Diapers to drink

When I was in college at UCSB, we drank Keystone Light at parties.

It was our go-to beer for the college crowd – cheap, cheap, and cheap.

Fast forward 30 years, and I wouldn’t dare drink a Keystone Light.

I’d rather shave my head with a cheese grater while chewing on tinfoil.

I’m all about craft beer, as evidenced by my membership in the Southbay Beerhounds – an unpretentious haunted house of eccentrics who love beer, dogs, and other oddities.

Yes, sir.

Just like there are wine snobs, there are also beer snobs, and I’m one of them.

My oldest son has now joined the ranks of the college crowd and you know what their favorite drink is?

Coors.

It kills me that he drinks Coors and the other day my sister and I were chatting about my son’s wayward taste in beer.

She too scoffs at Coors.

According to her, it’s a waste of time and alcohol to drink Coors because you have to pee all the time.

The alcohol goes straight through you.

We’re not even sure you can get drunk of Coors.

One thing is for sure, if you’re going to drink Coors, you’ll need diapers to drink.

Things you forget to bring when fishing

  1. Chapstick.  Thanks to the wind and the sun, I now have chapped lips.
  2.  Hats.  I brought a beanie to keep warm.  Turns out that staying warm was less of a problem than keeping cool.  And what you really need is a hat with a brim to keep the sun out of your eyes.
  3.  Sunglasses.  Fuck, it was HOT and SUNNY out there on the water.  I was anticipating overcast skies and cool temperatures.  Boy, was I wrong.  I think I burned the backs of my eyeballs.
  4.  Anti-anxiety medication.  I was once on a boat that was sinking.  The captain couldn’t get the pump to start and we were taking on water.  So I always stress when I’m on a boat.  This time around, I clenched my jaw so hard that I feel like I’ve given a thousand blow jobs.  That’s how sore my jaw is right now.
  5.  Sunblock.  This one is a no brainer, but as it turns out, it is rather SUNNY out there on the water and if you don’t reapply sunblock you could wind up with a really wonky sunburned face, just like me.
  6.  Coolers/Ice.  For your catch.  Another no brainer but all three of us who drove up from the south bay forgot to bring a cooler for our fish.
  7.  Cough drops.  Because you’ve got that horrible post viral cough that won’t go away and when you’re on a fishing boat, gagging because you’re coughing too hard is interpreted as gagging because you’re about to be seasick.  Very undignified.
  8.  Gloves.  It’s freezing cold in the morning and ALL OF US forgot gloves.  Crazy, I know!
  9.  Beer.  None of us brought beer, which is sort of a requirement for fishing.  Makes the hours of waiting for a nibble more tolerable.  Mental note:  next time, bring beer.
  10. Water.  It’s DEHYDRATING out there on the water.  And I didn’t bring ANY water.  What was I thinking?

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Panty Peeler

panty-peelerThe other day I went to a new restaurant in Los Gatos with my girlfriend Kimberly.

It’s called Oak and Rye and it’s basically an upscale pizza place.

We ordered a white truffle oil pizza that was TO DIE FOR.

Just gotta love truffle oil, eh?

Anyway, both of us were drinking beer.

Mine was a Belgian-style tripel from Midnight Sun Brewing Company.

It was DELICIOUS!

As I was ordering my 3rd can of it, I paused to look at the label and LOW AND BEHOLD IT WAS NAMED:

P A N T Y   P E E L E R !

That’s right.

Now, rape culture issues aside, I was tickled pink that I’d been drinking a beer called Panty Peeler all night without realizing it.

Then it occurred to me – I’m the one who was drinking it.

“Not fucking likely,” I thought to myself.

But I was certainly well lubricated for the evening, if you ask me.

All smiles and chit chat!

So it wasn’t a total waste of good beer!

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Stuff (besides beer) for beer lovers

michelle beerI’d like to pause in the middle of my onslaught on Valentine’s Day to bring you this DELICIOUS post:

We all have at least one beer lover in our lives.

