Category Archives: Mash Files

Mash Files: Pittsburgh 2014

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I never thought I would say this, but Pittsburgh really has this Philly boy over the moon with its incredible culinary scene.

Our first Pittsburgh Mash was great, but this year was bonkers, bubbly, fermented, and delicious. There is a magic strip in this town of many bridges, winding rivers, and Steelers fans that, for me, symbolizes the positive growth of Pittsburgh’s culinary scene.

There are tons of great spots in Pittsburgh like Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sedvik’s restaurants e2, Legume, root174, and Acacia, just to name a few. Some of the best can all be found at the end of Butler Street - Cure Restaurant, Wild Purveyors, Allegheny Wine Mixer, Pusadee’s Garden, and the studio of food photographer Adam Milliron are all neighbors in this little corner of Pittsburgh. I could have spent my whole trip on this end of Butler Street gorging myself on house-made charcuterie, drinking great wine and beer, slurping authentic Thai noodles, gazing at Adam’s photographs, and talking foraging and fermentation with my buddies at Wild Purveyors.

I spent hours with Cavan Patterson and his team at Wild Purveyors tasting various spoonfuls of shrubs, fermented mushrooms, foraged mushroom-infused salts, and other delicacies hidden in the outlying lands around Pittsburgh. Cavan’s fervor for the finer, foraged things in life and how they can be transformed and enhanced through natural processes reminds me of the energy surrounding the pursuits at  Kaizen Trading Co at the Momofuku Test Lab here in New York City. Needless to say, my larder is full of fine delectables that may make their way onto the tables at our Dinner Party events soon to start this month, courtesy of our fine friends in Pittsburgh.

I had the pleasure of cooking with Justin Severino of Cure and Kate Romane of e2 for two great events. As always, I was blown away by these two and the flavors they coax out of ingredients. Both of these from-scratch chefs have an amazing ability to highlight local ingredients in new and inventive ways while still holding fast to tradition. Justin Severino, charcuterie master and funnier doppelganger of comedian David Cross, is one of my culinary heroes. His sous chef Nate is one of the young stars to watch out for in the next few years. I was lucky enough to hang out in the Cure kitchen throughout the week, and I can only hope that some of their genius and comical approach to life and food rubs off on me.

If not, I’ll have to roll my way down Butler Street in the hope that some of the magic of Pittsburgh sticks.

Brooklyn Brewery BrooklynBrewery Brooklyn Lager Brooklyn Brewery Mash Garrett Oliver Steve Hindy Brooklyn Lager BrooklynLager Sorachi #GoldDots

Mash Files: Stockholm 2014

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Combine leading design and conceptual food artist Emilie Baltz, a defunct nuclear reactor buried 40 meters under ground accessible only by a rickety old freight elevator,  a chef with a crazy propensity for absurd dinner parties, a waitstaff garnered in lab coats, and you get a seven course sensory adventure that challenges the very notions of our modern dining culture. This Slow Supper dinner series grappled with the notion of Energia, and I can’t think of a more appropriate stage. It may be the drastic change in weather, the shear amount of moving water, or the fact that it never quite gets dark, but Stockholm has an energy that is palpable.

It is a quiet intensity like the slow rocking of the waves as the ferry pulls up to Hammarby Sjostad to drop you off at the New Carnegie Brewery, or the smell of cut grass mixed with the sea air that surrounds Saby Gard Farm, the location of our Dinner on the Farm. I may never be able to put in words what it feels like to walk the streets of Stockholm, bite into a cold smoked head of shrimp, and take a forty minute drive into the countryside, where I am convinced hobbits and fairies go to make love, dance, sing,and have picnics. But I can say for sure that this place is magical. A place  to relax and be quietly inspired, an inspiration that creeps up on you without you even noticing, like the scent of lilac blossoms, and the countless tulips that dot the streets.

