3 Stars Brewing Company

Washington, DC is becoming a growing microbrew market, between the city proper and local areas.  Many of the new ones are in the city, and are helping some of the run-down areas get a face lift, since they cost less to operate (lower rent) and then bring traffic to the area.  I was recently housesitting and found out about 3 Stars Brewing Company that was less than a mile from where I was staying — perfect!  It’s right near Takoma Park in DC/MD.  It’s in the far east side of the NW quadrant of DC.  Go a couple blocks and you’re in NE.

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It’s very hidden in a row of industrial buildings — they could use a bigger sign.  They’re open Thursday-Sunday for tastings and tours.  They also have an area for homebrewers to come get the ingredients they want to brew their own stuff, aka their Homebrew Shop.

The menu is pretty vast and you can taste 4oz. pours for $1.50.  You can’t go wrong with that.  The ABV range is also pretty wide so you also have to be pretty cautious on some levels.

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I’m torn between the Peppercorn and Ghost as to which one was my favorite.

In addition to the nice tastes, you can of course get pints as well as growler fills.  This would be there perfect place to go on the weekend with their picnic tables, They mentioned food trucks also swing by so you can fill the stomach with food in addition to beer.

I’m a Vintner!

I got to check out this great Blend Your Own Bordeaux competition last week.  Wasn’t sure what all this would entail other than wine and some form of mixing.  This took place at American Eats Tavern, just outside of DC, and was in the company of Master Sommelier Andy Myers and Barboursville Vineyards Chief Sommelier Jason Tesauro.

The evening started off with some bubbly and intros and then the rundown on what had to be done.

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IMG_3339(that’s the Master Somm)

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We had four varietals to play with (Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv and Nebbiolo) and we would taste them and play with each to determine how much of each we wanted to combine to make our own perfect blend.  It was a chemistry class with all the toys we had, too.

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In our instructions, we received definitions of each piece, percentages for mixing and what all we could do.

IMG_3374[1]Playtime!!!!

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IMG_3348You could not just plug the pipette with your thumb to fill it.  You had to actually suck on it to get a good amount in there.

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IMG_3375[1]After determining your best (personal) blend based on taste and trial & error, it was bottling time.  You also had to label it to the best of your ability.

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IMG_3352The after-shock was quite a mess.

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We were told when we started blending that there would be awards for the best wines.  Jason from Barboursville was the main taster/judge of the wines, while Andy and the Somm from American Eats also took part.  They had 15 or so wines to judge…the rough life of wine folks.

After their long-lasting time of judging they had some announcements to make.  Much to my surprise, I had a podium finish!!!  I brought home the bronze medal.  That meant great bragging rights, my wine and a bottle of Barboursville vino.  I am now a vintner.  What more could I ask for?

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Wheat, grapefruit…and beer

I love wheat beer, I love grapefruit.  But putting them together, I wasn’t sure about.  I am also never sure about low ABV stuff.  So while roaming around Rodman’s last week I came across a tasting that changed my mind about all of these.  There was a sampling of Schofferhofer Grapefruit.  On these hot summer days that have hit us, this could not be a more perfect brew.  It has that hefe background with that refreshing grapefruit taste.  And, it’s only 3.2% ABV.  The guy doing the demo says he uses it to refuel after a workout.  Hey, each one to their own right?  Would be perfect after yard work, for picnics, basically for anything on a hot summer day!

 

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Plane Food

When traveling (internationally) and therefore actually getting fed on the plane I always kind of wonder what the food will be.  Being lactose intolerant I always run the risk of not being able to eat what is served.  Some airlines don’t offer the lactose-intolerant option.  They have gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan.  The first two have the cheese thrown in there.  So, I opted for vegan recently to see what might come out because I know there would be no cheese coming into play.  I will say, not too bad.

One meal had some Indian flair to it.  I love that it came with fresh veggies and fruit!

IMG_3258For another meal I got a veggie sandwich (it was artichokes, avocado and tomato) on focaccia bread and I also got hummus.  It was in heaven.

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So if you’re looking for something new, request a different type of meal when booking your (international) flight.

Extra Irish Brews

There are the well-know Irish brews that most people turn to.  So it was great to find (and enjoy) the various domestic brews we don’t hear much about here in the States while there recently.  And since you can get half pints, you don’t have to drink a ton of the stuff when it’s on tap.  I can’t say that I have a favorite.  They were all pretty darn good.

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Canned Wine

I have seen and heard about wine changes, packaging-wise.  Was in a rut the other day and saw one in a can.  Had read good reviews about it — Underwood’s Pinot Gris, so decided to give it a try.  Wow, pretty impressive.  Very crisp, fruity, light, some little bubbles to best describe, since it’s in a can.  You can get 2+ healthy glasses out of this.  Was glad I grabbed it because it’s definitely on my list to keep around.  I also love their tagline ‘Pinkies Down.’

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Za’atar

Have you ever gone to a Lebanese restaurant for dinner and they bring you the great pita bread and olive oil to munch on?  But that olive oil also has something extra in it?  When at Lebanese Taverna a couple weeks ago I finally asked what that stuff is.  That magical ingredient is Za’atar.  The waiter told me it’s easy to find at specialty grocery stores.  So I stopped by Rodman’s in DC and found a huge (of course) bag of it.  I am in heaven.  I have put it in olive oil like in restaurants, sprinkled it in and on top of hummus and also used it as ‘just’ a spice on meats and salads.  Can we say addiction?

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Ahhh, Nicoise

One of my favorite salads is a Salade Nicoise.  And oddly, it was not that easy to find in France.  Come on, that’s where it’s from!  But on my last night in Bordeaux, I checked out the menu at a place that had caught my eye because of the cool decor around it — all sorts of neat animals — Michel’s. They don’t have a website so the best you can do google them at Michel’s, Bordeaux to get additional info. You can find lots of stuff.

 

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I obviously checked it out/decided to eat there since I am writing this post, because they had a great Nicoise on the menu.  Absolutely perfect!  Could not have asked for better.

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Some steak tartare was also enjoyed at the table, which also wasn’t seen all that much.

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Wine was consumed as well, but there was various glasses so I could not easily snap of shot of the label.  They were packed and short staffed so could not easily ask to see the label proper.

Great way to wrap that part of the trip.

Jameson Distillery

Not only is Ireland known for beer, but one must also consider the whiskey.  So while there, the Jameson Distillery was high on my list of places to visit.  I wanted to get the full tour of how this drink happens, from start to finish (aka drinking).  So, scheduled a tour for the distillery in New Midleton.  This provides for 1.5+ hours of very educational background on the whiskey, working through the 3 steps it goes through and then sampling of 3 whiskeys.  One from the US, Scotland and Ireland.  Very unique tastes to each.  And you get a certificate at the end that you’re an Official Jameson Irish Whiskey Taster.  How can you go wrong with that?

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Allergy, Intolerance, other…covered

When visiting Ireland, it was amazing to see how attentive they were to people’s food allergies, intolerances, or anything else.  This is one menu I really noticed.  Others would have labels and legends for what each item on the menu contained (dairy, gluten, soy, nuts, etc).  And if somebody wasn’t sure, they would immediately go to the kitchen to find out.  They would go out of their way to make the dish work for you and if they couldn’t, they’d suggest the best alternative.  Why can’t all our places be so good?

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