I have made my first beer bread! I told Derek my plans and he allowed me to "waste" one of his precious cans. I chose Lake Tear of the Clouds by Mean Max Brew Works.
I was so excited to find a good recipe. Really any recipe you choose would do. I find that my secret ingredient in my baked goods is that when the recipe calls for butter, use high fat, high quality butter, cool, not cold, or at least at room temperature.
We stumbled upon Irish butter about 6 months ago at Aldi (my love affair with Aldi is probably stuff for an entirely different blog).
The loaf kept well in the freezer as I ate it slowly over the course of 2 weeks. Toasted with Irish butter spread over the top and eaten with eggs over easy. Just writing this is making my mouth water for it's crumbly, toasted, buttery goodness!
Needless to say, the dynamic duo get healthy plan has fallen to the wayside. Oh well, that just means more beers to enjoy!
Almost 2 months ago it happened. We did it. We toyed with the idea that most married couples toy with at some point in life, and we moved forward into it. The statement was uttered. Those 5 words that can evoke joy or dread or a hundred other emotions was spoken. The words hung in the air as if all my fears and insecurities had been suddenly called out and laid before me like a smelly, stale, congealed buffet of shame.
Derek said it.
We. Should. Get. Healthy. Together.
I almost dropped my deep dish pizza slice! Yes, we’ve both gained weight and somewhere underneath these 11+ years of fat, carbs, and regret are the people we once married. And now we’ve committed to digging them out.
I won’t bore you with the diet details, but it’s mainly low carb with a ton of beans and guacamole mixed in with a surprisingly reasonable workout schedule. Due to this there has been a great shift in our consumption of beer verses beans. I now have perfected a lentil bread recipe to the point that we surprisingly don’t miss regular bread at all! But beer has been relegated to Saturdays, our “cheat day.” So if Derek was discriminating about his beer choices before, now for Saturdays, he has become fanatical!
I get excited for Saturdays, mainly for the pancakes, but also to discover the newest Holy Grail beer he has brought home for us to savor! For several of these past Saturdays it has been a steady run of SingleCut. This week we enjoyed Desert! IPA. Since SingleCut has opened up in Clifton Park, Derek has going on and on about how amazing it is to now know what it feels like to live less than 30 minutes from a brewery that is currently slaying it. He used to trek hours out of state on quests to obtain enough beer to last before the next road trip. Now a quick trip up the Northway is enough to satisfy.
Who says you have to give up to much to adopt a healthy lifestyle? We truly CAN have it all, the beans and the beer! Just not every day...
Derek likes to take photos if his beers. He shares them with friends and has developed quite a collection. He's also got a little photo bomber. It started out as a little joke she liked to play on him. Derek would shoo her away and she would try to sneak back into the photo. Now he won't take the shot till she's in place!
Just some reflection...
I love him.
Remember back when you were a kid and you first found out that the monster's name was not Frankenstein. And then you realized that the monster never actually has a name! I remember it kind of blew my school-age mind at the time. The world that I thought could only be measured against my own knowledge and assumptions was in fact bigger and had more history than I knew at the time.
Through my 40 years I have seen many versions of Frankenstein's monster on television and in movies, but I never actually read Mary Shelley's original novel. I got into the book recently, and frankly, it kinda sucks. It's not scary Vic Frankenstein actually just strikes me as a self absorbed, emo, college kid. But I digress...
These past several months away from the blog have been brought me back to that feeling I had as a child learning the truth about Frankenstein's Monster. I've had nothing to write about. Derek still enjoys his hoppy brews, lately he's been into Beer Tree, but though I beg him, he doesn't take the time to review his drinks and I sigh and resign myself to another week without a blog entry. The shame and guilt of it consume me. I become even more and more anxious about not having reviews to write and
It's been a while, and just to let you know, we are still here stuck in Limbo, otherwise known as a North Albany apartment, while we wait for bureaucrats to decide the fate and time frame of our home build. My old house still stands, mocking me in it's uselessness and ongoing mortgage payments. At least it's given us opportunity to explore bars, restaurants and beverage centers on this side of the county.
Through a twist of schedules and childcare, I found myself one evening husband-less and childless and in need of dinner prepared by someone else. Now, I know most people are uncomfortable sitting at a table alone in a restaurant having a meal, but I truly enjoy it! I don't even bury my face into my phone for distraction, though I often end up texting Derek to describe what's on the menu or share the beer list. I enjoy people watching, taking in the atmosphere, and sitting quietly with my thoughts.
