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United Kingdom 2022 Travel Journal

Like many others we haven’t been able to do much recreational travel over the last few years, but we were finally able to complete a trip to England which we originally booked in February 2020.

We started planning this trip during the early months of 2020. We even booked our flights and a hotel room, when everything came to a sudden halt with the emergence of the pandemic. Thankfully, despite booking non-refundable tickets and rooms, the airline gave us vouchers for a future trip.

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Figgy Pudding – A Seasonal Stout

One tradition to which we adhere in our household is having a seasonal fermented beverage ready for the long, dark, cold months of winter here in Vermont. This year’s beverage is a recipe Rick created with traditional English Christmas pudding as the inspiration. This sweet stout starts off with the smell of figs and a hint of French oak, and orange peel. The sweetness of the figs is prominent with the first taste, but not cloyingly so, even with the vanilla that lingers on the tongue before being replaced with a hint of tannin from the wood. A lovely winter warmer, to compliment cookies, cakes, and other holiday treats.

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Fisnihed bread loaf with a beer

Simple Rustic Bread as Base for Exploration

I assume I am not alone in finding bread-making both fascinating and scary. It is a simple process, but for some reason the thought of starting bread would paralyze me. The other thing that would keep me from starting was the idea that I had to make sourdough, and keep feeding a starter. That sounds like work. I am not sure I can keep track of how many times I told Sarah “I am going to learn to make bread” and then never did. That changed a few weeks ago, and since then I have made a few successful loaves using a simple recipe I found online. Of course, once successful, I had to tweak things! Click through to learn how to make this simple, rustic bread as well as a few tips on how to change things up to make even more-interesting breads!Read More »Simple Rustic Bread as Base for Exploration

L’odeur du Printemps: The Smell of Spring in a fruity French Saison style

L’odeur du Printemps is our first saison in a very long time, and we were overdue brewing one.

This recipe uses French yeast and (mostly) German malts and hops, coupled with some honey malt for a little added sweetness to accentuate the fruit notes found in the Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon hops. A little German pale wheat malt rounds out the mouth feel and gives the beer some legs in the glass along with some head retention. The French saison yeast is fruity itself without any of the banana esters found in some Belgian strains.

Read on for the recipe.Read More »L’odeur du Printemps: The Smell of Spring in a fruity French Saison style

rick and sarah pose with full glasses of dark beer

The Hairy Porter – A Rich Winter Warmer

The Hairy Porter is a full-bodied, slightly sweet, chocolatey beer without the astringency some dark ales have. We forwent the usual black patent malt and swapped it with a dark wheat malt, leaving the familiar brownish-red color and highlighting the Belgian Special B and chocolate malts. The flaked oats and the wheat malt make for a rich, creamy head with staying power.

By comparison to some other beers — especially hop-forward IPAs —this brew is pretty straight forward, and we recommend it for brewers of all levels. The only challenge we encountered was achieving fermenting temperatures in our cold Vermont home during the winter.

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