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Best beer friendly bar snack you've ever had?

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  • Best beer friendly bar snack you've ever had?

    I'm looking for some interesting ideas for a free bar snack. We've all had popcorn, or nuts, or snack mix at bars. People usually want something salty when they're drinking beer. But has anyone ever had anything really interesting and unique? Or a really good version of a beer friendly snack that made an impression on you?

    I'm not talking about a tasting plate or a small appetizer. I'm talking about something that would be given away in small quantities.

    Cheers,
    Hutch
    Last edited by kugeman; 01-22-2016, 10:13 AM.
    Hutch Kugeman
    Head Brewer
    Brooklyn Brewery at the Culinary Institute of America
    Hyde Park, NY

  • #2
    Spicy

    Hutch,

    Not sure if you have a kitchen of any kind, or just need to open a box of something.

    Here is my all-time favorite snack for munching on while drinking a pint or three: http://www.chowhound.com/recipes/spi...hickpeas-30368. (super simple, this is just one recipe of many)
    A little salty, a little spicy. And pretty unique. But I assume you would need to be licensed for food prep.

    For something where you can just open a bag or box of something, maybe popcorn or chips, but with added spice??

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    • #3
      I like the meat,cheese and crackers with coarse ground mustard many times I just want a snack so I can drink more beer lol. One of my other favorite and easier is the big pretzels served with the coarse mustard or cheese sauce with jalapenos
      Mike Eme
      Brewmaster

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      • #4
        I'll respond as a customer: My two most memorable bar snack experiences, both really simple, were from Bell's Brewing's Eccentric Cafe and The Old Fashioned (Madison, WI). Bell's had a bunch of large jars of various nuts with scoops (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.) arranged along the bar that you could order by the bowl for a small charge. Gave a real old school country store aesthetic. Looked great, and the variety was fun. The one in WI had a menu of cold items that were a buck or two (that I think they served after the kitchen was closed), such as a giant slab of jerky, pickled eggs, cheese curds, etc. For example: <http://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/ltuUHvRHmu6FKYEw-ZSm6g/o.jpg>. It was really eccentric and fun, and didn't hurt the pocketbook. (I am sure that it was a break even deal for them.)

        Honestly, I'd rather pay a tiny bit for something of quality then get a bowl of old pretzels, and in fact I'd probably value something more that has a charge associated with it, than something that is free. (Human psychology is weird.) For a customer, a $1-2 is nothing. From an owner's perspective, it adds up to a lot of savings over the course of the year.
        Last edited by NS_Nano; 01-25-2016, 08:44 AM.

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        • #5
          I used to frequent a tap room that had Tacos... They did charge, though. $.50 for ground beef and $.75 for shredded. Both were topped with diced tomato, shredded iceberg lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese. An assortment of Hot sauces were made available to the customer.

          That said, Food Prep licensing is a pain unless you plan to be a restaurant.

          I would go for an inexpensive bulk snack mix from Costco or Sam's Club....

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          • #6
            Food prep is no problem. Our brewery is at the Culinary Institute of America. We have 46 kitchens on campus

            Thanks for the feedback, keep the good ideas coming!
            Hutch Kugeman
            Head Brewer
            Brooklyn Brewery at the Culinary Institute of America
            Hyde Park, NY

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            • #7
              In that case, it would be more advantageous to develop a snack mix unique to CIA in your kitchens. Make it a competition among your students and judge a winner. Too great an asset in talent not to utilize it to your fullest advantage.

              Establish cost constraints and then let them create.... Not just your average garage brewery, eh....

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              • #8
                There are several ideas there that are really great taken together!

                The moment I saw this recipe, I had to try it: Wow, these are fantastic, and I can see there is a HUGE amount of room for creativity:

                Originally posted by jbrewer View Post
                Hutch,
                Here is my all-time favorite snack for munching on while drinking a pint or three: http://www.chowhound.com/recipes/spi...hickpeas-30368. (super simple, this is just one recipe of many)
                A little salty, a little spicy. And pretty unique.

