Jim's Blog Ramblings about novels, comics, programming, and other geek topics

30May/120

The Alchemist

Part 6 of many. View the start of my Vermont Brewery Challenge here.

The Alchemist was the first brewery in Vermont that I visited. I found the The Alchemist Brewery & Pub during our (May 2011) wedding, and we wanted to stop by and try a few of their beers. However, we never got a chance to stop by before we left the region.

A few months later, we were in the process of moving to Vermont and the Alchemist Pub & Brewery was the first restaurant/brewery that I wanted to visit once we arrived. I arrived in Vermont two days prior to Hurricane Irene and I thought that I'll visit the brewery after the storm passes and that I'll just spend my first days in Vermont buying supplies and unpacking. However, Hurricane Irene (in September 2011) flooded the basement of the brewery where all of the tanks were stored and nearly destroyed everything.

Alchemist Heady Topper - Four PackLuckily for all of us, the owner (John Kimmich) decided not to give up after having his brewery nearly destroyed. Instead, he moved all of his operations to the Alchemist Cannery (about 1/2 mile away from Pub) which had been under development at the time of the hurricane. A few weeks after Hurricane Irene passed through, the Alchemist held a special event in their flood damaged building during the Waterbury Harvest Festival where we quickly picked up a few bottles of Heretic and Luscious and a "Hell or High Water" t-shirt to help the Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund. You can read more about the Alchemist in their blog archives. The Luscious won the silver medal in the British-Style Imperial Stout beer style category at the 2012 World Beer Cup.

25May/121

Brewery at Trapp Family Lodge

Part 5 of many. View the start of my Vermont Brewery Challenge here.

The next brewery I visited was the Brewery at Trapp Family Lodge. We visited Stowe for some hiking, but we found the trails to be closed. So after our scenic drive over Smuggler's Notch, we decided to explore a bit. We had never been to the Trapp Family Lodge, and I was completely surprised when we arrived.

The Family Lodge has incredible views, a disc golf course, tons of trails, and lots of activities. I didn't realize the lodge was so large.

24May/122

Lawson’s Finest Liquids

Part 4 of many. View the start of my Vermont Brewery Challenge here.

Lawson's Finest Liquids seems to be one of the more elusive Vermont brews. In fact, the Vermont Brewery Challenge even gives you a free stamp for this brewery! Just a few days prior to our search for the beer, Lawson's Maple Triple just won the Silver Medal in the 2012 World Beer Cup.

A select few hand picked Vermont restaurants each serve a different Lawson's Finest brew and you might be able to find the brewer at a local farmer's market. There's also a few other stores to find these highly sought after beers. The store with the best inventory and selection is the local general store in Warren which offers a rotating line-up of bottles that varies each week.

Lawson's Finest Liquids were also just featured on NPR's All Things Considered in the story title Vermont Beer Makers Bring Back Old-Time Maple Sap Brews. I didn't see the Sap Beer at the general store, but I'll definitely be looking for it.

19May/120

Otter Creek Brewing Company

Part 3 of many. View the start of my Vermont Brewery Challenge here.

Otter Creek Brewing is one of the larger brewing companies within Vermont. This brewery purchased The Shed Brewery from Stowe, VT and Wolaver's Fine Organic Ales (USDA Certified Organic). Wolaver's was based out of California and the brand sold very well within Vermont, so in 1997 the two companies merged. Now, Wolaver's is produced alongside other Otter Creek beer keeping the tradition of using local and organic ingredients.

Otter Creek Brewing CompanyI had purchased Otter Creek variety pack at a grocery store when we first moved to Vermont. At that time, I was seeking out local breweries and it was available in nearly every store. I had also previously purchased a six-pack of Wolaver's Fine Organic Ales, but at that time, I didn't know it was owned/operated by Otter Creek.

Since The Shed Brewery & Restaurant is now closed (purchased by Otter Creek), we received both The Shed Brewery and Otter Creek stamps here. At this point in the challenge, we have 4 stamps (5 counting the free stamp for Lawson's), so we qualify for a free "Drink Vermont Beer" bottle opener magnet. However, both of us have our sights set upon more than the bottle opener!

17May/120

Fiddlehead Brewing Company

Part 2 of many. View the start of my Vermont Brewery Challenge here.

