Ain’t no party like a Jungle party…

oerwoudt

Welp, I think I have officially become a European. I went to my first European club party on Saturday. The theme was “The Jungle,” and I actually survived. In fact, I think it was a roaring success. (Get it? Roaring success?? I’m punny.)

Anyway. I was very proud of myself, because I’m not much of a partier, to be totally honest. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love to have a good time. And I’ve certainly had my share of epic evenings. But most of those involved frisbee people at a frisbee party in the middle of a random field outside a major city somewhere in the world, and I can tell you for a fact, it’s rather different from your standard club scene. And the other share of my drunken adventures usually involve sitting at a brewery somewhere and drinking one too many pints.

TL;DR: Going to clubs is just not my thing.

But I have this friend. His name is Bram. And on Saturday, Bram wanted to “PARTAY.” Yes. “ParTAY” with an “AY.”

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See what I mean? He brought a fucking monkey to the party. That’s how serious he was about the whole thing. (Side note: I don’t remember taking that photo. Also, I am a dumb bitch who makes a duck face when she’s drunk. Feel free to judge me. I am judging myself as we speak.)

Now, some of you may be asking how a European clubbing adventure is any different from an American one. So let me fill you in: these people take their clubbing seriously. The whole thing is planned out to a degree of sophistication I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

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First, the place looked fucking tight. They decorated for the occasion. I wish I had a better photo, but hopefully you get the point. There were crazy balloon structures, and awesome lighting, and a GIANT wooden/painted monkey face over the DJ booth. Also, the venue itself is just sweet. American clubs are ugly and underground and boring. This place was fucking sick.

Which brings me to THE THEME. Yes, I know a lot of American clubs do theme nights, of sorts. But it’s usually something dumb like “Ladies Night” or “Payday Friday” or “Tropical Party” (i.e. if you are female please wear a bathing suit so we can see you half naked). Please go fuck yourself, misogynistic club culture. I am not interested in your crap.

And of course, I do see how a jungle theme could lend itself very well to that culture. But here’s the thing: there were very few slutty outfits. I was SO pleasantly surprised at how few people wore revealing or skintight clothing. A lot of people ignored the theme altogether. (I just remembered I own leopard pants and I forgot to wear them. Damn.)

On top of all that wonderful stuff, this particular party had a mission: all proceeds went to support the rebuilding of rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra, because they have been ravaged by forest fires. That shit is awesome. It made the cover fee SO worth it.

We decided to meet at midnight (OMG waaaaay past my bedtime) and party till we couldn’t anymore. It all started fairly tame. I drank some beers. I tried not to feel awkward about the fact that I wore a really bright shirt that glowed in the blacklight and made a lot of people stare at my boobs. Huge mistake.

Then the wrecking crew (Bram & co) arrived and shit got real pretty quickly. I ran around like a crazy person, which is something I tend to do while drunk. I also hate techno music, so I needed to get really drunk in order to dance properly. Apparently ecstasy helps with partying all night, but I am terrified of drugs so I just stuck to beer. (Which proved to be a mistake the next day. Also I got sleepy and ended up leaving at 3am. Like a loser.)

I also may have (with a significant amount of assistance from Bram) accosted a dude who looked exactly like someone else I know and gave him my phone number. I hope he never calls me. I am so awkward in real life.

BUT WHO CARES?! I went clubbing like a European with other Europeans and danced my ass off and got weird and crazy and took part in what might be my favorite polaroid photo of all time:

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Perhaps I could get used to this after all. Also, I wish I had stolen that hat.

*****

[Next time, on Christina’s drunken party adventures] CARNIVAL! It’s like Mardi Gras for Dutch people! (I’m actually serious.)

Living the ‘Dam Life

Hello, world. My name is Christina, and as of yesterday I live in Amsterdam. WTF.

48 hours ago, I left this beautiful place:

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Yep, that’s Seattle. It’s fucking stunning, amirite?? I am missing it a whole lot right now, and I imagine that feeling is going to ebb and flow for quite some time.

I don’t even know how to continue this post. There are so many feelings happening at the moment. Within a matter of 12 hours, I went from being a US resident to being an expat; from being in a country that speaks my language to a country that doesn’t*; from being just “Christina” to “Christina, the American.”

Indeed, there are a lot of feelings. But despite all of the confusion, the trip went unbelievably well. I was expecting all sorts of crazy drama (“Your bags are too heavy!” or “Your bike will cost $10,000 to check!” or “We refuse to let you into the Netherlands because you don’t have the appropriate paperwork!”). But instead, it was so easy that I could hardly believe it. Because seriously, is moving to another country supposed to be this easy?

Let me provide some context: When I arrived at the airport in Seattle, I had a small backpack, a carry-on duffel bag, 2 checked bags, and a GIGANTIC box filled with my deconstructed bicycle. I arrived at the airport nearly 2.5 hours early, because I was worried about this ridiculous baggage situation.

