De-Lamination

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Author: Sandy Sue

Unexplored CreviceThe word is out—sitting all the time will kill you.  Well, everything eventually kills you, but sitting is the new smoking in terms of health. It all makes sense to me.  I was a nurse once.  I know about circulation and oxygen flow.  But it was lamination that really sold me.

Lamination is what happens to the fat, fascia and muscles of your butt under the heat and pressure of sitting (think glued together and steam pressed).  I wish I could find the You Tube piece that explained it so well, but all I could find was this joker talking about Gibbon-Butt.  He makes a point, though.  Our backsides are not meant to be weight-baring.

I started researching standing desks.  With a desktop computer and a teeny apartment, I needed one adjustable desk, and those suckers cost big bucks.  Units that sit on the desk are cheaper, but I have a teeny desk, so all that scaffolding leaves no work space.  I was stumped. So Get Adjustable Desk became part of my IPR wish list for making my living space better and healthier.

This spring when I visited my nurse practitioner, I noticed her work space.  She had a big, simple adjustable desk with a chair on one end and a treadmill on the other.  She didn’t just stand at her desk, she walked or jogged, which seemed a bit excessive, but good on her, right?  I was more interested in the desk anyway.

Clean lines, simple, moderately priced and from IKEA (I’m partial to Swedish furniture—I used to be married to a Swede.  Some things stick, though are not necessarily laminated in place).  Minneapolis has a big IKEA store.  I often go to Minneapolis to visit friends.  I felt a plan forming.

Desk LowLast week I traveled to said Minneapolis to visit said friends.  I also brought home a desk in three boxes.  Yesterday I put it together (ridiculously simple) and started rearranging the jigsaw puzzle that is my apartment.  I’m shocked that I only have to get rid of two pieces of furniture:  my desk—a sweet little thing that was my first craft work table, and a night stand from an old bedroom set—repainted and pretty, but not very functional.  Everything else got redistributed and refiled (or will be).

I have to be careful with this kind of project.  I tend to purge while manic, and I’m hovering at hypomanic right now.  It would be so easy to get rid of all my crappy, second-hand furniture and just start over.  But, that’s crazy talk, so I will sit (or stand) with this one, new purchase until the fever passes.

Desk HighAlso, my cats are traumatized.  Henry won’t leave my side, and Emmett stays hidden under the bed.  First came the bathroom remodel, then I was gone for five days, and when I came home I brought in Big Things that Made Noise.  We all need a nice run of quiet days to let our nerves settle.

I’m standing at my desk now.  Henry’s taking in the afternoon sun.  Emmett’s still under the bed.  We’ll get de-laminated eventually.


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 26/27, 2015.

View the article’s original source
Author: THOMAS CIZAUSKAS

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 26/27
21 June – 4 July 2015

  • 2015.07.04
    Why John Adams believed that July 2nd, not July 4th would be American Independence Day.
    —Via The Independent.
  • 2015.07.02
    “The feel is of a welcoming insider showing a newbie the ropes.” A review of the new book by Ashley Routson, “The Beer Wench’s Guide to Beer.”
    —Via Jeff Alworth, at Beervana.
  • 2015.07.01
    Nicholas Winton, English rescuer of 669 Czech children during the Holocaust, dies in England at 106.
    —Via New York Times.
  • 2015.07.01
    Eric Wallace, owner of Left Hand Brewing Company —a Longmont, Colorado, brewery he co-founded in 1993: “No way I am going to sell out for a bunch of money.” Wallace sells majority of brewery shares back to employees.
    —Via Brewbound.
  • 2015.07.01
    The (U.S.) Brewers Association has created an on-line database of laws concerning beer sales and sampling laws in breweries and brewpubs, for all fifty U.S. states.
    —Via Brewers Association.
  • 2015.06.30
    An appreciation of Dan Bosserman (1949-2015), long-time ‘craft’ beer distributor in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
    —Via YFGF.
  • 2015.06.29
    The tourism office of Howard County —a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.— creates a county beer-trail mobile app.
    —Via Baltimore Sun.
  • 2015.06.30
    Clocks read 11:59:60 as extra “leap” second is officially added to world time, allowing the Earth’s slowing rotation to catch up with atomic time.
    —Via The Telegraph.
  • 2015.06.30
    Influential, fast-growing Scottish ‘craft’ brewery, BrewDog to open a new brewery near Columbus, Ohio, in the United States, in 2016, its only brewing facility outside of the United Kingdom.
    —Via BeerPulse.
  • 2015.06.29
    The state of South Carolina is offering tax breaks and other financial incentives to lure away ‘craft’ brewery, Terrapin Beer Company, from its home in Athens, Georgia.
    —Via Augusta Chronicle.
  • 2015.06.25
    Since 2012, Beck’s sold in the United States has been brewed by Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, not in Germany. The brewery settled a class-action lawsuit, and will change wording on the packaging to clearly indicate American provenance.
    —Via Big Class Action.
  • 2015.06.29
    The Beer Price Index: how much a beer costs in various cities across the world. Geneva, Switzerland, is the most expensive city for a beer: $6.32 per 11.2 ounce beer.
    —Via Wall Street Journal.
  • 2015.06.25
    “You could be reading a lot soon about soaring hop prices.” The 2015 Barth-Haas Hop Report.
    —Via Stan Hieronymus, at Appellation Beer.
  • 2015.06.25
    Quotable quote. Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery: “We are in the middle of the end of the beginning of #craftbeer.” Anheuser-Busch InBev’s ‘craft’ brewery acquisitions are unsettling the craft movement. A profile of Andy Goeler, CEO of craft beer for AB InBev’s Anheuser-Busch division.
    —Via Bloomberg.
  • 2015.06.26
    In 5-4 vote, U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges makes same-sex marriage a right nationwide. Majority decision from Justice Anthony Kennedy:
    No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people be-come something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they dorespect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
    —Via New York Times.
  • 2015.06.26
    The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act is introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, with bipartisan support. The bill would:
    Reduce the federal excise tax to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing fewer than 2 million barrels annually.
  • Reduce the federal excise tax to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and all beer importers.
  • Keep the excise tax at the current $18 per barrel rate for barrelage over 6 million.

