Beer Family’s First Potluck

There is a small group of Columbus-ites who are discussing, drinking, and sharing well made craft beer.

The Beer Family.

Right now our numbers are small but there are constantly new additions announced and much rejoicing occurs.

I initially “met” James, The Beer Family Godfather (you totally are James!), via Twitter and we’ve been chatting for months about whatevers and also beer.  Sadly I’ve missed some of the Tweet-ups but I was able to finally meet him and other family members on Sunday when we attended Beercamp.

Even before meeting on Sunday, we had recently been talking about a Beer and Food pairing and how fun that would be!  It was decided that it would happen and take place the Monday after Beercamp.  The Family was currently celebrating Beer Weekend and decided to conclude it on Monday with the potluck.

We were unable to attend one of the Beer Weekend events but I was assured that it was a rockin’ good time.

This was Scott and I’s first official Beer Family function and it didn’t disappoint.

The goal was to make a dish and pair it with a beer that would compliment or enhance the dish, or the beer, or both!  I was very nervous because all these Beer Heads knew what they were doing and had experience with different obscure beers.

I do not.

But I do know food!  I decided to make Chipotle Cheddar Puffs and paired that with Rogue’s Chipotle Ale.  My little puffs can be seen on the bottom right of the picture.  I did not get pictures of all the food sadly because I was too busy talking and eating and being a bad food blogger.

There will be an official review of the Chipotle Ale to come but I’ll give a brief description to set you up.  Chipotles are spicy. Well, at least to me they are super spicy! I was curious how this would go in a beer.  Yes the beer is spicy but not hot like you might imagine.  Instead, the beer is warm and leaves you with a deep warm taste as it finishes.  By warm, I mean that there are some spices that are hot (chilies) and some that are just warm (cinnamon).  This is a warm beer.

The puffs went really well with the Chipotle Ale and actually made the ale a bit spicier on the finish.  The puffs also got a bit spicier!   I was happy with my combo!  I hope everyone else thought the same!Next up was this German smoked ale brought out by Ryan.  He said it smelled like bacon and he wasn’t kidding.  This ale was paired with a BBQ chicken pizza that he made and included the beer in the sauce.

This ale was intense and if you don’t care for smoked things in general you might have to pass this one up.  I loved it and immediately thought it would be great to brine with and then grill whatever got brined.  I would not be able to handle a full glass of this beer though.  Just a small amount takes me a long way.

Nice choice!

Next we have James’s pairing.  He picked a Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA and paired that with a spicy chili.  I am not an IPA girl, I will tell you that right up front.  IPAs are just way too hoppy for me and remind me of drinking a grapefruit.  I do not like grapefruit (this is also why I stay away from Savignon Blancs, too grapefruity tasting).

But the whole point of this get-together is to try beers and try the pairings.  Keep an open mind and taste!

Drinking the beer straight up, I didn’t like it.  Wow but the hops were really overpowering.  Tasting after a bite of chili and things changed dramatically.  This beer cut through the spiciness quickly and the heat from the chili toned down the hoppy beer a great deal.  I could drink this beer if I had it with spicy foods.  I think it would be great paired with some buffalo wings!

Now desserts!

Katie made some cream cheese chocolate chip cupcakes and paired that with Lancaster’s (PA not OH) Milk Stout.  If you know anything about me, you know that me and stouts are a match made in heaven! I was very excited to try out this pairing!  This was my first time having a milk stout so I asked what made it a “milk” stout.

There is no milk in this stout (although making a chocolate shake with this would probably be a fabbo idea.  You’re welcome.)

Milk Stout via Wikipedia:

Milk stout (also called sweet stout or cream stout) is a stout containing lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose is unfermentable by beer yeast, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer.

Interesting!  This stout is creamy and delish!  It’s very smooth, and while I realize that most stouts are very smooth, this is like silk.  It went great with the cupcakes!

Next to the stout is Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot (WTF for those who are wondering).  This was brought along for the ride for an extra tasting.  It was alright but my milk stout memories override it!

