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not everyone in prison is guilty but none of them are “innocent”
Last week I heard from an old friend. She asked if I was still writing. I told her yes, but didn’t ask if she was practicing the art of scrive. She’s nationally known and I see her bylines everywhere.
She had an opportunity for a “Spirits” columnist in a bi-monthly magazine focused on New Haven. It was very interesting. But first I did my due diligence (okay, I Googled them). Very promising. Picturesque and visually pleasing. Nice content, interesting subjects and well written. But because I possess a tangential mind I began to focus on the the location of the group publisher, Simsbury, CT. Because even though I lived in neighboring Avon, our bus stop was in Simsbury, on Hopmeadow Road. HOPmeadow. I took it as a sign to look into the breweries and distilleries of Simsbury, because of our current obsession with hoppy, slightly bitter IPA’s and the historical aspect of the street name.
Did Metacomet look down on rippling fields of hops before he burned olde Simsbury in King Phillip’s War? Was Weatogue the Munich of Connecticut? Was the wine made from the grapes depicted on our state flag drinkable? I don’t know, but the legacy of those ancient quaffs is all around us today.
While there are no active breweries in Simsbury, meaning one that boils their own wort; a mix of germinated grain that’s been slightly roasted called malt, water and hop buds, which look like pine cones- there is McLadden’s on Wilcox Street. They serve 46 different varieties of beer on tap, from local to international, and have a full menu of pub and bistro fare to accompany your pint or flight, which is a small tasting of 4 brews. Try a flight and then a pint of your favorite.
Red Stone Pub on Jim Gallagher Way has fewer choices on draft, but makes up for it by offering 55 different bottled and canned beers. Try the Back East Brewing Porter on tap, a dark, malty pint reminiscent of British Porters that’s brewed in neighboring Bloomfield. Just 8 miles away in New Hartford the Brewery Legitimus is turning out deliciously crafted IPA’s, saisons, stouts, ales and even a German-style Kolsch. They host tours of their facility and if you haven’t seen where beer comes from it’s fascinating. You can also taste and tour Back East Brewery on Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield. When asked I say my personal favorite is Olde Burnside Brewing in East Hartford. Their tasting room is a tin roofed hut. They charge by the head (usually $10-$15 per person) for unlimited beers served in polystyrene cups and offer five beers for tasting on weekends. It’s like an old fishing camp but I love their clear, crisp Steel Penny Ale and the child friendly atmosphere where my daughter can let the grandkids run amok while she puts on a buzz. And one ray of hope. During my research for this article I learned someone is opening the (ta da!) Hopmeadow Brewing Company! this year, but I think it’s located in Avon. Maybe next year, Simsbury, maybe next year.
Or perhaps Simsbury is well, dare I say it? A wine town? Must be because there’s a glorious vineyard in the Weatogue section. Rosedale Farms and Vineyards hosts tastings July through October, but has a store open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays where local farm products and Rosedale wines can be purchased. I’m a wine person and was pleased with the versatility of Rosedale’s local grapes. Marechal Foch, Cayuga, Seyval, Marquette and St Croix varietals excelled on their own or blended with Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon in an eminently drinkable, elegant little quaff. Within 10 miles two other very good wineries offer tours, cases, tastings, events and bottles. Lost Acres Vineyard on Lost Acres Road in North Granby and Brignole Vineyards on Hartford Avenue in East Granby. From Brignole’s I loved the Red Dragon, which reminded me of a rich, well aged Spainish wine from Penedes and from Lost Acres I loved the Salmon Brook Rose. Mostly Seyval Blanc with a touch of merlot grapes (skins on) for the rosy color.
Finally, what would a spirits column be with out spirits. Nearby Bloomfield again offers a solution with Waypoint Spirits on Woodland Avenue offers tastings and tours Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Primarily a distributor you can also find their gin, vodka, spiced vodka, rum and spiced rum in over 70 Connecticut Package Stores and 90 bars and restaurants including Cracker Barrel Pub in Tarriffville, and (Oh, be still my heart…pun intended) The Hop Meadow Country Club!
For a more rural spirits experience visit Full Moonshine at Hickory Ledges Farm Bahre Corner Road, Canton. They make real moonshine, an apple jack, a cranberry, and a maple moonshine. Their tasting room is open on weekends. And the farm dates back to 1797 and has always made whisky.
