Hopheads will rejoice on Friday, May 13, through Sunday, May 15, when J. Ryan’s Pub, 253 E. Water St., hosts its first ale tasting tour. About 20 domestic brews will be available for tasting at about $2 to $4 for each seven-ounce glass. The event, which the J. Ryan’s crew is calling Friday the Firkinteenth, pays homage to a tradition created by Syracuse’s legendary Clark’s Ale House.
“I felt it was something that needed to keep going. To continue the tradition that Clark’s Ale House had started,” says Bob Carvotta, manager at J. Ryan’s.
Clark’s tapped its final keg last September after 18 years of operation. The bar was closed in order to make room for the expansion of the Landmark Theatre. Several ales that were regulars at Clark’s will appear on the tour, including Rouge’s Black IPA and Syracuse’s Middle Ages. Bear Republic, Scotch Ale, Southern Tier and others will be available as well.
The event kicks off when a firkin of Ithaca 13 gets tapped at 4 p.m.; the bulk of the tasting, however, takes place Saturday and Sunday. The firkins have 24 to 48 hours from when they’re tapped before they lose their car bonation so J. Ryan’s plans on pouring every last drop. A firkin, incidentally, is an old English unit of volume, equal to a quarter-keg.
The idea for the ale tasting started in January and Carvotta got busy making calls to breweries across the country. After finding a selection of places that agreed, all that was left was to find the kegs and an efficient way to distribute them.
Ale originally was used to describe a drink brewed without hops, unlike beer. These days, ale is brewed from malted barley with brewers’ yeast, resulting in a sweet brew. Hops are added to balance the sweetness of the malt and impart a bitter flavor. Despite the bitterness found in hoppy ales, modern ales carry different fruity flavors like oranges and bananas that help ease the sharp taste.
They’re not for all palates, but those who enjoy quaffing an ale will be able to choose a new favorite or two this weekend. While the ale tasting takes place in a reserved area of J. Ryan’s, the pub’s regular service will be available throughout the weekend. The firkins will be lined up by the side of the bar and hand-tapped for authenticity. Tickets can be purchased at the bar. For more information, call 399-5533.
Despite the wet spring we’re experiencing, early-season lettuce and spinach should be peeking through the soil any time now. Once the leaves are large enough, go ahead and pick a handful or two for a small salad. Or you can use one of these recipes to get a home-grown does of vitamins A and C.
Before cooking them, make sure to clean your greens thoroughly. A good way to remove all the grit is to soak the leaves in cold water, repeating if necessary. Unless you plan to blanch or steam the leaves, the best way to dry them is in a salad spinner or by laying them flat on a paper towel. This way any dressing you apply won’t slide off and, if you plan on cooking them in oil, they won’t splatter. To learn more about greens, visit www.leafy-greens.org.
Wilted Greens and Eggs
Saute minced garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat, about 2 minutes. Add a small bunch of fresh, cleaned and sliced greens, a touch of nutmeg, sea salt and black pepper; cook until just wilted. Remove from heat and divide the greens in two. Using same pan wiped clean, cook two eggs the way you like them in some olive oil. Add ¼ cups balsamic honey vinegar and simmer on low for 2 minutes. Place eggs on greens and drizzle vinegar over all. Add shavings of your favorite aged cheese if you like. Makes 2 servings.
Baby Spinach and Chick Pea Salad
This recipe by Rachael Ray is from www.foodnetwork.com. 8 ounces baby spinach 1 can chick peas, drained ½ medium red onion, minced 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper Combine spinach, chick peas and chopped onions in a bowl. Add vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Toss well to coat and combine. Season salad with salt and pepper, to your taste.
With Mother’s Day just past not a lot of action can be found along the Finger Lakes wine trails. We did find one spring outing: Keuka in Bloom, along the picturesque shores of Keuka Lake, takes places Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wines and herb-inspired foods will be available to sample at each winery and each ticket holder will receive a flower and an herb, each in a 4-inch pot. Tour all eight wineries and return home with 16 different plants and some great recipes.
Advance-ale only tickets are available at www.keukawinetrail.com. They cost $35 for singles, $50 per couple; designated driver tickets are $26.25 and $43.75. For more information, call (800) 440-4898.
Stalk This Way
You may know it as one of two ingredients in a strawberry rhubarb pie. But the tangy stalk yields many more goodies, if you can handle its strong flavor. Montezuma Winery & Hidden Marsh Distillery will help celebrate the rhubarb harvest with an Old-Tyme Rhubarb Festival and Classic Car Cruisein, Saturday, June 4, noon to 4 p.m. There will be rhubarb pie, but let your taste buds sample the rhubarb crisp, rhubarb chili and even rhubarb wine sorbet.
If you’d rather play with your food, try the rhubarb stalk throw. Music will be provided by The Acoustic Movers and you can sample wines and other foods as well. Admission is free. The winery is located at 2981 Auburn Road (where routes 5/20 and 89 meet) in Seneca Falls. For more information, call 568- 8190 or visit www.montezumawinery.com.