November 2008

This stew is perfect for these chilly (and oh so rainy here in Vancouver) late Fall days. It warms up the house and fills it with tasty smells. You can serve it alone or over a bed of mashed potatoes. It makes about 6 good sized servings. Yum.


2 tbs. olive oil

4 bay leaves

2 lbs. stewing beef

1 large onion, cut into large chunks

2 tbs. tomato paste

4 cloves garlic

1 tbs. thyme

1 tbs. rosemary

1/4 c. flour

1 c. beef stock

1 1/2 c. Guinness (or other stout)

2 tbs. chopped parsley

4 carrots, chopped

4-5 new potatoes, sliced into chunks

1-2 parsnips, sliced

salt and pepper, to taste

Simmering on the stove (delicious, but not much to look at)

Simmering on the stove (delicious, but not much to look at)


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. On high heat, in a dutch oven, heat the oil and add the bay leaves and beef. Brown the beef on all sides.
  3. Add the onion and cook until clear.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about one minute.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add garlic, thyme, rosemary and flour. Stir until most of the lumps are gone.
  6. Add the beef stock and beer. Bring to a simmer and stir until the liquid begins to thicken.
  7. Add the vegetables and parsley. Cover and place the dutch oven in the oven. Cook for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

ruination-ipaThe last of the beer we brought back from the Beer Road Trip, Stone Ruination IPA promised “A liquid poem to the glory of the hop!” While it didn’t inspire poetry, it was a decent double IPA that I would drink and buy again. But, it is pretty strong at 7.7% so maybe just a pint!

It is a hazy orange colour in the glass with a zippy pine smell. The first taste is a “hoppy kick in the a$$”* but with a surprisingly mellow finish which makes it quite drinkable.

But keep in mind that it is a double IPA, so if you don’t like hops, you won’t like this … at all.

*as colourfully described by my boyfriend

I must confess, I love shopping and I love things that allow for accessories. Beer is no exception. So this is the first of what I imagine will be many posts about beer accessories…

Here is a roundup of a few versions of stainless steel beer steins from around the web. I liked these steins because they are stylish but not ordinary. Also indestructible! Their clean look would work just as well camping or picnicking as at a classy get-together.

Beer Steins by megs24

1 – Cuisinox Beer Stein – $20 – Golda’s Kitchen; 2 – Stainless Steel Beer Mug – $12 – Forest City Surplus; 3 – RSVP Endurance Double Wall Stainless Steel Beer Mug – $17 US –

moylansI tried this beer at dinner tonight and was pleasantly surprised. It comes in a larger bottle which gave us two good size servings. The ale was a hazy reddish brown in the glass and smelled sweet and toffee-like. The taste was initially sweet but with a nice “twang” (subtly-hoppy) at the end which balanced out the sweetness. It also had a very nice mouthfeel – a little bit thick which seemed appropriate of an Irish ale.

While I had this with chili tonight (only because that’s what happened to be on the menu), it would go well with hearty bread and cheese to balance out the sweetness.

I wouldn’t drink a ton of these at once, but I could drink quite a few! Overall, a nice mellow, but interesting, beer.

This summer my boyfriend and I went on a beer roadtrip through Oregon and California; the goal was to sample as many tasty beers as possible. The first stop on the beertrip was a tour of the Widmer Brothers Brewery – our favourite brewery from our last trip to Oregon. We started out in a tasting room above the Gasthaus Pub with a short video about the history of the brewery; the gist of which was two brothers started out brewing beer in old farm equipment, made good beer and made it big. Following the video, the tour guide poured our group of around 15 a bunch of pitchers of beer (Hefeweizen, Drop Top Amber Ale, Broken Halo IPA and the seasonal OKTO), explained a little bit about each beer and let us sample them until the pitchers were dry.  (Keychain bottle openers were also provided – yay free swag!).

Next, the guide led us across the street to the brewery. There she showed us the pallets of grain and cooler full of hops (yum!) used to brew the beer along with a fancy bottling machine and a row of shiny beer tanks. While all this was exciting, we didn’t actually learn much about the actual brewing process. The guide talked more about the distribution of the beer and partnerships with other breweries than about how they made the stuff. A bit disappointing but easily assuaged by the free pint glass at the end of the tour (more swag!).

Free pint glasses in hand, we ended our Widmer excursion with lunch at the Gasthaus Pub. The food was very good and the beer list extensive. In addition to the 3 regular Widmer brews and the seasonal, the list contained several small batch beers. I sampled a special strong IPA which was a nice complement to my Bratwurst on sourdough with sauerkraut and potato salad. The server also provided us with some complimentary samples of some of the other beers upon request. Overall, a pretty good morning for the price of lunch and a few pints.

Tours are held Fridays at 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Make sure to call ahead to reserve your spot (503-281-2437).

See the Widmer website for more information.