All posts tagged “beer

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Live Blogging: Thanksgiving Getting Ready to Go!

Tomorrow’s the big event, and it takes a lot of prep to get Thanksgiving ready. Last year, I was hosting it and days in advance I had made several different things (like cranberry sauce, which didn’t gel).

This year, I am not hosting it. I’m going to someone else’s holiday dinner. At this point in my life, that is exceptionally weird. But, hey, life changes. So I got to thinking about it, and I realized, I should share what it looks like to get ready to go to someone else’s holiday dinner. That’s perfect, right?

So, my first somewhat in-real-time “getting ready to go” event!

It started with rolls. We’re the ones in charge of bringing rolls and cranberry sauce to the family. Which wouldn’t be hard, but there’ll be 18 diners there, 8 of whom cannot consume gluten but do want rolls. Bill’s been testing recipes for a few days now, and I think we have it down. We’ll find out tonight. But these rolls were damn tasty, even without gluten.

Two rolls nestled in a red and white pinstriped towel.

I planned the beers I’m taking, which are some from my MetaCookbook post about ruling the beer fridge and some from my general recommendation guest post at The Kitchenista Diaries. And, since I just found out I PASSED, you can bet I’m going to use that if I have to to show my expertise on beer and food. It’s good to be a Certified Cicerone® on Thanksgiving. This year, at least. But I just put them in the fridge. I’m trying to figure out right now how to keep them upright in the cooler, as the two big bottles have still got yeast in the bottom that I don’t want to kick up.

Five beers lined up in a row. Names: Troublesome; Tank 7;The Kimmie, the Yink and the Holy Gose; Gillian; Blood Orange Gose

Ok! It’s 11:04 am PST, and I’m going to hit “publish” and I will edit throughout the day to show you guys what else we do. Like make the cranberry sauce! Or go see if I can find good Ground Breaker beers for our loved ones who cannot eat gluten!

1:43 pm: I’ve forgotten breakfast and had a doctor’s appointment. I attempted to go to the grocery store.

My list:
Unsalted butter
Delicata squash
Gluten free flour blend x2

It’s a short list, but it’s all over the store. The store nearest the doctor’s office had a 100% full parking lot, and no street parking many blocks. I decided to go to my favorite grocery store, because 1) I know where everything is and 2) they have a giant empty lot nearby that I bet I can park in if needed.

I also decided that the headache from the doctor’s appointment was probably also a lack of food and a lack of hydraytion. So I paused for fortifications of the fast variety. I am typing this over a lunch at Wendy’s. The fries are fresh and salty.


3:31 pm: I’ve been to the grocery store. Twice. My list was supposed to include instant yeast, but I didn’t manage to add it, so I forgot it and turned around and went back. I got the last packets of instant yeast on sale.

At the store the first time, I gave very fast directions to a nice woman who needed gluten-free rolls for her family. Luckily, since Bill and I had just figured out what to do, it was easy to help her. That’s a nice feeling.

A small shopping carte filled with groceries: beer, butter, dog food, gluten-free flour mix, and kombucha.

I nixed Delicata Squash. I didn’t like the looks of any of the squash, but this means I cannot bring a surprise custard to the party. Oh, well!

On the plus side, I found gluten-free beers for our family. Better yet? I found a gluten-free dubbel; which is one of the styles I recommended as general good beers for Thanksgiving! That felt pretty darn awesome, and I can’t wait to try it with our family.

Two Bottles of St. Denny, the dubbel from Ground Breaker Brewing Company.

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An Amateur Beer Photo Shoot

I love beer, but I don’t always love beer photography. My own or other people’s. I got so fed up with the same few boring photos (again, even mine) that when Bill and Nicky finally convinced me almost a year ago I needed to have an Untappd account, I quickly made a rule that my photos would mostly not be of beer. It keeps me entertained to have a slightly surreal account, and I like to think it keeps my followers entertained.

