Swill & Suds, Swine Dining

Malai Kitchen’s Brewmaster Talks Suds and Strategy

August 25, 2016
Photo by Kevin Marple

Since its inception, I’ve loved and admired the in-house beer program at Malai Kitchen, particularly how well the restaurant’s Thai-Vietnamese fusion food goes with its Asian-based brews. This year, the Dallas-born restaurant marked two new milestones that have expanded its beer pedigree: a new branch in Southlake serving up amazing suds and the spring arrival of a new brewmaster, Matt Reynolds. Both have brought a ton of terrific anticipation and excitement to the brainchild of co-owners Yasmin and Braden Wages, and the latter addition brings a varied and super-interesting mix of skills to the table.

Reynolds, a University of North Texas grad, has a background and degree in engineering and while working in that field professionally, he honed his talents in beer making as part of the local home-brewing scene. So much so that when the Malai brewer gig opened up, he jumped at the chance to turn his hobby into his new profession.

I had the chance to pick Reynolds’ brain about his brewmastery — here’s what he had to say about his approach and plans at Malai.

So what is your approach to brewing at Malai, particularly where new beers are concerned? How many newbies do you envision adding?

I want to keep with the theme of brewing Thai-Vietnamese inspired beers by incorporating many of the ingredients used in the kitchen into various styles. I’ll also brew beers that are relevant to the current trends – maybe even experiment with a few sour (wild) beers. I don’t have a definite number, but I’m hoping to add one beer a month.

Will you have beers that are unique to just the Southlake location, or just the Dallas one?

We have six taps in Southlake and three taps in Uptown. I’m going to try to split unique beers at each location and have more one-off tappings at each location.

How much input/collaboration will you get/do you desire from the kitchen?

I spend a good majority of the time bouncing ideas off Braden, looking for feedback about what ingredients are in season and the flavor profiles of various spices and fruits.

For new beers, will your primary aim be crafting beer that stands alone or beer that pairs well? Or a balance?

More of a balance. I hope to brew beers that can stand alone as a great beer but also pair will with the cuisine. The beers that showcase the ingredients we use in the kitchen will naturally pair well.

Is brewer’s academy as fun as it sounds??

Yes, it’s pretty fun but also very challenging! I never thought I would learn so much about beer. It will be really fun when I get a chance to visit the campus in Vermont this summer for a week to brew and meet all of my fellow classmates.

Is there a style of beer that’s better/easier for beginners to brew at home?

I would recommend a pale or IPA, something with a decent amount of hops. Hops help stave off infections and bacteria that tend to make home brews more challenging. Plus, I love IPAs and think that everyone should have more hops in their life!

Swill & Suds, Swine Dining, Uncategorized

What to Make, Where To Go for Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2016
Cinco de Mayo Cocktails | SwineAndSwill.com

Around here, we refuse to call today Cinco de Drinko – all it evokes is visions of cheap margs you pound by the quart. We’d rather celebrate the holiday with beautifully balanced, wonderfully crafted cocktails – including ones that don’t feature tequila. Imagine that! Here are some beverages that’ll have you forgetting Cinco de Drinko forever. Not in the mood to whip up drinks? We’ve got a list of spots where they’ll do it for you — with terrific Cinco specials. Cheers!

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Swill & Suds

Tasting The Macallan’s Fine
New Whisky, Edition No. 1

April 7, 2016
Tasting Macallan's Finest Whisky Expressions | SwineAndSwill.com

[Ed. note: Our intrepid contributor Patrick Gary was invited to a tasting of The Macallan’s premium expressions with the label’s Ambassador, Jeremy Fonicello. Enjoy Pat’s delicious musings!]

In general, it’s been a good time to be a whiskey drinker recently. In the past few years, consumers have been introduced to innovative bourbons like Ranger Creek’s small-caliber series, Corsair distillery’s Triple Smoke Whiskey and Quinoa Whiskey, High West 36th Vote, Balcones Baby Blue, and even Jim Beam’s Devil’s Cut. Japanese whiskey, especially Suntory Yamazaki, started to gain a reputation as one of the best in the world. Then recently, Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye was rated the best that this planet has to offer in 2016. All the while, Scotch was standing on the sidelines, sticking with making the same things that their patrons love, but holding to tradition instead of innovation.

Seeing their competition gaining on their reputation, The Macallan decided to respond to the myriad challenges with some distinctive, rare, and rather beautiful offerings. No longer resting on their laurels, The Macallan is releasing a collection of new items aimed at different kinds of whiskey and whisky fans.

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Swill & Suds

Yeezus Will Rise at This Dallas Cocktail Pop-Up on Sunday

March 22, 2016
Kanye West-Themed Event in Dallas | SwineAndSwill.com

This Sunday, as the ultimate counterprogramming to Easter, a number of local bartenders are hatching (hehe) a hip-hop-flavored cigar and cocktail pop-up primed to pull your ham- and deviled egg-stuffed butt to Oak Cliff.

