red lion inn news
Find out the latest and greatest news about what’s been going on at The Red Lion Inn!
Summer’s End in the Berkshires at the James Beard Foundation: Executive Chef Brian Alberg Presents a Solo Dinner on Friday, September 5th in NYC
Chef Brian and The Red Lion Inn head to NYC!
On September 5, 2014, The Red Lion Inn’s Executive Chef, Brian Alberg will make his eleventh appearance at The James Beard House in New York, hosting his first solo dinner in five years. The menu is a personal interpretation of memorable dishes from his favorite restaurants that have inspired him over the course of his life and 30-year culinary career. Known for his dedication to local food, Alberg’s menu will adapt recipes to use locally sourced ingredients from more than 15 farms and food producers in the Berkshires, Hudson Valley and Vermont.
The September 5th dinner will feature items including Hudson Valley Foie Gras Rice Crispy Treat with Frisée, Champagne Vinaigrette and Windy Hill Farm Blueberries; Himala Salt-seared Chicken Hearts with Sweet Soy and Lacto-fermented Celery; Ioka Valley Farm Maple Corn Dogs with Mom’s Bread & Butter Pickle Relish; and, Grilled Lila’s Mountain Lamb Linguica with Equinox Farm Arugula, Roasted Peace Valley Farm Baby Fingerlings and Shaved Berleberg Cheese.
Dinner showcases ingredients from Berkshire Farmers & Producers
Menu ingredient will be sourced from farms and food producers in the Berkshires, Hudson Valley and Vermont including: Berle Farm, The Berry Patch, Cricket Creek Farm, Equinox Farm, Farm Girl Farm, Howden Farm, Hudson Valley Fresh, Ioka Valley Farm, Lila’s Farm, Mighty Food Farm, Mom’s Bread and Butter Pickles, North Plain Farm, Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, Peace Valley Farm, Raven & Boar, Ronnybrook Farm Dairy and Windy Hill Farm.
Alberg celebrating 16 years as member of James Beard Foundation
Alberg is especially thrilled to be presenting this dinner on his birthday, “I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday… Cooking for food lovers at the James Beard House alongside my best friends and favorite cooks…best birthday present ever!”
Alberg has been a member of the James Beard House for sixteen years and has presented annually for more than a decade. His first appearance in 1998 was in collaboration with Connecticut Shoreline Chefs. He curates and produces the ever-popular Berkshire Cure-All winter dinner at the Beard House, inviting a collective of like-minded Berkshire chefs to collaborate and present the multifaceted culinary artisanship of the region. This past March was his fifth year presenting the collaborative group dinner.
Alberg has been instrumental in galvanizing the Berkshire culinary movement – as a chef supporting local farms, as a mentor for youth interested in culinary arts in the Railroad Street Youth Project, as past President of Berkshire Grown’s Board of Trustees and as founding chair of Berkshire Farm & Table. As a staunch supporter of the local food movement, he has established strong relationships with regional farmers and food producers and purchases more than $650K in local foods annually.
Alberg participates in many food-focused events in the Northeast region including locavore festivals in Columbia County and Albany, NY, New York City, the Berkshires, Boston and Nantucket to spread the word about supporting the region’s local farmers and food makers and keeping dollars local to help build a stronger foundation for economic growth. This past year, he was a selected chef for the James Beard Foundation’s TasteAmerica dinner in Boston.
September 5 Dinner Details
The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a reception in the Beard House’s charming Greenhouse Gallery as guests enjoy an assortment of hors d’oeuvres. A seated tasting menu will begin around 8 p.m. The price is $130 per person for James Beard Foundation members and $170 per person for the general public. The James Beard House is located at 167 West 12th Street. For reservations, please call 212.627.2308.