Both the Beer Institute and the (U.S.) Brewers Association support the bill; in the past, both had supported competing bills.
—Via Brewers Association.
2015.06.25
The Affordable Care act (aka Obamacare) survives a second challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court. In King versus Burwell, by a vote of 6-3, the Court decided that subsidies should be available across the entire U.S.
—Via The Telegraph.

2015.06.25
Quotable quote. Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery: “We are in the middle of the end of the beginning of craft beer.” Anheuser-Busch InBev’s ‘craft’ brewery acquisitions are unsettling the craft movement. A profile of Andy Goeler, CEO of craft beer for AB InBev’s Anheuser-Busch division.
—Via Bloomberg.

2015.06.24
Symposium held during SAVOR week near Washington, D.C., asks: What defines a ‘craft’ beer? Participants answer, “It all comes down to motive with quality.”
—Via Capital Gazette.

2015.06.22
Bob and Ellie Tupper, long-time observers and chroniclers of good beer in the Washington, D.C. area, release their first book: “Drinking in the Culture: Tuppers’ Guide to Exploring Great Beers in Europe.”
—Via YFGF.

2015.06.21
Forty U.S. ‘craft’ breweries have signed the Brewery Climate Declaration since March 2015.
Finding innovative ways to integrate sustainability into their business practices and finding economic opportunity through investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste recapture, and sustainable sourcing.
—Via Ceres.

2015.06.21
“There’s no sense trying to start a revolution if nobody wants to follow.” Jim Koch of Boston Beer is profiled on his role at the beginnings of ‘craft’ beer over thirty years ago.
—Via Business Insider.

2015.06.21
Twenty-one of the world’s thirty-seven largest aquifers have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study period, a NASA report states.
—Via Washington Post.

—–more—–

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a bi-weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not.
  • YFGF has been remiss: Clamps and Gaskets has fallen several weeks behind the calendar. Until things are set right, there will be a weekly —not bi-weekly— update.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.
  • For more from YFGF:


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 24/25, 2015.

View the article’s original source
Author: THOMAS CIZAUSKAS

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 24/25
7 June – 20 June 2015