But then, a nice man at the curbside check-in desk offered to help me take all my stuff inside. Then they let me check in at the Priority desk, even though I’m not technically priority. Then the guy charged me $200 less to check my bike than what I had been told on the phone. Then I got a window seat next to a very nice professor. Then during the flight, I went to ask for more wine and the stewardess was SO NICE and we chatted for 10 minutes. Then when I got to Amsterdam, they didn’t ask me any crazy questions at passport control. I got all my luggage, and even with my overflowing cart they didn’t stop me at customs. Then the guy at the cab line was super friendly and loaded all my bags for me. Then the cab driver brought all my bags inside the lobby of the building where I was staying, without me even asking her to. And then I had a room in an apartment and literally EVERYTHING WENT SEAMLESSLY.

IMG_3086The view from my apartment!

It was so overwhelmingly easy that I nearly panicked. Because that’s some crazy shit. It’s not supposed to be that easy, is it?

Now don’t get me wrong. This didn’t mean I was happy and full of giggles and joy. I was exhausted and stressed and terrified and, to be honest, partially worried that I had made a terrible mistake. I just left a place that I adore, with friends that I love and already miss dearly. This is hard.

Yesterday was tough. Lots of jetlag and a nap that I allowed to last way too long; several bouts of crying; a brief jaunt to the grocery store; frantic unpacking; easy pasta dinner; and more sleep (which went poorly…stupid jetlag). But today, I woke up deciding to make myself excited about this town. And so I did all the things I enjoy.

I walked to a cafe and bought myself a coffee. Then I walked into De Pijp and wandered around the shops. I bought myself a French press. I went to Kaas en Zo (roughly translated as “Cheese and Such”) and bought some delicious aged cheese. I went to a beer store and bought some Dutch craft beers (and one Italian beer!). I stocked up on groceries and finished unpacking my bags and made homemade stew and ate dinner while watching Netflix. And now I’m sitting in bed with tea and writing this.

IMG_3098Part of my awesome haul from today.

And somewhere in the middle of all of that, I was walking down a side street with a backpack full of groceries, and I felt comfortable. In that one moment, it seemed like this was right. Months ago, I asked for this, and I suddenly remembered why. Because I feel comfortable here. Comfortable in a way I never managed to feel anywhere else. I still don’t entirely know why that is, but that’s ok. I’ll just relish it for now.

This doesn’t mean I’m not still sad. I am. I think I will be sad about leaving Seattle for a very long time. I think it’s going to come in waves, and there are days I will regret everything I’ve done. But I know myself well enough to know it’s not over. I have never wanted to stay in one place for long. So who knows. Maybe 5 years from now, I’ll find myself back in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Those mountains are always calling…

But for now, I am ready to greet Amsterdam with open arms. Because I do WANT to be here, and I want to be excited about it.

So, Amsterdam. What do you say? Want to go on an adventure with me?

 

*Note: Basically everyone in Amsterdam speaks English. But Dutch is still the native language, and that’s how you’ll be addressed unless you immediately dictate otherwise. So no, it’s not difficult to manage, but it sure as hell isn’t an English-speaking country.

*****

[Next time, on Christina’s adventures in Amsterdam: BEER! I am going to drink all of it.]

I am my own Advent Calendar.

opening(Spoiler alert: I do not own this awesome advent calendar. It’s really too bad.)

You know that panicked moment you have when you realize it’s December, and you have failed to accomplish 99% of the things you said you would do this year?

Welp, cue panic. But then, cue my full-on IDGAF attitude, because who cares what day it is, I DO WHAT I WANT. (Translation: I freaked out, but then I talked myself down, because that’s how we crazy people operate.)

But in reality, I’m actually super excited it’s December. For one thing, it’s Kahlua month. Every day during the month of December, I put Kahlua in my coffee. It’s a tradition that began in 2009, and I haven’t looked back since. I don’t really know why this tradition gives me so much joy, but it is literally my FAVORITE thing about this (the most wonderful) time of year.

(I actually just realized I forgot to do it this morning. Crap. Guess I’ll have to have 2 cups tomorrow!)

The second reason I’m excited for December is because, well, ’tis the season for countdowns of sorts. In 2012, I wrote 12 blog posts in the days leading up to Christmas called the “12 Drinks of Christmas.” In 2013, it became the “12 BEERS of Christmas.” In 2014, I was a loser and didn’t do a countdown, but I drank plenty of exciting holiday cocktails with my roommate.

This year, I’ve decided to up the ante. Sure, I could do “12 cocktails” or “12 wines,” but both of those sound a) expensive and b) I don’t know that I could come up with 12 really solid candidates without doing a hell of a lot of research. And who has time for that crap?

So instead of 12 days, I’m going for 25. That’s right. I’m gonna be my own goddamn advent calendar. Starting tonight, straight through until Christmas day, I will drink a different beer* every day. Ideally they will be beers I haven’t tried, and hopefully many of them will be winter or holiday brews. Perhaps I’ll throw a barrel-aged brew or two in there as well. Because ’tis the season, right? Everybody knows that “Be merry” = “Be drunk.”

