Bird Dog Brewing

I’m not exactly sure how I have never been to Bird Dog Brewing. It is conveniently located at 1005 East Main Street in Mandan inside of Main Street Drive Through Liquor. OK, hold up – a drive through liquor store? I think these were more common back in the day (I remember going to the drive through stores with my dad and him getting beer), but you don’t see them as often these days. The reason they have an easy way to have a drive through is they are located in a building that was previously a McDonald’s. OK – kind of weird, but kind of neat. They really make the building work for them and I’ll get into that below but first the beer.

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Above photo from FMBeer.com

I had heard of Bird Dog and had it on my ‘to-do’ but I never really got around to it. I tasted their Strawberry Blonde beer at the ND Brewer’s Fest in Minot and really loved it. I enjoy tasting all beers but am drawn to lighter, fruity, wheat, pilsner type of beers. I knew I had to go there when I was in Bismarck-Mandan next. May 11-17 was American Craft Beer Week and most of the breweries in ND were celebrating with specials. I had to be in Bismarck on Wednesday, May 13 and knew I’d stop in before going home.

There is no “about” page on Bird Dog’s website but I recall at ND Brewer’s Fest some of the beers were named after the owner’s dogs. You can see they incorporate a dog into their logo as well. I pulled up to their location (it is marked by a Main Street Drive Through Liquor sign) and entered into the familiar swinging doors from McDonald’s. Off to the right is the off-sale liquor store and to the left is Bird Dog. They have a lovely bar with a few seats and some high top tables. The place was already beginning to get busy at my early hour arrival. I sat down by myself and was almost immediately greeted by a male server with an amazing mustache. I asked what was going on for Craft Beer Week and he explained they had a Boston Beer tap takeover. I choose the pilsner and he brought it out quickly. This Bavarian beer had 5% ABV, floral hopiness and citrus notes.

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There was a little ad tent on the table explaining they had frozen pizza available. I was quite hungry as I hadn’t eaten in hours and my nose and eyes immediately spotted the popcorn machine. When my beer was brought over I asked for some popcorn. In the meantime, I sipped by super cold (bonus point) beer and enjoyed a sample of a Bird Dog sour stout beer. When my server returned, I asked if they had flights and he said yes, you can get as many beers as you’d like for $2 a pour. Besides the Boston Beer, they had their own beer on a tap and a decent selection from other breweries. A chalkboard wall told you what was on tap and the ABV of each brew. I noted they also had liquor bottles for those not keen on beer. I enjoyed my pilsner and drank it quickly. I was driving but wanted to try a few Bird Dog beers. I settled on a flight of Hunter’s Amber, Gordy’s Harvest Wheat and the Brandy’s Strawberry Blonde. All were great! My popcorn came in the meantime. Service was very attentive and I started a tab no problem. The popcorn was delicious. I strongly feel each brewery needs some popcorn or pretzels or some food for their guests. Both for the belly and to cleanse the palate. The beer is reasonably priced and I can’t wait to return with my sister or friends. I enjoyed the strawberry blonde because it isn’t super sweet like some fruity beers (overwhelming in my opinion), but provided the fruit taste in a tart manner – it’s the beer on the far right below.

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I had to use the restroom before I left and it was the old McDonald’s restroom – why invest to change it all up? It was just slightly odd since most of my McD memories are from childhood. But it really works as a layout for the off-sale and the brewery to be in once place. The patio on the east side was open with chairs and tables but it was too cool to enjoy when I visited. Next time for sure! Don’t skip out on this hidden gem in Mandan. It’d be a great Memorial weekend stop…just saying!

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Dinner idea: Mediterranean Meatball Pita

I love beef and I’m always looking for different way to use ground beef. A few seasonings you probably already have in your cupboard transforms this ground beef into a tasty dish. If you don’t have or like cilantro, just use more parsley. I put these mini meatballs on a warm pita and they are delicious.

MedMeat

Mediterranean Meatball Pita, serves 4 – based off of this recipe

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons finely diced onion (any variety but red or green preferred)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pita breads
  • Garnishes to taste: I used hummus, yogurt sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and green onion

Mix all ingredients (except for the pita and garnishes) together with your hands until incorporated. Roughly divide your meat into 4 sections. In each of those sections, roll 4 meatballs and slightly flatten. Let them sit until your grill warms up, or overnight in the fridge. Grill on medium heat until done. Serve in a pita or on a flatbread and garnish as you wish.

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This is an easy and refreshing meal, especially on a warm evening. Serve with fresh veggies and you have a well rounded and healthy meal. Enjoy!

