Archive for ‘Brews’

June 10, 2011

But I don’t know if I like beer…

First and foremost, I am not trying to persuade anyone to drink beer.  I frown upon excessive beer consumption, and I frown on underage drinking.  Whew!  Now… let’s get to the good stuff.  Today, we’re learning how to review a beer, and I’m basing my review off guidelines provided by an article at BeerAdvocate.

My first beer when a warm keg beer in a plastic, red cup.  It was a Miller Lite.  I hated it.  Guess what… now that I have an appreciation for brews, I can honestly say that I still despise warm beer, prefer not to drink from plastic cups, and dislike Miller Lite.

red cup

Knowing which beer to pick is the hardest part.  It depends on many factors, such as what you already like.  Sweet or savory?  Light or hearty?  Even seasons can play a part in your beer experience.  (I know you all have heard of chilled pinot grigio in summer!)

With all these variables, I’m going to just generalize here, and we’re going to go with a whitbier. Yesterday via tweet, It’s Just the Booze Dancing and Beer Runner also recommended a crisp wheat beer (hefeweizen, actually) for a beer newbie, which makes me feel better about my choice.  I’d go with a Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat or Hoegaarden, and for this post, let’s stick with Hoegaarden’s White Ale.  (On a side note, Kevin is not a Hoegaarden fan!)



  • First, pour your beer into a pint glass at an angle or order it draft.  Notice its appearance, including the beautiful light yellow color and its cloudiness.  This isn’t a very heavy beer, but as a non-filtered ale, it’s more cloudy than your typical American lager.  You can also take note of the lovely lacy head on top.  Makes it cute, right?  (I think the Hoegaarden people would track me down if they discovered I called their beer cute.)


  • Doesn’t it smell pleasant?  Your senses may pick up different things than other people – just like with wine.  You could notice lemon, bananas, other citrus, spice, yeast, malt, or even pepper.  I mean, we’re not talking about fragrant rum punch; it’s still beer.


  • Finally!  Don’t get too excited; we’re not shot-gunning!  Sip, savor, and think about any complex flavors you taste.  Maybe it’s apricot, orange, or lemon that’s dancing with the doughy flavor in your glass.  Is there an aftertaste?  There’s a lot going on here, but this is not an overpowering beer.


  • Mouth-whaaa?  Many stout drinkers might say this is light and refreshing, but if you’re used to a light pilsner, you may think it has moderate carbonation with a n almost “chewy” mouthfeel.  It’s relative, and there are no wrong answers.  Score!


  • We’re at the finish line here.  Ask yourself the most important question, do you like it?


I hope that helps.  As you know, this blog is more about healthy living, fun times, and random oddities than beer education, but I hope we all learned a little something.  As you know, I don’t place beer in my “healthy things” file, but I keep it in my “enjoy in moderation and let the good times roll” file.  Yeah, that files much cooler.

  • Have you had this beer?  What do you think?
  • Also, I’m curious as to how many readers are also beer drinkers.  Gimme’ your two cents.

Have a super weekend!

June 8, 2011

Highland Brewing Beer Dinner

Were you expecting another What I Ate Wednesday?  If you had your hopes up, then I’m sorry to disappoint.  However, the post would have been a much bigger disappointment.  I haven’t been noshing on any good eats lately (to my dismay).  Seriously.  Two words.  Canned Tuna.  That should paint a good enough picture.

In other news, I attended a Highland Brewing Company beer dinner last night with Kevin and one of our drinking buddies.  (He’s a bigger beer snob that I am!)  If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that! 

It was a good time, and it was at the same restaurant that sponsored the Oskar Blues beer dinner we attended a while back.  Yet again, it was a four-course tasting of brews and tapas.  The food was better this time, but the pairing still had me a bit confused.  (The bites still paired better than the Oskar Blues dinner though, thank goodness!)


