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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Over and over you’ll hear from food bloggers that part of the great thing about baking or cooking is that when life is going haywire, when your friends fail, when your romantic life is a little clumsy, and when work is stressful you can reliably put together some delicious baked good or meal. No matter what, butter and sugar is a winning combination. Always and forever. And from the cooler, I can grab a 5 A.M. Saint and be wowed.

Aside from the amazing taste, I’m so pleased with how dependable yet surprising beer can be. I immensely admire many brewers’ insistence on exceeding our expectations, and not only exceeding those expectations, but presenting us with entirely new standards. It’s not enough for some of them to have a “decent” product, because they know we’re smart, have good taste, and we don’t want to settle anymore. Well, frankly, they’re also smart, have good taste, and they don’t want to settle anymore.

So much in life (relationships, personal growth, friends, etc.) is about standards. Standards for yourself and for others. Wouldn’t it be so disappointing if no one expected anything from you, or if they just expected mediocrity? Wouldn’t it be boring if you just expected others to be okay, or good enough? If you didn’t expect someone to be a great friend, a great boyfriend, a great brother, or a great parent? What if we didn’t expect the beer we order to taste great? What if the brewers tasted their finished product and said “That’s alright I guess. Let’s roll with it.” I have high expectations, not because I want people to do things for me, but because I want others to expect more from and for themselves. The tragedy is not when we fail those expectations or fall short. The tragedy is when we stop expecting anything or when we just expect “good enough.”

As long as we settle for good enough, we’ll never have great.

I’ve been all over the place in the last three paragraphs…let’s get on to the Brewdog.

All in all…
Last time I wrote about the 5 A.M. Saint I was very wide-eyed and blown away by the hops, mainly because I just wasn’t expecting that from an amber ale. This time around they’re still a pleasant surprise, and the beer is still great. It does what an “iconoclastic” ale should – it destroys what you think an amber ale should be. Each time I have this, no joke, I think “This doesn’t really taste like an amber ale…what is an amber ale supposed to taste like, anyways? Should it be this hoppy? Should other amber ales taste more like this instead?” You think twice. And just look at that red color! What an amazing shade…I can never get over their color palette choices.

Recommend to a friend?
If your definition of an amber is milder like, say Bell’s Amber, and you aren’t looking for anything different, I might not recommend this today. However, you do need to try this at one point or another.

Lightweight safe?
5.0% Yesss

Plus one?
For sure. Go on and grab another. This has a lot of flavor I love for a lightweight safe beer.

Get a six pack?
Yes, I think so

The Hops
Brewdog – Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire (Scotland)
Amber Ale…ahem, Iconoclastic Amber Ale
5.0% ABV
Friendly Package Liquors, Muncie

The Heels
Pollie Strappy Espadrille
Target (2012)
$29.99

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I sort-of kind-of colored my hair this weekend with chalk pastels. It was awesome.

Churchkey Can Co. is taking throwback one step further, with flat topped steel cans you have to open with the actual churchkey that comes with the six-pack.

The Birth of a Book…such a lovely process

“Indianapolis…Our sports-city culture has been built on top of a legacy of the bicycle.”

You’ve seen The Great Gatsby trailer, right? Right??

“Big beer” has discovered sponsored blog posts/giveaways

When you’re in the mood for s’mores, but don’t have the campfire

“Judge us not by our jerks” and “Don’t ‘door'” from How to Not Kill a Cyclist 

Strawberries were on super sale this week, so I’m going to try some of this coulis for some stawberry coulis/limeade ice. Hello Memorial Day!

My friend Megan made profiteroles, and I just can’t stop craving them now. Soft pastry with whip cream? Gahhhh


I’ve slightly lost interest in doing traditional beer reviews for the moment, and am looking forward to trying out some new things here with the blog. I’d like to move back to my sweet and short thoughts about beers I’m trying that started the Thirsty Thirty last summer, and thanks to a light-bulb idea inspired by the blog Stouts and Stilettos, I think I found a new summer project. How does Hops & Heels sound?

All in all…
Oh hey! Spices! Belgianness! The real star in this beer is the spice, which I can’t put my finger on to identify, but it’s very flavorful. A few months back…er, a year back, I heard an interview on Splendid Table about using peppers, and how there is a sort of continuum of flavor/pure heat in peppers. Meaning that there are some peppers that have pure heat, but don’t offer as much flavor when they’re used in cooking, and then there are peppers that have a lot of flavor, but not as much pure heat. The perfect balance for me is a jalapeño. This is all to say that the spice in the Farmhouse IPA isn’t powerful, but is extremely tasty. I haven’t come across a Belgian beer yet that tries this, and I was happy with what they did here.

Recommend to a friend?
Yes, you should definitely try this.

Lightweight-safe?
7.5% ABV…Woopsies!

Plus one?
It’s such a pleasant beer to drink, because the spices are just so fun. However, with a 7.5% ABV I wouldn’t have another.

Get a six pack?
Oh yes. I would enjoy having several of these in the refrigerator.

