Petaluma Hills Brewing

We have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Petaluma Hills Brewing Company. We had had their beers before at events and met some of the owners and really enjoyed the beers. We headed of to Petaluma on a date night after having some delicious sushi at Hana and a nice shopping trip to Costco.

We met Austin, one of the owners sons and learned all about how the brewery came about, all of the crazy hoops they had to jump through before opening, and how it’s all a true family business. It was way cool. The father, the head brewer started brewery beer years ago and one day he was sharing a beer with his friend in their backyard and the friend said, “You know, this is really good, you can sell it!!” He thought, “Nah” but then decided why not? So he set off to start his own brewery. They have been working on opening the brewery for several years now. They would market their beers and take them to the various tastings around the bay area. I first had them at the San Francisco Beer Week Gala and then again at the Ales for Autism event.

They have a great variety of different styles. I really enjoyed the ESB and of course the IPA. The IPA is dry hopped with a Mosaic hops that was bought from Vinnie at Russian River Brewing Company and another type {I cannot recall the name so I will have to go back to find out!} to add a nice floral characteristic on the nose. It was pretty stunning.

The place is your typical brewery: open, exposed tanks, hops and barley stacked up on the floor in the storage room, darts, lots of room at the bar because they want to be able to teach people about beer. It’s cool. I love how they have USB ports built into the bar- of all 270 breweries we have been to, we have never seen that at any of them. Brilliant. They are even planning on carrying the cords so if you forget one, you can buy it for a great “brewery” price. It’s a great addition to the brewery community in the north bay. You can go to their website and check out just how wholesome they really are because they shout out {on the front page} to all of the local new breweries and they make mention of those small breweries opening soon. Love it.

Brewery number 270: success.

We will definitely be making this our new stop on the way to the Giants games!

Petaluma Hills Brewing Company   http://jessposhepny.com/

Burrata + Wine

Summertime means fresh fruits, veggies, and lot’s of time to spend eating delicious appetizers at local restaurants and sipping on good wine. One of my recent favorites is the burrata and prosciutto at Catelli’s. I recently tried it out with our Trione Rose of Pinot Noir and just as I suspected, it’s a superb pairing!

Catelli’s {The Rex} is located in Geyserville, just North of Healdsburg. They are open daily for lunch and dinner and recently have opened their new stunning patio. Stop by Trione Winery Thursday through Monday for a bottle of chilled rose and head on up there- it’s a great combo!

Trione Pinot Noir Rose and Burrata at Catellis

 

Quick + Easy Padron Peppers

Eyeing those baskets of freshly harvested Padron peppers at the farmers market but not quite sure what to do with them? They are so full of flavor on their own so the little you do, the better.

Heat up olive oil in a pan, just enough to almost cover them completely and when the oil is at a shimmer {or super effing hot :)} , put the peppers in. Leave in the hot oil for just about 1 minute. Take out of the oil and put on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil, transfer to your serving plate and season with Fleur de sel {a very flavorful sea salt}.

Padron peppers are mildly spicy and the perfect simple side dish for the summer.

Quick + Easy Padron Pepper Poppers: Heat up olive oil in a pan, just enough to almost cover them completely and when the oils is at a rolling boiling, put the peppers in. Leave in the hot oil for just about 1 minute. Take out of the oil and put on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil, transfer to your serving plate and season with Fleur de sel {a very flavorful sea salt}. Cheers, Moxie_Lady #food  #Farmersmarket

Refreshing Summer Water

Want some refreshing water that looks good on the table and tastes delicious? This water is simple, quick to make, and is a beautiful addition to any centerpiece.

In a large pitcher with about 10 cups of water add 4 limes that have been thinly sliced, fill with a couple of hand fulls of ice. Then add 8-10 medium to large strawberries that have been frozen completely to the water. The strawberries will extract a great flavor and pair really nicely with the lime citrus and they will also act as an ice cube! {The berries will turn translucent after about three hours so if the party is going to be longer, I like to just put a few in for color and looks and make a separate batch of strawberry flavored water and pour it into the the lime water.}

In the summertime, this water is the perfect accompaniment to any gathering. There are over 20 farmers markets in Sonoma County and fresh fruits and citrus can be purchased from local vendors there.

Refreshing Summer water

 

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Santa Maria Brewing

Not a brewing company. They do not brew. They are a beer bar that is not for you if you would like to see unique beers and enjoy chatting with people who are knowledgeable abut beer. It’s very much a college bar- the people who work there just work there. Nothing more. I wish I had more information about this place because I tried very hard to get there, it was difficult to locate because they do not post their address online but there just was not opportunity to speak to anyone about the history or anything. It’s definitely a place that can be easily skipped.

