Monday, August 23, 2010

Long time, no blog.

Apparently vacation can really cut into your blogging time...or effort, in my case. 
It was wonderful to get away, to see family and friends, and just as wonderful to come home. 

So now the challenge is to see if I can recall the past two weeks of beer drinking. 

Day 7: The first day in Maine.  Great to see family that I have not seen in a long time.  I celebrated with several different varieties of Farmington River Brewing Company...perhaps the Blonde or Mahogany Ales...several were consumed as burgers and dogs were eaten...and folks reconnected. 

Day 8: Our first trip to the Parent's House on the 'actual' lake.  I quite enjoyed a glass, okay red plastic cup, of either 10 Penny or Dirty Penny Ale from The Olde Burnside Brewing Company found in East Hartford, CT.  Thanks, Klaus for bringing the growlers.  Find more about the Penny Ales here:

Day 9: If memory serves correctly...I may have been sipping some sort of Light Beer Substance out of a silver can, when Helen yelled at me to dump it out. 
She definitely served up some tasty Honey Moon from Blue Moon Brewing Co.  Tasty delicious when consumed in a tube on a lake. 

Day 10: Anne and I were sneaky and headed into town to find us some lobstah rolls.  Thery were not exactly what we were looking for, so she grilled up some rolls back at the house...and vacation had truly begun.  The roll was perfectly paired with a Shipyard Summer Ale and some Cape Cod Chips.  (Totally happy to be in New England)

Day 11: Lobstah Day!
A plate full of steamers, freshly picked corn and a 1/5 lb lobstah...and we'll call it a day. 
Not to mention, we enjoyed dining on the deck and a few tasty Long Trail Blackberry Wheats.  (Thanks Elle, Kay)

Day 12: Lunch at Rick's Cafe in Naples, ME.
A tasty clam roll with a Black & Blue.  1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Sea Dog Blue Paw Wheat.  Yum!

Day 13: Thanks to the Cooking With Beer recipe book from my friend Jen....dinner was Jambalaya with Long Trail Ale.   Basically it was a box mix with sweet sausage, portabello mushrooms, chorizo, and shrimp...and when they asked for water... I just used beer.  For those who enjoy was quite the tasty dish. 

Day 14: Traveling from Maine to Connecticut...and that means lunch in Portsmouth, NH at the Friendly Toast!!!  It had been forever since I'd been there, but luckily my good bud Heidi, who I knew in elementary school (good ol' MSS) was in the mood for breakfast for lunch. 
Between the french toast, home fries and smoked salmon benedict...we needed something to drink, so we both had freshly pulled Guinnesses.  :)  And fun shopping with silly glasses, fake poo, and wonderful conversation. 

Day 15: Back in Connecticut enjoying a Blue Beery Ale from Portsmouth Brewery.  O, how many memories sprung back up walking through Portsmouth and the brew was super delicious. 

Day 16: Down and over to Long Island.  Time with the ol' 206-ers.  After a stroll at Jones Beach, Steph and I headed back to her place for brews, yummy supper, Glee and can you go wrong? 
We started off with a Chimay ol' fave from Monks in Philly.  The evening was finished off with a Three Philosophers Quadrupel.  Oh. My. Heavens.  Best brew yet.

Day 17: A visit to Lebanon, PA.  Staying at the fine B&B, home of Andy & Alissa and a special visit from Am and Virginia.  This visit was perfect with a true Pennsylvania Beer... Yuengling - America's Oldest Brewery. 

Day 18: Home again in Indiana.  I brought gifts of brews from Long Island and Maine...after a sip or two from each... I was ready to crash.  Certainly a sign of a great vacation...well that and super happy to be home. :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 6: Oh, nuts.

Today's creation comes from the tasty little cookbook entitled Cooking with Beer.  You, too, can probably purchase your own copy of this little booklet, as I nearly had two copies to myself.  Both my good friend Jen, and also my mother, picked up copies for me knowing what this month was all about.
Now my sister lucks out, since she'll get one, too.

So I decided to make the Sweet & Spicy Beer Nuts...

And from the first ingredient, I deviated from the recipe, huh, and I thought I was such the rule follower.
Here's the recipe as they call for it:
2 cups pecan halves
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup beer

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil.
2. Mix pecans, salt, chili powder, olive oil, cumin & red pepper in small bowl.  Spread on prepared baking sheet. Toast 10 minutes or until fragrant.  Cool on baking sheet on wire rack.
3. Combine sugar and beer in small saucepan.  Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture registers 250 degrees F on candy thermometer.  Remove from heat; carefully stir in nuts and any loose spices. Spread sugared nuts on prepared baking sheet, separating clusters.
4. Let cool completely.  Break up any large pieces before serving.

Author's additions/changes/personal flair:
I'm on the thrifty side, so yeah, I used get more nut for your buck.  (That phrase will come back and haunt me, guaranteed.)
I mixed the spices separate, then coated the peanuts in the olive oil and then tossed them with the spice mixture....and being in a Kingstorf kitchen, I used what spices I could find...and so I had to use Mexican style hot chili powder, so that may kick up the spice factor.
Oh, I made a double batch...which means more nuts later, but less beer left over to drink while you're waiting for the beer/sugar mixture to get to the right temp.  

They have been tasty all through the prepping process...I'm sure one they have totally cooled they will be even tastier.

Day 5: 06066

Day 5: Enjoying all Connecticut has to offer...

I made it from State College to Vernon in a little over 6 hours...I'm thankful for the great bike ride around State College that morning with Kevin, as well as the filling breakfast of Steel Cut Oats.  Honestly...there was a coffee break at Panera, where they were handing out bite sized scones...and maybe I had a twinkie...but other than that I made it on one meal.

