Ordinance Brewing, beer in the desert of Oregon

It was Potato Conference time again and the Ladies Program that brought us to the Stanfield Hutterian Colony last year provided us a catered lunch at Ordnance Brewing, outside of Boardman, Oregon.

Ordnance Brewing, Boardman, OR
Ordnance Brewing was founded in 2014 in the beer dessert of Boardman, Oregon.
Mike and Suzanne poured for us.
Mike and Suzanne (not pictured) poured for us; well done team.

We walked off of the bus, made it the twenty-five feet of ice to the door of the brewery to a warm welcome by the staff, Mike and Suzanne.  They asked what we usually liked, poured what they had comparable to it and then took requests.  It was a friend of the organizer that catered the soup and salad luncheon with homemade cheesecakes for dessert.  The combination of well made food and good beer while visiting was terrific.

Farmers tend to gather and drink beer to discuss the local goings-on, what is happening with the crops, and relax after a long day in the field.  Ordnance Brewing is the product of a few farmers in the desert of Northeastern Oregon pretty far from the craft brewing populated regions.  In 2014 this brewery opened, locally sourcing grains and blueberries to make about 50 barrels of beer a month.  Here we are in the early days of 2017 and there are four tap houses (most in the Boardman area) and one in Wilsonville, south of Portland, 22 ounce bottles are distributed and cans are going to be available in a couple of months.

Original vat system at Ordnance Brewing, 7-15 barrels.
The original vat system at Ordnance Brewing produced 7-15 barrels of beer each month when they began in 2014.
Current vat system at Ordnance Brewing as of 2016.
The current vat system at Ordnance Brewing is at 300 barrels a month with potential for more growth.
Ordnance Brewing bottling line
The 22 ounce bottling line at Ordnance Brewing will be joined by a line for cans in a couple of months.

Craig Coleman, managing partner and the farmer that grows the blueberries for the Bloopers, blueberry wheat beer, gave us the grand tour of the place. Brewmaster, Logan Mayfield, and Assisstant Brewer, Ryan Kreps, were not there that day.

Craig Coleman and his daughter, Kate.
Managing partner Craig Coleman and his go-get-’em daughter, Kate, at Ordnance Brewing.

There was a beer style for everyone; my friend went home with both of the coffee flavored beers while I took home some bottles of Kolsch to share with my Hubby.

We still have snow and super cold temperatures, hope your winter weather is manageable and you are staying warm. Cheers!

Oktoberfest during Harvest

Last Saturday began the 183rd Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, it will go until the 3rd of October.  Thousands of people converge on the city to imbibe, eat and party together while the rest of the world celebrates where ever they are.  It is funny to me that a royal wedding celebration in 1810 for then Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen sparked such a tremendous festival for the people that has a huge presence today.  Last November we were in Germany for a week of business followed by another of personal touring.  Oktoberfest was a memory by that time, so we didn’t search out the ‘Wiesn (field) but we were only a few blocks away from it.  Disease and war prevented some Oktoberfest celebrations; barring any further catastrophes 17 years from now will be the 200th celebration in which Hubby and I hope to participate first hand.

We flew into Munich from Berlin Sunday morning, where we had wished our fellow business travelers safe flights.  The Friday, November 13 2015 Paris attacks were to leave many of our group stranded in the locked-down security of the Paris Airport for a day or two before they could make their way safely home.

The train ride from the airport to Munich’s Hauptbahnhof and walk of a few blocks to the hotel and we were ready to get out and explore. (I am intrigued by the bicycle culture throughout Germany, please indulge the pictures.)  Had we turned west we would have walked toward the Theresienwiese and the Oktoberfest grounds, but we went east and wandered through Marienplatz, Munich’s main square.  The ancient buildings both spared and restored after the WWII bombings and the modern architecture were decked with holiday splendor.  The Christmas Village was nearly complete and vendors were selling roasted chestnuts (die Marone) and citrus that smelled divine.  We went into St Michael’s, a historic Jesuit church, as there was a service in progress.  It was as breathtaking inside as I expected.  Here is a wikipic to show you the High Alter: here.  We took no photos inside as that would have been highly inappropriate.

Monday we participated in a walking tour of Hitler’s Munich, Third Reich guided by Sabri Ben Ltaief (also a photographer).  It was fascinating to step through time to experience the  streets and buildings that we had walked along the night before as they related to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and their fate during WWII.  Hubby and I chose to take the second part of the tour to discover none of the other eight tour participants did.  Sabri went with us to lunch and we walked with him to his job at the University Library; he pointed out the  landmarks and points of interest that would have comprised the second tour.  What a terrific way to begin our vacation week!

