The Pleasures of Portugal

Sunrise in Porto, the view from our hotel window. Situated along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, beautiful Porto is one of the oldest European centers. Port wine, one of Portugal’s most famous exports, is named after the city as its metropolitan area is the heart of the packaging, transport, and export of this world-famous fortified wine. Recently my wife Nancy and I had the occasion to visit lovely Portugal and spend a little time enjoying its scenic and gustatorial delights.

A man enjoying the aroma of his meal in a pan, cooking in his kitchen.

Thinking About Sniffing

A universal truth that keeps popping up in my search of the literature is that nothing is as simple as it seems. A sniff seems just a simple movement of air, but it’s actually way more than that: it’s a psychomotor event. One crucial function is to synchronize the olfactory receptor cells with the olfactory bulb and other smell-related brain regions, especially the primary olfactory processing center, the piriform cortex. This allows different regions to communicate with each other…

Alcoholic Gin and Tonic

A Tonic for Our Times

“Tonic” refers to quinine, which is used today as an effective anti-malarial treatment. It’s tightly raspy bitterness is at the heart of this medicine-turned-beverage, and is the reason it works so well to cut the sweetness as used in the famous cocktail. Grocery store brands are pretty one-dimensional, and the specialty brands seem expensive enough to at least investigate a DIY version.


Recipe: Vermouth with a Spanish Accent

I had been researching and recreating antique vermouth recipes for some time before I was Invited to Northern Spain by Los Cerverceros Caseros, the Spanish homebrewers’ association. I was excited to see vermouth everywhere in Bilbao, Barcelona and Madrid, and fascinated to see how the locals enjoyed it.


Building a Complicated Beer: Fernetic

We were fortunate to have a man named Edoarda Branca walk into our pub one day last spring and sample some beers. He’s a fan of good craft beer in addition to being a enthusiast and North American representative of the family’s famous products, and was impressed enough by what we’re doing at Forbidden Root to start talking about a possible collaboration with us.


Prize-winning Porchetta

This is the Italian dish, most famous in Emilglia-Romana, featuring a whole pig, boned out and stuffed with its own meat and herbs, roasted and typically sliced into slivers and served as rustic sandwiches. Having done a variety of “fake” porchetta creations in the past, I thought it would be fun to try to the real deal for the recent Chicago Beer Society picnic’s “Other Meat” category.

Glass of Belgian abbey beer and tasting of cheeses made with trappist beer and fine herbs with view on Maas river in Dinant, Wallonia, Belgium

Food and Beer Pairing Worksheet

I presented at the recent AHA conference in Baltimore along with Cicerone’s Pat Fahey, on behalf of the Brewers Association’s Beer & Food Working Group, a small committee that is working on trying to put a scientific basis behind beer and food and how pairings work–or don’t.


Printmaking Under the Influence

5 Rabbit Cervecería was asked to participate in a 2016 Craft Beer Week collaboration with the Lakeview brewpub, DryHop Brewers. This would also include an art show, which I eventually understood to mean I had to come up with some actual art. While I’ve been doing beer labels and other commercial design work for decades, fine art is a little alien to me.

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