Thursday, December 22, 2016

Penny Brewing - Home Brew

I work for a manufacturing company; a company that makes stuff that goes into other stuff. It’s pretty cool.

One of our engineers – not one of those fake,self-titled engineers – but a real, full-fledged AutoCAD using designer of stuff (that goes into other stuff) brews beer at home.

He doesn't do it alone. He has the help of his girlfriend, April, and  his brother-in-law, Mike. Matt says he would have a lot more spilled beer if it wasn’t for April. And, she's awfully darned cute, too.

Anyhoo, Matt was kind enough to share a six pack of his homemade beer in a variety of styles and flavors. Yay me!

Over the course of an afternoon I sampled each and every brew. I wasn't necessarily surprised by the quality of the beers; from my experience, homebrewers put a lot of love and passion into their creations. I wasn't disappointed by any of them.

All of Matt's brews were true to style and well crafted; the colors, flavors, and mouthfeel delightful.

S.T.A.T. (Double IPA 8.2%) - Aside from being a good tasty IPA, I especially liked the effervescence in S.T.A.T. It has a playful, tingly mouthfeel; much like a sparkling wine. I liked that a lot.

Swigs of Centauri (Double IPA 8% aka Sip of Sunshine) - I like Swigs much better than Sip of Sunshine. The hop profile was more to my taste. So much more drinkable.

Space Case (Double IPA 7.23%  aka Fuzzy Baby Ducks) - named after the spacey instructor who taught Matt about NE IPAs. I really wouldn't compare it to Ducks (which I love). Space Case can stand on it's own as simply a good IPA.

Curious George (Belgian Strong Dark Ale 8.5% ) - Although I'm a big fan of IPAs and Matt did a great job with all of them, I think my favorite was the Belgian Strong Ale; it was really quite nice and super flavorful.

Pumqueen (Spiced vegetable brown ale 9.2%) - Pumqueen was delish. Well spiced but not overdone. A yummy pumpkin ale.

Mounds out of mole hills (Chocolate Coconut Porter 6.5%) - My only "disappointment" was that I would have liked more coconut in the Mounds. With a hint a coconut and chocolate, overall it's a nice solid porter.

Our employer may not appreciate me saying this, but Matt and his partners could do well for themselves as brewers.

I can't wait for him to bring me more of his creations!


Friday, December 16, 2016

The Original Cigar & Bar

If you're ever visiting North Conway, New Hampshire and you enjoy a long relaxing smoke paired with a luscious libation, I suggest you visit The Original Cigar & Bar.

It doesn't look like much from the outside, just a double wide manufactured building, but inside is a well-stocked bar, comfy chairs & couches, a big screen television with  a fairly impressive humidor packed with a nice selection of sticks. The Original Cigar & Bar is no Carnegie Cigar Club. It is way more down to earth and totally my kind of place. It would be my Cheers if I nearby.

The afternoon hubby and I decided to drop in, the bar was hosting a tap takeover by Moat Mountain Brewing Company.  As I settled into my bar stool,  I was greeted by friendly staff who poured me a pint and helped me pick out a couple of very nice Oliva cigars. Seated to the right of me was Moat Mountain's brewer, Scotty. How cool is that?

I lit up and sipped my beer. Hubby and I chatted with Scotty and had a really nice time. Simply smoking cigars, drinking beer, and enjoying the company. It was a little taste of freedom. It was decidedly awesome.

Oh, if you ever decide to spend some time at The Original Cigar & Bar and you begin to feel a bit peckish, Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery is practically next door. They have great food and, you guessed it, a fantastic beer selection.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Big Water Brewing

Anyone who really knows me knows I don't like crowded places. I especially don't like fairs and carnivals. Beer fests are barely tolerable but, you know, beer.

Fryeburg Fair is the exception. It's so much like the agricultural fairs I remember from my youth; I love going there.

I was like a little kid. Dragging my poor husband all over the place.  Ooo, ooo look at this. Ooo, ooo look at that! Ooo, ooo . . .
He's very patient. He just follows the bouncing butt.

We checked out all manner of livestock, stuffed our faces with meaty goodness and vinegar soaked french fries, looked at crafts and various demonstrations.

After all that excitement,  we were looking forward to kicking back with a nice cold brew.

We stopped at the Vista Country Store on the way back to our motel. I've blogged (click link) about this store before, they have a great beer selection and there's always something good to try.

I was tired and not really paying attention to what was going on in the store, all I wanted was something cold to drink and was totally focused on trying to pick out something from the beer cooler.

