In The Christmas Spirit(s)

29 Dec

Over the past week we have had multiple celebrations, numerous family and friend gatherings and a plenty of festive beverages!

We began our Christmas week (and David’s vacay) at a few local favorite spots- French Broad Brewing (for Rye Hopper Rye Pale Ale), Highland Brewing (for India Brown Ale) and Thirsty Monk (for the first reveal of Wicked Weed’s Tyranny Hoppy Red Ale and Saison I).  We called our first evening of Christmas Week pretty early as we had to pack for our upcoming travels.

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Our travels led us to David’s hometown, Georgetown, where we visited our favorite Pawley’s Island hangout, Quigley’s Pint and Plate.  To start the evening we downed a couple glasses of Peach Wheat- may not be the season for this beer, but it is so amazing we could not resist.  After dinner we moved into more “winter” appropriate brews- Billy Bock and Nut Brown Ale.

Sunday we had Christmas #1 with David’s family followed by some yummy oysters!

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Monday we were on the road again to upstate South Carolina to commemorate Christmas #2 and #3, but FIRST there was a very important pit-stop, Greenville Beer Exchange.  There are a handful of beers that are unattainable in North Carolina that we just had to have-

  1. Lazy Magnolia Brewing’s Timber Beast, an 8% ABV Imperial Rye Pale Ale.
  2. West Brook Brewing’s Single Hop Citra, a 5.5% ABV Rye Pale Ale.
  3. RJ Rockers  Impeachment, a 9% ABV Imperial Peach Wheat.

We toasted these brews over another batch of oysters and dug through childhood memories to celebrate Christmas Eve and the beginning of Christmas #2.  Needless to say- our new beer did not last very long:)

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Up and at it Christmas morning we toasted to family holidays with Poinsettias and began plowing through the mountain of gifts.  As anticipated there was a slew of Taylor-approved gifts including- beer books, wine refrigerator, stainless steel growler and of course some more unique brews.  Of note in my stocking was a bottle of Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing’s 8% ABV Double IPA, frequently ranked one of the best beers in the world and near impossible to find in the SouthEast.

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After Christmas #2 of course comes Christmas #3 where we welcomed with stout rum punch- yes please:)

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Christmas #1, 2 and 3 may have ended but our Christmas Week was certainly not over (and still isn’t!).  We were super excited to share our favorite places of Asheville with my bestie and her hubby.  And that we did- 5 Walnut Wine Bar, The Imperial Life AND Wicked Weed Brewing (Asheville’s newest/nicest/most delish new brewery).  If you’ve been to Wicked Weed you will understand why I am not listing ALL the beer and yes we tried it ALL- 14 brews, I think it was.  If you haven’t been to Wicked Weed, you best be planning a trip.

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All-in-all our very spirited week of Christmas was a blast!  And we cannot wait to start 2013 at Oskar Blues East Coast Brewery’s Hootenanny New Years Eve Grand Opening:)

“T” is for Turducken (or was it Taylor)

27 Nov

The beginning of the week is generally pretty rough for most, but this week has been a lot rougher than the start of a typical week as it is the week after 4 non-stop days of family FUN!

The fun, I speak of, is Thankgiving.  And this was the first year I got to celebrate it as a Taylor!  It all started on Thanksgiving eve with Carrie making the trip from ATL to AVL to enjoy her first grown up Thanksgiving:)

She (as well as I) was ready to start the celebration, but first I had to pick up our birds.  Yes, birds- duck in a chicken in a turkey- all 3 local birds opened, stuffed and sewn back by our friends at the Chop Shop Butchery!

We stowed the birds in the fridge and headed to Table Wine to sample 10 wines where we came away with bottles of spumante and gascogne.  Back at home- Mom and Scott arrived, we chilled the wine and started the SLOW process of cooking the turducken (seriously 21 hours!).


We awoke Thursday morning to the savory aroma of a Thanksgiving feast.  Several hours later after a short run plus brunch and a feast we did have complete with pumpkin hazelnut cheesecake and vegan ice cream.

