The Ultimate Summer Craft Beer Guide

In my last years of college I was a bartender at World of Beer in Gainesville and it was a job that I am so happy that I had! I know a college kid who gets to pour beer and sip on tasters throughout their shift  would of course be happy to have that kind of job, but it was so much more than that! For one thing, working there introduced me to a world outside of Mich Ultra's and Guinness. But don't get me wrong, I still love Mich Ultra for a hot day on the lake or beach. Is that just a southern thing? We went to Austin for a Bachelorette party a few weeks back and hardly anyone from Oregon had had a Mich Ultra besides me!  ALSO FUN FACT: I used to think Guinness was SOO heavy but it actually only has 15 calories more than a Bud Light! 

Before starting at World of Beer we had to take a test in "beer school" and I always tell people I studied harder for that test than any other exam in college! I don't know if that's sad or glorious, but regardless it's fun knowledge to have nonetheless! I used to be so involved in the craft beer "world"  that I knew about any special releases and every sought after brew region to region. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest which is one of the greatest regions for craft beer in America, and sadly I choose Pino Noir over a brewski most of the time these days. My metabolism can't quite handle the Double IPA's and the Belgium Triples I use to throw down often - but that doesn't mean I still don't appreciate them from time to time! 

In the winter I am a Porter and Imperial Stout lady, but in the summer I want something light and refreshing! This past weekend we attended the Portland Craft Beer Festival which was walking distance from our apartment and it was spectacular! With 65+ breweries there we tried so many incredible beers, but my favorite of the day was the blueberry muffin sour ale from Great Notion! It wasn't sweet but it still reminded me of a fresh baked blueberry muffin and was so refreshing for a hot day! Thanks to one of the Festivals sponsors, Bridgeport Brewing, there was an awesome flower wall to promote their seasonal Rosé IPA!

Here is a guide to summer craft beer styles as well as my favorites in each region! I have to be real though and since I am a Florida/Oregon girl all of the South and West beers will be from there ;) Cheers ya'll!

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Pilsners & American Lagers

These are going to be your lightest beers that are crisp and highly carbonated. The alcohol content is only going to go up to about 5.5% so this is your best beer to drink at the summit after a long hike or on the lake wake-boarding. 

South- Gainesville, FL:  An ode to my homeland and alma mater: Swamphead - Loggerhead Lager 
Northeast- Brooklyn, NYBrooklyn Lager- definitely a pizza or burger beer!
Midwest- Kalamazoo, MI: Bell's Lager of the Lake's - Never been to the Great Lakes but excited to drink this on one of them the day that I do!
West- Portland, OR: Deschutes Pacific Wonderland - It makes it that much better when the brewery is in your neighborhood!

 

Sour Ales 

Tart and sour but often refreshing in the summer! Some common styles are Gose, Lambics, and American sours. 

South - Dunedin, FL:  7venth Sun "It Puts the Cucumber on it's skin or it gets the Gose again"
Northeast - Brooklyn, NY:  Evil Twin Mission Gose - Started in Denmark, now in NY
Midwest - Minneapolis, MN: Surly Inside the Upside Down - Imperial Sour...9%...tryyy ittt
West - Portland, OR: 10 Barrel Cucumber Crush - My go-to for a hot day

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IPA's

IPA's are the top selling craft beer selling around the country and is the most entered category in the Great American Beer Festival. Sometimes IPA's can be too hoppy for me in the summer, but there's a ton of sessionable IPA's to choose from!

South - Tampa, FL:  Cigar City Jai Lai - A Floridan favorite
Northeast - Warren, VT - Lawson's Super Session #2
Midwest - Chicago, IL: Vallejo IPA - tropical and summery but packs a punch at 6.7%
West - Portland, OR: Bridgeport Rosé IPA- #Roséallday


Summer Wheats

The beer that will get you through the summer heat - think Blue Moon! A way to recognize them is their cloudier appearance. 

South: Tampa, FL: Cigar City Florida Cracker - Another one of my summer faves
Northeast: Cooperstown, NY - Brewery Ommegang Witte Wheat
Midwest: Kalamazoo, MI: Bell's Oberon - Not summer without this one!
West: Portland, OR: Widmer Hefe - Would this post really be worthy without this classic??

