Monthly Archives: August 2009

Edison Beer: Exploring the Boston Brewing Landscape

Courtesy of New Century Brewing Company

Courtesy of New Century Brewing Company

Recently, I came across a six pack of Edison, a new brand of light beer. My fiance and I tried it and we were amazed.  It was packed with flavor yet only 109 calories?  I needed the full story.

Rhonda Kallman is the person behind Edison and Moonshot, two very unique beers made by her parent company, New Century Brewing. Kallman, a life-long Bostonian, has never lived more than twenty miles away from the city.  She loves beer and after leaving the Boston Beer Company in search of a break, she was tempted back into the business by legendary brewmaster Dr. Joseph Owades. She named Edison in his honor because she believes it is an “invention of taste,”  and a “light” on so many levels.

Q: What was your first “beer-oriented” job?

A:  I was a bartender and waitress for years before co-founding The Boston Beer Company, the creators of Sam Adams.

Q: You’ve launched a nationwide light beer brand.  What are the challenges involved?

A: There are so many but I’ll point out just a few.  The first challenge is making a great tasting light beer: Luckily, my brew master was the late Dr. Joseph Owades, the man who invented light beer in 1967. As light beer accounts for less than 50% of all consumption in the US, I decided to challenge Dr. Owades to “reinvent” light beer.

Edison is our answer.  It is a light beer with a satisfying flavor and finish. Edison has a unique fresh, aroma and an unexpected flavor derived from our patented formula. The undertones are spicy floral and citrus.

Differentiation is another big challenge. When I started working in the beer industry in 1984, there were 35 breweries in the U.S.  Today, there are 1,535!  Figuring out where to stand out and how to add more creativity to an industry chock full of creative entrepreneurs is daunting!

Q: What made you want to take on the challenge of selling a “new” light beer?  Wouldn’t an IPA have been easier?

A:  I love challenges; I like to raise the bar. There is a price that comes with that.  In the past, it’s always worked out really well. This case is no different but, frankly this project is a really big idea.  Light beer drinkers are not the easiest people to convince; they have the tendency to stay in their comfort zone because they are afraid a beer is going to taste too big or too hoppy.  The key is getting Edison into the right places where people want to try something new, a light beer of higher quality.

Q: Tell me about being a woman in the beer industry.  What is it like?

A:  As a woman, it is easier to stand out at an industry convention, that’s for sure! I hold two awards from the Brewer’s Association of America. I have these awards because I’ve been a trail blazer in the industry for 25 years.  I will admit that a “boys club” mentality still exists, though much less than it did 25 years ago.

I have won people over with my wit, intellect, perseverance, honesty, pride and hard work–not my golf swing!

Even so, the boys club continues to grow.  My gut tells me that given my experience, my reputation, and my commitment to the beer business, I would’ve found financial partners or some type of investor if I had a guy sitting with me on my side of the table.

Q: This is a foodie blog so I am very interested in your answer to this question. If you could match Edison with any foods, what would they be?

A: I think Edison is excellent with lighter foods like fresh fish.  During the 18-month creation-process, I also knew I wanted a beer that would work well with Asian and Asian fusion cuisine.  There is nothing better than a cold Edison with an order of california rolls.  Other great flavor pairings are foods that include cilantro, ginger, mango.  Edison is also a great beer to drink when you are bellying up to the raw bar; it never, ever overpowers.

Senator Kennedy’s Favorite

Photo: FoodistaBlog/Flickr

Photo: FoodistaBlog/Flickr

It’s been a wild week here at WBUR. We have worked around the clock to cover all of the latest news and developments regarding the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. Listeners keep our energy going and your memories have made our broadcasts emotion-filled.  We continue the discussion and welcome your thoughts today on Radio Boston.  This Friday at 1pm, we’ll talk about the Kennedy family life and legacy here in New England.

It has been said that “Uncle Teddy” as he was known to his nearest and dearest, loved to be surrounded by family and friends at the compound in Hyannis Port.  The family ate lunch and dinner together, regaling each other with family stories, jokes, and good conversation.  I can only imagine the conviviality.

I thought it only proper to remember Senator Kennedy on PRK with one of his favorite foods: lobster salad.  “One For the Table,” a blog dedicated to “food, politics, and love” posted the recipe HERE.

-Have a safe weekend and coming up on Monday, we talk to the Boston-based founder of Edison Beer.

Boston's Last Working Farm

Photo: protohiro/Flickr

Photo: protohiro/Flickr

Susan McCrory

Allandale Farm in Brookline has been working the same soil for over two centuries. It is Boston’s last working farm, specializing in sustainably grown fresh produce, and it’s still going strong–the corn is in, so are cherry tomatoes and spring flowering bulbs will be available soon. The farm was recently featured by Boston Zest and will be the locus of a “Chicken Extravaganza” sponsored by Slow Food Boston this Sunday afternoon, August 30. Tremont 647 kitchen staff will be cooking up several scrumptious chicken dishes, with sides, and proceeds will help fund a new Mobile Poultry Processing Unit for Massachusetts farmers, who currently share only one.

