Paw Paws and Craft Brewing

Did you know that the pawpaw is North America’s largest edible indigenous fruit? Did you know they were a favorite treat of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? Do you know what a pawpaw is?

I grew up listening to my grandmother singing a song about “Pickin’ up paw-paws, put ’em in your pockets, way down yonder in the paw-patch.”

Pawpaws are closely related to apples, but look more like misshaped pears and are most commonly found along the banks of rivers. They have a creamy texture similar to custard, but most have a taste that is similar to a banana combined with mango, pineapple, with just a little melon mixed in.

The trees are tall and spindly, nearly impossible to climb without breaking, and each tree usually doesn’t produce many fruits. The Paw paw song refers to picking up pawpaws because it’s virtually impossible to tell if a paw paw is ripe or even reach them until they fall off the tree.

My wife and I would often go down to the James River in September to collect paw paws. I even have two paw paw trees growing in my front yard.

Given the fantastic growth in craft brewing, and brewer’s willingness to experiment, it was only a matter of time before this under appreciated fruit started finding it’s way into fermentors.

In 2018 Ohio held it’s 21st annual PawPaw Fest where nine paw paw flavored brews were featured from eight Ohio breweries.

In Michigan, the Paw Paw Brewing Company opened it’s doors in early 2010 in the village of Paw Paw on the banks of the Paw Paw River, and yes they brew beer with locally sourced paw paws.

In Indiana, Upland Brewing Company brews a golden sour ale with fresh local paw paw fruit from Indiana.

In Virginia, Garden Grove Brewing has a seasonal beer made with paw paws collected along the banks of the James River, and earlier this year Richmond’s Blue Bee Cidery released their Golden Pawpaw Cider with paw paws that were also collected from along local streams and the river.

Blue Bee Cidery’s Golden Pawpaw Cider

Don’t get me wrong, paw paws are not new, and were enjoyed by the early settlers in pies, beverages, and even eaten right off the tree, and of course they were enjoyed by native Americans long before settlers. But it is nice to see people rediscovering and appreciating our culinary history, and the underapreciated paw paw.

Science confirms: Men with beer bellies attract more beautiful women and live longer (via The Laugh Bible EN)

The image of the ideal man has changed throughout history. In the Middle Ages, being “chubby” was a sign of wealth, which made “heavy” people popular back then.

Nowadays, the ideal man looks more like a painting. A lean, muscular frame with pronounced abs is what you need. But is it really true that women find super-trained men with a sixpack so attractive?

Read more: The Laugh Bible EN




Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference- Coming to Loudoun County, VA!

In just 2 months, on August 10 and 11th the Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference will hold its 9th annual conference, and this year it will be held in Loudoun Virginia! This conference is not only for beer bloggers and writers, it is also for breweries, brewery guilds, Destination Management Organizations, and PR companies. This event provides a forum for industry professionals to meet with writers and bloggers to discuss trends, tourism, and innovations in craft brewing.

Beer tourism is growing fast, and conferences like this are a great way to build awareness for local and regional beers, breweries, and beer trails.

This conference will feature a number of pre and post conference excursions such as a trip to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House in Maryland, and a visit to Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware, to talk to the brewers, hear about trends, and of course lots of tasting.

At the start of the conference, there will be a Kickoff Party at Farm Brew Live, northern Virginia’s first destination brewery.  Then during the conference attendees will hear about the current state of the craft beer industry, diversity in craft beer, learn about the art of negative feedback, podcasting and Instagram, talk to brewers and brewery owners, and of course beer tasting. They will also hear from Sam Calagione with Dogfish Head Brewery, see a presentation by Devils Backbone Brewing Company, and do more beer tasting. There will also be a reception and dinner at Vanish Farmwoods Brewery where 24 of Loudoun County’s breweries will be present to offer still more tastings of some of their best hand-crafted brews!

Finally, after the conference wraps up, there will be yet another excursion, this time to Richmond, VA, for  a tasting tour of the Richmond Beer Trail!

This conference is going to be incredible! If are a brewery owner, an industry professional, or just want to raise awareness about craft beer in your area, there is no better place to meet with the bloggers and writers who can get the word out.  

I’ll see you there!

