Three in One Day

Gotta love California for a thing or two or three. Yesterday my bride and I drove from Bakersfield to Santa Barbara. It is my birthday weekend and she is intent on spoiling me…..I am always pretty spoiled by her, but this is extra special. 

I loaded up my camera bag and lenses and let her drive the windy route through Maricopa and over the mountains into Ojai. The sky was ugly and hazy and the wild flowers have not yet hit stride. Dang! I could rubber neck and not incurr her wrath!!!! She prefers to drive the windy roads – it solves her motion sickness issues. 

Ojai – Ojai Valley Brewery was first up. Nice selection of beers and we also found a great “small plate”, Buffalo Fried Cauliflower. It will be added to our recipe box. 


Kathy enjoyed the White Pixie and the Ephemera was my favorite of those I sampled. Very slow lazy service for a Friday afternoon but we were not in a hurry, “chill out dude” and enjoy the chauffeured drive. 

Carpentaria – Rincon Brewery, substantial food and good beer. We dropped our bags off at the condo and grabbed a seat outdoors on the street to watch life drift by. I went with a sampler and the Tri-tip sandwich. Kathy had her go to Blonde ale and the Cobb Salad. Fun place, good food(I love the lamb burger slider- next time!) and quality beers. 


We then wandered down the street to Brew lab….it is a small place, they brew in small batches and never repeat! I sent them some money last year for their crowd funded expansion. They fell short but I still got a shirt and a free beer. Last night a talented young musician entertained the crowd. Interesting art work on the walls and I nice crowd. 


I had the Yellow Belly Ale and Kathy was in the role of designated driver, thank you Hun! 

Where shall I drink beer today? Such hard choices and so many options…..gotta love being and old guy, semi-retired and my “Goo” friend John back home feeding my bees…..thank you John! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

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Beer, Bees and Bugs in Brenham

On hold and misplaced since mid April”

Actually the bees were the first part of the day.  I was enrolled in a daylong event for beekeepers, 550 of us.  Should have been one more but I somehow failed to get my bride enrolled. The late fee at the registration table was more than we wanted to spend….I actually did learn a lot of useful information and I am already looking forward to the 2017 event. I need some honey production to replace the Honey Blonde that my wife fell in love with and I was too generous handing it out to others!

The previous week we, Kathy and friends Bev and John, were in Brenham visiting the Brazos Valley Brewing Company. Besides enjoying the beers I was also a bit excited knowing that the crawfish boil at the brewery coincided with the Brenham bee school. YEE HAW! Even better the iPhone map indicated a 6 minute drive from the Washington County Fairgrounds would put me in the parking lot at the brewery. The spicy aroma of boiled crawfish was wafting across the parking lot as I arrived. Yum, and cold beer too!

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Bugs, taters, corn and a first for me, mushrooms.

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Another load dumped out onto the table ready for consumption.

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Just about enough for a meal. As they say in Louisiana, “Pinch dem tails and suck dem heads. FYI – there is a good bit of yellow fat in the head. Either suck it out or dig it out with a long finger nail….Don’t give that look…..!

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The day’s offerings. Pretty much love them all, my wife loves the Golden Ale. Say hi to Robert about to exit, stage right.

 

David, one of the brewers, was manning the boil pot and he was just amazing. He kept a steady flow of spicy, but not overly spicy crawfish (mudbugs), coming out of the pot along with corn, potatoes and a first for me, large mushrooms!  Loved the mushrooms!!!!! Robert behind the bar, the guy that does whatever needs to be done and doing  well poured, my flight of beers. I had both brown ales, the Golden and the IPA that was missing from last week’s visit. Can’t say enough about the quality of the beers.

FullSizeRender Dave

This is Dave. Say hi to Dave if you go visit.

For a drizzly and misty, rainy night there was a hardy crowd enjoying mud bugs, beer and friends. Sing by and visit. About 8 minutes east of Highway 290 you can discover the charm of the historic downtown Brenham area and indulge in some great beers. Slow down and smell the hops and maybe the malts!

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Not enough drizzle to upset the regulars!

 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Beer, Bluebonnets, Wine and Rings

Friday was a road trip with our best friends, Bev and John. We did have a purpose to the trip, but the route was allowed to be managed from the male perspective. The one given, and not subject to deviation, was a meeting with our youngest son receiving his class ring at Texas A&M in the 4:45 PM grouping. The tradition of the ring is pretty well understood within the state of Texas but it is a bit foreign to those on the outside. Rather than spending a chunk of time trying to explain it, the following link will put it into context for all y’all that may be interested. Just a side note, I have spent most of my life in the petroleum industry and that Aggie ring network is powerful and widespread.

http://aggietraditions.tamu.edu/symbols/aggiering.html

John and I knew we had to arrive in Aggieland in time to buy Joe and the entourage lunch and still make the ring event. The rest of the planning was up to us. Beer was on our list and we chose the Brazos Valley Brewery as a stop on the return trip. On the trip to College Station, Aggieland, we selected a small winery in Chappel Hill, Texas Star Winery on the day before the Bluebonnet Festival…..for you non Texans, Bluebonnets are the state flower and kind of a big thing. No, they are a really big thing…..this is Texas after all.

