Monthly Archives: December 2013

Farewell 2013

2013 was a wonderful, painful, beautiful, heartbreaking and joyous year. I warn you now – this is a picture and link heavy post. It was a busy, busy year.
amBaby Avery at our first Ladies at Ladyface of 2013.
am1I made my first grown-up purchase – a new Prius C to help me drive those 100 miles per day I averaged with my post-assistant-brewer job.am2A media access preview night at Chloe’s – Golden Road’s secret pub space.am3My pops happened to be in town and was able to join me.AM4Abandoned places. I love them so.AM5John, Patty and Joe from The Chive came to visit!AM6For my birthday, the parental unit flew out and surprised me with a beautiful suite on the coast.AM7Abandoned places. I seriously am obsessed.AM8So tragically beautiful.AM9Irish Car Bomb bread pudding. I insist on taking a little credit for the idea of this… I think Phil and Thomas from Custom Melt and Custom Pie might allow that.AM10Death by chocolate with Jenny.AM11Samuel Adams Brewery for training. I passed.AM12I had Utopias. Epic.AM13Met Ben Franklin. He told me to “Chive On”.AM14Had my first raw oyster. I didn’t hurl. I actually enjoyed it!AM15Consumed the most kickass donut that exists in the entire universe.AM16Traveled to Sierra Nevada Brewing for more training.AM17I say “training” very loosely. We mostly just drank their amazing beer and ate wonderful food.AM18We were spoiled by some specialty cellar brews.AM19I brewed at Miller in Irwindale. I drank Coors Golden got a can of Coors Golden and let my coworkers finish it.am20This is a big frickin’ brewery. HUGE.am21Took inappropriate pictures of brewers in short shorts. I’m not sure if the majority found it wonderful/hilarious or frightening/NSFW…am22Was given a personal tour of The Bruery in Orange by Tyler King himself!AM25Another personalized tour of Golden Road Brewing for a client I was schmoozing.AM26Ladies at Ladyface: TWO YEARS!AM27This little one kept growing!AM28Banjo and Fiddle Fest with Enegren’s Brew Chief Joe Nascenzi.AM29Family brew day in Colorado!AM30I passed the Cicerone test!!!! I had to decide which cellar beer to break open to celebrate with.AM31Honestly, a good two and a half years of my life studying everything beer for that moment.AM32My first recipe/picture accepted to FoodGawker!AM33Did I mention I passed the Cicerone test? I’m still kinda psyched about that…AM34Hosted a Samuel Adams beer dinner at Roy’s in Woodland Hills.AM35Hosted a Firestone pairing dinner at Salt in Calabasas.AM36Got my Chivette shirt and a mustache hat.AM37The parental unit came to visit again!AM38Went to Boston to see Commander Matt’s family and enjoyed tons of seafood and kayaking.AM39Got the worst burn I’ve had in my entire life. I still have a tan line to THIS DAY, and it doesn’t look like it’s planning on fading anytime soon…AM40Stopped by The Chive before they moved out of Venice. I miss them!AM41Celebrated Avery’s first birthday! AM42Started going to archery every Saturday.AM43Angel City Brewery tour for works!AM44Said farewell to J.J. – a beloved Lady at Ladyface who moved to Oregon.AM45Watched this movie. Three times. It’s that awfully amazing.AM46My lovely Janelle cooked me this delicious dinner and became my strongest shoulder. AM47A great friend invited me down to his neck of the woods for good beers and yet another brewery visit.
AM48Hosted a Golden Road pairing dinner at Tuning Fork in Studio City.AM49I was able to dress casual for work for the first time in seven months since I was “repping the brewery”.AM50Went to the Citrus Classic Hot Air Balloon Festival.AM51And hosted the beer pairing dinner there.AM52Visited Figueroa Mountain’s new taproom in Santa Barbara.AM53Traveled to Colorado for a weekend and decided it was time to get back to where I belong.AM54Said farewell to my brew boys who kept watch over me in college. Congratulations to Grayson – almost officially old and engaged!!!AM55Met and said farewell to Wolf Creek Brewery’s replacement for me – Joseph Isaac, assistant brewer extraordinaire who owes me a beanie and beers since the Colorado Avalanche destroyed the LA Kings… Before they destroyed us back…AM56Another dinner with two of the people I adore the most on this earth.AM57Had a catch-up/farewell luncheon with Yousef Abu-Taleb – my favorite Beast from back in the day.AM58A Vertical Epic tasting with my Ladies of Ladyface. Heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time.AM60Drove my little car across California, Arizona and Utah to cross into Colorado!AM61The view from my current home.AM62Testing the local breweries – Black Bottle Brewing.AM63Lunch and tea with my oldest best friend, Michelley.AM64Traveled to Germany and had a beer in the town center after 30 hours of being awake.AM65Went to Andechs Monastery and had the best beer of the entire Germany trip.AM66Had Weiswurst and Weissbier for breakfast at the Glockenspiel.AM67Went to Salzburg, Austria on a day trip.AM68Found an amazing wine bar in München and became friends with the owner.AM69Went to Amsterdam and took the Canal tour.AM70Visited Anne Frank’s house. Speechless.AM71Visited Heineken. Delicious.AM72Went to Scotland and visited Cask and Barrel.AM73Went to Loch Ness.AM74Visited the ruins of Dunollie.AM75Went to BrewDog in Edinburgh!AM78Flew back home and cuddled with my Barleywhine.AM79Took a few spins around town on the motorcycle.AM80Went to City Star Brewing in Berthoud.AM81Found a great girls’ night spot at Next Door in Loveland.AM82Went to GABF.AM83Got together with California friends at GABF.AM84Met Lauren from Me and the Mountains at GABF!AM85So many wonderful Californians at GABF. I miss them.AM86Pink Boots Society meeting.AM87Brewed on the first official snow day in Colorado.AM88Went to a Colorado Avalanche game and wore a mustache.AM90Went to Left Hand for a flight.AM91Halloween, pumpkins and good beer.AM92Brewed at Verboten with the Verboten Sisterhood. Pink Saison – turned out delicious!AM93Broke out my old brew boots for the occasion.AM94Got hired at Loveland Aleworks!AM95Found and drank KCCO Black Lager!AM96Went for a weekend getaway to Fraser. AM98Made some awesome new recipes – this one featuring Gingerbread Ale by Bison Brewing.AM99Almost lost my Barleywhine to HGE. He lived and thrived. We’re all so very thankful.AM100Re-met Curtis and met Liz Chism of Council Brewing when they stopped by for a flight!
christmasWore a battery-operated, homemade ugly Christmas sweater to serve beer to all those thirsty folk on Christmas Eve.