I first discovered Fiddlehead IPA at a local restaurant and by the end of my meal the IPA had became one of my favorite IPAs. I've wanted to visit this brewery since I first tasted their IPA. Of all of the beer that I tasted on my first day on the Vermont Brewery Challenge, this one was on the top of my list of wanting to visit. This brewery is also one of the newer Vermont breweries, so it's logo isn't on the older Vermont Brewery Challenge Passport cards. The Fiddlehead Brewing Company has a stack of the new Passport cards located on their serving bar, so we picked up a newer version of the card.

Fiddlehead Brewing Company The brewery is located on Route 7, just south of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company and across the street from the Shelburne Winery. They have a large parking lot and additional parking across the street at the Shelburne Winery.

When we arrived, the brewery was empty except for "Matty O" working behind the large glass window and the server at the bar. My wife and I were treated to three samples of their brews: IPA, Hef-You Hefeweizen, and Blonde. I'm a big fan of hoppy IPAs, so I'm very pleased we got free samples of all three beers. Otherwise, I would have ordered a glass or sample of their IPA, but since they offered multiple beer to sample, I was able to taste two Fiddlehead brews that I hadn't tasted before.

15May/120

Zero Gravity Craft Brewery at American Flatbread

Part 1 of many. View the start of my Vermont Brewery Challenge here.

While researching the Vermont Brewery Challenge and the state breweries, I discovered that the Zero Gravity Craft Brewery was located inside of the American Flatbread restaurant. I have walked by the American Flatbread restaurant several times.

The restaurant is located across the street from the Burlington Farmer's Market and very close to the Vermont Pub & Brewery. From the outside, it appears as a normal restaurant and since I hadn't ever had a craving for flatbread, I never entered the restaurant. To be honest, if I had seen a Zero Gravity Craft Brewery sign in front of the restaurant, then I'd have already visited this brewery. The American Flatbread restaurant has 3 locations within Vermont and focuses on local, regional, and organic ingredients.

It was our first day of the Brewery Challenge and we needed something to eat, so I suggested we try American Flatbread to start our challenge. Parking near the restaurant is always hard to find (especially on Saturdays with the Farmer's Market), so we parked in the Burlington Town Center Mall parking (a short walk away) taking advantage of the free 2 hours parking.

13May/120

Vermont Brewery Challenge

Last week, I discovered the Vermont Brewery Challenge from the Vermont Brewers Association's web site. The challenge is to visit every brewery in the state of Vermont – that’s 24 (currently).

Since I’ve moved to Vermont, I’ve visited a couple of the breweries and sampled beer from about 1/3 of the breweries listed below. During those brewery visits, I never noticed the “passport” cards that some of the breweries have sitting on their counters. The task is simple: 1) Get a passport card (at brewery); 2) Drink; 3) Get a stamp on your card.

If you get 4 stamps, then you can mail in your card to get a free Drink Vermont Beer bottle opener. If you get 10 stamps, then you get a free Drink Vermont Beer t-shirt. If you visit all of them, then you get a Collector’s Set of VT Beer Gear.

Of course, I’m shooting for visiting all of the breweries!

14Mar/123

How to convert a street address to longitude and latitude (geocoding) via web services (Google)

Several years ago, I wrote a blog entry detailing how to use geocoder.us (and Yahoo!) web services to geocode an address. Since then both web services have changed a little and I found myself needing to update my code to support non-US locations. Below is sample code showing how to use Google’s Geocoding web service to get longitude and latitude values for addresses.

21Sep/1152

How to remove passwords from protected Microsoft Word documents

There's always been a need to remove passwords from protected Microsoft Word documents when you need to make a change. My most common occurrence is with Human Resource (HR) forms. HR staff will create the MS Word document, password protect it, and then upload it to our company intranet. However, when I need to fill the form out, the only way to do so is to print the form, sign my name, scan the signed & printed form, and them email it back to them. What I would like to do, is to just paste a scan of my signature onto the form, save as a PDF, and them email them the PDF saving printing and scanning time and paper (which would then need to be shredded).

Here’s a trick that I learned a long time ago.

12Jul/110

Securing ASP.NET Web Sites: Form Caching

What is "Form Caching Vulnerability"?

The Form Caching Vulnerability allows sensitive form fields to be cached and retrieved by another user on the same client.

CWE-525: Information Exposure Through Browser Caching