Beer & Food

HopChef Philly: The Competition Heats Up


Chef Eli Kulp of Fork and his  R&D Ninjas strategize their Abbey Ale plan of attack.

Chef Eli Kulp of Fork and his R&D Ninjas strategize their HopChef plan of attack.

With less than a month away from HopChef Philly – Twitter’s #HopChef smack talk is heating up the kitchen. Watch as Chef Eli Kulp unleashes his R&D Ninjas, Chef Pat Szoke finds new inspiration, Chef Nick Macri unveils his unlikely practice regimin muse and other competing chefs carefully reveal other intimidation tactics and pre-HopChef rituals before it all goes down.

Follow #HopChef for an inside look at what Zagat, Grub Street and The Daily Meal are calling a “magical combination” and join us for the big show on Tuesday, April 23rd at 7PM at Union Transfer. Tickets are $53.30, and a portion of the proceeds will go to support Mural Arts Program and Groundswell.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Brewery Ommegang Kicks Off HopChef Tour in Philadelphia – April 23


Who: Six Philly chefs up for a challenge
What: HopChef Philadelphia [tickets]
When: Tues, April 23 at 7 p.m. [invite]
Where: Union Transfer 1026 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123
Why: Because Great Beer Deserves Great Food® … and now it’s for a great cause.

Brewery Ommegang and Saveur Magazine are returning to Philadelphia for another installment of HopChef, the highly anticipated chef competition that lit Twitter ablaze with the friendliest of smack-talk in 2012.

This year, six of Philadelphia’s hottest young chefs will each create one dish showcasing their imaginative beer and food pairing skills. The dishes, all paired with Ommegang ales, will be served to a panel of judges, and to all attendees, to taste and score. As it all goes down, great beer will partner with great food to help out a great cause.  A portion of proceeds from HopChef Philly will benefit Groundswell and the Mural Arts Program.

The outstanding line-up of competing chefs includes Yun Fuentes of JG Domestic,  Lucio Palazzo of La Calaca Feliz,  Nick Macri of Southwark,  Pat Szoke of The Industry,  Eli Kulp of Fork and Mike Deganis of Alla Spina.

In the weeks leading up to HopChef, follow the chefs on Twitter with #HopChef  as they taste Ommegang beers and create their competition dishes.  

 HopChef Philly tickets are $53.50, with a portion of proceeds going to support the Mural Arts Program and Groundswell.  

Check out the complete 2013 schedule below. 


Perfect Pairings Recipe: Hennepin Spice Bars

Hennepin Spice Bars

 To celebrate the first day of spring, we bring you Hennepin Spice Bars, one of the healthiest recipes we’ve seen come through the Ommegang kitchen. Pair it with your favorite spring time beverage to welcome the warmer months ahead. 

Hennepin Spice Bars


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup Hennepin beer
  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup raisins


  • Preheat oven to 350. Soften butter and mix with sugar.
  • Beat in eggs and beer.
  • Mix spices into flour and add to mixture. Fold in nuts and raisins.
  • Pour into 9” x 12” greased aluminum pan.
  • Bake for 28 min at 350. Check for doneness. Let cool before cutting.

Makes 12 – 3” x” 3 bars

Provided by Christine Alexander of East Meredith, NY

Make this in your own kitchen and share your photos. Just tweet  or Instagram your photo to @BreweryOmmegang and tag with #PerfectPairings

Perfect Pairings Recipe: Braised Pork Shanks with Dried Figs and Abbey Ale


A hearty meal to compliment the warmth and richness of Ommegang’s Abbey Ale. 

Braised Pork Shanks with Dried Figs and Abbey Ale


    • 4 pork shanks
    • 3 cups dried Porcini mushrooms
    • 4 cups dried figs
    • 2 onions
    • 2 carrots
    • 2 celery stalks
    • 6 cloves garlic
    • 5 bottles Abbey Ale
    • 2 cups flour
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • 1 qt. chicken stock
    • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
    • 3 sprigs thyme
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 3 sprigs rosemary


