Category Archives: Features

Featured Interview – Tyler Moles, Beerfest Organizer

While “Beerfest Organizer” isn’t Tyler Moles’s actual job title at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, it may as well be right now. Beerfest is one of the most important fund raising events for the local charitable organization, whose mission it is to help all children achieve success in life.

We spoke to Tyler about Beerfest, his role at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, and his street cred as a craft beer lover.

What is your title at BBBSO, and how long have you held the role?

Development Director – I’ve had this role for almost 2 whole days.  For the 5 months before that I was the Development Officer.

This is your first year working with BBBSO and Ozarks BeerFest.  How did you get involved with this organization?

I have volunteered at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks events for a few years now.  I feel very passionately that youth mentoring is one of the most important elements of building a strong community.  By helping children realize their potential they can become productive and happy adults.  This in turn helps them raise the next generation outside of the cycle of poverty.

Are you a craft beer nerd?

People that are overly enthusiastic about craft beer are not nerds.  They are cultured.

Let’s establish your craft beer fan street cred:

What’s your favorite beer style?

I am a huge fan of IPA’s, but really for a beer to be good it mostly just needs to be a beer… and not have fruit in it.

Have you ever made beer at home?

A couple of times with mixed results.  I’ve been told that the secret is to either know how to do it or to follow a recipe.

Let’s imagine you’re going to cook a steak on the grill at home? What are you going to drink with it?

Beer, of course.  Responsibly.   I can’t tell you the kind of beer.  We have a lot of fantastic breweries that are awesome enough to come and help us put on Ozarks Beerfest.  I don’t want to risk upsetting any of my beer brewing friends by naming a favorite. I will tell you that it’s likely going to be a local favorite (It’s an ale and it’s pale).

What experience do you bring to the event that you feel has been particularly helpful?

I’ve thrown a lot of parties and helped to put together events in order to try and make the world a better place.  As a Sertoman, I have been involved with the planning of several awesome events, including Wingapalooza, Sertoma Chili Cook-off, and Cashew Craze.  I am stoked to be able take what I’ve learned and apply it to Ozarks Beerfest.  Make no mistake, this is a different kind of event, but I promise you that it is going to be out of this world.

BeerFest patrons enjoying samples
The 2013 event was the first at which homebrewed beer was allowed to be served due to a change in state law. Pictured, members of the Zymurgists of the Ozarks and employees of The Homebrewery share samples of homebrewed beer.

What makes this year’s BeerFest different from the event in previous years?

More craft beers for one thing.  We have a lot of new breweries represented this year.  In addition we have more food, more games, we even have a stein holding competition lined up for your enjoyment.

We noticed that you set a limit this year on those VIP tickets.  What’s the deal?

We’ve got some really cool things going for VIP’s so we want to keep the crowd down during VIP hours.  By limiting the number of attendees during these hours, VIPs will be able to fully enjoy the VIP experience.

What are the benefits of purchasing VIP tickets?

We have some really cool breakout sessions lined up with the brewmasters from some of the breweries.  We will be releasing more details shortly.  These sessions will be only available to VIP ticket holders. 

VIPs will get in 2 full hours early at noon.  They will get an awesome commemorative mug.  They will also get $10 in Beer Bucks to use on beer merchandise.

What do I get with my general admission ticket?

A general admission ticket will get you in to the event at 2:00 p.m.  You’ll get an awesome pilsner style Ozarks Beerfest tasting glass which you can use to sample any of over 100 different beers.

Where can I see what breweries will be represented at this year’s festival?

We’ve got a very small handful listed on ozarksbeerfest.com .  Really, I’m thinking of making people wait to see how massive the full list is.  I want to make sure there are enough surprises to keep Beerfest fresh.

What food vendors will be there?

We’ve got tons of beer related food this year.  Farmland is bringing in 1000 Boulevard bratwursts.  Rold Gold is bringing in 1000 bags of pretzels.   Rib Crib is bringing in barbeque.  Garbo’s is bringing in pizza.   You can check out some of the other awesome restaurants on ozarksbeerfest.com.  That said, there will be more than what is listed on the website.

