Tag Archive | Beer

Colorado 2015: Washington State to Boulder

Day 1 – August 1, 2015

The alarm blasts early when you have a 5:00 am flight. We woke up at 2:15 am, for a 3:20 cab ride to the airport. The cab ride was pleasant; getting through security was not. I ran into a surly, power tripping TSA Agent who barked at me about not removing my Kindle from my backpack (IS IT BIGGER THAN A COKE CAN!?), then assigned me to secondary screening.  There is a lot more in between the barking and the pat-down that I’m not recounting here – but I did recount it when I filed a formal complaint with his manager.

After my full body pat down, we were able to relax in the terminal and get off on two uneventful flights. We landed in Colorado about 10:15 am, waited over 30 minutes for luggage (which got me a $50 credit on my next flight! Thanks Alaska Airlines!), got our rental car (a Toyota Camry!) and we were officially on vacation in Colorado!

First stop: Eats. We went to Avery Brewing Company in Boulder – Jon’s pick – and enjoyed some great beer and wonderful food. I made my own sampler – Avery sells 4 oz beers so you can mix and match!

I had:

  • Liliko’i Kepolo – a Witbier with tropical passionfruit
  • White Rascal – a Belgian Style White Ale spiced with coriander, curacao, orange peel – described as a zesty classic ale
  • Summer’s Day IPA – an IPA with tangerine peel.
My beer sampler at Avery Brewing Company

My beer sampler at Avery Brewing Company

My favorite was the Liliko’i Kepolo, with the IPA in second place. For lunch, I had the BBQ pork sandwich with fingerling potatoes.  Jon had the Maharaja Imperial IPA and the blackened catfish, then followed it up with a smaller beer – the Beast Grand Cru – with 6 hops, 6 sugars and 6 malts – get it? 666?  Our food was really good, but I was so jealous of Linda’s dish after getting a taste – the best vegetarian tacos I have ever eaten!

Linda's Veggie Tacos at Avery Brewing Company - delicious!

Linda’s Veggie Tacos at Avery Brewing Company – delicious!

After lunch we went to the Boulder History Museum. It is in the historic Harbeck-Bergheim house, built in 1899, a summer home for J.H. Harbeck and his family. Mr. Harbeck was a well known Wall Street figure, owning a dry goods business and a fleet of 20 ships to tranport goods for his business.  They actually ended up spending very little time in Boulder – the last time they visited was in 1910; Mr. Harbeck died that year.  They left instructions with a caretaker that the home was to be left vacant for 20 years because the graves of the family dogs needed time to settle, and they didn’t want them to be disturbed.  I kid you not…

The Boulder History Museum, in the Harbeck-Bergheim House. Built 1899 - American Four-Square style

The Boulder History Museum, in the Harbeck-Bergheim House.
Built 1899 – American Four-Square style

The home was sold after Mrs. Harbeck’s death in 1930 and eventually was purchased by Milton Bergheim and his wife, who lived there 30 years before selling the home to the City of Boulder.  The home itself is American Four-Square style, and has 12 rooms and two bathrooms.  Unfortunately, records about the architect and the building of the home were lost in a fire in 1932.

A stained glass window in the Harbeck-Bergheim house. It is believed to be Tiffany.

A stained glass window in the Harbeck-Bergheim house. It is believed to be Tiffany.

At the museum, there was an exhibit on the Arapahoe tribe and the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864. There was quite a bit of information on Chief Niwot, an Arapaho Chief who tried to maintain a peaceful relationship between the plains tribes and white settlers.  He was very well educated, and greeted settlers in English.  Chief Niwot was mortally wounded at the Sand Creek Massacre.  There was also an exhibit on Boulder history – Boulder was founded as a supply town in 1858 for the Gold Rush in Colorado, and also had significant agriculture.

A prospector's gear.

A prospector’s gear.

It was a small museum, but the exhibits were nicely done. Plus it was nice to see the historic house; the museum is planning to move into a new facility soon.  It will have climate control so they can better display artifacts and receive traveling exhibits – at that point the museum will be using the house only for special events.

