Brew Wërks Sunday Conversation Series

Pint of Brew Wërks Neurotic Blonde Ale

Pint of Brew Wërks Neurotic Blonde Ale

Last night we went to the inaugural edition of Brew Wërks Brewing Company’s Sunday Conversation Series with Brewmaster Michael McMahon. I would expect it to grow, but we had a lovely time as it was only 6 of us (3 couples) which made it easy to converse sitting around a table.

The conversation(s) was great and included beer trends and styles, whether the drinking public or brewer(ie)s drive the trends, recipes, assorted processes in beer/cider/mead making, water quality and other testing issues, food, Mexico, reasons for coming to Bend—all of us are fairly recent arrivals—places we’ve lived and worked before, and on and on. It began at 6 pm and we left a little around 8:45 and the others were still at it.

There were food and drink specials—although I never knew what they actually were, nor did I ask. In the end, we got 20% taken off our bill though so it didn’t really matter what the specifics were.

Brew Wërks Pub features 6 taps of Brew Wërk beers and 6 guest taps and an assortment of great food.

Mike hopes to do this every week and would like to get more people to come and chat. It really was laid back and inviting. I even got a business card and invite to come by the brewery and check things out, with the pleasant caveat that I might be put to work. Sounds fair to me.

So if you are a home brewer or not (I’m not. Yet.), beer aficionado or simply interested in chatting about beer and other topics over good beer and food on a Sunday evening then do check out Brew Wërks Brewing Company’s Sunday Conversation Series at the Old Mill Brew Wërks Pub, 6 pm to ….

Hope to see you there soon!

The Abyss 2012 Release Party, 15 November 2012

We did manage to get to The Abyss 2012 Release Party yesterday in time to get a flight of 2008-2012 The Abyss as I was mentioning in my Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event post. Our friend who was most interested said she could go after 12 noon so we packed up and headed down to the brew pub for lunch.

The Abyss 2008-12 tasters and quote from “Ten beers that will make you a man — if they don’t kill you first” at Denver Westword http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2011/04/ten-beers-that-will-make-you-a-man.php?page=2

Before I get into my short tasting notes I want to give you the info they provided us for The Abyss 2012, which is the seventh release (2006-2012):

  • ABV: 11.0%  IBUs: 70
  • Malt: Pale, Black, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Wheat
  • Hops: Millennium, Nugget, Styrian, Northern Brewer
  • Brewed with: Blackstrap Molasses & Brewer’s Licorice
  • Dry-Hopped with: Vanilla Beans & Cherry Bark
  • Barrel-Aging: (28%) 6 months in Bourbon, Oregon Oak, and Pinot Noir
  • Tasting Notes: Best served at 50-55 degrees. Vanilla, Chocolate, Dark Fruit, Caramel, Toffe, and Espresso
  • Cellaring Notes: Store at 45 degrees in a dark place. Constant temperature is key to proper cellaring. Drink within 5 to 7 years.
  • Beer Advocate Rating: A+ World Class
  • Rate Beer Rating: 100 Overall
  • 2012 World Beer Awards: World’s Best Stout & Porter

[See http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/brew/the-abyss for more awards]

A flight of The Abyss 2008-2012 and a truffle

In the pictures: Back row – left 2008, mid 2009, right 2010; front row – left 2011, mid 2012, right truffle

  • 2008 Thick. Caramel. Roasted malt. Little change after truffle. Excellent!
  • 2009 thick. Tobacco and leather. Slight bourbon. After truffle a bit darker. Amazing!
  • 2010 Little aroma. Slight bourbon, strong wine flavor. After truffle a tad smoother.
  • 2011 Smells slightly smoky. Definite bourbon taste.
  • 2012 Thick.

As you can see, my words sometimes escape me. That is the order we tasted them in, oldest to youngest. By the time I got to the newer ones and having had some truffle already it made no sense to do “after truffle” tastings on them as I had truffle permeating my mouth. The only palate cleanser I had was water.

2008 and 2009 were my favorites by far. 2011 was also very good. 2010 was also very drinkable and given another year or three may become something very special. 2012 needs to age a few years. Don’t get me wrong, it is a tasty beer. Is it the best stout or porter in the world? Nope. Not at all.

I have revised my opinion of The Abyss upward a bit from the other night but I’m still going on record with the claim that Black Butte XXIV—also ‘fresh’ this year—is better and that Midnight Sun’s Berserker Imperial Stout is what The Abyss 2010 dreams of becoming in a few more years.

