North Carolina Launches First Beer Month

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April will mark North Carolina’s first official month dedicated to the state’s many breweries

Beer-related events will take place across the state.

Breweries, restaurants, and hotels throughout the Tar Heel state will welcome their first "Beer Month," or four weeks dedicated to festivals, special events, and beer-themed tour packages across North Carolina. With 80-plus known breweries statewide, as well as the country’s reigning "Beer City USA" (Asheville, N.C.), North Carolina hopes to highlight the state’s vibrant and growing industry.

The event’s website showcases specific cities and regions worth visiting while also outlining several beer trip ideas in the state’s other brew capitals, including Charlotte and the greater Raleigh/Durham area. Some cities are even organizing beer-themed weekend excursions like Asheville’s Beer City Weekend with Highland Brewing. The weekend will include an optional stay at Aloft hotel, a LaZoom comedy bus tour of Riverbend Malt House, a Highland Brewing Company tour, and dinner at Lexington Avenue Brewery.

Several breweries will also celebrate Beer Month with special offers like General Lenoir’s OId Ale at Howard Brewing Company in Lenoir, N.C. The limited-time ale will be based on an actual handwritten recipe from General William Lenoir, a Revolutionary War hero who once lived nearby.

6 Famous Foods Born in North Carolina

Visit the places where these famous foods got their start, and savor their flavors at festivals and attractions you'll only find here.

North Carolina is home to many unique foods, drinks and places to enjoy them. Several of our tasty treats are available around the country (and world), but there’s something special about experiencing a cold soda or hot donut in the place where it all started.

Here are six of North Carolina’s great food stories.

1 Pepsi

1 Pepsi

Pepsi-Cola began in a drugstore in New Bern in 1898 at the hands of pharmacist Caleb Bradham, with the aim to create a fountain drink that was both delicious and helpful in aiding digestion and boosting energy. Bradham’s drugstore housed a soda fountain where the small-town clientele would meet to socialize. By 1902, the demand from surrounding drugstores increased so dramatically that at the end of that year, he filed incorporation papers with the state of North Carolina indicating plans for corporate branches in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.

Only in North Carolina: Visit the Birthplace of Pepsi in New Bern, the actual site where Pepsi-Cola was invented. Step back in time and enjoy a fountain Pepsi, and browse through vintage signage, classic bottles and even Christmas ornaments.

2 Cheerwine

2 Cheerwine

Known as the “nectar of the tarheels,” the wild cherry-flavored Cheerwine soda was created in the basement of L.D. Peeler’s wholesale grocery store in Salisbury during a World War I sugar shortage. The company has passed down through three generations of Peeler’s family, using traditional marketing for the growth of the brand throughout the South. Cheerwine can now be found in several Southern states and California.

Only in North Carolina: The annual Cheerwine Festival takes place in downtown Salisbury each year. It’s a celebration complete with live music, a beer garden, Carolina pulled pork covered in Cheerwine barbecue sauce, commemorative Cheerwine merchandise and, of course, cold Cheerwine.

3 Mt. Olive Pickles

3 Mt. Olive Pickles

With only a 3,600-square-foot building and $19,500 in capital at its beginning in 1926, Mt. Olive Pickle Company has grown to become one of the most bestselling brands of pickles, peppers and relishes in the country. Located at the corner of Cucumber Blvd. and Vine St. in Mount Olive, it’s the largest privately held pickle company in the nation.

Only in North Carolina: The New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop is an annual tradition in the town of Mount Olive, featuring a lighted 3.5-foot pickle lowered from the Mount Olive Volunteer Fire Department's tower truck. Perfect for families, the celebration takes place at 7 p.m., which happens to be midnight Greenwich Mean time.

4 Krispy Kreme

4 Krispy Kreme

Vernon Rudolph founded Krispy Kreme in Winston-Salem in 1937 and sold his first donuts for 25 cents a dozen after borrowing the ingredients from a nearby grocer. Today, Krispy Kreme produces millions of melt-in-your-mouth donuts a day, and it's known for the glowing red sign in shop windows indicating when fresh donuts are ready to eat. The company has grown to serve customers across the United States and around the world.

Only in North Carolina: You might think eating donuts doesn’t mix with exercise, but it does when it’s for a good cause. Each February in Raleigh, thousands of people compete in the Krispy Kreme Challenge, attempting to eat 12 donuts while running 5 miles in one hour, and raising money for the local children’s hospital.

5 Texas Pete

5 Texas Pete

No, Texas is not the birthplace of Texas Pete hot sauce – nor was it developed by a man named Pete. The spicy condiment was actually developed in the 1940s in Winston-Salem. Three brothers, Thad, Ralph and Harold Garner father Samuel Garner and “Mother Jane” began their business making the sauce in pots on the stove in their family home. While the original secret recipe is its foundation, Texas Pete’s product line has expanded to include buffalo wing sauce, honey mustard sauce, chili sauce, pepper sauce, seafood cocktail sauce and more.

6 Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits

6 Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits

Veteran restaurant owners Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas founded the first Bojangles’ restaurant in Charlotte in 1977. They based their concept on three attributes: distinctive flavor, high-quality products made from scratch and a festive restaurant design with friendly service. Today there are more than 700 Bojangles’ locations. Order like a local with a four-piece chicken supremes (Bojangles’ version of chicken fingers) combo and a Bo-Berry biscuit for dessert.

Only in North Carolina: It’s often “Bo Time” at football games, with fans taking advantage of the restaurant’s cleverly packed, large box of food. Bojangles’ is essential to the tailgating experience at Carolina Panthers home games in Charlotte, where the company is an official sponsor of the team.

Shayla Martin

Shayla Martin is a Durham-based travel and food writer. She has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fodors Travel and more.