The last pairing of the evening was PJ’s Kahula cake and Southern Tier Jahva Stout.  He also brought along an extra Choklat stout just for shits and giggles and I’m glad that he did!

I did not try the Jah-va stout but from everyone’s mutterings it was a good one!  No, this lady went straight for the Choklat stout!

Whoa baby did this pack a punch!  Easily the thickest and chocolatiest stout I’ve had to date.  It was glorious!  It was also really heavy so I would suggest not drinking it on a super full tum or you’ll find yourself stuffed and quick!  It was a nice pairing with the Kahlua cake that I had a wee bite of.  I definitely will look for this stout in the future!

Other random beers:

21st Amendement’s Monk’s Blood and it sort of reminded me of a deeper kind of Irish or Scottish ale.  It was really good!  And I also got a lesson from James in why canned beer isn’t always a bad thing.

Good to learn!

I also learned from Ryan that the Beer Family consumed over 3 gallons of beer that night! Crazy!  I had just a sample of each, so in total probably had about a glass of beer. Maybe slightly more.  I wanted to try everything so I stuck to small portions.

Soon we hit the Mad Scientist Portion of the evening where folks started mixing beers.  One of the popular pairings was mixing the smoked ale with the Chipotle ale.  Everyone seemed to enjoy that!

We chatted the rest of evening and before long it was time for us to head home and crawl into bed.  The night turned out fantastic and there’s talks of another one to come along soon!

Bonus of the evening?  Ryan home brews and I got to leave with a bottle of his stout!  SCORE!

The Beer Family in attendance for the evening were:

Yours truly and Scott

James and PJ

Ryan and his wife, Chrissy


The Beer Family is always interested in meeting new people who enjoy a good beer and we will welcome you with open arms!  All of us are on twitter so just give a follow.  Or if you are on Facebook search for Columbus Beer Guys, which has all the official tweet-ups and meet-ups!  The only rule is that you can’t show up with a Bud or whatever-cheap-beer but I’m sure you knew that already.

Review: Under Armour Running Hat

Me, race day Hi gang! The majority of you were interested in also reading about some workout gear reviews here at OHC, so here we go!  First up is one of my favorite pieces of gear, my running hat made by Under Armour. The first time I wore this hat was during my first half.  I know, never do anything new on race day, right?  Well a few days before the race I realized that a hat would help keep the sun and sweat out of my eyes.  And if I hated it, then I would just toss it to Scott at some point along the way.

I know that was a poor plan but it was a few days before race day and I was desperate.  I picked this hat up at a local sporting goods shop and it came in two colors, white with a green logo or black with a pink logo.  I detest anything pink (just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I like pink! Good grief!) so I opted for the white hat.  I love green so it worked out.

This hat is very light which helps keep my head cool but also protects it from getting sun burn.  The fit is amazing and the first time I wore it, it felt like a well broken in hat.  The visor keeps the sun out of my face and the band on the inside of the hat keeps the sweat on my forehead from running down into my eyes.

The best part of this hat aside from all those other things I just listed? I can toss it in the washer and dryer with no issues.  I wear this hat all the time.  Everyday for my runs in the spring and summer.  I also wear it if I know I’m going to be outside for extended periods of time like hiking, our recent trip to the zoo, and when I’m doing yard work.

Running Hat There is one downside but it’s minor. The adjustable strap in the back is a little funky. You are supposed to be able to hide the end of the strap in a little pocket on the side but that only works if you don’t have to tighten the strap too much.  I have a pin head, no seriously I have a very tiny head and I had to shove and convince the end of the strap to fit in that little pocket.  I worked up such a sweat just doing that alone!

Aside from that little issue, this is a great hat!  I would love to have more in different colors but I haven’t seen any yet. The website does have two other colors listed, so I think it’s time for me to head out and see if I can find some.  If you wear hats when you run, give this a go.  Or even if you hike and walk a lot, try it out!

Handmade pottery by Michael

Handmade ceramic bowls Hi gang! Those of you that also read my daily eats may recognize one of those bowls over there, specifically the one on the left.  That’s my oatmeal bowl that I use often!