I have failed at a lot of things in life, but I am determined to succeed in this endeavor. Because it’s the last month of the year. Time for the final push! There’s no time to waste! It’s now or never!

And frankly, it’s my last December in America, and who knows what sort of crazy traditions I’ll get into when I live in Europe next year. Only time will tell…

*There is always a chance that some of the next 25 days will feature not a beer, but some other adult beverage. I maintain that this is allowed, because I’m in charge and I made up all the rules anyway.

**************

[Next time, on Christina’s Drunk Adventures: I’m drinking lots of beer this month! So I’ll probably tell you about it or something.]

Reykjavik parties harder than I do.

Just a few weeks ago I turned 28. And apparently that means I am super old, because shortly after that I went to Iceland and couldn’t keep up with anybody.

Alright, this isn’t 100% true. I did keep up with them one night, but it kind of broke me. There isn’t really anything else to do here except tell you the whole story.

I took a trip to Iceland for 9 days (more on that later). During this trip, I attended a 5-day music festival (more on that later, too). During this festival, I met a lot of awesome people. Seeing as all of us were on vacation, we decided we should probably party like we were on vacation. So on Friday night, we did just that.

[Side note: The whole trip basically consisted of me staying up way past my bedtime and drinking more than I should. But Friday night was particularly epic and demonstrates that I can, in fact, still party like a college kid.]

The night began as the previous two had: concerts. Lots and lots of concerts. We’d been out to a few shows during the day, followed by some “cheap” eats and a brief rest at the hostel. And then it was go time. We headed out to one of the official venues to see more music. I was with a German, a French-Canadian, and a non-French Canadian. Rag-tag crew ftw.

After the first set, Martin (the German) and Marie (the French Canadian) weren’t really feeling the music, so they decided to go to a different venue. But I felt like dancing, so Todd and I stuck around and danced our asses off to some sick electronic music by these guys:

Then we moved on to another venue for some more jams. The performance we went to see was sort of “meh” so we were formulating plans to leave and meet up with others. But then, right at midnight, a new band started playing and it was sort of insane. Live house music? As in, house music with 3 girls singing live over it. And somehow, despite the fact that I don’t even like house music, it was amazing. Perhaps it was because we were already drunk (probably). But regardless of the reason, we dove into the crowd and danced like the crazy drunk people we were, while simultaneously dodging the leather-jacket-wearing 60-yr-old men who were having what appeared to be the time of their lives. Who knew?

Once that ended, the logical choice would have been to call it a night. But no. It’s Friday night. It’s Reykjavik. We’re on fucking VACATION, yo. So we met up with this American girl Kari and hit the bars.

We began to wander the city hoping to find a cool spot to party (aka DANCE). It was kind of an ordeal: this bar didn’t have music, that bar was too full, etc etc. Eventually, after some wandering around in the rain, Todd (who was sans hat or raincoat) said that he really didn’t care where we went but it would be nice if we could just go inside somewhere. This seemed like a reasonable request, so we went into Bravo.

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We had actually attempted to see a show at Bravo earlier that day, but it was super full and a crazy woman on the street wouldn’t stop accosting us, so we left. But when we went inside at 1am, it was pretty empty. Apparently it was still “early” in Reykjavik. WTF.

The DJ inside was totally on point, however, so we stuck around despite the lack of crowds. (Usually no crowds = bad sign, but they were playing early 90s hip-hop, so we legitimately couldn’t leave. It’s a sin to leave a bar that’s playing “No Diggity.”)

Within about 15 minutes of our arrival, the bar was packed. We danced, drank beers, took shots of Brennivin (Icelandic aquavit), and danced some more. We also got an asshole kicked out of the bar after he spilled beer on me and shattered Kari’s full glass of beer. (It made me sad that he was American. He’s giving us all a bad name.)

Despite that unfortunate incident, the three of us were having a blast and probably could have stayed there all night. But around 2am the DJ started switching up his playlist. And very quickly, all he was playing was 80s rock ballads, so it was no longer a viable dance option. I don’t know what it is with Europeans and 80s music, but you really can’t dance to that shit. Sure, you can scream it into the abyss and jump up and down while you’re drunk as fuck, but where’s the fun in that? I need to move my ass, people! And “Don’t Stop Believin'” is just not ass-moving music.

So we grabbed our coats and walked out the door. And there was really only one option.

Kiki.

kiki-queer-bar

There were a number of reasons this was the obvious choice. First, it was directly upstairs from the bar we were already in (too easy!). Second, there was no line (which there had been an hour before). And third, it was a gay bar (which guarantees good music, duh).

Kari and I turned to Todd. “So. Gay bar?” Todd is a trooper, and we were all drunk, so he said “whatever” and we went in.

