Monthly Archives: October 2013

Spinach Pesto Sauce

Happy Halloween!
am1 I hope you’re all hydrating in preparation for the undoubtedly crazy partying you’ve got planned for the evening! Here’s that pesto recipe I promised you yesterday – stuffed full of healthy spinach, tangy lemon juice and vegan-friendly! I promise you it’s just as good, if not better, than any traditional pesto. And it holds up perfectly to pumpkin ale, or any herb/spice beers.

Spinach Pesto

Serves Makes 1 cup
Prep time 15 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Condiment
A vegan pesto sauce with a hearty dose of spinach.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cups raw pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 + 1/2 cups spinach (washed and patted dry)
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to season to taste)

Optional

  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

Step 1
Place the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat and toast, shaking often to prevent burning.
Step 2
In a food processor combine the toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, spinach, basil and half of the olive oil. (You can add the parmesan cheese here if you so desire.)
Step 3
Pulse multiple times, adding olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.
Step 4
Serve over pasta, on pizza, top bruschetta with this - the possibilities are endless.

I used part of this batch on the homemade pizza we made the other day, and this afternoon tossed it with some al dente pasta for a quick and easy (and healthy) lunch.
am2 After all the candy binging you may happen to do tonight, this will be the perfect “pick me up” to help get you back on track to start your November on the right foot. Holy crap, I can’t believe tomorrey is November.
am3 In other news: the recipe page has been updated yet again! There’s a new batch of pancake recipes, vegetarian spaghetti squash lasagna and green Thai curry among other things. Peruse and drool.

Happy Halloween to all! Have a wonderful, safe evening and use a designated driver! Cheers!

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Rainy Day Meals

I’ve discovered something about myself lately: taking pretty pictures of things in slow cookers is not my forte.
AM Monday was our first truly chilly and drizzly day of the autumn season. The low fog was sending a constant mist over everything. The temperatures hit 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It was officially freezing – the perfect type of day to cook something warm and delicious.
AM2 Coconut Curry Chicken with homemade vegan naan. See? I told you. Not a pretty picture. (Side note: clean up was pretty! I love those slow cooker liners with all my heart!)
AM3 Try again? Nope, still not pretty. All I can do is tell you how very delicious this fragrant and simple dish was, and highly recommend that you make it. And buy some pre-made naan from Whole Foods. The homemade vegan naan was a massive fail on my end.
AM1 Tuesday was pretty similar in terms of weather. We got a three-mile hike in with the pup before returning home with windburned cheeks and frosty noses. I sat down in front of the fire to defrost and was thrilled to see that my Ask a Cicerone article went out yesterday morning!
Screen shot 2013-10-29 at 10.24.02 PM I knew something was up when my views had spiked through the roof by 9am! Always love promoting my local breweries – Verboten Brewing, Loveland Aleworks, Grimm Brothers and oh, so many more that I still need to do full write-ups on!
AM4 After returning phone calls, planning meetings and picking up an un-Godly amount of Halloween candy, I got back into the kitchen to prep for another wonderful meal. Dinner was homemade pizza – one half with my spinach basil pesto recipe (coming up soon once the pictures are all edited) and parmesan, the other with balsamic caramelized onions and bacon over homemade pizza sauce.
am3 I also wound up making another batch of spent grain bread with the remains of my snow day brew day spent grain. Something about this cold weather just makes me gravitate straight to the kitchen!
AM5 After hearing about it all over the blogopshere, I had to try it.
AM6 Lactose intolerant friendly? Yes, please! Flavor? No, thanks, I’m good.

Sorry to say, all you Arctic Zero fans, but I was not in a happy place. Please tell me it’s because my flavor choice was wrong? I’m willing to give it another go if anyone has recommendations… Instead I ate too much Halloween candy and felt ill. Hooray.
AM7 And here’s one more gratuitous beer and beer related pumpkin carving as an apology for the horrific food pictures above. Go in peace.

When it gets cold out, what are your favorite meals to make/beers to drink?