My good friend, T, whom I’ve mentioned on the blog before, has a son who creates handmade pottery.  I fell in love with this stuff the minute I first laid eyes on them.  My first question to T was the price of the bowls because I wanted to purchase some ASAP!  Because T is awesome he sent me some bowls just because!

These bowls are amazing!  Not only are the gorgeous but they are totally functional. You can put food in them, and they are microwave and dishwasher safe.


Michael is T’s son and he is the one responsible for creating such fabbo pieces! He’s currently visiting with T and I was able to snag some of his time and ask a few questions.

1. How long have you been making pottery?

2 years, or thereabouts.

2. How did you get started?

I started in High School, and developed my fundamentals. Very early on, I discovered that most of my enjoyment came in finding colors to put together. Luckily for me, I had access to a lot of unclaimed work that I could glaze however I wanted, and that gave me a way to explore my experimentation with color.  After my brain surgery, I took another ceramics class, this one at the college level, and it reignited my passion. I spent the better part of 8 months and 600 pieces testing and manipulating the glazes that I have access to, using them to release the rainbow’s worth of colors in my work.

3. What inspires you to create such gorgeous pieces? How do you decide what color or colors to use?

My most basic inspiration is a man I’ll never meet; Dr. Seuss himself. The more I have looked at my past exposure to the world, the more I have seen that’s where it started. The color, mixed with the abstract way in which he made his books, is the catalyst of my love for color, form and design.

As to what colors to use, well, I just think about what would look good on each individual piece. It’s kind of a ‘play as you go’ thing.

4. How did you come up with the “change” concept (to read more about change, follow the link)?

Change…The concept for me has been an accumulation of the time that I have spent observing the world around me. Much younger than I should have ever been concerned with the concept, I was trying to final a way to do so. With much frustration, and agony, (as) I saw the world continuing to change, but only for the worse.

As time went on, I became less burdened by the fact, but it is still a problem that I believe that is within my power, to help fix. It wasn’t until I got held up, that It really began to snap into focus, that every moment has in it, the power to change, and that is when my change began to ‘take shape.’

I began making my coins one day as a fun little project to make something small that I could work with in a new direction, and soon after I realized that I had actually found a way to help change things. I know from personal experienced that sometimes all it takes to change someone’s day around is something simple. The caring voice of a friend, an ice cream cone, whatever it may be. It doesn’t have to be something big, and that’s how it started:

Passing out coins when I felt I should, to people that help me with something, or to help someone else, but in truth, every one of them is here do whatever they are going to do, much the same as everyone else.

5. When is your most favorite time to work and create?

My favorite time to work, is any time I have to work, because, whatever time I have, and whatever work I do, brings me joy.

As far as creating goes, most of which for me is a kind of internal ‘brainstorming’, this comes to me at random intervals. Some days I haven’t a single idea about a new project, not a moment’s contemplation. Other days, the ideas just don’t stop. Whatever the case, I really believe that I create when I’m ready.

Thanks Michael for allowing me to ask questions!

Michael has a store up!  If you love these pieces (and I know you do!) please visit his store and see what catches your eye.  If you have any questions feel free to contact T and ask away! Or I can ask him for you if you would feel more comfortable that way.  Let’s help support independent artists!

Review: 365 Woven Wheat Crackers

365 Woven Wheat Cracker I was all set to review another cracker for today but I tossed that out the window because I need to talk to you about a cracker love affair I have going on right now.

It started with Triscuits.  We all know Triscuits, right?  The wheat cracker that puts on airs and pretends to be healthy for you.  “But it’s wheat! And there’s fiber too!” I used to love Triscuits!  The Rosemary and Olive Oil being my favorite flavor.  They were crunchy, a little salty, and went perfectly with hummus.  I thought I was doing alright.

Then I read the ingredients list.

Pfftttttt You’re not kidding me Nabisco, the Triscuit ingredient list isn’t so hot. That’s for the Rosemary Olive Oil flavor.  Just in case you don’t want to click the link, here’s what the ingredients say, bolding mine:


Soybean AND/OR Palm Oil?  It could have one or it could have both? Are we playing some sort of oil game?  “Oooo which one are we going to get?” while crossing our fingers wishing it’s one or the other.

