Category Archives: Yet Another Post

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I really thought I’d be ok.

It’s been awhile, and I thought I’d be ok. Really. I mean, it’s been years, right? We live in a new state, with new friends, new jobs, new opportunities, and we’ve worked so very hard on learning to deal with this sort of thing. But for some reason when I went to the mailbox today (incidentally, checking the mail is one of my favorite things–you never know what you’re going to get! It’s like Christmas everyday! So fun!) I got a very nice envelope, address to Dr. Adrienne Brundage (nope, still not tired of the “doctor thing!) and in side was a single square of pink cardstock:

 Please join us for a baby shower!

It’s all pink and embellished with flowers and birds and an adorable stroller and it’s for a good friend and all I could do was stand in the driveway and cry.

I dunno. I thought I was through this part. I thought I had a handle on this sort of thing. Dean and I are at the age where we know lots and lots of families. Many of our friends are having kids. I understand there are babies out there. I’ve even cuddled more than my fair share…but for some reason this one hit me.

I think it’s the baby shower thing. I haven’t been to a baby shower since the “thou shalt not have children” verdict came down. I have been to many showers (and even thrown a few myself) and I know exactly what to expect. It will be a wonderful day…full of happy, giggling women excited about the prospect of a new baby. There will be gifts. There will be games. There will be endless talk of all things child. And I can’t do it.

I love my friend. I love her with all my heart, and I am super excited for her and her husband (seriously! They are going to make amazing parents! And I can’t wait to spoil this kid rotten. Oh, the plans I have!) but the idea of spending an entire afternoon at a party basically checking off a mental list of all the things I’m never going to have or experience…I can’t do that. Not even for a friend.

So I stood in my driveway and cried, while my dog rooted around in the neighbor’s yard. I cried for all the pink or blue or gender-neutral colored presents I’ll never open. I cried for those stupid party games where you drink juice from a baby bottle or pick diaper pins from a bowl of rice. I cried for all the advice from the older generation that I will never get. I cried for all the celebrating that I know I just can’t do for or with my friend. I cried for my family, who even though they say they are ok with us not having kids I’m pretty sure they are not. I cried for Dean who would make the most amazing father in all of the land and I can’t give him this. I cried for me, because I honestly thought I was ok, and apparently I’m still not. I don’t know if I’ll ever be.

I knew this was coming. I had prepared myself for the invite. I even talked it over with another infertile girlfriend and we had a plan. That plant went out the window. Instead I walked to the local liquor store and tried to buy some pumpkin pie schnapps. They didn’t have any. I probably shouldn’t be drinking that stuff anyhow.  Maybe I’ll just be done with today and go to bed.

When is this going to end? I’d like to be a part of peoples’ live, and this whole having a baby thing is a big part of their lives. I’d like to not break down anymore over receiving a silly card in the mail. I’d like to not have to make excuses when I RSVP.

I’d really like to stop crying in my driveway on a Wednesday afternoon over something I cannot change. I really thought I’d be ok. I guess I’m not, yet.

It’s a new year! Let’s check in on those life goals….

So every year, as you may or may not know, instead of making a list of new year’s resolutions, I go through  my goals list and mark of the ones I accomplished over the past year (and add a bunch that I thought of at some point). I don’t take things off the list, even if I don’t want to do them any more…this gives me a great way to look back at where I’ve been in my life. Let’s see what I’ve done!

Adrienne’s Life Goals (List started December, 1996 and updated each year since then) I’ve bolded the ones that I accomplished since I last updated the list last year.