The first course was my favorite.  It was delicious and well planned.  The restaurant served Cattail Peak Wheat with a jicama and orange salad with spring mix and a light vinaigrette.  The citrus paired wonderfully, and neither beer nor bites overpowered the other.  Cattail Peak Wheat is an interesting beer because it’s cloudy and delicious, yet there’s not much going on in there.  There’s a hint of hibiscus, but it’s simplicity makes it perfect for a hot summer day.  I wouldn’t pay much for it, but I certainly enjoyed it.


The next course was Gaelic Ale (the brewery’s main brew) with a stuffed jalapeno.  This is one of those pairing that had me confused.  I love stuffed jalapenos and Gaelic Ale, which is a malty, bitter, beer with a beautiful amber color.  When I asked the restaurant owner why he chose this, he said the malt in the beer would tame the jalapeno.  It didn’t tame much to me.  All I tasted was jalapeno.  Delicious jalapeno.  But still… I like tasting beer.

course 2

Next came Highland’s Kashmir IPA, which might be Kev’s second favorite of their beers.  His true favorite is St. Terese’s Pale, which he says tastes more like an IPA.  Nevertheless, the table really enjoyed this one.  Hoppy beers make happy beer snobs.  This was paired with fish an chips.  This isn’t necessarily a bad pairing, but I thought a million other things would have gone better.  I like fish n’ chips, but the foodie in me was let down a bit.  Couldn’t they have come up with something more exciting?  Plus, I think of fish n’ chips as English, and an American IPA is vastly different than typical English beers.  Oh well.  At least it I had an excuse to eat some yummy fries!


The last course was coffee-rubbed steak with an Oatmeal Porter.  I love that beer!  It’s one of my favorite winter beverages, and luckily, I also love steak.  I think this would have been a wonderful pairing if they hadn’t messed up the beefy goodness with chili sauce/glaze/stuff.  The chili sauce was very spicy yet also sticky n’ sweet.  The heat of the chili totally overpowered the coffee rub on the beef and the oaty goodness in my porter.  Insert sad face here.

steak n' porter

I’d like to end this post with a few quick notes:

  1. Despite getting home a wee bit late, I still got up early this morning and got my sweat on.  Go me!
  2. There’s still time to enter my giveaway!  I chose a winner Tuesday, so tell your friends too.
  3. Check out the link love for more beer sites: Beer Runner, Will Run for Beer, and the best drinking flowchart you’ve ever seen at It’s Just the Booze Dancing

Have you ever attended a beer dinner?  If so, what did you think?  If not, would you want to?

June 4, 2011

Fiesta Friday Recap

I hope you all are having a wonderful Saturday so far.  I know I am!  I had a good Friday, a super morning, and I just saw my cat jump into an upright TJ’s bag, which of course led to her toppling over, mewing, and scrambling around to get right-side up again.   Ha.  Kitties are my entertainment.

Anyway… I enjoyed a Dos XX Amber last night when I got home.  It’s one of my favorite beers, so I’m not going to do a full review.  Let’s just describe it as “good and refreshing!”  It’s not the best beer I’ve tasted, and it’s not even the best amber I’ve had.  However, it always hits the spot, fits in my budget, and pairs flawlessly with Mexican food.


Love the Amber; Hate the Lager

My post-work beverage lead to our decision to ditch the tofu in the fridge and head out for Mexican.  Yum!  I definitely ate tooooo much, and I got a little belly ache after dinner.  Kev walked with me once we got back to the neighborhood, which helped but didn’t really solve the problem.  At least it was delicious!


Mexican Food & Draft Beer

Why am I admitting all this?  Isn’t this a healthy blog?  Well… let’s just say I try to be honest with my readers.  If I have a beer after work (and a big beer at dinner) along with a big plate of cheesy goodness, I don’t want to hide it.  Amanda over at Running with Spoons had a really great post recently about the hidden side of bloggie habits.  Really, it’s good.  Check it out.

After I woke this morning from my food coma, I went for a run.  I completed 4 miles at 8:34 min/mile pace.  Sweet.  My booty is sore from my workout yesterday, but I think stretching it out will help.  I also did a wee bit of abdominal work, but since that’s my least favorite, and since Kevin was waiting on me to go for a 1.5-mile walk, I rushed it.  Cleo kept me company on the mat.

cat pose - yoga

Demonstrating the real "cat pose" in yoga.

