Beer in Situ: Colorado Six Pack

Don’t worry, this was over a couple days. Don’t drink a six pack all at once, guys. That’s not moderate.

COsixpack

Since I’ve been away, a lot of beery places have sprung up, even here in the beautiful beery country of Colorado. Around here, one can make a six pack with single beers from all over, and try out a lot of the stuff in the craft beer market. I chose six beers that I’d never tried before to see what I’ve been missing while living in China.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 1.14.04 PM10,000 Summers

  • Big Choice Brewing (Broomfield, Colorado, USA)
  • ABV: 5.1%, IBUs 21
  • Honey Farmhouse Belgiany Ale Thingy (technical term)

Tasting notes: Smells like clover honey, but the taste is really different from what I was expecting. Verging on acidic initially, and then blending out into malty undertones. The finish is a blend of belgian bitterness and wheat bread. The can I’ve got is a little low on the carbonation, and the head doesn’t seem to stick around for long.

I don’t mind this beer, but I’m not sure I’d seek it out.

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Compass IPA

  • Bristol Brewing, Co. (Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA)
  • ABV 6.5%, IBUs 55
  • India Pale Ale (US Style)

Tasting Notes: Holy moly. So. Many Hops. On the nose. Wow. I missed you, West Coast beer.

It’s bright and zippy, with a whole lot of flavour. The bitterness is prominent, and it tastes a little bit like tea as a result. But there are still some mega Alpha-acid hops in there, although I’m not sure which ones. Welcomes me back to big, in your teeth beers.

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Firestarter IPA

  • Bonfire Brewing (Eagle, Colorado, USA)
  • ABV 6.6%, IBUs 72
  • India Pale Ale

Tasting Notes: Dang, this is hoppy. Even more so than the last one. I am out of shape when it comes to hoppiness. The nose on this one is deceptively strong, and made me think it would kick me in the face. Not the case.

Subtle, as far as massive West Coast IPAs go. Well-balanced. It has honey notes, none of the grassy flavors of some IPAs, and good, clean, bright taste. Orange, grapefruit, and something vaguely creamy in there. Super carbonated. Hell yeah. I’m home. I could drink this every day.

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Alice

  • Wonderland Brewing Co.
  • ABV 5.2%, IBUs 17
  • Belgian Blonde

Tasting notes: Clean and bright. A hint of sunscreen-like flavor but in a good way. Tastes like summertime. It tastes a bit more Belgian on the second sip, but still not too spicy. The main taste is just clean, beautiful Colorado-i-ness. Tasty!

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Yes, that’s a cocktail glass. Closest thing to a Teku I have.

Poblano Stout

  • Big Choice Brewing
  • 5.7%, IBUs
  • Oatmeal Chili Stout (no heat)

Tasting Notes: Hmmmm. It’s got a lot of chocolate flavors, and is smooth to drink. The Poblano manifests as a slightly-there taste, a bit too subtle for my liking. It’s a good stout, but nothing particularly special. I’d prefer heat.

Specialty: Chubna

  • Oskar Blues
  • 12.6%
  • Imperial Scotch IPA

Tasting Notes: God damn it. Ladies and gentlemen, a Cicerone pour.

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Ok for reals, this time.

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I believe the words ‘holy fucking shit’ came out of my mouth twice in quick succession, once for the cascade of beer all over the counter, my hands, and the cat food below. Then again for the taste of this thing. It’s like flavor and bombast had a baby. Thick, carmely, like a boozy barrel-aged barleywine with mega hops. As I wrote that, a massive thunderclap sounded here in Louisville.

This beer may have powers I underestimated.

The initial taste is burn, followed by bright toffee with candied orange and a very subtle undertone of something herbaceous (oregano?). Hardly any bourbon prominence, but it might be edged out by the sheer BAM of the beer itself. I taste lychee on the aftertaste.

