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Tastemakers: Food for Thought home canning? Schmohz Brewery Brewers Six

Rick Coates - April 25th, 2011
Food For Thought Home Canning
This weekend Timothy Young, founder of Food for Thought in Benzie County, will offer a seminar on “home canning” at the Chef’s Challenge event at Boyne Mountain. Young considers himself to be an “avid home canner” who learned the art of canning from his mother when he was a kid.
Canning is gaining favor again in our country and while it’s no longer the necessity it was during our grandparents’ generation, it has new significance today. Primarily it offers one the ability to enjoy locally grown products year-round. The canning options are endless, from making spaghetti sauce from locally grown tomatoes and vegetables, to canning all sorts of fruits and vegetables, to making homemade preserves and jams.
While canning might seem complex and time-consuming, Young will show you that with the proper equipment and knowledge it is both simple and fulfilling along with being a great family activity. His canning seminar at the Chef’s Challenge on Saturday April 30 will be in two parts, with the first being an overview and the basics of canning; in part two he will give a demonstration and offer some tricks to making wonderful preserves.
The Chef’s Challenge was launched in 2008 by the late Joe Breidenstein as a means to promote Michigan’s rich and diversified culinary, agricultural, wine, spirits and craftbrew industries while paying tribute to spring tourism opportunities in the state (an area that Breidenstein often felt was being overlooked by tourism leaders). Last year, Chef’s Challenge raised $12,000 for Challenge Mountain an adaptive recreation facility for people with special needs.
The weekend is full of seminars, tasting opportunities and a competition where some of the top chefs in the state compete at an afternoon tasting with the top two chefs battling it out “iron chef” style in the evening. For info on Chef’s Challenge visit their website and to see a sample video of Timothy Young offering canning tips go to --Rick Coates

Schmohz Brewery Brewers Six
Master brewer Chas Thompson of Grand Rapids-based Schmohz Brewery is probably the most colorful character on the Michigan craftbrew scene. During recent visits to Northern Michigan for both the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival and the Suds & Snow event, hundreds of participants had their pictures taken with him. The burley brewer with his dark sunglasses and clad in his coyote headdress affectionately named Wile E. definitely stood out in the crowd and so does the beer he brews.
Partnering up with a couple of classmates from Michigan Tech, Thompson helped launch Schomhz Brewery seven years ago. Located between Burton St. and 28th St near I-96, the Schmohz Brewery has quickly become a Grand Rapids favorite and in recent years the brews have been gaining favor elsewhere in the state, in particular Northern Michigan.
Thompson understands the mindset of the craftbrew drinker in that they are experimental in nature. He created the Brewers Six, a six-pack of mixed beers to allow the beer drinker the opportunity to try six different Schmohz beers without having to make a major initial investment. “If you visit the brewery you can order the Tasters Selection and try five different beers, my thought was why not do that with the six pack? I figured if someone was able to try six of our beers for the cost of just a six pack they would latch on to at least one beer if not more,” said Thompson.
The plan seems to be working. The Brewers Six from Schmohz is flying off store shelves and offers a solid sampling of the breweries best that includes Hopknocker Imperial IPA, Amber Tease, Treasure Chest ESB, Pail Ale, India Pale Ale and Bonecrusher Stout. Each beer has a colorful label and the quality inside the bottle to match.
In addition to several great beers, Schmohz is the first Michigan brewery to offer non-alcohol microbrewed beer. The Schmohz 120 has all the great craftbrew characteristics minus the alcohol. Thompson has also introduced the Sammi Rae line of sodas to benefit the Sammi Rae of Hope organization that helps families who are faced with the loss of a loved one (usually a young child) and are incurring major expenses as a result. The root beer and the black cherry are both pub favorites and available by the bottle. These flavorful sodas are not over carbonized or super sweet and a portion of the proceeds benefit the foundation.
If you are a craftbrew aficionado be sure to check out the beers from Schmohz Brewery; they are now available throughout Northern Michigan. If you are traveling to Grand Rapids and want to visit, check out --Rick Coates
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