Friday, November 25, 2011

The Flavors of Good Conversation: Winter 2011

First off, we've got to scream out a hearty "thank you" to Warsteiner for putting out an Octoberfest brew! THANK YOU, GUYS! However, October is over and the winter descends. What to drink? What to drink?

Bold and rich, with a touch of holiday spice.
The first thing one notices about a Samuel Adams® Winter Lager is the deep ruby color. Then comes the magical aroma which promises something special on the tongue. The cinnamon, ginger, and hint of citrus from the orange peel blend with the roasty sweetness of the malts to deliver a warming, spicy flavor. On the palate Samuel Adams Winter Lager is rich and full bodied, robust and warming, a wonderful way to enjoy the cold evenings that come with the season.

Of Course, this is the traditional winter lager of The Ik, but, Sam Adams puts out a few lesser-known winter beverages that are worth mentioning:

 Tart and sweet, with complex fruit, maple, and vanilla notes.
Samuel Adams® Cranberry Lambic is a fruit beer that draws its flavor not just from the cranberries it’s brewed with, but also from the unique fermentation character imparted by the weissbier yeast in the primary fermentation. The result is a flavor rich in fruitiness and reminiscent of cranberries, bananas, cloves, and nutmeg. The yeast fermentation also creates a slight sourness on the sides of the palate, reminiscent of the original lambic style. That sourness, along with the astringency of the cranberries, is combined with a subtle cereal note from the malted wheat. It reminds its drinker that, as fruity a beer as this is, it’s still a beer.

You can check out more Winter Classics by clicking on the image, below:

 If you're not a big Sam Adams fan, there are some traditional Winter beverages worth making and drinking...

Wassail with Alcohol
Variant Alcoholic Wassail
Non-Alcoholic Wassail
Now, if you're not a big wassail fan, there's always Glögg [or, Swedish Mulled Wine] or Kvass!

THEN, there is the Winter beer to dominate all other winter beers; a beer-drinker's Shangri-La. According to The Brew Site (click to read entire review):
"Samichlaus—which is Swiss-German for "Santa Claus"—is a dark lager brewed once a year, on December 6, and then bottled the following year. Yep, that’s nearly a full year of aging/lagering, and the result is a vintage batch that bears the bottling year on the label" 

In order to get your hands on an authentic bottle of Samichlaus, click here. According to the brewer's site:
 "Samichlaus” beer is brewed once a year, in each case on December 6th, and stored and matured afterwards for over 10 months before it is bottled. Samichlaus” beer can mature for many years in the bottle; older vintages obtain a complexity and receive their creamy warm aftertaste. This beer can be served with heavy meals and desserts, particularly with chocolate - or as digestive and meditations drink. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the strongest lager beer in the world with 14 % alcohol and 32° original extract content. It is brewed exclusively of natural raw ingredients after the purity requirement of 1516. “Samichlaus” beer is filled in a 0.33 litre designer bottle embossed with Schloss Eggenberg and in barrels of 15 and 30 litres for export."
Until next season, people...
Enjoy the flavors of great conversation, and drink responsibly!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Story of Our Lives

The story of our lives are written by those who have come before, helping to etch our characters into the fabrics of time. All too swiftly, our brains turn to seasons of independence and freedom from the shackles we consider our childhoods to be; anticipating the growth and sproutings into mature adults.

Yet, our stories still remain unwritten by the time we flutter, awkwardly, away from those tiny nests we consider 'home'. We traipse the Earth, desperately trying to carve our niches into the stone faces of the world; always wondering back to simpler times... Seems only eons ago, really. There's no place like home.

Returning for meager gatherings of those scattered souls we once knew as safe-haven cocoons of oppressive love, nostalgia creeps into the shadows of the brain. Fleeting coincidences of Grandma's perfume reminds us that, once, we escorted her back and forth to Church... such a bother for teenagers... And, where is she, now? Ah, yes! The child-sized shoebox urn over on the shelf; her smiling face alights the front by way of an old photograph.

I miss her "dream toast" and "mushroom chicken" lunches.

Listening to a seldom-recited dinner prayer being uttered by my aging agnostic father, my heart suddenly wrenches around in my chest. My teary eyes glance over to my son, and realizations of mortality slam into my head: will my son care enough to paste a photo of me on anything, after I die? Will my great-grandchildren ever forget my physical interactions, but, remember a fleeting coincidental odor indicative of 'home'?

