Five for Friday: 5 Amazing Beers from Red Hare Brewing

I’ve gushed many a time about how fortunate I am to live in such a fantastic beer city (click here or here or even here). Metro-Atlanta’s love affair with craft beer is quite the saga with new chapters and great, new breweries popping up damned near monthly.  Today I must show some love to the brewery that is quickly becoming my local fave.  Nestled in Marietta GA lies Red Hare Brewing:

Red Hare Brewing Company is an independent micro-brewer located in the heart of  Marietta, GA. In August 2011 Red Hare starting selling its craft beer through out the state of Georgia, and is now also available in South Carolina. Red Hare is the first craft brewery in Georgia to can their craft beer. Stop by for one of our tours & tastings to see where all the magic happens: Thursdays & Fridays 5:30-7:30pm, and Saturdays 2-4pm.

Here are 5 of their beers I can’t get enough of:

Number 5:  Watership Brown Ale

Part of their mainstay series, this one is available year-round (can & draught).

ABV: 7.2%

45  IBUs

Slightly sweet with a roasted malt character, and a noticeable but not overpowering hop character that rounds out this Brown Ale into a very well balanced brew.

Brown Ales don’t generally enter my list of favorites; I find they all tend to run together.  This one is solid.  It’s got great drinkability and the flavor characteristics are distinctive.

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Number 4:  Gangway IPA

Part of their mainstay series, this one is available year-round (can & draught).

ABV: 6.2%

65 IBUs

Gangway IPA is crisp, unfiltered, and golden in color and slightly sweet; hopped with Williamette, Chinook, Cascade and dry hopped with Falconers Flight.

This is one of my go-tos for IPAs.  I’m a notorious hop hound.  IPAs top my list as favorite style and usually I seek out the excruciatingly hoppy, the palate destroyers.  Gangway is nice medium.  It has enough hops to satisfy my palate while still remaining drinkable.  Don’t get me wrong, this little can still packs a punch and you can tell a lot of love went into this brew (unlike some breweries that I feel knee-jerk out an IPA because you have to have one).

Gangway-IPA-on-black-with-banner

Number 3: Sticky Stout

Available seasonally on draught only.

ABV: 6.5%

17 IBUs

Dark roasted malts lend to the a rich dark color, and hints of chocolate and coffee found in this beer. The addition of oats balance these flavors and give it smooth full body, a light sweetness, and a sticky mouth feel finish.

The stout is my second favorite beer style and this one is delicious!  I was lucky enough to catch this on tap at quite a few local bars over the winter season.  They hit on that chocolate/coffee combination that I so love in my stouts.  Sticky Stout is a stout lover’s dream.

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Number 2:  Forbidden Fruit

Availability: Fall Seasonal 2013 (draught only)

ABV: 5.5%

12 IBUs

Brewed with french-style yeast, fresh pressed north Georgia apples, vanilla and cinnamon. Tastes like a fresh baked apple pie in a glass!

Apple pie it is folks!  Wow, so much flavor packed into one glass.  Somehow the best of the flavors come through without being sickenly sweet or the spices being overbearing (like in many Xmas beers).  I caught this one tap in their tasting room (which is awesome by the way…great space and live music).  Now I only lament that I have to go all the way to Marietta to get it!

forbidden-fruit

Number 1:  Rauchbier

Availability: Rabbit’s Reserve #6- Limited Edition  (draught only)

ABV: 6.8%

Rabbit’s Reserve #6  released September 2013. Rauchbier is reminiscent of a German-style Oktoberfest and can literally be translated to “smoked beer”. Munich, smoked, and dark roasted malts provide this brew with its softly smoked flavor and smooth maltyness.

When I tell you I’m obsessed with a beer, I truly mean it!  I have attempted to stalk this beer all over Atlanta to find it on draught.  I enjoyed several pints at the brewery and then proceeded to talk about it way too much to my beer loving buddies.  The Georgia Pine (kick-ass restaurant and good beer selection) had it for a while and just last weekend I saw it on their website and got way too excited.  We called and they no longer had it.  Talk about bummed.  This smoke in a glass beer ranks in my top 10 favorite beers of all time.  My heart broke when I read this on Red Hare’s site:

*No longer in production

Rauchbier

I beg you Red Hare, can I get this back at some point?!

