The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Murphy & Rude

Five Finds on Friday: Jeff Bloem

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jeff Bloem, founder of the area’s only local malt house, Murphy & Rude Malting Co., which makes specialty and base malts from grains harvested by small grain farmers across Virginia. Along with The Charlottesville 29, Murphy & Rude is the other collaborator on Reason Beer’s outstanding Collaboration 29, now available at Beer Run and Kardinal Hall, among locations. Murphy & Rude is also helping to fight Cystic Fibrosis with several upcoming fundraisers, where you can drink free beer, among other things. Details below. Bloem’s picks:

1) Pork Milanese at Tavola. “What makes this dish so list-worthy is that I don’t even think it’s because of the pork. Don’t get me wrong, the pork is incredible – locally sourced, perfectly seasoned, breaded, and sautéed – but it’s the balance of the background of Meyer lemon, capers, Roma tomatoes, and sautéed arugula that makes you ponder ordering another one. And so consistent.”

2) Grilled Radicchio Salad (add Salmon) with Allagash FV13 at Beer Run. “This one is my victory set — one of those quick and simple but arm twisting go-tos for good moods. The acidity of the Flanders-esque farmhouse ale is a delicious contrast to the bite and richness of the salad. No FV-13? Sub Collaboration 29. Collaboration 29 offseason? Grab a Belgian from the hallway to the back bar, middle shelf.  Remember, you did good.”

3) Four-egg white Greek omelet, no bread, home fries with black coffee at Tip Top. “Before I opened the malt house I worked from home for nearly seven years. I didn’t get out much. Kid drop-offs were my commute and I used this favorite to stretch it out a bit while I was ‘driving home.’ Nothing fancy, but man, hits the spot. Regardless of what you order, go big and leave a 40% tip. Those guys and gals are the hardest working staff in town.”

4) Fried Bologna Sandwich at Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen. “I grew up on these things and while Miracle Whip (don’t hate, I’m a Midwestern transplant) would take it up a notch, they nail it here. I’m not sure anything Harrison Keevil touches lacks a component of back-home authenticity, but this one really makes me smile as I inhale it in my car before even turning it on.”

5) Egg & Chorizo Burrito at Sunoco on 5th Street Extended.The back half of the Sunoco gas station on 5th Street Extended (across from Fifth St. Station development, next to Burger King, soon to go back to a Shell station) has long been utilized as a commercial kitchen for a small, often unknown, pop-up restaurant. This occasion is no different. I have no idea what the name of the Mexican place is that currently holds it down but it’s a gem.  Authentic, homemade, and cooked-to-order. There is La Michoacana and then there is this place.”

Murphy & Rude Cystic Fibrosis Fundraisers

All Out Before You (Brewer’s) Ball Out!
Saturday, June 1 at 4 p.m.
Orangetheory Fitness Charlottesville

Get an incredible workout (and watch Jeff kill himself to keep up with his wife), raise funds to Cure CF, and refresh afterwards with free pours of Collaboration 29, a collaboration IPA between Murphy & Rude Malting Co., Charlottesville 29, and Reason Beer.

Class Reservations: $25. To book: Call OTF Charlottesville at (434) 483-5757 or text event organizer Kelly Bloem at 703-919-0972 .

Ax Throwing
Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen & Brewery (IX Park)
Friday, June 7 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Join open play or team up for some friendly competition to throw axes to Cure CF! Hosted by Lynchburg-based PowerPlay, $5 buys you 5 throws and there will be free giveaways to keep you coming back for more. No advance reservations or RSVP needed.

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Collaboration 29 at the Governor’s Mansion

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People ask where they can find Collaboration 29, the new limited release IPA from Reason Beer for which demand has seemed to exceed supply. The answers are few. Beer Run, Kardinal Hall, Reason, and now . . . the Executive Mansion of the Governor of Virginia.

