Host Your Own (Socially Distant) Oktoberfest

Ahh, fall. Leaves, pumpkin spice, your favorite flannels on repeat, and Oktoberfest. Since large gatherings are not 2020’s friend, you probably won’t be attending any big Oktoberfest celebrations this year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a couple of family members or your roommates and host a safe and socially distant gathering to celebrate the season.

Location, location, location.

Park, backyard, front yard, you name it. Just make sure you have fresh air and plenty of space for distancing.

Start with the beer.

While Oktoberfest originated in 1810 as a celebration of marriage of the Crown price of Bavaria and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (try saying that five times fast), the celebration progressed into an annual festival with large beer halls by the late 20th century, and it’s safe to say it’s been a beer-drinking shindig ever since. Luckily for you, around August, Oktoberfest-themed beers start popping up on grocery and liquor store shelves everywhere. The most 2020-friendly way to serve beer is by the bottle, in a big cooler for guests to grab on their own time. For an extra precaution, make it BYOO (opener).

You’ll want some bites with that.

You’re going to want a little substance to go with all that beer. Try these homemade pretzel twists on skewers. It’s a pandemic-friendly twist (see what we did there?) on a classic soft pretzel – ready for each guest to grab and go. Skewers work well for sausages too….And if you really want to go the extra mile, try individual cups of German Potato Salad (no judgment if you buy this premade either). And when we say individual cups, we certainly don’t mean plastic. Try mason jars or anything you have lying around your house – the good news is you’re keeping it small, so no need to stress on too many dishes. Just make sure you remember the hand sanitizer.

Dress the part.

We love a reason to dress up, and are also all about keeping it eco-friendly, so if you don’t have lederhosen or a dirndl lying around (what? You don’t?), here’s the easiest way to DIY it: Khaki shorts, a checkered shirt and suspenders for the guys; a ruffled or off the shoulder white blouse, high-waisted skirt, and an apron for the ladies. Don’t forget your mask.

Keep it small.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we all know that this is not the year for big parties. So keep it responsible, and save the festivities for your closest family, roommates, or quarantine pod. There are lots of pros to doing it this way: less cleanup, more time for good conversations, and more beer for you. And you can think of it as a practice run for when you do get to throw a big Oktoberfest party next time around. Prost!

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Beers That Give Back for International Beer Day

Beer me! Friday, August 7th is International Beer Day and we’re celebrating by (1) cracking a few cold ones, and (2) celebrating Earth… because it’s the only planet with beer on it (that we know of). Beer and Planet Earth — what a dynamic duo. In fact, it’s SO dynamic that a bunch of breweries think so, too. As 1% for the planet members, these breweries care about good ingredients and good business.

What does it mean to be a 1% for the Planet Brewery?

As fellow members of 1% for the Planet, these breweries have pledged to support environmental justice with profits and products. They also taste delicious. 1% for the Planet members measure success in business by how much they’re able to give to nonprofits each year. (PS, we’re 1% FTP Members too). Here’s a round up of some of our favorite international 1% FTP breweries. 

(PSA: If we don’t name a brewery in your neck of the woods, check the 1% directory then let us know. We love new breweries.)

Bent Paddle Brewing Co

From Duluth, MN and made with water from Lake Superior and local ingredients. Their aluminum cans are made from more than 50% recycled content (and cans are lighter to ship and get about 30% more volume per truckload than glass bottles, so less of a carbon footprint!) and they’ve supported over 500 community organizations through their “Paddle It Forward” initiatives since opening in 2013. 

Maine Beer Company

From Freeport, ME — home to our Freeport Toad&Co store and our East Coast Toads (Freeport, not the brewery… kind of). This is a local’s favorite and they are all about supporting the locals. They give back to The Billion Oyster Project + 24 other nonprofits! Also, we love their tagline: “Do what’s right.” 

Topa Topa Brewing Co.

From Ventura, CA, just a hop and a skip from Toad HQ in Santa Barbara. Aside from making great beer in small batches and supporting Heal the Ocean + 22 other nonprofits, the folks at Topa (as we call it) are just downright good company. Over the years we’ve partnered up on community fundraisers and 1% FTP events and they are always game — ready and willing with smiles, high fives, and of course, cold kegs of beer. 

Tempest Brewing Co.

From South Scotland, UK, and this is some bloody good beer! In 2010 the head brewers were crafting home brews in a garage in New Zealand that was SO good, they moved back to Scotland and got serious. Fast forward to 2018 and they land on RateBeers 100 best breweries in the world, and in 2019 they became the first brewery in the UK to join 1% for the planet. This means getting involved in various projects to offset their carbon footprint and connecting with local environmental causes. Slàinte mhath! 

