A Letter from Jim: It’s LongShot Season!

LongShot 2015I’m pleased to announce that the 2015 LongShot American Homebrew Contest, celebrating its 19th year, is now open! For those not familiar with our LongShot contest, this is a special competition we like to host here at Samuel Adams that looks to find and recognize some of the best homebrewers in the country. Each year we choose two amateur homebrewers and one Samuel Adams employee winner to have their beer brewed and distributed nationally. This year we’re introducing a new twist to the competition – we will select one winner from east of the Mississippi River and one from the west, to join the Samuel Adams employee winner in the final 6-pack.

Homebrewing is a big piece of the DNA that makes up our Samuel Adams team. Over 30 years ago I was just another homebrewer in my kitchen, constantly sanitizing equipment and tinkering with ingredients as I worked on my craft. After several batches made their way to the sink drain (happens to the best of us homebrewers), the first batch of our Samuel Adams Boston Lager was born in my kitchen and the rest is history. To this day much of our research and development for new brews are first created on brew systems that are not much different from what you’ll see in an avid homebrewer’s garage or basement.  And I still look forward to each issue of Zymurgy. Read More

Cooking with Sam: Samuel Adams Brined Corned Beef and Samuel Adams Beer-Braised Red Cabbage

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, it is the perfect time to celebrate with a traditional Irish dish! You don’t have to be Irish to appreciate a great corned beef.  And to make the ultimate corned beef, using Samuel Adams Boston Lager or Irish Red as a base for this classic brine will only make everything better.

Try our recipe for Samuel Adams Brined Corned Beef and Samuel Adams Beer-Braised Red Cabbage:

corned beef

Samuel Adams Brined Corned Beef
Serves 4-6

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#CheersToYou262: Boston 26.2 Brew Returns

We’ve been experiencing (nearly) record snowfall here in Boston this winter, and we’re all ready for signs of spring. One of the momentous occasions that lets us know spring has finally arrived is the Boston Marathon, which has been celebrated on Patriot’s Day for more than 100 years.

This is especially meaningful for me because I had the official release of my first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager to the public on Patriots Day in 1985.  About half of our first 25 bars were within three blocks of the finish line.  So, the Marathon’s finish line was my starting line.

This is our fourth year as a proud sponsor of the Boston Marathon, and for the fourth year in a row we are brewing a commemorative beer for the race – Boston 26.2 Brew – to toast the runners and spectators.

20150305_Brett_SamAdams_26

Yesterday, we tapped the very first keg of Boston 26.2 Brew at Back Bay Social Club, a bar that shares an address with the race course. I was joined by Christopher Laudani, the bartender who inspired the city (and a lot of folks on the Internet) when he shoveled the Boston Marathon finish line during a blizzard on January 27th. We were also joined by Tom Grilk, Executive Director of The Boston Athletic Association. After seeing Chris’ dedication and passion, we knew we wanted him to help us celebrate the return of this very special beer.

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Play Boston Bingo to Support Small Businesses

As you may have noticed, we’ve gotten A LOT of snow here in Boston over the past month. While the snow is a big pain for us as we shovel out our sidewalks and driveways and navigate narrow, snow-filled streets, one community that has been really negatively impacted by this weather is a community we are very passionate about: small business owners.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and his Office of Economic Development share our love for our hometown and have developed a fun game for all of us in the Boston area to support local businesses: Boston Bingo!

Photo via Mike Bednarsky, West Roxbury Patch

Mayor Martin Walsh, Carlene O’Garro of Delectable Desires, and Jim Koch Photo via Mike Bednarsky, West Roxbury Patch

All you need to do to participate is download this official Bingo card, visit your favorite corresponding local businesses between now and March 15th, and enter electronically or in person (instructions for how to enter here). People who participate have the chance to win great prizes such as coffee with the Mayor, Bruins tickets, and more! Most importantly, you’ll get to support some really great small businesses in the area.

Looking for ideas of great small businesses to check out in the Boston area? We got you covered! Through our Brewing the American Dream program, we work with a lot of awesome small businesses in the food and beverage industries all throughout Boston by providing them with access to small business loans, and small business coaching and mentoring.

Here are some suggestions of places where you can check off squares on your Boston Bingo card:

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Q&A with Carlene O’Garro, Owner of Delectable Desires

The Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program began in 2008.  Our very first loan recipient was Carlene O’Garro, owner of Delectable Desires Pastries. Specializing in custom cakes and French pastries, Carlene has had a lifelong love of creating delicious (and beautiful) pastries. Up until this point, Carlene has been running her business out of her home and baking in the Crop Circle Kitchen Incubator in Jamaica Plain – coincidentally across from the Samuel Adams Brewery.   To celebrate the grand opening of her brick and mortar shop in West Roxbury, MA today, we caught up with her about the challenges and joys of being a small business owner in the food and beverage industry and how the Brewing the American Dream Program has been with her every step of the way.