…I couldn’t drink this whole ‘stovepipe,’ so I ended up making a spice cake with the rest of the beer. I admire Oskar Blues’ intensity and innovation, but this beer is just too many things mixed together.

What Colorado craft beers should I try next? 

Results: Homebrewing In October

At the start of October I started a series of fermentation experiments. Wine, Meade, ‘Apple Wine’ (can’t bring ourselves to call it cider), and Wok Beer. Here are the results!

Beer and Wine

Beer and Wine

Wine: We accidentally made Counter Rosé! It’s the most successful of the group, and has a bright sourish taste. It even has legs!

Recipe:

Mash one large bunch of grapes and collect the juices. Squish it all into a 750ml bottle and add three tablespoons of honey. Shake well to aerate. Leave open on the counter for two days, and then pitch one tablespoon of yeast into the bottle. Shake well again. Cover, but DO NOT seal the bottle (glass bomb potential). Leave to ferment for 10-14 days, regularly turning it over to mix. When it begins to clear and fermentation has stopped, re-rack the wine into another glass container. 

Grape Meade, still in process

Grape Meade, still in process

Apple Wine (Cider): This one was quite successful, too. It even became highly carbonated naturally (and exploded all over the sink when I forgot to burp the bottle!). We’ve been using this one in cocktails, and it is great as a base for autumnal libations. 

Recipe: Cut up one large, ripe apple (of any kind). Push the slices into a 750ml glass bottle. Add spices if you want to, in small amounts (especially cinnamon, which tends to burn too much in large doses). Add three tablespoons of honey and shake well. Leave open to catch natural yeasts for two days, and then pitch one tablespoon of yeast into the mix and shake. Cover, but DO NOT seal the bottle. Burp daily to release the gases inside. After 10-14 days the fermentation should be over and you can re-rack the ‘Apple Wine’ into another glass container.

Grapey Bourbon Meade: This one is still fermenting! Meade takes longer to make than the others, so I’ll let you know when it’s done in a couple of months. 

Not hugely delicious

Not hugely delicious

Wok Beer: Well…it turned out quite sour. This is probably due to wild fermentation that I aimed for, but it’s funky as f***. Brettanomyces clearly made an appearance. It’s a bit like an Oud Bruin, a sour brown Belgian style. Much to learn. 

TADA! That’s the first round of home fermentation in China. I started a new one this morning, which I’m calling ‘Freakonomics Cider’ because it contains both apples and oranges. Should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Apples to Oranges

Apples to Oranges

In addition to fermenting, I’m infusing quite a lot of cocktail ingredients at home. This morning we’ve got the finished product for Goji Berry infused vodka and the start for Formosa Oolong infused vodka.

Let me know if you are a home-fermenter, too! I’m always open to new recipes. 

Spitalfields, Necklaces, Materialism, and Makeup

Found at Spitalfields Market near Whitechapel

Found at Spitalfields Market near Whitechapel

I don’t go shopping these days. With my master’s course and trying to keep up with the big city, it’s just too much to ask for time to spend looking at clothes and jewellery for myself. Not to mention the money scarcity almost all those in graduate school deal with. Thanks, I’d rather buy food an dust wear my years-old, hole-y clothing.

Now the first term is over. I cannot believe how quickly it’s passed. Everyone says that about time’s passage. We are an ill-equipped species when it comes to time perception. But already the bizarre double effect of time is apparent, in my early-onset nostalgia for the beginning of September. So fast, thank goodness. So slow, what an effort. I am deliberately avoiding my work for the start of term two this week. So I found myself at Spitalfields Market, near Shoreditch. It’s in the neighbourhood of my favourite pub in London, the Pride of Spitalfield (which I affectionately refer to as ‘The Cat Pub’ because of it’s lovely cat mascot, Lenny). 