1. Rollerblade in every major city in the world (Don’t know if I want to do this one any more or not. I’m really not all that into rollerblading. Biking might be a more feasible option).
2. Win a Nobel Prize
3. Study insects in the Australian Canopy (I used to get a magazine as a kid that advertised scientist-led trips in the back. One was a trip to the Australian Rainforest where you’d get to help survey the insects. They said you’d probably find several new species. I have to get there).
4. Become fluent in Spanish (took it in high school, remember little)
5. Be written about in some major tabloid
6. Make a major discovery in cancer research
7. Breed some sort of animal (I finished this one in 1998–I bred crane flies, beetles, crickets, and whatever else my boss brought in for a year)
8. Get married and raise a family (Part one–done 9/3/00! So that part two thing won’t work. Anyhow.)
9. Get a PhD in Entomology (Done (ish)! I successfully defended my dissertation in December of 2011, so I’m kinda counting this). 
10. Make a major entomological discovery (I’m really not sure what counts as “major.” I guess I’ll figure that out as I go along)
11. Become a college professor
12. Ear $20,000 a year with my harp (I think I will work on this in 2012)
13. Read the entire works of Shakespeare (did I mention I’m really into Shakespeare?)
14. Learn to ride a bike well (I’ve decided the tandem doesn’t count, but is a hell of a lot less scary than riding alone)
15. Study insects in Madagascar (the first day of my high school freshman geography class the teacher gave us the coordinates for Madagascar. I’ve wanted to go ever since)
16. Visit Kangaroo Island
17. Become the president of something major
18. Be able to give my Alma Mater something big, and have something on campus named after me
19. Rollerblade 10 miles (so, I didn’t have a bike as a kid. I taught myself to rollerblade instead. Don’t do it so much anymore, but for awhile there it was my only means of transportation)
20. Become fluent in sign language
21. Take a major biking or blading trip
22. Become very physically fit
23. Graduate from any higher education institution with a 3.0 or higher (I vote I’m done with school!!)
24. Work at the Smithsonian
25. Lear how to spell “Smithsonian” (Done! 1996. Have I mentioned I’m dyslexic? Oh, man, in 5th grade we had spelling tests every week, and my teacher made anyone who failed go to detention after school on Fridays and copy the dictionary. I got through “C” by the end of the year. She was nice enough not to make me go right before Christmas break and the last week of school. After my year she stopped using that as a punishment for bad spelling. I am a liberator of 5th graders!)
26. Live to be 100 (This one will take me awhile)
27. Own a motorcycle (Done! 1999. It got stolen, but who’s counting?)
28. Fall in love (Done! Valentine’s Day, 1997. Can you guess who?)
29. Write a book
30. Visit Canada (Done! 2005. Our anniversary. We took a ferry from Washington)
31. Take a cruise (Done! Alaska. Awesome). 
32. Become the best in Entomology
33. Be rich enough to buy my parents a cabin or car (Part of this list was written when I was a starving student. I mean, really starving…like ducking the landlord, saving up for Taco Bell starving. I lived on popcorn and oatmeal for most of a year. I was super thin)
34. Own a home in Australia
35. Travel the world
36. Own a large house with my husband (I also wrote a good portion of this list right when I met Dean, so “husband” and “love” are mentioned a bunch) (Done! 7/2008:  4 bedrooms is large, right?)
37. Have a large wedding (Done! 9/3/00)
38. Tour Iceland
39. Visit Greenland (Notice I don’t want to tour Greenland)
40. Know a song on the harp by every major composer (As soon as I define what a “major” composer is, I’ll get started on this one)
41. Meet someone famous (so, who’s gonna be famous so I can check this off? I’ve met a bunch of famous forensic entomologists, but I’m not counting them for some reason.)
42. Begin an Art, science and cultural center
43. Weigh 120-135 as long as it’s healthy (it stopped being healthy a while ago–right around the infertility time)
44. Create a cross stitch tapestry (Working on it!)
45. Learn to draw (Done! Spring 2000. I’m no Ivan, but it’s good enough for government work)
46. Learn to tango (Done! Summer 2000. I hated it)
47. Get a degree in something totally unrelated (Done! June, 2007. I have a degree in Emergency Prehospital Care. If you’re dying, call me! I’ll tell you to go to the hospital)
48. Own a company (Done! 2011. Have ya heard of New Republic Brewing? No? Look it up!)
