Gluten Free Tasting

NOTE: This post was originally drafted during our HomeFreeTour, which started in September 2009. Enjoy the post & thanks for reading.

gcj

Our friend April in Kirkland WA was good enough to invite some friends over for a tasting while we’re on the road. It was huge fun and I believe all the good humored guests learned at least a few new things about beers and ciders.

Gluten free = lots of flavor!

Gluten free = lots of flavor!

This is my first mention of cider I think…and they fit nicely for diets that require glutenfree beverages. Plus here in the Northwest, where I currently am, apples abound!! Whew!

Here’s what the menu looked like (foods gotten at Trader Joe’s).

  1. Course 1 – Redbridge with soft tangy Chevre on soyrice crackers
  2. Course 2 – Newton’s Folly Draft Cider with Washington Honeycrisp apples, apple smoked garlic cheddar cheese, and corn/potato/rice tortilla chips
  3. Course 3 – Fox Barrel Black Currant Cider with fresh spinach &mixed greens salad with local melon, pears, and almonds and a touch of champagne gorgonzola dressing
  4. Course 4 – Green’s Discovery Amber Ale with freshly smoked salmon
  5. Course 5 – Bard’s Gold with Dagoba chocolates

Mmmmmmmm….All Gluten Free, all flavorful and fresh.

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Beer and Cycling = Good Combination

Good health has long been a part of the craft beer communities mindset. Knowing that moderation is a key to being able to fully enjoy beer helps us all know when to say when and when to partake.

Larry and Julie enjoying a beer

Julie Wartell, founder of PubQuest and friend, is a good example of beer and cycling. She’s an avid beer fan, curious, engaged and fun. PubQuest helps people in search of pubs in North America find them. Combining cycling, fresh air, and activity with quality beer and the great people surrounding the two makes for a very winning combination.

See a post of her per beer & biking here.

We met on our Home Free Tour where she gracious hosted us and our two dogs for a few nights. During that time we also were able to get in front of beer enthusiasts at Stone and San Diego Brewing to talk about the Geography of Beer.

So – ride on. Ride to, ride fro, just be sure to couple great beer with exercise and keep the cycle going.

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Short Clip

Cathy & I at the Houston Flying Saucer

Many thanks to Ronnie and the Houston Chronicle for this clip filmed last November in Houston at the Flying Saucer.

Cathy was very happy to share her thoughts about what she wants from her beer.

What do you want from your beer?

Message today – speak up about what you like, what you don’t care for, and what you want from your beer. There’s such an enormous selection that I guarantee (yes, guarantee) the beer community can find a beer you’d like.

Education’ll do that to a person. Keep the skull open. Be a geek, not a snob.

Thanks again Ronnie!

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Mixed Company

Ginger and Julie last fall at Stone Brewing

This Saturday will mark the first mixed company WEB event – a Geography of Beer collaboration with Julie Wartell of PubQuest. Here are the details.

Julie and I collaborated last October on our Home Free Tour with two Southern California breweries with much success.

Success?

Yes, we had a nice crowds at each place, Stone and San Diego Brewing, who had come to find out about the geography of 5 different beers from 5 different United States. Julie maps out beer on the site – in fact, you can get a custom map made for your travels. Check out the site here.

Looking forward to talking about the geography of our beer again this weekend.

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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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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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Home Free Thank You

It’s already been a full month since the Home Free Tour officially ended (followed promptly by a relocation to Ashland Oregon). We were on the road for well over 15,000 miles and more than 14 weeks all around this incredible

Sustainability wheel at Standing Stone

Sustainability wheel at Standing Stone

country of ours. Remarkable would be an understatement.

So I want to extend enormous thanks and express my gratitude for all the unerringly hospitable beer community people. They were all fun, enlightening and continue to fuel the passion to serve the beer community at large.