Maltodextrin is a starch that is used as a sweetener to foods. It’s an additive that isn’t needed.  Don’t be fooled by articles claiming “it’s all natural and derived from natural plants or vegetables.”  Same can be said for HFCS and we all know that’s not good stuff.

Monosodium Glutamate = MSG. I love how they sugar coat that by calling it a “Flavor Enhancer”.  I don’t about you but I don’t want MSG in my food, thanks.

What is “natural flavor”?  Does anyone know what that even means?

And then there’s olive oil which is good for you!  But it’s at the end of the ingredient list and since ingredients are listed by weight that means there is very little of it present.  Bonus, if we picked a winning box which contains both Soybean and Palm Oil AND Olive Oil, that’s a hell of a lot of oil in a cracker isn’t it?

You can see why I kicked Triscuits to the curb. And in case you’re curious, the ingredients for plain Triscuits are:


Still playing the game of chance with the soybean and palm oil ingredients.    Why would I want to do that?


But I loved them!  So my plan was to find an alternative and that’s when I discovered 365 Brand Woven Wheat Crackers.  Admittedly they could use a different name.  Come on Whole Foods, Woven Wheat?  Like someone’s going to pull something out of the box resembling an area rug their grandma made.  Let’s work on a new name!

365 Woven Wheat Crackers Ingredients List But in the meantime I am going through these crackers like they might not last forever.  Check out the ingredients list:

Oh snap! Triscuit just got crack slapped by Woven Wheat!  Woven Wheat has two ingredients.


Whole Wheat and salt.  None of this AND/OR bidness.  No added oils, “flavor enhancers”, and no vague “natural flavor” addition, and no phoney “but it’s really okay” food additives.

Just wheat and salt.

YES! This is an ingredient list I can live with.  This is the type of ingredient list I want on my foods.  Short and simple.

365 Woven Wheat Cracker Because I know you’re wondering, here is what Woven Wheat looks like. Totally not like Grandma Betsy’s area rugs.  Unless she’s making one for Barbie and Barbie is into sensible neutral colors.

If you’ve done the Triscuit thing and you’re looking for a better alternative, please check these out.  They can be found at Whole Foods stores which are all over the place. So go get yourself some Woven Wheats! And maybe together we can help them come up with a better name. Just kidding, Whole Foods! Woven Wheat is totally cool! (P.S. Not really.)

Review: POM Wonderful

POM Wonderful

POM Wonderful

I had been seeing POM Wonderful pop up on foodie blogs for a while.  Apparently the POM Fairy was super busy dispensing POM all over the place.  POM had been winking at me and catching my eye while I grocery shopped.   But it didn’t flirt with me enough or offer to buy me a drink so I ignored it.  Finally I decided to be a modern woman and make the first move.  And also I was tired of waiting around for the POM Fairy to call me and tell me it had a surprise just for me.

My next grocery trip, I grabbed the POM by the handle and took it home to have my way with it and do my own review for the blog, gosh darn it!  A little side note, POM does not mind being roughly handled.  Take that as you will.

I had heard rumors that your first time with POM might not be like what you’ve read about in books or have seen in movies.  It’s sort of tart and a little bit more assertive than what you’d expect from something labeled as Wonderful. It can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared.

Because of this, I decided to play it safe and made sure I warmed myself up beforehand so that I would be ready to handle whatever Wonderful came my way.  I poured a bit in a glass, held my breath, and jumped in with both lips.

All that warming up was for nothing.  POM Wonderful is exactly that.  Wonderful.  It’s not tart at all or assertive, at least not to my experienced palate. It’s sweet and a bit thicker than most fruit juices.  I love it!  In fact I might like it even more than my current top choice, unsweetened cranberry juice.  Which is assertive and can leave your throat a bit dry if you don’t know what you’re doing with it.  POM is sweet glorious nectar.