I did get myself a hoodie sweathshirt and two bombers for the Cellar. Our friend also took two bottles home.

One last thing. I want to give props to Deschutes Brewery and their social media coordinator, Gina. There was some confusion over the officially published times for the availability of the limited number of flights. We had made plans with assorted friends to try and make it together and then the time changed. Sara and I both tweeted Deschutes to ask what was up with the time and to register a bit of disappointment. We got a quick response apologizing for the confusion and contact info in case we were unable to get the flights we were hoping for. Yesterday, after our plans changed and we made it, I emailed Gina to thank her and let her know we had been successful. She again apologized for the confusion and offered me a token. I turned it down as it was never about getting something from a situation that can too easily arise in our busy and complex lives. I think Deschutes does a great job with their social media presence and website and we generally know when things are happening. So, just wanted to give a shout out to Gina and Deschutes. Thank you!

 

Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event

On 6 Nov. we attended the Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event with 6 of ours friends. We got there a little early and Sara was able to grab a table so all 8 of us could sit together. The room was pretty full so I assume they had sold all 25 seats.

We tasted 8 different barrel-aged beers; four were from Deschutes, one was a collaboration between Deschutes and Hair of the Dog, and three were from other breweries. Hors d’oeuvres were served about midway through the beer sampling.

We also got a presentation from Jacob Harper, the barrel master at Deschutes. The beers were arranged in the order he figured was lightest to heaviest, but was slightly complicated by the fact that four were sours so they were placed at the back half.

We began with the Calabaza Blanca from Jolly Pumpkin (Traverse City, Ann Arbor and Dexter, Michigan). It is a light wheat/white ale hybrid that was slightly sweet and slightly sour. I thought it was fairly tasty but would not want to drink it in quantity or frequently. ~5% ABV. I gave it 4 stars.

Next was Ale D’or Fort from Deschutes, which I had never heard of. Turns out it was brewed for a special Oregon beer festival (missed the name) last year where all the brewers took a particular Brettanomyces yeast strain from Unibroue and competed with what they produced from it. It was light, almost wine-like, a strong gold which had been aged in French Pinot barrels. No carbonation. It tasted a lot like Ashton’s Fresh Hop London Strong Gold without the fresh hops, which is to say, amazing. 9%+ ABV. 5 stars.

Third was Deschutes’ Black Butte XXIV, which we have had a fair bit of and of which neither of us would tire of ever having. I have three bottles in the Cellar. It is an Imperial porter with dates, figs, chicory and other bits for flavor. 20% was aged in bourbon barrels. We were told that next year they plan on aging 50% of the batch in bourbon barrels, which will up the ABV a few %. I think everyone present let out a loud and appreciative “Oooohhh” at that. 10.8% ABV. 5 stars+

Fourth, and the last non-sour, was Deschutes’ The Abyss (2011). I have been really wanting to try this as this year’s version is being released today. It is an Imperial stout that used licorice and molasses in the kettle. It was 28% barrel-aged (11% Pinot noir, 15% bourbon, 2% raw Oregon oak barrels). It is relatively the same each year. My first reaction was a thoughtful “Hmmm.” I didn’t want to be hasty but I was definitely underwhelmed. It has a chocolate taste late in the mouth. It is tasty but I have to say it is no Black Butte Porter XXIV. 11% ABV. I gave it 4 stars and am hopeful for this year’s batch. It won World’s Best Stout & Porter at the 2012 World Beer Awards, which in my humble opinion it does not deserve. A damn fine beer it is but Black Butte XXIV Porter is better and Midnight Suns’ Berserker Imperial Stout blows them both away.

With any luck we will be one of the lucky few at the release party today to get in on the vertical tasting of 2008-2012 batches of The Abyss. Perhaps I’ll revise my opinion then. [Turns out they have moved up the time when the limited flights will be available and it isn’t looking good. We both questioned this on Twitter—mostly as to what time they really were being served—and got an interesting reply back so we’ll see.]

Fifth, and the first sour, was Tart of Darkness from The Bruery (Orange County, California). It was a sour stout made with cherries and aged in oak barrels. It tasted much lighter than it looked. 5.6% ABV. 4 stars.