Outside the museum we watched a tour bus roll by – designed to look like a rustic cabin on wheels – it looked like a fun tour, but I doubt I would be able to get Jon on it!

A unique tour bus in Boulder, Colorado

A unique tour bus in Boulder, Colorado

Oregon Coast 2015: Lewis and Clark Were Here!

The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

As I’m sure you remember, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery departed in 1804 from St. Louis on a two year mission to map the United States’ newly acquired territory, find a route to the Pacific across the continental U.S. and establish an American presence to prevent Britain and other European powers from making claims.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is located at the site of the 1805-1806 winter camp of the expedition, known as Fort Clatsop.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

In true Pacific Northwest fashion, it was a rainy winter. There were few dry days when the expedition was camped here. The group was able to prepare for the return trip the following spring, by creating a new stockpile of salt for preserving food, hunting and gathering other food, and trading with the tribes in the immediate vicinity. But the journals that exist from the period indicated that it was a claustrophobic, cramped, dreary time at Fort Clatsop. Many of the men came down with colds and the flu.

Fort Clatsop Replica - Built 2007

Fort Clatsop Replica – Built 2007

Interestingly, the winter camp was originally on the other side of the river, in what is now Washington. However, the food sources were minimal there, as the elk had moved higher into the mountains. Moving the camp was discussed, and each member of the expedition was able to vote on the move. It is widely believed to be the first time a slave and a woman were granted the vote in American history.

Inside Fort Clatsop

Inside Fort Clatsop

The expedition got on their way in March 1806 for the long trip back east. Fort Clatsop’s structures were given to one of the tribes and the fort was taken over again by nature. A replica was built when the site was designated as a National Historical Park in 1958. Sadly the replica burned in 2006; a replacement was built in 2007. The replica is thought to be historically accurate, having been built from sketches and descriptions that Lewis drew in his journals.

Living quarters for enlisted men

Living quarters for enlisted men – not much room!

Although not one of the larger sites in the National Park System, it is unique in many respects. There are several sites that make up the historical park, which is a partnership between the federal government and both Washington and Oregon State parks. The original winter camp on the Washington side of the river is protected, as well as the site on the beach where the expedition made salt to preserve their food. Approximately 191,867 people visited the park in 2011.

This particular site can be seen in about an hour – it is pretty surprising to see how they crammed over 30 people into such a small space. I can’t imagine the cabin fever of a cold, dark winter in that environment!

I would have loved to hike there – there is a 12 mile hike between the fort site and the historic Salt Works on the beach. Unfortunately, we still had a long drive ahead of us so we needed to get on our way…

We had one more stop on our drive home though – a mid-afternoon meal that would qualify as a very late lunch, or very early dinner. We went to the Rogue Brewery!

Rogue Brewery - on the pier in Astoria, Oregon

Rogue Brewery – on the pier in Astoria, Oregon

I have never been to a brewery where they give you an appetizer sample of beer, but right after we sat down, our server brought out samples of their Morimoto Soba Ale.  It was very unique, and delicious!  When we ordered, I told our server what kinds of beer I like, and then let him pick the sampler I tried. I’d say he did pretty well. I tried the Mom’s O Mix, the Chipotle Amber Ale, the Dead Guy Ale, and the Double Dead Guy Ale.

My taster tray at Rogue Brewery

My taster tray at Rogue Brewery

I had a bowl of their clam chowder – it was delicious! It was super-creamy with lots of chunks of clam, potato and celery and served with yummy bread. I also had a salad. I loved the salad, but found that the dressing, a balsamic vinaigrette, was too acidic for me – it made my tongue raw! This has happened several times, so I wonder if I’m not just becoming too sensitive to the acidity in salad dressing. Fortunately, I don’t have the same bad luck with wine!

Clam Chowder at the Rogue Brewery

Clam Chowder at the Rogue Brewery

Rogue Brewery is located out on the pier in Astoria, which means you drive across an old, one-vehicle-width bridge onto the pier. It was definitely a strange experience! The brewery itself is located in an old cannery building, which they have tried to maintain in its historic state. The restrooms are mostly original, and require a walk through an old warehouse area which gives you a great view of what this building once looked like!