Moustache Brewing Co.

From Riverhead, NY, this micro-brewery based out of the east end of Long Island, NY is made up of a husband and wife team that started in 2012 as a one barrel operation. They’ve (obviously) since grown, and now support local nonprofits like the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program. ( PS – Google “Shinnecock Bay” — it’s real pretty). 

New Belgium Brewing Co.

From Fort Collins, CO, New Belgium is the grand daddy (or mammy!) of 1% FTP breweries. In 2008 it was the first brewery to join 1% for the planet and they’ve since donates hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sales of their “Fat Tire” beer to organizations like Leave No Trace and 311 others! Good beer, good intentions, and great role models. 

4 Pines Brewing Company

From Manly, Australia and they aren’t just a 1% FTP company, they’re also a Certified B-Corp, which means they meet the highest standards of social and environmental impact. Among things like sourcing sustainable and domestic ingredients from ethical farmers, 4 Pines also does an annual garbage audit (!!!) to see how much they’re recycling vs. tossing (good news, they recycle more), a water audit, and an energy audit — all with the intention of improving a little bit more every year. Also, they make great beer that supports Surfrider Foundation Australia and others. 

Hopworks Urban Brewing

From Portland, OR (another town the Toad calls home!), HUB is all about good collaborations like working with farmers for organic ingredients and seeking third-party certifications to make sure every step of the supply chain is done in a sustainable way. Which, BTW, they’ve totally nailed. In 2015 they were the first brewery in the Pacific Northwest to become a certified B-Corp member, and in 2016 they joined 1% for the Planet. Hopworks focuses their giving on water, forest, and bike related causes through special collaborations and partnerships with non-profits like Oregon Wild and 19 other nonprofits. 

MadTree Brewing

From Cincinnati, OH, MadTree might have our favorite tagline EVER: Inspiring Madness, Rooted in Purpose. And that purpose is, unsurprisingly, saving the trees. So far they have donated 15,000 saplings to regenerate the forests donate 50k pounds of spent grain to feed local livestock each week, and engage patrons of the taproom with the greatest drinking game of all time: customers can toss a buck to go to non-profits like the Arbor Day Foundation. 

Have a great International Beer Day (and a great international beer year), and don’t forget to drink responsibly! 

Tiki Tiki Rum Rum Recipe

It’s not as impressive as 10 hours of extra features on the Lord of the Rings DVD set, but this recipe is our version of “behind the scenes.” When we shot our Spring/Summer 2020 collection in Joshua Tree last fall, our awesome creative team set up basecamp at Arrive Hotel in Palm Springs – a funky mid-century oasis with a stellar in-house gastro pub.

After hours in the desert sun, we’d wrap each day by chowing down on pastrami sandos and slurping fruity cocktails. We’d be lying if we said we got the recipes (we didn’t), but we did walk away with a renewed appreciation for tiki umbrellas and dark rum. So here’s our best attempt at a recreation… 

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Tiki Tiki Rum Rum (inspired by Wexler’s @ Arrive Palm Springs

Ingredients

• 2 oz. dark rum
• 1 oz. passion fruit syrup
• 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
• Pineapple slice, lime wedge, umbrella for garnish 

Directions

Fill a tall glass with crushed ice (if you don’t have crushed ice, put ice in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin — save and reuse the bag!). Combine rum, passion fruit syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker with some ice cubes. Do a little dance and shake until the shaker is cold n’ frosty. Pour into the glass. Garnish with pineapple slice, lime, umbrella… whatever feels tropical! 

 

The Quarantinarita

This recipe comes from Daisy, copywriter extraordinaire and cocktail Queen. 

I’ll be frank: I buy in bulk. Not toilet paper, but tequila. It’s a staple in my kitchen (right up there with garbanzo beans and Top Ramen), and it’s been the cornerstone of my “What’s in the pantry?” margaritas of late. 

With the shelter-in-place order in full effect in our Central CA town, I’ve had to get creative. I’ve started infusing simple syrups with anything I can scrounge (Rosemary? Yep. Lavender? Sure thing); I’ve made friends with neighbors with overflowing citrus trees; and I’ve resolved to use up all those random liqueurs that I bought for that one cocktail, that one time… 

So this cocktail – the Quarantinarita – is a product of the times: Costco tequila, big batch simple syrup, Aperol from last Summer’s “Spritz Blitz,” and oranges straight from my neighbor’s trees. It’s whatever’s in the pantry, shaken, poured over ice, and best consumed during a sunset neighborhood stroll. Yeah, I could get used to this. 