Three of my Favorite Things

We stumbled upon many great places through travels but in Colorado, they had an array of awesome bistro type places serving a wide variety of craft beer AND whiskey and bourbons! I was in utter heaven! Apres is one of my favorite little gems. They don’t have food but you can bring in your own and sit and sip on some rare finds. Among the list of bourbons, the Breckenridge Bourbon was my favorite: hints of smoke, coupled with vanilla made for a soft lingering finish.

Whiskey

Take the Party Outside

My latest article that can be found in the Home & Lifestyles Magazine, Summer 2014 edition. Or online at SonomaWest.com. The layout really adds to it so take a look online or if you are local {Cloverdale, Geyserville, Healdsburg, Windsor, or Sebastopol} you may find it in any of the local grocery stores, markets, wineries, or restaurants.

Cheers!

 

 

TAKE THE PARTY OUTSIDE

Now that summer’s here, it’s time to gear up for outdoor entertaining. Dust off the tables, unstack those chairs, uncover the barbecue, refill the lanterns, and unpack those serving bowls and summertime dinnerware. I love to entertain all year-round but my favorite time is the summertime because it stays light longer, the nights are warm, and people are generally in happier moods. People enjoy spending time with their friends outdoors. All you need is some color, delicious foods, great drinks and good conversation.

 

Here are some tips from my kitchen and home, where I entertain often, on how to achieve the perfect wine-country, summer dinner party without breaking the bank and so you come out looking like a rock star.

 

The Initial Contact

Entertaining can be trying at times and a bit overwhelming because it feels like work. Being a host or hostess is not an easy task – you must do so many things: welcome your guests, greet them with a drink (knowing what each one likes is a plus), take their coats and leave them in a common place for later, make those who have not been to your home welcome and comfortable by showing them where the restroom is and introducing everyone. Make no assumptions; give everyone the information they need when coming into your home. I will leave a sign on the front door if we are out back entertaining guests already and explain what gate to use when entering. I will show my company to the restroom as I explain where to leave their belongings.

 

The Atmosphere 

Create a common space for people to gather and hang out while the cooking is being done. People are drawn to the kitchen so an island around the chef with small bites or a cheese board is an easy way to get everyone engaged. The barbecue is also where people like to congregate. Cooking is part of the entertainment. This also gives you, the host, the extra time you need to prepare dinner while engaging with your guests. Make sure everyone knows one another. A huge tip: I know all of my guests and when I have people over who do not know each other, I find a commonality between them: their job, a marathon they both ran, etc., so they can create conversation. This also allows me (the hostess) time to check the oven, chop something or powder my nose.

 

The Decor

Nothing goes better than wood and color. It’s classic, rustic and so very wine country. I like to use my fiestaware in different shades set on top of a more neutral placemat. Mixing shapes adds depth to your table display, and you end up decorating your table more with the accessories and necessities rather than candles and nic-nacs. Napkin rings add a component of class to the napkin and make for a nice presentation atop the plate, welcoming guests as they sit. Burlap is in and goes with everything. I use my burlap-esque napkin rings with bright-colored napkins or those with a lovely design for a rustic-elegance look. Any sort of brown material or natural-colored beaded ring will do the same trick.

With color and added charms on the table, all you really need to include are flowers (if you like).

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The Food

My favorite things to cook are those I can prepare mostly ahead of time, like fish tacos. Use any sort of diced-up, cooked fish that you have left over, add in some fresh bay shrimp, and top it with a nice mango, carrot and red cabbage slaw. It’s fresh, it’s simple, and all you cook with the guests there are the mini corn tortillas! Top it with a little crème fraîche and you have a delicious masterpiece.

I love to grill, and the smell of fresh veggies and meat on the grill, well, there’s nothing better. Your friends love it when you “wow” with creativity. I love to slice hearts of romaine in half and place inside down on the grill for just a little over a minute and then top it with Point Reyes Original Blue or Humboldt Fog cheese, kalamata olives, red onion and champagne vinaigrette. It’s savory, warm and fresh.

Another great idea is a single dish meal that is easily thrown in the oven (after a hour or more of preparation obviously) and left alone until time to serve. This allows more entertaining time without interruption.

Summer Salad

 

The Drinks

Summertime means refreshing cocktails and wine. I love serving color so rosé is right up my alley. Even for the non-wine connoisseur, a rosé is light, crisp, smooth and filled with flavors of kiwi and berries – things all enjoy. I always put a water carafe on the table with some local fresh herbs and citrus. It’s soothing, tasty and looks nice on the table. Rosemary sprigs with slices of mango also look nice; with a few slices of lime you have texture and great flavor as well as the most important aspect: color.

