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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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Remembering The Red Avocado

In the midst of this season of affection, it is with regretful hearts that we commemorate the closing of one of Iowa City’s most beloved eateries, The Red Avocado. As we reflect on the loss of our premier vegan/vegetarian/organic sanctuary, we think back on summer hours spent lounging on the patio, sangria in hand, Dustin Busch strumming the mood. Or huddling in the entryway mid-winter, stamping snow off our boots and greeting our neighbors, anticipating a fantastic meal in the company of good friends. […]

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The Hops: Millstream Brewery's Back Road Stout

Politically speaking, Rick Santorum and I are a couple universes apart. However, to my amazement we apparently have one thing in common: an appreciation for good beer. Last month Santorum made a campaign stop at the Millstream Brewing Company in Amana and enjoyed a pint of Back Road Stout–an excellent oatmeal stout I coincidentally decided to make January’s beer of the month. […]

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The Hops: Breckenridge Christmas Ale

It is once again time for celebratory holiday beers and winter warmers. While some are sub-par and gratuitous (another excuse to add a truckload of hops to a handful of malts), others gain such praise that they are brewed year-round. Some are even worthy of cellaring and comparing with previous holiday vintages. […]

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The Hops: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

October is my favorite month. Sweatshirt weather, colorful foliage, Big Ten football and Halloween spookiness. It cannot be beat. The evening air is tinged with the campfire-like smoke of wood-burning stoves and far-off burn piles in the country, giving the month its own aroma. Whenever I catch that scent, I think of cool October evenings […]

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Date Night

So you think you know the Iowa City food scene? With several new restaurants opening their doors of late, it may be time for you to reconsider your options. If you’re looking to impress the belly-dancing goddess from College Green you finally scored a date with, allow us to recommend a few of the dishes […]

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On the Table

Imagine five-hundred humpback whales. Twelve max-weight 18-wheelers. These amount to one million pounds–or the milestone reached by Iowa City’s Table to Table, a charitable organization that rescues food to support local service agencies that assist the hungry, homeless and at-risk. And for the first time in its 15-year history, Table to Table rescued more than […]

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