Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm Officially Old

Well, my big milestone birthday has finally come. You know, the now-you're-officially-an-adult-and-can't-make-excuses-about-being-young-and-immature-anymore one. Yep, I'm officially 30.

But honestly, it really doesn't matter to me.

You know the old saying "you're only as old as you feel" -- I really believe that.

I'm happier than I've ever been now, and I'm doing things you never would have convinced younger me I'd be doing.

I'm healthy. I'm active. I have an amazing wife and family (and yes that includes our four-legged kids as well). I have my dream job. I'm exactly where I always wanted to be.

In a lot of ways, I'm welcoming this new decade of my life eagerly and with open arms. I can't wait to see what's in store for us.
Also, I'm now in a new age group for racing, so maybe I'll be more competitive since I'll be on the younger end of my group.
To celebrate my birthday, Jen planned the perfect night. First we went shopping for new clothes for me. It was definitely time for it, and since we always go shopping for her she wanted it to be all about me this time. Nothing like starting a new chapter with a new wardrobe!

Then we headed down to a local brewery/smokehouse called Against the Grain for dinner.

It's located inside Slugger Field, and it has a really cool two-story brewery setup right behind the bar where you can watch them make the beer while you're eating.


The Beer

Since it was our first time there, we had to do a flight so we could try all of their beers.

From left to right (light to dark): "Lucid Creaming" (Cream Ale), "Rye-Malt Concrete Sledge" (Rye Pale Ale), "Boom Gose the Dynamite!" (Gose), "The Brown Note" (Brown Ale), "Dude Du Tang" (Smoked Porter), and since they were out of the Oatmeal Stout on Nitro "Oats & Hose" we got a half-sample of their Imperial Rye Stout "An Ale Pleasure."

I like the way they do their beer menu -- they have six different styles of beer that they keep on tap, but the actual beer for each style rotates every 4-6 weeks. Not that that's a revolutionary concept, but it's nice to know you could go there every month or so and always try something new. Those styles are: session, hop, whim, malt, smoke, and dark.

My thoughts on their current offerings:

  • Lucid Creaming - A nice light and refreshing beer. Exactly what a session beer should be.
  • Rye-Malt Concrete Sledge - Nice and hoppy, but not overpowering (Jennifer kinda liked it, and she can't do hops). It was more like an IPA than an APA in my book, though.
  • Boom Gose the Dynamite! - Not a fan. It was tart and sour, almost like candy. I know that's a pretty popular thing now, but I just can't do them.
  • The Brown Note - Probably the best in the group. Malty and a little smoky, this one seemed to fall somewhere between a brown ale and a porter.
  • Dude Du Tang - This one was really smoky and really dry for a porter. It reminded me a lot of a dry stout like Guiness. Not complaining, but not what I was expecting.
  • An Ale Pleasure - This was a big rye stout clocking in at 11% abv. It's definitely something I would drink in the fall sitting around a fire, and had a lot of bourbon notes in it. Very, very good.

Looking at their collection on their website, they have A LOT of beers that they offer. I can guarantee we'll be back just because of that!

After the flight I went with the Rye Pale Ale and Jennifer (surprisingly) went with the Brown Ale.

I think it's the first time ever that her beer was darker than mine.


I'm slowly but surely converting her...

The Food

They didn't have a huge menu, which was kinda nice. And I was surprised by the number of items they could make vegetarian (by substituting the meat for seitan).

We started with the nacho appetizer at the recommendation of our waitress. They were amazing!

The seitan was probably my favorite part!

For our main courses I had the bangers and mash:

and Jennifer went with their veggie burger:

Unfortunately, the food didn't quite taste as good as it looked. For mine, the sausage was good, but Jennifer and I have made the same meal at home many times (although not quite as fancy) and I like our version better. And Jennifer said the burger was good (I can't do the runny egg thing, but the couple bites I had from the edges were really good), but the coleslaw wasn't. They're more of a Memphis-style BBQ place, and we're not big on all that vinegar.

So that was our night. The world didn't end. We just had a nice evening together doing things she knew I'd enjoy.

It really was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday. Thanks babe!


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