The B3 Brunch Redux

Black Bridge is hosting breakfast again. This time the brunch is catered by Sirens Cafe, a restaurant next door to our venerable nanobrewery. The menu is quite different from the previous offerings, but Carmella usually does good work so I was optimistic.   

We started with drinks: a beermosa made with Lil Orange Van, Oktoberfest and 66 Porter, and a Dr Pepper.  So, everybody – Lil Orange Van Beermosas. Fantastic!  You’re welcome, Kingman, for having that drink introduced to you.  Seriously, you want it. (Insert Jedi mind trick hand wave). 

Then we ordered breakfast; a ham & Swiss quiche; candied bacon avocado toast; chicken & waffles with bourbon syrup. Now, I’ll be totally honest here. Sometimes, I feel that Sirens does some, well, eclectic food. And I was a smidge concerned when I saw the menu for today.  However, I am now totally a believer. The food was great. I had the chicken and waffles. Both were light and ambrosial. Really, that lightness was key. It was not a greasy slab of chicken and overly breads waffle. They were balanced and slight on the palate and the syrup was not overpowered with bourbon. The hint was there and that was sufficient. 

So, I won’t say it was superior to Tim’s fare last year -his candied bacon and pozole was just superb – but the food today was sapid, toothsome, yummy. I was very happy.  

Granted, I’m no foodie but this was a lot of fun and a good addition to the program for livening up the downtown area.  Cheers to Tim and Carmella!  I will look for the next opportunity to attend the Hipster Breakfast. Even if I’m beyond the “hipster” years. Whatever. 


“That Charming Social Hour” – Sunday Brunch At The Local Brewery

For a time, my schedule permits me to visit Black Bridge on Sunday’s around noon, a beau ideal for a beer session.  First, the beer is always good and, second, brunch is served.  And the brunch is always good, too.  Aside from knowing that “brunch” is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch I knew little about the meal. 

Evidently it’s an import from Britain.  According to and the Smithsonian the word first appeared in 1895 in an article by Guy Beringer, a British writer. He “suggested an alternative to the heavy, post-church Sunday meals in favor of lighter fare served late in the morning,” writes the Smothsonian.  ”Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,” Beringer says. ”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” – Read more: The Birth of Brunch: Where Did This Meal Come From Anyway?

”Brunch is much more eclectic, although I would say that it has to be on a weekend, it has a festive aspect to it, and it’s social. You never have brunch alone, while breakfast for one is perfect, in my opinion.” – At Brunch, The More Bizarre The Better – New York Times

A local brewery or pub, or taproom, seems an appropriate spot for such an event. They are inherently social.  And, of course, beer expedites the removal of stress and worry when consumed appropriately.  There is a hint of elitism in the history of brunch and so I think that is another reason that it’s good to hold such a meal in a local pub venue. Everybody’s equal there and just hanging about to enjoy themselves. 

 The Joy of Cooking:  All About Breakfast and Brunch calls the meal “that charming social hour.” And then it goes on to say, “along with coffee and tea, it is customary to serve something alcoholic with brunch such as white wine, Champagne (or the combination of Champagne and orange juice known as the Mimosa), or a pitcher of Bloody Mary’s.”

Our local demonstrates they understand the custom and have put their brand on it.  The brewer becomes the chef and offers several plates of ambrosial brunch fare: a breakfast quesadilla, a fried egg sandwich on sourdough, a chorizo breakfast burrito.  They sound simple, which is an important factor considering there is only one cool at the moment, Black Bridge’s brewer. But theses unassuming meals are excellent and certainly comes from somebody who loves to cook.

Bartender Mike recommended to me the breakfast quesadilla and I’ve had it twice in a row now.  It’s eggs and bacon and bell peppers and cheese in a toasted tortilla. There’s a jammy sweetness to the plate that I can’t place, but I love it. It makes me think the bacon is cooked in grape jelly; my drinking companion says it is bacon with brown sugar.  He may be close to correct since Tim did make an enigmatic comment about “bacon jam” some weeks ago. Well, whatever it is I can’t get enough. 