                Odin in the Seattle area does this as well, and I love it:

                Originally posted by NS_Nano View Post
                Bell's had a bunch of large jars of various nuts with scoops (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.) arranged along the bar that you could order by the bowl for a small charge. Gave a real old school country store aesthetic. Looked great, and the variety was fun.

                And this puts them together!

                Originally posted by Scott M View Post
                In that case, it would be more advantageous to develop a snack mix unique to CIA in your kitchens. Make it a competition among your students and judge a winner. Too great an asset in talent not to utilize it to your fullest advantage.

                Establish cost constraints and then let them create.... Not just your average garage brewery, eh....

                I'm certain my nephew, who is attending your school, would jump at this. The parameters could be: 1) Recipe must use one #10 can of chickpeas. 2) final product must be finger-food (e.g., not hummus!). Ok, you're free to allow hummus. And 3) The chef should choose a beer from your lineup to pair with their version of the snack. For example, a sweet version might go with an oatmeal stout. Or you would choose 3-5 beers, and challenge them to create something that pairs well.

                The top 3-5 go in nice little old skool nut bins, the kind with the heat lamp. You could pair (or not) the snack with the beer. Since I'm sure that every entry would be fantastic, then you rotate them around as you rotate your taps.

                If I lived in your area, I'd drop in to your taproom for sure.

                Regards,
                Mike Sharp

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                • #9
                  This is a great topic. We don't have a kitchen and can only offer pre-made fare, so I've been wracking my brain and using Google to come up with ideas for our tasting room. We'll plan to have food trucks in the parking lot at times, but most of the time, we'll need to come up with ideas for what we can do either as a freebie or as a low-cost item.
                  Kevin Shertz
                  Chester River Brewing Company
                  Chestertown, MD

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                  • #10
                    candied bacon!

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                    • #11
                      Oh man, when I was in St Jean (near montreal) last year. I went to a tiny brewpub called lagabier.

                      They had a tiny automated deep fryer that allowed them to make things like potato chips to order. Some seriously amazing chips were to be had.

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                      • #12
                        They used a ventless deep fryer from these guys http://www.perfectfry.com/products/pfa/

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                        • #13
                          Our tasting room is only allowed to have pre-packaged items. You'd be surprised how many small producers are trying to get into tasting rooms, especially those with foodtruck/vendor restrictions or those without a food license. We have a company that uses our beer to make varieties of peanuts. We also carry beef jerky, gourmet chocolate, and locally made salsa-infused corn chips. All of these items are sold at a premium price but each supplier moves a lot of inventory.

                          One of our customers always brings the staff baked good with our spent grain (cookies, muffins, cornbread, sweetbread) but the best has been his dry hopped, IPA pickles. I'd love to try the variations between IPA styles. If only he could package them...
                          Hoopla Blonde Ale; Blue Letter IPA; Proxy Porter

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                          • #14
                            I am sorry to say that the days of free snacks have more than likely gone bye. When you say "small", how many grams are you talking about and how many customers for how long do you plan to give them away. Everything has a price with labor attached whether by simply opening a box or preparing something. The key is value for money and tasty. Most customers are happy to pay for something good!

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                            • #15
                              Hutch,

                              Try making a leek aoli and serving it with fries or deep fried pickles. Leeks grow wild in Upstate NY so they shouldn't be hard to find. We have a local farmers market that carries them. Cut the bulbs and pickle them along with carrots, radish and cabbage for a summer side (slaw without the mayo). Toss the greens in a blender with basil & olive oil to make the pesto. I leave out the nuts for a batch in case of allergies, do a separate batch with nuts. Mix the pesto equal parts with mayo for a dipping sauce for fries or use as a sandwich spread for fried chicken breast sandwiches. The bulbs can also be battered and fried with dill pickles for an appetizer.

                              Bill

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