The winery was almost a non-stop. We pulled into the parking lot at opening time and we were met by a distinguished looking gentleman several years my senior….He was an A&M grad and was proudly displaying his ring. He also told us that the winery was closed for a private event….Bummer………… Fortunately John needed to get rid of some coffee and ran into the winery owner….the esteemed Aggie had it a little wrong….the tasting room down the hill was open!

Off to the tasting room and we were the first four folks in the door. Fifteen minutes later a couple of younger women walked in and they were a hoot. Yes, they were Aggies, both proudly displaying their rings. The wines were interesting and we bought a couple of bottles to take with us….Conversation with the young women was also very interesting and very Texas infused. Seems that one of the businesses that one of the gals was involved with was the selling of bull semen. Apparently lucrative and again, very Texan. Sly smiles and subdued chuckles all around.

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Outside the winery tasting room.

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Inside the tasting room

Back on the road to stay on the timeline John and I had planned. We wandered the backroads through ranch land, rolling hills and occasional patches of Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes and Texas Longhorns. We found a nice little open field on a sharp corner turn for some quick photos on the way to meet the gang for lunch prior to the Aggie ring event. This year’s Bluebonnet display was nice but paled in comparison to last year’s trip to Muleshoe Bend near Johnson City.

Flowers

We made it on time to College Station and gathered the gang up for lunch at Madden’s in Bryan, the town is melded to College Station. This party of 8 included my son Joe, an Aggie friend and former swimmer at Kingwood HS and A&M University, Austin, another Kingwood HS swimming friend, Steve and Steve’s girlfriend Alisa. Oh yes, and the four that started out on the journey. Great meal and great conversation until I said something about the Aggie gals at the winery and the phrase bull semen. Apparently I said it loud enough that some of the 8 at our table dipped their heads and folks around us spun their heads around in apparent disbelief, amazement….Oh well, not the first time I have been a little too frank or as some may say clueless, about my choice of words. Those who know me well shrugged it off as one of those “Bishop” moments.

The ring event was an efficiently run affair, an Aggie engineered event run by four hundred volunteers. The smile on my son’s face was well worth the trip. He is a Petroleum Engineering student and has now joined an amazing fraternity of Aggies. It will provide a powerful network for the future.

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My little son with his ring and with his proud parents!

OK, now for the beer. I violated the code. My wife Kathy knew where we were off to, but we kept the final surprise from Beverly. We did tell her we were heading toward Brenham, Texas. Lots of options there in her mind, antique shops, restaurants and the awesome Bluebell Ice Cream Factory. Word of warning….navigating the confusing streets in the downtown area is difficult and made more difficult with 3 navigators. We managed to find the Brewery and now the cat was out of the bag. Note to others heading that way, the sign on the outside of the patio area says Brenham Brewery but the real name is the Brazos Valley Brewery.

This is a very comfortable and unpretentious place. The friendliest people that you could ever imagine. I also learned that this 6 degrees of separation is much, much smaller. I have to tell the story. John had engaged a seasoned gentleman in conversation. In the conversation John shared that he and Bev were from Rhode Island and mentioned that Kathy and I were from California. Somehow during the conversation, Tom, the seasoned gentleman, asked where I lived in California. His response was, “I lived in Taft!” Small world! I told him that I was born in Taft….well we had a Taft conversation and world travels in the oil filed discourse…I hated to end the conversation, just for a short bit because the flight of beers I ordered were not getting any colder.

Here is my flight……Golden Ale, Silt Brown Ale, Black IPA and the Cream Ale. Very well brewed and more than drinkable. This is the first brewery where my wife uttered these words, “Every one of the beers I tried were very good. Not a bad beer in the bunch!” High praise from her as she can be a discerning beer drinker…OK – just a bit picky sometimes.

One of the Brewers and a man of great business sense, David Nowowiejski, took us on a personal tour of the brewery. Wow, clean and well organized. The man knows his stuff. He answered all my questions, and that is saying something because my wife always tells me I quiz the brewers too much in all of our visits! We bought two six-packs of the Golden Ale to bring home with us….my wife loves it and for a non IPA I enjoy it too!