Specific thanks to these breweries, their great people, the tours and all you provided: Snake River Brewing, Jackson, WY; Wynkoop Brewing, Denver; Grand Teton Brewing, Victor ID; Bridgeport Brewing, Portland OR; Standing Stone Brewing, Ashland OR; Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico CA; Buckbean Brewing & CANFEST, Reno NV; Dogfish Head, Rehoboth & Milton DE; Rogue, Newport OR; Avery Brewing, Boulder, CO; Firestone Walker, Buellton & Paso Robles CA; Four Peaks, Tempe AZ; BJ’s Reno NV; Lazy Magnolia Kiln MS; Bell’s, Galesburg MI; New Glarus, New Glarus WI; Russian River, Santa Rosa CA; St. Arnold Brewing, Houston TX; Terrapin Beer, Athens GA; Willimantic Brewing, Willimantic, CT; Roy Farms, Moxee WA; Lawson’s Finest, Warren VT.

In transit (as usual) with two curious dog noses

In transit (as usual) with two curious dog noses

A huge thank you to all the fine hosts who either had a cozy place to stay, fed us, gave us some tasty beer, and/or welcomed us into their homes and breweries and businesses as respite on the trip: Chris Erickson, Teri Fahrendorf & Jon Graber, Alex & Danielle Amarotico, Steve, Christine, Sophie & George Parkes, Rebecca Newman, Doug Booth and Dan Kahn, Sam Calagione & Mark Carter, C V Howe, David Walker & Jamie Smith, Ted Golden and Andy Ingram, Dan Pedersen, Leslie & Mark Henderson, Ann Ewing and Thomas Wilson, Laura Bell and Gary, Dan Carey & Jean Henstl, Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo, Rob Sizemore, Brock Wagner, Horace Cunningham, Sharon Caskey, Julie Johnson, Craig Purser, David Wollner, Seth Schneider, Ben & Amy Julian, Pete Mervin & Rob Mullin, April Green, Terrence Sullivan, John Martin & Jesse, Tyson Blake, Sean Lawson, John & Stacey Maier.

Mile 0 in Key West

Mile 0 in Key West

Additionally we stopped at places: Upstream Brewing, Omaha NE; The Library, Laramie, WY; Harvest Moon Brew, Belt MT; Bozeman Brewing, Bozeman, MT; Concordia Ale House, Portland OR; Caldera Brewing, Ashland OR; Triple Rock Brewing, Berkeley CA; Fifty Fifty, Truckee CA; Flying Saucer, Houston TX; Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA; San Diego Brewing, San Diego CA; Gritty McDuff’s, Portland ME; Sleepy Dog, Tempe, AZ; Kelly’s, Key West FL; Highland Brewing, Asheville NC; Triangle Brewing, Durham NC; Brickskeller, Washington DC; Crosby & Baker, Westport MA; Six Rivers, Arcata CA; Brewzzi’s, West Palm Beach FL; Magic Hat, Burlington VT; The Brewerie, Erie PA; Leinenkugel’s, Chippewa Falls WI; Barley John’s, New Brighton MN.

Beer & Dessert? Yes, 3 please

Beer & Dessert? Yes, 3 please

To those who gave us an extra hand as we carried on: Sebbie Buhler, Darcy Quinn, Steve Grossman, Ronnie Crocker, Greg Kitsock, Martin Wooster, Jonathon Lunardi, Julie Wartell, Ann Ewing, Erika Rietz & Jessica Daynor & Austin Wilson, Jake Harkins & Nikki Brodt, John Mallett, Claire Sykes, Jim Boyd,

To those we missed, well – there’s always hope and planning to do it again, with a different geographic route to see, meet, and enjoy more great beer and camaraderie together.

A glass is raised to you all – Cheers!!

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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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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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Final Mile

The Honda Odyssey was aptly named

The Honda Odyssey was aptly named

Here’s a shot of the odometer as we parked the car at our final destination of the Home Free Tour, a friends home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Overall we put on over 15,000 miles.

It’s been an absolutely remarkable trip, to understate it. More soon on all sorts of beer facets as well as other observations, lessons, and thoughts to the last 3+ months of life as we knew it on the road.

I’d ask you to bear with me for the rest of this week. We’re in the last throes of moving across the country to Ashland Oregon so will be loading the truck today, and will be driving, yet again, across the country to settle in later in the weekend.

Keep tuning in, spreading the word and staying in touch. All spread and comments are day makers so keep them coming.

My humble thanks – have a safe and tasty week.

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What Kind Of Beer Drinker Are You?

  • p1040094Do you savor it?
  • Do you guzzle it?
  • Does it depend on the beer?
  • Does it depend on your surroundings?
  • Does the size of the beer factor in?
  • Does it depend on who you’re drinking it with?
  • Does it depend on the season?
  • Does the alcohol content make a difference for you?
  • What else does it depend on?

