Feeling Hot Hot Hot

I don’t like the heat and this summer is no exception to the rule.  I always though summers in Oregon where fairly warm with some days that where unbearable,  here in the Tri-Cities it’s always hot in the summer.  We get month long streaks that would have been only a couple of days in Oregon.  I was just checking Accuweather as my daily masochistic activity only to find out that in the next week highs will be 100 degrees or at least close to it. To compound things I work in a hot high humidity brewery, all I can say is please please bring on Fall.

Summer so far has went fast, I can’t believe that it’s already July 21st,  I’ve done some fun stuff so far.  Last week I went to the BMW MOA National Rally in Redmond WA.  It was big, the John Day Rally is like 400-500 people this was 6000.  For this reason I didn’t like this rally as much, it felt more impersonal much like a crowded classroom.  It was cool to do but I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to go to the national rally again, if it is in Redmond in another 10 years sure I’ll go but any farther and I’d rather do other things.  The best part of the weekend was the beautiful ride down and spending time with my parents and my nephew at the Lava Caves and High Desert Museum in Bend.

True to form I did get to check out a brewery in Bend, this time it was Bend Brewing.  The beer is very good and the cool thing is that Bend Brewing has a female head brewer that has won lots of awards.  I was riding my motorcycle so I only had one beer that was not over the top in alcohol, my choice Black Diamond Dark Lager.  I’ve been big on Full Sails Session Black and I think this beer is as good if not a bit better, it’s a nice crisp lager with a slight roasty note.  I wish I lived in Bend so I could hang at Bend brewing because I could totally see it being one of my go to hangout spots.

So I’ve still got a wedding to go for my wife’s uncle, the Pendleton Roundup, and a family camping trip to go.  I need to get on a apricot wheat beer for the wedding, I have a first rendition that I’ll be kegging and carbing on Friday.  The first try went sour and this one is tart due to the apricot puree being made from unripe apricots (at least I think so).  My wife and I picked 60lbs of apricots last night so I should be able to use some of them for the wedding beer in August.  This weekend is boat races up here, I don’t think we’ll be going, instead we’re heading down to Pendleton to visit our favorite coffee shop The Great Pacific and to see what Brian down at Prodigal Son Brewing is up to.  The rest of the summer is going to be fun but I still wish it would cool down.

Some stuff and things

OK so first of all Tri-Cities do you hear me?  The above picture is what a real farmers market should be like, Salem owns you.  Secondly getting out of town all the time is getting to be expensive, but I guess it’s helping us keep our sanity.  Much of the rest of the summer is filled with getting out of town and while I’m really looking forward to everything we are doing I’m already getting exhausted.

This last weekend we where in John Day for the Chief Joseph BMW motorcycle rally.  It was so cold on the way home that my wife and I had to eat every so often to keep warm, but despite that it was a lot of fun. I always enjoy listening to my grandfather in-law’s jokes and stories I’ve heard a million times I also enjoy listening to old guys talk about the best way to negotiate a turn or ride a side car rig.

So let’s see, this summer we still have the 4th of July down in Oregon, a concert in the Gorge, the BMW National motorcycle rally, boat races, probably some camping, a wedding, and a motorcycle race, should be a fun summer.

Oh hey I found a location for my brewery in Salem,  now all I need is the money.

Terminal Gravity and the Greatness that is Northeastern Oregon

Friday my wife and I just decided that what the hell we’ll go camping down in Joseph for the night and visit one of our favorite brewpubs Terminal Gravity Brewing.  I had read on another blog last week that someone had had a fresh salmon sandwich at Terminal and when I told my wife that I wished I could have one of those she said “well why don’t we just go down there” and I couldn’t find a reason not to except for maybe the cost for gas.  Anyway so we drove three hours I had my tasty tasty salmon sandwich and a couple of pints.  We were going to stay at Hurricane Creek campground which was gorgeous but after flood warnings were issued and after further inspection of the river we decided it may not be a good idea.  Wallowa State Park was an obvious alternative, and well you can’t really argue because it’s truly a beautiful spot right on a lake formed by a glacial moraine surrounded by snow covered mountains on three sides.  

Saturday we walked around Joseph checking out the art festival and a new brewery in town called Mutiny Brewing.  Mutiny has been open as a restaurant for about a year but has not been brewing until a few weeks ago.  Kari there brewer is surprising a woman, which in this line of business is a rarity,  she is supper excited about brewing and is great fun to talk to.  We tried her two beers a pale ale and a porter, while not exciting they were solid and honestly I think she’s still trying to figure out her system so what she is doing is great for still working out the kinks.  It will be fun to go back down at the end of the summer and see what she’s up to then, there’s always room for more good breweries over here.

Lastly I had a good meeting with Jason from http://pdxbrewtunes.blogspot.com/ , I showed him around the brewery, tasted some things we don’t even have on tap, and all and all had a good chat.  One thing I really like about the brewing industry is that you get to meet cool people like Jason.  If he writes anything about me hopefully I didn’t make an ass of myself.