And we danced. And danced! And DANCED SOME MORE. There was probably more drinking involved as well. I don’t even remember anymore. Here are the things I DO remember:

  • Belting Britney songs with Kari like a pro.
  • So much Lady Gaga. Seriously. So. Much.
  • The crazy gay guy who wouldn’t stop trying to make out with me and Kari. (I still don’t understand this phenomenon.)
  • Todd eventually disappearing.
  • Kari & I realizing Todd had disappeared, and deciding perhaps it was time to go home (around 4am).

We got back to the hostel to find Todd hanging out in the kitchen. So of course, like the responsible people we are, we decided to drink some wine. And hang out more. Because who needs sleep anyway?

And then, just before 6am, we all decided it was probably bedtime.

So here’s the deal. I love to drink and hang out with friends. Sometimes I’ll get too drunk. Maybe I’ll even close out a bar (at 2am in Seattle). But I haven’t stayed out until the wee hours in YEARS. Like, since I was in college.

And of course, I was fucking broken the next day. I slept until noon, woke up to shower and eat breakfast, and then slept again until 4pm. Because I am TOO OLD for this shit. But I don’t care. It was one of the greatest nights I’ve had in a very long time.

So, thank you Iceland, for making this happen. And thank you Kari & Todd for being there while it happened. There’s no way in hell I could do that every weekend, but if I could do it once a year with y’all, I would be most honored.

*************

[Next time, on Christina’s adventures in Iceland: I drank Icelandic beer and saw the Northern Lights! Coincidence???]

When the trip is over, but you don’t want to leave.

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I’ve been away from home since October 25th and have yet to write anything about it here. So, yeah. My bad. But on the upside, I’ve now got a big ‘ol backlog of stories to share! So get ready for a cascade of posts over the next week. Woo!

But right now, there is only one thing I could possibly write about, and that’s the fact that in just over an hour I will be leaving Iceland. And I am so insanely miserable about it that I hardly know what to do with myself. I don’t think I’ve ever been so upset to leave a place in my entire life.

This past summer, I spent over a month in Europe. I was hopping around here and there, mostly for work (and my work is fun, so also for fun). And when I had to fly back to Seattle, I was distraught. Why did I have to leave??? But then, just a few weeks later, I got the wonderful news that I was going to move to Amsterdam because my job warranted it, so I spent the rest of the summer riding this sensational high. Finally! This thing I’ve wanted for ages is finally coming true. I get to move to Amsterdam and be the European I always wanted to be!

And yet, the past two days have been this unbelievably intense internal struggle, during which I legitimately considered quitting my super awesome job and staying in Iceland forever. Even though I’m about to move to Amsterdam. Even though I want to move to Amsterdam. Even though I love my job. All of these things were trumped by the fact that I want nothing more to stay in Iceland FOREVER.

It’s weird how these things happen. I still haven’t quite processed the last 9 days, during which about 40 million amazing things happened. I met some incredible people. I saw 41 shows over 5 days at a music festival. I hiked on a glacier. I stayed out until 6am like a college kid and partied my ass off. And I met more, and more, and MORE cool people every day. People I wish I could see every day, but of course they live all over the world.

And now I have to leave it all behind.

I know it wouldn’t be the same if I stayed. I know I wouldn’t continue to have the same experience I’m having now. There’s something about a trip being finite that makes it so much more enjoyable. But I still can’t shake the feeling that I found something here. I found something I haven’t found before, and I really don’t want it to go away. I can’t put my finger on it yet, but I am not the same person I was when I arrived here. Perhaps after a bit of time and reflection, I’ll figure out what happened over the past week. But for now, all I know is that I’m different, and different in a good way.

There are so many more things to share about this trip, but for now I need to get on a plane and mope for the 8-hour flight home. But it’s ok. Sometimes it’s important to be sad. Even more important if something positive comes of it. And I’m pretty sure it will.

Thank you, Iceland, for making me better than I was. I’ll never forget it.

The dangerous art of biking and beering.

Ah, day drinking. It really is one of the greatest pastimes on earth.

Yesterday I went on a biking and beer-drinking adventure with my friend Chris. Because what’s more fun than riding your bike around Seattle and drinking beer at craft breweries on the weekend?

Things started poorly when I decided to take us to a brewery that doesn’t exist. #winning

Somehow, Chris decided I was still trustworthy enough to follow me a second time, and we actually began our drinking adventure at Peddler Brewing Co. This turned out to be a stellar choice for our first stop. At 1:30pm, the place was not particularly full yet, so we sat at the bar and shot the shit with the bartenders, both of whom were awesome Midwestern transplants who enjoyed making fun of each other and talking to us instead of serving the other customers. They seemed to think we were pretty cool, because we ended up with a free beer as well!

IMG_2544We tried the two IPAs they had on draft: I had the On Your Left IPA, and Chris had the Tropic Thunder IPA. Both were delicious, but mine was better. Christina 1, Chris 0. Haha!

(This wasn’t actually a competition. But now I’m excited about making this a competition after the fact. Pretty sure I’m going to lose though.)

