It’s Time for a Beercation in Lexington | Part 1

November 30, 2016

Breweries and pubs are the unofficial community centers in a city. Once you pull up a stool and order your first beer, you can learn a lot about a place. Everyone knows Kentucky is bourbon country, but it’s becoming quite the destination for craft beer. My previous trip to Lexington barely skimmed the surface of the beer industry so this go round I was determined to get my fill. With seven breweries and counting, my local Lexington friends showed me a great time. So much so that this weekend guide will be posted in two parts. Cheers!

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Lexington Beercation: Day 1

I arrived at Celia’s house Friday afternoon and after a quick bite at her house, we set out for Lexington. Our first stop was the Pepper Distillery Complex and more specifically Crank and Boom Ice Cream Lounge.

 

Crank & Boom

It’s always a good time to eat ice cream in my book. There were so many flavor options I was totally overwhelmed. I think the guys working could see it in my face so they just started handing me samples and giving me the spiel behind each one. Owners Mike and Toa Green first made coconut ice cream on a whim for their Thai restaurant. It was such a hit they branched out and made other flavors; they quickly realized they had some customers coming in just for ice cream. They launched Crank & Boom in 2013 in the Pepper Distillery complex.  Their ice cream is crazy good. Thanks to the nice dudes behind the counter, I tasted every flavor so trust me. All of their flavors are made with Kentucky dairy and ingredients from local farmers.

lexington beercation | Em's on the Road

I settled on coffee oatmeal stout ice cream made with an oatmeal stout from Ethereal Brewing Co. next door. One scoop in a homemade cone – perfection. I love coffee as much as I love stouts so my choice was pretty easy. Celia got the caramel popcorn which was equally decadent. I’m really hoping they’ll start selling pints in their online store sometime soon!

 

Ethereal Brewing

After ice cream, we wandered next door to Ethereal for a pint while we waited on Celia’s husband and friend Josh. I had been to Ethereal briefly on another trip, and was excited to try another style and some sunshine on their patio this round. Ethereal crafts exceptional classics (IPA, Saison, and Wit) but shine with funky one-off beers. After our ice cream I needed to hit the reset button and decided on a gose. This traditional German beer is brewed with salt and coriander and is slightly tart and while refreshing. Ethereal’s gose was perfect to start the night because it is light and has a dry finish. Celia had the oatmeal stout. Yes, I stole a sip. We sampled the Fleur Rouge Saison with Hibiscus as well, couldn’t resist. The guys showed up and we decided to head down the road to Country Boy Brewing.

lexington beercation | Em's on the Road

 

Country Boy Brewing

On my last week as Upland Brewing Co’s communications manager, I spent some time with the sour brewers from Upland and Country Boy and sampled nearly 20 different blends of sour beer for a collaboration beer they were working on. As fate would have it, the beer was released on the night of my visit. Country Boy is one of my favorite breweries in Lexington. Half of the tap list is really approachable (Cougar Bait – American Blonde is their flagship) and the other half is more unusual styles like fruit/barrel aged beers. I love the vibe in their tasting room too: no bullshit, just good beer, and anyone is welcome. I half expected to hear, “Just a Good Ole Boy” as I walked through the door. This place would be my spot if I lived in Lexington. I tried the Upland/Country Boy collab, Funkland Country Shuffle (strawberry wild Ale with a sour brown ale base) and the raspberry stout. The collab beer was really tasty – good pucker and lots of sweet strawberry notes. The raspberry stout was rich and luscious; I should’ve brought home a growler full of it. It was packed due to the Georgia Kentucky game the next day so after a couple of pints and some nachos courtesy of a taco truck, we headed on to the next spot. P.S. Don’t forget to check out their patio out back covered in hop vines.

lexington beercation | emsontheroad

The Night Market

Wait – before we arrived at the Night Market, Josh just had to take me to Indi’s Fast Food for some spicy chicken wings. Never a girl to turn down fried chicken, I enthusiastically applauded his decision and we slammed a box of wings on the back of Toby’s pick up truck.

lexington beercation | emsontheroad

As we rolled up to the market and I was blown away at how packed it was. It’s a monthly pop-up street festival in the North Limestone neighborhood, the arts and cultural hub of the city. Dozens of local vendors and artist show off their work at the Night Market but it seemed like a big block party rather than an arts fair. The Night Market has tons of food vendors so after a couple of laps we settled on some waffles from Whoo Wants Waffles – Cuban sandwich waffle and the Hot-Ness Monster (Nutella, hot banana ice cream (cayenne), candied pecans, chocolate drizzle). They were both crazy good and huge! This was a perfect stop for a quick and cheap bite before heading to one more brewery. *Note: There is beer available for purchase at The Night Market I just happened to be taking a break. 

