All posts by John Fahrner

Senior Editor at Sommbeer.com
Fan of Hockey, Football, and Mexican Food. Preferes beers in the style of Stout, Porter, IPA, and Red Ales.
Not a fan of Pumpkin beer or Sours

Beer and Brat’s Potato Chips Review

So one afternoon I’m strolling through my local grocery store and what do I spy with my little eye? I see an end-cap filled with the newest offerings of the “weird flavored” Frito Lay potato chips, and right in the middle of this display… a snack food pairing made in heaven, Beer and Brat flavored potato chips! Out the way Queso and red bag of whatever flavor, Merica is here and it has arrived in the form of Beer and Brat potato chips!

Of course buying this bag of chips was a total impulse but at $3 I’m more than fine with that.  Truthfully I don’t normally go for Lays chips, I much prefer my local option of Better Maid, but with such a wonderful flavor combination how could one resist? So in the cart these bad boys go along with a plethora of other healthy snacks, potato is a vegetable even in chip form, and to the register we went.

Upon arriving home it became snack time.  After all grocery shopping is a very strenuous activity and you need to restore your strength for the afternoon, it’s not like sports are going to watch themselves on tv.  To no real surprise these chips looked like potato chips, almost suspiciously so if it wasn’t for the bag informing me that they were in fact chips and not a dehydrated bratwurst. Time to crack a beer and chow down as we settle in.

The chips themselves are alright, they probably don’t warrant the build up I’ve set up for them.  Basically what you’re getting are potato chips with some dry mustard on them for seasoning.  Whatever the beer flavor is supposed to be I didn’t get, but that’s ok, we have ways of adding beer flavor to pretty much anything.  These chips are good but calling them beer and bratwurst flavored is kind of a reach.  However if you like the flavor of mustard, and who doesn’t, these chips are worth grabbing a bag of and trying. In the meantime I’ll continue to wait for other snack foods that combine beer and delicious food.  Beer and pizza chips, Beer and taco Dortios, and course beer and pretzel pretzels! The possibilities are endless.

Cheers!

How to Make Sommbeer Mustard

When it comes to condiments you could make a strong case that mustard is the only condiment that is actually necessary.  It’s perfect for sausages, hot dogs, sandwiches, pretzels, and countless other delectable morsels that beg for a bit of a tangy savory sweetness to  enhance a meal. Of course when it comes to mustard there are endless varieties, yellow, brown, honey, Dijon, etc. However the best mustard by far will always be beer mustard!  I started making my own mustard a few years back and over time it has developed into a craft. Is it perfect? Probably not, in all honesty I doctor the recipe a little with each batch, still this mustard constantly comes out as a success.  So without further adieu let’s make Sommbeer Mustard!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups malt vinegar
  • 2 cups beer, preferably a porter or stout
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup dry ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

This mustard recipe is pretty easy to complete but there is some prep-time involved.  To start you are going to want to take your all your mustard seeds, and pour them in a jar or bowl with the vinegar and about 1 1/2 cups of beer. These are going to have to chill out in your fridge for at least 12 hours.  This is going to soften up the seeds and of course absorb up some delicious flavor from whichever beer you choose for your Sommbeer Mustard.

When it comes to picking a beer you’re the master of your own mustard destiny.  Personally I like to use a porter or a stout that ranges in the 5-7% ABV range and is more traditional to the style.  If you pick a beer with chocolate or fruit in it those flavors will peak out in your mustard, so if you would like chocolate mustard go nuts but that’s not what I usually go for.  Really any beer that you would enjoy along with food that you put mustard on is a good candidate to make mustard with.  I’ve had good results with Oktoberfests, Red Ales, Scotch Ales, and Vienna Lagers (Sam Adams is actually a really good option for making mustard with).

After your seeds are sufficiently subdued in their beer and vinegar cocktail take the mix out of the fridge and grab yourself a blender and a medium-sized sauce pan. In the sauce pan you basically want to throw in all remaining ingredients and let this mix simmer. This is where you have the option to get creative, if you like a little bit of heat in your mustard maybe add some red pepper flakes or cayenne to the mix for example.  For me it’s not uncommon to add just a little more beer or honey in the mix. I would recommend that you keep the heat low though, with this much sugar in a pan it will bubble up quick and burned sugar and beer smells pretty gnarly.  Let that simmer for a few minutes than remove the mix from heat and put it into the blender.  Add in your jar of seeds and beer from the fridge and blend every thing together until your mustard is your desired consistency.

