Monday, February 18, 2013

Hello America, For Now

House of Parliament. No sign of Funkadelic.
Hey, I'm back. Ten days in England and Scotland were awesome. Yes, it was kind of cold, but we were ready for it. Dreary days and chilly nights are kind of what those countries are all about. Not to mention, if breweries, distilleries and special little pubs are what you are looking for, who cares if it's cloudy outside? Plus we had a chartered bus to drive us around the countryside, so there really wasn't much to complain about. I took a ton of pictures as usual, but unfortunately you are going to have to wait a while to see most of them. Unless, of course, you follow me on Instagram. I posted photos every chance I got near a Wi-Fi signal, so you would have had a virtual play-by-play of this trip if you followed me. But hey, only a few people took me up on my advice on that, but what can I do? I can't come to your home or place of business and force you to take the full 30 seconds it takes to install the Instagram app on your phone. I wouldn't want to inconvenience you by asking for less than a minute of your life so that I could send you pictures of breweries, meadows, tiny pubs, mountains, more breweries, a freaking castle for God's sake, monuments, historic manors, etc., virtually as I am seeing them with my own two eyes. No, it would be too much of an imposition for me to ask anyone to use modern technology to enrich their lives.

But that is not why I won't have the pictures to show you for a while. I can't wait to download the really good ones from my new camera, make a slide show, post it on my blog...all of that. However, I am leaving again in two days for Mexico. Yes, two business trips to foreign countries in one month, and they are two days apart. I didn't plan it this way, but when that is the hand I was dealt, I was not going to fold my cards and walk away. No way. I can't let you down like that, and really, this isn't about me. I mean, why would I want to go to a tropical paradise in the middle of winter to learn about tequila on a picturesque hacienda? In the middle of the work week? I do it for you, the readers, not for me.

But seriously, I am going to Guadalajara in the Jalisco state Wednesday evening. On Thursday and Friday we will be learning about agave plants, agave roasting, tequila making, and, I assume, tequila drinking. When we are all done there will be a special barrel of tequila that will get bottled and labeled for Taco Mac. You will see it for sale around the end of April. Our hosts will be at Casa de Herradura. And for those of you that do not speak Spanish, the means the casa of Herradura. The barrel will be Herradura Extra Anejo (translation: lots of anejo), and if I have my way, it will be earthy and peppery and dangerously smooth. Hopefully I can take pictures and send them back via Instagram, but I have never been to Mexico, so I am not sure what kind of communication capabilities I will have. And that is not a shot a Mexico here folks. I was in England yesterday, and the Wi-Fi and T-Mobile situation was difficult there to say the least.

I gotta run though. Time to think about packing that bag I unpacked yesterday and swap out my beer drinking shoes for my tequila drinking shoes. But before I go, I need to tell you about a few things:

  1. Compared to my trip in 2010, the beer in England was way, way better. It was good then, but the influence of the US craft beer craze has awakened some serious creativity over there recently. I can't tell you how much I like that country and how soon I want to return. I think the food was even better this time. I highly recommend England if you have the opportunity to visit. Scotland is also stunningly beautiful, and it has great beer and whisky, so if you get a chance, try to see both.
  2. On Tuesday we are tapping one of those casks I made at Heavy Seas in December. This is a Loose Cannon IPA with Grains of Paradise, toasted oak and Chinook hops. The place is Peachtree City and the time is 6:00 pm.
  3. The menu is posted for the Terrapin beer dinner in Charlotte. This will take place during Charlotte Beer Week, and Spike the brew master and co-founder of Terrapin will be there. He and I can share stories of our European trip this year if you like, or any of the last four years' trips for that matter. Here is the menu, and you can pay via Pay Pal there too. Both the food and beer look spectacular.
Have a great week and weekend folks. Talk to you when I get back. Thanks for your patience between posts (which could be avoided if you followed me on Twitter...I'm just sayin'...). Bye for now.
"One man gathers what another man spills."


From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse

From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse
This is the top floor of the brewhouse, with buckets of fresh hops about to go into the kettles.