Photo credit: Maia Landau and Angela Cardinali
Himala Salt-seared Chicken Hearts with Sweet Soy
& Lacto-fermented Celery
Ioka Valley Farm Maple Corn Dogs with Mom’s Bread
& Butter Pickle Relish
Howden Farm Sweet Corn Pancake with Ronnybrook Sour Cream
& Golden Caviar
Chilled Farm Girl Farm Tomato Soup with Saffron Tapioca
Val de Mer, Crémant de Bourgogne, Non Dose
Red Lion Single barrel Selection Four Roses Bourbon Julep
East Coast Sea Scallop Crudo with Berry Patch Radishes Grapefruit
Thai Chili Peppers & Mill River Farm Microgreens
Wieninger, Wiener Gemischter Satz, Vienna
Hudson Valley Foie Gras Rice Crispy Treat
with Frisee Champagne Vinaigrette and Windy Hill Farm Blueberries
Domaine Schlumberger, Gewurztraminer, “Fleur”, Alsacea
Raven & Boar Pork Shoulder Bolognese
with Cricket Creek Farm Tobasi Arancini and Berry Patch Escarole
Sottimano, mate Brachetto, Piedmont, Italy
Grilled Lila’s Mountain Lamb Linguica
with Equinox Farm Arugula, Roasted Peace Valley Farm Baby Fingerlings
& Shaved Berleberg Cheese
Thymiopoulos Vineyards, Young Vine Xinomavro, Naoussa, Greece
Roasted Mighty Food Farm Beets
with Old Chatham Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream, Taza Chocolate Ganache
& Concord Grape Gastrique
Dogfish Head Brewery, Noble Rot
Bread service from Berkshire Mountain Bakery & Ronnybrook Farm.
Coffee service will feature Barrington Coffee Roasters & High Lawn Farm.
Wine selection by Dan Thomas, Sommelier, The Red Lion Inn
Brian Albergis a staunch supporter of the local food movement in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley. In his ten-year tenure at the Inn, he has established strong relationships with regional farmers and food producers and purchases more than $650K in local foods annually, a compelling contribution to our regional economy. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, he is an active member of Chefs Collaborative and Boston Chefs, and serves on the board of the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Railroad Street Youth Project where he coordinates the culinary arts program in the Berkshires. For two years, he was the President of the Board of Directors of Berkshire Grown, an organization dedicated to promoting the support of local farming and strengthening the relationships between local farmers and restaurants. As a member of the James Beard Foundation, Brian curates Berkshire regional dinners annually at the James Beard House.
He participated in the James Beard Foundation’s TasteAmerica Boston event in 2013 and has been the selected chef for three years for Outstanding in the Field, held at iconic farm locations in the Berkshires. Alberg is the founding chair of Berkshire Farm & Table, the organization bringing culinary artisans, farmers and foodmakers to the table in the beautiful and historic Berkshires and Hudson Valley. Alberg has appeared on Good Morning America, Chronicle, NECN’s TV Diner with Billy Costa, Albany (N.Y.) News Channel 13, WWLP’s Mass Appeal and WGBY’s On the Menu! (Springfield, Mass.) He has been interviewed by Heritage Radio Network, Robinhood Radio and WAMC (Northeast Public Radio) and has been written about in The Boston Globe, Metroland, Hudson Valley Magazine and Gastronomica. Alberg resides in Valatie, N.Y.
Daniel Thomas, Sommelier The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA
Sommelier Daniel Thomas brings extensive knowledge of oenology to The Red Lion Inn dining experience. Thomas completed the first level of the Court of Master Sommeliers and is currently studying and tasting in preparation for the next level of testing. He furthers his studies by participating in meetings of a tasting group of industry professionals as well as tasting over 500 wines each year through his own research and travels. Inspired by the advancements in food and wine over the last decade, Thomas most enjoys introducing guests to new wines, beers and cocktails along with unexpected combinations. On staff since February 2007, Thomas expanded the Inn’s wine list to include over 400 wines with a focus on artisan producers from around the world. The Red Lion Inn was awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the fourteenth consecutive year in 2014.
The Red Lion Inn (c. 1773), a charter member of Historic Hotels of America, has been providing food and lodging to guests for over two centuries. With the addition of Maple Glen, its ninth Village Guest House, the Inn offers 125 antique-filled rooms and suites, four restaurants with traditional and casual dining with locally sourced food, a gift shop featuring locally made items, a pub with nightly entertainment and a full range of amenities including WiFi, a year-round heated outdoor pool, and in-room massage therapy. The Inn is recommended by Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Trip Advisor. The Red Lion Inn is located at 30 Main Street, Stockbridge, Mass., and is part of the Main Street Hospitality Group family of hotels. For more information, contact 413.298.5545, or visit www.redlioninn.com.
Main Street Hospitality Group, a privately held company based in Stockbridge, Mass., is a hotel management firm overseeing operations at The Red Lion Inn, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, The Williams Inn and Elm Street Market. As owners and operators, Main Street Hospitality Group has a long history of excellence in preservation, innovation and operations delivering great experiences to guests, employees and owners through an authentic approach to hospitality, service and management. For more information, visit www.mainstreethospitalitygroup.com.