Hofbrauhaus swag in the historical brewery.
Not Oktoberfest in the Hofbrauhaus of Munich, Germany. But you can still purchase beer related swag.

No visit to Munich and Marienplatz is complete without going to the Hofbrauhaus.  (This is the Oktoberfest tent.)  Founded in 1589 by then Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V., to introduce a quality, affordable brown beer for his family’s consumption.  The second brewing was built in 1607 by Wilhelm’s son, Maximillian I, for his burgeoning wheat (whit or white) beer production and the building was thus white.  In 1806, when Bavaria became a Kingdom, the ruling family became royalty, therefore Hofbrauhaus or ‘Royal Brown House’. In 1828, 18 years after his royal wedding, King Ludwig I decreed the royal beer could be consumed by commoners, but it was the transition of the brewing facility to a new location and the Hofbrauhaus restaurant and hall refurbished in 1897 that became the hall we recognize.   Bombing raids in WWII destroyed most of the building 1944-45; it took until 1958 for the Hofbrauhaus renovations to be completed, this is where we sat in 2015.  If you want to know some of the historical highlights of the worlds most famous brewery, here you go.

Sipping beer and  sharing a pretzel, an authentic Bavarian pretzel, soft on the inside with a crunchy crust and just a bit of salt, as we took in the details of the hall and listened to the brass band gave us pause to consider and discuss the significance of our history lesson that day.  No person or point in time is isolated, we all feel the ripples and choke on the waves of bad decisions as much as we float on the good decisions of those that precede and surround us.  The beer was good; the experience was terrific.

Hofbrau Dunkel in a bottle.
Oktoberfest 2016 distributed to a local grocery: Hofbrau Dunkel in a bottle.

This week, having procured a six pack of Hofbrau Dunkel, we are participating in Oktoberfest quietly, at home, after our respective harvest work.  This is the original brown beer, the one that started it all for the ruling family of Bavaria in the late 1500’s.  Yup, Hofbrau beer is now distributed far and wide, for all the common folk.  I thought about attempting to make traditional pretzels, but I will wait for the holidays to do so.  Bottled is not as good as draft, that said, this is it – a smooth, nutty beer with a bit of baking spices to keep it interesting.

We brought in just over 10 tons of fruit this week, Dolcetto and Cabernet Sauvignon.  We also pressed 2 tons of Chardonnay for Basalt Cellars (and here).  We are now half way through 2016 Crush by ton.  Cheers!

Lost in translation – Not

We had lots of craziness involved with construction for the last two weeks as new floors and molding went into the whole house.  The tired  (pink) carpet with no pad beneath it, the bold (pink) entry tile and shrunken (pink) linoleum were unceremoniously ripped out in clouds of dust and debris to make way for the new laminate floors we chose to replace them.  The three guys that were doing the work had limited English and my multi-lingual skills were too rusty to allow coherent non-English sentences.  But this reminded me of our visit to Eichbaum in Mannheim, Germany when we shared a table with a long time resident of Mannheim that hadn’t spoken English in the many years since his wife passed away.

The Mannheim Water Tower
The Mannheim Water Tower on a gloomy November day; it finally stopped raining enough to stop and take a picture.

We were a few days shy of leaving Germany and in need of dinner after a cold, rainy November day touring Heidelberg Castle.  Eichbaum came up as a restaurant so we made our way there around 5 PM.  There were basic pub foods to choose from which made the decision fairly quick.  The flight of beers on tap made their way to us promptly, but the food took some time to emerge despite it being a slow night.  So, when our new friend asked to sit by us while he drank his beer we didn’t mind.  Our server gave him a glare when he sat down; we might have taken that as a sign, but no.  We managed to eat between questions due to the time it took to comprehend what he was asking.  When he whistled for another beer the server berated him for his rudeness; in his defense, his glass was empty for quite a while and she didn’t come by to check.  She glared at the back of his head another time or two.  It was clear that he loved the time he spent in America many years ago as much as he loved his deceased wife and was super lonely.  His little apartment a few blocks away meant he was a regular customer from way back when.  Like an old uncle that doesn’t know when to leave, the server chided him and tolerated him.  We had a good time chatting while we ate and drank, we certainly won’t forget him as that evening was a lot longer than we anticipated.

