Holiday Tradition

p1040219Here’s a shot of a family holiday tradition – oyster stew and red beer at lunch. Every year I buy several batches of fresh oysters and freeze them to enjoy at later times in the year.

This batch was made by my Dad on Christmas Eve. Ahhhhhh! Perhaps yummmmmm would be better.

The beer? A solid Leinenkugel’s with vegetable juice, sprinkled with celery salt and ground pepper. It’s another family specialty for us in the right situation.

Usually I drink my beer straight. This is one beer cocktail I enjoy.

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The Eagle (Van) Has Landed

Looking out our deck in Ashland

Looking out our deck in Ashland

Thanks to everyone who followed the Home Free Tour of 2009. It was unbelievably incredible – and that’s an understatement to get to see this marvelous country of ours, meet remarkable people, savor great beer and good food, see the sites, talk with so many generous and kind folks.

There are now tons of stats in the arsenal to help WEB as well. We visited  well over 30 breweries on the route, traveled over 15,000 miles, met dozens of great people and have plans to return to several of the places we stayed. By the time we figured our way around town, it was time to move along.

I’ll cover the breweries in the coming weeks as well as other stories beer related to help us all continue to sustain and grow support of the beer community at large.

For now, know the welcome mat is out and ready in Ashland Oregon, where we landed. It’s gorgeous, wonderful to wake up to mountains as I have wanted to do for years, and breathe it all in.

With a good beer of course…there are 2 breweries in town already. Standing Stone and Caldera.

Cheers!

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Smallest and Biggest

Sean Lawson & I in his tidy and tasty Vermont Brewery

Sean Lawson & I in his tidy and tasty Vermont Brewery

A big thank you to Sean Lawson of Lawson’s Finest for a very fun and tasty visit while in Vermont. He graciously took the time on a gorgeous snowy Saturday to give us a tour of his brewery – “Vermont’s Smallest” – on our trip.

He’d reached out a while back when I announced the trip so we had a connection planned.

Alas! Mother nature decided to snow and storm – which is great unless you’re needing to get safely to a destination on relatively rural roads.

We were able to connect a day later – whew! And what tasty fun it was. Sean plied us with a few of his beers and then generously gave us a few parting gifts to extend the experience. We enjoyed both of them recently with hosts who also like beer and p1040064particularly trying new beers.

The Big Hapi IBA – India Black Ale was first. Grapefruity, terrific floral aroma, gorgeous color and nice head. Full flavored and delicious.

Next came the Farmhouse Rye – Belgian style, 11% ABV, very nice. Would pair very nicely with a grilled pear and havarti or gouda cheese sandwich.

As with all the brewers we’ve had the pleasure of visiting with on this trip, Sean shares the passion. Well made beer comes in many forms from many people.

And I for one am thankful for them all.

Cheers!

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Nitty Gritty

p1030955Thanks to the folks at Gritty’s for the hospitality this week.

The proverbial port in a winter storm, it was.

Traveling the better part of a day in the blender of Mother Nature’s winter workshop made us thirsty and hungry. So good thing we landed at Gritty’s.  The ample sampler and sweet potato fries with maple sour cream provided for new flavors and tastes on a blustery day.

Cheers!

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Glassware

Here’s a picture of one beer I find to be a favorite for me. It’s a framboise and delicious in very way.

p1030936No, I don’t drink it only because I’m female and gravitate towards fruity beers (sometimes no, sometimes yes as with any beer).  After all, the issue here at WEB is not gender. It’s opportunity.

I drink it because it’s beautiful, has a luxurious flavor and mouth feel, has a zing of effervescence, and pairs nicely with a great many foods. It’s also very drinkable all by its gorgeous self.

This glass in particular was served to me at a very recent stop, Willimantic Brewing, in Connecticut at David’s place. What a refreshing surprise to get it served in an appropriately well designed glass.

Refreshing because too many places still use the standard (and cheapest) and expected beer vessel around – the tapered pint. At 16 or 20 ounces, it’s not the right glass for some beers. It allows the carbonation to escape too quickly therefore not fully allowing the flavor of the beer to shine and it’s too big a portion for many, women and men. Especially when you want to try a few beers.

If you make beer, be proud of it and do it justice by serving it in a more appropriate glass.

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Beer And Dessert

Larry with 3 desserts and a few beers

Larry with 3 desserts and a few beers

So, we were at a Rehoboth, Delaware place this past week. Thought we’d drop by to enjoy some beers and eats.

And enjoy we did.

Chilly day, not a whole lot going on, random Sunday Funday.

To some this is a holy grail of sorts. the great thing is that everyone is just that. Everyone. Common folks making an uncommon (and off centered) difference in the beer landscape.

Laura, our very competent and fun server, didn’t even balk or smirk when we ordered 3 desserts. Heck! With a whole line up of beers to try, why only have one dessert. They were all different as were the beers. All the better to pair and taste, my dear.

