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DemocratandChronicle .com Friday,October23,2015 Page5C ROCFLAVORS One of my favorite places to enjoy a b eer (besides my living room couch with my lovable chocolate lab Gracie at my f eet) is a place that really cuts down on d istractions and encourages conversation. Step into the snug little room with upholstered walls and worn leather furniture, right inside the entrance of the venerable Old T oad, and you’re instantly at ease. It’s the most relaxing p lace in Rochester to enjoy a beer. There are no TVs, no blaring music, no loud conversations to compete with. The “snug” hasn’t always been part of the 25-year- old British-style pub, but it’s always been the goal of o wner/founder John Roman to bring a slice of pub culture to this city. “A lot of bars call themselves pubs, only in the sense that it’s a bar,” said Roman, who got the idea to open “ The Toad” on Alexander Street after traveling to Sheffield, England, in 1988 to teach a seminar in American m arketing at what is now called Sheffield Hallam University. “But a pub goes back historically when some- o ne just opened up a room or two in their house and put a cask of beer up and served some food out of their kitch- e n. They had a public house. We try to maintain that spirit here. If you went to a pub in England, this is what you would see.” A lifetime later, The Toad stands as one of the most i mportant influences in Rochester’s craft beer scene. It h as educated a generation of craft beer enthusiasts, trained some of the most important people in Roches- t er’s craft beer industry and remained an unchanging staple. Roman’s philosophy was simple when he decide d to launch something new in Rochester. “People were the entertainment at British pubs,” Rom an said. “And (the pubs) were cozy and warm. At that time, there wasn’t much in Rochester for the over-30 c rowd. You could either go to an Archie Bunker bar around the corner or you could go to a hotel bar that didn’t have any atmosphere. This was pre-sports bars. A nd I thought, everyone loves pubs, whether it was one o f my students at RIT or my neighbor who is an engi- n eer at Xerox. I thought it would work.” To re-create the atmosphere, Roman imported just about everything you see in the bar from England, inc luding the bar top, carpet, tapestries and signs. Mirroring a co-op program that he saw at RIT, Roman also b rings over students, mostly from Sheffield Hallam, e very year to work as the bar staff. The students are between their second and third years of study and earn c redits while they work in Rochester. W hen The Toad first opened in 1990, drinkers typically weren’t familiar with the beer that was served. “When we put on Fuller’s London Pride and Young’s Taddy Porter, people didn’t know what they were,” Roman said. And an even bigger challenge was replicating t he traditional cask ale found in the British pub. N o breweries were producing cask beer (outside of the now-defunct Manhattan Brewery) and none were serving it, so Roman invested in $5,000 worth of casks (or firkins), the vessels used to store and aid in second- a ry fermentation in cask beer. He would send those casks to breweries, get them filled, and then ship them back when they were empty. “Webrought in beers that nobody ever heard of,” Rom an said. “We had to go looking to breweries to get different beers. Now the opposite is true. And then we got t o educate our customers about how it is made, why is it made that way, what makes it different. Nobody sold t hese different styles.” “We helped make a lot of styles popular in Roches- t er,” added Roman’s son Kevin, who is now The Toad’s general manager. “Fast forward to the modern era, there are so many beer bars, breweries popping up eve rywhere, but we’re still pretty much the way we were s ince the day we opened.” W CLEVELAND@Gannett.com The Old Toad a Rochester beer pioneer CARLOS ORTIZ/@CFORTIZ_DANDC/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER The Old Toad is a traditional British pub at 277 Alexander St. in Rochester. WILL CLEVELAND BEER TALK While it is certainly a way of sat- i ng your appetite for the rest of the d ay, you'd have to get up fairly early to get all that done, and you'd also have a sink full of dishes to wash at half time. Instead, I've concocted a couple of football-friendly finger-food breakfast dishes, both including the British sausage, bangers. Bangers are famous for their inclusion in bangers and mash, in which they a re served with mashed potatoes a nd topped with onion gravy. (If y ou want to try the dish, the hot bars at several area Wegmans will be serving it on Sunday.) The name bangers comes from when, in the old days, the sausages would have a tendency to pop while cooking. While I tested these recipes, I found that each version of the sausage had a slightly different flavor; two of the three reminded my husband and me of the flavor of hot dogs or bologna. If that doesn't appeal, or if you can't locate bangers, substitute with another pork sausage such as Italian sausage or a pork breakfast sausage. If all of this is too much for you, and you still want to get into the British spirit, you could always head to the British aisle of the supermarket and buy a box of Weeta- bix cereal. Go Bills. TSCHUHMACH@Gannett.com CARLOS ORTIZSTAFF PHOTOGRAPHER It may not seem like your normal breakfast, but it will go well with early-morning football action as the Bills play the Jaguars in London at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on Sunday. Bangers Continued from Page 1C CARLOS ORTIZSTAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Sausage rolls are a nice alternative to eating your bangers on their own. TRACY SCHUHMACHER/@RAHCHACHOW/ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Form the meat into a log down the middle of puff pastry. SAUSAGE ROLLS Loosely adapted from New British Classics by Gary Rhodes According to my research, these are popular at Christmastime in Britain. 