Month: August 2013

Happy Birthday, Hudson!

Hudson turned 5 today. He’s very happy to be 5, he’s been talking for months about turning 5 and his birthday couldn’t come quick enough. I woke up alone when Eva came into our bed with her big Olivia book to show me all the clothes Olivia was wearing. Gay was already awake and took Havana and Hudson to Top Pot to get doughnuts.

We spent the morning getting ready for Hudson’s party. The kids spent most of the morning on the trampoline. The party started at 2pm.


Wednesday in NYC

We met with the design firm in the morning for a couple hours. They showed us 8 (!) concepts, all very good, and we had a good discussion about them. We left thinking it’d be hard to choose between a few of them.

After that, we walked to Eataly for lunch at Birreria. Ben Brotman met us there and we had beers and lunch.


Then we all went to The High Line park for a walk and to the Bier Garten at The Standard for a beer (where the waitress thought an Oktoberfest and a Hefeweizen are the same thing).

Then we all went to The Ginger Man for more beers.

Ben left to take the bus back home and Gay and I went to Nougatine for dinner. We happened to watch the documentary Somm on the plane ride and when the sommelier came over she was wearing her Advanced Sommelier pin on her lapel – she had just passed the test on Friday – and we had a fun conversation about that with her. I’m not much of a wine person but I am impressed with the dedication a sommelier has to go through (and pass!) those tests.

NYC 2013

We’re in New York City for the first time since we were here in 2002. We’re here, without the kids, to see the initial design concepts for our brewery logo.

On our way to dinner near our hotel we came across The Hudson Hotel, where we stayed 11 years ago. Because our son’s name is Hudson, and probably subconsciously named after the hotel, we couldn’t resist having a Manhattan there and ended up having dinner there too (at 10:30pm local time).

Good dinner, lobster roll sandwich and cheeseburger with thrice-cooked fries and Peking duck fries. The beer situation is much better these days, lots of local small craft beers on tap.



Pumpkin Ale 2013

I love pumpkin beers and Fall is coming fast so I’m brewing 10 gallons of a pumpkin ale. Last year I made Punkin’ Ale. This year it’s my own recipe, and looking at last year’s recipe now, mine is similar except I’m using Golden Promise malt as the base, just one charge of Magnum hops for bittering, and I’m adding molasses and using pumpkin in the boil instead of the mash. I plan to serve this on Halloween. Tastes fantastic right now.


First Double Brew Day

I’m brewing two batches in the same day for the first time today. Both batches are the same recipe, an Oktoberfest, a.k.a. Marzën, once with a decoction (there’s a brewing term not derived from German!?) and once without decoction to see if I can taste a difference. Some people believe decoctions are critical to making lagers and others believe the difference is slight and not worth the effort. As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between. It’ll be interesting to see which side of the fence I land on.

I filled the HLT and measured out the grain last night so I could get started right away this morning. I was awake at 5:20am, excited to get started, but tried to get some more sleep. By 6am I was out of bed and in the brewery heating the strike water by 6:20. I went upstairs for orange juice and to make coffee and still nobody else in the house was awake. I went back down to the brewery to mill the grain. When I came back up for a cup of coffee, Gay and the kids were having breakfast and Gay had made me eggs and bacon. I had a nice leisurely breakfast. By then, the water was heated. I doughed-in and my long brew day was underway.

The boil kettle heating element on at the same time the HLT heating element is on, boiling the first beer and mashing the second:


Since my brewery is electric with a heating element in the boil kettle rather than direct-fire heating, I have no way to boil the mash, i.e., do the decoction part, so I had to take it to the kitchen stove upstairs:


Everything went smoothly, including boiling the decoction mash that I did without scorching it. I finished and cleaned up by 6pm, more than 11 hours. I still have to pitch the yeast and aerate it tonight after it chills in the fridge from 22°C to lager temperature at 10°C.

It was fun, but I’m tired and my feet hurt. It’s a cloudy/rainy dark lager weather day so I’m having a tasty Dunkel outside and relaxing now.


In a month or two I should know if the decoction made a difference in the flavor. Looking forward to the Fall when the leaves turn the color of an Oktoberfest beer!

Street Food

Havana and Hudson went to the neighbors to swim in their pool so we took Eva to Cal Anderson Park for the Seattle Street Food Fair – a bunch of food trucks. We got there before the big crowds hit but I did wait in line, something I never do, for 45 minutes (!) at Monte Cristo truck, while Gay and Eva collected other things, because we’d heard good things. It was good.


Other goodies: deep-fried PB&J, the Reubenator and pork sliders.

Stoup Brewing and Reuben’s Brews

Eric & Valerie are in town for a few days, visiting from France, so they had a get-together at Bastille in Ballard. Since Ballard is hard to get to for us, we thought we’d visit our friend Robyn who is building her brewery in Ballard, Stoup Brewing Co. Their equipment was delivered a couple weeks ago and they’re still setting it up, getting the boiler and chiller installed and building cold rooms and their tasting room. A block away is Reuben’s Brews, so we stopped over there for some sampler beers.

Then we went to Bastille for dinner and drinks with Eric, Valerie and a bunch of people we rarely see these days.

Eva started potty-training

After months of our failing to get Eva interested, at 2.63 years old, she started potty-training today using the book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day – even though it was originally published in 1974, it does not advise you to spank your kid until they figure it out.

She went #1 successfully 4 5 6 times today, #2 once and no accidents. She is very proud of herself and so are we.