So I have purchased my ticket and I’m inside the event. What, besides beer and food, will I find inside?

You’ll find Beer Plinko, Beer Lovers Lane (where you can find merchandise from the breweries.  We’ll have a few surprises as well. 

What part of BeerFest are you most looking forward to?

5:00 pm when the event is over.  That is when I can sample a beer.

Purchase your tickets for Ozarks Beerfest online or at Select Price Cutter Locations, Springfield Brewing Company, Mother’s Brewing Company, The Home Brewery, White River Brewery, and all Springfield Rapid Roberts locations.

For more info about the food and beer you’ll find at the event, make sure to check out ozarksbeerfest.com.

VIP tickets (200 available) are $50 per person and include the following perks:

  • 2 hour early admittance at noon
  • Exclusive breakout sessions
  • Signature VIP Mug

$10 of Beer Bucks to spend on merchandise at the event

General Admission tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door. They include your own tasting glass and admission from 2:00pm to 5:00pm.

Featured Interview – Leaky Roof Meadery’s Todd Rock

Leaky Roof Meadery
Exterior of Leaky Roof Meadery in Buffalo, Missouri

As you may have noticed, Leaky Roof Mead is now out and about town in its fancy new cans.  For a little background, I had a brief conversation with Leaky Roof Meadery owner and head meadmaker, Todd Rock.

Continue reading Featured Interview – Leaky Roof Meadery’s Todd Rock

Four Course Memorial Day Challenge – Part V

Memorial Day has come and gone, and so has our first ever Food Pairing Challenge.  We at Beer Buzz were honored to have such great competitors in our first ever challenge, and think the results turned out incredibly well.

The theme of this Memorial Day challenge was grilling.  Our competitors, Hy-Vee‘s Chef Marty Lowry and Frankaboutfood.net‘s Frank Reiter, were provided four beers around which they were asked to design a menu.  The beers were provided in order of the courses, and they were asked to center their menu around a barbecue being held to celebrate the holiday.

Here’s a summary of the play by play, with the winner of each round.  At the end of the post, vote on the competitor you felt had the best Overall Menu.

Continue reading Four Course Memorial Day Challenge – Part V

Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part IV

Tuesday, we launched our Memorial Day Food Challenge with Hy-Vee Stores‘ Chef Marty Lowry and FrankAboutFood.net‘s Frank Reiter.  For the first course and background on the challenge, click here.  For the second course, click here. For the third course, well, you know.

Beer #4: Mother’s Brewing Company – Three Blind Mice

Frank says:

For our final course, the dessert course, nothing says summer quite like ice cream. It’s a must when having a Memorial Day cookout. This dessert is going to be an easy one to toss together, so you can get right back to entertaining your guests, and tossing contraband Lawn Darts at your kids.

The beer that Ben put forward for this course is a bit of a curveball; I’ll explain. Typically, a brown ale is malty, with a roasty sweetness from that malt. However, Mother’s Brewing Company’s Three Blind Mice is NOT your Father’s brown ale! It’s a tip of the hat to three distinct beer styles: Irish Red Ale, English Brown Ale, and the German Altbier. The twist comes with the level of hoppiness that slips in from the ode to the Altbier. This makes it a bit more difficult to try to get a dessert pairing together. I had to play around and experiment with a couple of different techniques to overcome this bitterness, especially when reducing for a dessert sauce. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. By reducing an entire bottle down to about an ounce or so, and adding sugar and semi-sweet chocolate chips, I was able to bring the sauce to a palatable level. The vanilla ice cream brings the Ice component to the dish, and soothes any lingering bite from the sauce, which just takes on a dark chocolate character. The aroma of the sauce oddly struck me like toasted coconut. What’s a great marriage with toasted coconut and involves a grill? Yes, grilled pineapple! There’s our Fire component. For a base, I chose a shortcut: store-bought shortcakes. Build upon that foundation a grilled pineapple ring or two, a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream, drizzle with the Three Blind Chocolate Sauce, top with toasted shredded coconut. The levels of flavor that all work in harmony, give this dessert such complexity, yet it is so simple to put together.