I have visited Stockholm a few times over the past year but I can truly say I fell in love with the city on this trip. It may have been the friendships that we have been developing, the relationships with chefs that I can now count on to help me source for a dinner and provide us a set of hands when we are in the weeds (thanks AG), or simply knowing I can go to Akkurrat and peruse the cellar with Sten, drink late into the evening with CC ( one of our gracious bartenders at NCB), wax poetically with Chris one of our NCB Brewers, or experiment in the kitchen with Billy White and his gifted team in the NCB kitchen.  Stockholm has really become a home away from home for myself and our Brooklyn Brewery team. A city that welcomes us with open arms, glasses filled with delightful beer, and food fit for a hungry viking tribe. A few more trips like this and I can go to Valhalla a happy man.

Mash Files: Chicago 2014

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On the Mash tour this year, we have invited diverse groups of inspiring people to break bread with us around the table for an event we call Family Meal. This five to six course meal (depending on how ambitious I am feeling) is about bringing together some of the folks that make up the dynamic culture of each city we visit. This mix of chefs, entrepreneurs, artists and craftsmen makes for an exciting evening of collaboration, and conversation based on innovation and the preservation of local food tradition.

This event is one of the most enjoyable of the tour for me because I get a chance to cook and eat with my peers who inspire and drive me to continue the work I do to preserve local food systems and promote the values of craft beer and good food. In Chicago, our table was graced by the Chicago Dinner Lab team, the folks from Dark Matter Coffee, Chicago Honey Co-op, Co-op Sauce, Crumb bread, and one of my favorite Chicago haunts, Untitled. Cooking for a room with such discernible tastes can be daunting, but a few Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ales help to calm the nerves. I wish we had a bigger table so we could have invited all our new friends like the gang from Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits, West Loop Salumi, Letherbee Distillery, and chefs like Nicole Pedderson and Jared Wentworth, but sadly our Air B&B had some space limitations.

I rarely get to serve food and sit and eat with my guests, but this event allows for just that. One of my pet peeves with the restaurant industry is the disconnect between chef and guest, but Family Meal allows me to interact with people while they enjoy their meal, and give feedback that helps to improve my pairings and dishes.

We ate and drank late into the evening, and by the end new friendships and potential future collaborations had been established, along with the realization that Claire Dietzen of Dinner Lab really loves pink Starbursts and can consume a whole pack in a matter of seconds. Standing on the back deck among a sea of conversation and clinking glasses, I felt a true sense of satisfaction, and a reaffirmation of what we are doing on this crazy Mash adventure. This dinner party truly encapsulates the essence of the Mash: collaboration, pleasure, discovery and good people coming together to celebrate. If the rest of our family meals are half as memorable as this one I will be a happy man.

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Mash Files: New Orleans 2014

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The polar vortex may have kept our growing season at bay, but it did conveniently make the Super Sunday parade fall during the New Orleans Mash tour, which for me is an acceptable trade off. The Mardi Gras Indians took to the streets, second line bands behind them, dancing their way through throngs of onlookers in their dazzling suits.  For the second year in a row I have had the pleasure of being one of the many spectators in this brilliant showing of African American tradition mixed with Native American culture.  Big Chiefs, Spy Boys, Wild Men, musicians, hundreds of suit clad children, and thousands of onlookers made up the procession. There may not be another Sunday tradition as interesting and dynamic as this one.  the history of the Mardi Gras Indians can be traced back as far as the 1850′s, and what was once a bloody and  violent gang like encounter has now become a peaceful and music filled day of wonder.

The parade ebbed and flowed like a snake almost oscillating, with an energy that was palpable. A few drinks didn’t hurt, as I grooved my way through the excitement snapping photos and screaming encouragement, as mothers, children and even big chiefs chanted along the parade route with a mix of shit talking and poetic hymns, lost in a cloud of barbecue smoke. Food vendors line the streets running the gambit form makeshift grills to full rigs with huge smokers bellowing.  Hot oil bubbles away as fish and shrimp get fried on their way to meet open buns  smothered with all the po-boy fixings.