There you have it beer lovers.  Red Hare Brewing!  Go check them out, you won’t be disappointed!

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  NPR podcasts

Eating:  Cabbage, black-eyed peas and cornbread.

Random fact:  Today Lefty Pop will be featuring my piece on GA’s Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate.  It goes live at 5 so be sure to check it out!

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Five for Friday: 5 Beers I Can’t Get Enough Of

I have a slight infatuation with craft beer.

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Wait, that’s a total lie.  I love beer.  We’re total buds.  Craft beer is currently to a drinking habit what wine has been for years.  It’s an excuse to drink under the guise of a hobby.  Guzzle a case of Bud Lights over the weekend and you’re going to be called redneck with a drinking problem.  Down a few stouts and IPAs and you’re an enthusiast!  It’s a drinker’s perfect disguise!

Craft beer is also similar to wine because you’re always in collecting mode.  You HAVE to try them all.  Every brewery.  Oh, the rare stuff.  The one offs.  The stuff that you need to “know a guy” to find.  It’s fun because it’s like a yummy, boozy hunt!

Recently I received a major award cool prize at our local hangout Taco Mac.  They have a program that encourages spending drinking at their fine establishment:  The Brewniversity.  There are all kinds of levels and prizes for drinking/collecting unique brews.  I just hit 125 and thus graduated with my Bachelor’s.  I get my name on a plaque and some goodies, but the big prize is the big mug.  Now I get 20 oz pours.  My “problem” just got bigger by 4 oz.

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NICE!

So in honor of this major accomplishment, I’d like to dedicate today’s Five for Friday post to beer.  This will likely be an ongoing series that pops up when I feel the need to push 5 deserving brews on your unsuspecting palate.  Here are 5 beers I’m really into right now.

Number 5:  New Belgium– Coconut Curry Hefeweizen 8%

A Hefe I like!  This is major folks!  I traditionally am not a fan of the wheats, but I love this one.  Our bartender introduced this to me as “the nastiest f$&#ing beer I’ve tasted in a really long time”.  Well, I had to try it after that.  Delicious!  Now he winces every time I ask for one.

The aroma is bold and big with coconut and curry tones and a hint of banana from the hefe yeast. With a vast spice list of cinnamon, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, kaffir lime, and cayenne pepper this beer carries a bit of heat but the alcohol soothes the finish. Coconut Curry Hefe will leave an inquisitive smile on the drinker’s mug.

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Number 4:  Southern Tier– Pumking 8.5%

Holy deliciousness in a glass.  I’ve been obsessed with this one since my first sip.  Since fall has come and gone, it’s getting harder and harder to find.  We’re hording a bomber in our pantry.

All Hallow’s Eve is a time of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent. It is thought that we harness this magic to brew our powerful pumpkin ale. Not so, but it is with great respect to the magic of their trade that our brewers produce this fine beer. Take a whiff of this complex ale and your journey has just begun. At first sip, a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds, yet another victim enraptured by the Pumking.

southern tier brewing company

Number 3:  Samuel Smith- Organic Chocolate Stout 5%

A beer that appeals to the beer snob and hippie in me!  I force this beer on everyone I meet.  Usually the organic garners an eye roll…..and then they taste it.  Chocolate bar in a mug.  It’s insanely yummy!  And at 5%, it’s super drinkable for a stout.

Brewed with well water (the original well, sunk in 1758, is still in use with the hard water is drawn from 85 feet underground), the gently roasted organic chocolate malt and organic cocoa impart a delicious, smooth and creamy character, with inviting deep flavours and a delightful finish – this is the perfect marriage of satisfying stout and luxurious chocolate.

sam

Number 2:  Ballast Point– Indra Kunindra 7%

Another curry beer….or should I say THE curry beer.  I’m on the hunt for this one.  It’s super hard to find.  Matt and I found it at Hopjack’s Filling Station in Pensacola (they rock so hard!) and took a growler home to make sure we had another taste.

A burst of Madras Curry, Cumin, Cayenne, Coconut, and Kaffir Lime Leaf.  An India-style Export Stout is Ballast Point’s unique collaboration with award-winning homebrewer Alex Tweet. Released in limited quantities, this explosion of South Asian flavors is reason enough to kneel down and thank the heavens.