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The Pumpkin Patch

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to a pumpkin patch… The majority of my childhood memories consist of cloudy and misty hayrides, picking apples straight from the trees, scouting out the largest pumpkin that I could lift (if you couldn’t carry it, you couldn’t have it) and then heading back to the farmstand for freshly baked apple cider donuts and a piping hot mug of mulled cider to warm up with. Childhood in the Midwest was very blessed.
am4 After a gorgeous three mile hike on Saturday morning, we stopped by the Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch to pick up some pumpkins for carving and waded through crowds of parents and toddlers…
am5 Pony rides, petting zoos…
am6 A scarily unstable ferris wheel…
am7 …and plenty of face painting booths and corn stalk mazes. Luckily, we escaped unscathed, with pumpkins and caramel corn to boot.
am8 After all the stress of the crowds, and since we were in Longmont, we figured a stop by Left Hand Brewing was in order!
am9 Two taster flights with some of my favorites: Ambidextrous #5 – an amazing doppelsticke alt with a wonderful malt backbone and just enough hops to give it a bite, and Black Jack Porter.
am3 I’d had this for the first time on Friday night and fell in love – warm and toasty with rich notes of dark chocolate and just a hint of coffee with a crisp and refreshing hop end. An easy drinker and a new favorite.
am13 We got those pumpkins carved – Mine is a beer bottle pouring into a beer glass… One track mind, I know. I also happened to receive tickets from some very generous neighbors to the Eagles game in Loveland!
am11 I went with my friends Andrew and Alex. Amazing seats.
am12 It’s hard to follow a game when you have no idea who any of the players are. It was still a fun time, and since I happen to have a handful of tickets for the rest of the season thanks to said generous neighbors, I can’t wait to go back and start learning each and every player and taking a break from my impending employed life. Details coming soon!
am10 Bonus: the event center where the Eagles play happens to feature quite a few local brews! I’m looking forward to plenty of barbecue binges (oooooh, the brisket!) at Nordy’s just down the road, followed by overpriced brews at the stadium from places like Loveland Aleworks, Grimm Brothers and Odell Brewing.

Bonus #2: The Colorado Avalanche won AGAIN last night! Have I mentioned how much I love it here? I can’t get over how wonderful this state is!

What are your pumpkin/Halloween/autumn traditions?

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Simple Kitchen Sink Soup

It’s been quiet around here. Quiet and calm. Until yesterday. Apparently, funemployment is coming to an end shortly, one way or the other. Since the end of my peaceful, quiet and calm time is looming, I’ve been soaking up as much time as I can in the kitchen, hiking in the brisk mornings, and lazing about on the couch watching reruns of terrible, terrible shows on Netflix. Quality time.
am1 The herb garden has hit its end thanks to the repetitive cold frosts we’ve awoken to every morning. I’ve been taking handfuls of dried herbs from this bowl and crumbling them into almost every recipe I’ve created. Including the homemade stock I used for this one.
am Simple Kitchen Sink Soup. I was hoping to make a split pea soup to warm up with and then realized that there were no split peas in the house. Lentils it is! The wonderful thing about this recipe – you can throw anything you want into that pot. I had some carrots, celery and onions that were about to peak, so those were my choices.

Simple Kitchen Sink Soup

Serves 8-10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 7 hours
Total time 7 hours, 15 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
A painfully easy vegan stew, chock full of vegetables and perfect for a chilly autumn evening.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 onions (chopped)
  • 3-4 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 4-5 celery stalks (chopped)
  • 2 cups lentils (rinsed)
  • 8 cups homemade vegetable broth
  • 1 handful any other chopped vegetable you want to use (potatoes, kale, mushrooms, etc.)
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt to taste

Directions

Step 1
In a slow cooker layer each ingredient, one by one, without stirring.
Step 2
Set slow cooker to low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4, until lentils are soft.
Step 3
Season to taste and serve.

I also had plenty of spent grain from my snow day brew day. It was necessary to make some whole grain bread with that.
am2 I may have forgotten to allow it to rise the second time… Ah well. Still delicious.
am3 Smear a slice of this with honey butter and your life will be complete. Bread recipe coming soon!

What’s your favorite autumn recipe? Please share links!

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Snow Day Brew Day

It’s been a busy week followed by a lazy weekend – my favorite kind!
AM We’ve had quite a range of weather as the temperature slowly begins to drop.
AM12 I spent the first part of the week walking around downtown Denver with a hot cup of Bhakti chai and snowflakes slowly drifting down around me, melting right before they hit the ground.
AM13 I’ve found the best way to recover from long cold walks outside (which I’ve been doing almost every single day in this beautiful state) is with hot apple cider, hot pumpkin chai, hot coffee… basically anything hot to help defrost my numb fingers.
AM11 That includes a fresh slice of vegan pumpkin banana chocolate chip bread. Oooooh, yes.
AM14 You guys remember that “Guys Night Out” ticket pack I got? We cashed in on it Thursday night.
AM15 I totally blended in with my ‘stache. No one was the wiser.
AM16 We suffered a painful end to that game. Bexter was a sad panda to see the Avs lose to the awful, terrible Red Wings – the one team with whom we have the biggest rivalry. Le sigh.
AM17 Even with the loss, the Coors Original and the nosebleed seats, it was awesome to be able to go watch in person! And I’ve got a few more games on the schedule to go see! WOOOOOT!
AM18 My brother and I had plans to homebrew the next day. I woke up to a good inch of snow blanketing the ground.
AM1 Absolutely beautiful – until you realize that the brew system is located in his garage and not in a steamy brewery. I scraped snow off of my windshield (for the first time in my life!) and headed over to his house.
AM2 We put together the official recipe and headed out for the important things: grain. And burritos from Matador. Very important to start a brew day with a solid base.
AM6 I happen to have some amazing tea that I first tried in Ojai that inspired me to make a warm, holiday brew with. We started with an experimental brown ale base recipe and will be adding the tea extract into secondary.
AM19 Of course you must “relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew” when you’re homebrewing. Lucky for me, my brother has Citra Smash Lager that he made last month. This is absolutely my favorite Citra beer of all time. Clean and crisp with flavors of honey, lemon and a candy-like fruitiness.
AM7 My bro’s control panel. Intense.
AM10 His entire system is awesomely intense, and surprisingly easy to use thanks to his SOP he’s been working on. I didn’t break anything following the instructions! Hooray!
AM20 Mashing in.
AM8 Mash paddle from the homebrew store – Hops and Berries. This is also where I got my first recipe ever for Dos Beckis!
AM5 Recirculating the mash.
AM21 SCIENCE! My bro and sis-in-law got a new pH meter they wanted to calibrate and try out.

Remember all that snow on the ground? The garage was getting pretty freaking cold. Dave came by and brought my new best friend.
AM9 Glorious heat! This heater doesn’t emit carbon monoxide, but it definitely eats up the oxygen pretty quick. We kept the back window open so we didn’t suffocate. More people started filtering in once that heater arrived.
AM22 Hop additions!
AM23 Pre-pitched wort! Looks like this will be coming in around 5%-ish ABV. Since it was so cold out we didn’t hit many (or any) of our temperatures, but I still have high hopes! The rest of the day was spent drinking more homebrew, making more vegan pumpkin banana chocolate chip bread, eating said bread, drinking more homebrew and listening to “Thrift Shop” and Weird Al. Cuz we’re cool like that.

Have you ever homebrewed before? Any success or horror stories?

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4 Mistakes New Homebrewers Should Avoid

Hey guys! I’m spending the day homebrewing with my bro so I invited Blake Daniels, an avid homebrewer, to do a write-up on his insight and experience. Have a great Friday and follow me on Twitter for brew day updates!

Take it away, Blake!

