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Return to Cleveland: for craft beer

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During our visit home this past weekend, we took part in the closing ceremony of Cleveland Beer Week: BREWzilla. While I would have liked to take part in the smaller, more intimate events scheduled, this party is still a great way to celebrate a birthday with 80+ of your closet brewery friends (ahem, AB’s). Having high expectations from last year’s debut event — which I wrote about several times — it was now my year to nit-pick. You know, now that I have a few beer and whiskey tasting events under my belt.

And my tolerance (not for the drinking, even though that certainly has its challenges) has hit an all-time low. Perspective. I haz it.

First things first, I’m not certain of the reasons for changing venues (there was a wedding in the Hyatt that night though, as warned by the front desk clerk), I’m not that big a fan of events held at The Galleria. Why do we need this ginormous space? While I appreciate having enough room to put my elbows on my hips with utter disdain while complaining about everyone, why does EVERYONE even need to be there? Can CBW somehow cap ticket sales to make it more exclusive and set in smaller venues? I know the drinking events here in Pittsburgh sell out QUICK — two months in advance — but it keeps them worth the cost, I think. Also, The Galleria is DARK, especially in certain corners, which I really only recommend for the band’s staging area. Which was located in the middle of everything. And OMG, skinny escalators when inebriated is a genuine bucket list experience.

And then I said: Self, WHERE IS THE FUCKING COAT CHECK? Oh yes, I am that pissed about it, that I’m swearing on my blog today. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for adults who are paying $50 or $75 per ticket, attending an event in CLEVELAND at the end of October, that there be a designated location for such. Granted, it wasn’t snowing, but I was walking AND it was raining, so I needed to wear a light jacket. I’m no longer 21, running into bars in open-toe heels and sleeveless tops — and I sure as hell wasn’t stuffing my coat behind a garbage can. I couldn’t wear it either because even in my light sweater, it was hot as the sweaty port-o-pots. Uh, yeah, I won’t even TOUCH this part of the night, as I suppose it’s my own hang-up. Whatevs. Regardless, I had to use the restaurant’s coat rack upstairs in the VIP section (thankfully, which my tickets covered the makeshift accommodations), and by my guess-timation was NOT enough space for the coats of 1,200+ people. Was it blind neglect? Was it undue pain and suffering for carrying a clutch in the first place? Was I really expected to just “stash it” or worse, carry it with me all night?

So, when I arrived through registration (again, with serious line mishaps much like last year), this was my inventory: my purse, a drinking glass, tickets (that thankfully were on a lanyard, but I needed my own hands free to tear off), a free t-shirt… and my coat. Also, I would count my iPhone as an extension to all that, so I could log all my tastes into the awesome Beerby app (lifeliberty, FYI). It was a constant juggling act, even without my coat. And there was nowhere to set my things down for a second to even put my ID back into my wallet. Unless you count the food court. Last year, there were scattered tables throughout the Arcade. THIS IS NECESSARY! Sometimes you just gotta put shit down for a second.

Also, for the second year in a row, I missed the food. At Pittsburgh’s Big Pour (which I attended in September), the food is commingled with the beer, not separated into its own section. I think this would be more appropriate, convenient and a better opportunity to incorporate the selections from local restaurants — whether specifically beer paired or not (although I opt for the former). Lilly’s Chocolate did a FANTASTIC job of this! Use this as example. And the VIP buffet line? Completely picked through before 7 o’ clock hit. I went back twice to a nearly empty table, so I’m not certain if there were ever refills of food.

Was there water somewhere? I saw none. NOT A SINGLE BOTTLE OF WATER at a drinking event. I consider this a massive fail. And again, if it was served in the “food section,” this needs to be reconsidered. Most brewery tables didn’t have dump buckets and water pitchers set up either, so I imagine most brewers assumed the party planning commission would have attended to this, instead of bringing their own.

All that complaining aside, BREWzilla is still a fine drinking event if you want to experience several different craft brews. We did try quite a few new-to-us or un-distributed/un-bottled beverages. And I’m really excited about Rooster Fish’s Hop Warrior (even if they need to start distributing to PA). I also picked up a four-pack of vintage Goose Island’s Bourbon County bottles dating back to 2006 in the silent auction (and AB got his stupid New Holland boot). But if I go back to Cleveland next year for Beer Week, I will likely be making reservations for some of the smaller tasting and unique dinner events.

Did you go to BREWzilla? Thoughts, comments, suggestions to make the event an even better success in future years?

Side note: I won tickets from a Cleveland blogger for this event (for which I am incredibly grateful), so I did not pay anything to attend this year. I DID, however, pay for last year. So, I’m just trying to put myself into YOUR wallet-emptying shoes.

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PT: It’s PERMANENT, you know!

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Rule #1 of tattoos: Never, EVER piss off the tattoo artist.

Lest you enjoy a colorful penis… and cuss words permanently inked onto your body. FOREVER.

Nostalgia alert: Here are a few of my favorite tattoos dedicated to man parts.

