Monthly Archives: June 2013

Can I Have A Beer Please?

I am the least fluent Spanish-speaking member of our household. In fact, I should not even use the word “fluent” in that sentence. When we have traveled to Spanish-speaking countries, my family would always try to get me to use the most basic words. There were many times we would be at a restaurant or out and about and I wanted to ask for something and they would make me do it myself. I think they enjoyed watching me struggle or make a fool of myself. So I have learned a few words such as por favor, cerveza, and of course, baño.  When traveling to some of these places and wanting to try something with a local flavor, it didn’t take me long to struggle through “cerveza, por favor”. It was worth the trouble to try something I may never get to have again.

Here are some other languages to practice asking for a beer:

Chinese – Ching gay woh ee bay pee joh
French – Oon bee-air, seel voo pleh
German – Ine beer, bitt-uh
Italian – Oo-na beer-ra, pair fa-vo-re
Japanese – Bee-ru ip-pon ku-da-sai
Russian – Ahd-na pee-vah pah-zha-loosta

Now my favorite Spanish word is one I just recently learned – sobremesa – the time spent around the table after lunch or dinner, talking to the people you shared the meal with; time to digest and savor both food and friendship. This is what makes life on the veranda so great – spending time with family and friends makes any meal from the grill that much better.


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International Bittering Units (IBUs)

I always say that I am not a fan of bitter beer or beer with high IBUs.

But what does IBU even mean? – International Bittering Units provides a measure of the bitterness of beer which is provided by the hops used during brewing. The higher the number, the greater the bitterness of the brew. This especially includes most India Pale Ales, better known as IPAs.  IPAs are one the most popular styles of beer today with many, including the top three, on Beer Advocate’s Top 250 list.

It seems to me that consumers and brewers are addicted to hops.  Consumers are increasingly demanding more and more hoppiness and brewers are trying to make the beer as bitter as possible. Now to give you a perspective on bitterness scale, American Adjunct Lagers, such as Budweiser, Coors, and Miller all have an IBU range of around 10. Then you have the IPAs with IBUs that can reach as high as 100.

But there is more to the story than IBUs. Some of my favorite brews are heavier styles such as porters or stouts. These have a high quantity of malt so a higher IBU is necessary to balance the flavor and these often end up with an IBU range of 30 -40.  It all boils down to the type of hops being used, which we will talk about later.

Here is an IBU range for popular beer styles:

American Lager 8 – 12 IBU
India Pale Ale (IPA) 60 – 80 IBU
Double/Imperial IPA 80 – 100 IBU
Barleywine 70 – 100 IBU
Porter 20 – 40 IBU
Scottish Ale 10 – 20 IBU
Stout 30 – 50 IBU

Here is an American IPA that I recently sampled from Roanoke Railhouse Brewery in Roanoke, VA. My favorite element of this IPA was the appearance. This poured a deep orange to a very clear amber color. To me it tasted more like a pale ale than an IPA – the hops were not overly strong. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


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Grilling Fruit

A couple of years ago I made the bold statement that I was going to grill 92 different recipes for the 92 days of summer. Well, I never made it, not even close. Oh, I grilled and grilled, and continue to grill, but my shortage of different recipes is caused by grilling the same delicious items over and over.  One way I have increased my list is by grilling fruit. Yes, fruit. The fruit list I have tried includes pineapple spears with brown sugar glaze, banana boats, watermelon, and the latest, peaches. There will be more to come, including cinnamon apples, pears, cantaloupe, and maybe a fruit kebab with chocolate sauce.

Grilling fruit is actually a pretty simple process. It is easy to prepare: just slice, spray lightly with cooking oil or butter, and grill over medium heat. It usually takes about five minutes or less and makes a nice appetizer or dessert to start or top of a great meal from the grill.

Here is the recipe for the peaches:
Slice in half and remove the seeds. Brush with butter then cover the sliced sides with cinnamon. Turn once ending with the sliced side down.  Whenever you grill fruit or dessert, use a clean grill as you will not want the drippings from your hamburgers to affect the taste or appearance.

Peaches Pineapple WaterMelon

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Flights with Friends

One of the things I enjoy is trying craft beers.  One great way to taste many different varieties without too much effort or expense is try a “flight” – small samples or assortments of beer.  Flights of beer usually come in three to eight samples per flight.  Normally, samples go from a light to dark spectrum.  Sometimes you can pick your own assortment list from a larger list.  Although flights of beer have increasingly become more popular in recent years, it can still be hard to find in some pubs and restaurants.

If you want to try something new, make your own flight with some friends.  I recently made my own flight one evening with the following four brews (will review the brews later):

  • Midas Touch Ancient Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
  • Blue Moon’s Belgian Style Pale Ale
  • 8 Ball Stout from Lost Coast Brewery
  • Milk Stout from Lancaster Brewing

This was a great way to enjoy an evening on the deck with friends, enjoying food from the grill and sampling four new brews.

Brews Flights

Here is a link to more information on how flights of beer got started:

Categories: Brews | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment


This is the story of one man’s quest to enjoy the ultimate backyard experience.  From brew tastings to cigar reviews to great food and fellowship and more, this blog will take you on an epic journey on Randy’s Veranda.

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