To Dear: You know who you are. I had fun and it reminded me of how popular and confident you once were. Everyone knows you and you could be on the tips of their tongues, but you seem to strategically withdraw. Maybe it’s a smart branding move to isolate yourself. To be the Gatsby at every party. The absence certainly does make the reunions fonder.
Yet, there is great merit in being not in the direct spotlight, but in someone else’s spotlight to help them share their moment. Where is the Du Jour of yesteryear who herded up party fun like a cowboy in Abilene? The Impresario may have wanted your support, needed a familiar and trusted shoulder to lean on. I urge you to go. I hope you do. I have 143 reasons to go, but you have 341 to not. Call upon your inner council of Moudaber’s, Wayans’ and Benji’s and have them show you the true path. It’s not too late to make an appearance. The world is waiting for your brilliance
Nickname – The Warrior
Superpower – Bullet-like reflexes. Confidence-spreader. Springs into action without hesitation.
Why we need you right now – As soon as the results came in, many of you were already beginning to strategize for the fight to come. While the rest of us mill around shell-shocked, you ready yourself, aim and fire. (If this is not you, Aries, it needs to become you or you’ll lose your mind.)
How to get us moving – Help us catch up with you by sharing your confidence. Remind us that we can handle it–and then tell us how to start. You’re the leader we need.
Achilles Heel – Starting a new battle when you’re still fighting the old one. Going too fast for your followers to keep up. Proceeding without understanding the opposing perspective.
Nickname – The Root System
Superpower – You cling like a barnacle and barrel forth like a bull. Ability to weather any storm by hanging onto what is good.
Why we need you right now – No matter the political drama of the day, you know that what’s important is always close by if we just slow down to notice: nature, good food, our bodies, loyal friends and fam, and the values that are as much a part of us as breathing. You help us find the power that comes from the root system up.
How to fortify us – Host a weekly brunch, invite your buddies out dancing or get people together to take on a single important project that will reinforce our bonds.
Achilles Heel – Refusing to adapt to a new situation even when there’s no choice. Being mean because you’re scared. Obsessing over what you could lose instead of strategizing for how to increase what you have.
A chickadee and a swallowtail came to my house for lunch. The swallowtail circled my head and the chickadee sat 8 feet from me in a lilac bush. Jealous house sparrows flew back an forth protecting their dying bush, which was decimated by two years of bag worms. They build traveling cocoons and use long silk like strands to anchor themselves to higher ground. They must know something. One of the Unwalking Dead sisters has a nephew Floyd. Pretty Boy Floyd. Not a lot of Floyd’s around. Less and less Ursula’s. Maria’s are shrinking. Violets are also. Soon the only Tiffany’s will be on 5th and 57th. Uber babies are taking over. They Know things. They talk incessantly. They have a patient agenda.
It is so unfortunate that some of the things we need to do to be better and feel better and be happy and make people happy are simple, but we just can’t bring ourselves to do them.
A Manhattan is pretty sucky. Sweet, boozy, no alpha spirit guiding and controlling taste. A true martini is nice, but very medicinal and sharp tasting. I like a good Bloody Mary cause they are like a soup or bowl of salsa and usually non alcoholy tasting. But so many people hate tomato juice. A Sazerac is basically putrid. If a fat food chain served something that tasted like that it would inspire world wide, web protests. Good bourbon or cognac, absinthe and bitters. Would hate to vomit that up. I love um though and Stingers (which taste like mint Lifesavers and French 75’s and Jin & Guice and daiquiri’s.)
Rob Roy’s yuccky, Vodka and Ginger is syrupy and rubbing alcohol reminiscent. Negroni, baloney. Campari tastes like the window fluid of a Ferrari. Wine Spritzer, no shitzer. Kamikaze, makes you nausey. And the Old Fashioned. The opposite of Jiffy Pop, it’s way more fun to make than it is to eat.
On the wall at Sunshine Daydream, a ratty head shop in Guilfff, it say’s “Seth BLANK Sucks, He shoplifted.” And the Sunshine Daydream is as bad as the Singapore Sling. Both taste like Lavoris.