Though you can only get as close as the waiting list for Sunday’s event, keep your picnic blanket ready and your ears open for future events at Allandale. Later in the season, fresh native turkeys await!

It’s the Vineyard. Again.

Photo: dmeemai/Flickr

Photo: dmeemai/Flickr

It’s official. The Obamas are in full vacation mode on Martha’s Vineyard. This means that the creative juices have been flowing for quite some time for some of the Island’s merchants, eliciting new T-shirts (above), muffins (the health-conscious variety, of course) and beer (Ale to the Chief!).

In light of the First Family’s visit, we are asking you foodies for your input: what would you create for consumption for the President and his family? What are the locals missing?  Add your comments or recipes, below.

Read more about the recent marketing scene on the Vineyard. 

Click here for the muffin recipe cooked up at Espresso Love in Edgartown in honor of the Clintons’ visit to Martha’s Vineyard in the early 90s.

Unforgettable Zucchini Bread

Photo: Eve Fox

Photo: Eve Fox

This weekend seemed like any other.  It was a peaceful Friday night until my fiance left a message on my voicemail:  “A tornado hit the farm. No word on damage but everyone is ok.”

My future father-in-law still lives on Hedgehog Hill Farm, the homestead he settled with his late wife.  Together they became organic farmers and so much more…raising their only son in rural Central Maine. It is a beautiful place: quiet and serene.   That is…until the tornado hit.

We rushed up Saturday morning to see what we could do but I truly felt helpless as the utility and construction crews cleaned up the 100-year-old trees that dotted the property.  I looked around to see what I could do with my own hands and thought of… THE GARDEN. Would it still be in-tact?

Imagine this: trees down everywhere but the faithful zucchini, cucumber and tomatoes hovered in the corner, somehow spared from the vicious wind.  We took a few home, to remind us of the resilience of this place, and I instantly started thinking about the zucchini.

Whenever I need a recipe with a random ingredient, I go to Eve Fox’s blog “Garden of Eating.” In January 2009, Eve started the “Eat Well Project.”  Eve and her family are members of the Eat Well Farm’s CSA in Northern California and in keeping with her New Years resolution to eat local whenever and wherever, she decided to post a recipe each week featuring the produce she and her family received from their CSA share.
Courtesy of GardenofEatingBlog
I kept my fingers crossed that she might have received some zucchini this summer…and sure enough, I easily found that fateful zucchini entry. Check it out HERE    Bake some bread….I’m doing it…with the vegetables that survived the storm.

Serving Cake

I always dream of going to the New York City International Gift Show…and the Stationary Show…and the Accessories Show…it goes on and on.  The Javits Center could be my alternative heaven.  In the meantime, I get highlights from my favorite blogs and bloggers.  This week, Apartment Therapy picked some of their faves from the gift show.  I thought you all might have some thoughts about it.

Serving cake.  An art? A challenge?  The Scandinavian design firm Magisso has designed a unique cake server (video demonstration HERE) that looks like the answer to all pastry aficionado’s fears: how to preserve the cake’s luminosity as it’s being devoured.

Take a look.  It seems to work beautifully for cheescakes and coffee cakes, but let me be honest: all I really care about are cherry pies.  I’m not so sure it would be able to handle a deliciously messy goo of sugar, fruit, and crust. 

Maybe it’s due for a test run.

And the Lucky Bottle Is…

Photo: Hugh M.

Photo: Hugh M.

I’m back from that trip to the wine store (See “Fun in the Sun” below) to pick up the weekend prosecco. My go-to guy for wine is George Bardis, head of the wine department at Martignetti Liquors in Brighton. George has tasted and critiques a ton of wines and always gives me superb choices for anything and everything smack-dab in the middle of my price range. This time he steered me towards an Adami prosecco ($15.99/bottle), made by third-generation winemakers Armando and Franco Adami. This wine is generally considered one of the best prosecco coming from the Valdobbiadene and an official 1st cru of prosecco. “It’s bright, playful,” George said, “and full of fruit. As far as prosecco goes, it has great body and rivals champagne.”

Can’t wait to chill it and try it!

Fun in the Sun

Photo: Wild Strawberry G&Ts by Eirik Newth/Flickr

Photo: Wild Strawberry G&Ts by Eirik Newth/Flickr

We’ve got family visiting from Rome this weekend and I’m in charge of wine. I love this. Prosecco is a must–there’s never enough to go around in our house–so in a few hours I’ll be hunting down a case of this Italian sparkling white (it’s not champagne!). But what of other summer favorites? Here are a few whites to consider from Sonia Turek writing In Your Glass and a fab-sounding “recession-style” sangria complete with Wachusett Blueberry Ale from Seeds and String. Care to share? Tell us what are your favorite summer drinks, in whatever flavor, in whatever glass, with ice or without. Cheers!