Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beer or Wine ?

I'm a California wine drinker from way back; I've never been much of a beer drinker. Even on hot days in the summer, I prefer a cold glass of white wine to a beer. You might recall from a previous post, I occasionally put a sprig of lavender in my wine. In my younger days I started drinking Annie Green Springs and Boone's Farm, which were somewhat affordable on a college budget. I think I probably brought one of those to a Janis Joplin concert. Back then cheap wine and M&M's was the perfect snack for the evening. Wine and chocolate, what a combo. Do they still have Annie Green Springs and Boone's Farm wines today?

Later I graduated to box wines. Those too were inexpensive. I remember bringing box wine on camping trips to the Sierra mountains. Having wine in a non breakable container was very convenient. I'd do a little trout fishing and cook my trout over an open fire and drink a little box wine. I remember camping at Lake Davis and catching some large Kokanee. We'd rent an aluminum boat with a 12 hp motor and head to our favorite fishing spot (no, I'm not telling) where we were sure to catch something.

My favorite way to cook fresh trout is to clean the fish but leave the head on. Leaving the head on helps to keep the fish together while it cooks. After I clean the fish, I put some lemon slices in the body cavity. Next I wrap the whole fish with slices of hickory smoked bacon inserting toothpicks on an angle to keep the bacon from falling off. Then I place the fish on a grate over a camp fire which has burned down and has a bed of coals. The fish is slow cooked over the fire. When the bacon drips down sometimes the flames lick up into the air. It helps to have a spray bottle of water to squelch the flames. The idea is not to let the bacon burn. When the bacon is crisp, the fish is done. There's nothing better than fresh trout cooked over an open camp fire, but you can also use this method to cook fish on your grill at home.

Later I discovered the sweeter white zinfandel wines and started drinking those. Now don't get me wrong I didn't drink all these wines all at one time. All this drinking spanned many years, albeit decades. So I've had plenty of time to try lots of different wines. When I lived in Northern California, a perfect date was to go to the Napa Valley wine country. In fact, on my first date with Gary we went to a winery and then out to dinner to an Italian restaurant, probably Bosko's Trattoria. This started my introduction to some of the finer wines of California. I started drinking white wines like sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, riesling, and gewurztraminer. Later I graduated to red wines of merlot, petit sirah, pinot noir, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon. If you don't know what type of wine you like, visiting the wine country is a good way to taste different wines to see which you prefer.

Drinking wines from different wineries is like eating a meal at a different restaurant or eating a meal made by a different cook. Even the same food from a different restaurant or made by a different cook will taste different. It's the same for wine. The same variety of wine made by a different winery or grown in a different region will have a different flavor, a different taste. It seems one can never grow tired of drinking wine, because there is always a new one to try.

Several years ago I discovered the pleasure of wine from other countries, like Australia, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain. Once your palette knows a California wine, you can definitely tell the difference when you drink a wine from another country. There is something different about the flavor. In recent times, I've started drinking wine on a budget. Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes and Foxbrook from Save Mart grocery. Occasionally World Market has good deals on wine too. Surprisingly some of the not-so-expensive wines are bottled by big name wineries under different labels.

This leads me to the reason I started writing this post in the first place. I feel like I should apologize for not having anything new to report about my ceramics. I've had a lot of weeding and watering to do and then I've had to keep this place spotless for folks coming to look. I hate having my house for sale; I don't seem to have much time recently for my clay. Spider webs grow over night, dust bunnies multiply, paint needs touch up, walkways need sweeping, and on and on. I can't wait for the cooler weather or to sell this place, whichever comes first.

This evening Gary turned in early; he's tired from mowing and weed eating. I didn't want to open a bottle of wine for myself, so I thought I'd try a beer. I looked in the refrigerator to see what Gary had in there and saw some bottles on the lower shelf. I figured if I didn't like it I could always pour it down the drain. I know you beer drinkers are crying (in your beer) over that statement.

Anyway, the beer I pulled out of the refrigerator was a Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus. Being the beer drinkers that they are, my potter and blogger friends Gary Rith and Jim Gottuso and Tracey Broome, and probably a few more beer aficionados I'm forgetting, are probably saying "Linda thinks Michelob is a beer?" Well, the first swig wasn't so bad, it had a lime flavored taste rather than a strong beer flavor. The next drink I took was pretty good and there was a nice frothy white head on top. It was cold and light and I liked it. OK, don't get your hopes up, I'm not that easily converted. But every once in a while I guess a beer isn't that bad.


  1. I've been listening to Woodstock stories the last couple of days -- cause of the 40 year celebration! But seeing your Boone's Farm label took me right back to that time.

    I'm not a beer drinker either but prefer a nice glass of wine . . . I love the discovery associated with opening a bottle . . . so many to try. And I liked fired trout & eggs for breakfast when used to camp & fish. Your recipe sounds delicious.

    Sure hope your house sells soon. We are in the process of getting our house ready to sell. Want to move to the (GA) mountains. I hate that process of keeping your house spotless to show. I'm not sure how I'll get the clay cleaned up & me & the dog out for people to look.

  2. beer it is linda, but you knew that already. actually if you like the fruity taste and not so much the "beer" taste, you should try some lambics. they are not inexpensive usually but i believe you might become a convert. go get a Lindemann's Framboise or Peche, actually the Peche (Peach) is the best in my opinion. Michelob... pshaw!

