Bourbon Barrel Stout

bourbon barrel stoutIf you love a rich, dark, full-bodied, complex beer, you’ll love Bourbon Barrel Stout by Odell Brewing. When I toured the Odell Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, I had absolutely no idea that I would leave the place craving a rich and creamy bourbon barrel stout. Having never even tried it, I knew I would love it just by the tour guide’s taste description:

Tasting Notes: Sweet milk chocolate, smooth vanilla and coffee beans; aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for that extra taste of oak and caramel. Does that not sound delicious? It sure does to me, but that is only one of the reasons I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

10.5% Alcohol

I love a beer that is not only stout in taste and thickness, but alcohol as well. I tend to get filled up too quickly on beer. With bourbon barrel stout you don’t need to drink as much to enjoy a good buzz along with its exceptional taste.  I was very impressed with the Odell Brewing company. Odell is a great company; with a small-company feel of a micro brewery, but the production of very big, hearty beers. I’m not a big fan of a lot of the Odell classic beers like 90 Schilling, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, etc.. Don’t get me wrong these are very good beers, but I’m not a fan of the perfume-citrus type flavors of these beers. The Odell Brewing tour gives you a very good chance to sample what they have: For $4.00 you can sample their classics: 90 Schilling, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Levity Amber Ale, Easy Street Wheat Beer,  IPA and Cutthroat Porter. I love a dark beer, so the Porter is one of my favorites. For $8.00, the Odell Tour will give you a sampling of their more complex, seasonal beers such as St. Lupulin,  Isolation Ale, Red, Myrcenary and Double Pilsner. The Double Pilsner, at 8.1% alcohol is very good! There are some real good ones in the batch at the Odell tour, but sadly all I could think about was the Bourbon Stout Barrel which the tour guide announced would not be available until Middle of September. Well, here it is third week of September and I still have not found a liquor store with stock on the highly anticipated bourbon barrel stout. When I finally find it, I’m sure that it won’t be cheap, but well worth the wait. I will be sure to report back with a full review on this fabulous sounding beer. Meanwhile, if you’ve been fortunate enough to try it, please leave us your taste impressions below.

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Best Bagels in Denver

Throw Out Your Brueggers Bagels

best bagels in denverThe best bagels in Denver are made by the Rocky Mtn Bagel factory in Indiana.  If that makes as much sense to you as it does me, join the bagel club of confusion. Actually, I’ve got nothing against Brueggers Bagels. What makes Rocky Mtn Bagels special is that that they come in a bag from the grocery store and they really are delicious. So, if you don’t reside near a great bagel shop, you can still get really bagels without having to take a long drive somewhere. And no, you don’t even have to drive all the way to Indiana where they’re made; they sell them at our local King Soopers (Kroger) Grocery story. My wife bought a baker’s dozen bag of 13. I was skeptical when I first saw them. Rarely, do I care for store-bought bagels. In fact, even most of Denver’s Bagel shops don’t make them right. Good bagels have a firm texture on the outside with fresh chewiness on the inside. Store bought bagels are usually more like bread in texture; they are either too flaky and dry or too soft. Even Einstein’s and Brueggers Bagels don’t quite get it right; though they fool everyone with their size and dazzling number of flavors and varieties. Unfortunately, the privately owned shops that use to make the best bagels in Denver have been run out of business by the big chains like Einsteins and Brueggers Bagels. Hint: A good bagel never leaves crumbs.

Rocky Mountain Bagels

When I looked inside the large bag of bagels I was encouraged by their shiny color which usually indicates they have a good firm crust. There is nothing fancy here – just plain bagels, but they looked delicious and they really were firm as I found out when I opened the bag and pulled the first one out. They are sliced just right so they don’t fall apart and there is absolutely no danger of tearing the bagel when you open them up because they are very firm and robust. Without tasting my first bite, I already knew I was going to like Rocky Mtn Bagels. These bagels are firm, lively and springy. I opened up a couple of the bagels; spread on some butter and lightly toasted them. They are even better toasted.  My wife and covered the inside of the toasted bagels with cream cheese. We both thought they were delicious.  We both agreed; These are the best in Denver.

Where to Buy the Best Bagels in Denver

There’s good news if you don’t live in Denver. Since Rocky Mtn Bagels are made in Indiana and available at our local King Soopers, you can expect to find them in your own Kroger grocery chains throughout much of the country. So, don’t think that you have to go to Denver to eat the best bagels.

