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Matcha Made in Heaven: Go green with Potion Matcha pop-ups

Mitch Hooper

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It was only a matter of time before matcha made a comeback. It’s 2019 and if we know one thing, the phone eats first.

Mix it into your morning smoothie and you’re sipping on a bright-green elixir packed with caffeine and antioxidants without the afternoon crash thanks to L-theanine. Add the powder to your pancakes for a healthier take on a breakfast classic. Or, if you’re talented enough, you can transform it into pearls to garnish your fresh oysters. Be warned, though, this method is best left to the matcha masters like Chloe Emmons of Potion Matcha.

Oysters with matcha pearls is just one of the many ways Emmons is taking the traditional Japanese ceremony tea and infusing it with modern takes. Her pop-ups took going green to a whole new level as nearly every menu option is that iconic bright green color, or at least featuring it. From iced matcha with fruit purees down to the biodegradable drinking straws made from hay, everything is also completely vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free.

The menus at her pop-ups are constantly changing, but have featured the likes of peaches and cream iced matcha, a combination of peach puree with iced matcha and oat milk. The subtle green tea sweetnesses combined with the powerful punch of peach and the creamy oat milk makes you wonder how something so healthy can taste so good.

For Emmons, getting matcha into your diet can be as simple as adding it to your chia seed pudding for lunch, or going a step forward by whipping up some vegan ice cream with frozen bananas, oat milk, cinnamon, your favorite fruit, and a pinch of matcha.

“I love making my morning matcha at home using the customary chawan and chasen […] as a way to slow down and really focus my energy on setting good intentions for the day,” Emmons said.

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The idea of focusing energy and setting good intentions dates back to the origins of the tea. Originally, it was used in important rituals to represent tranquility, purity, respect, and harmony, Emmons explained.

“Drinking matcha has been life-changing for me,” she said. “From my morning ritual enhancing my mental state, to physical changes in hair, skin, and nails—thanks chlorophyll!—to detoxifying and strengthening my immune system. I had no idea this tea would become such an integral part of my life.”

And by hair, skin, and nails, she means that literally. Potion Matcha offers a matcha-based face and body mask which helps hydrate skin as well as clear and shrink pores. If you don’t think matcha-based shampoo exists, you have some googling to do.

When it comes to scoring some matcha for yourself, Emmons recommends caution from sources overselling the benefits of it. She notes to recognize the difference between conventional matcha which might be cut with sugar or low-grade green dye to create that iconic color. There’s also loose leaf matcha which is similar, but used for diffrent applications. If you’re looking for the powder version, Potion Matcha offers it in 2-ounce bags on its website. As for a brick-and- mortar location, a rm date isn’t set yet, but plans are in the works for a Downtown/Olde Towne East location.

Potion Matcha also has a special whisk for creating your concoctions, and beyond just looking cool, the bamboo whisk is perfect for proper blending. Plus, we’ll admit it, it’s just cool.

“A bamboo whisk is crucial in making sure you’re getting rid of clumps, creating a homogenous mixture and forming a nice foam on top. Plus it’s really fun!”

For all future dates of Potion Matcha pop-ups, check out @PotionMatchaBar on Instagram.

millennial | writer | human

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Food & Drink

Draft Picks: Local craft brews to please the mainstream beer drinker

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It’s football season again, and what better game-time beverage is there than cold, refreshing beer? Maybe you want to support local businesses instead of handing more money to Corporate America, but you know some of your squad will at out refuse to drink your favorite IPAs and ales, and will ask you for a Bud Light.

Or maybe you even want a break from those big flavors and want something drinkable, with a lower ABV, to go with your chips and burgers. What to do? We have some answers.

THE FOUR-LETTER WORD

Much of the mainstream beer drinker's hesitation with, and even aversion to, craft beers lies in one ingredient: hops. Americans have a love a air with hops. Many, if not most, craft breweries center their offerings around the almighty IPA. Hops are citrusy, pungent, flavorful...and bitter.

For those mainstream beer drinkers, “hops” truly is a four-letter word. Sure, hops balance sugars and add crispness and flavor, but flavor is a funny thing.

There’s a lot to be said for individual tastes. One person’s “I can’t drink mass-market beer; I need a beer with flavor” is another person’s “OMG, how can people drink IPAs? I need a beer with flavor.”

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Look for low IBUs—and by low, I mean in the teens or even single digits. While an “average” IPA has bitterness in the 40-60 range, and IPAs in the 20s and 30s are fairly mild, anything with an IBU over about 18 had Erin grimacing and sticking her tongue out with a vehement “No. No way.”

Another appeal of mass-market brews is their low ABV and the associated low carbs. Corporate beer is seen to be healthier, by those standards. But most of the craft beers we tested have similar ABV to the mass market beers.

The biggest drawback to these local beers is that you can’t grab and go at the corner gas station or even in most mainstream grocery coolers. Giant Eagle and Kroger carry a few; smaller groceries like Hill’s and Weiland’s carry some; specialty beer and wine shops carry some, but many are only available on draft, by the growler, either in the brewer’s tap room or at a specialty store.

The upside to this is that breweries are happy to tell you where to find their products, and buying by the growler ensures that you’re getting some of the freshest beer available. And, anyhow, you have two or three half-used packages of Solo cups already, right?

THE RUNDOWN

Lagers, pilsners, Oktoberfest, and Kolsch-style beers are going to be your best bets for low-ABV, low-IBU, mainstream- friendly options.