It’s been a year full of amazing memories, wonderful friend and people and moments I’ll never forget. I don’t regret a single thing, and I am so very blessed. Thank you, 2013, for a beautiful year!

What are your favorite memories from 2013?


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!
christmas5I hope your day is filled with grace, loved ones and celebration!
christmasA good brew wouldn’t hurt, either.
christmas1Or wine. I don’t judge.
christmas2Merry Christmas and God bless!
christmas4(Memories of Christmas past)


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Christmas Foods Roundup

It’s Christmas Eve Eve! I think it’s about time to get those recipes in order. Here are some of our family traditions and my recommendations for some epic meals for the day!
eggsSavory Christmas Bread Pudding – aka Eggs Portugal. We’ve had this every year as far back as I can remember, and I can’t imagine a Christmas without it! Serve it with fresh apple cider and coffee, and you’re good to go!
am5Eggnog Spiked Christmas Kettle Corn – in between second, third and fourth helpings of the bread pudding, this is an easy and delicious go-to snack to keep up the blood sugar!
kagerMolasses Spiked Sirups Kager – these are a slightly healthier version of a family recipe, and can be made vegan-friendly!
PorterCookiesVanilla Porter Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies – wonderfully rich chocolate cookies with a burst of sweetness from the maraschino cherries and a boozy frosting to top it off.
AM8Wilted Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple-Glazed Pecans – if you need a break from the sugar, this is a wonderful appetizer/side dish/meal to help you feel just a tad better before sitting down for the Christmas ham (or fifth helping of Savory Christmas Bread Pudding in my case).
caffeCaramel Pecan Caffetini – finish the long day with a decadent chocolate-coffee martini, drizzled with salted caramel sauce. Make sure you’ve changed back into fuzzy pajama pants for this if you got dressed for some strange reason during the day.

Happy cooking!

Do you have any traditional foods or family recipes you make every year for Christmas?

