Lake Superior Rocks

My trip home from the north shore was rainy, and I just wanted to get home. However, I decided that I wouldn’t let that attitude ruin any opportunity to maybe take a good shot while I was up there. I passed by a wayside on Highway 61 and realized that it would be as good a place as any to check out the lake. I pulled a u-turn and headed back. Managed to get the panorama at the top of this post, and the really nice shot of the rocks below. I like how this one turned out, especially the texture of the rock in front. Enjoy!

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Moose Lake Brewing

This weekend, on my way up to the Spring Superior Trail Races, I stopped into a new brewery that I had heard about from my friend Abe. Moose Lake Brewing is right in downtown Moose Lake, right off of Interstate 35. My wife and I often stop in Moose Lake to gas up the car and get some snacks before heading home at the new Kwik Trip. This time I went past the gas station, and into town to see what’s brewing.

One of the things I love about rural taprooms is that they really focus on bringing fresh craft beer to a population that doesn’t have a lot of access to as much of it as we do in the city. These taprooms are akin to the local bar, and you can see regulars inside relaxing as if this was their second home. Moose Lake Brewing was comfortable like this, and felt like the local watering hole where I would want to spend a lot of time if I lived nearby.

The taproom is really well done, with a log cabin type of feel. The most impressive feature is some large windows that overlook Moosehead Lake, with a patio for warmer weather. I can imagine that in the summer time, this patio will be an amazing place to sit and enjoy some beer.

I was just passing through so I didn’t have time to enjoy a lot of beer. They sell crowlers, and will fill your growler you bring in, so I asked for some samples to help me decide which crowlers to get. They currently have four beers on tap, and so I sampled all four. The blonde ale was up first, and wasn’t too bad, but it tasted slightly young and possibly under attenuated just a tiny bit. It still tasted OK, but I wonder if a bit more yeast, and a bit more time settling would help this one do better.

Next up was their EPA. I love a good EPA and I was very pleasantly surprised by this one. It had a good malt body, and balance of a little bit of hop. Then I moved on to their Imperial IPA. I’m not a huge IPA guy, nor an Imperial fan, so suffice it to say the bar was set very low on this beer. Having said this though, I was really surprised at how good this beer was. For a 10% beer I found it completely drinkable and pleasant. It was full of flavor and was nicely balanced. I could actually see myself drinking a small glass of this from time to time.

Finally I ended with their stout, which was a nice solid entry into the stout category. Smooth with a bit of roast, with low hop character. In the end I decided to get a crowler of all of the beers except for the blonde. I have friends back in the metro who will love to help me drink these, and I think will really appreciate the Imperial IPA even more than I did.

If you’re heading up north, and want to stop off at a nice destination brewery I highly recommend giving Moose Lake a try. It’s a comfortable taproom with a great view, and nice, drinkable beers.

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Cooking change

The wife and I had a discussion recently about cooking at home more and eating healthier as a way to better control weight, energy, etc.,. We tend to eat out a lot out of convenience and desire for variety. However, this means that we end up spending way to much on food, and usually eating more than we need to. I admire friends of mine that love to cook so much that they even do it when they’re on vacation, renting places that have kitchens.

I happened to ask a question about this on a Tumblr that I follow, and got a couple good pieces of advice. The first was a couple of cookbooks that were highly recommended: The Whole Foods Market Cookbook and Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s. I ordered both of those and they should be here before the end of the weekend. The other interesting part was the use of services like Blue Apron or Home Chef which send you packaged meals, with instructions, multiple times per week.

The benefit of this is not needing to gather ingredients from the grocery store, but also that they teach you various techniques that you might not have tried on your own.  This is especially beneficial to people who never grew up learning various cooking techniques. I myself only recently started playing with homemade bread (not using a bread machine).

We might give one of these a try, but I wanted to put it out there to my blog audience as well. What are your tips and tricks for getting more motivated to cook and cook healthy? Do you have any must-have cookbooks? Have you tried a meal service? Love to hear any input!

Grunge and a mountain

On Thursday the world woke up to hear the news that Chris Cornell has passed away. As a child of the 80s and 90s, the grunge scene was very influential to my musical tastes. One of my all time favorite albums was (an album I had won off a radio station) Nirvana’s MTV unplugged album. It was a masterpiece of grunge music mixed with acoustic instrumentation.

Soundgarden was another mainstay of the era, and though I never listened to them very often, they were always around on the radio, and I came to appreciate their style and Cornell’s voice. It’s really starting to stink, how many icons of my youth are losing their life. It drives home the point that none of us will live forever, and we should be making the most of the time we have.

To that end, I’ve added a photo to the top of this blog post that my wife recently took. She had an opportunity to hike up Black Mountain in Nevada, and snagged this amazing shot. I’m slightly jealous that she got to do this without me, but I will never fault someone for taking advantage of opportunities that are in front of you. Take advantage of the world around you and live each day to the fullest.

 

They grow up too fast

This week my oldest biological son turns 18. It’s so weird and bizarre to think that I’m actually the parent of someone who is old enough to vote. Parenting is never very easy, but each age has it’s own set of challenges. Young children need constant care and attention to make sure they don’t die and that they’re growing healthy. As they turn into young people and teenagers, they start to develop their personalities and you get to help them learn for themselves what it means to be an adult.

Recently, I mentioned to someone that I felt like my relationship with my adult-child is much more important to me than my young child relationship. I’m going to be in relationship with my adult-child for a LOT longer than when they are a baby. That’s not to say young child relationships aren’t important, they are crucial for the development of our kids. But, those relationships are the groundwork for what comes later, a deep friendship that lasts a lifetime. As I watched my wife’s family bond and come together over a loss, I’m reminded just how important it is to have a mature parent-child relationship in our adult years.

For fun, I put a pic of my son and I at the top of this post. I almost never share pics of my kids on the blog, but this one was from a few years ago, and he looks nothing like this anymore, so I don’t feel too troubled by it. Happy Birthday buddy!