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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hooo-boooy, dat's hot!  Victory's Chili Challenge was a blast this past Sunday.  Thanks to Karen Noonan for the invitation to be on the panel of "expert" judges.  Tasting happened in an undisclosed location, with points awarded for appearance, aroma, consistency, originality, and flavor.  The entries were coded by letter on our end, while the people in the brew pub voted by number, so everything was pretty darn fair.

We at the Ferment Nation have plenty of pictures to share by way of a Picasa web album, which is coming up in the next day or so, but let's catch up with the winners:

1st place: Ian Jenkins & Megan Maska with their Beast Breath Chili
2nd place: Chuck Golder with It's Just Chili
3rd place: Meg Davis, Amanda Hoffman, and Dillon Allen with Philly Chili

The people voted as well and named John's Doe Chili the best of the best. That team included Andrew McGarry, Alex Chryst and Ali Leaf.

Thanks again to everyone at Victory for making the Chili Challenge an amazing event!  Be on the lookout for a new post ASAP which will include our own photos and shoutouts to some other fun judges that we met along the way.  Cheers!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beer and Chocolate Pairing at Iron Hill (West Chester, PA)

It was a snowy Wednesday night when Citizen Elizabeth and I ventured forth to the Iron Hill Brewery in West Chester, PA for their beer and chocolate pairing event with the down-the-street neighbors, Eclat Chocolate.  If you haven't had their chocolates yet, you are missing out, and for fans of the Ferment Nation, there is their beer lover's box of chocolates.  Quite tasty.  Be sure to check them out.

The event started out with a glass of their 10 year anniversary Belgian Quad known as FE 10.  At 10.5% abv, it was a nice starter for the event to get things going.  What I liked about this beer was that it was not overwhelming.  I don't drink Belgian quads much because they can be too syrupy, and just too much.  FE 10 was tasty and smooth and I would definitely drink it again (I can't say that for many Belgian tripels or quads).  After that inaugural glass of beer, it was kind of an open house for beer and chocolate.  Eclat brought five different kinds of chocolate varying in bitterness and ingredients, and Iron Hill paired them up (of course, other pairing experiments were encouraged!) with five of their beers: Russian Imperial Stout, Cherry Chocolate Stout (just tapped that day), Oompa Loompa Stout, a Bourbon aged stout, and  F. Red.
The beer and chocolate that stood out for me were F. Red Ale and the Aleppo Pink Peppercorn chocolate. I mention the Flemish red ale, because I do not drink sour beers often, and I thought this one was quite nice and refreshing.  It also happened to stand out amidst the other four stouts.  And at 5% abv, clearly I should have drank more of that during the evening.  The peppercorn chocolate had, what else, but peppercorns!  It was great.  It also had chili peppers as part of its composition, so there was some heat to this chocolate.  The other chocolates were good, but this was the most memorable.  Citizen Elizabeth and I went back for more several times.
Overall, the event could have been better attended, but it was unclear as to how much snow was going to fall that night, so I do not blame people for cancelling at the last minute (more beer and chocolate for us!).  The friendly and informative staff of Iron Hill and Eclat made the night enjoyable and a success.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We are SUPER PUMPED for the Victory Chili Challenge!  When is it?  Sunday, February 26th, 2012.  I love chili.  I love beer.  I love Victory... seems like a no-brainer, right?!?


Trying to get there from the Philly area?  Check out this map:

Better yet, check out Victory's website and get directions from every which way.  CLICK HERE.

Here's a cool tidbit: El Presidente is going to be a special guest judge!

Have another graphic!
That's the People's Pepper, in case you were wondering.  So now that we're at the end of this post, we at the Ferment Nation sincerely hope that you join us in awarding the People's Pepper to the bestest chili in the whole wide world.  We will drink a few beers, I'm sure, so come say hi on Sunday, February 26th, 2012 from noon til 3pm.  Cheers!