The Hops
Flying Dog – Frederick, MD
Belgian IPA
7.5% ABV
Friendly Package Liquors, Muncie

The Heels
Merona Eireen Wedges
Target (2012)
$24.99

30 of the best alternatives to Helvetica. (I like the weight of Chalet 1960)

Beautifully inspiring profile of chef Chris Kearse

Roundup of some great craft beer labels over at Paste (I love love love Westbrook!)

My favorite tribute to MCA by far

Is anyone else just not okay with the phrase “never trust a skinny cook” ? Me too. Here’s a nice bit about maintaining a semi-healthy diet while being a baker/cook.

I’m not sure I consider myself a writer, but I do try to become better at writing given the time constraints of blog posts: 25 Ways To Earn Your Audience. Please note number 25

“…the bride pictured was drinking a beer. FROM A BOTTLE. The horror.”

Hi beer blinis and pretty pictures

Britta?

Pardon me while I drool over Cafe du Monde Coffee Ice Cream 

Happy American Craft Beer Week! (I really liked their video as well)

Some notes on craft beer’s high price/high quality model

Another reason why most people who love craft beer are awesome

You know you want to dance

The infamous screw Brew Dog and #TheWinnerIsNot fiasco

After North Carolina voted on Amendment 1, New Belgium takes its stance on same-sex equality

Have I told you lately I’m obsessed with Jon Hamm? “Making out is super fun”

The Moon Under Water pub by George Orwell

An interview with the man behind Schlafly’s twitter account

Where the Wild Things Are photo-booth “Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”

Being a lightweight can be an uphill battle, especially loving craft beer. I adore trying new beers, having a few with friends and being our merry selves, but at the end of the day, I am indeed a lightweight. If you’re like me, and want the best possible opportunity to try more than one or two beers when you’re out, here are some things that have helped me.

[But before you read on, please give the new page “Lightweight Safe Beers” a look – I’ve started a handy running list of beers that are less than 6.0% ABV for quick reference.]

Research and plan ahead
One of the bars in town publishes their menu online so I can take a look at what they have and pick out a few low ABV beers to choose from. If that isn’t available beforehand, or at the bar on a menu, then I either talk to the bartender to see what they know or use my iPhone to look up ABV (the fastest way is to use Beer Advocate or Untappd).

Water water water
I think everyone knows this, and goodness knows I do, but I really have to be diligent about drinking enough water before, during, and after having beer. The best rule of thumb for me is to have one-two glasses of water before each beer…If you’re at home, select the biggest glass you have and use that. I tend to use small glasses, which means I end up consuming far less water than I should.

Know your limits and pace
Hopefully you’re aware of your limits. If not, then it’s something that just takes time, self-awareness, and usually a few mistakes. Also know what pace works better for you. Personally, it works better for me to have two beers in a row and then spend the rest of the evening drinking water. For others, it may be better to have water/beer/water/beer/water. Just be self-aware and stick to your guns.

Have a backup 
Let’s face it. None of us are perfect, and frankly, we love beer, sometimes you don’t feel like gauging alcohol content and glasses of water consumed. And sometimes, you just can’t pass on that Founder’s Double Trouble. It would be silly to ignore the fact that we get tipsy sometimes and have more than maybe we intended – hello, I’m writing about beer. I do my very best to be responsible, but I try to have a backup plan. Thankfully, I have a few friends who live around downtown and if need be, I can crash with them.

Also, program the numbers to one or two taxi services in your phone. If none of these options are available, just hang out at the bar for a while, order some pizza, and of course, have more water.

Build a mental list
Over time I’ve developed go-to beers that I know are low in ABV. This way, I don’t always have to look up information and my night can be so much more laid back. Please see my aforementioned new page with a list of some of my favorite lightweight safe beers!

Embrace it and splurge
Honestly, there are only a select few people who actually respect the fact that I don’t drink a lot and that I take my time with beer. I’ll elaborate that in another post, but try to embrace it and stick to your guns. A bonus to being limited to only a few beers? You’re able to spend more on each of them. Hello world of sours!

Gin and tonic cake. Sounds like summer to me!

World Beer Cup 2012 winners! Sun King, one of my favorite Indiana breweries took home awards in categories 41 with Dominator Dopplebock, #64 with The Velvet Frog, and #83 with Ring of Dingle.

I’m a little over mustaches (but not beards. Beards are forever). However, these are beautiful cards and beautiful colors.

How Adam Yauch grew into his voice

Never. Never will I ever understand Waffle Jello Shots. Blegh x 2.

In June I am travelling to Atlanta, and I AM SO EXCITED TO GO The Brick Store Pub. Bonus: there is a Belgian Beer Bar upstairs.

I’m smitten with Gimme Some Oven and these Blackberry Lime Margaritas

This Tumblr has made me laugh out loud so much over the last week

This is from way back in 2011, but it’s my favorite Joy the Baker post. I read it regularly for kicks of inspiration and confidence.

What does eating locally really mean anyway? “…our choices aren’t black and white; we can turn the contrast up or down, depending on what we value. And for me, the ground that something grows in is important, but so are the people who sell it to us, and the social structures we support by buying it from them.”