Monday, January 6, 2014

Sacramento Adventures

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Well, first thing’s first… I was a little under the weather again this weekend. Apparently Dizzy was ill while I was in Utah, was pretty much over it, but was still a little contagious so I think I got her bug this weekend. Just a little bit of sore throat & body aches that were fairly easily remedied… but it was still enough for me to call in sick on Friday so that I wouldn’t pass it along to coworkers… and Dizzy was coughing quite a bit all weekend but hopefully she’s getting over it too. We took care of each other this weekend… and how!?!
Friday, I basically spent my whole day off doing laundry, drinking OJ, watching Netflix, catching up on blogging, all that fun stuff but kept to the house. Nothing too noteworthy. Oh, because we were both under the weather, we thought it would be best to hold off on our next stage of homebrewing with transferring our Bourbon Barrel Porter, bottling our Mead, or starting either our Winter Warmer or Oktoberfest brew… but instead, we did have a little fun doing research.
Saturday, we were both feeling well enough to keep our plans of meeting up with Dizzy’s sister Tess in the Sacramento area to go on a mystic adventure through time… but first, a few stops. The first stop was Heretic Brewing Company in Fairfield, about 45 minutes from my place (and only about 20-25 from Dizzy’s). Their taproom, known as The Confessional, just opened up a few months ago and we first heard about it because… apparently there was a big snafu about a craft brewery opening up so close & in the same city as a MAJOR Anheuser-Busch brewery… but after legal battles, here they are. Apparently, it IS a free country… for now. The Confessional is located in a somewhat industrial business park area just off I-80, but once you step in the doors, it’s just a nice simple, contemporary place to try out some beers. The crowd was very nice (fellow homebrewers & food truck operators from outside) so we found out a little about them & basically just shot the sh*t while taking in their delicious options.

Their motto is “Be a Heretic. Don’t Drink Ordinary Beer” and they certainly have a lineup of distinctive & delicious brews. We tried a sampler of just about everything on tap (nine in total). I really liked just about all of them. Their top year-round selections include Evil Twin (red ale), Evil Cousin (IPA), Shallow Grave (Porter) & Gramarye (GABF 2012 Gold Medal winner for Rye beers). However, some of my favorites were their seasonal CHP (Chocolate Hazelnut Porter), Incubus (Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout) & Miscreant (2 year old Dark Sour Ale) but they have a lot of other selections that are just hard to keep for more than a week. Online there are listings for some interesting stuff like Worry (Belgian style aged in Chardonnay barrels) and their Barleywine (Dead Weight). I highly recommend checking them out if you’re in the neighborhood.
Next stop was meeting up with Tess at Goat House Brewery in Lincoln. All I can say about this place… is this is pretty much what we want to do. It’s a husband & wife team (Mike & Cathy Johnson, and their dad actually greeted us in the parking lot before we even stepped in the door) who decided to chase their dream and turn their farm & barn into a farm-to-glass experience… by growing their own ingredients and turning a barn into the brewery & tasting room. We basically were thinking of pretty much the same thing… so it was nice to see that it could be done… and done so well. The whole atmosphere was very nice & inviting… and kind of a beergarten setup where everybody can meet at tables meant for up to 12 people and just chat… or in this case, listen to a local artist. As for the beer, it was also pretty damn good.

They had eight selections, basically all the craft brew staples with clever names like Jagged Little Pils, Sweet Georgia (brown ale), Dirty Redhead, 1492 (IPA with Columbus hops) and my personal favorite, their barleywine Badonkadonk. They were all fairly decent as well. I’ve had better but… not really anything that you can knit-pick about any of them. Basically just really good staple recipes with some hoppiness and great flavor. What more can you really want? If you’re ever in the Lincoln area and looking for a great place to chill during the hot Sacramento days, then I’d definitely check this place out. Warning, they do close fairly early around 4 PM.
After some quick refreshments, the three of us headed out to Folsom Lake. Due to a bit of a drought in the area (snowpack is about 35% of normal), the man-made lake from the Folsom Dam has been really low… but one little benefit of it is that you can walk to the ruins of Mormon Island. It was a gold mining town back in the 1880’s and when the damn was built in the 1940’s, they basically moved everybody out of the little town because it was going to become part of the lake created. So it wasn’t washed away in an immediate flood or anything… but still, the foundations were in place and most of the walls, etc… then the lake came in & it was underwater most of the time. Now it was low enough to walk around it… and we got there just as the sun was setting, so we didn’t have much time to excavate… but here we go…

