Monday, 2 July 2012

Back in the game. That sh!% was rough. Now for some beer.

So it has been a long time between posts. This has been partly to not only my innate laziness, but also some personal stuff I have had to deal with. A few good friends (both old and new) and family have helped me get through the last few months. I won't bore you with all the details but needless to say, you have helped me immensely. So thankyou everyone.

Heaven. Meaty, cheesy heaven.
Anyway enough of that boring shit. Back in the game. What's up? Philly Cheesesteak in Brisbane. That's what's up! West End to be exact. I got wind a few weeks ago that there was a new place opening up on West End, and I have been eagerly awaiting for it to open so I can sink my teeth into that sloppy, cheesy, delicious mess that is a cheesesteak. So good. We went to PJ's Steaks with some good friends on Friday night to test this bad boy out and it didn't dissappoint. I went for the original with American cheese. Minus the onions. I have to say, pretty accurate representation of the classic Cheesesteaks I was smashing during our brief visit to Philly earlier in the year. Super keen to go back. Many, many, many times. A good time was had by all. Finished off with a quick stop into Archive to try a "Day of the Long Shadow Ale" by Little Creatures. Was looking forward to this but was a bit dissapointed. 4 standard drinks per glass was to quote a friend, "the handbrake" of the evening. Beer was ok, but thought it would have more spices or more flavour. Just wasn't quite balanced enough and the mouthfeel was a little heavier than I would have liked.

Cheesesteaks? You bet!
American Cheese? Of course.
Melty? You know it!
If I'm starting to sound like a bit of a beer wanker, it's because I now am. I have gone a little brew crazy. I attended my first BABB ( meeting last week and am going to join next month. Some knowledgable dudes there. Super helpful and looking forward to soaking up as much knowledge as I can. I have graduated from kit brewing to extract and put down my first pumpkin ale on the weekend. Smells pretty damn good, but will have to wait a few weeks (maybe months) before I have a verdict. Gradually going to work my way up to all grain which is kind of like enlightenment for home brewers. Once I have reached all grain, my spiritual brew quest will be complete. I am slowly but surely, kitting out the speakeasy to meet my requirements. You are all welcome for a beer.

Currently listening to: Vinnie Paz - Cheesesteaks
Currently drinking: Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale
Beer. It all starts here.
Hops. Yum.
Boil baby boil

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Speakeasy Takes Shape

Well the last few weeks I have spent a fair amount of home time setting up the speakeasy in my garage. Since my time in America, I haven't been able to find any decent hoppy beers at a reasonable price. I have grown quite fond of IPAs in particular but they just don't make them in Australia. Solution - Brew them myself.

I have been reading non stop about boiling worts, dry hopping, late hopping, boiling hops, different kinds of hops, different kinds of yeasts and different combinations of sugars and malts. In fact, I can barely think about anything else. Turns out, making amazing beers is not as easy as you would expect. However, my first brew is down and will hopefully be ready for consumption within a week. You're all invited for a taste.

The first thing was to get the garage sorted out to make room for not only myself, but a select few individuals who also enjoy the occasional tipple. Getting motivated to start was the hardest part. In fact, I was caught out a few times resting early on after clearing only enough room to squeeze a chair in. I have now cleared a decent amount of room and turned it into a rad little place to hang out.

After I have managed to brew some decent beers, the next mission will be to create the perfect Philly cheesesteak. Also, impossible to find anywhere in Brisbane.

Currently listening to: Vinnie Paz - Pistolvania
Currently drinking: Premium CleanSkin Beer

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Best of the US (in my humble opinion)

Well it's been almost two months since we got back from our trip to the states. It has given me plenty of time to reflect on how the trip was. Here is a list of some of my favourite things that I found/did.

