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Questing Loudon

After helping Hophead brew on Saturday [8/20/16] we were wiped out. I am his new Assistant brewer and you bet I am adding this to my resume.

Sunday brought rain and a wee bit of cabin fever for Hophead. I was fine because I was busy drying spent grain from the previous day’s brewing plus I was baking cinnamon buns for the first time. I incorporated spent grain and beer into the batter and made the icing with beer. As soon as that was out of the oven we were out the door.

We headed to Loudon County [Virginia]. Loudon County is BOOMING with craft breweries. Hophead was starving and wanted to go to MacDowell Brew Kitchen. The traffic from The Lucketts Fair was determined to thwart that goal.

We were close enough so we stopped at Vanish. Hophead knew he could get some brisket there and ease his growling belly. Alas no brisket but people were eating and so he passed the bar and went searching outside to find glorious [Cured] food truck out back. We should have checked Instagram since the full menu was on there. I wasn’t hungry but Hophead’s pork belly BLT slider looked good, so I had to taste one and couldn’t put it down.

We scoped out our next stop, with the goal to avoid traffic. As we left Vanish we noticed the traffic died down but we stayed on the new course and turned right at the big pig in Lucketts and travelled through Waterford. We found our way to Belly Love Brewing Company in Purceville, which is tucked away in the back of The Shoppes at Main and Maple.


I love their logo, which is a happy Buddha with a big belly. We ordered a flight so we could sample all of their beers. They have quite a few IPAs, which I tend to lean towards, and some great names like “My Bitter X” American IPA, “Shut the Fook Up” Pale Ale, “Unitard” Pekko and “Day Trippa’ S.I.P.A”. They have a small outdoor area and various seating inside that includes comfy sofas or tables with seating. It’s dark inside with exposed brick walls and limited bathrooms. Looks to be a 3 barrel brew system and they have a decent selection of food.

We mapped out our next stop in downtown Leesburg. 16 Minutes later we were parked and looking for Crooked Run Brewing. We walked through Market Station, on Harrison Street, which reminded me of Kings Dominion with the wooden stairs and exterior.  It’s a tiny place with a small outdoor area and a bar inside and a few tables. Crooked Run Brewery is a nanobrewery started by raising money via Kickstarter. They have a small 1.5 barrel electric brewing system. Hophead and I got a flight of three beers and started with “Force of Nature”, a double IPA, crazy light color for 8%. This could get you into trouble. We also tried a Cherry Cayenne, which was good but I couldn’t do any more than a taster. Finally, there was the Peach Habanero. I was waiting to feel some heat but that took several sips and the heat was perfect and not overdone.

We got back in the car and were mapping our way to MacDowell Brew Kitchen (finally). Google maps said it was a two minute walk, which confused us since we didn’t realize we were so close. After acclimating ourselves and figuring out which direction to take we found it. This was our favorite place on this quest. They have a great outdoor area with palm trees and a boat. Yes a boat! It reminded me of a small Seacrets… In Leesburg, VA. The staff was very friendly and we met their brewer Dan [Instagram: @DanHeartsBeer]. MacDowell’s serves their own beer plus they have a very good selection of other Craft Brews. I had the Black IPA and Hophead tried the Rye IPA and we enjoyed them both plus the food was delicious.

At MacDowell we also met a band member from Kid Brother [his name escapes me but he’s the tall one]. You can check them out here and on Instagram.

I’d have to say it was a successful quest even though we got a bit off track at first. We made it to the places we wanted to make it to although in a different order. Sometimes you gotta go with the flow and find some surprises along the way.

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Six Degrees of Separation

I am obsessed with six degrees of separation!

From Wikipedia:

Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929 and popularized by a 1990 play written by John Guare.


Nowhere is Six Degrees of Separation more evident than on The Book of Face. All you do is look at mutual friends but even further is to peruse a friends list of friends page.  Scroll and when you come across anything that says 2/3/4… mutual friends just hover over it. AHA! This is where you find some interesting connections.

You might find that a new friend is friends with someone that knows a childhood friend of yours. That is three degrees right there! How cool is that?

I could spend hours on The Book of Face checking out these connections.

I know it makes me sound like a stalker but if you put it out there then I can look. Facebook just organizes it for me.

What do I do with that information? Absolutely nothing!

I have a new friend and I thought she might know and old friend and she tells me when she makes a new friend she goes through the friend list looking for connections or anything interesting.

