Sunday, January 24, 2016

some stuff i forgot...

I literally type this post two weekends ago and......never posted it. Please, explain how I survive daily.

ANYWAY I have things to talk about like school and malthouses & brewery tours but if I let this post never see the light of day I don't get to show off my barrel, SO.


After two straight holiday weeks and two straight 4-day holiday weekends, only having two days off last week was an incredibly cruel jolt back in to the reality of the 5-day work week.  Also for the first time in a while I didn’t have much in the way of actual plans, which meant almost the whole weekend was devoted to working out and brewing beer…….could be worse.

Friday night was the annual Men of Zumba event at CC+ - when I first started really hitting the gym hard about 5 years ago, after I made the switch from my small local gym with not much more than a smattering of cardio machines & a weight room to the grand (and pricey) wonderland of Life Time, it was dance cardio classes that really hooked me.  I still enjoy them (I’ve migrated from straight up ‘zumba’ style classes to more hip hop type classes, which if you would have told me I’d be doing about 10 years ago I would have laughed in your face), even though I’ve mostly moved on, but a lot of my favorite instructors participate in this every year, so it’s fun to support.  Unfortunately the more I get out of the scene, the less familiar I am with the local instructors, and the more time I spent desperately trying to catch on to their routines while only being able to see about 50% of what was going on on the stage…but it was still a good, sweaty time.  Props to CC+ for managing the insane amount of people, too – at one point I turned around and the place was packed to the gills, all the way back on to the carpet behind the dance floor!

I also got a surprise delivery from my friend Kirsten in Minnesota – fresh, pesticide-free black spruce tips to add to my next brew, and (almost even more exciting), some Caribou beans!

Saturday I crawled out of bed, hit a boot camp class at my gym, came home to shower & headed back out almost immediately to White Lotus Yoga Studio for their new location’s grand opening.  I was really hoping to check out an aerial yoga class, but unfortunately they were all full, so I popped in to a vinyasa flow since I was already there, & signed up to do some flying next Sunday.  I’d been to the studio for Friday community classes at the old location, but the new one is soooooooo nice and bright and airy!  Solid job, ladies.

Next up: barrel curing!  Back in November a friend picked up a discarded Journeyman Distillery whiskey barrel for me from his homebrew shop (after doing a little investigating – it used to house Silver Cross whiskey, which sounds delightful).  I’ve been scheming a brew to put in it for quite a while now, and finally settled on an eggnog porter that I’ll be brewing next weekend, but it’s been sitting empty for so long that I wanted to go through the curing/sanitizing process even though it’s only held liquor so far.  Luckily my parents’ house, with its much larger laundry room and unused bathtub, was on the way home.

My darling <3

Curing away in a strange environment...
I can’t believe how much char came out of this thing – or how good EVERYTHING smelled. Damn, son.  A week of curing + some sanitizing and she’ll be ready to go!

Prepping for a new batch meant I also had to move along some of my current fermentation projects, so Sunday was a beer transfer day – I have two batches going right now, a Belgian golden strong that I racked over a slurry of almond extract & brandy-soaked dried fruits (blueberries, apricots & golden raisins) to try and conjure up a stollen bread flavor (fruitcake beer is SO last Christmas!), and a standard American IPA that I wanted to pull off a couple gallons to play with (I ended up adding a juniper berry tea).  Both of them came along nicely throughout primary fermentation – the Belgian has a perfect yeasty golden ale flavor and it hit all my projected numbers almost perfectly.  I was shooting for an 8.4% ABV, nailed my original gravity, and after primary it was sitting around 8.9% - bonus!
Beer ingredients looking pretty vile.
Amidst all the transferring I also took down all my Christmas decorations and got in a little extra fitness aka, “I bet you I can totally squat this tree.” (Spoiler alert: it was actually really light and I was kind of disappointed by how easily the whole thing went down).  Apparently the fitness theme of the day was “cold,” though – I tried to meet some bootcamp friends for a nice hour of hot vinyasa in the morning, but the heat at the gym was busted so it was a little more like slightly chilly vinyasa. Still managed to work up a sweat by the end, but hooooooly wow was it hard to find some zen for those first few minutes.

Disappointingly easy, but don't ask me how the attempts at pistols went.

Luckily I warmed up with some Paleomg spaghetti squash pizza casserole once all was said and done – an extra big batch with heaps of ground beef, spinach and mushrooms.  It might only look pretty when it’s fresh out of the oven, but damn is it good (and thank god for that, because with this big of a batch I’m going to be eating it all week long).

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