Hit by a Pitch

Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

Best Beers in America (and an idea)

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As a member of the American Homebrewers Association (this is the entity that allows you to buy members’ only tickets to the Great American Beer Festival), I get to vote for the Zymurgy Best Beers in America. Here is my #1 vote.

Renegade Brewing Company, Elevation Triple IPA: This is the best beer in the universe (titles that had been previously held, in my mind, by Oskar Blues G’Knight and Gubna and Green Flash Imperial IPA). It’s like a bushel of hops punched you in the face but then sincerely apologized, shook your hand, and bought you a really good beer. This beer is strong but eminently drinkable, bitter in a nice way, and hoppy beyond belief. If you like IPA you’ll love this.

The good news is that if you’re in Denver, you now can buy this in cans at some liquor stores, including but not limited to Argonaut.

In other news, I’m dealing with something that’s really stressing me out and causing much anxiety, which I’ll obliquely (I’m being honest) tell you about next week. What’s making me feel better is: (1) beer; and (2) planning to do something like this.

Written by Tracy

March 14th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Posted in and life,Beer

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Elevation Triple IPA

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For our first anniversary, I got . . . sick. I have the horrible cough Soren has had for a while. It’s the kind of cough that hurts your chest and, if you’re me, makes you lose your voice. But enough about that. What I want to tell you about now even though I’m sick and boring is what might be the best beer I’ve ever had in my life. It looks like this.

Elevation Triple IPA

It’s Elevation Triple IPA from Renegade Brewing Co. in Denver. 11.2% ABV/100+ IBU. If you’re not into beer math, 11.2% ABV + 100+ IBU = holy shit. “IBU” stands for “international bittering units,” and the higher the number the more bitter the beer, which is a very good thing if you like hoppy beers, which you do if you’re awesome. Elevation is right up there with Green Flash Imperial IPA and Stone Enjoy by 11/09/12 IPA in terms of exceptionally hoppy, delicious beers.

Please note, as always, this isn’t a sponsored post. This is just me telling you about some awesome beer. Mmmmm beer.

Written by Tracy

November 12th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Posted in and life,Beer,Denver

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More Stuff I Made

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To catch you up on what I’ve been making:

On 10/10, I made pizza dough. I meant to make an actual pizza but got distracted with other stuff like making vet appointments for our 900 dogs. (Protip: If you have a dog with autoimmune issues, watch out for allergic reactions to vaccines. Sadie’s face swelled up like a little dog balloon hours after she got vaccinated. She’s fine but it was kind of nuts.)

On 10/12, I made homemade air freshener, following these instructions (although I just used a hammer and nail to poke holes in the top of the lid instead of replacing it with card stock and used way more essential oil).

homemade air freshener

On 10/13, I went to beer fest and made a list of what I had to drink. That required dedication and goes something like this:

  • Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 11/09/12 IPA (Amazing, available only in CO and Ohio for a very limited time.)
  • Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter (So good.)
  • Short’s Brewing Co. Beard of Zeus
  • Short’s Brewing Co. Peaches ‘n’ Creme
  • Short’s Brewing Co. Bludgeon Yer Spruce (Not as good as last year’s spruce.)
  • Dad and Dudes Breweria Dank IPA (This does qualify as dank. Very good.)
  • Denver Beer Co. Pueblo Chili Beer
  • Spring House Brewing Co. Planet Bean Coffee Stout
  • Redwood Brewing Co. Cinnamon IPA (Weird.)
  • Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale
  • Odd Side Ales Derelicte Pineapple IPA (Very weird and very sweet.)
  • Fat Heads Brewery Hop JuJu Imperial IPA
  • River North Brewery Hello, Darkness
  • Green Flash Imperial IPA (x2) (Tied with Gubna/G’Knight for best beer of all time.)
  • Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co. Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale (Good.)
  • Oskar Blues Gubna (Yum.)
  • Moylan’s Brewing Co. HOP CRAIC XXXXIPA (I’m pretty sure I really liked this one.)
  • Pumphouse Brewery Hooligan Double IPA
  • Wynkoop Brewing Co. Colorojo
  • Lumberyard Brewing Co. Lumberyard Big Rapid Red
  • Marble Brewery Imperial Red
  • Port Brewing Co. Hop 15
  • Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (x2) (Please sell this in Colorado.)
  • Mountain Sun Vagabond IPA
  • Breckenridge 471
  • Tap It Brewing Co. IPA (gold winner) (Very good.)

On 10/14 (and this is by far the most exciting thing I’m telling you about today) I made what might be the best bread I’ve ever had and seitan pepperoni. Holy crap.

homemade pepperoni seitan

For the bread, I used this recipe, put all ingredients in the bread machine on the “dough” setting, and then transferred the dough to a loaf pan and baked at 350 for 30 minutes.  I had to add extra flour because the dough was super sticky at first, but that happens all the time. This bread is amazing (super doughy) and everybody loved it.

