Trivia Night – Putting my useless knowledge to work

For whatever reason, I have always been able to retain more useless facts than meaningful ones.  My friends used to fight over me for their Trivial Pursuit teams…gosh am I modest or what?  From pregnant pop stars to 90s TV shows and Olympic mishaps to what kinds of vegetables burn more calories than they have in them (celery, wow), I have this wealth of random details that only come in handy on Wednesday nights.  With a fairly constant roster of 4 other trivia all-stars, I head to one of JP’s finest bars, the Jeanie Johnston, to compete for weekly trivia bragging rights (and a gift certificate).  Many of Boston’s bars have weekly trivia nights hosted by Stump Trivia.  Stump staffs the evening with a host and a slew of questions in topics that range from TV to Science (SCIENCE!) to US geography to The Simpsons and beyond.  I like the Jeanie because the crowd is honest (read: they don’t use their iPhones to look up the answers…not okay for trivia!) and it’s right down the road from my apartment. Another benefit is the Seadog Hazelnut Porter on tap…deliciously nutty, dark and sweet.

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If you are a Boston-area dweller and want to get away from your typical evening routine of take out and TV shows, get a group together (no bigger than 6) and find a bar that sponsors a trivia night.  And if you show up at the Jeanie on Wednesday – the challenge is on!  Cheers!

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brewnette in 2009: New Year’s Resolutions

So the holidays have come and gone.  I reluctantly took down my Christmas tree on Saturday and have taken out the last of 2008’s recyclable bottles.  2009 is in full swing and I am eager to move forward in my professional life.  With new job opportunities popping up, my fingers are crossed that January will be a good month.  I’m also attempting to improve my own balance (physically) by taking up yoga.  Believe me, my coordination and posture need all the help they can get.  Still, I am not big on resolutions.  The ones I’ve made, I’ve broken.  I’ve just held onto the idea that I don’t need a new year to try to change my life for the better or to try new things.

New Years Eve

But I think its time to make a resolution on behalf of brewnette.  On New Years Eve, I attended a little get-together at my friends’ place (Mark and Wyatt know how to do NYE well – think karaoke, Harpoon Brown Ale and an intriguing game called 4 corners).  When discussing our mutual love for Boston beer, they discovered that I had never been to the Sam Adams factory tour.  This is particularly sad as I am a Sam fanatic, a beer blogger and I live within a mile of the factory…seriously, it’s walking distance.  Unlike me, these guys are proud tour aficionados. They know how to make the most of the tour and of the tasting the follows.  They are even exclusive participants of the brewery’s monthly tasting series.

I’ve been thinking about this for a bit now and I am resolving to take this Sam tour so I can tell you all about it.  I will also go to the Harpoon tour for comparison purposes.  Perhaps I’ll take these guys with me, to show me how it’s done.  I’ll report back on this stuff sometime soon.  Until then, enjoy the last few weeks that the winter/holiday-inspired beers will be readily available.  Happy New Year!  Cheers!

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The Wall Street Journal’s Picks for Best Holiday Brews

The Wall Street Journal is a very serious, hard-hitting newspaper that apparently reviews beers. With Christmas literally around the corner, the time to celebrate with a spirited libation is surely presenting itself more than usual. I am a huge fan of seasonal brews, and as a winter storm is gearing up to hit Boston tomorrow, stocking up on the spicy & strong winter offerings from some of my favorite breweries does not seem like a bad idea.

wsj

The Wall Street Journal has presented its own preview of the cases they will be picking up for the staff holiday celebration. The two Boston breweries, and two of my favorite topics, Sam Adams and Harpoon, both made the list of four. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, another one of my (not-so-great) reviews was also featured. The fourth and final mention went to a brewery I’m not sure I can pronounce: Affligem Noel. With a 9% alcohol content, this one will keep everyone warm and toasty.

I’m working on a couple reviews of seasonal brews I’ve recently tried and will be back soon with my assessments. Until then, check out the WSJ’s take on some of my favorites!  Cheers!

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The Highs and Lows of Beer…Calories

I came across this extremely helpful post on FitSugar this morning: Top 10 Highest-Calorie Beers (and the 10 Lowest!). With a slew of holiday soirees coming up, it makes sense to know some of the “health” info about what you are imbibing.  A girl’s gotta watch her figure, right?  I do not need a Santa-like belly.

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Most of you probably know that I am usually a  sucker for flavor and “good” beer, but knowing that Amstel Light (my preference of the “lights”) is very low in calories and still high in deliciousness certainly gives it a leg up on the tippy top of calories, and another friend, Sam Adams Lager.  What will you be drinking at your next Ugly Sweater Party?  Cheers!

The Highest…

  1. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot: 330 calories
  2. Samuel Adams Boston Lager: 180 calories
  3. Guinness Extra Stout: 176 calories
  4. Pete’s Wicked Ale: 174 calories
  5. Harpoon IPA: 170 calories
  6. Heineken: 166 calories
  7. Killian’s Irish Red: 163 calories
  8. Long Trail: 163 calories
  9. Molson Ice: 160 calories
  10. Anheuser Busch Natural Ice: 157 calories

…and The Lowest.