Next was The Dissident from Deschutes, which we have also had recently and of which I have 2 bottles in the Cellar. It is made every other year and uses a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces. Currently made in batches of 200 barrels they are aiming to begin producing it every year. 11.4% ABV. 5 stars. This won World’s Best Oud Bruin and Americas Best Oud Bruin at the 2012 World Beer Awards. World’s Best? I don’t know but it is certainly one of the finest sours produced outside of Belgium.

Next to last was Sang Noir from Cascade Brewing (Portland). Pretty darn sour. Light and thin but very sour. Cherries. Aged in French oak and bourbon barrels. 9.5% ABV. I gave it 4/3 stars. For me it was a 3 but I wondered if I were judging it too harshly since it had pushed past my acceptability for sourness.

Last was The Collage, also from Deschutes. We have also tasted this since being here and have a bottle in the Cellar. It comes from a collaboration with Hair of the Dog (Portland) and is a blend of Deschutes’ The Dissident (but unsoured) and The Stoic (a quad we are still waiting to try) and Hair of the Dog’s Fred  (10% ABV Golden Strong ale) and Adam (10% ABV; their 1st beer). It is 100% barrel-aged in 6 different types of barrels. Hair of the Dog uses a peat malt. It is tasty, no doubt, but it seems all the work is over much for the end result. 11.6% ABV. 4 stars.

I must say, though, that I am definitely looking forward to tasting Fred and Adam and other Hair of the Dog beers some day.

After the tasting we were still hungry so we moved downstairs for some dinner. Sara and I shared an Ashton’s Fresh Hop Strong London Gold which was excellent but perhaps not the best idea after all those other strong beers. And I had even been finishing a couple of Sara’s that she did not. I really felt it the next day!

It was, of course, election night and some of those at our table had been (::grumble:: understandably ::grumble::) refreshing their phones all evening as returns came in. During dinner we learned of a couple states’ equal marriage bills passing, Colorado’s passing of their marijuana bill, and of the reelection of Obama. Many people in the pub seemed genuinely happy at much of this but there were definitely groups of assorted sizes who were not. “Sorry if our reasonably joyous celebrations were disturbing you.” No, honestly, I’m not. Deschutes County is a lot more red than I ever might have imagined before moving here. I can see it now but I still find it hard to believe.

All in all, it was a tasty and enjoyable evening.

One of my favorite lines from Barrel Master Jacob Harper was one of the reasons why one might want to barrel-age a beer: “To add mystique to an already good beer.” I’ll raise my glass to a little mystique!

 

Happy International Stout Day, 8 November 2012

I was informed by Untapped via twitter (@Untappd) a day or two ago, that today is International Stout Day. (@StoutDay)

Now that’s a holiday made-to-order for Bend!

OK, our stout scene is a little weak here in the Pacific Northwest what with the overemphasis (thankfully, tapering I believe) on IPAs. But. Weak or not, we do have some amazing stouts around. Most are special issues and more seasonal issues but there are a few very good stouts available year-round.

I will most definitely be participating this evening by: 1) enjoying a delicious stout (or two), and 2) checking into Untappd to get my Stout Day badge, and 3) writing this post.

Which stout(s) will I drink? Let me check my cellar and fridge.

I could always have an Obsidian Stout from Deschutes but I only have it in 12 oz. bottles and, honestly, even though I really like Obsidian it tastes like crap out of a 12 oz. bottle. I also have bombers (22 oz. bottles) of the following: Widmer Bros. Series 924 Milk Stout, Elysian Dragonstooth Stout, Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout, and HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery)Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout. I have previously had both the Dragonstooth and the Overcast and they are pretty good in my opinion. I have yet to taste the Widmer Bros. or the HUB.

I think I’ll go with the Survival 7-Grain seeing as tomorrow I’m participating in Twitter vs. Zombies for DigiWriMo. Seems like fueling up on some serious grains might be useful. 😉

I truly wish we had a Midnight Sun Berserker Imperial Stout. We had it off tap at Broken Top Bottle Shop, down the street from us, and it is better than any beer has a right to be! Seriously. We are trying to get our hands on a bottle or three and we are hoping Broken Top will get it again, and they are trying. Even Sara wants to give the Berserker 6 or more stars on a 5 star rating. It truly is that damn good on draft. Then again, I simply could not drink beer that amazing (or strong 12.7%) on a routine basis.

I have now mentioned Untappd and Broken Top Bottle Shop and I want to talk about them some more.