 

West Sixth Brewing Co

Located on the north side of Lexington, inside a one hundred year old bread factory is West Sixth Brewing. Their beers were delicious, the barrel aged porter being my fav, but seeing their unique brewery space and learning more about their company culture made me like them even more.

lexington beercation | emsontheroad

West Sixth’s passion for their home city of Lexington is truly inspiring. With community revitalization on their minds, the creators of West Sixth chose a one hundred year old bread factory located on the north side of town that had been vacant since 2008. In 2011, The Bread Box building was purchased and rehabilitated to create a mixed-use property that would enhance the community. The Bread Box building now houses ten businesses including West Sixth, a coffee roaster, a bike shop, restaurants, and more. The brewery has some outstanding philanthropy programs as well: on the first Saturday of the month, they choose a different non-profit and give 6% of sales that day to the organization. They even give 50 cents away for every six pack of Pay it Forward Porter to a local non-profit.  Drinking tasty beer for a good cause – win, win.

More to come next week!

Have you been to any of these Lexington breweries?

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Traveling to France By Way of Dinner

November 22, 2016

My first food memory was eggs benedict at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. I was not a big fan; the hollandaise sauce confused me. I was 6 at the time and have learned my lesson. My first GOOD food memory was in Paris. I was 14 at the time, exploring Paris with my aunt (who speaks fluent french thank goodness), and cousin, eating everything in sight. Paris gave me my first taste of goat cheese, first hazelnut crepe, first sip of red wine, and many more. Dining for hours, no tvs, no smartphones, just people eating together and enjoying the moment, everything about the food culture in France enchanted me. You can feel the love in their food. Or maybe it’s just all the butter; either way it is so good. Since my family is coming to Bloomington to visit, there’s no traveling for me this Thanksgiving. But last week I decided to do the next best (and cheapest) thing… cook my way to France via beef bourguignon. I’m not sure where I had my first bowl but it is one of my favorite French dishes. It’s rich, delicious and perfect for this time of year. 

Paris - Em's on the Road

Farmer’s Market Delivered

To make it even better, I had some local ingredients delivered to my doorstep for said stew. I love spending Saturdays at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market but I’ve been traveling on the weekends lately making it difficult to get the local ingredients I want to cook with. Cue: Green Bean Delivery. They are a grocery delivery service with a focus on organic and local ingredients. Supporting local farmers and food is important to me so I was excited (and pretty surprised) that everything I ordered in my bin was either from the Indiana, Ohio, or Michigan. 

The whole process was so easy. The week your bin is scheduled to arrive, you’ll receive an email alert that the online store is open for you to choose your groceries. There are several different sizes of bins depending on how big your household you need and you can customize them to your needs. For example: I can’t afford all local and organic items so I opted for a smaller bin with all regional produce (broccoli, butternut squash, maitake mushrooms), a loaf of Amelia’s Bread from Indianapolis (SO GOOD), and some stew meat from Seven Sons in Roanoke, Indiana. If you want an idea of the selection, click here to tour a bin

green bean delivery - em's on the road

The Green Bean bin arrives on your doorstep packed in a cooler with freezer packs so the food is safe until you get home. (When you get your next delivery, they’ll pick up your empty bin to be reused.) I timed our delivery to show up after my trip to Lexington so I didn’t have to make a grocery run all week. Because all of their stock is local/organic, availability changes week to week so plan your meals accordingly.

 

green bean deliver - em's on the road

Let’s Eat

There are a lot of recipes out there for beef stew but Julia Child’s recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking is my go to. It takes a long time to make but it is worth it! I used the stew meat and some cultivated shiitake mushrooms from Shiitake Shamrock Farms in Arlington, Indiana from my Green Bean Delivery along with other items that we already had at home. You know we love mushrooms so I added an additional pound of wild maitake mushrooms that we had leftover from our last pick in the woods. Good bread is essential for soups and stews. I could’ve picked a baguette to go with the stew but I wanted to try something different and settled on their City Loaf (white sourdough) to try in my bin. It made for an excellent grilled cheese too. 

Once you’re tired of turkey next week, give this recipe a try.

 

green bean delivery - em's on the road

Honestly, I never thought I would use one of these delivery services but they made it really easy to eat well and support local farmers without spending a ton of time or money at the store. They got bonus points for reusing their coolers and bins.

Green Bean Delivery was kind enough to provide a discount code to my readers so you can try it too. Use code: EmsRoad with your first order for $15 off!  