  • 2015.06.20
    Patagonia (Chile/Argentina), Bavaria (Germany), Frohberg (Germany), and Saaz (Czech Republic). The history of lager yeast, and the creation of a new hybrid lager yeast.
    —Via Beer Strength Matters.
  • 2015.06.18
    U.S. homebrewers vote for their favorite U.S. beers and breweries, and imports. This is the seventh year in a row American Homebrew Association members chose Russian River’s Pliny the Elder as the top beer, and the sixth consecutive year that Bell’s Two Hearted Ale came in second.
    —Via Brookston Beer Bulletin.
  • 2015.06.18
    Roman Catholic Pope Francis I releases Laudato Si, an encyclical stating that the “bulk of global warming is caused by human activity.”
    The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.
    —Via Washington Post.
  • 2015.06.17
    On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people were killed, including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C. Pinckney; a tenth victim survived. The congregation is one of the United States’ oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights. Police arrested 21-year-old Dylann Roof,
    —Via New Yorker.
  • 2015.06.17
    A list of twenty-two of the best beer gardens in America, as compiled by Time Out New York.
    —Via Time Out New York.
  • 2015.06.16
    To further American craft beer promotion and education in Europe, the Brewers Association (BA)—the non-profit trade association dedicated to American small and independent craft brewers—has hired Sylvia Kopp as its American Craft Beer Ambassador in Europe.
    —Via Brewbound.
  • 2015.06.16
    American farmers planted more than 44,000 acres with hops in year 2015, an increase of 16% over year 2014. In 2009, 69% of hop acreage was devoted to alpha hops (hops used for bitterness rather than aroma), while in 2015 only 23%. The percentage of acreage of aroma hops has more than doubled from 31% in 2009 to 77% this year.
    —Via June Hop Acreage Report by (U.S.) Brewers Association.
  • 2015.06.15
    The Magna Carta was signed 800 years ago, on 15 June 1215, by England’s King John I and rebellious barons and nobles. It established that “nobody was above the law, and the rule of law as paramount.” The Magna Carta contains 63 clauses, including weights and measures for the sale of beer and wine.
    Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale.
    —Via Washington Post.
  • 2015.06.14
    A newspaperman’s newspaperman. John S. Carroll, acclaimed newspaper editor for Lexington Herald-Leader, Baltimore Sun, and Los Angeles Times, winning numerous Pulitzer prizes, has died at age 73.
    —Via Washington Post.
  • 2015.06.12
    After several years of promoting competing bills for excise tax relief, the Beer Institute and the (U.S.) Brewers Association have agreed on a compromise bill, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.
    —Via Brewbound.
  • 2015.06.11
    Ohio supermarket chain, Heinen’s, has removed a Maryland ‘craft’ beer from its shelves, after customers complain about the name: Sweet Baby Jesus, from DuClaw Brewing.
    —Via Cleveland.com.
  • 2015.06.11
    Ornette Coleman, one of the great innovators of modern American classical music, jazz, has died, at age 85.
    —Via New York Times.
  • 2015.06.10
    The decline of hops in German pilsners? The Journal of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling has published a study that indicates that the bitterness level of German pilsners has has dipped, now brewing with about 27 International Bitterness Units (IBUs).
    —Via Stan Hieronymus in Appellation Beer.
  • 2015.06.07
    Bright, filtered, unfiltered natural, or murky? The case for cloudy beer.
    —Via Stephen Beaumont The Globe and Mail.
  • 2015.06.07
    The 17th/18th-century English story of porter. Three-threads was NOT porter; it was tax-dodging beer-blending.
    —Via Martyn Cornell at Zythophile.
  • 2015.06.07
    Beer color for beer geeks: vocabulary, SRM, hexadecimals.
    —Via Jay Brooks at Brookston Beer Bulletin.
  • 2015.06.07
    Obituary for Reg Drury, 1939-2015: the brewer who saved cask ale at Fullers Brewery in London. Worked for the brewery for 40 years, ending as director of brewing.
    When he retired from Fuller’s, he became an assessor for Cask Marque, the industry-funded group that monitors the quality of real ale in the nation’s pubs. Statistics released just a few days after his death showed that sales of cask beer, the style he helped improve and foster, have grown appreciably in 2014 and 2015. Reg was good beer’s best friend.
    —Via Roger Protz (Guardian).

—–more—–

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a bi-weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not.
  • YFGF has been remiss: Clamps and Gaskets has fallen several weeks behind the calendar. Until things are set right, there will be a weekly —not bi-weekly— Monday update.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.
  • For more from YFGF:


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


Summertime Chilled Tomato Soup With Guacamole

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Author: ajeanroy

The wonderful thing about the garden season, is that you have such a variety of foods that need little done to them to taste wonderful. Try harvesting a few of your favorite veggies, and breaking out the hand blender to make the perfect appetizer or first course. 
If you have never tried cold soups,  you are in for a treat. They retain all the robust flavor of the fresh ingredients, and are perfect for an evening meal, with a baguette of crusty bread and some good cheese. 
Try this recipe from
Eatwell 101: Tomato and Strawberry Gazpacho. It’s unique blend of fruit and vegetables makes this a one of a kind meal. 

Then, try this cool, smooth Cucumber Gazpacho for something different. This one is from Joy of Kosher and it’s fabulous! 

Finally, how about this new twist on the more traditional Tomato soup? This one, from Patissiar Francois Payard, is lovely served as an appetizer, or a light lunch. It’s beautiful and interesting with the dollop of fresh Guacamole. We just love this! 

Chilled Tomato Soup with Guacamole

Makes Enough for 20 Small Glasses

For the Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 medium Spanish onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1/2 fennel bulb

1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bouquet garni (1 thyme sprig, 1 rosemary sprig, 2 parsley sprigs, and 3 basil sprigs, all tied together with kitchen twine)

8 large, very ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 8 pieces each

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground white pepper

4 drops Tabasco sauce

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

For the Guacamole

1/2 ripe avocado, coarsely chopped

Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lime

1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion

1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped

1/4 red bell pepper, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

1 cilantro sprig, chopped

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground white pepper

For the Garnish

20 basil leaves

1)     Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, fennel, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, until very soft. Do not let the vegetables brown. Add the bouquet garni, tomatoes, and 21/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened. Season with salt and pepper.

2)     While the soup is cooking, fill a large pot with very cold water and ice cubes to make an ice water bath. When the soup is ready, place the stockpot in the ice water bath to cool. Remove the bouquet garni.

3)     When the soup has cooled, transfer it to a blender and puree until smooth. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the Tabasco sauce and celery salt, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the soup aside.

4)     Place the avocado in a small bowl and mash it with a fork until smooth. Stir in the lime zest and juice, red onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.

5)     Ladle the chilled soup into 20 small glasses or bowls. Place a spoonful of the guacamole in the center of each one, and garnish with a basil leaf. Arrange on a platter, and serve cold.


