Search results for 'Why I drink Beer'

Why I Drink Beer – Part 2

29 Jul

Stone Smoked Porter

Part 2: Hot and Cold

Picture this, It’s late July and you are on your way home from work.  It had been a stressful day at the office, keeping you at the desk a little over an hour late.  Once you’re able to get out, the bus decides not to show.  Knowing that it will be another 30 minutes until the next bus arrives, you decide to walk 5 blocks to another line that should pick you up sooner.  Before you even make it even one block, the sweat starts beading up on your forehead.  It’s 94 degrees and the swampy humidity of DC is ever-so heavy.  By the time you get on the bus, your back is soaked, your face is red with heat, and your feet are screaming for freedom.  You finally make it to your home bus stop and begin the short walk to the house.  Within ten minutes, the shorts are on, the fresh t-shirt feels great, and you are chilling out on the stoop with a Dogfish 60 min in hand.  Everything feels better.

Now picture this, It’s late January and you are on your way home from work.  It had been a stressful day at the office, keeping you behind your desk well past the usual quitting time.  By the time you are finally able to get out, the early sunset is long gone, and the winter chill has settled in.  As you walk through the darkness to your bus stop, an icy breeze starts burning your ears.  You try to plug the holes in your peacoat with the new scarf your sister got you for Christmas, but it just isn’t doing the trick.  Every minute in this bitter cold feels like 10.  The snow from the weekend before is still slowing down traffic, making the wait for the bus that much more dreadful.  Finally you make it to your home bus stop and begin the short walk to your house.  Within ten minutes, the sweats are on and you are curled up with the girlfriend in front of the TV.  You pour a Stone Smoked Porter.  Everything feels better.

Both of those scenarios seem to occur far too often in this fine capitol city.  With short Falls and even shorter Springs, it seems like the entire year is filled with weather extremes.  But even when you can’t count on nice weather, you can always count on a nice Micro Brew.  Beer is one of the only drinks around that can be both crisp and refreshing on a hot summer’s day AND wholesome and warming on those cold winter nights.  No matter how unnerving the weather, beer can always give you that comforting feeling.

That is one reason why I drink beer.

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Why I Drink Beer – Part 1

16 Jul

La Cerveza de Costa Rica

Beer, you’ve gotta love it.  Believed to be one of the oldest prepared beverages, beer trails only to water and tea as the world’s third most popular drink.  It can be found all over the world, in the biggest cities and most remote of locations.  It is everywhere, and enjoyed by so many.  Here is the first in a series of short essays on why I drink beer.

Part 1: Imperial

I don’t remember my first beer, but I remember first learning to enjoy it.  The first beer I would have called my beer of choice was Imperial, a Costa Rican Lager, similar to any typical Latin American lager.  It is gold in color, light in taste, and has a foamy white head.  I remember trying out different Costa Rican beers, and as a beer rookie, I wasn’t really able to tell the difference.  There isn’t much special about Imperial, except the memories.  As a teenager studying abroad in town with no other gringos, it was beer that brought me together with my new friends.  It was beer that loosened up the tongue and brought out the Spanish.  And it was beer and beach that brought out more laughter than anything else.

Since then, beer for me has meant just that:  bringing people together, making new friends, and sharing in laughter.  Whether you are out at a bar with friends, sitting around the house with family, or in the back yard lighting up the grill, beer just seems to set the mood.  Co-workers become friends, heartbreaks are mended, and anniversaries celebrated, all over beers.  I’m not really sure why beer can be credited for so many great things…maybe it’s the alcohol, maybe it’s the taste, or maybe just the history.  No matter what the reason, the mood is set, the people have fun, and we keep drinking the beer.

That is one reason why I drink beer.

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Drink Soda, It Has Water

5 May

More options for soda than options for fruit?

I was listening to NPR’s All Thing’s Considered last night, when they started a report on ‘Soda in America’.

The conversation began by addressing the proposed taxes by many states (and districts) on soda.  Being the good Democrat I am, I feel pretty strongly that soda (an unnecessary, unhealthy, pleasure item) is the perfect item to tax, when you are funding health education in schools.  Through a little more education, to both children and parents, maybe our fellow citizens around these great States will wake up and realize what they are feeding their kids.  (side note, unrelated to soda, the person next to me on the bus the other day was talking about how he caught his baby mama filling up her baby’s bottles with free creamers from 7-11!)

