Beer and A Big Mixer

I received a text from my friend Terry this morning. He needed help with his new to him commercial stand mixer. He is finally starting his baking business. Terry is by far the best baker I have ever known. His bread will make your meal. His cakes are a religious experience. His wife and family have finally given him the push to start what he has been talking about for year.Terry's bread

Terry picked me up on the home from getting the mixer. First we ran over to Hawaiian Time a little Hawaiian restaurant for plate lunch and then next door to the Growler Run one of my favorite beer places. The the Growler Run always has a great selection of beers. Terry likes beer even more than I do and it’s always great to enjoy a pint with him. Today I had a Suicide Squeeze from Fort George. It’s a great IPA with a nice smooth hoppy flavor that went well with the plate lunch. The Growler Run

So this mixer is a big old commercial  stand mixer. A lot of people have Kitcheaid stand mixers. Those are usually around 5 quart capacity. Terry has a slightly larger version at 7  or 8 quarts which is fine for most cakes and other sweets he makes but has become to small for the bread orders that he now has to fill. His wife decided that he needed a real mixer for his bread. She jumped on Craig’s list and found him a 12 gallon beast of a mixer.

We arrive at his place, back into the driveway, open the garage door and try to get this massive pile of steel out of his van. While I’m not sure how much this thing weighs but needless to say it was all we could do to get it un loaded and into his garage. I’m positive I heard a sigh of relief come from that poor little van when we finally wrestled that poor little van. We really should have found a couple of twenty somethings to get this mammoth beast but where is the fun in that.

It is great to see him moving towards his dream! I’m really excited for my friend and his new adventure!

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Looking forward to Sacramento! 

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Last year!

I have been looking forward to this since last fall. I could hardly sleep last night thinking of all the great looking restaurants and bars within blocks of the hotel. My best friend Perry Perkins from My Kitchen Outreach and I always try to hit as many as we can while at IFBC.

I am really hoping to meet up with some friends that I haven’t seen since last fall mind maybe some new ones at a couple of these great looking places. Perry has already set one place in motion. Mayahuel looks amazing and how can you go wrong with great food, tequila and mezcal!

Another place I wood like to hit is the Shady Lady Saloon. It looks to be a 1920’s themed bar with live music. This bar was chosen as “one of the top 25 bars in America for 2014” by Esquire magazine. Thursday they are supposed to have a jazz band called Hot City. Jazz is one of my favorites. If I make it here I will have to get the Charcuterie platter and maybe the Duck Tots.

Another place that I feel I must try is LowBrau. They call themselves “a modern take on the traditional German Bierhalle”. Both my wife and I have some German heritage and I really like German food and beer.

De Vere,s Irish pub made the list as well. Some Bangers and Mash with a Guinness and a shot of Jameson or Bushmills sounds really good. If they served haggis I would get an order of that as well but that is not on the menu.

Every time I look around the hotel on line I find another place. The Rind just popped out at me.  This is a cheese centered bar that want you to experience cheese pared with good wine and beer! How could that be bad?

I really need to stop looking. There is just to little time and so many place. The worst part is no matter the plan things change as you are meandering through a new town especially if you are a little A.D.D. like Perry and I have.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Sacramento!

A Few Lessons From Dad!

One of their favorite views!

It has been a tough year! Both of my parents passed away this year. Mom in February and dad in May. Mom was very unexpected and dad just couldn’t live with out her. The good thing is they are together and no longer suffering!

I also started a new position at work. It is the most stressful job I have ever had. Helping to manage the hunting department (specifically the gun counter) of a major outdoor store here in Portland and dealing with all the fallout from the very public resent shooting is enough to make a person drink for the wrong reasons.

My little girl with her boy.

My fifteen year old daughter has her first boy friend. I don’t know if I can handle her growing up! He is a great kid but still she is my little girl!
All that and more has made me reflect on a few things that my dad taught me (more by how he lived than by sitting me down and teaching). He was a hard working man. He worked long hours and odd shifts. He worked swing shift when I was very young which made starting school rough. My mom would let us stay up until dad got home. She did this for two reasons. One was so we could spend time with dad. The other was so we would let dad sleep and not wake him to early in the morning. Once we started school we didn’t see him much till summer break. At the time I didn’t understand. Now I know that as a man you do what you have to do to feed your family.

My brother Andy and my best friend Perry sitting around dads fire pit .

As we started high school he was able to get day shift and also didn’t have to work quite so many hours. We were able to spend more time together. We went fishing, camping and hunting more. We also had a sand rail and ATV’s and spent several weeks every year playing in the sand.
The time we spent sitting around the campfire with dad, grandpa and my uncles taught me a lot. We would sit for hours listening to stories (some I now know might have been embellished a little) about the one that got away and how the fish was this big! We would hear stories about place like Buck Mountain, High Ridge and many others. I would dream of someday going to these places with dad hunting with the family. I have now hunted these places many times and because of some of the lessons I learned from my dad so have my kids (They didn’t have to wait as long as I did. Both of my kids were in archery hunting camp before they were a year old.). We have spent many weeks up in the mountains of Eastern Oregon as well as on the Oregon Coast Hunting, camping and fishing.

