Wednesday, April 24, 2013

An update {April}

Everything here has been blooming hard, or trying to for the last few weeks. It seems we've finally moved past the sweep-the-pollen-off-the-floors stage of Spring, and the warmer days have made it much more appealing to spend hours standing around a kettle full of would-be beer (I can think of much more terrible ways to spend an afternoon, chilly or otherwise).

It's been a while since I posted an update on the goings on this side of the screen, so I thought I'd take a moment to catch you up before this update turns into a novel on me (picture heavy post, please be patient while it loads).

Sunday was another brew day on the home front. Before the boy removed every possible empty container, push toy, and abandoned-but-child-safe remnant from our garage and pulled it into the driveway where he made a "chocolate cake" in the kiddie pool (ingredients include all of the aforementioned, plus chalk and dish soap)... I headed out to Whole Foods to pick up radishes for a collaborative brew with Red Brick, who agreed between drinks that they'd let me put radishes in a beer. Aren't they lucky?

I was mostly uninvolved in the home brew this go round, and aside from a taste of Lagunita's WTFPalate Wrecker, and Marooned on Hog Island (the last of which I was quite fond), plus a last-minute throw together pizza which used up most of the roasted chicken and sweet potato mash left in the fridge, I spent most of the afternoon between futile attempts to keep my child clothed and working on pictures from The Burnt Hickory Brewery's one year anniversary celebration. So much fun.

Members of the beer mafia that frequent BHB. Both these handsome devils are taken, FYI. 

Where there are radishes there are beets (when it comes to produce departments, at least), so I picked up some of each. Maybe it's my liver calling, but we're eating them for possibly the fourth time this month. I'm roasting them now with olive oil, orange blossom honey, and balsamic vinegar for dinner. So much yum in that sentence.

Earlier this month, I also brewed a porter to which I added a generous handful of raw, diced beets. About three heaping cups of roasted beets, doused in vodka (for sanitation purposes), were also added to secondary fermentation. The porter is still bubbling away in the basement, so it will likely be a few more weeks yet. There's a nice color so far, and I'm hoping the flavor is as pleasant. Time will tell.

Obviously I couldn't let such an important milestone go undocumented, so here are a few pics from our brew day, most courtesy of my husband who was kind enough to enlist his usual brew partner Jeff to aid my efforts.

In other news, a visit from out of town family allowed Mommy and Daddy to leave town for a night, which coincided with a planned extension of my birthday celebration. I've never been much for birthdays in past years, but something's different this year. It's very likely that a regular infusion of good beer in my life might have something to do with that. Just maybe.

Wine chandelier at Cartecay Vineyards
We stopped at several vineyards in North Georgia (and obviously *responsibly* drank a bunch of excellent wine) stopping at Blue Ridge Brewery before we made our final leg of the trip to a resort (yeah, it was that kind of trip). They had the most awesome beet stout on tap (yes, you read that right...BEET STOUT!) which is apparently a family recipe handed down from someone's mother. I'd loooove to get my hands on that recipe.

The front of the house had these stellar arches, a kick ass menu (which we ordered from and then decided to move to the bar in the back) and beer flights, a rarity in our little town (and by rarity, I mean entirely non-existent).

We loved it so much we went back on Sunday, completely forgetting we're now living in the South (and not the Southwest; we lived in Tempe, AZ for a few years before moving to Georgia). We're both originally from little upstate New York towns where drinking is pretty much a past time (or depending on who you ask, a full-time job), so even after eight years in Georgia, it still slips our mind that anything "downtown" would have closed shop when everyone else is off work and looking to enjoy the afternoon barside with the rest of the townies.

It was like being on a second honeymoon (except we never did one of those to begin with, so I guess it was more like a first honeymoon but with less *cough* urgency). Eleven years and one child later, I'd like to think we've learned to savor our alone time. Yep. Nice.

Before calling it a day, we walked around a bit and came across an irish pub not far from the main strip. Once inside, Brendan poured us the best Guinness I've had stateside since, well... Bungay. We got acquainted with the bar manager over a couple of pints, passing an hour or so, a toddler and his mother the only other patrons interrupting the quiet.

Out of habit, I leaned down to get a few pictures of some wildflowers and the surrounding clover as we left and discovered this little gem in the middle of my frame. I'm feeling pretty lucky looking back at all that's happened in the last thirty days. It's like, I started counting my blessings and ran out of fingers and toes, yo.

The hand of my handsome assistant.

Howabout you? Do you feel lucky, punks? Well do ya?


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