Chalkboard Art: The Simple Things in Life

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New York City streets are filled with a lot of things: people, dogs, trash, mysterious things you’re better off not knowing what they are…but my favorite things NYC sidewalks offer are Chalkboard Art.

I mean honestly, when it’s in the mid-90’s (or mid-30s Celsius), who could ask for anything more (aside from beer and a beach, of course!)???  😉

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Sunday Comics: Beach Body

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I know I have been talking quite a bit about beaches and guess what?!?!?  I have found the perfect way to get EVERYONE–that’s right, EVERYONE–a beach body this summer!

And the best part is that it doesn’t require a crazy ass diet that turns you into a raging Cookie Monster by the end of day 1 or consuming an entire grove of grapefruit until it’s permanently on your “never eat again list” or a need to run 937 miles on the treadmill everyday.  

Because I think we can all agree that running 937 miles a day really cuts into cheese eating and wine/beer/margarita drinking time.

It’s amazingly genius because it’s so simple–you don’t need any fancy, over-priced equipment you’re going to stop using after 4 days.  You can start today–and substitutions like “pool” or “lake” instead of “beach” are perfectly a-okay!  You just need sunscreen and some tasty beverages to stay hydrated.  A swimsuit and a towel, if you want to get in the water, are also good.  And if you want to be really fancy you can bring snacks and a big umbrella.

Happy Summer-ing!

Aloha!

Thirsty Thursday Beer Flights!

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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!

 

 

 

Chalkboard Art: Problem Solving

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New York City streets are filled with a lot of things: people, dogs, trash, mysterious things you’re better off not knowing what they are…but my favorite things NYC sidewalks offer are Chalkboard Art.

Appropriate for Fleet Week, I think. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

beer and wine

60 Questions.

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Happy New Year!  Okay, okay I know I’m a taaaad bit late, but…it’s still January, so I’m not that late, right?!?!?

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In an effort to not scream down the house or throw things at the television during today’s Cowboy game, I thought during halftime I might share one of those “getting to know you” quizzes circulating around the inter webs.

And because I know that 98.76% of the population hates filling these out, I won’t tag anyone…but I love reading your answers, so if you’re in 1.24% who also loves them, feel free to share 🙂

The original quiz is 100 Getting To Know You Questions (but I thought I’d spare you all 100 questions!  okay, okay, I just got tired of answering all of them…halftime is only so long, after all)

60 Questions About Me:

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Italy or Hawaii or a beach somewhere (not that they’re mutually exclusive, so perhaps a beach in Italy or Hawaii!) 
  2. What is your biggest fear? Disappointing those I love
  3. What is your favorite family vacation? Going to visit Family & Friends and Going Somewhere I’ve Never Been
  4. What would you change about yourself if you could? I would ban the nagging, negative voice in my head
  5. What really makes you angry? ignorance, injustice, and hypocrisy 
  6. What is your favorite book to read? I don’t think I could even narrow it down to 10, but here are a few The Jungle Books, Children of Men, I Know This Much is True, Harry Potter (all of them, of course), To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Parasol Protectorate Series., The Spellman Files Series..
  7. What makes you laugh the most? My friends
  8. What did you want to be when you were small? Pediatric Surgeon (yes, I was that specific).
  9. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Road Trip!
  10. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play? Football, of the American variety.
  11. Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? It depends how far I’m going, as I enjoy all three of those modes of transportation
  12. What would you sing at Karaoke night?  Nobody wants to hear that…and I’d like to issue a blanket apology for all those who have
  13. Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house? It’s a draw between wash the dishes and mow the lawn.
  14. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work? Cleaning and de-Addy-hairing my life (if you have a labrador, you understand)
  15. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? TACOS!
  16. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? A nickname?  Try many nicknames: Shez, Shezza, Fezza, Sheshie, Sherbear, Sherrybelle, Sher, Hey you
  17. Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not? I do because I think it takes a lot of work to pull off a surprise and I’m always appreciative of that
  18. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?  Hawaii.  No diss on Alaska, it’s beautiful and I enjoyed visiting, but I looooooooooove Hawaii!
  19. If money was no object, what would you do all day? Travel the world, eat, write, and pet my dog.
  20. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? I don’t know about a specific year, but I think the 1920s would be fun
  21. How would your friends describe you? You’ll have to ask them, perhaps crazy (in a good way), adventurous, loyal, and secretive 
  22. What are your hobbies? Traveling, reading, scrapbooking, not killing people
  23. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without? As long as coffee is considered a necessity, I’m good
  24. List two pet peeves. People who don’t pick up their dog’s poop and people who hold the train doors open
  25. How many pairs of shoes do you own?  about 20 pairs of shoes and perhaps 30 pairs of flip flops.  That might be a slight exaggeration….on the shoes.
  26. What would you do if you won the lottery? Pay off my bills, buy a house, make large donations to charity, travel the world, have an awesomely stocked wine cellar/beer cooler/pantry, and help family & friends
  27. What form of public transportation do you prefer? (air, boat, train, bus, car, etc.) call me crazy, but I love taking the ferry (and seeing the Statue of Liberty twice a day is an added bonus!)
  28. What’s your favorite zoo animal? tigers, elephants, and giraffes (oh c’mon, surely you didn’t expect just ONE answer??)
  29. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be? Not to sound hokey, but I don’t think I’d go back and change anything.  I’d be too scared that if I did, I might miss out on meeting some of the most amazing people ever.
  30. How many pillows do you sleep with? 3…although in total fairness, the cat usually sleeps on one.
  31. What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top in? uhhhh….I think the Empire State Building
  32. What’s your favorite holiday? It used to be Halloween, however, now it’s Thanksgiving
  33. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? Packed up everything and moved to another country….twice.  Oh and I have walked over hot coals.
  34. What was the last book you read? Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni
  35. What’s your favorite type of foreign food? Sushi
  36. Are you a clean or messy person? I’m a clean, but clutter person…aka I like things to be clean and look orderly, but don’t open the closet or you risk dying under a deluge of random objects I didn’t feel like organizing
  37. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Actual getting ready time, about 20-30 minutes, but I need a good hour to sit on the couch and drink coffee before that process can begin or it gets ugly…very ugly.
  38. What kitchen appliance do you use every day? Coffee maker.  duh.
  39. What’s your favorite fast food chain? Sonic, Whataburger, and Taco Villa
  40. What’s your favorite family recipe? Ome’s Peach Cobbler
  41. Do you love or hate rollercoasters? I’m terrified, but I ride them (and usually enjoy it)
  42. What’s your favorite family tradition? Driving around on Christmas Eve, looking at Christmas Lights…of course, this has morphed into going to see the Tree at Rockefeller Center
  43. What’s your favorite movie? The Sound of Music, Steele Magnolias, Miracle on 34th Street (original) and of course, there’s always Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter (and no, you don’t need to comment the last three are series)
  44. How old were you when you learned Santa wasn’t real? How did you find out? Wait, what?!?!  Santa’s not real?!?!?!?
  45. Is your glass half full or half empty? If this is an analogy for life, half full.  If it’s an actual glass of wine or beer (or mug of coffee), then half empty
  46. What was your favorite subject in school? Biology
  47. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten? Chocolate covered worms (and no, I don’t mean gummy worms!)
  48. Do you collect anything? Hilarious travel stories
  49. Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?  Jeans that aren’t skinny
  50. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Extrovert, who likes a lot of alone time
  51. Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest? Taste
  52. Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise) Yes…I was very discombobulated for the first few minutes
  53. What do you do to keep fit? hahahahahahahahaha….ahem.  what was the question?  oh yeah, uh…..well, I live in NYC and do a lot of walking, especially up and down subway stairs as well as yoga about twice a year
  54. Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken? The Supreme Commander is always right.  You’re welcome, Auntie K! 😉
  55. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? Do Not Approach Without Coffee…or Wine…or Beer…or Tacos
  56. What song would you say best sums you up? I’ve Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings
  57. On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are? 9.125
  58. What was your first job? A frozen yogurt & sandwich shop….long before FOYO was cool.
  59. How many languages do you speak? Fluently?  One  but I dabble in about 4 more…
  60. What is one thing you will never do again? Due to the gag order, I cannot legally answer this question.

If you’re still reading, you rock!!  Now, back to yelling at the game…

Happy New Year–here’s to a great 2017!

 

 

 

Have Wine? Will Travel!

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This month’s wine writing challenge is TRAVEL, as selected by last month’s winner: the hilarious and enlightening Loie of Cheap Wine Curious.

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Of course, my first thought was to write about Napa, the first place I traveled for wine–but then I remembered I’ve already written about my trip and since I haven’t had the chance to go back, there’s nothing new to report.

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Then I thought about allllllll the places in France and Italy I passed through many, many moons (aka decades) ago that I’d love to go back and visit now that I have a true appreciation for the beauty and intricacies of champagnes and burgundies and amarones (ohmy!)–but then I realized that this post may never end.

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So then I thought about all the amazing Texas Hill Country wineries around where I grew up, which seemed apropos since I’m traveling (see what I did there?) down there at the end of the week–but then I realized that I should wait and do a bit of exploring of all the new wineries that have popped up since the last time I visited.

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Then I thought about cleverly describing how going to the wine store is like traveling around the world–but about the same moment that idea popped into my head, so did another:

Hawaiian Mead.

I know, I know you’re probably thinking “no, no…go back to writing about the wine store/traveling the world idea!”  But nope!  Hang on to your hats, we’re traveling to Hawaii!