The craftsmen, showmanship, focus and dedication at this event is unmatched. A desolate neighborhood becomes a cultural melting pot, a beautiful mix of races, socio-economic classes and smiling faces all coming together to honor and celebrate a rich history that is as distinctly New Orleanian as the crawfish boil. The links between the food culture of New Orleans and the rich history of the Mardi Gras Indians is ripe with similarities. New Orleans is famous for its mix of indigenous flavors and dishes combined with the techniques ingredients and traditions of those that colonized, settled, and became a part of the social fabric of this dynamic city. There is nowhere else in the United States where so many cultures mix together to form such a strong, proud and unique identity. Music, food and good spirits run through this city like the rivers and bayous that contribute to its rich food heritage. This liquor town is slowly becoming a craft beer haven as more and more attention is being paid to the practice of good beer. And if this attention is anything like the concentration it takes to build a Mardi Gras Indian suit, then bead by bead we will see a vibrant craft beer culture develop over the next few years, with all the gallantry and frills fit for a Big Chief.

Mash Files: Nashville

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Nashville may be the center of the country music universe, but its food and beer scene is making long cowboy-booted strides in a very positive direction. A new generation of chefs, brewers, artisans, farmers, and restaurateurs are creating dynamic spaces that capture the spirit of the south with a new Americana feel. Chefs like Brandon Frohne of Masons are reaching back to their Appalachian roots cooking historic driven food with a modern flair, while the folks at Dinner Lab are redefining the way people eat and interact with chefs, other guests and their surroundings at their secret pop up events all over town. New restaurateurs and bar owners are transforming neighborhoods like Germantown, 12 South, and East Nashville into hot destinations to relax with a beer, cocktail, or a great plate of food.

I had the distinct pleasure of Dining at Rolf and Daughters (again) for a taste of perfectly executed rustic pasta  incarnations, while our modern meal at Catbird Seat left me mesmerized. The young visionary duo behind Catbird Seat, the Goldberg brothers (not the goalie from Mighty Ducks, but I think a QUACK is in order anyway), have expanded their mini empire again and now have a serious bowling alley in there ensemble. As much as I love the lanes I would rather sit in the dimly lit speakeasy, The Patterson House, tucked below Catbird Seat sipping the finest cocktails I have ever imbibed. Even after a full detailed description of their makeup by my Buddy Drew Hargrove who crafts the spherical ice cubes I still could not wrap my head around their construction, but that did not stop me from stirring one around in my empty glass with the glee of a toddler for the better part of an hour. From honky tonks to fine dining these brothers are doing it right and creating platforms for talented chefs to shine and spaces for young up and comers to learn their craft.

The Goldbergs and Chef Trevor Moran are not the only folks pushing the culinary envelope and sharing what makes Nashville unique. Farmers like the folks at Green Door Gourmet at Hidden Valley Farm are educating young folks about farming practices. This second generation family farm boasts a beautifully renovated barn and a green house bursting at the seams with seedlings ready to hit the ground once this silly weather gives way to spring. Tim and Dylan at Carter Creek Greens are challenging the possibilities of what a farm can be. Tucked into a downtrodden warehouse strip of the city, Carter Creek Greens is growing micros for restaurants and collaborating with chefs to grow exactly what they are looking to feature on their menus and garnish their dishes with. I spent over an hour trying different batches, like tangerine lace, mustard greens, daikon radish, and red vein sorrel, pulling them straight from their grow medium and tasting their pungent flavors. I may just be a sucker for tiny seedlings that hold all the flavor and potential of what a plant can be in one tiny morsel, but I totally geeked out, and ordered a bunch of seeds and can’t wait to get my first crop of Tangerine Lace in a few weeks.

Beer geeks and average drinkers alike have something to cheers to these days as fourteen new Breweries have opened in Nashville over the last three years. This could not have happened without the help of the old guard. I had the pleasure of listening to a panel discussion with the leaders of the Nashville brew scene (the founders of Blackstone, Yazoo, and Jackalope) along with our very own Steve Hindy. As they discussed the tumults of starting a brewery, their commitment to craft, and the growing Nashville beer scene I could not help but trace similarities between them and all the other craftsmen, artisans and artists  I had met in my Mash Nash week, it was passion, perseverance, and joy. Everyone seems to love what they are doing, proud to provide a service to their fellow Nashvillians, and excited for the future. Nashville is a slow paced, but happening  place to relax and appreciate the simple things in life like good people, good food and good beer.

