FM Bacon and Beer Festival 2014

I’ve been neglectful of the blog–I’m finding my initial enthusiasm for it has waned a bit. But I did promise I would write about the Bacon and Beer Festival, and so I shall! It happened last Saturday, and I’m still sad it’s over. Denver and I had a good time and discovered that the extra money we paid for VIP tickets was well worth it.

We arrived an hour before doors opened, thinking there would be a line. There wasn’t. The staff there looked at us funny, so we picked up our tickets from will-call and headed back to wait in the truck. After 20 minutes or so, we couldn’t stand it anymore, so we went in anyway. Thankfully, by then some other folks had showed up too. It wasn’t real clear where the line started, so we kind of wandered upstairs and found that we weren’t supposed to be there yet. We didn’t get yelled at, but we could tell that the lines were forming more downstairs. We can take a hint, so we waited with the crowd. We were still up close to the front of the line, but of course we picked the line that had the broken scanner. I was super anxious and annoyed, I was practically jumping up and down. It was ridiculous, really. But we made it in, and the crowds had gathered at the first booths, which didn’t have beer. Since they didn’t have beer, we saw no need to stop, and made a beeline for the first real booth–Schell’s.

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The entrance to the Festival.

I won’t lie, I’m not about to remember all the beer samples we tried, and I don’t remember what our first pours were. But it became obvious that we needed to pace ourselves, as 3 oz per sample is actually quite a lot of beer. We quickly left Schell’s to find the Summit booth, because they were supposed to have a cask tapping right away. We were the only ones really going around like that, so we got lots of individual attention. Unfortunately, Summit didn’t bring their cask. But they still had beer, and we drank it! We did more wandering, trying a few more beers, until I could tell I was on my way to drunk and insisted we stop and eat some bacon. Surprisingly, Denver didn’t object. I failed to get pictures of our first bacon samples, but one was a blue cheese pork and cured bacon sandwich (without the bun) and the other was a bacon caramel corn. While eating the caramel corn, I got to meet the authors of “Fifty Shades of Bacon”, and bought an autographed copy of the book. The recipes look great, and the headings are just hilarious: “Foreplay”, “Afternoon Delight”, “The Morning Wood”, and “Bondage.”

We then realized we were late to our next cask tapping opportunity, so we headed down to Third Street Brewery, where they tapped a version of their Lost Trout Brown. It was really good, definitely one to try. After that, we made our way around to more bacon. Check out this deliciousness:

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Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate and Peanut Butter covered Bacon, made by Sickies. We decided the white chocolate wasn’t bad. The other two chocolates just overpowered the bacon.

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Bacon Pizza by Marcos Pizza. I loved it, Denver thought it was OK, but he doesn’t do pizza.

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This was a thick bacon, cured for 48 hours before being smoked for 12 hours before the festival, topped with a sweet slaw, I think from The Beefsteak Club. It was quite impressive.

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And my personal favorite, Bacon Macaroni and Cheese, created by Monte’s.

We did indulge in more beer, and some was really good, some wasn’t so good. There was only one that I felt the need to take a picture of and mention: Sierra Nevada’s Ovila Abbey Quad. It’s rich, fruity/caramelly, with a light hop to it. Sorry, just not good at the beer descriptions yet. I should take a class. Anyway, this is what it looks like. And you should go out and find some for yourself.

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Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Quad, inspired by Monks and their wonderful figs, dates, and raisins.

During all this, we rarely had to stand in line. Hardly a crowd. It was heaven. And then they opened the doors to the General Admission folks, unleashing hell. We took refuge for a while in the VIP Lounge, until some of our friends arrived. We found them and tagged along for a while, but we were pretty much done after the second line. It was wall to wall people. Lines for miles, running into each other so you didn’t know where you were actually going to end up. We decided to give our Bacon Tickets away and beat feet for the door. But along the way, I did stop to admire the Bacon Art:

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Bacon sculptures

Overall, the event was great. We had a great time, and will continue purchasing VIP tickets in the future. Hopefully they will learn from this first attempt at the most amazing combination of things ever and book a larger venue so everyone will fit comfortably. And with it’s success, hopefully more vendors will come out to play too. If you have a chance to attend such an event, you really must.

As the inscription on my book reads “May your bacon be crispy, and your love life sizzling.”

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Beer, Bacon, and me. What a great combination!

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Beer and Butts

I just love concerts, and I’ve spent the last month whining because I didn’t buy a ticket to see Luke Bryan before they sold out. Because I like to post stupid random stuff on Facebook, on Friday I shared with the world that I was having a pity party.