Cheers!

 

Special thanks to the conference sponsors:

Visit Loudoun,the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association, is going all out to ensure the success of the conference.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributor operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country.

CraftBeer.com, published by the Brewers Association, a website that supports independently owned breweries and the world of American craft beer.

Devils Backbone Brewing Company, born in the Heartland of Virginia, this craft brewery has created some amazing German and American style craft beers that has become the standard for what a craft beer should be.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, after 22 years of brewing excellence, is still just as passionate and dedicated their craft as they were on day one, “to bringing off-centered goodness to off-centered people”.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House, which is the first Guinness presence on US soil since 1954 and a beer legend known around the world.

Prince William County, Virginia, close without being too close to Washington DC. Located only 30 miles from DC in northern Virginia, Prince William is known for their parks and trails, Civil War battlefields, amazing craft brews and wines, museums, and a robust arts and culture scene.

Kilfrost is a global leader in safety critical chemistry. They are probably best known for developing a range of Advanced Low Viscosity heat transfer fluids, including ALV Plus, which for the first time gives breweries a fluid that’s highly efficient and non-toxic, as well as cost efficient and environmentally-friendly.




Cumberland Valley Beer Trail, Pt 1 – Roy Pitz and Gearhouse

Near the end of Harrisburg Beer Week I was fortunate to find myself in Carlisle PA, at the very heart of the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail, and was able to sample and enjoy some of the best craft beer Pennsylvania as to offer.

The beer trail stretches from Chambersburg to Harrisburg and currently includes 19 breweries, a distillery and a meadery, with three more breweries, another distillery, and a winery to be added soon.

Of course you shouldn’t explore the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail without a passport. You can get a Beer Trail Passport from the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau or any of the participating beer trail locations. Each time you visit a location on the trail you can get a sticker, and depending on how many stickers you collect, you can redeem the passport for prizes such as a bottle opener, coupons, a t-shirt, and a chance to win a $50 gift card!

According to the Visitors Bureau, beer tourism is growing fast, and the beer trail is attracting craft beer lovers from all across the country.  The Bureau reports that 25% of the passports redeemed are from people who live more than 2 hours from the trail, and people from as far away as Florida, Texas, and even Oregon have redeemed passports.

104 N. 3rd St, Chambersburg, PA

The first stop on my beer trail experience was at Roy Pitz Brewing in Chambersburg, PA. They describe their craft beer as liquid art.  I sampled their Barleywine, West Coast IPA, Smoked Porter, and Sour Gose, and to be honest I don’t think they were bragging- just stating the facts.  

Not only was the beer noteworthy, they had a pretty good food menu also.  The Brew House Nachos have pulled pork, shredded Monterey jack, pico de gallo, and scallions topped with sour cream on a bed of tortilla chips.  So good! And have you ever had a cheesesteak egg roll?

The menu also included a number of burgers, sandwiches, wings, and more. And of course no pub menu would be complete without the classic fish and chips! 

The tasting room had a comfortable feel, the staff was friendly and helpful, the food was good, and the beer was awesome!

253 Grant St, Chambersburg, PA

My next stop on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail was  at Gearhouse Brewing in Chambbersburg. This craft brewery is located just around the corner from Roy Pitz.

They had a wide variety of craft beer on tap that would please the most discerning craft beer enthusiast such as a Hefeweizen, Kölsch, amber lager, American and Irish reds, a blond ale, IPAs, and stout.

I had an Angelic Red Ale and the I’ll Be Bock amber lager.   The Angelic Red had a beautiful amber/red color, a nice roast malt aroma with a hint of lightly toasted bread and rich malty flavor. The I’ll Be Bock had a biscuity aroma with just a hint of hops, and a fresh, clean, biscuity flavor with a light caramel malt presence.  Both were delicious.

They also have an eclectic food menu with a variety of items such as poutine (fried tater tots with cheese curds, beef gravy and beer cheese), fish tacos, mac & cheese, and assorted sandwiches and sliders. 

This is a great place to stop in after a hectic day at work, or to unwind on the weekend. Fine beer and pretty good food.

Next stops, Pizza Boy and Ever Grain Breweries!

To be continued…