What We did on our Barossa Holiday

After months of not travelling to somewhere warm over winter I decided we really needed to leave the house for a few days, and once Nash had somewhere warm and distant to sleep Vanessa and I went to the Barossa for 48 hours of intense relaxation.

Neither of us are into wine, but one of my two criteria when finding somewhere to visit was that it had a fireplace. And that's what I found in a cottage in Tanunda. Ironically we were lucky that our first day was a perfect spring preview of 25 and sunny, before freezing showers and cloudy skies gave me all the excuse I needed to pile logs onto a roaring fire.

August 29

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Our trip started in Kapunda, to kick off our holiday with a visit to a country bakery for a country Cornish pastie, and to watch the locals with their big buckled belts and cowboy hats also enjoy Cornish pasties.

The Kapunda bakery eclair was also generously proportioned.

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Next stop was Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park, one of the only places in the Barossa you can go for a decent walk without dealing with the monotony of grapevines and no sidewalks. The paths in the park weren't particularly friendly after a week of rain and little sun. While skimming puddles I did land on my arse, but it was sunny and there were lots of birds, so I didn't mind too much.
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We checked into our accommodation, then walked up the Tanunda main street, drank a coffee in the sun and shared a muffin. Dinner was two generous serves of Malaysian food. We watched a Polish movie and went to bed.

August 30

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Day two we got out for a walk before the rain started, visiting the Historic Goat Square (a sign we couldn't help but follow, unlike the sign for Historic German Farming Museum) and I ate an egg muffin with a hashbrown inside it. As photographed here by my phone's "Food Mode".
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The rain and wind chased us home, so we settled in for one of our favourite cottage pastimes - Rummy King. I had planned to spend some time at a local brewery, but after visiting and considering the proximity of their wood fire versus ours, I bought a six pack for sampling and brought it to the cottage instead. We lit the fire and I finished my book while drinking a stout in the toasty warmth. Holiday feelings accomplished.
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Shortly before sunset the rain stopped and I wandered up the Heysen Trail a little way so that I could go for a decent walk adjacent to the monotony of grapevines.
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August 31
On our final morning we woke early to visit the Barossa Sculpture Park, mainly for the cloudy view of the surrounding plains from Mengler's Hill. No offense to the sculptors. The eagle head was my favourite.

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Although I have a soft sport for Poort.
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We drove back into town for our final meal, delicious porridge and pancakes that Vanessa and I both had halves of.
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Finally it was time to meet the second criteria for my next holiday - Mini Golf with Dinosaurs at Barossa Bowland. It was a high quality course, well maintained with challenging holes and featuring dinosaurs. My ten year old self would have loved this place, and I would have beaten him easily at mini golf.
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Once the mini golf was over we spent our last dollars on the basketball game juniour, where our holiday ended perfectly with equal scores after three rounds.
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I Know What I Did Last Summer

It’s cold in Adelaide. And Dark. On the weekend Vanessa and I huddled together and watched I Know What You Did Last Summer, which reminded me of last Fourth of July, and the week leading up to it which I spent in Oregon hiking and drinking IPAs. It also reminded me that I never posted the collection of beer reviews I wrote over those final days of my Pacific Northwest experience. I found the old Doc and fixed the spelling mistakes. The rest I leave in its pure form.

I drank quite a bit of beer in Washington, from the breweries of Seattle to the breweries of Packwood. It wasn’t until Oregon that I realised I should try to capture my feelings about the beers I was trying so that I was doing more than tickling my brain with hoppy, mild poison. I used my Safeway club card in Sandy to buy a mixed 6 pack of longneck IPAs that looked delicious and photogenic and started my reviewing journey in our cabin at Government Camp at the bottom of Mt Hood.

Worthy Strata IPA
Bend, Oregon

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The colour is appealing straight out of the bottle. Rich, light brown and with aromas of beer. The flavours are deep and moreish; not bitter but not sweet. A refreshing, mid-thick ale that fills the mouth but doesn't overwhelm the senses. Despite saying IPA on the label it's described as an “Australian Style Pale Ale”, and maybe that's why a dash was spectacular for caramelising some onions.
Would drink again: Yes

Portland Brewing Ink & Roses IPA
Portland, Oregon

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Slightly bitter IPA, highly alcoholic. Not rich or hoppy without a strong aroma. Beery in colour. Enjoyable, but no hints of anything.
Would visit brewery?: No

Elysian Jasmine IPA
Seattle, Washington

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There's a jasmine vine I walk past daily in Adelaide and every springtime it flowers and perfumes a stretch of my foot commute. Jasmine is probably my favourite inedible plant, but that might have to change as these guys have added real jasmine flowers to an IPA. The fragrance is noticeable immediately upon opening the bottle. The flavour is more subtle, adding a slight, sweet and polleny taste to the otherwise effervescent, deep IPA texture. It's not particularly hoppy or wheaty, just a pleasant mouth filling beer with the novel aroma of flowers.
Would drink this beer once a year? Yes, in springtime.