But the tax isn’t what I want to bring up today.  I was blown away by a section of the interview regarding the issue of how healthy/unhealthy soda is for children.  After hearing about why soda is bad for you,  Michele Norris brings on Maureen Storey, senior vice-president for science policy of the American Beverage Association.  Check out the following exchange:

Dr. MAUREEN STOREY (Senior Vice President, Science Policy, American Beverage Association): Soda is comprised mostly of water. A full-calorie soft drink has 90 percent water and a diet soft drink is 99 percent water. Water is the most important nutrient that we have…

NORRIS: Let’s move down, though, if you’re looking at that label on the back of a soda, what else is in there that is of nutritional value?

Dr. STOREY: Of nutritional value, there is either high fructose corn syrup or sucrose and that does provide energy or carbohydrates. And if we are active and need a refreshing beverage after a nice long walk or a run, you can have a beverage and quench your thirst and stay hydrated.

NORRIS: Is it advisable after a nice long run or after going out and exercising – which youve been advocating – to reach for a beverage that has 22 grams of sugar or 34 grams of sugar? Is that nutritionally sound?

Ms. STOREY: Well, I don’t think it’s nutritionally unsound.

I see so many fundamental problems with Storey’s statements.  First of all, nearly EVERYTHING we drink or eat is comprised of mostly water.  Does that mean it is OK for me to start substituting a glass of water with a glass of beer, coffee, or liquid soap?  Of course not!  Then Norris asks, “What else is there of nutritional value?” and Storey has the nerve reply with high fructose corn syrup, because it gives you carbs?  The day that high fructose corn syrup is nutritional, is the day that Americans are healthy.  Unfortunately for Storey, right now 67% of Americans over the age of twenty are overweight or obese (CDC Statistic).

The other eye-rolling statement in this nonsensical interview is this, “And if we are active and need a refreshing beverage after a nice long walk or a run, you can have a beverage and quench your thirst and stay hydrated.”  I’d love to see her go for a nice 10 mile jog and try to rehydrate with a soda.  I can tell you now, it wont work.

I’m glad that NPR is asking these questions, and I admire that strive to tell a balanced story.  I guess this just goes to show you that there IS NO credible argument in favor of consuming sodas, especially as a healthy option.

I’m not trying to hide the fact that I do love a good Coke from time to time, but my parents taught me at a young age that soda is fine in moderation.  That’s what I plan to pass on to my future offspring as well.

You can find the entire NRP story here.  I encourage everyone to check it out, along with this evenings second segment on soda.

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Running Through Vacation

5 Sep

Mt. Katahdin, Maine

Well, you might have wondered where I’ve been the past few weeks.  I’m happy to report that I have been touring the North East on a series of mini vacations, moving apartments (more on that to come), and enjoying the summer.  August started out with a trip to Rhode Island, where I maxed and relaxed with KFB’s family in Narragansett.  This was my first trip to RI, and it was beautiful.  We had perfect weather, with the sun shinning bright and the breeze dropping temperatures to the low 80s.  The cool crisp mornings fulfilled the much-needed break from DC’s disastrous summer, providing the perfect atmosphere for a nice run.  After 5 days in RI, I came back to DC only to turn around and head to Atlantic City for a Bachelor Party.  This was also my first trip to AC, and well, I think I did pretty good for myself.  While running was at a minimum, I did almost pay for the whole trip in roulette winnings.  We did plenty of gambling, made plenty of funny memories, and of course drank plenty of beer.  To wrap up my August vacations, I headed to the mountains of Maine, for a short backpacking trip through Baxter State Park with some family.  In Baxter we climbed Mt. Katahdin, the final leg of the Appalachian Trail.  I’ve been through many parts of the AT, and I have to say that Katahdin was one of the most beautiful.  The mountain is very dramatic, with incredible views of the surrounding area.

For many people, running and vacation don’t seem to fit well in one sentence.  Unless, of course, “I’m not running on vacation” is the sentence.  But when you are in the middle of training, for whatever length, “I’m not running on vacation” isn’t always an option.  Having done a lot of it over the past few weeks, I’m here to say that my vacation runs (with the exception of AC…for obvious reasons) have been some of my best runs of this training season.

