Travel / February 19, 2014

Swapping Grapes for Hops, a San Francisco Beer Week Adventure

San Francisco Beer Week 2014
Image via SF Beer Week,

After a very successful Around the World in 80 Sips kick off earlier this month in San Francisco, some of the Wine Sisterhood team stayed in town to celebrate another tasty fermented beverage – beer! Turns out we landed in town just in time for San Francisco Beer Week. Across San Francisco, brewers, restaurants and all-around beer lovers were holding special events, including educational seminars and exclusive tastings.

It was a rainy and chilly Saturday, but we braved the weather and headed out on our own San Francisco Beer Week tour. But first we needed to fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Sweet Wooduff, one of our new favorite spots in town. Bellies full, we headed to a seasonal cooking demonstration down at the Ferry Building.

Sweet Woodruff Breakfast Sandwich
Breakfast, lunch or easy dinner, we highly recommend Sweet Woodruff.

The demonstration was happening just outside the Ferry building, amidst the hustle and bustle of the farmers market and visiting tourists. Chef Adam Dulye, a partner and executive chef at Abbot’s Cellar, and Jeff McClure, Community Manager at Drake’s Brewing Company, led us through the basics of cooking with beer.

Along with the roasted root vegetable recipe he demoed, Chef Dulye also shared a quick and tasty hops salt. Muddle 2 tablespoons dried hops with 2 cups salt and sprinkle the mixture on your favorite treats – can you say popcorn? He also suggested swapping the salt for sugar, if you’re feeling more on the sweeter side. If you can’t find dried hops in your local stores or market, he mentioned that they’re very easy to get online.

Cooking with Beer Demo - SF Beer Week

A few great takeaways from the seminar, aside from the yummy recipe at the bottom of this post, were:

– You can usually substitute beer for wine in most recipes. When a recipe calls for red wine, try replacing it with a brown ale.

– Replace white wine in recipes with lighter beers like wheats and lagers.

– Saisons, with their fruity and many times sour flavors, work wonderfully in vinaigrettes.

– IPA, India Pale Ale, brews work best in brines.

– The lower the IBU of a beer, the better it is to cook with. IBU stands for International Bittering Units, a scale that measures the amount of hops in a given beer. Generally, the “hoppier” the beer, the higher the IBU.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for the Roasted Root Vegetable with Honey Glaze Chef Dulye shared with us. He included a tasty California beer in the recipe, Drake’s Brewing Company Dry-Hopped Pale Ale.

Drake's Beer

Next, it was time for a cocktail – a beer cocktail! We headed toward the San Francisco Museum of art and stopped into Thirsty Bear Brewery, an organic brewery that had created a menu of beer cocktails specially for San Francisco Beer Week. Just like we use wine to make sangria, beer can be used to create cocktails and punch-like drinks.

Our pick was the #3: Hophead Vodka, R&W Orchard Pear, Yellow Chartreuse, Housemade Cider Reduction, Organic Honey Syrup, and Thirsty Bear Grizzly Red Ale.

Thirsty Bear Cocktail - SF Beer Week

Refreshing and sweet, it was just what we needed after trekking around a drizzly San Francisco that morning.  

After lunch we hit the Union Square shopping area and stopped into a classic Irish pub, Johnny Foley’s, for another sip or two. While the bar was Irish, we picked a hoppy California beer – Lagunitas IPA, from Lagunitas Brewing Company based in Petaluma, California.

Sadly, the next event we had planned on attending was sold out. Next time, we’re determined to get a ticket for the Tedx-style Beer Talks seminar. Lesson learned that it typically sells out quick!

Until next time… cheers Wine Sisters!

Roasted Root Vegetables with Honey Glaze

Adam Dulye, The Abbott’s Cellar and The Monk’s Kettle


  • 3 lbs. root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, celery root, rutabaga, turnips, radish, etc.)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ C. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Honey Glaze:

  • 1 T. butter
  • 2 t. brown sugar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. beer (optional)
  • 1 t. whole grain mustard (optional)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 hop leaf, crushed (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut all root vegetables into desired shapes, about 1 inch in size. Keep each vegetable separate.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, place the sliced garlic, pay leaf and thyme with the olive oil.

4. Toss the root vegetables in the bowl one type at a time and make sure to leave the bay leaf, thyme and some garlic for the next bunch.

5. Place each root vegetable on it’s own tray/pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and place in the oven.

6. Check every ten minutes and rotate the vegetables until they reach the desired softness.

7. While the vegetables are cooking, make the glaze. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar and let it come to a simmer. Add the honey and continue cooking gently until it’s reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 3 minutes.

8. Add any of the optional additional glaze ingredients.

9. Once the root vegetables are removed from oven, place them all into a serving bowl and toss with glaze. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



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