Berkshire Farm & Table
Berkshire Farm & Table promotes regional food culture in the Berkshires. The organization collaborates to cultivate tastemakers, produce events and foster dialogue in the media. By sharing the unique stories and expertise of culinary artisans, farmers and agritourism experiences, their work advances food as another reason to explore and savor the Berkshires. For more information, visit www.berkshirefarmandtable.org.
James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to celebrating, preserving and nurturing America’s culinary heritage and diversity. The late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the James Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by providing scholarships, honoring industry professionals, offering the public the opportunity to enjoy the talents of emerging and established chefs, winemakers, cookbook authors and purveyors, and hosting conferences, readings and classes to engage people with the fascinating world of food. For more information about programs and membership, visit www.jamesbeard.org.
Recipe: Berkshire Mountain Distillers Corn Whiskey & Fire Cider Hot Toddy
Berkshire Mountain Distillers Corn Whiskey & Fire Cider Hot Toddy
Recipe by Red Lion Inn Sommelier Dan Thomas
Recipe makes one Hot Toddy
1 ½ oz Berkshire Mountain Distillers Corn Whiskey
½ oz Shire City Herbal Fire Cider
1 tsp Local Honey
1 oz Local Apple Cider
6 oz Spiced Toddy Water
To make “Spiced Toddy Water”
Combine in a French press or teapot: Hot Water, Orange Slices, 1 Cinnamon Stick, 6 Cloves. Allow to Steep for 10 minutes.
Combine First 4 ingredients in a mug and fill with “Spiced Toddy Water.” Enjoy.
Perfect for National Hot Toddy Day (January 11) or any time of the year!
New York Fashion Week Meets Norman Rockwell
Traditional, classic, and sophisticated are the perfect words that can be used to describe designer Michael Bastian’s new clothing line, “The Stockbridge” for GANT. Like the name suggests, this recently launched collection was inspired by various Norman Rockwell paintings as well as our very own town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Going off of the idea of returning to the roots of America, Bastian’s clothing line reflects American culture the way Rockwell showcased it in his various works of art. Using a rich color palette and utilitarian materials and fabrics, Bastian’s collection embodies Rockwell’s classic masterpieces, all while still keeping the clothes modern and current. To even further showcase his appreciation for Rockwell’s art and Stockbridge, Bastian and his 16-person crew from from Stockholm, Sweden and New York City, traveled to the Berkshires in the beginning of April to photograph and film his advertising campaign. GANT took photographs at different locations across the county including Rockwell’s Studio at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, and even on Main Street and at The Red Lion Inn.
In August 2013, the entire ad campaign was launched online to great reviews and sales. “The Stockbridge” GANT by Michael Bastian collection can be purchased in GANT clothing stores or on its online retail site at www.gant.com.
Let the Holiday Season Begin!
With the colder weather fast approaching, we’re trading sun hats for snow caps, flip-flops for boots, shorts for snow pants, and lemonade for hot chocolate. The leaves burst with bright colors before falling from the trees; and we tend to hit the snooze button on our alarms a little more frequently to stay snuggled in the comfort of our cozy beds in the morning. Before we know it, the first snowfall of the season is upon us and everything becomes delicately covered in a blanket of white.
Halloween comes and goes with spooky scares, clever costumes, and sticky fingers from chocolate and candies. Thanksgiving brings acknowledgment and appreciation for all of the everything in our lives as we gather our friends and family together for a day of seemingly endless food and overflowing gratitude. The Christmas season comes with joy, excitement and eagerness, which grow almost as quickly as the snow piles in our front yards. The New Year brings thoughtful reflection on another year passing, as well as cheerful anticipation and enthusiasm for new beginnings in the year to come.
Though these months seem to fly off the calendar faster than we even think possible, here at The Red Lion Inn, we make sure that there are countless ways for our guests to fully take the time to appreciate their time spent with us. We transition from sitting in a rocking chair on our cherished Front Porch, and instead opt for kicking our feet up in the cozy warmth of our Front Lobby by the fire.
If you’re in the mood for games, you can also play a round of chess or another board game on our Lincoln table downstairs.
