Tending the Firebox

Speckled Ax owner Matt Bolinder has authored an article entitle Tending the Firebox for Roast Magazine.

“But why roast with wood?” I’m frequently asked…the drum roasters being used by many roasters today do not look or operate very differently from those used in production 150 years ago. Indeed, many of us prefer old machinery. Quality drum roasters with a century of service on them are not liabilities, but precious commodities. So while roasting with wood may not be “simple,” in a field with a larger than normal percentage of professional Luddites, preferring pour-over to push-button drip and manual paddles to super automatics, roasting with wood in the 21st century is not as anachronistic as it might seem.

Geary’s & Bar of Chocolate Review

Today’s Press Herald includes a bar review of the Bar of Chocolate Cafe,

The Bar of Chocolate may easily be the Old Port’s best-kept secret. Tucked between the Oasis and Amigos, this bar is unlike any other I’ve been to in Maine.

Patrons walk in off the cobblestone street to find comfy chairs, a few tables and a small L-shaped bar with stools. To the right of the bar is a nicely lit dessert case filled with delectable treats for some late-night snacking.

and a What Ales You column about Geary’s Summer Ale and a plan to sell the beer in cans.

In a related topic, Geary said that later this summer, the company will be selling the Summer Ale in cans in a partnership with Wachusett Brewing Co. in Westminster, Mass., near Fitchburg.

“Wachusett has the canning equipment,” Geary said. “What is good about this is that we will brew the beer here, doing everything but the packaging. Then a 200-barrel tank truck shows up and will take it directly to Wachusett’s.”

Growing Your Own Garlic

This week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix has an article about growing garlic and the plant diseases that afflict the crop in Maine.

As a garlic connoisseur, you should learn your varieties. Commercial growers favor softneck garlic (Silverskins and Artichokes), which stores better, lends itself to braids, and yields more concentrated — albeit smaller and harder to peel — cloves. Home gardeners and small farmers often plant hardneck (Porcelain, Rocambole, and Purple Stripe) varieties for their marketable scapes and large, meaty cloves. Nate Drummond of Six River Farm in Bowdoinham grows mostly Music and German Extra Hardy garlic, juicy, white-skinned Porcelain breeds.

The Wine Bar is Closing

After 27 years in operation, The Wine Bar is going out of business. Erica Archer at Wine Wise has all the details plus reminiscences of her experience with this longtime Wharf Street establishment.

My heart was heavy today when I got a call from Janet Barry, co-owner of the Wine Bar, it was news I never wanted to hear, this Saturday night, March 30, 2013, The Wine Bar and Cafe will be closing its doors after 27 years. Please join me there this Saturday night for their “help drink us dry” last hoorah!

Hush Hush #4: Diep 9 Genever


Map & Menu and Delicious Musings have both posted reports from Hush Hush #4, the well-curated cocktail and food event run by Andrew and Briana Volk from Portland Hunt & Alpine Club (website, facebook, twitter). This month’s Hush Hush featured drinks made with the Diep 9 Genever (see their photos) line of spirits and some very interesting food by chef David Levi of Vinland.

Implying “normal” when a Hush, Hush event is anything but is almost an affront, but you need to believe me when I say that Andrew Volk is redefining the norm when it comes to the way he approaches his craft cocktails and the impeccable taste that Portland Hunt & Alpine is exhibiting in its selection of chefs and spirits for these events. [Map & Menu]

Photo Credit: Map & Menu

Under Construction: Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

According to a Insurance Guy Beer Blog Bissell Brothers Brewing (website, twitter) is taking over the space on Industrial Way formerly occupied by Maine Beer Company. The brothers plan to open “over the next few months”.

The plan is to provide 4-packs of 16 ounce cans with their double IPA being the premier and flagship beer. If you are one of the few that has been lucky enough to try The Substance you know this is going to be one of the best IPAs on the market when it hits the shelves of your favorite beer store. Be sure to tell your local beer store and bar that they need to carry this beer when it is released.

Review of In’Finiti

Dispatch has published a review of In’finiti.

Next up the Chicharrones with Chimichurri sauce. This was the winner of the day. Deliciously crunchy with plenty of sauce for dipping, the chicharrones are a perfect dish to enjoy with a house brew. Although the Steak and Stilton Croquette was calling my name, I went with the Chorizo and Quail Eggs instead.  This Mexican style sausage is one of my favs and they did it well.