Untappd: Drink Socially is a website and an app (multiple platforms. I believe) that my friend Jenny turned me onto a couple months back. You can use it for keeping track of the beers you drink, keep a wish list, follows breweries, check into the locations you drink at, rate & describe the beers, upload photos of your beers, friend people, and so on. Of course, one earns badges for assorted beer drinking activities. I like it.

Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café is our neighborhood drinking and eating establishment. It is the closest to us at the other end of our street; a nice healthy ~20 min. hilly walk each way. They have excellent vegan and vegetarian food (says the meat eater in the family) and lots of tasty meat-based food, also. They have 10-12 taps from all over which rotate frequently and they have hundreds of beers and a good handful of ciders in bottles that you can consume there or take home. Sadly, their bottles seem to be way overpriced, unlike the rest of their offerings, but they usually have at least one tasty to very tasty thing on tap. They also have wine. They host events and have lots of live music and often these things are free. It is a great and friendly place and we go there more than anywhere else.

Back on October 13th we got ourselves a Trumer Pils. When I checked this beer in on Untappd I got a Trumer Bike & Beer badge and a notification that I was entered to win a Trumer branded beach cruiser bike.

On 3 Nov. I got an email from the CEO of Untappd saying I was the winner! I emailed him back my contact info and am now waiting on Trumer’s marketing folks to contact me. Hard to tell from the picture but it looks like I will soon have a decent bike for around town here. And I needed a bike, too, to become a proper Bendite. What better than a beer branded bike?

So a big thanks to Jenny, Untappd, Broken Top Bottle Shop and Trumer! Social drinking pays off!

I decided to go with the HUB Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout, which has cold-pressed Stumptown Organic Holler Mountain coffee in it. It is pretty tasty but kind of medium bodied for a stout. The coffee is mild in both the nose and flavor.

HUB Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout bottle and glass

HUB Survival 7-Grain Stout for International Stout Day 2012

Checking this beer into Untappd I, of course, got the International Stout Day (2012) badge but I also got a New Brew Thursday (Level 2) badge for drinking a new beer on three Thursdays in a 30 day period.

I raise my glass to all my readers and wish you a very Happy International Stout Day 2012.

 

We are moving to Bend, Oregon

We are moving to Bend, Oregon in early August.

Sara got a job as the librarian for OSU-Cascades in Bend. She starts in the 3rd week of August so we are in full on packing and move planning mode.

We are really looking forward to this move. Just over two years in Sioux City (SUX) has been plenty. Don’t get me wrong, Sioux City has a fair few good things going for it and we’ve made a few friends who it hurts to leave, but for two liberal, vegetarian (or nearly so [me]), academically-oriented librarians it has little to offer.

Our time was certainly not wasted here, which is a consolation. Sara got more experience as a librarian and was promoted to Director of Educational Technology, a position created for her. I had a poem published in the Iowa state poetry contest annual, and a photograph published in a literary magazine and on display in the Sioux City Art Center for about 7 weeks. I also helped edit this year’s edition of the Briar Cliff Review, took several classes, all of which were literature or writing courses, except for one digital photography course where I finally learned to use my Nikon D40X off of automatic.

We saw a few concerts, the more important of which we had to go to Iowa City, Omaha and Minneapolis for. We attended the Iowa Library Association annual conference in Coralville, THATCamp LAC in Green Bay and the Library Technology Conference in Minneapolis, and a few smaller ones here and there in Iowa.

I was hired as a cataloging contractor by Briar Cliff’s Bishop Mueller Library and eventually was able to do a lot of collection development work, particularly weeding, among other things. We are hoping that I will be able to continue doing some work for them by distance.

But. Bend. Oh my. We already have tickets to see Madeleine Peyroux and we will attending a 3-day yoga festival in early Sep. That is no doubt more than my quota of yoga in one sitting but I figure it’ll be a good way to suss out the local community and see if there are any instructors whose style I like and so on.

They are also a craft brewing haven. There are 8 microbreweries within walking distance of each other in Bend alone, with a few more in the nearby Central Oregon environs. There are also 3-4 more opening in the next 6 months to 1.5 years. That web site lists 14 breweries in Bend and one in Sisters but it also includes brew pubs.

They have tons of events like the upcoming Fermentation Celebration on 12 July (we’ll miss it), which is the kickoff to Oregon Craft Brewers Month. Also, coming up (and we’ll be there!) is the Ninth Annual Bend Brewfest. There is a Bend Ale Trail and they even have an app. Oh, also coming up is the 4th Annual Little Woody Barrel Aged Brew and Whiskey Fest. Oh my.

