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The Hops: Educating the Masses

When golfing, Kent Ball will drink Miller Lite because it’s refreshing, watery and usually cheaper than bottled water. It is a beer, he said, that he does not have to think about on hot, sunny days; all he needs to do is crack open a can and drink. But when patronizing his favorite pub, Ball […]

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On the Table: Personal Chef – How a Middle-Class Working Mother Splurges

How does a middle-class working mother splurge? Retail therapy? No, not shoes—if I can’t wear them to work or at home then why bother? Not handbags—they will just get Gatorade spilled on them. Concert tickets—nah, too tired to leave the house. No, no, no! What I really want is a personal chef. I asked around […]

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The Hops: Rayon Vert, by Green Flash Brewing Company, San Diego, CA

September is a time for football (oh, sacred game) and funk. Brettanomyces funk, that is. Affectionately known as Brett, Brettanomyces is a strain of yeast used in many Belgian beers. It imparts a dank funkiness commonly described as being similar to a barnyard or horse blanket. To me, it smells and tastes like an old, […]

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Chicken Little Reviews: Heirloom Salad Co.

As I enter downtown Iowa City’s newest lunch spot (the Java House’s recent expansion into the space next door) I find myself in a pleasant space painted a sophisticated charcoal gray with enlarged vintage photos of Iowa City hanging on the walls. It has the feel of being decorated by a Midwesterner who loves catalogs […]

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The Hops: A Moose Walks into a Bar

At first, Brian Sekafetz thought the Moose Lodge was a place where old men drank beer. However, since becoming a member in 1996, he has learned it is about more than drinks with buddies. So much more, in fact, it gives him goosebumps to talk about it. From caring for 220 underprivileged children at the […]

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The Hops: Pabst Blue Ribbon

For me, summer is synonymous with lawn mowing and lawnmower lager. As a kid, my summer breaks were spent playing basketball in the driveway and mowing lawns up and down my block. I mowed a neighbor’s lawn just about every day. The heat was oppressive and sometimes the grass was ankle-deep and littered with (doomed) […]

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The Hops: Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA & New Belgium Ranger IPA

Much like buffalo wings and fixed-gear bicycles, IPA has a mystique I cannot understand. Everyone loves it but I have no clue why. When I asked John’s Grocery bier guy Joe Hotek to explain it, he shrugged his shoulders. Is it the invigorating and refreshing citrus? The strong, bitter bite? Hotek mentioned its very minor […]

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Good Eggs

As the weather warms and backyard gardens begin to sprout, locals are asked to consider a very basic question: Where does our food come from? To some, there’s an easy answer, which is “the grocery store.” It is, however, a bit more complicated than that. Eggs often have a starring role on many shopping lists, […]

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The Hops: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – Chico, CA

Serving temperature: 50-54º F Alcohol content: 5.6 percent ABV. Food pairings: Bill Manley, a product development manager at Sierra Nevada, told me the chefs at the brewery’s restaurant commonly pair Pale Ale with grilled meat, mushrooms and fresh garden vegetables. For cheese pairings he suggested Colby and Edam. Where to buy:It is almost universally available […]

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Who will be the next Top Chef?

On March 28, the 2nd annual Top Chef: Downtown competition will be a live version of what all of us merely witness on Bravo.  Iowa City’s top chefs and bartenders will be exhibiting their culinary talent and mixologist wizardry from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hotel Vetro, 201 S. Linn St. Tickets are $25 which secures a sampling […]

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The Hops: Paulaner Brewery’s Salvator

Like a good Catholic and Bavarian, I imagine the Pope will relax with a brew or two after Saint Patrick’s Day Mass—and I guarantee he will not be drinking Guinness. Instead, he will probably kick back a couple bottles of the beer of the month: Paulaner Salvator. Sometime around the seventeenth century, it was decided […]

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The Hops: Duvel's Maredsous Brune 8

Ironically, a beer once brewed by celibate monks is an ideal beer for Valentines Day: Maredsous Brune 8.

Though it is now contract-brewed by Duvel, Maredsous Brune 8 is still a showcase of Benedictine abstinence. It is a dubbel that can be served in a tulip glass or chalice. The color is very deep brown. Three fingers of slightly tinted, thick head will settle to a thin lacing. It smells a little wine-like, but thankfully it is all beer with scents of yeast, caramel, toffee, fig, plum, apple, red grapes, brown sugar, spice and molasses. The taste is surprisingly dark and roasted with flavors of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and molasses. An earthy hop bite lingers on the cheeks and tongue after each sip and black pepper spice eventually emerges. The dark fruits, especially the red grape flavor, sneak in as the beer warms, but they are not as prominent as they are in the smell. […]

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