Homebrewing for the First Time

•February 21, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Beer

If you would have told me three years ago that I would like beer, I would have said you were crazy. I had tasted my dad’s Miller Light growing up and went to a Christian college where drinking was a no-no. So I never had much of an opportunity to drink much, and I was okay with that. It just wasn’t a big deal.

Then I graduated from school and went down to Atlanta. I got an internship at Paste Magazine. Before I started working at Paste, I pretty much thought there was your typical American beers and some expensive imports. I was sure they all tasted the same, and as far as I knew, that taste was “rubber band”.

At Paste, I found out that several people there were beer snobs. No typical American lagers for them, they drank these dark, high-gravity brews like St. Bernardus Abt. 12, Chimay, and Delirium. I went out for dinner with a few of the guys at this great place called The Brick Store. At The Brick Store, the beer list is twice as long as the food list. The first Belgian beer I ever tried remains my favorite today – St. Bernardus Abt. 12.

Now, when I first tried it, I pretty much had to force it down my throat. It just wasn’t my thing. But over the past few years, truly good beer has really grown on me. In fact, good beer has grown on me so much that my in-laws bought me a home brewing kit for Christmas this year. Right now in our basement sits an enormous barrel fermenting more than 30 pints of beer.

I’ve taste-tested it a couple times and so far, so good. The beer should be ready to bottle by the end of the week. Then I’ll let the bottles sit for a couple weeks to age and I’ll have more beer than I know what to do with!

I’ve got all my friends saving their beer bottles so I can bottle my next batch in glass bottles rather than the plastic ones that came with the kit and by the time I’ve polished off all 30 pints, that’ll be plenty of time to have collected enough glass bottles that I can brew my next batch (which will be a Belgian) in those.

There’s a great home brewing/wine-making store down the road – Great Fermentations. I’ve been there a couple of times – once for an “Intro to Homebrewing” class and once to pick up a few items. If you’d like to try a beer once it’s brewed I think I should have enough.

JW

Denver

•July 31, 2007 • Leave a Comment

After spending a week in Denver and the surrounding Rockies, we’re heading home this afternoon. It’s been a great time to take a vacation, especially considering what all is coming up for us in August.

Lindsay starts teaching again in couple weeks, we’ve got a TON of packing to do, we’re closing on and moving into our house later in the month, and I’ll be working at the world-famous Indiana State Fair for a handful of days. Put all that together and we may need another vacation once September hits!

All that to say that if you’ve never been to Denver, it’s a place you must visit. The altitude takes a little while to adjust to, but once you’ve adjusted, it’s a great place with tons to do.

I’m actually thinking of finding out how much it would cost to move some mountains to Indiana. It’d make my job much easier!

Buying A House

•May 18, 2007 • 3 Comments

Linds and I are finally ready to buy a house. Well, we’ve been ready to buy a house for a while now, but we’re finally at the point where we’re planning to buy a house.

We spent Wednesday evening looking at houses in what could be considered “mid-town” Indianapolis and we found one we really liked. Actually, this one is literally a block from Luna Music Midtown, so if we end up there, I’ll be spending a bit of time (and probably money) buying vinyl there.

There’s something exciting and mind-numbingly terrifying about buying a house and we’re right in the middle of it all. Linds and I have lived in eight different places since we graduated (four since we got married) and every one has been a rental. We’re just ready to put our roots down and have a place we can actually work on. That’s been one of the hardest things about renting. We have all these things we want to do with our place now. We want to paint, have a larger yard for Rosie, get rid of the hideous light fixtures on the ceilings; but since we’re renting, it’s not ours to change.

There’s also the whole “paying rent” thing too. It makes so much more sense for us to pay a mortgage (essentially paying ourselves back) rather than pay someone else rent. There’s just a lot to think about when starting to look for a house.

Field Trips

•May 15, 2007 • 2 Comments


It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at my job now for nearly six months. Wow. I’ve learned a lot and I continue to learn about the publishing and tourism industries, about what it means to be a state employee and work for the greater good, about how to effectively squeeze every last penny out of the 43rd largest state tourism budget in the country, and about my adopted state of Indiana.

One perk to being a state employee, specifically one working for the tourism office, is that I get to go on “field trips”. Well, they’re actually FAM (familiarization) trips, but Lindsay likes to call them “field trips”. Then she reminds me that she’s a teacher and she hasn’t even been on a field trip yet. So, anyway, field trips. Today I went down to Southern Indiana–Santa Claus, Indiana, in fact–for a regional marketing meeting at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, the world’s first theme park. It was a very cool place.

Growing up in Cincinnati, I went to King’s Island all the time, and KI definitely has more rides, but there was something special about Holiday World. For one, it’s a family-run business and it has been since it was started. The Koch’s have done such a great job of creating a family-oriented and fun theme park. And, since it’s just three hours from Indy, it’s not that much further than KI. It felt much more manageable and way more clean than KI and it just made me want to come back. It was quite a trip but I really enjoyed it, even though I left at 6:30 AM and spent about 6 1/2 hours in the car today.

In addition to today’s trip to Holiday World, our office has also done two other FAMs. One to Wayne and Henry counties (in East Central Indiana, right along I-70) and to Fair Oaks Farms (off I-65 about half-way between Indy and Chicago) and each of those have been really great too. It makes all the difference in the world when you can promote a product you’ve experienced. I could tell people how great a place Holiday World was, but since I had never been there (until today), I wouldn’t really have that true experience that I could relate to them. I wouldn’t be able to tell them a story…and that’s what people want now. They want a story. They want to emotionally connect with what you’re selling them.

I’m sure I’ve blogged about Lovemarks before, but I need to reiterate what a great book it is. Kevin Roberts really hits the new wave of marketing spot on. It’s truly about telling the consumer a story that engages them and creates a love in them for your product. In my case, this is the State of Indiana.

This is true for any state/city/region, but it impacts me when talking about Indiana. How many times have you heard someone say “There’s nothing to do in XXX”? It happens all the time in Indiana and it’s frustrating. There really is so much out there to do, wherever you live. You just need to know where to find it. That’s where I come in…

Not bad for my first post in a while. I’ll try to be back more frequently.

Let the games end and the work begin…

•November 16, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Monday is my first day back into the full-time work world in more than 7 months. Back in college, I couldn’t handle the idea of working 40-hour weeks for 50+ weeks a year. The thought of no summer vacation just didn’t sit well with me. For the 16 years of formal education I received, there was always a summer…I mean, yeah, I worked during the summers, but it was something quite different from school, so it was still a break. But I never thought I’d be so excited to start working again.

About a month or two into my adventure into the life as an unemployed member of society, I started to miss working…I was getting bored not being at work. One really good thing about starting the Monday before Thanksgiving is that I get to work at 3-day week and then have a 4-day weekend. I figure it’s a really good way for me to ease back into work. Well, I’m off to meet Phil and Sam for lunch one last time. More updates to come.

I’ve got a new job…

•November 6, 2006 • Leave a Comment

I am officially the newest member of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.

Fall Break – Denver

•October 23, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Enjoy the pics!