Deschutes Freshly Squeezed IPA and Fresh Haze IPA
Bend, Oregon

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I'd already enjoyed the Deschutes Freshly Squeezed IPA before trying the Fresh Haze purely based on the can art. The smaller Squeeze is hoppier, with the mosaic hops in particular dominating a thick, wet beer.
Fresh Haze has hops as well, though the orange-citrus zest overpowers the strength of the hops and I'd classify this closer to hard orange juice than beer. The sweetness isn't strong, nor can it completely mask the 6.5% alcohol content, but expecting something really hoppy I felt a little disappointed. However with the right expectations, and a greasy breakfast, this beer could be the perfect indulgence. Would drink again.
Number of IPAs in this IPA: Just Right

Mt Hood Brewing Co Ice Axe IPA
Mt Hood, Oregon

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On a day when the low cloud engulfed Mt Hood, we walked to the town’s obligatory micro-brewery to break up the bottle tastings with some freshly poured.
The Ice Axe IPA was served chilled, like a Government Camp morning. The hops are strong, and take the edge off any bitterness - like a bushy tailed squirrel flitting across your slog up the steep inclines of Zig Zag canyon. There is a crisp, malty aftertaste with each sip that tastes like malt.

Mt Hood Brewing Timberline Tucker Double IPA
Mt Hood, Oregon
The 8% alcohol content of this double IPA (whatever that means) is hidden behind a wall of hops, thick beer, and the alleged aroma of grapefruit.
The Justin Timberlake Timberline is a place of beauty, alpine meadows and snow-covered pines beneath the brutal gaze of Mt Hood's barren, icy slopes. The double IPA is like that, a beautiful, looming mountain of a beer ready for the courageous, and dismissive of the weak… It may have been ambitious to review two full strength pints in the same hour. I may have consumed more IPA than water over the past few days.

10 Barrel Brewing Apocalypse IPA
Bend, Oregon

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An IPA which explicitly encourages drinking after physical activity, the Apocalypse IPA was the appropriate end of day beer after the last of 19 consecutive days in the Pacific Northwest's national parks and forests. By which I mean I was so numbed to the various hints and hops of Oregon’s beers that I noticed nothing notable about this beer, other than I would enjoy drinking it again and also doing 19 consecutive days of hiking instead of working again.

At this point on my beer reviewing journey we drove from Mt Hood to Salmon Street in Portland for the final few days of our holiday. Not only was there a Safeway a few blocks away, but the hotel provided a new craft beer selection to guests for free every night. I was put in the difficult position of drinking all my remaining beers before flying out, while also trying to buy more IPAs.

PFriem IPA
Hood River, Oregon

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An intense IPA, strong in hops and hints. Aromas of citrus. Aromas of citrus that fill the nose FROM INSIDE THE MOUTH. It has bears on the label.
Particularly refreshing after a long afternoon on the streets of Portland.
Would drink again: Yes.

Deschutes Tasting Paddle
Bend, Oregon

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1 - watery beer. 2 - beer. 3 - extra-fruity beer. 4 - IPA-flavoured IPA. 5 - chocolate and coffee in a stout? Groundbreaking! 6 - sours are terrible.

Fort George The Optimist IPA
Astoria, Oregon

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The human body is 80% water. My body is now 80% IPA. And thus, this one tasted like pure water. (By which I mean IPA, I wouldn’t want anyone to misinterpret that this was an amazing IPA. I just mean that by this point, and another day of walking the cool-summer streets of Portland I would definitely have tasted like an IPA.)

I probably should stop drinking beer.

10 Barrel Tasting
Bend, Oregon

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I drank 10 beers. Highlights: a rocky mountain brown ale, an extra-IPA flavoured IPA (Pearl). A cucumber water infused sour that tasted exactly like a watermelon warhead. Sours are amazing.
Not pictured - the IPA I drank at McMenamins on the way to The Pearl District.

Sunriver Brewing Vicious Mosquito IPA
Sunriver, Oregon

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A strong IPA in a little can, like a mosquito [note - I don’t think I finished this review. Not because I was drunk, but because there are only so many synonyms for hoppy].

Several more undocumented beers later

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Hair of the Dog Green Dot Triple IPA
Portland, Oregon

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IPA is more than water to me now. It is my body, my soul, it is the air that I breathe. I'd seen Double IPAs on brewery menus in the past, but this was the first triple IPA I'd encountered. The strength was intense. Finally, a panacea to the IPA ubiquity that had dulled the cans of the past few days. If IPA was the air that I breathed, the triple IPA was the equivalent of me being a bulldog, in the car on the freeway, my head out the open window and the air-beer blasting into my brain at 77 miles per hour.
After this, I watched the 4th of July fireworks and then went to bed.
This was the right way to end my beer drinking in the IPNWA.

