Snapshots: Portland Bloggers’ Family Picnic

Snapshots: Portland Bloggers’ Family Picnic

Today was a LONG day. But, man… was it fun! We had our Portland Bloggers’ Family Picnic today. Sunshine, friends, good food, and blogging… sort of my favorite things wrapped up in one! I’ll be back a different day sharing some of the professional photos that Macey of Motormouth Studios shot, but I wanted to share a glimpse into today! Photos are iPhone photos via my Instagram, the Portland Bloggers’ Instagram, and the Portland Bloggers’ Facebook Page.

We unveiled the new Portland Bloggers' logo at today's event. I so dig it. Carly J. Cais designed this awesomesauce logo for us.

We unveiled the new Portland Bloggers’ logo at today’s event. I so dig it. Carly J. Cais designed this awesomesauce logo for us.

Isn't it so great!?

Isn’t it so great!?

My kiddo really, really liked the balloons.

My kiddo really, really liked the balloons.

My yummy picnic food... recipe coming to the blog SOON!

My yummy picnic food… recipe coming to the blog SOON!

Bee (The Spicy Bee) and Me getting in at least one photo together!

Bee (The Spicy Bee) and Me getting in at least one photo together!

The kiddo was worn out after the picnic. Heck, I was worn out after the picnic. We both looked a  little like this when we got home. Hopefully my feet weren't quite as dirty!

The kiddo was worn out after the picnic. Heck, I was worn out after the picnic. We both looked a little like this when we got home. Hopefully my feet weren’t quite as dirty!






Picnic Week: Summer Picnic Beer

Picnic Week: Summer Picnic Beer

Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

It’s Picnic Week here on A Well Crafted Party. My wife bought me beers to try so I could tell you which ones I’d bring to a picnic. It’s a hard, hard life. Check out the other picnic-related posts, but only after reading about the beer!

Picnic Beer Options from HUB

Beer in a Can, Perfect for a Picnic

Beer comes in cans or bottles, usually. We once thought that beer in cans was cheaper, not as tasty, and only for frat boys and hipsters. It still is, but the audience is widening. Around 2009, craft breweries starting canning in addition to bottling. That lead to a shift in perception, and there are a few good reasons for breweries to offer their beer in cans. Cans don’t break like bottles do, and are cheaper to ship. For beer drinkers, the beer quality is actually better in cans, since no light can penetrate them, and the seal is tighter than bottle caps. The green consumer will also be happy that cans recycle much more efficiently. So let’s get tasting.

Right now I’m trying the “Sweet As” Pacific Ale by GoodLife Brewing Company. They’re a brewery in Bend, Oregon (can we call Bend Portland’s tomboy sister, and get away with it?), and it’s a satisfying pale ale for an Oregon summer. The Pacific in the name refers to the two hop varieties used in this pale ale: Galaxy from Australia, and Pacifica from New Zealand. The galaxy hops give the beer a slight citrusy, passion fruit profile, and overall, it’s not so hoppy to fall into the IPA category of bitterness. If you’re a fan of Widmer’s Drifter Pale Ale, you’d probably like this summer brew by GoodLife.

Hopworks Urban Brewery IPA is next. The hops hide behind the malt – the aroma’s all sweet and malty, and you don’t really know you’re drinking an IPA at first. I’d recommend it to beer drinkers who want to like IPAs, (oh, you’re from Portland? You must like IPAs, right?) but find that most are so bitter they shrivel their tongues. Now, I may be losing beer snob cred here, since Hopworks claims this beer is 75 IBU. But taste it, then taste something like Ninkasi’s Tricerihops. The HUB may indeed be a better picnic beer, but it’s not overly hoppy for an IPA.

Another selection from HUB: Rise-Up Red, NW Red Ale. This seasonal beer was only made available in cans this year. It’s full bodied, thicker on the tongue than a pale ale or IPA, but delicious. It’s brewed with the northwest mainstays, Cascade and Centennial hops. I prefer more refreshing beers for picnics, but might go with the Rise-Up Red on a hiking trip in the spring. By the way, Centennial hops are also used in many other Oregon beers, like Bridgeport Brewing’s Hop Czar, Rogue’s Independence Hop Ale and Double Mountain Brewery‘s Pale Ale.

