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We’ve been hosting both wings of the family at our home for several years–since we got the Big Green Egg. The first year, I looked for something special to do with the turkey. I found it in the Bomb Brine. I don’t know who this “TJW” guy is. But he apparently has a PhD in flavor. I’ve served turkey with this brine every year except one. That year was … not as good.
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So, the blog has been quiet as of late due to work being crazy insane (National Cyber Security Awareness Month FTW!) and Liam being just plain insane. We haven’t slowed down in the kitchen and the brewing looks like it’s going to be making a comeback.

In the mean time, we have been exploring more traditional cooking methods. This means more fats and less grains. Mandie is even going grain free for now. This means breakfasts and “breads” have take a turn for the nuttier. Coconut, that is. Continue Reading »

Liam is a child of habit. So much so that I was getting tired of singing the Hokey Pokey EVERY night. After six months, I was looking for an alternative. I spotted the Shakespearean Hokey Pokey on BoingBoing.net and thought it would make a nice change.

Little did I know it would become his new favorite. Well, it only took him two months to memorize it.

Today I plant my feet firmly into the “looking at 40” phase of my life.

Today was benign as birthdays go. The Turtle has been restless (I think he’s working on his last two-year molars) and kept me up most of the night. I woke–mostly–and almost asked to go back to bed for my birthday. But, as it was Labor day, it felt like the Right Thing To Do to get up and enjoy. We drove to White Marsh, Maryland for some shopping (didn’t find the boots I was looking for) and a tremendous lunch at Red Brick Station. The Spooner’s Stout marinated tenderloin sliders were fantastic. But the real start of lunch (besides the birthday boy) was the Watermelon. And I’m not talking about the fruit.

Normally, I’m not an advocate of fruited beers (I’m looking at you, Corona!). However, this was a really refreshing farewell to summer. In fact, I missed get a picture of the first one. So I had to order another.

After lunch, I braved the racks at Old Navy and did get a decent pair of jeans and lightweight autumn jacket. We retreated to home for an afternoon nap.  I am getting old, after all.

While I’ve been somewhat negligent of this blog, I could not pass up this occasion to do a very small review of something I’ve been promising for some time to my friends (even if I haven’t mentioned it here).  About a year ago, I caught wind of a collab between Portland’s own Rogue Ales and Voodoo Doughnut; Maple Bacon Ale. Well, being a periodic blogger on the topics of meat and beer, I made it my singular goal to get my grubby hands on a bottle (or two) of this concoction. Sometime later, after I’d forgotten about this goal, I received an e-mail from Wine World announcing a very limited arrival of bright pink bombers. Needless to say, I dropped what I was doing and sped over to grab two for my very own (at $16 apiece), knocking over a pallet of beer (only two other cheaper bottles that were precariously shelved) in the process. An employee rounded the corner at the sound of breaking glass, saw me with two bright-pink bottles of Maple Bacon in my hands and gasped, thinking I had broken them. When he saw it was something like Sam Adams, he laughed and said he was prepared to lick the Maple Bacon off the floor if need be.

I paid for my spoils and brought them home to tuck them away for a special occasion.

Today is that occasion.

I present to you, Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale

I know. Very impressive, ain’t it? Honestly, I went into this with a spirit of novelty, not expecting anything spectacular. As magical as this combination sounds, I expected it would be very hard to pull off.

I was right.

First off, the beer pours a muddy iced-tea orange. But not a classic sweet sun-tea. This looks more like those buck-a-gallon corn syrup monstrosities you get from a gas station. But, to be fair, this is a doughnut-flavored beer. So I’m not expecting class. The head was good and thick but dissipated quickly.

The nose was as advertised–smoky and a little sweet. If I could dig past the campfire-like smoke (not bacon-like), there was a very faint vanilla component. As I finished my second glass, the smoke scent (not the taste, unfortunately) had mostly faded.  Either I was used to it or it evaporated somehow.

Taste was … odd. Back in my first foray into homebrewing, I put together a brown ale with a healthy handful of lapsang souchong, a Chinese smoked black tea, that I’ve never really been able to describe. The best way to describe Rogue’s Maple Bacon Ale is to compare it to that, which I can’t fully describe, and none of you have ever had it (except for Jake, if he still reads this blog). The smoke is almost overwhelming at first, but once you’re accustomed it’s a nice amount. Still, it’s difficult to pick out the hops (if any) or the malt characteristics. More on the malt in the next section. The real star of this beer is the maple. And it took darn near a glass and a half to find it. Like most Rogue beers, each bottle is a challenge–try to isolate all the taste elements once by one. Supposedly, the “doughnut” is a vanilla component, which I’m still working out in my head. Did I taste a deep Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean or was that the maple playing tricks with me? In any case, the taste opened up greatly with the second glass as the beer flattened out (second glasses from a bomber are always flat) and warmed up.

The mouthfeel was probably my favorite part. You’d expect something smoky, bacony, and mapley (maply? maple-ey?) to be really heavy. This beer remained crisp and light throughout. If it were thick and cloying, I wouldn’t have been able to drink the whole thing.

Overall, I would probably rate this as a “eh, glad I tried it. not sure I’d go out of my way to have it again” sort of beer. Which pretty-much sums up my experience with everything from Rogue I’ve tried (limited as that experience has been). That said, I do have another bottle in my bar, waiting for another special occasion. The second glass outshines the first, if you can get through the first.

This has not been the easiest of times for brewing and ‘queing. Work and home things have been a bit nuts. However, I hope to get back to posting semi-regularly.

In the mean time, I wanted to post a response I made to a GigaOM OpEd about a sub-iPad-sized iPad:

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My first “tablet-y reader-y mobile-y” device was the first BN Nook. My intention was to read more, not do a lot of mobile computing. I had an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile and found myself on there much more often than I was reading my Nook.

I returned the Nook and bought the first iPad. Loved it for mobile browsing, games, etc. But never got into iBooks. I tried every other reading app available. The reading posture was uncomfortable and the screen was too wide and eye-fatiguing.

Flash forward to this past June when I bought my second iPad, an iPad 3/New iPad/Whatever. Love the Retina display, but not how thin and ungrippable the iPad had become.

Two weeks after I got my new iPad, I actually WON an Amazon Kindle Fire in a raffle. This was a new experience for me. I had a coveted (by some) gadget that I neither needed nor wanted. But the gadget-head in me couldn’t part with it.  So I put some small apps and books on it to use on my commute (1.5 hours each way by train).

Now, the iPad rarely comes out on the train. I still use it to play music or watch movies on my desk (using a Smart Cover to prop it up) and my two-year-old loves to use it (note to self, get the kid a Nabi for Christmas). The iPad is still my primary office and home tablet.

However, the Kindle Fire has carved out a distinct niche in my use. It’s a treat to hold (maybe a bit heavy) because it’s SUBSTANTIAL to hold. The slight rubberized back, thickness and size allow me to hold in one hand. The screen size allows my eyes to glide back and forth in a more natural movement than on the expanse that is the iPad screen.

The custom Android OS is HORRIBLE and I navigate as sparsely as I must to get to the content I want. But the form factor is dead on perfect for me.

If Apple releases a Kindle Fire-sized iPad with the iOS ubiquity and experience, they’ll have a winner of an eReader.

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(Photo stolen from ArtofManliness.com)

… I spent all me money on whiskey and beer!

As the song goes, that is.

Since brewing and smoking have been scant because of the season, I thought I would broaden the topic somewhat to the things that are on my mind lately. With the advent of fatherhood comes a desire to enter into all things masculine. Now, I’m not saying I haven’t been a “dude” my whole life (checks trousers). I mean I reflect on my father’s and grandfathers’ generations and realize my contemporaries lack a certain elegance and appreciation for what it means to be of the male persuasion. Continue Reading »

Manual posting activity has been pretty slow around here. Aren’t you glad I keep you busy with those Fitbit posts?

Seriously, brewing and ‘queing has been likewise slow around here. but  not the activity. In fact, I hanted to share something both food and health related for your consideration.

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