What's hitting the shelves? New product launches

Lone Star Agave Hard Seltzer. Pic: Pabst Brewing Company

Related tags: Npd

RTD Bombay Sapphire

Bacardi’s Bombay Sapphire has launched its canned RTD gin & tonic nationwide in the US, following the launch in Europe earlier this year.

With an ABV of 5.9%, Bombay Sapphire & Tonic combines the brand's heralded, vapour-infused London Dry Gin with the perfect balance of tonic water, for a superior taste experience.”

Bombay Sapphire & Tonic also comes in a light tonic variety, with 90 calories and 0 sugar.

Baileys Colada

Diageo North America has launched limited edition Baileys Colada in the US.

The drink is ‘made with Irish Cream and blended with the rich flavors or creamy coconut and sweet pineapple’.

Stacey Cunningham, Director of Baileys & Liqueurs, Diageo North America said: "We're so excited to introduce Baileys Colada to welcome in the warmer weather months and give people yet another reason to treat themselves.

"Whether you want to enjoy it blended with ice, poured over ice, or on top of ice cream, your vacation starts the second you take that first sip!"

Baileys Colada is available nationwide for a limited time wherever spirits-based beverages are sold for a suggested retail price of $24.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Chamoy Michelada

Mexican beer brand Estrella Jalisco is launching a new Tropical Chamoy Michelada lager this month: a ‘fruity spin on the Mexican brunch staple’.

The 3.5% ABV drink combines the ‘sweet and tart taste of pineapple with the kick of heat from clamato and chamoy’.

Chamoy savory sauces and condiments are used in Mexican cuisine, while clamato is based on tomato juice and spices.


From 1950s to today.

“Long Drink” is a top selling category of alcohol in Finland -
a legendary taste that is now available in America.

The roots of long drinks go back to the 1952 Summer Games in Finland, when the country of only 4 million people was still recovering from World War II. Concerned with how to serve drinks quickly enough to all the visitors, the government commissioned the creation of a revolutionary new liquor drink, and so the first long drinks were born.

Now this legendary taste has finally been brought to America by the next generation of Finns who want the world to experience the refreshing and unique Finnish Long Drink.

Beer of the Month Club shipment includes:

Each monthly Craft Beer Club selection is produced by small-production, independent, artisan, craft brewers who use traditional brewing ingredients with creative techniques and time-honored brewing methods to create their brews. In each shipment we feature 2 different craft breweries - each located in different geographical regions, 4 different craft beer styles with three beers of each style. A few times during the year we feature cans so you can take your beer on the go.

Each shipment includes 12 beers from among the best, micro-breweries in America, many of which have earned top awards for their signature brews. Our “Micro Brew News” newsletter accompanies each shipment so you can learn more about the featured craft brewery and the brewmasters. Check out the brewery's tasting notes and test your beer geekiness with beer trivia questions!

There is NO membership fee. There is NO obligation to continue. You may cancel your membership or gift at anytime, for any reason. Your satisfaction is important to us!

Beer lovers across the country are discovering the endless versatility when pairing world-class beer with delicious food. Craft beer has all the complexity and food compatibility needed to make any dish memorable. That's why our newsletter in each shipment includes awesome recipes to pair with that month's featured brews, many of which come straight from the featured craft breweries. Now is the perfect time to treat yourself, your family and friends to hard-to-find, outstanding brews from some of the best brewmasters in the country. Join or give a gift of our Craft Beer of the Month Club today!

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Experienced brewer walked in the front door

One of the most important pieces of the puzzle and an essential part of a brewery seemed to come out of nowhere.

Will Heinen, who has been brewing since about 2008, was working on his father's farm in Holton when he heard rumors a brewery was in the works.

On the verge of moving back to the East Coast, Heinen's plans changed when he spotted brewing equipment sitting outside of Willcott Brewing Co.

"I think I geeked out with Sean for like 45 minutes and didn't let him work," Heinen said. "I think just that brief conversation Sean was like, 'Oh he might actually know what he's talking about.' So he gave me a chance."

Heinen first learned how to brew at High Noon Saloon and Brewery in Leavenworth before moving east and taking jobs as a brewer in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

Willcott and Heinen have each concocted their own recipes for the brewery's four flagship beers &mdash Four Brothers, and Four Sisters, both IPAs Two Feet Wheat, a wheat ale and TexaKan, a sweet stout.

Heinen used a dark beer recipe he developed several years ago to create TexaKan, which pays homage to his birth state of Texas and Kansas.

The creative freedom Willcott allows Heinen to have is important and a rarity, Heinen said.

Jennifer Willcott said Heinen "was a gift to us."

"For many years, we were like, 'How are we going to find a brewer who wants to come to Holton, Kansas, who is willing to work on less than what they probably deserve for a while until we start making money?'" Jennifer Willcott said. "Then there was Will. . It was so easy, and he was from here.

"It was just really ironic how that worked out."

"It was meant to be," Heinen said. "My dad will call it the Holy Spirit, I'll call it the universe &mdash we can call it whatever we want &mdash but all signs point to we are going to make an awesome brewery here and we like being a team."

Memphis BBQ Rub

In Memphis, the rub is the most important ingredient aside from the meat. Often ribs are served with only a rub and without sauce. This means that this barbecue rub has to provide all the flavor to make Memphis-style barbecue. This rub starts with a generous portion of paprika and then builds a slightly spicy but definitely savory profile to help you make the most of your barbecue. This Memphis rub is particularly good on ribs but can be used on any smoked meats.

50 States of Must-Try Food

From Alabama to Wyoming, here are the dishes that most-define every state in the United States.

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Photo By: Willamette Valley Pie Company

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Welcome to the United Plates of America

Don't just settle for the same dish wherever you go: Each state is packed with iconic local flavors that share its history and define its geography. Whether you're craving Alabama barbecue, Alaskan seafood or a deep-fried favorite in Arizona, here are the dishes you have to try in every state, and the best places to find them.

