The Mussel Tussle at Belgium Comes to Cooperstown

Brewery Ommegang’s yearly festival, Belgium Comes to Cooperstown will receive a new and exciting twist this year as 6 chefs have been invited to compete in a “Mussel Tussle” cooking competition.

The competition will be based around a standard of Belgian fare: moules or in English, mussels. This fast-paced competition will challenge the chefs integration of local the farmers’ market and fine food stores, preparing a mussel dish to be judged during the festival. The winning dish will be selected by the attendees of the festival.

The winning chef will receive:
• La Creuset cookware set
• $500 Cash prize
• Winning recipe featured at Café Ommegang
• Winning Chef and representative restaurant showcased on Ommegang website for remainder of 2011

Participating Chefs include:
Lucy Townsend of Lucy Townsend Catering – Cooperstown, NY
Ric Orlando of New World Bistro & New World Restaurant – Albany & Saugerties, NY
Mitch Prensky of Supper – Philadelphia, PA
Bart Vandaele of Belga Café – Washington, DC
Tommy Harder of Blind Tiger – New York City, NY
Matt Molloy of Meadhall – Cambridge, MA

Each day leading up to Saturday’s event, we will be showcasing an interview with each chef and discovering their insights into why great beer deserves great food.

Chef Lucy Townsend

Chef Lucy Townsend is the first of the featured chef and is the hometown pick for the competition. Chef Lucy has been a part of
the Great Beer Deserves Great Food program for several years, catering local beer dinners at Brewery Ommegang and hosting Ommegang events at Templeton Hall, her catering venue in downtown Cooperstown.

L.M.TOWNSEND CATERING began with a dream back in 1978 when owner Lucy Townsend graduated from Dartmouth College with a major in art and embarked on a career in food service leading her from a job cutting and weighing cheeses in a gourmet shop, to employment ranging from chef aboard a hotel boat on the River Thames, to salad girl for a family owned restaurant, kitchen manager at a bistro, and manager of a Rockefeller Center restaurant.

Lucy''s Chicken Breast Stuffed With Spanish Ham Red Pepper Romesco Sauce with Hazelnuts and Almonds,Saffron Pilaf and Artichoke Hearts paired with Ommegang Abbey

Lucy began work on her own catering business in 1989 in Cooperstown, NY and some of her first clients remain loyal to this day. Although corporate functions and wedding receptions comprise a large part of sales, Townsend Catering is also expert at providing services for private dinners, cocktail parties, brunches and barbecues.

Lucy's Mexican Chocolate Streusel Cake Cinnamon Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce paired with Three Philosophers

Be sure to check back each day as we will be interviewing each Chef that competes in the Mussle Tussle, and subscribe so that you can help join in the Great Beer Deserves Great Food movement and discover great chefs, restaurants and event around the country.

Interview with Chef Marcus Guiliano of Aroma Thyme Bistro

Marcus Guiliano
Executive Chef / Owner of Aroma Thyme Bistro
165 Canal St.
Ellenville, NY 12428

Brief Bio: Marcus Guiliano is the chef, owner of Aroma Thyme Bistro located in the bountiful Hudson Valley of New York. Chef Guiliano has been an advocate for over 10 years on healthy, sustainable, local and real food. He found his mission in cooking when he reversed over a handful of medical conditions including 28 years of asthma. For more information visit
Aroma Thyme is know for their “stealth health”(Zagat). The Bistro has an award-winning wine list from Wine Spectator Magazine and over 200 beers. Aroma Thyme is certified green by The Green Restaurant Association.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you? Beer is more creative than wine. It allows me as a chef to be more adventurous.

What got you started on pairing food & beer? It all started when I opened my own restaurant. I didn’t want the big brands of flavorless beer in my restaurant. I have actually had people leave my restaurant because they couldn’t get a Bud. As a chef if I take the time to combine flavors in my food it would be great to offer beer that the brew master did the same.

Who are the chefs you admire? I was always a fan of Marco Pierre White in my earlier career. Currently I am still a huge fan of Raymond Blanc from Le Manoir in Great Milton, England.

What are some of your favorite pairings? I love to experiment with beer and cheese. You never know what goes together until you experiment. I love Indian food and Tripels. But I’m huge hophead too. I’ll drink a dry big IPA any day with grilled salmon or a creamy soft cheese.

Favorite style / beer to pair with? I like to pair food with Tripels. The crispness of that style can waken up flavors in food.

Favorite all time beer? I always go back to the Ommegang Abbey Ale. Then comes Unibroue La Fin du Monde. No matter how many beers I have on my list or taste I am always amazed when I go back to those two.

Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish? We make all of our meatloaf with beef. We soak the breadcrumbs in a pale ale or IPA. You can definitely tell that there is beer in the meatloaf. Then we sauté onions and mushrooms in the same beer.

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining? Chefs need to wake up and realize beer is much more than the mass produced stuff that pairs with hot dogs.

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own? Café D’Alsace in NYC has a great list with awesome food.

