Mid Atlantic Brewing News August/September 2014 : Cover1
By Jack Curtin Vernalicious Food Truck is one of numerous in the rotation at Yards Brewing Co. in Philadelphia. PHOTO COURTESY OF YARDS BREWING current love affair between craft brewers and food truck purveyors around the nation has both foodies and beer lovers ready to throw rose petals and ride along for the honeymoon. “Craft” is a key word on both sides of the romance. Traditional stainless steel carts with hot dogs floating in warm water are no longer the standard food truck milieu. Today’s versions offer gourmet dining on wheels and serve up items ranging from pierogies to cheese curds, soul food to Asian, Chinese to Mexican and other multi-cultural offerings. They make regular appearances at farm markets, college and corporate campuses, even weddings, not to mention large public celebrations like beer festivals. And they’re a godsend for small breweries with limited or no kitchens as an added attraction for their tasting rooms and special-release events. Having a food truck or two visit on a regular or semi-regular basis is now standard practice for many breweries. Yards Brewing Co., Philadelphia’s largest and oldest brewery, gets credit for setting that trend into motion. Yards schedules a food truck every Saturday and cuts its own food offerings back to a minimum that day. Event coordinator wo-thirds of the people in the U.S. have no idea that most of what they eat every day contains genetically modified ingredients.” So asserts gmo-awareness.com/avoid-list/, one of a number of muckraking websites that purport to reveal the poisons hidden in our food and drink. Among “GMO Foods to Avoid,” the site lists “Malt (used in beer).” Blogger Vani Hari, on her site foodbabe. com, charge, “Most beers brewed By Greg Kitsock ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM commercially are made with more GMO corn than barley.” A list of “8 Beers That You Should Stop Drinking Immediately” (www.trippapparel. com/2014/26000) accuses such leading brands as Budweiser, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Michelob Ultra of containing GMO corn and corn byproducts. What are GMOs and why should we stop drinking them? Genetically modified organisms are crops in which genes from other species have been inserted by way of viral or bacterial DNA, See GMOs p.6 State by State News Maryland ........29 Baltimore ........31 D.C. ..................33 New Jersey .....34 Delaware ........36 Virginia ...........14 C. Penn ............22 Philadelphia ...24 E. Penn ............26 W. Virginia ......28 See Food Trucks p.4 INSIDE Book Review.................................. 8 Fairy Hopmother ........................10 Homebrew ...................................12 Hop Ed .........................................17 Maps ...................................... 18-21 Event Calendar ............................39
Breweries And Food Trucks
The Current love affair between craft brewers and food truck purveyors around the nation has both foodies and beer lovers ready to throw rose petals and ride along for the honeymoon.<br /> <br /> “Craft” is a key word on both sides of the romance. Traditional stainless steel carts with hot dogs floating in warm water are no longer the standard food truck milieu. Today’s versions offer gourmet dining on wheels and serve up items ranging from pierogies to cheese curds, soul food to Asian, Chinese to Mexican and other multi-cultural offerings.They make regular appearances at farm markets, college and corporate campuses, Even weddings, not to mention large public celebrations like beer festivals.<br /> <br /> And they’re a godsend for small breweries with limited or no kitchens as an added attraction for their tasting rooms and specialrelease events.<br /> <br /> Having a food truck or two visit on a regular or semiregular basis is now standard practice for many breweries. Yards Brewing Co., Philadelphia’s largest and oldest brewery, gets credit for setting that trend into motion.<br /> <br /> Yards schedules a food truck every Saturday and cuts its own food offerings back to a minimum that day. Event coordinator Keith Zonderwyk says a variety of trucks are in the brewery’s rotation. “Guerrilla Ultima does barbecue that really pushes the envelope; Street Food Philly turns out gourmet restaurant-quality food all from scratch; The Cow and The Curd’s deep fried cheese curds are the perfect comfort food pairing with a Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale. We had two trucks pair up for a sidewalk barbecue last summer when Street Food Philly/Taco Mondo and Spot set up a bunch of grills outside and wowed everyone with some great grilled selections.”