The beers were good, but not exciting; no need to translate taste thank heavens.  As one of the oldest breweries in the Baden-Wurttemberg region we were impressed with the huge, modern facility we arrived at.  Now knowing how large they are and how far they distribute, makes sense.  Apparently it was a popular college student haunt when the University of Maryland University College (1995-2005 in Mannheim) had a campus there.

The experience was humbling, we didn’t speak German well enough to communicate with this man, but we could understand his German enough to answer in English which was apparently ok.  The vast majority of Germans speak impeccable English; we should be better prepared to participate in the world we travel in.  Of course, back at home, we were poorly equipped to converse with non- to minimal-English speaking people.  They did great work and we are so happy to be moved back into our home.

Have a safe Memorial Day, keep those that defend us (past and present) and all that they give up for us in mind this weekend.  For my family, friends and for those that I don’t know personally that still are and have served, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Irish stew, simply delicious

This week everything seems to be either pastel bright colors as Easter nears or varying shades of green to remind us that St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching.  There is a small part of my heritage that might have some Irish, my kids most definitely have Irish blood, this requires some homage be paid.  But, I am not fond of corned beef and cabbage; I am not fond of corned beef, there, cabbage is wonderful.  We tried, stuffed potatoes were usually the compromise when it came down to our celebratory evening meal on the 17th of March. Who can say no to a stuffed potato?

Irish stew with potatoes and parsley.
Topped with smashed potatoes and chopped parsley, Irish stew is a fabulous repast on a damp late winter eve.

This year I thought I would shake things up a little bit.  We no longer have a ready supply of stew meat in the freezer as we haven’t purchased a side of beef in a long time.  When we did our grocery shopping Hubby suggested lamb stew meat: what a stellar idea!  Have you had lamb stew? If you make stew, you can substitute lamb and amp up the flavor profile a bit.  I use my fresh herbs, but dried can be used, and I have Swiss chard in the garden that I wanted to pick for it too.  But the best part of this stew is the ‘stock’, not my usual broth, but a dark lager. In this case a bottle of Session black lager as it is the closest production I could locate to Walla Walla.

Irish cooking, like any other ethnic cooking, is all about what is to hand and available.  The Emerald Isle folk historically raised cows, pigs, sheep and chickens as well as wild foraged or grew temperate crops – just like Washington State.  Ironically, way back when wealth was measured by how many cows you owned; beef was only a food to the very upper classes.  Pork and lamb, along with seafood, would have been the only meat a peasant would consume and at that, only for a special event.  (Having come to terms with that, I am happy to forgo corned beef for eternity!)  Of course, we should all be very familiar with the Potato Famine that struck Ireland, so consuming potatoes should be done to honor those that suffered so very much; again, the masses, the peasant classes.

Irish stew ingredients.
Makings for ‘Irish Stew’: lamb, garlic, onion, carrots, turnips, fresh thyme and rosemary, beer to make the broth and potatoes to serve on top.

Irish Stew

1 lb lamb (or beef) stew meat, remove large pieces of fat

1/2 onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 sprigs fresh or 2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 small sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 medium (about 1 cup) turnips (rutabagas or parsnip would work too), cubed

4 small (about 1 cup) carrots, cubed

potato to bake and share between the four servings

1 cup coarsely chopped Swiss chard, spinach or kale

1 11-12 oz bottle of black lager beer

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Irish stew veggies prepared.
Mince the onion and garlic, cube the turnip and carrots and leave the herbs whole.

In a medium sized casserole dish that can go from stove-top to oven, heat the pan with the oil.  Toss the onion and garlic until the onion is just translucent and push it to the side of the pan.  Place the lamb in a single layer along the bottom of the pan to quickly sear the largest sides, moving it to the pile of onion and garlic to make room for the remaining pieces until all of the meat is just barely browned.   I prefer using tongs for this step.  Lower the heat to ensure the lamb doesn’t begin to cook through.  Place the herbs and root vegetables in the pot and gently pour the lager over everything.

Cover the pan (with aluminum foil if necessary)

Irish stew ready to cook in the oven.
Ready to slow cook in the oven, covered with aluminum foil, all day at 200*F.

and put the whole thing in the preheated oven at 200*F (use an oven thermometer if you don’t trust your oven).  The idea is to cook the lamb at a low temperature for a long time, mine was in for eight hours.  You can use a crock pot if you can monitor the heat.