Downtown has an independent coffee shop on most every street where we have one (perhaps 2) decent coffee shops in Sioux City.

There’s an organization called (theNatureofWords).  How can I not like an organization with that for a name? Their mission statement:

The Mission of The Nature of Words is to strengthen and support the literary arts and humanities in the high desert region of the Northwest through community interaction with acclaimed authors and through creative writing programs for youth and adults.

There are several disc golf courses in the area including one right out back of the library Sara will be working in.

Mountains, forests, outdoor activities of all kinds, new forms (to me) of natural objects to learn about and photograph, and so on.

Moving sucks, as usual. And yesterday I tripped and fell backwards over something in the basement while working down there so I now hurt far more than I did simply from the labor of packing and disassembling things which I’ve been doing for a week and a half now; started with the books and the office primarily. Also sorted out still fully packed boxes in the basement from those needing repacking. So lots of heavy, tiring work. And more to come after a day off today.

But we’re going to Bend!

Reading One to Ten (meme)

Cribbed from Angel at The Itinerant Librarian.

1 The book I am currently reading. Like Angel, I usually have more than one book going. I am currently reading the following: The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore; Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces; Hermann Melville’s Billy Budd and other stories; and about a half dozen others that I have been stopped on for a while now.

2 The last book I finished. Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Last night. My comments are here.

3 The next book I want to read. Again, ditto Angel, “there are all sorts of books I want to read next.” There are two books from the Library Thing Early Reviewer Program that need to be read so that I can write reviews: Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy and Gerhard Klosch’s Sleeping Better Together. I will probably take the stretching book with me on our trip to DC to visit family for Christmas. Then there are the books on my Two-Thirds Book Challenge list: Transformations (poems) by Anne Sexton is near the top of the list due to my Grimm’s Fairytales class starting in early January. Not on that list but recently purchased is Voltaire’s A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary, which I’d like to read prior to Enlightenment Lit in the Spring term. I could go on and on here but I’ll stop. My goodread’s to read shelf would give you a small inkling of possibilities.

4 The last book I bought. On the 10th I bought Voltaire’s A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary (Oxford World’s Classic ed) in a Kindle ed. and I ordered a used copy of Tzvetan Todorov’s A Defence of the Enlightenment from England via abebooks. I have been wanting that book for quite a while now and it is already out of print. I foresee wanting/needing it for Enlightenment Lit for whatever paper topic I choose. I adore Todorov even though I don’t always agree with him. And Voltaire is simply delectable!

5 The last book I was given. Not counting Library Thing Early Reviewer books or books weeded from the collection at BCU, it appears the last book I was given was a copy of Jeni Bauer’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams by my daughter for Father’s Day. Eat Jeni’s ice cream! Support Jeni’s! Buy this book and make your own Jeni’s! Did I mention you should eat Jeni’s ice cream? It is beyond awesome!

6 The last book I borrowed from the library. Public: Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Traveled, which I did not finish but put on my wish list. University: Nobel Prize winner Tomas Tranströmer’s Selected Poems, and Truth Barriers.

8 The last translated book you read. Lysistrata, and the Tranströmers just before that, in November.

9 The book at the top of my Christmas list. Like Angel, the list is not exactly specific to one title but the short list I culled from my Amazon wish list for the more immediate family included: Barbara McAfee’s Full Voice: The Art and Practice of Vocal Presence (seen in GradHacker); James Attlee’s Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight; Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer; Douglas Thomas’ A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change; Gloria Ambrosia’s The Complete Muffin Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide To Making Great Muffins; Borges’ Selected Non-Fictions; Tolkien on Fairy-Stories; Mircea Eliade’s Myths, Dreams and Mysteries. These are all titles both Sara and I would like to read. If I were compiling that list today instead of just a couple of weeks ago it might be quite different as we both have added several (or more) titles to our wish lists. ::sigh::

10 The so-far unpublished book I am most looking forward to reading. Normally, I rarely know about books before they are published unless Amazon manages to send me a timely pre-order email. But. Kickstarter! We helped fund a book on Kickstarter recently so we are looking forward to Kio Stark’s, Don’t Go Back to School: A handbook for learning anything.

A Deutschland wedding

As I wrote here, Sara and I went to Germany for my son’s wedding. It was a wonderful trip but far too short. We left on a Wed. morning and got back home on Mon. eve.