The adventure could very well have ended there, because despite the fact that I told myself I would photo-document the entire afternoon, this is the only photo I took. So I think I lose a point for that. Back to 0-0. Sigh.

Somehow, though, the adventure continued. For some unknown reason, Chris allowed me to lead the charge again to our next stop: Lucky Envelope Brewing. This brewery has only been open since May, so neither of us had been there before. Hurrah, new things!

lucky_envelope_1(I stole this photo from the internet!)

This time we were lame and both ordered the Fresh Hop Citra Pale Ale, because ’tis the season and soon the fresh hops will be gone. It was good, but not amazing. We both get a half point for effort. Or something.

Next stop was Reuben’s Brews, which is hands down one of my favorite breweries in Seattle. They have a new-ish taproom that is pretty sweet, and we were joined by Laura and Juanse, who are super cool people who ride bikes a lot and are basically just the most fun to hang out with. We also needed food, and there is always a food truck at Reuben’s, hence the decision to go there. Saturday’s food truck was called Napkin Friends, and it was insane.

Ok, so I know this post is supposed to be about beer. But can I just talk about this food truck for a minute? HOLY YUM. I am actually having trouble writing about it right now because I’m beginning to drool all over my keyboard just thinking about this sandwich. (Ok, I know, that’s kind of gross. But if you’ve ever read my blog you’ll know that I often discuss my overt drooling habits when talking about delicious things. So you might as well get used to it. Or don’t, what do I care?)

a8d37bc7ccb6c018efa36b9be4950f15For those of you who didn’t click on that link and are still reading this, here’s the deal: this sandwich doesn’t have any bread. Sounds crazy, right? But no, because it’s AMAZING. Instead of bread, there are latkes. Yes. Potato pancakes. Delicious potato goodness. Two of them, hugging the contents of the sandwich with such care and joy that your taste buds legitimately can’t contain themselves anymore, and once you bite into the sandwich you’re transported to a world where bread no longer matters, because fuck normal sandwiches, THIS IS LITERALLY MAGICAL.

[Sorry. I need a moment to breathe. And by that, I mean WINE BREAK. You know, to calm my nerves.]

Ok. ANYWAY. Back to business. And by business, I mean beer!

Reuben’s Brews is a wonderful spot, and they have a lot of beer. It’s pretty impressive. We’re now at a point in the afternoon where I started losing track of shit, so I don’t entirely remember what we were all drinking. I know I had an Imperial Pumpkin Ale of some sort. I think Laura and Chris both had a Dark Lager. I don’t remember what Juanse ordered, because by then I was a) slightly drunk and b) absorbed in the really intense social/political/real-life-shit conversation we were having. Which, of course, I have little memory of now. Woohoo!

Oh, and as for points, I get points for drinking the strongest beer at the table. So Christina 1.5, Chris 0.5. YES!

So things get a bit shitty here because it started to rain. So, summoning my tipsy authority, I convinced Chris to go back to Peddler for another beer instead of riding all the way home in the rain. He was clearly not entirely on board with the idea, but ultimately he admitted (after the fact) that it was a GREAT IDEA and I am a genius. (He didn’t say that. He did say it was a good idea though. But only afterwards.)

So I get a point for being right (woo!) but Chris gets 2 for putting up with me. So we’re now tied at 2.5 each. Damn.

The return to Peddler is mostly a blur. We sat there for a while, but the place was filled with Ohio State fans and I didn’t really understand what was happening. I also took far too long to drink my beer. So I lose a half point.

Christina 2, Chris 2.5. Shit.

At this point it was definitely time to go home. Both of us had uphill rides ahead of us. But seeing as Chris had to go at least 2 miles farther than I did, he gets an extra point. Christina 2, Chris 3.5.

Well crap. I lost. Damn!

Wait, no. That can’t be right. I went out day-drinking for 5 hours and rode my bike and was super cool and CLEARLY this means I am a winner. Yes. (Chris might be more of a winner, but he’s not here to defend himself so HA!)

And so, dear friends, the moral of the story is that I drank a lot, I biked a lot, and I won. Because that’s just a fact.

**********

[Next time, on Christina’s Adventures in Drinking: That time I was forced to drink fruit beer in London.]

It’s time to stop being an asshole.

In February, I wrote this post about the fact I was too drunk in January to write a blog post. At the time, that was mostly true.

But now, I’m going to tell you the real and honest truth.

I’m an asshole.

Seriously. I kept saying I’d write more, and then I didn’t. And I kept saying I was sorry (and actually, I was). But then I didn’t do anything about it. I kept saying that I promised it would be different, I promised I’d change, I knew I needed to improve and I really, truly wanted to! But I didn’t.

I’m literally the worst significant other you’ve ever had.