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Skate (b)log: Update about no updates. Kind of.

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I cannot believe that I haven’t been on my skates in nearly eight weeks. I’m pussing out as though I’m on injured reserved list or some shit (I suppose if I truly needed to find an excuse, I could blame by shoulder, but goddamn-it, there is no excuse for me NOT to be skating twice a week. At least I’m running. That part is helpful). Anyways. De-pressing.

I seriously need to get off my lazy ass and get my wheels to the Romp n’ Roll. As much as I want to skate with some of my old Burning River teammates during our visit to Cleveland this weekend, with our hectic travel schedule, birthday plans and both of our separate work schedules, I don’t think that will happen. Not to mention, bringing another bag? Out of the question. I HATE packing for fall because more than one pair of boots DOES NOT FIT in my suitcase. I mean, unless I take my giant-ass 10-day vacation case, but then AB looks at me all weird. And he’ll tell me to just dress “normal” again. Whatever the shit that means.

But back to skating, my first recruitment skate with Steel City is in November, which I am super-super-super SUPER excited about. That’s how much I miss roller derby. And likely, because its just a meet-and-greet of sorts, there will be no hitting. I’ll get my fill in December when I head to Toronto for another Blood & Thunder Camp. So, November 8 will be my new date to start my training program. I want to be in my best form by try-outs, not all knock-kneed and hesitant. Or worse, scared.

Thanks to the internet, I came across this GREAT article about roller derby today (specifically, Chicago’s Windy City Rollers). Seriously, it’s really, really good. Bravo, Ling Ma, you did us roller derby athletes a great service with such an honest piece.

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PT: Dress you up in my balls. For sport!

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When it comes to school mascots, who is better than Brutus from THE Ohio State University? Well, nobody… unless you are Scrotie from The Rhode Island School of Design’s hockey team, the NADS.

Check out this ball buster on Deadspin.

And by the read of things, the team’s slapstick hijinks is better likened to professional oil wrestling… as sponsored by Trojan. Yes, cock and balls ARE “fun for the whole family.” If by fun, you mean, AWESOME. And only if you are 18 and older.

h/t to my bestest, Car for sending this most awesome of awesomeness to me.

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We eat in public, so I cover my mouth.

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With my inability to cook (aside from my awesome lasagna last night — you’re WELCOME), you think I wouldn’t complain so much when someone else is doing it for me. But I have problems — some would call phobias — about certain foods in public.

But then, last weekend I had a CRAB ROLL IN MY MOUTH by accident. I cannot fault myself, as I am a newfound sushi lover, having eaten regular fish for the first time this past year after over a decade abstaining. Just as I was chewing away at its delightful texture and rawness, AB told me to spit it out.

“You have my crab sushi.”

Thank you, sushi restaurant for combining orders on multiple incorrect plates. When AB told the waiter, he switched out the proper combination of food orders (back in the kitchen).

But he never did bring me a new napkin (or take away my old one… ew).

Thankfully, no bathroom stalls or walls or floors were harmed by projectile vomit or a nervous breakdown as a result with this incident. I’m sure it helped that I was already drunk.

I can’t so much as label this a food PHOBIA, being that it’s an actual ALLERGY (thankfully, not deadly… but doubly thankful that my friend had an EPI-pen on her), but there are certain food items I will stay away from.

JUST IN CASE.

And mostly as my past experiences dictate.

For instance, meat in Mexican restaurants. Caused likely from too many episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, I do not order chicken, beef, fish (and of course, seafood) at any eatery that serves a glob of refried beans and rice on my plate. I opt for yummy, incredibly delicious cheese (and sometimes onions, if not mixed with green peppers) enchiladas. And extra sour cream because I’m dangerous.

To save face, err stomach, if it’s ANYTHING at Yo Rita, I’m eating it. I would seriously even consider the potential shellfish allergy effects. DAMMIT those are some good tacos.

So, when I joined Downtown Pittsburgh Lunch Club this past week, what did I get? Enchiladas with chicken. *puke* Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long for a correct replacement (as I was already starving from the rationing of chips that day).

Speaking of chickens (and their deliciousness outside of a wrapped corn tortilla), I completely lose my appetite if I have to saw/cut/dismember any piece of one with bones. If the chicken is in a scrumptious wing or drumstick shape, breaded and slathered with the best BBQ or buffalo sauce, then I am fine. But I cannot see it in its natural form. Excavating an entire chicken nearly caused me to turn vegetarian.

I also fear buffets. And potlucks. Especially from homes with multiple cats and coworkers with body odor and messy desks.

And I cannot stand the smell of popcorn in public spaces. It smells like vomit. And then you’re stuck in the small theater in the middle row and EVERYONE around you decides that the LARGEST POPCORN for sale is awesome and then you can’t move because then you can’t see the screen because you forget your glasses. Again. NOMNOMNOM — MORE BUTTER!

Excuse me… I have to throw up.

What are your food phobias?

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