Be sure to remember that beer and dessert pair very well together. Sometimes obviously so, sometimes subversively so.

The key is in the trying. Try, try again…

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Brick House And Great People

Cheers at the Brickskeller!!

Cheers at the Brickskeller!!

Here’s a glass lift to all who came out to the Brickskeller this past Wednesday night for some beers and respite from rainy DC weather. It was warm and beery inside.

Jonathon – it’s in big part your doing – thanks! Can’t wait to collaborate more.

Greg, Lindy, Charlie, Christian, Martin, Tammy, Bruce, Larry, Erin, and Rachel and Bill. What a fun group of beer enthusiasts.

One thing that continues to be remarkable in a very fun way is how diverse beer drinkers are, how open to trying ‘new’ beers most of them are (great to be around beer geeks, not beer snobs), and the lively conversation that invariably accompanies the quaffing.

p.s. here’s the 10 Questions again Martin – for any woman to answer…

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Thanksgiving Beer Suggestions

If you are in the population that celebrates Thanksgiving, here are a few of my favorite suggestions to go with some after traditional flavors of the holiday.

Sausage, walnut, cranberry & celery stuffed acorn squash

Sausage, walnut, cranberry & celery stuffed acorn squash

1. Bell’s Lager and Edison. These are 2 of my favorite lagers around. Crisp, nicely and lightly hoppy, very refreshing. Good for any energetic projects the holiday may bring.

2. Russian River’s Belgians. These lush, full bodied beers pair nicely with flavors such as savory squash dishes, roasted poultry.

3. Chili beers. Day after turkey chili? Perfect. Add some zing to the meal with a well balanced chili beer. They also help you make a great Bloody Mary.

4. Lambics. They’ll pair very well with your desserts of the holiday, particularly pies, tarts and chocolate.

Bon Appetit and Happy Thanksgiving All.

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For Your Buck

For today’s post ‘Good’ = high quality, solid profile, well made and cared for from tank to table.

How much does a ‘good’ bottle of wine cost?

How about a ‘good’ bottle of liquor?

How much does a ‘good’ 6 pack of beer cost?

Lazy Magnolia 6 packs

Lazy Magnolia 6 packs

From an economic stand point, beer is one of the best values for your dollar. Let’s do some math.

  • When you look for a reasonable bottle of wine, you can plan to spend anywhere from 10, 12, 20 dollars or more.
  • When you buy a reasonable bottle of liquor, you start anywhere from the mid teens up into easily 30 or 40 dollars.
  • When you want to buy some good beer, you can start at 8 or 9 dollars for a six pack.

Seriously. You get 6 – 12 ounce bottles effectively exceeding any regular wine or liquor bottle quantity with that 8 – 10 bucks.

I’m not pitting one kind of beverage against another – I’m simply pointing out that beer is and will continue to be a great value. Women tell me over and over that value is really important. (And value goes beyond just the $$ factor.)

Value is always important. Now more than ever with people more aware of exactly where their dollars are headed and to what end, money is even more strictly watched.

So not only is a good beer good, it’s a great value. And the kicker? It’s always a great value. Regardless of economic environment. It’s why we call it an affordable luxury. Because it is.

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Lambic Education

Me & Jacklyn at the Flying Saucer

Me & Jacklyn at the Flying Saucer

Here’s a good article on lambics.

As is the key for many things, education is key with beer – female or male, no matter what age or knowledge level.

Bring it on (the education) then bring on the beer.

Here’s another link out – good education, poor choice of name for the blog (‘girls’ are under 12 folks).

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Breweries, Breweries Everywhere…

Four Peaks, Tempe AZ

Four Peaks, Tempe AZ

…And lots of spots to drink (beer).

That seems to be an easy mantra on this trip. Here’s a shot of the fine staff working at Four Peaks Brewing in Tempe Arizona. A big thanks to Andy and Ted who gave us a full tour and tasty beers as well as delicious lunch while we were in town.

Typical.

Breweries = engaged = share information (+) = fun people to support and talk with.

Support your local brewery. The paybacks within your community will be well worth it, whether you drink beer or not.

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Beer & Fire(Stone Walker)

Friday found us winding our way towards Southern California. A couple goals for the days travel being to visit the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles and then get to San Diego for the weekend.

Mission more than accomplished thanks to gracious hosts.

Jamie with some wonderfully happy aging casks of beer

Jamie with some wonderfully happy aging casks of beer

First stop = Paso Robles. Jamie was on hand to give us a tour. Very friendly, plenty of interesting information about the brewery and business and then – of course – the tasting room. Mmmmm… Many thanks Jamie.

Next stop = David invited us to dinner at their place in Buellton. We didn’t know they had a location in Buellton so it was a genuine treat to enjoy the great environment of the brewpub with David. Engaging conversation about beer et al, a very tasty (and healthy) dinner and a few really yummy beers. Once again, many thanks!

