Monday, June 29, 2015

I Do Spy | Rainbows

I bring you this Special Edition* of I Do Spy to celebrate love.

Last week, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in every.single.state in the Unites States. You know what that means? We can finally just call it "marriage."

Here's to love, equal rights for all and rainbows. #LoveWins

Bucking Sharkaroo T — Goodie Tees
Here Comes the Sun Necklace — MIXKO
The Power of Magic Socks — ModCloth
Rays the Bar Umbrella — ModCloth
Rainbow Tie Dye Converse — Intellexual Design

Song of the Blog: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland

*Special Edition because it's not on a Friday and you're getting TWO this week!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Into the Pint Glass | Witbier

This beer is one of the reasons that I started this whole series. I was drinking a Hefeweizen and I decided to look up the BJCP's style guides, when I saw several different styles that had similar names and I thought, what are the major differences between all these beers? And thus started #IntoThePintGlass. Mariah and I do a lot of drinking research for each style and this week she answered the age-old question: to orange or not to orange?

Note: A Hefeweizen is a German-style wheat ale and a Witbier is a Belgian-style wheat ale.

Witbier is a beer style by many names--Wit, White Beer or Belgian White are all alternative titles for this style. By whichever name you choose to call it, it is a Belgian style wheat ale, pale in color, and usually cloudy from starch haze or yeast. A slightly sweet beer with a light creamy mouthfeel, and flavors of citrus, herbs, and spice. Many Wit beers have an addition of coriander, citrus zest, and/or chamomile. The herb, citrus and spice flavors should be subtle and not overwhelming. Witbier is a 400 year-old beer style, that died out in the 1950s. It was later revived by Hoegaarden, and has grown in popularity in the US market. Witbier is a refreshing beer, great for summer. It is often times served with an orange or lemon wedge, but of course certain beer snobs frown upon this. Not me though, hey, who doesn’t like extra vitamin C?

Adelbert's Naked Nun
Style: 16A. Witbier
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 15

Aroma: This has a sweet and fruity scent with a slight coriander spice undertone. It smells like strong zesty citrus and wheat.

Appearance: It has a cloudy deep gold color with a quickly dissipating white head. It appears to be gradient, going dark to light, top to bottom.

Flavor: There is a zesty orange fruit sweetness, with a touch of spiciness on the back of the tongue. There is very low bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It is medium-bodied with a subtle creaminess due to the strong wheat. It has a dry finish.

Overall: I liked this beer a lot, to the point that I actually prefer it to a Hefeweizen, which tends to be a little heavier. Although I'm not sure I'm correct in comparing the two. It is very drinkable and refreshing, which I suspect is why it has won silver medals at both the World Beer Champions Awards and the Craft Beer Awards.

Into The Pint Glass

Up Next: Pale Ale

Song of the Blog: "Let's Kill Tonight" by Panic! at the Disco

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Covers | Chandelier

You guys know how much I love covers? If you can strip down a song and make it sexy, I'm on board. If you can take a simple acoustic song and turn it into a rock opera, count me in.

I've seen both these covers of "Chandelier" floating around the Internet and I thought, I wonder who did it better?

Sara Bareillis

Twisted Measure

Who do you think covered Sia's Chandelier best?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Best of Trader Joe's | Sweet Things (& A Giveaway!)

Welcome to the Best of Trader Joe's series, where I spent countless hours shopping at the greatest grocery store in the United States* to find the best finds for your household. For five weeks, we will explore the wonderful gifts that they have blessed us with from five categories. At the end, we'll end with an awesome giveaway that includes on item from each category. Get excited, people. 

Today is that day. We've made it to the end. And we've reached the number one reason I shop at Trader Joe's. The sugar. All the sugar. If you ever need to apologize for something or want to find a way to my heart, you can do all of that with the sugar. 

Guys. Even if you only ever get one day in your whole life that you're able to shop here, I suggest stocking up on every single one of these items. But especially the cookie butter. 

Wanna win $25 to Trader Joe's? Scroll to the bottom to enter for your chance to win a gift card!

 Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramel and Black Sea Salt

I originally first bought this chocolate bar because my massage therapist said that a little bit of dark chocolate is good for back pain. Well, I took one bite of this and soon finished the whole thing. It's stupid how delicious this is.
 Dark Chocolate Toasted Pistachio Toffee

So, I think we should have called this thing Cookie Butter and Dark Chocolate. Here's another oh-so-tasty dessert. It's toffee, pistachios and dark chocolate. It's a mouthfeel of all things good about this world.

 Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas

If I can give you one piece of advice, I recommend that you go shopping at TJ's with another TJ's lover. Because you're always going to learn about new items with each new person. My friend and I went grocery shopping together and she showed me the ways of these delightful bites. They are perfect for a hot day when you want to cool off and get cavities at the same time.
Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter

I remember the first time I had cookie butter. I was sitting on the beach with two of my lifers and one of them pulled out a jar of this new TJ's item that was flying off the shelves so quickly, they were struggling to keep it stocked. I've been an addict ever since.

 Dark Chocolate Cookie Butter Cups

I can't even with this right now.

Triple Ginger Snaps

We have finally made it to the top selling item at Trader Joe's. I eat these so that I can keep my red hair. It is my energy source. Yes, I have now shared with you my secret. Do with it what you will. 

Song of the Blog: "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard

*please note: This is NOT a sponsored post. I just really love and support Trader Joe's

Friday, June 12, 2015

I Do Spy | The Patio

I first started I Do Spy to find cute things for my apartment and to pretend that I was made of money (any suga daddys out there looking for a curvy trophy wife?). It, of course, expanded from there.
Now that it has finally stopped raining here in ATX, I find myself yearning to be outside at all times in my bathing suit covered in head to toe sunscreen with a good book.

