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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Year's Eve 2012 at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

Wagyu Wellington with mushroom duxell and red wine demi glace
Rogues' is a memorable place to ring the new year and the old place has celebrated quite a few. New Year's Eve we usually have a full house of overnight guests in our Bed and Breakfast. Our economical winter rate is $109 on a Monday evening and that alone attracts guests from near and far. We do have many other favorable attributes (historic ambiance, locally sourced globally inspired cuisine, our own craft brews, generous Finger Lakes wine list), but who can resist a bargain? Guests can enjoy dinner, Karaoke and as many drinks as they like without worrying about designating a driver. Walking upstairs when you're ready for bed is a welcome luxury. We do suggest reservations for dinner whether you're staying the night or heading home...
Chef Luke has outdone himself this year. Our special offerings for New Year's Eve are:

A p p e t I z e r:

Tempura lobster lollipop
Panko breaded Lobster tail deep fried & served on a lollipop stick
With spicy Thai sauce     9.00

Seafood bisque     2.50 & 3.50

M a I n  C o u r s e:
Served with choice of Soup or salad

Wagyu wellington:
Local, organic wagyu beef (American kobe) baked in puff pastry with
Wild mushroom duxell and served over a red wine demi glace
With mashed potato & roasted carrots     32.00

D e s s e r t:
Homemade chocolate soufflé
With peppermint creme     5.50

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Eve Dinner 2012 at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

Roasted Rack of Lamb with cranberry demi glace
It's hard to believe another year is nearly over and the holidays are here. We have much to be grateful for: a wonderful staff, the nicest guests on earth, a 182 year old inn (still standing, knock on wood)...Life is good.
We'll be grateful for a day or two off too. We will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day. But, we will be celebrating and spreading good cheer Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve with lots of seasonal specials and live music. Our inn is a memorable place to celebrate the holidays in the heart of the Finger Lakes.
Christmas Eve is my favorite. Everyone is on their way to church or a beloved relative's house- smiling, glowing even. We serve lots of contented guests for an early dinner; we close at 8 pm. Then we're off to spend the evening with our families.Chef Luke enjoys preparing holiday offerings. Reservations are suggested (607) 533-3535 and the specials for the evening are:

A p p e t I z e r s:

Berkshire Bacon  Jumbo shrimp:
4 Wild caught jumbo shrimp wrapped in local, organic Berkshire bacon, grilled and served with a balsamic reduction     7.50

New England Clam Chowder     2.50 & 3.50

M a I n  C o u r s e:
Served with choice of Soup or salad

Roasted rack of lamb:
New Zealand lamb roasted with fresh herbs and served with a cranberry
demi glace, mashed potatoes & seasonal vegetable     31.00    

D e s s e r t:
Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake
Topped with fresh whipped cream     4.50

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rogues' joins Ithaca Restaurant Week

We're proud to be joining Ithaca Restaurant Week. It's a privilege to be included with many of Ithaca's top notch restaurants: Bandwagon Brewpub, Ithaca Alehouse, Mira, Simeon's, Agava ....At Rogues' we're pleased to offer a special menu to celebrate the week. As always, we're featuring locally sourced, globally inspired fare. Four courses offered at the economical price of $20 which leaves a few extra dollars to spend on beer. Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co. is pouring 5 draughts to complement the week's special offering: Cayuga Cream Ale, Route 34 Red Ale, East Shore pale Ale, Hell on Wheels Wit and Hipper Malt Liquor.
Special happenings during this week are: Monday Trivia 7:30 - 9 pm, Thursday Live Music 8 - 11 pm, and our Sunday Tasting Series continues with Standing Stone Vineyard and Buttonwood Grove Vineyard 5:30- 7 pm... AND....wait for it....We have finally begun wholesaling our beer at a few select locations. Our first is Da Westy on West State Street in Ithaca. They're having a kick off party Saturday, December 8.
It's going to be a great week in Ithaca!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holidays in the the Heart of the Finger Lakes at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

All decorated for the Holidays at the Rogues' Harbor Inn
We love, love, the the holidays. Fresh greens, twinkly white lights, mulled cider and wine, extra special hearty dark craft brews...we look forward to it all year. It's a bright star in an otherwise way to cold and grey for me winter. We host many holiday cocktail parties and dinners, and we thoroughly enjoy every single one. Guests all cozy by the fire, enjoying a big slice of prime rib or maybe a smoked pork tenderloin with cranberry chutney and a glass of wine or pint in hand. It's all smiles and good cheer and we're thankful for another happy and healthy year.
We decorate every fireplace mantle with old fashioned Santas and swags with velvet ribbons. We stuff every planter with fresh pine boughs and white lights. We decorate our tree with cinnamon sticks, birch stars and checked bows. We really channel our inner Martha and the inn looks like an antique post card.
We offer a couple special seasonal craft beers in celebration of the holidays. We have Bacchus Brewing's Spiced Brown Ale...and our very own (Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co.'s) Stout's Rye Stout. A twist to a traditional Irish-style stout, this brew spices up an old favorite by adding a blend of rye malts. It's dry, roasty and delicious! It's named for it's owner, Eileen Stout. I name really is Stout. I own a brewing company, seems like provenance.
We're ready- festive dinner specials, lots of local wine and dark seasonal craft brews. The fires have been been lighted. The halls are decked with boughs of holly and we lift a glass in your honor and wish you,
 "In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want."
 - an old Irish toast.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dog Treats from spent brewery grain from the Rogues' Harbor Inn

"Brewscuits" TM from the Rogues' Harbor Inn
We generate a lot of spent grain at the Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co. By a lot, we mean about 100 pounds per batch (4 kegs), tiny by most brewery standards. But, still we felt terrible just composting it. So we did a little research and it seems many breweries offer it to local farmers as feed- which we have zero success with offering. A few breweries compost it- which we do already...still didn't seem like the best use. Then, we found that many breweries make dog treats from their left over spent brewing grain. Woof! We love dogs, so we decided to do the same.
So, here's the process. Chris and Alex mill about 100 pounds of grain, boil it, transfer the hot liquid which yields 4 kegs of beer post hopping, fermentation and carbonation. We're left with the 100 pounds of wet spent grain which they give some of to Chef Jeff at the inn. He combines the grain with peanut butter, eggs and water then bakes. We never use hops with the grain or add any crappy uber processed ingredients or preservatives. Just nutritious tasty treats for our beloved dogs. Manager Shaunna packages and displays.  Chef Andy came up the name, "Brewscuits," and owner Eileen created the labels. Servers and bartenders can put them right on your dinner or bar  bill. It's a team effort to the extreme, every department is involved. Every staffer took some of our first batch home and doggie tested. Jazzy, Daisy, Brocc, Ellie, Jack, Piper, Lucca and Snickers all greedily approved. Not a crumb was wasted.
We all love dogs so much that $1 from each sale benefits the Tompkins County SPCA. Brewscuits are available starting today. So celebrate the holidays with gift giving that's dog approved and benefits our local SPCA.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rogues' Harbor Inn's Beer vs. Wine Dinner 2012

