Thirsty Thursday Beer Flights!

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you: Thirsty Thursday!

Well of course we couldn’t go alllllll the way to Hawaii AND make the trek to the Big Island and NOT go to the Kona Brewing Company.  I mean, that would be nearly as sacrilegious as skipping out on the coffee plantation tour.

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Besides, we all love beer–especially Tracy and I (okay, not April–she only likes, on exceedingly rare occasions, scotch).  It’s our (Tracy & my) thing.  For example this year I got him a home brewing kit for his birthday.   At this point, I’m sure Christi wants to kill us both.  Don’t bother writing in to defend her–she’s already told me as much (which is EXACTLY why I forgot to mention to her what I sending for his present!).

Point being that we couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to imbibe in some delicious Hawaiian beer–and tasty food to boot (get the fish tacos!)!

Of course as soon as we sat down and opened the menu, we realized that our biggest problem was going to be narrowing down our beer choices.

With so many beers on the menu, we knew that we had only one option: the sampler.  And by “the sampler” I mean we got two samplers because we wanted to try as many as possible–besides we were all sharing (aside from April).

Our selections were the following (in no particular order):

  • Fire Rock Ale
  • Koko Brown
  • Wailua Wheat
  • Pipeline Porter
  • Lavaman Red
  • Duke’s Blonde
  • Lemongrass Lu’au
  • Longboard Lager (alas they were out of the Hula Hefe–I’m mentioning here because we selected this to replace it when our waitress delivered the sad news)

Also a great time to make a public service announcement: if you think you might want to write about something in the future TAKE NOTES.  Because I distinctly remember thinking “these are so fabulous, I won’t forget….” and then here I am frantically trying to remember (although some might point out that if I had written about this a little closer to the trip, it might not have been an issue).

We all tasted and compared and tasted and discussed and tasted and swapped glasses around and tasted and bartered to finish off our favorites.  In the end–because we couldn’t just sample the beer, we had to also drink it!–I chose the Wailua Wheat, hoping that the fruity wheat beer would pair nicely with my fish tacos (it did!).

My final rankings were as follows (hey, I’m doing good to remember mine, there is no way I can remember Christi or Tracy’s–although I’m fairly certain that the Porter was Tracy’s favorite and the Brown was also Christi’s least favorite):

  • Pipeline Porter
  • Wailua Wheat
  • Lavaman Red
  • Duke’s Blonde
  • Longboard Lager
  • Fire Rock Ale
  • Lemongrass Lu’au
  • Koko Brown

What I enjoyed about the first three is how smooth they were.  The porter tasted like silk and coffee and it was magical.  The only reason I didn’t get a pint of it was because after two samplers, I was starting to get full and I need to save room for a pint + tacos!  Plus it would have totally overpowered the tacos.

The Lemongrass Lu’au was interesting.  It was crisp and clean and the ginger and lemongrass added a very different flavor profile.  I’m very glad we tried it, however, I don’t know that I could have finished a pint of it.

Yes, I deliberately left a lot of space before the Koko Brown.  I disliked it immensely.  Now before you start yelling and screaming at me, I fully and proudly admit that I am biased. I HATE BROWN ALES.  Based on the other beers we tasted, I’m sure it’s a good brown ale–I just hate them.  So if you’re one of those weird people (I’m not judging…much) who enjoy brown ales, pleeeeeeeease don’t let my dislike stop you from trying it.

All in all, we had (at least I had) such a great time and if you enjoy beer, the Kona Brewing Company should absolutely be on your list of things to do in Hawaii!

Hipahipa!

 

 

 

MWWC #19: To Wine Or Not To Wine?

I know you’re thinking “what a silly question,” but an appropriate one for this post…because a) wine why not? and b) Elizabeth of Traveling Wine Chick, the winner of the last Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, selected the theme for this month’s Challenge to be CHOICES.

