Weekend Brew- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone

We picked up on beer brewing about a year ago. It was one of those rare weekends where we had nothing planned and wanted to do something different. Since then, we’ve brewed several batches of beer and have moved from extract to all grain brewing. With the supply of our summer cream ale dwindling, we started planning for another all grain batch. We had an extra vial of White Labs California Ale yeast left in the fridge from our last brew batch and decided to make a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone and use the yeast. Since the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is known for its crisp taste, we figured this would be a crowd pleaser around Thanksgiving.

We used an all grain recipe found on brewersfriend, along with some additional notes found on a northernbrewer forum.

Since our yeast has been stored in the refrigerator for a couple months, we prepared a yeast starter Tuesday night for the yeast to multiply. Our typical yeast starter recipe consist of:
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of dry malt extract (DME)
1 vial of liquid yeast


Using an old growler from Black Market Brewing Company as the yeast starter

We combined the yeast inside a sanitized growler once the water and DME combination came back to room temperature. It’s important to let the yeast acclimate to room temperature before pitching it in the water mix to avoid temperature shock for the yeast.

I picked up the rest of the brewing materials 2 days before brewing. In all, the recipe called for 10lbs of malt, 4 oz of hops and 1 vial of liquid yeast. Continue reading


Drought Tolerant Landscaping

If you life in California, there is no escaping the talk of the California drought. The water shortage has been getting worse and worse each year. Being avid backpackers in Southern California, we have definitely noticed the lack of water during our camping trips. It hits us especially hard after seeing the year-round creeks and riverbeds we’ve visited in the past dry up permanently. After an especially warm summer in Southern California, we wanted to do what we can to help conserve water. We decided stop watering our lawn at the beginning of the summer and replace our grassy lawn with xeriscaping. Continue reading

Wood’s Cove- Laguna Beach

Southern California winters can be one of the best times to go to the beach. With small tourist crows and high temperatures around 90 degrees this past week, we couldn’t resist spending a day with Dakota lounging at the beach!

Woods Cove is located a couple miles south of downtown Laguna Beach on Diamond Street and PCH. From September 17th through May 31st, dogs are allowed on the beach all day as long as they are leashed. During high tourist season, June 1st through September 16th, dogs are only allowed on the beach before 8AM and after 6PM. Parking is metered around Diamond Street and the maximum allowed time is 1 hour. It is best to come with a friend to have someone feed the parking meter without losing your spot on the beach!

As like most coves, the beach area in Wood’s Cove is small. But on a Friday afternoon in February, the place was not overly crowed.

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Last weekend we welcomed a 2006 Nissan Xterra 4×4 to our family! For the past few years we found ourselves limited to our backpacking and hiking trips without a high clearance, 4×4 vehicle. We have pushed my small sedan to its limits with off-road driving and finally decided it was time to invest on a real off-roading vehicle. We bought the car secondhand since we plan to use the Xterra for rough terrain driving and have already tested it out on a local trail. Doesn’t she look beautiful covered in dust? We are so excited for all the new places this car will take us! IMG_20150124_084228

Celebrating Our Marriage






We are sorry we’ve been MIA for the last couple of weeks. Even though we officially got married late last year, we only celebrated our wedding last weekend with our family and friends. We had a great time seeing friends and family from all over the world but are so glad the planning is finally over. We even managed to squeeze in a backpacking trip at the Sequoia National Forest right after the wedding. More about that trip coming soon!