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Thirsty Thursday - Otter Creek Copper Ale Beer Review

Otter Creek Copper Ale

Otter Creek Copper Ale

Middlebury, VT
5.0% ABV

This weeks Thirsty Thursday Beer Review takes a dive into a Vermont “Altbier” – Copper Ale by Otter Creek brewing company.

Middlebury, Vermont is a quaint New England college town located off route 7. With a great deal of character, this town is the epitome of all American “small town” feel.

I’m not particularly fond of said, Middlebury College that is located here as they were an arch rival of mine back when I played hockey for the Bowdoin Polar Bears.

Regardless of how I feel, this school has a serious history of dominating academically as well as athletically. The Panthers ruined my chances on more than one occasion at winning an NCAA championship. To make matters worse, I had to painfully watch them win two during my four years playing for Bowdoin. Let’s just say… I know this town and school a little too well.

Back to Beer

Vermont is beginning to be win over the rest of the world with regards to its micro brew scene. Something about the outdoors, trees and its organic culture coincide well with brewing good beer.

Otter Creek Brewery (OCB) opened its doors in 1991 and has since teamed up with Wolaver’s Fine Organic Ales. OCB has a variety of year round and seasonal beers available in 15 states in the northeast and midwest. They are available on tap and in 12oz bottles.

My sister and her family were making the drive from Canada so it was only fair I had something cold to offer them upon their arrival. She always has something in the fridge for her brothers. I purchased a 6 pack at the local grocery store for $9.99.

Appearance – upon first pour the copper and red amber colors give justice to the name. The head was fluffy and stayed throughout the tasting.

Aroma – the smell was of sweet malt and honey with hints of grass.

Taste – the beer hits the tongue with a hint of sweetness and general malt characteristics.

The Verdict

The Copper Ale was extremely enjoyable and even though I was only holding a piece of Vermont in my pint glass it instantly made me feel as if I were there. The level of carbonation makes the beer very refreshing and the flavors make it taste oh so good.

Side facts:

Altbier – translated means “old beer” and is a German style of brewing beer using top-fermenting yeast. Originally invented in Dusseldorf, Otter Creek brewing company adopted this age old brewing practice to their flagship beer – Copper Ale.

Copper Ale food pairings – Otter Creek recommends hearty foods like Smoked Sausage, Grilled Salmon, Gouda and Roast Pork to accompany this tasty brew.

I highly recommend tracking down the Otter Creek Copper Ale and I am looking forward to sampling other brews from this Vermont based microbrewery.

Earn that beer,


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QnA: Rowing Machine vs Treadmill and Carb Cycling

Friday QnA with Strength Coach Drew Jamieson

Question: A buddy keeps telling me to carb cycle. Says I should only be eating carbs on days I workout to avoid getting fat and gain muscle. What is he talking about?

Jim Salter, Cleveland, Ohio

Carb CyclingAnswer: Carb cycling is a fancy term for tapering back carbs on certain days of the week and then consuming lots on other days to help maximize fat burning and muscle building.

While I agree that consuming more carbs on days you workout is a good idea this will come naturally if you follow the guidelines laid out in the 3BG System. During your pre and post workout window you are consuming carbs that you normally wouldn’t be eating on your off days because you aren’t hitting the gym.

In a way the 3BG System has some carb cycling built in, albeit a very basic and dummed down version.

Carb cycling has proven very useful for bodybuilders and figure athletes that are looking to get rid or the last 5-10 pounds. It’s a very analytic approach to getting your measurements and body fat exactly where you want them.

Having said that, for a beginner who’s looking to put on some muscle, gain strength and lose fat, tinkering with exact numbers, calories and percentages of your macro-nutrients would not be a good use of time. Carb cycling is tailored more for intermediate and advanced athletes that have been serious about working out for at least 2 years.

In summary: Eat good whole foods with a balance of carbs, fats and proteins and hit the gym hard with compound multi-joint exercises. Develop a solid consistency and show commitment to a plan that helps improve your physique. Then when you are ready to take things to the next level we can talk numbers.


