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Seasons Change, Beers Change

I don’t know about you, but I always start to crave soup about this time of year.  Just like ice-cold beer tastes great on those 90 degree summer days, the idea of a big, steaming bowl of chili in October sounds so good.  My taste for the type of beer I like to drink starts to shift with the season, too.  I like the light, crisp beers in the summer, but dark and rich is what I want with my chili.

I’m not alone in this.  Look at the seasonal beers that are out during summertime (Bell’s Oberon and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy) - Light, garnished with citrus. Oktoberfest and pumpkin brews start to hit shelves in September and October.  Perfect timing for the taste-shift.

There’s something hearty about the fall seasonal beers.  Oktoberfest brews are typically dark lagers and bring brats to mind as well as  the annual Oktoberfest festivals that bring a little more German tradition to Wisconsin.  Samuel Adams, Leinenkugel’s and Capital Brewing are just a few of the brands that have great Oktoberfest beers available locally.

Pumpkin ale also comes out around this time.  Pumpkin flavored beer may sound a little odd, but don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!  Lakefront Brewery and Blue Moon both make great pumpkin beers that tastes like pumpkin pie with nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin brewed right into the beer.  All that's missing is the pie crust!



 It's 7:15 on any weekday morning.  At the corner of Lavergne and Menomonee Avenues stress abounds.  A line of car stretches from the Thomas Jefferson School parking lot for a block to Menomonee Avenue and continues around the corner for another block westward.  Parents are queued up waiting to drop off their children at school before going to work.  They look at their watches hopeful that the line will move more quickly.

 A crossing guard is nearly overwhelmed by the dense traffic.  He's trying to protect children on their way to school.  He must deal with drivers that roll through stop signs and children that don't always pay attention to their surroundings as they cross the street.

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Menomonee Falls PAC Meeting comment

Menomonee Falls Schools


Karen Taubenheim, in her blog today, posted a summary of topics discussed at a recent PAC meting regarding the Menomonee Falls School District.  One of the topics was: Why don’t we have school board reaching out to residence/parents?  Meetings should be more inviting rather than to have an “invisible fence” around themselves ~ Not approachable for most people.

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Shutting Down Government - A Short Blog


 Broadcast news tonight reports that Governor Doyle is considering curtailing some State of Wisconsin programs if a budget can not be passed soon.


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Park and recreation services play a vital role in creating active and healthy communities.  The Village of Menomonee Falls is has a high quality park system.   The School District of Menomonee Falls complements the facilities with great recreation programming offered through the Community Education and Recreation Department.  

The Physical Health Benefits

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Tasting is Not Just for Wine Anymore

As a self-proclaimed beer buff, one of the things I like best about beer is how many different types there are out there to try.  Over the years, we’ve heard of wine tasting classes, events and parties; now all of theses trends are pertinent to beer as well.  We can partially attribute this awesome trend to the influence of microbreweries, and the new exotic flavors that are being produced.

A beer tasting is something you can host easily at home.  Stick with all varieties of one brand (for example, purchase a few different varieties of Capital beer like Amber, Island Wheat, etc. and explore the similarities and differences in taste) or explore one type of beer from several different brands (compare and contrast pale ales from Sierra Nevada, Great Lakes Brewing and Bells Brewing Company).

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning an event like this:

  • A variety of beers equals a variety of tastes.
  • Have something on hand to cleanse the palate between beers.  Light snacks or seltzer water work well.
  • Provide small tasting cups to portion out samples.  The point of a tasting is to get a small taste of several different flavors to compare and contrast.
  • Encourage guests to write down the beers they like, including the tastes and ingredients that stood out to them.

I’ve learned that just like a wine tasting, there’s a bit of a science to beer tasting.  The steps are very similar and are designed to help fully experience the beer.  Here’s what to look for:

  • Aroma
    • Tasting starts even before you drink a drop. Give it a sniff- the aroma of a beer comes from a lot of factors (malt, type of hops, alcohol, and other spices and ingredients used during the brewing process).  The smell has a strong influence over the taste of a beer.  Try to distinguish any distinct flavors unique to that particular beer.
  • Appearance
    • Look at the color, clarity and the nature of the head.  The malts used during the brewing process influence the color of the beer. Many beers are transparent, but some beers, such as hefeweizen, may be cloudy due to the presence of yeast making them translucent. A third variety is the opaque or near-opaque color that exists with stouts, porters and other dark colored styles. Also pay attention to the thickness and retention of the head when the beer is poured.
  • Flavor
    • Take a small sip and explore the taste characteristics.  Malt, hops and yeast are common ingredients in beer.  Try to distinguish those ingredients apart from any other flavors in the beer.  Rate the strength of bitterness of a beer using the International Bitterness Units scale, which is used in North America by a number of brewers.
  •  Mouth feel
    • Thickness, creaminess and carbonation are all factors to be evaluated when tasting a beer.  Pay attention not only to how the beer tastes, but also how it feels in your mouth.
  • Other ingredients
    • Many beers on the market use fruits and spices as key ingredients in the brewing process.  Each contributes unique flavors.  Try to discern those flavors each individually and evaluate how combinations of certain spices react within each beer. 

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Catalog Season


 Some years ago my darling wife was in the mood to buy some household bling - you know, a picture a basket, a fancy candle - that sort of thing.  I don't remember if it was over the phone or by an early internet purchase, but since then our life has changed.

Every year at this time our mailbox is stuffed to the flag with catalogs from similar companies that sell the same sort of trash.  Over this past weekend the pile measured two inches high. There will be more today guaranteed.  The usual rule of thumb is to give them a one second glance and put 'em in the recycling bin.

