So in mid-November, County Seat Spirits announced they would be launching their collaboration whiskey, distilled from coffee stout from Boser Geist Brewing, on Black Friday.
Both establishments are in Easton’s Silk Mill.
Both create invigorating adult beverages.
My second novel, Courting Apparitions, launched the same day and I thought this particular spirit would be the perfect celebration.
Except when Black Friday came, I didn’t want to leave my house.
Last night, the teenager received a call from her father. He needed to go grocery shopping and with his car out of commission, he required her help as chauffeur.
Now, the way to his apartment goes right by Easton’s Silk Mill. So, I ordered my bottle of the collab and ask her dad to pick it up.
When they finished their shopping, he joined me for a tasting of the libation and it was delightful to see it warm his mood.
I didn’t feel like looking for real serving glasses or retrieving ice, so I poured about an ounce into tea cups. The scent was very strong and biting. A closer examination revealed it was 90 proof so that might explain the explosion in my nose.
The ex said he could taste the flavors as soon as it hit his lips. Potent. Elaborate.
He had purchased some Kalamazoo Stout, which is brewed with licorice. We poured the whiskey over ice and added the stout.
Both on its own and as a power force in the stout, the whiskey and its complexity did not disappoint.
Please excuse any typos and attribute them to the beer flight and draft I consumed in celebration of my mother’s birthday at Richmond Farm & Brewery, the almost six month old enterprise of Milissa and Eric Smith, classmates of mine from Bangor Area Senior High School in the grunge era.
I am experiencing a tad bit of melancholy as our bestest FURR foster kittens — Em(inem) and (Slim) Shady, moved into a habitat at Petsmart on Rte 248. If all goes well, someone will fall in love with them and we will never see them again.
So after much organizing of the up-and-coming nonfiction identity-themed anthology for Parisian Phoenix Publishing, Iwas very much anticipating our visit to the brewery.
This was their first weekend indoors. The bar and the tap system are not even installed yet, but the decor and ambiance are perfect. You don’t even notice it’s unfinished.
And frankly, with so much economic uncertainty in the world right now, it’s nice to see business owners moving through the stumbling blocks but still operating.
You can’t recoup time and money invested waiting for everything to magically fall into place.
The renovation of this old barn— well, for this Slate Belt girl it didn’t feel “barny” enough for me. But it all seriousness, it was roomy and gorgeous, rustic but classy. Homey. Warm.
At this time, you order food at one register and beverages at the next. Simple. Expedient.
Milissa greeted us. I had warned her we were coming. I introduced my family and she was kind enough to ask me about my book and congratulate me on it. And she bought a copy for her daughter.
It was heartening to hear that many Bangor classmates are surprising Milissa and Eric by stopping by. Milissa is trying to collect photos of everyone. I tried to impress upon the teenager, since she is a high school senior with a class the size of mine back in the day, that someday she may be surprising her classmates.
In the end, I think Richmond Farm & Brewery did all the necessary impressing.
The food— a small, carefully curated menu— exceeded my expectations. And even though the choices were minimal, I still had trouble deciding and wanted to eat it all.
And I purchased a maple vanilla Porter draft for myself and a flight of six beers for mom and I to try.
Immediately I noticed that the maple vanilla Porter had overwhelming notes of blackstrap molasses. A very different taste than I am accustomed to in my porters, but one I grew to like as I enjoyed my burger with its bacon bourbon jam.
The Mosaic Masterpiece, aptly named, as it was my favorite. I did not read any of the descriptions before trying, but I warned the staff I wasn’t a fan of IPAs and gravitated to the porters and stouts. Many of their beers were not available, but the Mosaic IPA was my top beer of the night and very fruity in the finish.
The Diehly, surprisingly basic but easy to drink. The description refers to it as vibrant and full of unique hops.
The Richmond Pale Ale, my notes referred to it as light on the palate.
The Maple Vanilla Porter, which I arrogantly thought would be my favorite, had strong notes of blackstrap molasses.
Smitty’s Blonde Ale, I found mild but pleasant. Definitely a summery beer.
Extra Pale Zonkey Ale, the web site describes this one as the easiest beer to drink ever. And it is so simple and smooth, it’s very refreshing.
I was disappointed not to try the stranger brews— the shredded wheat ale, the cranberry ale or the gingerbread brown ale brewed with spiced gum drops. Or their cow tail brown ale with chocolate, caramel & coffee notes. Or their more traditional Potbelly Porter.
But, I am so so glad I was forced to try beers I wouldn’t normally pick. I enjoyed all of them, and most of them I wouldn’t have chosen under normal circumstances.
Just another example of how being pushed outside of your comfort zone is good.
