Main Street, USA
Even after the COVID dust has settled, consumers continue to choose online shopping to meet their needs. Zippia reports that as of 2022, 14.8% of retail sales in the US are online. We are lucky enough to live in a country where you can spend your money how and where you see fit, but here are a few good reasons to support local whenever possible.
According to the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, small businesses make up a whopping 99.7% of U.S. businesses and 64% of the new jobs created annually. In fact, 74% of small business employees report job satisfaction. While smaller companies may not have the HR resources of their mega-counterparts, flexibility, individually tailored benefits, and more human connection sets a solid foundation for these high marks.
When money is spent on locally owned business, a much larger percentage of that amount is spent locally as well. As much as 64% stays right in that community, versus only about 32% spent at a chain, and 0% spent online.
Local businesses sponsor kid’s sports teams, events we love so much (and missed this year), as well as the nonprofit groups working hard to give back to the community. Without the support of small business, many would not have the revenue stream to survive.
And finally, unique small businesses drive traffic to small town Main Street from all over, creating tourism and tax revenue that is used to enhance local infrastructure and services.
As the temperature continues to drop and thoughts turn to holiday wish lists, keep local in mind. There are so many amazing shops and boutiques in Geneva to find beautiful and unique gifts for everyone on your list. We are thankful to live in a community which supports its local business!
Cooking with beer: Beef & Beer Sliders
For many, the 4th of July means gatherings with family and friends. In this week's installment of Cooking with Beer, we have a delicious recipe that can feed a hungry group. This is one of my favorite type of meals to make: throw some ingredients into a slow cooker, set and forget!
The recipe doesn't specify a certain type of beer, so whatever beer you enjoy drinking can work. I would suggest our Downtown Honey Brown. The honey sweetness of the beer will complement the barbeque sauce perfectly.
Beef and Beer Sliders
3 lb beef roast chuck, bottom round or brisket works
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 teaspoon garlic powder
12 ounces Downtown Honey Brown - the rest of the growler is for the cook 😉
½ cup BBQ sauce
12 to 16 mini slider rolls or potato rolls
optional: serve with extra BBQ sauce cheese, pickles, hot peppers or crispy onions
Click here for full recipe and instructions
All of our handcrafted beers are available in liter growlers to go. Pick some up this weekend for your Independence Day festivities!
Cooking with beer: Chocolate Porter Cake
For the next installment in our Cooking (ahem, Baking) with Beer series, we're heading to the dark (and sweet) side. We're using our Doc's Porter to make a delicious chocolate cake. This recipe comes from Midwest Living magazine.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup butter
1 cup Doc's Porter*
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream
1 recipe Chocolate Ganache Frosting (recipe included in link)
1 ounce white baking bar, melted
For complete instructions, click here!
All of our beers, including seasonals and barrel-aged brews, are available for carryout in liter growlers.
Cooking with beer: Beer Mussels
At Stockholm’s, we love pairing beer with food. But we also love to cook with it! As a little nod to American Craft Beer Week, we thought we’d start a series called “Cooking with Beer”. Every other week, we’ll share a recipe using one of our craft brews.
We’re starting out with one of my favorites, and it’s a perfect dish for summertime al fresco dining. This recipe comes from Leonel, our master chef who's been with us since day one. We've featured it on our specials menu before, and it may make another appearance this summer.
1 Tablespoon butter
1 lb mussels
3/4 c State Street Pilsner
2 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs thyme
1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ c. chicken stock
salt & pepper
Immediately before you cook the mussels, you need to clean them. Working with one mussel at a time, rinse the shell under cool running water and scrub it gently to remove any debris. Make sure to keep the bowl of mussels on the counter as you don't want it to fill with water.
Next, cook the bacon in a large heavy bottom pot with a tight-fitting lid. Remove bacon once cooked and set aside. In that same pot with bacon fat, melt the butter. Sauté garlic and shallots until softened and fragrant, taking care not to burn the garlic. Lightly season with salt and pepper (bacon and chicken stock will impart salt as well, so feel free to skip the salt here.)
Return bacon to pot and add the State Street Pilsner and bring to boil. Add the mussels and cover with the lid. After 3-4 minutes, remove the lid to stir. Add Dijon, thyme, parsley, and chicken stock. Let the mixture reduce by half. Discard any mussels that have not opened and serve with toasted crostini. Enjoy!
The State Street Pilsner used in this recipe, as well as all of our craft brews including seasonals and barrel-aged brews, are available in liter growlers to take home. Enjoy them on your patio, use them in recipes, or give as a fun and unique gift!
Beer: the briefest of histories
As all great and wonderful things usually are, beer was, for all intents and purposes, a purely serendipitous discovery. According to ancient.eu, the process of brewing beer dates back to 10,000 B.C.E. when agriculture first developed in the Mesopotamian River Valley. Some scholars contend that beer was discovered accidentally when grains intended for bread-making fermented, producing a sour (and intoxicating) beverage. It quickly became a staple in their society. In fact, poems, myths, and paintings were made to celebrate it. They depict people and gods drinking beer through a straw, a new invention at that time, which worked to filter out the chunks of bread and herbs that were ever-present in the beer brewed at that time.