You might say, “But, Frank, does it really go well with the beer?” Hell yes, it does. My test subject was my wife, who normally would shy away from such pairings… and I got a resounding thumbs up!

A great way to wrap up my menu, and gets keeps you from spending too much time on the food, and gets you back to enjoying your outdoor holiday!

Cheers!

Marty says:

It was truly a challenge to develop a dessert that includes a grilled component for this course. I had many ideas, but they were all missing… something? In order to unite the flavors and textures of this dish, I decided to make the Three Blind Mice into an ice cream, and voila! Grilled Banana Split. My menu shows chocolate and vanilla as ice cream flavors, you can make your own or get them from the store. You could also substitute another flavor of ice cream for the vanilla, like Heath toffee. I hope you have enjoyed our pairing exercise as much as we have! Enjoy this holiday weekend, and eat well!!

Recipes follow after the jump.

Continue reading Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part IV

Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part III

Tuesday, we launched our Memorial Day Food Challenge with Hy-Vee Stores‘ Chef Marty Lowry and FrankAboutFood.net‘s Frank Reiter.  For the first course and background on the challenge, click here.  For the second course, click here.

Beer #3: White River Brewing Company – Belgian-Style Table Rock Red

Marty says:

The Table Rock Red, a brew I have enjoyed a few times with family and friends! This excellent choice for our principal plate is paired with a Black and Bleu Beef Tenderloin Salad. The plate provides a variety of flavors and textures. Salty, creamy, spicy, smoky, all play well with the bitter and sweet notes of the ale, and enjoy it’s crisp characteristic against the richness of the dish.

Frank says:

The third course in this menu is our main event, the entrée. I’m going Mediterranean with this course. The beer is White River Brewing Company’s newly re-branded Belgian Style Table Rock Red. I love the addition of the Belgian yeast in the bottled version of Table Rock Red. It has a sweeter malty backbone, but the Belgian yeast provides that subtle spice, and earthy dryness. The creaminess of the tzatziki sauce is a great balance with the lightly spicy nature of the Belgian yeast. And the beer is bold enough to stand up well to the lamb. This burger will really mesh well with, and keep a congruency in the menu with, the couscous salad.

Recipes follow after the jump.

Continue reading Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part III

Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part II

Yesterday, we launched our Memorial Day Food Challenge with Hy-Vee Stores‘ Chef Marty Lowry and FrankAboutFood.net‘s Frank Reiter.  For the first course and background on the challenge, click here.  

Beer #2: Boulevard Brewing Company Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale

Frank says:

Boulevard Tank 7 can be a bigger beer at 8.5% ABV. However, it is also a Saison, or Farmhouse Style Ale, which are typically dry, crisp, and refreshing. After all, Saisons came about as a thirst quencher for farm hands! Tank 7 has the typical crisp, dry character, while still supporting a nice, lightly sweet fruitiness. This very subtle fruit note will balance the slightly acidic tang of the vinaigrette in this salad. The crisp Saison yeast will also work well with the refreshing mint component of the salad, as well. This salad is a great make ahead dish, that can be prepared the day before, and provides less stress on the day of your backyard BBQ!

Marty says:

For the second course, I have redesigned ceviche to suit our grilling theme. Grilled sea scallops provide their own delicate sweetness, alongside the bolder pineapple, in a blend of Latin and island flavors. Both the dish and the Boulevard Tank 7 pairing manifest themselves in a blend of sweet and spicy, light but earthy, as we move forward to our principal plate.

Recipes follow after the jump.

Continue reading Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part II

Core Brewing Company – Interview with Jesse Core

I recently had a chance to talk to Core Brewing Company‘s founder, Jesse Core, about their recent expansion into Southwest Missouri, his choice to go pro, and why he’s excited to introduce you to his beer.

First, tell me a little bit about how Core Brewing got started. What triggered the idea, and what convinced you that you could go commercial?