49. Maintain a very large garden
50. Arrange a musical festival
51. Go on an African safari
52. Be someone’s inspiration
53. Stay in the best hotels in the world
54. Backpack across America
55. Sponsor a Shakespeare festival
56. Throw at least 1 major formal party
57. Tour England
58. Visit every major museum in the world
59. Love wine (Done! I have no idea when this happened exactly….)
60. Become adept at herbal studies
61. Study at least 3 religions other than Methodist (Done! Mormonism, Judaism and Jehovah’s Witness. I ended up with a boyfriend in each religion, which really made the study easy. Mormons wear sacred underwear. Don’t tell them you know!)
62. Watch or be in every Shakespeare play
63. Organize 5 missions (So I grew up in a Methodist church, and Methodists are really into volunteering. All through high school I went on youth missions organized by the church–I’ve been to Mexico 12 or 13 times to work on churches and houses, I went to Yuma, Arizona several times and worked on the Indian reservation there, and I helped organize a huge mission to Alaska, but I couldn’t go. This is the one thing I miss about not going to church anymore. My old church went to Mississippi last spring to rebuild houses destroyed in hurricane Katrina. I wish I could’ve gone)
64. Study scarab beetles (they’re shiny!)
65. Visit Egypt
66. Never have to worry about money (once again, I was a starving student at this point….)
67. Become adept at rock climbing
68. Visit every state in the union (I’m working on it!)
69. Visit Easter Island
70. Perform in a large theater (Done! Christmas 1997 and 1998. I was part of a Christmas show playing in LA. I played the harp–3500 seats in that theater)
71. Visit Morocco (Ah…here comes my travel list….)
72. Visit Sri Lanka
73. Visit the Philippines (Earl? When we going?)
74. Visit Norway
75. Study cancer (When I add to my list each year, I sometimes don’t go back and review everything first, so there are a few duplicates. Apparently I really want to do these things)
76. Visit France
77. Visit the Eiffel Tower (just in case I was gonna miss it while in France….)
78. Visit the Statue of Liberty again (I saw it when my class went there in Jr. High, but I was a bit boy crazy and didn’t really care about the big green woman)
79. Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa
80. Stay in a small Russian town
81. Go to a health spa (Done! I now do this as regularly as possible)
82. Win a major contest
83. Become a photographer (I don’t think I have much of an eye, but I can try)
84. Visit Dublin
85. Become monetarily comfortable (still hungry!)
86. Own a store
87. Learn to fence (Done! 2004. Hated it!)
88. Learn a martial arts (Done! 2004, black belt in kenjo ki karate–better known as kickboxing)
89. Visit a homeless family
90. Learn massage
91. Write a major research paper (Done! June 2007. It’s going to publication this year W00t!!)
92. Work in a vineyard (Done! Spring 1997, Cal Poly SLO. 1 year. It was fun)
93. Witness a controlled burn (Done! Summer 1998. We had to do several controlled burns in the orchard that summer)
94. Save an insect species
95. Discover an insect species (I like me some insect species)
96. Biologically solve a pest problem (I haven’t decided if I want to do this on a grand scale or not…if not, then done! I’ll leave it unmarked for now, though)
97. Read Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Hans Christian Andersen series, The Metamorphasis, The Fountainhead, It, The Lord of the Rings, and a book by Chaucer. (Some of these are done. The hardest so far is The Lord of the Rings. How do people get through this?!?)
98. Fall asleep in a hammock overlooking a beautiful beach and sea under a full moon (Aw! Aren’t I romantic?)
99. Learn to horseback (Done! Did you know that Dean’s grandfather raised horses?)
100. Take a trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
101. Be interviewed by the press (Done! 2005 FFAS conference. CNN interviewed me about entomology)
102. Go to England to see the Shakespeare Festival
103. Help to solve a crime (Done! I’m a forensic entomologist!)
104. Learn to belly dance (I keep meaning to do this one. Someone help!)
105. Discover the purpose of an insect and use those facts to save it from extinction
106. Write out the entire rocky scrip, block it and use it to get a show started (This is half done–I have the script.)
107. Plan an orchard
108. Read the Bible (This may end up harder than finishing Lord of the Rings)
109. Read the Book of Mormon (And this will be harder than the Bible)
110. Read the entire works of Edgar Allen Poe
