15 December 2010

Funkwerks, finally!!

A little over a year ago we moved to Fort Collins to start a brewery. B and I had been researching and planning a brewery for a long time before that. Now, after all that work, we are open!

Funkwerks opened its doors to the public last week, pouring Saison, White, Cherry Saison, and Casper (our light saison). We will have more beer on tap this week and more next week.

Here's a progression of the brewery from the time we moved to town:

Brad and Gordon brewed initial test batches in the kitchen of Gordon's rental....

and in the back yard.

We lived in two industrial spaces, and the guys brewed beer on a 1 barrel system before the first batches on the 15bbl.

Almost exactly one year after the three of us moved to town, we served beer at the Great American Beer Festival to rave reviews!


We bought more and more equipment for the brewery. B is loading spent grain into the Funkwerks van to take it to the chicken farm.

More new equipment....

The tap room being completed....

And the first patrons of Funkwerks.

G giving a tour.

Now we just have to sell all the beer we'll be making!

25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm busy making a feast.... more pictures to come.

19 November 2010

Sunrise

Sunrise this morning. One of the perks of getting up at 6.



10 November 2010

This time two years ago: Vermont

Two years ago we were living in Vermont in a town of 7,700 people.



Downtown Montpelier from across the river.

We drank our way around the state, collecting stamps in our beer passports as if it was an excuse to drink. We were on a mission: visit every Vermont brewery. We even drank at one brewery on the last day they were open. Just to be clear, no DUI laws were broken on this trip: beer tasting should not lead to inebriation. There was usually some food involved as well. And, laughs.

I love the glowing eyes on this sign.

My favorite places were Bobcat Cafe in Bristol, McNeill's in Brattleboro, and Trout River in Lyndonville. Bobcat Cafe is a brewpub with an excellent locally sourced menu, and good beer, of course. At McNeill's we felt like we were in a bierstube - everyone sits around large picnic tables, encouraging neighbors to talk to each other and share the evening. The hardest of the Vermont breweries to visit is Lawson's Finest Liquid. It's not open to the public, but, if you are lucky, you can find some bottles for sale at the Warren General Store.


One of the best parts of the beer tour was driving around Vermont. Exploring the back roads, dirt roads, covered bridges, and the small towns. Vermont has a certain charm not found anywhere else in the US.


31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

Cat themed pumpkins this year... surprise, surprise.


Samantha helped too.

We're hoping for more trick-or-treaters than last year since there are tons of kids in the neighborhood. But, we'll be passing out candy from last year (don't tell them) - lemonheads never go bad, right?

13 October 2010

In Pictures

What we've been up to in pictures....


Enjoying fall with fires in the back yard. It's beautiful with some leaves on the ground. There are few things better than sitting around a fire with good friends and good drinks.

I have also been harvesting the rest of the veggies from the garden. Chili with fresh tomatoes, vodka sauce with fresh tomatoes, silly amounts of salsa with... I may have over planted with 6 tomato plants. I'm planning on making this with the butternut squash, the sage will also be from the yard.

Being silly at the brewery.

Pouring beer at the Fall Harvest Brew Festival in Fort Collins. Another great beer event for Funkwerks.

The tap room is in the middle of its makeover.

And, of course, we've been busy with Samantha.

She seems to prefer drinking the water out of the tub after we've showered rather than the fresh water out of her bowl.

She's chewed through some expensive phone cords, broken one phone, and required a late night visit to the vet emergency room. Kitty ate a large amount of nylon string, was drugged and forced to vomit. Rough night for her, but the next morning she was back to biting our toes at 6:30.


27 September 2010

Fall in Rocky Mountain National Park


We headed to Rocky Mountain National park over the weekend for some hiking and to see the fall leaves, which were nearly at peak in the park. While it's not like New England this time of year, golden aspens are striking against the green blanket of pines.


A few aspens hanging off a ledge near the tree line.

24 September 2010

Denver

I love the bear at the Denver Convention Center. But he's a little too big to squeeze...

20 September 2010

Funkwerks and the Great American Beer Festival

305x255 logo

We were down in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival last week and weekend. Like any other industry, there are meetings to go to, and things to learn. It’s just better with beer and good people involved.


Funkwerks poured its Saison and White at the festival, along with 461 other breweries. The beers were well received and we got a lot of good press. Head over to the Facebook page for more.


This is the type of festival where it's best to have a plan. There were well over 2000 beers on tap (36,000 gallons). One ounce pours can very quickly add up. This year there were also 55 new breweries.