Delectable Desires

Q: How did your passion for pastries begin?

A: It began when I was a little kid; I baked in the kitchen with my mom on Sundays. When I was about four, my parents bought me an Easy Bake oven so I could bake on my own instead of using the real oven. From that moment, I was hooked! I find baking to be so relaxing, it just comes naturally to me. Cakes are my main passion – I love creating desserts that look fake! When people take a step back and say “is that really a cake?” that is my favorite reaction.

Q: What ultimately made you decide to turn your passion into a business?

A: I didn’t want to go through life working in a 9-5 job, waiting on a promotion, and waiting on someone else to say I was good enough to get the corner office. I wanted to do my own thing and I knew that I could work hard doing something that I love and make it happen.

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Celebrate Small Businesses and Game Day with Boston Lager Cupcakes

We’re sad to see another season of football come to an end, but we’re really excited to enjoy the big game. While it is a big weekend for our hometown team, it’s also a big weekend for Carlene O’Garro, our very first Brewing the American Dream loan recipient and owner of local bakery and cafe Delectable Desires.

Please join us at 1PM on Friday, January 30th for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of her brick and mortar shop located at 1755 Centre Street West Roxbury, MA with some very special guests – our founder and brewer Jim Koch, and Mayor Marty Walsh. Be one of the first 100 people to arrive and you’ll receive a Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cupcake on the house!

Can’t make it to the event? Here’s how you can make them at home:

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Caputo Brother’s Creamery: A Q&A with the 2014 Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition Winners

While on their honeymoon, David and Rynn Caputo made a big decision; they would quit their Fortune 500-company jobs and enroll in culinary school in Calabria, Italy – they haven’t looked back since! Based in Spring Grove, PA, Caputo Brothers Creamery (named for their two young sons) makes the country’s only fermented cheese curds that can be stretched into fresh mozzarella cheeses, providing a high quality cheese product for cheese lovers and restaurants around the country.

The Caputos competed in (and won) our 2014  Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition, which earned them a $10,000 business grant and extended business coaching and mentoring from our team. We had a chance to chat with Rynn about their cheese and how Brewing the American Dream is helping their growing business.

caputo bros

Q: How did you and your husband get into cheese making?

A: Cheese making really found us. We had gone to culinary school in Italy and as part of our program, we spent time making cheese. At that point we weren’t like, “oh yeah this is what we’re going to do” – but basically, when we came back to the states, we couldn’t find the type of mozzarella that we had in Italy.  We started out of pure necessity – to have it at home for ourselves. We got a great response from our friends, so we started researching artisan cheese making and worked with master cheese makers in Italy to bring it to the states.

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Celebrate National Pizza Week and Football Playoffs with New England Clam Pizza

What could be better than football playoff season? The answer is simple: football playoffs, a cold Boston Lager, AND National Pizza Week.

We worked with pizza expert Mark Bello from www.pizzaschool.com to develop a pizza recipe that is perfect for rooting for our home team: New England Clam Pizza, made with Boston Lager infused pizza dough!

NE PIZZA

This pizza not only ties to our roots here in New England, but it pairs perfectly with Boston Lager. Boston Lager’s doughy notes from the malt complement the rich and creamy sweet notes from the mozzarella and the ricotta cheese and slightly sweet character from the clams. The pie’s slightly savory oregano flavor will emphasize the citrus characters of the beer’s Noble hops while the chili flakes finish this pairing with a little heat that is balanced by a complex and lingering finish.

Is your mouth watering yet? Check out the recipe below and feel free to try it while rooting for your favorite team…

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Ancient Cousins: Beer and Cheese

This holiday season we have been enjoying one of our favorite pairings: craft beer and cheese.  We’ve always appreciated the wide range of complex and distinct flavors craft beer and cheese offer on their own , but it turns out the similarities don’t end there.  Brewing and cheesemaking share an intertwined history spanning thousands of years. They have evolved together for so long that they are a natural (and tasty) pairing. We wanted to explore this delicious relationship so we met with our friend Kurt Beecher Dammeier of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese to tell us all about the history of cheese.

Boston Lager & Cranberry DIY Cheese

Brewing and cheesemaking are both ancient arts and Kurt thinks of them as “cousins of the culinary world.” They are both derived from our earliest attempts to preserve food and drink, and they require high levels of skill, precision and the best ingredients possible to create a quality product. We both realized that while today’s brewers and cheesemakers are aided by advanced machinery, at the heart of our craft we are both still utilizing the same techniques that have been practiced for thousands of years. Brewers and cheesemakers alike are passionate and eager to experiment with ingredients and flavor profiles to create the best craft beer or cheese possible.

