Tag Archives: Pumking

Stupid Pumpkin Bandwagon…

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Every year, I get slightly annoyed by how early all of the pumpkin posts come out… Everyone has their twist on dishes and drinks – both savory and sweet – on how to use the versatile squash.

And while it’s still hot and we can still swim and sweat, it seems so strange to even begin *thinking* about pumpkin.

Until, this…

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Southern Tier Pumking has arrived!

Because I know Pumking can sell out in a hurry, I’m getting it while I can!

I’m still somewhat irked by the influx of all things pumpkin into my inbox. Yet, I am secretly intrigued by the recipes. Such that, last year, I made a Pinterest board called, “Stupid Pumpkin Bandwagon” because, yes, I have jumped on board.

Now… to find out who will have Pumking on tap first in the Twin Cities. Both Groveland Tap and Devil’s Advocate have it in stock. (I called around!) They just aren’t quite ready to tap it yet…

How do you feel about pumpkin flavored dishes?

Have you had Pumking yet this year?

Cheers~
Carrie

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Fantasy Draft Friday

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This post was inspired by Paige at Alcohol by Volume who recently curated a six-pack for the Four Firkins, a beer store here in the Twin Cities where you can find one of the widest selections. At the end of her fantasy draft post, after listing the six beers she selected, she asks the question:

And if you could chose six beers to represent yourself, what would you choose?

This really got me thinking… There was no way I could list six beers off the top of my head. I needed to give it more thought. I’m not sure that I could pick six beers that represented me. I would probably just end up picking six beers I like right now. And we all know that our tastes change.

For example, for me, 2012 was the year of the IPA. I was a hophead. But I sipped a lot less of those in 2013. I probably wouldn’t put one of those in my six-pack now.

Instead, I decided to create a six-pack of beers that represent this past year.

Fantasy Draft 2013

Indeed LSD Honey Ale (MN)

This beer doesn’t have great ratings over at Beer Advocate, but I love it. It’s an ale brewed with lavender, sunflower honey and dates – LSD. The lavender is evident, some may even think overpowering. But those people don’t like lavender. I do. It reminds me of Provence. And I’m a francophile. It’s a no-brainer.

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018Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat (MA)

Ahhh… This is what summers are made of! Or at least the week or so we spend in Michigan in the summer. It just makes me happy. And while I am busy feeling like a kid again, I can take the afternoon and and sip one of these like an adult. Well, with a cherry on top bottom.

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Southern Tier Pumking AleSouthern Tier Pumking Ale (NY)

In the fall, I almost get annoyed with all of the pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that all over the blogisphere. I just want everyone to stop the pumpkin-ing of everything already! But this year, I realized, that I really do like pumpkin-flavored foodstuffs, especially this beer. In 2012, it sold out so early everywhere that we only got to enjoy it once. But in 2013, we found Pumking at Stone Tap as early as August! Then, in fear that it would sell out soon, we sipped it every time we found it available including at Devil’s Advocate, Groveland Tap and The Lowry {long overdue Restaurant Impression coming next week!}

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FultonFulton The Libertine Imperial Red Ale (MN)

I never thought I’d ever dig a red ale. And while I did discover it beforehand, we took our first trip to the Fulton Brewery in November. And while I love Fulton’s Worthy Adversary just as much, if not more, the Imperial Red Ale was a unique find for me. And the name is perfect for the beer. From their website:

A Declaration of Brewing Independence. A libertine is someone living free of society’s restraints. Similarly, The Libertine doesn’t constrain itself with preconceived notions of what a beer style should be. Loaded with malts that include the UK’s premium Maris Otter and Caramel 60, and topped off with Rye to impart a distinct reddish hue, the Libertine is a malt-dominated red ale like none you’ve ever had before. It boasts a rich, indulgent body without being overly sweet. Conventional classifications fail The Libertine, but who really wants to play by the rules anyway?”

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photo 1O’So Night Train Oatmeal Porter (WI)

Since my husband and I praised this beer the first time my dad had us try it, he seemed to always make sure there was some of it on hand when we came into town. We can’t get it in Minnesota and even in Wisconsin, it can be hard to find. And every descriptor on that bottle works. So good. O’so good.

