Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brew Tour: Tamarack's Brewing of Missoula, Montana

After our first brew stop in Missoula and a bit of running around, the Harrington duo and their Korean counterparts were ready to hit up a brewery which additionally served up a nice meal.

This lead the foursome to Tamarack Brewing Company. While they opted out of ordering a sampler (although, on second thought, they should of, if even only for it's beautiful presentation) each dinner ordered a pint and plate, filled to the brim with delicious eats.
Highlights of dining at Tamarack Brewing Company include chicken sandwiches topped with brie, buffalo wings, pasta salads and more. But of course, the true joy of dining at this establishment are the brews. For the individual who has a difficult time choosing a beverage (or a meal for that matter) each main course on the menu includes a drink recommendation and can make ordering a tad easier, especially if one meal or drink seems to stand out - simply browse the menu until you find a counterpart!

Wanting to chow down on the chicken and brie sandwich, Melissa was surprised at how satisfied her stout-porter-loving-tastebuds enjoyed the light and apricot-y Sip 'N' Go Naked. Being a lightweight and a cheap date, Hyunhee hardly made it through her Bear Bottom Blonde but was a bit more eager to down (the more potent, yet easier to sip) Sour Ale.

Overall, the trip to Tamarack's left each and every diner feeling satisfied and content in terms of beer and food!

Brew Tour: DraughtWorks of Missoula, Montana

After a long day of driving, highlighted only by a stop at 406 Brewing in Bozeman, and encouraged by the promise of meeting up with dear Missoula-visiting friends, the Harringtons arrived in Missoula with multiple recommendations for where to grab a pint. Wanting to introduce their Missoula-visiting-friends (who happen to be from South Korea) to fine, American craft-beer (and to conduct their own 'personal' research) the couple stopped for an "after-work" brew at Draught Works Brewery.
Starting off with a Sampler, the Harringtons worked hard to convince their Korean friends that the beer was indeed better than anything in Korea and that they did, in fact taste different from one another (have no fear, within the next hour the Koreans were convinced of the joys to be had in a fine glass of brew).

Having finished the sampler, the crew each made their choice and ordered a pint, Melissa and friend Hyunhee went with a solid stout: Gwin Oatmeal Stout where as the brews picked by the men folk didn't make it onto the list of what was enjoyed and therefore isn't impossible to recall what specifically was enjoyed. Regardless, the main thing to note is that the beer was enjoyed. And that's the most important thing.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Brew Tour: 406 Brewing of Bozeman, Montana

Taking a mid-winter vacation in order to head up to Missoula, Montana in order to see the Harrington's good friends Hyunhee and Hakcheol, fresh in from South Korea, the Harrington duo made a good, strong effort to map out some Montana breweries for the trip. Montana is home to over 30 micro-breweries and has the second-highest number of breweries per capita making it a beer-lovers dream come true.

Since their hours of travel were not always conducive to operating hours, the Harringtons couldn't hit up every brewery but with additional Montana-bound trips in the near future, there was no fear that the couple would miss some top destinations.

Making their way to Missoula, relatively early on January 30th, the couple was entering Bozeman, MT around noon and were thrilled to discover that one of the local breweries, 406 Brewing, would be opening their doors at exactly that hour. The couple enjoyed the bar and the bar tender nearly to themselves the entire time they were enjoying their sampler followed by pints. They received a short tour of the operation and left with a recommendation to enjoy some delicious Bar-B-Q from 3-Bar which was just down the road.
The beer was delicious (and potent, especially for the Mrs. who ended up feeling a bit embarrassed by her lack of stamina, grace and ability to drink at noon) although the exact names escape our memories - Melissa of course enjoyed something dark and either stout-like or porter-like while the man sipped on a CDA (Cascadian dark ale a.k.a. Black IPA). The atmosphere of 406 Brewing, which is housed in an old pea factory was spacious, light and absolutely charming in all those home-town-western-state kinds of ways. There are plans to implement a kitchen which will feature fine local ingredients and if they pull food off as well as they do beer, it's sure to be a fantastic dining and drinking experience.

