Flavourtown Roadtrips

Word to ye Olde Mother! (Olde Mother Brewing Co)

So, we’re hanging out at Olde Mother Brewing Co, this funky  little craft brewery in Frederick, Maryland. You won’t find any crabs and/or Old Bay here, but they are coming up with some pretty funky flavours, like a steam beer, fruited wheat beer and a sour double IPA. Then there’s this Mexican fiesta de cerveza, which they call La Bamba:

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Now this beer is pretty funkalicious. It’s brewed with lime juice, so you don’t need a lime wedge, but then there’s the secret ingredient that makes it — poblano peppers. No, it’s not spicy, but you definitely get the flavour of the peppers in there, which is pretty redonkadonk. Corona ain’t got nothing on La Bamba, chica!!!

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But if you thought that last beer was ridiculous, this one is even more crazy — a strawberries and cream wheat beer. You’ve got the taste of fresh strawberries, and it’s brewed with lactose, so it’s almost like a milkshake IPA, but less hoppy, more fruity. And it’s not even red or anything… Shut the back door!!!

Craft beer ‘n crab cakes @ Brewer’s Alley

So we’re hanging out at Brewer’s Alley, the first-ever gastropub in Frederick, Maryland, where they’ve been serving up their own beers, combined with killer cuisine, since 1996. Everybody in town knows this is the place to be, and it ain’t one of those “craft beer bars” that’s serving up a bunch of beers from local breweries — they’ve actually got their own brewhouse, bro!

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So, we’re starting off with the Hefeweizen, a light, German-style wheat beer with a fruity aftertaste. This beer literally tastes like bananas — and bananas is good!!!

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We’re pairing that with a big ol’ Maryland crab cake, which you can get with veggies for 19 dollars or on a sandwich for 18. Dude, anytime I can pay less and not eat vegetables is a win-win in Flavourtown, bro! This crab is broiled in Old Bay butter — cuz you gotta get the Old Bay in there — and smothered in a creole remoulade sauce. Man, you could put that on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!

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Now, that crab cake sammy was slamtastic, but it ain’t the only renegade of funk in this funky joint — say hello to ma lil’ friend, pork taco pizza. They take pulled pork, lettuce, pico de gallo, diced jalapenos and drizzle it all with crema, erved up on a nice, fluffy crust — shut the back door, bro!!!

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Now, for dessert, we’re chugging down some Two Loves, this crazy unfiltered chocolate ale with liquefied cocoa. Dude, if Guinness is liquid breakfast, then this beer is liquid dessert. There’s so much cocoa here that it’s making me cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!!!

 

“We can’t stop here, this is beer country!” — a tour of Flying Dog Brewery

So, we’re hanging out at Flying Dog Brewery down in Frederick, Maryland, about an hour north of Baltimore. These guys are known for their labels, designed by Hunter Thompson’s main main Ralph Steadman, and for brews with names like Doggie Style and Raging Bitch. Now, I’m no stranger to Doggie Style — I chugged a few last time I was in Bodymore — so when they offered to give me the grand tour, I was all over that like queso on Guy Fieri’s mustache, bro!!!

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Now, this is where the magic happens — they take the hops, water and barley, and they mix it all up! They gave us some barley to taste, and while it doesn’t taste like much on its own, once it’s run through the lauter tun, it starts to get the job done…

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99 barrels of beer on the wall, 99 barrels of beer…

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Fun fact: when they make beer, it creates a whole buncha CO2, which they have to funnel out into a bucket. You couldn’t triple-dog dare me to chug that bucket, bro!!!

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Behind this door is the quality assurance lab — man, how do I get that job???

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This here is their bottling machine — what, you thought they did it by hand? Actually, the reason Flying Dog moved to Frederick from Colorado is because the old owners of the brewery left this baby behind!