 If all goes right, our party will double in size this coming Sunday, so at least two more people will get a taste of the brunch and the beer.  Speaking of the beer, what works with brunch?  The Joy of Cooking, mentioned above, states that Mimosa’s are traditional for brunch.  Black Bridge provides beermosas (beer and orange juice) and they are delicious – I prefer mine made with B3 Wheat instead of Wicked Ginger; it’s like a creamsicle in a pint.  If you want just a beer, I completely recommend 80 Shilling, the Scottish export.  

If you’re not familiar with the style here are a few notes regarding it.  All About Beer magazine said: “There is nothing fancy or overblown about Scottish ales, but they are instead simple, smooth and genuine.”  This reserved, malty delight thus steps aside and let’s the food be the star while still giving you a beer fix. Over and over, since it’s relatively low in alcohol content. 

The Beer Bible, by Jeff Alworth, makes Scottish ale sound breakfasty.  He writes, “Scottish session ales are closely related to English cask ale; they’re balanced and smooth, designed to keep the palate interested over the course of three or four pints. … Scottish session ales can be read as tiny treatises on the expressiveness of malt flavor. With reserved hopping, you can see the way soft, fruity esters play off a refined woodiness. You find all the classic malt adjectives in different brands—toffee, bread crust, walnut, biscuit—and yet they fail to capture the more evocative elements that spring to mind when you’re pondering these unassuming little ales.”

See, unassuming again. And malty sweetness, a little fruit, yes just a spectacular beer.  It is the consummate companion to the B3 quesadilla.  Now, the brunches come with pozole and your choice of salsa. I always request the hot green salsa and if that’s what you like, Cliff Dweller, the double IPA, accentuates the heat. Very cool.  Well, very hot.

Beer and Brunch – the Sunday Funday

Sunday’s are an admixture of leisure and dread.  On Friday the weekend begins and heralds relief from the labors of the week. However, that same weekend can bring other work: domestic chores, hobbies, home and car maintenance – all the stuff that can’t be done during the week often schedule themselves for Friday and Saturday. When Sunday dawns, perhaps those chores are complete and leisure does unveil itself. But it is short lived for Monday is coming, like that freight train at the end of the tunnel. Leisure and dread, waltzing to cognitive disharmony.

Black Bridge has started to open its doors on Sunday’s and perhaps it can mollify that dreadful waltz.  Brewer and owner Tim Schritter takes over the Sirens Cafe kitchen and cooks brunch-worthy items: fried egg sandwiches, chorizo & egg burritos, pozole. It does not aspire to be haute cuisine but it is a satisfying menu that tastes homemade.

The fried egg sandwich was recommended and the recommendation was good. It is fried eggs and bacon on sourdough bread, toasted with smoked provolone cheese. Since the egg was requested over easy the sandwich was gloriously messy and tasty. Also consumed was the chorizo burrito notable for not being a greasy mess that inundated hands and plate.  The pozole had some tender pork and a decent salsa heat.  Mr Schritter is a good cook in addition to being a good brewer.

The homemade character of the Sunday Funday makes it an event worth attending. In addition to the food that will not disappoint is Black Bridge’s signature beermosas. Admittedly, this writer did not know to what the -mosa suffix referred.  A conference with a spouse and some quick internet research has revealed that a mimosa is a cocktail of champagne and orange juice.   Black Bridge substitutes their beer for the champagne and the substitution is good.  The orange juice is a toothsome complement to B3 Wheat.  Wicked Ginger is appropriate, too, but the ginger ale and the orange juice may be in some competition, although the ginger beermosa was much smoother on the palate.  The B3 Wheat beermosa presented more aggressive carbonation.  They were both very morningy.

Add to all the above the usual affable buzz and an NFC playoff game and it makes for a pleasant morning.  Sunday Funday occurs on every Sunday at Black Bridge Brewery from 10 am to 4 pm.  Cheers!