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Brooklyn Brewery Mash 2014

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The Brooklyn Brewery Mash, the nation’s largest travelling food & arts festival, is hitting 12 cities this year, starting off in Nashville, next week. Now in its second year, The Mash aims to present some of our favorite chefs, bands, comics, writers and, of course beer, in some of the most interesting places in the country (and two cities outside of the country). Whether from Brooklyn, Stockholm or Miami, our goal is to celebrate emerging talent.

NASHVILLE, TN: March 2 – 8
NEW ORLEANS, LA: March 30 – April 5
CHICAGO, IL: April 27 – May 3
STOCKHOLM, SWE: May 18 – 24
WASHINGTON, DC: June 1 – 7
PITTSBURGH, PA: June 22 – 28
LONDON, UK: July 27 – August 2
TWIN CITIES: August 10 – 16
PHILADELPHIA, PA:  September 28 – October 4
BOSTON, MA: October 12 – 18
MIAMI, FL: October 26 – November 1
AUSTIN, TX: November 16 – 22

This year we’ll have a full week of programming in each city. From presenting pop-up dinners in surprising locations with the best chefs and locally sourced ingredients, to a round table discussion on the growth and future of craft beer, The Mash attempts to bring you the best of what’s next on the cultural horizon.

Joining us on the road is Brooklyn Brewery Co-founder and President, Steve Hindy. Steve’s new book, Craft Beer Revolution, examines the rise of craft beer culture with the stories from the men and women who made it happen. There will be a panel discussions (paired w/local beer) with unfettered access to the insights and stories that only the leaders of this industry can provide.

Slow Super with Dinner Lab will be held at a surprise location with setting and music provided by local artists. Dinner Lab has quickly become the fastest growing members-only pop-up dinner club, and since we partnered with them for our Slow Supper in New Orleans, we’ve looked forward to every secret adventure they produce. Now we’re combining forces to present an evening of delicacy and delights, each one paired with a different Brooklyn beer.

Being stuck in the concrete jungle all year, Dinner on the Farm has to be one of our favorite concepts. Their focus is to create unique local food experiences designed to celebrate farms, chefs, breweries, and food entrepreneurs dedicated to good, sustainable food. And there’s no better feeling than watching a rusty sunset after a full meal with beer pairings.

Here in Brooklyn we’ve become a comedy mecca as the writers and comedians from your favorite shows have migrated from across the river to call Kings County home sweet home. At Brooklyn HA HA we’ll have the freshest faces of Brooklyn’s comedy scene pair up with local favorites, to tickle your funny bones. All of them. Them bones.

Mash Bash, our closing party, presents exciting local acts with some of Brooklyn’s young rock luminaries. We’ll have a food truck stationed outside and some local vendors inside to feature artisans of all industries. It’s like a very small, very cool music festival, except the beer will be cheaper and there will be no port-o-potties.

We’re doing an apparel collaboration in every city, starting off with imogene + willie in Nashville. We wanted to combine forces with manufacturers and brands in each city that represent more than just mass-produced merch. We support local businesses and it doesn’t hurt to look a tad cooler in the process.

Check out BrooklynBreweryMash.com for all the details of what’s going on in your neck of the woods.

Mash Bash & The Soul Clap National Championships

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Jonathon Toubin’s Soul Clap & Dance Off, the hottest dance party from the Gowanus to the Tappanzee, returns after a star studded tour through the heppest clubs our Brooklyn Brewery Mash tour saw on the road. After hours of sweat and blood poured onto 11 dance floors we’ve chosen our finalists. Each will be flown to Brooklyn and on February 22nd, we’ll be holding the Mash Bash. A multi-plated feast created in collaboration by Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson, Dinner Lab Chief Culinary Officer Francisco “Paco” Robert, Mash Chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes and Dinner Lab Chef Brandon Byrd.

