Archive for the ‘ Beer Reviews ’ Category

It’s Raging Bitch Weather, right?

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Is is freakin’ hot or what folks? Sometimes a glass of wine just does not cut it, because melting outside turns us into ‘Raging’ Bitches’ and calls for cooling down with a cold glass in the freezer full of a good brew!

I have a great review from the newly married ‘Chef Fresco’ team for you today…

Raging bitch Belgium IPA

Who turned up the heat?

Man! Turn on the content filter because we got a filthy little name but NOT a filthy tasting beer. In celebration of Flying Dog Brewery’s 20th Anniversary they released a new Belgian-Style IPA. Titled Raging Bitch because of its sassy-bitterness the beer goes down surprisingly smooth. Made from a special American IPA augmented with Belgian yeast the beer is pretty hoppy but not as hoppy as some of your more traditional IPA’s. Unlike most brews over 8%, this one is really drinkable. We would definitely drink a whole bunch of this stuff anytime of year. Even cooler than the beer is this awesome glass that one of our great friends, the Stephenson’s, gave us for an engagement present. What a cewwl gift right? So creative! I mean it says Chef Fresco’s beer review right on the pilsner. So a big thanks to Bret and Peggy we really love them so much and we’re sure all our Fresco fans out there will too!

Team Chef Fresco

Beer drinking, wine sipping and cocktail slamming for summertime in New Jersey

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Summertime drinks in New Jersey

Cocktails for you in the summertime heat

I love the summertime and love to kickback with family and friends. As the temperature soars, I like to keep cool and relaxed, no matter what the temperature is outside. Here’s a list of go to wines and cocktails to sip while taking in the New Jersey heat. These are sure to please all your beer drinking, wine sipping and cocktail slamming friends and family:


Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc , Marlborough NZ, 2008. A blast of grapefruit in your face. Aromas of citrus with generous lime and herbs. Great acidity with a long intense finish. 92 points WS, 92 points W&S $21.99

Castle Rock Pinot Noir Sonoma County-light and refreshing with aromas of dark fruit. Pair w/ grilled salmon. Value wine

Priavino Dolcetto D’Alba 2005. Nice depth and aroma for a summertime wine. Again, great with pasta or pizza

Orogeny-Green Valley, California 2006 . Hints of Bing cherry and pomegranate with spicy oak. Nice big fruit on this wine.Not cheap, but worth hunting down.

2009 Classic White Blend Wolffer Estate Vinyards: a blend of 38%Riesling, 37% Gewuztraminer and 25% Chardonnay. Pale yellow color. 12.5 % ABV Goes nicely with spicy Thai. Value wine.


Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Cosmo –new to the scene and surprisingly deliciously cool and refreshing!

Belvedere Grapefruit Vodka

¼ oz. limejuice

¼ oz good triple sec

¼ oz fresh cranberry juice

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain and serve into chilled martini glass

Hendricks & Tonic. How can something so simple be sooo good. Well it is. My son turned me on to this gin. Blew me away. Worth every penny!

Pour Hendricks into highball glass over fresh ice. Fill with fresh tonic water. Add juniper berries and mint sprigs for extra zing and zest!

Beer Based Sangria ( Haven’t had yet, but will make an effort to try) Courtesy of Food and Wine:

  • Bartlett pears, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Four 12-ounce bottles lager, chilled
  • 1 cup triple sec
  • Ice
  • 2 Bosc pears, sliced, for garnish
    • In a food processor, combine the Bartlett pears with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and process to a puree

Cheers! -Adrienne

Microbrew Market Monday

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Brew Tasting

How many times have you gone out with friends, family or even on your own and you found seasonal micro-brewery beers you liked, but there are just too many to try in the short window of time. Unless you travel and get paid for that sort of thing *hint hint world*!

I never really cared for regular brew, that is, until I had a Samuel Adams Seasonal Summer Ale, and Blue Moon (Coors) with an orange slice. A whole new world opened up for this wine and scotch connoisseur!

Then suddenly you are in love with a foamy mustache brew when you always ranted to friend how you hate beer. Only now there is a beer you merely have to have in your own fridge at all times. I am sure some of you out there have felt “Why not make my own beer”? Could I reproduce that wonderful flavor. An excuse to ward of scurvy by having oranges on hand eh?

Just create a home brewery inside your basement.

Making your own beer guarantees you’ll always have your favorite beer on hand, and you will not waste precious gas driving back and forth to the brewery. Well before you rush out to buy a home brewing system, empty beer bottles, and other ingredients, you will find some home brewing basics you should know before you start making your own beer.

How many projects do we start and when it comes down to it, equipment begins to pile up. Think seriously how devoted you will be to this project. Find some friends who would want to share the responsibility and expense.

Talk about the results you would want, and ask if someone has tried this before!

Many times co-workers or friends my have already began a home brew project. There are many home brew clubs existing you may not even know about. Do your homework first. Put together a budget and equipment cost list before approaching your friends or family.

Are there easy recipes out there?