Question: Rowing machine or treadmill? What’s the best for total body fat loss?

Fred Muse, Freeport, Maine

Rowing machine vs treadmillAnswer: When it comes to cardio you always want to look at total body involvement when possible. Unless you need to train a specific movement that is directly related to your sport (a sprinter would have no business rowing or swimming for example when he should be running) you should look at getting the best bang for your time- this is found by incorporating your whole body and movements with full range of motion when you train cardio.

This means that although jogging is a nice challenge for your legs, it doesn’t do much to involve your upper body.

Rowing is a better hybrid of upper and lower body movements and with the right tension and intensity I would put it ahead of a slow boring jog.

However, if you really want a good cardio workout you’ll involve both upper and lower forms of exercise that are both; fast and challenging. Things like explosive push ups, jumping jacks, burpees, shadowing boxing, swimming, rowing, medicine ball slams, medicine ball throws, and mountain climbers are all great full body cardio exercises that offer an intense challenge along with a total body effect.

The reason these are better is they give you an after-burn effect which allows you to burn fat hours after you have stopped working out. Movements like these also teach you to be more athletic, not to mention are more enjoyable (mentally at least) than a boring, monotonous steady form of cardio.

Instead of jogging on the treadmill, here’s a quick workout you can do:

Pick 2 to 3 of the above exercises and repeat each in a circuit for 20-40 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Rest briefly between each exercise and complete 2-4 rounds, totaling approximately 10-15 minutes of work combined with the minor rest periods.

Even though this workout will take you a third of the time you would normally spend running on the treadmill, you’ll burn more fat, challenge your heart and save a ton time. Sounds good to me.


The questions, as always, were great again this week. Looking forward to it next Friday.

Stay Strong,


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Cooking with Beer - Beer Mussels

Beer MusselsThis week on Cooking with Beer we’ll be making Beer Mussels.

These Beer Mussels are fresh from Prince Edward Island and not the kind you get after a few too many pints at the bar. Those are Beer Muscles, not to be confused with Beer Mussels and unlike the latter should be kept away for no one to see.

Sticking with the Maritime theme (region of Canada) we will use Alexander Keith’s Red Amber Ale to steam our Mussels. We are also going to spice up today’s dish by adding spicy Italian sausage to the mix.

Mussels are quick and easy to prepare, fun to eat and a very popular dish here in Quebec. Head to any local pub and order the classic “Moules Frits” and you won’t be disappointed.

Cooking with beer’s take on this classic dish will be served accompanied by a spinach salad drizzled with homemade Balsamic and Hummus dressing. Let’s get started…

Watch below to see how it’s done:

Beer Mussels



Keith’s Red Amber Ale Mussels

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 lbs of Fresh Mussels (we’re using Mussels from PEI, best in the world)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite Beer (we’re using Alexander Keith’s Red Amber Ale)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • ½ a sweet onion
  • ½ a Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Spicy Italian Sausages
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (yep butter)
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Sea salt and pepper

How to put it all together:

Dice up the red bell pepper, onion and garlic and place in a large pot on medium high with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook until the onion is translucent (approximately 3 minutes). Slice your Italian sausages into small pieces and add to the pot cooking for 5 more minutes or until lightly browned.

Add the bottle of beer, juice of ½ a lime and Mussels to the pot, cover and steam for approximately 7-8 minutes. Mussels are ready when they open (do not eat any Mussels which have not fully opened). Season with sea salt, pepper, fresh parsley and serve with the beer broth. Enjoy.

Spinach Salad

Hummus and Balsamic Salad DressingYou need:

  • 4-6 cups of Fresh Spinach
  • ½ Red Bell Pepper
  • 2/3 of a Long English Cucumber
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes

What to do:

Wash your vegetables. Chop your spinach if the leaves are too big and place in a bowl. Roughly chop your Red Bell Pepper and tomatoes. Peel and roughly chop your cucumber. Add everything to the bowl. Drizzle with homemade Balsamic and Hummus dressing, toss and enjoy.

