If you brew dark beers I believe this is a step that should be included in every brew day. The flavors that you get from the dark roasted malts are unique and can add a lot of flavor to what you are making.

If you brew beers on the lighter color spectrum this can be a great filler for recipes and add a bit of a story to your next recipe. “Yeah, it tastes great because its made out of the grain from the brew I just did!”

I mainly brew with a BIAB method, giving me easy transport of the grain between brewing and milling for flour. With BIAB I hang the bag up over a laundry sink and let it hang and drip until the amount of water left in there is minimal, usually overnight. Massage it a bit periodically to get out as much moisture as possible. If you are going full grain I would recommend looking at your baking equipment and deciding how much you want to keep – I have a large colander that I put grain in after a brew and let the moisture drop a bit before drying in the oven.

Leftover grain from a batch of brewing

Take your grain after partially drying in the air and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not pour on the grain too thick, it should not be over 1/2 inch. If you need to, use two baking sheets on two racks in the oven to maximize drying time.

Set your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and mix the grain every few hours. It is done in the oven when you mix the grain and it feels like it is devoid of all moisture, usually 6-8 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

A few cupfuls at a time, put the dried grain into a mixer (like a vitamix) and grind until it is a fine mist. Pour into an airtight container until all of the grain has been mixed. Lasts for a few months in a dark pantry.

If you live in the Twin Cities you have heard of Surly Brewing Co., beer drinker or not. They are a powerhouse of both brewing and initiating movements – it was the Surly Bill that opened the door for the over 100 brewery/taprooms that are now open in Minnesota where there were less than 10 in early 2011. We have been to Surly’s taproom restaurant many times since it had opened but always for family gatherings or to meet old friends, so our focus was on who we were with and not our surroundings or even what we had. With the temperature dropping below 0 outside and the holidays over we ventured over with hopes that others were going to stay indoors.

The place is a spectacle even by the time your turn onto their street. Located in a field of abandoned grain silos Surly is a beacon of modern. Their sign is a concrete sculpture and right after you walk through the football field of a parking lot you can take a moment to warm up with their olympic style torch at their front door. The interior is an homage to cement and stainless steel with a wood accent poetically conveying the idea of their growth.  Within their vast space is also a sea of people waiting to get a table or just a horizontal plane to set their beer down on. Our wait time on this blustering night was an hour and ten minutes, the hostess informing us that it was a “very typical wait these days”. We would like to think of it as more time for sampling the beer… Looks like our plan to avoid the crowd did not work, even on this frigidly cold day.

Surly Brewing Co. Destination Brewery Beer Hall and Restaurant
View of the beer hall

The hall is alive with streams of employees picking up empty glassware and dishes, and it was an ebb and flow to the people standing on the outskirts waiting for the levee to open and be given a table in the center. The fault in their layout was that the bar had only a small section where those waiting could come up and grab a beer, causing confusion as to who was in line or just standing around. It did seem that there is no ‘Minnesota Nice’ when it comes to getting in front of someone waiting for a beer here, with many groups properly directioned to where they should queue.

The beer list that is served every day is impressive – breaking the choices down by malt-forward and hop-forward categories with a few other beers not being able to be defined as thus as well.  Being regulars of Surly’s section in the coolers around town we tried a few irregulars (Devil’s Work and Witches Tower) and had wished we ordered those as tasters since we were unimpressed with the styles, but happy to have tried them at the source instead of grabbing them in four packs at home (are they even available elsewhere?).

Given a German beer-hall style table we cozied up next to the party already sitting there and ordered right away as we had menus in our hands during the wait. This was a different feel from our recent visits to RAMEN KAZAMA. There were people standing around us waiting for a table, but with beers in hand and merriment all around there was no feeling that we were being rushed or onlookers glaring at the people who continued drinking at tables with empty plates.

The food list is mouthwatering, and their prices match the ingenuity. We got a burger and a cut of pork steak with some cauliflower on the side. The pork was extremely salty but cooked to the right temp and the  sauce almost made you not notice. While rabbit food is not a typical staple next to our meats, the greens were mixed with fruits and sauces that were a bit overloaded on the tart and tangy side, but mixed well with the meat sauce. The burger was a high class big mac (even they say they use ‘fancy’ sauce, a nod to McD’s special?) and the fries that came with it were smaller and crispier than run-of-the-mill ones and quite delicious. We also recommend the cauliflower but avoid dredging them through too much of the sauce, the flavoring at the bottom is hard to get rid of from you mouth.