Now it’s time to shower and hit the lake.  I’ve got places to go and people to see, so I’m off to continue another fabulous weekend.  I hope you all do the same!

May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  It is a happy weekend, isn’t it?  I had fun on vacation, but I can’t wait to get home!  I miss my bed, my furry children, and my friends.  Kevin and I will get in late from the airport tonight, but we have a cookout planned for tomorrow.  I love playing hostess.  🙂

My last full day in Cali was very entertaining.  I had half a TJ’s sprouted wheat bagel with light whipped cream cheese for breakfast, along with a green apple and some coffee.  Then I tried my first Physique 57 class out in Beverly Hills with the FitSugar reps.  It was sooooo hard!  The workout was so different from anything I usually do, and my thighs were on fire.  Considering the “newcomer only” special was $210 for one month, I don’t think I’ll be doing it again any time soon.


FitSugar Twitter Pic - YAS Studio

I then rudely stole kindly accepted a Larabar from Kellan to feed my aching muscles.  Our next class was YAS.  YAS was 30 minutes of spinning followed by 30 minutes of yoga.  I love spin, and I was amazed at how well my body took to it.  My legs were hurting walking into the studio, but they felt better after only a few songs.  Perhaps the upbeat instructor and her amazing playlist helped.

I had never done a yoga class before, so I was pretty intimidated.  It wasn’t hard though.  Actually, after the Physique 57 and the spin, stretching felt really good.  My body was so warmed up from the spin that I got much deeper into the poses, especially pigeon and downward facing dog.

Mmmm... eggplant n' tahini sauce

Mmmm... eggplant n' tahini sauce

I then got a delicious eggplant wrap from TJ’s for lunch and met Kevin at the W Hotel’s rooftop pool/bar.  It was crazy!


WET - Pool Bar

At 3 in the afternoon, some guy shook up and sprayed a $3,900 bottle of Dom Perignon on a few scantily clad females.  Kev and I soaked up as much people-watching as we did sunshine!  I stuck to Amstel Light, and I was shocked to see a $75,000 bottle of champagne on the menu.  Whaaaaaa???  (No, that’s not my cigarette butt in the picture below!  haha)

We then cleaned up for happy hour and dinner.  We had a happy hour at a mediocre pub, and then we hit up Wood and Vine for dinner.  Yes, it was at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.  I guess it’s kind of a pun?  Anyway… we split a tapas plate, and our favorite cheese we tried was a Spanish goat cheese with the consistency of cheddar, so not a spread.  The cheese is technically called, “Queso de Cabra.”  It paired perfectly with our Stone IPAs.  Beer + Cheese = Heaven  We also split a small plate of seared scallops.

Stone IPA @ Wood & Vine

Stone IPA @ Wood & Vine

We then contemplated hitting some of the hot spots, such as Whiskey A Go Go or the Sky Bar, but we decided to just go to bed.  I felt I got a club experience all afternoon at that pool.  As always, thanks for reading!  Time to pack and hit the road.

May 22, 2011

My Top Three

Howdy Bloggies!  I hope everyone is having an excellent weekend.  Mine has been pretty darn good so far.  As regular readers know, I had my race yesterday, and I was pretty excited about it.  I celebrated in the evening with three of my favorite things, pizza, beer, and the Mister.  We tried a new pizza place (new to me, anyway) that happened to be hosting a beer tasting.  Coincidence?  I think not.

I tried two of the beers (in mini cups) and both gave me great respect for the brewery, NoDa Brewing Company.  The first was a delicious IPA  that was chock full of hoppy goodness.  I like the name, Stretch Beerstrong.  It was on the high-end of my alcohol tolerance level, but it was bursting with so much citrus flavor that you did not even notice the ABV, which came to 7.something%.