Jonathan with a very proud grandpa!

My kids have had the pleasure of the stories around the campfire (some of which are now their own stories!).
Another of the things I learned around the campfire was how a man drinks. I remember my dad, grandpa and uncle Terry sitting in the big wall tent (that is not nearly as big as I remember) sipping on a glass of whisky, beer or wine after we were all done hunting for the day (never before the guns were put away for the night). They might sip on the same glass for hours. It was never the cheap stuff either(except for the wine). My dad was always a Scotch guy and Terry liked bourbon. I’m not saying that they never over indulged but they showed me that you didn’t have to and still have a good time enjoying an adult beverage (and still function early the next morning).
I had my first glass of wine in elk camp. I think I was in 8th grade. It was grandpa’s homemade plum wine. It was mixed with Seven Up. It made me feel like one of the guys not just the little kid in camp. My first beer was sitting by the campfire at Sand Lake a year or two later.

One of the last bottles dad and I shared a drink out of.

I can still remember my first taste of whisky. All the guys were sitting around the campfire late one night around Labor Day. A bottle (I think it was J. W. Dant Bourbon) was being past around and when it got to me uncle Terry asked if I wanted a shot? I looked at dad and he said it was okay (mom would have killed him by the way). It burned but in a good way.
A few years later I asked dad and Terry why they let me taste and drink when they did? They both gave me the same answer. We wanted you to be where we could keep an eye on you and not out with your friends doing something stupid and getting hurt.

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One of their favorite views!

Scotch has become some thing that my dad and I shared a love for. My parents would have a big Christmas party every year. the whole family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else that we looked at as part of the family) would come. Dad would always go to liquor store and buy some cheap whisky and vodka for those that wanted mixed drinks and he would buy himself a bottle of Scotch. For a long time it was Chivas Regal. Later as I got older he got into some of the single malts. A few of his favorites were Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Macallan. One year after I was out of high school I asked why he always bought such an expensive bottle. His answer was I would rather drink something straight that really like than to have to mix it with some thing to cover up the taste (which is another thing my dad taught me). That year he poured me a glass of that expensive bottle. Every year since we have shared a glass from one of those expensive bottles at Christmas.
His love of top shelf whisky instilled in me a desire to find the best. The best fishing spot. The best hunting grounds. The best food. The best beer. The best whisky/spirits. Like him I would rather drink something that I like straight than to have to cover it up with soda or fruit juice. The last few years I have taken a liking to Tequila. The same thing applies here. You can go cheap or you can spend a little more and get something that actually tastes good.

One of the places I wish I could have shared with dad!

My dad would drink a beer now and then but he never really cared for most of them. He liked MGD an not much else. I on the other hand like beer. I haven’t found one that I can say that I don’t like. There are some that I like more than others. But like I said I would rather have quality over quantity. I would take one or two really good beers over a case of cheap no flavor mass produced almost beers.
These are just a few things I learned from my dad. Work hard to take care of you family. Spend time with your kids. Take time to tell stories around a camp fire. Don’t settle. Enjoy the finer things in life with the people you love. And always be looking for your next favorite thing.

Flying Bike!

This last weekend took me to Seattle for the International Food Bloggers Conference. I spent long weekend(Thursday through Sunday) with my good friend and business partner Perry Perkins eating and drinking our way around the Emerald city. Thursday Perry and I had the pleasure of going to the Flying Bike Co-op Brewery in Seattle. This is a cooperative brewery and if you are wondering what that means here is a definition of a co-op. “Co-op is an association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic and cultural benefits.” This brewery does this very well.

Our friend Amy is good friends with one of the brewers there.  After the introductions the tasting started.

They had nine of their beers on tap that evening.  I of course had to try them all!

“I started with the Lavender Haze IPA.” I am not a huge fan of lavender but it was quite good. Perry really enjoyed this one. He has a different idea of what a really good beer is, which is a good thing. That way he doesn’t drink all my beer!Flying bike taste
The “FlyPA” was next. I am an IPA fan and this was a great beer. Nice and hoppy everything I expect from an IPA.
The next beer I tried was the “Bike Rye’d Saison.” It was a nice fresh beer with a nice spicy finish.

“The Storm cycle CDA” was probably my favorite beer of the night. It went down way to easily. This is a great example of a Cascadia Dark Ale with hints of malt and lots hop. Just a really great beer! Had to bring a growler of this back to share with my fellow beer snob Terry.

“Penny Farthing Golden Wheat Ale.” This was my number three pick. It was a very drinkable beer that I could drink all day. It would go great with some BBQ!

The “Fresh Hop Harvest Ale” was a good little beer. I really enjoyed this light fresh hopped seasonal beer.

“Pale Hoppy Thing” a great crisp dry hopped northwest pale ale.

“Airship Ale” lost of malt and hop! This was a great beer.

“1 Up” the description on Untappd says it’s a twist on their “Penny Farthing Golden Wheat Ale” that has been conditioned on wild mushrooms. It was a great beer.

By this time we were running out of time and had to run because of dinner reservations at “Fare Start“. Which is a whole different story.