Bio_Pic

4 Mistakes New Homebrewers Should Avoid

 

Who isn’t brewing these days? It seems like every time I turn around, another friend has picked up (or unwrapped) a shiny new starter kit.Their interest and enthusiasm is a beautiful thing. The first beer they brew probably won’t be – but that’s to be expected! I’ve met quite a few accomplished homebrewers in my day and not a single one of them has accrued their mass of awards with raw talent alone.

 

It’s no secret that the more you brew, the better you get. When something goes right, you figure out why. When something goes wrong, you know what needs to be improved for the next batch. You realize when to follow instructions and when to disregard them. You gain the confidence to try new things. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you fail, but you always learn.

 

Unfortunately, when it comes to brewing, that learning curve can cost a lot in lost time, money, and beer. That being said, the more we can learn from the mistakes of the brewers who have come before us, the better off we’ll be.  

If you’re just getting started, make sure to read the rest of this post carefully – unless you’d rather learn on brew day, the hard way.

 

Mistake 1: Not Doing Your Homework

If there’s one thing I’m adamant about when giving a new brewer advice, it’s this: buy yourself a copy of John Palmer’sHow to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time and don’t brew until you’ve read it. All of it.

Sure, there are plenty of free downloads out there but trust me; not reading the real thing will cost you. Don’t think of it as another paperback to add to your library, think of it as an essential guidebook that’s been specially crafted to help new brewers develop a comprehensive understanding of brewing ingredients, beer styles, recipes, and processes.

 

Mistake 2: Not Taking Sanitation Seriously

If you don’t like cleaning, homebrewing may not be the best recreational activity for you. In fact, my experience has taught me that the two most crucial parts to brewing a good beer are sanitation, and strictly controlled temperature. The temperature rule comes with a little bit of wiggle room but the sanitation thing – not so much.

Star San and a healthy amount of elbow grease are your friends, contamination and infection are not.

 

On brew days, I personally prefer to keep a bottle of sanitizer handy and spray everything before it’s used – and when I say everything, I mean everything – including the thermometer, hydrometer, and even my hands. When it comes to something as important as beer, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

Mistake 3: Going Too Big – Too Soon

I’m talking about batches here, and it’s always wise to start small. A lot of brewers want to dive right into making five gallon batches but there’s much to be said for brewing one gallon at a time. If you pick up a one-gallon starter kit, there’s more room for experimenting and consequently more room for errors. Having something go wrong with a one gallon batch is approximately five times less devastating than having that same issue with a five gallon batch. Once you master a one gallon recipe, go ahead and go big – but in the meantime, know that there’s absolutely no shame in making less.

 

Mistake 4: Not Focusing on the Task at Hand

Brewing buddies are nice to have and while it’s incredibly tempting to drink beer with them while you work, it’s not entirely advisable. Opening one or two bottles isn’t the end of the world but I’ve heard too many sad stories about homebrewers who have ruined their own beer by being too focused on someone else’s.

 

Now, don’t let these warnings scare you. Homebrewing is an incredibly fun, incredibly rewarding hobby. It’s also one of the friendliest! Join a homebrewing organization, read more blogs, connect with other brewers online, and make sure to ask questions. There are countless home and professional brewers out there who were once in your shoes. When it’s done in the name of beer, people love to share!

 

Happy brewing and welcome to the club.

Blake Daniels is a stay at home(brewing) dad with a passion for the simple things in life. On any given day, you’d most likely find him wrestling with his boys, cooking a gourmet meal for his wife or brewing a batch of beer in the garage.

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Link N Hops Giveaway!

Hey everyone! In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t live in California anymore, but I know I have tons of beer-loving readers who do. Link N Hops was one of those magical places that I never actually was lucky enough to visit, but it was always one that I wanted to go to: 18 different types of meat-lovers sausages, 6 types of vegan sausages and a long and beautiful list of beers featuring both from the US and overseas.
link Link N Hops is having an Oktoberfest THIS WEEKEND and has generously offered to give me two free tickets (each with a +1 attached so you can bring a buddy) to readers who are over 21 years of age and will be in the Atwater Village area this weekend. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below and I’ll be choosing those two lucky winners on October 18th around 12pm. You will be required to show ID at the door to receive your tickets. You will receive tickets to only one of the two sessions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More details are featured below. Check it out and good luck!!!