  • Best beer - Stone Ruination IPA, Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA., Honourable mention - Stone Arrogant Bastard, Stone Levitation Ale, Brooklyn Brewery IPA, Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale, Brooklyn Brewery Blast, Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig.
  • Best food overall - Philly Cheesesteaks, Philadelphia. Honourable mention - Ribs, pizza, hotdogs, wings.
  • Best city - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Honourable mention - NYC, New York
  • Best ribs - Old Glory, Washington DC. Honourable mention - The Smoke House, Brooklyn.
  • Best sandwich - Brisket of Beef, Katz Deli, New York. Honourable mention - Hershels East Side Diner, Philadelphia.
  • Best wings - Old Glory, Washington DC. Honourable mention - Hollywood Hooters
  • Best theme park - Disneyland, Anaheim. Honourable mention - Universal Studios, Los Angeles.
  • Best theme park ride - Simpsons Ride, Universal Studios. Honourable mention - Star Tours, Disneyland.
  • Best car ride - LA to San Diego. Honourable mention - Anaheim to Las Vegas
  • Best bus trip - The trip from New York to Canada.
  • Best snowstorm - Las Vegas to LA. Honourable mention - Philadelphia
  • Best concert - Steel Panther, House of Blues West Hollywood. Honourable mention - Corey Taylor and Friends, Hollywood.
  • Best limo ride - Circus Circus Las Vegas to the wedding chapel. Honourable mention - The ride from Manhattan to Chinatown in New York.
  • Best flight - Brisbane to LA. Honourable mention - LA to New York.
  • Best live show - The Colbert Report, New York. Honourable mention - The pirate show at Treasure Island, Las Vegas.
  • Best horse and carriage ride - Central Park, New York. Honourable mention - N/A
  • Best sweets shop - Dylan's Candy Bar, New York. Honourable mention - Crumbs Bakery, all of them
  • Best basketball game - New York Knicks vs. Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden. Honourable mention - Philadelphia 76s vs. Denver Nuggets, Wells Fargo Stadium.
  • Best natural wonder - Grand Canyon. Honourable mention - Niagara Falls
  • Coolest man made structure - Statue of Liberty. Honourable mention - Alcatraz
  • Favourite gun to shoot - AR-15 Zombie assault rifle. Honourable mention -  Fully automatic Uzi
  • Biggest hills I've ever seen - San Francisco. Honourable Mention - Nowhere else even came close.
  • Most tired I've ever been - San Francisco, Day 1. Honourable mention. Los Angeles Airport - Day 1.
Three months is a long time to spend with your family and no one else, so by the end we were all getting a little crazy. Beer helped. I learnt a lot about myself, not all of it good, but not all bad either. I also learnt a lot about my family. There are things that I will never forget and I think about some of them nearly every day. Walking into Disneyland for the first time, eating cheesesteaks, walking on the Brooklyn Bridge, the craziness of Las Vegas are just some of them.

Adjusting back to real life has not been easy. Not having a schedule and not having to go to work every day is something that is easy to get used to. Overall, I would say that the whole thing went fairly well although I don't know that I will go on another holiday like this again. I am grateful for the time we all had together, and for all the amazing things we have seen and done.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Night At The Museum... During The Day. Plus a Bunch Of Other American Stuff.

So apparently there are other things to do in DC apart from kick ass BBQs. Has been a busy two days. Unfortunately our hotel charges an arm and a kidney for internet so I'm doing it on the cheap... at a pub down the road. Normally I wouldn't enter a shady establishment such as this but sometimes, sacrifices need to be made. Also they have Dogfish Head on tap. Woot. Woot.

The last two days have been a blur of amazing sights around this nations capital. We started off with a short tour yesterday seeing Watergate, some Clinton hangouts and the Smithsonian. Turns out the Smithsonian is not just one museum but eleven. We went to the castle as well as the natural history museum, which is the set from the movie Night at the Museum, and to a lesser extent, Night at the Museum 2: Battle for the Smithsonian. Was probably the best natural history museum we have been to all trip, and was free to get in. In fact, all the Smithsonian's are free to get in. Would have been rad to spend a few more days here but our our US non visa is fast running out. Have learnt so much about American history in the last few weeks that I can't wait to get home and start reading more.

Today we went to a bunch of memorials, saw The Whitehouse, Senate, House of Reps, FBI, IRS, DOJ, and a bunch of other acronyms. Also got held up by Obama and his secret service goons. We couldn't see much, but found out that it was the president, because apart from all the cops and secret service, he is always followed by an ambulance. In case of emergency. So cool. Took about thirty minutes for the whole shebang to go past but has been a pretty rad two days. Shame we have so many kids ruining it. And by so many, I mean one... 3 more days. 3 more days.