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


Radar Day

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Author: Sandy Sue

Every three months the apartments in our complex get inspected for bedbugs.  We had an infestation a few years ago (remember when the varmints were everywhere?)  Since then regular inspections became mandatory.  While I haven’t had any creepy crawlies since the first outbreak, I know if an apartment next to mine becomes infested, I’m at risk.  So, I’m glad to get the notice.  Not because I’m worried about parasites.  Oh, no.  I’m thrilled because I know Radar is coming.

boxelder bug

Eau de Stink Bug

Pest control companies train beagles to sniff out bedbugs.  They have a distinct odor.  Think back to your wayward youth.  If you ever smashed a boxelder bug, you’ll remember the stink.  I’ve been told bedbugs have a more refined bouquet, but similar.  It takes a nose of distinction and refinement to tell the difference.

These canine prima donnas require man-servants and Garbo-esque privacy in order to perform.  Soaps, chemicals and food must be sequestered.  Pets and their lowly accoutrements (food, litter boxes, doggie chews) must vacate the premises at least an hour before the Star’s arrival.  The only human allowed in the apartment with the Super Sniffer is his agent.  Tenants may wait outside at a discrete distance, behind queue barricades and ropes.

The cats and I camp out in my car—close enough to get a good look, but far enough away to avoid the heavy-handed security squad.  Since we never know when Radar will make his appearance (how can a hound of such stature be held to a timetable?) we have missed him on occasion.  Especially in the winter when we’re forced to keep the car warm by driving around the block.  And since Henry gets car sick, the Winter Radar Watch requires paper towels and baby wipes as well as the litter box.  Small price to pay for a gander at the infamous pup.

Radar Day 3Today provided perfect Radar-Watching weather.  We nabbed front-row seats across from our front door.  As you can see, Henry is in the throes of fan-girling at the thought of catching a glimpse.  This is Henry at his most excited.

Emmett, on the other hand, preferred to guard our luggage.  He understood how dangerous hoards of fans could be—and he already had Radar’s paw print.  *sniff*   Plus, the treats were in one of those bags, and if Henry wasn’t going to puke on this outing, there was a good chance the human would fall for some sad eyes and piteous mewling.  Emmett knows how to work a room.

Radar Day 6

Tension mounted as we waited.  First a leaf flew in from the moon roof.  Then, a snicker doodle, or hershey’s terrier, or one of those yappy fluff balls set to howling at the grass in his yard.  Henry, however, remained vigilant and undeterred.

Radar Day 5

Our nerves at the point of snapping, we spotted the cavalcade of white and red Preferred Pest Control vans turning onto our street.  Our street!  Within moments, the entourage exited their vehicles, fingers pressed to their wireless headsets, in communication with Radar’s helicopter film crew.  And then… there he was!  Super Schnoz!  The Scourge of Cimex lectularius!

Security hustled Radar into the building while we gawped.  Only luck and muscle spasms caused my camera to fire in time.

Radar Day 9

And just like that—it was all over.  How does one recover from a brush with greatness?  From the image of celebrity burned onto one’s retinas?

I guess, the way most fans do—with a sigh and a hearty deposit in the litter box.


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


Cask ale production in the United States?

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Author: THOMAS CIZAUSKAS

Every year for the past eight, a group of brewer’s organizations and breweries in the U.K. has released a report on the state of cask ale in Britain. Called, cleverly, The Cask Ale Report, it’s a joint project of such organizations as SIBA (Society of Independent Breweries), CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), and Cask Marque, and several breweries. Beer writer Pete Brown authors the report.
This week, here in the the U.S., the Brewers Association released its bi-annual survey of industry benchmarks and brewery operations for America’s ‘craft’ brewers, a study in which it collects and compiles data on:

  • Salary/benefits information
  • Production and package mix (draught, bottle, cans, etc.)
  • Revenue and COGs data
  • Distribution profiles

But no cask ale data.

Via Twitter, I asked Bart Watson —chief economist for the association— whether it might consider compiling stats on casks. Here’s the exchange.

The “Table 14” of the report deals with “Draught Beer Sales” by barrelage and format (i.e., the size of the keg, etc.). The growth of the miscellaneous formats and sizes (which includes cask and growlers, and I would guess, 51-gallon wooden barrels)) was small, by percentage, as compared to ‘standard’ sizes. This information is proprietary, reserved for members of the Association, only. But, it’s safe to say, there was steady growth, and considering the amount of ‘craft’ beer produced and sold, not insubstantial (or, as Mr. Watson tweets, “decent.”)

Let’s assume, for arguments sake, that cask ale production equalled 1% of all ‘craft’ beer production in the United States, which, in 2014, was 21,775,905 barrels. If so, cask ale production would have equalled 217,759 barrels. (Remember that a barrel is not a keg. It’s a measure of beer volume, equal to 31 U.S. gallons). Doing the math, we could guess production at 625,048 firkins (10.8-gallon casks) per year.

That would be a lot of real ale. It’s only a guess, but we may find out, for ‘real,’ in 2017.