Funkwerks Update

It's been one year since we moved to Colorado and started working to get Funkwerks up and running. And, we made it to GABF! It's great to see all the hard work we put in pay off and people really enjoy the beer.

Funkwerks has moved into its new location in the old Fort Collins Brewery space, and the guys are busy painting, sanding, and getting the place ready for the public. The location and tap room are licensed, the labels have been approved, and the big equipment is slowly rolling in.

The new website is up at funkwerks.com. Things are coming along nicely now that some of the governmental and administrative headaches have been dealt with. Not that there won't be more...

16 September 2010

Farms and Raccoons



Squirrels are eating my tomatoes. Raccoons are jumping on and off of my roof at night playing in the bushes near the bedroom. If not there, they are in the side yard talking their gibberish. They act as if we are the intruders daring to disturb their play by shining lights at them or rapping on the window. And, if the raccoons aren’t around, then it’s the foxes creeping around the back yard. I hear a rooster every morning down the block. It’s almost like I live on a farm, not in the middle of the city.

I am missing downtown loft living. I miss yard work free weekends. And, I am not even keeping up a great yard. It’s always in a state of slightly out of control. The grass in the back is full of weeds, and partly dead in the front. I am hoping for an early snow fall again this year, and trying to figure out what I can take out to make it easier next year.

The picture is from Grant Family Farms, a real farm where we get our organic CSA from. No matter how I feel about my yard, I would definitely not want to take care of that!

10 September 2010

Fall

While the official season change may not be here yet, the days are shorter and the mornings are crisp. I try to convince myself that I love the seasons equally, logically listing great qualities of each, but, that only works when it’s not fall.

It’s time to get long sleeves out, time to have fires in the back yard.


It's time for roasted chiles and apples at the market.


Fall is dahlia bouquets and farm festivals. Kicking through fallen leaves and searching for a sweater in the perfect shade of orange/red.


I also have a particular seasonal neurosis…. candles. The house would be a fire hazard lit only by candles if I had my way. I didn't quite get the same effect in Phoenix as in Portland, or as I anticipate here in the mountains. But, even there, I bought candles. This year, I said I would make some. I even bought supplies! Although, B is still asking: “so, when are you going to make those candles?” Hopefully before the season is up.

07 September 2010

This time, last year...


We were moving to Fort Collins. We have been here one year already. It has also been one year since we finally got all of our stuff out of storage - it's still nice to sleep in my own bed!

01 September 2010

How to See a Movie in Fort Collins


I am a huge fan of movies, and have been known to see three or four movies in one weekend. Although, it's been a while since I was that much of a movie glutton. One of my favorite things to do is to see an early movie alone in the middle of the week. I started doing this during law school (it was a great refresher when I was spending hours studying), and try to do it at least once or twice a year. I justify seeing more movies by going to the early shows - I can't remember the last time I paid full evening prices for a movie. Besides, I have other things to do with my nights.

We've been going to New Belgium's bike-in movies on Thursday nights. Two dollars gets you in and three more gets you a pint of beer. If you are hungry, there is pizza and popcorn for sale, and I think burritos too. Many people also bring their own snacks. It's a little like the McMenamins theatres in Portland, except for the lack of an actual theatre and seats. Really it's just the ability to enjoy a good beer with my movie.

We bring our camp chairs and set up with everyone else. Although, we walk down there instead of bike. It's still in the spirit of the evening - leaving our car at home. I'm more likely to get a DUI on a bike than a car (yes, that's right, a DUI on a bike - I actually know someone who got pulled over on her bike here), so we just don't drink and bike.

The bike-in movies might not be the best setting for someone who usually wants to beat movie talkers with a steel bat. I saw Caddyshack for the first time a couple weeks ago (man, were people ugly in the 80s!!) - lucky for me everyone was able to call out characters' lines as they were being spoken. But, it is a fantastic way to watch previously watched movies. The movies tend to be ones that people watch over and over - tomorrow is Easy Rider, next week are the Clips of Faith (shorts made by NB's fans), and the last one this year is The Hangover.

Also, since we're on the topic of New Belgium, this weekend is Tour de Fat. We already have some wigs... stay tuned for pictures.


30 August 2010

Samantha Too


I promise to stop posting cat pictures after this... at least for a while. My little halloween kitty with the orange eyes captured by my iPhone - and annoyed that I woke her up for a picture.

24 August 2010

Samantha

Meet Samantha. She's not a fan of staying still for a photo.

She's meeting the neighbors slowly. Tony is the larger cat on the other side of the glass. I'm pretty sure he fights with the neighborhood raccoons at night.