<br /> <br /> Yards, like most breweries, does not charge the trucks any fee, he notes. “All we ask for is a discount on food for Yards staff, which everyone has been more than happy to agree to.”<br /> <br /> “I think that food trucks and craft breweries share a sense of pride in providing handcrafted goods made with quality ingredients while not taking themselves too seriously,” says Gina Vasoli, who does marketing and social media for the brewery. “Both also have an inherent approachability: trucks are easily accessible and breweries are welcoming places to visit. And they're both ‘underdogs’ in the sense that they compete against big brands for market share, often employing unconventional or creative techniques to gain their loyal customer following.”<br /> <br /> A Feast on Wheels<br /> <br /> The Philadelphia region has long been a hot spot for the movement. “Beer at a food truck event always makes for a much better event,” says George Bieber, owner of the Sunflower Truck Stop, named after his popular Shorty’s Sunflower Café in Pottstown and specializing in “farm-to-curb” offerings.Bieber is the current president of the Philly Mobile Food Association, an advocacy groups for local food trucks formed in 2012. Bieber says the group has roughly 100 members (including some of the old-style hot dog vendors) and is steadily growing as more Trucks in the suburbs and South Jersey sign on.<br /> <br /> “We do a lot of beer festivals, either alone or with other trucks. I did the Daniel Boone Fest in Birdsboro early this summer and was the only truck there, so it was a great day for me.” He says the largest beer events at which multiple trucks are featured each year are the International Great Beer Expo and the Philly Craft Beer Festival, both held at the Philadelphia Naval Yard every spring.<br /> <br /> Curds and Quaffs<br /> <br /> Rob Mitchell is the owner of The Cow and the Curd truck and vice-president of PMFA.He says he discovered fried cheese curds while visiting his wife’s family in Wisconsin.“Cheese curds there are like cheesesteaks in Philly,” he asserts. And they’re a perfect match for good beer. For a recent appearance at Yards, he offered an appropriate dipping sauce for each of the brewery’s Ales of the Revolution.<br /> <br /> “The malt and honey of Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale was well complemented by the heat of the chipotle peppers in our chipotle ranch dip. The spruce tips used in brewing Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce give it a malty/ earthy taste with a piney nose and dry finish, which paired nicely with our sriracha mayo dip. And the flavors of molasses in General Washington's Tavern Porter and its subtle hops balance nicely with the smoke in our smoked ketchup dip.”<br /> <br /> Mitchell and Bieber were instrumental in the birth of what appears likely to be an annual multi-truck event, Taps, Tunes and Trucks, which debuted May 17 at the Sly Fox Brewery in Pottstown. Director of sales Patrick Mullin says the plan all came together after he ran into the duo at a local arts festival and they worked out the details. “We Determined that we wanted six trucks based on expected attendance and the desired variety of food. George and Rob’s trucks were obvious and Heart Food Truck was a no-brainer. (It’s owned by Michael Falcone, who closed his highly regarded Funky Little Kitchen in Pottstown last October). We wanted breakfaststyle offerings for runners and spectators of the Fox Trot 5k we hosted that morning, and Undrgrnd Donuts fit that bill. The other two trucks (Sum Pig Food, Baron Von Schwein BBQ) were selected and invited by George and Rob based on their quality, reputation and availability.”<br /> <br /> The success of the event is evidenced by the fact that Manatawny Still Works, a craft distillery opened across the street from the brewery a few weeks later by Sly Fox managing partner John Giannopoulos, made Food Truck Friday a recurring event right from day one.<br /> <br /> Mitchell recently copyrighted “Craft beer’s best friend” as a promotional slogan.He believes that fundamental attraction that brewers and food truck operators share is that both are reacting to consumer demand.“Consumers today want choices and that’s what we both have to offer. Both our industries are geared toward serving a more sophisticated palate and both connect emotionally with consumers. Both develop a zealous group of followers and when we get together, we introduce one group to good creative cuisine and the other to good creative beer. It’s a very natural relationship.”
