mind your b's and q's

we don't need to extol the joys and virtues of outdoor grilling to you all - you probably rocked the coals all summer long! well, to celebrate our recent move as well as the summer's end (oh, and what a summer it was), ryan and i threw a little bbq in our new backyard last weekend! our new place is small, so we couldn't host the rager of years past, but i still think it turned out pretty grand.

the best part? a few hours before the bbq was slated to start, a handful of friends (lauren, michael, halimah and stina) presented us with a wedding/housewarming gift that made our jaws drop: a brand new gas grill! what a generous, thoughtful and rad gift that truly will keep on giving. ryan and michael set it up right then and there, and we proceeded to use it all though the night! it was such a luxury to be able to fire it up for the 2nd and 3rd waves of guests, or when people wanted midnight snacks. that kind of spontaneity just isn't possible with the charcoal grill.

as for the food, we wisely kept it pretty simple: some chips, a few salads (green salad, pasta salad and a guest vegan potato salad from our brother steven!), and grillables. chicken and steak for the meat eaters, and homemade vegan sausages and bbq'd tofu for the vegetarians, featuring BBQ sauce that ryan whipped up from scratch. when that dude's southern roots shine through, they really shine! the sauce was killer, the beers were cold, the mood was high. we ate, drank, told jokes, watched baseball, played cards, and no doubt kept our neighbors up until saturday turned into sunday and we all fell into our beds.

dang, just look at those sexy grill marks! anyway, it really is time to let the summer go, isn't it? the autumn is here, so let's embrace it! unpack your leggings and sweaters, and expect some cozy recipes to come....



a luscious lush

i'm not sure when it happened, but i've gotten really into drinks lately. now, hold off on assumptions, judgements or looking down your noses for just a minute. "drink" doesn't always imply alcohol, although those kinds are certainly included in the ones i've been enjoying recently.

iced coffee, cucumber/grapefruit cocktail, jack d
working in a wine/beer/liquor store, i mean, drinking is kind of like research, right? but other recent sippables include homemade kombucha, cucumbers&seltzer, homebrewed iced coffee, watermelon/cucumber juice, half&half (although i recently saw it has high fructose corn syrup, boo) and of course, peppermint tea.
i've always been one to check out food&wine or gourmet (RIP) but i received a free copy of a magazine i had never heard of at this spring's brewer's plate. after reading the entire magazine, cover to cover, and thoroughly enjoying every article, i paid a paltry $20 for a year's worth.

while this is NOT a paid advertisement for imbibe, i do have to go ahead and gush about how great this magazine is. a wide range of articles on all things imbibable. this month's issue contained features on: bitters, bike tours in wine country, the blossoming d.c. cocktail scene, diy tea blending, the 50 best seasonal beers and more!

talking to a beer rep at work who just got back from the great american beer festival has gotten me really in the mood for brew tours. a fun, educational and boozy experience (just like college!). plans to check out yards, PBC, victory, brooklyn, flying fish, riverhorse, yuengling and more are abuzz in my head. also already planning on checking out the beer festival in denver, co, next year!

i'll be updating more often with tall tales of sips, swigs, chugs, brews, blends, nips, snifters, tipples, cocktails and more!!




99 bottles

dear beer,

don't ever change.


from the gnarly 6-packs of swill i bought for $3.99 from CVS in my college days to luscious belgian brews in cozy philly pubs, i love me some beers. there is a beer for all budgets, for all seasons, for all occasions. there are beers that taste like a hug, and beers that taste like a punch in the face. there are beers in pretty cans, and unassuming growlers. so much to explore!

while local beer nerd-dom has risen steadily (see here, here, here and here), i've been happy to just keep on sampling and sipping. i don't keep a little notebook handy to track my tasting notes, i don't actively seek out "cult" brews on tap, and i sure as shit won't frown at a frosty coor's light from time to time. as i've mentioned in the past, this level of commitment and, well, zeal, just ain't my style. i like what i like (which honestly, is most things i try), and i don't like snobbery.

however, i did check out this epic tome from the library recently, and i must say - it's been enlightening.

garrett oliver is the brewmaster of the beloved brooklyn brewery, a world traveler and a serious beer expert. this book is part auto-biography, part beer style-by-style history lesson, and part beer and food pairing guide. i read a chapter every morning while i eat breakfast, and i'm learning some fun stuff. overall, the text is pretty well written, and it's cool to see how beer has played a role throughout all of history (think about it...from egyptian pharaohs' tombs to the 2008 election), and how different world events have effected how and what kinds of beers are brewed. most of the beer and food pairings revolve around meat, which is disappointing, but maybe i should come to expect this by now.

two less expected outcomes of reading this book: a serious urge to travel internationally, and a burgeoning curiosity about homebrewing. maybe a new hobby to pass the winter months? and hell, if the homebrew is good, i could save some cash at the bar for my travel fund! in olde england, as the book explains, most women were expected to know how to homebrew as part of the domestic arts. sometimes, men even referred to their wives as "alewives." perhaps i can be an alewife for the new millennium...

anyway, a more attainable goal for the time being is to sample the oktoberfests that most quality breweries are rolling out in the coming weeks. brooklyn brewery's especially - go get 'em, garrett!