—–more—–

  • Real Ale” is a term created by CAMRA to define a specific type of cask-conditioned ale. It’s often used interchangeably.
  • The Great American Beer Festival (organized annually by the BA) includes several ‘style’ categories for wood barrel-aged beers. Why not for cask ale?
  • Mr. Watson granted permission to re-post our Twitter exchange.
  • More on the BA‘s benchmarking survey: here.
  • For more from YFGF:

All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


Yakima Valley: Rich Rewards for All

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Author: Guest Contributor

Some rewards come easy and some take just a little work. We opted for a little work and hiked on the Cowiche Canyon Trail located in Washington State’s Yakima Valley. The west end of the trail is accessed on Wiekel and begins with a nice flat 2 mile stroll on a former railroad bed. Then the work begins. But not much work – just about ¾ mile up the hill and there is your reward. Two wineries waiting to quench your thirst!   I love the instant reward, so we started at Naches Heights Vineyard (NHV), sipping wine after the “workout” and enjoying the views. This winery is part of the Naches Heights AVA (American Viticultural Area), which is the newest of the 12 Washington AVA’s. Along with all the hiking that one can do here, an even better activity is learning about this new AVA region.

It is one of the higher AVA’s in the state (2000 feet), which gives it the advantage of cool, but mostly frost free, spring mornings. Also, the breezes that embrace this area result in lower humidity thus less mildew issues for the vineyards. The growers of the area prefer organic and sustainable agricultural practices which take advantage of the volcanic soil and rich topsoil deposited by ancient glaciers. All of this combines to bring out some unique tastes which we are about to experience.

On this warm summer day their Gewürztraminer (Guinevere) really hit the spot with its nice light peachy fruit nose. Unlike a lot of Gewürztraminers, this one had a very light and crisp sweetness. Just perfect on a warm sunny afternoon. I can see why this recently won a gold medal in Seattle.

Owner and third generation farmer Phil Cline also poured some of his Cab Franc, which is a light and well balanced red. As we sipped, Phil explained his rewards program for hiking. After completing three hikes you are rewarded with a free drink!  There are several hiking options that you can choose from. One of the easiest is simply parking at the winery and taking an hour hike (about 1.5 miles) down to the Canyon trail and back.

Phil continued to reward us as we took the short walk next door to Wilridge Wine. This former farm house is a cozy spot to enjoy some food and wine. Paul Beverage, (yes – his real name!) the owner, was not available today but no problem since Phil and Paul have a great working relationship that goes back to 2004. Phil served up the Estate Syrah Mourvedre. This smooth, dark and rich red has a beautiful color and a light pepper nose. We asked Phil about which wine would pair best with barbecued salmon and Phil immediately served up the Estate Melange Blanc.  This wine was perfectly balance between sweet and tart, and would be delightful with fish.

Also of note is the joint effort of NHV and Wilridge: “Smokin ‘Wine Wednesdays”. Wine, music, views, and Kim’s Got Smoke BBQ – which we heard was the best in all of Eastern Washington. All ages are welcome to these events and they happen through the end of July.

We needed to switch gears and continue our journey east to check out the hops – and of course the beer! It didn’t take long to get past Yakima and as we drove past Union Gap I started singing: “Young girl, get out of my mind”. My wife thought I had too much to drink. This was not the case. I was singing a popular song from the 1960’s by area native Gary Puckett and The Union Gap.

So much my musical tribute to recent history. Elizabeth was happy that we were ready to focus on one of the main distinctions of the Valley Yakima, hops!   This history goes back to late 1800’s when Charles Carpenter planted the first hop rootstock in Ahtanum, a small community just southwest of Yakima.

Soon Mortimer Thorp and several French Canadians settled in Moxee, just southeast of Yakima and 14 miles east of Ahtanum. One might say this was the perfect storm!! These hop farmers had it all: rich volcanic top soil, long warm summers, and long daytime hours being so far north (46 degrees latitude).

Because Washington State (mainly Greater Yakima Valley) grows over 75% of US hops, Moxee claims the title of the Hop Capital of the World.

To learn more about hops we went a little further east to Toppenish to visit the American Hop Museum. The museum features intriguing displays that highlight the history of hop cultivation, along with hosting several popular beer related events throughout the year.

The history of hops goes back a little further than the late 1800’s. The very first hop crop was planted in 736 CE, in the general area of Bavaria Germany. Currently Germany produces slightly more hops than are produced in the entire United States.   

Another interesting fact about hops is their medicinal uses. A hop filled pillowcase is said to be a great remedy for insomnia. Hops are also used for treating coughs and stomach ailments. Of course, we all know the pleasures of having a cold beer on a warm day and how well it pairs with a burger or pizza.

That is not all we learned about during our visit to Toppenish. The history lesson is presented by 73 beautiful murals that cover much of downtown.

These brightly colored, stunning murals tell a great story from the rugged Wild West, hop growing history, and rich Native American history. The first mural was painted twenty five years ago and a new one is added every summer during the very popular Mural in a Day event. Our favorite series was about Ruth Parton (1896 – 1978), known as the “Mother of Thoroughbred Racing.” She began her career racing on the Yakima Reservation when she was just 13 years old. Because her outstanding career she is in the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Texas.

After this tour we were ready for a quick 15 minute ride to the south into Sunnyside where we went to Snipes Mountain Brewery & Restaurant for refreshments.

