Cheers To Sean!

Lawson’s Finest, indeed. Glad to read this press about Sean and his efforts.

Sean & I in his brewery after a snowshoe

Sean & I in his brewery after a snowshoe

He invited us to visit him on our trip last year – which we gladly did. Although we almost didn’t.

The weather in early December in Vermont – ahhhhh! Snow! All good yet the roads are hilly (read low traction) and it’s best to stay in. Not drive about on unfamiliar rural roads.

After a few conversations and a bit of scheduling talk, we made it work. And so very glad we did.

Sean was a gracious and generous host – we got to taste at least 4 of his beers, they were widely different and delicious. Plus he sent us down the road with a few bottles which we happily shared with others we stayed with shortly thereafter.

When you get the opportunity to buy his beers, do so. You’ll be very glad you did.

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Ninkasi = Quality

One sign of good beer

One sign of good beer

A big shout out of thanks to Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Oregon for their providing Women Enjoying Beer with three of their very tasty and well made beers last week. I can tell you the attendees were salivating – as many had tried at least one Ninkasi before.

As for me, it was a first try. There will be a second, third and so on.

Nicole, Laurie, Jamie and all the rest (whom I’ve yet to meet) are to be credited with sharing their beers with the beer community.

In fact, as we were holding the events (monthly meet up in Ashland OR), two of the servers at our host, Standing Stone, spoke up (loudly) when they realized the featured beers were Ninkasi – specifically Oatis Oatmeal Stout. Good Grief!

We enjoyed Oatis Oatmeal Stout, Total Domination IPA, and Believer Double Red.

Mmmmmmmmm….

Among other things, one of the regular attendees took the empty 22 ounce bottles home to put her homebrew into. Cool!

Be a Believer, Dominate and eat your Oatmeal.

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Doug & Dan

p1030340Pints up to Doug and Dan at Buckbean for this honor! I concur.

They invited me to be at the 1st CANFEST last October in Reno. Very cool to see a beer festival focused on canned beer.

Myth busting time folks!

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Cheers to Chris

Chris was one of the first people to reach out to say “come visit us” on our Home Free Tour last year. We were thrilled to get the invite as we reaaaallllly wanted to visit and stay in Jackson.

Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY

Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY

He’s indicative of the brewing community – generous, hospitable, smart, and all around really nice guy.

His blog sums it up well.

In addition to his personal hospitality, Snake River hosted an event with WEB. 19 beer enthusiastic women crammed into a small room to talk and listen. Great fun and education had by all. He’s right of course – their clientele knows their beer. It was fabulously invigorating.

Many thanks to him and his tolerant cats for letting us stay. We’re already plotting to return for another visit…welcome mat’s out in Ashland too, Chris.

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Clean Thy Glass!

What does “beer clean” mean? Here’s a helpful post.

Beer clean glassware is also indicative of the commitment of the brewery, brewpub, operator – whoever is in charge of the beer inclusively – to high quality beer.

p1040352Larry Chase, brew master at Standing Stone Brewing Company is Ashland Oregon, told me this.

“Because beer is alive and produced by a living organism (yeast), in order to make better beer, the entire brew house should be clean. Everything the beer is going not touch needs to be clean.”

He tells me it tastes better and it’s more consistent when everything is clean. Not just surficially clean, really elbow grease scrubbed clean.

The dedication to a clean brew house and all its equipment is evident in fresh, clean beer – yes, you can taste the difference.

Any while contamination may not make you sick, it’s kind of a disheartening thought. To think that after all that effort, someone may be slipshod on cleanliness.

Quality assurance quality control makes sense to the senses.  Make sure your brewery is clean. All the way to the glassware.

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We Men Enjoying Beer: The Second Half

Building on yesterday’s post per a men’s beer tasting and pairing at Standing Stone Brewing Company in Ashland Oregon last week…

p1040357Course 4

Barley wine with a Marion Berry salad. The slightly fruitier flavors, medium body, mid octane barley wine paired well to bring out the medium flavors of this salad. Marionberries are of Oregon so it also featured a local fruit with the local fresh beer.

One guest shared he had poached some scallops in a barley wine with yummy results. Good suggestion.

Course 5

Double India Pale Ale with hearth baked pretzel and Marionberry mustard. Sweet and hot, chewy and crisp. All words to describe the flavors in this course. We had a contrast of the house made agave ketchup as well.

There aren’t a plethora of Double IPA’s yet and the crew at SSBC is really proud of the one they make. (Vinnie’s is a really nice choice too.)

Course 6

Wandering Aengus Cider with fresh cheeses. I chose a cider on purpose to get people to rethink what else can also be compatible in tastings. Ciders are a great gluten free choice as well. The fresh cheese we chose included the very local and award winning Rogue Creamery Cheddar, made just for SSBC. Mmmmmmmm.

The lushness of the crisp and still fruity cider worked nicely with the cheeses providing both complement and contrast. Parmesan and a provolone were also available. The creamier ones were the best fit here.

More on what else we covered at the event tomorrow.

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A Brief Hello

mmmmmmm...yes, this is beer

mmmmmmm...yes, this is beer

Thank you for your patience…after the Home Free Tour wrapped up the 27th of December, we’ve been in a whirlwind of moving cross country (again) to Ashland Oregon.

For the moment – I’d beg your patience a tiny bit longer as I find the groove again.

In the meantime, enjoy this picture – and go get your own – of Sam Adams‘ Utopias. A gracious and very fun host in California gave it to us. We decided to open it and begin to savor the flavor when we ‘landed’.

