TAP NY – Beers, Brats, and Sunburns

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Oh, don’t know what TAP is you say? Allow me:

1. Hunter Mountain in the Catskills

2. 41 NY-state only craft beer breweries

3. Over 150 craft beers to sample in unlimited quantities

4. Theme: Comfort food

5. 11 friends staying in 1 killer rental property (will not go into plumbing problems here – just so you know, its country livin’).

6. Honorable Mentions

Scotch Ale from Chatham Brewing LLC

Creamy McStout from John Harvard’s Brew House

Hot-Jala-Heim from Horseshead Brewery

Flower Power from Ithica Beer Co.

Mother’s Milk and Joe Mama’s Milk from Keegan Ales

Ubu Ale from Lake Placid Pub and Brewery

Roosterfish Belgian Triple from Roosterfish Brewing

7. Best in Show (from your humble writer’s option):

Bourbon Barrel Aged Recessionator Doppelbock

8. On deck for next year:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout from Bandwagon Brewery

What can I say? We went, we drank, we hang-overed, we conquered!! A hoppy trip through photos. And the recipe for baked pasta we made Saturday morning for Saturday night dinner, after we made it home (via a 15-pass taxi service – please drink responsibly). Enjoy!

Thanks to Jason, KT and Martin for sharing!

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Baked Ziti with Spicy Pork and Sausage Ragù

From Bon Appetit Magazine, February 2004, Recipe by Bruce Aidells

Braised pork shoulder, spicy Italian sausage, and pancetta enrich the tomato sauce. Dried crushed red pepper kicks up the heat.

8 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 2 pounds Boston butt (pork shoulder), cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 6 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes in juice, tomatoes chopped, juice reserved
  • 1 1/4 pounds ziti pasta
  • 2 cups (packed) coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to bowl. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add half of pork to drippings in pot; sauté until brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pancetta. Repeat with remaining pork. Add sausage to same pot. Sauté until no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add wine and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Add pancetta and pork with any accumulated juices; boil 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice. Cover and cook until pork is very tender, adjusting heat as needed to maintain gentle simmer and stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
  • Uncover pot; tilt to 1 side and spoon off fat from surface of ragù. Gently press pork pieces with back of fork to break up meat coarsely. Season ragù to taste with salt and pepper. 
    DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm over low heat before continuing.

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish or other 4-quart baking dish. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; mix into ragù. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper; transfer to prepared dish. Sprinkle both cheeses over. Bake until heated through and golden, about 20 minutes.

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