I am a sucker for the aperitif, which, of course, is consumed before dinner. Long ago and more recently, the traditional aperitif has become more popular. My very favorite, Fernet Branca, can be mixed with other bar staples to make quite-the-desired refreshing summer cocktail. Fernet and many of the other popular aperitifs are bitters and not so desired by most people, so it’s important to mix with the right beverage and fruit or citrus. I love to serve a campari and ginger ale with two limes: a traditionally classic cocktail. Fernet Branca is great mixed with equal parts campari, shaken together with fresh-squeezed orange, topped with soda, and served with an orange slice.

With so many of my friends loving all sorts of different drinks and cocktails, I always have a variety of craft beer on hand as well. The Daytime IPA from local producer Lagunitas or the California Common from St. Florian’s are always a part of my bar choices.

St. Florian's Brewery

 

The Music

It can be an easy task picking out the music but it’s truly an important piece of the puzzle when having people over. I like to pick music that people cannot really sing along to because it can be distracting, and it’s nice to have everyone chat with each other. My favorites are the Buena Vista Social Club and Cabana Beach Club. These are great stations to put on Pandora. Once dinner is over and everyone is having fun and just socializing (because now they know each other better), I put on something age-appropriate: classic rock, oldies but goodies, or something similar.

 

Shop local

Dinner parties are fun and, in the grand scheme of things, pretty simple to put on. With some of these tips and easy-to-make dishes, you can throw a fun, wine country dinner party for your friends on the fly or pre-planned. Remember to always shop local and buy local for all of your summertime entertaining fun. We have so many wonderful farmers markets for produce and a wide variety of local wineries that sell some pretty fantastic rosés to showcase.

 

Cheers!

*Some of my favorite rose’s to serve are:

Trione Vineyards & WineryPedroncelli, and Kelly & Young

 

Please see SonomaWest.com or the Home & Lifestyles Magazine for original layout.

 

AC Golden Brewing Company

A brewery within a brewery…Technically, being inside the Miller-Coors brewery, we passed by and saw the AC Golden brewing section, therefore this made it on our list of breweries for #beertravel.

It’s a small barrel operation within the Miller-Coors Brewery.
The AC Golden, named for Adolf Coors, the original creator of Coors brewing company in Golden, Colorado.

A delicious craft beer aged with cherries. A hidden gem… Literally. This beer is difficult to find, many whom I tweeted to had no idea of its existence even. It’s a rare find but if you have the chance, it’s worth the price!

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Miller-Coors Brewing

Now I could not go to Colorado and not take the Coors tour! Or as my family liked to call it, ” the Cerrs terr”

The have everything very well organized. You walk up to the bus stop area and the wait was a little over an hour to ride the bus over to the entrance. They have the whole outside set up with misters to keep everyone happy and cool. The bus driver gave us the whole lowdown and the rules for the brewery and the lounge at the end.

There are only three rules:  Do not share your samples with anyone, do not give your sample away even if you do not like it, and do not take anyone’s sample even when they’re not looking.

The rules seemed to help regulate those rambunctious types…like me!

The brewery is totally a tourist attraction and set up much like the Empire State Building or the Seattle Space Needle is: learn the rules, go take a silly photo with a Coors like cowboy hat {to be viewed later with not one but four fun backgrounds}, get your little audio device to walk around with at your own pace, sample mid tour, then end at the lounge and the gift shop where you’ll inevitably buy things you never knew you wanted. Yep, that’s what we did. I even bought a coors tee shirt for the heck of it.

It was so cool to see all of the old school advertisements displayed on the wall from way back in the day. It was cool to see the progression of advertising too especially from such a huge, highly distributed brand.

A favorite:

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I must say it was pretty surprising that we did not have to pay one dime for the tour, the samples, and the beers at the end of the tour. Even though we were told there was no charge for the tour, I couldn’t help but think I should expect to pay somewhere, but nope. Three free beers at the end of the tour too and soda or lemonade for the little. The beer is MUCH better at the source and it was quite interesting seeing the whole process and learning about how Coors started. It’s so rich in Colorado history and even their staff now, they all seem to be pretty passionate about who they are and what they do. I have new found appreciation for the Coors brand. I don;t mind me a Coor light every now and then, but I am certainly not converted. It was a fun tour though.

