Dining

In My Kitchen: Charlie Papazian, founder of Denver's Great American Beer Festival

The founder of Denver's Great American Beer Festival, master brewer Charlie Papazian, and wife Sandra share their passion for home brew.

October 2007

Kitchen Cred
Papazian is founder of the Great American Beer Festival (now in its 26th year) and president of the Brewers Association of America as well as the American Homebrewers Association. He also penned The Complete Joy of Home Brewing (aka the home brewers' bible).

D.I.Y.
Papazian converted his garage into a home brewery. "I brew once or twice a month," he says, displaying his latest creation, a classic IPA, which he stores in a carboy (a five-gallon glass jug). "I made this one for Sandra's birthday party. It's named 'Sebastiana' after Sandra's grandmother; it's a strong brew because she was a strong woman."

Hop to It
Cascade hops grow in the Papazians' garden. They harvest them every August to brew American IPAs.

The Munchies
A homemade item for snacking: home-style pickled eggs, made with vinegar, salt, dill, garlic, and sliced beet. "These go really well with a German-style smoked lager," says Charlie.

Storage
"These are collectors' beers," he says of the beers he cellars like most people cellar wine. Among the prized possessions: a bottle of "Geezer's Gueuze," a Belgian-style sour beer made for the 1999 National Homebrewers conference; a bottle of 1992 Selection Lambic, signed by the brewer; and a bottle of Belle Vue Kriek from 1982.

BYOB
"This is what I take to parties," Papazian explains, holding up a "growler," a large, resealable glass container for beer.

Cap it Off
Papazian's grandfather gave him this cast-iron bottle capper, which he used during prohibition.

Current Obsession
On his list of faves: a Czech-style lager made with French and American hops named "Kings and Vagabonds," and a rich, toasted-coconut porter titled "Someplace I Gotta Go."

Quick Tip
Papazian's biggest tip: Don't serve your beer too cold. "Ice-cold beer anesthetizes your tongue," he explains. "Lagers and pilsners are best between 40 and 45 degrees, and ales are best between 45 and 55 degrees for maximum flavor. That said, on a really hot day, a really cold beer is really good."

RECIPE: Papazian's Slow-Roasted Smoked Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 3-inch sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lime/lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt to taste

Rub whole chicken, inside and outside, with vinegar or fresh-squeezed lime/lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes, then rinse with cold water. Rub garlic powder and salt inside and outside of chicken. Stuff fresh rosemary into cavity. Sprinkle paprika and rub onto outside skin.

Prepare charcoal grill: Start 15 to 18 charcoal briquettes, piled on one side of the grill. Place banana-size piece of applewood, maple, oak, hickory, mesquite, or cherrywood on top of coals. Open all vents (underside and topside). Place chicken on grill—opposite side of the coals (do not place chicken over the coals, as juices and fat should not fall onto burning coals). Cover. Slow roast for 3 to 4 hours. Check coals after 2 hours, and add 5 to 7 additional coals if needed. Slow cooking at low heat will assure juicy and thoroughly cooked chicken. When done, leg bone separates from meat if pulled.

Great Beer Accompaniments: Craft-brewed American- or English-style brown ale, or hoppy German- or Czech-style pilsner.

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