We spent the first couple of days with my daughter-in-law’s parents in Fürth in the Odenwald. It was quite lovely and relaxing. My daughter, her husband, Sara and I took a 4-hour hike through a UNESCO GeoPark to the Lindenfels castle while there. On Saturday we (previously mentioned 4) moved to the Hotel Perkeo in the Altstadt of Heidelberg. My sister and brother-in-law were also staying in Heidelberg but at a different hotel.

The wedding was late Saturday afternoon in the Kappelle of the Heidelberg Schloss with pictures before that on the castle grounds. The reception was held at a Schützenhaus in the hills behind the castle.

Kaja and Jeremy

Sara and I were up fairly early on Sun. morning and went out wandering in a practically deserted Altstadt before almost anyone else was up, which was quite pleasant. We went back to the hotel for a short rest and second breakfast and then went wandering again. Sitting in the Marktplatz which was now full of tables, chairs, and people, dogs, bicycles and so on we relaxed and had coffee. I even had third breakfast!

More wandering, sightseeing and shopping followed after spending a bit of time checking out the Alte Brücke with my sister, brother-in-law, daughter, son-in-law and my ex-wife. Sara and I even climbed all the way to the top of the Heiliggeistkirche. We met back up with the family for lunch.

Sara and Mark on top of the Heiliggeistkirche

Later in the day, while Sara went shopping, the rest of us walked across the Alte Brücke, and climbed the hill to walk the Philosophenweg, then down the hill, back across the Neckar on the newer bridge and back into the Altstadt.

Later in the evening we all met back up with the newlyweds, Jeremy and Kaja, and had dinner in the restaurant in the Hotel Perkeo.

Late in the evening Sara and I packed up most of our stuff and at 6:45 AM a shuttle bus came to take us the the Frankfurt Flughafen.

It was amazing trip but far too short. Besides all of the tasty food and beautiful scenery we also picked up a lovely daughter-in-law and generous, bright and highly interesting (in the good way) in-laws.

Congratulations Kaja and Jeremy!

Bauer, jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Full disclosure: I have yet to actually make anything from this lovely cookbook. Quality ingredients are difficult to find, to say the least, in Sioux City, Iowa.

This is a beautifully designed, easy-to-understand cookbook for making some of the best tasting foods I have ever had the privilege of eating.

It starts with a promise, Jeni’s story, a quick (2 p.) illustrated guide to the basics of ice cream making, a short discussion of ingredients and equipment [BTW, you probably have most of the needed equipment and the ice cream maker is quite affordable. Ours was a gift from my daughter.], followed by a couple page overview of “The Craft of Ice Cream.”

Next follow 160+ pages of recipes for the best ice creams I have ever tasted. Jeni’s commentary on each recipe is also invaluable. This section is divided into the four seasons, as what is available at any moment in Jeni’s stores is fully dependent on what is freshly available to her.

The last approx. 20 pages cover the basics of bases & techniques, nuts & dried fruits, variegates & fruits, baked goods & candies, sundae accessories and cone making. Also included is a list of sources for quality ingredients.

Once back from my son’s wedding in Germany, I hope to use the source list to acquire some decent ingredients and begin making my own delicious, high-quality ice creams.

For the record, this is NOT a vegetarian or vegan cookbook. You will be using dairy. That said, there are 10 sorbet recipes here along with guidance for making your own sorbet base to be flavored as you like. So, perhaps not strictly off-limits to the vegan.

A taste of the Sioux City music scene

Last Friday evening Sara and I attended a showcase of local singer/songwriters at the Meet Virginia coffee house in downtown Sioux City.  We thought it would be great to get exposed to some of the local musicians in our new home.

The show was scheduled to start at 8 PM so we arrived at 7:20 or so to get a decent seat, which we did.  We both had tasty coffee-ish drinks and some very tasty cookies.

We heard the sound check of the local songwriter/musician, Kelli Johnson, who was the host for the event.  We also heard Kelsey ‘Doll’ Klingensmith do her sound check.  Both were impressive so we were looking forward to an evening of excellent music.

Nearer to 8 PM the place rapidly starting filling up.  More of the singer/songwriters (11 total), their friends and families, and folks like us quickly filled the coffee shop to capacity.

The show started promptly at 8 PM.  I believe the first artist was Page Rose, a young woman somewhere in her later teens perhaps.  We enjoyed what we heard of the 3 songs she did but it was hard to tell if we really liked her music or not because it was hard to hear her.  The second act was two young men, Ian Osborn and Cole Barbee, performing as “Good Morning Revival.”  I enjoyed what I could hear of the guitarist but their style of music is not really one Sara or I are big fans of.

Again, we heard little of this duo due to the crowd.  Sara had already hinted at leaving any time I was ready since we couldn’t really hear.

The article in the local arts & entertainment weekly, Buzz, quoted the host discussing these kinds of shows in Nashville where “You get shushed if you talk.”  He mentioned this at the opening welcome Friday night though he also added, as he did in the paper, that he wasn’t going for exactly that vibe because “He believes the coffee house setting in Meet Virginia is ideal for this type of performance. ‘The musicians will be very well received,’ he says. Most people coming to Meet Virginia are there for the music…and a good cup of coffee” [Buzz, 21 Sep 2010].

Except none of that was the case.  We were so pissed!  It seems most of the folks were there to be seen and perhaps support their own kin or friends but not the other performers.  We found the vast majority made up one of the rudest music audiences we have ever had the unfortunate experience to be around.  And it wasn’t just a few people.  Most people were busy talking to someone else while the musicians were performing.  Only a few people, it seemed, were earnestly trying to pay attention to the performances.

The third act was the extremely talented and young, 11-years-old, Kelsey ‘Doll’ Klingensmith so I stubbornly stayed a bit longer because I really wanted to hear her.  Except we couldn’t.  We stayed for 2 songs and then got up and left.  There was no point in remaining.  For most of the crowd there that night, although they had ostensibly come out for the music, they were not there to support and appreciate the hard work of these musicians.

I tried to get a quick word to the host, Kelli Johnson, on the way out but he was quite busy as one might expect.  We both sincerely appreciate his hard work in arranging this event.  We do.

Also, Meet Virginia seems like a lovely place (we had been there once before on a weekday afternoon) and I can recommend it. I am sure they did a pretty good business Friday evening.  The drinks and cookies we had were excellent!  I understand they also have sandwiches but I have yet to experience one.  But I cannot recommend it as a venue for any music that actually needs to be heard to be appreciated.

So, unless we are assured that the shushing rule will be in full effect for the next such event we will not bother to come out and try to experience the talented local musicians we have in the area.  And that is a shame as we both love supporting local musicians.

It will be a long time before Sioux City can convince us that they have any real respect for the effort required to get up on stage and bare your soul; especially when that soul belongs to an angsty (or not) teenager, just learning to play their instrument and write songs.

Thanks to our aborted local music date night we now only have two artists to look for in the future instead of the perhaps 5-8 we might have otherwise if we could have actually been able to hear the musicians performing.

We will especially be keeping an eye out for Kelsey Doll (as she goes by) because that young lady wrote and played amazing songs.  We apologize for leaving in the midst of your set but, in some small way, that was showing you far more respect than anyone staying.

If you were in the crowd at Meet Virginia last Friday night, may I ask, did the evening meet your expectations?

Keeping up … with people

The What

Wednesday afternoon I posted the following to my facebook status:

I have recently instituted a personal goal of trying to catch up with at least 1 interesting person a week (or so) just to see what’s rockin’ their (LIS) world, whether there are any areas of overlapping interest, if we can challenge/cheer each other on in our research endeavors, etc. To do this I am asking people to lunch or coffee … so please don’t get freaky if I ask you. If not interested just say No thanks. 😀

Not a perfect message, I agree, but facebook stati do have a character limit and I had hit it. The primary problem with it is that “interesting” word. It means pretty much anything and, thus, nothing. So it is a somewhat lazy but mostly space constrained shorthand for a lot more; including a lot more that I can’t even articulate yet.

The Context

Sometime last week I decided to ask a friend and once fellow student to lunch or coffee to catch up with her. We had taken a couple of classes together and we are both off doing our own CAS stuff now. I do get to see her now and again at the reference desk but if one can imagine how busy the reference desk at the main UIUC Library is then you can imagine that short amounts of small talk is all we can manage.

The classes we had together were all “upper-level” information organization classes and some of the projects she’s been involved in have been in areas like faceted classifications of folktales.

But she’s a reference librarian by bent. And desire. [That is, if I remember correctly from some of those disparate and short snatches of conversation at the reference desk.]

Of course reference librarians can be interested in the geeky, often esoteric intricacies of thesauri, faceted classification systems, indexing, and so on. I wish more were. 😉 But, in my own admittedly weak experience [10 12 years now], I have found few reference librarians, much less LIS students, who are interested in these sorts of things to any true depth.