Home to Virginia’s governors since 1813, the Executive Mansion is the nation’s oldest governor residence. From its origins, the mansion boasted a separate cookhouse, smokehouse, and ice house, but it was not until 2014 that it added a kegerator, thanks to beer-loving Governor Terry McAuliffe, who then passed it to his successor. “Governor McAuliffe very generously donated the kegerator to the Executive Mansion,” said Governor Ralph Northam, “although it is probably no surprise that we are not getting quite as much use out of it as he did.” That said, the kegerator does not sit idle. “We continue to demonstrate Virginia’s commitment to the craft beverage industry by offering guests to the Mansion draft beer from a Virginia brewery,” said Northam.

As of today, that beer is Collaboration 29. A tribute to Charlottesville itself and named after The Charlottesville 29, Reason calls the beer a “a juicy, tropical love letter to our home town, brewed in partnership with Beer Run, Murphy & Rude, Kardinal Hall and The Charlottesville 29.” Governor Northam saw it as an ideal fit. “I like that this particular beer represents a collaboration among the men and women who work in the food and beverage scene that makes Charlottesville such a great place to live,” said Governor Northam.

And so, just hours after belting a grand slam in his summer softball league, Governor Northam celebrated today by welcoming Collaboration 29 and its contributors to the Mansion. For Reason, there were Mark Fulton, Jeff Raileanu, and Devon Callan. For Kardinal Hall and Beer Run, there were John Woodriff and Justin Castelhano. And, for Murphy & Rude, there was Jeff Bloem.

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(L to R) Devon Callan, Jeff Raileanu, Jeff Bloem, Justin Castelhano, Governor Ralph Northam, John Woodriff, and Mark Fulton

“We knew we were putting together a great beer with great partners, but we never thought it would make it this far!” said Reason brewer Mark Fulton. “We were honored to meet Governor Northam and look forward to his continued support of our industry.” Congratulations to Reason and the collaborators, and also to Governor Northam and staff for having such a delicious beer on tap.

While brewery collaborations are often just one-offs, there is word that the great demand for Collaboration 29 could persuade Reason to make it again. And again. Stay tuned.

Introducing Collaboration 29

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Though rarely made explicit, an underlying theme of this site’s content is community collaboration. The Charlottesville 29 exists, after all, to celebrate the Charlottesville food community. And, perhaps the defining characteristic of our food community is that it is in fact a community. While cutthroat competition can plague food cultures of other cities, Charlottesville, warts and all, is different. “The community really does function in an interconnected way,” Splendora’s PK Ross once explained. “And that has so much to do with the love that everyone has for what they are doing.”

I see this each week in Five Finds on Friday, when one member of the food community rejoices at the chance to showcase others. I see it in the way that the success of one stands on the shoulders of so many others. I see it in help the less fortunate among us receives to lift themselves up. I see it in the determination with which our food community feeds the hungry. And, most of all, I see it when someone has a need. Others rush to fill it.

Introducing Collaboration 29

And so, yes, when Reason Beer invited me to collaborate on a beer, much of my excitement stemmed from my fondness of beer and Reason. When I started this little website six years ago, I never imagined it might one day lead to making a beer with the former head brewer of Maine Beer Company, one of the country’s most acclaimed breweries. Just a year old, Reason has already earned its own national praise.

But, what made the invitation so special is the beer’s stated aim. The purpose, Reason said, would be to celebrate Charlottesville’s food and drink community — the very thing this site has done since its founding.

Later this month, Reason will release Collaboration 29 – “a juicy, tropical love letter to our home town, brewed in partnership with Beer Run, Murphy & Rude, Kardinal Hall and The Charlottesville 29.” At 5.5% ABV, Reason brewer Fulton describes Collaboration 29 as a “very sessionable IPA featuring a delicate blend of tropical, citrus, and pine notes.” Having sampled a test batch, I would describe it as delicious. Fulton says that he strives towards perfection, knowing he can never reach it, but hoping to get closer each time. Wow, this one may be as close as it gets.