Running on vacation can be great.  Here are a few reasons way:

1)      It’s Fresh – So often I find myself running the same routes, several times a week.  I run past the same intersections, up the same hills, and through the same neighborhoods almost every day.  For the most part I could do it with my eyes closed.  This can be great, but can also be boring.  Vacation gives you the opportunity to explore this new town, city, state, or country that you probably don’t know very well.

Narragansett, RI

While in Rhode Island I went out for what I planned to be about a 10 mile run.  I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew that if I went out this one road, it would follow the coastline for several miles.  A few miles down the road, I found several cut-off streets that sent me right down to the water.  I saw some amazing views and explored some incredible neighborhoods.  Minutes and miles were flying by as I ran through these new streets.  Several times I even found a smile on my face, as I turned the corner to a new overlook.  I ended up running what I believe to be about 12-13 miles, and enjoying every minute of it.

2)       Change of Weather –  With a new location comes new weather.  Going on vacation doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to find cooler weather if your hometown is hot, or warmer weather if your hometown is cold, but it mixes it up!  Lucky for me most of my vacations were up north, providing some ideal weather conditions for a lengthy run.

Once I got off the trail in Maine, I took some time to go out for a run.  Even though my legs were well used throughout the hike and climb, I wanted to make sure I kept up with some miles.  I went on a jog around a lake in the small town of Winthrop.  The scenery was great, but the weather even better.  The cooler temperatures definitely helped power the senses and get me going.

3)       Lose the Mileage –  If you are anything like me, you often find yourself totally caught up in your mileage.  Too frequently I’m so focused on how many miles I’ve run this week that I forget to have fun.  I pick my routes for the length, not the enjoyment.  Because you usually don’t know where you are going when you take off for a jog while on vacation, it gives you the option to just go out there and run.  Don’t bother opening up your mapmyrun account, and just use the watch. Tell yourself that you want to go out for a certain amount of time, and take off.  Go wherever the road takes you, and explore whenever looks interesting.

Running through your vacation can seem like an added stress you would rather just leave at home, but if you look at it as a good vacation outing, it can be a real highlight.  Keep up your running, keep enjoying your vacation.

Anyone else do any vacation running this summer?

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Off To the Markets: Columbia Heights Community Market

22 Jul

CH Farmers Market (sorry for the poor quality phone pic)

This summer brought many new things to Columbia Heights: Fro-Yo, an almost done 14th Street, and the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace. Now, I’m a fan of just about any farmers market, but after a few Saturday mornings waking up at this market, I can’t stop raving on what they have to offer. It isn’t the biggest FM of the bunch, but what it lacks in vendors it certainly makes up for in variety.

The market is open from 9-2 every Saturday, and houses multiple vegetable growers (Chesley Farms, Dragonfly Farms and Licking Creek Bend Farm), a variety of meat vendors, cheese makers, bread bakers, and even a gelato guy.  Pretty much anything you might need.  The marketplace even accepts WIC and Stamps.

With no recent Arganica order, last Saturday KFB and I hit up the CH Community Marketplace with a few bucks in hand. We bought a loaf of whole wheat bread, 6 peaches, 3 nectarines, 3 tomatoes, a bundle of onions, red potatoes, green beans, a cucumber and 4 ears of corn all for just $20. A price that can’t be beat for such high quality, local produce.

Everyday several people read my review of Arganica Farm Club. I don’t want to put down the local delivery group which fed me through the winter, but recently I feel like it just can’t compare. DC’s Farmers Markets have so much to offer at such a great price.  You have the big markets like Dupont, but embracing the smaller markets like Columbia Heights Market will give you everything you need, the warmth of your neighbors, and the satisfaction you get from are purchasing real food.

The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace offers good eats, good people, and a good reason to wake up.  Don’t be a slacker and get your hungover butt out the bed for some food.

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The Food

3 May

Arganica Fresh Veggie Box

Featured Food PostOff to the Markets:  Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market“The Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market is a charming little market located right in the small plaza on Mt. Pleasant Street and Lamont Street, NW… “ More…

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The Hay Say’s Food Philosophy

In today’s world you can get just about any type of food at your local Giant or Safeway.  You can chose from over 40 types of cereals, a plethora of hotdog varieties, and more types of yellow “cheese products” than I have shoes.  And when it comes to vegetables, most people have no idea what is in season.  The truth is, why should they when you can get tomatoes in January, strawberries in the fall, and asparagus in November?

