Hops and Glory in a sea of wine

Coming back to a rainy Belgian reality after 10 days of sun, sea and grilling on the Cotê d’Azur can hit you like a ton of wet bricks. Thankfully I can dull the pain with a variety of good beers. Something I missed while in the south of France (unless you call Kronenbourg 1664 and Heineken “a variety of good beers”). Now I do appreciate a nice wine, but sitting in the hot sun looking out over the sea while lil’ Smokey splashes around in her pool just doesn’t feel right with a glass of wine. A nice chilled beer in a glass that you can grab without your little finger sticking out feels so much better. That and the fact that I was finally getting around to reading Hops and Glory by Pete Brown meant I was really hankering for a decent pale ale.

I’m not going to give an in-depth book review here but if you like the idea of an awkwardly British man carrying a heavy keg of beer across oceans of mishaps while uncovering that the history of binge-drinking goes way back… well then this book is for you. Part Fawlty Towers, part Indiana Jones this book will make you laugh, cry, desire to travel the world by tall-ship and make you quite thirsty. Pete definitely has a knack for telling a good story and for getting himself into just enough trouble to make sure that story has some zest. So put down that copy of Twilight you’re reading and dive into the world of international beer smuggling, brazilian hookers and cartoon meat with Pete. (If you go to Pete’s blog you can order the book via an amazon link).

Now, down to the cellar to see what IPAs I have waiting for me!

a well brewed vacation

detroit_postcardTime to get back at it. Summer vacation is over and there are many things to be grilled and brewed. Vacation was family oriented so there is not a whole lot of news on the BBQ or Beer front, not to say that it was completely void of these activities, but it was not the focus. Family was the priority. However, my brother was able to show off his rib making skills. He received his WSM in March and he’s been smoking up a storm since then. I have to say that his ribs are pretty darn good. I still have yet to master the rib myself. The only outdoor cooking I did on holiday was a stack of Delmonico steaks. Turned out really nice. If anything, I would say they were too juicy… is that possible?

While in the states I picked up a couple of useful accessories to help fuel my charcoal obsession. A new Maverick ET-73 wireless dual-probe thermometer will allow me to see the temp of the meat I am smoking and also the temperature of the cooker itself while I am working around the house. To help protect the probe wires from being crimped and damaged I also bought some probe eyelets from the BBQ guru to install on the WSM. Lastly, before I left on vacation I bought a pizza-stone to use in my new grill. I can’t wait to try it out. There will surely be posts on that in the near future.

On the beery side, there were many a fine brew enjoyed on vacation. Just to name a few of the standouts, Jolly Pumpkin E.S. Bam, New Holland Oak-aged Dragon’s Milk and Southern Tier Mokah. I also met up with TimO from Tastybrew.com over at The Michigan Brewing Company. I brought him some tasty treats from Belgium as well as some homebrew. All was well received by the man who just a few days before had shattered his leg in 6 or so pieces falling from a ladder. He laid off the pain meds just so he could meet up and have some beer. Now that is dedication!

Thats about it really for the Smoking Bottle portion of my vacation. The rest was baby photo after baby photo… and we loved it!