Christmas Tree

Writer's Block: Good eats

What's your favorite holiday food? Is there any holiday dish you hate?

Lots of folks will think I am crazy but I like fruitcake. Not that nasty amalgamation of cheap nuts and candied fruit held together by a thin layer of pancake batter most people think of. I am talking about a family recipe that is a cake studded with fruit and nuts, rich with molasses and spices, mellowed by aging while wrapped in a brandy soaked cheesecloth. Nothing quite like it to conjure up the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Writer's Block: Unplugged

For how much money would you be willing to spend a whole week away from the Internet, TV, and mobile phones? Would you suffer withdrawal pains?
Just enough money to get me out into the back country by whatever means. Ideally about $3,000 which should be enough to rent a boat in the Keys for a week.

Withdrawal pains? Not from being cut off completely. I get them from having bad connections or only being able to watch broadcast TV.

Writer's Block: Cover me

Which songs have been covered better by artists who didn't originally sing them?

Without a doubt the best cover ever was Tainted Love by Soft Cell, but Should I Stay or Should I Go by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs is a close second.

As a rule Johnny Cash did songs better than the original artist too, his cover of Hurt is haunting.

Cider 1.5

So the cider has been bubbling away for about two weeks now and seems to have calmed down and floced a good portion of the yeast so it is time to move on to phase two.

The plan is to rack the cider into a five gallon carboy and start a new batch of cyser on the yeast in the primary. To that end today I picked up five more gallons of sweet cider, two gallons of Granny Smith, two of Jonagold, and one of Aurora. Oddly enough the Aurora tastes the sweetest, but has the least amount of sugar in it, but it has a great aroma so that is why I threw it into the mix. I also have six pounds of apple blossom honey that I am going to use. Apple blossom honey is actually hard to get because the trees bloom so early that the bees consume it as fast as they make it. I figure I am going to add four pounds into the fermenter and then use the last two pounds to backsweeten later on.

Cider 2010 Part One

Since relocating to Seattle I have been very limited in my ability to brew. I am living with hollyking and hollyqueen so I have just my bedroom to operate with. Cider however does not take much space so I can manage that.

Yesterday we were out at the Redhook Sausagefest in Woodinville. There is a cider mill nearby that does not pasteurize, or treat thier cider in anyway. Since I knew I would be out in that area I had purchased some Wyeast Cider Yeast before hand. When we stopped at the mill they had three varieties of sweet cider on hand. A Homeblend, made from apples they grow on their own property. A sweet cider made from Honeycrisp apples, and one made from Gala apples. After tasting them I found that I liked the Homeblend best, but thought it needed a bit more sweetness. In the end I bought four gallons of the Homeblend and added a gallon of the Gala sweet cider to it. I now have it sitting in my closet bubbling away.

On the way home I did spot a couple of wild apple trees growing in a park. I think I am going to go down and harvest some to supplement the blend further. But there is a nature center in the park so I think I will talk to them first. I want those apples, but not enough to get a ticket over it.
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Well I got into Seattle a couple of days ago and I am trying to get a feel for my new home. The streets here are not laid out in a logical manner, at least not logical to me. However I can get from the house to Bellevue and back, and I can find I-90 which will get me to most everything else.

One of the first things I did was to go on the Beer Mapping Project to see what was close to my new place. Limiting the search to a five mile radius still turned up over 100 hits, one of which is right down the street a few blocks. Since my brother and sister-in-law are going to a Mariners game tonight I thought I would check it out and see. However it will have to be late as the reviews I have read all seem to indicate that the place is crawling with Yuppies and their spawn. Seems that the Madrona area of Seattle has been recently gentrified and the Yuppies seem to think that it is a great idea to bring the kiddies to a bar.

The one thing that I did do today was take a walk down to Lake Washington from the house. I am on 33rd, and the lake is around 40th. Sounds easy right? Well, most of those blocks are down hill at about a 45° angle. Steep enough that walking down was bothering my knees. The walk back took twice as long as the outbound trip. However if I am serious about changing my life and getting in better shape this is the sort of thing I need to be doing. I think in the future that I will walk to the library three days a week and down to the lake the other two.
Me at Ocachobe Post Office

Notes From The Road

I left Kansas City for Seattle yesterday to start my new life. The first day my brother and I drove all the way to Boulder for the first day. Our first stop was Avery Taproom. We both had tasters of Ellie's Brown, Ballsmack!!! Baltic Porter, and Seventeena highly hopped black lager. Then he had a Out of Bounds Stout and I had a 2006 Samael's Barrel Aged. As always the beer was great, only complaint about it really is that it is very loud in there so it is hard to have a conversation.

After that we went to Efrains II just down the road from Avery. We both got the Efrain spicy, which is a chef's choice plate. It was quite good, but it was SPICY!. We had to give in and ask for a side of sour cream. It is a good place to eat though, it was busy and good prices.

Today we were trying to go to Medovina Colorado Honeywine, then to New Belgium on the way to Yellowstone. Well that did not work out quite right. First Medovina does not seem to have a tasting room of any sort. Then New Belgium seems to close their tasting room on Sunday and Monday. Why a major brewery that is a well known would not have hours on a weekend is beyond me. It is not like there are state laws at play as Avery is open both of those days. Finally we got all the way to Lander, WY and decided that we did not have time to see anything in the park today and the prices would be higher there. So we stopped for the evening here. The plan now is to get up early and get through the park and as far west as we can that night.

There is one bonus. It seems that Lander has a brewpub, so that is where we are going to go for dinner tonight. I will try to post something about that once we get back to the hotel.