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Number 1:  Jekyll– Hop Dang Diggity 6.7%

This is currently my favorite IPA and that’s saying a lot with the sheer number of IPAs available.  I love that it’s local too!  Atlanta’s craft beer scene is insanely incredible.  Some crazy good beers coming out of this area!

Our Hop Dang Diggity Southern IPA will give you a full nose of Georgia pine aroma while the malty backbone provides for a perfectly balanced sweetness.  Hopped up like a one legged chicken, this is not your standard “economical” IPA.

It is entirely likely that you may choose to not drink this IPA, but only breathe in it’s wonderful aromas…  snap out of it and take a sip.  Not too dry, but having just the right amount of sweetness to balance the bitter, then finishing with a refreshing clean that begs for the next taste.  This hoppy style pairs well with any of your favorite spicy foods.

jekyll

Cheers!

Wanna check out some of my other beer posts:  5 IPAs   & Beer Butt

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to: Queens Of The Stone Age – 3’s & 7’s

Random fact:  I find beer knowledge sexy.

Monday Night Brewing: Weekends are Overrated

This past Saturday Matt and I took a trip into the city to tour one the local craft brewing companies springing up all around us, Monday Night Brewing.  It was an awesome experience.  Here we are four days later and I’m still thinking about it.  Now, part of that could be stemming from the fact that I haven’t enjoyed an after-work beer at all this week.  Sorry guys at Monday Night, there’s a valid reason for that.  But mostly I can’t get the taste of the beer out of my head (two brews in particular) and I’m in awe of their branding.  I’ll get into both of these reasons a bit later.  For now, let’s learn a little about:

Monday Night Brewing

This company has probably the oddest start-up story I’ve ever heard.  It was born out of a Friday morning Bible study!  I know, sounds crazy.  A group of folks were meeting up every Friday at 6 am.  As you can imagine, this wasn’t the easiest time in the day for them to get to know one another.  So when one of the guys picked up a brew kit, they all checked their schedules  to find a time to meet up (Monday evening looked good) and help him brew his first batch of beer.  And thus the first Monday night beer was brewed.  I’m told it was…drinkable.

This Monday night meet up became a ritual and the next thing you know, more and more people started showing up.  Soon everyone was looking forward to their Mondays, because that meant a chance to hang with friends and brew beer.

Eventually they decided that it would be totally rad to turn this little “hobby” into a business.  They made a 3 year plan and 5 years later Monday Night Brewing was officially launched.  During those five years, they were perfecting the recipes for Eye Patch Ale (their IPA) and Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale (close to a stout taste).

Eye Patch Ale

A crisp, drinkable IPA. The earthy deliciousness of Cascade and Magnum hops, combined with upfront malt flavor, and balanced with a pirate’s sensibilities. Our Eye Patch Ale is a uniquely drinkable take on the American IPA – sweet caramel, citrusy flowers and swashbuckling adventure abound with every pint.

  • 6.2% ABV
  • 46 IBUs
  • Hops: Columbus, Cascade, and Magnum hops
  • Grain Bill: Marris Otter as a base malt, with just a hint of Rye malt

Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale

A roasty scotch ale with a hint of smoke. Full-bodied, but not overpowering. Smokey, but not in a creepy bar kind of way. Sweet, but not obnoxiously so. Sound like your ideal mother-in-law? Fair enough, but it also is a pretty dead-on description of our Scotch Ale. In a difficult hop-growing climate, Scottish brewers relied on other ingredients to impart flavor and bitterness – one such ingredient was smoked malt. Drafty Kilt is a dark, malty bombshell of a beer.

  • 7.2% ABV
  • 26 IBUs
  • Hops: Columbus and Willamette hops
  • Grain Bill: Includes cherrywood-smoked malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley

Then last summer, we were introduced to their third offering, Fu Manbrew (Belgian-style wit).  It was obviously well received, because it won Bronze in the US Beer Open its first month and Gold this year.  Now, while I’m sure that the guys and gals at MNB are very proud of this accomplishment, this beer holds another distinction for which they should be even prouder,  I love it!  It holds the honor (such a big deal) of being the ONLY wit I like.  I generally despise all things wheat when it comes to beer, but I adore this one.  I think it’s the ginger.

