Well days two and three didn’t dissapoint by any means, although the attendant dust didn’t make for easy breathing. But then APF is the wrong place to be if you care at all about cardiovascular health. Judging by several of my fellow attendees, I’m very much in the pink, in that regard. Highlights included Joel Gion’s backing band primary colors, although he himself was delightfully out to lunch, no guesses as to why. But optimistic for a great album in the summer. We managed to snag a hammock this year, perched betwixt the main and amphitheatre stage, which made for an interesting aural experience. Really dug the horrors, that was a special treat. I also appreciate just how few people try to wedge themselves within the inch between you and whoever’s in front of you, proceeding to film everything on a phone directly in your line of vision. Seriously. Great crowd, tunes, food and amazing experience over all; definitely back next year! Bonus: making some new friends at the ginger man downtown and eating at rudy’s and saltlick in quick succession; really made us feel at home in Tx, which is just as well since we move there next month!
American brewers have trended toward the extremes in recent memory. Session Beer Month seeks to change that and remind imbibers that beer can be low in alcohol and still maintain the desired complex flavors and aroma of craft beer.
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American Craft Beer Week kicks off today, a seven-day event celebrating the awesomeness of craft beer. If there’s ever a week of the year to slow down, take a breather, enjoy yourself with some good company and support something that is truly American, it’s ACBW.
The beer holiday, in its eighth year, should prove to be the biggest yet, with hundreds of events taking place all over the country. The celebration has become so prominent that the U.S. Congress has even passed two resolutions supporting the ideals of ACBW. And although this week is a big deal to beer nerds, the vast majority of people are mostly unaware of it. Here’s to changing that.
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We made the pilgrimage to Austin for Psych Fest and were rapidly enamoured with, well, everything. The first morning saw us in the city center, which was immaculate and amply endowed with bars and boutiques, much to our delight. Buildings both commercial and residential were elongated marvels of stone, concrete, steel and wood of many hues and grains. Wandering wide-eyed through this large scale homage to Frank Lloyd Wright we also experienced a strange and pleasant sensation : sunlight.
Shortly thereafter, suffering happily from sensory overload and the effects of excess vitamin D, we made the journey in our rental out to Saltlick BBQ in the foothills for lunch. I always feel that it’s incumbent upon me to push rental vehicles to breaking point, stressing every moving part, electronic component and spotweld if possible – we managed a bone rattling 120 in a Fiat on the German autobahn once, at great expense to Bec’s nerves and my forearms. We hurtled through splendid scrub on winding rural roads and gaggles of greckles, to be eventually greeted by the sweet smell of burning mesquite gently cooking our quarry. When parking at our destination, we made a beeline for the low building most resembling a smokehouse.
The delectable feast consumed, we took flight again, keen to make it in time for kick off at Carson Ranch. Upon arrival at the festival site just north of the airport, we were now greeted by the odor of baked earth and greenery. I was immediately reminded of my time as a ranch hand in Goondiwoondi, Queensland in the mid-nineties. It was a happy period spent largely hacking out boxthorn (Lycium) with a mattock along miles of lonely fenceline in 100+ degree heat. I would also tackle and bring down rams in need of having fly-blown flesh cut out by old Chief, an unpleasant experience for all concerned, to say the least. I digress. With these recollections playing through my mind, we strode through security and confidently handed over our exquisite, commemorative weekend passes for inspection, like two bright eyed schoolchildren on excursion.
A cursory inspection of the venue revealed a magnificent backdrop from the amphitheatre in the form of the Colorado river and treelined banks. Above the river and amphitheatre in the field there were many eclectic stalls, far removed from the main stage in the field center. Alas, a fine beer was not to be had for neither love nor money; no matter. An early highlight was Bass Drum of Death. During their set, Bec used some of the more sensitive areas of her body to locate an ant’s nest whereupon the residents decided to inflict her with painful bites and itchy hives. A trip to the medic was of little help; a request for salve and anti-histamine was met with the response “come back to us if you stop breathing”. Our evening ended with a masterful performance by the Raveonettes. The heavy lunch, sun and cheap lager got the better of us and we couldn’t stay for BRMC sadly, lest we fall asleep and be trampled underfoot in the moshpit. Day one complete and a resounding success apart from incident with nihilist ants, we drove away and retired to our cheap hotel, happy visions of wonderful music, psychedelia and smoked meats dancing in my head.
I finally got it together and brewed recently, the results were superb.
I used a fairly traditional IPA recipe, leaving most of the cascade malt in tact, ie., very little steeping was actually done. I also used about 2 pounds of black raspberries for an overall result that has strong citrus notes, very sweet and pleasant aftertaste. Next: extra stout in time for fall