Beer Microbrewery Pub Pint must Drink Australia new Zealand Canada us

When one is travelling the world there is a plethora of activities and aims that usually fill the mind of the excited adventurer who is setting sail into unknown waters for the first time. That long list of attractions, monuments, museums, sights, parks and other popular hot spots no doubt includes some local pubs. If one asks “why?” to this final item on the must see/do list, then clearly they aren’t a fervent lover of the fine beverage known the world over as beer; an ancient beverage produced from the fermentation of starches which are derived from cereal grains and flavoured with hops.

Trying new local beers fresh out of the tap is like cold heaven, dripping and frothing down the side of a chilled pint glass and waiting to be consumed, exciting the mouth and mind alike. This lovely image is one of the most exciting things that can occur when travelling to new lands; especially after a day of sightseeing or exploration. After an afternoon of inspiration due to new surroundings, nothing tops some good food, conversation and quality beers unique to the region while under the sun or stars and relaxing on a patio. If the weather isn’t of the welcoming and accommodating type, then by a fireplace in a pub surrounded by fine decor is often a memorable setting.

Nearly every country has a unique beer that defines it; although this stereotype is often much to the chagrin of her citizens. The Australian beer lover cringes every time they are associated with Foster’s for the most part, much like an American beer lover is baffled into disbelief after being attached to Coors Light or Budweiser as their beer of choice. The list goes on and on, seemingly into oblivion’s darkest alcoves. Molson Canadian in Canada, Beck’s in Germany and Heineken in the Netherlands are all beers that fall into this judgemental category as well. The truth to the matter is however, while these beers are drinkable and enjoyable, the true bounty is usually found in the beers that microbreweries found inside each particular country offer.

Microbreweries provide passionate brewing made by beer drinkers who love what they do and must love what they drink. In Australia, Cooper’s has been making wonderful crafted beers for over a century that often fall into the mainstream due to their immense quality and taste, but don’t be misled, this is still one beer not to miss. A selection of Sparkling Ale, Pale Ale, Extra Stout, Lager, Mild and Light are the main drops in the Cooper’s repetoire, but a special blend is also available with a high alcohol content of 7.5% and a rich, chocolatey palate. The Sparkling Ale’s cloudy mist of sediment left behind, floating suspended in the delicious liquid and a high alcohol rating of 5.8% makes for a surprisingly refreshing drink and is definitely a high point in the catalogue. The Pale Ale which is the most popular drop of the beers is alot like the Sparkling Ale minus the rich flavours and extra zing.

Across the pond in New Zealand, Monteith’s is responsible for a lovely catalogue of beers, with seasonal ales and specialty beers that suit the different times of the year. The Summer Ale, a herb and honey tinged brew of citrus and cinnamon is as refreshing as a lemonade on a warm Summer’s day, while the Winter Ale is a doppelbock styled beer with a lovely thick consistency that truly lives up to the term “Liquid Bread” which Benedictine Monks christened the Bock centuries ago. The Original Ale, a standard brew and the most well rounded in the catalogue, along with the self explanatory; Pilsner, Dark Ale, Red Ale and Lager round out this stunning selection.

Every country has a myriad of breweries to discover and this continues as we travel further across the great divide that is the Pacific Ocean, arriving in North America. In Western Canada, Big Rock makes high quality beers that know no boundaries in creativity and quality. The Steam Whistle brewery makes fine beer of a micro style available to the masses in Eastern Canada, and in Portland, Oregon the Alameda Brewing Company makes a memorable drink that must be tried.

To list all the possible beers provided by the hard working folk at microbreweries the world over would be impossible in one article. Hopefully this small but credible listing provides a jump start to the traveller going through Australia, New Zealand or North America seeking that next beer fix. In the next article, we’ll look at beers of tradition and quality in Europe. Cheers, and enjoy that next pint.

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Apple Orchard

Apple orchards are fun and exciting places for children to visit.  They enjoy having the opportunity to pick apples off of the trees. At the end of the day, they feel like they accomplished something great when they get to bring their apples home with them. 

Preparing children to visit an apple orchard is a great idea so they know where they are going and what they will be doing there, especially if they have never been to an apple orchard before. 

1.  Talk to them and let them ask as many questions as they have. 

2.  Look up information on apples and orchards together on the internet, additionally see if you can find videos of people picking apples and watch the video(s) together.  If you can’t find videos, look for pictures of what happens in an apple orchard. 

3.  Show them the website, brochure, or any other information there might be about the orchard they will be visiting.  Some orchards offer a wide variety of activities for children including wagon or hay rides, games, educational activities, corn mazes, demonstrations, places to sample or purchase desserts and other dishes made with apples, etc.  Kids are likely to get real excited about their upcoming orchard visit if they see all of the fun that is awaiting them. 

4.  Take them to the grocery store to show them all of the different varieties of apples that there are.  Show them and tell them the names of each unless they are able to read the signs themselves, then have them read them. 