Or if you’d prefer, you can curl up with a good book and just relax with a cup of hot cocoa. And if you’re lucky, you may even get a chance to cuddle with Simon the Cat, our beloved and friendly Lobby Ambassador, who loves to make our guests feel welcomed.
With all of these options and so much more, The Red Lion Inn is dedicated to making your holiday season extra special. So as the seasons change from summer to snowy and time seems to tick by a little bit faster, join us at The Red Lion Inn to keep nice and warm and start making unforgettable memories.
Alberg Rants: This is October
Wow September is gone. October is over. I think the older I get, the faster time flies by… holy crap!
Just a brief wrap-up of October… the October issue of Berkshire Magazine came out and I was psyched the cover featured the second year Outstanding in the Field came to dinner in the Berkshires. This September, they joined us at Hancock Shaker Village and we had the pleasure of cooking up a classic all-local dinner featuring many regional farms and food makers. The cover shows Berkshire Mountain Bakery bread in the foreground, the iconic Shaker Round Barn in the background and yours truly in a kilt. (After a crazy experience earlier this year, I was able to convince my crew to wear kilts for this event and we had a blast, raising a few eyebrows all around.)
Gearing up for James Beard 2014… Like-minded chefs gathered for a meeting to begin planning the next Berkshire Cure-All Dinner. This year’s team includes Adam Brassard, Daire Rooney, Josephine Proul, Jeremy Stanton,and Dan Smith. We sketched out a draft of next year’s menu and will post in a few weeks.
Got to do an impromptu tasting menu for a couple of friends, one of which I met while doing the WGBH Food and Wine Festival a few weeks back. That was a great event and sparked some cool relationships. Being able to throw down a tasting menu and prepare it for friends who appreciate food is the thing I love most about my job. Well, I love a few things about my job – it’s the one thing that relaxes me most.
I was told later that there should have been Breathe courses throughout the meal… Lightweights, I say!
Trekked out to Boston for the James Beard TasteAmerica photo shoot and got to meet all the participating chefs and tour Boston restaurants and markets. I love eating my way through different parts of a city. They have their own ‘terroir’ in a way… North End, Faneuil Hall, Cambridge, the Commons, Chinatown… I’m really starting to like this city. It isn’t New York, but it’s not Stockbridge either!
Speaking of NYC… my daughter Megan turned 21, and her brother and I trained into the city where she attends FIT majoring in Fashion Merchandising. (She’s trying to stay out of the restaurant biz like her brother and dad… she’s the smart one!) I am a huge believer that you can learn something every day no matter what. I decided to take my kids to one of my favorite places in the city and by the time I left, I decided I was over it! It was trying to be everything to everyone and while making that effort, it lost its identity and its niche. It made me take a really hard look at who I am and who we are as a restaurant and come back to work invigorated and driven to never let that happen to The Red Lion Inn! So… onto to the next favorite place in NYC… God knows, there are enough to choose from!
Image Credit: Angela Cardinali
James Beard TasteAmerica Boston – This event was the highlight of my year! Maybe the last few years… What a great opportunity to meet so many foodies, not just the chefs but the guests as well. I was able to talk to almost every guest during cocktail hour. I was asked to present a stationary appetizer which was “Chilled Berry Patch Farm Ratatouille with Howden Farm Sweet Corn Puree Equinox Arugula & Crispy Fried Farm Girl Onions.” Not only vegan, it was the only 100-percent locally sourced item at the dinner! Momma Nature totally hooked us up this year and in the third week of October, I was still getting sweet corn and tomatoes! Crazy shit this global warming!
Onto to November… Check out a couple of my favorite recipes to make during this time of year:
For your Thanksgiving turkey, goose, capon or suckling pig… this stuffing recipe can be used with any poultry or pork dish.
Apple, Chestnut & Brussels Stuffing
½ pound bacon
1 onion, diced
2 cups celery, diced
½ cup chopped Italian Parsley
1 pound whole chestnuts, meat chopped
4 cups cooked wild rice
2 tablespoon chopped thyme
2 tablespoon chopped sage
½ pound Brussels sprouts, quartered
2 apples, diced
1 cup chicken broth
Render bacon, sauté all ingredients except apples. Remove and mix with apples and chicken broth. Stuff bird but, please note, do not stuff bird until it is ready to be roasted. Sew or skewer openings. Place bird breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast in a preheated 350F degree oven for 25 minutes per pound.