My parents' etched themselves into the fabric of my life; I am a reflection of my 'home'. Alas! They are not too far from the next world. I cannot help myself - I, truly, am a "softie". My dad looks over at me. Briefly, his serious gaze bores into my soul, acknowledging the bittersweet truths of mortality. Quickly, he *tsks* and cracks a terrible joke that we've all heard many, many, MANY times before... the entire family laughs, like, we've never heard it.

"Toss me a croissant," he bellows. "And, for Christ's sake - stop getting all sappy!"

Happy Thanksgiving, people.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter is Upon Us... Yule is in the Air!

The snow drifts down and blankets the earth in a shawl of feathery whiteness. The stark silence is noticeable; most of those noisy birds are too damn cold to sing. Unless, like us, you're in Florida. Not only do the snows force many birds into our area as they head south to migrate, but, other "birds" - very noisy ones - perform a yearly exodus from up north, and into the tropical climes of our humid state.

Alas! Not much complaining can be done. Without the annual migrations of the North American Blue Hairs (or their younger counterparts, the Part-Timers) our economy would suffer greater than our eardrums and auto insurance policies. What is a native to do?

Prepare for Yule, of course! This seasonal celebration is our largest yearly event; it keeps growing each year. And, with everyone else's desire for major life-changing events to take place during the cooler months, we are absolutely swamped with activities and travel throughout South Florida. It is difficult to stay on track when you're "that busy"! So, to help you all with your Yuletide season, here's a list of really great things to consider and/or use in your celebrations:

Celebrating Yule by Stacy Thompson-Geer

Celebrating Winter Solstice by Hayley Nichols

Yuletide Rituals and Sedes by Swain Wodening

Trimming a Spiritual Yule Tree by Lori Drake

Pagan Yule and XMas Plants by Jill Stefko

Homemade Pagan Yule Presents by Jill Stefko

Yule Log, an Ancient Tradition by Richard Mudhar

Pagan Nativity Scene by Lori Drake

Urban Pagan Yule by Jill Stefko

Songs for Winter Solstice by Tricia Edgar

Best Stories for Winter Solstice by Tricia Edgar

Mistletoe from Solstice to Christmas by Linda McDonnell

Holly - Pagan Symbolism and Tradition by Jill Stefko


Asatru / Heathen Yule Cards

Winter Solstice / Yule Cards

Enjoy your season - and, tune in for our December broadcasts!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Musings and Music

From Chaos is sparked the the breath of life. [Kiss of Life Song & Video] Are you breathing in the possibilities given up to you this day? The Gods gave you another day, how are you going to spend it... Remember, quality over quantity!

However, there are always going to be dog-days [Dog Days Are Over] and zeros in life. Life is what you make of it... [Zero Yeah]

There are lulls in your day; could be morning-time, could be evening. The time doesn't really matter because there is a serious lull and you're feeling as though there is truly no point to "anything". Your friends don't "get you", you refrain from sharing too much at work... you're simply dragging ass and experiencing a lull. [Parov Stelar Booty] You could always take a holiday in Vegas.

If only life was a non-stop festival! [Corvus Corax LIVE!]

For most polytheists, there are moments every day where we just aren't our faiths. We've become the employee, the chaperone, the maid, the authoritarian, and, forgotten our heathen souls, somewhere back in Realityville... You're standing alone [System Tribal]

Well, why don't you give this a read; it is inspiring and thought-provoking. (Don't forget to click the link to read the entire post.)

Broken Chains by Siegfried Goodfellow (The "Heathen Ranter") [Wardruna Bjarkan Song]

The chain is broken, the tie to the deep past lost. Heathenism is a path for which we strive, yet I, like so many of you, am a detribalized descendant of tribesmen thrown flotsam into the Roman world. It is those moments I seek, epiphanies where one can feel coherence pulling together a dissipated world into a sense of meaning that is present, that is now, that is ever and has been. Is that what a sym-bol once was, not a mere glyph, not just a sign, but a vision that threw together and glued in a knot of coherence what so much conspired to keep separated and fragmented? [READ MORE, HERE]
 .... And, remember to [DANCE]