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Everyday we make thousands of choices–some are subconscious, some are instinctual, some are habitual, some regrettable, some are hard, some are easy, and a lot are somewhere in between.  But I have a confession about these choices that I hope doesn’t get me lynched by my lovely wine blogging superstars: I don’t always choose wine, in fact, I rarely do.  That is not to say that I don’t enjoy, love, cherish, and revel in wine–because I do all the above.  I just…well…usually…pick beer.  I’ll give you a moment to sob uncontrollably while going through all the stages of loss.  I only ask that when you get to the anger stage and are threatening to smite me, you leave the Princess out of it…

Now before you gather the pitchforks and angry villagers, let me just say that it’s not that I like beer better than wine.  It’s that beer is easy.  And really, it’s the “easy” part that attracts me to the B-word.  I know what I like and while I also like to try new beers, I have certain go-tos that are non-negotiable.  If I go into any establishment (other than sporting events) and either Stella or Guinness are not on the menu, chances are I’m making a u-turn and heading out before you can even say “well, do you have…”

But this is not true with wine.  I mean, I have my favorites–but a lot of them are Texas wines and you can’t find them anywhere but the great state of Texas and my wine rack (and perhaps other wine racks–but most people are generally opposed to you walking into their house and pilfering their wine selection, especially if they don’t know you!).  So then it becomes a gamble of “is it worth $10-15/glass” for something I’ve never heard of?  Sometimes it is.  When out at a nice meal, especially when that meal is Italian or steak, wine is non-negotiable.

At home, the choice is probably about 50-50.  That is to say about 50% of the year (aka spring and summer), my choice is beer and 50% of the year (aka autumn and winter), my choice is red wine.  Part of the issue is that–as I’ve mentioned before–I’m not a big white wine drinker and when it’s 96F with 87% humidity, red wine is just too heavy.  I can’t lie, I’ve never spent 2 hours doing yard work and thought “mmmmm, I just want a nice glass of chardonnay.” [note: I almost NEVER pick chardonnay, so if you hear those words come out of my mouth, you should just assume my body has been taken over by aliens and consider locking me up!]

At home beer is also easier choice because at any given moment I usually have two maybe three kinds in the fridge: Shiner, Guinness, and whatever struck my fancy one day, usually like a cider…mmm…Stella Cidre

Ahem, anyway, the point being that my choice with beer is pretty easy.  With wine, it’s not so clear cut.  I currently have 19 bottles of 8 different varietals, so then I get stuck in the details: do I want something I can drink by itself?  Or something I can drink with a snack plate or something big and bold and in your face?  Do I want to wait while I chill a viognier?  Am I overthinking?  Perhaps, but it’s wine!  And these things can’t be taken lightly, unlike beer (because apparently, I’m trying to get the die-hard beer nerds to lynch me as well!) 😉

Thirsty Thursday #13

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you Thirsty Thursday!

Just when you thought I’d given up telling you about all my Fabulous Not Forty Birthday Trips, wham! I’m back!

Chances are if you are flying between MSP and NYC, you’re going to have a layover.  Not always, mind you, but mostly.  It’s usually at O’Hare, but this trip it was Milwaukee.  And when in Milwaukee, one MUST have beer (if, of course, one is over 21 or accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse over 21).

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This is the Leinenkugel (try saying that 10 times fast!) Oktoberfest.  I enjoy Oktoberfest beers–they’re not my absolute favorite, but in October I think it’s always a refreshing change.  This one was smooth and had a bit more body than I was anticipating (that’s not a bad thing, mind you).  It paired well with my southwest egg rolls (any guesses where I was eating?).  My connecting flight has been delayed and just as I was about to order another, there was an announcement that we’d be boarding soon.  No time to pout because if I hurried, I might have time to grab a coffee from the cafe still open a few gates down…

Easy as ABC…

Now that you have The Jackson Five playing background music in your head, I have a confession.  You know those silly/annoying emails that circulate every couple of years in which you answer questions about yourself?  Yeah, I’m one of those annoying people who not only fills them out, but sends them to nearly everyone in my email address book.  I’m a details kinda girl and I love collecting tidbits of information about people.  Who knows what you might learn about your friend that you’ve had since the 2nd grade or some great blackmail information on the annoying coworker 4 desks down?

A couple of months ago I saw a getting to know you post in the format below.  It’s been a long time since I filled one out (probably because everyone on my email list has a secret pact with each other to NEVER EVER send me another!).  Aaaaand it is different than any other that I’ve seen, so I thought I’d give it a go!

How is it different?  Why, thank you for asking: rather than answer questions, you simply list (although WARNING: I never list–I always have to explain!) 26 interesting things about you, each item starting with a letter in the alphabet.  While I’m horrible at explaining, I know that you’re brilliant and by the time you get to “A,” you’ll have it figured out!

