Dear Beer Clug…



Dear Beer Clug–


Remember when I painted the piece shown above? You know how it’s modeled on a painting seen in the movie Beerfest, based on a character played by Erik Stolhanske?


Well I don’t know what you did on Easter Sunday, but I broke bread with none other than Mr. Stolhanske himself.



Jealous? I thought so.


Your pal–


Insert Sad Face Emoticon Here




Today I’m missing a Beer Clug meeting – the first of the New Year. Why am I missing said meeting? Because I’m still off hooch and will be until my bizarre malady is diagnosed.


I don’t want to make a bigger deal of it than it actually is, because not drinking isn’t the worst thing in the world. But I also don’t want to minimize the facts, either. I like hooch. I like drinking. Pairing a lovely wine with a delicious meal is a treat. Savoring a beautiful brew with friends is a blessing. Sipping a Porn-Star-Dirty Martini at a sleek bar is too cool for school.


But hey – I can bend an elbow with apple juice, and toast my friends at their meeting…


You don’t even have to say it. I know it’s nowhere near the same.




Mister and I have a previous commitment and will be missing the Beer Clug’s Oktoberfest outing today.


I remember my first underage beer. I didn’t like it and thought all beer must be terrible. (I think it was probably a Bud or something along those lines.) As I grew older, I drank beer here and there, but not until I had my first Guinness did I know how truly good beer could be.


Now that I’m more adventurous, I try all kinds of beer. I’m not crazy about hops, but I do at least try things. Sometimes.


To my friends who will be enjoying Oktoberfest today – prost! I’ll catch you the next time around.

Pig Candy



This weekend Mister and I climbed into the car to go to Beer Clug and I looked down at the bucket of Pig Candy I was carrying and said, “This may be the strangest thing I’ve ever had in my lap.”


Pig Candy is caramelized bacon. This was my first time making it, and while it was a huge hit at Beer Clug, it wasn’t my favorite. So I’ll keep trying until I land on a method I like.


And then I’ll probably be carrying that to some sort of gathering or another, and again find myself thinking how odd it is to be holding such a concoction.

Monday, Monday



It’s Monday. I’m not complaining, as I’m down with Mondays. Really. And if we both managed to wake this morning and are enjoying the gift that is this new day, I’m super-down.


But last night was Beer Clug. And I did my part to sample. And what a sampling we had. So there you go.


I’m not proud. I’m not ashamed, either.

Golden Road Brewery – Los Angeles



This month’s meeting of Beer Clug was special. We went on a tour of L.A.’s Golden Road Brewery.



I swear, our little group was so geeked out and happy, you wouldn’t believe it. We were being tested on our knowledge (or lack thereof) of all things beer, and learning as we went along. It was a drinking nerd’s dream. For reals.



The facility is beautiful. The craft beer is top-notch. The employees…



My interaction with the employees began with a lovely gal named Laurel. She recommended options for our meeting and arranged for the tour. When our needs fell outside her scope, she referred me to another swell chick named Lauren. Lauren gave me a tour of a private meeting room and addressed all my questions. When it came down to it, the designated space was perfect for our members.



On the appointed day, we arrived to see a sign saying brewery tours were canceled, due to construction. But that wasn’t the case at all! Teri introduced herself to me and said she’d be leading us on a modified tour, and that we’d simply have to bypass some of the ongoing work areas. Perfect! Teri proved to be yet another fantastic Golden Road employee – knowledgeable, professional and personable.



After the tour, we settled into our beautiful meeting space. As I understood it, we’d be going out into the pub for our food and drink orders (which would have been grand – seriously). But a fab lad named Dante showed up and said he’d be taking care of us during our meeting. Dante did indeed take all our orders, and he did it with a smile.



When the meeting was finished, I was really impressed by the day’s outcome. I’ve been to Golden Road’s pub many times, and I’ve enjoyed each and every visit. To have this particular day’s Beer Clug meeting be treated as something special, well, it only made me love the place more.



I’ve got a Golden Road growler in my fridge right now. And I’ll be finishing it over the next couple of days. But no worries. I’ll be going back for more. Soon.


We Are Josh-toberfest



This painting has a crazy story. It was a commission, requested by a buddy in Beer Clug. When he first asked about my taking it on, I turned him down. I said I don’t do portraits (because I don’t). I told him it wouldn’t look anything like him. I tried everything I could to deter his enthusiasm. Nothing worked. Finally, I said I’d give it a shot, but that he shouldn’t expect an actual resemblance. I figured regardless of the outcome, no harm, no foul.


He got the idea from the movie Beerfest. In the film, there’s a German Bierhaus. On the wall of the bierhaus is a portrait of one of the main characters’ ancestors. My buddy wanted this painting, but with himself as the subject. Simple enough request, as he flippin’ loves beer and Beerfest. I took a few reference photos of my buddy and set to work.


Interesting note: while painting this one, I started doing P90X. One of the workouts (“Plyometrics”) features Erik Stolhanske. The portrait in Beerfest is based on Erik’s face. So every time I did that particular workout, I would laugh about the painting. Small world, I suppose.


Anyhoo, by the time I finished, I realized it actually looks a lot like my buddy. (Whether or not he agrees is another matter.) And the naming of the portrait was easy. Mister and I like to mis-sing an Oktoberfest song with the wrong lyrics: “We are Josh-toberfest.”


Because my buddy is super-nice, I’ll probably never know his true feelings about the portrait. But I can honestly say I’m proud of it. I think it turned out just as dorky as can be, and it’s pretty cool to boot.



Beer Clug



Last night was Beer Clug and boy are my arms tired. (I know that makes no sense, but hey, I was drinking.)


One of the coolest aspects of Beer Clug is never knowing what others will bring to the meeting. We get to try all kinds of beer, from all kinds of places. Case in point: Surly Beer. This one was brought by a member who’d recently been to Minneapolis. As Surly is brewed in Brooklyn Center – just outside Minneapolis – he planned ahead and brought back a few samples for his fellow Clug members. He’s a pretty swell guy, I must say.


Anyhoo, I was giggling at the Surly motto: Beer For a Glass, From a Can. And it was pretty danged good!


I love Beer Clug. For a lot of reasons. But honestly, I mostly love it for the beer. Even when it isn’t in a glass.

It Makes Me a Jolly Good Fellow…



Not only did Mister and I have Beer Clug last night, but I also heard from my buddy, Baker Jen, who wants to know if I’m available to help her finish off a growler of a local brew. Yes, please!


Beer Clug was awesome, with most of our members in attendance. (A couple missed out, as they’re in Holland. But you know what? They’re probably not hurting for beer, so there!) The first beer I tried was just too danged spicy. As in – yow-za! That beer is burning my mouth! I wanted to love it, as I generally dig on spicy brews. Alas, I wasn’t man enough to take it. Then the bar-keep told me he had some bloody mary mix and could mix the spicy beer with that. The joint where we held our meeting doesn’t serve liquor, so the mixer was a total surprise. And after I said yes, and the keep had made my drink, I couldn’t have been happier. That spicy beer was perfect with the bloody mary mix. From there I moved on to a few other heavy beers, and I had a mighty nice time.



Here’s the thing, y’all – I am usually the designated driver. Therefore, I don’t get my drank on very often. But Mister was feeling generous, and he refrained from getting his drank on so that I could have my turn. I’m not a gal who turns down her turn, yo.


So by the end of the meeting, I was pretty smiley and pretty happy. I’d say that’s what Beer Clug is all about.

Who’s the Doctor Here?


I saw this at a fellow Beer Clugger’s abode, and I was jealous. Still am.


What a fun way to keep beer cold!?!