Monday, November 15, 2010

Losing my mojo

I haven't really lost my mojo, but I have struggled with cooking in recent months. For a while, I blamed this on the stove at the house we bought in late May. It was newer, better, and more powerful than anything I'd used before. Easy blame, right? Same with the grill. The chimney brought my cherished hardwood charcoal to a hotter fire sooner. But the truth is I'm just off my game.

When I pay attention as I did this evening, things come out brilliantly. A little late perhaps, but still good. Tonight's menu was simply chicken thighs and legs pan roasted with rice and steamed veggies. Seasoning on the chicken was simple — coarse-ground salt and pepper, parsley, and a touch of spanish paprika, squeeze of lemon. I used the cast-iron skillet and put a little butter in until it browned, added the chicken and sauteed until there was a nice brown crust on the skin. I turned it over and cooked the underside for a few minutes before transferring the skillet to a 375F oven.

Thirty minutes (and a Troeg's Scratch #34 Saison de Meuze) later, I had rice and steamed veggies ready to go, and the chicken had cooked to a beautiful, perfect, brown crackling skin. It was perfect, until the kid got halfway through and said she didn't really like the chicken very much. I was ready to start my rant of "you used to like this more than anything else" until I glanced over and realized the circles had crept in under her eyes.

In my effort to get my cooking mojo back (a success), I failed in my effort to feed the kid before tired set in. The thing is the creeping exhaustion is hard to predict. Some nights she can hold out until 8:30. Not last night.

I've spent a lot of time lately trying to find balance between everything I'm trying to do and being a dad and a partner to my fiancée. It's not always the easiest balance to achieve, and it takes a lot of mojo. Apparently, I need to work a little harder at it still.


The beer geek in me, however, wants to report that a Lake Placid UBU Ale matched nicely against the chicken, with its touch of smoke and lemon. It wasn't quite as successful a pairing as the L'Olmaia unfiltered wheat beer I tried several weeks ago, but a credible pairing nonetheless.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

coming back, the nostalgia edition

I will be doing my best to revive this project amidst brewing, getting the house in order, parenting and the rest of life. In fact, I may just have to make it the Impolitic Project blog since the new house, the brewing venture, cooking, parenting, and more are all projects in their own right. In the meantime, food, beer, random thoughts, and perhaps even Friday Fun a day late...

Yes, I was a Billy Joel fan once upon a time, and this was always one of my favorites.

And this one too.

And going way back to the beginning of his career.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Logo love

I've been thinking a lot about logos recently. For all intents and purposes, we will be phasing out the original name and logo for the little homebrewing project as we look toward the future. There were two reasons behind this: first, it was too reminiscent of other business names in the state, and second, the logo was too reminiscent of a few others.

Having put them away, though, I've started thinking about logos for breweries. It seems like there are a few basics. You have the crest; you have the logo with hop cones; you have the brewing equipment illustration. To be honest, I'm a little bored with all three, and judging from the identities I've seen on recently opened breweries, so are others. And with good reason...

A crest? If you have a family crest, great. Use it. It's a nod to history and tradition. If you don't have a crest, why create one? What do you gain by trying to reference a brewing tradition that isn't actually your own? Be new. Find a new path.

Hop flowers? Grain sheafs? I think we all know that hops and grains are the integral parts of beer. See the first point. You're not adding anything new to the visual landscape by using one more hop cone. Find another visual.

Equipment? Sure, I like a pretty copper kettle as much as any beer person. Do I care whether your brewhouse is a copper kettle? Maybe, but it certainly won't make me think "Hey, I want to buy their beer!"

In the end, I'm a fan of simple and clean. I like classic looks and type treatments that are appropriate to the image you're creating. If there's a local connection, even better. Use it, but don't force it. Ultimately, it's all just a paper tiger, though. People buy the beer, not the logo. They will seek out a good product because it's good; a good identity is the head on the pint.

That said, will I obsess over this as we start moving closer to business ideas? Probably. You can make me drink my words when I greenlight the first logo that uses a woodcut hop cone.