You will be amazed at how many recipes you can find for beers. You might find them in magazines, in recipe books, and over the internet; some micro-breweries will handout a few of their recipes. Check on line, I have found sites where people journal their experiences in beer, wine, and alcohol making. Do not give up if the first batch is not what you expected. Most great cooks always have a few flops before their recipes become successful.

I am not always about the wine or best martini, I enjoy a good home brew or micro-brew when I am eating a good meal. So many times I have attempted making my own concoctions like Lemoncello, and found I could probably kill many infections or fungi with the overpowering alcohol content in my not so tasty recipe ideas.

Follow a recipe until you have the right feel for a successful batch. Do not give up so easily. Consult an expert, and you may find your new hobby is quite popular with friends and family!

Southern Home-brew and Wine making kits

The Beers of Summer by Elizabeth Willse, Women’s Voices For Change


Chef Elizabeth Stelling – Food and Wine Writer Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

We Are Back- Steak and Guinness Pie Pairing

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Chef Fresco Guinness Steak Pie

After a short sabbatical we are back, and presenting you with a word from one of our favorite food enthusiast couples- Chef Fresco once again has slammed us with a gorgeous beer and food pairing- something that would apparently go with St. Patrick’s Day, but a ‘couple’ I would welcome to my dinner table any day of the year! ~ Chef Elizabeth Stelling

“It was only fitting that we serve this dish with a Guinness brew. Michael loves Guinness and it’s growing on me. It’s a tough beer to review since it simply does not compare to anything else. It truly has a one-of-a-kind flavor to it. The best thing I can describe it to is a beer milkshake. Not an overly strong bitter beer flavor just smooth and creamy. One of the coolest things about buying Guinness in the store is that you can see their little nitrogen balls they put in all their bottles in order to produce the right head when you pour.

Kevin’s recipe calls for 2-3 hrs of cooking the meat. Ours wasn’t nearly done after 3 hrs (beef not yet tender and soup still liquidy). I checked a couple other recipes for Guinness pie and found quite a number of variations – including adding flour to thicken it up. So I did just that, cooked it for an additional hr and it was good to go! We made a few other changes to the recipe (as posted below).

To cut up the cooking time, you can make the stew the day before. Just reheat it on the stove for a few minutes when you’re ready to make the pie and all you have to do is pop it in the oven! We served the pie with peas – which seems to be the popular thing to serve with Guinness pie!” Jessi and Michael, Chef Fresco

Guinness Pairing


* 4 slices bacon, chopped
* 1 1/4 lbs beef stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 3 stalks celery, chopped
* 2 large carrots, chopped
* 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
* 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 bottle Guinness
* 2 tbsp flour
* 1 cup beef stock
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 2 tsp dried thyme
* 2 tsp dried rosemary
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 pre-made pie crusts
* 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
* 1 egg, beaten


1. Cook bacon in a large pan and set aside (leaving grease in the pan).
2. Add beef to the pan and brown on all sides. Set aside.
3. Next add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
4. Pour in the Guinness and de-glaze the pan.
5. dd the flour, stock, bacon, beef, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer until the beef is tender, about 3-4 hours. The stew should be dark and thick. If it’s still pretty liquidy, continue to cook with lid off to reduce until thickened. Turn off heat and stir in 1/2 of the cheese.
7. Towards the end of the cook time, preheat oven to 375.
8. Put the first pie crust in the bottom of a pie plate. Carefully pour the beef stew in.
9. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the stew and cover with the top pie crust. Pinch the edges of the two crusts together to seal in the stew.
10. Brush the egg over the top of the pie crust (will only need about 1/2 of it).
11. Bake until golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.

Tasting Tuesday- Team Chef Fresco’s Beer Views

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So this is our inaugural post on Chef E’s Partner’s In Wine Club and we’re super-excited to do so!

Today we’re writing about a good beer that is brewed essentially down the street from us in Moorseville, NC (we’re in Charlotte).

Brewed by the Carolina Beer Company, Endo is a hoppy I.P.A. with a slightly more bitter then usual aftertaste. This unfortunately was not my favorite I.P.A. due to the aftertaste and flatter-then-normal-flavor, but a good brew none the less. I would give it a 6.5 out of 10 as far as taste goes but 10 out of 10 for the name.

‘Endo’, a mountain biking term, refers to when a rider goes over the handle bars. Notice the stylish helmet atop the Cottonwood King’s head on the label. I am not sure why- they named it ‘Endo’, but I guess it is supposed to have “over the top” hoppiness— We on the other hand, did not think so!

That’s all for Endo will try to come back to ‘Partners in Wine Club’ with a better brew next time but thats the way experimental beer drinking goes—some great, some good, some not so good.


Team Chef Fresco
Jessi and Michael are two 20-somethings who are about to be hitched. They both are native North Carolinians and currently live in Charlotte. They stay very busy with work – Jessi does a fair amount of traveling and Michael spends a lot of time on his own freelance work. They are also new homeowners and love to spend time fixing up the new house.