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086Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout (CA)

2013 whas the year of the Bourbon Barrel Beers for me. So which one to choose? I’ve been a fan of the bourbon barrel-aged brown ale from Wisconsin Tyranena’s Rocky’s Revenge for years from the first time I sipped it on a dock in Hayward, Wisconsin. I’ve even discovered and kicked back plenty of bottles and glasses of the smooth and lovely Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout from Michigan. On my birthday this past year, I almost passed up an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, until I learned that the “XV” was aged in bourbon barrels! But the I selected the Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin as part of my six-pack because sipping it at the PUBlic House in Temecula was the start to our late afternoon / early evening of a wonderful craft brewery crawl where I came to love Bourbon Barrel Beers even more. I really hope our local breweries jump on this band wagon soon!

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So there you have it, my friends, my fantasy draft for 2013. I’m not even sure if you can get all of these in Minnesota or where you live. But by now, you know that I love to travel. So the fact that some of these beers were tasted on vacation do represent me and where I’ve traveled in 2013, too.

What beer(s) represent(s) your 2013?

Cheers~
Carrie

An Apology: It’s Pumking not PumpKing

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I feel like an idiot.

I thought Rob told me that I was spelling Pumking wrong. I thought he told me that I was leaving out the second “p” in the word in my recent posts and that I needed to add it. When I posted on Tuesday, I made sure to add that “p” so as not to disrespect one of my favorite fall/seasonal beers!

But I was wrong. He was telling me the opposite.

How could I be wrong? After all, I did spell it correctly here and here. Right?

But then I spelled it incorrectly here, here and then not only in the post, but also in the title: here.

Talk about inconsistent.

Southern Tier Pumking Ale

Southern Tier Pumking Ale

This beautiful, delectable fall beer is called Pumking, NOT Pumpking and I need to show it some respect. How dare I spell it incorrectly and then insist that you try to find this beer only to be lost… Or maybe you even found a knockoff that doesn’t even begin to showcase what this beer is all about! YIKES!

You know what’s funny?

It’s about this time of year that I start getting annoyed with all the pumpkin-flavored this and pumpkin-flavored that ads and blog posts. Enough pumpkin already!

But really, I don’t mind pumpkin. In fact, I actually really do like it. I don’t even know why I get annoyed by all the pumpkin-ing this time of year. Maybe I’m just bombarded by it. It’s overkill. Despite this, I have a Pinterest board of recipes labeled “Stupid Pumpkin Bandwagon.” Talk about contradictory.

So the fact that I keep jamming this beer down your throat is a bit hilarious, really.

I have not gone back to fix those mistakes in previous posts because I’m woman enough to own up to them. And I need to give Southern Tier’s Pumking another day in the limelight for my mistake…

It’s excellent in the bottle, but even better on tap.  And it’s probably on my list of Top 10 beers of all time. If Pumking’s on tap, I’m never gonna turn it down. So if you haven’t tried it yet, well, you better – before it’s gone. The season is almost over. GO SEEK IT OUT NOW!

Have you enjoyed a Southern Tier Pumking before?

If not, what’s holding you back!?

What’s your favorite pumpkin-flavored dish/meal/snack/goodie/beverage?

Cheers~
Carrie

Devil’s Advocate {Closed}

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This one is long overdue.

We first heard about Devil’s Advocate via a Groupon about a year ago. We’ve been back probably a half of a dozen times since and we don’t live anywhere near downtown Minneapolis. What impressed us first was their rotating tap selection. It’s one of the best in the Twin Cities. On our first visit, the bartender told us that they only get one keg of each beer. So once it’s gone, they switch it up. It’s constantly changing.

Devil's Advocate is the first place where I've had a lambic (frit beer) on tap.

Devil’s Advocate – the 1st place where I’ve had a lambic fruit beer on tap.

We’ve returned on a few occasions, like when we had company in town and wanted to walk around Nicollet Mall {DA is located just a block off Nicollet on 10th Street} and for a late lunch/early dinner reward after our LOST 15k walk. We love to go on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when there aren’t any big events going on downtown, like a Twins game.

The thing is, I didn’t post on this gem before they changed their menu!

It used to be a nearly all-meatball menu, where you’d choose the protein source of your balls and then the sauce:

Balls & SauceThen you’d choose the number of balls. You could opt for a bowl of balls or ball(s) on a bun.

Number of BallsIt’s one of the few restaurants in the Twin Cities that I know of where you can find my beloved pretzel bun!