And finally, a quality which the Harringtons loved: 406 allows you to buy your friends a beer...even if your friend isn't with you at the time. Simply give the bartender five extra bucks, tell them your friend's name, they'll write a note on a whiteboard showcasing who has beer, who bought it and how much they get to spend on the said beer. The Harrington duo was thankful to have a friend in Bozeman just to participate in this fun and generous gift-giving concept!

Monday, February 11, 2013

In the Kitchen: January 2013

Having now been stateside for about five months, the Mrs. is catching up on her cooking blog and getting back into the swing of things as far as dumpster-diving-inspired meals are concerned. As per the good ole days, Melissa is enjoying her fair share of jamming, jellying, and canning as well as baking and cooking. New to this season of diving is her new found art of preparing homemade Vinegars such as: Banana Vinegar and Blueberry Vinegar, with Apple Cider Vinegar of course being the favorite.

With family, the Harringtons rung in the New Year while enjoying some scrumptious appetizers including sweet and savory filled wontons.
The new year has also ushered in a few bread experiments, especially in using the bread machine. Sometimes the misses is just making dough for pizza crust, other times she's using up old bananas for a Banana Sandwich Loaf.

Sour Ales: If you Haven't, You Oughta!

With all the brewery tours that the Harringtons have been enjoying, they've been discovering some new flavors and beer concepts, some of which are simply mind-blowing. One such discovery, which to be honest, the brewing man knew existed, is that of Sour Ales or a Lambic. The couple had their first sip of such a brew at Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins. Blown away by the fruity, tangy flavor of this brew variety, the couple was quick to pick up a bottle the next time they stopped off at a liquor store and were once again blown away by the deliciousness of this particular type of brew.

So, dear readers, if you haven't tried a sour ale, you oughta!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Riggs Family Weekend: Basketball and Sledding

While stopping off at Shadow's Pub and Grill was indeed enjoyable, the primary purpose of making their way over the hill was in fact to spend quality time with the Rigg clan - at least the Cheyenne, Loveland, Erie cousins (and their offspring as well as mom/aunt/grandma) part of the clan. This group of Riggs (which is the maiden name of Mike's mother, for any curious readers), met in Cheyenne to watch some little tyke basketball featuring a little Rigg followed by a High School basketball game being reffed by a slightly older, taller Rigg.

Basketball games aside, the weekend continued with eating, drinking, playing games, chatting and more basketball (Cowboys vs. Air Force). In the course of the first day, multiple games and levels of basketball were watched, rounds of beer, glasses of wine and slices of pizza were consumed - overall, a very fantastic way to spend a Saturday.
The following day, the crew reconvened and met up at Happy Jack for some sledding and of course more eating and drinking. It was, after all, a family gathering. The combination of beautiful weather, a Coleman grill to heat up delicious Elk Chili and a most loving and enjoyable group of people, the day was nothing but pleasant.
Consistently, these moments of being with lovely friends and/or family have been the moments that the Harrington duo relishes and rejoices in. Were it not for having such a lovely bunch of comrades to have returned to the transition from Korea to the USA would have been that much more difficult. However, being as it is, lovely family and lovely places have played a strong role in getting the couple to a point where they are stating to once again, feel at ease in America the Beautiful.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Brewery Tour: Shadow's Pub and Grill of Cheyenne, Wyoming

Whenever the Harrington duo finds themselves heading out in any direction which may provide a micro-brewery pit stop, you can be sure the couple will stop in for a sampler at the least. (Two years in the land of watered-down-$&!@-beer will do that do a being).

