An Impromptu Meeting of the Beer Minds

Tonya (center), Larry (right) and Todd (left) all taste some beers

Check it out: Three brewers, informally together, tasting beer.

It’s a lovely site to behold and happily so relatively commonplace. This picture was from a recent trip to Bend, Oregon – home of numerous breweries.

Tonya’s leading Larry of Standing Stone Brewing Company (r) and Todd of Caldera Brewing (l). Tonya is the award winning and very sharp and fun brewer of Bend Brewing Company.

All the beers tried in the brew house were on target per style according to the three assembled here. Kudos to the craft brewing community in all of our communities.

Support your local brewers!

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Congrats to Taylor's Sausage Grand Opening in Bend OR

Taylor's Sausage - photo by Kate Parks

Cheers and kudos to the Taylor’s Sausage crew for a well received and tasty grand opening in Bend Oregon. It’s still going on in Bend for another week so get thee there (if you live close).

They were kind enough to invite me to come join the fun during lunch last Saturday – it was busy busy busy!

To complement the voluminous array and high quality sausages they offer to eat on premise and take home, they have a really nice selection of beer. Specifically 9 different Oregon beers on tap – a nice range of flavors and styles. From Pilsner to Imperial IPA – you are sure to select a fresh beer to enjoy with your food.

Support your local brewer and sausage maker.

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Fabulous Dinner in St. Paul OR

Part of the fantastic host crew

My hearty and heartfelt thanks for the Coleman & Friends Crew for inviting me to help them host a dinner this past Saturday night they had generously donated for an auction at a local charitable organizations fundraiser. What a great way to combine business and community!

All six of the hosts were thoughtful, fun, and dug right into any instructions to ensure the evening was a smashing success for the lucky 10 around the table. They’ve given the dinner before and surely it was terrific too.

Here’s what the menu looked like:

Course 1 - Fresh Hopped IPA & Cheeses

Course 1: Long Brewing Fresh Hopped IPA paired with sharp cheddar cheese on simple crackers, Rogue Creamery Smoked Bleu and Oregon Bleu cheeses on simple crackers with drizzled honey (bleu cheers + honey = amazing flavor experience). The sharp cheddar cheese pairs particularly well with IPA’s – the grapefruit flavors really shine through (adding fresh grapefruit to this combo in season makes it even better!)

Course 2: Standing Stone Oktoberfest (donated by their brewer) paired with fresh chunky tomato soup with spinach and oregano. the maltiness of the Oktoberfest complements the high acidity of the tomatoes very well. Make lots of soups – they get better and better as they age a few days.

Course 3: Rogue Hazelnut Brown Ale paired with a salad of baby mixed lettuce and spinach with fresh black mission figs stuffed with chevre (Oh my gosh!!), lightly toasted prosciutto (makes it slightly crispy and accentuates the sweet saltiness to it), and chopped walnuts, tossed with a slightly sweet balsamic vinaigrette.

Dessert in progress

Course 4: Golden Valley Red Thistle Red paired with a fork tender spicy braised beef stew and sweet potatoes, tomatoes, apricots and fresh spinach over tiny cous cous. Spices in the stew included cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, and ginger to really complement the Red.

Course 5: Fire Mountain Brewhouse Steam Fired Stout AND Lindeman’s Frambois Lambic – we offered two (great to offer 2 beers per course sometimes) and served them both in stemware with a warm cornmeal shortbread with warm berry port sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Suffice it to say, everyone was sated and satisfied. Keep exploring with beer and food. It’s fun, social and a great reason to get together with others to celebrate darn near anything.

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Tasty Trifecta Event Menu

Chelly prepping one of the delicious cheeses

Wow – where to even start… get set for several days worth of information from the 2010 GABF interspersed with other good beer stuff.

The first event last week was one of collaboration with Chelly Vitry, Denver Gourmet, and Oskar Blues Brewery – the fabulous Beth, Chad, Burc, Dale (loved the bike!), Melissa, Luke and entire crew. Lefthand Brewing also generously provided 3 of the beers we featured and our dedicated spot on volunteer Ingrid was a huge help – so a big thanks to everyone involved, including our very engaged and fun loving guests.