Sample of Stretch Beerstrong

The brewery’s other beer was a Choco-Loco Porter.  I was not a fan.  It had a very chocolate taste that also hinted of ultra-sweet roast coconut.   The beer was thick and heavy, though not too strong of alcohol (6.2% ABV).  Even though I was not crazy about this beer, I feel it was more the style that I didn’t like.  The brew itself seemed creative, unique, and artfully crafted with a blend of top-notch ingredients, so I still respect the brewery for this nearly undrinkable beer.  Make sense, right?

NoDa Brewing Company’s beer cannot yet be purchased.  They *should* have growlers available by July and kegs available in October.  Hurry up and get brewing!


We also had pizzaaaaaa!  Kev got a better one, and I was jealous.  He at least let me trade a piece.  Mine was still pretty darn good though.  He had goat cheese and kalamata olives.  I had bbq chicken.  MMmm!  I enjoyed my dinner with a Franziskaner Hefe, though I sort of regretted that beer choice.  It suited the weather, but the hefe made for a poor pairing with my pizza.


BBQ Chicken Goodness

We had two friends come over last night after dinner to just sit, chat, and wrap up the evening.  We plan to pack this morning and go boating in the afternoon.  Pack?  Yes, I said pack!  We’re taking a trip, but I’m not telling you any more about it until Monday.  You’re not going to believe the deets!

May 19, 2011

Muffin Madness

Today’s update is another three-part post.  Yet again, I’ll be brief.  First, I’ll mention news from this morning.  Next, I’ll jump to last night’s muffins.  Finally, I’ll wrap up with a wee bit of link love.

I ran 2.8 miles today with my running buddy.  I kept it slow so as not to injure myself before Saturday.  I also did my abdominal workout before hitting the shower.  Today I decided to wear my LND that we discussed the other day, and due to the majority vote, I went for nude pumps.

Thanks for the Style Advice!

On to the kitchen catastrophe experience…  I don’t bake for a reason.  The main reason? I eat dough.  Actually, I eat lots of dough.  I managed to keep that to a minimum this time, but I still made a mess of my kitchen and poorly followed directions.  Here is the recipe, which I adapted from Eating Bird Food.

Choco-Nana Muffins (I doubled the recipe)

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup sucanat
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg, and 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 425° Make sure all ingredients are cool.
  2. Line muffin tin with liners or coat well with cooking spray
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well
  4. Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.
  6. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool.

Chocolate n' Nanner

I mixed the dry ingredients, but I added too much baking soda.  Whoops!  Also, I had to try the chocolate chips before putting them in the muffins.  I say “try,” but I’ve never actually had a bad chocolate chip – especially a bad chocolate chip on the end of a banana.  Speaking of bananas, don’t send your hubby to the store the day before baking for brown bananas.  You’ll end up with bright yellow ones.  I put them in a brown paper bag overnight to help them ripen, but that did nothing.  I just had to throw them in the food processor.  I should have taken a picture of their bright yellowness (Yup, I said “yellowness”).

I then mixed the ingredients with my Dr. Weil mixer.  I am convinced everything I bake is healthy because Dr. Weil’s name is on my mixer.  The original directions say not to “over mix,” but I’m not sure how much is over mixing.  I probably over-mixed the crap out of these things.


Fill your muffin cups and bake.  At least they smelled good!

Mmm... raw goodness

They look cute too.  They even did that little crack thing on the top.  Woohoo!


Is that a roasting pan?  Yes.  This is what non-bakers who do not own cooling pans use.  Sue me.

What? You haven't had roast muffins?

The verdict?  A little dry, and a little bland.  (I love my muffins super spongey.)  Overall, edible.  Score one for Tiff!

Okay, maybe a little...

As stated, I’m ending with a little link love.  It’s about women liking beer.  Healthy women too!  Hungry Meets Healthy mentions an RJ Rockers beer.  I haven’t tried this one, but I love their brown ale.  I have to wonder though because this blogger lives in South Cackilacky, but she paid $7 for a pint of RJ Rockers, which is a SC brew.  Don’t pay that; it’s too much.  Moving on… this is a post by Eating Bird Food.  She mentions loving some lavender ale.  I’ve never tried lavender, but it’s now on my list!