Kurt and I spent a day tasting a variety of our Winter Favorites brews and his handmade cheese to find the perfect pairings. There are thousands of flavor compounds from the hops, malt and yeast used in craft beers like Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and we discovered that these flavor compounds provide a variety of flavors when combined with different types of cheese. Boston Lager creates a wonderful marriage of flavor when featured in recipes or infused into cheese, enhancing the richness of the cheese with its subtle Noble hop character and beautiful piney, citrus and herbal notes. After a long day of tasting Kurt’s cheeses and our brews, we finally decided on the pairings we liked best. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!

We wrote down our tasting notes so anyone can sound like a cheese and beer expert while entertaining over the holidays. But remember, half the fun is trying different craft beers and cheese varieties until you find your favorite.

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National Lager Day 2014 – Lager Pairings for the Holidays

It’s the holiday season, which means many of us are enjoying the company of friends and family at holiday gatherings. In honor of National Lager Day (clearly the best day of the year), we put together a lager pairing guide with some of our favorite foods that we enjoy during the holiday season. Cheers!

National Lager Day 2014 Graphic FINAL

Looking for more beer and food pairings? Check out the Food and Beer section of our website.

2014 Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition: Meet the Finalists

Entrepreneurs nationwide in the food, beverage, and craft brewing industries have been perfecting their two minute business pitches as part of our Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition. This national contest offers small business owners the chance to win a $10,000 grant, extended coaching and mentorship from members of our team, and an opportunity to pitch their product to key retailers and buyers.

We’ve hosted four regional “Pitch Room” competitions this year in Chicago, Denver, Boston, and New York City. We’ve heard from a total of 23 small business owners who had just two minutes to pitch their products to a panel of expert judges ranging from members of the Sam Adams team (including Jim Koch), retailers, buyers, and business experts. Following the pitch, the small business owners were offered valuable feedback putting them one step closer to perfecting their sales pitch. When a small business is starting out, sometimes all they have is their pitch or their story, so improving this pitch goes a long way to enhance one’s selling abilities at the offset.

As a new element of the competition, we partnered with Entrepreneur magazine to host a “Wild Card” Competition, giving small business owners across the country that couldn’t attend a regional competition the chance to submit their best pitch by uploading a two minute pitch video online. Once we narrowed that pool down to X finalists, our drinkers helped us choose who would be moving on to the Pitch Room Finals (more on that below).

This year we have nine finalists who will be participating in the Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Finals in New York City on December 4th!

Meet the finalists:

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Holiday Dinner Beer and Food Pairing Guide

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to enjoy the company of our friends and family around the table to break bread and raise some pints. Many of us are quick to grab a bottle of wine to pair with our holiday dinners, but beer truly makes for a versatile pairing that’s sure to please even the pickiest of palates (we know we all have someone like that at our table)!

There’s really no science behind it – it’s all about what you enjoy. But the one rule I follow is to keep the “Three C’s” in mind: complement, cut, and contrast. If you want to highlight certain spices or flavors in a food, pair it with a beer that has some of the same elements to complement. If you want to offset (cut) the heat of a spicy dish, go for a classic American lager. If you want to showcase different notes, use contrasting flavors to do that.

With that in mind, here’s a guide to beer and food pairings for the holiday season with our Winter Favorites Variety Pack.

Boston Lager & Blueberry DIY CheeseBoston Lager: This flavorful beer is great any time of year, but especially when shared with friends and family around the holidays.  Boston Lager’s balance of complex flavors make it a great pairing for a wide variety of foods, but during the holidays we love how the roasted malts add depth to roasted meats like turkey, duck, and lamb. This year we tried something fun and new:  DIY Boston Lager soaked cheese.  It’s a great way to kick off any holiday celebration and surprise your friends with something unique. Want to try it at home? Check out our (fun and easy) recipes.

winter lager brussel sproutsWinter Lager: We’ve been enjoying Winter Lager this time of year since 1989, as it was one of our first seasonal beers.  Bold and rich with a touch of holiday spice, we couldn’t imagine the cold winter without it! The deep maltiness and warming spices of Winter Lager enrich the flavors of a hearty beef stew or mellow the sweetness of desserts like pecan pie. For a tasty side dish, try Brussel sprouts with Winter Lager and bacon.

white ale walnut breadWhite Christmas: For a change of pace from the darker holiday brews, this wheat ale is crisp and light, yet with the familiar warmth of holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange peel.  It’s a great pairing with lighter dishes like salad with cranberries and goat cheese, and also compliments desserts like fruit tart or cheesecake.  Its wheat and spice also make it a perfect ingredient in beer bread – like in this recipe for White Ale walnut bread. It’s also an amazing addition to apple pie!

old-fezziwig-ale-bread-pudding--en--cc42fa29-a2a2-4846-84c9-6f74c00343a3Old Fezziwig Ale: We often like to refer to Old Fezziwig as the Christmas cookie of beers, and it’s certainly one of our favorites during the holidays. The combination of rich maltiness with notes of toffee and dark caramel and holiday spice make this beer a great pair with desserts like carrot cake or apple pie or classic side dishes like sweet potatoes and squash.  Check out our recipe for Old Fezziwig Ale bread pudding.

