Friday, December 10, 2010

Morbier is not pronounced more-beer, but I'll take some more beer anyway

Lots of changes have been happening in my life and I am excited to share the news. I started a new job a few weeks ago. I am now the Cheese Consultant for the newest Harris Teeter in Washington, D.C.!

For those of you who are confused,  this is Morbier.
Morbier is a cheese, its actually pronounced MOR-byay.
It is delicious. Go buy some. 
According to this article from GIZMODO, I am not selling cheese so much as I am selling "Dairy Crack" to the resident's of DC. Since the 1980's doctors have known that cheese contains actual morphine. I wonder if there are higher amounts of it in raw milk, un-aged cheeses and that is really why the US government is so strict about foreign cheese imports, and raw milk domestic cheese production? Maybe I should open up a DC cheese shop and just call it D.C. Everyone will assume that stands for District of Columbia, or Delicious Cheese, but really it will stand for Dairy Crack. Oh, me and my bad word play. Sorry guys.

Because I have to drive a gazillion miles to DC everyday, I have been trying to take advantage of the city. During training you all saw that I made it back over to Brasserie Beck (check out that GFP post here).

And, if you have been following my tweets, you know I made it to Ben's Chili Bowl for lunch. I only took cell phone pics, but I think that is more appropriate anyway. Ben's is an institution in DC. I have been trying to get there for years but never made it. I felt that now was the time to go so I will have a point of comparison when I FINALLY have a chili-cook off with my friends.


I have to be honest, I didn't like chili until my friend Trevor made his turkey chili two years ago at our lake house getaway. Since then I have been testing the waters and I am starting to love it. Well, that isn't entirely true. Like Kraft American Cheese on my hamburger, one of my earliest guilty pleasures as a foodie were those nasty looking chili dogs in the school lunch line. I LOVED THOSE. I think that was the only school lunch I would eat. Then again, I used to eat raw hot dogs when I was little so I don't begin to profess that I know how you can account for taste.

The Half Smokes are on the side closer to you.
Ben's was tasty. I ordered a Half Smoke with chili and a side of fries also with chili and cheese. Their chili honestly reminded me of school chili cause the consistency is really smooth. There is not visual identification of ingredients in this chili, everything is chopped tiny and even. This makes a much thicker consistency that sticks on your dog well. The sausage itself was nice and very lightly smoked, with a good bite and smooth consistency as well. I recommend a visit if you are near by. The couple next to me had driven in from VA for a Redskins game and started their pre-gaming early. I think grabbing a nice stack of dogs for a football tailgate might be a winning plan. You would expect to want a nap after this, or a pepto dose, but I went to Bikram and had no problem. I was impressed. I guess my tummy just really liked it.


The new job has it's perks. Thanks to a friend I also met Sam Caligone of Dogfish Head Brewery in DE at RFD two nights ago. Premium Dirstibutors hosted a meet and greet in the private room with free food, AND free brews! They had Bitches Brew, 60min, 90min, Midas Touch, World Wide Stout, and My Antonia Imperial IPA on draft, and Chicory Stout and Burton Baton in bottles. 


Check out the cool Bitches Brew Tap

I started with My Antonia Imperial Pilsner. I had not tried an Impeiral Pils just because Pilsners tend to be a more mild style and they just are not my thing. But it was free so I want in for the kill. Chris and I were both very impressed. The Pils was tasty with a nice balanced hop presence. 

I had tried the Bitche's Brew for the first time last year when a friend brought a bottle down from the brewery in DE. 

Then Chris picked some up from Kent Island. But of course I had to try it draft so I snuck a few sips from Chris'. 
Bitches Brew and My Antonia

We also shared a glass of the World Wide Stout which is a whopping and WELL hidden 18% ABV! 

World Wide Stout


And I had another taste of the Midas touch. It turns out the last time and first time I had it, the one I tasted was skunked. It didn't have a super offensive nose so I just assumed it sucked. It tasted and smelled like that beer in the green bottle that starts with an H. I figure Sam is doing well if his bad beer tastes like their good beer. 

Midas Touch

Meeting Sam was obviously the highlight of the evening. He was a really gracious host and had a lot to say for promoting all of the little guys in the beer industry. He really tried to drive home the point of thanking the distributors and the drinkers for being patient with craft breweries, and being willing to try their next big thing while you wait around for a mainstay. Generally, if a brewery makes a minimum of two good beers, all of their beers are good. Generally. Sam also discussed, with the crowd, how he is mostly involved in the brewing at the DE brewery where Dogfish runs their test batches. Sam told me this is really what keeps him going. The constant opportunity for growth and development of new products. Sam is always open to cool suggestions from the consumers and loves obscure ingredient suggestions and new ideas. I'm thinking his next big idea might be a beer for PRS Guitars! (rumor mill) 



Sam addressing the crowd before chatting with each of us. Sorry its sideways. 

Then we left and got towed. It was an ordeal. We had to get a cop to drive us all over the city and had to come back the next morning, but free beer, and food, and Sam made it worthwhile.