LINK N HOPS OKTOBERFEST!

Saturday and Sunday, October 19th and 20th, from 1 pm-5 pm each day

Join us for our first annual Oktoberfest as we celebrate the fall
season with craft beer and great food for two days in a row in Atwater
Village!

Sip on a variety of seasonal specialty beers by four amazing Southern
California breweries and munch on a savory sausage with Belgian fries.
Enjoy the cooler fall weather of Los Angeles at Atwater Village’s own
sausage and craft beer spot, Link N Hops.

Each brewery will feature Oktoberfest- or Fall-inspired specialty
beers like Pumpkin and amber ales. The breweries involved include
Bootleggers, Hangar 24, New Belgium, and Golden Road.

The Link N Hops Oktoberfest is all about promoting local craft beer
and delicious quality food with a variety of options including vegan
and gluten free.

A $27 ticket gets you six tasters of 6 ounces each, plus a food
option, which includes a sausage sandwich plus fries (one day per
ticket).

A $20 ticket gets you six tasters of 6 ounces each (no food, one day
per ticket).

There will also be a classic car show in the parking lot of Link N
Hops on Saturday, October 19th – More info on that HERE.

PRE-PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

Buy today! Prices go up to $37 and $30 respectively at the door.

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GABF 2013

I honestly didn’t think I would be able to attend the Great American Beer Festival this year. I didn’t realize I’d live in Colorado at this point, so I didn’t even bother trying to get tickets. Lucky for me, I know some awesome, ridiculously helpful people who found a members-only session ticket. 15 hours before the session began, I was in Fort Collins, doing a wonderfully shady ticket purchase inside a bustling brewery.
am19 But let’s rewind to Friday.
am6 I drove down to Denver for the Pink Boots Society meeting!
am4 The founder, Teri Fahrendorf, hosted us at the Vine Street Pub and Brewery. The waiters came around with pitchers and we got down to business.
am3 We enjoyed the Sweet Lady Collaboration Brew #3 – Whackalicious extra pale ale. The ladies get together to brew these beers and the proceeds go towards the PBS scholarship fund.
am5 Jessica Heidrich, the head brewer at St. Erik’s Bryggeryi in Stockholm, was the first recipient of the PBS scholarship and spoke a little about her experience with the online Siebel course and her background.
am11 Kim Jordan, the CEO of New Belgium, also stopped by to give a little insight to her position at the brewery and spoke highly of all of her employees. “Brand is the emotional connection with the consumer.”
am7 Charcuterie plates were brought out, courtesy of the amazing Vine Street Pub.
am9 am10 The owners of the mobile canning service “The Can Van” spoke about their company based out of San Francisco and the benefits to owners of smaller breweries who either can’t fit or afford a canning line, as well as their ability to can smaller batches since they have a lower minimum purchase than other canning services.
am15 We took our traditional group photo and then got to networking.
am14 Lotsa ladies! It was wonderful to get to see half of the Beer Chicks, Christina Perozzi and Cambria of The Bruery again!
am13 Lotsa swag for the raffle!
am12 And some amazing brews brought for the bottle share. After the meeting ended, I headed over to TRVE Brewing to meet up with some of my California folk who were in town for GABF.
am16 Ladyface Ale Companie! We enjoyed some heavy metal brews, talked to the female brewer who was on site, then headed over to yet another wonderful brewery.
am17 Great Divide! I love this place.
am18 And I love this woman! Katie’s my beer nerd soulmate with the happiest personality I’ve ever met. After I dropped them at their hotel, I sped up north for the aforementioned shady ticket deal.
am28 NOW for the GABF recap!