Rogue Brewery - quiet at about 3:15 pm

Rogue Brewery – quiet at about 3:15 pm

I also was able to get a few good pics of a barn swallow perched on the railing of the pier outside the window. It was a great place to have lunch!

A barn swallow on the pier outside the Rogue Brewery

A barn swallow on the pier outside the Rogue Brewery

After our meal, we got back on the road for the long, and fortunately this time, relatively traffic free drive home…

Have you ever been to any of the Lewis and Clark expedition sites around the country?

Moab 2015: Red Rock Brewery SLC

After a day of hiking and sightseeing, what do you crave most?  If you said some good food and a beer, we have something in common!

After we wrapped up our visit to Antelope Island, Jon and I were tired and hungry. We made our way to our hotel for the night – The Plaza Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. I wanted to check out some of the historical sites downtown before we made the drive to Moab, Utah the next day!

The Plaza Hotel was great – I reserved a small queen room for $100, right next to the Mormon Temple and very close to several other historical attractions. The accommodations were good – the room was cozy, but were weren’t going to be spending much time there. We checked in, changed, and were on our way again to the Red Rock Brewery in downtown Salt Lake City!

Considering that it was a Wednesday night, we were unprepared for how busy it would be! They told us it would be a 25 minute wait, but it ended up being a little more than 45 minutes. Jon was not happy, and I was just plain hungry…  But we had walked the half mile there, so we didn’t have an easy option to just get up and go.

When we were seated we didn’t have to wait long for our server to take our order. I ordered the Amber Ale and a steak salad. Jon ordered the Elephino Double IPA and a Cobb Salad to eat.

Jon's Red Rock Brewery Elephino Double IPA - Not So Hoppy...

Jon’s Red Rock Brewery Elephino Double IPA – Not So Hoppy…

Jon's Red Rock Brewery Cobb Salad

Jon’s Red Rock Brewery Cobb Salad

My first beer was good, nothing spectacular but solid. My steak salad was excellent! Jon wasn’t happy with his first beer, an IPA – I actually liked it because it wasn’t super-hoppy, and because it had an elephant on the label (I can be swayed by such trivial things…).

My Steak Salad - along with my Amber Ale and Jon's Elephino IPA (he wanted me to finish it because I liked it more than he did).

My Steak Salad – along with my Amber Ale and Jon’s Elephino IPA (he wanted me to finish it because I liked it more than he did).

We each ordered a second beer – mine was a 5 oz Honey Wheat. It was horrible. It tasted like Pabst, or something similar. It was actually the worst beer I have ever had in a microbrewery – I was so disappointed. Jon on the other hand, loved his 20th Anniversary Imperial Red – it had all the hops he was craving.

As you can see by the photos, I’m clearly never going to make a career for myself as a food photographer.  I’m just always too hungry to do appropriate staging…

After dinner, we walked back to the hotel, vegged for a little while and hit the hay. We needed to be rested for a full day of touristing!

MI Road Trip: Lighthouses and Lakes

What kind of houses does Michigan have more of than any other state?  Lighthouses!  Michigan has more than 150 past and present lighthouses, and we were on our way to see one!

After leaving Muskegon, we headed to Ludington, because there was a lighthouse I wanted to see there. We drove through a cute, touristy town – the lighthouse is dead ahead on the main road. The Ludington North Breakwater Light is not technically a lighthouse, because there was never a house attached to it, but I am going to call it one anyway.

The Ludington North Breakwater Light is maintained by the Sable Point Lighthouse Keeper’s Association (I’m not sure if they require you to be a lighthouse keeper to join, but I hope not, because that might be a pretty small group…). It is open for tours between late May and Labor Day, but once again, we were shut down by the fact that it was the off season.

The Ludington North Breakwater Light

The Ludington North Breakwater Light

The first light was constructed in 1871 with federal funds, but getting the funding for a light keeper’s house proved more difficult. Granted, one can just walk out the pier from the town of Ludington to the light, so that probably had something to do with it, but in bad weather the walk along the pier was very precarious.