1lb bangers sausage, removed from casings 1onion, finely chopped or grated 1heaping teaspoon of mixed chopped fresh thyme and sage (if you don't have these in your garden, do a pinch each of dried) ½package (17 oz) puff pastry 1egg yolk, mixed with 2 teaspoons milk Optional mustard dipping sauce: 2Tablespoons whole-grain mustard 2Tablespoons mayonnaise Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the sausage, onion and herbs. Refrigerate while the pastry is being rolled. Cut a piece of puff pastry crosswise into three strips (along the folds). Place on a floured surface and roll until about four inches wide. Mold the sausage mixture into three long sausages, about one inch thick. Place the sausage mixture on the middle of the pastry. Brush one side with the egg yolk mixture. Fold the pastry over the meat toward the side with the brushed egg. Press down on the pastry to seal, then roll the pastry so that the seam is on the bottom. Cut the logs into two- inch pieces, then make a slit in the center with a knife or scissors. Brush with the remaining egg yolk. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. If you are serving the rolls with mustard dipping sauce, mix together the mustard and mayonnaise while the rolls are baking. R emove from oven and serve warm. BANGIN' BREAKFAST P OTATO SKINS Cook the potatoes and the bangers a day ahead so that on game day you only n eed to cook the skins and fill them. 4large baking potatoes 3tablespoons vegetable oil ½teaspoon salt ¼teaspoon garlic powder ¼teaspoon paprika 1 ⁄ 8 teaspoon pepper 2bangersausages, cooked and chopped 3eggs, lightly beaten 1cup shredded cheddar cheese ½cup sour cream, optional 4green onions, sliced, optional Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes, poke with a fork a few times and place directly on the rack of oven. Bake for about one hour, until a fork can be inserted easily. Remove from oven and cool. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a ¼-inch shell (discard pulp or use in another recipe). At this point the potato skins can be refrigerated overnight. Place the bangers in a saucepan with a tablespoon of butter and ¼ cup water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook until brown on both sides, about 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway while cooking. When cool, cut lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into small pieces. At this point the cooked bangers may be refrigerated overnight. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place potato skins on a greased baking sheet. Combine oil, salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper; brush over both sides of skins. Place skin side up and bake for seven minutes. Flip so that the skin is down and bake seven minutes more. Remove from oven. Divide the chopped bangers among the skins. Carefully pour the eggs into the skins; do not overfill. Top with the cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the eggs have puffed up and the cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and onions, if desired. Serve i mmediately. Yield: 8 servings WHERE TO PURCHASE BANGERS Several area butchers sell locally made bangers, but because the demand is low, most are sold frozen. Note that the traditional preparation includes the addition of bread crumbs; if you are following a gluten-free diet, you will want to choose another sausage. I tried bangers from three of these spots. Here are some places to purchase them and my notes on the ones I tried: Tony Costanza's International Sausage Shop, 800 Basket Road, Webster, sells bangers frozen in o ne-pound packages. Skip's Meat Market, 102 Fairport Village Landing, Fairport, sells frozen bangers in packages of two, for a total of about 10 ounces. These were my favorite for these particular recipes, with a t exture similar to Italian sausage and a mild pork flavor. (Note that the Skip's Meat Markets on North Goodman and on Ridge Road in Greece do not sell bangers.) Hart's Local Grocers, 10 Winthrop St., makes bangers as an occasional special. They will likely h ave them on hand the weekend of the Bills game but you may want to call them at (585) 521-4278 to check. Swan Market, 231Parsells Ave., makes Irish-style bangers with sage, rosemary and marjoram. T hey are available frozen. McCann's Local Meats, 739 Clinton Ave. South, sells bangers infused with an India Pale Ale fresh in its case. These had a bit of that bologna aftertaste, though it was balanced by the bitter flavor of the ale. Palmer's Direct to You Market, 900 Jefferson Road in the Genesee Valley Regional Market, sells bangers frozen in one-pound three-packs. These had a pronounced aftertaste that reminded m e of bologna or hot dogs. TRACY SCHUHMACHER/@RAHCHACHOW/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Bangers are a British sausage.