Currently listening to: N.E.R.D. Pharrel Williams the sexiest man in hip hop. I think so.
Currently drinking: Dogfish Head: 90 Minute IPA on draft. Amazing.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Washington District of Columbia, Meaty.

So we left Philadelphia yesterday. Caught another cheap bus ride to DC. $61 for the whole family. Took just under three hours. Bus wasn't quite as nice as the last one, but can't really complain to much for the price.
Staying at the Melrose Hotel in Georgetown. Seems pretty nice except that there is no inter web access. Going to have to look out for free wifi hotspots during the day. We got into the hotel at about 3:30pm so we dumped our bags, or the doorman did and we headed out to explore a bit. And eat.

We walked for about half an hour before stumbling across a BBQ joint called Old Glory Bar B Que. Smells coming out of this place were insane so we went in. Started off with some wings. They marinate them for twenty four hours in a local beer, then dry rub them and cook them and bring them out sauceless. They make their own sauces and had five different ones to choose from. Hands down the best wings I have ever had (Sorry Anna and Matt). The flavour that they managed to squeeze into this chicken was amazing. We ordered a giant hotdog for Z and B to share. It was so big that they couldn't even finish their halves. The rest of is got a meat platter to share. Pulled pork, beef brisket and my personal favourite, baby back ribs. I thought that nothing would beat the ribs from the Smoke Joint in Brooklyn but we have a new champion. There were tonnes of trophies decorating all the shelves from all the BBQ cookups they have won. So good. All washed down with a couple of local brews.

We only have a couple of days here, so will be pretty busy. Hopefully will be a good ending to our trip. Looking forward to going for a swim when I get home.

Currently listening to: Lamb of God - Resolution (still undecided about this one)
Currently drinking: Sierra Nevava Celebration

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Horribleness, Dinosaurs and Walking Philly Style. And Another Cheesesteak.

Arrrggggghhhhh! If anyone is wondering how long is too long to go on holidays with your family, the answer is three months. We are all getting sick of each other and need our own space. Last three mornings and nights have been horrible. Luckily the days have mostly made up for it. Vodka helps.

I stayed home with the horrible one while M took the others out. Ended up ordering takeout and watching Kindergarden Cop and Tommy Boy. Absolute classics. The others came home and we decided to check out the Natural History Museum. The butterfly exhibit was supposed to be awesome but was a bit of a disappointment. The dinosaurs were rad though. I never get sick of seeing fossils and statues. Pretty cool afternoon. Made up for the morning.

The next day started with another tantrum so the warden took the two good ones out and I decided to go for a long walk with the horrible one. She hates walking but I had a lot of stuff I still wanted to see and I was determined not to have my day ruined. First we walked two miles to get to Philadelphia Java Company. This is the coffee shop where the waitress from Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia works in the show. Was rad to see the place and best coffee I have had in ages. Then another mile to walk to Penn's Landing to see the river. We stopped at Jim's Steaks on South St which supposedly has some of the best cheesesteaks in Philly. Verdict - They weren't joking. Meat was so tender and juicy and everything was cooked to perfection. Best cheesesteak yet. Then we walked three miles to get to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the steps that Rocky ran up in the movie. We ran up them too. So rad. There's also a statue of Rocky out the front. All in all, ended up being a rad day. Even the company turned out not to be too bad.

Today was the last time we could go to the Reading Terminal Markets. I knew nothing here could top my cheesesteak from yesterday so I decided to get a beef brisket sandwich from Herschels. So good. The warden went home to pack so I took the kids to the Benjamin Franklin Institute. Bad ass. It's an interactive museum where we all had so much fun. Quick bite to eat at the hotel bar. Then back upstairs to pack.
I'm going to miss Philly. We ended up staying here three extra nights because there's so much to do. We leave for DC tomorrow. Back home soon...

Currently listening to: Lamb of God - Resolution
Currently drinking: Harp Lager