27 February, 2010

Two Things. Things that are books. Two Books.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson

Two great books by Swedes to enjoy in this, our most Nordic of winters.

Actually, technically Tove Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finn. She's also the creator of those awesome Moomin characters. The True Deceiver is a short but engaging work about art, the creative process and basic human interaction. Jansson creates an incredible amount of tension with very little. Read this book now, while there's still snow on the ground.

Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo similarly ratchets up the tension but in more of a noir-ish detective novel style. I won't ruin anything of the plot for you. Suffice it to say that I've already read the sequel The Girl Who Played with Fire and hope my fiancee quickly finishes the third and last installment (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) soon. Also, it made me want to drink endless cups of coffee and eat lots of sandwiches. But what doesn't?

I learned of both these books on the awesome radio show "This is the Modern World" with Trouble on thee most essential WFMU. Check it out sometime. You will be rewarded with great recommendations and, also, bird sounds.


05 February, 2010

What We're Reading: The Big Machine

This post from Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic is only tangentially related to food (specifically food systems and obesity), but like most of his writing, it's well worth reading.

03 February, 2010

Catching up

Autumnal hiatus turned into winter break. It's snowed a bunch of times since we posted anything here.

We've been thinking that the tag line above --on the brewing, drinking and culture of beer-- is too limiting for the things we want to talk about. Not just beer, but food, wine, pop culture, music and so on. So we're working on some changes that will hopefully open things up a bit creatively, and get us posting more than once a quarter. More to come on that soon. We've also added comment moderation because we've been getting some spam.

That said, we've been brewing some pretty great beer recently. We brewed a Belgian dubbel in October that was ready for Christmas, but tasted pretty rough -- lots of alcohol heat without much body. It's smoothed out nicely in the last few weeks as the malt has come forward. It should taste even better in another month or two.

Our last beer was a rye IPA, pictured above. We clogged up our plate chiller on brew day and I was afraid the resulting emergency measures would compromise the beer. But it turned out great, with a huge nose from being dry-hopped with several ounces of Amarillo.

My one problem with both of these beers is lack of body, which I think is due to not hitting the right mash temperatures. I'd been using a cheap remote thermometer, and it's probably just not accurate enough for brewing. So that should be an easy fix.

We'll be drinking the dubbel and rye on Sunday, as we get together with friends to play music in the afternoon before cooking up some great food and retiring to watch the Superbowl. This has become a bit of a tradition the last few years and we'll document the proceedings here.

Here's to a new year of brewing, drinking and eating well.