After the dinner we’ll be heading to Brooklyn Bowl to watch 12 contenders, (one from every city on the Mash tour.) strut their fishbones out onto the lakebed. It is going to be unstoppably fun. For tickets click here.

Why don’t we get the tunes started with Jonathon’s signature tour mix and let’s take a look at our funky competitors:

DeeDee Prescott

DeeDee Dame

Born to a powerful VooDoo Priestess, DeeDee Dame came dancing right out of the womb. It was prophesied she would be stricken by a great fever that would make her a slave to the rhythm and fuel uncontrollable wild desires within her. As a child, she was raised by primitives in the jungles of Panama and trained upon red, hot coals in the forbidden dance. When she came of age she was to be sacrificed. So, once the drumbeats started, she knew that it was time to go!

Now DeeDee Dame is here to mesmerize the world with her mystical moves!

Drew Ziegler

Drew Ziegler

Hatched from the eyeball of an old blue worm, put on this earth to wiggle and squirm.

Katie Hutchinson

Katie Hutchinson – Stone Fox, Nashville, TN

Ballroom dancer Katie Hutchinson graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a degree in communication and a fear of an ordinary life. She fell in love with dance at the mature age of 12 months when Mr. Rogers featured the Moscow Ballet, inspiring the young Katie to pursue a life of rhinestones and the spotlight. Champagne, macaroons, and Parliaments are some of her favorite things. A lover of all that glitters, Hutchinson has her dancing shoes shined and her shimmy ready to shake for Soul Clap Nationals. She’ll see you under the disco ball.

Talbot Johnson - Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Talbot Johnson – Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

An avid dancer, performer, and lover of music from Baltimore, MD, Talbot Johnson has been on a quest to live, love, and enjoy the beauty of dance and all that comes with it.  He has a unique and fresh style of movement that is carried on by his love for the groove and carefree nature.  Johnson hopes to continue to strive, grow, and excel when it comes to getting down, wherever he may be.

Wendy Petersen - Turf Club, Twin Cities

Wendy Petersen

Wendy Lea has been shakin’ to soul stompers ever since the day her grams handed her a stack of 45s from the family’s supper club jukebox. She maintains her secret identity as a groove fiend by daylighting as an English teacher, reading books to excess, and asking people questions. She hopes to one day avert space and time by actually transcending into a state of melodious acrobatics, mostly so she can avoid paying rent.

Sussan Manzo

Sussan Andrea Manzo – TT & the Bears, Boston MA

Sussan was born in a circus tent on a summer’s night in Jersey City. The daughter of a sixth generation band guitarist and head seamstress, she was born into a life of freaks and charlatans. After the circus she ran off the with LES Pirates and learned to tattoo. On one of her adventures she feel in love with a professional BMXer and has traveled the high seas ever since. Living such an adventurous life has left her to find serenity in one place: dance.

Cameron Caswell

Cameron Caswell – Black Cat Room, Washington, DC

I’m a child of the 70s, and loved Soul Train on Saturday mornings. As I got older I loved dancing to everything from punk to hip-hop to funk and soul. I love music and dancing makes me incredibly happy.

Dennis Plewa

Dennis Plewa – Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL

Hello there! As you already know, my name is Dennis. I don’t think i could be any more exited for February 22! Hanging with my son Charles is the best part of my life. Beyond that, good people, good conversation, and great music is what I’m all about. I’ve got tons of Chicago pride, but I’m elated with the fact that i finally get to go to New York…paid for!! I want to be there right now gettin down in another town. Yeah, that rhymed. Not to much else to say other than i feel extremely lucky to be a part of this. Feeling great every day. Oh yeah, i like smiles too. See ya in February! Thank you! This is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. I hope my feet don’t disappoint..

John Turner

John Turner – Remedy, Pittsburgh, PA

Striking fear (or amusement) in the hearts of drunken hipsters all over Pittsburgh, Sweatband John loves to dance. Traveling from dance party to dance party, he hopes to inspire others to take up the majestic call of dance!