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Well, one of my FB friends, who also does security at the arena, informed me that there were tickets available, so I checked, and lo and behold, I got a ticket! I was super hyped all day, even though I paid almost as much as I did to see Pink, for far worse seats. But whatever, it was the day of the concert, and I was going to get to see Luke Bryan’s ass in person.

So I got home ready to eat dinner and get ready and leave nice and early for the show, when Denver (who has now given me permission to use his name) says “I kind of want to eat out.” Well heck, I’d been wanting to eat out too, but wasn’t going to mention it cuz I was going to this concert and didn’t want to pay for dinner. But if he’s paying… “Let’s go to Sickies!” I declared.

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Our favorite restaurant with 50 burgers and 50 beers (and you can get all those burgers with chicken instead of burger!) Love. Especially love the fact that you can create your own flight of beer, and it only costs you $6. No matter what you get. Even if one of those little glasses happens to be $13 for a full glass. As someone who has to try all the beers, this is nice for me. I ordered a flight that consisted of Wasatch Winter Ale, Summit Frostline Rye, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, and another one I can’t remember. Three were OK. The king of all beers for me right now is the Bourbon County Stout–I had it at an event last month and fell in love. The only reason I didn’t have a full glass is because it is 14% ABV and I needed to get myself to the concert. Put this beer on your list, it comes out in November in limited quantities. If you see it on tap, get it at once. Oh, and my recommendation for food is the Cajun Chicken Sandwich, with fries seasoned with Rusty Bucket seasoning (BBQ). I get it every time. I will never get anything else.

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If you look close, there is an extra glass behind. Because I ordered a barleywine, for one of my samples, and got a pale ale. So they gave me a different one for free (the barleywine was out, but the bartender didn’t catch it.) Nice!

So the doors to the concert opened at 6:30. At 6:45 I told Denver I was leaving, and headed out. Thankfully I thought ahead and said “I should get money for parking out now so it’s ready.” And because of that, I found out that my wallet was NOT in my purse. So I had to go all the way home, get my wallet, and drive all the way back to the Fargodome. Cost me 15 minutes. But I’ve got Luke on the CD player, so I’m all good. Until I get to the traffic jam. Because everyone was late getting to the concert, apparently. I sat in traffic for 30 minutes, finally parking at 7:30, which was when the concert started. I opted to park in the charity lot just beyond the Dome’s parking lot, so I had a ways to trek. Good thing I had some beer in me to keep me warm (as it was 0 degrees outside, not counting the wind.)

I trudge along, and get to the Dome and go up to Will Call, and discover that I was on the West Side of the building, while my tickets were on the East Side of the building. That was neat. So I got to jogging. I jogged to the other side of the building without dying and found my tickets. As I entered the stadium, I hear music, of course, because I was late. Luke had two opening acts. Lee Brice, who I don’t care about, and Cole Swindell, who I do. And of course, it was Cole’s last song that I heard as I found my way to the concession stand for my Diet Pepsi. Sigh. But the good news is, Lee Brice wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.

Luke was fantastic. He sang his heart out and shook his tight little buns all over the place. His cover of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” was the best I’ve heard. My only critique would be he needs to work on audience connection. But that could also have been the fact that I was in the nosebleed seats, surrounded by folks who just sat there and clapped at the end of each song. Seriously? No dancing? I chair danced my way through the concert and probably had way more fun than those other fuddy duddies did. 

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Check out that butt! And the fire! And the big black jacked up truck!

So here’s the takeaway: Captain Morgan tastes better with Diet Pepsi than Diet Coke.

 

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A Good Beard is Hard to Find

I’m a fan of facial hair (preferably on men, but if a woman is confident enough to show hers, I’m very supportive of that.) I’m not sure why I like beards and goatees, it could stem from my father having a beard most of my life. I don’t much care for just mustaches, most of the time they just come off as creepy. But a good goatee or well kept beard is awesome. My partner currently has a beard, I enjoy playing with it. I’ve only seen him clean shaven once, right before he had surgery–it was easier to shave it off than use the sanitizing shampoo on it. The novelty was fun, but I was glad when the hair came back.

So of course when Rogue Ales (out of Newport, Oregon) came out with “Beard Beer”, it was a no brainer. Here’s the story: “Beard Beer is brewed with a yeast created from Brewmaster John Maier’s beard. No need to freak out, brewers have used wild yeasts in beer making for centuries. John has had the same old growth beard since 1978 and for over 15,000 brews, so it is no great surprise that a natural yeast ideal for brewing was discovered in his beard.” Yes. This beer has beard yeast in it. It didn’t come with a flavor description so we didn’t know what to expect.