5.  Pick out clothes to wear to the orchard, probably long pants such as jeans and a long sleeve shirt, socks, and closed toe shoes.  This way they are likely to not get hurt or scratched.  Being in an outdoor area with trees, injuries can and do happen, however dressing properly for the occasion can really help.  It’s also a good idea to bring a coat or sweatshirt along as well in case it is needed, which can be the case in the fall. 

On the day of the orchard visit, it’s very likely that the child or children will be really excited and ready to pick apples.  Make sure the kids are dressed in orchard-appropriate gear, grab some bottled water and snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, and a small portable first aid kit, and head out the door. 

Apple orchard adventures are great for kids.  They are both educational and fun and can develop into a special family tradition that happens every year.  Children learn where apples come from and take pride in picking their own to eat or use in making tasty apple treats at home. 

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An Overview of the Beer Brewing Industry in the United Kingdom

The importance of the brewing industry in Britain should not be under estimated. It impacts on many aspects of everyday life in both the social and economic arenas.

Let’s not dwell on the past. The old fashioned and romantic image of the brewery has very little to with the brewing industry of today. Many of the quaint traditions of yesteryear have been abandoned. More and more of the smaller regional breweries have been absorbed by the national conglomerates, and whilst many of the old names still appear on the beer pumps at your local pub,it is very difficult for the average drinker to know exactly where their beer has come from.

For example. Old Speckled Hen was produced in Abingdon by Moorland Brewery to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MG car production in the same town.Forty years later, Greene King aquired Moorland and moved production of Hen to Bury St Edmunds. The water was different, also the taste changed. Shortly after that the strength changed. This is typical of what is happening week in, week out throughout the country. A few smaller brewers are managing to hang on to their market – Harveys in Lewes is a good example, but there is not one regional producer in the market today which is not being watched and monitored by the big players above them.

Traditional British beer, or Ale as it is known, is only purchased by about 35% of drinkers today. Foreign beers now have the largest share of the market, with cider coming up the inside and growing in market share daily. In response to this trend, brewers are increasingly gaining the rights to produce foreign beers alongside their traditional ales. Shepherd Neame in Faversham is a prime example . Their famous ales such as Spitfire and Bishops Finger are now brewed in the same plant as lagers from Japan, China, India and continental Europe.

There was a time when all breweries had their own estate of pubs selling their own products. In recent years they have been disposing of these outlets and concentrating their growth on other areas of the leisure industry. Whitbread for example have the franchise for Costa Coffee, and other major players have interests in casinos and cinema chains.

A glance at the business pages of the financial pages leaves one in no doubt as to the importance of the brewers to the UK economy of today.

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A Quick and Healthier Version of Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is comfort food. It is an American classic. I have altered the pot pie paradigm to create a tastier, quicker & healthier version that is easy to make. The main ingredients are fresh and ready made items consisting of fresh broccoli florets and sliced white mushrooms, whole deli rotisserie chicken, ready made pie crusts, 1-2 cans of cream of chicken soup, 6 ounces shredded swiss cheese, and one beaten egg white. The amount of broccoli and mushrooms will determine whether you use 1 or 2 cans of soup. I prefer to make a mile high version and use about a pound of broccoli and half a pound of mushrooms because it offsets the unhealthy crust to nutritious ingredients ratio, but feel free to scale down the amounts if you find a pot pie mountain unsightly.

Here is the Shopping List:

Fresh Broccoli (precut florets save time but add cost) -about a pound

Fresh White Sliced Mushrooms -8 ounces

Whole Rotisserie Chicken (Deli Section- warm is preferred and easier to work with)

Ready Made Pie Crust (2 crusts, not frozen, typically found in the dairy section)

Shredded Swiss Cheese -6 ounces

2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup, Fat-Reduced

Egg & Pyrex Pie Dish (Hopefully you already have these at home)

Cholula Hot Sauce (optional, but you really should try it on this dish)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Allow pie crusts to reach room temperature, about 15 minutes, and press one crust into the pie dish.

Remove the meat from the chicken, tear into fork size pieces and place in a very large bowl.

Add washed and dried uncooked broccoli and mushrooms, soup, and shredded swiss cheese to the bowl.

Stir until the ingredients are mixed well.

Plop the mixed ingredients into the pie dish, pile and press to make it all fit,  then lay the other pie crust gently on top.

Press the edges down and roll together with the bottom crust edges to seal the pie. Be sure to push the crust edge down below the rim of the pie dish so that it doesn’t burn.

Poke vent holes in a decorative pattern on the top pie crust.

Brush beaten egg white over the entire top of the pie (giving the crust a shiny glazed look).

Cook for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.

Allow the Mile High Chicken Pot Pie to cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving. If this is a one dish meal, then it serves 4-6, but if you have accompaniments, expect 8 servings. 

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Freezer Friendly Food Equals Family Friendly Freezer

A freezer well-stocked with food purchased at bargain or coupon prices makes it possible to prepare wholesome and delicious meals from a wide variety of choices at the lowest possible cost per plate. For a family needing to cut food costs, a freezer, whether chest or upright, makes good sense.