In my case the beer lover is me.

Moi.

I’m a fan of that magical mixture of hops, grains and yeast.

I’m so much of a fan that I took Homebrew 101:  Steeped Grains and Homebrew 102:  Whole Grains classes in the city last year.

Here are some of my favorite beer accessories – some things that made me laugh, some things that made my mouth water, and some things I found just plain silly.

Zero affiliate links.

beer1Brewtiful tee.  Isn’t beer brewtiful?

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-3-38-59-pmPour the perfect black and tan, or are you a purist?

beer3Save Water Drink Beer tee

beer4Custom bottle opener

beer5Drunk on patios pint glass

beer6Irish You Were Beer tee

beer7Bratwurst club

beer8What the F**k Should I Make for Dinner book

beer9Party cart

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-3-23-56-pmIn Dog Beers tee

 

beer11Mini Kegerator

beer12Beer mustaches

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-3-49-30-pmBike bag

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-3-31-15-pmGrowler

vday8Valentine or Beer?

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Beer and taffy and salsa dancing

“Two for the 3:55 showing of Sisters,” my friend prompted the woman at the movie theater kiosk.

“I have just one ticket left,” she told us.

Well, ONE ticket is just no good now, is it?!

So we opted to skip the movie and go to downtown Mountain View for food and beverages.

He selected The Tied House, since I was in the mood for beer.

He ordered the red ale.

IMG_8626I ordered the flight of beer.

This is what arrived at our table….

 

IMG_8625Now, I didn’t mean to order the equivalent of 3 beers. I thought I’d be getting little shot glasses with beer, not mini beer glasses filled to the brim with beer.

Nevertheless, I drank admirably (as I am known to do) and I polished off all the beer with minimal help from my friend.

So be you forewarned… if you order the flight of beer at The Tied House, you will be treated to a plethora of beer such that you MAY become a little tipsy and wind up strolling arm in arm with your friend, making out on the streets of Mountain View.

And eating taffy.

And learning how to salsa.

Not a shabby night, if you ask me!

Ren Faire Shenanigans

Last weekend, I packed up my camping gear, grabbed my friend Kimberly, and we drove to Casa de Fruta to camp out at the Renaissance Faire.

We had a blast.

 

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 It took all of 30 minutes to set up camp with our neighbors helping – two Ren Faire musicians names Kevin and JK.

We started in on the Rum and Cokes and before we knew it we were swallowing a bottle of white wine with our lobster ravioli dinner. Followed closely by Kimberly’s signature jello shots made with marshmallow and cotton candy flavored vodka. Mmmmm.

 

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We woke up the next morning slightly hung over but a breakfast set us straight. Then we got dressed in our Ren Faire finest and hit the festival.

 

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We went to the Ren Faire with some friends who are Ren Faire veterans and knew where to go, what to do, and what to watch.

 

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 We drank beer from sun up to sun down, people watched, and in general managed to get involved in a few shenanigans.

After the festival closed, we stayed late to listen to a musical performance by the Brick Top Blaggers. It was dancing to their music that I met Stephan, who managed to finagle an invitation back to my campsite for dinner – an invitation I later cancelled.

 

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But there you have it, one raucous weekend spent getting a little drunk and rowdy at the Nor Cal Ren Faire.

Taking it full in the face

So my whole grain beer making class concluded this week with a bottling party.

And by bottling party I mean drinking party.

We tried Vanilla Lavender gluten-free beer.

A nocino-inspired green walnut beer that was still fermenting.

A fernet-inspired herbal beer.

And of course we drank our own beer a dark hefewizen known as a Wizenbock. There were two kinds of Wizenbock – one which was fermented with a regular German Hefewizen yeast and another which was fermented with a Bavarian strain of yeast to generate more banana and citrus notes in the beer.

Our beer turned out big, boozy, and malty, with banana, caramel, sweet grains, rich and complex flavors.

In other words, it was delicious.

But we were bottling under pressure since we carbonated our beer which means we were filling the bottles with carbon dioxide then filling them with beer.

And every time we pulled out the cork to cap the beer, IT SPEWED BEER ALL OVER THE PLACE.

I had it on my clothes, in my hair, and ALL OVER MY FACE.

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 Imagine taking a shot of beer to the face over and over again.

Probably some people’s idea of fun.

And every time the bottle was uncorked for capping, it foamed up like crazy and started oozing all over the place.

Talk about a mess.

We had to get a mop.

All in all though it was great fun. Even getting splattered with beer over and over again.

I guess as long as you enjoy what you’re doing and the people you’re doing it with, the rest takes care of itself.

So now I’m looking to buy a beer making kit so that I can try it at home and see what I come up with when I’m working alone without a master brewmeister helping me along.

Beer and togas

On the surface, brewing beer via the whole grain method is a little like brewing beer through the steeped grains method with one major difference:

In the steeped grain method you supply the sugars for the yeast to digest (and create alcohol via their metabolic process) through a malt extract – a syrup-like solution of sugars.

In the whole grain method you use the natural digestive enzymes in the whole grains to extract the starch from the grains and digest it into sugars which the yeast can then ferment.

Let me begin by telling you this… class was made up of me, several gay men, and a couple of married men. Not another female to be seen for miles. Not sure why. I think beer making is really cool. But no, there was just me.

We were at the beer making shop of Jason, our fearless brewmaster/teacher in the British Grocery.  Our goal was two-fold: make a batch of whole grain beer and a yeast starter.

I will say this for beer making. At every step, it seems there is some calculation that you must do to ensure you’re getting the most efficient use of your materials. Is the water hot enough but not too hot? How hot should the water be? Will all the beer fit in your container? etc.

Knowing when it’s time to do a calculation is what separates the master brewmasters from us amateur ones.

We opted to make a Weizenbock beer – a wheat beer, bock strength, spicy and bold with complex malt characters of dark fruit.

I forgot to write down the strain of yeast we used and the hops we used.

Bad Michelle.

The first time I brewed I made a Baltic Porter which was so delicious my mechanic accepted it as payment for work done.

So my expectations are high with this one.

But the best part of the day was when I walked out into the class after changing into my toga costume for a burner meeting. Let’s just say my classmates found me very entertaining.

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More, more, more

brewMore.

It’s not just for fans of Sex and the City, it’s for brew fans too.

I am going back to “school” to take a brewing class to learn how to make beer using full grains.

My last homebrew of a Baltic Porter turned out so good I would LOVE to take the next level class and learn more brew skills.

Sadly, I don’t have the equipment to brew at home, but eventually I will invest in my own gear and start brewing at home.

I anticipate this is going to be a great class. Class is limited to just 8 students and the instructor is incredibly knowledgeable about all things beer and even runs his own microbrewery.

The last time I took a brew class I didn’t know anything about home brew or the fermentation process other than what I had learned in college studying Biology.

This time I’ll learn to make a proper yeast starter, brew a 10 gallon batch of beer, bottle half the beer, and put the other half in a keg for carbonation and INSTANT ENJOYMENT.

What could be better my friends except to be able to share it with all of you?

Home brew times two

Wednesday, I was in the city to bottle the beer I made two days ago.

Our bucket of Baltic Porter was room temperature and flat. But even so, it tasted delicious.

Our ABV was measured at 8.5%. Wow! Those yeast did a great job!

The best part of bottling beer is douching the bottles with sanitizer to clean them out. Here is a lovely slow mo video of the action…

We added a little priming sugar and a little more yeast to our bucket of beer. This was to add a little more fuel so that the yeast can carbonate the beer as it sits for another two weeks.

So now I have 9 big bottles of home brew in my cabinet which I will start enjoying in about two weeks.

Can’t wait!