After about an hour or walking around, we headed back to Tess’ stables… but she kind of took us on a different path back… and “coincidentally” it went right by their dad’s house. So after some “gentle nudging” from Tess, we stopped by. See… Dizzy hadn’t really seen her dad in about four years. They had a bit of a falling out (alcohol & attitude related) but we figured “what the hell?” So we met up with him, chatted for about 20 minutes, saw a few online videos, and that was basically that. Of course with it being posted on Facebook & Tess calling herself a miracle worker every family member had an opinion this way or that… but yeah, it wasn’t a big thing at all… and of course Dizzy was a little irritated at the response from family (since old ladies have nothing better to do than meddle in other people’s affairs) but whatever… I’m glad that she was able to see her dad & it didn’t end in a fight or anything.
So afterwards, we dropped Tess off at her stables (finally)... here's Izzy's favorite horse Rubicon...

...and then on the way back home, we stopped for some dinner at Sudwerk Restaurant & Brewery in Davis. This came highly recommended from the host of the Halloween party we went to a while back. They had a keg of their IPA at the party & told us about this place… and basically it was also a German restaurant so… what’s not to like? We pulled up & that was where I found out that the Eagles had yet again lost a first-round playoff game (DAMMIT!!!). But we ordered a sampler of their season brews (Doppelbock, Dunkelweizen, Session IPA, Milk Stout & an Imperial Pilsner) and they were pretty good. Again, nothing incredibly exceptional… but definitely very decent and went will with dinner (a fantastic Tri Tip Salad and Wiener Schnitzel). Again, I highly recommend this place if you’re in the Davis area. Good food & drink to wash it down with.

The rest of the night & Sunday, we basically relaxed at my place and watched both seasons of “American Horror Story”, the first season of “Maron”, started up season 3 of “Walking Dead”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and a few others. The new one was “The Dinosaur Project” which… is basically a low-budget, found-footage style movie about an investigation team being sent into the heart of the Congo to look for a possible Plesiosaur (Nessie-like dinosaur) that was allegedly recorded by locals. Of course the plot involves a teenage son, a lot of Go Pro cameras (and several dozen unexplained camera angles including the climax) but overall, it’s what you expect. Spoiler alert: There’s dinosaurs, everybody dies. Not a great flick… but check it out if you’re interested. You know if you are. It’s not quite SyFy horrible… but it seems like a definite straight-to-DVD kind of flick. Nobody you know stars in it. It’s about a 5 out of 10 on IMDB. Eh… it had Dinosaurs… and you KNOW that’s one of my Key Words in a synopsis to check it out. Remember?
So with that… the focus of this week is to make sure that I’m over this cold… and then this weekend, probably catch up on the brew action. We’ve got a load of Quick Mead that may be ready for bottling… but then again, it may be a few weeks too. We definitely have our Bourbon Barrel Porter ready for being “barreled” with Maker’s Mark Bourbon. Then we have a two new batches to decide for our next batch. A winter warmer spiced ale… or an Oktoberfest style lager. I’m thinking the winter warmer since we’d better have it ready before “winter” is over… but then again, when it’s always temperate weather then it doesn’t really matter. Suggestions? Any batches that you’d like to see us make in the near future? I’m trying to think of something adventurous for my Birthday release beer in April… as well as paying off Gretchen in July/August. I have a few ideas but… I’m always up for suggestions. Have a great day everybody!!!

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