Dayton’s Warped Wing Brewing Company sells its Trotwood lager in cans as well as draft. Called “a beer’s beer” by the company, it’s malty and smooth, unassuming and balanced, a lot like Budweiwer and a little more flavorful.

Nocterra’s outstanding Trail Break helles lager, made with all German malt and hops, is easy drinking at its easiest. Another excellent choice is Old Dog Alehouse & Brewing’s Monk’s Tale—a smooth helles that started as a summer brew, but will be extended into the fall.

If crisp pilsners are more your thing, check out North High Brewing’s Life sparkling ale, full of complex flavor, or Commonhouse Ales’ Czech Please, a clean, no-frills brew with a nice finish.

Elevator’s Heiferweizen and Grove City Brewing Company’s Jolly Orange are similar to Blue Moon, delicious with a slice of orange, each having its own slightly distinct character—Heiferweizen a little lemony, Jolly Orange a little spicy.

Mexican-style lagers, similar to Corona, are generally easy-drinking and popular, with or without limes. Grove City’s A Poco was Erin’s closest estimation to a cold Corona. Land Grant’s Urban Sombrero has faint spicy and oral notes that add character.

Combustion’s Sir Veza was a universal hit with my friends. Curtis described it “light, like a light beer, but with the flavor of a lager.” At 4.5% ABV, that’s not far off.

“I'll tell you what, it smells good,” Zack said. Janie chimed in, “This would be a great beer pong beer!” Now, maybe you’re not having “that” kind of tailgate (or maybe you are), but any beer that stands up to beer pong is a testament to drinkability.

Oktoberfest-style beers generally also fit the bill. Elevator’s Oktoberfest is heavy on the malt, similar to Rolling Rock, but other brands are sweeter and heavier, reminiscent of Sam Adams beers.

Looking further into fall, Grove City’s Alumni lager is scheduled to return in November. Around the same time, Chicago’s Forbidden Root Brewing Company is scheduled to open its Easton brewery and taproom, including their super- drinkable Hoodie Weather Vienna lager.

For something slightly different (and a little further out of Central Ohio) but still excellent with salty snacks and grilled burgers, seek out Catawba Island Brewing Company’s Hot Blonde Mango Habanero Ale. It’s not like anything you’ll buy in the beer cooler of your corner store, but it’s slightly fruity, a bit spicy, and will add a little kick to your game-time cookout.

Not so much of a beer drinker, or having an upscale morning tailgate? How about mead-mosas? Yes, you read that right. Mead-mosas. Skip the wine-aisle bubbly, head to one of many specialty groceries or the taproom on the East side, and grab one of Uprising Meadworks’ bottles, like the ginger-lime Copper Knob, to mix with your orange juice.

So pass up the drive-through this football season, and try something local. You’ll find easy-going selections with flavor, reasonable ABV, and great drinkability, that your mainstream- beer-fan friends, and even you, will love.

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Food & Drink

You’ll hardly recognize newly-renovated GasWerks, fun features added

Regina Fox

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After a months-long renovation, Park Street enthusiasts can finally return to one of its most popular establishments: GasWerks.

The bar reopened over the weekend, debuting several new features including two live music stages, a large dance floor, and a food menu prepared right out of a vintage COTA bus permanently located inside the bar.

Guests can also test their skills at new games like skee-ball, and a 15-foot Space Invaders game, as well as other classics on vintage systems.

Outside, the patio features corn hole, new chairs and tables, and an open-sided Airstream camper with comfortable seating for social gathering.

What hasn't changed is GasWerks great drink specials, playful atmosphere, and welcoming spirit. The bar is located at 487 Park St. and is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm- 2am, Friday from 4pm-2am, Saturday from 3pm- 2am, and closed Sunday through Tuesday. To learn more, visit gaswerksbar.com.

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Food & Drink

Beloved local burger joint opening Downtown location, more neighborhoods soon

Regina Fox

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In a very small amount of time, Preston’s: A Burger Joint by chef Matthew Heaggans and chef Catie Randazzo's went from a cultish pop-up to the home of many peoples' favorite burger.

With the help of a newly-created hospitality group, Heaggans and Randazzo will be expanding Preston's into more neighborhoods.

"We know Columbus wants to eat more Preston’s burgers and we want to make that dream a reality," said Reed Woogerd, CEO of Muse Hospitality.

The flagship location for the Preston’s expansion will be at 15 W. Cherry St. in Downtown. More locations throughout Columbus are planned with hopes of tapping into the Cleveland and Cincinnati markets, as well.

"We want Preston’s to be Ohio’s burger," said Woogerd.

Click here to read more about the smash burger

Matt Heaggans and Catie Randazzo are two of the most respected chefs in the restaurant scene. Together and individually, they have created some of Columbus’ most beloved concepts, including the most recent: Ambrose & Eve (which will operate under the Muse Hospitality umbrella).

Randazzo is the creator of Challah food truck, featuring the chicken sandwich with the biggest cult following in the city. Challah is no longer operating as a food truck, but recently was featured as a pop-up menu at Ambrose & Eve and could see a full brick and mortar comeback as the group expands.

Heaggans and Randazzo created Preston’s: A Burger Joint that has been racking up the accolades, including best burger in Columbus. Currently you can find Preston’s operating as a food truck, at Woodland’s Tavern and Woodland’s Backyard.

With around 70 years collective experience in the industry, Muse Hospitality's mission is to continue to guide and push the elevation of the Columbus food scene and culture.

Letha Pugh's Bake Me Happy will continue to operate independently, but will be bringing a gluten-free edge to the Muse concept.

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