I've lately noticed that every time I drove down Broadway I pass a pub called, Lost and Found. There are always people going in and groups sitting outside eating. It gives the vibe of being trendy without trying to be trendy and gimmicky, just the place to sit alone, with my thoughts, and a sandwich. Happily I discovered some great craft beer offered as well! I quickly shot off a photo of the beer menu to Derek who suggested Finback's Combining Forms which I paired with the crispy chicken sandwich. I settled in for some good beer, eats, people watching, and thoughts. As I gazed about the pub I noticed on the walls the framed posters, album covers, and original art work that let me know I'd likely see a man bun walk in at some point... and he did! I regret not sneaking in a photo of that guy. Not sure what he was drinking either. And, like most places that serve a good craft beer, the surroundings were carefully covered in new, old wood to evoke comfort, charm, and history. I was musing over this strategy in a pub that is less than a year old when in the corner behind the bar I caught sight of the open door to a very large vault. Upon inquiry I learned that the building had previous incarnations as a bank, a night club, and a country bar. Wow, I thought, actual history! The website also provides a great description of the history and friendship of the pub owners. https://www.lostandfoundalbany.com/
I was also happy to find that they offered cans and fills as well and, as a Good Beer Wife, I brought home some cans for Derek. Definitely a pub to return to and to return often!
As you can see we've fully moved into the new apartment now. It's a bit of an adjustment. Especially finding the right lighting for the beer pics. But Derek's has been exploring the beverage centers on this side of the county and is planning to stop by and see Colin and Lauren over at Delaware Supply.
The Finback love has been strong lately.
Derek's Taste - Had I'd known they were that good I might have gotten more... but I'm glad I got something!
Finback has stormed back to top form of late... amazing beer after amazing beer... Fruit juice, really. Almost no bitterness whatsoever. Just too easy to drink...
WOW. I'm in love with any beer that represents Citra well. This does just that. If you like Citra hops, you will love this beer.
Velvety pineapple juice with dankness to boot. The streak continues...
And now, perhaps the coups de grace...Finback Something Mosaic. Decidedly smaller, but very reminiscent of Other Half Double Mosaic Dream. Utterly spectacular.
Oh yeah, he went back out again to Manchester!
This was another small haul he brought back.
Derek's Taste -
Listed as a farmhouse IPA, but not enough funk or tang for me to guess that if it wasn't on the label. Just another solid New England IPA from one of my favorite breweries.
Creatures of Magic
Orbital Elevator's little brother. Be sure and roll this can or you're gonna find out why it's called an oatmeal IPA in the last two sips...
DELICIOUS, as I've come to expect from Burlington Beer Co.
The month of June was intense. We've moved to a temporary new home about 20 minutes away from our house. If you've been following then you know that we are demolishing our house to put a new modular in its place. We had to go through the arduous task of de-cluttering and deciding what would go with us to the apartment we are renting, and what will go into storage. There were countless moments of, "What in the world is this and why do we own it?" Frankly, it got embarrassing... Can I just mention the SIX storage bins full of empty beer cans for his collection? I also got rid of my wine glasses because the tiku collection has taken over the cabinets. I'm not fancy, and Purists be damned, but wine tastes just as good out of tiku glasses!
In the midst of all this madness, and before we actually moved out, we took an impromptu trip to Manchester VT to get out of our own heads, regroup, and reconnect as a family... oh yeah, and a craft beer run...
So it was good for a quick day trip to Manchester, Vermont and I could tell you about our visit to North Meadow Farms or the fly fishing museum, but you wanna hear about the beer, dontcha? For the most part, it was all about Burlington Beer Co. Re-discovering them actually...
We don't make it to Vermont as often as we used to (Still haven't been to Foam. Sniff, sniff...,) so Burlington Beer's evolution isn't so much shocking as an incredible surprise. Having recently had their single hop sessioners, Galaxy and Mosaic (both impressive), I wanted to try their newer, bigger IPAs. I will sum it up thusly: no three hour waits, limited quantities or $20 (+tax!) a 4 pack... Lookin' at you, New York...
Burtlington Beer Co.
Peasant King is just a bit boozy, but for 9%?
Dangerous. Loads of tropical flavor
Burlington Beer Co.