Illustration by Hello Neighbor Designs

Alabama: Chicken and White Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce takes many forms within Alabama. But the state&rsquos unique contribution to the art form is a creamy, mayonnaise-based white sauce served over smoked chicken. If you&rsquove never heard of it, you&rsquore not alone: A huge number of red sauces are available at most Southern grocery stores, but white sauce is rarely found outside Alabama. Bob Gibson, the founder of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, is credited with having invented white sauce back in 1925, and his original Decatur location has been making it ever since.

Alaska: King Crab

Bisques, cakes, rolls, legs, buckets, clusters and combos: Alaskans love their crab. At Tracy's King Crab Shack in Juneau, Bering Sea king crab is the star. Tracy's crab cakes come with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce a bucket holds half of a king crab plus a killer claw. They also boast the "best legs in town."

Arizona: Chimichangas

One day in the mid-1950s, El Charro Café&rsquos founding chef, Monica Flyn, accidentally invented the chimichanga when she dropped a burro (a big burrito) into the deep fryer. On that day a legend was born. Now, the crisped, packed dish is available at the Tucson and Oro Valley restaurants in sizes from the bite-size mini to their supersized USA Today chimi, which is about the size of a rolled-up newspaper, full of chicken, beef, shrimp, vegetarian beans or carnitas.

Arkansas: Fried Pickles

In 1963, Bernell "Fatman" Austin of the Duchess Drive-In first battered and deep-fried dill pickle slices and sold them for 15 cents for a basket of 15 to employees of the nearby Atkins Pickle Plant. Though both the restaurant and its proprietor are long gone, fried pickles have become an Arkansas mainstay, and the wafer-thin versions served at Sassy's Red House in Fayetteville is one of the finest. They're usually served with ranch dressing, though you can also find remoulade or ketchup, depending on the restaurant.

California: Avocado Toast

Californians are fiercely proud of their incredible avocados they've turned the creamy green fruit into an everlasting fad. Aside from the ubiquitous guacamole throughout the state, avocado shows up in everything from burgers to ice cream, but one of the most-popular ways to enjoy avocados is mashed high on top of toast. There are endless ways to modify avocado toast topped with caviar, feta, radishes and then some, but keeping it simple can be just as delicious. At Dinette in Los Angeles&rsquo trendy Echo Park neighborhood, an order of avocado toast gets you a Texas-toast-size slice of rustic bread topped with a limey, fresh heap of crushed avocado seasoned with chile flakes, parsley and delicate snowflake-like flecks of salt. You&rsquoll need a fork and knife to cut through this toast steak.

Colorado: Lamb Chops

Lamb is one of Colorado's most-famous foods. So while the steaks at Elway's, a quartet of carnivorous emporiums named for the former Denver Broncos quarterback, are exceptional slabs of beautifully seasoned beef well worth a splurge, set your sights on the lamb chops and fondue. The bucket-list starter parades a trio of lightly gamy chops - the lamb is sourced from Mountain States Rosen, a ranch in Greeley - that expose remarkably tender flesh throttled with flavor. The chops really don't require a sidekick, but the warm cheese fondue, creamy with pepper Jack and peppered with a variety of fresh chiles, sort of makes you want to snort it. It's been said by many that Colorado lays claim to the best lamb in the world Elway's chops are proof positive that they're right.

Connecticut: White Clam Pizza

Few other pizzas are as revered as Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana&rsquos white clam pizza. Pepe has served its charred and chewy pizzas since 1925 on New Haven&rsquos historic Wooster Street. The elder statesman of New Haven&rsquos well-regarded pizza scene, Pepe&rsquos continues to draw long lines trailing down the block for a chance to enjoy a taste of New Haven&rsquos history from its coal-fired brick ovens. The clam pie, in particular, has inspired hundreds of imitators with few matching the intoxicating combination of Romano cheese, fresh garlic, olive oil, parsley and clams. Combining the Connecticut shoreline&rsquos love of seafood with Pepe&rsquos signature chewy and charred crust, Pepe&rsquos is the place for an authentic Connecticut pizza experience.

Delaware: Fries with Vinegar

When in Delaware, the beach is everyone's summer hideaway from everyone else, and when at the beach, a stop for a tub of hot fries at Thrasher's on the boardwalk is as obligatory as a nap on the sand. A liberal dousing with cider vinegar is not quite as mandatory, but comes highly recommended by devotees of the snappy, salty, memory-making result. Just keep watch for dive-bombing seagulls.

Florida: Key Lime Pie

Florida&rsquos most famous export besides oranges may be Key Lime Pie. Named after the small, tart, aromatic limes commonly associated with the Florida Keys, the meringue-topped pie combines the tangy lime juice with sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk, all poured into a graham cracker crust. Variations appear on virtually every menu south of the Georgia border, but not all key lime pies are created equal. (Rule: Never trust a bright green filling!) The version found at Ma&rsquos Fish Camp in Islamorada is prepared according to traditional Conch guidelines, well-balanced honeyed, citrusy base, piled high with sweet meringue.

Georgia: Boiled Peanuts

Ground nut, goober, pindar nut or peanut. Call them what you like, Georgia&rsquos official state crop is a worldwide favorite. After all, where would the PB&J be without the all-important "P"? Particularly in peanut country, though, boiled peanuts (pronounced "boll-ed peanuts" in a Southern drawl) are a crowd pleaser. The uninitiated might liken their tender texture to edamame since they&rsquore cooked with salt and spices, they don&rsquot need any additional seasoning. At Augusta&rsquos Finch & Fifth, boiled peanuts are a year-round favorite way to start the meal. The kitchen sources about 50 pounds of peanuts each month from a nearby farm and boils them in Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with their own secret spice blend.