First, I have been brewing beer over 20 years. It has always been something that I loved doing. I will be a homebrewer as long as I live! As a software engineer, I had the opportunity to live in some beer-centric areas such as Boulder (3 years) and San Diego (7 years). When I had the chance to move back home, I missed the beer-culture and saw an opportunity to help locally.

Then, I just did a cannon-ball into the deep end!

The Core Brewing Team
The Core Team, photo courtesy of Core Brewing and Distilling

You guys were opened in 2010, but you’re now one of Arkansas’ largest breweries in terms of volume production and distribution. Tell us a little bit about how that journey went.

Currently, Diamond Bear is the largest in terms of sales. We have the largest available capacity.

If all goes well, maybe we can give Diamond Bear a run for their money soon. Our overarching theme is simple, quality product. I regularly iterate to my team the need to focus on quality, quality, and quality. If we make great product, the business-side will be pushed by the demand.

And fortunately, that is happening. Demand has given us the opportunity to grow rapidly. So, we are very grateful for the support.

That’s some serious growth. What have been the biggest growing pains you’ve encountered?

As with any startup, cash is something that has to be managed well. Rapid growth can put a strain on cash-flow. I feel we have done a good job in that area to date. Also, putting together a team of dedicated, positive, hard-working folks takes time. I am very proud of our Core Team. We are a group of laid-back, good-hearted people who feel lucky to be doing what we do.

Core Brewing Cans preparing to be filled with deliciousness.
Core Brewing Cans preparing to be filled with deliciousness. Photo courtesy of Core Brewing and Distilling.

Were there any times in the past four years that you thought about giving up? If so, can you provide any examples?

No f’n way. This is my dream job. The work is incredibly hard, but extremely rewarding. My personality does not allow me to give up. I have a responsibility to my employees, investors, banks, family, and community to make this company a big success.

What is the most important lesson you learned in operating a brewery?

Find people you can rely on. As much as I love brewing, I have other responsibilities that pull me away from my passion. If you have a team that you can count on, you can focus on growing the company. Like I said, I know I can count on the group that I have.

So-called experts know jack. If you are passionate about opening a brewery, there will be a 100 experts telling you how hard it is why it can’t or shouldn’t be done. Screw em’. Jump into the deep end head first!

What’s with the slogan, “Take Pride in Your Wiener!”?

Our mascot/logo is my ol’ wiener dog, Barney. We just have a lot of fun with the marketing surrounding wiener dogs.

Do you have any advice for a homebrewer who wants to make the jump to commercial brewing?

See my previous points on the so-called experts. I am certainly not an expert. In fact, I am learning new stuff daily. All I can do is offer some of my experience. Take it or leave it.

Making good beer is important, very important. Just make sure that you have the business side covered. Brewing and Distilling is capital intensive. Align yourself with good partners and make sure you are properly capitalized. Under-capitalization is the death of startups. Also, I am happy share my experiences with whomever wants to swing by the brewery for a beer. Just hit me up at jesse@corebeer.com.

You used to be a computer programmer by trade. Has that experience affected your success as a brewer or business owner? How?

I am a nerd. I love processes. I love improving processes. I love automating processes. As a software guy I learned how to take big problems and break them down into bite-sized chunks.

Brewery issues can be daunting, very daunting. My experience allows me to compartmentalize them and communicate them to my team in a way that can be executed efficiently.

The Core Brewing and Distilling Pub
The Pub at Core Brewing has beer in it. And it’s GOOD. Photo courtesy of Core Brewing and Distilling.

I noticed your brewery no longer has a web page, but has a large presence on Facebook and Twitter. Why did you decide to eliminate your web page and focus on Social Media?

Good question. We are in the process of redesigning our website to better integrate with our mobile applications and social media.

What has triggered your expansion of distribution into Southwest Missouri? Why now?

Frankly, we were not ready. We want to grow intelligently and make sure we are well represented in Missouri. Missouri has a strong craft beer base. We needed to make sure that we were 100% ready.