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Of course, the best thing about the tour is the beer. Not only do they give you a few samples along the way, but at the end, there’s a Choose Your Own Beerventure flight waiting for you at the bar. For my four beers, I went with:

  • Ain’t Nothing But a G Thang hazy pale ale (5.7%)
  • Brut Reynolds brut IPA (5.7%)
  • Woody Creek White (4.7%)
  • Dead Rise Old Bay Gose (5.7%)

Dunno why, but they like to end their beers in .7%. While they were all quite tasty, the major highlight was the Old Bay Gose:

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Now, Old Bay is pretty much the chicken base and garlic salt of Maryland. They put that shit on everything — crabs, fries, crab dip, crab fries, chicken wings… you name it! And while I don’t actually see any of it floating in my beer, you can totally taste the Old Bay. Cuz what better way to wash down some Old Bay than with even more Old Bay, bro????

I’m biting into this sammy, and chewing away… like a Bat Outta Hell!

So, we’re hanging out at Mudgie’s Deli & Wine Shop, this funky little joint in Corktown, next to Downtown Flavourtown in Detroit, Michigan. This place is known for craft beer and killer sammies — like pastrami, beef brisket and corned beef, but when I saw this dish was named after my favourite Meat Loaf album, you KNOW I had to dig in. Rev up yer silver-black phantom bike for the Bat Outta Hell!!!

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This ain’t yer grandma’s meatloaf, son! They make it outta top sirloin, and it’s not exactly square, either…which makes for more optimal munching. Then they top it with thick ‘n chewy bacon, some melty white cheddar, red onion, mustard, and I think there’s some lettuce in there somewhere, too. The house-made pickle is a nice added touch, even though it tastes more like a cucumber, and the side of mac salad is also legit.

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Now, I knew this place was known for craft beer — they’ve got over 100. But I didn’t know how funky they could get until I saw The Hat Gose Blueberry Lemonade, from Michigan’s Witch’s Hat Brewing Co. This light, crushable breakfast beer combines both the flavours of blueberries and lemonade without tasting too sour… It’s magically delicious!

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But now we’re about to funk it up another notch, with the Mango Habanero Oberon, a pale wheat ale from Bell’s Brewery. You’ve got the refreshing, citrusy taste of a wheat beer, but then a nice little kick from the habaneros at the end. Normally you drink beer when the food’s too spicy, but since this beer’s pretty spicy, I need some dessert, bro!!!

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They call this the Fudgie Mudgie, and it’s packing all kinds of flavour! You’ve got a warm chocolate brownie waffle, topped with a scoop of vanilla, whipped cream, hot fudge and some cocoa sprinkles!!?? Dude, I wouldn’t do anything for love, but I’d definitely eat that, Rocky Horror Broseph!!!

If I had pizza like Henry Ford, I’d have me a buddy on every road…

So, we’re hanging out in Detroit Rock City at Buddy’s Pizza, home of the original Detroit-style pizza since 1946. Now, if you’ve never had Detroit pizza before, well, it’s nice and square, with a crust that’s chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside… and then they put the sauce on top! They’ve got all kinds of signature pizzas and specialty pizzas on the menu, but I figure I had to start with the man who started it all in the Motor City — this is The Henry Ford:

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OK, so what we’ve got here is a Motor City cheese blend — that’s Fontinella, Asiago and Wisconsin brick cheese, bro! — topped with ground beef, bacon, red onion, tomato-basil sauce…and then they add some blue cheese, for that extra cheesiness. And lemme tell ya, you definitely taste the blue cheese! But when you get a good bite of that beef, mixed with the bacon, then that’s the ticket, right there…

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Of course, the Flavourtown Diet says you can’t go to a legendary pizza joint and order just one pie, son! This one’s dedicated to the T-dot-O — it’s named after Lake Ontario. And yes, it’s got pineapple on it — eat your hjarta out, Iceland! But it’s actually not ham & pineapple…that’s Canadian bacon, bro, with cilantro and BBQ sauce. This was easily one of the top five pineapple pizzas I’ve ever had–and I just had spam and pineapple pizza last week!