Any other thoughts? It is very upsetting when you go to fine restaurant with hundreds of wines and then they drop the ball on beer. It makes me think that they are lazy or just under estimate what beer is. But they take the time to research wine, build a wine cellar or some fancy tower to store the wine. But then all you can get is mass produced cheap beer.

Recipe– Grassfed Meatloaf Sliders with Keegan Ales Hurricane Kitty
and Great Hills Blue Cheese

2 lb grass fed beef
½ ea small diced onion
1 lb Bread Alone Miche made into bread crumbs
12-16 oz Hurricane Kitty IPA
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 tsp chopped rosemary
2 tsp sea salt
4-6 oz Great Hills raw Blue Cheese

1. Mix breadcrumbs and beer.
2. Mix well all ingredients except cheese.
3. Bake in a loaf pan at 375˚ for 45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165˚.
4. Serve on grilled bread topped with crumbled blue or by itself.

Other serving suggestions:
add sautéed onions and/or mushrooms
Recipe property of
Marcus Guiliano
Aroma Thyme Bistro
165 Canal St
PO Box 731
Ellenville NY 12428

We thank Chef Guiliano for helping to spread the gospel of Great Beer Deserves Great Food. Be sure to visit the Aroma Thyme Bistro July 21st- 28th as Chef Guiliano features Belgian beer and food pairings.

Saveur Summer BBQ festival, Pier 26, NYC, June 27

Brewery Ommegang was the beer sponsor for Saveur Magazine’s Summer 2011 BBQ Fest. Held at the 26th Street Pier on the lower West Side, this was the second year for the event. A dozen chefs created BBQ using shrimp, fish, pork, beef, lamb, chicken and veggies. Ommegang provided beer and wineries and spirits were represented. 400 guests from the world of fine cooking and the press came, ate, drank and went home happy and satiated.

Entry at the 26th Street Pier.

Looking down on the 400 attendees on the pier, from the second level.

The Grey Goose Vodka popsicle girls were at the entry. Yum.

ABC Kitchen was on hand just inside the entry.

Ian discussing the finer points of bbq shrimp: "be quick!"

Elizabeth Karmel's Texas beef tenderloin and grilled corn on the cob were a huge crowd pleaser. With an Ommegang ale in hand, you entered gustatory perfection.

The fireboat was standing by just in case the heat of the 'cue got out of hand.

A Hennpin for Kennipen, Ommegang's NYC kingpin.

Classic 'cue coming off the charcoal.

Blackened catfish and fried caper slaw...meow!

At right: Marcus Samuellson, of Harlem's Red Rooster and blackened catfish fame.

The Ommegang crew liquifies the crowd.

Phil Leinhart, brewmaster, and Ken Erdogan, NYC Ommegang/Duvel honcho.

BBQ sandwich and beer. The Gods and Goddesses of Perfection applaud.

5/7ths of the Ommegang crew get their props.

The Taj prepares 'cue, Indian style. No beef. Fish and veggies yes.

Ommegang beer and NYC BBQ. Gotta love it. And eat and drink it.

A brickette's view of 'cue in the making.

Ken discusses virtues of Ommegang as carbo-loading for the lovely Olympic athlete to his right.

Taj Restaurant BBQ, part II.

Phil Leinhart and Larry Bennett of Ommegang. Sitting in the hot seats above the Indian braziers.

The 26th Street Pier from the second level. Next stop: Colicchios and Sons.

One last look at the crowd before we leave. Cheers to all.

One more for the Road. Or the RIver.

Brewery Ommegang at the Food & Wine Classic, Aspen, CO. June 14-19, 2011

5,000 guests and 276 exhibitors converged on Aspen for the 29th Food and Wine Classic. Beautiful tents were lofted into the air against a backdrop of gorgeous mountains, still laced with snow.
Over 171 wineries were represented, as well as 51 food, restaurant, and culinary purveyors, 23 spirits brands, and 6 beer brands. The beer brands were Ommegang, Anchor, Guinness, Stella, Hoegaarden, and Leffe.

Some of the more well known chefs in attendance included Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore’s Gastropub, Wash. DC., Jose Andres, James Beard Award winning chef and head of ThinkFoodGroup in DC; Daniel Boulud of Daniel, Café Boulud and DBBG Café; Mario Batalli of Babbo, Eataly Andrew Zimmern host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods; Tom Colicchio of Gotham, Craft and Colicchio and Sons; Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Bouchon, Ad Hoc, and Per Se; Danny Meyer of Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, and The Modern; and Jonathon Waxman of Chez Panisse and Barbuto.

Ommegang and Chef Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore’s Gastropub in Washington DC paired Ommegang ales with Italian Amarena cherries soaked in kirsch and griddled Bread Cheese from Carr Valley, Wisconsin.(Below: Teddy Folkman)

Over three days and five sessions we served several thousand Food and Wine patrons and knocked their socks off. The most common comments we heard was, “our friends told us we just had to come try your pairings”. And, “wow that’s an amazing combination. (Below: customers trying out the pairing)

The Abbey ale and the cherries sang, while the cheese was salty and luscious and griddled to a perfect golden brown. The booziness of the ale cut through the fat and salt of the cheese while the sweet malt and spices of the Abbey accentuated the flavor of the cherries. A second sip allowed for the carbonation of the dubbel to cleanse the palette leaving the consumer wanting more.

