Monday, October 21, 2013

Dark Horse Brewery

Trying to kick out my individual reviews of all the breweries who made the best of the best for the  Best Brewery search with +John Gonzalez .  Obviously, this is Dark Horse!

You can check them out here:

You can check out +Bryan Wiggs here:

I might be playing favorites, but I love Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall.  +Aaron Morse ,  his intrepid wife Kristine, and Wiggs are incredible people.  Aaron seriously never turns his brain off, it is constantly clicking through new ideas, new ventures, new beers.  Kristine keeps him on track, and makes these ideas a reality.  Wiggs, one of my favorite brewers, keeps the whole brewing operation on track, keeping one of the biggest breweries in Michigan humming along.

Our server, Hannah, was awesome, ready to explain anything that Wiggs, Aaron and Kristine forgot.  We got to tour the brewery, and this place is awesome.  You know you are in the presence of greatness when the tool shop is almost as big as the brewery itself...almost.  But these guys are welding, tightening, all the time.  They have hand built this brewery, custom making many of the systems they have there.  And it is quite a production facility.  18,000 barrels this year, they can bottle 140 bottles a minute.  Big time.

None of this would matter if the beer wasn’t good.  It’s better than good, it’s great.  The flagship Crooked Tree IPA is one of the most drinkable, smooth IPA’s I’ve had.  At the pub, it’s pulled off fresh from the tap, and it is creamy, fresh, cloudy and awesome.  A total revelation, and reason alone to visit the pub.   Reserve Special Black Ale, kicking in at 8%, it’s the first beer DH put into production.  It still drinks like a champ.  Scary Rock Star Jesus, one of the best names ever for a beer (and look up the story when you have time) was absolutely  awesome.  A shit ton of fresh apricots and then a chamomile tea infusion make one hell of a summer beer.

Working with a pizza oven, the DH kitchen works with what it has.  The point of the food is to keep It simple and fresh.  They do, with homemade pizza and calzones, all topped with fresh ingredients.  The butter glaze on top really helps.  When doesn't butter help?

Kristine said that if they make a “delicious awesome good product, people will come back for it”  I don’t think you have to worry about that.  After years of hard work, it’s exciting to see the success that Dark Horse is enjoying.  A visit to the eclectic pub is a must.  But if you can't make it to Marshall, go grab their number one seller, Crooked Tree, and toast their success.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Homemade Cracker Jack in honor of our boys!

Had my Metro Health Fresh Start cooking class the other night, and we made this winner.  Then my boys won last night, so it's probably very appropriate to share this recipe.  A low fat, maple sugar smacked snack loaded with peanuts and cashews.   Mix this up for the next game, and the next,and the next...all the way to the World Series.  Oh, and don't forget....GO TIGERS!

Spicy Sweet Popcorn Mix

1/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 paper lunch bag

Place the kernels in the bag and fold over about 3 times.  Cook in the microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes on high power.  Don't walk away, the minute the kernels stop popping, remove the bag!

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 TBLS butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1 cup toasted cashews
1 cup roasted peanuts

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, syrup, butter, salt, and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let boil for one minute, then remove from heat.  Let cool one minute.  Place popcorn, cashews and peanuts in a large bowl, sprayed with pan spray.  Pour the hot syrup evenly over the corn and toss well to coat. Immediately spread the corn on the parchment lined sheet and cool.  Store in an airtight container.