Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

Beer Review: Notch LP India Pale Lager

BeerLP India Pale Lager
Brewer: Notch Brewing Company
Source: Draft
Rating: *** (7 of 10)
Comments: An amber beer that has a foamy head and light carbonation, LP offers a strong floral aroma with hints of apricot and grapefruit.  The flavor is a pleasant mix of bitter and fruity.  Notch continues to impress with their well-balanced offerings.

 

Beer Review: Grendel’s Ale

Beer: Grendel’s Ale
Brewer: Grendel’s Den
Source:  Draft
Rating: ** (6.5 of 10)
Comments: This is the house tap at the Harvard Square bar & restaurant although I doubt it is brewed on the premises, there is no note of who brews it for Grendel’s.  It’s a deep, golden beer with a firm head that has a nice creamy, malty flavor.  I appreciate it for being a cheap draft to go with a happy hour meal.

A Tour of Massachusetts’ Author-Illustrators

I recently had the epiphany that a great number of 20th-century author-illustrators (chiefly of children’s books) have Massachusetts connections.  Not only that, but many of them have some sort of landmark in the Commonwealth.  So here’s a tour of seven author-illustrators

Eric Carle –  The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – Amherst, MA

The creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar lived in Northampton, MA for more than 30 years and this unique museum of picture book art is located in nearby Amherst.

Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) – Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden – Springfield, MA

Geisel was born in Springfield, immortalizing that city’s Mulberry Street in the book And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street!

Edward Gorey –  The Edward Gorey House - Yarmouth Port, MA

The only artist in this list not associated with children’s books, although that doesn’t mean children can’t read them.  The Gashlycrumb Tinies would make a good bedtime story.  The Cape Cod house where he lived his later years is now a museum.

Robert McCloskey –  Make Way For Ducklings statues – Boston, MA

McCloskey studied at the Vesper George Art School in Boston in the 1930s and the time spent in the Public Garden feeding the ducklings inspired his creation of Make Way For Ducklings.  The book is now the official children’s book of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Nancy Schön’s statues in the Public Garden are always a hit with children.

H.A. Rey & Margret Rey –  The Curious George Store – Cambridge, MA

The creators of Curious George moved to Cambridge in 1963 and nearby their former home in Harvard Square is the location of the world’s only Curious George store.

Richard Scarry – Boston, MA

Scarry was born in Boston in 1919, which may have been the inspiration for Busytown and notoriously bad driving of Scarry’s characters.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to locate a landmark for Scarry in Boston, but here’s an entertaining literary travel story.

I’ve personally only been to the Boston and Cambridge sites on this list, but a wider tour of the Commonwealth is on order.

Beer Review: High & Mighty Purity of Essence

Beer: Purity of Essence
Brewer: High & Mighty Beer Co. 
Source: Draft
Rating: ** (6.4 of 10)
Comments: Solid gold without much carbonation or a head. The aroma is doughy and the flavor is front-loaded with hops followed by spice.  For a hoppy lager, it is light enough to quaff.

 

 

2013 Year in Review: Memorable Events

I started a tradition back in 1996 of making a list of the most memorable events of the year.  My definition of memorable can include both the positive and the negative, but generally it’s the good things that make the list.  That first list in 1996 had exactly twenty items, so I’ve made the list a top twenty every year since.

My 2013 list is a typical hodge-podge of activity.  Some of the events have links to when I wrote about them at the time.  Others I wrote a little bit more about in this post.

20 January – A Winter Day Out in Providence  - My wife left for a business trip, and I took the kids out for a successful outing to Rhode Island which included playing at the Providence Children’s Museum, a Providence Bruins‘ game (complete with thunderstix), & Harry’s Bar & Burger for dinner and ice cream sandwiches.

8-11 February – Blizzard of ’13 - also known as Winter Storm Nemo, dumped 25 inches of snow on our hometown making much delight for the children and cooperative snow removal ventures with the neighbors.  The photo below is from our outing to Centre Street in Jamaica Plain to pick up beer & cheese.

28 February – Beck Song Reader Concert - I was part of a 50-voice choir bringing Beck’s songs of sheet music to life.  You can see me singing out from the back row in the photo below. 

Spring & Summer – Peter learns to bike - My son learned to ride a pedal bike.  Now we need to work on braking.

15 April – Boston Marathon bombing – My kids and I were at a playground far from the Marathon route when it happened, and even if we’d gone to watch we’d have been far from the finish line, but it was still shocking to hear of the deaths and injuries.  Especially considering that Patriots Day is a civic holiday that is perhaps the day on the calendar when Boston is at its most joyous, communal, and supportive.  That spirit shined through with the many people – professionals and amateurs – who rushed in to help the wounded.  I was touched by the outpouring of support for Boston, and if anything good has come out of this it is that they typically self-deprecating Bostonians are far more positive and  confident these days.  A few days later, we had the weird shelter-in-place alert, but still spirits were kept up as we shared news and jokes through social media.  Not something I’d want to live through again, but I’m grateful for all the people who chose to help and that the casualties were not as bad as they could’ve been.

language matters


27 April – Regan Youth League Baseball Parade and Teeball - My baseball-obsessed son started playing teeball and we marched through the streets of Jamaica Plain, even stopping to sing.

