Last weekend I helped host a bridal shower for my dear friend Theresa, who is getting married this fall. And it turned out wonderfully–much to the credit of MOH, Kate and her mom, Linda!
The day before the shower we all went to an adorable flower farm to cut our own flowers. With lots of help from the very friendly farm cats we filled a bucket full with pretty blooms for the shower. If you find yourself in rural eastern Iowa, you really must stop! In addition to the abundance of blooms, there’s a coop full of hens with a very cocky rooster and tiny little cottage filled with homemade jams and hand embroidered tea towels.
It was a brunch shower–and I’ve decided all showers should be brunch showers, because it was delicious! Kate and her mom made mini quiches and Theresa’s family supplied homemade pastries. I was tasked with the mimosa bar (thank you Pinterest) and we stamped coffee sleeves with the bride and groom’s names (not sure how I missed getting pic of them).
Guys I’m really excited. I’ve found another thing to love about fall! Fall. Brews. I always thought that seasonal beers boasting harvest, and pumpkin on their labels would be too dark or too strong for my tastes. Boy, was I wrong. They are so delish! I think I even like them better than summer brews. I haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Oktoberfest yet, but here’s my take on the other four.
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin is my favorite by far. Blue Moon is my go-to already, so I might be biased, but I loved the subtle undertones of pumpkin spice along with the always dependable Blue Moon flavor. Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat was delish, but it tasted like pretty much every other variation of Shock Top wheat (aside from their fruity flavors).
New Belgium Tour de Fall was nice. I love the label–they always have the best labels. The flavor was aaaalmsot too strong for me, but I like to think it’s broadening my palate. KBC Pumpkin Ale is a close second to the Blue Moon. The cinnamon notes were just right–not too Big Red-ish. It was like brisk fall afternoon inside my frosty mug (who am I kidding I drank it straight out of the bottle).
What are your favorite fall brews?
Most people who’ve had a few drinks with me could probably predict with alarming accuracy what I’m going to order. My cheap beer is Coors Light. My beer of choice is Blue Moon. And on the very rare occasion I order a mixed drink, there’s all of three I’ll pick from, but it’s almost always beer. I decided it was time I broaden my horizons a bit with my favorite adult beverage. And since I’m partial to lighter brews the summer selection is quite pleasing to my palate. I picked up a mix-and-match six pack at Hy-Vee a few weekends ago and have been working my way through it. I’ve tried a few others not listed here too–like Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat and Shock Top Belgian White–both winners.
Baraboo Blueberry Ale is ok. I’ve had better, I have worse. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.
Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen is fruity but still tastes like beer, much like Leinenkugel Berry Weiss. And its pink and I’m a girl who loves a pink beer.
Ciderboys Peach Country is perfect for a lazy summer afternoon in the sun with a good book–which is exactly how I enjoyed it. Sweet, crisp and refreshing.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has a nice crisp richness about it
New Belgium Snapshot was my favorite of my non-fruity selections–a refreshing, tasty wheat brew.
Backpocket Brewery’s Gold Coin is a delightful German Blonde Lager and is brewed near my hometown in Coralville, IA <— gotta love a hometown brew! All their brews are named after things you might keep in your back pocket–how clever!
What’s your favorite summer beverage?
One of the best things about warmer weather is iced coffee! And one of the best things about iced coffee is that it’s really easy to make at home. I was a barista for two years in college and I so miss my (free) daily lattes made just the way I like them. If I ever win the lottery I’m so getting a professional espresso machine. BUT the awesome thing about iced coffee is you can make cafe-quality drinks (or at least pretty damn close) right at home–no espresso machine required.
If you order a (good quality) iced latte it will be made with espresso from one of those fancy $12,000 machines, but you can get a very similar effect with strong brewed coffee. I use 1 1/2 to 2 time the amount of coffee grounds than I usually would, with the same amount of water. Start with coffee cubes (freeze strong-brewed coffee in ice cube trays–it may or may not make you freezer smell like stale coffee until
you give it a good scrubbing the end of time–but its so worth it) you can throw a few regular ice cubes in there for good measure too. Fill the glass 1/3 to 1/2 way full with strong-brewed coffee. Top it off with your milk of choice.
Ok, now this guy is D-LISH. And he isn’t full of thick processed syrup that the cafe-version is made with. I first posted this recipe a few summers ago and it’s just too good not share again. First, fill your glass with some cubes. In a glass measuring cup mix together 1/2 cup hot strong-brewed coffee, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder. Stir until dissolved and pour over cubes. Top of with your milk of choice. You can adjust the cocoa and sugar to make it sweeter/less sweet to your liking.
Ahh and the good ole iced black coffee. The coffee cubes are most important here. If you use regular ice cubes the hot coffee will melt them right away and you’ll be stuck with one very weak cup of iced coffee. So fill your cup good and full with coffee cubes, then top with fresh brewed hot coffee–when I’m making iced coffee I usually brew it just a tish stronger than I normally would.