  3. Oh Linda- I love good wine, but I also like good beer. The beers on the market now are so much better and some days for me a good beer is the deal of the evening.
    Mark and I spent time in CA when our son was stationed in Paso Robles (SP)- love the wineries and came back with some CA favorites.
    It is funny how tatse develope and change.
    Also grill trout! I love grilled trout with the head on please! The best piece is the cheek meat on the head. In this family we all want that sweet piece of fish.
    You are quite a story teller!

  4. Too it is! With or without ICE on a summer's night! Remember you can always put a CORK in it for another day!

  5. Linda, you and I are on similar wine paths. I have loved all of the ones you mentioned at different times in my life, same as you. Annie Green Springs! What a blast from the past. I went to the prom with my boyfriend who, being the very nice guy he was, volunteered to work behind the snack bar the whole time so I went out in the parking lot with my best friend and got drunk on Boone's Farm! Now you can just give me a cold Budweiser and I'm a happy girl. Although, the brews that Top of the Hill make here in Chapel Hill cannot be beat. The Old Well is so great on a hot day with a slice of orange, yum! No worries about the lack of pottery posts, you'll get back to it. I think it's fun to see other things than just pottery all the time.

  6. Good post Linda (as always!). You took me back... Boones Farm!!! My best friend and I had parked her MG (in a church parking lot!) put the top down and thought we were the coolest kids, started in on a HUGE bottle of Boones Farm Annie Green Springs and had to call someone to come pick us up because we couldn't drive home! Then just as much as we had drank, all came back up... mmm those were the days!

    Lately, my cold beverage of choice has been Mikes Hard Lime, or Gray Goose Lemon drops... mmmm.

  7. Hi Judy, I didn't even know it was the Woodstock anniversary, I need to listen to the radio more often. Boy there sure were some great groups back then, lousy wine though, I can't stand the sweet stuff any more. Good luck with getting your house ready. The mountains sound so appealing especially this time of year when it's so hot. Thanks I hope we sell soon and you too.

    Hi Jim, thanks for the recommendations, Gary is really gonna love this post because he is going to get all the ideas from you all on what to buy. I'm going to get them and bring them home for him to try too. Sometimes I just have a sip of his and he drinks the rest. I knew you'd say that about Michelob - Ha!

    Hi Meredith, Paso Robles is just East of us, too bad you aren't visiting there now we would definitely meet up.

    I am truly amazed, you are the only person I have ever heard mention fish cheeks - now I know you are a true fisher person to know that. I love them too. The ones on small trout aren't that big, but they sure are tasty. And you probably know about lifting the head of the fish just right and all the bones coming out all in one piece. Thanks so much. I'm going to join a writer's group in the next town to get some critiquing of some of my other writing.

    Hi Mary, I used to have one of those corks that kept the air out of the bottle, it's around here somewhere I'll have to dig it out again to use.

    Hi Tracey, well I could tell some stories, but I would probably shock some folks, so I better stick to the tamer ones. He he. I used to drink an occasional Mexican beer and I once had an Italian one called Pironi which was real good, but never liked Bud. An orange slice, now that's a new one on me. I'll have to try it and let Gary know, thanks.

    Hi Cindy, you parked in a church parking lot - blasphemy, te he. Oh I remember all too well a couple o sick times, thank goodness that part's in the past. thanks about the post and the recommendations. This is kind of fun. Gary has actually started reading my blog. Maybe I can get him to make a comment. Oh, this has given me an idea. If he had more time, he could probably write a post, that's something to think about when we sell our house. Toodles.

  8. Linda try Blue Moon beer with an orange slice, but in a very cold glass from the freezer. Sooooo good! It's the closest I have come to the Top of the Hill's beers.

  9. I used to be a beer drinker - but am a wine convert and I'm not too proud to say I'm not terribly picky. Just no sweet Rieslings or anything for me.

    Dry red or white!

    I only drink wheat beers - though I'm married to a beer drinker who only drinks wine on occasion. It's a happy house - no one bogarts the other's beverage of choice! ;D

    As a side note, back in the 70's - 80's my friends and I used to stand outside 7-11 and other such establishments - underage I might add, bat our eyelashes and get guys to buy us Boone's Farm wine among others that I can't remember the name of... Let's hope my daughter doesn't go there. Ha, right?

  10. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I favor those sweet, teeny-bopper drinks like Smirnof Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade. Technically those are flavored beers, but most beer drinkers eschew them.

  11. Hi Tracey, I think we had some blue moon and it was pretty good. beer has come a long way.

  12. Hi Cynthia, Gary was saying something about Mad Dog 20 20. That sounds like a killer to me. I'm with you dry, dry white before red, although I like white in summer and red n winter.

  13. Hi Lori, no embarrassment needed. We're talking quality on a budget here. Hope your shoulder is doing better.

  14. Great post, Linda (even if it wasn't all about pottery LOL) - one of my favorite cheap wines is Wild Vines blackberry merlot. I'm not usually a red wine person, but I figure this wine is so cheap (2 buck chuck) that it probably doesn't even count as real red wine. Other than that, I like a good gewurtzaminer (sp?) or riesling. It's hard to get good alcohol in UT - we have to special order a lot of our wines through the state liquor store. I'm jealous of your proximity to wine country!

  15. Oh, if you want to try great beer - Lindeman's Framboise Raspberry Beer is just lovely. I don't like beer, either, but Lindeman's is delicious!

  16. Hi Julia, thanks so much, I'm not much of a red wine drinker either, I will have to try that one. When we lived in Arkansas there were very few liquor stores (we were in a dry dounty) too and when I traveled in Canada. Arkansas had bootleggers who would buy the liquor during the weekdays and sell it on the weekends for a little profit.

    Raspberry beer - love raspberries, sounds good.


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