Sounds good to me

I wish I had a dime for every time someone has accepted an idea by responding with “Sounds good to me!”

To be transparent, I’ve done it. When a meeting or an event is scheduled, our agreeing responses will almost always be the good old, “Sounds good to me!” I’m not complaining but rather stating the phrase is a bit over used and maybe once in a while, it would be nice to read or hear something else.

And maybe I’m making too much ado about too little — maybe. In the Navy and when I was using Morse Code, we used the letter “K” to end a conversation. The letter “K” simply meant: “Message received and understood.”

I don’t know if it’s melancholy for the old Navy days but I like that “K” usage and use it to end many messages. At a recent library event at Brau Brothers, I was reminded of my military days when I talked with a fellow old sailor. As the two of us chatted, I heard Dustin Brau say he gave his spent grain to a local pork producer and then received the processed pork back from the farmer for use in the restaurant.

Hey! That sounds like a good idea to me! So, a conversation began…

I scheduled a meeting with Dustin and he told me about the symbiotic relationship he has with a local fellow who raises hogs.

In the brewing process, the grain is soaked in hot water and when the sugar is run off the grain, the spent grain is of no more use to the brewery. What does a brewery do with thousands of pounds of spent grain it accumulates weekly? This is where it gets interesting!

In my mind, it would be a sin to waste the spent grain and Dustin (any probably all brewers) see it as that, too. They want to recycle the spent grain — it’s good for something and pigs love it!

Dustin informed me how he’s always tried to give the spent grain to a farmer and at one point, a fellow from Echo, Dave Schuler, contacted him about feeding the grain to his feeder hogs. A deal was struck and here’s how it works.

The grain is used at the brewery and periodically the farmer comes to Marshall to pick up the spent grain. He hauls it back to his feeder pig operation, mixes it with a bit of corn and his pigs go wild for it. Why mix the spent grain with some corn? Because in the malting process, sugar is soaked out of the grain and corn gives back that bit of sweetness that is lacking.

When the hogs are at market weight, the farmer (who’s also a special ed teacher at Yellow Medicine East) hauls the pigs to New Prague to a special butcher. This butcher and the farmer are both USDA Equal To certified, which means their pork is able to be sold directly to Minnesota restaurants.

The butcher does his job and when the farmer takes more hogs to the butcher, the pork from previous hogs goes back with the farmer to be sold to local enterprises. And, that’s how the pork that is fed with Brau Brothers’ spent grain gets back to the Brau taproom. When the farmer picks up a load of spent grain, he unloads pork products that show up on the Brau Brothers’ menu. Sounds good to me!

In my world, this type of arrangement is so cool — nothing is wasted and everything is put to good use. Now let’s pair some of Brau’s brews with that pork product!

Fridays are Smokey Rib Night, and the house smoked baby back ribs are the specialty. They are rubbed with cherrywood smoked malt and drowned in barbecue sauce. What better beer to pair with these baby back ribs than Bancreagie Peated Scotch Ale? There’s low bitterness in this ale and the smokiness of the ribs should pair nicely with the peaty ale. Could it be a match made in heaven?

Brau’s pizza menu is so tempting! How about a Whole Hog pizza which includes Canadian bacon and bacon crumbles along with onions and peppers to pair with Brau’s Sheep Head brew? This American bitter with its high bitterness rating and relatively high alcohol content would be perfect with the pizza.

And then, there’s the Cubano. A sandwich that includes ham, Canadian bacon, Swiss cheese, pickles and creamy mustard on a ciabatta. What to drink with it? Let’s try a Moo Joos with its malty flavor and high comfort level.

The pork saga continues with a smoked barbecue pork sandwich. There’s plenty of tangy taste in this sandwich so let’s pair it with a beer with lots of spunk and 3 Trees IPA is perfect. There’s plenty of citrus taste to go along with the smokiness of this sandwich.

If you’re a burger fan, how about trying Brau’s Bacon Cheese Brew House Burger. Along with the burger comes tangy malt sauce, American cheese and smoked bacon. There’s lots of taste here that needs a bold beer like Devil’s Reject IIPA. This Imperial India Pale Ale can take all that burger taste.

All of these food items and beers sound good to me!


Next week, oops!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!