Balsamic and Hummus Salad Dressing

You need:

  • 6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ tsp of sea salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 big spoonful of traditional Hummus

What to do:

Put everything into a Mason jar, cover and shake until everything is mixed thoroughly. Makes enough for a few salads. Drizzle a bit over the spinach salad, toss and enjoy.

Mmmmm so good.

Yours in health,


PS. Follow the link for more Cooking With Beer Recipes.

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March 9, 2012 Posted by Drew in Body

Post Workout Muscle Soreness and the Best Total Body Exercise

Question: I started working out yesterday for the first time in awhile and today I can barely move. What’s going on and should I even think about working out again?

Rafael Eduardo, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Post Workout Muscle SorenessRafael, great question. Post workout muscle soreness is a normal and natural reaction following a workout or athletic event. It is your body’s way of saying, “Hey I need protein and carbs to repair all this micro tearing”.

Proper nutrition combined with rest allow your muscles to repair and rebuild, coming back bigger, stronger and better than before.

Every person is a little different but usually between 24 to 48 hours after exercise you begin to experience muscle soreness and discomfort known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.

However, it is important to be able to distinguish pain from discomfort. DOMS is typical post workout discomfort that is OK. But if you are experiencing pinching, sharp or tingling types of pain or sensations… this is not a normal post workout reaction and should always be run by your doctor.

I strongly suggest never training the same muscle group on back to back days but even if you waited 48 hours and especially if you’re a beginner (or back in the gym after time off), it is not uncommon to experience some post workout discomfort. As long as you give it 48 hours of active rest between training muscle groups, you are likely OK to hit them up again.

To get over the soreness try this simple technique;

On the days between weight training it’s helpful to walk, do gentle bike riding or even body-weight exercises to flush the area with blood and enhance waste removal and the healing process.

In summary: DOMS is a perfectly normal result of exercising and giving a muscle group 48+ hours of active rest is always the best idea. Make sure you are able to distinguish between pain and discomfort (this comes with time) and although very tempting… avoid laying on the couch all day following a workout (even a slow walk around the block the following day will help reduce the soreness).

Question: What’s the best total body exercise?

Steve, St. John’s, Newfoundland

Best total body exerciseIt’s a toss up for the the best total body exercise (exercise that has multiple joint involvement) between the Olympic Clean and Jerk and the Snatch.

I’m guessing most of you are not competing in the upcoming England Summer Olympics so we might not need to take it that far. Don’t get me wrong these are 2 of the best exercises to develop total body strength, power and muscle but they come with a caveat- they are highly technical. So technical in fact that I would urge anyone who wants to incorporate these lifts into their exercise programs to find a good qualified Olympic strength coach.

Having said that I’ve found some nice alternatives that meet in the middle between technical requirements and total body benefit.

If I had to pick one exercise I would go with the One Arm Dumbbell Clean and Press. It is a very explosive movement that will hit every muscle in the body (except the Pec) and ramps up your nervous system and heart rate like no other.

As far as total body fat burning and muscle building go- it is highly effective. It is still important to note that there is proper technique and timing required to perform this movement but it is much safer and less risky than Olympic lifts. Master this movement before moving onto the Clean and Jerk or the Snatch (who named these things anyhow?).

Great questions. Keep em coming.

Stay Strong,


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Birreria - A New York City Beer Garden Review


BIRRERIA and the Gang Aft Agley

Beer Review Birreria

  • Fifth Avenue & 23rd Street, New York City
  • On top of Super Chef Mario Batali’s Eataly

Instead of reviewing just one beer, this week the Thirsty Thursday Beer Review will focus on a New York City beer garden. A must see hot spot for locals and tourists in my books.

BIRRERIA is a modern take on an old world Italian craft brewery and beer garden located atop a Manhattan office building. With a retractable roof this beauty of a place is ready for action year round; come rain or shine, winter or summer.

Although I prefer the summer months as BIRRERIA boasts beautiful views of both the Empire State Building and Madison Square Park. The winter months offer some beautiful indoor scenery if you catch my drift.