For the seitan pepperoni, I used this recipe. I know I’ve already said “holy crap,” but holy crap. It is SO easy and SO good and really tastes like pepperoni (or at least what I remember of pepperoni because I haven’t eaten meat in almost 20 years). I followed the recipe exactly and as far as the optional stuff goes, I used tahini instead of cashew butter because that’s what we had and ketchup instead of tomato sauce and omitted the agave nectar. The only adjustments I’d make in the future are first, more salt (lots more salt) and second, I’d add some oil. And that’s it. If you like seitan and/or pepperoni, make this.

Now that I know how to make seitan in baked/log form, which is much easier and more pleasant than boiling it, I feel like I can do anything. I could adjust the seasonings and make something breakfast-sausage-esque. Or turkey-oriented with thyme and sage. Or chorizo-esque. So many possibilities!

Written by Tracy

October 15th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

The thing about beer fest

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is that it takes up two days: one day of beer fest and then one day to recover.

The annual

The good news is we’ve pretty much recovered. Yay beer fest!

Also, this just in: GABF tweeted that the 2013 Great American Beer Festival will be October 10-12. Yay!

Written by Tracy

October 14th, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Posted in and life,Beer,Denver happenings

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Tour de Fat

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If you have the chance to go to New Belgium’s Tour de Fat (more info. here — upcoming dates in LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Tempe, and Austin) do it. (Protip: Wear a costume or at the very least a sparkly dress and/or cowboy boots.) Although we missed the bike parade on Sunday because of soccer (or in our case, not soccer), it was still totally awesome. There’s food, good beer, music, entertainment, a little of everything. I’m a big fan of any event where you bring your kid, sit outside, and drink beer, especially when you can bike there.

This child is supposed to be on the soccer field.
Tour de Fat
Tour de Fat
Tour de Fat

Written by Tracy

September 10th, 2012 at 9:39 am

Photo Friday: Play-Doh Time Again

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It's Play-Doh time again.Have you ever seen a movie, or maybe a tv show, where school is out for the summer and it’s all sunshiny and awesome and the kids gleefully run laughing and screaming from the building, their hands in the air? That’s how I feel leaving work on Fridays. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not complaining about my weekdays. They’re really not bad. I enjoy my job and don’t have a long commute or anything stupid to deal with during the week.

But without fail, I’m so excited for the weekend like it’s the best thing to ever happen. It doesn’t even matter that 90% of the time our Saturdays are almost entirely occupied by doing stuff like grocery shopping and cleaning the house. Well, of course, Saturday night is almost always pizza night, so that’s exciting. I’m hoping to come up with something awesome and beer-related to do on Sunday, because I’m sad we’re not going to the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival in Vail this weekend. (I swear we’re going next year — missing it two years in a row is enough — it’s super awesome!) We might even do a modified version of the walking beer tour of Denver I talked about last year but we never did because we’re lazy asses. So ambitious!

Written by Tracy

January 6th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Posted in and life,Beer,Photos

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The 2011 GABF Experience

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on the way

on the goddamn light rail

“Noooooo!” I screamed as loud as I could. I was by myself on a light rail train stopped at 30th and Downing. The other people in the car probably thought I was nuts but there wasn’t time to worry about them. I jumped from my seat and hit the “stop requested” button approximately 900 times. I tried to pry the doors open. I hit the “stop requested” button again. Then I watched the train depart the station, leaving Ben behind.

We’d meant to be on the 11:13 a.m. train but as usual were running late. We left home with what we thought was adequate time to walk to the station and get the 11:28 train.

The 30th/Downing station is the first/last stop on the RTD light rail D line, so usually the train you want to take is sitting there waiting for you. I hurried us along as we got close to the train because we only had a few minutes and I didn’t want to miss that train and have to wait 15 more minutes. When we were just a few feet from the train, the damn thing started moving. What? It wasn’t even time! But then it stopped and the doors opened and we jumped on. I guess the driver was just fucking with us. It wouldn’t be the last time.

Ben has an RTD pass from school, so he didn’t need a ticket. I did need a ticket, although, truth be told, it’s almost tempting to go without because in my years of experience taking the light rail exactly once a year to go to beer fest, we’ve never seen anybody checking tickets. We got on the train without getting a ticket because we thought the train was going to leave right away. When we realized we had a few minutes, Ben got off the train to buy me a ticket (he had $1s and is better than I am at doing most things). I checked in on Foursquare and did whatever stupid shit I do. Ben wasn’t back yet. Minutes elapsed. The doors closed. “Noooooo!” I screamed as loud as I could.

It was like some cheesy romantic movie shit right there. My true love was left behind while I was trapped on a train, hurtling toward the city against my will. In a few minutes, I’ll tell some guy who doesn’t know who I am that I quit my job, we’ll pass another train, and then both trains will blow up.