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Trimming the Tree

I think the Christmas Kettle Corn did the trick! I really am starting to feel the Christmas spirit!
am8I finished that entire batch all by myself over the course of an hour after I made it. It’s really addictive – be forewarned.
amI finally finished ALL of my Christmas shopping! I celebrated with a taster flight from the newest brewery in Loveland: Crow Hop.
am2Exposed brick, warm lighting and heaters blasting. We then traipsed across the parking lot to Henry’s Pub for mass quantities of mango Sriracha wings, fish ‘n chips and even more brews.
henryLittle Red Cap ala Grimm Brothers Brewhouse!
firestoneI also celebrated by buying myself some Christmas presents… Debating whether to drink this or age it for a year… Thoughts?
eclipseAnother gift to myself. I’m very generous. This one will be aging while we enjoy the other three that I cellared over a year ago!
am11Today was “decorate the tree” day! We normally don’t wait so long, but with all of our busy schedules, it was the first chance we had.
am10Silk Seasonal Nog and coffee to start off on the right foot!
am5We have quite a collection of ornaments that we’ve accumulated throughout the years. This is one I got for my parental unit two years ago when I was in Breckenridge with the artist.
am9My first Christmas ornament! Man, I’m old.
am12“Mom, look! This was eleven years ago!” No…. make that 21 years ago. Man, I’m old.
am14I had a lot of teachers who encouraged homemade ornaments. I give you – gingerbread house by Becki Kregoski, age 6.
am16The year we learned about fossils and the imprints they leave in rocks.
am17Indian Princesses corn husk doll from when I lived in Boulder during elementary school.
am15My teacher made this one (as what I assume was an apology for all of the ugly crap with which her students were adorning their parentals’ trees) in 1996.
am18“Squeeze my cheeks and I’ll give you a kiss” Santa. My mumsie and I used to make these when we lived in Illinois. You’d squeeze the sides, Santa’s mouth would open and a Hershey’s Kiss would be sitting inside!
am13This was gifted to me right after high school when my dreams of becoming an actor were in full blossom.
am7Those dreams gave way to a different dream/career after college.
am6A very, very different career.
am8My parental unit knows me so well!

Now I’m off to bake Busia’s Yuletide Cookies – aka Thumbprint cookies, before a loooooong day at the brewery. And, it’s snowing outside! Tis the season!

Do you have any holiday traditions that you just can’t skip?

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Eggnog Spiked Christmas Kettle Corn

Anyone else feeling way behind in the holiday season? Our tree still doesn’t have ornaments on it, and for us, that is a HUGE deal. Normally the tree is up and decorated the day after Thanksgiving and I’d be ready for the Christmas music to finally cease at this point. Instead I’m trying to catch up to the whirlwind of the season and feel a little Christmas spirit before the year is over!
amBarrel-aged Velvet Merkin – this is a good start. Rich oatmeal stout with a potent aroma and flavor of bourbon in front of the fire? Sounds like Christmas-time to me!
am1I also thought a little seasonal snack might help. I was never a big fan of eggnog as a kid, but ever since I found this Silk Seasonal Nog, I can’t get enough!
am2Pop some corn…
am3Make some nog-glaze…
am4Prettify the glaze….
am5Drizzle and enjoy! Sweet, salty, crunchy and vegan-friendly!
am6[gmc_recipe 6791]
am7Happy holidays!

Are you having trouble getting into the spirit of the season? I blame the late Thanksgiving!

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They Called It Puppy Love

My goodness, the week JUST started and it’s already been insane and overwhelming!
amI worked at the brewery on Saturday and participated in some terrible awesome brewery puns. “Wouldn’t IBU like to know?” I’m so very hilarious. You’re welcome.
am3Myself and some of our customers played “dodge the impaling snowflake” aka the putty that held up our Christmas ornaments and decor didn’t work out that well. Nothing like a little excitement/fear of dismemberment to spice up the day!
am2On Sunday after church, I met up with my bro for pho and brews! We swung by Grimm Brothers and got a taste of cask – Santiam dry-hopped Farmer’s Daughter. I love this beer on its own, but the Santiam hops really enhanced it with a gently sweet floral flavor. And I love cask ale. Cask cask cask. Cask.
am4Curtis and Liz Chism stopped by the brewery! I met Curtis virtually through Bites ‘n Brews a few years back and then randomly ran into him at Hess Brewing and met him in person almost two years ago. He and his wife Liz are starting up Council Brewing in San Diego in the next year. Check out their Kickstarter here and get in on the ground level! They were in Colorado enjoying what will likely be their last vacation ever. I kid, I kid. Kinda… The perks of owning a brewery!
barHave I inundated you with enough pictures of this guy? My parental unit’s pup, Barleywhine, wasn’t feeling so good on Sunday. We’ve had health issues with all of our previous pets that (for the most part) weren’t too terrible, so we let him rest for a day to see if the issue would resolve itself. It didn’t. We took him into the vet on Monday morning and found out that he was suffering from HGE – hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. I’ll spare you the gory details, but this is a really bad disease that can result very quickly in death. The vet told us that basically his blood was turning to sludge. We left him in the vet’s care where he was put on an IV and covered with a heated blanket to raise his temperature.
am5Since our vet isn’t open 24 hours, we had to pick him up late Monday night and play puppy-ambulance to take him across town to another vet that would watch him overnight and make sure his fluids were still being pumped.
am6He was somewhat more perky at this point until we had to leave him. Oh, the guilt escalated quickly when we saw the realization in his eyes that we were leaving him yet again. Early Tuesday morning we returned to puppy-ambulance him back to the vet for another day of monitoring. Guilt. Overwhelming.
Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 11.07.06 PMBut it was all worth it! He’s alive and healing and HOME! I have the privilege of keeping his crate in my room to monitor him overnight and since his colon is reawakening, there’s an oh-so-lovely aroma that just won’t air out. This is love, guys.
am7This is love.