Hawaii: Shave Ice

Shaved ice &mdash or shave ice, as locals call it &mdash is so much more than a snow cone. In Hawaii, the most-popular shave ice stands sell fluffy mountains of ice, shaved to a nearly fluffy consistency with very sharp blades. Ululani&rsquos arguably has the fluffiest and finest on Maui, if not the state, taking it up a notch by offering a wide variety of popular and exotic flavors like lychee, tiger&rsquos blood, wedding cake, pickled mango and wet lemon peel. Its shave ice is so popular that Ululani&rsquos now has six locations around Maui, but the main one is in Lahaina, on Front Street, right by the ocean.

Idaho: Jim Spud Baked Potato

Taxidermized deer and buffalo heads peer down from the walls at Pioneer Saloon, a rustic steak-and-potatoes mainstay on Ketchum&rsquos Main Street. The space is also decked out with statues of cowboys on bucking horses and a cocked shotgun owned by Ernest Hemingway. After a long day on the ski slopes at Baldy, patrons swear by the gargantuan Jim Spud, an Idaho potato loaded with 6 ounces of teriyaki steak scraps, caramelized onions, butter, sour cream and a mound of melting cheddar cheese. But only the hungriest should go solo: This is a beast that&rsquos best shared.

Illinois: Deep-Dish Pizza

Because it&rsquos a knife-and-fork affair that threatens your cardiac health, most Illinoisans eat deep-dish pizza only a few times a year. But when they do, the best places to get it are the restaurants run by the sons of deep-dish pizza co-inventor Rudy Malnati Sr.: Lou Malnati&rsquos and Pizano&rsquos (owned by Rudy Malnati Jr.). Rudy Jr.&rsquos spot gets the edge over his brother&rsquos, because his crust is more buttery and golden and a little less hefty. The sauce is delectably salty and ripe with tomato. You can get any topping, but if you want to keep it real, stick to &mdash as the locals pronounce it &mdash"ssaaah-sidge."

Indiana: Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

If the Hoosier state had an official sandwich, this would be it. The deep-fried breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is big in Indiana &mdash literally. The pork is pounded out, breaded, deep fried and typically served on a bun that looks conspicuously small compared to the meat, but that&rsquos part of the appeal. At The Mug, a "farm-to-curb" drive-in in Greenfield with a second location in Indy&rsquos Irvington neighborhood, that pork is pasture-raised on local farms.

Iowa: Sweet Corn

If drive more than a few blocks in Iowa, you&rsquoll likely see a few sprouting ears of corn growing. In fact, the saying is, "knee-high by the fourth of July." Come mid-summer, farmers pack truck beds full of sweet corn to sell at markets and on street corners. There are even festivals dedicated to the kernels. One favorite hybrid is the bi-color peaches and cream, known for its exceptionally sweet flavor, and sold by Grimes Sweet Corn.

Kansas: Barbecue Ribs

Kansans like to get their fingers sticky eating well-smoked barbecue ribs. The best are found at HHB BBQ in downtown Topeka. Pit Master-Owner Ed Moege coats the baby backs in his own special rub and then transfers them to the smoker out back. Towards the end, he smothers them with the house sauce. The result is close-to-fall-apart-tender ribs with just the right amount of smoke. The ribs are available for lunch on Fridays and for dinner every weeknight. They go well with a side of cheesy potatoes or smoked mac and cheese.

Kentucky: Hot Brown

In 1926 Chef Fred Schmidt at Louisville&rsquos Brown Hotel created a savory, creamy, hot, open-faced turkey sandwich intended to recharge the energies of the hotel&rsquos nightly dinner-dance patrons. Schmidt layered sliced turkey on toast, covered it with Mornay sauce, tucked in some Roma tomato halves and toast points, ran the dish under a hot broiler and added crisp bacon slices as the topper. The Hot Brown, still available daily at the Brown Hotel, has its own webpage, which includes the original recipe. It remains popular enough in restaurants across the commonwealth that it has spawned its own best-of competitions.

Louisiana: Beignets

Pillowy fried dough coated in a blanket of powdered sugar: Is there anything to argue with here? Nope. Café du Monde sets the global standard for puffy, hot-out-of-the-fryer beignets. Open 24 hours a day, the French Quarter cafe serves beignets around the clock to satisfy cravings whenever they strike. You&rsquore probably not going to leave without a powdered-sugar mustache &mdash and let&rsquos be honest, powdered-sugar pants, too. Chicory coffee is practically mandatory for beignet-dipping bliss.

Maine: Lobster Roll

Maine is practically synonymous with lobster, meaning excellent lobster rolls. Red&rsquos Eats has been an iconic figure along Route 1 in Wiscasset since 1954. In 2015, the tiny lobster shack &mdash with its outside picnic table seating and notoriously long lines &mdash served 14 tons of fresh lobster in its signature rolls during its six-month season. 14 tons. Even with all of the lobster roll options in Maine, Red&rsquos sets itself apart with its generosity: The staff don&rsquot measure the meat, they just "pile high." If lobsters are shedding their shells and tails are small, you may find three tails on your buttery bun. There&rsquos easily more than one lobster&rsquos worth per roll &mdash and no bib necessary.

Maryland: Steamed Crabs

Nothing shouts Maryland quite like blue crab, the Chesapeake Bay crustacean prized for its sweet, white meat. Annual catches have been on the decline in recent decades, but conservation efforts are helping to bring this state treasure back in force. The purest way to enjoy these clawed beauties is the simplest: steamed and dusted with a piquant spice mix (like Old Bay!). Order them at crab houses across Maryland &mdash think Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis or Costas Inn just outside Baltimore &mdash where steamed crabs are sold by the dozen and dumped directly atop tables covered in newspaper or brown butcher paper. Prepare to get messy, since no utensils are required but your own two hands and the supplied crackers and mallets.