La Paz Octopus Outdoor Pillow — Pottery Barn
Canyon Fringe Hammock — Anthropologie
Peacock Bistro Set — Pier 1 imports
Moulin Rouge Vintage Spoons Wind Chimes — Love Letters Upcycled

Song of the Blog: "Summer" by Calvin Harris

What's on your patio? Is it 100 degrees where you live, too?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Into the Pint Glass | Fruit Beer

When you think beer, you think strawberries and peaches and oranges, right? Wait, no? Oh, I didn't think so.

But you wanna know what, when you add fruit to beer, it tastes freaking awesome.

The original "fruit beer" is going to be the Lambic-based style, which we touched on a few weeks ago, when we talked about Sour Ales. Usually when fruit is added to the fermentation process it's after the initial malt and hop drop, when yeast can start eating the sugars and keep the flavor of fruit present.

Brewers are now more apt to add in fruit extracts and essence instead of actual fruit to their brews. These need to be added in a stage after boiling, or else you're going to get a weird haze to the beer. Also, these should not be added to anything hoppy. Generally, fruit and hops don't mix well. Citrus is the exception. Have you had the Grapefruit Sculpin IPA? That's pretty much the jam.

When judging fruit beers, you should still be judging based off of the original style of the beer and not just if the fruit flavor comes out strong. If the fruit has altered the essence of the original style, then the brewers got it wrong. Go home brewers, you're drunk.

Atwater Brewery's Cherry Stout
Style: 20. Fruit Beer
ABV: 6%
IBU: 20

Aroma: There is a strong sent of tart cherries and chocolate. In the background is coffee and malt.
It has a good balance of tart cherry and maltiness.

Appearance: It's a dark brown color with a quick dissipating khaki head, that sticks around on the edge of the glass.

Flavor: There is a medium taste of tart cherries and there is a strong maltiness in the foreground. I first taste the malt and bread-like flavors and then I finish with the sweet fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: It was medium-bodied with medium carbonation, however I feel for a stout is was more light than the style should be.

Overall: I enjoyed the one bottle that I had but I don't think I would ever purchase it again. While it had a good balance, I felt that the cherry flavor could have been taken back a little bit and it could have been a heavier beer.

Do you like fruity beers? Please join us! This link-up will be open for two weeks so you have all the time in the world to try a local, national or international pilsner! Be sure to tag your drink of choice with #IntoThePintGlass. You will find the next coming month's beers below. So, take note of what your drinking and drink up me hearties, yo ho! 

Into The Pint Glass

Up Next: Witbier

Song of the Blog: "I Kissed A Girl" by Katy Perry

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Into the Pint Glass | Saison

We're coming toward the end of Mariah and I's birthday month, which is exactly why we celebrated with our two favorite beers. Last time we talked about my personal favorite, Sour Ales, and this week we're talking about Mariah's favorite: Saisons. I'll let her take it from here. 

Saison is considered a Belgian farmhouse style ale, that was traditionally brewed in the cooler months for consumption during the summer. The Saison beer style is a loosely defined style. This beer originates from the French-speaking Wallonia region in Belgium. A complex style, fruity, dry, and with notes of spiciness, fruitness, semi-sweet to tart. The yeast plays a big role in the flavor and dryness of this style. Hop bitterness is more pronounced in this style than in many other Belgian styles, and sometimes it is even dry-hopped. 

Many saisons are bottle conditioned, which means they are allowed to ferment within the bottle to produce carbonation. Saisons can be gold to copper, with an orange tint being considered traditional. There are also variations of the traditional such as saisons with the addition of fruits, black saisons, smoked saisons, and barrel aged. Saisons have seen a massive revival, especially in the US market. Saison Dupont is considered THE saison, if you want to know what a traditional saison tastes like, grab a bottle of Dupont.

Boulevard Brewing's Spring Belle Saison with Flowers
Style: 16C. Saison
ABV: 6.2
IBU: 35

Aroma: There are strong citrus and fruity esthers, particularly pineapple and lemon. There are hints of floral, including chamomile and petals. It smells like a saison.

Appearance: It is a very light gold color that I can almost see through, so clarity is great. It has a long-lasting foaming white head. There is a ton of lacing from the head.

Flavor: There are strong notes of citrus and florals, with the traditional spice in the background. I particularly taste clove, rose petals and pineapple.

Mouthfeel: It has a light body with a dry finish. The carbonation sits on the middle of the tongue, even after swallowing.

Overall: I generally swing either way with Saisons because I feel like they can be too spiced for a lighter beer but this one goes down really smoothly. I find that it's perfectly balanced between fruity, spicy and citrus-y. I don't really taste too much malt or hops, which means, again, that it's very well-balanced.

South Austin Brewery's 6 String Saison
Style: 16C. Saison
ABV: 8

Aroma: This beer smells much more spicy and citrus than the former. There are strong notes of orange and coriander. It smells like it would be a great Christmas-time beer.

Appearance: It is opaque and a deep honey color. There is a lot of activity happening in the glass, even well after the initial pour. It has a white foamy head that also lasts a while. 

Flavor: Holy spicy citrus bomb in your mouth. This is much more sweet than a traditional Saison. There is a sweet aftertaste at the roof of my mouth.

Mouthfeel: This has a medium body to it with great carbonation.

Overall: This is a surprisingly sweet beer that is pretty high in alcohol content, especially for a Saison. I really can't tell if I like it or not. It's drinkable but I'm not sure I'd ever order it again.

Into The Pint Glass

Up Next: Fruit Beers — look for any beers that have added fruit. Example: Abita Strawberry Lager

Song of the Blog: "Summer of 69" by Bryan Adams