yalobusha brew MS craft beer

Yalobusha Brewing makes waves in Mississippi

Forget the Hot Toddy in MS, it’s craft beer you want to sip.

At only 37 years of age, Yalobush owner, Andy O’Bryen, has started 22 businesses. But he says he’s found a keeper with Yalobush brewing in Water Valley, MS. THe town of less than 4,000 residents is just and hour and half from Memphis. The Yalobusha brew building, originally built in 1860 as an old Ford Motor factory, still retains much of its historical ambiance. The building is even listed on the National Registry of Historics Places. In fact, there is little signage at all for the brewery, something O’Bryan says was really important to him in preserving history.

Tony Balzola, head brewer, hails from Portland, Oregon where he had been a head brewer with McMenamin’s Brewing for the last 13 years. Here, Tony was able to oversee the quality of the beers brewed at Yalobusha.

yalobusha brewing MS revie

Up until recently a tasting passport was still needed to try beers at the Yalobusha but laws have recently changed.

You’ll want to stop into Yalobusha to see sample some of the seasonal releases only available at the brewery. Of course there are other mainstays on the menu that are quite tasty. These brews include:

  • Snopes Pilsner
  • Mississippi Blues Trail
  • Larry Brown Ale
  • Coffee Break Happy Hour Porter

The brewery is open to the public on 2 to 10 p.m. Fridays and 2 to 6 p.m. Saturdays for tours and tasting. Mississippi just passed laws allowing the sale of beer at breweries direct to the consumer instead of buying “tasting tickets” or getting a passport stamped. It may not seem a big feat, but for a state where many counties still remain dry ones, this was a huge win for the craft beer industry. Mississippi was the first state to enact prohibition and the last repeal it.

Check out the short video about Yalobusha and see why the brewery is unique.

Yalo from Blue Magnolia Films on Vimeo.

You can read more about Yalobusha here: http://www.yalobrew.com/our-story

gift guide for moms who like to drink

Mother’s Day Gift Guide for moms who like to drink

We’ve assembled a list of gifts for moms you enjoy adult libations

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! As we get older, we learn that our moms are people too and surprise, surprise, may enjoy drinks from time or time or regularly. Hey, the more we read, the more we learn that alcohol is good for you. Well, in moderation anyway.

riedel carry bag wine

Keep your crystal wine glasses safe with this specialty bag

Got a mom that is a fanatic about always drinking from crystal wine glasses? We understand. The Riedel Wine glasses do make wine taste better by bringing out their best nuances. Your mom will love this set that is perfect for moms who like to take their specialty wine glasses with them.

Is your mom into craft beer? It wouldn’t be surprising as so many craft beers are geared towards women these days, right? So the ultimate gift for any mom or really any craft beer lovers is the Spiegelau Beer Classics Beer Connoisseur Gift Set, Set of 4.

beer connoisseur gift set

This gift set is the ultimate gift for a craft beer enthusiast.

The Ultimate Bar Book is the cocktail lover’s bible. An it features both old and new cocktail recipes. So, there’s something to please any cocktail lover in this book. Plus, it really guides a newbie by showing them illustrations show precisely what type of glass should be used for each drink. With dozens of recipes for garnishes, rims, infusions, and syrups; punches, gelatin shooters, hot drinks, and non-alcoholic beverages, no one who has any curiosity about cocktails will be disappointed by this. Make sure to order a set of nice glasses to go with the book.

Do you or you mom make their own beer? If so why not get these Jute wrapped bottles to put your beer in. They are perfect for gifts as you can personalize them. They are great as they really show you put effort into your gift.

pecan orgeat cocktails

What is Pecan Orgeat?

Step up that Tiki cocktail with Pecan Orgeat

Pecan Orgeat, as the name suggests, is a liquor produced by grinding pecans into a powder after toasting them. They are then mixed with sugar and water and boiled. It is then mixed with vodka to make the final product.