We love to offer beer and wine pairing suggestions on our dinner menu. So, I often wander the Finger Lakes Beer Trail and the Cayuga and Seneca Wine Trails to try a few new (and old favorite) local fermented beverages. At a recent stop at the King Ferry Winery Chris in the tasting room gave me a great idea. A  Beer vs. Wine dinner, us against them, Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co. vs. Treleaven Wines in a friendly bout officiated by our brewer and their owners.
And so it is...Game on. Bring it.
Chef Luke was inspired by the idea and has designed a four course dinner. Each course will be paired with one of our craft brews and one of their world class wines. Each corner, Chris Williams and Pete and Tacie Saltenstall, will be speaking about how their pairings complement each course. They'll be fielding questions as well, and most likely trying to influence your vote...But, in the end the winner will be chosen by our guests at the match. Each round will be an adventure. So bring your taste buds and maybe a friend to argue with about your pairing votes...
Dinner will be hosted right here at the Rogues' Harbor Inn on Thursday, November 15, 6:30 pm, $45/person includes four course dinner with all beer and wine pairings
Reservations are recommended and availability is limited, so please don't wait to call (607) 533-3535

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sunday Tasting Series at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

Whiskey by Finger Lakes Distilling

I knew this photo would get your attention...Whiskey, neat. No fuss, no muss.

Every Sunday, Rogues' Harbor Inn is proud and excited to welcome a local distiller, wine maker or brewer to pour some samples of their fine work and maybe educate us all while we taste.

Finger Lakes Distilling kicks off the Sunday Tasting Series this Sunday, October 28 from 5:30 - 7 pm. Brian McKenzie, owner, will be here to pour four whiskeys and tell us about how barrels and aging affect the color and flavor of the whiskey we're tasting. We'll be pairing some smoked beef with Bier Meck cheese and peppered crostini to go with the four whiskeys: White Pike, Pure Pot Still (Irish) Whiskey, McKenzie Bourbon, and McKenzie Rye.

In the spirit of fermentation cooperation, we'll be making a Boilermaker with their McKenzie Rye whiskey and our Cayuga Cream Ale!

The schedule for the Sunday Tasting Series is coming together and here are a few of our guests: November 4 will be Ports of New York, November 11 will be Bacchus Brewing and November 25 will be Bet the Farm Winery. Each evening will feature a few fermented beverages to taste with some knowledge sharing and a pairing to nibble on by Chef Jeff to go with.

So, save the date- every Sunday at Rogues' from 5:30 - 7, The Sunday Tasting Series is is bringing world class wine, beer and spirits from all over the Finger Lakes right to your neighborhood pub.

More about Finger Lakes Distilling click here

More about Ports of New York click here

More about Bacchus Brewing click here

More about Bet the Farm Winery click here

Our Sunday Tasting Series Calendar click here

Monday, October 22, 2012

FLX Restaurant Week at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

We have always been inspired by locally sourced ingredients, wine, beer, spirits, art,... It's not a secret. We wear our heart on our sleeve. So when we were invited to participate in Finger Lakes Restaurant Week, we quickly said, "Yes!" The Finger Lakes Restaurant Week is a seven day celebration of local ingredients complemented by local wine (and beer at our inn). Every restaurant joining the event is featuring a three course dinner special which is 100% locally sourced.
We feature lots and lots of locally sourced ingredients on our dinner menu, but 100% locally sourced is a challenge we were proud and excited to accept. So we did a little extra homework and found several new farms and purveyors. We discovered some great new ingredients and rediscovered a few old favorites. We've printed the list of local farms and producers along with their location providing our ingredients for the dinner right on the menu itself.
We included wine and beer pairing suggestions as always and the celebration starts Monday, October 22. Don't miss it! You only have one week to visit a lot of wonderful restaurants in Ithaca and the surrounding Finger Lakes' area offering this special 100% locally sourced menu. Here's ours:
For other participating restaurants visit Finger Lakes Restaurant week 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Oktoberfest Dinners & Beer at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

The Rogues' Harbor Inn is almost as old as Oktoberfest. The first Oktoberfest was held in Munich in 1810 and was (and still is) a celebration of all things German: beer, schnitzel, strudel, spatzel, lederhosen, beer- oh we already mentioned beer...But, beer is what the world thinks Oktoberfest is about, and we're not disagreeing. Only six breweries are invited to pour at Oktoberfest and they are the six local, Bavarian breweries- no one else. It's loyal, traditional and uber trendy, locally sourced. It's all about being in Bavaria (in October).
We're bringing the tradition of Oktoberfest to Rogues' with a sampling of  Bavarian fare complemented by one of THE six Bavarian breweries', Spaten's, Oktoberfest beer. We'll be serving giant pretzels for a starter and sauerbraten a national dish featuring brine marinated, slow cooked meat with wine and spices. It's a melt in your mouth, German style pot roast. It will be complemented by blaukraut an apple and cabbage warm slaw and mashed potatoes. Hearty fare, we like that.
We'll be celebrating now craft brewing five of our own ales as well. We're certain the powers that be in Munich would approve. It's all about being at Rogues' (in October).
Oktoberfest since 1810 and Rogues' since 1830, a match made in beer heaven.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A is for Apple... Finger Lakes Cider Week

  • A is for Apple. Apple harvest is upon us and we're anxious to incorporate crisp New York State apples in our fall dinner menu offerings. There are so many good orchards nearby: Bakers' Acres, Cornell Orchards, Little Tree, Indian Creek, Eve's Cidery...
  • It's difficult not to put them in every thing. But one of our favorites is apple sauce. We serve it warm over French toast for our Bed and Breakfast guests' breakfast. We serve it with local, organic, Berkshire pork loins and chops as a dinner special. We even serve it with cinnamon grilled chicken. We think apple sauce is the ultimate Finger Lakes comfort food. We usually use Cortland or Empire apples and just a few other basics (no scavenger hunt for obscure ingredients necessary). Just remember, A is for apple. Simple is Good.