Even on a sunny day in October, the winds were high enough that we didn’t want to brave the walk along the pier, because waves were crashing over the concrete pier. Imagine trying to make the walk in the dead of winter, during a storm, with a wooden pier! It wasn’t until 1900 that a light keeper’s house was built.

Eventually the wooden pier and the breakwater began to break down and a decision was made to construct the current concrete pier and a new light. The current pyramidal shaped light was constructed in 1924; the unique shape is to deflect the high winds and waves from the lake. It is made with steel plates, and is 57 feet tall.

It was originally lit with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens (for more info on Fresnel lenses see this post), constructed in the United States rather than France, but the lens was removed several years after the light was automated in 1972.  It is currently on display at the Historic White Pine Village, a tourist village that sounded interesting, but with the timing of our trip and other things we wanted to do, it just wasn’t in the cards for us.

And just so you know, that tilt on the lighthouse isn’t my terrible camera angle.  The lighthouse actually is tilted!  In 1994, the crib that the light sits on settled and it tilted 4 degrees to the northeast.  Repairs were considered, but abandoned due to the cost after it was determined that the lighthouse was still safe (don’t worry, I know you are going to scroll back up and look at the photo again – that’s perfectly fine).

Next we drove down the road that runs near the water towards Silver Lake State Park. Before going into the park, we parked and were able to check out the lake and the sand dunes; Jon got his first look at Michigan sand dunes and loved them! But the weather that day was too cold and windy to enjoy the beach for long.  Silver Lake State Park actually has a lighthouse too, but vacations are all about choices, and we decided not to visit this one – but I do wish we had the time for everything.

An interestingly positioned chunk of driftwood on Lake Michigan

An interestingly positioned chunk of driftwood on Lake Michigan

The sun sinks lower over Lake Michigan

The sun sinks lower over Lake Michigan

We made our way to our last stop in Ludington; dinner at the Jamesport Brewing Co. I ordered the beer sampler, with the following beers:

  • Blueberry Wheat – YUM! I loved this. A nice light wheat beer with just a hint of blueberry, and I loved that they served it with some fresh blueberries floating in it.
  • Apricot Wheat – Very light; I didn’t like it when tried it alone, but liked it with food.
  • Hefeweizen – This was a German style Hefeweizen (well yes, they are all German style, but you know what I mean right? Some brewers stick more to the traditional style). It wasn’t my favorite; despite usually being really fond of Hefeweizens.
  • Nitro Stout – Creamy and smooth, with caramel and coffee. Yum!
  • Smoky Porter – Lot of caramel and very smoky. I liked it, but probably wouldn’t want a whole pint.
Jamesport Brewing Co. Beer Sampler

Jamesport Brewing Co. Beer Sampler

I ordered the Lake Perch, a specialty for this restaurant, and I don’t think I have ever had perch, so I wanted to try something new! It was lightly breaded and fried with homemade seasoned French fries. The side salad was delicious too.  Jon had the IPA (he’s getting very predictable) with the Citrus Salmon; it was served on a bed of rice. He had a side salad too. We were both very happy with our choices.

The downtown area of Ludington was quite cute, with several neat shops that I would have loved to poke around in. But they were closed when we finished with dinner (most were closed before we even started dinner). As it were, we continued on to our home for the night in Manistee.

On a country road as the light was fading, we saw a flock of turkeys crossing the road. Turkeys! I had never seen wild turkeys before, so that was pretty neat, but the fading light (and the fact that Jon wouldn’t stop the car) meant that my pictures of them were blurry. As we were getting into Manistee, we were just seeing the last light of the day and enjoyed a lovely view of the lake.

Blurry Turkeys…

Blurry Turkeys…


MI Road Trip: More Beer and a Dead Guy (Maybe…)

While we were visiting Grandma, Jon, my cousin and I also checked out another Kalamazoo brewery; a relatively new one called Arcadia Brewery.  My cousin hadn’t been there either, so she was excited to check it out too.  The place is huge, with lots of space, an industrial feel, long pub style tables that appear to be reclaimed wood, and big garage doors that could roll up in warm weather.

