The Red & White [Ottawa Food & Wine event]

There is certainly no shortage of exciting Food & Drink events in our cozy little hometown of Ottawa, but one in particular has me feeling desperately anxious for January 18th to arrive. Food, wine and beer lovers, take note! 

The Red and White is a event in support of Harmony House, a second-stage womens shelter, the only one in Ottawa, that provides safe, affordable, transitional housing for women and children who are survivors of violence. I’m thrilled to see Harmony House as the beneficiary for this event. Knowing the proceeds are going to such a deserving charity makes it all the more worthwhile, especially this time of year when we could all give a little more to those who may not lead lives as blessed as we do. 

photo courtesy of foodnetwork canada

Most notably is the presence of Chef Michael Blackie, executive chef at the NAC’s Le Cafe and Chef Lora Kirk of Toronto’s Ruby Watchoo at the event. Both will be cooking up delicious nibbles and conducting demos throughout the night. 

photo courtesy of Celebrity Chef Tour Toronto

If that’s not enough to get you out of the house on a Wednesday, do it for the local wineries and breweries that are ever-so-kindly supplying the event with little somethings to wet your whistle. You know I love a good glass of wine most of the time, but when the mood so strikes me, nothing compares to the satisfaction of an icy cold, amber-hued pint of beer. That first sip always feels euphoric. 

This past year I grew a penchant for HogsBack beer, the love child of four Ottawa friends who say the idea started, over a beer, while observing the fun and excitement pub patrons were experiencing while enjoying a pint. While they may not brew their beer locally, as some say with a sneer, they are very much a local business. If you’ve met any of the gentlemen that started the company, you would know that. They are passionate about Ottawa and the people and businesses who reside here. In the past year, they’ve provided beer for the Ottawa Food and Wine Festival, Tulip Festival, and sponsored both the Ottawa Humane Society’s Furball and Capital Pride, just to name a few. Hogsback Brewing is a beer that our locals are proud to serve and thrilled to drink and it’s ever-apparent in how quickly they are picking up speed and popping up in restaurants and pubs around the city. 

Hogsback brews a European-style Lager that is just slightly bitter with a touch of sweetness. It’s crisp and clean and easy to drink. Perhaps too easy at times. It’s sweet and somewhat husky flavour will forever remind me of summer afternoon’s spent outside on the patio. These four long-time friends turned business partners know beer, and I’m thankful they do. 

I was thrilled to have a few minutes of Paige Cutland, co-owner of Hogsback’s, time today when he answered a few brief question for me. (I know it’s ‘that time of year’ and I didn’t want to be too greedy!) Have a peek at my interview with the brewer;  

 As someone who clearly holds beer so near and dear to their heart, I’m curious if you remember your first sip of it?
My first memory of drinking beer is in the sand dunes of Florida during March Break where it was a fine American product like “Busch” or “Schlitz” and the older kids procured it and shared.  I don’t remember my parent’s being too impressed.

 As a brewery who supports so many local events, what is your favourite part about giving back to our community?
The kindness and support we have received in our HogsBack endeavor make it easy to share back and we are really privileged to be able to do so.  The little we can offer seems to go a long way and that it very gratifying.

The Red & White, of course, marries delicious local food with equally impressive drink – what is your favourite dish to cook with HogsBack vintage lager?  So far I have tried everything from BBQ sauce to cupcakes made with HogsBack but I think the best has to be a pulled pork recipe that one of our partners came up with.  I hope he wrote it down. 

What’s on the horizon for HogsBack? Anything new we can expect in the coming year?   In the next year we plan on bringing limited edition seasonal brews to the market so that will be fun to see the reaction, we may even have a name the beer contest.  We’ve also started scouting out locations to build our brewery so we’ve visited a few locations and that is very exciting to start planning that. 

The Red and White is being held at St. Brigid’s Center for the Art’s, an old church turned venue that will, quite literally, blow your socks off with it’s beauty. If the beer, the wine, the delicious food and the promise of great company doesn’t entice you enough, the venue certainly will. 

Come say hello, grab a bite, have a pint and enjoy yourself all for a good cause this Wednesday, January 18th. I would love to see you there! 

The Red & White
Wednesday January 18th, 2012
St Brigids Center for the Arts 
Tickets: $60 (a great Christmas gift for the food lovers!)

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