One last thing before I begin: individuals did not make this list.  So if you are just reading this in search of your name stop right now and go back to work, uh, I meant lunch.  Don’t pout–invariably I’d leave someone out and then I have to endure years of guilt trips.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  And honestly, how am I supposed to pick between Bubba and beer?  Although, actually that’s rather easy because I’m 250% sure that Bubba (aka my brother) would agree it should be beer.

Now, back to the task at hand.

The ABCs of Shez:

A is for Addy, my darling pupcicle (you know, in case you weren’t aware that I had a darling pupcicle whom I adore!)…and before you call me out on it, yes, I broke the “No Individuals” rule, but it’s the ONLY time I promise.

B is for Beer…mmmmmm….beer (I hope you heard that in a Homer Simpson voice!).  I don’t think that needs further explanation.  Plus you should have seen it coming.

C is for coffee.  Again, no further explanation is needed, especially those who have had the “pleasure” of seeing me in the morning before coffee–it ain’t purty!

D is for dogs.  Pupcicles are special because they bring so much love and joy into our lives–in so many ways.  Of course, it ain’t all sunshine and roses, particularly when you live in NYC and have to pick up poop for a very large dog.  But they make our lives whole with their amusing antics and unconditional love.  PS–if you’re wondering how much I love dogs, I picked them over dessert!  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!

E is for Eso se que es, which literally translated is confusing so I like to go with the loose translation of “it is what it is” and whenever I say it, people look at me like “did you just say socks in the middle of my rant?”  No, but yes.  Anyway, it is a reminder that life is bigger than all of us and that any time you think everything is perfectly mapped out, the Fates will take the opportunity to intervene so they can laugh at you.  Thus to keep sane, I like to remind myself of three things: eso se que es, que sera sera, and Lord give me coffee to help me change the things I can, and wine to help accept the things I can’t.

F is for FOOTBALL!

G is for Grace.  By that, I don’t mean elegance or beauty or charm.  Did I mention I was clumsy?  Well, I am.  I come by it honestly (right Auntie K??).  As such, my Ome would always call me Miss Grace (as in, I am anything but).  To this day whenever I hear the word grace, I think of my Ome.

H is for Hamburgers.  Preferably ones with cheese and bacon and avocado and served with onion rings….but any ol’ burger with cheese will do! 😉

I is for Ice cream.  And anyone who doesn’t think it should be on EVERYONE’S list is just wrong.

J is for Jigsaw puzzles.  I love to put them together–although I haven’t put one together in a long time.  Why?  Well, whenever I find one that I love and makes me want to set up a card table and put it together, I remember that I live in a house with Princess Adelaide Grace, who is so named because like me, she is anything BUT graceful…

K is for Kaas (Dutch for cheese).  I couldn’t leave cheese off the list, thankfully the Dutch helped me out a bit.  And before you accuse me of using Google Translate to find a language where cheese started with a different letter than C, I will have you know that I was a Rotary Exchange Student to The Netherlands.  How does this relate to cheese?  I used to live about 6 miles from Gouda and would go on Thursdays to the cheese market…because…how can you go wrong with a cheese market???

L is for Laughter, because it truly is the best medicine–unless you have TB or malaria or something like that, then I would highly recommend medication.

M is for Molasses cookies, my favoritest cookies in the world!

N is for Nelson, as in Willie (and Waylon and the boys).

O is for Oven–I love baking and roasting and I can go without a lot of things, but an oven ain’t one of them!

P is for Peckish.  For most people, it means slight hungry.  But I’m never slightly hungry, so when you hear me say peckish know that it means “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider, but I don’t want you to think me gluttonous, so I’m going to just pretend that I’m kinda hungry and then either eat all of the snacks you foolishly set out or go back for seconds and thirds when we do eat.”

Q is for quixotic, which is just fun to say…quixotic, quixotic, quixotic!

R is for reading and don’t ask me to pick a favorite book.  I’m still trying to narrow my list down to 10 so I can post it on FB (and we’ll just pretend I wasn’t tagged to do it a month ago…sorry Becca!)

S is for Shiner…and failing that, Stella (and don’t tell me it’s cheating because I’ve already listed beer…it’s MY list!)

