Here’s why your craft beer may taste different these days

With the air getting cool, it’s the perfect time of year to warm your body with a tall glass of beer. Even Pumpkin beer if you’d like.

Whether you’re a true fan with a sensitive palate or not, the current state-of-hop-emergency may affect your buzz.

But before we go there, you need to know what a hop is?

A hop is used to flavor a beer, and the flavor you get depends on when you add the hops. If you add them at the beginning, the beer will be bitter; if you add them toward the end of a boil, they will produce more of an aroma than a taste.

EVERCREECH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Jazz Tupman holds up some hops which are used to brew beer at the Wild Beer Co brewery at Lower Westcombe Farm on February 11, 2016 near Evercreech, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EVERCREECH, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 11: Jazz Tupman holds up some hops which are used to brew beer at the Wild Beer Co brewery at Lower Westcombe Farm on February 11, 2016 near Evercreech, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Hops sound pretty great, right? So why are we in a state-of-emergency? Well, the craft beer world is currently suffering from a major hop-shortage. Last year, Europe experienced a serious drought, which didn’t allow farmers to grow the hop-crop, causing this hop-tastrophe.

Our favorite beers all come from hops, even our famous, locally-brewed ‘Chancellor’ from Tequesta Brewing Company, who ironically, just celebrated its yearly, ‘Hop Week’. Tequesta Brewing Company (big sister to Palm Beach Garden’s Twisted Trunk), explains that Europe’s drought has not only made it hard to find European hops, but has also caused the price of American hops to rise.

Tequesta Brewing Company brewer and owner Matt Webster started home brewing at age 21. He has been brewing professionally since 2008, and keeps six to seven beers on tap at all times. TBC brewery and bar is located on U.S. Highway One in Tequesta. (Bill Ingram /The Palm Beach Post)
Tequesta Brewing Company brewer and owner Matt Webster started home brewing at age 21. He has been brewing professionally since 2008, and keeps six to seven beers on tap at all times. TBC brewery and bar is located on U.S. Highway One in Tequesta. (Bill Ingram /The Palm Beach Post)

TBC also says that it is much harder to acquire mosaic, citric and galaxia hops — three of the most popular varieties.

The brewery has a hop-purveyor who gets European hops for them, brew-master Matt Webster explained. The crop was so bad that the purveyor couldn’t complete the order, and the brewery had to turn to American hops.

Not that there is anything wrong with American hops. In fact, other Palm Beach County breweries like Due South in Boynton Beach aren’t affected at all by the hops shortage because they already brew with American hops from places like Yakima, Washington. For TBC, though, German hops is go-to source and they want to stay who they are.

Left to right: Ashley Doane, Delray Beach, Ashley Hayes, Laurie Schuster, Nancy Colman and Michelle Hershey, all of Boca Raton, gathered at the Saltwater Brewery bar following their yoga class at the Delray Beach craft brewery on Sunday, August 23, 2015. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)
Left to right: Ashley Doane, Delray Beach, Ashley Hayes, Laurie Schuster, Nancy Colman and Michelle Hershey, all of Boca Raton, gathered at the Saltwater Brewery bar following their yoga class at the Delray Beach craft brewery on Sunday, August 23, 2015. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

So are we in a hop shortage? Yes. Will our favorite local breweries still produce our favorite drinks? Yes. Is Tequesta Brewing Company still putting out great beers? A for sure, yes.

And finally, should we worry about the lack of hops? Not just yet, so head over to your favorite local craft brewery and grab a pint, especially while your favorites are still on tap.

Less is more in fashion, beauty and… cake?

Less is more when keeping up with the latest social, fashion and food trends these days.

Take ripped jeans, for example. Instead of a subtle rip across one knee on a good pair, everyone from fashionable men to busy, I-just-need-something-to-throw-on moms are exposing an entire knee — and even a little thigh.

Then there are celebrities and beauty influencers posting selfies that embrace their natural skin with hashtags like #nomakeup and #naturalbeauty.

And while women are enjoying the skin they’re in, they also embracing the hair they’re under.

Over the past few years, a vast amount of women have publicly committed to big chops and no-heat hairstyles, encouraging other women to do the same. In most cases, these women have found that their natural hair texture — before chemicals, dye and styling products — is much more satisfying to their taste, looks better and feels better, #NaturalHair.