111. Build my own harp (You can get kits for not that much and build your own lap harp. Want!)
112. Visit all the National Parks
113. Live in France
114. Design and build a custom lab for my work
115. Have a maid or cleaning service (I don’t do windows! Or any other cleaning, for that matter)
116. Visit all the amusement parks in the U.S.
117. Design a set (Done! Fall 1997. I designed the sets for a performance of Hamlet)
118. Be a main part in a show
119. Picnic on top of a mountain (Wouldn’t this be fun? Hint!)
120. Ride the trolly in San Francisco (Done! Summer 1998)
121. Try Sushi (Done! And I never looked back)
122. See 100 Rocky Horror Picture Shows (I’m at 82)
123. Plan a very romantic trip somewhere and take it with someone I love (Done! We went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon)
124. Help someone in need (I don’t think I’ll ever mark this one off, no matter how many times I do it)
125. Buy my own car (We’ve been given our last several, so I haven’t really had the chance yet. Not that I’m complaining…we’ll happily take anyone’s car off their hands! It’s what we do!)
126. Visit Alaska (Done! Summer 2010)
127. Be loved by someone I’m not related to (Done!)
128. Don’t die lonely
129. Retire
130. Fall asleep in someone’s arms (Done!)
131. Have my own CD
132. Pass Music Theory 1 (Done! I got a B! Stupid class)
133. Figure out how to raise Jerusalem Crickets (Done! Those bastards are a pain in the ass to raise. And they bite super hard!)
134. Finance my education (Done! That was hard, and now I’m in debt forever, but done!)
135. Create a large folder of research on raising insects (Done! 2011)
136. Have something published (Done! July 2008, my very first article. Ask me and I’ll let you read it!)
138. Turn my car into a work of art (Done! You should have seen it….)
139. Get an A in Beekeeping (Done! Easiest A ever. I like bees)
140. Manage my own beehive (Just might happen soon…I have plans)
141. Have a webpage (Done! Ah, remember the early days of the web when webpages were novel and only geeks had them?)
142. Get into grad school (Done! For years and years!)
143. Learn to sew (Done! July 2008. I learned, now I just have to get good at it)
144. Finish the Chaos book (It’s a book about Chaos theory. I really only started reading it because I was dating this super cute math major who told me it was good. It’s sitting on the shelf with a 10 year old bookmark in it. I’ll get back to it eventually. I’ll probably have to start from the beginning, though. That’s gonna suck)
145. Create at least one of my clothing designs (So I took this design class for my minor–I had to design clothes. I based all of them on insects)
146. Get an award from a scientific association
147. Get certified in some aspect of entomology
148. Present an original paper at a scientific meeting (Done! June 2008. Presented “Seasonal Distribution and Abundance of Forensically Important Flies in Santa Clara County. It was well received)
149. Get my masters (Done! June 2007)
150. Save 1 million dollars
151. Buy a house (Done! July 2008, and it’s beautiful. Come and visit! We have cookies)
152. Visit every state in the nation (See what I mean about duplicates?)
153. Start a consulting business (Plans, again. Plans.)
154. Read every book in the library (Wanna watch? Or help? Join me!)
155. Visit every country in the world
156. Learn to ride a motorcycle (Yep, this is gonna be done this year. Someone teach me, please!)
157. Climb a mountain
158. Start a journal (Done! 2006. I now have blogs instead)
159. Volunteer somewhere
160. Write a book (I must really want to write that damn book!)
161. Be on tv
163. Create an intricate treasure hunt
164. See a musical on Broadway
165. Be self employed with an actual income
166. Own a cabin
167. Plant 100 trees
168. Read 1000 books (up to 310 since I started counting)
169. See an iceberg (Done! 2010)
170. Get rid of that dead place inside of me (Done! 2007 or 2008. Ask me about it sometime, if you really want to know)
171. Ride a snowmobile
172. Take a speed reading course (Done! 2009. It was bullshit)
173. Learn to surf
174. Walk across a swingy suspension bridge (Done! Malaysia, 2011)
175. Arrange a harp song
176. Learn Latin
177. Visit Walden pond (Then talk about it all snooty like)
178. Create a hedge maze (How cool is my house gonna be?!?)
179. Be a groomsman (You see, I’ve been every part of a wedding–Bride, bridesmaid, acolyte, harpist, flower girl, officiant, guest on the bride’s side, guest on the groom’s side, but I’ve never been a groomsman. That would complete my takeover of all things wedding!)
180. Have a grand library (With a fireplace and leather chairs and a secret door) (I’m so close!)