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If you know me in real life or follow me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook (shameless plug!), you will know that last September I went to Hawaii with some amazing friends.  While on the stunningly picturesque island of Kauai, we stumbled across the Koloa Rum Company.  By stumble, I mean April quickly learned she was traveling with lushes people who enjoyed sampling local adult beverages and she was trying to keep us appeased.

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But of course, this writing challenge is about wine, not rum (although THAT would be awesome!).  Having had a great time at Koloa, we (aka April, who was quicker with her google-searching fingers since she was giving away her rum samples) looked for other local places that made adult beverages.

While on the Big Island we visited the Kona Brewing Company, and so despite having not seen a grape growing anywhere in Hawaii’s lush and volcanic landscape, we were hopeful that we could find a winery.

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Alas, no grape winery…but BINGO! we found Nani Moon Meadery!  Now I will confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of mead, however, when in Rome…

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Nani Moon is in the back of a shopping center in Kapa’a.  We pull up, walk in, and, well, started tasting!  It seemed pointless not to try the full line-up, so we did.

For those of you out there who are unaware, mead is wine (although it can also be beer) made from honey instead of grapes.  It’s been around since…forever (and I’m pretty sure that’s an accurate timeframe!).  Much more sustainable, when you’re smack dab in the middle of the Pacific ocean and you have access to local apiaries.

As Stephanie (the owner) took us through each wine, she paired it with an appropriate snack and talked about where she sourced the honey (they weren’t all the same!).  I think my favorite was the Laka’s Nectar, which was the driest and most crisp of the wines.  While a little too sweet for me, the Cacao Moon was a big hit–understandable, given its chocolate undertones and velvety chocolate finish.  Stephanie definitely got bonus points for her Deviant Beehavior, which packs a kick as it is not only made from honey, but also chili!

We finished the tasting with some of the local honeys that she used, which was great–not only because they were delicious, but because you could really taste how much the nuances in the honey affected the taste of the wine.

If you’re interested in learning more, visiting, or throwing caution to the wind and just buying a bottle, contact Stephanie and tell her what you like.  I’m quite confident she will find you something you’ll truly enjoy and give you suggestions on pairings to help you enjoy it more!  She even has a cocktail section that encourages you to “bee inspired and mix it up!”

It was a great way to spend a couple of hours–and I think that if you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the Pacific on a tiny island named Kauai, you should go visit Stephanie and try her meads.  I’m not going to say that meads are now my favorite type of wine, but I did walk away with a better appreciation for just how versatile a wine made from honey can be.  And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Aloha!

A Super (bowl) Sunday Comics

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Alright, the guac is prepared and the beer is cold….now all that is left is–The Commercials! Oh yeah and of course, the game too (I mean, you do have to regular allotments of time to refill the snacks!).

To help get you prep and get you in the spirit, I’ve found a collection of some of the best Super Bowl commercials over the years…enjoy!

oh, and…a puppy.

MWWC #19: To Wine Or Not To Wine?

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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!) 😉

Lobstah Overload!

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Just kidding…no such thing!

After an afternoon of wandering around downtown Minneapolis, April & I met up with a friend at the Smack Shack.

We started the feast with a lobster guacamole appetizer.   I will admit it took a couple of bites to wrap my head around eating guacamole and lobster together.  Once I did, it was really good.  And by that, I mean, the lobster was amazing.  The guacamole was okay. Don’t get me wrong, it was good–just a little less flavorful than I like it.  But I didn’t make it, nor do I consider the Midwest a place where spicy foods prevail.  Plus it did allow for the lobster to shine, thus: really good.

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I also ordered another appetizer which the table refrained from enjoying: raw oysters.  Their loss (although they don’t think so).  I let our lovely waitress pick out a selection of both East and West Coast varieties.  Going in, I thought I would prefer the West Coast, as they are from the same ocean as my favorite oysters (from Sydney and the southeast Australian coast).  But no, I preferred (ever-so-slightly, mind you) the East Coast oysters, which have a more crisp, clean, and salty flavor.  The West Coast oysters were a bit more creamy and mild.  Both paired nicely with the local beer from (literally) down the street: Fulton Lonely Blonde.

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All of that was forgotten when the main course arrived.  Well, not the beer–it also paired deliciously with….The Lobster Mac & Cheese.  It was everything amazing in the culinary world.  Creamy, cheesy, buttery, big chunks of lobster.  It melted in your mouth.  I was truly torn between shoveling it in as quickly as possible and drawing out every.single.savory.bite to make it last as long as possible.  I may have even used my finger to scoop out the last bit of cheese from the bottom of the bowl (the waitress assured me everyone did!).

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While I’m always in love with a good meal, this was one of the very few meals I was truly sad to see end.  Lobster, cheese, pasta, beer, oysters, guacamole: how could you go wrong with any of those combinations?  😉

Thirsty Thursday #13

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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…