipster-ish (in a good way) wine tasting experience.

In addition to some great wine with some of the most awesome wine labels we’ve ever seen, the tasting room also sells oil can guitars, harmonicas, and t-shirts so soft they must be made of cornsilk and angel hair, strategically distressed with the tears of cherubs. The decor has a retro “filling station” feel, with a vintage “Lubrication” mechanic’s sign at front and center.

It’s one of the most unique experiences in Napa County.  Go visit them. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  You won’t be sorry.

 

IMG_4083

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Francis Restaurant Phoenix

st francis final
Brunch at St. Francis in Central Phoenix is ridiculous. In an amazing kind of way! The portions are generous and the flavors are on point. We started our culinary adventure with the Cinnamon Roll and Caramel Sauce. WOW! It’s HUGE! We were digging in before I realized we hadn’t taken a picture of it! But trust me… It’s *delicious* and a must have!

We chased it down with a Bloody Mary. It’s not really Brunch if you don’t have a Bloody Mary! We ordered ours spicy and it didn’t disappoint! Made with Finlandia Vodka, a mix of house spices and fresh citrus… you can’t go wrong.

For our main Brunch course… I decided on the Housemade Biscuit- with Schreiner’s fennel sausage and fried eggs. It’s not my mama’s biscuits and gravy, but it was delicious in its own special way! I’m super picky when it comes to biscuits and gravy. I’m confident in saying that the Housemade Biscuit at St. Francis rivals any I’ve had. It’s rustic, yet refined. The sausage gravy was creamy. Decadent. Not greasy. And not overly salty, as you often find in this dish. I love this dish because it had everything I crave at breakfast- eggs, carbs, meat and creamy gravy as a bonus!

My counterpart ordered the Mushroom Omelette, but prefers all egg whites. That’s not a problem at St. Francis. Just ask! It comes smothered in a tasty combination of braised leeks, roasted mushrooms, thyme and goat cheese. It also comes with a nice piece of homemade bread. Yum! Let’s talk flavor. One word. Savory! If you enjoy eating on the lighter side but don’t want to miss out on flavor… this is your dish!

Before we left… we ordered the signature Brick Oven Baguette to go. At only $3- it’s a no brainer. We lightly warmed it up and enjoyed it with our dinner at home that evening!

St. Francis sources their ingredients from the local farming community. This is something we truly love about them. The food is fresh and we’re supporting our neighbors by eating local. The heart of St. Francis is their brick, wood burning oven. It’s this authentic method of cooking and freshly sourced ingredients, that keep us coming back to St. Francis. Try them!