That is why I always find myself ordering triple balls:

Pork Balls on a Pretzel BunAfter determining the pork balls were my favorite on the first visit, I continued to order them each time. They are well-seasoned with a nice little kick of spice on the finish. However, my in-laws found them a tad spicy. While I didn’t consider them spicy the first time I had them, I see what they mean. A word of caution for those of you who don’t like too much spice: These meatballs may be considered a bit spicy for Minnesotans. I think that it’s the mushroom sauce that I liked best, too. The sandwich is finished with melted mozzarella. I can’t tell you how satisfying this is. And I never order meatball sandwiches. In fact, it’s not something I ever think of ordering and I probably never would have if they wouldn’t have started out as a meatball joint.

And if you couldn’t make up your mind, they also gave some combo suggestions for their balls:

CombosAnd if you weren’t particularly in the mood for meatballs, there were always appetizers and daily specials:

C-Appetizers

We’ve tried the poutine and mac and cheese

…neither of which were particularly impressive. However, the meat covering the fries is the same meat that is used for their pork balls. That’s a plus.

Rob has also ordered the burger, which he described as “average.”

Burger~

But then, earlier this month, I received an email in my inbox with a link to an article entitled:

“Devil’s Advocate:

This is the Best Philly Cheesesteak in all the Twin Cities”

I didn’t even remember seeing a Philly Cheesesteak on their menu. Then I read the article and learned that their menu had changed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I liked those meatballs! I sent the article to Rob. He was excited about the new menu and was determined to be the judge of the Philly Cheesesteak himself.

So we did the research…

On a couple of occasions, we had thought that maybe the beer selection at Devil’s Advocate was going downhill. But on this visit, we realized it was our palates that didn’t match the selection on those occasions. Because on this visit, we fell back in love…

Here's one side of the ever-changing beer mendu

This is just the front side of the ever-changing beer menu…

Beers are listed in alpha order by brewery. Let’s zoom in.

Glass SizeYou’ll find the beer listed this way:

Brewer, Name and type and/or style of beerorigin price

Then you get a nice description, which we’ve found, while subjective, is generally pretty accurate. The % ABV is the percentage of Alcohol By Volume. Then they list the style or size of glass in which the beer is served.

Hint: Higher alcohol beers are often served in smaller glasses.

Tip: If you aren’t sure if you are going to like a beer, ask for a taste before you order.

There were so many beers that suited us this time around!

Here’s Rob’s first choice:

Jubilation

Avery, Old Jubilation (Strong Ale) – Boulder, CO

I started with:

Slop Bucket

McNeill’s, Slop Bucket (Double Brown Ale) – Brattleboro, VT

We ordered those before we had a chance to peruse the entire beer menu. And before we even took our first sips, we spotted something on tap that we completely missed!

Then we PumKing

Southern Tier, Pumking (Imperial Pumpkin Ale) – Lakewood, NY

By now, you should know how much we adore this beer. The funny thing is that we aren’t huge into pumpkin-flavored things normally. In fact, I get a little pumpkin-ed out in the blogosphere by winter.

And while there are still meatballs incorporated into the menu, they are no longer the focus:

DAnew1I was looking at ordering the Meatball Hero, but the descriptions are pretty vague. So I asked about the pork balls I loved and if they still had the pretzel bun.

“Yes!” the bartended exclaimed. “That’s our Holy Grail!” I hadn’t even noticed that on the menu. Somehow, I overlooked it. And there is no way I would have known it was on a pretzel bun by that description.

It was heaven.

asdas

HOLY GRAIL – pork meatballs, mushroom, sunday gravy {on a pretzel bun!}

I’m not sure how many meatball sandwiches there are in the Twin Cities, nor do I think I’ve ever ordered one anywhere else. But I’d still have to say this is the best. I was so completely satisfied after this meal. It was near perfection. And that side salad up there? One of the best I’ve had. I subbed it for the fries, which are currently on Rob’s Top 10 Fries List, but I think he may be changing that soon.

And now, what you’ve really been waiting for…

DAnew

Philly Cheesesteak – “South Street Real Deal”

Rob actually let me have a couple of bites of this Philly Cheesesteak, which he agrees is the Best in All the Twin Cities. I concur myself. The bread is crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside and it seems that some of the cheese sauce is poured down on the bread before the meat is laid upon it. Then the meat is topped with the cheese sauce. Even if that isn’t how it’s done, the cheese is so well-distributed that that’s how it tastes like it’s done.

Rob loved the Cheesesteak at the Bulldog in St. Paul just the week before, but this one is even better. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s perfection.

It was either Groupon or another deal site that introduced us to Devil’s Advocate; but it’s the satisfying food and excellent beer selection that keep us coming back.

What meal do you find comforting and satisfying?

Cheers~
Carrie