Wrap the potato in foil and bake it along side the stew or zap it in the microwave later if it is a large spud (tough to cook at such a low temperature).  I had several small ones; they were microwaved since they would have fallen through the oven grates.

Early spring Swiss chard plants.
New Swiss chard greens will be picked and put in my ‘Irish stew’ to wilt them, but not cook them.

Periodically (twice or three times through the day) spoon some of the simmering juices on top and turn the contents to ensure everything in the pot gets to spend time in the liquid.  About an hour before you serve, place the chopped greens in the pot and stir.

Smash the cooked potato, place stew in serving bowls and divide the potato evenly on top, sprinkle with parsley.  Serve immediately as this isn’t a piping hot dish that can sit for a long time.  It should be very tender and the cooking liquid should be far more complex than the original beer you put in.  Left over stew can be stored or frozen in a sealed container for another meal, but heat gently so you don’t over cook the meat.

Irish stew with potatoes and parsley.
Topped with smashed potatoes and chopped parsley, Irish stew is a fabulous repast on a damp late winter eve.

We have been having lovely spring days, but, typical of March, today was a rather more chilly and damp day, so was yesterday.  Choosing a meal to suit the day can be challenging, a pot of stew can accommodate both the new greens available and use the root vegetables we find through the winter months. Which ever meat you choose to use, consider having a bottle of the beer to pair with your meal.

Wear your green well next week and enjoy a bit of Irish tradition for supper.Cheers!

2 Towns, 3 Romantic days

While trying to save a draft WordPress published my rough draft Thursday night, sorry for the confusion.

I am one very lucky girl, my hubby whisked me away for a charming Valentine’s weekend! We tend to like to keep things flexible, so there were no plans and reservations only for our hotel. Apparently this isn’t wise in Spokane over Valentine’s weekend, but that just made things interesting. Have you visited Spokane on a holiday weekend?  Tell me about it! Do you live in Spokane, is it frustrating to have out-of-town visitors when you want to go out?

Friday evening:

Our two flights of No-Li Brews, some aged in Dry Fly oak barrels.
Our two flights of No-Li Brews, some aged in Dry Fly oak barrels.

We had dinner at No-Li Brewery, neighbor to Dry Fly Distillery (we have been there too!), and National Brewery of the Year 2015, on Trent Ave. It is Spokane’s oldest brewery (EST 1993) beginning life as Northern Lights Brewery (‘No-Li’) and has great beers. Have you been to No-Li?

  • My favorite: Spin Cycle Red, 5.75% ABV, 49 IBU
  • Hubby’s favorite: Copper Donkey, 8% ABV, 30 IBU
Jazz at Nodland Cellars in the Chronicle Building.
Nodland Cellars new tasting room in the Chronicle Building in downtown Spokane’s Cork District.

Nodland Cellars (and their website) made the move from Spokane Valley into the Downtown Spokane Cork District the weekend before and had live Jazz to pair with their wines. Nice new digs in the old Chronicle Building. Hubby shared a bit of his glass of Frassy, the new label for Nodland Cellars, because this lightweight had way too much beer with dinner.

Saturday morning:

3rd St Marina, Lake Coeur d'Alene on a February morning.
Our two flights of No-Li Brews, some aged in Dry Fly oak barrels.

2009 we walked in to a little beach on Lake Coeur d’Alene with a photographer and a minister to speak our vows of commitment to each other on a lovely July morning. Valentine’s weekend February 2016 seemed like a great time to revisit that beach for the first time since. Cold, windy, and trying hard to rain, it was still a beautiful place to be. Sappy as it might sound, we are more committed to each other than we were the day we married. It took a couple of stumbles to get here, but worth each step. As we walked back to the car we wondered how many other couples married on that beach, or got engaged there.  Our whole morning was devoted to spending time on that beach. As in the morning we wed ducks were our companions once again. Before leaving Idaho we went to Cabella’s where lunch was convenient and quick after visiting the aquarium and wandering through the different departments.

Panorama of Lake Coeur d'Alene from a little beach.
Our moment of sunshine on the beach on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Saturday Afternoon:

We ‘planned’ a visit to Overbluff Cellars (their Facebook page), another winery that moved into the Cork District late last summer. A huge warehouse with room to crush and press outside and store fermenting, barreled and cased wine in the basement. There is an old loading dock in the parking lot where bands will perform during the nice spring and summer evenings. This visit, although we saw Jerry, the wine maker, we also had the opportunity to meet and visit with the team of owners. Mark, who roasts coffee under his Anvil label, will eventually have a large espresso roasting and brewing space for coffee aficionados that want to taste their coffee not hurry out with a fu-fu drink. Hey, craft wine, craft coffee, why not? It was great to put faces with names and email addresses.