T is for Tolkien.  You thought it would be TEXAS! didn’t you?  I just wanted to share a line in a poem in Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, which completely sums up my life:  All those who wander are not lost.  I do hope, though, that you appreciate that I was still able to work TEXAS! into the T slot 😉

U is for umbrellas.  I totally have Mary Poppins to thank for my love of umbrellas.  Ironically, I hate using them in NYC.  People here are oblivious when using them and tend to poke other people in the head, repeatedly until I feel an urge to grab the umbrella out of their hands and give them a good smack with it.  I refrain, of course, but I know that I’m one huge rainstorm away from needing bail money.

V is for vino.  What?  It’s a word.  It is in my house….and that’s all that matters.

W is for wanderlust.  The reason wine is called vino in this list.  Traveling is truly my passion.  Even more so than eating and drinking.  Luckily, I consider imbibing in the local food and drink an integral part of traveling!  I was bit by the wanderlust bug when I went to The Netherlands (see K is for Kaas) right after high school–and I have no plans to stop any time soon and “I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list.”

X is for Xi, which is one of my favorite words to play in Words with Friends.

Y is for Yoga, something I’ve recently started doing.  Who knew stretching and finding on your inner zen could be so draining?  Please don’t write in and tell me yoga is more than stretching and finding your inner zen.  I know it is, but when you’re watching others it looks so relaxing and graceful.  I’m here to tell you for me it is neither relaxing nor graceful, but I do enjoy blundering through class–even if I look like a bull in a china shop.

Z is for zazzy.  And yes, you have to say it like Sheldon.  And if you need further explanation, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore (if you’re worried about it, I can totally be bought with wine, beer, and cheese….but not crappy cheese–if you’re trying to bribe me, it had better be aaaaaaa-mazing cheese!).

And that’s me in a nutshell!

For the record, this was a lot more tedious than I thought it would be, so not as easy as the Jackson Five would have you believe!

Thanks for indulging me!

hey mom are you done with the stupid laptop yet?

hey momma are you done with the stupid laptop yet?

 

Thirsty Thursdays

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realize I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way). As such, I decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further adieu, I present to you: Thirsty Thursdays!

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Nothing says refreshing like Blue Moon on draft in the summertime–best served cold, with a slice of orange, and a friend!
Cheers!

Come to The Dark Side, We Have Guinness

According to my BFF, the only reason we are friends is because of our mutual love for Guinness.  Of course, the first time she brought this up I tried to vehemently argue with her…until about 2.5 seconds into the argument when I realized that she was completely right.  Since then, we have shared a love for a great number of things…namely beer, the Texas Longhorns, wine, The Dallas Cowboys, margaritas, and the San Antonio Spurs–and almost never in that order, but initially it was Guinness that brought us together.  Since today is her birthday, I thought a Guinness post was apropos!

Birthday girl & I trying to canoe and hoping not to go for a swim!

Birthday girl & I trying to canoe and hoping not to go for a swim!

Probably my crowning glory in drinking Guinness was the time I chugged a pint and earned a free round of drinks for me & my friends, bought by some pompous Aussies, who were quite sure that a Yank couldn’t drink an entire pint of Guinness in one go.  I tried telling them I was, in fact, not a Yank, but a TEXAN, but they seemed to be wanting to be parted with their money–so I was happy to oblige.

Nowadays, I prefer slowly enjoying my Guinness in a quite pub somewhere people watching.  Or better yet, in my version of Guinness stew.  DISCLAIMER: I have NO idea how close to traditional Guinness stew this is.  I call it Guinness Stew because, well, I add Guinness and it’s (in my humble opinion) delicious and one of the very first things I always make this time of year when the weather starts to cool off enough to justify having stew for dinner.

Guinness Stew

2 lbs of chuck steak cubed (I usually cheat and just buy it that way)

2 medium yellow onions, diced

6-8 cloves of garlic, diced or pressed

6 carrots, cubed (to similar size as potatoes)

2 cups of corn

4-6 potatoes, scrubbed and cubed (skins on, cubed to similar size as carrots)

2 large (14.8 oz) of diced tomatoes + each filled with water

1 large bottle (or two small) of Guinness

2 Tbsp butter

¼ cup of cornstarch

olive oil

sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

parsley for garnish

In a large stock pot, saute onions and garlic until translucent.  Add carrots and potatoes and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add meat and season with salt & pepper.  Saute until meat is brown.  Add Guinness and let it cook until reduced slightly.  Add corn, tomatoes, and water.  Cook for about 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  In a small bowl mix butter and cornstarch to form a ball.  Break into four parts and drop into the stew (this will thicken it and by mixing butter and cornstarch, it will prevent cornstarch from clumping).  Cook about 15-30 minutes longer until beef is tender.  Serve with parsley garnish, a huge chunk of rustic bread, and, of course, more Guinness for drinking!