My cousin and I at Arcadia Brewery

My cousin and I at Arcadia Brewery

I had the Rapunzel; a wheat IPA advertised with a crisp, sweet malt and flavors of pineapple, citrus and lemongrass. It wasn’t my favorite – too bitter.  Jon started out with a beer called the Cereal Killer, which he was really pleased with. He bought some in the bottle to bring home.  His second choice wasn’t so successful.  He tried the Jaw Jacker, an autumn spiced amber wheat ale brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice.  Neither of us liked it at all.  I guess you can’t win ‘em all. We both liked the atmosphere, and will certainly visit again, but I hope their beers are trending a little less bitter next time.

Arcadia Brewery Beers – That was not a red ale, but it was that red…

Arcadia Brewery Beers – That was not a red ale, but it was that red…

After several days hanging out with Grandma, walking the quiet streets of small town Michigan, Jon and I said our goodbyes and set out to explore more of the state.  It was a crisp, sunny day and the trees were just starting to change color.

We stopped in Grand Rapids because Jon wanted to visit a record store.  It was late morning, and the store hadn’t opened yet.  The block was crawling with panhandlers, and there was a homeless guy lying on the sidewalk a short ways away.  I couldn’t tell if he was unconscious or just sleeping.  Another man was pulling on him, trying to rouse him – literally lifting the man off the ground – so at that point I started wondering if he was dead.  There was a police officer coming down the street toward him, so we didn’t need to call 911, but we decided not to hang around and wait for the record store to open.

So instead, we headed over to Founder’s Brewery (in a much nicer neighborhood) for lunch and a brew. I had the Michigander Salad, with dried cherries, blue cheese crumbles, candied walnuts, avocado, mixed greens, and a balsamic vinaigrette.  It had onions on it, and I don’t like them, so I asked if they could leave them off – and they offered to substitute something I love – avocado!  I didn’t even have to ask!  I had my salad with a Honey Wheat beer – delicious and 6.1% ABV.  It was a wonderful lunch; my only gripe was that the balsamic dressing was a bit too acidic – it made my mouth really sensitive – has that ever happened to you?

Founder’s Brewery Beer Selection

Founder’s Brewery Beer Selection

Jon had the Charise’s Rueben, with roasted sliced turkey, dill Havarti cheese, baby spinach, tomatoes, red onions, avocado, tangy coleslaw & 1,000 Island dressing.  He loved it, and we got to turn the tables for once with him ordering the sandwich and me ordering the salad!  He had the Double Trouble IPA, described by Founder’s as, “An imperial IPA that was brewed to turn your world upside down.  Hops will get you coming and going. Pungent aromatics up front pair with a malt-balanced backbone and a smooth, bitter finish. – 9.4% ABV.”  Jon declared it a winner.

It would have been nice to wile away the afternoon at Founder’s but we had more touristing to do!

MI Road Trip: Cemeteries and Beer

Our first couple of days on our Michigan trip were really relaxing, as they were all about family. My grandmother is 97, so she isn’t really out partying, unless you count her semi-regular appearances at church. She lives in a very small town (population about 1500), so there’s limited opportunity to do much of anything. Her town consists of a bank, grocery store, hardware store, gas station, library, post office, coffee shop, second hand clothing shop, all in one pizza, hotdog, sandwich, ice cream restaurant and three antique stores. And that’s pretty much it – it is truly a one stop light town.

I wandered over to both cemeteries during those couple of days; the old cemetery with lots of Civil War Veterans (they stopped burying people here in the 50s or 60s, I believe), and the new cemetery with several Civil War Veterans and many other historical graves, but current burials as well.  Sadly, the old cemetery has deteriorated since I was there last, with somebody doing rubbings on the older gravestones that have left ugly marks.  Many of the stones have fallen over, and graves have sunken.  There are several stones stacked against a tree; their bases lost to time.

Jon reading the gravestones in the old cemetery

Jon reading the gravestones in the old cemetery

A gravestone damaged by rubbing in the old cemetery

A gravestone damaged by rubbing in the old cemetery

My grandfather is buried at the new cemetery, so I always like to go over and say hello. Plus, I find cemeteries to be very peaceful, so I’m always happy to go and wander among the graves.  I always explore the older graves; and this cemetery has several from the 1800s.  Many are in very good condition, and I enjoy reading the names and dates.  Some are in bad shape, having fallen over and sunk into the ground.