One supposition that proved true for FW – their passion for making great beers translates into a great food experience as well. While you’d think that always goes to follow, it ain’t necessarily so (queue the music please).

Like David says, “If you’re going to build a chair, build a chair.”

In any event, one more effusive thanks to David, Jamie, and the Firestone Walker crew for a terrific day surrounded by quality beer.

Last stop = San Diego. Midnight. Zzzzzzzzzzz….

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Solar System

SNBC solar system

SNBC solar system

“We have our own solar system.”

Ha!! True enough – and said quite innocently and proudly (not arrogantly) by Terence from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

On the tour that Steve helped line up and Terence so generously gave us, we were highly impressed by the fact that the ‘solar system’ they have installed at their brewery provides the huge lions share of their energy needs.

How many other businesses can say the same?

They do it because it’s the right thing to do too. Not to get attention, not to show off. Quite the contrary.

It’s their culture that fits this kind of action and this action that fits their culture.

Beers up to you all SNBC!

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Cheese & Beer

Good looking crew

Good looking crew

What a great combination!

I had the distinct honor to be a part of a special fun ceremony in Ashland with Standing Stone and Rogue Creamery in the last week or so.

As the one with a camera I was, by default, the official photographer. Call Standing Stone to inquire about their forward thinking bike program.

Thanks to Rogue – the whole smashing crew – and Standing Stone.

Roll on!!

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Feeling Chili

One of my favorite styles of beer – of course done properly – is Chili Beer.

The love comes in when it’s balanced – the right amount of heat, great flavor, terrific aroma, nice finish. The zing of the chilis coupled with the refreshing aspect of the crispness of the hops and lighter body makes for a very satisfying beer.

So hats off to 6 Rivers as they served me two fresh ones last night with my meal at the bar. Kudos!

And of course I told the tender as much (spread good news often).

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Standing Amazed

p1030175An enormous and humble THANKS to Alex, Danielle and the entire crew at Standing Stone Brewing Company for their hospitality, attention and good humor. They invited me to come to beautiful Ashland, OR last weekend on the trip to do some work together.

The crew, lead by Alex & Danielle, was very receptive, open, had great questions and in general it was a smashing success (ask them – they’re honest folks).

We covered:

1. The Customer Experience – customer service refresher & reinforcement; development of a Customer Service Committee (brilliant idea)

Sustainability wheel at Standing Stone

Sustainability wheel at Standing Stone

2. Beer – Women & Beer (educational beer dinner for female staffers and a few select guests only), Beer education for the whole company (FOH & BOH with a professional brew master as well), and a Beer Advisory Panel.

3. Long range planning

The facility is quite lovely, a comfortable size and has generous outside seating. Their sustainability practices are many and pride in what they do shows.

Are they perfect? No. Do they know that? Yes. That is exactly why Alex invited me in. To help the upward curve – to better serve the customer and in doing so, they better serve themselves.

The original Win -Win.

My stetson tips to Alex, Danielle, Diane, Rachel, Matt, Ashley, Michael, Anna, Javier, Carlos, Alberto, Erik, Adam, Alicia, Lindsey, Alison, Mike, Tim, Andy, Melza, Jeff, Ken, Rob, Karen, Don, Thomas, Meg, Sophie, and the rest. Hope to see you all again soon.

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The Delicious Story

Jody with a few good beers

Jody with a few good beers

A big shout out of THANKS! to Sherry and David for having me on their inaugural show yesterday, The Delicious Story. It was a pleasure to be at their service – such fun engaged people.

Take a listen here.

Be patient – they had some technical difficulties (really) with this first show…after the first 10-15 minutes of ads, we get into it.

Tune in – tell them what you think (tell me what you think). Have a good beer close by to enjoy while listening.

Cheers!

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Bridging…

Bridgeport sampler

Bridgeport sampler

We’re at the Bridgeport Brewpub as I type in Portland, Oregon. My Fine Husband is familiar Karl Ockert the brewmaster – who’s been here for some some (if not the original brewer). After we enjoy a tasty lunch (hopefully) we’ll be getting a tour of the brewery by Chris, one of Bridgeport’s brewery staff.

We’ve ordered the sampler of beers, which includes a plethora of tastes and styles. Can’t wait.

As I look around I see Crystal, the baker for the Bakery part of the company (which smells friggin’ amazing as we parked the car). I just went up and introduced myself – she was just featured in the Beer Northwest magazine for their goods (more like goodies). Very friendly, great smile. I told her the recipe they included in the article for Beerimisu was making me salivate! Can’t wait to try it.

Crystal, Baker at Bridgeport

Crystal, Baker at Bridgeport

Anyway, the sampler is here so off I must be! I LOVE their mission – “Every Beer. Every Time.”

Hope you have a really good lunch too.

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