At Stockholm’s, while we brew our beer in an Old World tradition, we’re talking more 19th century. And while our beers are unfiltered, there is certainly no straw required to enjoy our full balanced flavor. We offer fourteen handcrafted beers, rotating seasonals, a barrel brew, a Small Batch Root Beer, and a hard root beer all year long. Can’t decide what to try? Have a voyage – five 4 ounce samples of your choosing. You’re bound to find a new favorite. Skoal!
Is your craft beer green? No, I’m not talking about food coloring in your Solo cup on St. Patrick’s Day. How environmentally friendly is your beer? Climate change, carbon footprints, and sustainability are hot (and rather controversial) topics. And the question is invariably the same: What are WE doing about it?
Beer is big business. Statista.com states about 141.55 billion barrels of beer were sold in 2022; while beerinstitute.org declares about 62% of beer volume produced in the United States is packaged in aluminum cans. According to The Aluminum Association, Americans throw away roughly $700 Million of recyclable aluminum cans each year. And Science.HowStuffWorks.com estimates only about 25% of glass containers used by consumers in 2018 were actually recycled. That’s a lot of unnecessary waste in landfills. (Fun fact: Believe it or not, Germany outpaces the rest of the world when it comes to recycling, with nearly 66% of the country’s solid waste being recycled annually.)
At Stockholm’s, it is important for us to be responsible stewards of our environment. The beer we brew is delivered through a draft system, and our beer to go is bottled in reusable glass growlers. This eliminates the need for single use bottles or cans. Draft beer flavor also typically keeps longer as there is less probability of variations in temperature, light, pressure, etc. that can alter or ruin the brew. Draft beer can be susceptible to taste contamination if the lines aren’t properly cleaned and maintained. Lucky for us, Mike Seaman, a draft systems professional, expertly cleans our beer lines regularly. Together with his parents Ed and Sue, Mike owns and operates The Homebrew Shop and Broken Brix Winery and Cidery St. Charles. You can find their hard cider at Stockholm’s, as well!
So if you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to reduce your carbon footprint, just drink our beer. It’s a great way to be green, just in time for St. Paddy’s!
Beer & wine quiz
1) In winespeak, aroma and bouquet mean the same thing.
2) When brewing beer, the addition of yeast creates alcohol and carbonation as well as chemical byproducts called phenols that give beer its complexity. Phenols can create which aromas in beer:
c) Burning Hair
d) All of the above
3) Which of the options below is true about tannins?
a) Tannins are present in the wood, bark, leaves, and fruit of various plants
b) Tannins are a form of self-protection for plants
c) Tannins create a drying feeling in your mouth when drinking certain wines
d) All of the above
4) A beer or wine that is lacking acidity could be called:
5) Tannins can be present in beer
6) Choose the wine/beer that would make the best contrasting pairing with French fries:
b) A buttery chardonnay/Irish red ale
c) Pinot Noir/Porter
7) Hops are a perennial climbing plant which imparts citrusy and bitter notes to beer (among other flavors), and there are dozens and dozens of different types. Which of these groups are not types of hops?
a) Junga, California Cluster, Pacifica
b) Spiro, Stuttgart, Yellow Oros
c) Hallertau, Willamette, Falconer’s Flight
d) Early Green, Idaho 7, Polaris
8) If a wine is referred to as hot, what does that mean?
a) It is very young
b) It has matured in oak barrels
c) It has a high alcohol content
d) It was produced from a blend of grapes near the equator
9) In 2021, what is the number of recognized beer styles in the United States according to The Brewers Association?
a) Over 200
10) About how many different grape varieties can be found worldwide?
a) Over 10,000
1. False – aroma alludes to the nose of a young wine, while bouquet refers to the smells associated with a wine that has been aged for a considerable period of time.
2. D; phenolic beers such as hefeweizen and Belgian ales can have pleasant aromas, but if the brewer is not careful, odors such as medicine cabinet and burning hair can ruin a brew’s flavor profile.
3. D; tannins can be found in red wine, beer, coffee, and tea. The astringent taste is a mechanism to deter animals from consuming the plant.
4. A; flabby is the negative term used to describe an unbalanced wine or beer with no acidity.
5. True – tannins can be found in the husks of barley as well as from hops.
6. A; the brightness and effervescence of the champagne and the pilsner refreshes the palate when enjoying fatty and salty food like French fries.
7. B; Learn about different hop varieties here: https://www.morebeer.com/articles/homebrew_beer_hops
8. C; calling a wine hot refers to the burning sensation made by the alcohol. Bonus points is you know that’s why Michael prefers fortified wines such as Port.
9. B; check out these links for more information: https://www.brewersassociation.org/edu/brewers-association-beer-style-guidelines/
10. A; while we are most familiar with Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc, there are over 10,000 grape varieties worldwide. According to Forbes, some wine producers are starting to search for lesser known grape varietals on the edge of extinction to create new and exciting wines.