Anyway, en route to a family weekend in Cheyenne, the couple, plus sister Katie, opted to stop in at one of Cheyenne's breweries to sample the fare and get a taste for what the state of Wyoming currently has on tap. Shadow's Pub and Grill of Cheyenne, Wyoming has been a host to a micro-brewery, a non-host and again a host. The Pub and Grill, which is housed in the old Train Depot, was also host to various guests of the Harrington Wedding Reception seeing as how the couple enjoyed their first dance as Man and Woman in the neighboring reception hall, also located at the Train Depot.
Alas, the beer. Within the sampler, the Harringtons enjoyed sipping on: Big Boy Amber, Big D's Pale Ale, Crow Creek Ale, possible Boxcar Stout (or another Stout) and another which currently cannot be remembered. True to form, Melissa was all about the dark beers and gladly waited for the other two sippers to take their taste and leave the rest for her to finish off. Both the Big Boy and Big D's sat well with the other two Harringtons and before long the sampler was finished and the trio was making their way to a youth basketball game and weekend filled with family fun and adventures!

Cowboy Basketball: 2012-2013

And some nights you just have to get away from it all and watch some basketball with friends and family. And you rejoice because they are a talented team and look promising. You mourn because on the night you show up, their winning streak walks out the door. Again you mourn a few days later when team members are exposed for their recent shenanigans and bar fighting. And you cheer, regardless, because what else would you do as a resident of Laramie, Wyoming.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Brewery Tour: Black Bottle Brewery of Fort Collins, Colorado

And, the brew tour America continues! While the Harringtons do have some mighty fine things to say about Black Bottle Brewery, this post is just as much about reuniting with dearly beloved friends, truth be told, that's the most important part of this post.  However, since the couple enjoyed the first two reunions while sipping pure deliciousness at Black Bottle Brewery, it may as well become part of what will hopefully become a small series: The Brew Tour series, obviously.

With the main purpose of travel being reunions with friends, the Harringtons quickly loaded the car on a Monday evening full of joy and anticipation at finally being reunited with their dear, bearded and flannel-ed friend, Mark. With a heart of gold and more than a single talent, Mark spends his days in Kansas City, Missouri serving the local community, making random wines, learning to play the banjo, etc. He's a friend that Mike has known since junior high school and who was convinced to live in Laramie for a time after having slept on the Harrington's laundry room floor. In every way, time with Mark is something many yearn for and enjoy when they get it, the Harringtons were no exception.

The trio opted to meet up at one of Fort Collin's new breweries, Black Bottle Brewery, and were overwhelmed, if not completely enamored by the list and variety of beers on tap. From their in-house brewed specials to beers which span the country and the best brewing regions of the world, Black Bottle Brewery put more than a few drinkable brews in front of the Harringtons, Mark and eventually, Dave.
Being the lover of all beers dark and glorious, Melissa was head-over-heels in love with a Chocolate Milk Stout and something dark which had been aged in a Whiskey or Bourbon Barrel (however, we're not sure any of these remain at Black Bottle as their beer list is constantly changing and evolving...or the Harringtons have a horrible memory, either is possible). Black Bottle Brewery also offered the couple their first Sour Ale and Barley Wine experiences, both of which were beyond enjoyable. The only disappointments experienced at Black Bottle Brewing were: a) having to say good-bye to Dave before heading on to the next adventure and b) the portion of the food items...delicious food items (beer cheese soup, pastry-wrapped Brie with jam), just smaller than what any felt was reasonable in terms of price - but no big deal, the main purpose was reuniting and drinking fine beer!

After this enjoyable outing, the Harringtons and Mark made their way to Luscious Nectar, a juice bar/tapas bar/vodka infusions bar, where they enjoyed wrapping their arms around the ever-lovely, welcoming, and extremely fashionable Liz. Mike, Mark and Liz played a little small-town catch-up and soon the crew was simply enjoying reuniting, catching up, trying bacon-wrapped this and hummus dip that with a shared taste of pipe-tobacco vodka.

Before long, it was obvious that Tuesday would be quickly approaching and work would be begging our presence. Reluctantly, the Harringtons enjoyed another round of hugs and made their way up north, back to Laramie and back to working-man reality. Although, come Tuesday morning, they'd have the fond memories of reunions which are only possible this side of the globe to carry them through and remind them of all that life has already given them and promises to continue offering.


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