Our one wish was that our server had been able to direct our beer orders in a more harmonious direction with the food we were concurrently putting on our bill. Ordering the Smoke with our plates left some bad tastes, but easily erased as we switched to water for a while. It would be hard to avoid this place in the future as it is on the radar for all those who live in the Twin Cities – and even those who do not – but with the atmosphere that they provide and a ever-improving beer list, why would you?

Food: 3.5/5 Unique and delicious, but tasted untested and experimental.
Drink: 4/5 Their usuals are amazing, but order others and you might be disappointed.
Atmosphere: 5/5 Hard pressed to find another place full of people enjoying themselves.
Overall: 4/5 A wonderful place to be and to eat. What’s next for Surly?

mancuisine has been a location for us to gather, eat and decide. Decide on how we believed in a place because of the way that we felt while dining and how the food tasted as we enjoyed the company of family and friends.

One thing that we have left out since the beginning has been how the beer that we drank at each gathering [and there has been nothing else] was a part of the experience in their own right. We begin now to also share our words on our drinks and how we rate and taste each one. Our members have been rating beers on Untappd since its inception but have felt stifled by its format.

So here we begin with our beer reviews. With all of the places opening and exploring the craft, its sure to keep us busy.


For our Take Out Test Night we picked up a few growlers from local breweries. The reviews are as follows:

Dangerous Man Chocolate Milk Stout

Dangerous Man’s flagship beer. It There is a reason Dangerous Man has a packed taproom at night and has grown as it has, and its foundation is this beer. Rating: 4.5/5

From their web site: The Chocolate Milk Stout is pitch black with an off-tan head and a large, roast and chocolate aroma. Thick and creamy, the flavors in the CMS range from dark and milk chocolate, coffee, and toasted bread. Boosted with lactose additions, this beer is distinct for its rich and creamy chocolate flavors.

Dangerous Man Peanut Butter Porter

This is one of those beers that you question the idea behind it but enjoy the product that it created. Like one of the brewers had a chocolate milk stout and was making a peanut butter sammy and ‘accidentally’ dropped some into their beer and loved it. While it is a wonder to try, know that the flavor stays with you. After one pint I was burping up PB for days. Rating: 3.25/5

From their web site: Desserts fo sho. Get creative with other peanut dishes. Pair with caramelized meats, curry dishes, and Thai food.

Indeed Wooden Soul #3 – Cherry Sour Ale – 5.25%, 14 IBU

Brad’s response at the first moment of tasting: “This is a beer?!”. It has a surprising taste to it. I have worked at a bakery making cakes and pies and this beer tastes exactly like an all-butter crust fresh cherry pie. Delicious to try if you are into the sweet/sour beer combo. Lightly carbonated, grapefruit colored. Rating: 3.75/5

Indeed Derailed Imperial Double Dangerous Chocolate Nitro Whiskey Queen Milk Stout – 10%, 70 IBU

The name says it all. Really! Its an imperial double so you get the depth of deep roasted grain flavor. The whisky is slight but lingering in the mouth after drinking. The milk stout nitro combo makes it a smooth drink with a healthy head. The only downfall is the punch that it packs – this one is a sipper. Rating: 4.25/5

P.S. We tried making a black & tan style beer with the WS#3 and the PBP. Although the densities of the beer did not allow for the layering, the resulting beer taste was an eyebrow raising lip smacking adventure in mixology!

Who will reign supreme? The members of ManCuisine.com are bringing their A-Game and ready to battle it out on the tastebuds of those who dare to taste the heaven that is the chili the men concoct every year. This annual event brings in the best assortment of people – our friends and family!

The location this year is at the Turtle Bread Company in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. At 6:00 begins the social ‘hour’. 6:30 begins the tasting and judging. The doors close when the last one leaves.

To attend: Bring yourself.
To eat/judge: Bring a 6+ pack to share or your best version of cornbread per person participating.

We have 9+ chili cooks up to the challenge this year. Only one trophy goes home.


The chili cooks that are competing this year:

Brad J – Longtime competitor, longtime recipe testing; This year is his.