However, that’s not going to cut it for blogging. A photo of a candle through a water glass is fine and fun for something quick like Untappd, but is actively not helpful for a blog post. And while I think most of my photos for the beer section of MetaCookbook are well-suited to the post they’re each in, I have to admit I took some extra steps for the most recent post, If I Ruled the Thanksgiving Beer Fridge, and I’m glad I did. But here’s what getting these three photos took.

The list started as a stepladder, $40, a camera, a beanbag, a bottle of beer, a champagne flute, and a can of beer. It increased to include a couple rolls of paper towels, some collapsible bags, a quart mason jar, a napkin, a kitchen towel, a backpack, a second lens, and a chilled injury pack.

Most of this was for transportation to the places I’d decided to shoot. The backpack, for example, carried everything but the stepladder.

An upside-down champagne flute wrapped in a kitchen towel, stuffed into a quart mason jar.

Gotta keep the glassware safe. And I don’t currently own a stange, leaving me to the champagne flute. My father-in-law was dismayed at this.

A can of Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Blood Orange Gose on the left hand side of an Ace cold pack.

The lunch beer’s got to stay cold, man.

A 40mm Canon lens in a small pouch in a blue and grey backpack.

The “pancake” lens Bill got me for my birthday last year. I love it, and it shoots so nicely. Especially for food and beer.

A Trek-Tech MagBag 2 with ground liner and one of the two mounts it comes with.

The “beanbag” was actually my MagBag 2 which I have used and abused since 2009 and I cannot sing the praises of highly enough. It’s a good way to stabilize a camera to turn anything into a “tripod”. Like, say, a stepladder.

A close-up of my magbag on top of a stepladder outside near a picnic table. I used it as a stabilizing force a lot for this shoot.

But that’s not why I needed the stepladder. I needed the stepladder because I had to climb upward. Because I wanted the following shot:

A bottle of Gillian in the crook of a tree, placed there by yours truly using the stepladder referenced repeatedly in this post.

I had to use a stepladder.

A stepladder in the almost-mud at the foot of a tree.

And so what sounded like “a heist movie waiting to happen” was actually a beer photo shoot.

And then lunch, with more photos taken. Because lunch is not only delicious, it is necessary.

The link to Amazon in this post is an affiliate link. Click here to read more about that.

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Blogging Highs and Personal Lows

How do I plan to leave the house for one of the coolest blogging-related opportunities I’ve ever had knowing it’d be immediately followed by a trip to the funeral home to pay respects to a friend I just lost?

In my case, the biggest problem was clothing. Maybe it wasn’t really a problem, but it was totally a problem.

The blogging-related opportunity was an invitation to join four other people on a beer-tasting panel for All About Beer Magazine. Tasting beers, and giving my thoughts on it? This is something I could do, and I enjoyed the heck out of yesterday.

A glass of some sort of pale beer on top of All About Beer Magazine's logo.

But I had long ago decided what to wear to the tasting, and I sure as hell didn’t want to wear the same thing to the funeral home. Even if beer adventures were part of the ties I had to my lost friend, I couldn’t bring myself to be that casual. Nor, frankly, that optimistic and joyful as I went to see him off. I considered wearing the funeral garb to the tasting, but not only was that too somber (and hot), I was sure I was going to be distracted if I thought about why I was even a little dressed up. Distraction was going to lead to crying, and crying wasn’t going to lead anywhere good.

The answer ended up being the t-shirt about adventure I’d planned on, a hanger carrying a button-down shirt until it was time to switch, and a camisole to keep it all together.

A folded t-shirt that says

Adventure is out there. And I wish I could share more adventures, beer or otherwise, with my pal. But since he’s gone now, I pay my respects and will remember him fondly with a toast to the joy and sense of adventure he brought to me and others.

Three men in hard hats, holding beers. One in safety goggles. One has since passed away, and the rest of us are pretty devastated.

I hugged two of these men while we paid our respects to the third. We miss him.