A Civil War Veteran’s grave in the new cemetery – with the Grand Army of the Republic star

A Civil War Veteran’s grave in the new cemetery – with the Grand Army of the Republic star

I also got very familiar with the Panera Bread in nearby Kalamazoo, because it has Wi-Fi and Grandma’s internet service was on the fritz. I spent over 3 hours there working on a job application; I must have done well on it, because it was the application for the job I now have! Jon and I also visited Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo with my cousin – I considered it a treat after having wrapped up my application. I had been before with my cousin, but it was Jon’s first time. He was very impressed with the beer and the atmosphere. I love the quirky look of the bar, the collection of African masks, and of course, the beer.

The wall of beers at Bell’s Brewery

The wall of beers at Bell’s Brewery

We tried a couple before we settled on our choices; I had the Thump Yer Pumpkin Ale, which was a light beer with a hint of sweetness and flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a seasonal ale, so it isn’t available all the time. Jon had a glass of the Oracle – a Double IPA; also a seasonal beer, available in the late summer, early fall. It is made with Pacific Northwest hops varieties, and has citrus flavors mixed with extreme bitterness.

We were there in the later afternoon, before the after work crowd showed up, and it was pretty quiet. It was certainly someplace we will head back to next time we are in Michigan!

 Have you been to Bell’s Brewery or had their beer?


SW National Parks Trip: On the Road…

After we left Petrified Forest National Park, we got back on the road to our next destination.  We were staying in Williams, Arizona that night but we stopped for dinner in Flagstaff along the way.  We didn’t get much of a glimpse of Flagstaff, but what we did see made us both want to visit again sometime in the future.

Our choice for dinner that evening was the Beaver Street Brewery (in keeping with Jon’s brewery cravings for the trip).  When we got out of the car, we were immediately frozen to the core by the frigid wind!  I was surprised by the huge drop in temperature from earlier in the day, only a few hours away.  We hurried into the restaurant, and were met with a lively atmosphere, but we were seated right away.

We started with an appetizer of Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce, served with slices of baguette.  It was a fantastic dish!  The mussels were juicy and the curry sauce was delicious, with just the right amount of spice.  It was a very pleasant surprise, because I’m not usually a big fan of curry spice.  Another thing that I liked was that the sauce was thick enough that you felt that you could really get a portion onto the pieces of bread that came along with dish.

Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce – YUM!

Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce – YUM!

For dinner, I ordered the Enchanted Forest pizza.  It had brie, artichokes, olive pesto, red peppers and pine nuts.  It seemed like an odd combination of ingredients, but I decided to give it a try.  It was fantastic!  It was certainly one of the most creative pizzas I have ever had.  There were so many flavors coming together, but it really worked!  I let Jon have a little bit, but I have to admit, I pretty much stuffed myself on this pizza. I paired it with a raspberry ale, called the Bramble Berry Brew, which was delicious and light bodied.

My Enchanted Forest pizza – so creative!

My Enchanted Forest pizza – so creative!

Jon had the Green Goddess Salmon salad.  It was a big piece of grilled salmon on a bed of mixed greens, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and a chiffonade of fresh basil.  It was drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette.  The salad was so huge that it was heaped on the plate, almost falling off the sides.  Jon really liked his meal too, so we were three for three on great dishes!  Jon had two beers; the Lumberyard IPA and the R&R Oatmeal Stout. He liked both, but liked the IPA better.  He said they were some of his favorite beers from the whole trip.

Jon’s Green Goddess Salmon Salad – it was huge!

Jon’s Green Goddess Salmon Salad – it was huge!

If we lived in the area, I’m sure this would be a place we would come back to.

After dinner, we got back on the road for the last 30 minutes of driving to Williams, AZ. Williams is located about 50 minutes directly south of the Grand Canyon, with an easy straight drive up to the park. It also has several reasonably priced hotels. We could have stayed somewhere closer, but the prices go up and the availability goes down as you get closer to the park.  Our plan was to stay there for 2 nights, and spend the entire day in between at the Grand Canyon!

