Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Columbus Zoo & Brewing Our Own Beer

Seems like being stuck home after having a molar extracted is as good a time as any to get back to blogging after a month long absence. September was a fairly busy month with a weekend road trip to New York on Labor Day weekend and 12 glorious days in Puerto Rico. September also holds 2 very important dates: Our dating anniversary (We celebrated our 6 year dating anniversary on September 23rd) and Tomas's birthday on September 20.

My hubby turned 25 this year and he needed a great gift to mark this momentous occasion. Fortunately in July I stumbled upon something that I knew he would LOVE. Tomas has been interested in craft beers and brewing for a few years.Through a Living Social deal, I booked us a spot at North High Brewing for half the price it normally is.

I made a day trip out of it, we spent the morning at the wonderful Columbus Zoo.

We've visited our fair share of US zoos and this one has the BEST gorilla exhibit we've seen so far. They have more than a dozen gorillas in a really cool and spacious enclosure but the highlight of the day was getting to see the zoo babies, we saw a 3 month old baby gorilla and some Bengal tiger cubs.

After the zoo we made our way to North High Brewing, which was a surprise for Tomas. I told him what we were doing just as we pulled into the parking lot and his smile lit up like a kid's on Christmas morning. He was super excited  about a chance to make his own beer. We picked out the Chocolate Milk Stout out of their recipe book after tasting it on their tap room.

You start the brewing experience by weighing out the grains which go into a huge teabag that is then immersed in a 15 gallon vat of boiling water. Once the bag full of grains is removed from the boiling liquid, the remaining ingredients are added at specific times. The whole process took 3.5 hours start to finish, and then the beer stays fermenting on site for 2-3 weeks.

We went back this past weekend to bottle our beer using a semi-automated system. We ended up with 108 bottles (Half 22oz, half 12oz.) after 1.5 hours of bottling.

My brilliant sister Kiara, designed the label, commemorating Tomas's 25th birthday by putting his face on a quarter. Brewing our own beer at North High was a super fun experience and has been his favorite present of all time. I totally nailed it this time! His second favorite gift is the 108 bottles of beer he now has to drink ;)

As a side note, before heading up to North High to bottle our beer on Sunday, we made a stop at Ray Ray's Hog Pit in Columbus for lunch. It's a food truck that parked outside of Ace of Cups Bar and their BBQ is to DIE for! We had the grass-fed beef brisket sandwich and some ribs with sweet BBQ sauce, both of which  were extremely delicious. If anyone is near Columbus, Ray Ray's is definitively worth the stop. We also stopped at Jenni's Ice Cream on the suggestion of some friends and I would drive the 2 hours just for some more of their Pumpkin Ice Cream. Jenni's Ice Cream is soft, creamy and perfect and unfortunately nowhere to be found in Cincinnati.

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