The Tasty Trifecta was planned and designed to tap into the female craft beer enthusiast during GABF. We had a terrific group of women who came to taste, enjoy, learn, savor, and be social. It’s a very good combination – all coming together over quality beer.

Dale and 6 Fantastic Beer Loving Women

OBB was a gracious and very helpful host – their taproom was a great setting for the evening’s activity. Chelly is – in a word – incredible and I’m extremely grateful to have gotten the opportunity to partner with her for this lip smacking gig.

Once most everybody was present, we introduced the beers, talked a bit about flavors and matching them, why we choose the beers and the specific cheeses and desserts to go with them, and then lead them through one sampling. After that, we turned them loose!

Noise level of a group usually goes up with enjoyment level – so I’d venture a guess to say that it was a smashing success! (Thanks to Beth for the microphone.)

Tables set and ready for the Tasty Trifecta

The menu:

  • 3 Beautiful Oskar Blues Beers – Dale’s Pale Ale, Old Chub Scottish Ale, and Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
  • 3 Beautiful Lefthand Beers – Sawtooth, 400 Pound Monkey, and Milk Stout
  • 6 Creamy Cheeses – 5 years vintage Gouda, 4 year Old Quebec White Cheddar, Triple Cream Brie, Bleu D’Auvernge, Horseradish and Dill Havarti, and Young Goat Gouda
  • 5 Sumptuous Desserts – Chocolate Chip cookies, Pecan Caramel Bars, Raspberry Linzer Bars, Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream frosting, and Sour Cream Cheesecake

Is your mouth watering yet??

Proving, once again, that the vast variety and high quality of craft beer everywhere pairs deliciously well with quality well made food.

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Tasty Trifecta Event last night at Oskar Blues

Beth and Luke of OBB - such huge help!

Thanks to the entire Oskar Blues Crew for a fantastic event venue and help last night. Chelly and were able to offer a unique women’s only Beer & Cheese & Dessert tasting event at their taproom. Beth, Luke, Burc, Melissa, Dale and everyone else who makes the place tick – pints up!

Thanks equally to the fantastic group of women beer enthusiasts that came out – judging by the conversation and laughter level, I’d say it was a success! They had the choice of 6 different beers from both Oskar Blues as well as tasty Left Hand Beers. One the food side, Chelly selected delicious cheeses from a favorite cheese monger and sweets from Living the Sweet Life – both in Denver.

Chelly (l) providing helpful information for the event

We lead them through  a simple how to taste exercises to warm them up and get them started – then off they went!

The evening closed with Beth, the taproom manager, leading a tour of the brewery – newly expanded and looking fabulous for our great guests.

Cheers of course goes to Left Hand brewing and their crew for pitching in three uber yummy beers for the event as well.

Hats off to Ingrid, our intrepid and dedicated volunteer assistant for the night – well done!

And my own personal thanks to the incredible Chelly for her partnership. She has excellent judgment.

Now – on to more GABF events….Cheers!

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GABF 2010

GABF 2009

The Great American Beer Festival starts tonight – for brewers, judges, and so forth. It opens to the public tomorrow night and hit a record in selling out 5 weeks out from the festival.

WOW! Impressive considering that there are lots fantastic beer festivals worldwide. This one, started by Charlie Papazian, has come to embody the grandmama of festivals for many.

For several years I worked the festival, with my Fine Husband and professional brewer, Larry Chase, Standing StoneBrewing Company , Ashland, OR. At the time he was with another brewery that was growing. It was really fun to be part of the activities going from a small handful of stores to over 20.

The observations and attitudes from people from all over the world, and in general this incredible group of beer enthusiasts and volunteers, make for a remarkable experience like no other.

When you have a chance, put it on your future late fall schedule. And if you decide to go and want to get together for a beer, give me a shout.