The beer manager asked if we needed help. I was like, "Nah, just looking for something new to try."

He was like, "Do you like sours? We're doing a tasting right over here."

I was like, "Ooo, ooo" Once again, with a sigh, hubby was following the bouncing butt.

What a happy surprise. Ben Jones from Big Water Brewing was doing a tasting of his sours. YUM!

Ben was very generous with both his time and pours. He let us taste from every bottle and happily talked about his brews.

All of the beers were distinctive; the variety of flavors was amazing. I can't say I liked them all, but I certainly appreciated them all.

It wasn't an easy choice, but we decided on a bottle of Raspberry Lambic. Mainly because it was so light and refreshing and that's just what we were looking for.

We got back to the motel, popped that bottle and kicked back.  The lambic paired very well with my Acid Kuba Kuba cigar.

Good stuff.

Check out this excellent article in NH Magazine on Ben and his brewery -  Big Water Brewing.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Brauista in the news

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cooking with Beer - Drunken Pork Chops

The Yuengling brewery is located in my home state of Pennsylvania; Pottsville, Pennsylvania to be exact.  It holds the distinction of being the oldest brewery in the United States and is the second largest American-owned brewery . . . second only to the Boston Beer Company, makers of Sam Adams beer.

Starting in 1829 the founder David Yuengling, a German immigrant, made beer for thirsty coal miners in Pottsville.  In the 1940’s Yuengling was a struggling company barely making ends meet. Now it’s sells 1% of the country's beer.  And for good reason . . . it’s good beer!

Yuengling, pronounced ying-ling,  is German for "young man"; which is appropriate considering that it’s a family owned company that changes ownership by the offspring of the previous owner. However, currently there are no more young men to carry on the family tradition -- only young women.  The current owner is training his four daughters the ins and outs of the brewing business and one day they will take over . . . will the brewery then change it’s name to Yuengdame?

Just askin’  . . .

Yeungling Drunken Pork Chops

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Unsalted butter
5-6 Pork Chops- Bone-In or Boneless
Salt And Pepper To Taste
1 Bottle Of Beer (The Darker The Beer, The More Flavorful The Sauce. I Used Yeungling Black And Tan.
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Ketchup
Bread Crumbs

Marinate the pork chops in the beer overnight.

Coat the chops in the bread crumbs.  Reserve the beer.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Place the breaded chops in the skillet and brown 10 minutes on each side.

While the pork chops are browning, combine beer, ketchup, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and turn down to a simmer.

Remove pork chops from the pan.  Pour the sauce into the skillet. Stir to loosen up the browned bits. Bring to a high simmer and thicken the sauce a bit. In a small cup, combine 1 TBSP of cornstarch in 1/4 of water. Stir to combine and add to boiling sauce, whisk so no lumps form.

Serve the chops with mashed potatoes or rice. Top with the thickened sauce.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Knitted Beer Socks

The following is a simple pattern for Beer Socks. The finished material is stretchy enough to fit most beer cans and bottles. The socks help keep your beer cold with the added benefit of keep condensation off your hands.

This is a simple pattern that requires basic knitting skills.  Once you get started, this is a quick project; the hardest part is knitting in the round.

The yarn pictured here is Sensations Smania Yarn which is a ribbon type yarn, but you can use any medium weight wool blend or cotton blend yarn. You can make about 4 - 6 beer socks from one skein of this particular yarn - figure 24 yards for each sock.

You will need:

  • a set of 4 size 6 US double pointed knitting needles
  • a stitch marker
  • scissors and yarn needle

Cast on 36 stitches. Evenly distribute your stitches onto 3 double pointed needles - 12 stitches per needle. Join in round; be sure to arrange the stitches so that they are not twisted. Place a stitch marker if desired to mark end of round.

Using the free needle, knit the first stitch. Pull the loop on the right needle through the stitch on the left needle.

Continue knitting with the free needle in a ribbed pattern - knit 2, purl 2 around - working the stitches on the left needle.

When all the stitches are worked off the left needle, that one will become the free needle and work the stitches off of the next needle in the "triangle".

When you get to the stitch marker, you've reached the end of the first row.

Continue working in the established ribbed pattern for 3.5 to 4 inches.

Bind off loosely. Cut yarn and weave in ends.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cooking with Beer - Beerific Tequila Tacos

What's better than taco night? Tacos and beer!

Scratch that.  Tacos made with beer! And tequila.


This from-scratch recipe is oh-so-much better than the packaged taco seasoning mix; mouthwatering and savory. Fresh veggies and the combination of spices is wonderful. The jalapenos and spicy pepper beer give the mixture a kick. The tequila sends it into a whole other realm of awesomeness.