May 17, 2011

Spreading Link Love

Yes, I actually went to the gym last night.  I don’t like to be negative, but it was hooorrrrible!  It was packed, people were rude, ladies were letting their lovely lady lumps out all over the place, and I saw more bad form than a kindergarten ballet recital.  Yes, it was that bad.

Moving on… today started out well, and it’s still going strong!

I had a great treadmill run this morning.  I did three miles at 7 mph with hills.  I started at a zero incline and increased it 0.5% per minute until I got to 8 minutes, and then I did it all over again.  Sweat sweaty sweaty.  This workout was hard but manageable.  It should set me up well for an easy run Thursday and my race Saturday.  Yuppers, I said race.  I’ll be doing a 5k, and I’m starting to get both nervous and excited. 


My Cuppa' Tea

Other good things:

    1. Rocking the Nude Pumps Again
    2. We get Panera breakfast at work today.  Mmm… sugar-laden calorie-bomb muffin…
    3. Earl Gray tea on a rainy day

Muffin = 6 Miles on Treadmill with Intervals

Here is a little link love.  Some of it is beer focused due to Craft Beer Week that is going on now.  Will you be celebrating craft beer week, and if so, how so?

* I purchased a LND when I went shopping Saturday.  Check out this link, and let me know how I should accessorize.  Should I go with nude pumps (again) or navy kitten heels?  Too much  navy, or perfect pairing?

May 16, 2011

Easy Lower-Calorie Jambalaya

Good Morning Bloggies!  Did you all do your homework from yesterday?  I hope so.  It’s a great way to start the week.  I have three topics today.  Three???  Yes, but don’t worry, I’ll be brief.  First I’d like to share a new recipe with you.  I made it up last night, and I think it turned out pretty well.  Next, I’d like to share a tidbit of brew news.  Lastly, well… you’ll see.

Lower Calorie Jambalaya

  • 4 servings brown rice and more water than necessary
  • Hot sauce (if you like it hot)
  • With 4-5 tsp olive or canola oil, divided
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 jalapenos (diced and not totally necessary-these were pretty mild)
  • Half of one bell pepper (diced)
  • 1.5 cups diced celery (or about 5 stalks/stems)
  • 1 tsp Cajun spices (I think it’s mainly cayenne pepper, onion powder, and chili powder.)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 can kidney beans (rinsed, drained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  •  0.75 lb shrimp (peeled)

The Yum Stuff

  1. Cook rice while prepping the other ingredients.  This generally takes 45 minutes.  I added my hot sauce to the rice during this time.  Be sure to use a large pot for this.
  2. Add two tsp oil to large frying pan, and cook onion, jalapenos, bell pepper, and celery.  After a few minutes, add spices and continue cooking until soft (approximately 10 minutes)
  3. Add half the tomatoes to the pan and the other half with juice to the rice.  Add the can of beans to the rice as well.  You may need to add more water to rice, but this depends upon how soup-like you want your jambalaya.  (Mine was a little less soupy than I would have wished.)  The burner under the big pot should be on very low heat.
  4. When rice is finished cooking, add vegetables from the pan to the pot of rice.  Keep burner on medium-high.
  5. Add one or two tsp oil to pan, and sauté half the shrimp.  These only cook a few minutes and should be cooked only until they turn pink.  Scrape bottom of pan for extra spices that may have stuck.  Transfer shrimp to pot.  Repeat with remaining shrimp and oil.
  6. I had a teeny bit of white wine in the fridge while I was cooking, so I added a splash of white wine while cooking the shrimp.  It was delicious and fragrant but totally unnecessary.  You could also boil the shrimp if you prefer.
  7. Mix all ingredients in the big pot.  Add salt, pepper, and/or hot sauce to taste.


    Who you callin shrimp?

I added extra beans to Kev’s bowl because he eats more than I do (hints the extra can in the first picture).  I wouldn’t recommend this though because he complained about it.  If you have a hungry eater, it’s worth considering.  This will feed us two nights, so it’s 4 servings.  Hurray for leftovers!