Aside from one of the best selections of beer in the city Birreria offers a wide variety of Italian food but I’ll refrain from comment as I have yet to sample any of the dishes. I’m guessing the food doesn’t stray far from Mario Batali’s Eataly which is located on the ground floor and offers some great varieties. Each section of the Italian style market restaurant offers a different taste- I might be mistaken but I think it goes Pizza and Pasta, Meat and Cheese, and Vegetables and Bakery.

Apparently the opening of the restaurant was delayed several months as they had trouble getting the large copper clad brewing system up 14 floors. A crane eventually came to the rescue and got the job done.

A relatively new addition to the NYC craft brew scene, Birreria and the Eataly were inspired by the best of Italy and America. Brewers Teo Musso of Baladin and Lurisia, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Leornardo di Vicenzo of Del Borgo put their knowledge together along with Eataly’s very own brewmaster Brooks Carretta to create three exclusive cask ales only available at the beer garden.

What is Cask Ale?

Thirsty Thursday Beer Review BirreriaIt is my understanding that Cask Ale is much like someone would make as a home brew (if you didn’t use bottles that is). It is beer served from the same cask in which it was conditioned. The beer is naturally carbonated, unfiltered, and served at a traditional cellar room temperature of 50 – 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to the Eataly Website here are the details to the House Brewed Ales:

An American Amber wheat brewed with dried fig and mustard seed.

Chestnut mild ale. Chestnuts are a unique brewing ingredient in Italy. Eataly Birreria’s Wanda is a moderate dark traditional mild ale with hints of roasted chestnuts.

Thyme Pale Ale. A traditional American Pale Ale with fresh thyme from the hills of Borgorose, Italy. A twist on a classic.

Beer Prices

The house cask beers are reasonably priced for a New York pub at $10, and the draft choices range from $6-10. On the high end there are a few imported bottles that range from $6-40. Some of the bottles serve 2-3 people but I think I still might need to try a couple on my next visit.

Beer I had: Gang Aft Agley

This time around I couldn’t stay long (probably a good thing) as I was off to meet friends at another local hot spot and only had time to sample one beer. Seeing as how I recently wrote about Scottish Ales I decided to give another a try and went with the Gang Aft Agley from Sly Fox Brewing Company.

According to the Sly Fox website the beer is described as,

“A Scottish Wee Heavy brewed with roasted barley and pale malts. A full-bodied malt lover’s dream beer: mellow, rich and filled with flavor. Gang aft agley translates “go oft astray,” as in Robert Burn’s famous line about “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…””

Birreria Beer ReviewMaybe it’s the lights… maybe the energy, but there is something about being in New York City that makes beer taste better. I really enjoyed this beer and as I alluded to in last weeks beer blog- I am growing fond of the malt brew.

If you have not yet visited the big city- do so. And while you’re here do not let the tall buildings and shiny lights distract you from giving Birreria a try.

I Look forward to trying other Micro Brews in and around the city but will surely keep this gem as one of my go to establishments. If you know of any other hot spots with local micro brews, by all means let me know!



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Cooking with Beer - Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can ChickenAs opposed to last weeks Beef and Guinness Stew today’s cooking with beer recipe (Beer Can Chicken) is a summer classic. I usually prefer to make this baby on the grill but due to the 25 cm (12 inches) of snow we had over the weekend the barbecue is covered and out of commission.

Not to worry, my version of Beer Can Chicken tastes just as good roasted in the oven.

The beer of choice for today’s Beer Can Chicken is a lager but any variety or your favorite kind will do. I’ve even seen people get creative, add sangria to an empty beer can, shove it up the chicken and fire it on the BBQ.

Like Beer Chili Con Carne this recipe takes a half can of beer so make sure to take a few gulps while prepping. (Little gulps… Leave half for the Chicken)

Watch below to see how it’s done:

Beer Can Chicken



Here’s what you need for the Beer Can Chicken:

  • 1 – 3-4 pound Chicken (innards removed, washed inside/out and patted dry)
  • 1 can of Beer (Lager)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • Half a lemon
  • Dried Rosemary and Thyme
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

How to put it all together:

Remove the innards (if any) from your chicken. Wash inside and out and pat dry.