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, William Prystauk and I ventured down to Easton’s Silk Mill. We had enjoyed a lovely sushi dinner and wanted to imbibe a classy cocktail and some decadent ice cream.
Our plan was to hit County Seat Spirits and Ow Wow Cow. Neither Bill nor I had ever been inside County Seat Spirits as I had discovered them during pandemic “lockdown.” I ordered quite a few of their to go items during last summer. (More about my history with County Seat Spirits here.)
So Saturday was my first visit inside the venue and I was not disappointed, especially in the afternoon light.
I had the Mint Condition and Bill had the Pommes 76 while listening to a talented female soloist.
We later grabbed some MIXO gin lavender lemonade to go.
Bill and I meandered around the Silk Mill as he had photographed it when it was still abandoned and later he visited when it was unfinished and hosting a film festival. He marveled at the transformation as the complex came alive with various live entertainment at many of the businesses.
At Ow Wow Cow, I enjoyed the apple caramel cashew and Bill partook in the local peach pie. I do love the early summer flavors, like strawberry rhubarb crumble, but the autumn flavors are delightful, too.
Meanwhile, Tucker and Easton Wine Project spilled over with patrons (more on Tucker here). My experiences with Tucker again stem from the pandemic and using their online grocery service to procure some amazing produce.
I’ve visited Easton Wine Project when a local citizen hosted a fundraiser for ProJeCt of Easton there. I was still in the development office at that nonprofit and Easton Wine Project perfected a classy vibe and delightful vintages.
But there are several new businesses at the Silk Mill that I have yet to try, so this might be the perfect place to have a middle-aged date night.
I had to face my pandemic denial today— due to the stressful nature of my last professional position, I’ve been stress eating more than I’ve admitted the last few months.
(And if you read this blog, you know I’ve been fairly transparent about my ability to each an entire Dominos or Little Caesar’s pizza. So imagine the late night bags of chips and the multiple doughnuts I haven’t told you about.)
Today I hit a new body weight high. And none of my pants fit. So it was sobering.
And I know part of that is my good intentions gone wrong.
Yesterday the morning started with breakfast with my dad and the teenager. I had coffee, a broccoli feta omelette, home fries, dry rye toast and cranberry juice.
I was proud of my choice because I haven’t had vegetables enough recently and I could bring half of my meal home for today. It was too delicious. So I decided I would skip or have a light lunch.
But then I stress ate a doughnut.
Then my dad and step mom invited me to the pub for dinner. My step mom wanted pizza so I thought I’d have a beer and a slice. I think I ate the equivalent of a whole bar pizza.
It’s 7:23 pm and I’m watching the marching band rehearse so my daughter can drive home… I’ll make7,000 steps today but not my goal of 10K.
PART TWO: WARLOCK CRAFT BEER REVIEW
At Three Mugs Pub yesterday, I ordered a salted caramel chocolate Saucony Creek, a craft beer label I typically enjoy. Chocolate stouts and porters tend to be my favorite beers.
They didn’t have it. So I ordered a Warlock instead.
Warlock is an imperial pumpkin stout brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company. It was smooth and not obnoxious in its seasonal flavor. And caused more of a buzz than I was expecting given all the food I ate.
PART THREE: CHICKEN BONE BROTH
Earlier— on Tuesday—while the teenager was still hanging out with my dad…
I finally turned off my crock pot that had been brewing the chicken bones of a whole young roaster I bought at Grocery Outlet on Saturday for $4. I made the chicken in the crock pot that day, returned the bones and skin to the crockpot and kept filling it with water until Tuesday noon.
I carefully poured it all out and squeezed all the goodness out of the now soft bones. I also started a pot of soup on the stove. The yield was nice.
PART FOUR: TRIGGERED
I started my day with coffee— fighting an unusual sluggishness and some unexpected difficulty with my menstrual cycle.
Last week, I had started thinking about my psychological triggers. I have long known that I have an obsessive attitude toward food. Not in the disordered eating way, but in a hoarding kind of way.
I don’t actually hoard food, but seeing a piece of fruit rot or having to throw out an out-of-date food product upsets me far more than it should.
It usually serves me well, but it backfires sometimes and missteps with food can make me unreasonably angry.
Let’s bring this back to that chicken— I didn’t need that chicken. I didn’t even want that chicken. But that was a huge roaster chicken for $4.
I made soup and froze it for the first cold day of the fall season. (I’m not even fond of chicken soup). I separated the white meat and the dark meat and froze that for future use. And I made bone broth.
That’s a lot of food for $4. Good, healthy protein. But… it’s not food I enjoy. So why?