Trevor J – Has taken home the trophy, tasting for it again.

Isaac J – Experiential, experienced, ready.

Doug M – Wild card, won it, will win it again.

Adam M – Cooking chili year round. Going to make it happen.

Jeff S – Holds both trophies. Doesn’t plan to lose any.

Zane/Allie N – Newcomers, promising family recipe – make it happen with the judges?

Brian I – Longtime judge, knows what wins, first time competing – will the equation work?

Ken Z – Part of the family, itching to try his recipe for the first time, itching to win.


In summation:

March 14th 2015

4205 E 34th Street – Minneapolis, MN 55406

6:00 show up and converse

6:30 tasting and judging

Leave when it seems right.

Smokathon VSo, you’ve finally make the big decision to attend the annual rib event but you are a bit cloudy about what actually occurs. No worries, here’s a handy look at the day.

The cooks start on the day before performing their magic on slabs of rib cages picked up from some local butchery. In the past we have tried to have everyone use the same meat, not so much for statistical reasons as to take advantage of a sale at Cub or Rainbow Foods (R.I.P). This year we have returned to the “buy what you will” process. You can expect your ribs to have been picked up at everything from meat markets to Costco. Many ribs will be brined, some will be sans-membrane, most will be rubbed or marinated overnight, none will be pretentious.

celebSometime around noon on the day before the event we will start the process of inviting celebrities. This year we had hopes of Katy Perry showing up to entertain the kids but alas she was in town at Skateville just a couple days earlier. We have had high hopes of celebrity attendance every year but have found that they are often committed to other things by the time we can get ahold of them. Even our one nearly-celebrity judge will be performing at the Belagio on Sunday. I think his rhythm section is made up of the line of slot machines next to him.

TalkBigsmokerYour part comes in somewhere between three-ish and five in the afternoon. That’s when the group gathers for chat before the feed. Bring along a dish to pass and some beverage to toss on ice and relax in the backyard. The smokers will be smoking’ away and the cooks will have their serious faces on as they worry that their ribs will finish early or not finish by the 5:00 serving time. Chances are good that a keg of Summit will be in attendance for awhile.

line-o-ribs tray-o-ribsAt 5:00 the feeding begins. If you are one of the seven judges (7 cooks x 1 judge each) you approach the anonymous trays. Using some scientific process you carefully appraise each rib and complete a scoresheet- rating the ribs on a variety of characteristics. We initiated the selected-judges process as the numbers of participants rose over the years. Note that our Chili-Fest event in winter has all attendees judge using the full sheet.

pile-o-ribsIf you are not one of “those” judges you attack the big piles of ribs and sides and complete a popular vote sheet after you have had a chance to napkin up a bit. We’ll mark the ribs that we consider having quite a bit of heat for those making up plates for young children. Otherwise it’s a bit of a free-for-all. You’ll know which cooks the eating public knows as they point at the piles trying to figure out which one was made by their friend. Have fun, hopefully you’ll have a couple types of ribs that give you a new taste experience. Although there are prizes the real benefit of the day is time well-spent with friends. We’ll be sure to give you a hearty thank you during the awards, if not often during the afternoon.


At the end of it all the votes are totaled and the yearly trophy is handed out. This year’s trophy is an amazing WWF-style belt. Admire it during the afternoon and cheer the winner!




To wrap up the run west I’ve got a happy ending to report, but more of that later. After the Outlaw Saloon adventure we moved west to Reno. Stayed at the El Dorado ( again, a Priceline find) and wandered over to the Tractor Restaurant in Hurrah’s for a late dinner. Way too much food as the bacon infused waffle pile was mounded into a dish that was easily eight inches off the plate and the homemade hash platter was nearly as high with a tasty crab cake on top. We washed it all down with some corked Belgium, leaving the casino way too full.

The Happy Ending
But then, the happy ending. To wrap up things in an appropriate western way we stopped by the In and Out Burger in Daly City. It was on the way to the airport and finally have us a chance at a remarkable burger and collection of fries. Kyle tells me that the fries are cut just before they hit the fat and they tasted like it. We got the burgers “animal style” which added thousand island, onions, and some other needed additions. A great way to end the road trip.

Look for a normal Guys Night soon. Stay hungry.