Ain’t no pour like the summertime brews

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 26 June 2014 15:15

Cheers to summertime.

Dan Carey, co-owner and brewmaster of New Glarus Brewing Co., would like you to enjoy his beer Totally Naked.

Depending on circumstances — and the temperature — you can, of course, enjoy any beer totally naked. But only Carey produces a brand of beer called Totally Naked that can be enjoyed virtually anywhere, regardless of the weather. It’s also a perfect beer to add to your list of summertime brews.

A lager brewed with two-row barley malt and Noble Hop varieties from Germany and the Czech Republic, Totally Naked pours with a bright white head and a light golden color that literally sparkles in the summer sun. The beer’s flavor is light, but creates a significant, yet subtle impression on the palate. It finishes very cleanly, with barely a whisper of aftertaste.

The perfect summer beer is, of course, the beer you enjoy the most. But warmer temperatures generally call for lighter, more refreshing fare. Just like food, there are beers that suit the season, and here are a few for your summer six-pack.

Wanna whole gelato love?

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 14 June 2014 13:16

The display case of gelato flavors was overwhelming in its variety and volume. But it still wasn’t sufficient to prepare me for my first taste at the La Coppa Artisan Gelato stand in the food court at Madison’s West Towne Mall.

“Try the Wedding Cake,” suggested the helpful clerk. “People like that one.”

Drink the rainbow: Colorful cocktails

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 14 June 2014 13:07

Time to get your Pride on! To help you celebrate Pride Month, we’ve researched a number of rainbow cocktails suitable for June — or all summer long. These quenchers have been designed to refresh — and their bright color bars will remind you and your guests of all that we have to celebrate.

Outpost opens its first ‘green’ certified market in Mequon

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:17

Although its grand opening was less than a month ago, Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative in Mequon — the cooperative’s fourth store in the greater Milwaukee area — is already getting a lot of attention.

“The response has been overwhelming (and) we are delighted,” said one of the store’s 80 new employees.

Located at 7590 Mequon Road, the juncture of Mequon and Wauwatosa roads, the stunning, 16,700-square-foot building is comparable in size to Outpost’s stores on Capitol Drive in Glendale, Kinnickinic Avenue in Bay View and State Street in Wauwatosa.

Chicago vs. NYC foodie smackdown: Who eats better?

Written by J.M. HIRSCH,
AP writer
Thursday, 22 May 2014 06:03

The James Beard Foundation recently announced that its awards ceremony honoring the best chefs and restaurants is moving to Chicago after 24 years in New York City.

It's more proof that Chicago is home to one of the country's hottest restaurant scenes.

But who's got the better eats?

Wines to flatter your grilled food

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 15 May 2014 10:58

Red, white and grilled. - PHOTO: Courtesy

Does anything say summer dining more than grilled burgers and cold beer, with maybe a little potato salad on the side?

Of course not, but beer packs on the calories, as do burgers — which, unless you’re an experienced griller, can wind up dried out or underdone. And leaving mayonnaise-based potato salad in the sun too long can create more problems that most stomachs can handle.

It’s time to upgrade your grilling with more sophisticated fare and replace those tall, cool ones with wines that operate in concert with your menu. That principle works indoors, so why not carry it over to your al fresco dining?

James Beard Foundation's cookbook of the year features old-English recipes

Written by J.M. Hirsch,
AP writer
Monday, 12 May 2014 12:38

Anyone with a hankering for hash of snails or powdered duck or a host of other centuries-old British cookery should be plenty pleased with this year's James Beard Foundation cookbook of the year.

But for the rest of us — by which I mean, virtually every last one of us — the selection of Heston Blumenthal's "Historic Heston," a $200, 431-page epic exploration of mostly antiquated recipes, will be a head-scratcher. It's one of those books so fabulously out of touch with any cook who doesn't have an army of sous chefs at his side, one has to ask for whom this book was written.

Beer here!
A guide to Wisconsin's craft-brewing festivals

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 May 2014 13:09

Russ Klisch, co-owner of Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery, the state's second largest craft-brewing company. -PHOTO: Courtesy

With Milwaukee Beer Week (isn’t that every week?) winding to a close on May 3 and Madison Craft Beer Week firing up on May 2, one thing is perfectly clear: Beer season is upon us.

Wisconsin’s brewing heritage is celebrated with outdoor festivals throughout summer and fall. As a public service to the state’s storied beer drinkers everywhere, WiG offers below a list of many of the events on tap. Have your designated driver ready — he or she gets a discounted entry fee at most festivals — and prepare to celebrate with beers of the region and the season.

Madison Craft Beer Week, Madison, May 2–11

The more accurate title for this event would be “Madison Craft Beer Ten Days.” The citywide celebration features special beers from across the state and around the nation and involves most of the Capital City’s bars, brewpubs and restaurants. Unique to this festival is “Common Thread,” a special beer jointly created by area breweries. This year, 12 different brewers participated in production of a Bohemian pilsner that’s sure to be memorable. For more information, go to www.madbeerweek.com.

Waterford’s Brewfest IV, Waterford, May 2

Area businesses located in this Racine County village have come together with the local Lions Club to sponsor this one-day event. For more, go to www.waterfordbrewfest.com.

Belle City Brewfest, Racine,  May 10

Belle City, held at the Racine Civic Center, offers a 28-brewer lineup that includes Public Craft Brewing Co. and Rustic Road Brewing Co., both from nearby Kenosha. Entry is $25 through May 2, $35 thereafter. Info at www.racinebeerfest.com.

Small fruits pack nutritional punch

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 May 2014 11:34

The word “berry” conjures pleasant images: sweet, ripe strawberries, perfectly round little blueberries, succulent raspberries — summer’s tastiest and most nutritious gifts. For botanists, however, the word brings a slightly different image to mind.

The botanical definition of “berry” is a fleshy fruit produced by a single plant ovary. Grapes, blueberries and cranberries fall into this category, but so do tomatoes, avocados, bananas and watermelons.

Hard-boiled: Making the most of leftover Easter eggs

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:55

Planning to hide brightly colored hard-boiled eggs around the house for Easter Sunday? Make sure to remember where you hid them. Otherwise, come June they’ll emit not-so-gentle reminders.

The practice of decorating eggs predates the Christian holiday of Easter. Engraved ostrich eggs estimated to be 60,000 years old have been discovered in Africa, and it was common practice to include decorated ostrich eggs in the graves of wealthy Egyptians and Sumerians some 5,000 year ago.

Forget sweet — try these savory sippers

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:44

Savory cocktails embrace an entirely different flavor palette. In a collision of Foodie Nation and cocktail culture, mixologists are experimenting with a wider range of ingredients. The results of those efforts have generated a new generation of savvy savory sippers.

New flavor combinations emphasize the entire palate rather than just the sweet tooth. Here are a few you can try at home:

Asparagus: The most popular spring veggie

Written by By Michael Muckian Contributing writer Saturday, 05 April 2014 10:59

In our house, the two sure signs of spring are daffodils and asparagus. But this is a food article, and daffodils are not edible. In fact, they’re poisonous.

So let’s concentrate on asparagus, one of our favorite early spring vegetables and the one most easily found in neighborhood supermarkets. Whenever possible, we prefer to eat fresh and eat seasonal, and this time of year asparagus is one of our few choices.