Roets Jordan Brewery

This past weekend the wife and I spent the weekend camping in southwestern Minnesota. I’ve got a bunch of stories to tell about the trip, but I’m going to start with one of my favorite topics… beer tourism. On the way out of town I looked up any breweries along the way, and discovered a new brewery in Jordan Minnesota. This is about 30 miles south of the metro area, and we managed to time our visit to be right around dinner on Friday night.

They had El Jefe Food Truck serving mexican food, so we were able to get some grub while I tried a couple of their beers. Unfortunately, they don’t do flights, but they do short pours. Since we still had a lot of driving to do, I just got a couple of shorts to sample and enjoy with my tacos. The first one I tried was their German black ale. I love black ales, and not enough places do them, or do them well. Too often, breweries decide that if they make a black ale it has to be a black IPA and they hop it up like crazy with Cascade hops.

I was pleased to see that Roets didn’t do this, and instead delivered a really solid, and drinkable, black ale, with European character to it. It had a good malt body, but it was smooth and quaffable. People always equate dark beers with heavy varieties like porters and stouts, but a good black ale can be very refreshing.

The second beer I tried was their apricot witbier. It was a bit cloudy (as it should be) and had a nice tangy quality to the yeast. The apricot was nice and sweet, without being cloying in any way. Overall, a great example of how to do a fruit beer well. Combining sweet fruit with the zesty quality of a wit helps balance the two characters really well, and this week really worked for me.

Alas, I didn’t have time (or fortitude) to attempt to try all their beers, but since they’re not too far out of town, it might show up on my itinerary again someday. If you’re in the neighborhood of Jordan (perhaps visiting the candy store), swing into Roets for some really solid craft beer.

Grocery wars

On Friday morning I saw the news come across my feed that Amazon had bought Whole Foods. It’s one of the oddest announcements I think I’ve seen in a while, and no one really knows what Amazon is going to do to change Whole Foods. Amazon is already making forays into the grocery delivery game, but Whole Foods doesn’t really fit a home delivery model. If all Amazon wanted was a grocery chain they could have probably chosen some other companies to pick up that are already in that space.

So I’m not really sure what Amazon is going for, but that’s really not the point of what I wanted to talk about in the blog anyway. Something that I find fascinating is the grocery store culture in America. When I was growing up there were larger grocery stores, but there were also many, many small neighborhood markets. If you just needed a couple of things for dinner you could head there, and the bigger markets filled other needs. Then, around the time I was 10-11 stores like Cub Foods and Rainbow launched, with their mega grocery store concept. These massive warehouse stores undercut prices and had massive selection.

It feels like that type of store altered the way that American’s shop and cook. If you have to drive to a market to get groceries, you might as well stock up so you don’t need to go as often. I remember when I was a young adult that we would often make a single grocery trip every week or two weeks, coming home with bags and bags of food, which we then had to store and keep fresh in our house. With the advent of stores like Super Target, which are more akin to the size of an older grocery market, I find our habits altered. The idea of a big grocery trip every week are less common, and stopping by after work a few times a week is much more likely to happen.

This doesn’t mean we don’t stock up on items when we go, but the idea of thinking 1-2 weeks in advance, and planning to have all the food we would need, just doesn’t happen. It feels much more like what I hear about in Europe and Asia, where people shop every day, or every other day, at a local market (that isn’t the size of a warehouse.) It also means that people in those countries don’t need to have nearly as much food storage space in their houses.

Whole Foods is another one of those smaller markets that doesn’t take up an entire city block. Granted they’re incredibly expensive with some of their natural food, but it’s actually a pleasure to shop there. I like the trend of many of the other modern groceries as well, where the market is smaller, and you make a few trips each week to the store, instead of needing a wood paneled station wagon to bring your groceries home. Perhaps I’m alone in my thinking on this, but it feels more engaging. Hitting the local Lunds, Trader Joe’s, Super Target, etc on my way home from work, because we just decided last night what to make for dinner tonight, isn’t a burden. It feels like I’m living life just a tiny, ever so slight bit, on the edge. Watch out world… you never know what I’ll be making for dinner.