Look for a bunch of GABF centered info coming in these posts and on Twitter.

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Signature GABF & Denver Beer Week Event

Hats off to Chelly of Denver Gourmet for being my partner in crime for hosting these two signature events:

Tasty Trifecta Wednesday September 15th – co-hosted by our friends at Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont Colorado.

POSTPONED Gastravaganza! Saturday September 18th – Hosted at one of the featured breweries Breckenridge Brewery in Denver Colorado.

Be sure to spread the word and get your tickets today – Wednesday night at Oskar Blues is women only and Saturday night is POSTPONED for all.

See you soon in Denver!

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Homage To Beer Fridges Past

Homage to the Beer Fridge

This goes out to my fabulous friend Cozette today – made me laugh and tear up at the same time!

“I have to sadly inform you that the beer frig [they got from us] crossed over to the great tapper in the sky…..  But not before providing enjoyment and pleasure to many! After we brought it home last fall , a great beer drinking friend of ours who lives in Kansas City expressed an interest in acquiring the frig.   He and his wife are childless and live on a cul de sac with a bunch of families so their home is known as the great escape zone for adults seeking a break.   For years he has kept an extra frig in the garage filled with beer and just keeps a “funding” jar nearby for restocking.     Truly the perfect home for the beer frig!   He adopted it and gave it a wonderful home where it served numerous kegs of craft beer before drawing the final cup in June. You will be pleased to know that its vital organs were transplanted into a younger model so it will continue serving indulging adults. The funny thing was the couple was trying to figure out how to make the frig  slightly more self funding…. It seems that consumption in the first 6 months out paced the funding contributions considerably.”

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Prepare To Meet Your (Cocktail) Maker

What’s the difference between certified organic beverages and non?

Organic Nation Spirits

Well, besides the obvious, sometimes there is a special passion – of the organic pursuit variety.

I’ve recently had the uber pleasure of meeting and befriending Diane and David, Organic Nation Spirits. The gin and vodka they create is certified organic. Their passion is as clear as the delicious spirits they craft with great care and affection.

Good spirits, good beer, good wine. While we may all had our own affinities, it’s good to remain open minded to what makes other peoples’ clock tick tock.

Another common connection is the remarkable Joy and Bob of White Water Warehouse. In fact, this very day they are all on the Rogue River on a Martini Madness trip (no worries – imbibing happens at the end of the rafting day). If you’ve been reading you’ll know Joy and Bob invited me to be part of the inaugural Raft and Craft Trip in July (what a fantastic crew and trip!).

Meeting your maker can have a fun and not-6-feet-under meaning. And like Diane says, sip responsibly!

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Prosit to Julia!

Julia and Larry in Chicago, 2010 CBC

Dear Julia,

Many thanks! What a great piece comprehensive, thorough, and fun. Oh – enlightening and thought provoking as well.

See you in Denver.

Yours truly – the Tornado,

Ginger

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Marketing To Women

Marti Barletta's M2W - great resource

Yesterday I shared one of my highly recommended resources and today I want to share another.

Marti Barletta has been specializing in Marketing To women for a while now – she’s sharp, dedicated, knows her business and has been highly valuable to companies who want to truly and authentically market to women.

Women Enjoying Beer nods in her direction. I read Marti’s Book, Marketing To Women, 2nd Edition, when I started WEB. It is also one of my go-to and return-to resources.

Marketing beer to women, while not Marti’s specialty, is mine. When you can understand and acknowledge that marketing to different groups is just that – different – then you are headed in the right direction.

p.s. The Bittersweet group should read this book….

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Focused Group

One of the best resources I have come across, and then promptly devoured, was this book. Judy Langer is an extremely accomplished and still seemingly very excited researcher.

Her book helped me understand what I needed to understand to conduct proper research. It’s a tome for qualitative research.

Like Judy, I highly enjoy the research part of Women Enjoying Beer. And quite frankly I was surprised with how engrossing it is. Interesting people who want to talk and share and ponder, tons of eye opening insights, lots of repeat ideas (which is good = trends, patterns), and in general interesting psychology.