So here’s where the truth comes out: I’m a jerk. And I cannot promise that I won’t be a jerk again in the future. BUT, this time, I’m actually going to try and do better. And here’s why:

In January, I am moving. Not just moving. MOVING. Like, I am leaving this country and moving to a different one. AMERICA, BE GONE. I’m gonna become a full blown European asshole. (Not that all Europeans are assholes. They are not. But I’m an asshole, and now instead of being an American asshole, I’ll be a European one. Whoopeee!)

So why does this change the blog situation? you might ask. (Or you might not. Which is fair, cuz I suck and why should you care?)

Well, I realized I am going to have good stories. Because in putting myself in a completely foreign and crazy life situation, I’m bound to have ridiculous adventures and do stupid things. And, well, writing about it will somehow ground me and make me feel connected to all of you who aren’t in Europe with me.

Yes, I am feeling mildly sentimental at the moment. And I’ve also consumed about 3/4 of a bottle of red wine. BUT I PROMISE I SPEAK THE TRUTH.

I’ve actually got some good stories already from this past summer, and I know there are more to come. For instance, I have a vacation planned next month in Iceland, and apparently buying groceries there is hilarious. So I’m pretty pumped to do that and tell y’all about it. Because why not? I don’t actually give a fuck if you read this or not.

(Ok I do. I’m trying to make myself feel better, ok? Life on the internet is lonely.)

But for reals. I do want to stay in touch, and this seems like the best way. Sure, maybe you won’t know about everything I do, but most of what I do revolves around booze and food, so you’ll get a pretty decent picture. No, this won’t be a travel blog, per se. But for some drunken traveler out there, maybe it’ll be the right blog.

Love to you all. More to come soon. And this time, I’m not kidding.

But first, I gotta go finish that wine.

Too Drunk for January

Guys, January is over. In fact, February is almost over too. WHAT HAPPENED???

Instead of looking back and realizing that I was simply too busy with work to remember January, I am fabricating a new story: I was simply too drunk to remember January!

Now, in order for this crazy story to make any sense, I’ll have to go back in time a little bit. Basically, it all started over Christmas when I went to DC to visit my parents and my dad fed me a lot of beer. (This is generally what happens when I go home. My father is an enabler who says things like, “You know, you really shouldn’t drink so much,” while pouring me a glass of 11% abv beer. Hypocrite.)

When I arrived home just before midnight on December 23rd, I assumed my dad would be asleep (his bedtime is like 10pm). But apparently he had been waiting for me to arrive, just to have an excuse to open a bottle of Trappistes Rochefort 10. Belgian Quad. 11.3% abv. Holy. Hell. I have the best father on the planet.

So then, the next day was Christmas Eve, followed by Christmas (duh). During those days, much craft beer was consumed.

Also wine.

Oh, and scotch. ALL OF THE SCOTCH.

And then–because we hadn’t had enough–on December 26th we went and visited some breweries!

The first stop was Heavy Seas Brewing, which was honestly only OK in my book. Their IPA and Lager and Pale were really just average beers. Not bad, mind you, but nothing to write home about either.

But then there was the Porter. Oh man. They make a damn good porter. My dad ended up buying a 6-pack of Peg Leg, and 2 of the bottles ended up coming home with me. Because my dad is the best.

After that, we went and did the brewery tour at Flying Dog Brewery. YES. First of all, this is one of my favorite microbreweries. They make incredible beer. Damn. Second, the tour was actually FUN! I’ve been on so many brewery tours and they’re basically all the same. But this one was unique! I got to drink wort, which was super weird (and sweet and yummy!). I got to watch them bottle (in action!) and we saw their crazy science lab. And on top of all of that, Hunter S. Thompson was best buds with the founder so the walls are covered with weird shit like this:

Also, the guy who led the tour was this amazing, bearded, goofy, nerdy beer man with a super weird streak and awesome sense of humor. Because of him, I have decided that my future husband must be a brewer. So yeah, I’m now taking applications. Holler.

We tried like 15 beers between the 3 of us after the tour, and I was super drunk and incredibly happy. And then, just 2 days later, we went to another beer bar and had a sumptuous dinner with beer pairings. Fantabulous.

Basically, I spent a week in DC getting drunk on amazing beer with my parents.

So when I got home, the only way I could even begin to imagine celebrating New Years was with fantastic beer. So I went and bought some fantastic beer at my favorite bottle shop and headed over to a friend’s place, where we proceeded to drink said fantastic beer and play lots of Jenga.

And then I just couldn’t stop! I was just drinking beer for weeks straight! (That’s an exaggeration, but I was drinking quite a lot of beer. Completely against my father’s instructions.)

One of the more amazing beers was called Stochasticity Project: Master of Disguise by Stone Brewing. It’s a golden stout. By that I mean, it looks like a golden ale. But it tastes like a stout. IT WAS MIND-BLOWING. Confusing and delicious.

And then I drank a fantastic beer that I brought back from the Netherlands last summer: Bitch Black Saison by Brouwerij De Molen. It tasted like a fucking campfire. In the best way imaginable. Somehow, despite how smoky it was, it went down so smooth that I probably could’ve consumed it all night long.

