Brewery Crawl

There was a mirror on the ceiling…Oh my!

Over the weekend we celebrated Apple’s birthday by doing a brewery tour around town via limo.With the size of the group it was a cheaper DD than if we had all taken cabs.  The limo picked us up at Apple and Jazz’s place and since they live across the street that meant Honey and I didn’t have to pull straws about who the designated driver was.  Yippee! We were a group of 14 in a 14 person limo, so we got to know the other passengers quickly.  I only knew two other people besides our hosts prior to Saturday, but everyone there was really nice and welcoming.  We definitely got drunk after three breweries but no one was out of control or “that guy”.  We were all a little older, I think the youngest person there was 28, and instead of warming up at Jazz and Apple’s we all drank water and had crackers and fruit.

We began at Green Flash Brewing, we had been there once before but I had been driving that night so I only had a sip or two.  It is a really nice place for tasting, they have a large tasting room so you are not on top of one another.  They usually have at least two food trucks outside near their patio area and you are allowed to bring children of weekday evenings.  I had their Hop Head Red, good but as you can imagine hoppy and then Honey and I shared a glass of their Barely Wine Style Ale. It’s a 10.9% alcohol by volume ale so we were feeling pretty good by the time we went onto the next place.  Apple had also shared a delicious bottle of Tripel with the group on the way over.

The next place we went to was Rough Draft Brewing.  Once again I had been there before, but I was driving so I only had a few sips off of Honey’s beer.  This time I got to have a Belgium Blonde all to myself. =) It’s the name of a beer you pervs, it’s now one of my favorites.  Since I was too busy gabbing with the other ladies I barely got through that beer when it was time to go.  The other ladies were all moms of babies and toddlers, and while they talked about their kids it was not a “Cult of Mom”* conversation.  We also talked about hair, makeup, and our very human husbands.

After Rough Draft we headed to another brewery called Societe.  The servers were very nice there but I would have liked to see a little more description of the beers on the menu.  I had the Harlot which I enjoyed, it just opened a few months ago so it wasn’t as packed as the two previous places but then… a limo bus showed up.  We had seen them before at Green Flash and though we had the limo thing in common our group dynamic similarities ended there. I’ll put it this way: when I was in the bathroom washing my hands I had to hold up one of the girls from the bus party because she almost fell down opening the door.

Not that we were complete saints.  Our group’s drunken antics included some crowd surfing in the limo, leaving each brewery double fisted with full growlers, making a crude gesture to other drivers (yes that was me and no I didn’t flip off anyone 😉 ), and getting in some pretty awesome conversations.  Throughout the afternoon I found myself in conversations about philosophy, religion, social politics, and technology and everyone was listening to everyone else.  Many times I keep my opinions to myself on such matters so that I don’t accidentally offend anyone.  What can I say- I want everyone to like me, even the people that I myself don’t like.  But this particular group was awesome and I felt safe saying the things I did.  It was very invigorating for my mind and for my heart.

After the limo dropped us off most of the group hung out at Jazz and Apple’s for hours.  We kept talking and playing games,  Honey even tried a puff of a cigar. It was so much fun and a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.

*The Cult of Mom is term I came up for describing women who think that having children is the only reason for living,  the only topic of conversation acceptable, and the only way you can define yourself as a woman.  I call them a cult because if you mention that you do not plan to have children (because they always ask) they assure you that in fact “you will change your mind”, even though they have only been talking to you for three minutes.  Then I believe there are “The Women Who Happen to be Moms”, meaning that they mention their kids in conversation but their identity in social situations extends past their children.  I am friends with the latter.

I Be Jammin’

This week I made Strawberry Jam for the first time, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Grandma B used to make Strawberry Jam for everyone in the family from her own strawberry plants, even as a seven year old I found it far superior to Knott’s version.  When we would go up to her house I always hoped a jar of it would be included in the pile of leftovers that she insisted we take, right next to the left over cheesecake of course.  The recipe I used produced two mason jars of the stuff, luckily we just tasted it and we liked it.  I will post up the recipe when I perfect it, the one I used called for a lot of sugar and I am going to see if I can cut the quantity safely.  I can’t wait until I we run out of the store bought peanut butter so I can make Alton Brown’s version. Then our PB& J sandwiches with be made of homemade toppings on our homemade bread.