  • Rogues' Harbor Inn House Apple Sauce:

  • 3 Lbs  New York State apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup New York State maple syrup
In a deep saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and maple syrup. Cook over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes uncovered, stirring often, or until apples are soft. Refrigerate when cool.

To show our support for local apple growers, cider producersand further indulge our apple obsession, We'll be participating in Finger Lakes Cider Week, October 2 - October 7, 2012. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rogues' New Neighbors the Ithaca League of Women Rollers

The ILWR...what?
Blue Stockings + SufferJetts = Ithaca League of Women Rollers. We're happy, thrilled even, that they're our new neighbors at the Rogues' Harbor Inn. Actually, we're fascinated. They have taken over next door at 2073 East Shore Drive, Lansing as their practice space and the place is filled with women skating hard with cool names like: Mamadusa, Chairman Meow, Mad ScienceFist, BeeBee Gunn, Killah Watts....
We love them so much we've dedicated one of our signature craft brewed ales to them. We'll be announcing the name on the night it pours (that would be Thursday). It's a Belgian style wheat beer with a light color and a refreshing taste that is perfect with a spicy dish (pun intended). The beer is seasoned with generous helpings of coriander and bitter orange peel. It's an easy drinking, session beer, very food friendly.
To celebrate their new home, our new beer, being neighbors...Join Us: Thursday, September 27, from 6 pm - close at Rogues' to meet the ladies that roll, a skater or two will be tending bar with Shaunna and Katie, watch clips of their bouts, enjoy live music by Lonnie Park, and drink beer (lots of it).
FYI for every keg of their brew sold a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the ILWR, the Ithaca League of Women Rollers, that night and every night. Drink beer and support the ILWR, it's a win-win.
More about the ILWR  at 
More about Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company at         

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rogues' Harbor Inn & the Finger Lakes' Riesling Launch, September 2012

It's no secret we love Finger Lakes wine, especially Riesling. Our glacial shores are home sweet home to some of the best Rieslings on earth. Truly. So when we were asked to participate in the 2011 vintage launch of Finger Lakes Rieslings, we raised our glass and said, "Yes."
We're offering three Cayuga Rieslings by the glass along with two pairings from our summer dinner menu. Chef Luke will be featuring Riesling inspired specials throughout September as well: Kobe sirloin steak with Gorgonzola and bacon demi glace, Spicy Thai shrimp spring rolls, local organic Berkshire Pork Porterhouses, and even Riesling cheesecake (check twitter and facebook for daily updates).
Just follow East Shore Drive up the East side of Cayuga from Ithaca to our door. We'll have a glass waiting for you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Witty Blonde, Brewer's Choice for August

Has the summer heat been getting you down? Feel like you're going to melt in to a puddle and then just evaporate away? Looking for something refreshing to bolster your spirit and get you through the August heat? Well Rogues Harbor has the cure for your sweltering Summer blues: our next Brewer's Choice, Witty Blonde!

Witty Blonde began as a home-brew experiment. I always enjoy a good wheat beer during the summer months, but this year I decided I wanted to try something different to have at home. I had seen heather tips on sale at home-brew stores in the past, but I hadn't thought much about them. After reading about their history in the making of beer, and the floral qualities they can lend to a beer it sounded like it might be the perfect compliment for a Belgian styled wit. Since I was unsure of how the beer would turn out I decided to make a batch of a more traditional wit that would derive its bittering from traditional German hops. The beers were made over the course of a weekend and allowed to ferment at the same temperature for the same duration. I really wanted the heather tips to become the distinguishing character between the two beers. It was amazing how soft, and mellow of a beer the one done with the heather was. I was impressed by its strong aromatic qualities as well as its subtle yet complex flavor profile. At first, when given to friends, people leaned towards the more traditional wit, but as more people began tasting it the preference began to turn towards the wit made with heather. After trying the beer with Chris and discussing it we decided the heather tips were the way to go - not just because of the more complex beer they created, but also because the use of them was more unique in todays brewing scene.

The Brewer's Choice for August, Witty Blonde, is a Belgian styled Wit beer with a light color and a refreshing taste that is perfect for hot summer days. The beer is spiced with generous helpings of coriander and bitter orange peel. It also eschews the use of bittering hops - the beer is instead bittered with heather tips. Heather tips were used in many Scottish beers prior to the wide spread adoption of hops in beers. The bitterness they give the beer is very subtle and well rounded. It compliments the soft malty notes generated by a large portion of wheat used in the making of the beer. The delicate spicy character of the late hop addition helps accentuate the natural spiciness created by the Belgian yeast during fermentation. There is an almost juicy finish to the beer that leaves you in anticipation of your next sip!

Witty Blonde goes on tap this Thursday at Rogues Harbor. This is a beer you won't want to miss out on so make sure to stop by Rogues Harbor and check out our latest Brewer's Choice! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rogues' Harbor's Dictionary of Restaurant Lingo

I've (E has) been in the restaurant business for 23 years, about 18 of those years in the Ithaca area. Every restaurant on earth (in Ithaca, NY and beyond) has their own slang. Rogues' Harbor Inn is no different. Most meanings carry over from one restaurant to another.  Recently, there have been a number of reality restaurant shows highlighting a behind the scenes look at the restaurant world. But, even these glimpses (some accurate, some not so much) don't seem to offer much insight into the restaurant language which permeates the industry. I think the expressions are an interesting slice of life. They offer a peek at the true personality of the hard working, tough as nails, yet light hearted folks that make it all happen.
So, We decided to make a list of definitions for non restaurant folk for educational and/or entertainment purposes. We had a tough time making the list. These are terms we use all the time without even noticing. I'm sure we've left a few funny ones off the list, so help us out if you can. Fun times and hard work in the Finger Lakes restaurant biz. Here goes...