The hostess knew we were ready for some hop medication. Thus, we were greeted with a flight of beer. The first was The Summer Cooler which was my favorite since I’m partial to wheat beer. This one had some nice light cranberry notes. Elizabeth had a hard time deciding which one she liked better, the Dos Borrachos, which has a cream head and is done in the lager style or the Coyote Moon, which had some light chocolate flavors.  Elizabeth was still undecided about her favorite but we knew were we not “Dos Borrachos.” That means “two drunks.” Although that beer did have a kick.

We sampled more beer which my wife enjoyed with the Bratwurst Platter, sauerkraut and stone-ground mustard. Although I certainly enjoyed the turkey baguette with the carrot-ginger soup, next time those brats and beer will be my choice.

A great reason for a return trip to Sunnyside is the brand new Summer Ale Fest which is held the last weekend of June – which we had just missed. We will definitely check that out next year.

We drove less than 20 minutes to our next stop, Moxee (aka The Hop Capital) to Bale Breaker Brewing Company. They are one the many new craft brewers in the Yakima Valley, however if you dig into their history you will see their roots go deep. Meghann Quinn, one of the owners and head of marketing, told us that her great grandparents planted the first hops in the field adjacent to their brewery. They were owners of B.T. Loftus Ranches and planted the hops in 1932, the year before the end of prohibition. Talk about great timing!

My favorite right off the bat was the Field 41 Pale Ale. Field 41 is the name of the field in which the first hops grew – which is still marked by an age-worn and faded sign. This award winning ale opens with an aromatic nose with a light smooth taste. Happily, I discovered that this beer is sold at Safeco Field in Seattle. I was very pleased to enjoy this beer with a brat, which took the edge off a Mariner loss.

Meghann drew another one of the hop forward beers – Raging Ditch Dry-Hopped Blonde. Named after the maze of irrigation ditches in the Valley, this light tasting beer with graceful fruit notes was another winner. Their flagship beer is the Bottomcutter IPA. This doubled hopped beer packs a punch, but the citrus and light pines help it go down nice and smooth.

We had many more stops left. It was time for our last leg of the today’s journey to downtown Yakima. We parked and quickly checked in at the Hilton Garden Inn-Yakima. This was a perfect location for us to finish our craft beer tour.

Just a ten minute walk from the hotel is the brand new brewery, Hop Nation Brewery. The brew pub is located in an historic (100 year old) packing house. The owner, Ben Grossman, has remodeled the cozy pub to pay homage to the hop industry.

Ben started in the brewing business in 1993 in Colorado and has been in beer or wine making since. I guess his biology degree was a good choice. Continuing our chat, Ben served us the Daily Weiss: German Hefeweizen, which was definitely my favorite. I liked the clover notes and the light taste. Next Ben gave us the Cream On, an oat infused cream pale ale; also a beer that goes down very smoothly. As far as my favorite name for a beer – the winner has to be Bock In the Goat Rocks, which is a German Maibock named after the Goat Rocks, an hour drive west in the Cascades, which also happens to be one of my favorite hiking places in Washington. If you want great views of Mt. Rainier and Mt Adams and lots of wildflowers, hiking in the Goat Rocks is a great choice.

Ben needed to get back to some brewing and as we were leaving he reminded us to check out the many beer festivals that are held in Yakima, such as the Hop Ale Fest which is held in the fall.

You can check out other Yakima events here:  http://visityakima.com/yakima-valley-events.asp

The last stop before dinner was Kana Winery. The decision was hard as there are several other tasting rooms in downtown Yakima along with almost 100 wineries and tasting rooms throughout the Yakima Valley. This is not a surprise since there are four AVA’s in the Valley. 

We really enjoyed the first wine served which was the 2013 Chardonnay, a unoaked wine which was light and not overly crisp. We liked it so much that we purchased several bottles to take home. We discovered the very next day in our own backyard how well it went with some grilled salmon. Luckily we also purchased a bottle of the next wine we tasted. The medal award winning, 2010 Old Vines Reserve is from the grape known in Austria as Blaufrankisch and in the US as Limberger. It has a cherry nose, rich dark red color and a long finish. So on the second day home, the grill featured a great steak to go with this great wine.

Now it was time to walk across the street to Cowiche Canyon Kitchen & Icehouse. While we waited briefly for our table, the server walked by with a tray of Prime Rib and NY Steak. The aroma helped make our dinner decision an easy one. We all know Yakima Valley is the leader in hops, apples, peaches, and cherries and of course award winning wines. Beef is one of the 39 commodities grown here, making the Yakima Valley the state’s leader in beef and dairy production. In fact, during our first visit to the Valley thirty years ago the highlight of the trip was the steak we had in a small nearby community, Selah. (Yes – it was that memorable!).

There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that the juicy and succulent steak, grilled in herbs and butter, was cooked to perfection. Elizabeth had the Roasted Prime Rib, which she loved. What really topped off this wonderful dinner was the Sheridan Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, grown just east of here in Zillah. This rich tasting red was not over-powering and really brought out the taste of my steak. I can’t testify as to how it paired with the prime rib since that was not shared with me. We sat back, finished the wine and admired this new restaurant. Its sleek industrial design is contrasted and complemented by the warm historically authentic building materials selected. The building had previously been used as a cold storage for apples. This was back in the day before refrigeration and the designer was careful to maintain the essence, including suspended blocks of “ice” hanging on giant hooks. Sadly, after a full day of beer and wine tasting, we decided to forgo the chance to sample any of their specialty cocktails, such as the Hot Witch (bourdon, Applejack, agave, bitters and hot tea) or the Mermaid (vodka, Kahlua, and espresso). It just seemed the best choice right now was to walk across the street to the Hilton and hit the bed.

