Arts Devo

Gravy, Bunnymilk and Sierra Nevada’s new secret society



Now wait a second. You doctors have been telling us to drink eight glasses of gravy a day!—Homer Simpson

Gravy is beautiful Thanksgiving is almost here and right now Arts DEVO is thankful for the gravy. Not in the metaphorical sense; I'm literally grateful to be making and consuming gravy this week. I can't really get with the idioms in which gravy is equated with abundance: “It's all gravy,” “Riding the gravy train,” “The rest is gravy.” Gravy, at its best, might be rich in flavor, but it is actually inexpensive and elegantly simple in its preparation: blend an oil with flour (a roux, if you will; or beurre manié, if you must) and use that mixture to thicken some liquid.

For Thanksgiving, discerning cooks simply scoop out some fat that's drained into the pan of a roasting turkey and cook it in a pot with equal parts flour until it's browned, then gradually whisk in some hot (turkey, chicken, beef or veggie) stock (plus, if desired or needed, wine, milk or water) until it reaches appropriate thickness. Of course, before adding that liquid it's best to remove the turkey, and any excess fat, from the roasting pan, then heat up that bad boy and deglaze all its tasty juices and scrapings with a cup or so of your liquid and use that in the gravy. That's where the flavor comes from, there and from the other remnants (stock, fats) of slowly cooked meat and vegetables. Gravy isn't something extra on top of everything else. It is everything else, distilled and emulsified into a velvety expression of the meal's essence. It's a good thing.

Extra gravy Did you see this? Chico's own “drunken songbird angels” are playing at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. On Dec. 6, Bunnymilk will be opening for Jonathan Richman! It's on a Sunday, which is a great day for a day trip to The City, capped off with an evening of incredible music and showing local love for the hometown duo.

(Also, AD's heard word from little birds around town that Richman has been recording some new music locally, and that Bunnymilk's Lisa Marie and Kelly Brown have joined him in the studio. Stay tuned.)

Beer level = expert/fanatical Now you're just getting ridiculous, Sierra Nevada. Our hometown brewing company has just released details about its latest, greatest beer adventure: the Alpha Hop Society. If that sounds exclusive and kind of fancy, that's because it is amazingly exclusive and fancy. From the press release: “Welcome to the Alpha Hop Society, our shadowy subculture stashed deep within the back rooms and barrel cellars of Sierra Nevada's breweries. The Alpha Hop Society is a new beer club for fans of small-batch barrel-aged beers. Alpha Hops get to experience never-before-seen beers, one-off specialties and guided samplings with the brewers who make them happen.”

At $250 a year, it's a steep initial investment, but just the dozen 750ml bottles of “extremely limited barrel-aged beers (350 bottles or fewer!)” and the T-shirt that come with membership would normally total at least that much. Add private cellar tours, barrel tastings, pilot-brewery samplings, and it starts looking like a pretty good deal. And as a gift for a beer-lover in your life, short of a monastery tour through Belgium, you could hardly choose something more impressive. Visit for more info.