Feelin' It = feels like it's going to be a busy night
Not Feelin' It = feels like it's going to be a slow night
Shifty = the staff meal
Ho' = the non gender specific host/hostess
Ho'ing = greeting and seating
Front of the House = customer service
Back of the House = non customer service staff, ie: kitchen staff
The Line = area of the kitchen where dinners are plated
The Floor = dining  and drinking areas for guests
Line Dog = line cook
Skirt = apron
Specialed = a table who has been made aware of the specials
App = appetizer
Deuce = table of 2
2 Top = table of 2
4 Top = table of 4
6 Top = table of 6
yada yada...
Campers = guests who stay long after finishing dinner
On the Fly = ASAP needed it 5 minutes ago
In the Weeds =  way way behind, buried
'86 = sold out
SOS = sauce on the side
Walkin' = rare
Mooing = rare
Done = medium well
Burnt = extra well done
Upside Down = special order
Upside Down and Sideways = crazy special order
Reggae = as stated on the menu/ regular
Turn a Table = finish one group and re-seat another at the same table
Turn and Burn = finish it and re-seat it incredibly fast
Behind = for god's sake don't back into me
All Day = total count of a menu item needed
Add On = joiner to a table in progress
Regular = a guests who is in a lot
Drinkers = only drinking, not dining, guests
Desert Travelers = water only drinkers

Thursday, June 21, 2012

English Bitter, Our Newest Brewer's Choice

Today (Thursday the 21st) we'll be pouring our next Brewer's Choice beer, an English Bitter. The term bitter is often misleading to American drinkers. While a bitter American beer tends to have intense hop flavors and a bitterness that pushes the malt and yeasts characters to the background, an English Bitter is an exercise in balance between the various flavors. There is a healthy amount of bitterness from hops added early in the boil, but the hop flavor and aromas are only slightly noticeable. There is a firm malt character and some fruity esters contributed by the yeast during fermentation. However none of these flavors play a dominating role in the beer. They compliment each other as a balance is reached.

Bitters have a range of color that is acceptable to the style. They can range from the bright golden color to a beer with some amber highlights. Beers with a more amber or red appearance to them are generally brewed with the addition of darker crystal malts. These malts can lend a touch of caramel-like sweetness to the beer. Of course the beer shouldn't be cloyingly sweet, but in a Bitter the sweetness generated by crystal malts will be properly balanced by the addition of extra bittering hops. Remember, this beer is all about balance.

The next important thing to know about the English Bitter style of beer is that it isn't a strong beer. Often times it is referred to as a session ale. Session ales are popular in England where people enjoy gathering at their local, having several pints over the course of many hours before heading home. Their goal isn't to get drunk, merely to enjoy a tasty beverage in the company of good friends and conversation. The lower alcohol allows a person to enjoy several over the course of the evening without falling out of their bar stool! Our Bitter is just above 3% abv. Don't think that means that it has the water downed taste that can accompany several mass produced lower alcohol beers that are immensely popular. The trick to a good session ale is to have it be full of flavor, and have some body, but without being strong or heavy.

While we may not be serving ours in the traditional cask that is the hallmark of Real Ale in the UK, we like to think that we've honored the spirit of the English Bitter with our newest offering. On the paler end of the Bitter spectrum it has a nice subtle hop character from generous additions of Golding Hops. The hops quickly give way to the malt character - some toasty notes from fine English malts. The beer finish with hints of almost fruit like flavors generated by the yeast during fermentation. So come in today and cool off with a couple of pints of our new Brewer's Choice. Don't forget to bring along some friends and have a proper session over beers and good company!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finger Lakes' Lemon Herb Scone Recipe

Every good Inn bakes a signature scone, and the Rogues' Harbor Inn is no exception. We love to bake fresh scones for our bed and breakfast guests. Nothing starts out the day better than a big mug of fresh brewed Gimme coffee (roasted right here in Ithaca, NY) and a homemade scone. We always serve fresh fruit, a hot dish like quiche or French toast, but the scones are by far my favorite. We bake blueberry, raspberry, apple...traditional fruits. However, I think the savory scones are best, especially with fresh herbs. Finger Lakes' cuisine is all about fresh greens and herbs, gardeny fare. So, here's our summer time favorite coming to you from the Heart of the Finger Lakes, Ithaca, NY.

Lemon Herb Savory Scone

2½ cups unbleached flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or substitute thyme)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut ½-inch cubes, room temp
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream (for brushing)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, zest and rosemary in a bowl. Blend dry ingredients. Add the butter and mix on low speed setting until mixture is shaggy. Reduce mixing speed. With the mixer running, slowly add the liquid ingredients until just combined; do not over mix.
Pour the mixture onto a clean counter/large cutting board. Form the dough into a 10-inch disc, about 1-inch high. Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 even pieces. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush each scone with heavy cream. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before serving.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

National Craft Beer Week in Ithaca, NY

Chris Williams, Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co.'s Brew Guru
It's National Craft Brew Week and we love craft beer here at the Rogues' Harbor Inn. We love it so much we craft brew our own beer. And by we, I mean our brew staff. Chris Williams is our Brew Guru and Alex Schwartz is our Asst. Brew Guru. They plan, weigh, grind, boil, brew, chill, ferment, filter, carbonate and keg it all. Then we pour it right here. That's fresh beer; it's a wonderful thing.
We're celebrating National Craft Brew Week and our own craft brews by the Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company. When you stop in this week Monday - Friday, May 14 - 18, and order a Rogues' Craft Brew Flight we'll give you 50% off any appetizer! The flights this week have our: Cayuga Cream Ale, Route 34 Red Ale, East Shore Pale Ale and Brewer's Choice Black IPA. If you find a favorite, we pour pints and large 22 oz mugs, and... we even  fill 2 pint growlers to go. So take a growler home and watch a movie or even a Rogues' Harbor Inn short film about our microbrewery.
Chris is a talented brewer and film maker. I should say screen writer and director as well. He writes, films, directs, edits and stars in our Rogues' Harbor Inn videos. The first film talks about our flagship brews: Cayuga Cream Ale and Route 34 Red Ale. The second visits a New York State hop grower, Pompey Mountain Hop Farm. The fifth and most recent is my favorite. We lost a batch of beer earlier this year; and we're not sure what went wrong, but is was not good. So we filmed the funeral. Other staff members pitched in with writing and bit parts. We had a lot fun making the films and anxiously awaiting the final product- just like our beers, really.There are five so far. I hear there plans for more...
Rogues' Harbor House Beers
Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co. Brews with Local Hops
Making CO2 at Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co.
Brewer's Confession
A Brew's Last Rights
In honor of National Craft Beer Week have a Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co. beer flight and celebrate the independent spirit of craft brewing in the Finger Lakes. Share a half price appetizer to go with it. Maybe try a few other cool breweries close by. There are several good microbreweries to visit within 15 minutes of Ithaca: Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co., Band Wagon Brew Pub, Ithaca Beer Co, Scale House and Bacchus Brewing. That's one per day Monday to Friday. You can do it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cayuga Wine Trail Leads Right to the Rogues' Harbor Inn