So see… I’m not the only one. I bet you do it too.

I love making new connections [friends]. It can lead to more interesting experiences.

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Animals in the Little City

It was late the other night and Ginja called as I parked in the driveway in the back. We were having a fairly serious conversation when it all ended suddenly.

First let me explain my driveway is off an alley that runs out back of my house. Typical Downtown Frederick house. I don’t have a garage but they are all around us.

Anyhow, mid sentence I stop because of what I see coming around the garage across the alley…


“OMG! OMG! OMG!  I need to go, Ginja, cause there is a skunk coming my way”

I honked to try and stop it. It stopped for a second and continued coming.

“I need to call Hophead. He loves the smell of those things and it wouldn’t bother him if it sprayed him.”

So I called Hophead.

“HOPHEAD! I’m in the car in the driveway and a skunk came my way. I don’t know where it went and I’m afraid to get out of the car.”

He came tearing out of the house to save me, but I think he just wanted to see the skunk. He never did see it but I stayed on the phone with him until he assured me it wasn’t under my car.

I must admit it was cute I just didn’t want to get skunked. I tend to feel as if any wild animal would hurt me because it doesn’t know me.

The other day my Mom said she would love it if she were ever in a canoe/kayak and saw a whale or was in the water and saw one. She said, “I know it wouldn’t hurt me”. I love that she thinks that way. It makes me reevaluate.

A few months back I saw a skunk, up Market Street past 7th, walking around the front of someone’s house and thought, Glad I’m not in the skunk part of Frederick. Wrong!

Then I went to tell my neighbors. I thought, Finally I have information for them on the neighborhood. Wrong!

“Oh we know about Skunky McSkunkerson! He travels three streets up sometimes and used to live under Boo Radley’s front porch.”

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Frederick, Maryland

I LOVE my town!

Hophead and I moved to Frederick in late 2012 and we LOVE living Downtown.

Visit Frederick:



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Have you heard of Vanish Brewery in Leesburg [Lucketts] VA?

Hophead LOVES the Brisket there. If you love BBQ; be it chicken, pork shoulder or brisket you have to check this place out. Eat BBQ and drinking beer! It just don’t get no better.

You can bring your kids and dogs, probably your pigs too… If you have a pet pig.

Beer Drinking Hours: Thurs 4PM-8PM; Fri 4PM-10PM;
Sat 11AM-10PM; Sun 12PM-8PM
BVQ Serving Food Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays

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The Terrible 20s

They call it the terrible 2’s but I think they forgot the zero.

Everyone has heard of the Terrible 2s. I always said Ginja’s Terrible 2’s never stopped, but she is 20 now [almost 21] and this might be tougher.

When they are 2 years old they are physically everywhere and you have to always be chasing them to make sure they are ok and don’t stick their finger in a socket or dive down the stairs. I was exhausted keeping up with my 3 year old niece when she stayed over one weekend, recently. This is why no one should have kids in their late 40’s unless you are a trained ultra-marathoner.

When your kids reach 18, and you aren’t brain fried yet [note: this is closer than you think], as parents you are forced to start backing off. You are still paying for everything like school, health insurance & car insurance but you have to suddenly treat them like an adult. It’s like 18 is a magical age when they can have graduated High School and the government gives them a say and lets them vote so they claim independence… of NOTHING really. By 20 they think they know EVERYTHING about life and you are forced to watch all this go down. I equate it to letting your two year old walk up to a life size electrical socket and trust they won’t stick their finger in it to see what happens.

Sticking your finger in that socket is definitely a fast way to learn a lesson but it isn’t safe. This is why we find other ways to teach them rather than just going for it and letting them learn on their own THE HARD WAY.

That is what it is! When they are twenty you have to hope and pray they don’t learn those life lessons THE HARD WAY. You have to let them learn their own lessons, because they sure as hell don’t want to listen to the parents who know NOTHING, and hope they learn safely and it doesn’t ruin the rest of their lives.

You are forced to watch them struggle into this infancy of real adulthood and you do have to watch because you have to be ready to pick up the pieces.  Then they call… and they are upset and all you want to do is make it better or go deal with the bully that is bothering them but you can’t because the bully is probably their boss but more importantly you just have to try to gently guide them to figure it out.

I’m exhausted!

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DC Fans suck!

Damn! I love me some Jenks.