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Archive for October 15, 2007

GOURMET TRAVEL: Oyster Festival

Oyster lines
Oysters hang on long lines in the deep, cold waters, filtering water for food. Currently about 50,000 gallons of Pacific Oysters are harvested annually in the Vancouver Island area.
  Next month is the height of of oyster season on the west coast of Vancouver Island. From November 15 to 18, ostreaphiles (oyster lovers)—and perhaps some other lovers who simply believe in the aphrodisiac properties of the little mollusk—will indulge their love of the briny creatures during the 11th annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival. For revelers who want to enjoy the festival in luxury, Long Beach Lodge is offering an Oyster Festival Weekend Package: a two-night stay for two plus tickets to two festival events hosted by the lodge.
The first is the For the Love of Oysters dinner on Friday, November 16, where Executive Chef Jeffery Young shows off his talents with an array of oyster dishes served with regional wines. On Saturday, November 17, the Long Beach Lodge Winemaker’s Dinner features a “Pearl of an Oyster” dinner, with Vancouver Island guest winery Venturi-Schulze Vineyards and the double mouthwatering fare of Chef Young plus Chef Tim May of the nearby glamour camping wonderland, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. Other Clayoquot Oyster Festival events include an educational talk, an oyster farm tour and a Mermaid Ball. For more festival information visit OysterGala.com. For more Lodge information, contact Long Beach Lodge at 1.877.844.7873 or visit LongBeachLodgeResort.com.

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NEWS: Winning Beers

At the recently-concluded 2007 Great American Beer Festival, more than 100 judges labored for three days to evaluate 2,793 beers. (For those of you who don’t consider this labor—it truly is). An impressive 222 medals were awarded in 75 beer style categories; top breweries and brewers were then named based on the total number of medals won. Brewers covet Great American Beer Festival medals as the highest recognition of their brewing talents and beer quality. Each year brewers send their beers to Denver to be evaluated by the festival’s Professional Judge Panel which looks to select the top three beers that best represent each style. Winners can tout their awards to customers and distributors to help build their reputations and sales.Among the 75 categories, American-style India Pale Ale continued to lead with the most entries; but there was explosive growth in the Fruit and Vegetable Beer category and impressive growth in the Wood-Barrel-Aged Beer category. The new category of Gluten-Free beer, with just 8 entries, is expected to grow dramatically as brewers recognize the size of the market of beer lovers with wheat allergies. This year, California brewers took the top prizes. Firestone Walker Brewing Company of Paso Robles was chosen as best Mid-Size Brewing Company and The Lost Abbey of San Marcos, brewed by Port Brewing, the best Small Brewing Company.   The Lost Abbey 10 Commandments Ale
The Lost Abbey 10 Commandments Ale
It is worth visiting LostAbbey.com just to read their philosophy and contemplate the beers (“Judgment Day, “Devotion” and others). If you live in one of the 25 states into which it is legal to ship beer, you can become a Patron Saint and order a Lost Abbey sampler pack. The rest of us need to petition our state representatives to repeal legislation that protects a few beer distributors and penalizes consumer craft beer enthusiasts. For a full list of winers in each of the 75 style categories, visit Beertown.org. Read more about craft beer in THE NIBBLE’s Beer Section.

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