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QUARANTINARITA – MAKES 1: 

  • 1oz (standard shot glass) simple syrup 
  • 2oz tequila  
  • 1 cap-full of Aperol (about 1.5 tbsp) 
  • Juice of 1 orange 
  • Juice of 1/2 blood orange 
  • Bubbly water (club soda, La Croix, soda stream – whatever you’ve got) 
  • Blood orange slices for garnish
  • Ice 

To Make Basic Simple Syrup: 

1 cup water, 1 cup granulated white sugar. Combine and bring to a boil; simmer for 3 minutes until sugar dissolves. Cool immediately. Store in the fridge for a month or freeze forever. 

To Make the Drink: 

Fill a shaker with ice and combine simple syrup, tequila, Aperol, orange juice, and blood orange juice. Shake the living daylights out of it. Pour over ice and fill to the brim with bubbly water. Garnish with a slice of blood orange for fancy pants points. Enjoy responsibly and “air cheers” your neighbors. 

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Winner Winner, Grilled Cheese Dinner

Since the dawn of time (okay, since 2012), we have gathered for our annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown – a gourmand competition where teams throw down their cheesiest masterpieces for a chance to win the coveted Golden Spatula Award. This year marked our 8th annual Smackdown… and the first time we went totally virtual. 

Instead of a panel of esteemed judges sampling each sammie, we gave that task to you – THE PEOPLE! – to vote on the best recipes in our first ever Smackdown-meets-Instagram competition. 

The winner? The Dracula Slayer, made by our newest Toad, SJ and her beau, Tommy. This recipe is equal parts Van Helsing (absurd amounts of garlic) and Martha Stewart (homemade bread baked by Tommy). So we recommend enjoying with a someone who will put up with your garlic breath. 

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THE DRACULA SLAYER  – Makes 2 servings

4 slices rustic bread (we used homemade rosemary bread)

1 head roasted garlic

2 slices aged cheddar

2 slices Havarti

2 slices aged swiss

⅓ stick of butter

a little bit of fresh cracked pepper

optional (but so good) spicy brown mustard

Roast your garlic (chop off the head, drizzle with S&P and olive oil, roast at 400º for 45 mins). With your butter at room temperature, mash your roasted garlic cloves into the butter. Heat a griddle (or grill pan) to medium. Slather the outside of your bread in your garlic butter, spread a healthy dose of mustard on the inside, and stack up the cheese! Add a few turns of cracked pepper to the inside (very important), and close ‘er up. Grill each side until golden brown and crispy.

Tip: Cover your sandwich to up the steam effect while cooking each side. And E N J O Y with a tasty beverage. Serve with a Bloody Mary if you need more garlic. 

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Hibiscus Gin Spritz

Anyone else feel like we’re in a month full of Sundays? Well you know what they say: when life hands you Sundays, make brunch. Start with this Hibiscus Gin Spritz. It’s refreshing, citrusy, sweet, and has a healthy dose of DIY (because you’ve got the time). Toss on some Garden Party tunes and step into the sunshine. 

*Bonus: Make extra and and deliver to a friend’s doorstep. Nothing says “we’re in this together” like a cocktail delivery. 

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Hibiscus Simple Syrup: 

  • 2 cups cane sugar 
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus leaves (get at certain grocery stores or online) 
  • 2 cups water 

 

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in hibiscus leaves and bring to a simmer. Keep stirring until you get a syrupy consistency that coats the spoon. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain hibiscus leaves and store syrup in a jar the fridge. Syrup will last for a week+ in the fridge and can be used in iced teas, over ice cream, in other cocktails, or anything else that calls for a sweet pick-me-up. 

Hibiscus Gin Spritz – makes 1: 

  • 1oz (standard shot glass) hibiscus simple syrup 
  • 2oz gin (full disclosure: we ran out of gin, so tequila works too!) 
  • 1oz lemon juice (typically the juice of 1/2 lemon) 
  • Tonic water 
  • Lemon slices 
  • Ice 

 

Fill a glass with ice (12oz glass or bigger is best). Add gin, lemon juice and hibiscus syrup. Give it a quick mix with a spoon. Top it off with tonic water and a few slices of lemon. Top with a flower from your garden if you’re feeling fancy. 

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What’s Your Beer Profile?

April 7th is National Beer Day, so here’s what you should be drinking based on our very scientific, totally accurate, Beer Personality Test. It’s like a horoscope, but hoppier. You should drink…  
 
… LAGERS if you’re the human embodiment of an Eagles song: easy going, likable, great at parties. Your motto: “This calls for a pizza.” Nothing pairs with the Meat Lover’s Special like an extra cold lager. 
 