See, swirl, sniff, sip, savor
Believe it or not, there are many similarities between wine and beer tasting processes. In fact, both start with your eyes. It may sound odd, but closely observing the libations can give you your first hints about them. Notice the color, is the beer a light straw or a dark amber? Is the merlot a deep, vibrant ruby or a muddy purplish-brown? Also take this time to observe the opacity of the liquid. Is it crystal clear or cloudy? What do these things say to you about what you’re about to taste?
Next, we’re using our noses, as smell is an integral part of the tasting process. And while seasoned professional tasters will be able to make more inferences and connections in this step, it is still of the utmost importance for even the layman. Sticking your nose in the glass may make you feel silly, but it is imperative. Just some of the common beer aromas are sweet, roasted, piney, yeast, earth, and floral. Wines can be all of the above and then some, fruity, peppery, leather, smokey, herbal, etc.
After employing our eyes and nose, it’s time to taste. When tasting still wine (no carbonation), there is technically no need to swallow. Moving the wine around your tongue and palate can suffice. Though the tongue is NOT divided up into “regions” of taste (as we touched on in a previous article), taste receptors are pretty evenly divided across the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and even into the throat. On the other hand, carbonated beverages such as beer and sparkling wine must be swallowed to enjoy the full experience. As you swallow, the carbon dioxide is released as gas and travels up through your nasal passages, providing you with a better overall taste profile. As you taste, try to identify as many unique flavors as you can. Compare and contrast those with the aromas you initially smelled. Are the flavors as expected? Are there any surprises?
In our next article, we’ll compare and contrast wine and beer tasting jargon and go a bit beyond just flavors and smells. In the meantime, swing by Stockholm’s and do some beer or wine tasting of your own! May I suggest our current seasonal, Saison, a refreshing and light farmhouse ale. Or if you prefer wine, try the Peirano Estates Old Vine Zinfandel for a delicious and complex tasting experience. Skoal!
Back to the topic at hand, calculating ABV is actually just a simple math problem: (Original Gravity – Final Gravity) x 131.25. Gravity is a measurement of a liquid’s density, the total amount of dissolved solids in the beer. These solids are of course sugars that can be converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This measurement can be taken with a number of tools including a refractometer, saccharometer, or hydrometer.
The Original Gravity (O.G.) reading is taken of the liquid before the addition of yeast. This measurement can give the brewer some valuable insight, such as the potential alcohol content. The more sugar solids present for the yeast to feast on = higher alcohol content. This Original Gravity reading also establishes a baseline to which the brewer can compare future measurements throughout the fermentation process for quality assurance purposes.
The Final Gravity (F.G.) measurement is taken obviously when the fermentation process is complete and the brew is ready for consumption. A low Final Gravity means a dry, crisp flavor while a higher Final Gravity means a sweeter, malty brew. Now that you have your O.G. and F.G. values, just do the math! Your ABV is the end result.
Did you learn something new? If so, here’s your homework. Next time you visit Stockholm’s, order a Voyage – five 4 ounce samples of our craft beer. Choose brews with varying ABVs, like Loki’s Pils 3.2%, Third Street Ale 5.5%, and G.P.A. 6.8%. Do you pick up on the nuances of flavors from one to another? How does a higher or lower alcohol content contribute to your tasting experience? We’d love to hear from you!
A sour note
Yet before the food or drink even makes it that far, the tasting process has already begun. The olfactory sensory neurons in your nose have already started firing off signals to your brain to identify the smell. Pleasant? Not-so-pleasant? Does it inspire feelings or specific memories?
The second the food or drink is consumed, it’s time for the 8,000 or so taste buds to get to work. Simultaneously, two cranial nerves, one at the front of the tongue and one at the back, begin sending messages of their own to the brain. This precisely orchestrated conversation between your nose, mouth, and brain is called Neurogastronomy, the science of taste perception. A lot is happening behind the scenes while we’re enjoying our meals!
There is also an evolutionary component to our taste perception. While salt and sugar are necessary for biological function and energy production, tastes like bitter and sour inherently meant underripe, spoiled, or even DANGER!
But as we evolved, so did our palates. People have been increasingly adventurous in the flavor profiles they want in their food and drink. Take craft beer for example. Once considered “beer spoilage microorganisms”, strains such as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus are now sought after to create the traits that make a good, sour beer. There are several ways brewmasters go about crafting a sour, most requiring the injection of these Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) at some point in the beer making process.
Our latest Barrel Aged Brew, Honey Barrel Brown, was aged for 518 days in a Bourbon barrel from now defunct Fox River Distilling out of Geneva. This barrel, as many do, inherently had LAB present. Therefore, the honey added to the brew promoted the production of lactic acid within the beer, resulting in a stark tartness or sour taste, which is then offset by the sweetness of the honey. It is a very complex beer with many layers of flavors. So give a snifter a try and practice a little Neurogastronomy.