Riesling Grapes on Cayuga Lake

Several Finger Lakes' trails lead right to our door. The FLX Beer Trail and the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail are our favorites. Even though we brew our own beer, we're pretty partial to Cayuga Lake wineries (our brew guru is too, shhh...).
We wear our favoritism on our sleeve right next to our heart. Our wine list features New York Sate wines exclusively (even our cooking wines are locally sourced), with a focus on the Finger Lakes, especially Cayuga- our home sweet home. The Cayuga Wine Trail is the first organized and longest running wine trail in the U.S. and follows the path of an ancient Native American trail. With 17 members (15 wineries, 1 cidery and 1 meadery) there's a lot to sample. We do love to sample; so Rogues' offers a Cayuga Wine flight with four tastes:  Sheldrake Point Riesling, Treleaven Chardonnay, Swedish Hill Cabernet Franc and Americana Baco Noir. All together, we offer 34 New York State wines on our list and 20 of them are Cayuga. We really do love them.
Our latest additions to our spring wine list are Hosmer's Lemberger and Goose Watch's Traminette. The Lemberger is a nice robust, on the dry side red. I like it with our Bleu Prime Sirloin or Wild Mushroom Ravioli. The Traminette is a little drier and spicier than a Riesling and I love it with our Finger Lakes Cheese Board. My personal favorites from Cayuga lake wineries are Sheldrake Point's Riesling and Treleaven's Chardonnay. They epitomize Finger Lakes' white wine for me: fresh, a little flowery, and very food friendly.
I've meandered to all 17 of the wine trail's members and it's a gorgeous journey.  Glorious vistas, friendly winery staff, world class wine- it's all so wonderful. May is Riesling Month and the Finger Lakes are known for their Rieslings. Riesling grapes thrive in our cool climate and glaciated landscape. There are several stand outs in my humble opinion: Sheldrake Point (obviously), Treleaven, Buttonwood, and Thirsty Owl. Take a drive along the Trail- it follows the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway which was recently honored with a place in the Top Ten Road Trips in the US by Yahoo Travel. The top ten! and we're right there on the byway. Hooray! No one at the Rogues' Harbor Inn was surprised by this. We know we live in an  incredible region. The Heart of the Finger Lakes- glass of Riesling in hand, toes in the's that good.

My Personal Favorite, Sheldrake Point Riesling on the "Rocks"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Return of the Black IPA

Black IPA from the Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co.
Last year when we brewed the Black IPA we were nervous about how it would be received. It's a tricky style that for some is nothing but a novelty. It has a lot of traction on the West coast but here in the East it hadn't gained the acknowledgment that other styles had. We wanted to take that challenge though and see if we could bring something new to the local brew scene that would challenge beer drinkers perception of what a dark beer can be. What surprised us was how amazingly well it was received. It was one of our fastest selling Brewer's Choice beers.

This year we decided we wanted to make it again. It has been asked for time and time again and we'd hate to dissapoint our fans. Even though it was popular we didn't want to rest on our laurels and we felt that there was some room for improvement. One area where we heard mixed comments was in the area of hopping. Some people felt it was a pretty hoppy beer while others felt it was a little under-hopped. Black IPA can be tricky as you do want a little bit of the malt character to come through. While some breweries use nearly flavorless dark malts to simply make a regular IPA black, the best examples have a touch of roast along with the big citrusy American hops that give it a deeper character. Too many bittering or flavoring hops can overwhelm the characters of the malt. Still we wanted to give it a note of something we felt was lacking.

This lacking element was aroma. The first time we made the beer it had almost no hop aroma and very little malt on the nose. This time around we wanted to fix that problem by generously dry hopping the beer. Lots of Cascade hops from Pompey Mountain Hop Farm were added in the brite tank (where the filtered beer gets carbonated and conditioned prior to kegging it). These hops don't contribute much to flavor or bitterness of the beer, but they help give the beer a bold hoppy aroma. Lots of pine and citrus notes that are characteristic of American IPA's. We think you're going to love it this year and we hope that you come in and give it a try. We begin pouring it Thursday, May 3. Get it while it lasts...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rogues' Harbor Inn is Obsessed with Finger Lakes Cheese

FLX Cheese Board and a pint of our East Shore Pale Ale
Any guest looking over our new spring dinner menu would notice there's a lot of cheese. It's all local. It's all wonderful. But, there is a lot. We love cheese and it shows because we incorporate local cheeses is a number of appetizers, entrees, sandwiches and salads. I truly believe that few dishes could not be improved by adding a cheese component. How do vegans survive? Really. I could live without meat, but for me, life (and by life I mean eating) would be very dull indeed without cheese. Fortunately, I am not alone in my Finger Lakes Cheese obsession. There is even a Finger Lakes Cheese Trail which locates working farm artisan cheese makers large and small, near and far from all over the region. In fact, the Cayuga Lake "Trail" leads right past us. Yet another trail leading happy travelers right to our door. So, if you can't make every stop (there are 15), we're here for you.
We carry nine local cheeses and we're always thinking about more. We have the new FLX Cheese Board which has the Three Sisters Nettle Meadow, Lively Run Chevre and Harpersfield Dill Tilsit served with julienne dried apricots, fresh herbs and a toasted multi-grain baguette. Our Stuffed Skins are layered with bacon and New York State cheddar, comfort food. We have 4 more cheese lover appetizers: Mozzarella Wedges which are Empire Mozzarella triangles Panko breaded, fried golden brown and served with a spicy red pepper jam. We even melt the Empire Cheese Co's provolone over our French Onion soup. Keeley McGarr of McGarr Dairy Farm makes a Riesling washed soft rind cheese that is to die for. We serve it warm with local honey, almond slivers and crostini.  and...La piece de la resistance is our Arugula and Mozzarella Flat Bread. It features our own house made mozzarella made from farm fresh, local milk. We love cheese so much, we make our own mozzarella. That's dedication. Our mozzarella is featured in a dinner entree and a salad, too. Our really big burger, the one pound Red Beer'd Burger, features melted Bier Meck cheese from Finger Lakes Farmstead. It's a beer washed rind on a Gouda style cheese. It compliments the beer steamed beef and caramelized onions and apples perfectly. Our Rogues' Burger features New York state cheddar along with BBQ and bacon. Yum. My current fav's are from Lively Run Goat Dairy. They make the best Feta and Chevre on earth. The Feta is on our Greek Grilled Salad, a summer time favorite. I think that's nine...Three Sisters Nettle Meadow, Lively Run Chevre, Harpersfield Tilset, Empire Cheddar, Empire Provolone, Our Mozzarella, Keeley's Pond Hopper, Finger Lakes Farmstead Bier Meck, and Lively Run Feta. Yup, that's nine.
We're proud to offer so many local cheeses and we often venture out to visit the farms where they're made. We really enjoy meeting the cheese makers, seeing the beautiful farm, hanging out with the happy cows, goats and sheep... It's an incredibly scenic drive to nice friendly folks making really, really good artisan cheese. The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail  leads to the best cheese around, even in the most out of way places. So, follow the trail, it leads to every cheese maker under the moon (disappointingly not made of cheese) in the Finger Lakes- and you might just stumble upon us along the way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finger Lakes Beer Trail Brings Happy Travelers to Rogues' Harbor Brewing