National IPA Day!
Today is a day of celebration across the nation. In craft breweries, re-appropriated basements, and esteemed bars throughout the land beer drinkers are celebrating National IPA day. For those unfamiliar, IPA stands for India Pale Ale, which is a beer with a traditionally hoppier flavor. The story behind this ale is beers that were heavy on the hops fared rather well after the journey from the United Kingdom to India. So “pale ale as prepared for India” came to be!
At The Red Lion Inn we have many craft and local beers available on draught, or in the can or bottle. In celebration of IPAs we thought we would give you readers a little background on the IPAs we have in our three bars.
Wandering Star Catnip White IPA
This IPA comes from the Wandering Star Brewery in Pittsfield Massachusetts. It is a light-colored, deceptively strong and hoppy beer with grapefruit and pine hop flavors and a refreshing tartness and ‘funk’ from the Belgian Wit yeast. According to guys over at Wandering Star, the unusual name comes from their brewery cat Fuggle, and how happy catnip makes him. This white IPA wins Simon’s pick for some reason…
Big Elm Brewery IPA
If the name Big Elm Brewery sounds familiar, you probably read our earlier post about the Lion’s Ale they produced just for us. We liked that so much we have some of the Sheffield, MA breweries other beers at our bars. This one is served in a chilled can. Their website describes it best: “Our handcrafted IPA is generously hopped, subtly assertive, and decidedly balanced.” Pick up a cold one with a chilled glass, or just sip on it from the can (that’s the way we prefer it.)
Berkshire Brewing Company Lost Sailor IPA
Based on the history of India Pale Ales, the BBC selection probably has the most appropriate name. Plus any lost sailor wouldn’t be so bad off if they had a barrel of this well-rounded, medium bodied beer, with floral and aromatic hints.
However you choose to celebrate National IPA day, stop by any time at any of our bars; the Widow Bingham’s Tavern, Back of the Bank, the Lion’s Den, or on the Front Porch!
Artful Arrangements: Meet Jane Bailey, Red Lion Inn’s florist!
The Red Lion Inn’s ambiance, whether you are dining in our elegant Main Dining Room, resting in one of our plush guestrooms, or wandering our antique-filled halls, is immediately apparent. The floral arrangements spread throughout our inn, add a refined and subtle touch to that welcoming atmosphere.
Jane Bailey has been the resident florist for 20 years, creating beautiful pieces that blend seamlessly into the décor of the inn. The arrangements are made from flowers purchased from local vendors; handpicked greenery from the Berkshire wild, including Queen Ann’s lace or different grasses and pods; or unexpected accents from the kitchen, such as garlic scapes. Each arrangement is intended to enhance the atmosphere by matching burgundy flowers with the hues in our wallpaper and carpets, and soft yellows and whites to pair with our linens and lighting. Jane picks flowers that fit in with the historic, traditional New England presence of the inn so she tends to gravitate towards the flora that one would find in private gardens throughout the county.
The arrangement below was put together for a private meeting in the Treadway room. This arrangement includes spray roses, stock, gerbera daises, gooseneck, mini green hydrangea, hosta, and garlic scapes.
Every table in the Main Dining Room has this same selection of alstroemeria, mini carnations, pompoms, garlic scape, grass, craspedia, myrtle and pachysandra.
You can find this arrangement with alstroemeria, mini carnations, pompoms, and garlic scape at the front podium where you will be greeted before your meal.
Next time you see Jane arranging the flowers feel free to say, “hi” and ask her about the current selections!
Enter Through the Gift Shop
Have you been in our Gift Shop lately? We got a face lift!
Expertly re-merchandised and styled by artist Nathan Hanford and The Red Lion Inn design team, our gift shop still follows the same philosophy that celebrates the great designers and artisans of the Berkshires. We are also producing new products that use our logo in a thoughtful contemporary way.
Do you recognize the birdcages? Comment on our Facebook page if you remember where they once lived!
Our first collaboration is a line of t-shirts designed by fashion designer Anne Johnston Albert and printed by Moho designs both from Great Barrington. Molly and Aurel from Moho are also responsible for the large mural above the fireplace!
Soon to be added to our inventory: the lion in grey! Keep an eye on Moho’s’ Facebook page for what they are working on next.
We have a few more changes coming up that we can’t wait to share with you. Have you seen the new look in person? Tell us what you think on our Facebook page.