The reward is even greater for all parties since you’ve done well by the subjects and the clients.

It should be productive fun – this book helps make it so for me.

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Raft & Craft – Day 3

dining room at Marial Lodge

July 20th – Day 3 and the final day of our inaugural Raft & Craft trip.

Dawn came again gently after a full nights sleep at Marial Lodge. We were at breakfast by 8 for a day of about 16 miles, through a canyon and much sunshine. Good bacon at breakfast only enhanced the day!

Off we went to get on the river by 9 am. The day felt chilly to start as we went through some striking narrow canyons for the first while. Completely different and we heard some good stories as we all rode. There are pretty of serious rapids, Blossom and Coffee Pot among them, which has WWW making sure everyone is safely on board the pontoon rafts. No sense taking foolish chances with Mother Nature.

Rogue River

This re-solidified the excellent and wise experience of Bob & Guy for the benefit of their guests. We all felt safe the whole time – which of course only makes the trip that much more enjoyable (and recommendable).

By midday lunch stop, we’d seen lots of turtles, plenty of other traffic including the jet boats on tour, and several other rafting parties. A few areas of still(er) water had Bob and Guy using the oars more to move us along.

Lunch was generous again with BLT’s – mmmmm! – and more fresh fruit and veggies. On the river again after a bite to finish the float.

Landing safely around 145ish (no watch on), Bob & Guy easily navigated us to a ramp, where we all proceeded to unload and unpack. After all the fanfare of that, the rafts were loaded on the trailer,

pontoon rafts safely loaded up

some of the guests said goodbye and headed off, and we climbed into the truck to drive back over the pass to Galice, where cars were parked upon our launching.

The road over the pass is rather dramatic and closed in the winter for good reason – it rises from 90 feet above sea level to over 5000! And I couldn’t help but think – “what a great ride this’d be on a snowmobile!” Anyway, just shy of 2 hours later, we slid into Galice, gathered gear and bid adieu.

What a spectacular trip! Ultra hospitable, safe, fun, refreshing, tasty, energizing and now I can’t wait for next year.

Thanks to Ninkasi & Russian River for great beers

Thanks to Joy & Bob, Guy and guests for allowing me to share those 3 delightful days with them.

Life is good.

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Raft & Craft – Day 2

Life jackets for the river rafting

July 19th

Yaaaaaawn…smack smack….waking up with the natural light is a treat. That’s how day 2 came about on our Raft & Craft Trip. After a fantastic first day, we’re all all-ready for another one.

Everybody rousted out and up to breakfast at 8, with one slow riser who came happily and sleepily in a bit into the meal. No real big deal…we’re on relaxed mode. After a brief good morning and a warm breakfast, we returned to our cabins to pack and be at the river for day 2 by 9:30 to set out.

So we were. Loaded up, ready to go and off we went at about 945ish – another blue sky sunny day ahead of us on the Rogue.

View from the pontoon style raft

I kayaked again for a short bit then was happy to give it to a guest for the rest of the day. I tell you what – I honestly don’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed and alert at the same time! Riding on the raft, soaking up the sun like a sunflower, and feeling so well taken care of.

The morning was smooth again with a variety of rapids as well as an opportunity to jump into the river and float along with the rafts with a life jacket – very refreshing. One of the other kayakers joined the Dunkers Club too!

We stopped for lunch for more fresh tasty fare with a cliff high view of the river. After we were full we set out for the Rogue River Lodge, an historic stop along the river with a colorful history including past visits to some Hollywood celebs years back.

Historic Rogue River Lodge

We meandered around, taking in the museum, a few of us jumped into a crystal clear swimming hole (COLD – whew!), and then headed back to our rafts.

It was only a short bit downriver till our nightly lodging – Marial Lodge – which was entirely lovely and comfortable. The crew proceeded to group unpack again – many hands, you know – and took to assigned cabin rooms. As I offered up to meet in one hour later for the beer tasting upon our arrival, several of the goers said “We have to wait an hour?!”. Good response….and it told me the guests were thoroughly enjoying a great combination trip.