How do you define yourself as a beer drinker? Ask yourself that question – feel free to comment and share your feedback. It’s fascinating (and useful) to hear all about these kinds of things from people, female and male, all (legal) ages, all over the country.

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Beer Meditation

Hats off to Ben and for looking for a new opportunity, taking action to develop his dream and inviting me into the conversation at his home in Detroit last week.

Ben and a prototype

Ben and a prototype

It’s becoming somewhat regular to get contacted by people to reaching out, calling or emailing in their efforts to start a new brewery, do research and other women and beer related projects. Looking for real information to bolster their cause.

Great! It’s flattering and interesting to be tapped as a resource. Every one has a story and each one is the same and unique simultaneously.

The ongoing efforts by WEB to compile qualitative psycho graphic data continues to make more and more solid information available for members of the beer community. The information supports, redefines, and enlightens – which is exactly the goal in supporting the greater beer community.

It’s precisely why Women Enjoying Beer was created and marches forward in the name of beer.

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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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A Few Constants

p1030363This trip has been thoroughly thought provoking on so many levels and in so many ways. We still have a few weeks to go and surely more enlightenment is just ahead.

To those of you in the community in any way, you may nod your head. For those of you newer to it, here are a few thoughts to consider as you continue your journey with beer.

  1. Beer people are passionate about beer. Period.
  2. Beer folks have favorites whether it’s the one in  front of them or a particular beer they worship and crave.
  3. Beer people are engaged in their communities. The economic support to communities breweries and beer oriented vendors and supplies provide is a solid family friendly investment in our society.p1030782
  4. They’ll do what they can to help another beer person out. Testimony to that are all the places we’ve stayed along the way with beer people opening their homes to others they have not even met yet (us).
  5. They speak up when a voice needs to be heard. The courage and fortitude displayed by beer people, quiet or obvious, is admirable.
  6. They’re fun to drink beer with.
  7. They’re eager to share and educate others about beer. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy that’s delicious.

p1020781The list goes on and on so for today, this’ll be the short version.

When you engage in the beer community, you discover a whole world of terrific people, opportunity, and great tasting liquid – they are all life enhancing and I fully intend to charge on.

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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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Shar/on

Here’s to just one of the many hosts on our trip that we met when we pulled the van up to her home.

Host Sharon in Georgia - cheers friend!

Host Sharon in Georgia - cheers friend!

She had been online one day, found WEB, and proceeded to reach out and offer her home as a place to stay on the tour. A fun email conversation ensured and voila! She welcomed us into her home – sight unseen – with open arms (literally).

And you know what? It was as if we’d all known each other for a while. Beer brings people together in a variety of ways.

She told us her friends were shocked that she’d invite total strangers into her home. *gasp!*

Like Sharon said though, for all we knew she could be the axe murderer (not the other way around). Good point.

So heartfelt thanks to Sharon, Claire, Mark & Leslie, Rebecca, Julie, and all the rest who have opened their doors to us. It’s indicative of the quality of people that are involved with beer.

Once we land our door is wide open for all of you – even if we have yet to meet.

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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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Houston & Ronnie

Ronnie & I

Ronnie & I

Ronnie Crocker’s a beer lover.

He’s also an editor at the Houston Chronicle, a blogger and a really good man. We met at this years GABF at the media luncheon and have kept the conversation going.

We were in Houston this past week ala our trip and he was terrific in setting up a fun beer gathering at the Flying Saucer, as well as giving us a tour of his fine paper. We even got to meet his boss (who we’re fans of) and some others who apparently could not make one event and who wanted to meet when we came though (very cool Anita and Nikki!).

He’s indicative of people who are intelligently engaged in beer. Smart, fun, responsible, thoughtful, forward thinking.

Cathy telling me her 10 Answers in Houston

Cathy telling me her 10 Answers in Houston

Already looking forward to the next time as Houston clearly has a lot of beer enthusiasts – many of who I did not get to meet this one time (Donna, Iris, TallyK, etc.).

Thanks also to Jake the FS’s GM. Will take you up on your offer sooner than later, Jake.

Cheers to Houston!

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