And then I went to LA, and things got super crazy:

Indeed, that is a trunk full of boxed wine.

(Full disclosure: I drank none of that. It was, oddly enough, for a work thing. And we gave it all away. So I didn’t drink any boxed wine, but I got several hundred people super drunk on boxed wine that weekend. Huzzah!)

And then I went to Europe! Amsterdam, Bruges, Gent, and London. London was a bit of a bust beer-wise (I did drink quite a lot of gin though). But you can bet your ass I drank a shitload of beer in Holland and Belgium. Oh yah. You betcha.

There was some of this:

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 And some of this:

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And my particular favorite, this:

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I mean, can we just take a moment and talk about how awesome that label is? Brouwerij ‘t IJ is an incredible brewery and they make fantastic beer. The one above, for example, is an IPA brewed in the American west coast style. So, of course, I’m pretty obsessed with it. (It’s fucking delicious.)

That photo was taken in an awesome bar in Amsterdam, which had fun stuff on the walls like this:

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So yeah. That was my January! I spent much of it either on the road or drunk. Or both. Wheeee!

February has been less travel, and a bit less beer. But I got crazy and bought a bunch of beers last week, including Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, which is SO DELICIOUS IT’S LIKE CANDY. I can’t stop.

And tomorrow….17 mile bike ride to a brewery??? I must be a crazy person.

Hope your 2015 is starting out as successfully (drunk) as mine!

Apparently I’m a liar.

Last time I posted, I said I’d post every Friday about the 5 new beers I tried each week.

Instead, I haven’t posted in over 2 months. Oops.

You know when you actually intend to do something, but then life kind of gets to you and bites you in the ass? And suddenly it feels like everything has gone horribly awry? Yeah. That was most of October and November.

But you know what? It’s not a big deal! All is well, and despite the fact that I’ve been horrible about sharing my stories, I’ve done a fair amount of awesome drinking over the past few months.

Right now, for instance. I’m drinking this amazing beer called Victory at Sea, by Ballast Point Brewing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 22.57.53First of all, it’s 10% abv. (And FYI, I’m on my 2nd one. And that’s after a 22oz of a different winter beer. So, suffice it to say, I’m drunk. #winning)

Second, the food pairings include pulled pork, mole, and chocolate cake. This beer is out to kill you…with all the most delicious things you can think of (including coffee, which is IN the beer).

So, of course, I love this beer. It feels like a battle, tastes like magic, and makes me feel sooooo gooooooooood.

I could babble on about that, but I could also tell you about this other cool thing I did…which involved being in Banff National Park (whoa) and drinking the best black pilsner I’ve ever had. To be fair, I wasn’t entirely aware black pilsner was a thing. But I knew about black lagers and black IPAs, and I love both of those things. And this black pilsner. Hell. It fucking blew me away.

In fact, it blew me away so much that I returned to the brewery again just one day later and bought two bottles to bring home with me. (Side note: Canadian border patrol thinks I’m some sort of loony because I travel alone so much. So every time I lie about how much beer is in my vehicle/luggage, I’m always a tad concerned that they’ll search me and discover I’m lying, and then I’ll get the real Canadian border treatment. Which is probably really boring.)

But before I even got to border patrol, there was yet another awesome drinking experience to be had!

After nearly dying* in the mountains driving from Banff to Vancouver, I made it to my hotel (yes, HOTEL, not hostel, which is where I’d been in Banff). So I got my OWN ROOM with a BIG BED and it was so fucking magical. I got in around 6pm and was so spent from the 9-hour driving trauma that I almost just went to sleep immediately.

But NO. I’m in fucking Vancouver for one night, I have to do SOMETHING at least.

So I went out to the best cocktail bar in the city.

L’Abbatoir is one of the many cocktail bars that is recommended by the “interwebs” when you’re in Vancouver. But it’s the only one where the mixologist is actually mentioned by name in articles. That’s the sign, folks. If they actually name their mixologist, he/she must be really good.

So I went there. And I met Sean. And Sean is, in fact, very good at making cocktails.

I was lucky enough to sit at the bar, and even luckier because Sean was training a new bartender. So not only did I get to watch him mix drinks, I got to watch him explain in detail how to do it, and why they are made a certain way. I was secretly taking notes. Because I’m a thief.

Ok, not really, I was just taking mental notes. But it was sweet! And Sean seemed super cool. Plaid shirt and beard, which is just basically the mixologist tell here in the PNW. And he was smart and had a ton of friends visiting him, and he made a goofy/adorable joke when I tried to ask him a question. All in all, I give him an A.

He did tell me where to go in Seattle (which is the question I ended up asking). He mentioned Tavern Law (he borrowed one of their recipes, as is mentioned in their menu) and Canon (amazeballs) and ZigZag. That’s the one I hadn’t been to, so I told him I’d be sure to check it out. He told me I definitely should, and if I do, I should say hi to Paul.

