Another day another shiver. Brrr! Dangnabbit, tis cold out! It’s supposedly a smidge warmer outside today than it was yesterday but sure doesn’t feel like it. As I hunkered down inside in the office working on…you guessed it…my BEERtrek, I contemplated my imminent arrival to sunny and hopefully warm Florida. According to my lovely it’s been on the cold side last couple days; you know in the 30s.
Laugh all you want but for us native Floridians who have sunshine running through our veins instead of blood, it’s C*O*L*D.
Our morning routine was the usual. I am happily all caught up on my beer reviews regarding my Livejournal account which means I can now strive for my ultimate goal: beer review posting trifecta. Each 5 new beer reviews will get posted on Livejournal, then on my Beer Ambassador blog, and then copy & pasted to RateBeer. Voila! The only thing I have left to do which I can only do on my laptop is get caught up on RateBeer, an altogether easy task to accomplish.
After a Miss Lily nap and a shower for cleanliness, we hit the road for first and foremost for The Happy Gnome. Now, as much as I would like to hit a gazillion places while here, that is rather hard to do when gallivanting around town with the munchkin. I don’t mind though. The Happy Gnome isn’t going anywhere anytime soon which means I’ll definitely get to enjoy repeat trips. Located in an old fire station, before entering the restaurant I noted signs outside advertising a Lagunitas Beer Dinner, Firkin Fest, and the arrival of a brewery new to Minnesota: Napa Smith Breweries. After snapping some pictures, I joined my sis, Josh, and the munchkin for a wonderfully lessez-faire lunch. Beer wise, I could have stayed there open to close, supping and savoring their plethora of tasty brews. I was hoping they would have a package license so I could buy a few bottles to take home but it wasn’t meant to be.
C’est la vie.
And don't even get me started on their whisky list. The sheer variety and selection along with what I thought to be reasonable dram prices…Ooh-lala.
Beer wise, I finally settled on the cask version of Lift Bridge Chestnut Hill (aka Nutsack) followed by a glass of divine Dominique from Goose Island. I’m glad I started with the cask for as delicious as she was, the Dominique blew my mind in all the wonderful beergundian ways I savor. I love sour. I love bourbon. I love barrel-aged beers. The above combination was liquid bliss, a perfect marriage of bourbon and sour. Fanfreakingtastic. Tastetastic. Beertastic. Sublime.
It is now my mission to find as many bottles as I possibly can of my divine Dominique.
As for food, I went for the Grilled Duck Burger, prepared with wild rice and mushroom duxelle, apple wood smoked bacon, herb goat cheese, cherry aioli. In a word: fantastic. I’m a duck whore (when it’s prepared properly) and I must say the burger was spot on. Add to that a deluxe herb goat cheese spread, crispy bacon, and Yum was the operative word. Jenn went for the Braised Lamb Pizza topped with roasted red peppers, marinated olives, red pepper flakes, pistachios, and house made tomato sauce all atop a crispy crust. Also in a word: Yum! Josh went for the Angus Cheeseburger topped with a 4 year aged cheddar cheese, braised short ribs, spicy garlic aioli and cooked medium. I prefer my burgers and red meat in general to be as bloody as possible. Not for everyone I guess though seeing as there wasn’t a single thing left on his plate, equally Yum! Their fries were nice crispy crunchy and topped with what I think was sea salt. Sea salt = crunchy crystals of salty goodness. If their regular menu is this good, I would love to savor one of their beer dinner offerings.
As hard as it was to leave The Happy Gnome, with my inner burgundian more than satisfied, we meandered our way back to the house.
But first!! A detour of epic proportions!!!
There is a lil brewery in the heart of Sr. Louis, Minnesota that also happens to distribute in Vero Beach, Florida. That brewery would be Summit Brewing. With a solid line of year-long brews and a growing arsenal of one-off releases from their Unchained Series means a long, profitable, and drinkable future I am more than happy to contribute to. May I have another, please and thank you.
With a sufficient collection of brewery pictures, I abandoned the frozen tundra for the warm sanctuary of the car. Bellies plumped and beervana still reverberating, I chilled at the house until sleep eventually overtook. In-between we watched the Steelers beat the Jets, then some Hawaii Five-O, and then some sleep. Sleep is good and before I knew it twas Monday morning and flying home. See y’all soon!
(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)