There’s  been a resurgence in the popularity of Tiki drinks. They are no longer relegated to beachside shacks for tourists. Pecan Orgeat is a fancy ingredient used in some of the classier tiki drinks. Traditionally, orgeat has orange notes, which work well with tiki cocktails.  But taking it a step further, the roastyesque (this made up word best fits the description) syrup provides depth where other mass produced fruity drinks leave off.

Here are two recipes that feature Pecan Orgeat:

Mai Way Cocktail
1.5 oz. Jack Daniels
3/4 oz. Orange Curacao
1/2 oz. Pecan Orgeat
3/4 oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Coca-Cola

Mix lime juice, orang curacao, pecan orgeat and whiskey. Shake and pour in to rocks glass. Garnish with orange slice and mint sprig.

The Royal Hawaiian from Beetlecat in Atlanta

1.5 oz. Gin
1 oz. Pineapple juice
.5 oz. lemon juice
.25 oz. Pecan Orgeat

Pecan Orgeat is becoming a more popular ingredients in cocktails. It goes hand in hand with the fact that more cocktail bars are popping up in cities as well as consumers crave more sophisticated drinks than what’s been on menus for decades. Of course, you don’t have to go out to experience the delicious Pecan Orgeat. It is possible to make the syrup at home or buy it at a high end liquor store and make your own concoction. Make sure you have lovely barware to serve your Peacan Orgeat cocktails.

Would you consider making your own Pecan Orgeat? Let us know in the comments.

cigar gift

How to buy cigars as a gift: 5 tips to choosing a quality cigar

Graduations, Father’s day and weddings are coming up! Is there a cigar aficionado on your gift list? Wondering how to choose a decent cigar for a friend or loved one?

Even if you know nothing about cigars or choosing a good cigar, just learning a few basics can help you sniff out (sometimes literally) a good cigar to give to a friend.

Fortunately, cigars have now entered the mainstream. Once the symbol of the rich and powerful, it’s easier than ever for just about anyone to purchase a good cigar. Of course, you probably won’t be able to buy your friend a box of top-tier Cuban cigars, but you can definitely buy them a good quality cigar that will put a smile on their face.

First, visit your local tobacconist or specialty smoke shop for the best quality and widest selection. Avoid ‘drugstore’ cigars. Although they may be inexpensive and convenient to purchase, drugstore cigars are usually filled with preservatives and generally of poorer quality. They may contain, at minimum, saltpeter, paper, glycerin, and other preservatives and irritants. You should make sure that the cigars you purchase are made of 100% tobacco. If you have any questions regarding the cigars ingredients, ask the salesperson. An experienced and knowledgeable sales clerk will be able to tell you extensive information about the ingredients.

Your local tobacco shop is a good place to shop because you will generally be allowed to smell and touch the cigars.

  1. Squeeze the cigar gently. A good quality cigar will give a little when squeezed. The cigar should be firm, with no excessively soft or hard spots. Never buy a lumpy cigar.
  2. If you notice any drying or discoloration on the wrapper, do not buy it. Ideally, the wrapper should be tight and smooth.
  3. Inspect the color of the tobacco to make sure it is even. Do this by inspecting the end of the cigar. Some color variation is normal, but if the color changes abruptly, chances are the cigar was not rolled properly. A cigar that is not rolled properly may result in an uneven burning and unpleasant odors.
  4. If you’re not sure how much your friend smokes, choose a longer cigar. Longer cigars tend to have a ‘cooler’ taste-an excellent choice for beginners.
  5. If you know your friend is an experienced and regular smoker, choose a cigar that is greater in diameter. These cigars tend to have a richer flavor that experienced smokers will appreciate.
supper club wisconsin

Bite and sip your way through Fox Cities, Wisconsin

The Midwest is a fantastic getaway for those looking for a bit of nostalgia, kitsch, and beautiful unspoiled scenery. The cities along the Wisconsin’s Fox River (Appleton, Kaukauna, Menasha, and Neenah) are known as the Fox Cities. Here are just a couple reasons to put Fox Cities on your vacation short list this year.