WIN. I have an in. New mixologist friendship is imminent.

Basically, after having 2 drinks at L’Abbatoir (both of which were magnificent) and meeting Sean (super cool and friendly) and talking to two of his friends (also cool, one of which I want to BE someday), I’ve decided I need a mixologist friend.

I mean, I also need a beer friend.

But mixologists are rad, yo!

Anyway. That’s all I got for now. I’m rather drunk. And despite my ramblings, I have yet to make a mixologist friend, so I need to do that. New years resolution: make mixologist friend. Also, beer. Yeah. All the things.

2014 was the year of ME. (As self-pronounced by myself and my roommate.)

2015 will be the year of…mixologist friend-making? I should probably think about this some more.

Yup. That’s all. Too drunk to keep talking to the internet.

 

*I wish that my “nearly dying” statement were an exaggeration, but it’s not. I actually almost died a few times on those roads. Me in a small sedan (rental) with no snow tires in the middle of a blizzard = me losing control of my vehicle more times than I’d like to count. Were it not for the fact that I a) didn’t panic and b) am a pretty good driver, I might not be here to share this story today. Special thanks to the truck driver who watched me spin out for 15 seconds, because he seemed concerned (from what I could tell in my rear-view) and I’d like to think he would have tried to save me had I gone off the edge of the cliff.

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[Next time, on Christina’s drunk adventures: I go visit my parents! And I bring them crazy-high ABV beer! And my dad inevitably gets me drunk and feeds me lots of Scotch! Yay!]

 

[Five Beer Friday] Hopped up on freshies

Oh hey friends. This past week I made an incredibly important decision. It’s going to completely change my life. For reals. Ready? Here goes.

Every week, I am determined to try 5 new beers.

WHOA.

Ok, that’s not actually all that difficult. It simply means that every time I go have a beer with a friend, I need to try something I haven’t had. And in Seattle, that’s fairly easy to do. There’s new beer everywhere all the time!

So, each Friday, I will post about my 5 new beers. I’ll do my best to describe them to you all, but keep in mind that a) I’m often drunk when I’m drinking, and therefore not great at taking notes and b) sometimes I’m with friends so I’m awkwardly taking notes under the table and pretending I’m not, so when I look back at them they’re completely incomprehensible or illegible.

But whatever. I’m still gonna do this.

So, without further adieu, my inaugural Five Beer Friday post commences!

Week 1 – October 2nd-9th

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This week was dominated by fresh hop beer season. And that’s pretty much the best. I freaking LOVE me some fresh hops. Here’s what I tried:

1) Amarillo Fresh Hop IPA – Backwoods Brewing [October 3rd, Chuck’s Hop Shop]

This was a lovely brew. Quite mild, in fact! Hoppy (of course), but not nearly as bitter as many fresh hop ales. It was bright and a tad wheat-y. Very drinkable! (Perhaps too much so…) 6.4% abv and 30 IBUs

2) Hop Gusher FH ISA – Worthy Brewing [October 3rd, Chuck’s Hop Shop]

This one was much hoppier than the previous one I tried. Meridian as opposed to Amarillo hops. It was bitter, but mildly so (didn’t dry out your tongue or anything). Despite being so hoppy, it also had a lot of grain flavor to it, which was interesting. And a tad of sweetness, kind of as an afterthought. 5.1% abv and 57 IBUs

3) Citra Fresh Hop – pFriem Family Brewing [October 7th, The Pine Box]

Man, do I love me some pFriem beers. This was just fantastic. Bright and floral, tasted like a meadow! It was so easy to drink with an incredible hops aroma on the nose. 5.5% abv and 35 IBUs

4) Hop Trip FH Pale Ale – Deschutes Brewing [October 7th, The Pine Box]

This was a hops collision! Nugget, Centennial, and Crystal hops combined to make this a super bright pale. But not at all bitter, considering all the hoppiness in that glass. A tad more grainy than the Citra from pFriem, but very drinkable and light. 5.4% abv and 38 IBUs

5) Protege FH – 10 Barrel Brewing [October 7th, The Pine Box]

Unfortunately by this point I was pretty drunk, so I have terrible notes. In fact, all they say is: “I’ve already had 2 beers, so it’s hard to know…” Not sure what I was trying to tell myself there. BUT, this was all Crystal hops and I remember liking it, so that’s nice. It’s an English Bitter style, but with the fresh hops in there you almost couldn’t tell. 4.5% abv and 25 IBUs

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So there you have it! My 5 beers for this week. I also recently drank a few other fresh hop beers, so here’s the quick and dirty list:

  • Fresh Hop Citra IPA (Breakside Brewery)
  • Fresh Hop Vortex IPA (Fort George Brewery) — best FH ale I had all season
  • Fresh Hop Amarillo IPA (Schooner Exact Brewing Company)

[Next Week on Christina’s Beer Adventures: PUMPKIN BEERS. The season is here.]