Books & Brews: My Beer Year / Three Notch’d Brewing Company’s Biggie S’mores

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a book I love with a pint to sip while reading it. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope your day is full of all your favorites, as well!

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I’ve mentioned before that I’m mostly a fiction reader, but that when I do pick up non-fiction it typically has close ties to food (aka, the delicious memoir)– so you can imagine my excitement when I heard about Lucy Burningham’s new book My Beer Year. Because you know if anything gets me more excited than food, it’s beer. The premise behind the book is that Burningham, a journalist who has written extensively about craft beer, decides to study to take the test to become a Certified Cicerone. If you’re familiar with the concept of a sommelier in the world of wine– someone who is able to identify styles by taste and know the history of a particular type of wine while also suggesting a food pairing– then think of a Cicerone as this to the world of beer. In My Beer Year, Burningham  shares the details of her journey to the exam, from visiting hop farms, to attending the Great American Beer Festival and traveling to Belgium to cleaning beer lines at a local brew pub.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

How Do You Measure A Year?

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I was just scrolling through the pictures on my phone and found some from our trip to Portland. I had the thought: that was something really awesome we did last year. Except we went in March. As in March 2016. Six months ago.

Moments before this I was reflecting on the fact that next week I would be headed back to Albuquerque for a writing retreat and thinking how it certainly didn’t seem like it had been a year since the last one.

There are 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in every day. The same amount of time, no matter how it’s measured. So how is it that is can feel so different? Has there been so much going on these last six months that it seems like more time must have passed (as in: surely, all that could NOT happened in just six months)? Or is the time since Albuquerque shortened by the fact I’ve kept up with friends online and feel like I just saw them? Perhaps a little of both?

Or maybe none of either.

Maybe tomorrow Portland will seem like yesterday and Albuquerque light years away. Time passes, fast or slow. And maybe it doesn’t matter how close or far away events of the past seem. Yes, it matters that we made those moments and have those memories, but I think maybe what matters more, is moving on to make the next moment. The next connection. The next adventure.

Why I am Not A Travel Writer (Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls)

In my novel HOW TO BE ALIVE, the main character, Jen, is just beginning to pursue her dream of being a travel writer. In the book she travels to Rome and Venice. I picked these places because I had visited them relatively recently and could draw on my experience.

Guess what some of the hardest scenes to write were? You got it– the Rome and Venice ones. Travel writing = not my thing. Continue reading

Bad Dates & The Magic of Community Tables

I’d be hard pressed to find a writer who hasn’t had the experience of someone asking if a character in their book is based on them, or if they really do write the people they know into their books. I can assure you that I’ve never written an actual person I know directly into my books.

Unless you’re sitting across the communal table from me at a coffee shop and happen to be talking about that bad date you had. And I also just happen to be writing a book where the main character is going to go on some terrible dates. That might end up in my book.

Speaking of which, a huge thanks to the ladies across the table at a coffee shop in Portland, Oregon who gave me the amazing material below the other day. Because, truly, sometimes you can’t make this stuff up: Continue reading