… PILSNERS if you’re well-liked, well-traveled, and generally a people-pleaser. You also have a fantastic head of hair, even at the beach. You may or may not be a Golden Retriever. No matter – bottom’s up! 
 
… STOUTS if you have many leather bound books and slay at Tuesday night trivia. You love sunrises, deep conversations, and bagpipes. You are dense and layered, but in a good way. Go ahead, make it a Guinness. 
 
… PORTERS if you love cold-weather, fish n’ chips, and the Queen Mother. You have a Willy Wonka-sized sweet tooth and also happen to work in a factory. God save the queen – and the corner seat at the pub. 
 
… IPAs if you’re bold, adventurous, and loyal. You’ve broken at least 3 bones and your college nickname was “The Tank.” You love Led Zeppelin. You are the extreme version of the jack-of-all-trades. There’s a special aisle at the liquor store for you – and it’s got a billion types of IPAs to choose from. 
 
… WHEAT BEERS if you love WWII history, mustaches, and sauerkraut (#guthealth). You’re a no-nonsense kind of person, but you’ve also won the local lederhosen contest 8 years in a row. You and Wheat Beers – just a coupl’a classics. 
 
… SOURS if you’re eccentric, daring, and once ran a 10k… barefoot. You can recite the periodic table and every word of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” You’re not afraid to try something funky, so get a growler from your local craft brewery and pucker up. 
 
… SAISONS if you like to read Marcel Proust, have a thriving garden, and wear chic overalls without shoes. You remind people of springtime and can toss together a stunning brunch in 20 minutes (seriously, how do you do that?). You probably brewed your own saison in an art shed in a field of wildflowers. 
 
Whatever your beer profile, drink responsibly and pair with good company and good eats (like this grilled cheese or this one). Cheers! 
 
 
 

Leftover Turkey Soup

By: Lucinda, Sr. Product Development Manager and Queen of Waste-Free Living

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Lucinda knows how to enjoy the finer things in life, so we trust her when it comes to all things food, drink, travel, and sustainability. 

I must have been about four years old when I remember spending Thanksgiving with my grandparents, Nana and Dada. My Nana was an amazing cook and there were a ton of leftovers. We ate turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, and even turkey enchiladas. By Sunday evening, I was utterly tired of turkey.

When Nana served me a steaming bowl of soup, I surveyed it mutinously, with bits of what looked like turkey swirling around my spoon. “This had better not be turkey soup.”

“Oh no,” she replied. “It’s not turkey soup. It’s Kukuruku soup!”

Well, that was an entirely different matter altogether. We watched a TV show that featured astronauts time traveling back to the Stone Age, where the cavemen dined on some strange dinosaur soup called “Kukuruku.” I couldn’t believe that Nana had the recipe or the ingredients!

Since then, my family has always called the soup we make after Thanksgiving Kukuruku Soup. Because salvaging leftovers is one of my favorite ways to reduce waste in my everyday life, I’m passing along our Kukuruku tradition.

Kukuruku Soup Recipe

  1. 1. Roast the turkey carcass. I usually roast it at 375° for 45 minutes to 1 hour. But I recommend going off of how it looks—I take it out of the oven when it looks browned and you know, “roasty.”
  2. 2. Put the carcass into a stock pot and fill with water. Add salt, onion or garlic trimmings, dried herbs like oregano and thyme, and simmer for an hour.
  3. 3. Strain the solids from the stock pot and compost them. Let the stock cool and refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim off the fat that has congealed on the top.
  4. 4. Next, take the last little bits of turkey meat, and the carrots and celery left over from the crudité platter, and mix them with the stock you’ve made in a Dutch oven or stock pot over low medium heat.
  5. 5. I like to add a cup of barley and any leftover gravy to make it even heartier.
  6. 6. Cook for 30-40 minutes, adding in seasonings like dried oregano or chopped garlic (or whatever you’re feeling, really).
  7. 7. Freeze any leftovers and enjoy for a quick, but filling, meal during the busy holiday season.

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The inventor of Kukuruku soup herself, Nana.

‘Tis the Season for Hops and Barley: Our Retailers’ Favorite Breweries

Hoppy, light, sour, malty…Whatever your style, there’s no denying that it’s beer season. Munich’s Oktoberfest is in full swing, and cities all over the country (and world) are hosting their own celebrations where the spirit’s high and beer will be flowin’. So we asked a few of our retailers to share their favorite local breweries with us.