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One of the greatest things that really gets me so excited about beer travel is when the breweries tweet back to me or comment on my instagram photos! I love it and the Miller-Coors brand was spot on and responsive! Cheers to brewery number 233!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle Love

With just 32 hours to our short lived vacation to the Emerald city, we have hit 13 new breweries. In an effort to tackle my list of 38 breweries, we dove right in. Going full force once we landed, starting with Elliott Bay Brewing because they were the nearest and served food. We left satisfied and thus started off our Seattle beer trip on the right foot. The next few places were on our list but because I did not have an actual grasp for the area, we relied on the locals to let us know where we should hit next {ALWAYS the best idea!}

Big Al Brewing was a funky little place but right away we walked in and a man at the bar asked if we would like him to move over so we could sit. We ended up chatting with him and his business partner {guess what business?!} they just opened their own little brewery and bought out much of the equipment from Emerald City Brewery who just recently went out of business. The beers were good. The place reminded me of Bootleggers in LA area because of its funkiness, the layout, and outdoor space.  The bartender was helpful, she offered us the beer map to use on our adventures. She lit up with joy when we told her we we’re trying to hit so many breweries in 4 days!  Lowercase, Reuben’s Brews, and Tin Dog {just opened} were the recommendations from her.

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After success at Lowercase and a very quick stop at Tin Dog, we were off to the great Reuben’s Brews. We have heard about this place from everyone we spoke to. Everything was supposed to be fantastic: the people, the vibe, and of course the beer. It was. We had everything we could want when we walked in. It felt like we were at home. It’s a very small place and it was packed. It was a bit of a concern as to how we might do the sampler while standing, once we saw the beer list, I was slightly more concerned but I knew my hubby would hold it :). Then…a really nice couple moved and let us have their table as they were on their way out. It was even the best seat in the house, facing outside, and spacious. We were feeling the luck when the sampler came with one of their just released/tapped triple IPA. All of the beers were great. We met this couple who lived in the Ballard area and gave us some recommendations too. Our trip was continuing the path of awesomeness.

Looking at my list, I had Populuxe and Stoup on there but we went to Peddler first and we were happy we did because the beers were good and they had the whole cycling theme that my husband loves. After that though, we had to have a snack so we ended up close by at Maritime. Maritime is old, dusty, funky, with big chairs and tables, its tough to walk through, and the food is greasy but it did the trick for me and I actually kind of liked the onion rings with the jalapeno aoli. They had an interesting love for jalapeno, it was literally everywhere on the menu!

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We went on with happy bellies and headed for our cute little garden studio that I booked on my trusty AirBnb. We were right off Union Street just four blocks from what we would soon find out to be the best craft beer bar and bottle shop in Seattle: Chuck’s Hop Shop.

Settling in to our studio, we got cleaned up and set off for our dinner reservation. I used Open Table {which rarely lets me down, especially when I am starved and have recommendations from friends} to find a cool looking restaurant that was walking distance from our studio: The Red Cow. It reminded me of the Spotted Pig in NYC. A steak and charcuterie place, we ordered a variety of cured meats including the oh so delicious {illegal in California} fois gras. The presentation was lovely and I would totally go back.

After a nice, romantic dinner, we were ready to tackle that dreadful hill again knowing that Chucks was on the other side. Again, we had no idea what were about to get ourselves into. From the outside, it looks cool, the logo is pretty rad. We walk in and the people are nice, the bar is small, and there are several tables scattered throughout the store. We belly up to the bar to find fifty taps with all different kinds of beers and two big screen TV’s with the beers listed and color coded {this is my friend Erin’s kind of place}. The IPA’s are all in yellow, and man was there a lot of yellow! Ryan and Jordan, the two guys behind the bar were nice. Quiet at first but then we started talking and asking them questions, basically trying to suck the information out of them. They loosened up, it was getting later, and they knew their shift was nearing the end so they started sharing samples of cool beers that they enjoy. We hung out there for over three hours and were planning on coming back the next day.

After an incredible night of craft beer and good company we woke up feeling excited about doing it all over again! Elysian was on the top of our list. Next was Fremont, which was great, and super hip. Hales Ales, decent tasting pizzas, very cool inside because you can sit and watch all of the action, but the beer was all pretty similar in flavors. We saw Bad Jimmy Brewing on our nearby search on Untappd so we stopped there. We then hit Big Time Brewing in the university district. It was oddly familiar and the reason was because it’s owned by the same person who opened Triple Rock in Berkeley. Naked City was next on the list. It was a cool spot with an outdoor patio to sip on your beer or a great bar. The beer was good. We enjoyed some mini corn dogs to while we sipped on our sampler and they were fantastic.

Seattle beer is delicious and the people there are fantastic. We had the most memorable trip probably because of the guys we met at Chuck’s Hop Shop. They were fun, they were informative, and they were just awesome down-to-earth guys. I cannot wait to go back to enjoy the rest of the city of Pugent Sound and hang with the boys at Chucks!