Fortunately, Ben is smart and if you miss one light rail train in this part of town, you might be able to get to the next stop before the train does. As the train left the station, I saw Ben, flip flops in hand, running like hell toward the next station. Realizing that I am woman and I do in fact possess the ability to roar, I planned to, if Ben hadn’t yet made it to the next station, block the doors from closing through the sheer power of my will and, well, by standing there so the doors couldn’t close, until he got there.

Fortunately, the next station is only two blocks away and Ben has been running a lot. He got there in plenty of time. “He saw me! That asshole!” He caught his breath. He contemplated going up to the front of the train to yell at the driver but instead we just talked about what an asshole he was for the next few minutes, which was slightly satisfying although not as satisfying as, like, giving him the finger probably would’ve been. I mean come on, man, we have beer to drink. And insult, injury, the damn machine didn’t even give Ben his change.

Although we arrived at the convention center far later than we intended, we totally cut in line with our friends who had the best place in line I’ve ever known anyone to have. We’re ridiculous, self-serving assholes but come on man, we have beer to drink. And it’s always nice to see friends!

beer fest

beer can necklace c/o Oskar Blues

By now, you’re probably realizing that this stupid-ass post about beer fest is probably going to be more about Ben running barefoot through glass and who knows what else on Welton Street while I tried valiantly to escape from a train than about beer fest. And you’re right. But let’s talk about the 2011 Great American Beer Festival for at least a few minutes. Also, please forgive the lack of good and/or useful photos of GABF. I always go into these things with the best intentions, but honestly, when I’m doing something fun like puttering around beer fest drinking beer, I don’t want to take pictures the whole time. Sometimes I ask Ben to take a picture of me so for once there will be a picture of me I didn’t take in a bathroom and this happens. I was all, “Take a picture so the internet can see what I wore to beer fest (because I’m sure the internet gives a fuck and it’s so different from my normal uniform, which consists of a denim skirt, denim shorts, or jeans and a black tank top and you can’t even see the bad-ass Kork Ease platforms that, as comfy as they are, did kind of make me hate life by the time I was hobbling home)!” And Ben was all, um, hold my glass and there are porta potties and some random dude in what might be a Hawaiian shirt behind you. And I was all, awesome! As you’ll notice, I broke my “wear a skirt because it’s easier to pee” rule and wore jeans, which turned out to be awesome because it was cold as hell in there.

Anyway, aside from experiencing light rail issues and engaging in fashion-blog-worthy photo shoots in front of a vast array of porta potties and at least one innocent bystander, we wandered around the convention center for a few hours and drank some beer. The good news is that I actually kept track of some of the beers I really liked on the iPhone app. Here are the beers I considered worthy of starring, in the order in which they appear in the app, in this format: Beer (Brewery)

  • Cream Stout (Redwood)
  • Zombie Dust (Three Floyds)
  • Quinannan Falls (Bell’s)
  • Dugana IPA (Avery)
  • Spruce Pilsner (Shorts)
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter, 2008 (Alaskan)
  • West Coast IPA (Green Flash) (They didn’t have Imperial! WTF, guys?)
  • Nelson Imperial IPA (Widmer Brothers)
  • Jai Alai IPA (Cigar City)
  • Dysfunctionale (Piece)
  • Carrot Cake (Shorts) (OMFG.)
  • Arctic Panzer Wolf (Three Floyds)
  • Bonnie’s Raggedy-Ass Imperial IPA (Big Rock)
  • Rail Hopper IPA (Flossmoor Station)
  • Hop Zombie (Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que – Lake Travis)
  • Myrcenary (Odell)
  • Grapefruit Jungle (Sun King)
  • Key Lime Pie (Shorts)

Aside from West Coast IPA, this list is all stuff we don’t normally drink — I didn’t include our usual brews of choice (you can see what some of those are here, although that list is very out of date, as evidenced by the fact that I still refer to it as Gordon when it’s now called G’Knight and holy crap Gubna isn’t even on there, and needs to be updated someday when I’m not sitting around getting all distracted and telling you stupid light rail stories).

Also, you know how I told you to pick up the list of winners shortly after 1 p.m.? Dudes. This time, the awards presentations went on forever. We never even found a list while we were there. You can get a pdf of the list here. I wish we’d gotten this earlier because seriously, as much as I talk about how we’re like super-awesome IPA experts and everything and sometimes I have this existential crisis wherein we go to beer fests and sadly realize that we’ve already had all the really good, hoppy beers that exist? We’ve never even had any of the Category 51 or 52 winners. Deviant Dale’s? What’s up with that, Oskar Blues?

Anyway, here are a few more dumb pictures. Apparently pictures of Ben and me taken by me holding the camera with my left hand are the new bathroom self-portraits. Thank goodness I put this on the internet.

at beer festat beer festYay beer!NorthboundPro AmHere we are waiting for the train.

Written by Tracy

October 2nd, 2011 at 10:55 pm