(If you’re wondering where the 6th longneck ended up)

What I did on my Second Summer Holidays

It’s not often I get five consecutive days without work. That’s like one long weekend and one regular weekend back to back. Or 125% of an Easter.

Given this is my journal I thought it might be pertinent to document what my brothers and I did during these free days before the events were lost to time, distance, and once again the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain.

January 9th
After my taxi driver tried to kill me, I flew to Brisbane next to a crying baby. I had lunch with Mum in Bulimba, then met Steve in the city. After checking in to our hotel, we picked up Alex and then walked over the Story Bridge to Sealegs.

The first beer and the first board game of many.

The first beer and the first board game of many.

January 10
The sun rises at a quarter to 5 in Brisbane. I slept until after 6, then convinced both brothers we should exercise before breakfast. We followed the Riverside footpath to the Botanic Gardens, then back again. After that we ate fruit, muesli and yogurt.

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After that, Alex and I took part in our annual Christmas-time ritual of him watching Star Wars and me napping through Star Wars. Steve picked up Jess, and we then went out to Chinatown for Japanese, and then to Soapbox brewing. After an IPA each we walked on further to Netherworld barcade for some Nintendo 64, Articulate and Codenames.
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Then we went to Felons under the bridge to meet Mum and Mark. I drank a mango pale ale. Then we took a ferry to Southbank where I consumed copious amounts of Persian food. After dinner, Alex and I crossed the Victoria Bridge and power-walked back to the hotel. It was a very long day; thank goodness I got some sleep at the movies.

January 11
Neither brother responded to my rousing for another early walk, so I took myself alone along the New Farm Riverwalk to Sydney Street and back.

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Much like this lizard, everyone was still asleep on my return, so I woke up Alex and convinced him to try the pool, and he convinced me to try the sauna. After that I was finally hungry again.

Following coffee, we played some Coup, then went to Queen Street Mall for Korean BBQ.

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After that, Jess went to the airport, Alex had a nap, and I tried the hotel's odd little gym.
Dinner Saturday was at Mum's house where we ate roast chicken under the back pergola, listening to the rainstorm drum on the roof.
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January 12
I walked with Steve over the bridge again, then we went out in the Valley for breakfast and multiple coffees.

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After a game of Acquire back at the hotel, we set off to Victoria Park golf course for a round of putt putt.
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We returned via Netherworld for burgers and Catan, before returning Alex to the airport. After that, Steve and I visited the original Holey Moley for another 18 holes and sickly sweet gin cocktails. Then it was to Fat Dumpling for dumplings, and Peach Spring Rolls to share. The one and only thing from the Brisbane Deserts Bucket List we tried.
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January 13th
I walked myself along the river before breakfast again, then visited Steve's new house to tick off cartons as the removalists extracted them from the truck.
After purchasing my final coffees for the trip, I caught the train to Newstead for pasta and to complete my goal of reading the entirety of the Summer 2019 issue of Asimov's.

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I left the old Gasworks and its population of office workers for a Monday afternoon schooner at Green Beacon Brewing. I nearly completed the final novella there, but ended up walking to Newstead Brewing to finish it off, with my last beer of the trip (and possibly month) the Key Lime Double IPA.

I enjoyed a very mellow train trip to the airport after that, and a flight of about the same length and napping as Rise of the Skywalker.

I think I worked out why I've been so tired this week.


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Nightlife

How good is Melbourne nightlife, you can buy a crepe at 10pm on a weekday from a street cart. But not at 10:30 that's too late.

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Viewpoints

It was sunny when I left to find a place for breakfast today. Receiving my flat white in a laneway cafe at the exact moment the hail started outside felt like peak Melbourne.

Here is an example of an implementation of an architecture:

image 1961 from bradism.com

The Last Drop

It was finally time to drink my souvenir IPA from Oregon before the hops went bad. (Yes, this is a legitimate peril related to IPAs.)

It was good. I think this IPA was made for me. The Citra hops are amazing. It made me happy and sad at the same time. Farewell Pacific Northwest craft beer nirvana.

Breakside Tall Guy IPA on the Official Bradism Raised Cutting Board for Tall People

Breakside Tall Guy IPA on the Official Bradism Raised Cutting Board for Tall People

Big Data

It feels like my phone has more and more data on me than ever before. Maybe this is a bad thing, but as Tyrion Lannister once said, "Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour and it can never be used to hurt you."

So, everyone can have my health data. Here's a comparison of my average sleep time and step counts between summer month, winter month, holiday month, and when I have a man flu.

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Maybe next month I will get a trial MyFitnessPal premium account so I can share how many calories from yogurt I've consumed across the various locations Google Maps has recorded me at.

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