  1. Beck’s Premier Light: 64 calories (fewest!)
  2. Amstel Light: 95 calories
  3. Anheuser Busch Natural Light: 95 calories
  4. Michelob Ultra: 95 calories
  5. Natural Light: 95 calories
  6. Miller Light: 96 calories
  7. Heineken Light: 99 calories
  8. Budweiser Select: 99 calories
  9. Coors Light: 102 calories
  10. Corona Light: 105 calories

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Cooking with beer – Thanksgiving Style

Hello hello.  I know this post might seem a bit belated, but I wanted to write about how beer could be integrated into a big holiday feast (in a different way than simply drinking it).  If you are anything like me, you are just crawling out of the food coma that was Thanksgiving and smiling at the fun times had with family and friends.  I love this holiday because it centers around food and there are no other requirements then to conquer a huge feast and enjoy the company of the people you love.  In my house, my mom handles the cooking and tries to keep it exciting by attempting new ways to cook the turkey every year.  Usually, mom doesn’t think too hard about the experiment, she just acts on an impulse and voila! It’s been upside down, right-side up, stuffed, unstuffed, and basted with numerous concoctions.

thanksgivingfeast

This year, I must’ve inspired my mom as when she was preparing 26-pound “Tom the Turkey” and she asked me to grab a beer from the fridge. I passed her a Saranac Scotch Ale and she popped off the top and poured it into the already full pot. The beer served as a baste base as well as a primary gravy ingredient.  Everything turned out deliciously. It was a really simple beer-integration but it added a fun kick to the meal and I swear that the turkey was extra moist.  If you are thinking about adding some brew to your next turkey dinner, my suggestion would be to make it a darker beer with a noticeable spiciness to it.  The winter seasonal brews out now are a good place to start.

I found a few other recipes/blogs that offered some mouthwatering (and legit) recipes. Check them out!

http://beer.about.com/od/beertastinganddrinking/a/HolidayBeerPair.htm

http://www.homebrewchef.com/BeerInspiredThanksgivingMenu.html

http://www.nbwa.org/Beer_Route/Article.aspx?ArticleId=203

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!  I am very thankful to still be posting and to have great people still reading Brewnette (like your gorgeous self). So thanks!  and Cheers!

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Beer and Business Cards

Getting my first “big girl/real” job was a major step in my life, and one that I am very proud of.  I think one of the most exciting, and probably trivial, job steps for me was the day I got my first stack of business cards.  For whatever reason, that was when I truly felt like I had made it and was a legit grown up.  Of course, I stuffed a small stack of these little guys into my wallet and properly distributed them to all of my friends and family, and the occasional stranger when I wanted to prove that I was employed.

The most effective use of these wastes of paper, I’ve found, is dropping them in the little boxes/jars are bars and restaurants in hopes of winning a free meal/drink.  While this is not a helping me further my career or my network, it’s a simple act that happened to pay off for me and a group of my friends.

pour-house

Turns out I won a party at one of my favorite Boston bars, the Pour House!  Free food, trivia, prizes, and the notoriously “cheap” drink menu were all selling points for a party on a Tuesday night.  They even blocked off a section of the bar for just my guests.  All in all, it was the most fun I’ve had on a Tuesday night that I can recall.  It was so fantastic to see people who I hadn’t in a while, and to feed my entry level and law student friends.

So there isn’t much of a moral or message to this post, but I had a good time and wanted to tell you out there to check out the Pour House.  It’s a simple bar with good beer and a laid back atmosphere.  Oh and if one of your business cards wins a party, I’m there.  Cheers!

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Baby, it’s cold outside…

So somehow, winter has descended on Boston. As usual, it came without warning and is showing zero remorse for those of us who tend to enjoy the mild autumn months. People keep warm in numerous ways: heated seats in cars, those fancy glove warmers that skiers typically need, excessive intake of Starbucks’ hot chocolates and mocha-something-or-others, burying oneself in electric blankets, parkas, wool everything, etc. The list goes on and on. As you may have thought, I enjoy a good beer when it gets cold out. “What?” you say, “Aren’t beers cold themselves?!” Maybe so, but when sipping the right ones next to a particular fireplace or in front of a big game (or, let’s face it, anywhere with heat) it warms you up easily.

Anyone who has read earlier posts of mine knows that I am a huge Guinness Fan and will say that it is best sipped pretty much in any situation. While this is true, and other Guinness-ites will concur, I think Guinness has the perfect thickness and depth to make you frozen fingers alive again and bring feeling back into your too-exposed ears. Stouts have that way about them. Knowing that Guinness is the King of Stouts, I thought I might give another a try, just to see if it had the same warming affect.

Last night at Brendan Behan’s, one of my favorite JP spots, I ordered a Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout as I shivered in from the cold. Honestly, it did not stand up anywhere near to my love for the “King.” It was very thick and not terribly cold (I am strange, maybe, because I love all kinds of beer ice cold, the colder the better, even if people tell me thats not how its supposed to be). There was a chocolatey essence to it, but nothing overwhelming or helpful to the overall dark, even smoky, beverage. The Web site says that this beer was once exclusively brewed for Catherine the Great…kind of cool that my name is Catherine too, but I’m not sure what my namesake was thinking. Maybe she has something against the Irish, because she was missing out.

brooklyn-brewery-black-chocolate-stout

Serves me right, straying from old faithful. I must say though, the seasonal Winter Lager from Sam Adams has kept me warm and happy this past week. It’s not a stout, but it has a dark richness with even a berry taste to it that appropriately combats the brisk winds that seem to follow me around. Try it, it will not disappoint. Cheers!

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