am20 On Saturday morning my bro and sis-in-law picked me up bright and early and we headed back down to Denver. I was given a roll of string and a bag of pretzels to create some beer art/necessary sustenance. We arrived at the convention center and I started to feel slightly panicky as we strolled past sign after sign that said “NO BACKPACKS ALLOWED.” I was wearing my CamelBak. We were miles away from the car.
am23 Praise the Lord, the head security guard was kind enough to let me in. I had to empty all of the water into the street and show them that my backpack only contained camera equipment and they let me slide on by. We walked up the stairs through a band of bagpipers who played us into the hall, then picked up our glasses. Go time.
am21 We headed straight for the far end of the convention center to beat the lines.
am22 So. Many. Breweries!
am24 Look who I found! Lauren is the writer of Me and the Mountains – a wonderful blog full of hiking, foods and craft beer that I’ve been following for about a year. I heard she was working at the GABF and had to swing by to say hi to her and Paige who were working the KIND bar booth.
am31 Blog buddies! So wonderful to meet you in person, Lauren!
am25 My group (we’d expanded from the three of us to about six) stocked up on the free KIND bars and continued on.
am29 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout. Possibly not the best beer to start on. We followed it up with a bunch of sours and basically wrecked our palates. We’re SMRT.
am30 The lines started to get ridiculously long, but they moved through pretty quickly.
am26 Ladyface and LAB repping Agoura Hills!
am34 And I ran into LAB Brewing’s brewer, Roger! I’ve missed him and his Schwarzbier so very much!
am33 I was hoping to record and document all of the beers that I tried, but got caught up in simply enjoying myself and hanging out with wonderful new friends.
LP2 The Liquid Poets Society – the homebrew club of Fort Collins, and soon to be MY homebrew club!
am35 The session closed after 4 hours of delicious sips. After saying hello to friends at The Bruery, Kinetic Brewing and Bravery Brewing amongst many others, we left the building and went in search of food. Lots of food. Lots of Mexican food. And then we went to Falling Rock Taphouse, where it got even crazier.
am36 Lost Abbey’s Red Barn. Yessssssss!
am37 Matthew modeling awesome can art by Lauren of the beer blog Napa of Beer.
am38 My fellow Verboten Sister Ingrid and Cy.
am40 Travis, me, Bill and Bill. There were soooo many Chivers at the fest!
am39 And this is how the rest of the night went. After a few hours the remaining four of us wandered back to the hotel for one final beer and then I crashed in the hotel room that Ladyface graciously offered to share. I am beyond grateful for them and their kindness!
am41 This morning was a little painful, I’m not gonna lie. I walked across the street to Caribou Coffee for a soy pumpkin chai and breakfast sammich. Travis and Kara picked me up in downtown and we headed out for breakfast (For them. I’d eaten my sammich soon after I woke up at 7:30am. Ugh) at Ale House before stumbling across Prost Brewing as we began our drive back north.
am42 We were there before they were open, but the staff kindly allowed us in and gave us a tour of the 35bbl brewery. All German brews on a German brew system. I will be coming here on a future weekend, relax in the bright and open taproom and have a Maß of their Marzen Oktoberfest.
am43 I don’t know why we did this, but we did. And this was less than an hour after Travis proclaimed, “I am never drinking again. Well, at least for today”. It felt rude to get a free tour and not support the brewery. You know that saying “hair of the dog”? It doesn’t work after the Great American Beer Festival. I will vouch for that, and I can’t wait to go back next year!

Have you ever attended GABF or any other awesome beer fest?