By the way, we had made a quick stop in Zillah earlier, not for wine tasting but to see the famous Tea Dome Service Station. This National Historic Site was built in 1922 – at the height of a national scandal during the Harding administration. The scandal actually had nothing to do with Washington State, but apparently Jack Ainsworth, the gas station owner who built it by hand, was inspired by the Senate hearings, Supreme Court decision and general outrage over the handling of some oil fields in Wyoming and California. The tiny teapot shaped building is no longer used as a gas station, but you can still see the antique pumps outside. Inside is a small gift shop. 

The next day we were refreshed and ready to head home but first we talked about burning off some of the calories we had indulged in. The hiking opportunities are unlimited. For summer and early fall hikes one can drive an hour and a half to Chinook Pass and be at Mt. Rainier. Check out some of the hikes here. White Pass, also about an hour and a half, will get you to three different volcanoes that you can visit in the summer and early fall: Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt Adams.

There are also plenty of hikes in and near town.  The Cowiche Canyon Conservatory has 30 miles of trails including the one which takes you up to the winery mentioned above. Since we were headed back to Seattle via I-90 we decided on Umtanum Creek, which was on the way and just north of Yakima. It is a fascinating 3 mile journey over a bouncy suspension bridge and into a narrow canyon, the walls of which are often populated by bighorn sheep and deer. Other critters you might encounter are beavers, many different types of birds (it is a favorite for area birders) and marmots. Unfortunately – it is also a favorite of rattlesnakes so it is really best in the late fall or winter. If you decide you do not want to hike, it is still a lovely drive that takes you along the Yakima River Canyon.

There is an old saying: so much hiking, wine, and beer and so little time.

About our guest contributor:

Michael Fagin is a freelance travel writer who has traveled across Canada and visited all the major Canadian wine regions. Mr. Fagin is currently touring the Pacific Northwest enjoying the wine country, dining, and hiking the region. While he is not writing Mr. Fagin is a weather forecaster for West Coast Weather, LLC forecasting weather for the West Coast of the US as well as on an international basis.


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


If Wishes Were Bathtubs…

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Author: Sandy Sue

… Then Dreamers Would Soak.

⊂ ⊃

bathtub Chris

 ⊂ ⊃

Today was my last day in IPR (Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation).  For the past year, I’ve been working towards the goal of living successfully in my current home and making changes that will help sustain me and my mental health.  Through IPR, I dreamed, made lists, researched, planned, strategized, and started putting my Master Plan into action.

Henry in Old TubOne thing about my apartment I wanted to change was the bath tub.  Since I live in a government-subsidized apartment, I never for a moment thought that was possible.  I considered myself lucky to have running water.  But, since IPR is all about dreaming, I put it on my list.  How nice it would be to have a tub I actually fit into instead of a freakishly narrow trough with sliding doors that rolled open on their own while I showered.  When the poltergeist doors stayed shut, my XL body sported bruises from snagging on sharp edges.

Hot baths with scented oils or salts used to be a staple in my mental health tool box.  A long soak with relaxing music, a glass of wine, a candle—the ritual calmed my brain and soothed my soul.  To compensate, I learned to meditate in the hot tub at the Y after swimming.  Close, but no cigar.

Emboldened by IPR, I asked the apartment manager last winter if it was possible to get a bigger tub if my family helped me pay the cost.  She didn’t immediately say no.  “No one’s ever asked for anything like that,” she said.  “I’ll check with management.”

New TubWithin a few days, she called me to say she and the property’s maintenance man would get bids from contractors.  What?  I smelled lavender in my future!

Several months passed, but eventually we found a reputable plumber who gave a reasonable offer.  Last week, he and his carpenter buddy took a sawzall to the old tub and replaced it with a heavenly soaking tub.  The cats and I holed up in the bedroom for two days while they worked, the cats hiding under the bed while I made a shopping list for Bed, Bath and Beyond.

After the contractors left, it was my turn to go to work.  With raw drywall around the new surround, I needed to prime and paint.  And if I had to paint, I wanted make it count.

bagua-map-rectangleFirst I consulted my Feng Shui book, Wind and Water by Carole Hyder.  I love Feng Shui.  I don’t know if it works, but it’s one way to organize a home, a way to bring intention to areas of one’s life that need a boost.  It helps me remember important things like the Helpful People in my life and to foster gratitude.  Feng Shui feels clean and uncluttered.  It pays tribute to the natural world and our place in it.  I like to do what I can to align with the flow of chi in my little space.

Most of my bathroom sits in the Wisdom, Self-Knowledge and Rest section, which seems right and proper.  But parts of it overlap into the Career, Health and Family areas.  What I wanted most in my bathroom was harmony and peace, so it felt right to acknowledge those other areas in my color scheme.

       blueGraygreen

New Tub2At our local paint store, I chose Fantasy Blue for the Wisdom area, Pale Smoke to acknowledge the black element in the Career area, and Nob Hill Sage for the long wall that overlapped the Family area.  Since my little pantry closet sits in the Health area, I’ll find a nice buttery yellow for that later (One project at time).  Armed with chi-enhancing colors, my step-ladder and some masking tape, I set to work over the Fourth of July weekend.