We watched carefully for elk, because we were driving at dusk, but we didn’t have any problems (we did see an elk right by the side of the road though!).  We got the car unloaded in record time because it was still so cold and windy, and checked into the Quality Inn.  Luckily, it didn’t take long to get settled into our cozy room and warmed up.

Of course, we made it an early night, because we wanted to get an early start on the Grand Canyon!  I couldn’t believe we were finally going to see it!

Have you been to Flagstaff, Arizona or the Beaver Street Brewery?  What did you think?


Back from our Adventure in the Southwest!

So, did you miss me?

Jon and I arrived home early this week from our action packed road trip through the Southwest!  We took two planes, set foot in 6 states, stayed in 9 hotels, and put just over 2,300 miles on the rental car.  We visited six National Parks – Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon.  We visited one National Monument – Petroglyph, and one National Historical Park – Chaco Culture.

We saw lots of rocks – in all different shapes and sizes and textures, and hiked through all kinds of spectacular country.  We saw amazing stars and the heavens through a telescope.  We saw lots of wildlife, and lots of people, and enjoyed every second of it.  We visited several new cities, sampled lots of beer, a little wine and had some great food.  And we wrapped it all up with a family wedding – where we got to spend lots of time and celebrate new beginnings with family.

Stay tuned for my posts about the trip – I can’t wait to share it all with you!

I would have put a few more places on here, but Google Maps limits you to 10...

I would have put a few more places on here, but Google Maps limits you to 10…


St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale

The same afternoon that we picked up the Kitten Mittons beer, I also selected a 341 ml bottle of St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale, from McAuslan Brewing in Montreal, Quebec.  It has been a fair number of years since I have had any Canadian beers, and back then, my taste in beer was less refined.  So, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the idea of a fruit wheat beer was intriguing.

I drank it the other night, after a long day at work.  On the nose, it smells of apricot.  And I don’t just mean it smelled like a nondescript stone fruit, where it could have been peach, nectarine, or even something else, but this was distinctly apricot.  It has very little carbonation or head (some of this was because I drank it from the bottle), but I even wondered if it had gone flat.  I certainly didn’t see anything near the head that it pictured below (from McAuslan’s website).

St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Beer

St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Beer

On the palate it tastes like a wheat beer with an over-layering of apricot, almost like there was apricot juice poured right in.  It wasn’t too sweet though – it still definitely tasted like beer.  It didn’t blow me away, but it was good – it would be a good beer for a hot, summer night on the deck.  Too bad that it is still several months before it will be hot enough for that.

Kitten Mittons! A Study in Beer

I’m here to talk about beer.  What does beer have to do with kittens, you ask?  I have no idea!  But Kitten Mittons is the name of Kulshan Brewing Company’s Winter Ale, and I’m here toasting the end of winter.  With some kittens.  And some mittons.

Kulshan Brewing Company’s Kitten Mittons Winter Ale

Kulshan Brewing Company’s Kitten Mittons Winter Ale

Kulshan Brewing Co. is a local brewery that opened about 4 years ago.  They have gained quite a local following, and I can understand why – their beer is really good!  Jon and I don’t usually go to the brewery because it is usually packed, but today we picked up a 32 oz. growler from our local beer shop.  Jon was contemplating a growler of their Porter, but I pushed him to get this Winter Ale.  I figured that it would be something we both could enjoy!

It has an aroma of chocolate and dates, and a medium body.  On the palate, it has more of the chocolate and roasted flavors, with balanced hops so it isn’t bitter.  It packs a punch with 7.5% ABV.

I paired it with breakfast for dinner – my parents were kind enough to take Jon and I out to breakfast this morning, and I had leftovers from my delicious Spanish Omelette.  Kitten Mittons will soon be giving way to the summer lineup, so get this while you still have a chance.

So, here’s a toast to the fact that it is after 7 pm, and thanks to daylight savings it is still light outside!  Cheers!

In case you wanted a picture of a real kitten, here's Ollie enjoying their new cat tree.

In case you wanted a picture of a real kitten, here’s Ollie enjoying their new cat tree.