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Best Canned Coffee

best canned coffeeWhat is the best canned coffee? It is my new goal to find out. Why? Well, I have a couple of reasons: For one thing, my Krups Coffee grinder finally conked out after 25 years of faithful, dependable service. I have been using a combination Cuisinart Coffee Grinder/Brewer for three years. The coffee maker is so-so, but I don’t like the mess and noise the grinder makes. Whole beans are becoming a chore. And besides that, the last few batches of my favorite Costco, brewed-by-Starbucks brand in the green bag doesn’t taste so great to us anymore. I think maybe the recipe and/or quality of the beans has changed. When I’m in the mood for the best cup of coffee, I can always use the Tassimo Bosch Brewer which is stocked in my basement with plenty of Starbucks T-Discs. So, I’d like to go back to convenience with affordable, large quantities of pre-ground coffee. The key question: What is the best can of coffee for the money?

I suppose I should clarify what I mean by, canned coffee. A more appropriate term might be, grocery-store coffee: Or, cheap, pre-ground coffee. Folgers certainly qualifies as canned coffee even though it now comes in plastic cartons instead of cans. As you’ll see below, Folgers also ranks as one of my least favorite canned coffees.  Folgers in a plastic carton proves that it’s not the can that gives cheap, grocery store coffee that canny taste. It tastes equally bad either way. The other characteristic of canned coffees is the under-roasted, acidic flavor. In fact, some of this coffee is so lightly roasted to the point where it is yellowish in color. Unfortunately, even darker roasted grocery store coffees still have some of that same, cheap-coffee, sour aftertaste. I recently tried the Folgers, Dark-Silk K-Cup coffee for my Keurig brewer at the office. It wasn’t much better than the regular Folgers in the can – or carton. Despite the attempt at darker roasts, cheap coffees for the most part, still taste like, cheap canned coffee. Finding the best canned coffee will be an ongoing task for me. So far, I’m not impressed with the coffee’s I’ve tried. Here are my ratings on the canned coffee (grocery store pre-ground coffee) that I have tried so far:


Best Canned Coffee: 1-10 (10 is best)

  • Folgers: **
  • Maxwell House: **
  • Chock Full of Nuts: ***
  • Great Value (Walmart): ***
  • Eight O’ Clock Bean: ***
  • KirklandCanned: ****
  • Yuban: *****

I guess by default, I’ll have to give the best canned coffee edge to Yuban, though it’s a close call with Kirkland.  Yuban canned coffee has just a little bit more of a true coffee flavor; slightly darker and richer than the other brands. On the other hand, a 5 star rating is still an “F” Grade on the 1-10 scale. All of these coffees have that familiar, sour, tinny canned coffee taste with enough acid to cause severe acid re-flux problems for an entire day.  None of these coffees are good enough to be used as my every-day pre-ground drinking coffee, so the search continues. I did find some pretty good pricing on the small, 1lb bags of Seattle’s Best Coffee at Walmart. Seattle’s Best is defined by levels of darkness from 1-5. 2lbs at a time is only a little bit more expensive than the Roasted-by-Starbucks brand at Costco. I decided to try Seattle’s Best Level-3. Level-4 was the darkest my Walmart Store carried. If I like the level-3, I’ll try the level-4 to compare. Maybe I’ll just start buying 2 Bags at a time. At $6.00 for a 12 once bag, it is only a little bit more expensive than the Costco 2LB bags, of inconvenient, declining quality I’ve been buying. I’ll let you know how it works out. Meanwhile, if you’ve found a bulk or supermarket brand that is your choice for best canned coffee, please leave us your comments below.

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Wasp Attractant

yellow jacket traps

If you’re looking for a cheaper or better wasp attractant recipe for your Yellow Jacket Traps, you’re not alone. I got tired of paying $4.00 for a tiny bottle of wasp attractant serum for each of my yellow jacket traps. I have a fairly wide back-yard which gets swarmed with wasps in the late summer/early fall. At $16.00 a pop for four, it gets expensive and they don’t last all that long. Pictured left, are the yellow jacket traps I use at home. The other question I had: Is the Wasp Recipe I’m buying the best I can do? I quickly found out an answer to my question.

In Search of a Better Wasp Attractant

Uncontrolled observational studies at home may not be the most scientific method for discovering new and better ways to improve your backyard environment, but they can be very effective as I shall explain: The four yellow jacket traps I have cover a width of my about 50 yards of my backyard. I noticed that the wasps, particularly the ones swarming around the table on my deck were not being particularly excited about the Yellow jacket traps. After 24 hours, only about 12 wasps found the traps appealing enough to make their way inside. There were easily at least 50 wasps flying around the surrounding area. That is, until my wife put out the humming bird feeder. If you think hummingbird nectar makes a good attractant for hummingbirds, you should see what it does for wasps or yellow jackets. In a matter of 5 minutes, dozens of  yellow jacket wasps clung to the hummingbird feeder like flies on cow dung. It was a remarkable site. Even more remarkable was how quickly they began emptying the feeder of its red, hummingbird nectar contents. Hummingbirds and Wasps have the same tastes, the only difference is that the wasps are much more aggressive and persistent about going after it – and they don’t mind or care whether or not a human being gets in their way. So, it was with great skill and courage that I removed the yellow jacket traps from around the humming bird feeders and brought them into the house for a dousing of my new-found wasp formula.

