Happy New Year to all! I hope you all had a wonderful, safe holiday! I spent my evening sipping a homemade hot toddy, coughing up a storm and watching In Bruges. Not quite the successful evening we’d planned, but we were miserably comfortable.
I’m attempting to sum up some highlights of this year with pictures, and I’ve realized that I have had a WONDERFUL year. If you thought 30 pictures was bad, prepare yourself for a visual onslaught.
The first of many, many nights at Ladyface, TRULY appreciating beer.
Learning all-grain brewing with Grayson and Frank.
Watching my first polo match in Indio.
Staying in a hotel in Indio where someone was possibly murdered…
Multiple trips to Ojai.
Opening my first brew: Dos Beckis!
Recording ADR for a film that has yet to surface… C’mon, Scott!
Enjoyed my first (of many) sangrias at Sofrita!
Created a recipe for Newman’s Own!
Had a blogger meetup at Ladyface.
Made Oatmeal Stout Brownies with Caramelized Bacon – this has gotten me recognized in the brewery and at the homebrew shop: “Hey, you’re the one who made the brownies with bacon!”
Attempted to resign, and then officially resigned from my retail job.
Went to Colorado for two weeks…
Was so sick that every time I inhaled I had to cough. (Seriously, I didn’t sleep for a week thanks to this horrible illness as I’m sure you can see in that picture!)
Went to the Odell’s Small Batch Revival. I jokingly told my brother that once he and his wife opened their brewery, I would be pouring in their taproom. They said, “We’d really prefer a sommelier for beer.” I went home, researched, and found the Cicerone program.
I became a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. I’m scheduled to take the exam to become a Certified Cicerone in the next few months…
Became a member of the American Homebrewers Association.
Was featured on The Chive three times!
Went to Breckenridge for a show and got to meet/interview the head brewer, Matt Darling.
…and enjoy Breckenridge in all of its chilly glory.
Purchased a MacBook Pro with my own earnings.
Purchased a camera. Then immediately upgraded to an even better camera!
Visited Wades Wines new tasting room. Then visited again and again and again. Then was interviewed by The Beer Wench.
Tried mussels for the first time. Tried mussels for the last time.
Visited Island Brewing Company.
Got a tour from the brewer.
Brewed my second batch of beer with the Maltose Falcons.
Finally trespassed and got a closeup look at an old abandoned water park.
Became a founding member of Ladies at Ladyface. Haven’t missed a meeting since.
Went to the second concert of my entire life with my friend/cousin Allie. She owled.
Went to Seattle for the first time in my life.
Visited Elysian Brewing Company and became obsessed with their Avatar Jasmine IPA.
Learned how to use the bus and visited Deschutes Brewery on our way down from Seattle.
Made a pit stop at Sierra Nevada Brewing in Chico to try all SIXTEEN of their brews.
Met the brewers at Enegren Brewing Company.
Weasled my way into the brewery and started volunteering there so I could be a Cicerone Certified Beer Server who’d actually served beer to people instead of just passed an online test. Then they threw me into a brewniform, let me help with a brew day and got stuck with me.
I learned how to lift 50lb kegs over my shoulder while wearing heels. Enegren will seriously have a hard time getting rid of me.
I visited TONS of breweries. The few I’ve featured are only skimming the top…
I created some delicious recipes for the autumn season…
Some boozy autumn recipes as well.
One of my recipes was featured on Taste Terminal and was their second most popular post of 2011!
Discovered a program for HDR and went slightly beserk with that. Consequently, I realized that food doesn’t always do so well with HDR.
Brewed again with Frank and Grayson up in Santa Barbara.
Met the Beer Chicks at the latest Ladies at Ladyface.
And that’s barely skimming the surface. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all!
Raising a glass to 2012 being as good, or even better than 2011.
I had my first kegging session up in Santa Barbara yesterday! My completely awesome friend Grayson helped me rack off my beer into a three gallon keg (kindly provided by Enegren Brewing) and we bottled the other two gallons.
Grayson decided to be a manly man and do the difficult tasks of removing tubing from racking canes. Thanks, Gray!
This carboy smelled DELICIOUS! You can see the remains of the vanilla bean in the bottom there, and a good pumpkin homebrew that we had to sip whilst bottling. Seriously, it’s a requirement: Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.
Carboy, keg, capper: joy on a table.
Grayson’s cat attempted to eat my priming sugar.
Cats + priming sugar = hyper! In case you didn’t know…
My beautiful, BEAUTIFUL beer! We had to try some, of course. ROCKED my world! Now I just need to name it! Suggestions, anyone? It’ll be hard to top Dos Beckis…
Afterwards we hit our old stomping grounds of IV (Isla Vista) and got some Indian slop at Naan Stop. New tradition: any time I’m up there for Cicerone studying/kegging/any reason at all, we’ll be visiting Naan Stop. Delicious memories!
Today I drove out to Fountain Hills, Arizona for the fine art and wine festival. After setting up the booth, feeling exhausted and ready to drop, we had our priorities straight. Bed, you ask? Um, no.
SANGRIA! Sofrita in Fountain Hills is my absolute FAVORITE place for anything edible in Fountain Hills. There was fruit in my sangria: therefore edible, therefore dinner. Win.
Two and a half months ago, my cousin Allie and I visited Roman Holiday for the first time. And second time. Yes, it was so good that we went there two days in a row.
When a Screamin’ Daily Deal for Roman Holiday appeared in my inbox, I grabbed at it right away.
We arrived at 3:30: right around when happy hour was starting, of course.
Seeing that it was a scorching eighty degrees out, an icy red wine Sangria seemed necessary.
The second Sangria was also necessary. Just trust me on this.
We loaded up our cards (if you don’t understand what this means, I sum it up in THIS blog post) and went around to the dispensers tasting all the wines. Allie went for some of the rare whites, I went for the reds that had pretty labels. It was a very scientific process.
We opted to go for the happy hour deal ($5 off each platter) and get a combo platter.
MEAT! We ordered the heirloom prosciutto, Italian speck, cave aged gruyere, L’Amuse gouda and O’Banon goat cheese along with five condiments on the side: dried cherries, fig jam, raisin/apple chutney with mustard seed, organic honey and Fuji apple slices.
Since we were being all fancy anyway, I decided to try their “Beachfire Margarita” – a mix of tequila, elderflower liqeur, grapefruit juice, fresh chopped cucumber and a dash of smoked scotch with a Kilauea black sea salt rim. This tasted nothing like a margarita, but I loved that it wasn’t overly sweet and the smoky finish was lovely!
Unbeknownst to us, last night was actually Roman Holiday’s grand opening! The place was soon packed to the brim with the Chamber of Commerce and others out looking for a delicious happy hour place. They had the champagne tower and everything, but since I’m so freakin’ short, I couldn’t get a good view, much less a good picture.
That’s what our evening started to look like once they passed out that free champagne… Deliciously fuzzy!
Jeremy was our waiter last night. Shockingly enough he and Chris (the bartender from the LAST time we came in) both remembered us! I showed him that he’d made it into my previous blog. Or his quote did…
“Oh, you know me: just pollinating the customers!”
Possibly my favorite, most memorable quote of all time.
The rest of the night was spent jacuzzi-ing and rocking out to new country music. That’s how we roll!