Fu Manbrew Belgian-Style Wit

A bright, spicy Belgian-style wit. An effervescent, easy-drinking wheat beer, brewed with Belgian yeast, German hops, and a whisper of ginger from the Far East. This mustachio’d Belgian-style wit believes that good beer defies borders. The name Fu Manbrew was crowdsourced with some help from our friends at Scoutmob. They call the mustache a “Flavor Savor” for a reason.

  • 5.2% ABV
  • 15 IBUs
  • Hops: Hallertau
  • Grain Bill: Pilsner and wheat malt

And that leaves their final beer offered in bottles:

Blind Pirate Double IPA

A surprisingly balanced double IPA. A pirate without the use of his eyes is a bitter man indeed. And this Blind Pirate’s bitterness is only matched by his boldness. He doesn’t care if you enjoy the citrusy, spicy combination of hops on your tongue, the faint herbal notes in your nose, or the exquisite balance of caramel malts looting your senses. The Blind Pirate is a bold, bitter ale not for the weak in spirit. Just don’t ask him if you can borrow his sight glass. He gets offended.

  • 8.2% ABV
  • 85 IBUs
  • Hops: Simcoe, Willamette, Columbus, and Cascase
  • Grain Bill: Marris Otter as a base malt, with Munich, caramel, and a smidge of wheat

So here are my highlights from the tour:

The four mainstays-  I already knew I liked all of their beers and so I was looking forward to retasting what I already knew to be good…..

but I was pleasantly surprised to experience…

Two special tour brews-  They had a cask of their Eye Patch Ale all jacked up on Mosaic Hops.  Sweet mother of pearl!  It was so freaking delicious.  As a hop hound, I was in heaven.  And then low and behold, I tasted something even more delicious, their Eye Patch Ale with Serrano peppers.  Hear me when I say, this is one of my favorite beers of all time.  I couldn’t get enough.  They have to bottle this stuff.  It just needs to happen.  Or at the very least, let’s get some of those special kegs out to some metro Atlanta pubs.  I would be very pleased if one made its way over to Local Republic. hint, hint.

The marketing-  The branding is just so clever and well conceived.  They adopted the loosened neck tie as their logo to signify all of those Monday nights when they arrived in their work attire (corporate suit and tie get-ups).  The slogan:  Weekends Are Overrated.  Genius.  And the branding is everywhere, from the tap pulls (shaped like neckties), to the “suit guy” on all of their bottles (with the beer name theme cleverly worked in….Fu Manbrew dude sports a fu manchu), to their “Tie One One” wall of ties (if you bring one to add to the collection, you’ll get a dollar off the normal tour cost of $10).

The tour itself-  Tour guide (and co-founder), Jonathan Baker, was so informative.  We especially loved the detailed description of their beer making process.  And at $10 per person (cost includes tour, pint glass, and 6 generous tastings), it’s a bargain.

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So as you can see, they are off to a fabulous start.  They just started bottling 6 months ago and already I’m seeing their beers in more and more locations.  And after the tour, I’m going to tell you that there will be nothing slowing these guys down.  The brand is solid and the beer is superb.  Atlanta won’t be able to contain Monday Night!  So my recommendation beer lovers in the ATL or surrounding areas, is to make plans to take a tour now.  Later you’ll be waiting in a very long, well earned line.

Check out their plans for other brews and learn more by clicking on the link below:

Weekends are Overrated

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  Speedy Ortiz – Tiger Tank

Eating:  Sweet Potato Pot Pie (lentils, sweet potatoes, and polenta)

Drinking:  H20

Random fact:  I can only wink my left eye.

“Oh my god Becky. Look at her butt!”

Here’s a riddle to start your week out.  What two things are super awesome parts of my life but at the same time are wreaking havoc on my hips and waist line?  Come on, let’s hear your guesses!

Nope.

Uh uh, not that.

Give up?!….

Love & Craft Beer

Yep guys, being in a relationship in which I feel 100% comfortable and satisfied has led to the dreaded “my pants feel a bit too tight” issue.  Though it is a bit disheartening that Matt is somehow losing weight while I find it,  I really can’t blame it all on him.  Ok, I really can’t blame any of it on him.  If I’m really being honest here, it really should just say love OF craft beer.