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Two-thirds of the people in the U.S. have no idea that most of what they eat every day contains genetically modified ingredients.”<br /> <br /> So asserts gmoawareness.Com/avoidlist/, one of a number of muckraking websites that purport to reveal the poisons hidden in our food and drink. Among “GMO Foods to Avoid,” the site lists “Malt (used in beer).”<br /> <br /> Blogger Vani Hari, on her site foodbabe.Com, charge, “Most beers brewed commercially are made with more GMO corn than barley.”<br /> <br /> A list of “8 Beers That You Should Stop Drinking Immediately” (www.trippapparel. com/2014/26000) accuses such leading brands as Budweiser, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Michelob Ultra of containing GMO corn and corn byproducts.<br /> <br /> What are GMOs and why should we stop drinking them?<br /> <br /> Genetically modified organisms are crops in which genes from other species have been inserted by way of viral or bacterial DNA, Or via microscopic metal bullets fired from a “gene gun.” There is a raging debate as to whether GMOs represent a godsend for humanity or a potential nightmare.<br /> <br /> Proponents point out that genetic engineering can produce crops that are resistant to drought and insect pests, that yield more abundant harvests and that are richer in nutrients. They note that since the first GMO foods received market approval in 1995, no scientific study has shown them to be more harmful their non-GMO equivalents.<br /> <br /> Opponents argue that there have been no long-term studies on the effects of ingesting GMOs, and that tech companies like Monsanto are in effect using American consumers as guinea pigs. They charge that GMOs can have unintended consequences for the environment (they’ve been blamed for the decline in the Monarch butterfly population), and that they can contaminate non-GMO farmland despite efforts to quarantine them.<br /> <br /> “There’s a lot of science on both sides,” concedes Jon Cadoux, founder and president of Peak Organic Brewing Co. In Portland, Me. “We’re not taking a stance. But we think consumers have a right to know what’s in their Food and drink.” On March 14, Peak Organic became the first brewery to be certified GMOfree.A Bellingham, Wash.-based non-profit called Non GMO Project granted its seal of approval after meticulously tracing the lineage of the ingredients used in Peak Organic’s 22 brands.<br /> <br /> GMOs in Craft Beer?<br /> <br /> The non-GMO certification was actually redundant, as all of Peak Organic’s beers have already been certified organic, which requires that they contain no GMOs. But even ordinary craft beers are a safe bet. “There’s not going to be a GMO barley for a long time, 10 years or more,” insisted Dr. Michael Davis, president of the American Malting Barley Association, in a talk at April’s Craft Brewers Conference in Denver.<br /> <br /> GMO research and development is expensive, he noted. It costs $136 million to infuse one genetic trait in a crop, he estimated, and “barley is not a big enough crop to get sufficient returns.” Barley production in the United States has declined by almost 50 percent since 1990, according to the World Almanac. “Barley is used in far fewer food products today,” observed Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association.“There’s less payoff for genetic modification investment.”<br /> <br /> Hops are a far, far smaller crop, making the prospect of genetic tinkering still less likely.About 35,000 acres were sown with hops last year, compared to 3.5 million acres of barley.<br /> <br /> As for GMO yeast, “most of the work was done 20 years ago and was rejected,” reports Gatza.<br /> <br /> More worrisome is genetically modified wheat, which has been field-tested but not yet grown commercially. “Our technical committee is watching it,” says Gatza.<br /> <br /> Mutant Ninja Corn<br /> <br /> Indeed, only a handful of GMO foods are produced commercially. A handout from Green America (a non-profit seeking an environmentally sustainable society) lists nine common GMO crops, including alfalfa, canola, papaya, soy, zucchini and sugar beets. These are not ingredients ordinarily found in beer.<br /> <br /> The major exception is corn. Corn flakes, grits, syrup and sugar are frequently used by large national and international companies to brew pale, lighter-flavored beers. According to some estimates, close to 90 percent of the<br /> <br /> U. S. corn crop consists of strains genetically modified to resist insect pests or tolerate powerful herbicides.<br /> <br /> Do Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors use GMOs in their beers? A-B replied, “We provide significant information about our beer and their nutritional content through both our consumer hotline (1-800-DIAL-BUD) and our global consumer-information website www.Tapintoyourbeer.com. The site doesn’t mention GMOs, however.<br /> <br /> MillerCoors did not respond to email requests. But the Food Babe column last year printed a statement from the company admitting to the use of corn syrups, and noting that such syrups “may be derived from a mixture of corn (conventional and biotech).”<br /> <br /> A handful of craft breweries have experimented with corn. Agave Cerveza, the latest in Flying Dog Brewery’s Brewhouse Rarities series, is a Mexican-style lager incorporating agave nectar, lime juice and 30 percent corn flakes in the grist. Brewmaster Ben Clark says the Frederick brewery obtains its corn from Briess Malt and Ingredients Co.In Chilton, Wis., which claims on its website that its products are GMO-free. “We’ve worked with the company for years; we’ve visited its fields and facilities,” says a trusting Clark.<br /> <br /> Jason Oliver, brewmaster at Devils Backbone Brewing Co. In Virginia, brews an occasional batch of 1949 Heartland Lager, a recreation of a post-World War II lager containing corn and other adjuncts. Oliver says he’s “not too concerned” about the presence of GMOs in his ingredients. “These products have been field-tested. Do you think there are neurotoxins in them? I think a lot of the fear comes from ignorance and sensationalism.”<br /> <br /> There are currently no laws requiring breweries to list the presence of GMO ingredients on their labels. That might change.“Right now we are in the process of revising our policy on bioengineered foods,” says Tom Hogue of the Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates malt beverages. “We’re taking another look at it, and we’ll come out with regulations.”
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