I just have to mention….this place is one where you aren’t a stranger from the moment you step onto the patio. I will sing the praises and pass along great reviews to any and all beer drinkers I meet.

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L-R Old Man Bishop, Lovely wife Kathy, “Goo” friend John and his Lovely wife Bev. Selfie at the Brewery! Note the black eye my wife gave me has almost faded away! She didn’t really  mean to hit me.

 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly,

Bishop

 

Another Good Reason to Drink Beer

Not that I really need another reason but I have a very cool one now! For Christmas my daughters Lisa and Ashleigh gave me a US map with what appeared to be holes for quarters, 177 holes I found out later. Oops Dad, bad guess. It is designed to hold bottle caps. Now that is pretty awesome and as I pointed out, another good reason to drink GOOD BEER! 

  
I have already started and have a couple in the Colorado area, one in Georgia and one in a slot for Massachusetts. Only 173 more to go! 

  
I have a request for next Christmas, contingent upon filling the US map! 

  
http://www.beercapmaps.com

@beercapmaps

@pappadecker

Thanks Lisa & Ashleigh

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Whole Foods Market – Brewery

My wife did make me walk through the store, just a wee bit, other than that I spent my time sampling beers in the Brewer. For those of you that don’t know, Whole Foods brews something new every time, no repeats. If you really like a beer on tap, reserve your seat, camp out, call in sick, do whatever you must because once once finished it will not be available – ever! 

Offerings on December 3rd, 2015.  

  
  
Those in red are their brews, in black are the guest beers. 

Now the dilemma! I went with a 4 beer sampler and Kathy had a pint of the St. Arnold’s Christmas Ale.  Perfect in all ways for her! 

Me, I did a sampler composed of the Simcoe Rye IPA ….. Wow, very nice! The second choice was the DL Wet Hop Double IPA…. I handed the keys to Kathy after that one. Then I went lightweight and had the “AnotherSESH” a session IPA that was very pleasant. Lastly, the Baltic Porter. The gal behind the bar also poured a pint of the porter by mistake for another customer and rather than toss it out, offered it to me at no cost. After much thought and debate, internal debate, I gave in and accepted! 

Lastly,  a pint the Post Oak Pale Ale. My hat is off to Dave Ohmer, Head Brewer – he makes great beers!!!!!! 

I helped Kathy navigate the Houston freeways home and only messed up once with my navigation. She has forgiven me! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Baywood Ale House – Again

On my irregular visits to visit my mom I always find time to have a pint or two at the Baywood Ale House. This is the off season and I am stopping in on a very quiet Wednesday afternoon. It is so laid back and that suits me well! 16 taps and an obvious absence of the big boys. Sorry, you can’t get a Bud, Coors or Miller beer. Ya gotta love it!


Let me tell you a story about the photo above. Chalk board is pretty obvious, brews available! A new change for me though- last visit they were arranged seriatum by tap position. Now, the are arranged by type.

Overhead are mugs for the locals. I love how they manage the slackards – every Monday a ping pong ball is dropped into the mug. When you visit and order a beer the ball is removed and you are out of jeopardy. If on Monday there are three balls in a mug you lose. There are 350 on the waiting list! Next in line goes up!

The martinis, yes they make martinis too. All are made with an Asian Vodka, “Soju”, not on my list today! Sorry! Music? Just listened to Fly Leaf …….. I like!

http://www.baywoodalehouse.com/#!food/c1jo3

Yes they have food too along with wine, bottled beer and other stuff”!

If you are cruising north or south on Highway 1 take a diversion to Baywood – Los Osos and indulge! Sure wish my wife was with me, love you Hun! I will be home the day after our after our 33rd.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Passing Through Paso

I took a drive yesterday from Bakersfield, California over to the small town of Los Osos, California to visit my mom. The trip took me through Paso Robles and dang it, right by two of my favorite breweries! Firestone Walker is well known all across the national craft brewing world but I chose to bypass it and run by my other favorite, Barrelhouse Brewing Company.  

I waved as I drove by and promised to stop when I have more time…. Next trip. 

  
Beautiful day and the grounds are just a great place to kick back and enjoy their great beers. The old flatbed is used on the weekends as a stage for live music. I have enjoyed a beer with a band playing on a previous weekend visit but today’ mid-week was quiet with just a hint of Highway 101 traffic in the distance. Fittingly masked by the sounds of the waterfall and pond on the grounds. 

  
I wonder if I could put up a tent and camp out? I behaved myself and limited my intake to just two beers, the Templeton Session Ale and the Barrel House Blonde. The session ale was very nice and almost as good my home brewed session ale. The Blonde is one my wife has enjoyed and I drank it thinking oh her……I really did Hun! 

Next time you pass through Paso, stop by Barrelhouse Brewing Company!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop