Friday, September 7, 2007

Pink Boots at Southampton Publick House

"There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by." ~Annie Dillard

Sept 4-6: Departed Newtown around noon and drove straight to the ferry at Bridgeport, Connecticut. The photo at left shows my van & trailer first in line 3. Photo below left shows the view off the back of the ferry. I wrote blog posts on my computer during the 75 minute crossing.

Drove straight over to Southampton with no incidents. Brewer and Regional Sales Rep Spencer Niebur met me at the Southampton Publick House bar, and had me park in their parking lot across the street.

Then Spencer was kind enough to take me on a sunset drive. We saw giant estates, a beautiful white sand beach (Spencer said it was rated one of the top three in the nation), and a great view of the sunset over one of the marshes where all those famous Long Island ducks feed. Photo at left is the beach, and photo at right is the sunset.

I can see why "The Hamptons" are so popular with the rich and famous. The area is just beautiful. The houses are cute, the shops are trendy and expensive. The restaurants are good. (Everything I ate at Southampton Publick House was outstanding.) And the beaches are stunning.

After my tour, we went back to Southampton Publick House and Exectutive Chef Carl whipped us up some items he is working on for future Beer Dinners. Our first course was Blue Crab on half an Avocado, served with Southampton's Double White, an extra strong Belgian Wit. The entree was Pork Loin marinated in Southampton's IPA. After grilling, it was dipped in honey and maple syrup then put under the broiler to carmelize. This was served on top of mashed sweet potatoes and winter greens with a maple-honey sauce. This entree was designed to be served with Southampton's Pumpkin Ale, but instead we had it with their Grand Cru, which was full-bodied and robust with a caramel sweetness.

The next day Spencer was busy with sales calls all day, so I worked on photos, blogs, and figuring out how to set up an email newsletter system with Constant Contact. Later in the day I got the photo below of Spencer (left), Assistant Brewer Evan Addario (center) and me in front of the kettle. I had hoped to go on sales calls with Spencer, but because it was right after labor day weekend, a lot of the owners of local restaurants and pubs were out for the day.
For lunch Spencer recommended the Caeser Duck Wrap. The famous Long Island duck (a particularly meaty wild Mallard) was marinated in Caeser Dressing before grilling. It was so good and filling that I didn't even eat dinner that night.

On Thursday morning, the day of my departure, Brewmaster Phil Markowski brewed his Espresso Stout. I got to mash in for a bit myself (photo below left). Phil and I are in the photo at the top of this page.

Phil and his wife are from Connecticut and recently moved back there with their three small boys. That gives Phil a huge commute when he works in Southampton. Phil also keeps busy commuting to the two breweries that contract brew some of his unique Belgian-style beers. One is in upstate New York, and the other brewery is in Pennsylvania.

Southampton is unique among contracting breweries. Instead of just contracting those other breweries to brew Southampton's recipe, Phil actually goes there and brews his recipes on their systems with them. Brewing at three different locations keeps Phil busy. Luckily Spencer and Evan can help him in Southampton.

Other unique features of Southampton Publick House are that the brewing equipment is installed on cement pillars in the basement, which brings the tanks up to eye level of the restaurant. This gives the brewers a little bit of space below the brewhouse vessels.
Southampton's beers are also unique. Phil prides his beers on being eclectic and I agree. He offers a blend of European and American styles, often in the same beer. For some of his classic styles, Phil has pushed them just a little farther. Hence his 7.2% ABV Belgian-Wit-style Double White.

I used to think that Oregon was cutting edge in the beer business. This trip has really changed my mind about that! I hope to bring some of the unique and interesting beer variations and techniques I've seen on this trip, home to Portland. Oregon makes lots of fabulous and interesting beers, but they are not the most unique beers out there today. Maybe I'll get lucky and in my next job I'll be involved in a brewery's wood-aged beer program. You never get what you don't ask for, so I'm putting the good vibes out there for this!

After mashing in, Phil gifted me with a mixed case of his 12-ounce beers, and a mixed case of his very special 750-ml Belgian-style beers. Sorry, I'm saving the big bottles for when I next see my husband Jon, so I'm not sharing any of them.

Thank you to Brooklyn Brewery for letting me borrow a computer in their office to write and post this blog.

P.S. I have given away approximately 600 business cards so far on my journey. I only have 200 left, so I just ordered 500 more. I still have two months to go on this 5-month road trip.

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