Totally drool-worthy.

Beerific Tequila Tacos

Taco Meat

1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Red Onion, Chopped
3 Large Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
1 Large Tomato, Chopped
1/4 Cup (or more) Pickled Jalapenos
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro
1 Teaspoon Sazon Adobo Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Tony Chachere's Seasoning
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
3/4 Pound Ground Beef
3/4 Pound Ground Pork
12-Ounce Can Twisted X Fuego Pepper Beer
     (or other spicy pepper beer)
3 Ounces Tequila

Toppings and stuff

Taco Shells
Pickled Jalapenos
Shredded Lettuce
Avocado/Tomato Salad (recipe below)
Shredded Mexican Cheese Mix
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, saute the onions, cilantro,
and garlic until soft and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour a shot of tequila into the pan and mix with the sauteed garlic and onions. Add the tomatoes and jalapenos to mixture. Stir in the spices, seasonings, and 3 ounces of the beer. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.

Add the ground beef and pork to the pan. Break up into bits with the back of a wooden spoon. Allow to brown a bit then add the 3 more ounces of beer and another shot of tequila.  Bring to a boil then turn heat down to medium low. Cook the meat, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.

Pour another shot of tequila and pour the remaining beer into a glass. Set aside.

Avocado Tomato Salad: Chop a small tomato. Slice a medium avocado. Add both to a small bowl. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Squeeze a half a lime over top and gently mix. Refrigerate until ready to put the tacos together.

When the meat is cooked, remove it from the  from heat and make yourself a pile of wicked good tacos. Enjoy the shot of tequila and glass of pepper beer with your tacos.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

If we're lucky, there will be beer there

My husband shared an article with me on 
alternate uses for beer.  I know he was trying to help me with blog content but I’m still surprised.  As far as he’s concerned any use for beer, other than drinking it, is considered alcohol abuse.  

A lot of the alternative uses call for left over flat beer.  Left over beer??  I’m not sure I know what that is or how it’s even possible.

Some of the uses I was familiar with . . . and others were unexpected.  I use beer for cooking . . . chili, bread, soup, etc.  Beer works great as a meat tenderize (let it marinate for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge).

I’ve heard of it being used as pest control.  After all . . . who can resist beer?  Make a beer trap for hornets by putting beer in an old jar and punch holes in the lid . . . the bastards will be able to get in the jar but not out.  To distract and terminate garden pests like sligs and earwigs . . . bury a can just up to its lip in the garden and fill the can with beer; they’ll fall in and get caught. Just make sure you check the trap daily, emptying it and refilling it with new beer.  

To trap fruit flies . . . I hate those little buggers!  Put some beer in a cup; cut the corner off of a sandwich bag and place the cut corner in the cup; folding the rest around the cup and securing with a rubber band.

To enrich soil and help grass to grow?  One of the uses was to add  few tablespoons of flat beer to the soil. Plants absorb nutrients, sugar and energy from the beer and help them grow.  Interesting.

As hair therapy?  This one I’ve heard of but never tried . . . until now.  Beer is credited with adding bounce, shine and vitality to hair.  The sugars in beer are supposed to add shine and the proteins from the malt and hops found in beer coat, rebuild and repair damaged hair. 

Choose a beer that does not have a strong odor. Shampoo and rinse hair as usual . . . then pour the flat, warm beer on your hair and work it through. Rinse with lukewarm, not hot, water.

The beer rinse was something easy enough to try.  I left a beer out overnight to de-fizz it . . . shhhh, don't tell my husband.  I used a baking soda wash with apple cider vinegar rinse.  Then a second rinse with the beer.  My analysis, my hair doesn't seem to have more body or bounce but it is clearly shiny as hell and looks pretty darn healthy.   It doesn't smell like beer . . . which I'm not so sure wouldn't be a bad thing . .. rowr! My hair was manageable and blow dried smooth and soft with absolutely no additional products used.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Pineapple Basil Brewtail

I was recently reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. An interesting book, to be sure. However, I can't understand how a book about a pedophilic middle-aged man absconding with a 12 year-old for the express purpose of fulfilling his carnal fantasies for little girls became a classic.  Just sayin'.

Anyhoo, in the book, Humbert mentions his favorite drink is gin and pineapple juice

“I had a drink. And another. And yet another. Gin and pineapple juice, my favorite mixture, always double my energy.”