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Just a little curly motivation for my girls that are transitioning to healthy hair. I've done it all! Different colours, flat ironed without heat protectant for years etc. I've gone from healthy curls back to damaged several times as well. The best tips I can give you are 1) Start with a cut/trim – to me, it does more than start your healthy hair process, it's a psychological move that tells you that you're actually willing to go all in! ( kinda like cutting credit cards to get out of debt! ) even the smallest trim will make a difference! 2) Find inspiration! Look for images of other women with curly hair that is similar to your hair texture, this will keep you motivated ( be realistic! ) 3) Deep condition like it's going out of style! This will help those damaged curls immensely! 4) Enjoy the process! If you do a big chop, enjoy that stage! Trust me, when you look back you will regret not rocking that look as much as you could have..try to own it! If you're uncomfortable with a teeny fro, play with bold accessories to distract a bit until you just don't care! 5) A bun gets boring after a while so keep yourself entertained with different #protectivestyles and try the #wiglife if you get tempted to touch the flat iron or bleach during the transitioning process! Good luck! Tag a friend that needs some inspiration ( I have a natural curly hair playlist on my YouTube channel with my healthy hair journey etc if you want more details and tips 😉 YouTube : MissCharmsie ~ direct channel link in bio ) #naturalhair #curlyhair #damagedcurls #transitioninghair

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So, yes, it was only a matter of time before the “less is more” craze would venture into fine dining, and fine desserting.

We’re in a season of natural beauty exposed, where people are not only appreciating a more unfinished look but paying for it as well. Now, you’ve got the naked and semi-naked cakes. A two, three, four or more tier cake with buttercream filling, some fresh fruit or flower garnishment — and that’s it.

But make no mistake: Just because minimal vibes are trending doesn’t mean people are paying less. Not for jeans, not for hair or skin products, and surely not for the naked cake.

photo: naked cake
Vanilla naked cake with fresh strawberry filling, strawberries and flowers for a Bed and Breakfast in Loxahatchee made by Diva-Licious Cake House in Palm Beach County. Photo provided by The Diva-Licious Cake House.

Pricing may start at about $7.50 per serving but it all depends on what you’re looking for. Will you be including fresh flowers or sugar flowers? What flavor do you want? Will the cake have three layers or five?

“Naked wedding cakes, to the average eye, seem to be something that requires less work, but that’s not it,” Janderyn Makris of Earth and Sugar tells us.

Her naked cakes start at the same price point as any other cake from her bakery because the amount of time spent on it is the same.

You’re probably wondering, “how can that be true if a naked cake has very little or no icing on its exterior?” Well, there are careful skills and techniques to consider, like layering the cakes with particular amounts of buttercream filling so that the final product is not lopsided.

For frosting lovers, this is a good thing. They shouldn’t turn away from a slice of naked cake because there may be even more filling in a naked cake than a normal one.

“The naked wedding cake must be clean,” Marian Meyers of  Diva-Licious Cake House emphasized. But clean doesn’t necessary mean flawless.

photo: naked cake
A naked cake from The Sugar Monkey before it was ‘dressed.’ Photo provided by The Sugar Monkey.

 

It seems the idea of being ‘natural’, or ‘naked’ for the cake’s sake, is more about exposing and embracing flaws rather than covering them up. Are freckles on a nose just as beautiful as a contoured face? Are naked cakes as beautiful as desserts fully decorated in fondant and props? I’d say so.

Six best restaurants in Palm Beach County for Hawaiian poke

Poke in paradise, at Latitudes, Delray Sands Resort. (Bruce R. Bennett/ Palm Beach Post)
Poke in paradise, at Latitudes, Delray Sands Resort. (Bruce R. Bennett/ Palm Beach Post)

Virtually or in reality, America loves its poke. The Hawaiian-style marinated raw fish dish is having a moment across the land.

Here are six places to savor the trend:

Latitudes Ocean Grill at the Delray Sands

Chef James King is the poke man at the Delray Sands Resort. (Bruce R. Bennett/ Palm Beach Post)
Chef James King is the poke man at the Delray Sands Resort. (Bruce R. Bennett/ Palm Beach Post)

Consider this south county’s poke palace. Latitudes restaurant is where Executive Chef James King creates a flavorful rendition of the Hawaiian classic, adding macadamia nuts for crunch, mango for sweetness and fish sauce for deeper hits. The grayish swoosh? That’s sesame seed butter. Delicious.

Latitudes: 2809 S. Ocean Blvd., Highland Beach; 561-278-2008; LatitudesDelray.com

Buccan, Palm Beach

Buccan gives its poke a Thai twist. (Contributed by Steven Barracos)
Buccan executive chef Clay Conley gives its poke a Thai twist. (Contributed by Steven Barracos)

Flavor man Clay Conley gives his tuna poke a dip in coconut Thai chili sauce. The chef completes the dish with orange segments, hearts of palm, avocado and crispy yuca shoestrings.