We continued our festivities until late in the night- made it all the way to 8:30.  Hey, it was later than we made it last year:)

Friday morning, we had another kind of celebration, a Birthday!  Betsy- an almost Thanksgiving baby- gets the pleasure of not only hanging out with our awesome family during the holiday, but also getting presents!!  After the gift exchange, David somehow convinced (rather tricked) Caroline to go shopping….still not sure how that happened…

Later on in the day, post-shopping spree, David and I finally got the chance to share one of our favorite aspects of Asheville with Caroline and Taylor- Lazoom.  I don’t think I will ever get enough of the “authentically Asheville” comedy tour aboard a purple bus complete with many of Asheville’s “finest.”

                               ^our group of “lazoomers”

As a surprise to no one, David was craving BBQ when we rose on Saturday morning.  As happy as I was to share Lazoom with Taylor and Carrie, David was ten times as excited to  serve these two 12 Bones.  The President has certainly put this place on the map and I was ever excited to be there Saturday as I got to partake in my first Cold Mountain (Highland Brewery seasonal) of the winter:)

The boys (as anticipated) chose to park themselves on the couch and watch hours of football.  Carrie and I opted otherwise and were close to first in line when Wedge Brewing Company opened.

Saturday evening was sweet in MANY ways at the Taylor House.  First the obvious- Carolina victory!  Second- using more of our wedding gifts to make- mango ritas and red wine ice cream.

                                            ^Even Owie got in on the ice cream!

All-in-all, I have to say my first Thanksgiving as a Taylor serving Turducken was Triumphant!

PS- go.cocks.go

Celebrating 5 months with the usual (eating, drinking, running)

6 Nov

This weekend I finally accomplished a goal I’ve been working towards for the past several months.  Post-wedding I was pretty content with running 2 to 3miles, however, after some deliberation I decided it was time to set a more lofty goal.  Given that I live with one heck of a runner, I already had all the motivation I needed.  So, I registered for a 12k here in Asheville at Biltmore Estate!

The race was unfortunately on Sunday (meaning NO Saturday night fun:( ), therefore, David and I had to do more of a pre- (rather than post-) race celebration.  Our weekend started at Table Wine where we hadn’t been in what seemed like forever.  We were able to sample 6 unique wines to commemorate the owner’s birthday.

After enjoying those tastes (+ a bottle!), we headed to one of downtown’s newest restaurants, Chestnut.  You could most definitely consider our time at Chestnut a celebration- we even had dessert!

Saturday was pretty uneventful- a ridiculous amount of errands, 3 ½ hours re configuring our wireless internet (so thankful for a husband at times like that!) and little bit of crafting to get our home reading for Harvest Time.

We woke up crazy early Sunday (very thankful for that extra hour;)) and headed over to Biltmore.  Despite the chilly temperature we were both pretty confident about the course given that is where we both do a fair amount of training.  David so much that he decided to dedicate his race to a super perseverant guy that many have come to know over the past few weeks- Marcus Lattimore!

I do believe David would have made Marcus proud as he came in 3rd overall with a 6:43 pace!  I was certainly nowhere near my husband coming across the finish line, but nevertheless I made it and was rewarded with a healthy portion of brunch from Tupelo Honey Café🙂

                                              ^David getting his award!

With the seasons changing (flurries projected again tomorrow) and night coming much earlier in the day, running after work will be much more challenging.  But with a little creativity and technology (ie. head lamp), we will continue our running and get going on the next training schedule.

PS- we’ve been married 5 months:)

Winter is Approaching

23 Oct

Leaves are falling, fires are burning and Oktoberfest beers have taken over most of the taps in bars/breweries in WNC.   Fall is beyond a doubt the most gorgeous season to experience in Asheville, however, it is leading up to something that  is not so exciting- cold, dark, snowy winter.  There are a variety of myths that predict the severity of winter, but of note (and present this Fall)- lots of fog and dark wooly worms.  So, if in reality there is any correlation between fog and worms (plus the fact that most mornings I go to work it is only a few degrees above freezing), we may be in for a long winter.