Massachusetts: Clam Chowder

Legal Sea Foods &mdash or Legal, as it is fondly known here &mdash opened in 1950 in Cambridge and has become a New England institution, now counting dozens of outposts along the eastern seaboard. (Disclosure: This writer's mother worked here decades ago!) Owner Roger Berkowitz recalls: "Initially we had done only fish chowder, [but] we tried an experiment with clam chowder and it went over well. . As soon as we introduced it, I thought, 'Boy, why didn't we do that before?'" Today the clam chowder &mdash featuring fresh clams, salt pork, potatoes, light cream and a homemade fish stock that Berkowitz thinks is key &mdash outsells fish chowder 20 to 1.

Michigan: Pasty

The Cornish created the pasty, but when Cornish immigrant copper miners brought the meat hand pies to Michigan, the dish took on new characteristics. Often found in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.), pasties were later adopted by the Finnish, who claimed them as their own. Regardless of origin, the pasty has become a staple Michigan food for the Yoopers (those who live in the U.P.), who even throw a festival to celebrate it. Some of the best pasties can be found at Lawry's, a family-owned pasty shop that opened in 1946. They still serve the traditional meat variety stuffed with beef, potato, onion and rutabagas, but also offer mini pasties, and garden vegetable versions as well.

Minnesota: Hot Dish

It might look like a casserole to you, but ask any Minnesotan what they call this combination of beef or chicken, veggies and canned cream of mushroom soup &mdash traditionally topped with Tater Tots &mdash and the response will be "hot dish." This easy to make casserole can be found everywhere from church suppers to family reunions. It&rsquos even at the center of a highly competitive culinary competition that pits the state&rsquos congressional delegation against one another to see just who makes the best hot dish. While it&rsquos mostly a dish made at home, The Mason Jar, located in Eagen, serves a version that will remind you of your grandmother&rsquos cooking, if your grandmother made everything from scratch. Ground beef is browned and stirred into a rich and creamy mushroom sauce, and draped over tots. Melted cheddar cheese and a few more tots crown the top for rib-sticking glory.

Mississippi: Biscuits

Natchez, Mississippi, is famous for its antebellum mansions and riverboats. It&rsquos also the Biscuit Capital of the World. Regina Charboneau, a seventh-generation native daughter, helped her hometown earn the official designation in 2008 and launch a biscuit festival, with a cook-off, demos and a crowning of a biscuit queen. A Paris-trained chef, Charboneau prepares extra-buttery, flaky biscuits that have become legend. Her biscuit recipe is no secret. She&rsquos shared the method in cookbooks and cooking classes, and with national press.

Missouri: Toasted Ravioli

Toasted ravioli &mdash which are, in fact, fried &mdash are exactly what they sound like: crispy, breaded ravioli. They&rsquore typically filled with seasoned ground meat and served with marinara sauce, but not so at upscale barbcue joint Salt + Smoke. No, sir! They fill their ravioli with chopped oak-smoked burnt ends, topped with a sprinkle of garlic and herbs and served with an Alabama-style white barbecue dipping sauce. Resistance is futile.

Montana: Huckleberry Ice Cream

Wilcoxson&rsquos Ice Cream is as much a Montana dietary staple as a hearty steak or a juicy hamburger. Boasting 58 flavors, including local strongholds Bobcat Batter and Chocolate Runs Through It, the Livingston-based company has been filling bellies throughout Big Sky Country since 1912. Sandwich shops like The Pickle Barrel (in Bozeman, Belgrade, Livingston and Billings) whip Wilcoxson&rsquos into milkshakes or serve it in softball-size scoops on cones. Wilcoxson&rsquos Huckleberry Ice Cream Bars can be snapped up at most any grocery story, gas station or hardware store between Yellowstone and Glacier with a "Proudly Serving Wilcoxson's" sign displayed in the front window.

Nebraska: Tin Roof Sundae

The tiny town of Potter, Nebraska, is home to this big treat, an ice cream sundae that played with sweet and savory combinations long before it became a trend. Harold Dean "Pinky" Thayer came up with the combination, which tops chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce, then a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then warm marshmallow cream. The whole thing gets a sprinkling of skin-on Spanish peanuts. The Potter Sundry in town is the place to get one, and it draws tourists from around the globe to sample the dessert, especially in the summer.

Nevada: 3 a.m. Steak & Eggs

Known lovingly as "steggs," the no-frills late-night/early-morning steak and eggs plate is a cherished ritual for casino workers, tourists and night owls alike. Among the many 24-hour diners near the Las Vegas Strip, the Ellis Island Cafe rises to the top. Established in 1968, the local favorite aims to please with a generously sized New York strip, two eggs, toast and potatoes, all for a price hovering at or below ten dollars.

New Hampshire: Poutine

Natives with a strong French-Canadian heritage, especially near Manchester, carry a gravy-slathered torch for this iconic cheesy French fry combination. The dish is offered as a basic recipe in many bars around town, but at New England Tap House Grill in Hooksett, the fries are given a Parmesan and fresh rosemary dusting and the gravy is enriched with a sherry-peppercorn demiglace, then a heady spritz of truffle oil. Authentic: No. Worthy: Yes.

New Jersey: Disco Fries

Disco fries are New Jersey&rsquos answer to Canada&rsquos poutine. The Tick Tock Diner in Clifton lays claim to originating them, as do several other establishments in the Garden State. But it&rsquos the Tick Tock that most Jersey residents think of when they&rsquore craving crisp French fries smothered in melted mozzarella and warm gravy. While the dish has been around longer than the days of disco, the name allegedly came about in the 1970s at diners when John Travolta wannabes stumbled in after a night of dancing and drinking. Known primarily in North Jersey, the dish has been creeping down south in recent years.

New Mexico: Frito Pie

Texas and Santa Fe both lay claim to Frito Pie. Each side has its arguments and documentation, but at Española's El Parasol the answer is, "Who cares?" Everyone &mdash even Texans &mdashenjoys the crisp and salty corn chips blanketed in red chile sauce and topped with beans, ground beef, cheese and lettuce. It's messy, filling and decadent. Start with a fork, but switch to a spoon when the chips begin to wilt to fully revel in this so-wrong-it's-right kind of creation.

New York: Buffalo Wings

The favorite finger food of sports fans, Buffalo wings get their name from the city of their inception. There&rsquos seemingly no such thing as a bad wing in Buffalo, but the establishment that rises above all others is the place where the wing was born. It started almost by accident as an experiment, on March 4, 1964. Anchor Bar co-founder Teressa Bellissimo&rsquos son Dominic asked his mother to whip up a snack for his intoxicated friends late one night while he was tending bar. Teressa deep-fried the wings that were normally used as the base for stock, then flavored them with a secret sauce. While similar recipes have become mainstays on menus across the US, Teressa&rsquos tightly guarded master recipe is only available at Anchor Bar.

North Carolina: Lexington-Style Barbecue

When it comes to choosing sides in the barbecue battles, it all comes down to the sauce. In the Lexington area, that means a tangy, vinegar-based blend with ketchup, salt, pepper and an occasional "secret" spice or two. It&rsquos tradition to dip the pork shoulder meat into the sauce, rather than pouring it on. Don&rsquot be confused when you see "barbecue slaw" on the menu. It&rsquos not cooked, but dressed with this favored sauce in lieu of bland mayonnaise. Lexington&rsquos legendary Barbecue Center has been operating since the 1950s and continually wins over new generations of fans, including Bobby Flay, who visited on BBQ with Bobby Flay.

North Dakota: Cheese Buttons

These dumplings may follow one general recipe, but but they go by many names. Ukrainian speakers call them varenyky or pyrohy, while the Czechs say they&rsquore vareniki. In Polish, they&rsquore called pierogi. In German, they&rsquore kase knoephla. Second- third- and fourth-generation North Dakotans call them cheese buttons, which seems an apt name for plump little dumplings stuffed with creamy cottage cheese. They&rsquore typically boiled or pan-fried in butter and topped with cheese, scallions or sautéed onions and a drizzle of fresh or sour cream. Buy frozen cheese buttons at the Ukrainian Cultural Institute in Dickinson or order freshly boiled dumplings by Tuesday and pick them up on Wednesday.

Ohio: Cincinnati Chili

Thanks to Skyline Chili, scores of Americans living outside the Queen City have discovered the matchless joys of Cincinnati-style chili, which fans know has little to do with that Texas-reared version. At countless "parlors" throughout the region, chili refers to that thin, mildly spiced meat-based sauce that is ladled over Coney dogs or big platters of spaghetti. Skyline and early rival Gold Star both cast a very wide net throughout the region and beyond, but many locals prefer to get their two-, three-, four- and five-way plates at local legend Camp Washington, honored by the James Beard Foundation as an American Regional Classic. Whether you prefer yours topped simply with finely shredded cheddar cheese or the works &mdash cheese, onions and beans &mdash it&rsquos a comfort classic, best enjoyed with hot sauce and oyster crackers.

Oklahoma: Steak

The heavyweight champion of diners&rsquo affections in Oklahoma is a good steak, and nobody has done it longer than Cattlemen&rsquos. Born as Cattlemen&rsquos Café in Oklahoma City&rsquos infancy, and won in a dice game after World War II, the institution evolved into Cattlemen&rsquos Steakhouse in 1990. Owner Dick Stubbs broadened the menu to include prime beef to go along with choice cuts, creating dishes that draw droves from around the world. The restaurant serves its hearty steaks at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The steak earns Cattlemen&rsquos a lot of attention, but the restaurant is almost as popular for its lamb fries and salad dressing.

Oregon: Marionberry Pie

Marionberries were bred at Oregon State University by crossing two types of blackberries. Because they don&rsquot ship well, most fresh marionberries are used in-state to make muffins, jam, ice cream and the beloved fresh pie. The Willamette Valley Pie Company in Salem, which processes an average of 12 million pounds of berries per year, makes three kinds of marionberry pie and lets you pick your own marionberries in the summer.

Pennsylvania: Philly Cheesesteak

Thinly sliced and griddle-fried beef, with or without onions, topped with Cheez Whiz, American or provolone (you choose), and piled into a long crusty roll &mdash this is the Philly icon. Though Pat&rsquos and Geno&rsquos are the household names, many locals prefer John&rsquos Roast Pork, where the steak is cooked to order and the rolls are seeded. The family-run sandwich shack has been around since the 1930s, and though named for another classic Philly sandwich, it's the local go-to spot for cheesesteaks too. Opt for sharp provolone rather than Whiz or American, and get it with onions (just say "wit" &mdash it&rsquos faster and lines are long) to pack in maximum flavor.

Rhode Island: Coffee Milk

Nearly 100 years old, coffee milk is so iconic here that it became the official state drink in 1993. Coffee-and-sugar syrup is spun with frosty milk for an ice cream-free riff on a milkshake that&rsquos as addictive as it is simple. You'll find it at coffee shops across Rhode Island, but skip the versions made with artificial ingredients and try those prepared with good coffee and sugar. Dave Lanning, CEO of Dave&rsquos Coffee in Providence and Charlestown, roasts and cold-brews Brazilian beans and simmers the result with pure cane sugar to make the beloved syrup that forms the drink&rsquos base. (People even buy the syrup online!)