Hummingbird Nectar

Better Wasp Attractant Recipe

hummingbird nectar wasp attractantThe red. liquid hummingbird nectar which is is pictured to the right, costs about $8.00 and will make about 48 ounces of nectar. This may seem expensive for keeping hummingbirds occupied, but 48 ounces is probably more than enough to last for 10 years as a wasp attractant. The only question is whether or not the hummingbird nectar will  work as well inside the yellow jacket traps as it does in the hummingbird feeder?  Here’s how to use it: I took a couple of cotton balls and condensed them in my hands as tightly as I could and placed them in the bottom pod of the yellow jacket traps then saturated them with the hummingbird nectar. I also placed a hummingbird nectar-soaked cotton pad, inside the top of the trap just for good measure.  I re-assembled the yellow jacket traps and placed them back outside close to where the hummingbird feeder formerly resided. The new wasp attractant was an instant hit. In a matter of  1 hour there was over a dozen trapped wasps in one trap. After a day, there are two many wasps to count. The hummingbird nectar not only worked instantly, but continued to attract the wasps long after one-day of use. I’m not sure how many days the odor will last, but so far, the hummingbird nectar makes a far more productive wasp formula than the commercial brand.

Final Verdict: Best Wasp Trap Recipe

A picture speaks a thousand words: The Wasp Trap pictures on the left is after 1-Day of use with the hummingbird nectar. The wasp trap on the right is your typical Wasp Serum that comes with the pictures yellow jacket traps and this is after 5 days of use.  Also, worth noting: 2 days after this picture was taken, the hummingbird nectar continued to attract more wasps and as of the time of this writing, is still getting new wasps. The one on the right, with the store bought brand of wasp trap recipe is being completely ignored after just 7 days. By the comparison photo, is there any doubt which one is the best wasp trap recipe?

Wasp Trap Recipe

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Roasting Green Chilis with the Perfect Green Chili Roaster

Green Chili Roaster

Roasting Green Chilis Made Easy with Green Chili Roaster Tool

Roasting green chilies is easy if you have the right tool – in this case, a sausage basket, posing as a green chili roaster, pictured to the right. Have you ever wondered why your green chili doesn’t taste as full-bodied and spicy as your favorite green chili at the best Mexican restaurants?  While roasting green chilis may not be  rocket science,  it is a difficult task if you don’t have the the right tools. It’s worth the time to do it right; because nothing tastes better than a good green chili recipe.

How to Roast Green Chilis at Home

If you don’t have the right tools, the green chilis will either be under roasted; making them hard to peel, or over-roasted, in which case all the flavor is cooked out. Don’t be intimidated thinking you need the kind of green chili roaster used at sales stands outdoors; rotating over flames and being sold by the bushel.  If there is a better chili roaster, you wouldn’t know it by it’s name.

These sausage baskets (pictured below), will perfectly hold about 6, medium-to-large-size, Big Jim Green Chili peppers. The long handle handle can be placed on your grill and easily rotated and shuffling around without burning your hands. These inexpensive tools make the perfect, green chili roaster. Buy 3 or 4 of them and they will all fit on your grill at the same time. That means you can roast up to 24 Green Chilis at a time. If you’re thinking that this is going to make roasting green chilis a relatively easy task, you’re not mistaken. Here’s how you do it:
roasting green chilis

Roasting Green Chilis takes about 12 Minutes

roasted green chilisThe key to roasting green chilis is to get the outside skins cooked enough so they will peel without over-cooking them so all of the juices escape. If properly done, the green chilis will be mostly covered with black and not have any of the juices oozing out of the skins when you take them off the grill. With that said, load up your green chili roaster (sausage basket) tools, with about 6 chili peppers each. Get the grill preheated to a high flame. Place the green chili roasters on the grill; rotating, turning them frequently so they cook evenly on all sides. Be careful not to over-heat or burn the green chilis. I’ve found that I can roast the green chilis in about 12 minutes if I’m in front of the grill; watching them at all times.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the above tools are for just grilling sausages and hot dogs. Indeed, what you have here is a good way to roast those green chilis.

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