Preheat your oven to 450°F but before you do make sure to place the bottom rack at its lowest position and remove the middle rack so the chicken can stand stall.

Finely Chop your fresh garlic, place in a bowl and mix together with a few pinches of rosemary and thyme.

Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper, rubbing it in all over.

Pat down the bird with the garlic, rosemary and thyme and squeeze the juice of half the lemon all over.

Place the (half full) beer can into a roasting pan (on a solid surface) and stand the bird (cavity down) onto the can using the legs to balance like a tripod.

Turn the oven down to 400°F and carefully place the bird in the oven. Cook for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes checking mid way through to make sure it isn’t drying out. Once done, remove and let stand covered with a clean towel for 10 minutes.

Carve it up; serve with a side of roasted brussel sprouts, asparagus and sweet potato and enjoy.

How to make your roasted brussel sprouts, asparagus and sweet potato:

Chop the ends off the brussel sprouts and remove the outer leaves. Chop the sweet potato into small cubes. Wash and dry the brussel sprouts, asparagus and sweet potato. Place everything into a bowl and season with sea salt and black pepper. Add approximately half a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a teaspoon of Red Chili flakes. Mix well.

When there are 40 minutes left on the timer for the Beer Can Chicken put the brussel sprouts and sweet potato into a roasting dish and then into the oven. Add the asparagus for the last 10 minutes.

Soooooooooo good.

Yours in health,


PS. Follow the link for more Cooking With Beer Recipes.

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Cooking with Beer - Beer Chili Con Carne

Beer Chili Con CarneWith the Super Bowl this Sunday what better time to not only introduce the new series (Cooking with Beer) but also share my all-time favorite recipe- Beer Chili Con Carne.

This easy to make recipe is packed so full of flavor you won’t even realize it is one of the healthiest Chili recipes on the planet.

When you combine the fiber from the veges and legumes (black and kidney beans) with the mouth watering spice concoction… you get a heart healthy, beer belly reducing bowl of glorious-ness.

Watch below as I show you how it’s done:

Chili Con Carne and Beer



Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Medium Yellow Onions
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 2 Red (Green, Yellow or Orange) Bell Peppers
  • Big Handful of Mushrooms
  • 1 Small Zucchini
  • 1 – 24 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 – 12 oz Can of Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • 1 – 12 oz Can of Black Beans
  • 1 – 12 oz Can of Kidney Beans
  • 1 pound of Extra Lean Ground Carne/Beef (Turkey or Chicken)
  • 1 Can of your favorite Beer
  • 2 table spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Chili Powder
  • 2 table spoons of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Ground Cumin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes (more or less depending how spicy you like it)
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

How to put it all together:

Crack open the can of Beer and sip slowly making sure to save half of it for later.

Chop up all the veggies. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil into a large pot and turn to medium/high heat.

Toss in all the chopped veggies and add in the following spices: 2 heaping table spoons of Chili Powder, 1 heaping tea spoon of Ground Cumin (or Coriander), 1 heaping tea spoon of Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes (more or less depending how spicy you like it) and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Stir every 30-45 seconds for about 8-10 minutes.

Add the entire can of Diced Tomatoes. Drain and Rinse the Chick Peas, Black and Kidney Beans and stir them into the pot.

Pour in the 1/2 Can of your favorite Beer. With your wooden spoon slowly stir in and break apart the Ground Carne (allowing it to cook in the chili).

Stir in the 2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar, and add another pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for about an hour or more, stirring occasionally.

Serve garnished with a scoop of plain Greek yogurt, some grated cheddar cheese and freshly chopped cilantro. Sooooo Good. Makes about 6 – 8 servings.


Yours in health,


PS. Stay tuned for another one of my favourites – Beef and Guinness Stew.

Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

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