The end result is a golden brown delicacy fit to adorn your favorite pretzeled bread or tubed meat! Smear it on a sandwich with gusto or include it on a rub as you move some meats into your smoker.  No matter what you like using mustard for this will replace your go to squirt bottle in the fridge and will get the attention of any family and friends that you choose to share with.

 

Enjoy and cheers!

Beer and Food Pairings for the Craft Beer Football Fan

This article first appeared on Sommbeer and with the Super Bowl just days away this is the perfect time to revisit our recommendations for pairing craft beer with some foods commonly found at homes, bars, tailgates and many other gathering spots where football can be consumed!


It’s mid August and football season is upon us once again.  Football is a great game not only for the sport and the tradition, but for many people like myself it’s an event that provides the opportunity for social gatherings.  With Social gatherings comes serving of great food and of course enjoyment of great beer!  This clearly is an opportunity to make sure that you, and possibly your guests, are getting the most out of your food and beer pairings, so in the spirit of the the upcoming football season here are some of my favorite pairings of more traditional “football foods” and great brews to go with them.

Paring with Nachos:

Game day nachos, a great finger food perfect for munching on during the trench warfare that we affectionately call football.   Nachos give us a little bit of everything, savory, salty, meat and cheese the best way to pair this up for me is with a beer that’s a little on the sweet side and with enough body to counteract all the salt being taken in from the finger food of reckoning.  My choice beer to go with a heaping plate of Nachos is El Rojo Amber Ale by Griffin Claw Brewing company.  El Rojo is a rich and malty amber ale that provides an ABV of 6.5% and has been brewed with just a little bit of caramel making it ideal to hit the desire for both salty and sweet.  Nachos aren’t the most heavy food most times so I can justify that El Rojo is a bit more heavy than most beers brought up in this article but aside from the flavor, which is spectacular, the name begs you to serve this brew with a Mexican dish.

 

Paring with Chili:

Chili is one of my all around favorite foods, it’s one of two things that I could likely eat every day and never get tired of.  At this time of year my favorite thing to pair with a good bowl of chili is a delicious Oktoberfest brew.  My choice for a Oktoberfest brew is Bloktoberfest by Atwater Brewing.  Oktoberfest beers have the a great malty characteristic with the body of a well done lager and Bloktoberfest is no slouch.  A tasty 6.3% ABV followed by the nice warming feeling of a Marzen brew is one of the best things I can crack open while I enjoy a hearty bowl of chili on a cool fall day.  This might be my favorite pairing that is brought up in this entire article, and as previously stated it’s a pairing that I could likely enjoy every day without all to much argument.

Pairing with Sausage/Hot Dogs/Grilled Food:

I for one don’t like to cook during a game, so normally grilled food is not something that I am going to be preparing for my guests.  That being said I absolutely love hosts that are willing to grill up sausages, burgers, and things of this nature during a game.  For those willing to put the extra effort in to cook on the grill the extra effort to bring the right beer should also be present.  Releasing right at the beginning of football season is Bell’s Best Brown Ale, which is not only a great beer for fall grilling but also one of my all around favorite Brown Ales.  Best Brown packs a 5.8% ABV and like most brown ales is nice and Malty with some nutty flavoring whole delivering some cocoa and caramel notes.  Even though Best Brown can be found all through the winter months it is one of the best fall beers out there and has enough body to make any game and grilling combo a success.

Pairing with Pizza:

Who doesn’t love pizza?  Pizza might be the most all purpose food in the world, it’s practically the Swiss Army Knife of practicality when it comes to food and there’s no doubt that if your a football fan you will find your self enjoying some pizza during a game or two during this season.  There’s so many different beers that go really well with pizza but if I were to pick one as an all around “pizza beer” regardless of the type of pizza I have I would go with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.  Not nearly as intense as it’s bigger brothers 90 and 120 minute IPA; 60 Minute IPA is a very good day to day drinkable beer that isn’t going to mix in the stomach with a few slices of pizza and make it feel like you’re carrying a medicine ball in your stomach.  60 Minute IPA comes in with a respectable 6% ABV and most of that will be soaked up with said pizza so you won’t likely be sloppy by halftime when enjoying this brew with your favorite pizza.

For the Tailgater:

Going to the game? One of the best traditions in football, be it on Saturday or Sunday is the Tailgating.  Tailgate parties can vary quit drastically in terms of both food and weather, both of which can be positively or negatively enhanced by the choice of beer.  When I’m tailgating I like to go with an all around, good for any occasion, pairs well with almost any food beer.  For that I go to Founders Brewing All Day IPA.  To start with All Day IPA is lighter, in more than one way, it doesn’t sit too heavy in the belly and it has a lower ABV (4.7 ABV) and if you’re starting your pre-game festivities at 10 am generally it’s in good taste to still be functioning by kick off time. All Day IPA brings it, packed with crisp yet refreshing and plenty of delicious hop flavor makes All Day IPA a great all around choice as a beer that sets you up for success no matter what weather conditions (cold, hot, rain, etc.) or food rolls up to the pigskin pre-party.  Add to that the availability of 15 pack cans that are significantly easier to travel with than bottles and you  have a winner.

