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It’s been a tough few days here in Paris, but I wanted to squeeze out this little post that has been ready for quite some time, documenting a weekend away to visit dear friends.

I made it to London weekend before last to visit a close friend for a very special crafty couple of days. She is an avid sewer and is getting married next summer in her homeland of Sweden, and one of the cutest details to date is that she’s having all of us bridesmaids sew our own dresses! Basically she chose the fabric of her dreams and we all chose a pattern to whip up when in Londontown.

Obviously, being the beer obsessed lady that I am, the weekend started out with dinner at a newish brew pub called The Temple Brew House, where I indulged in a big fried fish with heaps of chips (you know, fries, ehhem) and of course… BRITISH CRAFT BEER. The trip was short really only having Friday night to Monday afternoon, but since I don’t really know London at all – aside from the touristy stuff I did when I was a preteen – I was happy as a clam with some strolling.

We attempted the super popular Breakfast Club restaurant and failed (the line was twice as long as the meal would have lasted), so we continued on to have eggs elsewhere at one of London’s infinite trendy-open-all-the-time-with-gluten-free-options-and-fresh-juice places. When you’ve got good company, any spot will do. Brick Lane was packed with both the young and the old, punks and preps, feasting on grub at what used to be the Truman Brewery, now turned street food Oz. The vintage shops were underground and vinyls were everywhere. I could definitely get used to this type of daily life, on the condition that the currency I earned was pounds (fudge, so expensive…). Before heading back on Sunday evening for a dinner in, we popped by BrewDog, where I basically consumed a full meal in beer: Pumpkin King followed by Siren’s Caribbean Chocolate Cake. Pure magic.

Something about London made me very happy. A certain je ne sais quoi. I’m not quite sure if it was the savory breakfast everywhere, the unpretentious pub culture or the brick buildings and markets… I guess I’ll have to go back, hehe.

LONDON PLACES:
Brewdog // Tap room
Brick Lane // Vintage clothing & vinyls hotspot
Canteen // Grub spot
Kew Royal Botanical Gardens // Big lovely park
The Temple Brew House // Microbrewery, pub & restaurant

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My twin sister lives in Boulder. My brother works in Boulder. A human I adore is from Boulder. I didn’t realize until after I got back from my trip how much I’m actually linked to Boulder. I even took Louis to a high school friend’s frat party on New Year’s Eve there in 2010 for the perfect first-time-in-America experience. Ha. Oh, Boulder. I always hated driving up there in High School for orchestra stuff, hiking or whatever, because of all of the pedestrians! Ah!

This time it was a different kind of spin by Boulder. One where I got to get off the beaten path for some snazzy places, awkwardly spread out, which I secretly really like… we had delicious beer and the best Mexican in town. I’m anxious to get back there next time I’m home.

AVERY BREWING // Home of deliciously crafted beers, get a flight or two

BRU // Restaurant and handbuilt ales

EFRAN’S II // Best Mexican in town

THE KITCHEN NEXT DOOR // Friendly and casual spot on Pearl Street

SANITAS BREWING COMPANY // Try their black IPA

UPSLOPE BREWING COMPANY // Try their Thai Style White IPA

 

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I had been doing 5-liter batches from when I started to homebrew early last year. Not so long ago after Louis and I’s move into a bigger apartment with gas burners (the simple things in life), I decided to bump it up to 20-liter batches. I’ve still got my 5-liter carboy so I can do small batches whenever (clonebrews, here I come), but I wanted to get used to a more classic quantity referenced in books I have. I’m pretty thrilled to say that said, I’m learning from every single batch: best practices, figuring out what when wrong in my brewing process, why for example this batch photographed above was so damn bitter. It’s quite exciting to understand what is actually happening during the brewing process… I was always horrible at science when in High School, and chemistry god forbid… I was nulle. Anyways.

I have some new goals this year now, one of which being to disconnect from work when I’m home, which is directly linked to the fact that I want to take advantage of hobbies where I’m not glued to my phone. Ha! Things like riding my bike to work, homebrewing… giving my eyes a break from screens. I want to take advantage of the long summer days. I plan to brew 2 times per month. One recipe. A Pale Ale. Until I get it the way I want it to be. Let the games begin. To my Paris friends reading, your tasting expertise will be very much appreciated.

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Sometimes a few good chilled beers is all you need to bring over to a friend’s place for an impromptu apéro & beer tasting… ideally after a quick stop at one of Paris’s beer shops (post of all of my favorite beer spots coming soon).

Photographed above are the fabulously labeled bottles of Brasserie de la Senne, one of my current fav’ European brasseries right now, located Brussels. It’s the ultimate Belgian craft brewery.

Stay tuned for my favorite beer stops in Paris, coming soon.

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The first month of summer is flying by and I haven’t even had a moment to share a few shots from my first batch of homebrew a couple of months ago. My bad. As you can see, it actually looked like beer! I was quite pleased, as I had no idea what to expect from my first batch.

My first ever batch was a blanche beer, which when first tasted, obviously needed some improvement (to say it was a bit sour is an understatement). My second homebrew batch, a Bière d’Abbaye proved to be a clear improvement as it was quite tasty, and I had corrected mistakes made with the batch numero uno…

For now brewing my own beer seems to be a little break from the computer screen, which has been doing me some good. Stay tuned for more brew stories here on the blog.