Fine print: The offer expires on Dec. 30, 2016. Please note that this promo code is valid for new members and reactivations only. Limit 1 per household and cannot be coupled with any other Green BEAN Delivery discount or promotions. 

Wishing y’all a Happy Thanksgiving! When you’ve had enough of turkey and are ready to get back in the kitchen, give this recipe a try.

This post is sponsored by Green Bean Delivery but all opinions are my own. 

3 Ways to Save & Earn Extra Money for Travel Now

November 15, 2016

I started this blog a while ago as a hobby to document places on the road when I worked as an architectural surveyor at the Community Design and Preservation at the University of Georgia. Back then my trips were paid for but now most of my trips are on my own personal dime because I love to do it. I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about how I fund these trips so I thought I’d talk about it here. The truth is traveling, even in the US, is expensive. With hotels, restaurants/bars, museums and other entertainment, expenses add up fast so I try and earn as extra cash throughout the year to help offset the cost of my trips. These are three things you can start doing now to earn and save extra money for travel.

 

It’s time to fill up the travel fund.

Save money For Travel- Ems on the Road

 

Sell Unwanted Clothes

 

They say if something has sat in your closet for a year without wearing it, then it’s time to let it go. I go through my closet all the time to see if there are items I don’t need or wear anymore. If there are, I try and sell them first before donating. I love consigning clothes because you get the most for your items but if you don’t have a consignment shop in your town I recommend Thred UP. It’s great for getting rid of clothes and accessories that you no longer want. Just request a clean out kit and send it in. The shipping is free and if they don’t accept some of your items you can have them recycled. You won’t make event close to your actual investment back, but if you’re not wearing the clothes anyway then you may as well make some extra money. Check out Thred UP here.

If you have designer clothes check out TheRealReal. This is a consignment shop for high end items so you won’t earn money until your items sell but you can make a lot more. What’s even better is once you send it off, you don’t have to do anything. They photograph, post it, and ship it for you.

 

Make Coffee at Home

 

This tip could’ve been eat/drink at home but I’m a fan of restaurants and bars so… I will say that leading up to a trip I will minimize how much I eat/drink out. Coffee though is a no brainer for me. Lattes are expensive AF. I love an almond milk latte with an extra shot as much as the next girl but that can run you around $6. Make a pot in the morning and bring some with you to work. Need stronger coffee? Make cold brew at home! It’s so easy and all you need is a french press. I have this one and it’s on sale! You can make cold brew with any kind of coffee but I prefer a rich/dark roast. This one from from my friends at King Bean Coffee in Charleston, South Carolina is a favorite. You can also get this french press kit if you need it all (good for hot and cold brew).

 

Get a Side Hustle

 

I drive a two door jeep that will reach classic status this year so Uber is out for me. I’m also not a very crafty person so an Etsy shop is out of the question. If you’re like me don’t fret, there are still options. I used to dog sit and house sit frequently in grad school that kept my restaurant/bar fund pretty flush. Get on a neighborhood listserve and send out a memo about your services. I did this in and it worked really quickly. If you don’t know of any listserves check out care.com to list your services. These days I do freelance writing and social media management on the side to help fund many of my trips and it is awesome. Think about your skills and what you could offer people and go for it. If you need copywriting or social media help, shoot me an email at em@emsontheroad.com

 

Local’s Guide to Birmingham, Alabama with Lauren McCurdy

October 19, 2016

local's guide to birmingham | emsontheroad

Photo credit: Lauren McCurdy

I’m from Birmingham originally but my family moved to St. Simons Island when I was about five years old; I like to claim both as hometowns. I returned to the Magic City for college, attending Birmingham Southern College, a small liberal arts college outside the city hub. The city has changed a lot since I left in 2006 so I thought it best to share a local’s perspective on Bham and why you should visit. This brings me to my friend and guest blogger this week, Lauren McCurdy. Lauren and I met a few years ago at the Beer Bloggers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina. I noticed her Good People Brewing Co. (Bham brewery) t-shirt and was excited to chat with someone else from the South. We quickly realized that we both attended Birmingham Southern a few years apart. On such a small campus (1200+), it’s hard to believe we never met during our time at BSC but I’m so glad we connected over beer years later. Beer friends really are the best friends. So without further ado…

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The Hiking Sandals You Need For Your Next Adventure

October 5, 2016

Before moving to Maui in 2007, I didn’t hike often and certainly didn’t own any appropriate outdoor shoes. After about a month on the island, we planned a full day trip to Hana complete with a hike to Waimoku Falls in the Haleakala National Park and Ryan realized he needed to remedy my footwear issue.  I bought my first pair of Chacos the day before our trip. Little did I know, I’d be wearing them a lot more than a few times a year.

