Only in a small town...
January 10, 2020
Last week I had one of those experiences that could only happen in a small town like Lewes. I went to R&L Liquors on Second Street looking for some Dogfish Head beer to use in a batch of cheddar cheese soup. When I asked someone for a suggestion about which of the brews to select, I was told, “Why don’t you just ask Sam?”
He pointed to the checkout counter where Sam Calagione (the founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery) was stacking six-packs into a paper sack. I walked up to introduce myself and he pretended to remember me. I mentioned I was going to write about their new venture, the Dogfish Head Run Club (more on this below), but also needed his advice for the best beer to use in my soup.
Without skipping a beat, he reached into his shopping bag and took out a can of SeaQuench Ale, handed it to me and said, “This is the best post-workout drink, really refreshing, you’ll like it.” He then advised me to use his 90 Minute Imperial IPA for the soup, explaining, “The hops in that one will work really well with the rich cheese, and if you need a recipe, just let me know.”
And with a flurry of good-byes he was out the door. When I went to pay for my six-pack of IPA, the owner of the store commented that Sam does that whenever someone asks him for advice about his beer, always happy to share a sample and offer his thoughts. I’m still shaking my head about the surprising conversation.
Back to the Dogfish Head Run Club, which I was going to mention as part of a discussion about that beginning-of-the-year phenomenon when many of us are making resolutions to eat healthier and exercise more. If you kept a copy of Tim Bamforth’s recent article about rehearsing for a race, Couch to 5K, you might also be interested in what Dogfish Head is organizing.
The Dogfish Head Run Club is designed as a virtual community for people interested in running and beer, accessible via the web at www.dogfish.com. Beginning on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, members will have access to monthly training tips, workout regimens, inspirational advice and nutritionally balanced recipes (some even include beer pairings).
The program’s ambassador is celebrated long-distance runner Shalane Flanagan. She is a four-time Olympian, winning a silver medal in Beijing and the New York City Marathon in 2017, becoming the first American woman in 40 years to win. Along with co-author Elyse Kopecky, she has published two cookbooks, “Run Fast. Eat Slow” and “Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.”
Flanagan’s philosophy is balance, “Balancing flavor and nutrition, indulgence and nourishment. I focus on eating and drinking foods and liquids made only with wholesome, natural ingredients – and yes, that includes beer.” The Dogfish Head Run Club will encourage its members to lead and maintain balanced lifestyles that include both fitness and craft beer.
The brewery plans to host monthly group runs, the first of which is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 18, in Grove Park, Rehoboth Beach. After the run, participants will receive a Dogfish Head sweatband, and Dogfish Head’s Rehoboth brewpub, Brewings & Eats, will offer half-priced pours of several beers. For more information, see the website: www.dogfish.com/blog/dogfish-run-club.
For a taste of Shalane’s approach to sensible eating, here is her recipe for Bison Bolognese. Serve this veggie-rich sauce over spaghetti or spaghetti squash. I’ve also included a recipe for the cheddar cheese soup in the photo. Be sure to use a block of cheese you grate yourself, to avoid anti-caking agents in pre-shredded cheese. And, of course, Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial Ale adds the perfect flavor notes.
1 T olive oil
1 lb ground bison
1 t sea salt
3 minced garlic cloves
2 t oregano
1/2 t red pepper flakes
2 chopped red bell peppers
2 1/2 C sliced mushrooms
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
4 C baby spinach
salt & pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add meat and sprinkle with 1/2 t salt. Cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes; cook another minute. Stir in bell peppers, mushrooms and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 25 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta, rice, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash and top with grated Parmesan. Yield: 4 servings. *Adapted from “Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow”
Cheddar Cheese Soup
2 T olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 C peeled, diced potatoes
1 C beer*
3 C chicken broth
1/2 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco
6 oz grated sharp cheddar
salt & pepper, to taste
1 slice bacon, crumbled
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the beer and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are starting to crumble, about 10 minutes. Combine mustard, Worcestershire and Tabasco in a small dish; whisk into the soup. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until no longer chunky. Add cheese and cook just until heated through. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve with snipped chives and bacon crumbled as garnish. Yield: 4 servings. *A deep-flavored beer works best, like Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA.