Beer and noodles

Illustration by Mark Stivers

New Brew: Insight Coffee Roasters just got a liquor license for its Southside Park location (1901 Eighth Street), which means it will sell fresh drafts of its collaboration beers with Bike Dog Brewery.

So far, they’ve got two. There’s a stout, to which Insight contributes its cold brew, giving the heavy beer an accent of the mellow flavor cultivated by that gentler method. Then, there’s an IPA made with ground Rwandan beans, which have earthy, herbaceous and stone fruit notes to complement the hoppy style. The collaborations offer an alternative to the Ruhstaller mashups made with beans by Old Soul and Camellia Coffee Roaster—the Sauce and the Kenyan, respectively.

Insight also just opened its fifth location in the Milagro Centre (6241 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael), though the most likely candidate to pour beers next will be its 16th and P streets spot. How do the brews taste?

“I don’t know, I don’t drink,” said Insight’s Mike Drake before quickly adding that the customer’s response to both beers has been effusively positive.

Ramen alert: As of SN&R’s print deadline, Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. (1630 S Street) had plans to roll out a custom-made ramen cart for the first time January 10, serving up a hot bowl alongside a Sapporo beer for $10. The red, mobile cooking station, christened “Dot,” will become a regular fixture at the Midtown restaurant as executive chef Matt Masera predicts he and chef de cuisine Noah Mansfield will use it to branch out into tacos or dumplings in the future.

“On nights that we want to get our rocks off, we’ll pull her out, post on social media and pop up inside of our own restaurant,” Masera said. “We can use this for so many avenues of fun culinary stuff.”

The idea came about when upscale Japanese whisky company Suntory rented out Hook & Ladder for an event, requesting Japanese street food. This spurred the creative juices of Chris Tucker, the restaurant’s beverage director, who also happens to be an accomplished handyman.

After taking some requests from Masera and Mansfield, Tucker crafted the versatile cart, inserting cutting board space as well as heating and cooling features, making it ideal for whipping up quick dishes.

For the 10th, Mansfield said he planned on serving two ramens: a spicy vegetarian version and another that featured Kalbi short rib, grilled broccolini and butter made from wood sorrel, a tangy, lemony herb that punched up the flavor of the light shio broth.