What beers will Southwest Missourians be able to find in stores or on draft in the area? Can you tell us a little about each one?

All of our staples and seasonals including ESB, Leg Hound, Behemoth Pilsner, 2x Red, Oatmeal Stout, Hilltop IPA, Toasted Coconut Brown, Hazelnut Brown, and many more!

I understand your beer is not found in 12 oz bottles, but can only be found in cans, 22 oz bottles, and on draft. Why cans?

Well… soon it will be. We recently purchased an automated 12-oz bottle filler to complement our cans and bombers. In addition to being more sustainable, cans can be taken to the game or to the lake or places where bottles are not allowed. I now actually prefer to drink beer out of our cans rather than bottles… That being said, to each his own. If you like bottles, we have those too!

Your business is called Core Brewing and Distilling. What’s up with the distilling?

Only took the BIG GOV 19 months to get us approved but we are now a distillery as well. I have recently distilled our Toasted Coconut Brown Ale into a spirit and it tastes great. I have also distilled a 50% Wheat – 50% Barley whiskey as well. I am having a lot of fun with this side of the business and look forward to making some fun and interesting products.

What is your favorite part about being a brewer and brewery owner?

Making beer is tough, very tough. But, when I see our customers enjoying our product, I feel incredible. I love making customers happy. As brewery owner, it makes me feel fantastic when I see the team executing well, fixing things they are not asked to, and helping their colleagues without being asked to. When you see this, you know you have a good team.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Core Beer?

Just that I am grateful for the support. If ever you get down to NWA, please swing by the brewery. We have a pub that is open every day until 9:00pm with live music on the weekends.

 

Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part I

Not too long ago, I had my good friend, Local Hy-Vee stores‘ Chef Marty Lowry, on my show to discuss food and beer pairing.  We’ve done this a few times together, but this time we started discussing how beer and food pairing is inherently subjective and open to interpretation.

While there is science involved in pairing food with beer, it is largely an art form.  As such, we decided to illustrate this concept by holding an experiment where we would have two people independently develop a menu based on a four-beer selection I make.

First, however, we needed another person.  For that other menu, Marty and I decided to turn to food blogger and amateur chef Frank Reiter of Frank about Food.

Once Frank agreed (it did not take any arm-twisting, I assure you), I decided the challenge would be to pair the four beers I chose with a Memorial Day grilling theme.

I will post one beer with one course from each participant each day for the rest of the week.  For each course, comment with which one you like best.  We’d like to know which approach you think works best.

Next week, we’ll tally up the comments voting for each one and announce the winner by round.  It’s not really a competition,  but I think it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Continue reading Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part I

The Homebrewer’s Corner – Make a Plan

“I love it when a plan comes together.”
John “Hannibal” Smith, The A-Team

When I was not yet married and brewing was my plan for the day, I could spend 10 or more hours in my garage piddling around, drinking beer, and making even more beer.  Now, though, I don’t have as much liberty with my time and am compelled to shorten the time I spend “goofing off” in the garage.  Over time, my brew days have gotten significantly shorter, and I am always looking for good ways to shorten them without sacrificing the quality of the brew.

Whether you have to shorten your brew day out of necessity or you want to squeeze a brew day into a smaller window so you can brew more often, the best way to shorten your brew day is through proper planning. Not only will planning shorten your brew day, it will also help you to make better and more consistent beer.

Here are a few tips for shortening (and improving) your brew day through effective planning:

Continue reading The Homebrewer’s Corner – Make a Plan

Music for Beer Lovers with Ashton Lewis

On the night of the final TAG/Beer Buzz podcast, Ashton Lewis, Brett Johnston, and I spoke about music at length.  As we discussed music and beer, I thought it could be a fun experiment to try and combine music, food, and beer together.

As the podcast wound down and this site spun up, I emailed Ashton and asked him to pair some music with some beer, and then throw in some ideas for food, as well.

Although he found it challenging, Ashton came up with some great combinations.  After each one, he offers what he calls his “liner notes” for the combination.

Continue reading Music for Beer Lovers with Ashton Lewis