But then this morning as I was drinking my coffee, I heard two people arguing. It was a loud verbal altercation. This is one of my triggers I forgot about— and it’s one I understand. My parents had a lot of verbal arguments and if I’m honest (forgive me for saying so Mom and Dad) if they had enough alcohol the fights could get violent and ugly. There weren’t that many over the years, but enough to create an even more terrifying environment than the mere alcoholism that existed in my childhood home.
So I surveyed my surroundings and couldn’t see anyone. My chest was tightening and my stomach dropping and that odd little internal tremble shook me.
These incidents were frequent when my previous neighbors screamed profanities at each other and threw objects and each other at the walls. It terrified me. They were literally on the other side of the wall, similar to my parents. When I didn’t stand there paralyzed and watch them.
I am not convinced what happened this morning, but I suspect my neighbor had some sort of television program playing in her car.
PART FIVE: THRIFT STORE
I promised the teenager a trip to our favorite thrift store. She bought supplies for her father’s birthday craft and two belts. I bought approximately three skirts, four pairs of business slacks, one pair jeans and one pair corduroys.
Since I can’t try things on, I got everything from size 7 to 10. Far cry from my normal 2 or 4, or my spare/ baggy sizes 6 to 8.
None of the professional pants fit. The red jeans (Old Navy low cut Rockstar 10) fit but are snug. The corduroys fit (size 8). One size 8 skirt fits, the other two did not. The medium skirt fit.
I’m sorry, guys. I also wanted to update you on Aspire to Autonomy, Lady Boss Entrepreneurs Club and some recent make-up unboxing from Dolls Kill and Target.com. But I’m wiped out and this is really long. Oh — and William Prystauk’s third novel appeared on Amazon.com today so now you can read the latest Kink Noir masterpiece and get your mystery/romance/crime/BDSM on.
There’s so much good activity in my life right now — I’ve been too busy to catch everyone up.
My last day at work is tomorrow and my colleague, Mr. Accordion, is coming over tonight.
I have been working hard publicizing Aspire to Autonomy’s upcoming events, and they have given me the title of Communications Director. I am working with a fantastic intern on public relations and I think, I hope, she is having fun.
Gayle, the teenager and I, went for a nice walk in Easton Cemetery last night. Every time I go up there I find more cool things!
Gayle, the teenager and I went to Porter’s Pub last night after the walk and they let me eat all the “stinky cheese.” Gayle bought me a very delicious salted caramel chocolate porter from Saucony Creek. To celebrate new beginnings!
I cashed in my free medium 2-topping pizza from Dominos.
I’ve been making Nala puzzles every morning to try and keep her busy.
We found someone that can get Mama cat spayed for free. (Did I mention we were out on a walk and our kittens’ mama came to us and we brought her home. She’s pregnant. Again.) We thought the organization would let us foster her and her kittens until they found homes… but now we’re being told they might keep her. So we are a tad sad.
And for multiple days in a row I have made 10,000 or more steps a day!
Many things happen in May that I look forward to, primarily the blooming of my lovely pink roses and Lily of the Valley (both fragrances I adore.)
Warmer weather normally arrives (though this year we had snow). The school year is winding down. And there’s an anticipation akin to the new year that good things are to come.
My birthday arrives smack dab in the middle of this week and I know it’s significance will be dulled by major work deadlines and the pandemic. We do have a three day weekend coming for Memorial Day, all of which was why I had hoped to take vacation the last week of May.
That issue has not been settled, so I decided to have some mild fun to at least acknowledge to myself my birthday. Which is #45.
I ordered a sit down hot meal last night, instead of my usual stress meal of 2,000+ calories of pizza. My dear friend and editing client William Prystauk of the Kink Noir series suggested that the teenager and I deserved the treat. Ironically, it was the same restaurant my husband picked for my birthday dinner last year, Two Rivers Brewing.
I ordered a crowler of the Banker’s Brown ale, the breathtaking peanut butter bacon burger, bacon apple mac and cheese, and Brussel Sprouts. My daughter and I feasted like queens.
Speaking of queens, I started watching Hulu’s The Great, loosely based on the life of Catherine the Great of Russia. The costumes and sets are amazing. The script is witty and allows much thought of life and politics in that time period. I watched 5 episodes yesterday while doing housework.
The teenager had deserved a good meal as she had resecreened one of my bedroom windows.
A friend of mine texted early. He said it was a shame that people couldn’t celebrate properly because of the pandemic. But I pointed out that really nothing has changed. The teenager plans on baking me a cake— might be trying lemon cardamom this year. Cards still come in the mail. My friends and family have phones. And most restaurants have curbside or delivery.
I think the pandemic just removes a lot of the pretentious notions of what we need to survive and highlights how outdated the 40-hour workweek is. Employment for a lot of fields could be based on project completion versus time occupied at a desk.
I treated myself to a self-purchased birthday present today and thanks to the pandemic it comes with a free mask!