A hat made of rock

After deciding that we had hiked Badger Mountain far too many times my wife and I decided that we should probably hike somewhere else for a change, trouble is a lot of the scenery in close proximity to our house is all the same.  Scanning my maps I realized that we still had not checked out Hat Rock in Oregon which is about 40 miles south from here.  Hat Rock is one of the first landmarks Lewis and Clark saw that signaled their closeness to the finish line.  It’s not as big as I thought it would be, in fact it’s quite small despite the picture.  At any rate the park is nice with a waterway for fishing and lots of trees near the river.  There is a hiking trail that follows the old Oregon trail that will take you all the way to McNary Damn which is some 6-7 miles from the park.  We walked probably a couple of miles down the trail and then turned around, we did get a chance to try out Turner’s new saddle bags though.

During the hike we decided that we might as well go down to Pendleton for lunch, the obvious choice was Prodigal Son Brewing.  Brian has a new IPA on tap that is quite tasty, albeit maybe a bit to high in alcohol for my liking, I wish he had the Porter on tap though cause that is a damn tasty beer. We had a great day and I’m looking forward to doing more exploring around here this summer, I can’t wait to make another trip down to Terminal Gravity Brewing in Joseph there is some pretty country down there and some damn good beer.

Life on Mars?

Living in the Tri-Cities is kind of like life on Mars sometimes, it’s desolate, isolating, and its dry and dusty. Oddly enough the last couple of weeks it’s rained here, which means it’s hell over on the west side, my father-inlaw is having a hard time doing spring plantings and the cannery is threatening to cut him off for first crop bean processing because of the weather.  So even though I’m enjoying this weather it’s probably time I wished for sun and hot temperatures so my family and others can get on with farming for the year.

My wife, some good friends, and I went to the Rogue Brewers Memorial Ale fest last weekend.  I would show pictures but most of them were taken with my little point and shoot and unfortunately the card was not completely in the camera so it stored no pictures.  Anyway we had a good time, got to camp, walk on the beach, eat good food, and hang out with good old and new friends.  I got to see my two best friends this weekend, which always makes me miss home, they got me through a lot and I just feel bad sometimes living up here and not being able to hang out anymore.  We got to experience the cool rain and salty air of the Oregon Coast, to think we used to be an hours drive from that, and we had the pleasure of eating Oregon Rain-forest Mushroom Company mushrooms on a tasty omelet, drinking a freshly dripped coffee, and looking over the bay in Newport realizing that Oregon is truly a beautiful state. One thing that I will always take from living up here is that I should always appreciate how great Oregon is as a state, Oregon has a coast, fertile valley, mountains, and a desert, from the valley you can get to all of them within two hours.

My wife and I have been up here in the Tri-Cities for almost a year now, hard to believe, and yes sometimes especially lately we get homesick, but I wouldn’t change anything, we’ve had a lot of good experiences up here.  We’ve become more proactive about getting out and exploring and I’m willing to bet that when we move back to Oregon we will take advantage of all that the Oregon has to offer.  Oh and working at the brewery has been priceless, to actually find a career that I am actually passionate about is something I wasn’t sure I would ever find.

CSA Pizza

Still working on the perfect pizza dough and sauce for our future brewery, got the crust down pretty good on this one.  We joined a CSA this year, right now it seems like you have to eat what they give you within a day or two or it’s all nasty so I made a pizza.  The cheese, mushrooms, and salami are not from the CSA but the rest of the toppings are, all I have to say is don’t put radishes on a pizza they aren’t that tasty, other than that everything else worked.

Prickly Pear Braggot and Pad Thai

Well what can I say about Widmer’s Reserve Series Prickly Pear Braggot….It costs too much for what it is and it needs to be put down for a fair amount of aging.  All that being said it’s not a bad beer you can definitely tell that there is a good dose of honey in this beer which gives this beer a floral sweetness and a great deal of alcohol.  I don’t know what prickly pears taste like so honestly I don’t know what contribution it made, but why put it in if it does nothing.  Really I think the huge amount of alcohol covers up a lot and with time I think this beer will get better, oh and make sure you drink it warmer as I could taste a lot more the warmer this beer got.

You know it seems like often when I go to a restaurant some of the ethnic foods to me seem way too hard for the common man to make.  It also seems that every time I try to make said foods I find that actually its not that hard.  I had heard from a friend that Pad Thai was a pain in the ass to make from his Thai friend, something about having a ton of ingredients and a lot of steps.  Well that theory all changed when my wife sent me a recipe for Pad Thai from the Minimalist at the New York Times.  It’s damn tasty and really close to the real thing, only thing I would do is cut the rice vinegar in half as it was just a little too acidic.  A couple of ingredients you have to get at the local Asian market but other than that it’s a simple recipe, well worth a try.