Finger Lakes Beer Trail leads right to our door at the Rogues' Harbor Inn (#20)
So here we are again carrying on about brewing our own craft ales. We love, love, love brewing and appreciating well crafted beer so much that we just can't seem to shut up about it. The Finger Lakes Beer Trail shares our passion along with their 24 brew pub/ microbrewery members. It's a wonderful thing to have a map that will lead you to every brewer in the Finger Lakes area. Beer lovers can find even the most out of the way us.
The Ithaca area is quickly developing their own craft brew scene, and it's looking and tasting pretty good. Within just 30 minutes of the Rogues' Harbor Inn, Restaurant and Microbrewery there are six really good places to visit, hoist a pint or two and talk beer, maybe grab a bite, or even stay the night! The first in the area was the Ithaca Beer Company. We pour a few of their brews here at Rogues'. I think their Flower Power is my favorite. Next in Ithaca was The Scale House. They serve pizza and beer. It's hard to go wrong with pizza and beer. Next on the scene and my personal favorite is Band Wagon Brew Pub. They craft some truly innovative brews and the food is A+. Then we happened along last year in 2011. We brew three signature, food friendly ales: Cayuga Cream Ale, Route 34 Red Ale, and East Shore Pale Ale along with a Brewer's Choice. Our Brewer's Choice is whatever our Brew Guru wants to brew and it's usually an out of the ordinary ale. We post the pouring schedule on our web site. The next up is a Black IPA which should pour sometime around the 23rd of April. We offer pairing suggestions on our dinner menu for pints and wine alike, so you can grab a bite and see how you like our humble suggestions. Cortland Beer Company expanded their brewery in 2011 and we sometimes pour their Industrial IPA. It's seriously good, uber hoppy. The newest brewery in the area is Bacchus Brewing in Dryden. We are currently pouring their Belgian Blonde. We like it; we like it a lot. A couple more good brew stops within 30 minutes of Ithaca and the Rogues' Harbor Inn are: Two Goats Brewing in Hector and Roosterfish Brewing in Watkins Glen. If you're heading over that way, you should definitely plan on stopping at Finger Lakes Distilling. Hands down the smoothest rye on earth (Mckenzie Rye).
It makes our day to see happy faces from near and far enjoying our craft brewed ales here at Rogues' and knowing that they are following the Finger Lakes Beer Trail right to our door. We even have a lot of overnight guests that stay with us because they love that we brew our own beer. Our own Finger Lakes cuisine, our own craft brewed ales and elegant lodging in a National Historic Landmark, it's an uncommon combination.
Life is too short to drink cheap follow The Finger Lakes Beer Trail it leads to the best stuff (us!) .

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finger Lakes Local Spring Dinner Menu 2012

Smoked Mussels with Summer Relish Appetizer
It's officially spring and it's my favorite time of year. Put away the wool clothes, open the windows and breath it in. Ithaca and the Finger Lakes have emerged from a pretty mild winter to wonderful sunny weather- a bone warming, soul dancing season. It's happiness deep down and all encompassing.
To celebrate we're serving our new Spring Dinner Menu. It features a lot of new locally sourced Finger Lakes ingredients complimented by spring sunshine, Finger Lakes wine and our own Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company's craft brewed ales. As always, we will be offering wine and beer pairings for each dinner entree which proved to be an appreciated suggestion on previous menus. Warm weather offerings for me are farm fresh, light and healthful. You can almost feel the nutrients being absorbed with every bite.
There are a few new appetizers. Smoked Mussels from Ducktrap River, Maine are being served with a summer relish of minced cucumber, onion, lemon, garlic, olive oil and ditalini. The mussels are sooooo..good. The contrast of the smokey seafood with the crisp freshness of the relish is just perfect. We are also adding a FLX (Finger Lakes) Cheese Board which features 3 new (to us) local New York State Cheeses: Three Sisters Nettle Meadow, Harpersfield Dill Tilsit (my personal favorite) and Lively Run Herbed Chevre along with a multi grain baguette and dried apricots served on a nifty personal sized cutting board. Just recently we started making our own beer batter with our own Cayuga Cream Ale. We loved it so much, it's on the spring menu; we dip our onions rings in it, and our haddock for fish n chips. They are super crunchy and delicious, addictive really.
New dinner entree offerings are tasting pretty fabulous too. Chef Luke has started making our own mozzarella cheese which has earned it's place in a few new dishes. The Mozzarella Stacked Chicken is a fresh, pan seared chicken breast stacked with our own melted mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and a red pepper glaze, filling yet summery and flavorful. We're putting the mozzarella on an appetizer flat bread as well with a fresh arugula pesto. Another new local offering is a local, organic beef sausage from Berry Farms which we're featuring in our Northern Style Shrimp and "Grits." It's shrimp Cajun sauteed with peppers, onions, sausage,...served over Farmer's Ground local, organic polenta. There's a little heat in the sauce for the spicy food lovers (that's me). Our Greek Grilled Chicken Salad will be making it's triumphant return to the dinner menu. Grilled, marinated chicken resting on a bed of baby greens with olives, tomatoes and Lively Run feta cheese. We added one other salad as well which is going to be my summer Go To salad. The Sunflower Caprese salad is a twist on the traditional mozzarella and tomato salad. We're layering fresh tomatoes with our own mozzarella over mixed baby greens tossed in a local, organic (Berry Farm's) sunflower oil and basil vinaigrette dressing and raw sunflower seeds. Just add a glass of Long Point Vidal Blanc or a pint of our East Shore Pale Ale to go with and seat me on the porch, heaven.
Sitting on the  porch is the final jewel in the sparkling crown which is summer in the Finger Lakes. Our 19th century veranda is sunny in the early evening and shady during the dinner hour. It's just right for a couple drinks and a summery dinner. The sun sets off in the distance as you plan the Cayuga Lake Wineries and Finger Lakes Brew Trail stops for tomorrow. Summer in the Finger Lakes: eat, drink and soak it all in.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easter Dinner at the Rogues' Harbor Inn 2012