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Summer workout plan

Summer is coming! (Right, I mean it can’t rain forever. Right?) I LOVE warm, even hot weather. I love working out in warm weather and I love sweating (when working out). I am the type of person who always has a plan and my workout is no different. I like to lay out a 10-week or so plan and tweak it as needed depending on weather and other events taking place. I thought I’d try something new and share my plan with you here. Hopefully it will keep me motivated to stick with it.

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Rehydrating with a beer is another thing I love! Our grass is much greener now after all the rain.

Cross/strength Training: For cross training I like to workout at home to my Shaun T DVD’s. I plan to do a hybrid program 3 days a week, 1 hour at a time using T25 and Insanity Max30 DVDs. I hope this increases my strength, speed and flexibility.

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Stretch: I got out of this habit over the winter. I want to stretch for 30 minutes each Sunday. This really helps with my hips and I have been noticing pain lately. Also, keep working on my head stand. I’m getting more and more confident with it.

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Run: I want to improve my running and plan for 3 specific runs a week. I am hoping to get a little fast and go a little further.

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Biking: Ideally I’d like to get in 2-3 bike rides per week, probably on the same days I do my runs. I really want to focus on getting faster this year and doing more specific speed work instead of just pedaling. My legs seem to get very tired (at least in my head) when I cycle and I think it is more mental. I really would like to improve. I have a hybrid bike and love it. I don’t exactly have a plan for this yet but haven’t started biking much yet since it hasn’t warmed up much yet.

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Swimming: I am hoping to SWIM this summer. I think with the swimming skills I learned at BSC Aquatic Center I can actually try to focus on continuously swimming for at least 30-45 minutes without breaking. It’ll take me a while to get there but I’m confident with practice I can do it! This will depend heavily on weather. I am considering taking another class at BSC because we had so much fun and since it is indoors – no weather worries. I just wish it was closer distance wise.

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I feel like that is a pretty aggressive workout plan for someone who just does this as her hobby and to hopefully stay in good shape. But, this is my passion right now and I like seeing the improvements within myself. I want this summer to be active and healthy. Let’s do this! Rain, rain go away!

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Misc | 2 Comments

Dinner idea: Buffalo chicken pita pizza

Bringing you another easy dinner idea that I love. Pizza is one of my favorite foods (who doesn’t love pizza), but obviously it isn’t very figure friendly. We’ve found a way to eat pizza and keep it on the healthy side by using a toasted pita as the crust.

PitaPizza

Buffalo chicken pita pizza – serves 2

  • 2 pita breads (toast in your oven at 400 for about 5 minutes until it browns and becomes sturdy)
  • 10-12 oz. of chicken breast – cooked and diced
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • Cheese – feta or mozzarella works nicely here
  • Toppings of your choice – cilantro, banana peppers, tomatoes, green onion and red pepper flakes

Combine the chicken with your wing sauce and microwave it to warm it up. Spread warmed buffalo chicken on your crisped pita. Top with cheese of your choice and put in oven to melt cheese, about 5 minutes. Top with garnishes of your choice.

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Serve with beer if you like for a perfect Friday night. Enjoy!

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Adult Swim Skills at BSC Aquatic Center

I consider myself pretty lucky to have a variety of friends who are always up for doing something. Travel, beer festival, sky dive, take a swim class? Sure! I typically do all of my workouts at home, in Beulah at the Fit Club or at my work’s gym. All in my comfort zone, easy to get to and what not. I saw an ad for Adult Swim Skills Training on the BSC Aquatics Center Facebook page and it immediately caught my interest. Last summer, I started swimming but I use that term very loosely. I taught myself to swim watching YouTube videos. It wasn’t pretty. I love the water, love to “lake” swim, but never really knew how to freestyle or swim with my face in the water. When I did my sprint tri, I was the 2nd or 3rd to the last out of the water. Of everyone. Ugh. Since I suck, I want to get better. I don’t like being the bottom of the barrel. I signed up for the class immediately. This is how it read from their website:

Adult Swim Skills Training

These swim classes are designed specifically for adults who are comfortable in the water, but would like to learn more about swimming for recreation, health and wellness.

Adult Swim Skills I: This class establishes the participant’s foundation of water skills and then moves on to teach the strokes for fitness swimming or triathlons. The instructor will focus on different strokes; freestyle, backstroke, elementary backstroke, side stroke and breaststroke. The end result is to be able to swim laps, comfortably and confidently.

Adult Swim Skills II: This program is for adults who want to perfect their swimming skills and endurance in order to begin a training program. The instructor will focus on drills for each stroke as well as building endurance for swimming continuous laps. This class will start with the basics of the stokes and teach a variety of drills to help maximize your efforts in the water.

Each class will run two times per week for four weeks, for a total of eight – 45 minute sessions. (My class went April 13 – May 6.) Participants need a suit, towel, goggles and a great attitude to learn! You must tie long hair back and swim cap is optional. Cost is $55 (member or not).