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The bottle for Rogue Ale’s Beard Beer

Well, it was actually a little fruity and wheaty (I’m still working on my beer tasting skills.) There was a funky taste to it, but it wasn’t bad at all. D says the funk comes from a bacterial yeast or something like that. Anyway, I would actually recommend trying this, if for no other reason than to say you did it.

Oh, and you can even follow this guy’s beard–it has it’s own blog: http://www.johnsbeard.com. 

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Valentine’s Day 2014

So for years I was all anti-valentine and all about Singles Awareness Day. And then I actually found someone that I could tolerate to share my life. So now I do Valentine’s Day to make up for not doing it all those years. My poor partner, who we shall call D, because he is insanely anti-online presence, has to deal with Valentine’s Day now too, after years of ignoring it. Normally, he gets me chocolate roses. I do whatever I feel is appropriate that year. This year we changed things up a bit. We bought each other VIP tickets to the Bacon and Beer Festival (which I shall blog about after it happens.) Therefore, we decided no to Valentine’s Day this year.

But I tricked him. We have a weight loss challenge going on, and I won last month. That means I got to pick out our “Date Night” this month. So I decided we WOULD do Valentine’s Day, on my terms.

A few months ago we got a random knock on the door from a guy selling Iowa Steak Company steaks at a steep discount. D is a carnivore and steak is his weakness, so he bought six packages of the stuff. We haven’t touched it, so I made him thaw some out. I found this recipe for “Restaurant Style Steak” on Pinterest, from the Blog Whit’s Amuse Bouche: http://whitsamusebouche.com/blog/2011/12/08/restaurant-style/. It involves a lot of butter, some seasonings, a cast iron skillet, and an oven.

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A picture of the steak from Whit’s Amuse Bouche Blog. Ours looked vaguely like this. Tasted great, no thanks to the Iowa Steak Company’s tough meat.

As I get more used to this blogging stuff I’ll do a better job of taking pictures. I neglected to do that this time. But I will tell you that the meat itself was awful. DO NOT PURCHASE IOWA STEAK COMPANY STEAKS! Ever. However, what made it edible was this amazing recipe! Holy cardiac arrest! But it was super good, you need to try it out. On better steaks. The recipe calls for filet mignon, but we used some other cut (sirloin strip maybe? I don’t know, I’m terrible with that stuff.) D tried a lower butter version of the recipe on filet mignon the next night, and it worked well, except again the meat was not “premium”.

So along with this, I decided we needed to drink up some wine that we have had sitting around for months. I chose Ackerman’s Winery Red Raspberry. This is a family winery in Amana, IA. We stopped by once and tasted a zillion wines and left with six bottles. And we don’t like wine. Anyway, this is super sweet, you can’t taste the alcohol at all. Just like red raspberry juice. It was really good with the steak.

This is the wonderfully sweet Red Raspberry wine by Ackerman's Winery in Amana, IA. Try it, you'll like it.

This is the wonderfully sweet Red Raspberry wine by Ackerman’s Winery in Amana, IA. Try it, you’ll like it.

We spent the rest of the evening playing cards and dice and drinking beer (the wine was too sweet to keep drinking.) I think it was the best Valentine’s Day ever for me. Except that tough meat. Thank heavens for butter. And sweet wine.

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The Inaugural Blog Post

This is going to be short. Basically, I’m Bobbie. I work in Career Development at Minnesota State University Moorhead. I love my job. But I love a lot of other stuff. And I don’t love a lot of other stuff. My plan here is to share good beers with you, and share recipes I try, whether or not they turn out right. I also plan to share other adventures and mis-adventures, if they seem interesting. I do have one caveat: I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER! I will post lots of pictures. And they are just that–pictures. I have taken them with my own cheap camera. I’m not good with lighting, presentation, or anything else. I just love to take pictures and share them. So don’t criticize the photos, unless they truly offend you :-)

The tone here will be mostly positive with a healthy dose of snark. This blog will be a respectful place. And hopefully a fun place. At least, I plan on having fun with it, and really, I don’t expect a whole lot of traffic here besides my family and maybe some friends. This is just my attempt at meeting one of my New Year’s Resolutions: Develop an online presence. It’s a work thing. But it seems like something I should do. So here I am. Enjoy!

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