May & October – Kindergarten Arboretum Field Trips - I stepped into a new role in fatherhood as I served as a chaperon on two school outings to Arnold Arboretum.  I particularly like the spring trip when the kids got to see a snapping turtle up close and personal. 

May to Present – Hope Central Church - We were in search of a new church closer to home and found a new spiritual home at Hope Central.

2 June – Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon - This time my daughter was my co-pilot on this great fundraising ride through the city.

12 June –  US Open Cup game - Professional men’s soccer comes to Boston for one night only and it was great.

16 June – Father’s Day Outing to Wachusett Meadow - Two years in a row makes it a tradition, no?

28-30 June – Family Gathering in New Jersey – Susan’s family gathered in New Jersey to celebrate her Aunt Thelma and cousin Glen.  Peter enjoyed playing sports and video games with his many boy cousins.

14 July – Circle the City on the Avenue of the Arts - Huntington Avenue became a pedestrian haven for just one day.  I lead a walking tour.   Peter played lots of soccer.

12 August – Georges Island – Vintage Baseball - On a beautiful summer day, we sailed to the Harbor Islands and traveled back in time to the dead ball era.

20-25 August – Family Camp at Purity Springs - We spent a week at the Purity Springs Family Camp in New Hampshire with some of the friendliest people ever, our days packed with activities like lake swimming (and jumping), archery, paddle boarding, pooh sticks, canoeing, knee boarding, s’mores making, cookouts, and hiking.

2-8 September – New York City trip - Another great trip to the City with Peter and his Nana.

14 October – Tufts Health Plan 10K - Our friend Sharon coaxed Susan into participating in this run.  I enjoyed watching with the other spouses and children.  And Susan did great finishing all 10 of the Ks.  We are all so proud of her.

30 October – Red Sox Win the World Series - A great season, especially when viewed through the eyes of a five-year-old.

10 November – Claire & John’s wedding - Our dear friend Claire, godmother to our children, married a charming gent and we had a blast.  The kids played their part in the wedding ceremony and then at the reception we played, and hugged, and danced, and toasted the newlyweds.

“Cheers!”

25-31 December – Christmas Travel We’ve just returned from our annual holiday swing through North Carolina and Virginia.  This year was extra special as the kids got to see all of their grandparents, all of their aunts and uncles, and most importantly, play with all of their cousins.

Goodbye 2013, you will be missed.  Hello 2014, can’t wait to see what you have to offer.

Previously:

Book Review: The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

Author:Matthew Pearl
TitleThe Technologists
Publication Info:
ISBN: 0739344307
Summary/Review:

Set in Boston in 1868, The Technologists follows the same historical mystery formula as previous works like The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow.  This novel centers around the students of the first class of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the fictional protagonists intermingling  with historical figures like William Barton Rogers, Ellen Swallow Richards, and Louis Aggasiz (the latter is characterized as a cartoonish villain in the Harvard-MIT rivalry).  Boston is threatened by mysterious technological attacks and the populace – already suspicious of the institute – threaten to close it down.  It’s up to the young students to use their scientific skills to stop the madman and to save the reputation of their school.  The historical details are nice, and the mystery is good enough.  I didn’t see some of the twists in the plot coming, at least.  The growing technological menace get ludicrous though and the characterization is weak.  All in all, an entertaining page-turner of a historical mystery, but no great work of literature.

Rating: **1/2

Samuel Adams Cinder Bock

Beer:  Samuel Adams Cinder Bock
Brewer: Boston Beer Company
Source: 22 oz. bottle
Rating: *** (7.2 of 10)
Comments:  The image of the goat on the label is wholly apropos as this beer has a kick.  “It smells and tastes like bacon!” I exclaimed to my friend Craig.  As a vegetarian, I’m not all that impressed by bacon, but I did enjoy the smokey flavor for a change of pace.  The beer mellows in the glass and there is a sweeter caramel toffee flavor as it goes down.  It also packs a wallop with a high ABV.  Definitely something a beer adventurer should experience at least once.

Beer Review: Enlightenment Ales Transcendence

Beer: Transcendence American Farmhouse Ale
BrewerEnlightenment Ales
Source: 22 oz.
Rating:  * (5.1 of 10)
Comments:

Some people like hops. Some people like grapefruit. Some people do bitter. This beer is for them.

It is not, however, for me

 

 

Beer Review: Backlash Redux

Beer: Redux Belgian Style Blond Ale
Brewer: Backlash Beer Company
Source: 22 oz. bottle
Rating: *** (7 of 10)
Comments:  This is a reformulation of Backlash’s Groundswell beer. It’s a golden/orange beer with a big bubbly head.  The aroma is reminiscent of sweet green tea and the taste has subtle apple flavors with a sweet aftertaste. It’s pleasant and benign.

Beer Review: Cisco Brewers Winter Shredder

Beer: Winter Shredder
Brewer: Cisco Brewers
Source:  12 oz. bottle
Rating: ** (6.2 of 10)
Comments: The Nantucket-made winter beer has a copper brown color with a thick head.  The aroma is spicy and the taste runs the gamut from hoppy too malty too spicy and reverting to a bitter hoppiness for the aftertaste.  Despite all those tastes the flavor is a bit thin.  The beer leaves a gentle lacing on the glass.  This is a decent winter beer without all the cliches of the genre.

 

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