181. Have a cabin on a lake
182. Take a gondola ride (Hey! Another great date idea!)
183. Hold a hawk
184. Rehabilitate a wild animal
185. Fire a sniper rifle
186. Fire an automatic weapon
187. Fly first class across the ocean
188. Go hot air ballooning
189. Stay on a houseboat
190. Go hang gliding (But not by myself–with a trained professional so I won’t die. I want to live to be 100, remember?)
191. Do that thing with the parachute hanging off a boat (Doesn’t that sound like fun!?!)
192. visit the Bermuda Triangle (And not get lost)
193. Put $500 a month in my IRA (Up to $350 a month, as of now. See…I’m well on my way to saving 1 million!)
194. Go see the Ice Hotel (I love the Discovery Channel)
195. See Grand Central Station
196. Drive across America, coast to coast
197. Climb the highest mountain in California
198. Renovate a house
199. Cross the Panama Canal
200. Finish the world’s largest crossword puzzle (Don’t really know if I want to do this one any more, but there you are)
201. Go a month without TV (Done! 2008. I was super busy, and TV is the first to go)
202. Buy some aboriginal art in Australia (I blame Chris and Yanira for this–stupid HDTV showing Australia and stuff!)
203. Be married for 60 years (at least!)
204. Make a quilt
205. Go white water rafting
206. Own a sports car (A green RX-7)
207. Buy a house in Costa Rica (Love it there!)
208. Bike 1000 miles in a year
209. Create the perfect, craveable Thanksgiving dinner (I think I’m close! I shall see)
210. Ride the orient express
211. Stay in a haunted hotel (Done! 2009, actually…we stayed in Le Pavllion in New Orleans, and apparently it’s haunted. Who knew?)
212. Be under 30% body fat
213. Be nominated for a teaching award (Done! Fall, 2008, distinguished teaching award at Texas A&M)
214. Visit the poles (The South and North poles you dirty minded people!)
215. Go sailing
216. Go on an Alaskan cruise (Yep, really wanted to, and now we have!)
217. Attend a movie premiere
218. Spend over 2 weeks at a nice hotel just enjoying the grounds (I got this idea from reading The Shining. Maybe that’s where I got the haunted hotel idea, too)
219. Attend the Rockettes Christmas Show (I hear this is great!)
220. Celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico (you know, after they figure out all the drug killings and kidnappings. Still wanna live to 100)
221. Adopt a toddler or baby (Decided this year we will not adopt. Gonna leave this one on the list just to remember, though)
222. Visit the Louvre (I wonder if that’s even close to how it’s spelled)
223. Kiss Dean in Paris
224. Do a food tour of the USA: Pizza in Chicago, Blue Crabs in Maryland, Cheese Steak in Philly, (and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t come up with yet)
225. Learn how to write my name in Japanese
226. Celebrate Christmas in New York and London
227. Air Boat the Everglades
228. Pay off my student loans ($32,000 and counting….)
229. Become known for great Thanksgivings
230. Have an art show (Maggot art, baby!)
231. Live in the mountains
232. Take a trip in a motor home
233. See the great barrier reef (But there’s no need to scuba dive…I’m morally against going anywhere I have to take my own oxygen. We need it to survive, people!)
234. Create a secret garden (I love that book! And play! And movie!)
235.Drink mint julep in the French Quarter (Done! June 2009. It was super fun. We bought art).
236.Enter a cooking contest
237. Have a pool
238. Put all my photos/mementos in scrapbooks (Done! It’ll be an on going process from this point on, but most of it is computerized now)
239. See all the movies on AFI’s top 100 list (30 down, 70 to go)
240. Visit Alcatraz
241. Try real absinthe (Done! 2007. It tastes like licorice, and has no hallucinogenic effects)
242. volunteer at a homeless shelter or food bank
243. Look good in a 2 piece
244. Have $100,000 in my IRA
245. Paint a really big painting
246. Get certified with a handgun
247.Ride all the rollercoasters in the US (30 down, 602 to go!)
248. Work at Quantico
249. Get 5 articles published
250. Go back to London, at least once
251. Have a real office that I don’t have to move out of every semester
252. Pass my quals (Done!!!!)
253. Write my lab manual
254. Own some art by someone famous
255. Become a consultant (a final duplicate!)
256: Win a teaching award (Done! December 2009. I won the Vice Chancellor’s award for graduate student teaching. Woo!)
257: Build three projects for the house
258: Build a deck
259: Sew a dress that looks good on me
260: Learn how to tailor clothes and tailor some of my own.
261: Learn to fold a fitted sheet