1. Mark’s East Side

brandy old fashioned supper club

Enjoy a Brandy Old Fashioned at Mark’s East Side

Supper clubs are common restaurants found in Wisconsin. These restaurants are throw backs to decades ago with a kitschy decor. Start your meal with a Brandy Old Fashioned, the supper club drink of choice. Sit in the lounge and order some fried cheese curds (you are in Wisconsin!) to go with your drink. Typical foods you’ll find on the menu are fried fish or Prime rib. After dinner it is common to return to the bar and get a dessert drink like a Grasshopper or a Pink Squirrel, an almond-flavored ice cream drink.

2. Wilmar Chocolates
This spot gives new meaning to the phrase, “A kid in a candy store!”  Ever wanted to create your own chocolate bar? For around ten bucks you can pick four high quality ingredients (think pistachio, toasted coconut, toffee). Go in the back of the candy-filled store and view your yummy chocolate bar being created. While you wait, browse the selection of chocolates and other delectable candies.

Wilmar Chocolates fox cities

Watch as candied apples are hand made at Wilmar Chocolates in Fox Cities

3. Lion’s Tail Brewing
Even if you’ve been to many craft breweries across the United States, you’ll be impressed with Lion’s Tail. Here are just a couple of beers they have:

  • King Kula (Rum barrel aged beer)
  • Nitro Stout – Nitro gas forms much smaller bubbles, giving the beer a creamy mouthfeel
  • Royale with Bees – a French-Style Saison with Local Honey

4. Lamer’s Dairy

WIsconsin Cheese Simon's specialty shop
Who knows how old the milk you buy at your regular grocer is. When you drink milk from Lamer’s Dairy in Appleton, you are having milk that was in the cow that morning. The 100+ year old family run company supports farms within 30 miles of Fox Cities. Here you’ll also find local wines as an incredible selection of cheese. Don’t leave without sampling some of their made in house ice cream too. The seasonal Pumpkin Spice is a highlight.


st patricks day cottage pie recipe

Irish Cottage Pie for St. Patrick’s Day

For those looking to create a hearty Irish meal at home, here is the Irish Cottage Pie recipe. Traditionally topped with a thick layer of creamy mashed potatoes, the recipe saves a few steps by topping the comforting casserole with thinly sliced potatoes and shredded cheese.

st patricks day cottage pie recipe

Image and recipe courtesy of The Fresh Market

Irish Cottage Pie
Serves 6-8

1.5 lb. ground sirloin
3 tbsp. Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
1 tbsp. The Fresh Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 c. sweet onion, chopped (about ½ large onion)
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 c. carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 large carrots)
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. The Fresh Market Beef Stock
1 c. Guinness
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 c. The Fresh Market Frozen Green Peas
1 ½ lbs. red potatoes
1 c. Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Heat a Dutch oven or a large, wide skillet over medium high heat.  Add beef and cook until crumbled and no longer pink.  Drain beef of any excess grease and transfer to plate.

Add olive oil and butter to the same pan.  Once the butter melts, add onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add flour, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Vegetable mixture will become very thick.  Whisk in beef stock, beer, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.

Stir in beef and peas.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook 7-10 minutes. While mixture simmers and thickens, thinly slice red potatoes (the thinner the better).

Spoon mixture into a 10 x 13” or 10 inch round baking dish, both at least 2 inches deep. Top with sliced potatoes, heavily overlapping each. Sprinkle cheese evenly over potatoes. Cover dish loosely with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil and return to oven for additional 30 minutes or until pie is bubbling and potatoes are nicely browned.

Remove from oven and allow to rest a minimum of 20 minutes before serving. And don’t forget to have a Guinness beer to pair with your pie!

wine pairing with food

7 Wine tips to increase your palette

Have you ever been to a restaurant with the intention of buying a glass of wine, only to be handed a binder full of selections to choose from? Well, it’s times like these where knowing a bit about wine can go a long way.