The twin stacks of the Steamplant Brewery are their flight board.
Our two flights of No-Li Brews, some aged in Dry Fly oak barrels.

Saturday Evening:

Dinner was a little more complicated as all of the restaurants that came recommended were booked up. We were left with finding a spot in a bar, so we decided to try our luck at the Steamplant Brewery; a recommended spot. There were a trio ahead of us as we entered the bar, so we weren’t very hopeful. Like playing duck, duck, goose as a kid, we happened to pass a table as the occupants left and we sat down. Crazy!  We had a flight of beers with dinner; good thing we shared our wine tasting at Overbluff beforehand. There isn’t any info on ABV or IBU’s for these beers but they are pretty true to type. Have you been to the Steamplant for a meal? For the beer? What is your favorite?

  • My favorite: both the Bock (a nitro) and Scottish Ale
  • Hubby’s favorite: the Bock, Jalapeno Ale, and Huckleberry Ale (yup, fruity)

Valentine’s Day Lunch:

But the very best meal we had in Spokane was lunch on Valentine’s Day at Queen of Sheeba Ethiopian Restaurant in the Flour Mill!  If you have never had Ethiopian food, please find somewhere to experience it as it is wonderful cuisine.  Of course, we bought tea in the Kitchen Engine shop in the Flour Mill because, besides memories, that (and wine) is what we bring home with us. Have you been to the Flour Mill? Tell me about your experience with Ethiopian food, especially at Queen of Sheeba’s!

Barrister Winery (website) was our last stop, mostly to meet Tyler, the assistant winemaker since we haven’t seen him during prior visits.  We had hoped to visit the newest tasting room by the Davenport Grand Hotel, but we missed seeing it and didn’t leave enough time to return this go around. Next time we are in Spokane we will check it out. Have you been to the tasting room that opened last Fall? Tell me about it.

Well satisfied the weekend was what we hoped it would be, we turned the wheels toward Walla Walla and home. Just after dark we pulled into the garage where our kitty Dragon welcomed us with loud wailings and complaints about being left alone. Cheers!

Black and white cat sleeping beside me.
Our cat, Dragon sleeping beside me; he has it so rough.

Berlin: Lemke Brewery

Hop flower painted in the Lemke Brewery, Mitte Berlin.
Lemke Brewery in Berlin, off of Hackescher Markt, has a modern, sophisticated decor.

Our adventure in Germany had two days, three nights in Berlin, Mitte Berlin to be specific.  We entered by train in the dark, so our compasses were a bit off kilter as we left our hotel in quest of some dinner.  Assured that there were eateries within a few blocks we headed in the direction stated.  It didn’t take long to find the Lemke Brewery Restaurant on the far side of the railroad tracks.  It is a popular place with long communal tables packed tight, the high ceilings amplifying the voices of revelers into a cacophony of happy noise.  We sat ourselves down at one end of a huge table, with another couple at the opposite end already eating their meal. Friends from our group joined us after about 10 minutes, making us a four top together and a vast middle of the table empty to the other couple.  Having been guided and coddled for the earlier part of the week we were left to our own devises in this foreign land for the first time, what could go wrong? Right?

Our server, thankfully speaking English, shot down my first two choices of dinner, both were no longer available that night.  I was back to the menu and quite hungry.  We ordered a flight of beers.  When they arrived the server took the drink orders of our friends and began taking our meal choices.  There must have been some misunderstanding when I ordered my meal and two glasses of the remaining two beers listed on the board.  I was asked if I spoke English?  Surprised, as I have never been accused of misusing my native tongue,  I simply said yes.  My friend repeated my order in English and he wrote it down this time.  Was I confused or him?  As he returned to the bar we burst out laughing as the thought of us not speaking English was too funny to ignore.  Not the speediest service, we began to wonder if I had been too demanding without realizing it, when our meals and the remaining two beers arrived.  For a few minute we silently tucked in with gusto as we were very hungry.  Our server came up on side of the table and apologized to me, I am sure I was the only one who could hear him.  Heck, I had dismissed the situation before my first bite, but I appreciated it. My bratwurst, red cabbage and fried potato dinner, with a salad before hand, was excellent.  Typical German fare with nicely flavored, smooth and well balanced beers.

