Lufkin-Angelina County Chamber of Commerce Banquet

What’s brewing? 

Texas craft brewer to be featured presenter during annual banquet

By MELISSA HEARD MUNDS 

The Lufkin News 

This Thursday at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center, community members will enjoy a variety of delicious appetizers, a sit-down meal, wine and good ol’ Texas brews during the 95th Annual Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber Banquet, presented by Mercer Nissan.

Lee Hereford, president/ CEO of Pedernales Brewing Company in Fredericksburg, will be a featured presenter at the banquet. He will showcase his Lobo Texas Lager, Robert Earl Keen and Lobo Negro beers, and also will be stationed in Brookshire Brothers stores for sampling this Thursday and Friday.

Lobo LagerLobo Negro“Lobo Texas Lager is a pre-prohibition American lager,” Hereford said. “Its original recipe dates back to 1910. It is crisp and dry, with a nice hoppy kick on the finish — won a Gold Medal at Cervezia Mexico last year.

(It’s) Great with sausages, burgers, barbecue and pizza.

Lobo Negro is a German-style black lager. We won a bronze in Lewisville last June, a gold in Mexico City at Cervezia Mexico last September and a silver at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver — the biggest and highest-regarded beer competition in the world.”

There were 5,507 beers entered in the competition, Hereford said, and only 88 received a silver medal. The beer is great with red meats, stews, chilis and other “big” style dishes, Hereford said, and it also pairs well with chocolate desserts.

“Robert Earl Keen Honey Pils is our newest beer,” he said. “It is a collaboration with noted Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen. It is a smooth, delicious pilsner beer with a hint of honey from Fain’s Honey in Llano, Texas — absolutely delicious!”

According to Hereford, Pedernales Brewing specializes in traditional, historic beers and hasn’t branched into the “weird beer” arena yet.

“But instead, we have worked very hard to establish our brewery as one that makes ‘benchmark’ beers,” he said. “If you want to know what a classic, traditional black lager — or Hefe-Weizen, or Session Pilsner — should taste like, try ours.”

Texas craft beer is winning a lot of medals, Hereford said, and getting many strong accolades around the country.

The brewery shipped its first case of beer in 2012 on April 18. A small company, Pedernales has created 12 full-time jobs and 25 part-time jobs in the last 33 months, Hereford said.

“We added $1.2 million in sales to our local community last year, and a whole lot of those dollars stayed in Texas,” he said. “We support USA, and especially Texas companies, when we are sourcing materials like pint glasses, bottles, labels, cans, etc. When you buy a bottle of PBC beer, you’re keeping your money in Texas! Most people still don’t know that Budweiser is owned by a Belgian company, Miller/Coors is owned by an English company, Shiner is owned by a Mexican National and Lone Star and Pabst were just bought by a Russian company. So if you want to drink American-owned, especially Texan-owned products, you’d better buy Texas craft beer.”

Hereford said the brewery is very excited to bring its beers to East Texas.

“I grew up in Conroe, and although I live in Fredericksburg now, I love to come back and visit my extended family and friends in the Piney Woods,” he said. “GG Distributing carries our brands, from Texarkana, Tyler, Longview, Lufkin, Huntsville and Nacogdoches, and all points in between.

Brookshire Brothers is our largest and strongest grocery store partner in this part of the state. ... If you truly like beer, and you want to see what traditional beers taste like — brewed by hand like they were a hundred years ago, but with all the modern technology available today — then come see why everyone is so excited about Texas craft beer.”

Along with Pedernales’ specialty-brewed craft beer, guests at the banquet will enjoy a plated, “sit down” meal served by Brookshire Brothers.

According to Brookshire Brothers spokeswoman Sally Alvis, the expected turnout is around 800. So how does one prepare to cook for such a large number of people? The company’s catering coordinator, Kate Rudasill, said it takes a lot of planning, coordination and prepping.

“When you are preparing food for that many people, you use a great deal of kitchen math,” she said. “‘How many packages of this?’ ‘How many pounds of that?’ It only takes one time of receiving an order with too much or too little of an item, before you learn to double-check all of your numbers.

In addition, you must have plenty of oven space. Brookshire Brothers Catering utilizes the large rack ovens at our Central Bakery that can cook 20 to 25 pans at a time. Thankfully, we have multiple ovens for 800 people; we will be using between 75 to 90 pans. We also would not be able to serve so many if not for a great catering staff.

Brookshire Brothers Catering is very fortunate to have a fantastic, hard-working team who are looking forward to serving the Lufkin community at the 2015 Chamber of Commerce Banquet.” You can reserve tickets to the banquet by calling 634-6644, or emailing JRoberson@LufkinTexas.org. Individual tickets are $50, and corporate-reserved tables of eight are $600.

Many people may discount the idea of using beer in cooking, as using wine is more popular. But Rudasill has developed some great recipes for dips, sausage marinades and more using craft beer.

“The unique flavors and bold tastes of craft brews can dramatically change a recipe from ordinary to spectacular,” Rudasill said. “There are many beer varieties that can be used in everything from savory dishes like Texas chili or beef stew, to sweet desserts like chocolate cake. If you have never cooked with beer, our Cheddar Cheese Beer Dip is a great recipe to try — especially for all those upcoming Super Bowl parties!”

The Brookshire Brothers family has shared two of its favorite recipes that Rudasill created — “Beer Braised Sausage” and “Cheddar Cheese Beer Dips.” Try these out for yourself!

Cheddar Cheese Beer Dip 

Featuring Pedernales Brewery’s Lobo Texas Lager For 8-10 servings: 2 (8-ounce) packages Hytop cream cheese, softened ­ cup beer 1 packet ranch dressing mix 2 cups Hytop fancy shredded mild cheddar cheese Pretzels, crackers or chips Place cream cheese, beer and ranch dressing mix in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the cheddar cheese and mix on low until blended. If the dip is too thick, add a little more beer and mix well.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Sweet and Spicy Beer Braised Sausage 

Featuring Pedernales Brewery’s Lobo Negro Black Lager 12 servings: 2 links (14-ounce packages) smoked sausage or smoked jalapeo sausage 1 cup brown sugar, divided 12 ounces Lobo Negro Black Lager beer Preheat the oven to 325 F. Slice each link of sausage into­-inch pieces. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray. Add the sliced sausage and half the brown sugar.

Pour the beer over the sausage. Stir the mixture a bit, cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for 1-2 hours. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining brown sugar and stir. Reduce oven to 250 F and bake sausage another 2 hours, stirring occasionally to baste the sausage in the sauce. Serve warm. 

Lufkin Banquet

Kate Rudasill, Brookshire Brothers catering coordinator, shares some of her craft brew cooking recipes.

Lee Hereford, president/CEO of Pedernales Brewing Company in Fredericksburg, will present his Lobo Texas Lager, Robert Earl Keen and Lobo Negro beers during the 95th Annual Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber Banquet this Thursday. He also will offer samples at Brookshire Brothers stores Thursday and Friday.Lee Hereford, president/CEO of Pedernales Brewing Company in Fredericksburg, will present his Lobo Texas Lager, Robert Earl Keen and Lobo Negro beers during the 95th Annual Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber Banquet this Thursday. He also will offer samples at Brookshire Brothers stores Thursday and Friday.

Melissa Heard Munds’ email address is mheard@lufkindailynews.com.

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