Monthly Archives: July 2013

Gluten-Free Beer

I have never thought much about a gluten-free diet.  Thankfully, I have no issues with eating just about anything, but millions of people do.  I keep hearing about gluten-free diets and seeing products marketed as gluten-free and now at my local grocery store you can find a whole aisle of product devoted to being gluten-free.  With so much news, I decided to try going gluten-free for a month.  Well, about a week into the program, everything was fine, until one evening I wanted a beer and I discovered I couldn’t have one because it was not gluten-free. That was not going to work.  My quick research discovered there is gluten-free beer available.

The legal requirement to be considered gluten-free is less than 20ppm.  Some brews like Budwieser and Corona can be tested that low but if you are suffering from Celiac disease, you may not want to risk it.  There are also brewers who consider their product safe if it is made from rice or corn instead of wheat.  This is still being debated.

I found two gluten-free brews at the local market to test.

The first was Tweason’ Ale from Dogfish Brewery in Milton, Delware.  This is a Vegetable Style of beer.  As the bottle notes, you can definitely taste the strawberries and honey.  While the taste was good, it is not what I normally go for in a craft brew.

Tweason' Ale

The other one I tried was Estrella Damm Daura from Damm Brewing in Barcelona, Spain.  This is a Euro Pale Lager style of beer.  This has a more traditional lager taste and the Damm Brewing claims this beer has a gluten content of only 3ppm.  Estrella Damm Daura has won several awards as the best gluten-free beer.

Estrella Damm Duara

So if you are concerned about gluten in your drinks, give one of these a try.  Here is more information and resources for people suffering with Celiac disease:

Categories: Brews | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Duck Commander Cigar

I would like to think that I don’t succumb to advertising pressure that I see in the everyday world, but when I saw the new Duck Commander cigar, I had to try one.  Why?  Because I love Duck Dynasty and the values and principles embodied by the Robertson clan.  I don’t watch a lot of television, but I do not miss an episode of this show.  Sometimes I even watch the reruns over and over.  I also just finished reading Happy, Happy, Happy, by the Robertson patriarch, Phil Robertson, and recently saw Willie Robertson speak at a men’s conference.

The Duck Commander cigar is handmade by Ted’s Cigars, which also makes other notable name brand cigars.  This cigar has a mild to medium strength flavor, and is produced in the Dominican Republic with the following specifications:

Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Habano
Size:  6 X 50 Toro
Flavor:  Medium
Filler:  United States and Dominican tobaccos

Duck Commander Cigar

This official Duck Commander cigar comes in an airtight glass tube, so no humidifier is needed.  See more about the Duck Commander cigar at

Categories: Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making S’mores

Ever wonder why this delicious treat is called s’more? It is because everyone wants some more. Enjoying s’mores, made over a campfire, is a backyard tradition in North America. The tradition of making s’mores goes back to the early part of the twentieth century, and some think may have started with the Girl Scouts. The original s’more recipe is very simple with just toasted marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between pieces of graham crackers. Today you can find hundreds of variations of this time-tested tradition to try with ingredients like Reese’s Cups, Nutella, lemon, and even bacon. Someone in our house recently tried peppermint patties and loved it.

So what do you do when you don’t have a fire pit or a place to build a backyard fire? Well, there are tons of indoor s’more makers but that doesn’t really suit for the veranda.  I recently received a s’more maker for the grill – what a quick and easy way to enjoy dessert. Just simply put the graham crackers on the top plate, cover with chocolate or whatever your imagination desires, roast the marshmallows on the rods provided, cook over medium heat until ready, and enjoy!

Grill-top Smore Maker

There is even a National S’mores Day – August 10th.  Try out some of your own recipes and let us know which is your favorite!

Categories: Grilling | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

July 4th on the Veranda

Happy Independence Day!

July 4th is the ultimate holiday for life on the veranda. Good food from the grill with delicious sides, patriotic brews, home-made ice cream, time spent with friends and family, and fireworks all help to make this a special day. Twelve members of our family along with close friends spent the evening playing cornhole, jumping on the trampoline, and reliving old memories and making new ones while hanging out on the deck. Our menu included traditional fare – burgers and hotdogs, bacon-hotdogs (hotdogs wrapped with bacon), mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, green beans, bean salad, and topped off with red, white, and blue cherry cheese pie and banana and vanilla ice cream.

The patriotic beer for this holiday celebration was Sam Adams, Yuengling, and Pabst Blue Ribbon; Sam Adams because he was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States; Yuengling because it is the oldest brewery in America, and Pabst Blue Ribbon because it is an American classic. For the under-21 crowd we had alcohol-free layered patriotic drinks.

Patriotic Brews

Homemade Ice CreamHome-made ice cream is one of my favorite summer dishes and banana is my favorite flavor to make. Here is the recipe I like for an easy, no-cooking version of vanilla:

4 eggs
2 cans condensed milk
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla (I always double this to 4 tablespoons)
½ pint whipping cream
Dairy milk
¼ teaspoon salt

Combine eggs, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, and condensed milk in bowl and mix well. Pour in can and add milk to fill line. Churn in freezer per instructions. Makes about 4 quarts.

For the banana, I use the same recipe but add 6 or 7 very ripe bananas. I puree the bananas with milk and a little sugar, then add to the rest of the mixture.

The alcohol-free layered drink recipe consisted of:

– 1 Cup Red CranApple juice
– 1 Cup White Sobe Piña Colada flavored drink
– 1 Cup Blue G2 Gatorade
– Ice

Fill your glass 1/3 of the way full with the CranApple juice.  Fill the rest of the glass to the top with ice.  Slowly pour the Sobe drink directly on top of a piece of ice, followed by the blue Gatorade.

*Note: You MUST pour SLOWLY, DIRECTLY over the ice!  Also, if you cannot find these exact drinks, you can use substitutes, just make sure to put the drink with the highest sugar content in first, followed by the middle and then the lowest.

Categories: Brews, Holidays | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Nicaraguan Cigar Review

A friend of mine used to ask “do you know the difference between a $2 cigar and a $6 cigar?” To a cigar novice like myself, the difference was $4; to someone with more experience, the difference includes factors such as flavor, type of wrapper, and smoke time. So how do I pick a cigar? Well there are as many cigars to choose from as there are brews to taste, so besides wandering around the large humidor looking for the inexpensive ones, I do have some criteria. My preferences usually work out to be a Robusto style with the following elements:

Wrapper – Natural
Flavor Strength – Medium
Length – 5”-6”
Gauge – 50

After visiting the Doña Elba cigar factory a few years ago, I have a tendency to pick Nicaraguan cigars.  I recently tried a Perdomo Lot 23 Gordito Maduro cigar. Now that is quite a description, so let’s break it down. The name Perdomo Lot 23 is actually a great story. Perdomo, a cigar expert who liked to experiment with different seeds, blends, soils, aging processes, etc., planted some seed on Lot 23 on the company farm in Esteli, Nicaragua, which was unused land.  The result of the experiment turned out to be one the best new releases in 2006. Gordito is short length at 4 ½”. Maduro is the wrapper, which is very dark.

Read more about Perdomo at


Categories: Cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: