Make Your Own Hop Vodka

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by Trish

On a cross-country road trip to Vancouver, after a long day of driving we stopped for the night in Spokane, Washington. Looking to unwind, we wandered to a craft beer-focused bar called Jones Radiator not far from our hotel.

In its former life the space was a mechanic shop, but owners Tom and Julie Purdum kept the name and car-themed aesthetic. With barstools made from hubcaps and other car related paraphernalia decorating the walls, it’s a fun spot. Most importantly, the beer list is well-curated. 

While we loved the beer, the real discovery of the evening was a little pet-project Tom, who was minding the bar that evening, mixed for us. Galaxy hop infused vodka, mixed up into a simple cocktail with fresh grapefruit juice. Genius.

Like many great ideas, this seemed so obvious I couldn’t believe everyone wasn’t already making these. The vodka carried all the aromas of the hops we love in fresh IPAs into a refreshing cocktail with a gentle bitter balance. The grapefruit juice complimented the fruity hop profile while bringing a bit of tart to the table. The splash of simple syrup brings it all together. Perfection.

The proprietor was kind enough to share his recipe with me, and I thusly share with you. (He also had a house-made kahlua type coffee liqueur that I should’ve tried…next time.) Check out Jones Radiator if you’re ever in Spokane, but in the meantime win over your beer loving friends to the cocktail scene. 

Hop Infused Vodka

Like hops in beer, the floral aromas fade over time so best to use this stuff within a couple weeks of making it. Tom used galaxy hops, I tried cascade. Go for anything citrusy or floral. 

  • 750mL bottle of vodka (I like Stoli)
  • 1/3 oz hop pellets
  1. Mix pellets and vodka, let infuse for 4 hours. (Any longer and the mixture will be too bitter.)
  2. Strain through a coffee filter and store. 

Jones Radiator-Inspired Greyhound Cocktail

  • 2 oz hop infused vodka
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • ice
  1. Fill glass with ice. Add vodka, syrup, and grapefruit juice. Stir to combine. 

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Jones Radiator
120 E Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA

by Trish
Spotted at Powell’s Books in Portland. In the cookbook section, filed under “Oddities”. 
I’d say that’s about right.

by Trish

Spotted at Powell’s Books in Portland. In the cookbook section, filed under “Oddities”. 

I’d say that’s about right.

Put On Your Fashionably Crumpled Plaid Shirt: We’re Going To Brassneck Brewery

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(Don’t get thrown by the “All Full” sign, they were full until last call, and I snapped this at the end of the evening on the way out.)

by Trish

Brassneck Brewery is one of a few new breweries to crop in Vancouver this past year. At the helm is Nigel Springthorpe, owner of Alibi Room, and Conrad Gmoser, former head brewer at Steamworks. That’s some good craft beer cred’, so Motley headed over to Main and 6th to see if the brews matched the buzz.

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The beer lineup was impressive for a relatively new startup. Ten taps poured a range of styles from Pilsner, Kölsch, Pale Ale, Porter, IPA, Saison, Farmhouse, to some experimental wild-fermentation ales. Tasters are available, and for those who want to try them all, the Brass Bat comes with sample-sized pours five at a time. Taps change frequently, so there’s plenty of variety week to week. 

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We sampled all 10 beers that were pouring that Thursday evening, and we liked each one. The pilsner and kölsch, while not terribly interesting, were exactly what they should be: crisp, clean, and true to style. The Passive Aggressive, a dry-hopped American Pale Ale and a regular on the tap list, was fresh with plenty of citrusy hops. But our stand-out favorite of the evening was the Geezer, an English Porter. Dark in the glass, it was roasty without being too dry, flavorful but not too heavy, the perfect beer for our rainy Vancouver evenings.

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You can always sit down for a pint in the tasting room, but the front of the establishment is dedicated to growler fills, with a couple of different size vessels to choose from. Check their twitter feed to see what’s pouring on any particular day. 

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If all that beer gives you the munchies, there’s usually a food truck parked outside during regular lunch and dinner hours. You can go ahead and bring your food inside as well. That’s the only food to be had (there’s no kitchen), aside from a few pepperoni sticks hanging out on the counter. 

When it was all said and drank, we really liked Brassneck. The ten taps pouring were well executed and could stand alone, instead of being an afterthought or, worse, variety for the sake of variety. It’s a fun and trendy aesthetic that’s consistently played out from the growler designs to the names of the beer. Be warned, though: this is Main St., and the crowd is young, glasses-clad, and hipster. And it can be ridiculously busy. We waited about 30 minutes at 10pm on a Thursday to squeeze up to a standing room bar. It’s also not terribly cheap, despite the carefully crafted, Portland, DIY vibe. Two mugs of beer and two five-glass sampler bats set us back about $35 after tax and tip. These are just minor complaints, though. When you get down to it, this is a place making fantastic beer, filling growlers, and is only a short fixie ride from downtown. Isn’t that all you need?

Brassneck Brewery
2148 Main St. Vancouver, BC

Call Me Crazy, But Alton Brown’s Sardine Sandwich Is My Favorite Lunch Ever

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by Trish

Yup, you read that right. This is my new favorite sandwich, and it’s made of sardines. I like it so much, I eat it for lunch multiple days a week. Just last week, I ate it for both lunch and dinner on the same day. It’s just that good.

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For those of you who balk at the thought of sardines, I understand. Tinned fish isn’t an easy sell, but I’ve found sardines to be surprisingly accessible. The good ones aren’t overly strong or fishy, more delicate and smoky. Alton recommends buying the brisling variety of sardines, usually from Norway, and after trying a few types, I agree. My favorite brand is Napoleon. 

Alton’s recipe is rock solid and I recommend trying it his way first. But let your heart (or your leftovers) be your guide. In the pictures I substituted the sherry and oil mixture for a lemon mustard vinaigrette leftover from yesterday’s salad. Sometimes chopped shallots find their way into the mix. No parsley? No big deal. 

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In fact, most days I don’t even bother with half the steps. I’ve also written up my shamelessly lazy version, which requires practically no effort and can still beat the socks off ham and cheese any day of the week. 

Sherried Sardine Toast

You can find Alton’s original recipe along with a video clip here

Makes 4 Toasts

  • 2 tins brisling sardines packed in olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 lemon - 1/4 tsp zest and then cut into wedges 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 4 slices bread such as sourdough
  • 1 avocado
  1. Drain the oil from each tins of sardines into separate, small bowls. In one bowl, whisk in parsley, vinegar, lemon zest, and black pepper. Add sardines, stir to coat and set aside for up to an hour. 
  2. When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler, adjusting the rack to about 3 inches below. Brush each slice on bread on one side with reserved oil. Broil bread, oil side up, 2 to 3 minutes in until crisp and golden brown. 
  3. Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Mash the flesh in each half with a fork. Spread evenly on each slice of bread. Top with sardines, pouring any remaining dressing on top and reserving with remaining parsley. 
  4. Season with salt and a squeeze of lemon. 

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Trish’s Lazy Day Version Of Alton Brown’s Sardine Sandwich

  1. Take a slice of bread and toss it in the toaster.
  2. Slice an avocado in half and mash up one half, then spread on toast.
  3. Top with a few sardines.
  4. Give it a big squeeze of lemon all over the top, as well as a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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Friday Links

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by Trish

Because the interweb is such a strange and fascinating place.

Happy friday!