The Hop Shop

image from the Hop Shop

This spring, my mom, her two sisters, and her dad all hopped on a plane together to spend two weeks traveling through Germany and the surrounding areas.  As her father is originally from Germany, it was his dream come true to have all of his girls with him while touring his home country.  They visited castles, recreated multiple scenes from The Sound of Music, and, of course, drank a lot of great beer.  As a beer geek myself, I was thrilled to hear that my mom and my aunts took full advantage of the situation and imbibed in the local specialties.  The story I enjoyed most of all was that of their trip to the Hofbrauhaus in Munich.  Along with its historical significance, the Hofbrauhaus is renowned for its terrific beer garden.  Unbeknownst to me, the bierhaus has a policy of serving beer in containers no smaller than a liter after 5:00.  Oh my.  Undaunted, the intrepid quartet took the plunge, and, beers and pretzels in hand, had a lovely afternoon drinking beer and enjoying each others’ company in Munich.

DSCN2274Here in the states, the Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas is probably about the closest you can get to the aforementioned experience.  Nonetheless, it’s still nice to enjoy a brew or two out on a patio on a summer afternoon.  Here in Spokane, one of the South Hill’s hidden treasures, the Hop Shop, is my favorite place to do so.  Situated just up the hill from the beautiful Manito Park and a few blocks away from the lively bustle of Manito Tap House, the Hop Shop’s vibe is low-key and relaxing.  The same two fellas are always manning the bar, comfy seating is plentiful, and the work of local artists is featured on each and every wall.  As its name implies, beer is the focus: the bar offers a great selection of limited release bottled beers, as well as nearly a dozen rotating taps, several of which feature local breweries like Iron Goat, Budge Brothers, and Orlinson.  For those who are not beer lovers, fear not: the Hop Shop also features a top-notch wine list including everything from Pinot Grigios to Malbecs and beyond.  If you’re in need of some sustenance, local food carts are known to appear on a regular basis in the parking lot, and a cheese plate can be ordered from the bar.  A little snack and a great beer- what more do you need?

While I do love (LOVE) having a whole food-and-drink pairing experience at a brewpub or sampling each and every offering at a new brewery’s tasting room, every once in a while, it’s nice to just take a breather and enjoy a pint of one of my favorite IPAs with good company.  It may not be quite the same as a trip to a German bierhaus (I’ve never seen anyone sporting liederhosen at the Hop Shop), but the idea and feel is the same, so, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a step in the right direction.

The Hop Shop is open 4pm-11pm Tuesday-Thursday and 4pm-12am on Friday-Saturday.

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Night In: IronFest 2013 – Night 2

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IronFest 2013 continues!  This past week included the second night of our ongoing iron-themed extravaganza.  This week’s get-together was, quite literally, iron-filled.

Once again, Amy of Amy’s Nutritarian Kitchen and I met up to celebrate our affinity for the Iron Man franchise, cooking, and RDJ.  As I had a Zumba ritual to indulge earlier that evening, Amy took on cooking dinner on her own.  As I expected she would, she created delicious, healthful dishes that were also feasts for the eyes.

DSCN1832When I arrived, Amy was just putting the finishing touches on the main course, an adaptation of beet pasta with ricotta.  I was terribly intrigued by the big twist: zucchini strips were used in lieu of pasta, lightening the dish and adding an extra dose of veggies to the recipe.  How crafty!  Once added to the zucchini, the beet sauce turned the dish a brilliant red color.  The addition of crumbled ricotta gave the dish a touch of saltiness that balanced out the slight sweetness of the ferric beets.

DSCN1834Accompanying our colorful entree was a curried potato kale galette.  Amy and I had our first adventure with a galette a couple months ago, during which we concluded that galettes are essentially lazy pies and we loved them.  Prior to serving the present dish, Amy warned me that it wouldn’t look quite like the last galette we made, which it wasn’t.  This savory side dish included a viridian combination of veggies and spices blanketed with sliced golden potatoes.  The combination of the rich side and the nutritive entree made for an outstandingly wholesome meal and terrific prologue to the rest of our evening.

DSCN1835We sipped away on House Red Wine and chatted about our weekends while we enjoyed our dinner.  I shared the details of my brewery and museum adventures and listened with just a bit of envy while Amy regaled me with her and her husband’s outing to see Hell’s Belles, an all-female AC/DC tribute band, in concert.  As I’d hoped, Amy said that the concert was awesome.  I underlined my mental note to someday see them for myself.

After finishing dinner, we fired up that night’s feature presentation, Iron Man 2!  It had taken us a short while to clean up dinner, so we were ready for dessert by the time the film started.  I was happy to have been assigned dessert duty for the evening, so I broke out my creation: some simple French macaroons.  I had run short on time that afternoon, so I brought along some Nutella to serve as a filling.  How can you go wrong with Nutella.  We watched the movie, munched away on macaroons and Nutella, and discussed our opposing views on Scarlett Johansson.  Good times!

Wrapping up the movie and that night’s festivities, we made preliminary plans for next week’s IronFest.  We couldn’t believe that IronFest 2013 was already half-over!  As shocking as it was, it did mean that we were all the closer to the grand finale.  Iron Man 3, here we come!

Spokane Sour

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I’ve never been a big fan of casual Fridays.  The idea of taking things down a notch, dress-wise, just never clicked with me.  On the contrary, I enjoy partaking in fancy Fridays.  The end of the work week is cause for celebration!  Dress up for it!

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Cocktails of all sorts just scream “fancy”.  I view the creation of cocktails like a magic trick: I’m curious how it happens, but I know that finding out would ruin it for me.  Nonetheless, it’s good to know how to make a few basic cocktails, just in case you find yourself playing mixologist at your own soiree.  The present beverage puts a snazzy twist on the classic whiskey sour, and the red float on top is sure to impress all of your friends.  Despite its complex appearance, it’s very simple to make.  This fact can be our little secret.  Have fun being fancy!

DSCN1854Spokane Sour

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 1 Drink

Ingredients

2 oz bourbon

1 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz orange syrup

1 oz red wine (something bold and oak-y, like a Cabernet Sauvignon blend)

Equipment

cocktail shaker

spoon

rocks glass

To Make the Spokane Sour:

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full of ice.  Pour the bourbon, lemon juice, and orange syrup over ice.  Cover the shaker, and shake for about 30 seconds.  Strain the liquid our of the shaker, and pour over ice into a rocks glass.  To top off the drink, slowly and gently pour the wine over the back of a spoon so that it floats on the top of the glass.  That’s it!  Enjoy!