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Seminyak Travel Guide

I don't know about you, but one thing that I love almost as much as food is traveling. So imagine getting to eat your way through a new country and experiencing a whole new culture with the person you love the most?! BEST. THING. EVER. 

We returned to Portland a few weeks ago after our two week honeymoon in Bali and I am in total bliss. This was my first time going to Indonesia, and to an Asian country in general, and it's everything I hoped it would be and more. Our first stop on our Indonesian adventure was Seminyak. On the west coast of Bali, Seminyak is all about fun in the sun – and delicious food of course. I'm sure my happiness arriving in Seminyak was largely due to being in newlywed bliss, but I LOVED everything about the city from the beginning. The hustle and bustle of the motor bikes zooming by, the smell of satay cooking on a coconut husk coal bbq, being greeted with kindness everywhere we went by the Balinese, and retreating to our incredible villa after a long day of exploring. If this place wasn't on your radar, it should definitely be now. Read on for  my guide to this incredible town! 


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where to stay

We loved our stay at The One Boutique Villa. Everything about it was simply perfect. From the moment we walked down a lush green path to our own private villa complete with a huge swimming pool - I was smitten. The mornings were bliss sitting in the outdoor seating and kitchen area listening to the birds chirp while sipping our coffee. The staff cooked an incredible complimentary breakfast every morning, both Indonesian and western fare, accompanied by fresh tropical juices. It was definitely very hot and humid when we were there, so after a long day of exploring out and about it was so nice to dive into the pool or cool off in the air-conditioned bedroom. And don't even get me started on the bathroom! Right outside our bedroom you walked out into this little tropical oasis where we had a huge tub and outdoor shower. I want an outdoor bathroom in our house someday after experiencing that! And the cherry on the cake was that all of the staff at the villa were some of the nicest people we've ever met! We told them we can't wait to come back on our 10-year wedding anniversary :) 
I would definitely suggest The One, but we saw many other beautiful villa's on tripadvisor and Airbnb. Just make sure you read the reviews first! 

         complimentary breakfast at our villa

       complimentary breakfast at our villa

     so in love with the outdoor bathroom and tub

   so in love with the outdoor bathroom and tub


Where to eat & drink

Okay, so you had to know we were going to stake out the best spots in Bali didntcha? There are SO many great spots to try, but here are our highlights and recommendations! 

Cafe Organic - This a very popular and trendy spot in Seminyak -I normally like to find the hidden gems, but Cafe Organic is still a a great spot to grab a really fresh breakfast or lunch and a cup of coffee. I loved the herby feta toast!

Bo & Bun - Our first night in Seminyak we went to Bo & Bun - a Vietnamese spot with a fun and buzzy atmosphere. We tossed back $2 Bintang's and lychee martinis and chowed down on sticky pork ribs, Vietnamese salad topped with crispy pork belly bites, and our first bowl of 'crack & slurp' noodles which were literally crack. Recipe recreation coming soon!

Shelter Cafe/Nalu Bowls - This was our favorite spot in Seminyak! We originally went to try the Nalu smoothie bowls, but then we discovered that Shelter Cafe was a cozy restaurant perched on top of Nalu, so we got smoothie bowls AND great food. YOU MUST get the "shades of shelter" platter to share. It's a harmonious assortment of hummus, dips, whips, and other yummies to snack on. We also got the "big burger" and a smoothie bowl to share. You can't go wrong with anything here - and all of the plants and decor are the best. 

Ling Ling's - LL's is kind of a quirky asian fusion spot but I enjoyed it! It's a fun place to grab happy hour and sit at their patio out back. The Korean bulgogi tacos are delish and I was a fan of the chicken Bahn mi sandwich, Thomas not so much. By the time we got to Ling Ling's on this particular day, we had been motorbiking in the sun for so long that I practically held the Bintang to my forehead before guzzling it and I think anything would have tasted good - but Ling Ling's still makes the list regardless!

Warung Eny's - If you're looking for authentic Indonesian food then this is your spot. From inside the restaurant you can see the open kitchen with all of the fresh vegetables piled high, and you can watch the Eny family prepare your meal in front of you. We got the whole red snapper that is grilled on the coconut husk bbq, giant grilled prawns, Tum Ball which is spiced pork steamed in banana leaves, and Nasi Campur which is a bunch of small dishes served with rice on a platter. 