Love & Craft Beer  Love of Craft Beer

There, fixed.

Craft beer might just be my Achilles heel.  And I truly think that poor Matty got pulled into the blame only because his arrival in my life coincided nicely with me picking up my first IPA.  The growth of our relationship has been paralleled by my growing love for all things craft.  The IPAs found that they were being kept company by stouts and porters.  The next thing you know, things started to get a wee bit crowed as other ales and lagers were added.  And by crowded, I mean the room I have to button my pants.

The point of this post is, one, to call myself out.  I’ve prided myself for years on maintaining the same weight I was at just after high school.  And now that I’ve seen that number topped with 9 pounds (8.7 to be exact), it’s time to stop the insanity.  Two, while I don’t have the excuse of child birth to fall back on, I do need to admit that I’m in my 30s and guess what, the body is just not going to take the abuse it once did without showing it.  And finally, it’s a bit of reality statement for those out there who think that just because someone has a degree in exercise science or worked as a trainer for years, they have it easy or aren’t prone to their own set backs.  I’ve kept my workouts going strong (while slipping a bit more than I did previously because Matty is an enticing snuggler at 5:15 in the morning), but it’s time to get this nutrition thing back in check.  Knowledge doesn’t necessarily equal adherence.  And they don’t provide a special shortcut to willpower with degrees and certifications.

So here is the plan:

  1. No beer during the work week.  Sorry Melissa, the whole “it was a stressful day” racket just isn’t going to cut it as a excuse for your desire to buddy up to a growler bottle that will likely equal you drinking two pint glasses full.
  2. Pacing.  I don’t drink beer for the buzz (odd sounding, I know) and while many of my favorites are high gravity, I don’t tend to get drunk when we go out.  So the normal pacing I would impose upon myself with liquor hasn’t been there.  There hasn’t been any “one drink/one glass of water” strategy going on.  Therefore, a night at the bar can mean 4-5 beers.  If I’m in a dark beer mood for that night, that could equal around 1,375 calories!  Simple math tells us that this isn’t going to do my abs and ass any favors.  So the new rule is one glass of water between beers.  Either this will slow me down or the fact that I need to make 15 bathroom visits will keep me busy.
  3. Curb those portions.  Beer isn’t the only thing that should be blamed here.  We’re foodies.  That means many of our weekend plans revolve around seeking out the best Atlanta has to offer in food.  Newsflash for anyone who thinks Atlanta doesn’t have an insanely amazing restaurant scene, it does.  This city has an abundance of wonderful places at which to dine.  And because the restaurant has been the focus of many of our trips, I feel the need to try way too many things.   Also, living with Bee for an entire year skewed my idea of portions.  He would load his plate up and I would end up walking away with far too much for a girl to be eating in one sitting.  Even when you eat super healthy, the amount still matters.  And I need to start checking in with myself on the difference between “hungry” and “wanting to have a mouth party”.  Two different things.
  4. Accountability.  I’m putting it out there for all to see and therefore I’ll be accountable to someone else besides myself.  Even if that someone is the wide expanse of the internet, it’s out there.  I’m a goal focused gal and merely putting it in writing and showing it to someone else will make this much easier for me.
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Yep, I look like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.

Now, for anyone reading this who says, big deal, you’ve gained a measly 9 pounds, well it is a big deal to me!   And my thoughts are that if we wait until we’re buying a new size or feeling completely out of control, we’ve waited too long.  I recognize it’s an issue and will be saying so long to these pounds.  A closet full of designer jeans and my sanity are at stake!

Let’s end on something that is much more fun and is a calorie free source of enjoyment in my life, music!

Songs that pushed me through this morning’s workout:

Queens Of The Stone Age – Song For The Dead

Pearl Jam – Even Flow

Gorillaz – 19-2000

Hot Chip – Ends Of The Earth

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  Queens Of The Stone Age – My God Is The Sun  Can’t get enough of this new album.

Eating:  Brussel sprouts and a veggie burger.

Drinking:  H2O

Reading:  The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez

Random fact:  I find it a bit ironic that I’m posting this the week after my Happy IPA Day post.  Ok, I guess that really isn’t ironic; it’s just a sad, sudsy coincidence.