Despite the occasional blunder, I’m not one to be much of a hipster. This is deep hipstering territory, complete with prints of John Lennon with LSD-induced colours splattered over him, pointless felt hats that all seem to be in tiny sizes, and a whole lot of ‘vintage’ stuff that’s actually made in China. Sadly, I bought a skirt and a necklace. But I love them. So, that makes it okay, right? Right? Ugh, I got caught up in the holiday maelstrom of materialism. So sue me.

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New bag!

I went to Collectif, a lovely little shop with non-vintage, vintage-style clothing. It suits my recent desires to go back in time, and be a bit of a pin=up girl. Wonderfully, they have plus sizes! They make no big deal of it, but include those
of us who fit a size 16-18 without qualms. For those of you in the US, that’s a 14-16 (isn). Yes, US sizes are a whole size bigger at the very least than those in the UK. I’m firmly in the plus-sized range these days. I went through a couple attempts at crash-dieting and cutting out all…everything (dairy, gluten, meat, caffeine, alcohol, and happiness)…this year. It made almost no difference at all. I’m slowly making my peace with a bigger body in favour of eating delicious foods and drinking beer.

I truly enjoyed shopping in the little store, and almost everything fit. Such a difference! I lusted after a skirt at French Connection for a few weeks, looking at it every day as I passed on my way to classes. Imagine my frustration when I went to buy it as a reward for the end of term and found they didn’t carry my (apparently too fat) size! My money is better used elsewhere.

Whole foods, all the way in London!

It’s a tradition of mine to go to Whole Foods occasionally, to spend a bit of money and enjoy the beauty of food there. All problematic aspects of Whole Foods aside, it’s like my food cathedral. I go ‘on pilgrimage’ only once or twice a year. That’s all I can afford.

It was wonderful to go to the Piccadilly Circus Whole Foods. I got some organic body wash and a bunch of beautiful food. And a fermented ginger ale. Money well spent.

As I get some time (ok, a lot of time) to sit around the house, I am messing around with makeup and hairstyles. Since I started messing around with Pintrest a few months ago, I’ve had a bunch of great ideas and no time to try them. On Saturday we’re going out for our yearly present to each other, a steak dinner in the city. I tried out a new look for it on Tuesday, hoping to perfect it by the weekend. The lashes and makeup are all fairly green and not tested on animals, even if one of the companies is named ‘Bourjois.’

Eyebrows filled in, for the first time ever.

It’s strange to notice that I wear far more makeup than ever before here in London. Might be due to how much I see on other women.

I plan on writing more about London (and better) soon. Sorry about this being such a disorganised post!

Oh Crap. I’m Suddenly a Hipster.

Amazing how a single accessory can change the tone of a whole outfit. This is a rather buttoned-up outfit and artsy-choppy new haircut (even shorter than before), but the glasses truly make it.

I’m only able to afford these babies because I work in an eyeglass store in my local mall. I think that the continuous torture of immersion in consumerist culture and the especially cruel weeks of Christmas music were worth it.

The things is, they change the tone of my outfit to hipster immediately. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that. I’m pretty happy with my hippy identity. But at the same time I enjoy being able to be flexible in my fashion and even my identity. Stagnation is death. Constant change is life. Besides, I still have my woven wristlets from Magallanes, El Calafate, and Cuzco. A hippy sneak attack.

It was $5 Day at my favorite local Consignment Shop, Found Underground in Louisville. Needless to say, I spent a whole $20. My Kick-Ass Boots had a bit of wardrobe malfunction three weeks ago, when the right one lost its zipper completely. Being non-consumer, did I just throw the boot away and then go buy a new cheap pair? Hell no. I took the boot to my local cobbler, and asked them to resuscitate it. $33.33 later, she’s back.

Glasses: Gaya by LaFont, Half-Off Wholesale Employee Discount
Button Down: Banana Republic, Found Underground, $5
Black Sweater: Mossimo by Target, Found Underground, $5
Ultra-Skinny Jeans: H&M, Gift 
Kick-Ass Boots: Common Threads Consignment, $40 (Repair to right boot, $33.33)