GreenBlue WallsFor those of you who are homeowners, this stuff is old hat—drywall, paint, hand tools.  I remember.  I used to be one of you.  But, for those of us who rent or have little control over the aesthetics of our environment, this kind of freedom is rare and sweet.  With every stroke of the brush, I thought, “I chose this color.”  And I couldn’t quite believe it.

As I hauled myself up and down the ladder or on and off the floor, I felt the room becoming mine.  I felt it welcoming me and the cats.  I felt the peace and harmony I so longed for settle into place.  After three days of work, I was exhausted and hobbling, but I knew I’d done what I set out to do.  We had our sanctuary.

Cat Station HighAfter we revel in this success for a while, I’ll move on to the next project on my IPR list.  Because if wishes were horses, I’d be riding high.  For now, this dreamer plans to soak.


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 22/23, 2015.

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Author: THOMAS CIZAUSKAS

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 22/23
24 May – 6 June 2015

  • 2015.06.06
    American Pharoah becomes the first horse to win racing’s Triple Crown in 37 years.
    —Via CNN.
  • 2015.06.04
    Another sign of the ‘maturing’ of ‘craft’ beer business: a job carousel. Karl Ockert —for 20 years, brewer and then brewmaster for Bridgeport Brewing, in Portland, Oregon— to become Head of Brewery Operations, at Deschutes Brewery, in Bend, Oregon.
    —Via Jeff Alworth, at Beervana.
  • 2015.06.04
    Another sign of the ‘maturing’ of ‘craft’ beer business: a job carousel. Scottish ‘craft’ brewery, BrewDog, snags Anheuser-Busch InBev’s international regional director for Asia to lead BrewDog’s international sales.
    —Via Just Drinks.
  • 2015.06.02
    Sepp Blatter to resign as president of FIFA —Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the world soccer’s governing body— days after winning reelection (after 17 years in the position), as law enforcement officials in the United States confirmed that he was a focus of a federal corruption investigation.
    —Via New York Times.
  • 2015.05.28
    Maryland brewery Flying Dog pulls out of a project to build a farm-brewery in Loudoun County, Virginia. A hops facility on the same farmland —which was christened in November 2014 by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and will receive grant money from the state and county— is not affected by the change and will go ahead as planned.
    —Via Loudoun Times-Mirror.
  • 2015.05.28
    Anheuser-Busch temporarily halts beer production in its Georgia plant, and converts to producing canned water for victims of recent severe storms and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma.
    —Via NBC News.
  • 2015.05.25
    The first Memorial Day was called Decoration Day, and was observed on 30 May 1868.
    —Via fold3.
  • 2015.05.24
    U.S. mathematician John Nash, 86, renowned for his work in game theory, winning the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994, died in a car crash, with his wife, Alicia. His breakthroughs in math – and his struggles with schizophrenia – were the focus of the Oscar-winning 2001 film film, “A Beautiful Mind.”
    —Via BBC News.
  • 2015.05.24
    ‘Craft’ beer’s pandemic of quality un-control?
    —Via YFGF.
  • 2015.05.24
    Calm. Cut. Contrast. Complement. A guide to pairing beer and food.
    —Via Jollity Magazine.
  • 2015.05.24
    A list of the the oldest brewery in each of the fifty states in the United States, and Washington D.C. The breweries are either very old or very new, due to Prohibition, post-Prohibition consolidation, and the rise of ‘craft’ breweries since 1981.
    —Via Thrillist.
  • 2015.05.24
    The majority of tweets about beer that are sent from the United States originate in the middle of the country; on the coasts, there are more tweets on wine than beer.
    —Via CNBC.

—–more—–

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a bi-weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not.
  • YFGF has been remiss: Clamps and Gaskets has fallen several weeks behind the calendar. Until things are set right, there will be a weekly —not bi-weekly— Monday update.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.
  • For more from YFGF:


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.


Pic(k) of the Week: American Independence Day

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Author: THOMAS CIZAUSKAS

In 1776, John Adams —Constitutional Convention delegate from Massachusetts and future President— believed that it would be the 2nd of July, not the 4th, that would be celebrated as American Independence Day. *

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Why 2 July?

Because it was on 2 July 1776 that the Second Continental Congress voted for independence. It would not be until two days later, on 4 July 1776, that Congress would approve an actual Declaration of Independence. And, it would not be until 2 August 1776 that the Declaration would actually be signed by delegates.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

—–more—–

* Story of John Adams and Independence Day from: The Independent, 2 July 2015.
Full text of the Declaration of Independence: here.
Pictured is the Blue and Gray Building, in Falls Church, Virginia. It is the oldest surviving building in this small municipality, ten miles west of Washington, D.C., erected by a Willson Clover in 1797.
Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject.
Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.
For more from YFGF:


All of these texts are owned by its respective writers and are published here under a Creative Commons License.