Sunday, October 14, 2018

Grumpy Wins Pottstown's First-Ever Cheese Crown

Photos by Evan Brandt
Gene Dugan, namesake of Grumpy's Handcarved Sandwiches, won the whole ball of wax (or should we say cheese?) Saturday when he won both the judge's and People's Choice trophy's at Pottstown's first-ever Cheesetoberfest event in Memorial Park, which paired two things I dearly love, grilled cheese sandwiches and beer. At left is Brian Parkes, executive director of TriCounty Active Adult Center, which both sponsored and benefited from the event.

There was beer.

There were grilled cheese sandwiches of multiple varieties.

There was even a "Beeramid," a pyramid of 15 cases of beer, chances for which were to be had for just $5.

I don't remember the name of the man who won the Beeramid.
What's important to remember here folks is that it wasn't me.

Let's face it folks, there was no mold growing on theTriCounty Active Adult Center's first-ever Cheesetoberfest.

Sure, the event was a fund-raiser for a worthy cause. But it was also a "fun-raiser" .... yeah, I went there.

Seven local eateries (two never showed up, no doubt cowed by the competition), offered up their unique visions for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich and those of us lucky enough to be there, got to sample all seven.

There wasn't a single bad sandwich.

I tried to write them all down, but I fear the list of ingredients for each offering is incomplete. Nevertheless, here is a partial list of the offerings as best I could decipher my hand-writing:

Pottstown Mayor Stephanie Henrick may have
been a judge. But there is only on Mayor of
Cheesteroberfest and his name is Ron Barrett
Lily's Grill -- Candied jalepeno cheese, I don't remember what kind, on a uniquely crispy bread,
made so by the fact that the griddle Chef Adam Burke used was rippled.

Pottstown United Brewing -- This was also a Burke special since he does the food for Pottstown's newest pub as well. This one was pumpkin-spiced gouda, with apple, onion and Swiss. (This was the one that won my red People's Choice ticket).

Brookside Country Club -- Crab and bacon mac and cheese with muenster and white cheddar, with a tomato jam dipping sauce. (Chef Peter Fizz was working overtime to fill these orders and there was a very long line.)

Railroad St. Bar & Grill -- Chef Mike McCloskey said his recipe for "Octoberfest Grilled Cheese" included bratwurst, white cheddar, onions and peppers. Railroad Street also provided the beer, which was an excellent selection. I chose Victory Brewing Company's Hip Czech Lager.

Bause Catered Events -- Smoked gouda, muenster with carmelized onion, garlec-onion butter and crushed salt & vinegar potato chips. Chef Erin Bause also offered up some delicious tomato soup to dip your sandwich in. Quite good.

Pottstown Hospital -- Yes, you read that right. And I must say, Chef Stewart Sherk makes a great grilled cheese. His recipe had arugula, tomato, pesto with asiago and provolone cheese on sourdough bread.

Grumpy's Handcarved Sanwiches -- For this winning combination, Chef Gene Dugan blended chedar, muenster, havarti and goat cheese with crushed figs on potatoe bread. He also provided tomato soup for those who feel it is a crime to eat any grilled sandwich without tomato soup.

Also on hand was The Daisy Jug Band, which played in the beer tent. Here's a sample:

About 200 people came out under the cloudy skies, perfect weather for grilled cheese sandwiches.

They ate, they drank, some played the cornhole game set up for those who enjoy such things, and then came the big reveal.

Here come da judges...
The judges for Cheesetoberfest were the Honorable Stephanie Henrick, the mayor of Pottstown; the equally honorable Scott Bentley, renown local businessman and the decidedly less honorable Evan Brandt, Mercury reporter and renown quaffer of beer.

Brian Parkes, executive director of the TriCounty Active Adult Center, seen in the photo above with the judges, sad the event raised about $4,000 for the center.

And don't forget folks. Today is the 15th Annual Carousel of Flavor restaurant festival which, I hasten to mention, also has beer. This year it will be held at the actual Carousel location, on King Street, across from Memorial Park.

An now, here are the Cheesetoberfest Tweets I managed when I wasn't doing official judge stuff ....

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