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Lucy Saunders
4230 N. Oakland #178
Shorewood WI
53211 USA
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Remembering Al Jolly at Brew City BBQ

It's more than a menu, it's a labor of love - love of friends and love of food.

In November 2001, Laurie Jolly, Jim McCabe and chef Kasmier Rutherford (pictured at right) Chef Kas with the new BBQ at Brew City, Milwaukeerevamped Milwaukee's downtown Brew City BBQ restaurant. "Put a little south in yo' mouth," is the sassy advice on the new menu from consulting chef Scott McGlinchey, quoting his buddy Al Jolly.

When Al Jolly died last summer, he had just begun working on the Brew City BBQ menu. To continue Al's legacy, his friend Chef Scott McGlinchey added Cajun specialties and Southern classics, such as slow-smoked roadhouse spare ribs and bourbon pecan pie.

"When I first started working with Al Jolly on the board of directors of the Milwaukee Ale House," recalls partner Jim McCabe, "I knew I wanted to work with him on a larger project so we bought the Brew City BBQ together with his wife, Laurie Jolly."

Jolly loved beer, especially Wisconsin beer, supported small breweries by offering their specialties on draft. He even offered to host a test pilot brewery for a local brewer's school at Jolly's on Harwood (which closed in August 2001).

"All the breweries in town, Sprecher, Milwaukee Ale House, everyone, he helped promote their beer," says beer wholesaler Matt Kopka.

Al Jolly was generous by nature, and by profession. Why be stingy with diced peppers for a jambalaya, when they add so much flavor? Jolly intensified the taste of just about every dish he made, by being generous with the best quality ingredients, adding his culinary finesse.

And he loved cooking with beer, playing with its hoppy and malty flavors as a poaching liquid, a base for sauces, soups, even salad dressings.

Playing with fire: the new beer-BQ sauce at Brew City is searing, not sweetChef Scott concocted a "beer-BQ" red barbecue sauce the way Al would have made it, tingling with chipotle peppers and the Milwaukee Ale House flagship amber, Louie's Demise.

Al's generosity spilled out beyond the kitchen, too. Whenever a charity needed help, Al Jolly was there, handing out food, doing cooking demonstrations, donating free dinners for raffles and fundraisers, anything to lend a hand.

Most of all, he was fun to be around. "I never saw him when he wasn't smiling," says Russ Klisch of Lakefront Brewery. Al Jolly prepared all the Cajun food and served more than 500 people for the opening of Lakefront's Palm Garden.

Chef Al Jolly (wearing glasses) with his wife Laurie, far right,Beer chefs Al Jolly and Scott McGlinchey, photo courtesy of Laurie Jolly and Chef Scott McGlinchey and his wife Mandy, pictured together last summer.

He loved jokes. And one of the best jokes he played was with Scott McGlinchey - during a cooking demonstration at a winery in California, they made a dish with bear meat wearing just their aprons (bear-assed, get it?).

Just two days later, Al Jolly died of a heart attack. There were decorations in the shape of tiny bare bottoms, made of flesh-colored fabric, wedged into the flower display sent by the winery to the memorial chapel.


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