 For Easter: Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank, served on the bone

We started blogging just over a year ago and one of our first posts was for Easter dinner 2011. It's sort of the anniversary celebration of our blog and the inspirational emergence of spring in the Finger Lakes. It's a happy time of year when everything gets a fresh a start. New duvets in the B&B, new breakfast offerings and service in the B&B, new microbrewery Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company, and a new spring dinner menu in the works...It's been a great year, in fact a record year. Sales were up on all fronts, lots of staff still here from last year (and several from the year prior, and even the year before that), and the addition of some wonderful new staff. We even started brewing our own craft ales (you may have heard us mention that once or twice over the past year):  East Shore Pale, Cayuga Cream Ale, and Route 34 Red Ale.
Well, it is time to revisit Easter (this Sunday, April 8!) and we've been working on the new spring menu as well some specials for Easter dinner. We'll be serving dinner all day from noon till 8 pm as always. The specials have been decided upon and for appetizers we're offering Cream of Asparagus soup and Spring Thyme Spring rolls with fresh herbs, carrots, zucchini and mushrooms with a roasted garlic dipping sauce. The entree special is a traditional Braised Lamb Shank in a rich red wine sauce served on the bone with carrots and onions along with our homemade mashed potatoes. I think our new addition to the wine list, Hosmer's Lemberger, would be a superior wine paring with this dish, or if you're feeling more like a pint, our latest Brewer's Choice is an Imperial Pilsner; a mighty, but food friendly brew. Our dessert special is the same year after year; I just don't think it can be more suitable for Easter or improved upon- Giant Carrot Cake Cupcakes with fresh cream cheese frosting. They're so good; we always bake a few extra so the staff (working on the holiday) and the boss (me) are sure to get one.
The new spring menu won't be quite ready yet, but we're working on it. A few wintry dishes will be taking their summer vacation: Empire State Flat Bread, Finger Lakes Beef Stew, Sausage and Butternut Risotto, spicy Mediterranean Seafood Ragout, Maple Butternut Salad... So "fare" warning, this is the last weekend they will be on the dinner menu till there's a chill in the air. We'll be offering some great new summery dishes featuring even more local Finger Lakes sourced ingredients like fresh arugula or ramp pesto, Cayuga Organics polenta, Lively Run Feta cheese, maybe even our own Rogues' Harbor homemade mozzarella cheese... Oh yes, we have found some great ingredients. We'll be offering New York wine and beer suggested pairings on the menu, too. That's been a big hit and I enjoy tasting everything for the pairings. It's a tough job, and happily I get to do it. We'll blog about it and post it all on the web site soon, very soon.
In the meantime, enjoy the last week of the cold weather menu and our Easter specials. Reservations are recommended for Easter dinner so call or email today: (607)533-3535 or

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Best Burger in New York State!!!

The Rogues' Harbor Inn been known to grill a burger or two. In fact, one of the foods we're known for is burgers and more recently our own craft brewed beer. We love serving up good, fresh food prepared from locally sourced ingredients. So, when my husband found an article in the paper about the best burger in New York State contest sponsored by the New York State Beef Council, it seemed tailor made for us and we decided to design a new, really big burger just the occasion.
I hit Chef Luke with the idea and he loved it too. We decided to go with a one pounder topped with the best Finger Lakes ingredients and maybe some beer in the mix. Go big or go home...I asked Jerry, long time server, manager ,and talented writer, to come up with a name which embraced our roguish heritage and maybe mentioned the beer component. He did not disappoint.
E, Chef Luke, Jerry and our brewer, Chris make a  good team. Here's what we came up with: a one pound Angus burger steamed in our Route 34 Red Ale and topped with beer braised NY apples, onions, bacon, melted Bier Meck cheese (Finger Lakes Farmstead) on a pretzel roll. We're calling it the Red Beer'd Burger.
So, get in here and try it. You'll love it. We're hoping you'll nominate it for the best burger in the Finger Lakes on NYS Beef Council's submission site! (That's the link before the "!" You only have till March 15th).
Mouth-watering, One pound, Red Beer'd Burger

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rogues' is addicted to Chopped!!!

I don't watch a lot of TV since I work evenings and have a million other things I'd rather be doing. But late at night when I'm too tired to do anything else- Chopped is the best! I'm not even a fan of the food network: Cupcake Wars, Bizarre Foods, Grillin' and Chillin', 30 Minute Meals...I hate them all. I'm more of an Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations type of foodie and yet I find Chopped quite addictive.
I am not alone in my Chopped addiction (the best way to be really). Most of the staff at Rogues' loves the show. Chefs and servers, aka the back and front of the house, agree that it's a blast- and they generally don't agree on anything in any restaurant. We all commiserate on the impossible ingredients of market baskets and the brilliant or disasterous way in which they are utilised. And let's be honest, even with double the amount of time allotted to prepare each course, we still would struggle with merely identifying some of the ingredients...never mind creating something edible and delicious. I remember one basket in particular for an entree round which had creamed cod, scotch, candy coated fennel and some odd root vegetable. Really... and the chef that won that episode made a truly ingenious entree in 30 minutes. I love the odd combinations that they get: octopus and animal crackers, grape jelly and smoked herring....feta cheese and a strong herb for dessert....The gross uber packaged foods are amusing as well: hard lemon candies, Kraft mac and cheese, soda, icky packaged cookies...But, the best are the ingredients that stump me- and I know my food. That's what I do. How many folks know that the beautiful red skin of a dragon fruit is inedible? How many chefs have prepared duck testicles in their restaurant? The answer is none. I'm certain. In fact, a duck testicle special would never be a big seller. Selling just one would be nothing short of miraculous. The judges are a wee harsh too. I enjoy criticizing their scathing comments. Even better, I like patting myself on the back for picking the winner early on. Many of the chefs have inspiring personal stories. It seems the greater their struggle in life, the better chef they become. When life gives them lemons, they make rosemary lemon sorbet or when Chopped gives them Scotch, they use it as a pickling agent. Clever and tough as nails- my kind of folks.
Our Chef, Luke, wants to audition and I think he should. He comes up with some striking flavor combinations. But, Chopped loves their organ meats, weird processed ingredients and uber strange combinations... good luck with that. It definitely takes a whole lot of talent and a little bit of luck to win and that's why I love it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wine & Chocolate for Claws & Paws- a Tompkins County SPCA Benefit