Just a few done this year, but gearing up for another great 365 days. What are your goals?


Thirty Day Notice (Merry Christmas from CSC)

About an hour ago I received notice of termination from CSC.  Unless I find another position in this company of 94,000 people my last day of employment is December 30th, 2010.  I am working the contacts accumulated there over my four years of work there.

I am also looking outside the company.  Perhaps you, or someone you know, is looking for a system architect.  I specialize in Solaris and linux with experience developing for Blackberry and iPhone.  My resume will elaborate.

Although I have only worked for companies with more than 40,000 employees I think I would rather like to join a small or medium sized company.

Insect Art: The quest for awesome

I’m always on the lookout for well made, beautiful insect art. Not just pinned insects in a box (as showcased in many an entomologist’s office and home), nor the pseudoscientific version of “look! Bugs are pretty when they have wings and don’t bite!” type of thing. No…I’m more looking for a cross between scientific names and jewel-toned elytra; between the beauty in an ant colony and the beauty of a damselfly’s flight patterns. Enter RealButterflyGifts, a brick-and-mortar store out of South Dakota that now has an extensive shop on Etsy.

Not only do they have fine quality, beautifully curated insects, but they add in the element of art to their presentations. I’ve added some of the interesting products below, but have yet to go through the entire inventory. There goes my afternoon!

Isn't this amazing?
I like this style

They have a whole series of butterflies/other insects displayed with maps of their countries of origin. I love the idea of a grouping of these as a centerpiece in an office or library.

Aren't they the cutest?!

Look at the pretty!

Another lovely art piece

This is a great way to bring real insects into any decor without overwhelming those who think it’s gross.

Not quite my style, but....

Now while I wouldn’t have *personally* gone with a butterfly (I’d have preferred a group of ants, or a spread of brightly colored beetles) I love love love the idea of giving an art piece like this as a wedding memento. It might even work as a wedding favor for very small groups. Maybe I’ll have to put one together for my upcoming anniversary.

Dragonfly on print

This is another series this store does–taking art prints and adding a touch of reality with insects. They also do this with vintage botanical prints.

Love it!

It’s not just the “pretty” insects that get the royal treatment at this store, either. This is a velvet ant. Love it!

New. Favorite. Store.

How can you not love a store that sells mounted cockroaches? Granted, the title calls it a beetle at first, but then it explains. Cockroachs!


I just really like this butterfly.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to hide my credit cards.


Grain Mill Hopper Construction

In my pile of brewing equipment is a grain mill which I purchased from More Beer. I am a little embarrassed to say that the purchase was made at least eighteen months ago and I have yet to make use of it. Some weeks ago the Austin Zealots made a bulk grain buy and I bought fifty pound bags of 2-row and pale malts. Having all that unmilled grain around motivated me to start using my equipment.

The mill came with a small plastic hopper and a flimsy bucket-top mount. I wanted to build something more suited for my ten gallon grainbills. So I enlisted the help of my friend Ry and we got to work.

Here is the undercarriage that holds the mill and sits over the bucket.

Now a plywood top with slit for the grain.

Here we are, ready for the hopper.

Diagonals are difficult to cut for an amateur.

The grains for Alt One in the finished hopper.

Bifurcated Blog Content — Coffee

It is about time I start recording my coffee roasting experience. Instead of creating another blog will use this space for that purpose.

I started roasting in January of ’08, almost a year ago, thanks to my in-laws. They gave me an i-Roast (mark 1) for Christmas and some green beans. In a later post I will do a review of the machine. It serves its purpose pretty well in the hands of a noob.

One bean, Costa Rican La Alianza from 7 Bridges, will likely become a staple. At city roast it has a smooth medium bitterness with just a little unsweetened chocolate flavor.

I am now experimenting with Java Kajumas Curah Tatal and Yemen Mokah Mattari, both from Sweet Maria’s. I over-roasted the Javanese bean the first time, but the Yemeni bean was right on at city roast. It possesses a woody aroma and subdued bitterness.