South Carolina: She-Crab Soup

A rich soup that&rsquos similar to bisque, she-crab soup traditionally blends cream, fresh crabmeat, red-orange roe from the female crab (hence the 'she-crab') and a splash of sherry. It can be found on menus from the Lowcountry to the Upstate. South Carolinian chef Sean Mendes serves one of the state&rsquos best bowls &mdash using his family recipe &mdash at Folly Beach&rsquos Roadside Seafood. Another classic version has been a signature dish since the day Soby&rsquos opened their doors in Greenville in 1997. And it&rsquos also a 55-year fave that garners more adoration than any other dish on the menu at the iconic Sea Captain&rsquos House in Myrtle Beach.

South Dakota: Lefse

Lefse is a Norwegian-American staple. The flat potato bread is best enjoyed with a spread of butter and, for the sweet tooth, sprinkled with sugar, and rolled up. Scandinavian grandmas, aunts and moms are keepers of the family recipe and, when grandma is ready to give it up, they inherit the lefse grill, turning stick and corrugated wooden rolling pin. Lefse is iconic to South Dakota but it, and similar dishes influenced by Norwegian culture such as krumkake, sandbakkels and rosettes, are made in home kitchens, not restaurants. When you must venture out of grandma&rsquos kitchen, buy packaged lefse at participating Hy-Vee stores or at bakeries and church bake sales at Christmastime.

Tennessee: Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Legend goes that Nashville Hot Chicken was invented in the 1930&rsquos when a scorned lover tried to exact revenge by spicing up Thornton Prince&rsquos fried chicken with an insane amount of pepper until it was an infernally dark red color and blazingly hot in flavor. It turned out he loved it and asked his paramour to cook more of it for him and his friends, eventually opening a restaurant to serve it to the masses. Today, there are multiple places to buy and try the piquant poultry, but the current generation of the Prince family still serves the original version, which many consider to be the best.

Texas: Brisket

Warning: Franklin Barbecue&rsquos brisket will take five hours off your life &mdash not just because of the heavy oak-smoked rush of flavor that&rsquos literally unlike anything else in the universe, but because scoring a bite requires arriving at the Austin institution around sunrise and waiting until its doors open at 11 a.m. It&rsquos a rite of passage among barbecue snobs that isn&rsquot for the weak of knees, but once you reach the front of the line, you&rsquoll be rewarded with a bite of food you&rsquoll never forget and that showcases the best of Texas&rsquo barbecue traditions.

Utah: Fry Sauce

There are few better ways to enjoy french fries than with a side of fry sauce. Consisting of ketchup, lemon juice, eggs and some secret ingredients, fry sauce tastes similar to Thousand Island dressing. Though many restaurants and fast food joints serve their own versions around Utah, Arctic Circle, a popular Midvale-based hamburger chain, claims to have put the elevated dipping sauce on the map in the 1950&rsquos. Due to popular demand, the chain now sells 16-ounce bottles. And no judgment here if you decide to slather it on your cheeseburger, too.

Vermont: Apple Pie (with Cheddar)

Like many Vermonters, multigeneration apple orchardist Ray Allen believes "Apple pie with cheese is like a hug without the squeeze." And Allen knows apple pie. The Allenholm Farm apple orchard in South Hero has been in his family since 1870, and he&rsquos prepared the very flaky crust for each of the 2,000-plus pies annually sold at the orchard since 1990, when his wife dared him to perfect a pie recipe. New Englanders also believe in pie for breakfast, and, at 80, Allen has sure earned his slice.

Virginia: Peanut Soup

A mix of onion, celery, chicken stock and peanut butter lays the base for this hearty soup that was popular in Colonial Virginia. Its roots are African, but the version served on Fridays at 1776 Log House Restaurant was adapted from one that was once served at the historic Hotel Roanoke, which was constructed in the 1880s. The family-run restaurant is located in tiny downtown Wytheville in the western part of the state, and is set in an actual log cabin built in its namesake year of 1776.

Washington: Seafood Chowder

Kevin Davis has been making chowder his entire adult life. So it makes sense that when he opened his Pike Place Market restaurant, Steelhead Diner, a decade ago, he put chowder on the menu. Initially, he used manilla clams, but because he was selling so much chowder, it became an economical nightmare. His new recipe uses razor clams, and it&rsquos no less flavorful. He follows a very specific recipe that includes fennel, leek, potatoes, apple wood-smoked bacon, cream, butter, thick-cut razor clams and razor clam juice. The entire dish is drizzled with truffle oil sourced from nearby La Buona Tavola truffle cafe.

West Virginia: Pepperoni Rolls

Created in West Virginia by Italian immigrants needing a hearty, delicious and, most importantly, non-perishable lunch to take underground while working the coal mines, pepperoni rolls are now the state&rsquos official food. Some modern-day takes are topped with sautéed onions, peppers and marinara, but you&rsquoll want to start with the original recipe. Featuring spicy sticks of pepperoni baked inside a warm, fluffy roll, the banner version is served at Tomaro&rsquos Bakery, located in the heart of Clarksburg&rsquos Italian community.

Wisconsin: Fried Cheese Curds

Cheese curds are small, bumpy lumps of (usually) cheddar that are collected before the cheese has formed into blocks. Kids of all ages love them for their moist, springy bite and mild, salty flavor. Try to get them as fresh as possible, before they are fully chilled, because that&rsquos when they squeak. Yes, this cheese makes noise when you eat it. Fresh cheese curds are hugely popular in Wisconsin, but deep-fried cheese curds have attained cultlike status. Batter-fried and served with tasty dips, they&rsquore on the menu at such restaurants as the landmark Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. Guess what goes really well with them? Yep: beer.