  1. Try not to exclusively drink the best (read: expensive) wine that you can find at all times. Sometimes, you will notice that some of the best tasting wines are medium grade and not the creme of the crop. Explore all types of wine and try them with different meals to determine your favorites. Also note that when you ask for a server’s recommendations, a good server will not exclusively recommend the most expensive.
  2. If you are having red meats, stick to red wine. This is the general principle, and should rarely be veered away from. Red wine helps to bring out the flavor in the steak or meat that you choose and vice versa, giving you the best possible experience. While red wine may also be appropriate for fish, white is never a good balance for steak.
  3. wine and food pairing

    Always pair red wine with steak

    When purchasing a wine for dinner, make sure to ask in the merchant if the wine is ready to drink. Some wines need to age in order for their true flavor to come out. This might mean months or even years should go by before the bottle is enjoyed. By asking if the wine is ready to drink, you have a better chance of walking out with a bottle you will enjoy.

  4. Read everything you can get your hands-on with respect to wine. Check out blogs and reviews. New ones are coming out all the time, and they can be very valuable in helping you select wine that you might enjoy. Hint: when you find a wine you like from a certain reviewer, make a note that you have similar tastes and this a reviewer you should heed reviews from. There are even apps for your phone that can help with wine selection.
  5. Choose your food and wine pairings carefully. Typically, white wine is suitable for light dishes, salads or fish. Red wine goes well with heavier dishes and dark meats. The rule of thumb is the heavier or darker the dish, the darker the wine that you choose. If you have having a multi-course dinner, start with white wine and progress to red wine.
  6. Be mindful of wine experts and what they say, yet also take their considerations with a grain of salt. Any expert worth his weight in salt will admit to his own fallibility. Also, their personal tastes will never identically match your own. You should never allow an expert opinion to override your own feelings.
  7. Go to wine tastings. There are plenty of free wine tastings at restaurants to get patrons in on slower evenings. Check these out to taste wines you may not otherwise, feel comfortable purchasing a full bottle. Here you can also network and make friends with other wine newbies.

As you now know, there is a lot of information to deal with when it comes to wine. However, when you have the right information and put in a little effort, you can be a wine expert in no time. Just make sure to enjoy your wine education, as it is supposed to be fun!

Bleeding heart valentine's Day beer

Valentine’s Day: A Beer For Bleeding Hearts

Second Self Beer Company’s seasonal release of “Bleeding Heart” for Valentine’s Day

For some, Valentine’s Day represents passionate emotions…and for others it is a lonely nightmare trapped between the echoes of lost love. Some will choose to celebrate in solitude, while others go all out making reservations for a romantic dinner. This Valentine’s Day, consider swapping wine for beer, especially when there’s a beer made especially for the holiday. Second Self provides Bleeding Heart beer as a compliment to either Valentine’s Day experience.

There are definite notes of cocoa and mocha both in the nose and on the tongue for Bleeding Heart beer. This festive amber ale is a balanced beer that can be paired with several kinds of dishes. Be that pasta, salmon, flank steak, the beer matches well. So if you are a beer lover and dining solo, with friends or a special someone, be sure to try Bleeding Heart or another amber ale. Be sure you have the best beer glasses to serve your Valentine’s day guests as well.

As a seasonal release, and in staying true to the fleeting nature of cupid’s arrows, Bleeding Heart is only available for a limited time. This year Second Self is releasing a canned version which is available for purchase at a handful of retail locations across the city. No matter your relationship with the Valentine’s Day holiday, a good beer is always worth having. Bleeding Heart is a nice companion for this time of year and is both shareable and good in isolation. Be sure and give it a try while you can!

tequila for your health

Why You Need to Drink More Tequila in 2017

There are many health benefits to drinking Tequila in moderation. Here’s some reasons to incorporate Tequila into your diet.

