Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Virtual Tasting Madness

Quick update on a couple of virtual tastings that are taking place this week:

  • TONIGHT - Washington Wine Report's monthly Virtual Tasting, starring the 2009 Chinook Cabernet Franc Rose. This event will run from 7:00-8:00 PST. You can download a list of retailers offering this bottle here. Join the conversation on Twitter under the hashtag #wawine.
  • THURSDAY September 2nd - Cabernet Day. Sample and discuss all things Cabernet. This event will run all day long, so grab your favorite bottle and join in when it suits you. Event details can be found on Eventbrite. The Twitter hashtag for this tasting will be #Cabernet.

These events are always a great deal of fun, and a great opportunity to commune with fellow wine-lovers. I will be participating under @ankerhauspub.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

N 2gether Now

Buy low, sell high. That's the game, right? The simple rule that underpins all business, the Canon Truth by which an enterprise will either thrive or starve.

You get your goods and services from the lowest bidder, and then you turn them around for the maximum markup the market will tolerate. Then you sit back in your highback armchair and polish your brandy snifter with your monogrammed ascot. Quite.

But wait - that's big business. Business where the target market is measured in eight or nine digits, and where the product line is cobbled together from dozens of globalized production sources. That's Business Gone Wild, living the fast life in the back of Joe Francis' tour bus. But what's going on at street level?

The inspiring answer is on display at any number of modern small outfits - businesses who insist on taking the time to find the best bidder, not the lowest one. Take a look at Seattle's own Melrose Market - a collaborative project that has the Capitol Hill foodie crowd at rapt attention. These are small businesses that care about their product, their customers, and their relationship with their neighbors. The Calf and Kid isn't going to sell you cheese it isn't proud of; nor is Rain Shadow Meats going to offer you a cut of meat they aren't absolutely confident in. And neither business is going to charge you more than their exceptional product is worth. They get it; they're part of the neighborhood, and part of the larger community of principled small business that's taking root all over the country.

"Buy Local" has become the battlecry of the New Responsible, but like most simple battlecries, the mantra loses some nuance in the chanting. Why buy local? Why collaborate, as neighborhood small businesses? Why seek out quality suppliers in your area at potentially greater expense than a national distributor? For us, it's the same reason we're happy to be conducting a private investment campaign instead of seeking capital through the banks: it really matters who ends up benefitting from our hard work and success. By selecting our suppliers locally, we can know that every dollar passing through our register contributes to building a healthier, stronger small business climate in Washington. Every customer that has a good experience strengthens not only our tavern, but also the local businesses that we buy from. Whenever we attract foot traffic, the Capitol Hill businesses around us get stronger as well.

There was a popular concept bouncing around the Internet a few years back which posited that corporations, when examined using criteria designed to evaluate personality types, tend to operate as classic sociopaths. We'd like to put forward that when we look around our neighborhood, we're proud to see small businesses that exemplify sanity, consideration, and a real drive to support this community, not just benefit from it. It's a good place to be; the modern commercial equivalent of wiping an honest day's sweat off one's brow... and we can't wait to take our place in the ecosystem.

So sign on. Ask us for a copy of the business plan. Find out how you can be a part of this venture, and how you can be part of making our modern business world a better place one storefront at a time. It's an exciting time to be stepping into the marketplace; this is a moment when principled, dedicated entrepreneurship has the very real ability to make a big difference in our neighborhood, our city, our country. Let's do this thing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Post - Great Taste of the Midwest 2010

This just in from Dop, our roving heartland correspondent:

Great Taste of the Midwest 2010

Flashback to May 2nd, it's 3:30am on a Sunday morning in Madison, WI. It's cold, dark, and rainy, but our love of beer has brought us out to a grass lawn beside Steve's Liquor. However, we're not here to drink. In eight and a half hours, a limited number of tickets will go on sale for The Great Taste of the Midwest, an event that doesn't takeplace until August 14th.

Put on by the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild, the Great Taste of the Midwest is a massive beer tasting event held every year at Olin Park. The list of participating brewers is so long that even if they only brought one style there'd be way too many to try in one afternoon. Take a look at this year's program (available online)... I dare you.

I'll admit I'm not the best beer reporter when it comes to an event this size. I always start out with good intentions, keeping track of the brews I've tried and my thoughts on them. In the end though, it's about the love of beer of all kinds and keeping track just seems like too much work.
There are a few that stand out in my mind though:

New Glarus: Unplugged, ABT
New Holland: Imperial Hatter IPA
Three Floyds: Longhaul

I also had an amazingly smooth and easy to drink lager, but let's face the facts, it's hard to remember when you're getting drunker by the minute and you've thrown away your program because it was too big to fit in your pocket.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What We're Drinking

Left-Hand Milk Stout

I've talked about it a bit before, but I wanted to write a post dedicated to the Left-Hand Brewing Company's Milk Stout. We picked up a 6-pack last weekend, and I really can't sing its praises enough. This is a great stout.

This stout is made with a sugar called lactose, which comes from milk and is not affected by beer yeast. Because it is not broken down during the brewing process, the finished product is characterized by a creamy sweetness. This flavoring helps to neutralize the bitterness that tends to characterize stouts. The beer is still very rich in flavor and has the roasted quality typical of stouts, but minus the bitter finish.

In a moment of pure genius, we paired Left-Hand Milk Stout with Triple Threat cupcakes from Cupcake Royale. WOW. That's really all I can say. That, and F#%&@$* AMAZING. The two complemented each other ridiculously well. The chocolate brought out the barley and the coffee flavor in the stout, and the stout, in turn, highlighted the dark chocolate in the cupcake and balanced out the sweetness.

Like bears and chainsaws, both elements are fantastic on their own, but are a force to be reckoned with when brought together.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kiwi Zombie Madness

This is a choose-your-own-adventure ad campaign was put together by a New Zealand pizza company called Hell Pizza, and it is FANTASTIC. Guaranteed to make your Monday a little easier to take.

"What does this have to do with beer?" you may ask. Absolutely nothing. I just love it and wanted to share.


...Actually, I guess this is representative of the level of service that we plan to provide at the Ankerhaus Pub. We would gladly face hordes of the walking undead to get you a drink.

See how I tied it all together? Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What We're Drinking

Alaskan White Ale

My parents were in town from Illinois last week. One of our favorite activities for visitors is to head down to the Pike Place Market; after we have perused the various food, craft and jewelry stalls, we swing by Pure Food Fish on the way out and buy something to cook later that evening. It's a fun activity for everyone, and allows us to treat our guests to something they might not ordinarily have access to. Our favorite purchase has always been crab. Most of our visitors hail from the Midwest, and are always wow-ed by the size and freshness of the crab legs that can be acquired in a coastal city.

This was exactly what we did on Saturday, and to great success. We steamed the crab legs and picked up the perfect beer to complement them - Alaskan White Ale. Alaskan brews this ale in the Belgian witbier style (translates to "white beer"). This light, wheat ale is great for warm weather, and absolutely perfect with seafood. It is a light-bodied beer that has a distinctive flavor without being overpowering. It has a crisp, slightly sweet taste with a hint of citrus in the finish.

In addition to being fantastic with seafood, we also recommend this beer to people who aren't traditionally drinkers of wheat beers, or who are new to the craft beer scene. It is a good introduction to both, allowing them to try something new that is simultaneously flavorful and not overly complex or aggressive.