I like pineapple juice and gin but I've never considered mixing them. Frankly, I'm a straight up uber dry martini kinda gal - lots of olives. Nonetheless interested, I googled the combination and found a drink that sounded absolutely fabulous - a Pineapple Basil Cocktail. It's probably not what Humbert Humbert consumed, but his tastes and mine don't necessarily intersect.

The pineapple basil cocktail looked summery and refreshing. A perfect drink to make for chillin' on the deck on a hot day.

I modified the original recipe only by substituting  beer for the club soda - I used Two Roads Honeyspot Road White IPA. The result was amazing - crisp, light, and cooling. Just like Humbert Humbert, I had one drink, and another, and yet another.

So good!

Pineapple Basil Brewtail 

3 Medium to Large Basil Leaves
Quarter Wedge of a Lime
1/4 cup Fresh Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 oz Good Gin
Ice Cubes

Roll the basil into tubes and slice into thin strips. Put the basil into a glass and squeeze the lime wedge over top. Drop the lime wedge into the glass and muddle with the basil. Add pineapple juice, gin, and ice cubes, and top with the beer. Garnish as desired.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Nitro in a can

For the past few months, whenever hubby and I are out for wings and beer night, I keep seeing television commercials for Guinness Nitro IPA. I say to myself, "That's interesting, I really should try that".

I usually like beer on a nitro tap; I love the smooth creaminess the nitro bubbles impart to the brew.

However, I have the long term memory of a goldfish and I kept forgetting to pick some up.

Flash forward a couple weeks (months or some such),  I finally remembered to look for said beer while I'm out shopping.

Clueless lil' ol' me discovered there were numerous varieties of canned nitro brews. Sheesh! Decisions, decisions.

I picked up the Guinness Nitro IPA and a couple Samuel Adams Nitros; Nitro IPA and Nitro White Ale, respectively.

Overall, the canned nitros present quite prettily in a glass; a cascading fall of tiny little bubbles. They are generally quite easy going and very drinkable. They have a lush, smooth mouth feel. Unfortunately, despite the infusion of gas, they fall quite a bit flat in the carbonation department. I like the tingly feel of voluminous effervescence in traditionally carbonated brews.

Don't get me wrong. They're not horrible, just not my thing. That being said, I wouldn't turn one down if offered.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I have discovered my new favorite summer beer.

It happened during a regularly scheduled wings and beer night. New on tap was TropiCannon. I'm always up for trying something new. A new Heavy Seas beer? Bring it!

The brew was brought forth. One whiff and I thought I died and went to heaven.

The aroma of this beer is so flippin' salivatory. I'm drooling just thinking about it. Loads and loads of tropical fruit and a smidge of tart grapefruit. The smell simply makes my salivary glands gush.

And the taste? OMG! Like IPA swimming in a sea of sweet juicy fruits  and snappy citrus.

I promptly went out and bought a case. Drank that case. Bought more. Repeat.

TropiCannon is awesome. Drink it.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.

I’ve been known to imbibe on occasion . . . sometimes more occasionally than others.  

When I’m drinking with someone else we always toast each other; even if it’s just to clink glasses.  I mindlessly touch my glass with the person I’m with and at the very least simply raise the glass to the other; symbolically clinking . . . after all, that IS what is done.  But why exactly do we perform that little ritual?  Does the toast only really matter if you actually touch glasses?  Does raising your glass and saying “clink” to the people you can’t reach count?

Russian tradition is that the only time you don’t clink glasses is when you’re drinking in honor of the dead.  Conversely, if you fail to clink when making a happy toast means that someone is going to die.  It seems a small thing to do to keep someone else (or yourself) from an untimely death, no?  Russian’s also believe that the toast only matters if you actually touch glasses.

Note to self - do not ever go vodka shot for vodka shot with a bunch of Ukranian dudes. It happened once. The result wasn't pretty.  :)

What could be worse than death?

It is a widespread European superstition that failure to make eye contact with your drinking companions as you clink results in a bad sex life for a year.  That sounds pretty risky to me.  

Apparently, it’s also pretty perilous to clink with an empty glass and clinking across someone else’s arm. Seriously bad luck!

Many believe that sounding the bell can help ward off evil spirits . . . the clinking of glasses after a toast was a way of getting rid of devils while drinking.

Another school of thought is that the point of striking glasses together was meant to be done so that some of the liquid from each glass would spill into the other . . . to deter someone from poisoning you.

Perhaps it is nothing more than a silly drinking game; happily clinking away as much as possible.

Whatever the reason, raising a glass and striking them together demonstrates harmony and friendship.  And is a nice exclamation to punctuate the toast.