Beer Options for Picnics

21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell or High Watermelon is an American wheat beer, with watermelon added during second fermentation. I love eating watermelon, but I’ve never really been a fan of anything watermelon-flavored. When I tasted this beer, I did first notice the watermelon, but it really wasn’t overpowering. It ended up being really thirst quenching. I would pair it with campfire food or burgers.

Looking for a cheap, session beer? Some picnics call for trunks full of beer, but you just can’t stoop down to the level of Bud and Coors. And PBR makes you feel like you’re trying too hard. Our local  Trader Joe’s stocks the Simpler Times Lager, from Minhas Craft Brewery, in Wisconsin, IL. Set your expectations to low, and you’ll be happy with this affordable (under $5!) six pack.

If bottled beers are allowed in parks where you live, like they are in Oregon, I’d also recommend 10 Barrel Brewery‘s Swill. It’s a summer sipper, a berliner weisse infused with grapefruit. You might not find it to your liking, if you’ve never had a penchant for fruit beers. I loved the taste, and the look on people’s faces when they take a sip. It’s surprisingly good. And even the most machismo of men can maintain their masculinity while partaking in this fruity picnic beer. Maybe they’ll sell it in cans, after they read this post? C’mon 10 Barrel, you liked my tweet that one time, about your beer; you know you owe me for the free advertizing.

For the perfect picnic, my recommendation is just to try them all. If I had to pick one, I’d suggest the Hell or High Watermelon Wheat. I had two at the Portland Blogger’s Family Picnic this afternoon, and it just felt right.

What are your favorite canned beers?

Picnic Week: A French Inspired Picnic Menu

Picnic Week: A French Inspired Picnic Menu

Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

It’s Picnic Week here on A Well Crafted Party. I’m chatting about Picnics all week long… and, honestly, the picnic posts might swim out into the next month because I have so many fun ideas swarming around in my head as I get ready for the Portland Bloggers Family Picnic this weekend. Check out all my posts from this week, including an Italian Inspired Picnic Menu, for more picnic goodness.


Click here for a free printable version of this menu!

A French Inspired Picnic Menu

I LOVE French food. It is rich and flavorful and uses fresh ingredients. So, when shopping for this menu, check out your local Farmer’s Market or stick to the most ripe and delicious looking vegetables. I’m actually making a spin-off recipe from one of the below links for the picnic I’m attending this weekend. But, that is a post for another day!


French Vanilla Soda— Okay, okay, this may be a stretch. I was trying to come up with a non-alcoholic French-inspired beverage and my mind was coming up blank. But, a good French Vanilla Soda will make you forget all about the fact that it may not truly be French. You can pick up a six-pack of the Barq’s French Vanilla Creme Soda and call it a day (YUM, btw) or you can whip up a batch of syrup, bring some soda water to the picnic, and make fresh sodas on site!

Wine— The French love their wine as much as the Italian do! A great bottle of french wine… maybe some Champagne (!) and you are set!


Plateau de Fromage— You gotta have a cheese platter if you are doing a French meal. Pair some popular French cheeses (or, really your favorite cheeses in general), some fruit, and a fresh baguette and you are golden. I love getting little Baby Belle cheeses for a picnic because they don’t really need much prep!


Fresh Tomato and Cheese Puff Pastry Tart— The French do pastries right… savory or sweet! This fresh tomato and cheese puff pastry tart will be making it into my picnic basket soon!


French Green Bean Salad— There is something so refreshing about a vinegery, delish green bean salad. Use thin green beens or haricots verts and a garlic & shallot infused dressing to make a wonderful green bean salad for your Parisian-style picnic.

Roast Provencal Chicken— Just imagine what it would be like to sit down at your picnic spread eating cheeses and drinking French wine and then pulling out a steaming basket of this roast provencal chicken. Seriously, you’ll be the envy of the park. Keep the dish warm, but still beautiful, by placing in a pretty ceramic bowl and covering with kitchen towels. Of course, you can never go wrong with foil either!


Macarons— Like many others out there, I just discovered the amazingness of macarons a couple of years ago when they started getting as popular as cupcakes. The brightly colored, light, and rich desserts would be a beautiful (and delicious) way to end a Parisian themed meal. Make some chocolate macarons or pick some up from your local French-inspired bakery. If you live in Portland, may I suggest Nuvrei?

Does this sound like a tasty picnic menu to you?

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