If you have other suggestions we’d love to hear them, please leave them in the comments bellow!

Cheers!

John Fahrner

@fahrn13

 

Thanks John!  I’m a fan of a strong (perhaps Imperial) IPA with pizza.  It’s funny but I find Bell’s Best Brown to be my “comfort beer”, it’s what I pick when I want an old standby.

– SommBeer

John Fahrner Bio:

John resides in Wolverine Lake, MI and is interested in craft beer, the Detroit Red Wings and MSU.

Twitter Bio  @fahrn13

https://twitter.com/fahrn13

#craftbeer #beer #MSU #redwings #sommbeer #football #ipa

Interested in becoming a SommBeer Contributor?

Send me a note   sommbeer@gmail.com

The Sommeats Junk Food Rankings!

I’m of the opinion that most of the time people should strive to eat real food, food that isn’t full of chemicals and other mystery ingredients that the majority of people have a hard time pronouncing.  However there is no shortage of junk food scattered throughout my home country (America) and really all over the world. Since, like junk food itself, the topic is pretty much unavoidable here are the Sommeats Junk Food Power Rankings!

10. Zingers

What are Zingers you ask? Well, if you are not familiar with them, Zingers are basically a Twinkie with a thin layer of frosting (that apparently makes the Zinger aerodynamic) on the top of them making them infinitely better than the much more well know Twinkie snack cake. These spongy delicious bastards often find their way into my pantry as an impulse buy while doing the grocery shopping.

9. Snickers

Ah Snickers, I’m not proud of it but there have been so many times that I have replaced meals with a Snickers bar. The Snickers bar has pretty much everything you need in a candy bar (chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and nougat) and as far as candy bars go actually makes it feel like you ate something. Plus they have some of the best commercials out there, especially their annual Super Bowl ads, FEAST!!!!

8.  Jack Link’s Beef Jerky

Jack Link’s, way better than its main competitor (slim jim) and Sasquatch approved! There’s a huge variety of Jack Link’s snacks out there and it’s a lot easier to pretend that beef jerky is a “healthy” snack when comparing it to a bag of Cheetohs.  Jack Link’s are my go to Road Trip snack

7. Twix

I hope the kids in my neighborhood don’t like Twix because every Halloween I buy the bag of candy that has Twix in it and every Halloween I hoard as many Twix bars as a can.  Sorry kids I have a candy bar line up to conduct and I need all the Twix I can get.

6. Potato Chips

Vintage Bag of #bettermade Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips #bettermade85years

A photo posted by Better Made Snack Foods (@bettermade1930) on

The potato chip might be the most well known junk food item in the world.  It dominates the salty snacks aisle and comes in about a thousand different varieties.  In all honesty potato chips don’t really excite me, but if you put a bowl full of chips in front of me more than likely I’m going to snack on them until someone takes the bowl away.

5. Better Made Hot and Spicy Corn Chips

#junkfood rankings coming soon on #sommeats ! #bettermade

A photo posted by John (@sommeats) on

I would have these ranked even higher if I could find them on a regular basis.  These spicy delicious corn chips are normally found on the snack shelf in liquor stores and gas stations and often get over looked thanks to the Hot and Spicy potato chips.  The Hot and Spicy Corn Chips are, in my opinion, the Led Zeppelin of the Better Made family and something I buy a bag of every time I find them.

4. Skittles

Skittles are the definitive fruity candy.  Small, delicious, addictive, and available in a bunch of varieties Skittles just rock.  Like Snickers, the good people at Skittles also give us a great deal of entertainment with some of their fantastic commercials.

3. Doritos

Doritos are another advertising juggernaut that always makes a splash around the Super Bowl, but there’s no doubt these delicious snacks can sell themselves. I’m pretty sure everyone has a favorite flavor of Doritos that they simply can’t resist few companies have built their brand better than that of the Dorito.  These tortilla chips are great and I can already hear the bag in my kitchen calling my name.

2. Oreo

Oreo cookies are perfect.  They are the worlds perfect cookie and in my opinion a perfect desert.  You could fly me to France and sit me with some renowned pastry chef and if you put the fancy pants French desert on one plate and a few Oreo’s on another I’m going to choose the Oreos. All the different fillings they do now as limited release cookies are ok but nothing compares to the original.  Oreo claims to be milk’s favorite cookie, that’s true but milk will have to get out of my way because Oreo is my favorite cookie!