Last night Drake poured Red Bull into my Coppola Claret. I drank it just to spite him, but it was good. Drake is a good person, but because he’s spoiled, he expects effortless happiness. Undoing that expectation is not my job. I can only protect myself from his Kanyesque stinging comments. It takes energy to summon all that disdain, anger, disappointment and unmet expectation. I am glad I have a lower threshold for happiness.
I prayed to win a scratch off lottery and I wanted if for a specific purpose and my ticket won. Just Enough. That’s what god provides me. Just enough. I’ve tasted top wines, but not the toppest. And I want more.
Late last summer a miracle occurred and i wasn’t looking for it. It kinda happened. Just by it’s sheer awesomeness, it caused other complications. Two great ideologies clashing over a generational gap. I sit inside as the day has brightened and listen to a leech berated. So many great things, so many shortcomings. Elation and regret in the same cup. My favorite wines are 1983 Lynch Bages purchased in 1999 at the incorrect price. Should have been $34.99, was $16.32, paid cash, out the door. 1990 Hermitage on Christmas Eve, a Sassicaia drunk in the 2003, my first great Barolo, and a Pertinace barolo in a restaurant, the one true wine list wine that sang to me. Pol Roger Churchill Cuvee Champers.
I kinda wanna do things but the mercurial nature of my cohorts makes it near impossible to gauge the when and where. I have had to stop doing things for people and put myself first and not caretake, I wanna caretake this one, but it is hard to understand just what is needed as it changes day to day. Anger and disdain for foolishness, even whimsy are their heraldic shield.
So i ride the wave. It is better and has progressed. Leaving me to ask;
“Am I selfish for asking? Are they selfish for not giving it?”
I’d like to think it was 50/50. But I’m the bitcher. I accept, but 5 nights doing the same thing and one doing different stuff seems very reasonable. Yelled at for trying to plan, scolded for not planning. The rock and hard place scenario. Damned if, damned if not.
I did win a minor, minor sum in scratch gambling cards, And I appealed to the heavens and it twas granted
Absolutely no unique birds today. :c
Fire season in California is started and Santa Clarita is burning. Flames encroach on the hills over Magic Mountain sprinkling ash down on the cotton candy. Thick smoke envelops you as you rise to the top of Goliath. Big smoke with wood and plastic hints and a touch of petrol. Burn it all. Have the great tidal river run amok and sweep Pandemonium to Old SaySay.
Last summer on a dog walk I found what I called “Dinner Plate Hibicus” which is a common name, because of the hugeness of the flower, of the hibiscus moscheutos. They are easy to germinate from the poppy-like seed pod which i snapped of the plant last November, before the rains. the two oldest ones died in a tragic towel accident and one more just died of desiccation. Just like the Jupiter Pines in a California wildfire.
Saw several swallowtail butterflies and a dusk eagle perched on his regular perch Saturday night. dark, but still twilight. And saw goldfinches at KungTea Market.
Drake is confusing wrens with house sparrows that have little football black glare resistor creme under their eves. I prefer the chickadee’s cause they’re more striking and wear a full bandits mask. House sparrows have a nest outside his garage. three babies.
Saw four ospreys, two cardinals, one eagle, two vultures and a pair of male/female brown headed cowbirds.
Very phlegmy today. Thick and nasty and starting to smell. Sometimes I get little electric shocks in my arms and neck.
I really don’t want to care take anyone anymore. Especially dogs. Somewhere pets went from being possessions of to members of our families. Liking dogs doesn’t mean you’re a good person, look at Hitler. Sick of no appreciation. Only remedy; stop doing. If they let you. Now nausea. Heartburn, nausea, indigestion..upset stomach, diarrhea. (clue little flashmob dance move)
Found a nice orange wildflower called ascliepias tuberosa. Must have been in a garden and somehow escaped into the olive wood hedge where it was maintaining bloom in a shaded southerly direction.
Cut them for a birthday floral arrangement. Not a pet, thankfully, but close on the dire scale.
Making gazpacho for din din. No birds today. Just dog talk. I miss drake, cause he has the name of a duck and i like birds.
ascliepias tuberosa is also called butterfly weed and Monarchs go crazy over it. Elizabeth II feeds on its nectar every morning for a fresh dew faced appearance.