Potato Head Beach Club - If you want to splurge a little and have some fun in the sun on the beach then Potato Head is your place. The beach front spot was walking distance from our villa, so before we could check in on our first day we lounged on day beds soaking up the sun sipping spicy mango cocktails. The perfect start to our honeymoon. I loved the fresh ceviche, lobster roll, and romaine salad. 

Bambu - Authentic Indonesian food with a gourmet twist! If you're wanting a romantic restaurant in a fine dining setting then I would go to Bambu! I loved the outdoor setting, and when you walk through the entrance you have to walk across floating steps across a beautiful pond littered with candles. We had the huge tiger prawns, crispy soft shell crab, lamb curry, and seafood noodle soup. 

                                                               Breakfast at Cafe Organic

                                                             Breakfast at Cafe Organic

  Bo & Bun - The dish closest in this picture is      'Crack & Slurp' noodles. SO GOOD .

Bo & Bun - The dish closest in this picture is      'Crack & Slurp' noodles. SO GOOD.

            Whole red snapper at Warung Eny's

          Whole red snapper at Warung Eny's

                                                       'Shades of Shelter' Platter at Shelter Cafe

                                                     'Shades of Shelter' Platter at Shelter Cafe

             Seafood noodle soup at Bambu

           Seafood noodle soup at Bambu

   The family cooking us dinner at Warung Eny's

 The family cooking us dinner at Warung Eny's

                                                              Happy hour and Ling Ling's

                                                            Happy hour and Ling Ling's

          Ceviche, lobster roll, and Caesar salad with fried anchovies at Potato Head Beach Club

        Ceviche, lobster roll, and Caesar salad with fried anchovies at Potato Head Beach Club


What to Do in Seminyak

 First things first, rent a motorbike!

It costs less that $5 dollars a day to rent a motorbike in Bali. I was a little confused with the conversion from rupiah's to dollars at first, but 100,000 rupiah's is roughly $7 dollars, so that's a good way to quickly calculate in your head. Driving a motorbike is pretty hectic in the city because there's so many people on bikes AND you're driving on the opposite side of the road.  Because we wanted to easily get around and take multiple day trips, a motorbike was a good fit for us, but taxi's are a great option as well. If you go the taxi route use Blue Bird. They have a meter and they won't try and scam you. 

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Take day trips 

I loved taking off on our bike and not really knowing what we would discover. We spent one day driving through rice fields, down alley ways, and winding through the roads surrounding Seminyak. We hung out in Canggu, which is a small village about 20 minutes north of Seminyak where we stumbled across the cutest cafes and shops. We popped into Sunny Cafe, a cozy spot with a vintage feel. I loved the vintage balinese pictures hanging on the wall and the record player playing classic tunes. 

My favorite day trip was when we drove over an hour on our bike to Jimbaran and found a secret beach where we soaked up the sun and swam in crystal blue water.  

                       cute street in Canggu

                     cute street in Canggu

                                   Sunny Cafe

                                 Sunny Cafe

                                                                 beautiful beach in Jimbaran

                                                               beautiful beach in Jimbaran

          lookout point at Balangan Beach

        lookout point at Balangan Beach

                              Balangan Beach

                            Balangan Beach

Nourish your body

On every corner in Bali, there's a spot to grab an incredible smoothie bowl, fresh pressed juice or freshly cracked coconut to drink. It's good to indulge on vacation, but in Bali I felt perfectly balanced because of all the healthy fruits and veggies. 

                                                        

                                                      

  Fresh beet and green goddess mocktails at Potato Head Beach Club

Fresh beet and green goddess mocktails at Potato Head Beach Club

                 young coconut at Shelter Cafe

               young coconut at Shelter Cafe

Go shopping! 

If you love finding a good bargain that you're going to love Bali. You can definitely negotiate a good deal with the vendors and boutique owners. They are always going to shoot high, so don't say yes at the first price! We got these incredible set of three handmade wooden bowls, a ceramic coffee serving set and multiple other things for our kitchen. I love buying things like that when we're traveling because now every time we use it we'll remember our trip! 

Eat local food

My favorite thing about traveling to a new place is trying the local cuisine. Yes, Bali has amazing cafes and western fare, but it's way more fun to try a dish that you have no idea what it's going to taste like! Try the nasi goreng or mei goreng which is fried rice or noodles, babi guling which is slow roasted pig, or nasi campur which is an assortment of small dishes surrounding rice. 