1. The Pretzel

“The Alternate Side” is on #Seinfeld tonight!

A photo posted by Seinfeld (@seinfeldtv) on


The pretzel is the perfect snack food.  It’s salty and delicious and best of all is the perfect companion for a pint of beer or whatever other beverage you might want to consume.  Whether you prefer the classic pretzel rod or a fresh from the oven big soft pretzel topped with some mustard you really can’t go wrong.  Anytime I go to a baseball game I get a pretzel, and every Sunday when the NFL kicks off I have pretzels around.  They’re simple and work for any occasion and, in comparison to things like potato chips or snickers, is relatively healthy.

 

What’s your favorite junk food? What essential scrumptious snack did I leave off this list? Let us know in the comments!

-Cheers!

The Sommeats Food Rules

Food is just like anything else in life, in order to really enjoy it there are rules. Granted, enjoying food isn’t really the most challenging task in the world, but these rules are designed to help you achieve a more in depth love of your culinary delicacies.

  1. First thing’s first, NO FAST FOOD!  I know I know, this is a view point that is controversial and many of us prefer our quick fix solution for a “meal” but this stuff is just gross. In fact many times I’m not even 100% sure that this food can really be considered food.  If you have to eat on the go try to hit somewhere with more local ties.  Not only will the food taste better but you’re also helping your community. Win win.

2. Easy on the condiments.  There’s a time and a place for condiments but in reality their use is massively over killed in our society.  Ranch on pizza…. GET OUT! In fact let’s just get rid of Ranch dressing all together.  Condiments are fine when used in moderation, but at no point should they be used to mask the flavor of the vessel they’re going on.  A sausage requires mustard, a chicken wing requires blue cheese (NOT RANCH) and there’s a wide variety of applications for hot sauce.  There’s no need to cover a perfectly good steak with some random goop found in the salad dressing aisle at Walmart.

3. Embrace the weird! When it comes to eating don’t be scared off by something that looks like it might be weird.  There’s no shortage of weird looking items in your produce aisle and all those bizarre fruits and veggies might open your eyes to a truly blissful food experience. Have a friend that is offering you durian encrusted fried chicken?  Fear not! Eat that bird right up, it might be amazing! Remember, when you eat it should be the food that’s afraid of you!

4. Food and Booze are friends! Whether you’re using a wine to deglaze a pan or marinating some chicken in a summer wheat ale the applications for booze in cooking are almost limitless.  Plus whatever you don’t use for cooking you can drink, a definite benefit!

5. Cook for yourself! You don’t have to cook every night, or even every day. But you should have a few, or a bunch, of dishes that you can whip up for yourself.  Maybe your forte is smoking meat in the middle of winter, or maybe it’s whipping up a pot of chili to graze on over the course of a weekend. Cooking for yourself will make you appreciate food in restaurants more and you’ll figure out little nuances that make each meal your own.  Sure, the cleaning up after part kind of sucks, but the end result of a well cooked meal is an extremely rewarding simple pleasure in life.

 

Cheers!

Welcome to Sommeats!

My name is John Fahrner, I’m the editor of the site Sommbeer. Over the last few years David (the founder of Sommbeer) and myself have been working to build a  community dedicated to sharing our love for craft beer.  Sommbeer isn’t going anywhere, but as we’ve continued to work on Sommbeer we’ve noticed one reoccurring subject that keeps coming up in our writings, travels, and social interactions.  Simply stated we love food.  Cooking food, smoking meats, ordering take out, or pairing food with a craft beer.  With this in mind we decided it was time to launch a new project, and thus Sommeats was born!

We’re planning to create a community based around food, just like we did with Sommbeer.  Also just like Sommbeer we will always be looking for writers to contribute and express their passion for food.  Recipes, techniques, reviews, recommendations, or even just food wisdom and debate is welcome on Sommeats.  If you’re interested in contributing please check out our writers page on Sommbeer and send us a note at info@sommbeer.com so we can get you set up.

Also just like Sommbeer let’s remember Sommeats is about fun.  Our motto on Sommbeer has always been that we don’t take serious beer too seriously. Like beer, food is meant to be enjoyed, not stressed out over or blown up into something bigger than it is.  Have fun, sit back, grab a beer and a taco and Welcome to Sommeats!

Make sure to check out and like our Facebook page for Sommeats, and if you haven’t already like our Facebook page for Sommbeer too!