Summer Slippin’ Away

Well, I’ve failed at my “write once per week” plan. But to be fair, I’ve been really busy and that’s legitimately the only reason I haven’t updated in a while. Lots of ideas for upcoming posts, but in the meantime, here’s a brief taste of recent highlights:

1. Turning a chill “club social” into a 4am rager. Fortunately (for me) there is no photo evidence…

2. Winning Dutch Competition with this badass group of ladies. I’m a fucking National Champion, yo.35653551_650726871943903_1019904353110065152_o.jpg

3. Partying at Europe’s largest ultimate frisbee tournament for 3 straight days. (Yeah, I also did some work. Whatever.)36342048_2121985134757086_9085663557005082624_o.jpg

4. Drinking ALL the scotch in Scotland. (More on this one later.)IMG_3401.jpg

5. Cheering on Belgium in the World Cup quarterfinal and drinking far too much beer. (And gin.)

6. Spending the next day hungover, swimming in the IJ, and watching more football on one of the loveliest and laziest days I’ve had this year so far. (Go Croatia!)

7. Spending a warm and sunny Sunday cycling down the Amstel to drink wine in the cutest little Dutch town.IMG_3459.JPG

8. Packing for another holiday, this time off to France for fancy dinner with my dad in Paris, followed by a music festival on a Normandy beach for 3 days…

So, further updates will have to wait until next week. À la prochaine fois! ❤

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!

Honolulu: Where hopeless romantics spend Valentine’s Day alone eating red velvet cake in a UHaul

[Part 4 of the Series Where I Catch You Up on My Drinking Doings Since December.]

Oh, where to even start with this one. The title sums it up pretty well, I think.

Ok, so here’s what happened.

WAIT. I just ran out of wine. And I don’t have any more. THIS IS TRAGIC. I’ll just have to switch to something stronger.

Scotch. That should do the trick.

ANYWAY. As I was saying. Hawaii was an interesting trip. I flew in by myself on a Wednesday, landed very late, and crashed on a friend-of-a-friend’s couch. Thursday morning, I woke up early, sought out a coffeeshop, and then promptly took myself on an 8-mile hike. Because I am a badass.

DSCN1783Yeah I hiked there. Cuz I could. Don’t be jealous.

After said hike, I followed the advice of my friendly host and went to the Honolulu Burger Company for lunch. Let’s just set the stage for a moment here: I had just spent over 3 hours hiking 8 miles (and climbing 2000 feet), I was hot and sweaty and gross and starving, and nothing could have possibly satisfied me more than a burger at that very moment.

And holy crap. That burger didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was so amazing that I am not sure I’ll ever have a better burger again in my life.

Local free-range beef (from the big island). Topped with perfectly cooked Kalua pork. Topped with grilled pineapple salsa.

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OMNOMNOM.

After my feast, I had plans to go to the art museum. But instead, I went back to the apartment and showered because I was actually a gross, sweaty mess. At that point it was past 2pm and the museum wasn’t really an option.

And so, BEER.

Yes, folks. I finally made good on my promise from 2012. I went to the Kona Brewpub.

So I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t super impressed with the brewpub. It felt a bit touristy and suburban.

BUT. The beer was delicious. And that’s pretty much the only reason I went there anyway.

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As you can probably tell from the photo above, I ordered a taster tray. It contained the following beers (in order from left to right, for those of you who even care):

  • Fire Rock Pale Ale
  • Black Sand Porter
  • Paradise IPA
  • Pohaku Nui

You’re probably wondering what the hell Pohaku Nui is. I wondered too, and then the waitress told me “It’s an Imperial IPA, but it’s really strong, so…” and looked at me as if I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

Oh, PLEASE.

So duh, I ordered it. (It’s 11% abv, in case you were wondering. Wheeee!)

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After my tasters, I decided to order one more pint before leaving. So I ordered the other Hawaiian-sounding beer, the ‘Auana Ale. Apparently (I learned) this is Kona Brewing’s take on the traditional Hefeweizen, except it’s filtered.

This sort of blew my mind. Hefeweizen is always unfiltered. ALWAYS. Like, I’m pretty sure that’s a rule or something. The bartender explained that the brewers didn’t really want to make a Heff, but they wanted to see what would happen if they filtered the same recipe. It’s actually really good.

I wish I had a more exciting story to tell after this, but unfortunately I don’t. I went back to where I was staying, where my lovely hosts cooked dinner for a friend of theirs who was visiting and kindly allowed me to join. It was a lovely meal. And then I went to bed.

The next day was Valentine’s Day.

So let me preface this next part by saying two things: 1– I generally dislike Valentine’s Day (just on principle, and I feel this way regardless of my relationship status); and 2– since I often get shit for hating Valentine’s Day, I try to “like” it by doing nice things for myself.

I had decided to use the previous day as my Valentine’s gift to myself because I knew I’d be working all day on actual Valentine’s Day. (Hence the hiking and burgers and beer…I basically took myself on a day-long date.)

But weirdly, despite the fact that I got up at 7am to work on this beloved holiday, things went crazy smoothly. By noon, we had done all the errands we needed to do leading up the event I was in town for, and my coworker (who I had picked up that morning) left me to go surfing with a friend.

So there I was. In Kailua. Alone. With a 17-foot UHaul truck.

After about 20 minutes of circling, I finally found a place to leave the damn vehicle and I decided to take myself out to lunch.

I guess I get a double Valentine’s celebration! (Says the girl who hates Valentines.)

So I took myself to lunch to one of the most popular spots in town, which (obviously) serves local cuisine. Because I’m in Hawaii damnit, and I want to eat Hawaiian food.

I ate more Kalua pork, this time in sandwich form. As I was preparing to leave the restaurant, however, I noticed a display case at the front. In this case were desserts, most noticeably a red velvet cake type dessert. It wasn’t cake, per se, but more of a cake in a cup with cream. It looked just delightful.

Well, fuck it, I thought. I’m gonna pamper myself.

And so I bought a cup of red velvet cake-ish, and awkwardly asked for a plastic spoon.

And then I went on my merry way. The plan was to walk to a park, or even the beach (just a few blocks away), but then it started to rain. And so I went back to the UHaul.

And I ate my scrumptious cake with a spoon. Alone. Sitting in the driver’s seat of a UHaul. Which was parked on a busy street. On Valentine’s Day.

I swear it wasn’t weird.

Drink #5: Scotch

[Post from December 20, 2012]
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Alright, alright. Let’s be fair. Except for a few outliers (Manhattan, Cabernet Sauvignon), I’ve stuck to the holiday repertoire pretty well. I know scotch doesn’t really fit in that repertoire, but hear me out.

I will drink scotch pretty much anytime of the year, sure. But for me, it has a relationship to Christmas because of my dad. My dad is a scotch drinker. Oh yes. And he, unlike me, has disposable income. As does my mother. And my mother often buys him fancy scotch for Christmas. And then my dad drinks scotch at Christmas.

For years that meant nothing to me, because I was too young to understand/drink. And even when I did drink, it took me some time to develop a taste for scotch. After sips here and there from my dad’s glass, I started to learn and to understand. And I rapidly developed a habit that I 100% cannot afford. But I don’t give a damn, because I love scotch.

Last Christmas, my dad (who was very low on scotch) received 3 very nice bottles of scotch from my mom. So what did we do on Christmas evening? We did a scotch tasting. IT WAS GLORIOUS.

So no, scotch isn’t a “holiday drink” per se. But it does have a special holiday meaning for me. And let’s be real, that’s what is truly important at the holidays. Right?