I’ll be back with some holiday recipes later this week!

Anyone else suffer from insurmountable amounts of guilt when leaving your pet? It can’t be just me!


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Turkey Potstickers with Spicy Sweet Gingerbread Beer Dip

Do you guys remember a few weeks ago when I got a delicious present in the mail?
AM2I was sent some of Bison Brewing’s Organic Gingerbread Ale from the owner of the company to develop some recipes and pairings. I wracked my brain for ideas and finally came up with a stroke of beery-genius last night after making homemade potstickers. They were tasty but not quite mind-blowing, and the spicy sauce I served them with was overpowering and unbalanced. A lightbulb switched on and I remade them for lunch today with some boozy additions.
am15California and Colorado – these two were made for each other.
[gmc_recipe 6724]
am4I’ve always loved making balsamic reductions for salads and ice cream, and decided to go for it with this beer as well. For this recipe, I recommend starting the Gingerbread Ale reduction while you assemble the potstickers.
am5Combine the brown sugar and Gingerbread Ale, whisk together and set to simmer for about 40 minutes or until reduced by half.
am9That’s about right. Remove it from the heat, whisk in the hot sauce and pour it into a serving dish.
amCombine the first twelve ingredients and prepare for a hassle with some wonton wrappers. The hassle is worth it, I promise you.
am6Wet the edges of the wonton wrappers with water and place a teaspoon of the filling in the center, being careful not to overstuff it.
am7Fold the wonton wrapper over and press the edges to seal in the goodness.
am8Repeat until all your filling is used up.
am10Put ’em in a hot pan and brown each side.
am2Pour in just enough vegetable stock to coat the bottom of the pan and immediately place a lid on top to steam these bad boys for another minute.
am13Serve them immediately, paired with a Bison Brewing Organic Gingerbread Ale to tame the flame from the spicy sauce.
am14This is a sauce I think even the Heat Freaks can get behind! Enjoy!

Any recipes you’d like me to beerify? Have you ever beerified a recipe?


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Wilted Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple-Glazed Pecans

How’s everyone faring after the long, intensive weekend of leftovers?
amOur second Thanksgiving was stuffed full of butter and excessive amounts of meat, just because. We had to make up for the vegan binge the night before.
AM1Since that fateful day, we’ve been starting each morning with a kale smoothie. Of course, the kale smoothie might just happen to come after I’ve eaten more leftovers, but I feel like it kind of balances it out, right?

Today I’m bringing the recipe for that kale salad that we had on Thanksgiving. I think I’ll be making it again for Christmas dinner with the addition of some roasted pomegranate arils!
AM7[gmc_recipe 6674]
AM10This salad is pretty easy to put together once you’ve done the rinsing and chopping. We had leftover quinoa in the fridge so we didn’t have to labor over that for half an hour.
AM2Toasting the pecans.
AM3Maple-glazed! This makes the salad!
AM4So does the white balsamic vinegar – Cara-Cara Orange/Vanilla from my favorite olive oil shop in Fort Collins.
AM6Throw everything into a bowl and top with warmed quinoa, then toss.

I hope you’re all having a good start to the week! I’m off to another day at the brewery and I couldn’t be happier with my life. Prost!

What are your post-Thanksgiving cleansing foods/plans?

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