Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Redlight Redlight

Firkin Around...Orlando, Florida.

Still in "O"-town and getting a thirst for some craft beer. I went checking on a hunch from some internet chatter, about an out-of-the-way joint that, as it happens, isn't so outta the way. GPS programmed, our destination was found with ease. Pulling into a small parking lot next door, you observe a small, squat, rectangular building. It might have been missed had it not been for the trusty GPS.

It didn't look like much from the outside, but with the prospect of good beer, in we went. Inside, the bar and barback sit midway between two basic seating areas. The interior is dimly lit, but the bright spot of bar lighting draws your attention. And then it hits you as to why you came. The beer! There are easily 20 tap handles scattered in three regions of the front and back of the bar. There are an additional 2 beer engines that dispense cask drawn ales, installed inbetween the two front tap stations.

I sallied up to the bar, opened one of the three-ringed binders and let my eyes dance over the pages. Quickly, I counted over 100 bottled beer selections along with meades and wines. This bar may have appeared wee on the outside, but it turned out to be mighty on the inside. Brent, the barkeep and host, quickly fetched my selection. We struck up a friendly discussion about the bar and beers in general. While he served some other guests, I spied a large chalk board that listed "New & Awesome" and "Super Cheap" selections.

Great beer, great music, great conversation.

While listening to some great indie tunes, I noticed the bar's interior was devoid of televisions. That didn't seem to bother any of the guests. They were involved in discussions with one another, just as in any proper pub environment. No blaring sports or news, no one texting. Just plain talk amongst beer lovers. Imagine that...the art of conversation without the interruption of electronic media. That being said, they did have WiFi, which allowed me to take notes on a PDA. And while the patrons were few when I arrived, a sizable group created a great buzz in no time at all. Then, another friendly and beer knowledgeable bartender named George, appeared. The 7-8 o'clock happy hour was in full swing!

There is a spot in one corner for local bands to ply their trade. Half way through this visit, a band set up and jammed out some great blues tunes for our listening pleasure. Additional items of note include outdoor seating (no smoking indoors), a tile topped bar, plenty of tin beer signs, specialty beer glassware for proper serving and lots of neon beer signs. Oh, and after all this, I almost forgot to mention the prices for beers and ales are very reasonable.  All in all, there's a lot packed in under this little roof. Make Redlight Redlight a "stop" on your list.

Firkin great!

Redlight Redlight on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 22, 2010

Big "C" Liquors

Firkin Around...Orlando, Florida.

On a business trip and bored this evening, so we decided to look for a local craft beer retail outlet. A tip let us in on a best kept secret located in a large strip mall at 7600 University Drive... just down the road from the University of Central Florida. We went to take a look. Boasting 450 beers, you know it was a loooong look!

This store is fairly innocuous on the outside from first impressions. Just big red letters spelling "LIQUORS". Ah, but step inside and prepare for beer Nirvana. The front of the store is packed full of liquors. Down the right side, towards the back there are more spirits and wine. But down the left rear portion of the store, you will find one of the greatest selections of suds, both foreign and domestic.

Beer here, beer there, beer everywhere.
The fridges are stocked with mostly US craft beers, cause you know we American's likes our beer cold. Turn around and the opposite side of the aisle has shelves that are chock full of the cuh-razy-est selection of euro-imports you've ever seen. It is fair to say that Belgian ales dominate the pack. Down the middle there are a mix of bombers and specialty 12 ounce bottles. Dogfish Head 120 Minute was in great abundance as were Bell's Hopslam and a full onslaught of Shmaltz. Lots of hard to find stuff can be found here.

Looky here...I even spied two mini kegs of Rogue's Yellow Snow IPA! That's what I'm talkin' about! Everywhere you turn, there is something awesome to see. Prepare to max out your credit cards, cause you are going to want to load up the trunk. My purchases included four bottles of DeDolle's Stille Nacht, and a couple of 22 oz. bombers; Shmaltz Freaktoberfest and Left Hand 2009 'Oak Aged' Imperial Stout.

Firkin awesome!

(407) 678-2023

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sloppy Joes

Firkin Around...the kitchen.

Today it was a bit chilly, so we set about making a substantial "comfort food" supper.  It's so quick and easy.  Let's get down to the recipe:

1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 ¼ cups of lager beer
1 green or red bell pepper (diced)
1 package of Sloppy Joe seasoning mix
8 hamburger buns

  • Mix the beer back and forth between two measuring cups until it starts to go a bit flat.  Stir in the seasoning packet and the tomato paste until thoroughly combined .
  • Brown the meat on medium-high in a 10 inch skillet.  When nearly brown, throw in the peppers and continue to cook until peppers are tender.  Drain off any liquid.
  • Pour in the beer/seasoning/tomato paste liquid and bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When cooking this recipe, go ahead and use that can of macro lager; you know...the one that's hanging out in the door of your 'beer fridge'!  But make sure that you treat yourself to a nice pale ale or IPA when pairing with this dish.

We used ground turkey and also half a green pepper and half a red pepper just to mix things up.  Sloppy Joes are a mess to eat, so have a good napkin handy.  Yeah, there's a fork in the picture.  You'll need it! 

Firkin tasty!