I passed the driving time in the truck with lots of singing and playing trucker honk on I-84.  That's a challenge when you're the only one in the have to hope that trucks pass you on the left and you roll down your window and make the honking signal.  It's much easier when there are more people with you. 

Anyway...I ended the day with snacks of cheese & crackers, Klaus crafted omelets, and a salad with greens and herbs from the garden.   The ice cold Munich Style Golden Lager from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company based out of Bloomfield, CT. 

Klaus and Helen each enjoyed a Dirty Helen - from Barley Island Brewing in Noblesville, IN.  And I think Klaus even tapped into something from New Belgium Brewing as well...

Day 4: OhPA!

Day 4: Stop One: Firehouse Grille & Pub (Ravenna, OH)

After several twinkies, I decided I should get out of the truck and eat some real food during this drive.  And by real food, I mean vacation food, so anything that looks tasty. 

You can imagine that I was pretty excited to find a locally owned sports bar...with tasty offerings.
I started with a small Dortmunder Gold from Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, OH.  The brewery describes it as: A smooth lager that strikes a delicate balance between sweet malt and dry hop flavors.  It was a fine way to wash down my burger with chili, cheddar cheese and sour cream.  You should always, always, eat at a place where both chili and sour cream are offered as burger toppings.  Oh, and the fries were good pub fries, better with malt vinegar than with ketchup. 
That meal, along with the interesting conversation at the bar got me safely to State College, PA. 

Stop Two: Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks (Millheim, PA)

A believe it's safe to say that a good time was had by all at the Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks the other night.  With fine hosts, Kevin and Nathan, I enjoyed locally brewed beer and local tasty food.

I started off with the Elk Creek Copper Ale (Kevin's favorite, I think.) Which was a tasty welcome after 12 hours in the truck.  I enjoyed the Double Rainbow IPA while finishing every last bite of my Chicken & Rabbit Stew. (yum)  Nathan had no problem finishing the grilled meatloaf and Kevin polished off the local sausage plate with fried eggplant.  Go figure, 3 empty plates and we still had room for dessert...Nathan had the brownie sundae, Kevin had this super huge piece of really dense carrot cake.  And I had an ice cream float with the porter ... another yum.  It wasn't on the menu, so the proprietor wanted a sip when it arrived at the table...

Many empty glasses and plates later...and also after the torrential downpour we headed home...
Check out the fine establishment here:
Or better yet, just stop in.  It is totally worth the 12 hour drive!

Lest I forget, we also came up with a few good costume ideas for the Hilly Hundred I'll be riding in October...good times. (Picture courtesy of the Elk Creek was not that light out when we arrived nor anywhere near that sunny!)

As this 30 Day adventure continues...the beginning has blessed me with, first and foremost, time with good friends.  Yes, the brews have been tasty, but the conversation and laughter has been a wonderful addition that I had not anticipated :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wings & Rings

Day 3: 30 Days of Beer

Had a blast this evening with my friend Christina...while we didn't solve all the problems of the world, we did catch up on the last 7 months.  Which was great. 
We snacked on some messy fries.  I had the bone in Sweet BBQ very hot wings, she had the gyro and then we split the fried cheesecake for dessert.  
To wash it down I had was a pint of Leinenkugels Summer Shandy and a pint of Killians Irish Red and I think Christina went with a Blue Moon followed by the Summer Shandy. 

We opted to dine inside as it was over 100 at 6:30 this evening.  Apparently there is a heat advisory warning for the next 24 hours...air conditioning and a cold beer is a good thing. 

I learned the other day at Big Red Liquors that 90 degrees is when you can cook beer.  Needless to say, I will not be leaving brews in the truck until the temp goes down.

I'm not gonna lie, I'm looking forward to day 4. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pints & Pedis

Day 2: 30 Days of Beer
Pints & Pedis

A quick shout out to @girlspintout for this fabulous idea! Who doesn't love a pedicure?  Who doesn't like a good beer?  Well, my BFFoFB, Connie, and I missed the actual outing scheduled by Girls Pint Out, so today we did our own.

We enjoyed a few pints at Oaken Barrel Brewery in Greenwood, IN.  Some RazzWheat, Gnaw Bone, Alabaster and a nice combo of RazzWheat & Snake Pit Porter :) (Pics of the pints to be uploaded soon)

After the tasty brews and some bavarian pretzels we headed up the road for some massage chairs, a nice foot soak and some pedicures.  A good time was had by, not only Connie and myself, but also the lovely woman who fancied up our toes. 

I went with the dark blue and flowers :)

Day One: Upland Wheat

It will be interesting to see how delayed my blog entries are...yesterday was day one of 30 days of beer, and I kicked it off with one of my favorites.  Upland Wheat from Upland Brewery in Bloomington, IN.  While I prefer it straight off the tap, or from a growler in the fridge, it is quite nice out of the bottle garnished with a slice or wedge of orange. 
Here's what the brewery has to say about it:
'Upland Wheat Ale is a classic rendition of the Belgian Witbier (white beer) style, which originated in Belgium . We brew it with organic coriander, chamomile, and orange peel to be light on the tongue and refreshingly tart. In the tradition of the Belgian Wit style, Upland Wheat Ale is unfiltered, allowing suspended yeast to create a cloudy, golden appearance and satisfying mouthfeel. Both full-bodied and easy-going, it’s no wonder that Upland Wheat Ale is the flagship beer of our brewery and the best-selling beer brewed in Indiana.'  (

Here I am sporting some of the bling that this brew has been awarded:

Looking forward to more Indiana favorites this evening...