With that in mind, David and I decided to partake in quite a few fall activities this past weekend!  David surprised me with an overnight cabin stay in Bryson City, NC.  About an hour southwest of Asheville, this small town boasts a passenger train, the Tuckasegee River, a variety of shops and restaurants and the reason for our visit, one-heck-of-a brewery!  The Nantahala Brewing Company which was releasing the 3rd beer in their Trail Magic series, a Belgian Golden Ale aged in french oak red wine barrels with elderberry, has won the prize as one of our 2 favorite breweries in WNC (too bad it’s over an hour away).  There were so many beers consumed Friday night it’s difficult to recall them all, but worth mentioned are the Golden Ale, Noon Day IPA and Appalachian Trail Extra Pale Ale.  In addition to the beers being poured behind the bar there was also a “beer swap” where beer connoisseurs bring home brews and rare beers to exchange with one another.  Clearly, David had an entire box and was thrilled to take part in this festivity!

 

                                             ^owners getting the first taste

                                            ^Owie enjoying the brewery down below

We wrapped up our evening at the brewery and headed back to our little cabin by the river.  Which by the way was right beside goats- one of my fav farm animals!  Knowing we will probably not be allowed goats (or a donkey:( ) at our future home,  David specifically picked this campground so I could enjoy them for while there.  Even Owie got up close to the little guys!

 

                                ^sweet little baby goat:)

Saturday morning we had a few hours to kill before the brewery reopened and we were able to purchase a few bottles of the Golden Ale (btw- we got bottles #1 and #2!!).  To take up time, we ventured up a short trail and got a peek at a small waterfall.  Along the way back down we realized we were STARVING!  Back into town we went for coffee and crepes at Cork and Bean before heading back east to Asheville.

We were able to stomach the first half of the game, but reverted back to drinking at halftime.  Beer was not consoling us enough at that point so we opted for Troy & Sons, a local moonshine distillery.  Here we were educated about all the complexities of making moonshine (the head, the heart, the tail) and even got to prolong our learning with samples!  We made our way next door for a few brews at Highland Brewing and then across town to Isis Restaurant and Music Hall before heading in for the evening.

Sunday, we continued our “fall weekend” at Taylor Ranch for a hay ride and corn maze.  We topped off our ranch experience with a Foothills Brewing Cottonwood Oktoberfest and cheered to an upcoming chilly winter (at least according to the worms:))

Brews (from MA) and News (from the Taylor household)

17 Oct

This past week I aimed to improve my patient care skills at a cardiometabolic conference in Boston, MA.  The days were long (seriously 6:15am to 5:30pm) and the content was intense, but I returned with a fresh treatment approach and a head packed with a plenty of awesome knowledge.   But enough of the boring pharmacy stuff, and onto the fun I had while in Boston.

With a short trip and so much education there was only minimal time for fun (ie. beer).  The first stop upon arriving to town was Harpoon Brewery.  The IPA and white UFO are pretty common around WNC, but I was interested in some different pours.  The brewpub certainly delivered- red velvet porter, leviathan IPA, pumpkin UFO and my fav, rye IPA.  Unfortunately, the tasting was only 10 minutes so those were the only ones I was able to quickly devour.

With my taste buds just starting to warm up to the Harpoon brews, the 10 minutes was up…..so I headed down the Waterfront to Atlantic Beer Garden.  Here I had another local brew, Blue Hills Brewery‘s Stingy Jack Pumpkin Lager.

The next evening after 11 hours of conference, it was time to venture out again.  This time to a place I had actually been before (although, prior to my falling deeply in love with beer), Boston Beer Works.  I stayed pretty close to my liking here and sipped on their Back Bay IPA.

So, after another day of the conference I was back in WNC for the weekend.  Saturday morning I was up bright and early again to participate with some of my students at Habitat for Humanity.  I was of course envisioning the stereotypical HFH projects- building walls, nailing stuff, painting, etc.  However, our job was slightly different as there were several houses close to completion.  Our task was to building sidewalks with pavers.  Not the most glamorous job, but I think we did one heck of a job!