1. It helps control diabetes. Tequila helps lower blood sugar by triggering insulin production and therefore lowers blood sugar.

2. Fights off colds. We should note that this has been said about Whiskey too. While a shot of Tequila may be good, it is better if mixed with equal parts of agave nectar and lime juice. Half an ounce of each should work.

3. Fights cholesterol. Tequila helps lower triglycerides in blood levels. This, in turn, reduces of cholesterol levels.

4. Tequila helps your body absorb medicine more efficiently. When you take any drugs the acid in your stomach breaks them down before they reach your intestines which introduce them into the rest of the body, decreasing the drug’s effectiveness. Tequila acts like a protective barrier for these drugs as they work their way into your system.

tequila for your health

5. You can drink it straight without wanting to throw up afterward Have you ever tried throwing back straight shots of vodka? Chances are they’re coming right back up. When it comes to tequila, you can rest assured that it will sail smoothly down your throat.

6. Pain Reliever. Tequila helps to numb pain by dilating the blood vessels, which results in better blood flow, minimizing pain levels.

7. Cleans your colon. Researchers at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara claim that blue agave found in tequila helps deliver drugs to the colon, which helps to treat illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS and even cancer.

8. Helps you rest. Just one or two shots of Tequila will relax you enough to drift off to sleep. Next time you can’t fall asleep, try sipping on some Don Julio.

It is important to remember that this advice is for tequila by itself. Having three or four margaritas or any cocktail that contains Tequila is not recommended and may even be more harmful. Always remember to drink Tequila in moderation.

foods that speed up metabolism

Foods that Speed Up Metabolism

So you’ve pretty much eaten your way through December. Now it’s January and you’ve stepped on the scale and wishing you’s passed on that dessert or ten. Kick up your metabolism to help shed that weight. Here are some foods that speed up metabolism.

You must burn more calories than you eat, bottom line, no matter what kind of a diet you’re on.  Forget fad diets, low carb, no carb, no gluten. Here are some foods, some you may already be eating that help speed up your metabolism. Note that the diet industry makes money off many Americans’ desire to lose weight. But don’t waste time on these fad diets. Start eating these foods to speed up your metabolism and burn more calories in a healthy way.

    • Wine – Like red wine? Great. Start drinking a glass per day to help speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that just one glass a day helps to burn calories. Make sure to stick to just one glass a day as more than interfere with sleep and can actually have the reverse affect of burning calories.


    • Fish – Sardines, tuna and salmon are high on the list of foods that speed up metabolism. Not only are they great sources of heart-healthy fat and Omega-3, they help lower your levels of a hormone called leptin. It’s easier to lose weight when your leptin levels stay in the lower ranges. Eat more fish, and if you don’t like fish, take fish oil supplements.
    • Peppers – Hot and spicy peppers like cayenne, habanero and jalapeno make the list of foods that speed up metabolism. How does this work? They contain an ingredient called capsaicin which can boost your metabolism for up to 3 hours after you ingest it. Not only are hot peppers are terrific way to speed up your metabolism if you can tolerate them, but they can liven up many bland dishes.
    • Whole grains – When it comes to burning calories, you have to think in terms of foods that are going to keep you full for a long amount of time. So, you’ll want to avoid sugary snacks and pastas. Whole grains are among some of the best foods that speed up metabolism, because they digest slowly and keep your blood sugar levels even. Cinnamon also has blood sugar-regulating properties, so use of this spice can help keep your metabolism chugging at high speed.

foods to speed up metablolism

  • Proteins – Protein-rich foods like nuts, eggs, beans and lean meats give your body the fat to keep everything running smoothly.
  • Water – If you workout at the gym, have you seen those people that go around sipping water from a gallon jug? They know that part of the secret of speeding up metabolism is consuming a ton of water. It keeps your body operating at top efficiency. Add lemon for a burst of citrus flavor!