What may sound like an odd group of collaborators, to Fulton made perfect sense. Fulton chose The Charlottesville 29, Beer Run, and Kardinal Hall because he wanted “to work collaboratively with some of our earliest supporters in Charlottesville.” Their support, he says, “has been incredibly helpful in establishing Reason Beer in the local beer scene.” Meanwhile, in true community spirit, the inclusion of new local malting company Murphy & Rude was to pay it forward. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to share the spotlight with another fantastic Charlottesville startup who also helps put our region on the craft beer map,” Fulton says.

Release events are planned later this month at Kardinal Hall (June 28), Beer Run (June 29), and Reason (June 30). Check back for details. Meanwhile, read on to learn how we made Collaboration 29. Thank you, Tm McGovern, for capturing the images.

The Collaboration

If you are not familiar with how beer collaborations work, they can run the gamut. In some cases, they are true collaborations, with brewers sharing and tweaking ideas, crafting a product together. In other cases, one brewer runs the the show, and they are little more than an excuse for folks to get together and talk about (and drink) beer. Ours was closer to the latter.

Yes, we all provided input. But, Fulton drove the process. This made sense. Fulton, after all, has brewed legendary brews like Mo, Lunch, and Dinner. I brew . . . coffee?

Still, Fulton did include us. The group’s initial idea, Fulton says, was “to create a drinkable summer IPA that will satisfy hop heads while not alienating the hop-adverse.” Next, Fulton asked me about my favorite hop varietals. I told him I am not sure I have a single favorite — I like so many — but I did name a few that appear in many of my favorite beers. The final hop profile includes Mosaic, Amarillo, and Simcoe.

To begin making Collaboration 29, we ran Murphy & Rude malt through a mill. Murphy & Rude is the area’s first malting company, creating malt from local grains. We used their Crystal 40, made of violetta barley from Brann & King Farms, and Wheat, made of soft red winter wheat from Bay’s Best farm.

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The milled malt was then transferred to a vessel called a “mash tun” where hot water was added, creating mash, something many brewers say is one of their favorite smells. I can see why. The heady aroma took me back to childhood memories of my father making warm malted milk from Horlicks.

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The milled malt sits in the hot water and creates wort. To the wort, we added salts and minerals to enhance sugar conversion and also aid the finished product by creating a more rounded mouthfeel and flavor profile, as well as better head construction and glass lacing.

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Next, we removed a wort sample to test that the pH was the magic number we were looking for.

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Meanwhile, a process called vorlauf circulated the liquid in the mash tun, running it off the bottom through pipes and circulating it back to the top, which helped to clarify the wort, removing malt sediment. A window in the piping allowed for monitoring the improving clarity.

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After the wort was sufficiently clear came runoff, diverting the wort from the mash tun to the kettle, where more hot water was added. This required turning on the heat in the kettle. It was a great thing I was there for this vital step. Here I am turning the switch from the “Off” position to the “On” position.

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Meanwhile, Fulton removed the leftover malt (“spent grain”) from the mash tun, which local farmers use as feed.

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In the kettle, the wort boiled for a hour.

There’s lots of down time during brewing. Fortunately, Devon kept our glasses full.

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And, there was plenty of time to talk over beer.

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Soon, it was back to work. We weighed out hops . . .

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. . . and added them to the kettle.

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Lots of hops.

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Finally, the wort was pumped from the kettle to a vessel called a fermenter. There, Fulton climbed high and added yeast to begin fermentation, transforming wort to beer.

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Next week, Fulton will add more hops to the beer – “dry-hopping.” And the following week, our beer will be ready. The dream team:

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Thank you to Mark Fulton and the Reason team for creating this project, the first and only beer named after The Charlottesville 29. It is a great tribute to the Charlottesville food and drink community. And, the beer is just outstanding. Stay tuned.

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