Afterwards as I had not seen my other half in several days, we headed to Tupelo Honey for biscuits and muddy pond cocktails!  We unfortunately went to bed Saturday night with heavy hearts, but still ever optimistic that our gamecocks can turn it around and go onto have a successful season:)

 

 

This week is back to reality- long days at school and a ridiculous amount of housework that I am not so motivated to pursue…..But I just got word that I’m getting a surprise trip this weekend!  Hope there is a brewery involved- pretty sure I know the answer to that, though:)

AND I received the BEST news EVER upon my arrival back in Asheville- I am officially a TAYLOR- signed, sealed (literally) and delivered!!

Drink and Be “Married”

3 Oct

This weekend concluded the end of an era- the #bridelife era!  One of my best college girls finally tied the knot with her fiancé in true southern style on Sullivans Island.  She was an absolutely beautiful bride and I can only guess she and her hubby are having the MOST “amaze” time in Italy as I type this!!

 

 

With the wedding on Friday, we opted to stay in Charleston for the weekend and visit a few local breweries (surprising, I know🙂 ).   We have sampled our fair share of lowcountry brews, but have never had the pleasure to explore their places of origin.  Before hours of brew tasting, though, we required a hearty meal.  Which is exactly what we received at Heart Woodfire Kitchen– worth the trip if you’re in the area.

We had several beer stops on our list, but unfortunately with tasting room hours of operation we were only able to hit 2 spots.  First on the list was Coast Brewing Company where we sampled the 32/50 Kolsch, American Mild, HopArt IPA and Boy King Double IPA.  Our palates were cleansed with some yummy brews (most especially the double IPA) and we were off to our next destination- Westbrook Brewing Company.

 

 

Here we not only got to imbibe brews (White Thai, Covert Hops Extra Ale, Single Hop:  Amarillo and Vanilla Tree Dubbel), but we also got a tour!  No matter how much you know about beer, it’s always a special treat to witness brewing in action.

A few more samples in, we decided to return to our place for the weekend to A. watch football and B. finish our puzzle.  Yeah- we were in Charleston for the weekend and we were spending Saturday afternoon putting a puzzle together🙂  After much time and dedication, we (David, Mindy, Nell and I) finished the 496 piece alphabet puzzle and it was quite a masterpiece (despite those pesky 4 missing pieces).

After completing this work of art, it was time to celebrate and watch some more football!  We headed to Coleman Public House.  It was recommended as a good place to watch games and when David discovered they were tapping a keg of New Belgium’s Peach Porch Lounger we were sold!

So, the beer consumption continued- and thank goodness given that first half of gamecock football…wtf?  Thankfully the cocks turned it around and we improved to 5-0!

Come 3 days- ESPN Gameday will be set up on one of the most majestic lawns in the SEC (no biased opinion here) and we will be getting ready to take on #5 UGA.  Makes me nervous to even think about- but nevertheless Gooo Cocks!

It’s Time for Carolina Football

24 Sep

This weekend marked the official start of Fall and not just because it said so on the calendar.  It was Fall to me for many reasons- Saturday morning it was low 50s in the mountains, I was sipping on a pumpkin spice latte and I was FINALLY on the way to see my gamecocks play!

There aren’t many reasons why I opt to get up at 6am on a Saturday morning, but I’d have to say football tops the list.  With the truck loaded and our Carolina flags flying, David and I made the 2 ½ hour trek east to Columbia to see the gamecocks take on Mizzou.

David spent the couple days before the game organizing quite the tailgate- equipped with a new tent and TV set up we were ready to enjoy all the pre-game excitement.

 

 

In the stadium, I finally got the chance to take in the AMAZING scoreboard via my own two eyes rather than instagram:)  In the end, we came away with a rather impressive victory comprised of some “you-have-to-see-it” plays including a remarkable punt return (not something Carolina fans are accustomed to seeing). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, with that (and some losses by others), the gamecocks move into the number 6 spot as we travel to Lexington, KY to take on the Wildcats.  Go COCKS!

 

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