This is a wonderful little brewery. The people were great. They knew we were from out of town and treated like family. Their beers were awesome! I will definitely be back! If I was in Seattle more often I would definitely joy the coop.
Ps. Flying Bike is right next door to Naked City Brewery & Tap House. If I hadn’t run out of time I would have given them a try as well. Next time!

So Many Beers!

IMG_0577About a year and a half ago I started tracking what beers I’ve tried. In that time I have tried and rated 337 different beers. No I don’t have a bunch of little note books. I use UNTAPDD, a social media app for beer drinkers. You make friends/followers. You do checkins, rate your beers and earn badges. You may be saying wow that’s a lot of beers. I didn’t know that there was anything but Coors Lite. If that is you, I’m sorry you have been missing out. There are so many great beers being made today. From the big major brewers around the world to the little Craft brewers that started in somebody’s garage. I have had just a small sample of what is available. A friend on UNTAPDD has almost 2500 distinct beers. Now that is getting up there.

Looking back at some of my favorite beers of the last year a few stand out. One of the most recent is Sins of Our Fathers barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout from Crooked Fence brewing. It has a lot of coffee and chocolate notes and at 10% ABV it packs a punch. Belhaven Scottish Stout we get at The Highland Still House a local Scottish Pup here in Oregon City. They have a whiskey list that is pages long.

Anything from Southern Tier Brewing company will make for great evening.

The Oatmeal Porter from Fecken brewing in Oregon City. Oh so good. As far as porters go Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Bend Oregon is What I measure all porters against.

The Scottish Ale from Two Kilts Brewing is a favorite. Having met and spent a little time with their brewmaster Alex makes me believe this company is going places. They have so many great beers.

IMG_0570RuinTen triple IPA from Stone Brewing Out of Escondido California is about as good of an IPA that you can get. Mega Dank double IPA from Heathen brewing out of Vancouver Washington is also high on my list. With great hoppy flavor and a wonderful nose. Another Couple of IPA’s that are high on my list are Shadow Ninja and its big brother Super Ninja from Loowit brewing also in Vancouver. Hop Venom from Boneyard brewing company out of Bend Oregon.

You will come to the conclusion that I really like IPA’s. Look down the list I drink probably 4 IPA’s to any one other type of beers. It is not that I don’t like other kinds of beer, I like beer any way I can get it. Ok so some of the sour beers are a little out of my preferred taste but I will try them all.

As my good friend Perry say “I am always looking for my next favorite food.” I am always looking for my next favorite beer!

Best Pizza ever!

Tonight chef Terry and I stopped by a little pizza place we have both been wanting to try. Mi Famiglia is a great little wood fired pizza place in my home town of Oregon City. They specialize in wood fired pizza using fresh ingredients.

IMG_0587The beers we had were good. We both had a Vortex IPA from Fort George it was quite nice I gave it a 4 out of 5. Then Terry had an IRA from Double Mountain Brewery he gave it a 4 out of 5. My second was a Peroni Nastro Azzurro. It is described as a European Lager it went really good with the pizza. We finished the night off with a shot of Jameson.IMG_0586

So the beers were good but the pizza was the star of the show. The fresh taste of the ingredients was incredible. The crunch of the crust wow. Everything about of these pizzas was way above expectation and our expectations were high. The pizza oven cook at 850 degrees F. Cooking the pizza in mere minutes.

I had the Holy Trinity and Terry Had the Wild Mushroom with Gorgonzola. I have had lots of pizza in my day but this was probably the best I have ever had anywhere. Definitely the best in the Portland area.

The wait staff was friendly and attentive. They were there at just the right time to be of assistants. We were there just before closing time and they did not make us feel unwanted.

I will return to this restaurant and I will recommend it to all.

If you are looking for great pizza around the Portland area head south to Oregon City.

For the love of beer

My name is Chris and I love beer!

Drinking beer is only part of the beer experience. If drinking is the only reason then this is not the blog for you. The people that make and serve the beer. Also the places that it comes from. The major high volume brewers and their distributers to the guy brewing five gallons at a time in his garage. That is what beer is about.

I am not an educated brewer or critic. I don’t even claim to be an expert. I am just the guy next door looking for my next favorite brew. I like to share beer with friends both old (Terry an Perry two of my oldest drinking partners [not because they are old, they have just been around the longest] who you will see in my pictures often) and new (the people I meet along my journey).

Chef's Terry, Perry And myself.

Chef’s Terry, Perry And myself (on the right).

Often people will want to know what wine should I serve with this or that meal. I on the other hand want to know IPA or Stout, Pilsner or Red etc. A lot of my friends don’t care for wine but like beer, So I like to try different foods and beer combinations to see what works well together. A while back I had purchased a Rogue brewery Sriracha Stout. It went very well with some cheese and apple slices I had fixed for an afternoon snack. A nice IPA goes well with some Tuna Poke on a warm day after a cooking gig. IMG_0469You just never know what might work until you try it.

I will always be in search of my next favorite beer and the food to go with it. I hope You will enjoy this journey with me!

PS: There might be a good whiskey or tequila thrown in along the way!

PPS: Oh yeah and some really great food!