We drink a lot of “fizzies” in this house.  Fizzies are basically seltzer and whatever else you want to toss in there.  I typically keep it to juices but my husband likes things with a little more kick sometimes.  Because I’m an awesome wife, I have no problems keeping things spicy for him.

This resulted in the POMtini.  I’m sure this has been done numerous times and in numerous places but this is my version.

Andrea’s Quickie POMtini

  • Chilled vodka (how much depends on you)
  • Chilled POM Wonderful (3x’s that of the vodka)
  • Splash of lime juice

Stir and serve. You can get even fancier by rimming the glass with sugar and adding a slice of lime for garnish. Make it green sugar and the drink will pop even more.  Plus it’s festive for the holidays!

We have even tried the POM Wonderful with Blueberry and it’s fantastic too.  You can smell the blueberries as soon as you pour it into your glass.  Admittedly POM can be a bit on the pricy side.  However, it’s totally worth it because sometimes you just have to branch out and experiment a little bit.

Next time you’re at the store, give POM Wonderful a try! Your experience will probably be a lot more enjoyable than you think! ;)

Review: 2% Fage

2% Fage

2% Fage

I decided to add a new tag to my reviews so that I can start telling you about my favorite things.  Sure a review of a product I’ve tried is fun but I thought you might be interested in some of the things I consider my staples, my must-haves.

Daily Eats readers will recognize this item, my precious 2% Fage.  Ever since I dived into the Greek yogurt world, I have not left it.  There are different varieties around and I’ve tried some and will be trying more, but 2% Fage has my heart.

For those unfamiliar with Greek yogurt, it is a yogurt that has been strained leaving a very thick product behind.  The texture is sort of a cross between good sour cream and a cream cheese, very dense and rich.  Greek yogurt also tends to have more protein than regular yogurt.  Part of the reason why I’m a fan, to me, more protein is always a good thing.

Fage comes in three types:

  • Total which means full fat
  • 2% which is 2% fat content
  • 0% which has no fat at all

The full fat version has just a bit too much fat for me.  I have tried the 0% but didn’t care for it too much.  The taste didn’t really sit right on my tongue and the texture wasn’t as creamy.  2% is where the love is.  It has just enough fat to give it a lovely creamy texture but not so much that you have to eat lettuce for the rest of the day.

Good for you...

Good for you...

Greek yogurt is very tart, that combined with its texture and ability to be heated makes it very handy in the kitchen.  Because of its tartness, it can be used in savory dishes as a replacement for sour cream.  We’ve put it on tacos, mixed it in soup, made dressings and dips out of it.  Add in a bit of sweetness to lead you down a whole other path.  You can top it with a bit of fruit preserves, mix in some granola, dried, or fresh fruit, and you have an amazing snack.

To make sure I’m taking in good protein and getting some calcium, I eat yogurt almost everyday.  I love when it’s yogurt time!  For those that have never tried Greek yogurt before, it can take some getting used to.  But don’t give up! Play around with it and see what happens.

My favorite ways to eat 2% Fage:

  • Using it to make a ranch type dressing for veggies and salads
  • 2% fage + chocolate granola + dried cranberries (or cranberry jelly in the fall)
  • Adding a bit to guacamole for some extra tang and creaminess
  • Yogurt messes, which can be found all over my Daily Eats blog.  Like today for example!

Fage also has single containers of the three types or you can buy singles with a bit of fruit that you scoop onto the yogurt.  Peach being my favorite of those.

That large tub lasts us about a week, maybe a little less. The serving size is 1 Cup, but because of the texture and richness of the yogurt, 1 Cup is actually quite a bit!  For a snack, my serving is not even a 1/4C of yogurt.  While for a meal, I probably do have 1/4C, with mix-ins it makes for a decent breakfast.

No lie, I will make Scott drive me all over to so I can have yogurt in my fridge.  I have to look for it because sometimes if the grocery store is out, it takes a while before they restock.  If I have trouble finding some and cannot get my yogurt fix, I become really crabby about the situation.  I’m telling you, it’s good stuff!!  If you haven’t given Greek yogurt a try, pick up some Fage and see what you think!