My Bowl of Amazun Cajun

In other news, today kicks off craft beer week.  Try looking around for events and celebrations in your area; it’s a nation-wide event.  In the words of Miley, “Party in the U.S.A.!”

Lastly, I’m still not over this darling haircut.  I hate that it makes me feel old, but I love the way it holds curl.  I guess I don’t feel too “old” today while rocking the headband.


Gotta Love Spring

By the way, I totally skipped my workout today.  Crazy, right?  I just wasn’t feeling it.  I’ll go to the gym tonight though to make up for the difference.  I’m just doing my Women’s Health workout, so it shouldn’t be too dreadful.  I’ve gotta save up my leg energy this week.  Perhaps I’ll tell you why tomorrow!

May 14, 2011


Get the title?  It’s supposed to be “weeee” like fun.  Weekends are fun, and this one is no exception.  Last night began right after work.  Kev and I went to Wet Willie’s (though no, I did not have one of their famous daiquiris) at a bar and restaurant complex that was hosting one of my top five favorite bands, Fuel.  We got dinner, a few beers, and waited for our friends to arrive.  (We got a great spot on the patio with a view of the stage.)  The band was great, and I was so happy to be there.  It’s like my summer of flashbacks – Eve 6 two weekends ago and now Fuel?!?!  Sweet!

My Burger, Kev with Band Behind Him, & Fuel Rockin the Stage

***By the way, though I think Yuengling was a perfect compliment to my American burger, it’s soooooo not review worthy.

I began the morning with a morning run at 7:30 a.m.  I completed 4.86 hilly miles in 41 minutes and 3 seconds.  Woot!  Who knew burgers and beer were such power foods?  I was totally jammin to Pandora too, which probably helped.

Garmin GPS Rocks My Socks

From the pic, you can see I’m both happy and sweaty.  Shower time!  Then it’s nails time, hair appointment time, shopping time, and girlie movie with my friends time.  See, weekends are fun times!  Stay tuned for pics tomorrow, maybe you’ll notice the changes to my hair that my husband *always* seems to miss!  (ha… sorry Kev… love you)

May 13, 2011

Brew Review: Edmund Fitzgerald

Happy Friday!  To kick off the weekend, I’d like give a quick brew.  After work, Kev and I met a few buddies out for dinner and libations.  I ordered a beer I had never tried from Great Lakes Brewing Co. that labels itself as “an environmentally and socially conscious brewer of award-winning, all natural beer.”  Cool.  I had the Edmund Fitzgerald American porter, which has 5.8% ABV.  Beer Advocate gives it an A, and I agree.

My Porter & Kev's Kashmir IPA

For its appearance, you can see it is has a rich, dark color, but it is not as dark as, say, a Guinness since this one still has chestnut undertones.  The beer also has minimal head.  I wouldn’t think it would be a heady beer anyway, but I think our server let it sit at the bar a while too.  (We had such bad service last night!)  The Edmund Fitzgerald also has a lovely light-to-medium-strength aroma of coffee.

Now for the taste!  This beer has roast malt and coffee flavors, but luckily it lacks the milky or chocolate taste of many dark beers, typically stouts.  This is a great porter that’s very smooth.  I think the roasted flavor gives it a more crisp taste.  This porter has a rich mouth-feel that is very enjoyable, which I partly attribute to its ABV.  (I’m not a fan of beers with extremely high alcohol contents; it takes away from the other flavors.)

Dinner of Champions (the fresh beer is a dunkel, not the porter)

As you can see, I enjoyed two beers with a side salad and 1-2 tsp dressing (no croutons).  This made for a yummy and relaxing dinner.  (Sorry I ate half the salad before thinking of photographing – I’m still getting used to this whole thing!)

Not Lookin' Tooooo Rough for 5:30 a.m.

I still made my normal (ridiculously early) bedtime and hit the gym this morning after my alarm went off at 5 a.m.  Today’s workout included 50 minutes of total-body strength training; I like to give myself a break from cardio on Fridays.  A truly happy Friday indeed!

When does your weekend start, Thursday or Friday?  Do you have any plans for the weekend?

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