A few weeks ago we decided it was time to make some changes in what we eat, it had been a path we had been heading down for a while.  With growing our own vegetables we began tasting the difference, then really looking at the other foods we ate that had ingredients we couldn’t pronounce or even draw the cellular structure to made us want to take the next step in our food preparation. I wanted to start making our own stuff like the peanut butter, mayonnaise, ketchup, stock, and salad dressing.  It has been a gradual process because I don’t want to waste food by throwing anything out so we have been slowly working on consuming the  store version of these things.  I know it is a common phrase but we are trying to eliminate the processed foods in our diet.  Don’t get me wrong, I love junk food we will still have desserts, chocolate, and sugar in our lives but on our own terms.   I just feel there is a difference between picking a coke and knowing it has nasty stuff in it, then having “healthy” wheat bread with your sandwich and finding it has more chemicals than a High School Chem Lab and high fructose corn syrup to boot just to preserve it for transport.

For the last couple of weeks we have been making our own bread and eating whole foods and vegetables.  We started the fall garden and we hope to even be less dependent on grocery stores by next Spring.

The Night Circus

One of the reasons why I did not post anything last week was that I was using my free time to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I was able to check this book out from the library, even though I had been on the waiting list for it for two months.  I went to the library planning on randomly hunting down something that looked interesting, when that book was there staring me down in the entrance.  It was available through their “Express” service which came with a few rules.

1. You can only have the book for 7 Days

2. You can not renew it

3. You must return it to that particular branch

No problem, I said to myself.  It was just under 400 pages, but the type looked big so I figured I would have it done in three days.  I was somewhere around page 135 in the book when I got a 6 am email message from the library.

This is just a reminder (aka threat) that the book you recently checked out is due in three days.

I have checked out many library books throughout the last year and never once have I gotten an email about it, they didn’t even tell me I had a fine from last October.  They meant business with this express service so I started picking up the pace on my reading,  so it (and other things) encroached on my bogging time.

I finished it a day early and overall really enjoyed it, some people on the other hand have not,  I can guess some of the reasons why.  The description on the book jacket is a bit misleading, it talks about a fierce duel between two magicians and a deep love, but that is not really what the story is about it.  I guess that whoever wrote that teaser was trying to lure the Harry Potter crowd and perhaps the Twilight crowd, because it is more bedtime story than a action packed thriller.   In my opinion, as the title states the story is about The Night Circus; it’s about what it is to people who see it, perform in it, and run it.  It is a circus that only runs from dusk until dawn, it never announces where it will be and when it will leave, but somehow people always come to it and over time gets quite a following.  It takes place in the Victorian Era and the chapters jump back and forwards in time and with different characters featured.  I was not particularly moved by the prominent love story in the book, but I liked  the secondary love story between two teenagers- a boy who loved the circus since he was a kid and a girl who born minutes after the circus first opened.

The description of the circus is detailed beautifully, it inspired me to attempt a black and white dinner party.  In fact as she described the sights and costumes of the circus, it was one of the few times I wanted there to be a movie just so those costumes would be made and in solid form.   There is not a lot of “action” in it but the story kept my attention.  It really does take you to empty grass fields at night under black and white striped tents, at least it did for me.  It is a fantasy novel, but set in a way that you know the real world is out there and that it is only a short visit.  Parts of it also reminded me of the wonder and the “stranger in a strange land” feeling that I had when I first started going to Clubs.  At least with most of the people that I was around there was a ritual to it, an artistry, a dip into a darker side that has now become (sadly) the dominant fashion.  I was never as dedicated, but I was able to watch and visit, as it were.

This was the authors first book, I thought that you could really feel her voice forming as she wrote it.  I also guess that quite a bit of the story lines were cut for publication.  I think the emotions of the lovers and friends were not preserved in the final copy, but overall a novel I really liked and would recommend to those who need a trip to the Le Cirque des Rêves.