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Hike, Rehydrate, Refuel

I can’t get over it. My town. Yesterday morning, I went on a six mile hike through Devil’s Backbone and was rewarded with amazing views and achy legs. And we spotted a missing black llama that the rangers told us to keep an eye out for. That was weird.
am12 It was wonderfully chilly. I love cloudy days.
am10 My spastic hiking buddy. He got so dusty I had to bathe him after and the water was pink.
am11 Streaks of red rocks as far as the eye can see.
am I’ve found that beer is a great way to rehydrate after long hikes. I visited Loveland Aleworks to try their cask Premium English Bitter – smooth and creamy, served at the perfect cellar temperature with soft notes of biscuit and a nice hint of herbal hops on the nose. Very delicious. And hydrating.
am1 To celebrate GABF week they gave away a pint glass to the first 20 people to order a beer on Wednesday.
am3 Boom. Free glass! My cabinets are overflowing with glassware, but I can never turn down repping local.
am2 Each day they’ve been releasing a new beer.
am4 I got a taster of the Abbey Grand Cru – 9%ABV, full of rich raisiny flavor, roast and toffee with a hint of alcohol warmth. It’s an easy drinker, so beware all you bikers and drivers who are lucky enough to snag some before it’s gone!
am8 After Loveland Aleworks I went on a happy hour date with my mumsie! Now that we live in the same state again, it’s been wonderful to get some girl time in. We stopped by Next Door down the main street in Loveland and started off with a Not the Irish red ale from Verboten Brewing.
am5 Braised short rib pintxos with pickled onion, cotija cheese and au jus. Holy heaven.
am6 This could honestly be my last meal on earth and I’d be happy – fall-apart tender short ribs topped with salty cotija cheese, sweet pickled onions which balanced the umami of the dish perfectly, and a dash of spicy horseradish to finish. Mumsie got the vegan quinoa mushroom burger with a side salad. I stole of a bite of hers. I may have forgotten to offer to share mine…
am7 We finished it off with another vegan surprise – chocolate coconut mousse drizzled with coconut rum caramel. Needless to say, we lingered for a while in our seats by the window watching the hanging lights began to illuminate as the sun slowly set before waddling back to the car and driving home in a food coma. It was so worth it.

This morning I’m headed down to Denver for the Pink Boots Society meeting! Unfortunately I wasn’t planning on living in Colorado at the time tickets went on sale, so I’ll be missing out on the full GABF experience until next year. Le sigh. Luckily I still get to rub elbows with all the ladies of beer and see some of my favorite Cali brewers! Happy Friday!

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My Little Town

My little town is wonderful. As are all the towns around it. Since moving here, I’ve been exploring every nook and cranny and loving it.
am A shared flight at Verboten Brewing in Loveland.
am2 Vegan nachos with cashew cheese at Tasty Harmony in Fort Collins.
am10 I found this 2009 (!!!!) Angel’s Share in the local liquor store, just chillin’ there, waiting for someone to realize its worth. That baby went straight to the cellar after the moths fluttered out of my wallet.
am9 A flight at City Star Brewing in Berthoud.
am5 Motorcycling around town and through the backcountry and mountains. Happiness.
am1 The simple things like being home on a cold and rainy day with a blazing fire and a glass of pumpkin ale.
am3 Sleepy puppy on the drive home from a playdate with his brother.
am6 Sleepy puppy still worn out from playing with dogs three times his size.
am7 Awake puppy interested in a perry.
am13 New camera lenses.
am11 Hockey season! I was a diehard Colorado Avalanche fan for years when I lived here before, and now that I’m back, I’m diving in headfirst.
Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 8.29.34 AM I most definitely got that “Guys Night Out” deal. Avs vs. Red Wings with a beer and t-shirt? Give me the worst seat possible, I wouldn’t miss that game for the world! Now I just have to figure out where I packed my fake mustache. And no, I’m not kidding.
am14 I’ve found that the best way to truly enjoy a hockey game is with my Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese. With bacon. Bacon makes the world go round.
am15 My new camera bag I found at Jax! After my stupid Nikon bag buckles broke and dropped by beloved camera to the ground, I’ve been in search of something more secure. While this Kavu bag isn’t technically made for cameras, it happens to fit a camera and two lenses in two separate compartments with foolproof zippers.
am16 And the strap is made of climbing rope. Awesome. I think I’m in love.

What’s your favorite part of your little town?

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