It's time to announce our third annual fundraiser for the Tompkins County SPCA. Save the date Thursday, February 23, 6 - 9 pm. We call it Wine and Chocolate for Paws and Claws for obvious reasons. We have 10 local wineries and a chocolatier come and offer tastings right here in the historic ballroom at the Rogues' Harbor Inn. We offer dessert samples from our own kitchen as well. All ticket proceeds ($20/person) are donated to the SPCA and we also offer an extra incentive to stop by. We will donate 10% of our dinner sales from that evening as well. Last year in 2011 we raised over $2,000! That's a lot food and medical supplies for a shelter that prides itself on their "no kill" policy. Every healthy, adoptable pet stays till they are adopted. Makes me tear up just thinking about it. So many dogs and cats waiting...thankfully, they are very well cared for while they wait.
Some of the generous participants for the event are: Sheldrake Point, Dill's Run, King Ferry Winery, and Americana. Along with several other Cayuga Wine Trail members they will be offering tastings of their world class wines. Life's So Sweet Chocolate brings the very best chocolate truffles on earth. One of their dark truffles and a glass of Americana Baco Noir and I'm in heaven...
We think the SPCA is so important, that my family adopts all of our pets from the shelter. The beagle, Daisy, was adopted 9 years ago and the boxer, Jazzy, was adopted 3 months ago. They've become good friends and beloved family members.

Please join us for a wonderful evening- dinner then wine and chocolate for dessert in our 19th century ballroom-all to raise funds for an urgent cause.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Finally, Beer & Wine Tasting Flights at Rogues'

Rogues' Harbor Brewing Craft Beer Flight, A Beer Rainbow
We've always wanted to offer tasting flights at the Rogues' Harbor Inn. Recently, we've received many requests for tastes (instead of a pint or glass) of our own craft brews and of our generous selection of Finger Lakes' wine. So many requests that it inspired us to finally make that happen. FYI a flight is a small serving of a few or several beverages which have something in common, IE: beer, wine, bourbon, style, hoppiness, dryness, color, geography...
Since we now have four of our own craft ales on draught, we felt four was just right for a flight. So we serve a 4 oz taste of our Cayuga Cream Ale, Route 34 Ale, East Shore Pale Ale and Brewer's Choice (which changes every few weeks). We serve in mini mugs, nothing unbecoming for a proper brew, set on a labeled place mat for clarity. It's important to know what you're tasting and judging.
We decided to offer a Cayuga Lake wine flight as well. There are a lot of great wines to choose from in the Finger Lakes, but the ones closest to home are my favorites. They seem to receive the most attention on our list, too. Sometimes guests just don't have time to visit every winery that they would like, so we're here to help. We are serving 2 oz tastings of four Cayuga Lake wines: Treleaven Chardonnay, Sheldrake Point Riesling, Swedish Hill Cabernet Frank and Americana Baco Noir. Again, we are serving in a wine glass, nothing unbecoming for our favorite wines, placed on a labeled place mat. Judge at will.
While I was designing the flight place mats, I decided that simple was better. No pretentious tasting notes, advice or cutsie graphics. It's all about the beer and wine. It stands alone. Chris, our brewer, agreed. He said, "Its thumbs up or thumbs down." Either you like it or you don't; it's that simple.
We do list tasting notes on our web site for our brews and we're happy to offer advice if needed on both our beer or any Finger Lakes wine. But, just try it. We think you'll like all four tastings offered on the flights. Here in the heart of the Finger Lakes, four just might be your lucky number.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Brewers Choice of 2012

Tonight we will be releasing our first Brewer's Choice beer of 2012. Dubbed 1830 Porter(in honor of the year Rogues Harbor was built), this beer falls under a catagory known as Robust Porters. Many people aren't overly familiar with the porter style of beer, and even many craft beer afficianados aren't exactly sure about what exactly a  robust  porter is. In honor of the release of this beer we felt that perhaps a little education was in order.

Porter was the dominant style of British beer for much of the 1700 and 1800's. It is believed to have been brewed in answer to a style known as "three threads". Three threads was a blend of three beers that were generally poured at the pubs. In the early part of the 18th century a creative British brewer designed a beer that matched the flavor of the popular Three Threads style of beer, thus alleviating the need for blending of styles. This beer quickly became popular with the working class, for whom the beer style was eventually named. The porter had a range of color going from a light brown, to a beer so dark very little light could pass through it. It tended to lean heavily on the roasted malts for flavor. To some this may already sound like a stout, and there's good reason. Stouts actually evolved out of the porter style.

Porter fell out of popularity in Britain by the start of the 20th century, being replaced by milds and pale ales. By the mid-1900's there were only a handful of breweries in the world that even made a porter. The craft beer revolution has saved a lot of styles from an untimely demise, and porters were among these. However since a lot of the early information on brewing porters has been lost, and since the literature that still exists describes a wide range of characteristics about the style, the style has always been hard to pin down. Several sub-categories of porter have emerged to help better classify the diverse range of beers that call themselves porters. One of them, of course, is the robust porter.

A robust porter is an extremely dark version of porter, and to the eye many people would say it looks like a stout. While the robust porter uses many of the same dark grains as a stout to achieve it's dark brown to near black hue, it lacks the sharp bitterness from the dark grains as well as the signature dryness of an Irish stout. The use of caramel malts helps to lend a sweetness to the beer that balances out the bitter, or burnt nature of the roasted malts and makes the beer a little more accesible to a wider range of paletes.

Our 1830 Porter is a dark, nearly black beer with a solid body. The aroma is strongly reminiscent of fresh ground coffee with hints of chocolate and raisin. The flavor starts off dark and roasty, but finishes with a slight caramel sweetness that takes away the initial bitterness of the beer. As you get further through the pint other subtle flavors such as dates, fig, chocolate, and raisin can be found. It's not a heavy, dry, almost burnt flavor one would associate with such popular dark beers such as Guinness. Rather it has a more smooth flavor, but a firm body that makes it great on cold winter nights. Pair this beer with your favorite dessert, or have it on its own!

It starts pouring tonight on tap only at Rogues Harbor Inn.