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5 Things I Never Go Camping Without

September 22, 2016

 

Camping Essentials | Em's on the Road

Let me preface this post by saying I’m not a rugged camper. I didn’t do a lot of camping growing up aside from summer camp in North Carolina so when I met my now husband ten years ago, I wondered if I’d be able to enjoy being in the outdoors as much as he did. I was absolutely pampered on many early camping trips to ensure my good time, but these days I really do enjoy getting outside and unplugging from all of the screens in my life for a few days. Ryan and I spend a lot of time outside in the summer but once the temps drop out of the 80s we hit the trail even more. With September coming to a close (can you believe it?), the weather is perfect for camping and hiking. Over the years I’ve realized I don’t need a lot of stuff to enjoy a weekend in the woods, but I do bring a few things to make the experience more comfortable. READ MORE

Blogs & Barrels: Wine Tasting in the Indiana Uplands

September 15, 2016

indiana uplands trail | em's on the road

I’ve lived in Bloomington for three years now (hard to believe!), and last weekend was my first visit to one of our local wineries. I’m mostly a beer and cocktail drinker but when you receive an invite to attend a private winery tour, you say yes. Last weekend the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail invited a group of bloggers to visit the Butler Winery to learn more about wine making and the wine trail. As a curious connoisseur of all booze, I happily accepted.

Indiana Wine Heritage

Wine making in Indiana dates back to the 1840s with the Huber family planting vineyards in Starlight, Indiana that would later turn into the Huber Winery. Prohibition slowed things down but the tradition of Indiana wine making made a comeback in the 1960s. In 2003, nine wineries in the region came together to create the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail as a way to guide people through the region and introduce visitors and locals to the unique wine being made in the region. The trail consists of nine wineries in south-central Indiana: Butler Winery, Oliver Winery, Brown County Winery, French Lick Winery, Huber Winery, Turtle Run Winery and Winzerwald Winery. Most of the wineries would be an easy day trip from Bloomington, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Indiana and a nice weekend getaway for Chicago or Louisville, Kentucky. The Indiana Uplands region was designated as an American Viticultural Area (good for growing grapes) in 2013 with just 200 acres under cultivation there is room to explore and grow. READ MORE

Local’s Guide to Burlington, Vermonth with Kaitlin O’Shea

August 23, 2016

I started reading Kaitlin O’Shea’s blog Preservation in Pink several years ago in graduate school and was hooked immediately. There were no preservation blogs I was aware of at the time and I loved how she gave a young voice to this small and fairly obscure profession. We’ve followed each other’s blogs for a while and finally met in person at the National Preservation Conference in Indianapolis in 2013. It’s wild meeting someone you’ve followed online; it’s almost like you’re meeting a celebrity. She was as sweet as can be and we’ve kept in touch online ever since. In this month’s Local’s Guide To series post, Kaitlin shares her guide to  Burlington, Vermont. Aside from a few trips to New York, I’m largely unfamiliar with New England and this month I am thrilled to have Kaitlin share her must sees and dos in her city of Burlington.

 

Local’s Guide to Burlington, Vermont with Kaitlin O’Shea

 

 

How long have you lived in Burlington?

I moved to Burlington, VT in August 2009, because I was starting the historic preservation graduate program at the University of Vermont.  Prior to Vermont, I lived in North Carolina, Nebraska, Virginia and New York. It will be 7 years this summer of living in Vermont, and I’ve lived in Burlington (5 years total), Waterbury (1 year), and Montpelier (1 year). Burlington is by far my favorite place that I have lived anywhere. Professionally, I am a Preservation Planner with VHB (an engineering + environmental firm) in South Burlington, Vermont.

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Yes, There are Islands in Georgia. Here are the Five You Need to Visit Now.

August 9, 2016

I grew up on an island in Georgia. Yes, there are islands in Georgia, quite a few actually. Our little piece of paradise flew under the radar throughout most of my childhood but is much more familiar these days now thanks to press for a certain five diamond resort. Whether you’ve heard of the Golden Isles or not, let’s go island hopping.

Five Islands to Visit in Georgia

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How to Beercation in Tampa

July 26, 2016

 

ulele spring brewery | Em's on the Road

If you follow me on social media you know I’m all about a beercation. I’ve recently returned from my first trip to Tampa, Florida. Not to visit Busch Gardens, I was there to drink beer, and lots of it. Every summer a group of beer writers/bloggers and industry folk gather for the Beer Bloggers Conference and this year we ventured to Tampa Bay. I never thought about Florida as a craft beer destination prior to this trip. I was so wrong. READ MORE

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