The efficiency of a freezer depends in no small part on how the homeowner readies food meant for storage and freezing. Because a freezer works better when fully stocked and with minimal air space between stored items, putting a little thought into organization and preparation of the unfrozen food packets increases the freezer’s effectiveness. Experience suggests three simple steps worthy of consideration that the homeowner can take to make food items more freezer-friendly.

Square or rectangular packages: Square or rectangular food packets stack better in the freezer, making it easier to fill the unit to capacity as well as to retrieve food quicker with minimal disturbance of the contents. The second benefit decreases the time the freezer door remains open to admit warm air inside.

Although many food items come packaged in square or rectangular containers, a significant number, such as meat products, do not. If possible, repackage these odd-shaped items  and form them into square or rectangular shapes. If you freeze water into ice chunks to take on picnics, put the water in well-rinsed rectangular juice or milk containers.

Reduce packet sizes: An economic, family-sized purchase of meat usually comes in a large, mounded package that is awkward to store. It will pay to open the package and place the individual cuts in separate sealable plastic freezer bags. These smaller packets will store much tighter in the freezer; this procedure also makes it possible to remove only the cuts necessary for a meal.

Many other food products that come in large packages admit to repackaging in smaller sizes. Often merely removing the cardboard container and recovering the food item with plastic wrap will reduce the space the food requires in the freezer.

Vacuum pack whenever possible: A home vacuum pack machine will reduce packages of meat or fish to minimum sizes by removing all the air from the plastic containers. Removing the air and preventing air contact with the food also increases the time meat or fish will remain wholesome in the freezer. A home vacuum pack makes a perfect adjunct to a freezer.

Try experimenting with these suggestions to make food freezer-friendly. Remember, making food freezer-friendly makes the freezer family-friendly.

How to Make your Food Items more Freezer Friendly

Home freezing of food is one of the quickest, easiest and most effective methods of preserving it in modern times. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be frozen to make them available for use right through the off season, meat can be bought in bulk or hunted and stored in handy individual or family portion sizes, while even certain types of fish can be frozen, perhaps in the wake of a successful fishing trip. In order to ensure that the food you freeze remains in the best possible condition for later use, there are a number of points which should be considered, often varying dependant upon the type of food being prepared.

Fresh vegetables

Firm fleshed root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are perfect for home freezing. They should be washed, peeled and chopped to what will be the required eating size before being lightly blanched for a couple of minutes in boiling water. Drain them well, submerge in cold water for a minute to stop them cooking and drain again. Cover and leave to cool before adding to a plastic freezer container and the deep freeze. A good tip here is to wait a couple of hours and then gently shake the carton. This will help to ensure the pieces freeze individually, rather than in to one hard lump that may prove awkward to separate at a later time.

Broccoli and cauliflower should have the outer leaves removed and be broken in to small florets for blanching and freezing. Peas and similar legumes should be removed from their pods or skins.

When cooking vegetables which have been frozen, they should not be defrosted first. Simply bring a pan of water to a boil, add a little salt if desired and add the vegetables straight from the freezer to simmer until cooked and softened.

Fresh fruit

Berries should have their leaves, stems and any husks removed before being washed, thoroughly drained and added to the freezing container. Fruits such as apples and pears should be peeled, cored and chopped. It is again a good idea to cook fruit straight from the freezer by your chosen method.

Red meat and poultry

The potential dangers of home freezing are never more evident than when dealing with meat and poultry, both prior to and after the freezing process. Flesh not prepared properly prior to freezing or even perhaps not defrosted properly prior to being cooked can cause severe food poisoning. It is vital always to exercise due care and never take any chances.

When freezing raw cuts of meat, or perhaps whole chickens or turkeys, the meat or the bird should be fully prepared as though it were to be cooked at the time. This means basically that all innards, feathers or the likes should be removed and discarded. Wash the meat and pat it carefully dry. Meat can then be prepared for freezing by vacuum packing it, wrapping it very well and securely in plastic or including it in a freezer proof container.

When it comes to using raw meat or poultry which has been frozen, it is important to know how long each piece will take to defrost. This can amount to days rather than hours, particularly with large turkeys for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The meat should be placed in a deep container to hold the defrosting liquid, covered and placed in the very bottom of the refrigerator to defrost. It should be removed a few hours prior to being cooked to reach room temperature and washed again thoroughly in cold water prior to cooking.

Cooked meat can also be frozen. This is particularly useful when making large batches of chili or curries and freezing them in individual portions for later meals. Be sure to let the food cool completely before packaging and freezing and to ensure that it is fully reheated before it is subsequently consumed.


Certain types of raw fish freeze well and others not so well. As a rule of thumb, firm fleshed white fish will freeze far better than soft fleshed, oily fish. The fish should be scaled (if appropriate), gutted and ideally skinned and filleted prior to freezing, exactly as if it were to be cooked immediately. The fish should be defrosted fully prior to being cooked.


Although freezing is very useful and can also be cost effective by reducing waste and making harvests go further, it is important not to take any risks. If ever in any doubt whether a particular food item can be frozen, how it should be frozen, or how it should be treated after it has been frozen, research in full prior to undertaking the procedure and never take unnecessary risks. The enjoyment of the food and the health of those who eat it can often depend on getting all the above factors just right.