E3 week 2017

I’ve never had the pleasure of attending an event like E3, but I could see it being something fun to do some point in my life. Until such day, I’ll have to live vicariously through all of the media announcements. This past week has been a plethora of different technology and game announcements. Here are a couple that excited me.

Wolfenstein II

I was a big fan of the Wolfenstein reboot a few years ago. I love the alternative history setting (the US lost WWII), and despite being a very bloody and graphic first-person-shooter, I had a fun time playing it. The new game is set slightly after the ending of the first, and you’re traveling around a dystopian, German-occupied, America trying to start a revolution to free your county. It looks like a lot of the same fun that made the first game enjoyable, and will undoubtedly retain it’s mature audience rating.

Xbox One X

Although I will probably never own an Xbox One X, it was cool to see more development of the Xbox line. In particular it means that prices of the lower console, the Xbox One S are coming down a bit. I’ve got an aging Xbox 360 that is long overdue for replacement. At its new price point the S might just be within range, enabling me to play games like the new Wolfenstein that I mentioned above.

Nintendo

As my current go-to gaming console, I was excited to see more things coming to the Switch. In particular that new DLC for Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches soon and will provide a bunch more fun things to do in the game, along with new challenges. I’m also excited for the possibility of a new Pokemon game that will run on the switch. I’ve always thought that could be fun to play a full-screen, traditional style Pokemon game on a console, and soon we’ll get our chance. I also am intrigued by the new Mario Odyssey game, and I’m betting that my kids will be asking for that one for birthdays or Christmas.

All in all, it’s been a fun week to watch the news feed coming out of E3. It’s also been cool to connect with my kids around a shared interest, and I enjoy seeing their excitement about things that important to them. Onward to more gaming!

Breakfast differences

After a heavy week of posts, I need to talk about something silly and light. So what better topic than breakfast. Specifically, my compulsion to always make a ton of food whenever we’re doing breakfast (or breakfast-for-dinner). When I bring up the topic of breakfast my wife initially thinks, “Oh, that’s nice, just some eggs and toast.” When I think about breakfast, I think about the picture at the top of this post. Basically, I go all out and have multiple pans and griddles going at the same time.

I then turn into a whirling dervish as I attempt to get everything ready at the same time. This usually includes piles of eggs, sausage and/or bacon, pancakes, and sometime french toast. I spend most of the breakfast time standing at the griddle pouring out batter and turning meat as I pass out the items that are done for hungry boys to devour. Sure it’s a lot of work, but in many ways I enjoy it. It feels like an appropriate ‘dad thing’ to do for a hungry family. As Father’s Day approaches it makes me think about dad things, and breakfast is certainly one of those things.

 

Unjustified

I feel that I need to make a brief statement here on this blog about the events of Wednesday. A gunman with a grudge against Trump and the Republicans, attacked a gathering of politicians while they were practicing for a charity softball tournament. Very quickly after the gunman was identified, the media went sifting through his online persona and discovered an individual who was very angry about Trump and the Republican leadership of the country.

As a self-professed progressive/liberal, I feel like I need to speak out that this man, in no way, represents those who believe in liberal ideals. In fact, his actions are the complete opposite of what it means to be a progressive. Dialogue and the betterment of society is the ideal of progressivism, and violence, which only begets more violence, will never have a place in civil democracy. I’m at the front of the line as a person who wants to see Trump and the Republicans no longer in power. That in no way implies that any of them should be shot.

I worry for the future of our country when every day seems to spark more divisiveness in our society. It feels like every day brings news of yet another new clash of ideas. Diversity of thought can be a powerful asset to an enlightened society, or it can be the first step in the downfall of a world superpower. I pray for enlightenment.