Five Finds on Friday: Josh Skinner


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Josh Skinner, Lead Brewer of Champion Brewing Company.  Today is a big day at the brewery, with the 2016 release of the coveted Fruitbasket Double IPA, a limited release which some have called the best beer made in Virginia.  Skinner and crew use extravagant amounts of Mosaic hops, and add grapefruit juice, orange juice, and citrus zest.  Previously just available on draft and in large bottles, this year Fruitbasket will be available in cans, starting today at 1 pm at the brewery.  Skinner’s picks:

1)  Abruzzo Pizza at Lampo.  “While I love a classic Margherita pizza, this to me is the ultimate pie.  The addition of pork meatballs take a classic pizza to an entirely new level of satisfaction.  Just fold it up ‘wallet style,’ grab a pilsner, and enjoy.”

2) Mosaic Hop Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider.  “I’m a huge fan of what Potters is doing, be it the wild fermentation ciders they have recently released or their line of hopped ciders. The combo of refreshingly dry cider with a huge, pungent nose of Mosaic hops makes for an extremely dangerous combo.  This could easily be my official non-beer drink of the summer.”

3)  GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Ramen with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Pickled Vegetables at Miso Sweet.  “This, for me, is comfort food at its best.  Some people like mac’n’cheese, but give me a spicy bowl of noodles in pork broth loaded with kimchi and let me shamelessly slurp away.  The addition of crispy Brussels sprouts and pickled veg lend both interesting flavor and texture contrasts to the mounds of pork belly and shredded pork hiding in the piping hot broth.  It goes perfectly with an IPA.”

4)  Torta Ahogada at La Michoacana.  “Before I was a brewer, I was an archaeologist and spent some time excavating in Mexico.  During that time I fell in love with the regional cuisine and am always in search of dishes that take me back to the wind-battered coasts and solitary deserts of Central Baja.  This dish does just that.  This simple, unpretentious sandwich drenched in chili pepper broth is about as authentic as you can get.”

5)  Everything from Côte-Rôtie. “I really can’t say enough about the work that Pete and Merrill are doing.  With a constantly rotating menu ranging from fresh takes on French classics to Japanese yakitori inspired dishes, they crank out what is hands down some of the best food in town.  And all out of a food truck!  The crispy pig’s ear snack may be the ultimate bar food and they’re doing God’s work when it comes to lamb and duck dishes.  They come to the Champion tap room every Sunday and I refuse to miss them.”