I am not a beer drinker. I just don't like it. Give me a hard cider, a margarita, a glass of Reisling, and I am a happy camper, but I don't like beer. This is not for lack of trying, which Mr. Barefoot will attest to. We have just returned from Beer Tour '09, a two day jaunt around Michigan's finer breweries. Breweries in which I tried at least one sip of at least one beer. I do not care for beer.
What I do care for though, is brewpub food. I find brewpub food to be comfort food done right; new takes on classic favorites; relatively cheap but nonetheless interesting meals, and more fun than any fancy dinner out. I like brewpub atmospheres - casual tables, dimly lit corners, etc. Some of the places we went had a limited vegetarian selection, but most were delicious. I also quite like beer in food - a beer cheese soup, beer bread, beer glazes, beer batter, etc. It has the taste of the beer, but none of the horrible aftertaste, which is my main problem.
So what did I eat this weekend? I'm so glad you asked.
-Soft pretzels and a beer-cheese fondue
-fancy potato chips with a bleu cheese dipping sauce (I actually don't like bleu cheese much, but this was good)
-3-cheese macaroni and cheese (at a barbeque joint, where I then mixed bbq sauce with the mac & cheese, which was amazing. Keep an eye out for a bbq mac & cheese coming to a barefoot kitchen near you).
-Beer-crust white pizza, with a four cheese sauce, tomato, artichokes? and gorgonzola (it was actually pretty good, even though I forgot to ask them to take out the gorgonzola)
-Spinach and Artichoke dip (which was mostly vegetables, and pretty delicious)
-Goat cheese and vegetable quesadilla - (this was amazing, and my friend's fiance was kind enough to let me keep her leftovers as well as mine.)
Others may have different opinions of their favorite breweries from this weekend, but if you are ever in Michigan, I highly encourage you to check out Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery (home of amazing mac&cheese and really good barbeque sauce), New Holland Brewery (beer crust pizza), and Arcadia Brewery (goat cheese quesadilla) if you are looking for good beer and good food. If you are just looking for good beer, hop on out to Bell's Brewery, as I heard the beer was good there.
And, while you're at New Holland, try their cider. They had an amazing berry cider that I had a sample of, which was absolutely amazing...it tasted like juice mixed with hard cider...and it had that fresh from the tap crispness of a good cider. (I don't really care for bottled cider, but I love it on tap.)
We'll be doing a similar beer tour at home, I think, because this was just too much fun to only do once a year. It's all a matter of finding somebody with a minivan though.
I'll be trying out new recipes that I got ideas for this weekend sometime soon, so keep an eye out (and if it's September and you haven't seen bbq Mac & Cheese, feel free to hassle me!)