After everyone was once again showered up and had wandered back to the lodge, I had the table set

Tasting night 2

and ready for the 2nd night of beer tasting and pairing. Here’s the menu we enjoyed:

MMMMMMMMM! Again, met with happy enthusiasm and ‘mmm-ing’ all around.

Dinner in the adjacent dining room followed our tasting on the deck and we all savored a dinner and good company, including 2 other guests staying at the lodge. One of the very unique things about Marial Lodge is the turn tables at the tables – space saver, serving genius. Our host Lori told me her uncle, who had the lodge previous, hated wasted or unused space.

Marial Lodge on the Rogue

The rest of the troop bug doped up and went for a walk. I stayed in and lazily read a few of the books on the coffee tables in the lodge – history, stories, nature.

One can only take so much stress, so I headed to bed as the sun went down. Ready to get an abundance of sleep again before day 3.

‘Night!

Tomorrow – Day 3

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Raft & Craft Trip – Part 1

Prepping the sturdy and stable pontoon rafts

July 18th

Gorgeous day dawns in Southern Oregon. Okay, well, it was really beautiful – partially because we were all looking forward to it as well. Funny how it’s as ‘nice’ as you want it to be.

I got up and drove to meet Bob and Guy at the Rand boat launch for the inaugural White Water Warehouse and Women Enjoying Beer Raft & Craft Trip. When I arrived they were both occupied preparing the 2 pontoon rafts, setting up equipment, gear, coolers, and so on. Practiced hands to be sure – they’ve been at this since 1983.

The guests began arriving at 9 am and everyone exchanged introductions. After our own bags were dry bagged and packed on board, Bob gave us a safety talk and we were off!

Lunching it up - Day 1

Down the lovely and very scenic Rogue River. That first morning, 3 of us experienced the trip at water level in inflatable kayaks. All life jacketed up, we floated along and had an ideal first morning.

Oh – and I started the trip Dunkers Club, going over twice – kerplunk! The key to kayaking, I learned, is to head straight into waves; being 90 degrees to them is how you’ll make it through them. The water, I’m here to tell you, was lovely and felt great in combination with a strong sun.

The river was also deep enough in most places to safely be in the river, legs dangling below you, with no fear of scraping. The tough part is getting back into the kayaks with a bulky (and important) life jacket. Once again, Bob & Guy are smart veterans who help guide you the entire trip so you are totally at ease and able to fully enjoy the adventure.

Tumultuous Rainey Falls

We put in at Rainey Falls for lunch where Bob and Guy proceeded to efficiently unpack and set up. It was obvious right away no would go hungry unless they simply didn’t eat! Fresh foods and plenty of it – cucumbers, hummus, blueberries, cherries, sandwiches (meat, tomatoes, trimmings, PBJ), pasta salad and lots of other stuffs. Lemonade and water to quench our thirst and restock the water bottles, a nice view to enjoy during the midday meal and a cloudless sky to gaze at. Tough job….

After repacking up and heading into the current again, we traveled a while more, with a stop at a water fall with a spot deep enough to cannon ball into – which some of us did following Bob’s lead!

Back into the current we go towards Black Bar Lodge, our accommodations for the night. We landed peacefully, everyone happily intact, around 5pm. After a quick group unload, we headed to our charming cabins, showered up and met in the lodge for the first beer tasting and pairing – 1 of 2 for the trip.

Craft Beer - the "Craft" part of the trip

This being the first time WWW & WEB have collaborated, it went off with much success. The lodge is comfortable, we had three courses and the very happy guests and gracious hosts all had a good time.

Ninkasi was our featured beer partner. And I couldn’t resist also featuring a Russian River beer each night too.

The menu the first night looked like this:

Mmmmmmmm! Lots of great questions and comments came from the group, we all polished off a few (taster) glasses of the beers and savored the foods.