Happy IPA Day!

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Happy IPA Day everyone!

As you know, I’m a huge craft beer fan and IPAs hold a very special place in my heart.  They were the style that got me into craft beer and while I’ve branched out to many other styles, they’re still my favorite.  I consume far more of these gifts from the hop gods than other beer style.  So I thought it only fitting to share my favorite IPAs today.

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Before we begin, a few notes about me and beer:

  1. I’m not a beer expert by any stretch of the imagination.  I can’t sniff a beer and find trace scents of frosty mountain pine or salted caramel.  Yeah, sometimes I pick up on some major notes, but don’t look for any nuances from me.  I just know what I like.
  2. When I use the term balanced, I mean the beer didn’t fling me off of the hops seesaw.  Whatever technical reasons for the balance can be found on a site like Beer Advocate where experts and those posing as such describe every minute element of every beer.
  3. I only truly hopped on the craft beer wagon a little over a year ago (see what I did there).
  4. Because I’m still a newbie, I try to cut myself some slack for not knowing everything.  I’ll get there.  Until then, I’m just gonna enjoy my beer!
  5. I apologize in advance for any cheesy use of the word hops throughout this post.  It can’t be helped.

Saddle up to the bar and get ready for some major hopitude:

Sculpin IPA- Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, Massachusetts

American IPA- 7.00% ABV

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Great flavor, well balanced and very smooth.  It’s a bit on the lighter side of the IPAs I tend to prefer most.  I first tasted this one on our last trip to Pensacola at Hopjacks Filling Station  at the recommendation of the bartender.  If you’re ever in Pcola, you should check this place out.  It’s part bar, part growler filling station, part beer store, and part restaurant.  All of those things add up to it being totally awesome.

IPA- Lagunitas Brewing Company, California

American IPA- 6.20% ABV

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Initially hoppy, smooths out as you sip.  A bit dark for an IPA.  This one’s been around for a while (1995).  Back then I thought beer tasted horrible (probably because growing up in a redneck town my tastings were limited to Natural Lite and Bud).  How wonderful that all these years later it turns out to be one of my favorites.

IPA- Sweetwater Brewing Company, Georgia

American IPA- 6.30% ABV

sweetwater

Very well balanced, but the hops are still the star.  Awww Sweetwater.  It’s beer excellence right in my own backyard.  This is my go to when I’m not out trying something new.  It has great drink-ability compared to the next two on my list.

Galactica- Clown Shoes , Massachusetts

American Double/Imperial IPA- 8.00% ABV

005

Well balanced and a bit malty but packing one hell of punch!  I just discovered this a few weeks ago at our liquor store.  I was eye-balling the four packs (why god must I always gravitate toward the expensive stuff??) and another customer said, “Oh, you have to get that!”  He went on and on about its deliciousness and as he was a fellow IPA enthusiast, I took his advice.  Man, was I not disappointed.  This may be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.  It has almost dethroned my favorite IPA.

and last, but certainly not least, my darling of IBUs, the hops of my heart, the lumber to my jack……

Timber Beast- Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company, Mississippi

American Double/Imperial IPA- 9.00% ABV

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Unbalanced, a bit skunky, and unapologetically hoppy.   This beer just shoves it in your face.   Seriously, I always half expect a hops plant to actually sprout out of the bottle when opened.  My friend Bee calls this my sweat sock beer.  Maybe this wasn’t the one to ease him into IPAs….

Well, there you have it, five IPAs that satisfy my craft beer newbie tongue.  Have you had any of them?  What are your favorite IPAs?

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  Teenage Fanclub – Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything

Eating:  popcorn

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  The first beer I remember really loving is Killian’s Irish Red.  Can’t remember the last time I had one of those.

How to Breeze Your Way Through Cooking for a Summer Party

It’s almost officially summer and that means lot of get-togethers and cooking. I love this time of year. There is nothing better than being outside and firing up the grill. Even a veg loves a good barbeque!

So today I thought I’d share the menu from the last shindig we hosted a few weeks ago. This is a very simple menu that allows you to focus more on enjoying the party and less on living in the kitchen (there’s a time and place for that too!).

Step 1: Buy some booze.