Looking for more cooking with beer recipes for the holidays? Check out the Food and Beer section of our website. From all of us here at Samuel Adams, Happy Holidays!

GOT CULTURE? Boston Lager & Beecher’s Handmade Cheese Team Up #FTW

Here at the brewery, we know that beer and cheese is a delicious and easy pairing – for holiday parties at the brewery or as an easy appetizer– and while we know a lot about beer, we wanted to learn more about cheese. So, we invited Kurt Beecher Dammeier from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese to the brewery to talk about (and taste) beers and cheese. What’s better than that?

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is an award-winning cheesemaker based in New York City and Seattle and after spending time together, we learned we actually have a lot in common. Their passion for quality, full-flavored ingredients. coupled with their originality. made us jump at the chance to learn more about their artisanal cheese and to create interesting recipes for craft beer and cheese lovers alike.

Jennifer & Kurt Tasting Cheese

One of the creations we are really excited to share is Beecher’s Samuel Adams Boston Lager-soaked cheese. Kurt came to the brewery armed with his Beecher’s Dutch Hollow Dulcet cheese which had been immersed in Samuel Adams Boston Lager and other ingredients for three days.  As soon as we took the first bite we knew we had something special.  We were delighted by how Boston Lager’s Noble hops with their piney, citrus and herbal notes added complexity to a rich cheese like Dulcet, a double-cream cheese with clean, lightly tangy and creamy character. This easy to do recipe is perfect for holiday entertaining,  and is a great way to impress your craft beer and cheese-loving friend or family member. We also created a few other recipes below that we are excited to share.

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Learning to Homebrew: A Q&A with John Marra, 2014 Employee LongShot Winner

2014 Samuel Adams Longshot American Home Brew ContestIn early November, homebrewers across the country celebrated National Learn to Homebrew Day. We thought this was a great excuse to catch up with our colleague John Marra, a member of the Samuel Adams team in Brooklyn, NY, who was recently named the employee winner of our LongShot American Homebrew Competition!

The contest began in 1996 as a way for us to recognize and honor American homebrewers who continue to push the boundaries of what beer can be, just as Jim Koch did 30 years ago in his kitchen as he homebrewed the first batches of Boston Lager. We recently announced this year’s winners at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO.

Here’s what John had to say about being named the employee winner and the challenges he’s faced as someone who is fairly new to homebrewing:

Q: How long have you been a homebrewer? How did you get into it?

A: I have only just begun to homebrew.  In fact, it wasn’t until April of last year that I got started when I began my career at Samuel Adams.   The Longshot Competition was definitely an eye opening experience as to how intricate and detail-oriented you need to be during the brewing and bottling process.

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Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Brewing & Business Experienceship: A Q&A with ChuckAlek Independent Brewers

As part of the Brewing the American Dream program, craft brewers nationwide have the opportunity to apply for the Samuel Adams Brewing & Business Experienceship. Through the Experienceship, each year one craft brewer is selected and provided the opportunity to experience extended coaching and mentoring from the Samuel Adams team, access to beer industry events, and the opportunity to brew a collaboration beer with us at the Boston Brewery.

2014 Samuel Adams Longshot American Home Brew Contest

This year’s Experienceship winner is founder and head brewer Grant Fraley and co-founder and CEO Marta Jankowska of ChuckAlek Independent Brewers. ChuckAlek Independent Brewers opened its doors in January of 2013 in Ramona, CA. Named after their grandfathers, Chuck and Alek, the brewery pulls some of the past into the present by creating “Old School Beers for New School Palates,” with a particular focus on porters and stouts. We had a chance to chat with them about how they got into the craft beer industry, what they’re currently brewing, and how Brewing the American Dream has had an impact on their brewery.

Q: How did you get into brewing?

A (Grant): I got started brewing at home several years ago when I first moved to San Diego.  I got interested in doing more European and classic styles while pursuing my master’s degree in Geographic Information Science over in Germany and Austria.

Q: When did you make the jump into starting your own brewery?

A (Grant):  Marta and I were really interested in exploring different styles of beer that weren’t readily available in San Diego. You can get triple IPAs, double IPAs, black IPAs – they’re all so prevalent. We were brewing a lot of British and German styles at home and we were like hey – this isn’t really being done, so there was a good opportunity to bring underrepresented styles to San Diego craft beer drinkers. We opened ChuckAlek Independent Brewers with help from friends and family, but most of it we built out on our own, including the brew house.

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