And so we  have – landed and sipped.

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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Yet Another Benefit

The Brewers Association is, in my humble opinion, a very worthwhile organization to belong to. They’re constantly looking at ways to advance beer, education, enlightenment and quality tasty beer.

Paul Gatza (BA, left) and Larry at CANFEST in Reno this year

Paul Gatza (BA, left) and Larry at CANFEST in Reno this year

They just rolled out another terrific component – It’s called “CraftBeer.com” and it’s available to all members.

They already have a plethora of reasons to support the greater cause through a variety of membership types and levels. As with any group you believe in, it’s very important that you extend that belief to monetary support.

No they didn’t ask me to post this. It’s simply something I feel strongly enough about to crow on periodically.

Take a look at the homepage, dig around, then choose your membership.

If you want high quality beer available at reasonable prices. If you want to support the economic base that brewers provide to your communities and to our country. If you want affordable luxury in your glass.

The time is now to join. You can have something to say about it when you’re fully engaged in it. Support is one form of engagement.

Consider it a double whammy present – to your little self  and to the beer community as a whole.

Cheers!

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Personal Messages

p1030904Without sounding conceited, was this meant for someone like me?

“…dedicated to the family of beer drinkers and enthusiasts worldwide who continue to support the little guys, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who risk life and limb to shape the vibrant craft-brewing community.”

Well, I’m guessing Sam, Ken and their crews didn’t really have WEB in mind.

Nonetheless, the message speaks to me, and I can think of many, many fantastic people in the beer community – professionally and recreationally – who this does identify.

Cheers!

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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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My Favorite Jamaican

Julia, Larry and Horace at Terrapin

Julia, Larry and Horace at Terrapin

Thanks to Horace and the Terrapin crew for letting us come by last week. As one of the many breweries we have visited so far on this trip, it was an extra special stop.

I’ve known Horace for several years so it was an added treat to spend time with a familiar friend along the way.

We all had some good conversation, good beers (Trappeze anyone!? Aaron understands service), tasty cheese, a good night sleep, and an interesting tour.

And having spent zero time in Georgia before, we were really enjoying the landscape.

Thanks Horace – be ready for another visit sooner than later.

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Mmm. Ahh. Ick.

Couple of beer enthusiasts in San Diego

Couple of beer enthusiasts in San Diego

Here’s a good article on tasting beer from my friend Julie of PubQuest. Check it out and learn something new for when you are enjoying – or not – your beer.

No matter where your quest takes you to drink and enjoy beer, be open minded, be a beer geek instead of a beer snob. (Does anyone like a snob anyway??)

Cheers Julie!

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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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Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

More great Grand Teton Beers

More great Grand Teton Beers

Have you had yourself some absolutely yummy Grand Teton Black Cauldron Imperial Stout yet?

The fine folks at Grand Teton sent me a bottle (via a friend since I’m on the road). She was so excited to get it – and a huge lover of chocolate – that she tore into it and immediately was ‘mmmmmmmimg’ at its lux taste.

What a great way to introduce “I’m not really a beer drinker” friends to some incredible beers. It’s a very good suggestion for those who also claim they don’t “like” beer and drink full bodied wines (think ports).

And while my tastebuds are going to encounter it soon, knowing my friend and that we love similar flavors, I can bet money that I’ll love it. Can’t wait.

Here’s a great list of more full flavored beer suggestions.

Thanks to Pete, Rob, & Emily – many cheers!

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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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Sunday Funday at Stone

Sunday brought us to Stone Brewing in Escondido California. Once again Julie, PubQuest, and I conducted a Geography of Beer event. Here’s the announcement.

Geography of Beer event at Stone

Geography of Beer event at Stone

Thanks to those who attended  – Fiona, Mike, Phyllis, Marty, Karen, Sandy, Bob, Howard, Barbara, Allan, and the lot. Thanks to Greg, Stephanie, Kathryn, Cale, Paddy, and the crew who helped us make it a great event at Stone.

Once again, an event like this clearly shows that education, interested people and good beer make a great productive combination.

How’d it work?

  • We highlighted 5 beers, from 5 states – starting with Stone’s own Oaked Arrogant Bastard
  • We talked about the beers themselves
  • We discussed the state of the beer and the beer of the state
  • Along with engaging audience questions and the tasting – well, an hour flew by pretty quickly

Call upon either of us – Julie or myself – to line up your own Geography of Beer. Whether you’re a brewery, brewpub, brewhouse or private party.

It’s all for the love of beer.

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SDBC (In This Case It Stands For…)

Tyson at SDBC

Tyson at SDBC

San Diego Brewing Company.

A big fat pint of thanks to Tyson and all the fine folks at San Diego Brewing Company for their hospitality this past Saturday. Julie, my fabulous new PubQuest comrade, and I had an event at SDBC to talk about The Geography Of Beer. Here’s the announcement.

We did some brainstorming (she in San Diego, me on the road) to develop a fun and educational format for the attendees, Julie did a terrific job at working with SDBC to set up the event, and voila!

5 Beers, 5 states, education, fun people = Winning Combination. Hope to get back to San Diego soon.

When you educate, you bust myths, you open minds and taste buds, and therefore can realize more people enjoying your beers.

Let us know when you’d like to host your own Geography Of Beer – it’s one service we do to help serve the beer community.

Oh – and if you live anywhere close to San Diego, be sure to take in San Diego Beer Week.

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