All that may sound like the perfect American dream!  I mean, what if I don’t want my Cheerios regular, but with honey, wheat, honey wheat, or lite honey wheat multi-grain instead?  And what if I couldn’t make my strawberry angle food cake for Christmas?  That sure would be a shame.

While variety is an offspring of desire, we must address the impact of such a food culture.

Recently I’ve decided to address that impact, by changing my food habits.  The solution in my eyes is simple.  Go Organic. Go local.

The Hay Say and company now buy roughly 70% of our produce locally.  Additionally nearly all our cheese comes from local sources.  Bread, pasta, and milk also often come straight from the local Shenandoah farm.  When not drinking a homebrew, local beer is now a first option.  Most importantly meat has been cut out almost entirely, but when it is enjoyed, it too comes from a local, grass fed, humanely raised animal.

Getting a large chunk of my food from within 200 miles of the house guarantees freshness,  allows me to support sustainable, healthy practicing farmers, and means that what is on my plate wasn’t picked unripe, didn’t travel for 1000s of miles just to ripen on my grocer’s shelf.

What I’ve discovered is a new connection to what I eat.  It is true that ‘we are what we eat,’ and frankly, I want to know what I am.

Reasons to Go Local:

It tastes better! Local food is much fresher, in season, and often times organic and not mass produced.  All of this will contribute to the delicious taste of fresh local food.

It is better for the environment. When food has to travel 1000s of miles to reach your plate, it burns more energy and oil than needed.  Eating local food can cut those 1000s of miles to less than 100.  Plus local food is often organic and more natural, dumped little to no unnatural chemicals into the Earth.

Supports local economy. When you buy from a local farm, your are supporting local famers, workers, their distributors, and suppliers.  Your money will go directly back into your community.

Preserves local farmland. Keeping farms open in your local community keeps the land from being developed and saves green spaces.

It will build your food community.  When you buy from a farmers market or CSA, you are more connected with the people growing your food.  You can see what care the farmers put into the crops, and understand what makes it different.

Eliminates the middleman. When you buy directly from the farmer, you cut out the cost of the middle man, allowing the crop to be more fruitful for the grower.

Not only is it environmentally sustainable, but is more sustainable for our communities. As we push for an energy independent society, we must remember that our dependency on foreign food makes us just as vulnerable.

Eating local reminds us what food is really all about, reconnecting us with what our current food culture has taken away.

Restaurant Review: Social

4 Sep

Everyone’s been talking blogging about Social, the new restaurant/bar in Columbia Heights, so I thought, ‘why not, I’ll join in.’  I was more than excited when I first heard a new place was coming in just around the corner from my house.  It was going to be my new hang out, my Cheers, if you will, but then it opened.

I didn’t make it the first weekend, so I was able to read a few reviews before going earlier this week.  The more I read, the more disappointed I became.  People didn’t seem to care too much for it, and I would have to agree.  They have this interesting “living room” theme going on.  While many people didn’t like it, I kind of got it.  Walking in, it felt comfortable, calm, and relaxing.  I was kind of digging it until I sat down.  Downstairs, instead of seats, they have these big ottoman looking things for you to sit on.  You shared it with the person in the table behind you, making it a little awkward to spread out.  After about 15 minutes my back started to hurt, and I became uncomfortable, making the comfy living room feel vanish.

We ordered a few drinks, I had a glass of wine and Roommate had a beer.  I asked a question about one of the wines, but the waiter had no idea how to answer.  The wine list wasn’t bad, but the beers were lacking.  They had a few solid choices, but nothing on draft.

Then we ordered an appetizer.  They have three sizes of everything.  I asked the waiter what the difference was for the crab cakes sliders.  His answer was, “I’m not really sure, I just know the larger sizes you get more crab cakes.”  While I’m sure that is true, it didn’t really help me out.  We ended up getting the small and it turned out to be 3 sliders, which worked well for us.  They were fine, nothing to write home about.

Before leaving, I asked the waiter about a happy hour.  He said they have one, but didn’t know the times or what the special was.  I know it must be hard your first week open, but they have had ample time to teach the waitstaff about the restaurant and the menu.  In my opinion, that is borderline inexcusable.

If it wasn’t in my neighborhood, I doubt I would ever go back.  But since I’m happy that new places like this are opening in Columbia Heights, I’ll have to try it some night for a real dinner.  I’ll just give them some time to pull it together.

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