Can we get a Prost?!

PACStore

Corridor is my favorite local brewery. Their Oktoberfest beer is perfect for the season! Also the artwork on the pint features art from Search Inc.’s Visibility Arts Program!

-Marta at The PAC Store in Chicago, IL

ZeroGravity

“Choosing a favorite brewery in Vermont is pretty challenging, but Zero Gravity definitely stands out…constant rotating selection of IPAs and a solid mix of pilsners, goses, sours, and porters…Best of all it’s walking distance from my home.”

-Ethan at Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington, VT

MaineBeerCo

“Along with being dog-friendly, Maine Beer Company is also a 1% for the Planet member!”

-Abbie at Toad&Co in Freeport, ME

TheToggery

“I would say aside from the super legit beer they craft, Bonsai Brewing Project has the best yard and staff in town. Hands downs…it’s the best kiddie park with beer EVER!”

-Rene at the The Toggery in Whitefish, MT

Zilker Brewing

Zilker Brewing Company has got to be on your list of Austin breweries. Not only is a pint of Parks and Rec my favorite pour in the whole city, but they also donate a portion of those sales to the Austin Parks Foundation!”

-Sean at Whole Earth Provision Co. in Austin, TX

Looking for more? Find a Toad&Co retailer in your neck of the woods (and they’ll probably point you in the direction of good beer, too).

 

 

Sustainable Coffee Just Tastes Better

We drink a lot of coffee at Toad HQ (changing the status quo takes energy!), so we’ve become somewhat of an expert on what to look for in a good cup of Joe. Sure, a great roast is essential, but coffee made from conscious companies just tastes better. Here are some of our favorite sustainable coffee companies and fellow 1% for the Planet members (ie: at least 1% of their revenue is donated to environmentally friendly non-profits). Start your day with a cupful of good.

Fair trade coffee farmers in Yemen are part of Bivouac’s transparent supply chain.

 

BIVOUAC

Bivouac coffee is all about letting nature take its course. Specializing in “natural coffee,” the method allows the sun and heat to dry the coffee beans versus the more water-intensive process of washing the coffee beans. All of their packaging is 100% compostable and their work benefits non-profits like the American Alpine Club and Big City Mountaineers. 

High Brew Coffee

A favorite of the Toad weekend warriors, High Brew’s canned coffee is about as packable a punch as they come. The real bonus is that they give a portion of sales to support the delosAndes Cooperativa in Columbia. The co-op has invested over $2 million dollars in education, sent 1,069 people to university, and constructed three Micro-Wet Central Mills to promote environmental sustainability in the community. Farmers only use 3 liters of water to produce each pound of coffee (vs. the traditional 30L) and save over 20 million liters annually. High Brew gets high quality coffee beans while farmers achieve greater profitability with less environmental impact. Win, win, win.

The Humblemaker team at an event aimed at enriching the lives of children with autism.

 

Humblemaker Coffee Co.

If this coffee doesn’t warm you from the inside out, then we don’t know what will: They give back 10% of annual profits to programs for children who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. And 25% of sales from special blends go to local schools to help raise funds for student programs. And they source organic and fair trade ingredients for their coffees and cold brews. AND it happens to be delicious. We really can’t say enough about HMC’s awesome coffee. 

Kind Coffee

“It is the responsibility of life in the present to preserve for life in the future. That is why we choose Kind, because a business should share no less in that responsibility than the people who support it.” Can we get an Amen? Based in Estes Park, CO, Kind Coffee strikes the perfect balance between living well and doing good with their chemical free, fairly traded, and certified organic beans. And if you’re a decaf drinker, they use the Swiss Water decaffeination process, the ONLY decaf process achieved without the use of chemicals.

Kind Coffee is dedicated to environmental preservation in beautiful Estes Park, CO.

 

Freezeout Coffee

When CEO Jim Cole wanted to make a difference in local land preservation, he set out to make a company in which he could give away most of the profits. Started as a joint venture business partner of the Sonoma Land Trust, the sales of all Freezeout Coffee directly benefit the preservation of land and water in Northern California. Change starts on a local level – and is best served with cream and sugar.  

Grounds for Change

They’re a B-Corp, they’re carbon-free, they source organic and fair trade beans, they give back 1% to organizations like Rainforest Trust and Save Our Wild Salmon… the name “Grounds for Change” certainly seems fitting. With an awesome commitment to sustainability and a strong cup of brew (we like their Coffee of the Month to try new blends), we tend to stand a little taller after a cup of this stuff.  

For more tips on how to shop sustainably, check out our Sustainability Cheat Sheet