Ashley Robb Crockett

Ashley Crockett – Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Ashley Robb Crockett danced herself right out the womb on February 7th, 1989. As a child when asked, “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Her response was, “One of the Ikettes”. In addition to gogo dancing she has a penchant for filmmaking, meditation, mini-dresses, psychedelics & peppermint puffs. She intends to boogaloo her way to the top and further still.

Serena Dominguez

Serena Dominguez – Gramps Bar, Miami, FL

Serena Dominguez was born and raised in Miami, Florida, a place where she has never achieved a tan. On her spare time, she likes studying Russian folkloric dance and the mating rituals of amphibians. She is said to dance with the vengeance of a recovered polio patient, and has the stamina of an inflatable car dealership tube thing. Like the mating amphibian, Serena will fertilize the competition’s eggs in a reservoir of water and wait 10-12 days ‘til they hatch…on the dance floor.

 

Mash Files: Chicago Edition

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Chicago Mash

All Mash Cities have a certain charm, but Chicago is the city I had the most trouble saying goodbye to. Diverse neighborhoods bleed into each other ripe with unique and delectable restaurants serving fall inspired dishes with a laid back feel. I haven’t experienced this concentration of incredible eating locales in any other city but the one I reside in. The array of talented chefs that grace this town are not doing anything incredibly different than other cities we have visited along the Mash, but they are doing it consistently, creatively  and  collaboratively across the board. The “Shi” is an artistic metropolis with a true neighborhood feel, offering as many cultural perspectives as The Bean (Cloud Gate) itself. Steel bridges connect this lakeside city and add as much character as the myriad restaurants we frequented.

Lake Michigan provides a gorgeous city backdrop, but it also creates the brisk winds and chilling temps that make Chicago one of the coldest cities in the country. I think the chefs there understand this better than others and truly value the short growing season, preserving the rich bounty for the cold months to come, and honoring the fresh ingredients in a simple, yet sophisticated manner. The network of chefs that I encountered was truly inspiring, and everyone seemed to know everyone creating a culinary community that spans many bridges.

Slow supper prep at Found restaurant reminded me of Chris Sheppard’s kitchen (at Underbelly, Houston), with more preserves and pickles then I could imagine. The walk in refrigerator boasts a rainbow of pickled produce that could have easily been an installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Packed Mason jars abounded like the preservation kitchen at Blackberry Farm, as captivating as the amphitheater and BP Bridge in Millennium Park, by architect and artist Frank Gehry. Nicole Pederson might be a pickle queen but she sure knows her way around rabbit rillettes, and presses a mean goat pate that tastes of barnyard and pistachio, a perfect accompaniment for one of our Ghost Bottles of Crochet Rouge Riesling. Combined with pickled sausage, fresh made mustard, and sweet but tangy plum butter. This course and many others demonstrated the typical style of many of the chefs we encountered, with a full understanding of local ingredients and a playful, yet traditional approach.

Small Bar’s rabbit pate, marmalade, and parsley salad also accented the nuances of Crochet Rouge Sauvignon Blanc, expertly prepared by Executive Chef Justin White.  Ghost Bottles graced the tables at both of our meals, but  Carnegie Special 175th Anniversary Porter was most appropriate in capturing the essence of our 1883 World Fair Slow Supper feast, and a perfect accompaniment to the dramatic reading by Paul Durica, author of Chicago by Day and Night, as well as the delectable poached pear and sponge cake it was served with.

Our week of Mash events melded perfectly  with the intoxicating energy of Chicago, from its many farmers markets, artistic and thoughtfully designed green spaces, diverse neighborhoods, talented chefs, and impressive architecture. From Longman and Eagle, to Lula café, Nightwood, Fat Rice, Little Goat, there were more great restaurants then I could imagine, or find time to eat at. Whether sitting in a hole in the wall Mexican place on the east side, dining on Randolph street, or out in Evanston you can be sure that Chicago’s food scene will leave you satiated, smiling, and extremely impressed. I just hope your stay is longer than mine. I am in agreement with my cousin Ari, Chicago may be the greatest city in the country, at least four months out of the year. I hope your larders are packed for the remaining eight months. Stay warm Chicago, can’t wait to see you next year!