Marnie Old, sommelier, writer, and wine and beer comparer par excellence, did a comparative tasting at Pittman County Steak House, with Abbey ale and a good red. It must have worked because the beverage manager is now putting Abbey on the beer list. (Marnie, below)

Kim Anderson, our regional distributor rep for Empire Distributing was a huge presence, talking to consumers at the F&W events, serving the beer and food pairing, and taking us around town for other events, including an Ommegang flight and charcuterie pairing evening at BB’s Kitchen in downtown Aspen on Saturday night. (Below, Kim at right.)

We also spent some time hobnobbing with the chefs putting on the Grand Cochon “Ten Chefs, Ten Pigs, One Crown” cook-off on Sunday at the historic Jerome Hotel in downtown Aspen. Santa Rosa’s Zazu took the prize for chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart. The winners won the crown and golden pig pictured below, with their pork bun constructed with bits of head, heart, and neck. A fried trotter looked more like fried green tomatoes, but revealed the tender meat upon cracking the golden crust. Is that a bit of Belgian waffle in the left of the frame?

Brewery Ommegang and Rising DC Chef Teddy Folkman Spread the Gospel of Great Beer and Great Food.

Brewery Ommegang introduces Great Beer Deserves Great FoodTM campaign.

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Brewery Ommegang announces Great Beer Deserves Great Food, a fine beer and food pairing program that encompasses a wide range of culinary initiatives, including a sponsorship with leading food publication Saveur, on-going support of culinary education programs, a beer and food ‘road-show’ of beer dinners, town hall-style gatherings and educational symposia, and deployment of a roving chef ambassador to serve as the voice of the effort.

Great Beer Deserves Great Food is built around an intensive collaboration with up-and-coming Washington D.C. Chef Teddy Folkman. Folkman is a TV and radio culinary personality, executive chef/co-owner of Granville Moore’s Gastropub, and a local foodie hero in D.C. Folkman will be a roving Ommegang Ambassador – delivering the message that Great Beer Deserves Great Food. He’ll appear at food and beverage showcases around the US and consult with Ommegang on retailer and consumer-focused programs.

Already underway: Ommegang’s sponsorship of an informal chefs’ club. Ommegang and Folkman are gathering leading chefs to trade knowledge about great beers and dishes, and to cook up new recipes to bring beer and food closer together. Folkman hosted the inaugural meeting of the D.C. chapter on March 13, at Granville Moore’s, with a range of fine beers paired with his culinary creations. A dozen leading D.C. chefs and restaurateurs joined in the first chefs’ club, which will move among a group of D.C. restaurants, with new themes, dishes and beers at each meeting.

The recently announced partnership with Saveur includes sponsoring the publication’s June 27 Summer BBQ event in New York City. Last year’s event, which included exclusive beer-pouring and pairing with leading NYC chefs, was named one of New York City’s hottest guest lists by New York Magazine. Additionally, Ommegang will sponsor a video series dedicated to finding the best American BBQ as well as a dedicated section on beer and food pairings on-line.

Phil Leinhart, Ommegang brewmaster, believes Belgian-style beers such as Ommegang brews are naturals for Great Beer Deserves Great Food. Leinhart says, “Historically, Belgian brewers brewed their beers with food in mind. Belgians drink beer at every meal – yes, sometimes even at breakfast – and pairing is important; how will a beer complement a particular dish? At Ommegang we’ve employed this philosophy since our first brew back in 1997. Today we offer over ten beers from lower ABV white beers to saisons to strong ales – yet every beer is well-balanced and created to complement quality fare.”

Folkman echoes Leinhart. “Food fanatics are getting savvier about what stands next to their plate – more and more are recognizing that in many ways beer is a better fit than wine. As for restaurateurs, I see rapid change where beer lists are catching up to wine and spirit in variety, complexity and price. But rapid is relative and beer still isn’t as top-of-mind as it needs to be for chefs, owners and managers – my partnership with Ommegang is all about changing that.”

The next major showcase for Great Beer Deserves Great Food is ‘Taste of the Nation NYC’. The event takes place on Monday, May 23rd in NYC and will feature Ommegang beers and food pairings from Chef Teddy Folkman, in the service of fighting childhood hunger. Following that event will be ‘Savor,’ June 3-4, in Washington D.C. This annual showcase sponsored by the Brewer’s Association is renowned for featuring superb food alongside the country’s best craft beers in a setting like no other – the National Building Museum. 2,500 guests are expected for the main event, while Salons throughout the two days bring groups of 50-100 people together for more intimate presentations. Ommegang will host a salon titled “Beer and Just Desserts” featuring Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale, Hennepin Saison Ale and Rare Vos Amber Ale. Ommegang will also sponsor dinners and gatherings at local venues through the week leading up to and around Savor.