And this morning my mom surprised my with a few fun edibles (not THAT kind of edible) and a pair of tights.
Mom and Nala bonded and she approved of the teenager’s efforts in the garden.
So here’s hoping I can clean up this house and get my spirits to where they need to be to start the work week— and my birthday week— with enthusiasm.
I’ve made it a personal goal to try as many creative, innovative small local businesses as I can during this pandemic lockdown.
I’m living on my own and raising a teen daughter with a salary that doesn’t leave much extra — especially when you count in the fact that my dentist quoted me a price for my crown using my husband’s insurance when we’ve been separated for almost a year and I’ve been off his insurance for six months. My insurance has no coverage for such procedures and I owe almost $900. And the tooth isn’t even right.
But I’m veering wildly off topic.
I saw on Facebook— oh, evil, evil Facebook— that Two Rivers Brewing Company less than 2 miles away is offering free delivery. Two Rivers, in that beautiful old building (Mount Vernon) only a few blocks from my office. Two Rivers, home of the magnificent peanut butter/bacon/seasoned cabbage cheeseburger.
I didn’t intend to order beer. I was looking at the menu, selected the Bankers Brown Ale in the Growlette (32 ounce reusable glass bottle) for $11.25 and a $10 lager crowler (32 ounces in a big can). I thought I saw that if you ordered by 8 pm they delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I hit the button and the web site said it’d be at my house in 30 minutes. They called in 15 and said they were on their way.
Beer? To my door?
The man delivering it had a nice black zipper Two Rivers Sweatshirt, gloves and a mask and he brought me the beer.
Nice and cold.
And I poured a glass of the Bankers Brown Ale which is reminiscent of my all-time favorite beer—Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout.
Now I can order pizza and beer. One should arrive hot, the other cold.
I am sipping a matcha latte (a Tazo concentrate and it’s very sweet) and about to enjoy a pistachio muffin.
The last thing I need right now is a 400+ calorie muffin but I went to Weis yesterday because they have beer. And wine. And I like to have beer on hand to “pay” my neighbor when he automatically cuts my front lawn when he cuts his.
When my husband and I bought this house— almost 20 years ago—we intentionally picked one with a small yard. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may have seen my backyard and never even realized how small it is. Just enough for a small garden and a clothesline.
My husband used to cut the grass with a weed wacker. But it died. I used an old 100-year-old manual push mover. The one with the rotating blades. A gift from a friend who once lived in a similar neighborhood.
But my neighbors usually do my front yard. Our front yards are small and I think they figure if you have the lawn mower out might as well keep going.
My neighbor who currently cuts my grass has a habit of opening a cold beer when he’s done. So if I see him cutting grass, I bring him a cold beer. If he does it while I’m not around, I leave a beer on his porch.
So, if I want to continue to foster this good neighbor behavior, I need beer.
At Weis, they have this display right inside the door with preboxed muffins. I go to Weis for three things: pistachio muffins (why are they the only local store with the sense to back them????), their store made fried chicken (which they don’t appear to be making right now), and craft beer mix and match six packs. (The damn store is in a trifecta triangle with my gym, my bank and Dunkin’ Donuts.)
I walk into the store and there it sits— two very troubling decisions. There are two four-packs of muffins that include pistachio.
Do I buy muffins? Oh, so nutritionally void. But delicious.
Do I buy the four pack of pistachio or do I buy the four pack that includes three pistachio and one corn? How did that one corn muffin get in there? Why corn?
I had to buy the one with the corn. Who else would buy such a bizarre combo of muffins? And do the pistachio muffins bully the corn muffin?
I also bought a six pack of Yuengling and a six pack of Brooklyn Brand Sour Raspberry Ale. And a strawberry parfait.
The parfait was amazing. It was a strawberry shortcake with pudding and mountains of whipped cream. I thought it might have yogurt in it but no, it was pudding. I can’t even pretend that was healthy.
Throughout the day, I ate an entire bag of Sweettart jelly beans. I’m not disappointed in myself for eating 1300 calories of jelly beans. I’m disappointed in myself for binge eating jelly beans I didn’t even really like.
And then finally for supper, I made spinach feta sausage patties from our local small grocery, butcher and best deli ever Park Avenue Market. More on my shopping trip yesterday here: The Uplifting Side of Pandemic Days. The teenager was mmmmming and smacking her lips.
The sausage tasted fabulous on the day-old deeply discounted bakery rolls I picked up at Weis.
And the ale was good. The fruity sour taste was a tad off putting at first because I wasn’t quite prepared for it. But it was refreshing and smooth overall.
I have to do better with my eating today.
Sidewards glance you the huge, nutritionally void pistachio muffin next to my latte.