Excellent sessioner. At this point I should probably tell you: many of what we call session IPAs are low ABV beers with big noses that fail to live up to it on tasting. These beers do not fall into that category. These are fairly low ABV beers with a turbid hazy appearance, creamy mouthfeel and WAY more flavor than they deserve to...Enough said.
Burlington Beer Co.
Citra and Vic Secret to perfection. Somewhere between the sessioners and doubles. Delicious tropical IPA.
Stainless Forest and Orbital Elevator
Burlington Beer Co.
And now...the two towers you could build a brewing legacy on...Stainless Forest and Orbital Elevator. At 8.2 and 8.3% respectively, you will find no booze here. Forest is tangerine juice and Elevator is pineapple juice. Pick your poison. These both belong on your list of "must try" beers. It's crazy to think that for their price and availability these could be your summer go-tos...
Four Quarters Brewing
Finally, I was able to make it to The Crooked Ram, the amiable dedicated craft beer shop in Manchester whose tap lists I've been drooling over for some time...
Along with the Stainless Forest they had on tap, I was able to procure some Four Quarters Space Face. I was trying to get their other offering, Equations of Time, which I've heard rave reviews about, but the keg kicked before I got there. Suffice to say I don't know what I missed, but the one I got (Space Face) is jooooooooose. Very impressed by my first experience with this fairly new brewery in Winooski. For those of you who never made the trek to Vermont for Heady Topper once upon a time when they were distributing through beverage stores, Winooski was (is) a hot spot for great Vermont beer- including Burlington Beer Co- just outside Burlington.
I almost forgot...It's Complicated Being a Wizard...NOT the same beer it was a few years ago the last time I had it. Now it's a turbid, BIG tropical IPA. BBCO is KILLING it!
This weekend, during your picnics and BBQs and beach excursions, take a moment to remember those who died in active military service and to show appreciation and respect to those who've come back home.
Lately we've been catching up on The Walking Dead. I say catching up, I guess I really mean bingeing! However, it got rather intense when we met Negan and we decided to take some weeks off from the zombie filled soap opera. Tonight I wanted to go through some documents and clean up my emails and texts. It's funny how your mind clears when you aren't watching zombies and drama practically every night! I found some of Derek's reviews from about 4 or 5 weeks ago that I never got around to sharing, I hope you enjoy them!
Suburb – Nelson
Barrier Brewing Company
Finally...redemption for Nelson Sauvin hops...
I know they have a 'complex expression:'anywhere from very tropical to very earthy, but I find all too often that the white wine vibe takes the lead (in New Zealand, the origin of these 'complex' hops, Sauvin is short for Sauvignon...). It's my personal taste. My palate. I just don't love this as a dominant impression of a Northeast IPA. I want dank. I want tropical. I even want earthy-dirty, if you will-I just don't want white wine.
I recently had a DDH Is this the Real Life from Singlecut. A well crafted beer...that I struggled to enjoy because of the white wine expression. Sadly, I really liked this beer before its DDH version. Personal taste. I know it's well reviewed. Any rate, Barrier is killing it lately. Their last 5 or so IPAs, some of which were collabs with other area brewers, have been outstanding. The single hop Suburb Nelson Sauvin variant is no exception. Like Tree House, they made a Northeast IPA that didn't taste like white wine out of Nelson Sauvin hops. Thank You! Bravo! You are making some awesome, dank brews, and I for one am appreciating it!
P.S. Isn't it funny how 'complex' translates to more sophisticated with respect to our palates, but in most other instances means 'stay away?'
Foreign Objects Beer Company
New Paltz, NY
Sessioner? Borderline at 5%. Tons of flavor, beautiful nose, perfect mouthfeel. I've come to expect nothing less from Foreign Objects. I probably shouldn't set myself up to be disappointed, but they continue to live up to my expectations. Out of the park almost every time up to bat.
Foreign Objects Beer Company
New Paltz, NY
One of the ways I judge a beer is how well it hides the booze. To my knowledge, Foreign Objects has only released 3 IPAs this big - 8% or higher. All extremely well crafted and NO booze to speak of.
This latest offering is no exception. Eminently enjoyable, both tropical and dry with that somewhat bitter finish I know is coming. It's like knowing the end of your favorite movie but someone resets the plot - the beginning and the middle - so it's new (and exciting) every time!