I’m pretty partial to craft beer and my heart truly belongs to the IPA. On this occasion I went with Lazy Magnolia’s Timber Beast. It’s so hoppy that I’m surprised rye isn’t sprouting out of the bottle. Love! It’s currently my favorite IPA. It’s a bit pricey and only comes in a four pack, but it’s totally worth it. Lazy Magnolia is based in MS. Check out all of their yummy creations here: http://lazymagnolia.com/

We also snagged some Ruby Red Vodka from Deep Eddy Vodka (based in Austin TX). This stuff is magical. Add it to some lemonade and you have a perfect summer drink. Check out Deep Eddy at: http://deepeddyvodka.com/desktop/

Finally, we grabbed some Abita Strawberry. This is a wonderfully light lager that has the perfect hint of strawberry. I tend to not go for lighter beers much anymore, but I can’t get enough of this one. It’s great for a day at the pool. http://abita.com/brews

I also recommend asking your friends to bring their favorite beverages to share. This is a great way to add variety without breaking the bank and to discover new beers and cocktails.

IMG_9830ruby

This stuff is dangerous.

Step 2: An easy appetizer

Go to the store and purchase some Sabra Hummus. I picked garlic because I can never have too much of the stuff. Seriously, in my house garlic goes in and on just about every dish! Scoop up a few bags of pita chips. I love Amy’s.

Take your purchase home. Transfer the hummus to a cute bowl. Add a little olive oil and paprika. Arrange the pita chips on a nice tray. Bam, looks homemade and impressive. Now all of your friends think you are the hummus master. You’re welcome.

Step 3: Convince your boyfriend to man the grill.

I love to cook, but I’m not much for prepping and cooking meat anymore given my veg status. So that means Matt was on grill duty. He fired that bad boy up and produced some yummy chicken breast (so I was told), turkey burgers and delish Boca burgers. I’m not quite sure what he used for seasoning but he went with Garland’s Six Sweet Brown Sugar BBQ sauce. Yum, yum! He also hooked my boca burgers up with some grilled garlic and mushrooms.

Step 4: A banging summer salad.

Out of all of the food served this is what got devoured the quickest. I mean there wasn’t a leaf left in the bowl.

Salad:

baby kale, green chard, red chard, arugula

cucumbers, seeded

red bell pepper, diced

strawberries, sliced

tomatoes, yellow cherry, halved

goat cheese

almonds, slivered, salt and pepper

*You can buy these in the store or make your own. To make your own, lightly toss plain slivered almonds with a bit of olive oil and salt & pepper. Lay out on a cookie tray. Bake at 350 until they are lightly golden and crunchy.

Dressing:

olive Oil

balsamic vinegar

Dijon mustard

garlic, minced

honey

oregano, finely chopped and pressed

salt & pepper

*I’ve recently been trying out a free sample of Filippo Berio EVOO. Pretty great stuff for the price point.

Step 5: Sides

First, I went with baked beans. Vegetarian Bush’s straight from the can. I get more compliments on these beans than when I’ve tried to get fancy and create my own. They’re great without any additions.

I also served-

Rosemary New potatoes:

Red potatoes, quartered

Olive oil

Garlic, minced

Rosemary

Salt & Pepper

Cook in a pyrex dish covered in foil at 350 for roughly 45 minutes (until a fork easily pierces potatoes).

I have a wonderful herb garden on my back patio that allows me to enjoy fresh herbs. It’s great because they are available instantly! Perfect for making up sauces, dressings, etc.

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Oregano, lemon balm, chive, basil, mint, stevia.

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Rosemary

Step 6: Dessert

This time I really cheated and had my friends bring dessert. Bee showed up with a delicious mango pie from Publix. It was just insanely good. We also had an “apple” pie courtesy of Roger and Joe that turned out to be peach. Nice surprise!

So all and all, a very easy summer menu. I apologize for not posting ingredient amounts or knowing what Matt put on the chicken. I wasn’t planning on blogging this. I pinky promise I will be prepared with full details next cooking post!

What do you like to serve at your summer parties? Leave me a comment.

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to: Queens Of The Stone Age – Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Eating: Leftover pasta….again

Drinking: H2O

Random fact: I hate wearing socks in bed. It makes my feet feel claustrophobic