Inside my Black Bar Lodge cabin

Needless to say, they were then really excited about the next nights treats!

After dinner, Bob shared some entertaining stories about the river, lodge and area folk which was totally relaxing. As if we weren’t relaxed enough! A little more conversation flowed and with the sun going slowly down, we all bade good night to each other after given our time to regroup for tomorrow and headed out to our cabins.

It didn’t take long for camp to be silent save for the deer and birds settling in around us. Lights out at 10 as the generators got turned off for the night.

To bed. Ahhhhh….

Day 2 – tomorrow.

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A Call From Joy

And what a call it was!

Joy & Ginger - raring to go!

Joy Henkle, White Water Warehouse, called me on a random (to me) day in May. She had found my site and was looking for interesting topics and people to write about.

She got ‘interesting’ (!) and we connected almost instantly. Thankful I am for her reaching out. Because one thing quickly lead to another and we put our heads together to hatch the inaugural Raft & Craft tripfabulous white water rafting paired with delicious craft beer tastings at days end.

Brilliant Joy!

Joy and her Husband, Bob Meister, own and operate White Water Warehouse, a very competent class rafting company based out of Corvallis OR, one of the heart beats of the Hops industry in Oregon.

The trip went off smoothly July 18th – 20th with a great group of folks including very gracious guides and hosts – Bob and Guy.

The next three days will be the story of our trip from where I sat on the raft.

Enjoy the read – and know that there are more of these trips on tap for 2011. It’s a great time to plan now for a glorious adventure next year.

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Unfamous Beer Enthusiasts

A few unfamous beer enthusiasts hard at it

Let me tell you about a few unfamous beer enthusiasts.

1. Sue. She’s come to the Women Enjoying Beer meet ups from the beginning of the year, is a home brewer and truly loves beer. She loves engaging in it and with it, she loves meet up with other female beer enthusiasts, and has a great sense of humor. She’s very careful with her money AND she makes it a point to make all the events she can (so far she’s batting a thousand). I’m humbled and pleased. Thanks Sue.

2. Michele. She’s a beer lover and has a ready laugh. She’s sharp and spreads the word about good beer with lots of folks – don’t ask me to count how many people she brought to events last year. She also helped line up a very informative group abroad for me to talk with about beer. Suffice it to say she’s up for the Oscar for her participation. Thanks Michele.

3. Kim. She’s game to try different things, loves to experience new pairing of beer with foods, and generously hosts focus groups for the cause. She was one of the very first people I met when I moved via another fabulous friend and her arms were open in welcome. Suffice it to say a beer with Kim is always in order! Thanks Kim.

I could write columns on the incredible women who have gladly joined the fun, helped with the research, and in general opened their arms to beer. Especially since the exbeerience this time is focused around them. Not in a patronizing or ‘oh-isn’t-that’cute-she-likes-beer’ way. In the ‘hell-yea!-I-want-to-be-part-of-it’ way.

Invite them in. There are millions of women waiting to be included.

Look for more unfamous women beer enthusiasts in the future.

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Raft & Craft Trip

WWW raft trip on the Rogue

Whew! How life goes round and round…

Friday was a fabulous Oregon Hops Growers Association BBQ hosted by S S Steiner in Brooks, Oregon. I was lucky enough to get to go and met several hops growers and other beer community enthusiasts and supports. Good people all (great food too!).

From Sunday through Tuesday I’ll be on the Rogue River with White Water Warehouse on a signature Raft & Craft Trip.

Joy, Bob and I will be plotting more beer and rafting adventures for 2011. In the meantime, visit their site and get in touch with questions. A raft trip would be a fantastic way to celebrate and reward your staff, treat your friends, and in general enjoy a few of the wonderful things our country affords us.

Now, where’d I put that paddle…

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Happy Beer People

My happy photo of the day

Ha! Why do these photos not surprise me??!!

Smart, engaged, happy, fun loving, sense of humor about themselves, beer & the world. It’s what makes my day!

What does your company photo look like?

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