Wyoming: Fry Bread

In Lander, Deka-Guy Hee (Shoshone for "The Eating House") at Shoshone Rose Casino and Hotel gives guests a taste of the state&rsquos American Indian heritage via Fry Bread, a popular Indian taco dish. The platter is like a taco salad, but it features housemade fry bread instead of a taco shell. The fry bread serves as a palatable landing for cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and ground taco meat.

North Carolina Launches First Beer Month - Recipes

Surly is called “Surly” due to our inability to find a good beer in town. Furious is one of the first beers we brewed to rectify that situation. The rest is history.

People ask us to describe Furious all the time. It’s not quite like any other IPA out there. We give them the flavor notes and the hop profile, but it never seems like it’s enough. What makes Furious Furious? Let’s try this: You know that feeling when you do something that pushes you to your absolute limit? And people think you’re a little off your nut for even doing it? And you kind of agree with them, but goddammit, it’s getting done? And then you fucking DO IT? And there’s no one there to see it but you and the dog so you high-five the dog?


Changing State Laws
DIY Engine Rebuilds
Side 2 of London Calling

Spirited startup gives ice cream a kick

COLUMBIA, SC. — Kentucky native Jennifer Randall-Collins in 2015 launched Liquorem Holdings, maker of Proof Alcohol Ice Cream, after getting her hands on an old family recipe for bourbon ice cream.

“In Kentucky, bourbon goes into everything,” Ms. Randall-Collins said. “They put it in all kinds of food. I swear, they even put bourbon in their bourbon.”

Despite her roots in the Bluegrass state, she headed to South Carolina (where the regulatory environment allows for the combination of food and alcohol in one product) to launch a proof of concept. It started with taste tests in local bars and eateries.

“The first thing out of people’s mouth was, ‘Oh my God, where can I buy this?’” she said. “Initially, I was thinking on-premises in bars and restaurants, but the big response from people was that they wanted to buy it at retail.”

The first iteration launched in stores five years ago. The combination of classic ice cream flavors with bourbon, rum or moonshine caught on quick, and three years later Ms. Randall-Collins and her business partner Dirk Brown bought out their prior investors. They came back to market under the Proof Alcohol Ice Cream brand with the vision of expanding across the country and internationally.

The company currently is in more than 200 stores throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, and is gearing up to ship internationally in South and Central America. Proof is sold in liquor stores and grocery stores, as well as online through the Touch of Modern e-commerce platform and a new direct-to-consumer website.

“One of the biggest things that fuels our success is getting the spoon in a consumer’s mouth,” Ms. Randall-Collins said. “Once we get them to taste it, there's returning revenue.”

The brand offers three permanent flavors, mocha chocolate moonshine, strawberry moonshine and bourbon caramel, along with a rotating selection of seasonal flavors. This summer saw the launch of coconut rum and cheesecake moonshine varieties. In September the company introduced pumpkin spice and apple pie moonshine, followed by pistachio rum, bourbon chocolate cherry and peppermint moonshine in November.

“Keeping that rotation and keeping the menu fresh and relevant to the seasons has been very helpful for us,” Ms. Randall-Collins said.

All the flavors are 7% alcohol by volume (ABV), making each serving akin to a high gravity craft beer.

“We've tried anything from 2% ABV all the way up to 25% ABV, which is just too strong,” Ms. Randall-Collins said. “We’re not trying to get anybody hammered. It's not about getting wasted on ice cream. We tried a couple iterations, one at 10% alcohol by volume, another at 7% and even a few at 5%. The most palate pleasing across the board was that 7% ABV, where you taste the product and get this explosion of flavors. With the pumpkin spice, for instance, you get a strong taste of nutmeg and then a warm finish with the alcohol on the back of the palate.”

The relatively high alcohol content helps Proof stand out in the emerging alcohol ice cream category.

“When I brought it to market in 2015, to my knowledge and to our intellectual property attorney’s knowledge, there was nobody in the space at the retail market,” Ms. Randall-Collins said. “There were folks that were doing what I would call ‘infused ice cream,’ where it’s more of a flavor and not an actual appreciable amount of alcohol.”

Nestle’s Häagen Dazs, for example, offers alcohol ice cream under its Spirits Collection line. The products are made with ingredients like whiskey and rosé wine but are less than 1% ABV.

“We are distinctly different,” Ms. Randall-Collins said. “Alcohol is not a main ingredient like it is in our products. We have had some folks follow us into the market and try to imitate us, which is very flattering and it's good market validation.”

While Proof already was accelerating before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, demand spiked this year as more consumers sought new ways to indulge and unwind at home.

“We make no bones about it, this is not a low calorie or high protein ice cream,” Ms. Randall-Collins said. “This is about treating yourself as an adult. When you've had a long day, we’re going to go all out and give you a product that you can enjoy and indulge in. It is an extra treat, and folks deserve that with everything that is going on. The only thing that slowed us is that grocery store rollouts have been a bit delayed.”

Self-manufacturing has helped the company keep up with demand, she added, even as new opportunities continue opening up across the country and internationally.

“We're trying to have a controlled growth,” Ms. Randall-Collins said. “The last three months have all been about planning and building out as we scale our manufacturing process, so that we make sure the quality is consistent and that the growth of the company scales with the consumer demand. We’re evaluating expansion opportunities and making very surgical decisions to get the best placement, because as we all know, retail is very competitive.”

The company currently is focused on expanding its distribution to the Midwest and West Coast. Long term, Ms. Randall-Collins’ goal is to build a brand that will stand the test of time.

“We’re certainly building for the future with an eye on an opportunity for an exit,” she said. “There definitely is a business piece here where someone, whether it’s on the alcohol side or the ice cream side, eventually comes and takes this to the next level.”

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