Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Spring!

Two beautiful, warm sunny days here in Oly! Two days of making dinner on the grill! And lots of flowers flowering:

Also, look at what's growing outside next to my patio:

Looks like a great big weed, huh? But my upstairs neighbor informs me that it is Russian Red kale. He came down one day and told me all about how I could eat it. Apparently he had gotten some seeds and just dropped a couple over the side of his balcony for us. Wow. So this week I'm going to try putting some in a cheese frittata. It's getting to be time to plant some herbs and chiles and tomatoes and hops soon. Hooray!

And oh yeah, congrats to Vermont too!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wedding Beer

Last night we sampled the second version of pumpkin porter for the first time. It's only been in bottles for two weeks. It was, well, good. It's never good after only two weeks. The beer always needs more time to age a little and mellow out. After only two weeks it's usually still way too bitter and the complexity of the flavors don't shine through clearly enough. In short, after only two weeks the beer is usually not quite drinkable yet.

But this pumpkin porter was drinkable. Bitter without being overwhelming. Relatively clean after-taste. Not exactly sweet, and much smoother than I expected. There was a little bit of depth to the flavor but the spice and pumpkin notes were really subdued. So much so that you wouldn't know it was a pumpkin just from tasting it. And it should only get better as it ages.

I wish I had time to play around with it a little more, but I don't. I'm going to spend May brewing the beer for the wedding so that it has a few months to even out and reach its peak. Maybe I'll add more spices to the next batches, but I'll keep the amount of pumpkin the same. I'll taste the first version of pumpkin porter again to be sure, but I'm pretty sure this second version is the keeper. I based it off of Papazian's recipe for Goat Scrotum Porter, but I'm going to call mine Black Bird Pumpkin Porter instead. Seems a little more autumnal and wedding-appropriate (although I'm sure some may argue that scrotums of any variety are wedding-appropriate).

Oh, also, I got a new chair:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Congratulations, Iowa!

Who knew Iowa was so bad-ass?

Today Iowa ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage violates the state's constitution. Iowa now joins Massachusetts and Connecticut, both of which allow same-sex marriage.

This is tremendous. We now have our first heartland state where gay marriage will be legal. One report I've read said that this is a big step toward mainstreaming gay marriage. Imagine: Iowa, a state perhaps best known for its corn and its pigs, allowing same sex marriages. It's not just those wacky, uber-liberal coastal states anymore!

So congratulations, Iowa, and good on you. You rock. Now if you can just keep your fearful, hate-mongering groups from putting civil rights to a public vote a la California...