    • Soak Porcini mushrooms and dried figs in Abbey Ale for five hours.
    • Pre-heat oven to 325.
    • Strain mushrooms and figs, saving all of the liquid.
    • Cut the figs in quarters and put in the fridge.
    • Put a large frying pan over medium high heat.
    • Season flour with salt and pepper.
    • Season shanks with salt and pepper.
    • Dredge shanks in flour.
    • Add olive oil to pan and sear shanks till they have a nice color.
    • Remove shanks from pan and set aside.
    • Pour off half of the oil, and in the same pan, add chopped onions and sauté till translucent, then add chopped garlic, carrots, and celery and cook until just barely soft.
    • Stir in tomato paste.
    • Cook down a little and deglaze the pan with strained liquid.
    • Place shanks in a braising pan; pour all of the vegetables and liquid into pan.
    • Pour in enough chicken stock to bring liquid level ½ of the way up the meat of the shanks and cover with foil and put in the oven and braise until the meat is tender and just about to come off the bone.
    • When the pork is done, make sauce with liquid, and some of the vegetables pureed in the sauce for body
    • Add the quartered figs, and season to taste and serve.

Serves 4  Recipe courtesy of Eric Swart, Hoffman Lane Bistro Cooperstown, NY

Make this in your OWN kitchen and share your photos. Just tweet  or Instagram your photo to @BreweryOmmegang and use #PerfectPairings

A Look Back at HopChef 2012

Ommegang HopChef logo

As we gear up to announce the HOPCHEF 2013 circuit, let’s take a walk down memory lane to remember the good time we had last year…

HopChef 2012 came to a climax in Cooperstown this summer with a cook-off at Brewery Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Beer Festival. The winners of three regional competitions, came together to face the Tommy Harder, Grand Prize winner of HopChef’s 2011 Mussel Tussle. The competitors; Washington, DC Champion Jeff Eng of Tower Oaks Lodge, Albany Champion Jaime Ortiz of Mazzone Hospitality and Philadelphia Champion George Sabatino of Stateside each won their individual Ommegang pairing competitions.

HopChef 2012 Regional Winners: George Sabatino of Philadelphia (L), Jaime Ortiz of Albany (M) and Jeff Eng of Washington, D.C. (R)

HopChef 2012 Regional Winners: George Sabatino of Philadelphia (L), Jaime Ortiz of Albany (M) and Jeff Eng of Washington, D.C. (R)

The HopChef DC competition took place in Mayat the Atlas where Jeff Eng’s winning dish was “Surf and Turf”; a plate of uni and beer braised oxtail roe that he paired with Hennepin. He followed this with his winning dessert; a chocolate hazelnut crunch bar, coke and pop rocks which he paired with Three Philosophers

HopChef Albany took place on June 8th at the North Pearl Events Center where over 200 attendees dined on gourmet food and beer pairings. Chef Jaime Ortiz captivated both the crowd and judges with his dish “Rare of the Dog” which featured faux egg shooters of custard and spices, in a shooter of Rare Vos with a honey thyme bacon chaser.

HopChef Philadelphia determined the final competitor at the sold out event: George Sabatino of Stateside for his Smoked Beef Cheek Lettuce Wrap with Ommegang Abbey Dubbel BBQ sauce, watermelon rind pickle and beer boiled peanuts along with his dessert Three Philosophers with Head to Tail Cherries.

During the final HopChef showdown the competing chefs each created one dish to harmonize with the tasting notes of Brewery Ommegang’s core ales. The final dishes were judged by Will Blunt -Managing Editor of, Todd Coleman – Executive Food Editor of SAVEUR Magazine, Jimmy Carbone – Owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 in NYC, Phil Leinhart – Brewmaster of Brewery Ommegang and Andrew Curren- Head Chef of Easy Tiger and 24 Diner in Austin, TX.

Working side-by-side under one tent during a hot July day, these chefs produced five incredible dishes for the ticket-holders and judges to determine HopChef 2012’s Grand Prize Winner.

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George Sabatino took home the gold with his dish edging out a very competitive crew, pairing Rare Vos Amber Ale with a a smoke capon sausage and Rare Vos mustard, white beans, and tomato-olive tapenade. The sausage, marinated in Rare Vos, was handmade in Philadelphia before taking the trip to Cooperstown for the BCTC showdown.

Look out for more news here on the plan for HopChef 2013.  We may just be coming to your town.