Monday, November 7, 2011

Where have all the Turkeys gone?

I have a complicated family, and since I got married the holiday situation has only gotten more confusing. Inevitably someone doesn't get visited and their gift sits on my stereo cabinet for a full year until next Christmas.Christmas has always felt like something that needs to be overly coordinated, something that is supposed to be done efficiently rather than magically. Whatever the reasoning, I always find myself looking forward to Thanksgiving, the day of turkey, football, napping, lounging and drinking... What happened to  other people looking forward to Thanksgiving?? All I see is Christmas stuff!! We are seriously one week into November, we are talking like SEVEN weeks before Christmas... in my book that is close enough to two months to not even mention, much less put out commercials and push Santa ornaments on unsuspecting shoppers looking to get clearance Halloween stuff.

The thing that I am looking forward to almost as much as not having to cook this Thanksgiving?? Pumpkin beer courtesy of my sweet Aunt Linda, from Crown Brewing Company in Crown Point Indiana. She swears that it is like pumpkin heaven in a glass. That sounds like the perfect accompaniment to stories about guns and pilgrims and zucchini casserole.

Thanksgiving isn't the only reason that November is cool either! No. Another thing that I am really looking forward to is Women Enjoying Beer!! I am hosting a focus group and really looking forward to it. We are going to be at a fun local bar, Lindy's Landing, and Ginger from WEB has been fantastic in helping me set it all up.

What is your favorite part of November? Are you all about the Black Friday deals, or are you like me, all about the cozy post-turkey/post-beer feeling on the couch on Thanksgiving? Whatever gets you through the month, we can agree on one thing, and that is beer (because I am assuming you like me or beer to be reading this blog).

Heavy Handed IPA
This weekend we had two very surprising beers... surprising in a good way. My wonderful co-worker Gail brought me Heavy Handed IPA from Two Brothers, because she knows I like beer and she is sweet (but I won't tell anyone). I was surprised at how well balanced this IPA was... I mean, the label says it is very hoppy and the name hints that it is a beat up your mouth beer, but again, Two Brothers has showed me that they craft their beer carefully and lovingly. What I expected to be a heavy hops flavor was mellowed out by the malt flavor and even a pop from the yeast. Heavy Handed had a really nice mouth feel that helped balance this beer. Admittedly I don't normally buy IPA's but this would be one I wouldn't hesitate to pick up for myself.

Farmer's Tan
The other beer that took me by surprise was Southern Tier's Farmer's Tan Imperial Pale Lager. This also was a beer that wasn't what I expected. The label tells the story that this beer is dedicated to the farmers who have and continue to labor in order to provide us with the ingredients we love so much for our precious beer. After reading that I thought that this would taste like a farmhouse style Saison, a little hoppy with warm malty and yeast flavors. I was surprised at how the hops took over the beer. It was definitely not what I expected, but it was still a good beer. I probably wouldn't go out looking for this one as I thought that it was nothing special, and I do prefer a maltier beer where you can taste the yeast... but if you are a hops-head you might like this refreshing beer.

I have to admit that I chickened out... Blake bought us Two Brother's Hoodwink Dark Sour Ale, and I just couldn't muster the nerve to crack it open. I don't like sour beer, as a rule I avoid sour beer. The first thing that you learn when exploring beer is, if it is overly sour, it has gone bad. I guess my taste buds are old fashioned, because I keep hearing that "sour is the new bitter". The new fade of sour beers is supposed to appeal to the people who go for the super-knock-your-tongue-out-of-your-mouth IPA fans, I am not sure I can get on board with that... Blake thought that Hoodwink would open my mind to all that a sour ale could be, and he might be right, but this week, we won't know.

My grandfather will be glad to know that, though I chickened out on the sour ale, I paired my beer this weekend with a discussion about bacon (and bacon wrapped pretzels!) and watching a show about guns... Now, if only I had bacon wrapped pretzels, it would be a perfect ending to my day.

P.S. I totally thought that Snoopy was holding a gun to get Woodstock's bowl of bacon... It appears that a small image fuels my gun/bacon train of thought

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