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Most importantly, enjoy yourself!

Seminyak is an incredible city. I am so happy we chose it as our first stop on our honeymoon and we will most definitely return someday. Please write a comment if there's anything else you're curious about when staying in Seminyak and I would be happy to help! I can't wait to share our next stops, the Nusa islands and Ubud with you! 


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Our Wedding

Hello dear friends - it's been a while! 

I'm sure many of you have noticed, but if not WE GOT MARRIED! it's been a very blissful month to say the least. We spent the weeks leading up to the wedding with both of our families and all of our closest friends. Even in the hustle and bustle of making last minute wedding arrangements, hanging lights, painting signs, doing yard work, and running errands, we got to spend time with the people we love the most. It was such an incredible experience to have everyone we hold dearest to our hearts all in one place. It's only a couple of times in a lifetime when that happens and it was magical to have everyone there on the greatest day of our lives. 

The wedding was at my father's house in my hometown in Pierson, Florida. Since my dad is fern grower, it was really important to me to have fern be the main focus in all of our décor. Since the house is so rustic, I wanted neutral colors so that the fern and white flowers would really pop! I'm so happy with how everything turned out and it was amazing to see my vision come to life! You know how much we love food, so I think that was one of the hardest details to really nail down on the wedding. Since it was a rustic backyard wedding, we didn't want anything too pretentious and stuffy, but we also didn't want a straight up bbq. It ended up being exactly what I hoped for - and to be honest I was so consumed with the speeches and chatting with everyone that I wasn't even concerned about the food! My dad knew a cook who had a giant smoker, so he grilled the most tender filet mignon I've ever had and lemon pepper chicken (which I forgot to even taste!). For all of the sides we had roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, and mushroom risotto and that was brought from a caterer! 

The hours leading up to the wedding were amazing being with all the girls going through the emotions of excitement and nerves. We spent the day sipping mimosas, opening gifts, jamming to Shania and Spice Girls, and they helped me deliver Thomas' note and gift to him. Since we both did speeches at the reception and traditional wedding vows at the ceremony, we wanted to exchange letters before the wedding that were essentially what we would have said had we written our own vows. It was one of the sweetest moments getting to read that letter beforehand - by that time I was SO ready to walk down the aisle to see him standing at the end.

Just a quick side story, at my college graduation Thomas and I had only been dating about 5 months and he got me a Marc Jacobs watch as a graduation gift. He engraved the underside of it with "what if we are extraordinary" with his name and the day we met. How freaking thoughtful right?! So for our wedding for his gift I got him a Hugo Boss watch and engraved it with "We are extraordinary" with our wedding date ❤️ I was so so excited to give it to him! You can see in one of the pictures below where we are holding hands around the corner of the house without looking at each other - and I'm looking down at his watch because he had just opened it! 

My biggest take-away from our wedding and from what I've heard from every single bride I've talked to, is to enjoy your day and do not sweat the little details because you're not going to know about it anyways. Apparently during our cocktail hour, there was no plates for our cheese board and people were just using napkins. Before the wedding, that little detail would have mortified me, but on that day I could have cared less and I didn't even know about it because we were taking pictures! After we had danced our butts off until 1 in the morning, everyone came up to us and said that it one of the best weddings they've ever been to, albeit them holding brie in their hands... So even if you have a small thing screw up, don't stress - it will be magical no matter what. 

Below is the sneak peek of our pictures! Carly Robertson did such an incredible job and captured our day perfectly. This is only 20 pics and I am so in love with them - I can't wait to get the rest! We also have a wedding video coming and I am dying to see it! I'll share that as well as soon as it comes.  I was so happy with all of our vendors and they are the best people to work with, so if you have a Florida wedding definitely use these folks! I have referenced everyone at the bottom of the post! 

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Wedding Details & Vendors 

my dress - BHLDN // bridesmaids dresses - David's Bridal // Thomas' suit - Hugo Boss // groomsman ties - The Tie Bar // bridesmaids robes // Etsy // Photography - Carly Robertson Photography // Videographer - 5 Star Productions // Floral - Holly Pugh // 
Makeup - Camila Santos // Wedding Coordinator - Coastal Coordinating // Catering - Cocktails Catering  // Rentals - Special Event Services