The flight of six encompassed their portfolio with the Original, a Vienna lager, and Hopfen Weisse, a Weizenbock, ordered separately.

Lagers and ales comprise the Lemke Brewery's flight of deliciously smooth, well balanced and flavorful beers.
Lagers and ales comprise the Lemke Brewery’s flight of deliciously smooth, well balanced and flavorful beers.

The Flight of Beers

  • Bohemian Pilsner – 5% ABV, 35 IBU Bold herbal and floral aromas were quite surprising and lovely.  The nutty tasting malts were perfectly balanced with the herbal finish of the hops.
  • 030 Pale Ale – 5% ABV 30 IBU Here we are in Germany with an American style beer, go figure. Citrus and sweet floral aromas give way to a lovely combination of toast and grapefruit finishing cleanly with no lasting grapefruit pith bitterness.
  • Weizen – 5.5% ABV, 15 IBU Ideal for the Autumn season, the nose was a spicy Fall fruit compote with a bit of vanilla.  Banana, in texture and flavor opens the palate with a lovely mouth full of cinnamon toast.
  • India Pale Ale – 6.5% ABV, 60 IBU Tropical fruit aroma, pine hops greets the palate followed by pastry-like malts and more fruit before finishing with the pine bitters in a lingering, pleasant finish.
  • Imperial IPA – 10% ABV, 75 IBU Complex malt and hop aromas introduce this powerfully built beer seemingly large in flavor, mouthfeel and finish with tropical fruit, honeysuckle and nuts vying for your attention; it packs a punch too at 10% ABV.
  • Imperial Stout – 11% ABV, 70 IBU This thick, dark beer with a light, cream colored lace head smells of vanilla and spice with toast and ripe fruit at the front and middle of the palate.  Herbal notes compliment throughout tying the toast and peppercorn finish to the whole.

The ‘Extra’ Beers

  • Hopfen Weisse – 7% ABV, 35 IBU Weizenbock style with intense orange and lemon/lime aroma and palate in this pale malt beer.  Not as complex as the other beers, but good.
  • Original – 5.4% ABV, 26 IBU (Vienna lager style) Dark malts with chocolate and pumpernickel flavors dominate the palate with mild, fruity hops mingling throughout the medium bodied palate and gently lingering finish.  This is my favorite of their beers.

We walked back to the hotel without a problem; Hackescher Markt is truly right around the corner and across the railroad tracks.

There is a small park next to our hotel on Rosen Strasse on the opposite side of our hotel from the shops and restaurants.  We discovered it by strolling around after dinner the second night.  I noticed some objects inside the fence that resembled people and odd walls.  When I found the entrance to the park I walked in, using the flashlight on my phone to better view the statues.  Prior to World War II this neighborhood was a Jewish community, the ‘Old’ Synagogue stood there.  In early 1943 Jewish men married to non-Jewish women were rounded up to be deported.  The wives and children staged a peaceful protest over a few months leading to all of the men being released to their families; this is known as the ‘Block of Women‘.  By the time the war ended that building was destroyed.  The statues are representative of that trauma and the law disallowing Jews to sit on benches during the war.  The surrounding trees were literally full of pigeons roosting for the night. My intrusion caused quite the stirring and cooing amongst them, kind of eerie actually.

Day two in Berlin we had lunch at the other Lemke location, the menu didn’t have the meal I wanted to try the first night, so still no luck, but I enjoyed a half-pint of Original with my lunch before touring Charlottenburg Palace with new friends from Idaho and my darling Hubby.

That night for dinner our entire group went back to the original Lemke location, so close to our hotel.  We ate on the back patio under a tent, with heaters and smaller tables.  Dinner was pigs knuckles for each of us; it was delicious!  Again, I enjoyed my half-pint of Original with my meal.  Nearly everyone around me had full pints.  Our server from the first night was busy and didn’t notice us, but when we left I made sure to thank him, in German: ‘Danke schon, Caio’ and saw a big smile for my effort.  A fitting end to our week long Ag-based tour.

All my life I have heard that German beers are served ‘room temperature’ or ‘warm’.  These beers are on tap, they have to be cold enough to pull.  They arrived at our table at a temperature suitable to drink and actually taste them.  Bottled beer is also in coolers.  I believe our US culture serves beer so cold it can’t be tasted; which could be why our mass-produced beers and light beers are so popular despite their lack of flavor.

Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Berlin.  Cheers!

An exchange of domestic cultures: wine and beer

One of my closest friends is from Wisconsin, a true cheese head,Green Bay Packers fan and fisher-person.  Her years in Washington State have provided her with a great palate for bold, red Washington wine, so when she visits we break out some Walla Walla wine.  We visited with wine and ate dinner with wine; all good.

This visit she came hard on the heals of a vacation in her home state, bearing gifts of beer from New Glarus Brewing Company. Three bottles of wine for three of us through the afternoon and evening, with dinner, was enough.  We will open the beers over the course of the week and report back.

I look forward to telling you all about the beers, cheers!

Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise, Oregon

Terminal Gravity brewpub and brewing facility
Built in 1990 the front house was a sausage kitchen, with a bakery added later before Terminal Gravity added the brewery.

On our way back from Joseph, Oregon we stopped in the tiny town of Enterprise at Terminal Gravity Brew Pub, where Mutiny Brewing’s owner, Kari, interned before opening her brewery. Naturally, for us this was the only reason needed to justify a stop at a second brewery on the way back to Walla Walla.  We saw the sign to it on our way to Joseph, so it wasn’t too difficult to find the turnoff and then the brewery.  Looking like a craftsman style farmhouse built way back when with wide, dark stained wood trim and retro looking hardware and fixtures at the front and then built onto, it is really a 1990 built-to-look old building that housed first a sausage kitchen, then added a bakery, then the brewery minus the sausage kitchen and bakery to become what is now Terminal Gravity’s brew pub.  With picnic tables outside and a small bar inside where the still hot air seemed like a heavy winter coat we knew we were on a mission to taste what was on tap with the intent of taking something special home with us.

A retro icebox style fridge inside Terminal Gravity's brewpub in Enterprise, OR.
A retro icebox style fridge inside Terminal Gravity’s brew pub in Enterprise, OR.

Stirling, our bartender, and a part-time brewer, has worked there for the last five of the 18 years Terminal Gravity has been in business.  They produce a lot of beers, the pub seems to fill to capacity during the nice weather, they have quite a bit of swag for sale and we have seen their 22 ounce bottles for sale in a couple of places as we traveled Washington and Oregon; apparently they also distribute to Idaho.

We tasted 8 beers from Pilsner style lagers to Quad style Belgians were on tap that day.  We came home with two bottles of the Good Gravity, a collaboration of Goodlife Brewing in Bend (where the beer was made) and Terminal Brewing, we will evaluate that beer in another blog as we haven’t opened it yet.  Our favorite beers:

  • Dortmunder Export – 5.3% ABV 25 IBU, this is a German Recipe that works well with hard water, which is what Terminal Gravity has to work with.  Clear gold with a white head this lager is herbal and clove on the nose with a nice malt body and citrus finish of Crystal and Ultra hops
  • IPA – 6.7% ABV 70 IBU this is the original beer that put Terminal Gravity on the map of Northwest Breweries.  Copper colored with a light head, this beer is full-bodied with nutty, toasted malt mid palate with apricot and grapefruit toward the finish
  • Tap Out 9.7% ABV ~40 IBU is a clear, copper-colored Belgian Trippel with a creamy head, white flower/floral nose and sweet treat and spice body
Early art for Terminal Gravity that hangs on the wall of the brewpub.
Early art for Terminal Gravity that hangs on the wall of the brewpub.

We talked motorcycles with a couple of locals, Deep Sea fishing out of Alaska with Stirling and, of course, beer with those that waited for their order beside us.  Lots of t-shirts and caps (baseball and beanies) left during our visit.  We had come across the bottles in a couple of places, but we hadn’t purchased many.  As we travel we will look for the four or five that are bottled and distributed.  (Apparently Hawaii is a fortunate recipient of Terminal Gravity beers!)  Watch for our review of the Good Gravity bottles – 2015 grape harvest is underway in Washington, so good beer will be a necessary part of the wine making process!  Have you seen Terminal Gravity’s bottles by you?  Have you tried them? What did you think, bottled is certainly different than draft.


Mutiny is brewing for the last five years

Phillips Creek Forest Fire OR 204
Stopped to wait for the pilot truck to guide us through the fire next to OR204.