Sam is about a year old and pretty much full grown at 6 lbs. We took her to the vet today for some tests torture. It took three people to hold her down to draw some blood. She's healthy, and pretty scrappy it turns out. Maybe she can stand up to one raccoon? At this point, we're just hoping she doesn't take revenge on us for the vet trip by peeing on our pillows.


20 August 2010

Mt Hood

I took this photo hiking in Oregon in 2003 or 2004. Probably one of the rare-ish summer weekends when our hiking plans were not thwarted by rain. Hiking in CO is much more predictable, as long as you go in the morning.

On another note, it's starting to feel like fall here in the early mornings. I love fall, and am looking forward to cold crisp days in the mountains.

13 August 2010

Loot!

loot from the garden

11 August 2010

31 Things...


I turn 31 today. I wish I could go kayaking on the ocean like last year, instead I will go for a quick hike, see a movie, maybe get a pedicure, and spend the evening with B and some friends (B is making desert, it’s apparently still a secret though). Not a bad way to start a new year.

Every year on my birthday I used to write in my journal about the previous year, things I wanted to change or do in the coming year, or just what was on my mind after another year. I don’t remember when I stopped doing that each year. I like to think I do it on a more regular basis now, but that’s not always true.

This year, since I’m a list freak anyway, I decided to borrow an idea from other blogs and make a list of things I’ve learned. Here they are in no particular order. It’s nothing mind blowing, or particularly important to anyone but me (and maybe those who have to live with me).

1 - Plans change. It’s easier to go with the flow than fight it. You can also spot interesting opportunities if you are not glued to a pre-set path.

2 - Learn to quit, and quit often. Try new things, test ideas. Sometimes they’re shit; the key is recognizing the shit ideas sooner and moving on.

3 - You can’t please everyone. Someone will always hate you no matter what you do. I struggle less and less with this every year.

4 - Community does matter. It’s important to have a support network of people who inspire and encourage you.

5 - I don’t need as much money as I thought I did to be happy.

6 - Experiences and relationships are more valuable and fulfilling than possessions.

7 - Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Shit happens, it’s no one’s fault, and there is nothing you can do about it.

8 - It’s OK to accept your fears. In fact, it helps me feel more comfortable with taking risks. If I can come up with solutions to the worst possible scenarios, there is no longer a reason not to take the risk.

9 - The risks I’ve taken have made me happier than following the more practical path.

10 - Trust people to be who they are, but also give them the chance to fail - they might surprise you.

11 - Walk away from a problem, for a little while. Some distance, some focus on something else, will often reveal the solution. And, there is usually more than one good solution to a problem.

12 - Perfection does not exist and searching for it will only slow you down.

13 - Don’t go into debt for school, or if you do, pay it off quickly. Too many people get stuck in jobs they hate because of crippling school debt. I have the freedom to do what I want now because I paid off my law school loans quickly and saved as much as I could.

14 - Listen to your critics. They might just be right, at least consider the possibility.

15 - But also evaluate your critics and their advice. Their motivation might not be your best interest, or they might not have all the information to accurately call bullshit.

16 - Stop complaining and do something about it. Stop blaming someone else for your problems. Sure, you might be a certain way because your mommy didn’t love you enough, but, at some point, it’s your choice. You are in control of your life, not something that happened 15 years ago.

17 - Spend time alone. Have your own life, interests, and friends separate from your spouse or partner.

18 - Ask. Otherwise, the answer will always be no. If you never ask for what you want, you’ll never get it. Most people are not mind readers.

19 - Don’t overanalyze or research something to death. Learn as much as you can, test the theory, and move on.

20 - Eat real food.

21 - Thank people for the small things, the things you take for granted.

22 - Learn how to make budgets, realistic budgets that account for all of your expenses (including coffees out and fun money as well as insurance and monthly bills). And, stick to the budget.

23 - Shoot for the stars first, and then get practical about it.

24 - Learn how to meet people outside of school or work. It will make relocating your life easier and less scary.

25 - Don’t wait for anyone to make you happy - it’s your responsibility.

26 - It’s OK to say no, even if they hate your for it.

27 - It’s OK to ask for help. I am still quite bad at admitting that I need help, and still horrible at asking. But, I'm working on it.

28 - Pay to get a skill in school. Like many liberal arts majors, I went to law school because it was the practical thing to do after I graduated.

29 - Don’t overload expectations - it usually only leads to disappointment.

30 - Focus on creating new habits instead of eliminating the old. It’s easier to work something good into your life than trying to quit something.

31 - Throw out assumptions. I’ve never been a beach person, so I never wanted to travel to islands. Turns out, I love island culture, kayaking, and the sea. I’m ready to move to the Caribbean tomorrow (but only if I can still go skiing every year).

06 August 2010

Key limes for key lime pie, of course.


August 3rd usually means key lime pie in our house. It's B's birthday. Sometimes he requests a different birthday treat (tres leches layer cake with a spicy Meixcan chocolate frosting, or German chocolate cake), but most years are key lime pie years. Not a bad way to start a new year.

I make it with fresh key lime juice (not the bottled stuff), a regular pie crust (they didn't have graham crackers in the Keys back in the day), and a meringue topping (so much better than whipped cream).

Have you seen Dexter's search for the perfect key lime pie for Camilla? This is it:


Key Lime Pie
pre-bake a 9 inch pie crust

whisk together:
1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup key lime juice
the grated rind of a few key limes

pour into the pie shell and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, let it rest for 10 minutes, then chill it for a few hours or overnight

for the meringue topping:
whisk 3 egg whites, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks form
whisk in 6 tbsp of powdered sugar until stiff peaks form
bake at 400 for 10 minutes until well browned

in sliced form

On a side note, Dexter has quickly become our new obsession.


02 August 2010

A Great Bartender is Hard to Find
















I have not found a great bartender in Fort Collins. Maybe one or two decent ones - maybe. While I may have been spoiled with great bartenders in Key West, I don’t think my standards are too high. It’s more than simply making drinks and collecting money.

The best bartenders like to drink a lot of different things. They know their alcohol. If the bar stocks something, they know the story behind it, the flavor profile, and how to coax the most flavor out of it. They can recommend wines and beers intelligently - more than just saying it’s light, hoppy, or fruity.

A great bartender plays host, makes eye contact, and can talk intelligently on a lot of different topics. The best bartenders also facilitate conversations among the rest of the bar. They ask questions and are good story tellers - all while still being fast and efficient.

Great bartenders always anticipate an empty glass and take orders in rotation, never leaving anyone waiting. They know the regulars by name and have their drink ready by the time they sit down.

Seriously, it’s not asking too much. On the other hand, since we haven’t found great bartenders here in town, we’re going out less frequently than in Key West (which turned into every night for at least a pint) saving our livers and waist lines.

30 July 2010

Sunset Sailing

in Key West - free champagne, margaritas, and Yuengling on board

23 July 2010

Summer

Derrynane Beach in County Kerry, Ireland.

19 July 2010

Tomatoes!



I have six tomato plants growing: three grape, a roma, a beef steak, and a mid-sized slicing plant. I can't wait until we can eat these. I might pickle some of the green ones for the winter too.

16 July 2010

Perfection is Overrated


When I came back from Ireland, the yards were out of control. Two weeks of wet and warm weather was just enough for everything to mutiny. Twelve hours later, and there are still weeds to pull, plants to prune, and other various yarding to do. Leading me to wonder why I actually want a yard, and thinking that good enough is, well, good enough.

I’ve never been a true perfectionist, but I come closer than others. Perfection is an unattainable target - a target that drives people insane. At some point, the weed bucket, pen, whatever needs to be put down. Sure, there are more tweaks that could be made, but the project needs to be finished.

This attitude towards perfection is something I’ve learned to embrace over the past year in starting our own businesses. You can’t make money unless you have something to sell. Just do the best you can and get something to market. The product will evolve from there. I’m not advocating cutting corners, or producing something that is not quality. The goal should still be to produce the very best you can.

At some point, though, analyzing the smallest details is no longer productive. It will slow you down, inhibit you from acting, and even prevent you from entertaining new opportunities. You can get more done, if you do the best you can, and leave the small stuff alone. It’s important to understand when attention to detail is critical, and when it’s not. Most of the time it’s not.

Fear of failure, or worrying about perfect results also keeps people from acting. We learn from failure, but if you never try because you can’t get it perfect, you’ll never know if the idea would have worked or not.

We struggled with the marketing of our starting a brewery books, and realized that we needed to take action faster rather than sitting around theorizing about ways to market the books. By trying out more of our ideas, we learned quickly what would work and what would not. We’ve gotten better at it, not perfect, but, we have accomplished something that we wouldn’t have if we had kept concentrating on finding the perfect methods.

Practice makes perfect, right? But, to practice you actually have to do something, and forget about getting it perfect. Learn from the failures, and move on. Goals should propel you forward, not keep you back as you figure out the perfect way to attain them. My goals are things I strive to do well and that I can get a sense of satisfaction from.


from the back yard - looks pretty good to me!
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