Buccan: 350 S. County Rd., Palm Beach; 561-833-3450; BuccanPalmBeach.com

Bolay, Royal Palm Beach

Protein option at Bolay: marinated ahi cubes. (Contributed)
Protein option at Bolay in Royal Palm Beach: marinated ahi cubes. (Contributed)

This fast-casual eatery offers marinated ahi tuna chunks as part of its protein selection. You can order a mound of the good stuff atop your choice of veggies or grains.

Bolay: 250 South State Road 7, Royal Palm Beach; 561-899-0111; Bolay-Restaurant-Wellington.com

Duffy’s Sports Grill

Light and bright: Duffy's Ahi Poke Bowl. (Contributed)
Light and bright: Duffy’s Ahi Poke Bowl. (Contributed)

The popular local chain offers an ahi tuna poke bowl as part of its “Surf or Turf” specials. It features sushi-grade yellowfin tuna that’s hand-cut and tossed in a signature sauce. It’s served over cilantro-lime rice and topped with avocado, scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Duffy’s Sports Grill: For locations, visit DuffysMVP.com

Bistro Ten Zero One, West Palm Beach

Bistro Ten Zero One's Spicy Tuna and Quinoa Salad makes a sumptuous lunch. (Contributed by Katy Lynch)
Bistro Ten Zero One’s Spicy Tuna and Quinoa Salad. (Contributed by Katy Lynch)

Tucked into the downtown Marriott hotel, this eatery offers an ample, refreshing poke bowl. Chef Christian Quiñones’s Spicy Tuna and Quinoa Salad is made complete with the addition of avocado, pickled ginger, scallions and cucumbers.

Bistro Ten Zero One: 1001 Okeechobee Blvd. (Marriott), West Palm Beach; 561-833-1234 x 1908; Bistro1001.com

Kabuki, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens

Kabuki's Tuna Yukke. (Contributed by LibbyVision.com)
Kabuki’s Tuna Yukke. (Contributed by LibbyVision.com)

The poke here goes by the name of “tuna yukke,” diced ahi with avocado, cucumber, orange, smelt roe, all in a spicy kimchee sauce.

Kabuki: In West Palm Beach at 308 Clematis St., 561-833-6349; in Palm Beach Gardens at 5080 PGA Blvd., 561-776-8778; KabukiWPB.com

Chipotle closes in Massachusetts: Would you still eat there?

photo chipotle food
Chipotle. (Contributed photo)

UPDATE: March 9, 2016. 

A Chipotle in Massachusetts has shut down because an employee has been diagnosed with the norovirus.

Here’s what we wrote during Chipotle’s recent string of health issues:

The Palm Beach Post spoke to Chipotle devotees who say the hundreds of cases of food-born illnesses at the restaurants last year won’t keep them from giving the chain their business.

What about you? Will you still eat at Chipotle?

Who has Palm Beach County’s best fried chicken?

READERS CHOICE WINNER chicken ROTATOR 1000

We asked. You answered.

Readers of The Palm Beach Post were asked which restaurant had the best fried chicken and, by a narrow margin, the favorite was Bay Bay’s Chicken & Waffles in West Palm Beach.

The red-and-yellow shack on Okeechobee Road may look like there’s an old, Southern grandma hard at work in the kitchen. But there’s actually a well-thought-out secret to the restaurant’s success.

READ WHAT MAKES BAY BAY’S SPECIAL 

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Farewell, five-dollar footlongs: Subway raises prices but customers don’t mind

Say goodbye to Subway’s catchy “$5 footlong” jingle.

The price of lunch just went up.

The company announced via Twitter that because of rising food costs, Subway has raised the prices of its classic subs to $6. But for all of February, any sub on the menu will be $6.

From the looks at the dining room at local Subway in West Palm Beach, the price increase makes little difference. On Friday, each of the seven tables at the store on 522 Belvedere Road were filled and the line to order was five people deep — including many repeat customers.

“If you give good customer service, you’ll win the customer,” said manager Fawad Arif, who has run the store for 15 years.

Twitter expressed outrage, as it is prone to do. But customers weren’t deterred.

“It’s still a good deal,” said Rommel Lopez of West Palm Beach. “They always have specials here. Other places, it’s $8 for a footlong.”

Chipotle’s latest E. coli outbreak is over, CDC says

Chipotles is shutting down all of its stores Feb. 8 to discuss food safety. Will you still eat there? (Contributed photo)
Chipotles is shutting down all of its stores Feb. 8 to discuss food safety. But the latest E. coli outbreak is over, the CDC said Monday. (Contributed photo)

Chipotle is back on the menu, burrito lovers.

The most recent outbreak of E. coli, which infected 60 Chipotle Mexican Restaurant diners in December appears to be over, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bad news? The CDC still doesn’t know what caused it.