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Of course, since the name of this blog is NOT Burgers, Bacon and Gluten-Free Ginger Ale, we had to try some of the local brews, as well. This here is the house beer, Bocce IPA. It tasted pretty much like every other IPA I had…but it’s surprisingly strong at 7%. Now, I wasn’t drunk or anything, but I did tell the DJ to kick out the jams!!!

 

Blue cheeseburger (+ craft beer) in paradise…

So, when when that big storm hit Toronto a couple weeks back, I didn’t give a crap, cuz we’re chillin’ like a villain in the U.S. Virgin Islands, bro! Man, this place has everything: sandy beaches, Painkillers, flip-flops, wild donkeys walking down the street… it even has a Wendy’s (in St. Thomas, anyways)! But instead of slamming down a Baconator, we’re hanging out on the island of St. John, at this funky little brewpub called the Tap Room, where they’ve got this killer blue cheese burger named after one of my all-time favourite movie characters. You’re My Boy Bleu — that’s literally what it’s called!

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Dude, this burger totally reeks of funkaliciousness!!!! You’ve got a medium-rare patty that’s as thick as a hockey puck, oozing with blue cheese crumbles… But then we get to the best part–homemade bacon onion jam! I’m about to bacon jam this straight down my piehole, bro!

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Of course, we are hanging out at a craft beer bar–so you KNOW I’m not drinking gin and juice! St. John Brewers is the local beermonger, and this Tropical Mango Pale Ale is their best-seller. It’s a little malty, a little hoppy, with a nice mango finish that’s like a Buffalo Soul-jah for your tastebuds, Bro-b Marley!!!

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Of course, I can’t eat just one potato chip, and I ain’t drinkin’ just one craft beer, neither! This here Toasted Coconut Brown Ale is not too heavy, just a little sweet, with a bit of a coconut aftertaste. Man, if I pound a few more of these, I might be going streaking…

Texas-style BBQ on a muthafuckin boat!!!

So, a couple weeks ago, we were sailing the seven seas of cheese on the Norwegian Bliss. Now they’ve got all kinds of funky joints all over this cruise ship — Mexican, Italian, French, teppanyaki, even a fancy steakhouse…but you KNOW the first place we’re checking out is the Texas BBQ joint! That’s right, Q Texas Smokehouse has got all the meats, and even though I didn’t see a smoker or smell the hickory, I can tell ya this shit is legit!!!!

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What we’ve got here is their signature Pitmaster Platter, with beef brisket, pork spare ribs, smoked chicken, jalapeno cheddar two ways — sausage AND cornbread, and then a couple sides like pickles, potato salad and beans. Now, let’s break it down:

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Now, unlike a real-deal Texas BBQ joint, this place don’t ask ya if you like yer brisket lean or fatty — they just give it to ya lean. But this thinly sliced meat has a perfect pink smoke ring, and tastes nice and tender with a side of Tennessee Whiskey (from the in-house country cover band).

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Now, normally I’d say if you’re eating ribs at a Texas smokehouse, you’re doing it wrong. But them bones are perfectly smoked, with a nice bark and a good chew. I might even order a whole rack of these bad boys next time!!!

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Likewise, a true Texas BBQ joint is more likely to serve you turkey instead of chicken, but man, you could cook anything in that smoker of theirs and it will still taste good!!!

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Now, I’m not a fan of the fact that they cut their jalapeno cheddar hot link in half — smoked sausage is all about the snap, son! But this still wasn’t bad. Not as good as Adamson’s, which is TheBomb.ca, but not bad…

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Now, this might sound crazy, but even with all that meat on the platter, the jalapeno cheddar cornbread almost stole the show. It’s a bit sweet, with a nice chew, and just a little kick from those hot peppers… Dude, this is body by jalapeno cornbread!!!

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Of course, you KNOW that after polishing off that Pitmaster Platter, I’ve still got room for dessert — we’re talking peach cobbler AND a chocolate brownie, bro! And yes, I did eat most of both of these myself…

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