Dallas bar masters Omar Yeefoon (86 & Co.) and Phillip Smith (Parliament) are teaming with visiting talents Kyle Zimmerman from OKC and Andy Maurer from Houston to host “Yeezy Does It,” a pop-up going down at Cigar Art in the OC.

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Swill & Suds, Uncategorized

8 Elevated St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail Recipes

March 17, 2016
8 Elevated St. Patrick's Day Cocktails | SwineAndSwill.com

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, yes, but let’s face it – you’re going to be celebrating the Irish-flavored holiday tomorrow and this weekend, ain’t ya? Make sure your home bar is stocked and ready to whip up these elevated St. Patrick’s Day cocktails. Forget neon-green liqueurs and gimmicky concoctions – these creations come from the minds of the best mixologists and top brands around. So get your sláinte on in style …

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Pork & Pantry, Swill & Suds

Highland Park Whisky Appreciates a Dram and a Draft

March 10, 2016
Highland Park's Dram & a Draft Event in Dallas wowed us with terrific pairings of beer and Scotch | SwineAndSwill.com

Recently, the esteemed whisky label Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky hosted a really cool event where a few of their expressions were paired with beer — a brilliant idea that also tasted pretty freakin’ good.

For the “Dram and a Draft” event, at Meddlesome Moth, a group of professional sippers were presented with three pairings: Southern Star’s Bombshell Blond and Highland Park 12; Dogfish Head IBA and Highland Park 18; and New Holland Brewing Company’s Dragon’s Milk and Highland Park Dark Origins.

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Swill & Suds

6 Oscars-Themed Cocktails Ready for Their Close-Up

February 26, 2016
6 Oscar Cocktails Ready for the Close-Up | SwineAndSwill.com

This Sunday, the annual Academy Awards telecast returns – and as a movie fanatic, it’s simply one of my favorite times to throw a shindig. But, alas, not this year – honestly, none of the nominees have really piqued my interest this go-round. But that don’t mean I won’t drink anyway! And these Hollywood-inspired cocktails will make either partying or vegging/live-tweeting the awards from your sofa that much more spectacular. So whip up one of these drinks and get to snarking about the red-carpet fails. Cheers!

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Swill & Suds

Dallas’ Pisco Cocktail Duel Was a Blast

February 12, 2016

Pisco Cocktail Duel in Dallas Was a Smash | SwineAndSwill.com

Last weekend, as you’ll recall, we attended and I judged an incredible pisco sour competition in Dallas called the Pisco Cocktail Duel — it went smashingly! Each of the eight participating bartenders did admirably well in dreaming up inventive new takes on the classic Peruvian cocktail, and while they handed out samples, I got to meet with representatives from the event’s four sponsor spirits: Cuatro Gallos, Pisco Porton, Santiago Queirolo and Barsol. Meantime, the event’s attendees were engaged and lively, and, honestly? I was happily surprised at how curious they were about pisco and each bartender’s drink — certainly made for a fun and energetic vibe to the event.

Once attendees got a sip of each bartender’s cocktails, it was time for us judges to be seated and for each bar pro to step up and create their signature pisco drink before us while detailing the inspiration behind them and then serving them up with flair. We tasted, we discussed, we scored, and the bartender who ended up with top honors was Spencer Shelton from Bolsa — he put a food-centric twist on his version of the pisco sour, incorporating characteristic foods and flavors from Peru. It was a smooth, well-balanced sip that pleased our palates! As the winner, Spencer took home $500 and a bottle of each event sponsor’s pisco. Kudos!

There’ll be more pisco duels in coming months culminating in a grand championship in the latter part of the year. Stay tuned! Meantime, enjoy this gallery of snapshots from last weekend’s event …

Swill & Suds

Local Bartenders Battle for Pisco Sour Supremacy

February 5, 2016
Pisco Sour Competition Comes to Dallas! | SwineAndSwill.com

Saturday afternoon, North Dallas will be the site of a head-to-head-to-head battle of pisco sours, just in time for the cocktail’s holiday, celebrated annually in Peru.

From 4 to 6 p.m., eight of the area’s top bartenders will gather at the Pisco Cocktail Duel to whip up their own unique take on the pisco sour; prizes (and bragging rights) shall be awarded. The eight participating cocktail masters hail from High & Tight, Oak, Whiskey Cake, Thompson’s and Parliament, among other fine drinking establishments. Best part is that this FREE event will be open to the public … and I’ll be one of the judges!

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Swill & Suds

11 Holiday Cocktails … and a Wicked Giveaway!

December 27, 2015
Holiday Cocktails and a Giveaway! | SwineAndSwill.com

With a handful of days off from work and family and friends gathering to celebrate, the holidays are a prime time for relaxing … and, you know – enjoying excellent craft cocktails in multiples. Here’re some holiday cocktails perfect for toasting the end-of-year celebrations. And if you need something to sate the whole party, check out our recent roundup on boozy punches – they’re not just for Thanksgiving, ya know!

Speaking of giving thanks, you’ll be singing praises over our latest giveaway – click through to learn how to win the elegant and luxurious Absolut Elyx pineapple!

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