© Rochelle Mort Photography
Eating their way across America: Bluesy rockers The Stone Foxes.
San Francisco indie rockers The Stone Foxes were in New York recently for the annual CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival. Haven’t heard them yet? You probably mistook them for the Black Keys in a recent Jack Daniels commercial in which they covered Slim Harpo’s bluesy “I’m a King Bee.” I sat down with the band between shows for a rundown of their favorite eats from their last few months of touring (they’re also documenting the tastiest bites on their Facebook page).
Where's your favorite preshow meal these days?
Aaron Mort, bass: Being a vegan on the road is definitely pretty challenging. Going through the South for a week, iceberg lettuce with barbecue sauce was pretty much all I ate, but The Grit is an amazing vegetarian place in Athens, Georgia. Spence got the Mediterranean platter, and the hummus was insane.
Spence Koehler, lead guitar: The Shed in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is just a shack on the edge of a swamp with a barbecue pit and picnic tables, but its baby back ribs are some of the best I’ve ever had.
Shannon Koehler, drums: I tried blood sausage for the first time at the Sweet Afton pub in Astoria, New York. It freaked me out, but I had to trust my bartender’s recommendation. It was glorious. Amen.
Elliott Peltzman, keyboards: I tried the vegan “Chik’n Parmigiana” at Foodswings in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and I swear it tasted exactly like a real chicken parm. It even flaked like real chicken when you pulled it apart.
What are you washing it all down with?
Spence: I was blown away by the Four Peaks Kilt Lifter Scottish style ale we tried in Phoenix. It’s superstrong but extremely flavorful.
Elliott: We took the locals’ advice and tried Terrapin Brewery in Athens, Georgia. Its IPA is excellent.
Aaron: And of course, the Bay Area has great beer. I love Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder.
What are you excited to eat when you get back to San Francisco in a few weeks?
Spence: I’m baking pumpkin pies as soon as I get home. That’s number one.
Joe Barham, band manager: I’m stoked for organic Mexican food at Gracias Madre. It’s a block from my house, so I go there I lot.
Aaron: I’m going to break my vegan streak for the boozy Secret Breakfast ice cream at Humphry Slocombe. It tastes like the bourbon pound cake my mom always makes for Christmas.
It’s very easy to imagine some beer-drinking alien from the planet Xorx arriving on Earth and saying, “Let me get this straight. You have 1,716 independent small brewers in your ‘country’—whatever that is—and until now they never thought of putting their beer in cans? Hmmm. You really are lesser beings, aren’t you. I shall now vaporize your cities.”
Thankfully, the craft brewers of America are finally relenting on this bottle-only approach to beer, which (a) will save us all from early vaporization, and (b) will allow people like me to drink their beer at the beach.
Now it’s possible, even likely, that beer purists will insist that the bottle is theonly way to go, that the complex nuances of a fine beer are made flat and anemic by aluminum. I will insist in turn that coming across Brooklyn’s Six Point Brewery’s terrific Bengal Tiger IPA in cans at my local supermarket is a mighty fine thing indeed.
So if you meet a Xorxian (blue, tentacles, loves pale ale), offer him/her/them/whatever a fine craft beer in a can. Unless you want to be known as the dope who got our fair nation wiped from the face of the planet. Here are a few that ought to do the trick.
New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale. The craft-ale-in-can movement has proved so successful for Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium that it just announced the addition of a 16,000-square-foot canline to its brewery. Fat Tire is malty and on the richer side: a good burger beer.
Six Point Craft Ales Bengali Tiger IPA. Sixteen-ounce cans for this one, and why not—it’s a terrific beer (as noted above), balancing its piney hops notes against a fair amount of richness. It’s particularly appealing because Six Point’s ales haven’t been available in either bottles or cans, just on tap or in growlers, until now.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company Hop Ottin’ IPA. Classic West Coast India Pale Ale with a zingy dose of citrusy hops. I’m a little sad the Anderson Valley folks retired their Poleeko Gold Pale Ale in cans in favor of this IPA, but it’s still a darn fine brew.
Harpoon Summer Beer. This is a kolsch-style beer, which basically means it’s a lighter Germanic ale—an ale that drinks a bit like a lager, if you will. If you were on a boat on a scenic lake with a cold six-pack of these cans and a fishing rod/book/tuna sandwich/whatever makes you happiest, then your life would be an enviable one.
Porkslap Pale Ale. That is it about the name Porkslap that says so elegantly, “Buddy, are you kidding me? Of course I'm in a damn can”? Regardless, this lightly gingery ale from New York’s Butternuts brewery was way ahead of the curve—the first release was in 2005. And yes, it is sold only in cans.
Related Links: Best American Beer, Bourbon and More
Great Beer Pairings
Cooking with Beer Recipes