“Most ill people in these outbreaks ate many of the same food items at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant,” today’s report stated. “When a restaurant serves foods with several ingredients that are mixed or cooked together and then used in multiple menu items, it can be more difficult for epidemiologic studies to identity the specific ingredient that is contaminated.”

The chain’s image and stock price took a huge hit in the last six months because of outbreaks of E. coli, norovirus and salmonella. And the restaurant will shut all its stores Feb. 8 to discuss food safety with its employees. But that hasn’t stopped Palm Beach County diners who spoke recently to The Palm Beach Post.

Just over half of the 297 votes in a Post poll (154) favored eating at Chipotle despite the recent food-saftey concerns.

WHY PALM BEACH STILL LOVES CHIPOTLE DESPITE CONCERNS

Chipotle poll

Five places for hot coffee on a rainy day

An Italian espresso at C Street Cafe. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
An Italian espresso at C Street Cafe. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

It’s rainy outside today. A good time to get some coffee.

1. C Street Café

This cozy coffee shop welcomes you with a laid-back, urban vibe and freshly brewed coffee. Can’t go wrong with an Italian espresso.

  • C Street: 319 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-469-9959; on Facebook here
Barista Amy Duell makes Japanese Cold Brew at Oceana Coffee in Tequesta. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Barista Amy Duell makes Japanese Cold Brew at Oceana Coffee in Tequesta. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

2. Oceana Coffee

The cold brew at this Tequesta roaster is clean and sublime. And now you can enjoy it at Oceana’s spiffy new coffee lounge.

  • Oceana Coffee: New coffee lounge at 150 N. US Highway 1, #1 (across from the Marshall’s/Homegoods store), Tequesta; roasting house at 221 Old Dixie Highway, Tequesta; 561-401-2453; OceanaCoffee.com
A cappuccino made with The Rabbit coffee at Brewhouse Gallery. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
A cappuccino made with The Rabbit coffee at Brewhouse Gallery. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

3. Brewhouse Gallery

As you peruse the works of local artists or listen to some live music, treat yourself to a yummy cappuccino made with The Rabbit’s locally roasted Guatemalan beans. It’s so delicious, I could sip it by the gallon.

A couple of macchiatos at Subculture Coffee. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)
A couple of macchiatos at Subculture Coffee. (Photo by Liz Balmaseda)

4. Subculture Coffee

This hipster hang on Clematis Street brews some delicious coffees that are roasted onsite. My favorite preparation: the macchiato, a bold café with the slightest puff of milk foam. South county folks can enjoy their Subculture brews at the new-ish second location in downtown Delray Beach.

  • Subculture: In West Palm Beach at 509 Clematis St. (561-318-5142), in Delray Beach at 123 E. Atlantic Ave. (561-808-8482); SubcultureCoffee.com
A latte from The Grind Cafe in Delray Beach. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)
A latte from The Grind Cafe in Delray Beach. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)

5. The Grind Café

This Delray Beach spot serves some yummy – and artistic – lattes. Sip one from one of The Grind’s branded retro cups while you decided if you’ll succumb to the café’s baked good temptations.

  • The Grind: at the Delray Marketplace, 14859 Lyons Rd., #132, Delray Beach; 561-270-2058; GrindCafeDelray.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Palm Beach’s Buccan celebrates 5 years today with greatest-hits menu

Chef Clay Conley opened The Sandwich Shop at Buccan in Palm Beach in December. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Chef Clay Conley opened The Sandwich Shop at Buccan in Palm Beach in December. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Time flies when you’re winning awards.

The restaurant Buccan, which shot to national prominence thanks to two-time James Beard Award semifinalist chef Clay Conley, is celebrating its five-year anniversary today. The restaurant will offer some of its most memorable dishes since its debut, focusing on the small plates and world-inspired ingredients that have been its hallmark on Palm Beach.

CRITICS CHOICE: See food editor Liz Balmaseda’s best of 2015

Among the many dishes today: Colorado lamb with harissa chili paste; grilled Florida corn with Mexican cotija cheese; short rib empanadas; and squid ink orecchiette pasta with Italian sausage and conch.

Their signature cocktail, the Buccan T (an acronym for its ingredients: basil, unsweetened iced tea, cranberry, citrus, agave nectar) will be served all night for $5.

 

New Year’s Eve recipes: Ring in the old with these retro cocktails

NYEAngosturaSourMasterByClareBarboza

As you prepare to ring in the New Year, do it with a touch of retro. Holiday cocktails are embracing the old-fashioned for Auld Lang Syne.

Read Liz Balmaseda’s report on New Year’s Eve cocktails.