After the triple digit temperatures and anticipation of an early harvest (sparkling grapes have been harvested this last week, so Washington is officially in 2015 harvest) I scheduled myself off this weekend to spend time with my beloved.  We took advantage of the modest eighty-degree temperatures for a motorcycle ride from Walla Walla to Joseph, Oregon.  It took us through forested mountains, a forest fire, farmlands and small towns to picturesque Lake Wallowa in the Wallowa Mountains and the artistic town of Joseph.

 "He who thinks he is invisible." Shelley S Curtiss
Bronze sculptures in Joseph, Oregon. “He who thinks he is invisible.” Shelley S Curtiss

Six years ago we visited the same area during our honeymoon tour and Joseph was a charming art community but not much going on right before the Fourth of July.  Today we were pleased to see a bustling, post-Blues Festival town with more shops and eateries, including a brewery and a distillery that weren’t around during our last visit.  Bronzes, large and small are the prominent art.  Along the street corners, in private yards, and available for commission and sale are beautiful bronze statues.

Wallowa Lake from the south end, the Wallowa Moutains are behind me.
Wallowa Lake from the south end, the Wallowa Mountains are behind me.

We spent a bit of time wandering through the Wallowa Lake State Park to stretch our legs and take in the beautiful scenery. It was fun to watch the chipmunks scurrying in the rocks along the lake. On our previous visit there were hardly any people and the local deer were everywhere in the park! We didn’t see any this visit. The smell of barbecue wafting from various camp sites throughout our walk made my stomach growl with anticipation of our own delayed lunch.

It was easy to decide where lunch would be: Mutiny Brewing Co. The thought of a local beer to go with our lunch was too much to pass up.  Friendly, with house made food offerings that took into account the gluten-free and vegetarian options and didn’t limit me with my allergies to one menu item!  Six beers offered became a flight to accompany our soup and salad lunches. This was probably my favorite meal out in a very long time; the garlic-beer clams (soup) were everything I hoped they would be!

The beers:

  • (S)Wheat – 5.0% ABV this light gold ale came with a slice of orange on the side of the glass.  Before adding it we enjoyed the lemony smell and true malty palate, after adding the orange that dominated the taste of the beer (This is the beer in my clam broth!)
  • Pitcairn Pale – 5.6% ABV was toasted whole grain bread with a mild pine finish that became more intense as the beer warmed up
  • Super Pale – 6.6% ABV has a slightly herbal nose with a nicely complex malt and herbal hop mouth full
  • Pi-Dog Porter – 6.0% ABV while cold the nose is barley and cocoa but as it warmed up it became a rich caramel, the palate is nutty and cocoa and very smooth
  • Brown – 5.5% ABV a slightly metallic nose (iron?) and finish with a primarily malty palate throughout
  • Haze Maze – 6.8% ABV mild citrus nose with a creamy mouthfeel and a balance of malts and hops from start to finish

Have you been to Joseph, Oregon?  To the Wallowa Mountains/Lake?  If you are in the Boise, Idaho area, have you seen their beers offered yet?


Celebrating Waitsburg’s Sesquicentennial Celebration

One of the bronze sculptures on Main St. Waitsburg celebrating the founding families from 150 years ago.
Bronze sculptures on Main St. Waitsburg celebrating the founding families from 150 years ago.

One hundred and fifty years as a city is a pretty long time in the western USA and we were happy to spend a bit of our weekend with friends from Ephrata at the Waitsburg Celebration, admiring the new bronze statues and tasting through a selection of ‘local’ beers at the Brewfest in the Town Hall.  I have written about most of the seven breweries and hope to get to the ones I haven’t sometime in the near future:

Brewfest commemorative glass from the Waitsburg's Sesquicentennial Celebration.
Brewfest commemorative glass from the Waitsburg’s Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Our group of four had two dedicated IPA lovers, a devotee of fruit beers, and a generalist and we were all able to try a few beers and find a favorite.  Since we didn’t all try all beers this is from our personal selections:

  • Raspberry Saison from Dragon’s Gate, 6.3% ABV 26 IBU
  • Bourbon barrel aged from Hermiston (can’t recall the name of the beer and details weren’t online)
  • Bullseye PA from Riverport (unlisted) tied with Burwood’s IPA, 6.8% ABV 75 IBU
  • Chocolate Stout from Dragon’s Gate, 6.5% ABV 35 IBU

Everything that we tried we liked, there were lots of other beers offered, but it wasn’t prudent to drink more before getting back on the motorcycle to head home.  Congratulations to Waitsburg on its first 150 years!