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Bub Gourmand Packs for Beer Bloggers Conference!

Note: Two guest posts in a row! That’s because Beer Bloggers Conference is coming up, and I want to gently nudge folks who are attending to think about what they’re bringing. Matthew, one of the two minds behind Bub Gourmand, wrote me a small piece to confirm that even if others don’t know what they’re bringing, Bub Gourmand does!

Head and shoulders shot of Molly and Matthew, respectively.

This will be our second trip to the Beer Bloggers Conference (BBC). It will also mark the first anniversary for our blog. When we started Bub Gourmand a year ago, we were living in the Bay Area of California. When we moved back to Western Massachusetts we truly found the niche we thought Bub Gourmand could serve. We share the things that make this area special.

The Pioneer Valley is a string of small communities each doing their own thing, and these itty-bitty towns are making some of the most exciting stuff around. There’s an informal craft brew potluck at BBC called “The Bottle Share,” where participants get to show off some of the more obscure beers from their local brew-geniuses.

We can’t wait to hear what people think of these:

The People’s Pint
(Greenfield, MA – population: 17,000)
Hope Street Amber

This is Molly’s favorite ESB and I love it too. It’s got a unique character, but still respects the traditions of an English bitter. Our only regret is that we can’t bring The Pint’s kitchen with us, because their grub is as good as their beer.

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project
(Somerville, MA – population: 78,000)
Jack D’or

Like the American spin on the traditional ESB above, this is a hybrid saison with a lot of hoppiness that doesn’t lose a molecule of saison’s crisp character and drinkability.

Berkshire Brewing Company
(Deerfield, MA – population: 5,000)
Farmhouse IPA

Unless we can find another bottle of it before we leave, this one we’ll be trying for the first time with everyone else at The Bottle Share. I love Berkshire’s beers most for their signature accents. Like a good hot sauce, you can often tell when you taste something of theirs, no matter what the style.

Left to right: Ginger Libation, Fire Cider, Spencer Trappist Ale, Berkshire Farmhouse IPA, People's Pint Hope Street Amber, and Pretty Things Jack D'Or

Spencer Monastery
(Spencer, MA – population: 11,000)
Trappist Ale

This is the only certified Trappist Ale made in the United States. It’s the real deal: unpasteurized, unfiltered, carbonates naturally in the bottle, and made by bonafide Trappist Monks (no shit). It’s flippin’ delicious.

Artist Beverage Cooperative
(Greenfield, MA – population: 17,000)
Ginger Libation

This is really its own thing, but still technically within the realm of beer. It’s a local favorite that
is catching on nationally. In the last couple years Ginger Libation has made its way to select locations in California, Florida, Missouri, Maine, Rhode Island, and Texas. It’s pinchy, tart, and at 9% it makes instant fans.

Fire Ciderpopulation 44,000)

This is a New England folk remedy that these folks in Pittsfield have bottled for themselves since the nineties and have been selling locally since 2010. It’s not intended for large quantities. It’d be easier to do a shot of moonshine than a full shot of Fire Cider, but it grows on you. A couple tiny sips and your palette will be reset to zero (your sinuses will also be clear and your eyes a little watery).

Other Important things we’re packing:


We’ve already got our Nalgenes lined up and ready for action. We’re even contemplating bringing our SodaStream. The organizers last year provided pitchers of water on the tables, but it was far too little compared with the beers. We want to go the distance without going into kidney failure, so water is important!


Palette cleansers. Last year there was an abundance of great beer, but not even a stray peanut to nosh between sips. We’ll be stocked and ready for this. We’re bringing raw and roasted nuts, dried fruit, every nonperishable counterpoint we can think of for the styles of beer we’re sure to taste.

That’s our Go Bag for BBC!

11 Jan 2017 Note from Natasha: I had forgotten that Matt and Molly had brought beer from Pretty Things Brewing. Unfortunately, Pretty Things has since gone out of business and removed their website, so I’ve edited the link to show an archived page.