Jonathan’s Favorite Things from 2018
Posted December 5, 2018
2019…ehwhathuh?! Time flies, when you do it a lot for work. So much travel. So many balls up in the air. So many challenges, wonderful people and experiences. If I stop and think about my favorite things/experiences from 2018, it can be overwhelming. For me, the best thing to do is just blurt it out. My first thought is usually the correct one.
Favorite Beer: Prairie Artisan Ales – 2018 Birthday Bomb Imperial Stout
Love and loathe this question. I am fortunate to sample some of the most creative and well-crafted beers in the world. I enjoyed soooo many this year, but the first one that comes to mind is the 2018 Prairie Artisan Ales’ Birthday Bomb. It is memorable on many levels. Cute artwork. Half my paycheck. But, it’s truly a flavor bomb of a beer, in the best ways possible. For me, stouts are enjoyable, but usually fit into a small window (a post-ski day snuggle-fest). This beer could make everyday a snuggle-fest. Everything I enjoy about a stout is evident: Caramel, dark chocolate, cinnamon, chili, coffee, vanilla, imperialness… Nothing overstated. Space between the notes. Hands down, the most well-crafted beer I had this year.
Favorite Work Trip: Craft Brewers Conference – Nashville, Tennessee
I enjoy Craft Brewers Conference mostly because we get to see brewers that have attended the Honey Beer Summits and Sessions we put on for the National Honey Board. They have always been very appreciative and anxious to talk about what they are doing because of our efforts. It’s nice to know you can have a positive deep impact on folks.
Favorite Meal / Restaurant: Terrace Kitchen – Rotorua, New Zealand
Just recently, while on vacation in New Zealand, I stumbled upon a restaurant in Rotorua called Terrace Kitchen. All locally grown or sourced. Being vegetarian, I eat a lot of salads. The smoked watermelon and mint salad I had was quite possibly the best salad I’ve had, sans-meat (8 years). Nothing too earth-shattering as far ingredients: watermelon, mint, rocket (arugula), dill, carrot, onion, bean sprouts, nasturtium (edible flower) and pansies. But the house-made labneh, smoked puree and other sauces that beautifully adorned the sides of the bowl were what set it all off. Pairing bites with sauces and mixing sauces together was like a little chemistry set. Every bite was a new experience and inquiry into how to blend flavors. Accompanied by a very light, locally-crafted brut IPA to boot!
Favorite Spirit / Cocktail: Barr Hill Tom Cat Reserve – Caledonia Spirits
I love Gin, and especially all of the directions distillers have been taking it. Some people see the words “barrel-aged” and run. I’ve always been a fan of barrel-aging, but up until the last few years, I haven’t had a good grasp of barrel-aging done well. After seeing a barrel-aged honey gin win a gold medal at the Honey Spirits Competition, I knew I had to get my hands on a bottle (and then another, and another). It really doesn’t need much, if anything – It’s amazing on its own. I ended up keeping a bottle in the freezer and would serve it “up” with a few dashes of bitters and a lemon twist. Occasionally, adding vermouths, slices of ginger or a mint sprig.
Favorite Packaged Food or Beverage: Sahale Snacks
I don’t believe I got on a flight this year without these. Pick up a bag along with a second job, a treadmill and some resources on addiction.
CATEGORY: Brightly Creative