No New Tales To Tell

Week 40 in The Year Of Drinking Adventurously. Supposed to be Spanish Cider.

I am stymied at the fact that I couldn’t find this week’s potent potable. I tried the Fascist liquor store, I tried the beer distributor and I tried the Hateful Wegman’s. Not a whiff. Plenty of the other ciders around, which I could’ve tried but seeing as next week is cider part two, I decided to save the local/domestic offerings for then. Which leaves me high and dry. Pun intended.

I’m drinking a gimlet as I write this. Hendricks Gin, fresh squeezed lime juice and sugar cubes over ice. I’m staring at the sea. The sun is setting over my shoulders and I’m feeling mellow and relaxed. The hues of the sky are lavender and pale tangerine. There’s so much horizon in front of me that I can see the curve of the Earth. (Maybe not but let’s go with it anyway). Bottom line? Not much writing going on right now. Maybe the burning brain is finally reduced to coals. I hope I find some fuel to stoke the fire…

And I hope Lula got this one done.

Wide Awake Buzz

Week 39 in The Year of Drinking Adventurously. Coffee Beer.

Two more things I love: coffee and beer. (No surprises, right?) This is not about firing up the automatic drip and mixing your Folger’s with your Miller Lite, however. This is a byproduct of the craft-brew movement. Coffee beans are actually used in the brewing process. Either after the initial boil or before going into secondary fermentation, the wort is infused with coffee or coffee beans. The technique seems to vary from brewery to brewery. Any way the combination is achieved, it works beautifully with with some of the darker brews like stout, porter or even dark brown ale. The coffee beer adventure falls on this week because Thursday, September 29 is National Coffee Day.

Our guide had a list of fantastic microbrews to choose from but in my quest to support my local brewery –Freewill, in Bucks County, PA– my coffee beer of choice is their C.O.B. available only in the fall and winter.. Here’s the description from their website:

C.O.B – 8.3% ABV  Fall/Winter Release
This unique and complex seasonal ale is free will’s best-selling seasonal. This very strong brown ale has a delicious malty backbone with notes of caramel, brown sugar and graham cracker. Aged on a unique and complex bean that provides additional peppery and molasses like flavors in addition to the classic coffee presence in the aroma and on the palate.

Nice, right? There is one problem with the coffee beer, something I discovered by accident. There is enough caffeine in some of these beers to actually keep you up at night if you’re sensitive to it. However, in the spirit of “write drunk, edit sober” — at least a coffee beer won’t put you to sleep at your keyboard!

I know Lula probably enjoyed this week’s brew, she used to live in the Pacific Northwest- coffee capital of the USA.

Michelada – a beer Bloody Mary

Week 38 in The year of Drinking Adventurously. Chavelas and Micheladas.

I love beer, I love Bloody Marys, so this week’s adventure makes me happy. At first this may seem like a weird combination but it’s really no weirder than some of the other things people do to beer. Hello, pumpkin anyone?

Both of these cocktails hail from Mexico and are slotted into this week because of Mexican Independence Day on September 16th. The chavela is a more involved version of this cocktail: served in a large bowl-like glass rimmed with salt and picante spices, filled two-thirds of the way with a tomato based liquid. This could be tomato juice, V8 or Clamato on the rocks, mixed with hot sauce and garnished with shrimp. The bottle of beer comes on the side, ready to be emptied in after resting for a bit.  Not being a fan of shrimp, this was out for me.

The michelada, on the other hand, is basically a Bloody Mary – just swap out the vodka for beer. To make things interesting, I went all “foodie” for this one, making my own tomato juice in the handy, dandy Vitamix blender. I added Worcestershire sauce, Cholula hot sauce, lime juice, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. The volume was about half of what would eventually comprise the cocktail. The beer half is my own home-brewed lager on tap in the kegerator. So good!

As cocktail culture has become a ‘thing’ all sorts of new concoctions are gaining popularity. Still waiting to see this on a cocktail menu in my neighborhood, though. Until then, I will continue to make it at home. So if you like a Bloody Mary, I encourage you to give this one a go. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Make sure to see if Lula liked her cervezas y mas, this week!

And one more thing, since we’re talking about Mexico and its recent commemoration of independence… My friend Roger Moore, professor and poet, traveler and story teller, has spent time in the Mexican State of Oaxaca getting to know the people and their history. One of my favorite poems- Inquisitor – is part of The Sun and Moon collection, now available on Amazon. Please do pay a Roger a visit and enjoy his wonderful poetry!