So I wanted to take some quality time to catch up and see where she is in her studies, where she’s heading with her CAS project/paper, and all that stuff in the facebook message above. We were supposed to go to lunch this past Tuesday but she woke up ill so we rescheduled for next week.

Wednesday afternoon I thought of one of our Ph.D. students who I have met in person only once or so but we now follow each other on Twitter and facebook and I find her and what little I know of her work intriguing. So I invited her to lunch or coffee.

That’s when I realized I was onto something and posted the above status to facebook.

1st Lunch Date

We met at Bombay (Indian food) for the buffet and talk. She was already excited because she thinks my idea is a great one. We had a leisurely lunch and talked about my CAS paper and research, about the Library Student Journal, and about her coursework (last semester of) and teaching. We discussed Integrationism, language and communication, Symbolic Interactionism, Erving Goffman, differences between teaching undergrads and LIS students, and several other things. I’d say it was a success; not that I have any specific measures of success in mind.

Feedback in facebook

I got some good feedback shortly after posting the above status, such as several Likes, and a question or two. I found it extremely interesting that the 1st person to Like my status is the next person in my queue. Another Ph.D. student, she has taken some courses in GSLIS but is primarily in Rhetoric and Writing Studies [again, if remembering correctly]. I am going to wait a bit before trying to schedule this one as I still need to catch up with the original person I asked before I thought of this as a more sustained “program.”

One comment I received was whether I was paying or not. I am happy to do so in every case but will leave it up to the other whether we go Dutch or I pay. This is not a request for people to ask me to lunch so I will pay. I intend to still go to lunch with friends and such as I sometimes do. But if you are one of my closest friends here then, well, sorry but you don’t meet my criteria for this. I see you and talk to you anyway; I already have a good idea what you are up to. 😀

Purpose, Goals

What am I up to? Do I have a purpose or goals for this. Well, yes, and no. It is a work in progress and I am leaving it wide open and flexible.

First, it is and can be a form of professional development. Normally we talk about keeping up with the literature but isn’t keeping up with fellow professionals also professional development? Especially if one is interacting directly with them, yes?

Second, it is networking.

But even more important to me, it is a way to develop better friendships and deeper acquaintances. It is about broadening my horizons. It will expose me to ongoing work and the interests of others in a relaxed environment. Overlapping areas of interest can be discerned and expanded. Efforts to support and challenge/cheer each other on in our separate research endeavors can be drawn up and implemented.  We can clue each other into conferences, journals, books, people, ideas, and so on that might be of interest and value to each other. And there are, no doubt, other benefits that I will discover.

And, yes, one of my primary goals is to be of equal value to my dates for whatever purposes they have in accepting.

The Future

I have another couple of individuals in mind (one mentioned above, and another GSLIS Ph.D. student) but no one in particular after that. But during our discussions yesterday I realized that there are several newer faculty in GSLIS who I do not know at all. So perhaps that is where I’ll start. There are also several 0% faculty appointments in GSLIS with folks from Communications and other departments; they’d be good candidates.

After that I don’t know. I wish I knew more students and faculty in other departments here at UIUC. At ISU I knew people from all across campus. I have been here at UIUC about the same amount of time I was there but there I was an undergrad and an at-large grad student so I took classes all over. As much as I wanted to wander into other departments here I kept focused on my own department and my LIS education.

Certainly there are plenty of librarians I could get to know better here. And I should.

Wrap-up

I’m not sure what will become of this but I intend to enjoy the company of some interesting people, learn more about the diversity of work and interests within our profession/discipline and in other disciplines.

If anyone has suggestions I am certainly happy to entertain them. If you are here and read my blog but we don’t really know each other and you’d like to change that then feel free to contact me.

Might this idea work for you? Only you can decide that. But I think that on a campus where everyone is busy and many come and go so quickly (Yes, 2-6 years is quickly) this may be a good corrective to that feeling of “I sure wish I could get to know so-and-so” or of “Boy, their research is really interesting; I wish I knew more about it” or any similar wistful desires.

If anyone else implements something similar I’d love to hear about how it is going/went, either here or directly via email, etc. Myself, I have no specific plans to blog about these dates. That will be on a case-by-case basis and only after I have cleared any such blog mentions with the affected party.

So, who have you had coffee with lately?