beer tasting at hog's apothecary

One of my gifts to Jordan this Christmas was a beer tasting. I contacted the great folks at Hog's Apothecary, a newish beer hall in Oakland, and they loved the idea of select beer flights with food to highlight the beer flavors. Last night we went in for our tasting and food pairing and the beverage director at Hog's provided a little backstory and commentary about each of the beers as they were brought to us. We loved the interesting bits of beer information and hearing about, and then tasting, the flavor notes of each.

Beer highlights included the Heavenly Hefe (Craftsman), and for us hop-lovers Simcoe Galaxy IPA (Cellarmaker) and our favorite of the night, Double Tap (Berryessa). We also tasted Craftsman's Holiday Ale (a nice red ale with spruce tips) and Old Ale (an oak-aged ale that tasted too much like a sour wine for our liking), and the 2013 Smoked Porter (too smoky for our taste) from Alaskan Brewing Company.

Food highlights were the Hog's Head Terrine, an Avocado and Citrus Little Gems Salad, Marrow Bones with toast and tomato jam, and Smoked Ham Hock Collard Greens. 

We had such an awesome evening, and we can't wait to go back! Next time I'm trying the Lamb Poutine and housemade sausages for sure...


the goldfinch

The Goldfinch... holy shit. I savored the last 20 pages of pure writing gold, dog-earring page after page with passages to revisit and savor again. I would copy each sublime paragraph here if there was enough room or enough time in the day. But I will settle for this bit:
"And I'm hoping there's some larger truth about suffering here, or at least my understanding of it--although I've come to realize that the only truths that matter to me are the ones I don't, and can't, understand. What's mysterious, ambiguous, inexplicable. What doesn't fit into a story, what doesn't have a story. Glint of brightness on a barely-there chain. Patch of sunlight on a yellow wall. The loneliness that separates every living creature from every other living creature. Sorrow inseparable from joy.

... And--maybe it's ridiculous to go on in this vein, although it doesn't matter since no one's ever going to see this--but does it make any sense at all to know that it ends badly for all of us, even the happiest of us, and that we all lose everything that matters in the end--and yet to know as well, despite all this, as cruelly as the game is stacked, that it's possible to play it with some kind of joy?"
Now I have to figure out what to read next... Someone? Instructions for a Heatwave? The Signature of All Things?
What are you reading now?