Slainte!  Oh and Sissy, this Guinness is for you!!

Come to The Dark Side, we have Guinness!

Come to The Dark Side, we have Guinness!                    

love the pic?  Go check out http://whereswalden.com/tag/guinness

Gimme a Z!

Texas.  Beer.  To me, the words go hand-in-hand.  Perhaps because I drink a lot of beer whenever I’m visiting The Great State of Texas (btw, wine lovers don’t get your panties in a bunch, Texas wine is also fabulous!).  As you are all aware (or should be or in case you’re not), Shiner Bock is one of my favorites beers.  But equally loved and my choice when I’m in Texas is ZiegenBock.

mmm...ZiegenBock

mmm…ZiegenBock

Why?  Because you can only get it in Texas (what?  If you read my bio, I warned you that at any given moment I would flaunt that I was a Texan.  Brace yourself because it only gets worse when I am in Texas!).  I will confess that my first ZiegenBock was offered in lieu of Shiner Bock, but I’m so glad it was.  It’s a bit darker and has slightly more body than Shiner Bock (and in case you’re wondering…yes, I am currently drinking them side-by-side so that I can accurately compare and relay it to you—you’re welcome!)

Here’s what ICS Brands (maker of ZiegenBock) has to say about my beloved:

Brewed In Texas, Made Only for Texans

Brewed in Houston, ZiegenBock is a beer of the South. Only available in Texas, this American-style amber lager, offers notes of roasted grains in the aroma and a sweet, smooth taste with a hop finish. The select imported hops and specialty malts create a taste worthy of a 2006 Great American Beer Festival Bronze Medal.

You might say it’s nostalgia and just excitement to be home, but no.  It’s just plain ol’ good drinking beer : )

Red, White, and (a) Blue Moon

Happy Fourth of July!  Independence Day…or as the British like to call it, The Colonies are Acting Out, But I’m Sure They’ll Straighten Out Soon….Orrrrr Not.

The birth of a nation and we celebrate with activities ranging from baseball games to cookouts to water activities to blockbuster movies to fireworks displays all throughout the country.  And, if you are most anyone I know, beer.  Lots and lots of beer.  Or at least a couple.  Or one.  ONE BEER.  

For those of you who know me, you know that when it comes to beer, I will drink Texas, Irish, and ANYTHING from Belgium.  Occasionally when feeling adventurous (or none of the above is included in Happy Hour), I will branch out to include other beers…and The Fourth of July is one of those times.  I feel that, in honor of our forefathers, one should imbibe in American beer (and yes, I acknowledge that technically Texas beer is American beer, but until recently nearly non-existent in NYC).

Enter Blue Moon.  Colorado beer made by an American, who learned beer mastery in, well, Belgium.  That’s because Belgium makes great beer.  Period.  End of Discussion.  Don’t argue, it will fall on deaf ears.

Blue Moon is a great summer beer.  It’s light, it’s refreshing, and when it’s served with an orange slice on a hot day, magical.  Especially when you’re at a bar, eating chicken nachos.  Or at a picnic in the park.  Or a backyard BBQ.  Or a pool party.  Or…well, you get the idea.

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Blue Moon now has several varieties, none of which I have tried other than the original: The Belgium White.  And like all traditional hefeweizens, it’s served with citrus.  However, unlike most hefes, it’s best with an orange (usually hefes are served with lemon wedges), something that initially I thought I’d hate–but in fact, have grown to love and crave, particularly in the hot, sweltering summer when even Stella seems too heavy!

Just a side note, like all beers, it tastes COMPLETELY different when you drink it from the bottle and the orange slice is ESSENTIAL for making it pop.  So, if you’re at home–do yourself a huge favor and drink it out of a glass and make you add an orange slice!

You’re welcome!