I have about 3 pounds of new beans (and 5 pounds of the Costa Rican) to work my way through. I think I will end up in an African bean, then try my hand at blending.

Starting a Brewclub

In January Adrienne and I moved from San Jose, CA to Bryan, TX. The Bay Area has a thriving homebrew culture and I was a member of the Silicon Valley Sudzers. Club meetings and outings are something that Adie and I both enjoyed and we left a great group of people behind. Sadly, the Bryan/College Station metro offers no clubs.

Last month I started looking for interest in starting up a club. In my research I came across a Yahoo! group from a club that had been active in the early part of the century (last post 2005). I believe that there are enough brewers in the area to support a club so, with the help of Adrienne and two or three other brewers, I am founding a B/CS club.

We do not have a name yet, but we do have a first event: a brew-in on April 5th. The first order of business is to publish the event in the various electronic media, and track interested people.

Watch this blog for my experiences starting a club. I have some solid resources back with the Sudzers, the Draft Board, and the Mad Zymurgists.

On Vacation, Beer Tasting

The weather report says 55% humidity, but it lies; the air feels much heavier. When we left the house, the reading indoors was 70% and I’d wager it is closer to 89% outside. A moist haze, unlike California smog, mingles high with threatening cumulous giving the sun an indistinct outline. I am escaping the ninety degree heat at one of the Washington DC metro area’s best Irish pubs – The Old Brogue. Situated in Great Falls, VA it lies a mere twenty minute walk from my grandfather’s home and stables. We drove, however. It’s hot. The pub is a typical Irish pub; picture Molly McGee’s or O’Flaherty’s. Dark wood everywhere, green accents, a tiny raised stage, and decent selection of pub beer.

I am most of the way through Magic Hat #9 and need to get a review of the previous beer down before I forget it entirely. Thirty minutes ago the waiter brought me a bottle of Victory Prima Pils. It poured a pale straw color with a thin white head smelling of floral hops. The bottle says “whole flower European hops” and I picked up citrus and spice. Unlike traditional pilsners with their subdued but palatable bitterness, Prima Pils comes at me more like a West Coast American pale ale. After returning to the house I will be surprised to find it in the BJCP’s list of commercial examples of German Pilsner. Guess I need to taste more German nobles. Although the hops are unexpected, Victory obviously took the usual route when crafting the grain-bill. It is soft and crisp. Malt character takes a back seat to this spicy hop ride. Carbonation and other mouthfeel details conform to style. Overall, the beer is good, but I wouldn’t order it again. Before I return home my palate will find a famous Victory Hop Devil.

The steamed mussels just arrived. I have an inch and a half of #9 left. gulp Less than that now. A narrow ring of white head still clings to the top of the beer. “It’s on draft. It’s an apricot beer,” was all the young waiter could tell me about it. The dulcet aroma is heavy with fruit. In general, I do not detect the fruity smells of most ales. My nose is just not attuned to that scent, but it has no trouble with these ‘cots. When I peer through the beer in the dim light it appears a slightly darker straw than the pils, with an orange-pink tinge. Fortunately, this beer does not taste as sweet as it smells. It is nearly dry in defiance of a full apricot flavor with complementing hop spice like a subdued sassion. The last sip, warmed, goes down easy making for a drinkable beer. Not a style of my liking, but enjoyable.

Just in time for this paragraph the attentive waiter places a Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA next to me. My wife, head buried in her iBook, has helped me make a small dent in the mussels. The IPA wafts promises of American hops and a wink of malty sweetness to my nose. The light shines through palest golden leaving you with the impression of lager rather than ale. Hops and bitterness hit my tongue. This is a great IPA. Sharp, fresh, with citrus undertones, not overpowering, makes for a good complement to the Chesapeake Bay mussels that now sit nearly finished by my laptop. While the hops grab my attention, if I concentrate I can taste the supporting malt quietly providing a backbone to the beer. Saving the last swallow, my concentration turns to the mussels. Adrienne’s battery is almost dead, she’s fidgeting now, and our waiter is quitting for the day. I am going to miss this IPA when I get back to the West Coast.

This is just the beginning. More tasting sure to come.