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Pushed into the spotlight

just because, wordless wednesday

Hello NOW Community!

I feel like a backstage assistant who has just been pushed into the spotlight by the stage manager. While I've been a regular blogger now for about two and half years, this is the first time I'm blogging with my real name in the byline, and photograph nonetheless. I've blogged under an alias for my entire blogging *cough* career, but today is the day that I'm, well, for lack of a better phrase .... coming out.

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 A tip of the hat to Senator Darling and Rep. Jeskewitz.

Your persistence on reducing spending and your final vote demonstrates that you are not Republican In Name Only.  Perhaps now our local broadcast bigmouths will have to com up with some other insulting term.

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I think he had a secret plan

family, finance, vacation

Tonight my husband and I are switching from Mid-America Bank to Landmark Credit Union. Why? I've been unhappy with Mid-America ever since they switched from St. Francis Bank, and the only thing that has kept me from switching before this is all the automatic payments that I'll now have to change.

I didn't set out to switch our accounts, but I think he secretly set a plan in place where I would come up with the idea, and then because it's my idea, do it.

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Balloon Fiesta

Neat places

 My son Eric who lives in Albuquerque, NM sent me this link showing a time-lapse of this years hot air balloon fiesta. It is well worth a trip to see it in person if you have a chance.  Every year early in October ballonists from all over the world congregate for a flying party. If you can spare five minutes or so, have a look here:

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Older Adults Are Our Business Too

The Menomonee Falls Community Education and Recreation Department houses many activities for Adults 55 and better!  How about the old standards - Bridge, Sheepshead, knitting, crocheting, Bingo, watercolors, introductory computer classes and exercise.  We, also, offer some special classes like: The Newest Treatments for Osteoarthritis presented by Dr. Oelke.  How about a special speaker like State Representative Alberta Darling?  The Armchair Traveler is for those who would lke to see the world  - right from one of our lounge chairs. 

We offer monthly blood pressure checks, glucose tests, and, beginning in December, cleaning and checking of hearing aids.  If cutting your own toe nails is too difficult for you, we can direct you to our twice monthly toe nail trimming clinic.

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Christmas Lights = Halloween Candy

holiday, just because, neighborhood

The Trick or Treat for my subdivision is being held tomorrow night between 5 p.m. and  7:30 p.m. The only thing I need to do to participate is turn on my outdoor lights. It seems to be a simple task. It's not.

All of my outdoor lights are the kind that automatically turn on when it gets dark, and off when it's light. They are also hardwired and I don't even have a switch to turn them off and on.

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Pair those Seasonal Beers with the Perfect Dish

A few weeks ago I posted about the great fall seasonal beers that are available right now.  As a big fan of pairing a beer with my meal, I thought I’d offer some pairing suggestions for some of the fall seasonals.

Pairing is all about experimentation.  Sure, there are suggested pairings, but the best way to figure out if a beer pairs well with a certain dish is to try it!  There are no rules when it comes to pairing, but there are a few guidelines as to which tastes go best together:
•    Ales go well with red meats in the same fashion as red wines do.
•    With lighter, beers like lagers, consider pairing as you would with white wines (pastas, light meals, cooked vegetables). 
•    Dark beers pair well with rich foods. 
•    Hoppy beers match up and hold their own with spicy foods.

Seasonal beers are around for a limited time, so I’d recommend trying them with your dinner soon.  You can try my suggestions or experiment and find your own favorite combos. 

Oktoberfest beers, like Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest and Samuel Adams Octoberfest, are full bodied and bold.  They pair best with foods that are also full-flavored like brats and *** or pretzels and mustard.  The full flavors of the beers and the food balance each other well.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a bitter, hoppy beer.  The bitterness cuts through spicy foods like jambalaya or Szechwan chicken.

Lakefront Pumpkin Lager tastes like liquid pumpkin pie and pairs perfectly with holiday meals like turkey, chicken or ham.

Capital Autumnal Fire is a rich Dopplebock with a slightly bitter finish.  I like this one best with bread or barbequed ribs.

Leinenkugel’s Apple Spice is full of apple flavor with a hint of cinnamon.  It pairs best with dishes with similar tastes like pork tenderloin with applesauce.

Listening-Public Forum Regarding School Matters on October 30th




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Photo Hunt: Somewhere in Menomonee Falls

photo hunt

This is our first official photo hunt! Do you know the location where this photo was taken? It's somewhere in Menomonee Falls, a little of the beaten path. Either leave a comment (note: I'll hold the comments in moderation as to not spoil the fun), send me an email, or just play along at home. I'll reveal the location on Friday. 

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Conservatives and War

Presidential Politics

 As I grow older it becomes more and more puzzling to me.  Why can't there be a conservative candidate who isn't drooling for war?  President Bush has spent most of his two terms in office minding other people's business than he has taking care of our own. And now his sights appear to be set on Iran as the next target.

The was has been very costly in terms of dollars and lives.  What a waste! Pouring our tax dollars away into a hopeless war that can never be won seems to be the height of folly. And, as it continues the value of our dollar shrinks more and more in the world market.

Republican presidential candidates are hammering away at the anticipated frivolous spending proposed by the Democrats. And yet when Republicans are in power the spending doesn't slow, in fact it increases at an even faster pace.

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Creepy, Scary, Heart-Skipped-A-Beat

family, holiday, just because

I wrote this a couple years ago, and since it's (almost) Halloween I thought I'd share it with you today. Boo!

Do you like scary movies? I love scary movies! Except for when I’m watching them, scared out of my mind, then I wonder why I love scary movies so much.

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