Carolina Pork Experiment

The yankees are coming, the yankees are coming.  But this time they are here to spread joy and pork.  This weekend the Carolina Pork Experiment, a stop on the circuit of the Brooklyn Brewery-sponsored The Food Experiments, will be held in Durham.

The event is a chance for amateur cooks to show off your porcine cooking talents, and for spectators to have a good time and a cold draft minus the competitive pressure.  (Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver is well-known as a perhaps the leading advocate for pairing beers and food.  His book, The Brewmaster’s Table, is a classic for foodies and beer geeks alike.)  Read more about The Carolina Pork Experiment after the jump. Continue reading

Beer and BBQ on the 7th Day

Continuing this week’s inadvertent beer theme, I just learned of a new event taking place on Sundays in downtown Durham.  Fullsteam Brewery, purveyors of hickory-smoked Hogwash and a wide variety of other southern agriculture-focused “plow to pint” offerings, pairs up with Backyard BBQ Pit, a wood pit barbecue joint that cooks up the best ‘cue in Durham.  Each Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m.  (at least until further notice, so call ahead), the two businesses team up to bring you the succinctly named “BBQ and Beer Sundays.”  The BBQ and beer sabbath is held at 726 Rigsbee Avenue in Durham, Fullsteam Brewery’s world headquarters.

Porky’s Pulpit: Put Some Swine in Your Stein

With Hurricane Irene behind us, it’s time to relax and have a drink.  And what better to drink after a hurricane than beer?  Although I am generally not a believer in pairing beer with barbecue (unless you count having one in hand while cooking it), I do love beer.  Whereas the explosion of barbecue as an “in” food spreading across the country has many drawbacks, chiefly related to watering down sacred regional differences, the explosion of the craft beer movement has no such side effects.  Locally produced craft beers can be found in every state and have transformed the United States of Pilsner into perhaps the most diverse beer country in the world.

In honor of beer, I have compiled this list of 15 swine-themed beers from among the hundreds of beers that are named after pigs, hogs, sows, pork and other porcine references.  All of the beers below are described on RateBeer.com, an invaluable website for beer drinkers, and are presented below in no particular order:

1) Avery Brewing Company Hog Heaven Barleywine-Style Ale, rated a 99 out of 100 on RateBeer.com. I can personally vouch that this is incredible beer.

2) Aviator Hog Wild IPA, from Fuquay-Varina, NC.  RateBeer.com is less kind (52) to this brew but it has only been reviewed 17 times versus over 1,200 for Avery Hog Heaven.

3) Fullsteam Hogwash, from Durham, NC.  As far as I know, this is the only beer in the world designed specifically to pair with NC BBQ, and it pairs quite well.  A good brew, with the hickory smoked malts pronounced but not overwhelming.  Rated a 90.

4) Maui Brewing Wild Hog Stout, rated an 85.  I’ve never had this beer but wouldn’t mind being flown to Maui to taste it. Pairs well with luaus?

5) Slaughterhouse Swineherd.  This beer was apparently a special cask ale served at a festival in England, so I wouldn’t count on finding it on tap at your neighborhood bar, but the name alone is worthy of inclusion in this list.

6) Speaking of great names, how about pouring yourself a glass of Avery Piglet Purgatory?  This beer is a lower alcohol, less hoppy version of Hog Heaven and scores a 92.

7) Blind Pig Brewery in Illinois produces a large number of beers from Belgian ales to pale ales, Irish Dry Stouts to Russian Imperial Stouts.

8 ) While we are on the subject of Russians and Blind Pigs, allow me to mention Russian River Blind Pig IPA, which scores a perfect 100 from RateBeer.com based on over 800 ratings.

9) Angry Minnow’s River Pig Pale Ale is a mouthful of a name.  It rates a 76 and hails from the beer and cheese state of Wisconsin.

10) Need another pale ale selection?  You could do worse than Naked Pig Pale Ale, which is from Alabama and therefore sure to have some track record of washing down barbecue.  Rating is 51.

11) Another Durham, NC beer is Bull City Burger & Brewery’s Pigmeat Markham Smoked Rye.  Click the link to read where the name comes from–interesting trivia for Durhamites.  I’ve never much enjoyed rye beers but this one sounds too interesting to pass up.

12) Flying Pig Brewery of Washington state shows its love for swine with several pig-themed beers, including Flying Pig P.I.G. I.P.A.

13) In the interest of supporting whole hog barbecue, I’d be remiss not to include a snout beer:  Pickled Pig’s Porkers Snout. Okay, so it’s actually a cider, but close enough.

14) From snout to tail we go, with the Harvest Moon Pigs Ass Porter, which earns an admirable 88 from RateBeer.com and features killer label art to boot. Keep in mind that when you eat “pork shoulder,” you really are eating pigs ass.

15) Although it is among the lower rated beers on RateBeer.com, earning a paltry 22 based on 278 ratings, this beer has some fans.  I wonder why?  Oh yeah, maybe its the name: Butternuts Porkslap Pale Ale.

Cheers!

BBQ Events This Weekend

If you’re in the Triangle area this weekend you could do worse than checking out one of these two BBQ-themed events.  First, in Cary (yes, that Cary) on Friday and Saturday is the traveling road show called the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival.  Or, if you are looking for something with a little more of a downhome sophisticate flair, swing by The Flying Saucer in Raleigh on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. for a pairing of Hogwash beer with barbecue.  Twenty bucks gets you five 5-oz pours of Fullsteam Brewery beers and a heaping plate o’ ‘cue.  (A tip of the snout to BBQ Dave for pointing this event out.)

Weekend Double Feature: Cuegrass & Fire

Looking for something pork-related to do this weekend?  You have at least two good options.

1) The 14th annual Kings Mountain Firehouse Barbeque Cookoff.  There are 35 teams confirmed to compete in the KCBS-sanctioned cookoff and more than twice that many confirmed judges… hmmm.

2) The 2nd annual North Carolina Cuegrass Festival at The Pit in downtown Raleigh.   The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features music, Ed Mitchell’s BBQ and local beers.  Now that’s a tasty combination plate.  

The headliner musical act is the (in)famous Southern Culture on the Skids.  SCOTS are known for throwing fried chicken into the crowd at their shows.  Since it’s pretty hard to throw chopped barbecue (trust me on this), maybe they’ll toss the fans some hushpuppies.  No word on how much the event costs but it’s a fundraiser for an interesting organization that supports family farms, and I am sure you’ll get your money’s worth in ‘cue and brew too.  Hat tip to burgeoningfoodie and Eryk Pruitt for letting me know about the Cuegrass event.

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