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The BSC Aquatic & Wellness Center is located on the Bismarck State College Campus and it is a gorgeous facility. They have a 50-meter competition pool, diving, recreation and lap pools, along with a wellness center with strength and cardio equipment.

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Shortly after I signed up for class I was visiting with my Bismarck friend, Jen. I mentioned the class to her and she said she’d be down to go also. I get extremely anxious in social situations, especially where I don’t know anyone, don’t know what to expect and don’t know what I am doing. So in general, most of the time. Jen is a social butterfly and can make friends with anyone. I was quite happy she was going to go to class with me.

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At the first class (I’d say there were 8 or so of us on any given night), you could tell we were all nervous. There were 6 women and 2 men. Our instructor, Joe, was very nice, patient, easy to listen to and very knowledgeable. We all knew how to swim, but were looking to get more comfortable with our stroke and breathing. Through the 8 classes, we used many tools to help us with our stroke, including: pull buoys, fins, paddles, kickboards and a waist life vest thing (definitely not the technical term, ha).

Joe had us do various exercises, swimming, water running, treading water, etc. Each 45 minute class really flew by. I liked using the pool tools as it made me more comfortable in the water and with my breathing. He also explained how each tool properly aided us.

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I don’t think I told this story but I signed up for a few swim lessons last summer at BSC. My first one was a complete failure and I didn’t learn much. The instructor was young and didn’t seem to have much interest or didn’t know how to teach an adult. I never went back after that first “lesson”. I was hesitant to take this class because of that reason. However, this set of classes was well worth my money and I learned so much. I hope to use the skills he taught us this summer.

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On our final night Jen and I met up at a nearby bar for a few beers before class. Our coach (as I called him) had us swim and do a few skills. But at the end he taught us to dive and we could jump off the diving board. So diving…yeah….that didn’t go too well for Feisty Eats. I think I have a fear of hitting my head on the bottom or something? I kept trying but couldn’t get it. I had mostly belly flops and a red chest and thighs to show for it. My friend Jen? You’ll probably see her in the Olympics next year. Beautiful dives! She was down playing it saying the town she grew up in had a pool but I think she just has a natural ability that I don’t have. However, once we went to the diving boards by cannonballs were on point. So I have that!

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I think I met my goal of getting more comfy in the pool. I will definitely consider taking another class at BSC and for sure hit up the Hazen pool and Lake Sakakawea once it warms up. The only downside is the 70 mile (each way) drive. You can maybe tell by the photo above that I was pretty exhausted some days after working, driving, running, class and driving again. But I learned a lot!

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Misc | 3 Comments

North Dakota Brewers Festival

On Saturday, May 2, I attended the very first North Dakota Brewers Festival at the ND State Fair Center in Minot. The event was held from 2-6pm and was represented by about 10 breweries and a couple of home-brewing groups as well. Food and music entertainment were included with the $30 per person ticket price, along with unlimited beer samples. These events are right up my alley. I love tasting beers and visiting with breweries and friends alike. The part I like the most is craft beer has a higher alcohol content so you can taste a small sample without committing to a pint of beer. If you don’t like it? You can throw it. You also get to taste all the wonderful beer varieties that are brewed in our wonderful state – what talent exists here! Here is a list of the breweries in attendance to the best of my memory. I really should have taken more photos but I was too busy visiting and having fun.

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My friend Nicole came with me – we have so much fun together! We had a bit of time before meeting up with our local Minot buddies so we stopped into Home Sweet Home, a cute Victorian house selling jewelry, clothes, home décor, and Pride of Dakota products like dip mixes, jelly, honey, jams, etc. They have coffee available and it was fun to look through both levels of the home.

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After that, we made our way over to The Starving Rooster, a sort of new restaurant in downtown Minot. I really like the vibe, food and beer there. I got the caprese prosciutto panini (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil) with kettle chips. Delicious!

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Next we met up with friends and headed to the fairgrounds for the highlight of the day: beer!

My friends and I arrived right at about 2pm. We showed our ID at the door and then gave our tickets to a group at the table and received a wristband to show we paid.

Side story: I knew our family friends Wayne and Carol would be pouring beer at the Kilstone Brewing booth as they have family members that own that brewery. I spotted the booth right away because she was in her fun beer mug costume she used during Oktoberfest. But then I saw another beer mug and it was my Mom! She had been grilling me about the festival and I was slightly curious as to why but never really followed up since she grills me about everything. Moms, right? Well, here her and my dad were also pouring. We said hello and snapped a photo. I was also surprised because she had chopped at least 6” off of her hair. I LOVE it and think it suits her much better. It was lovely having my parents pour us beer. I could definitely get used to that. Haha!

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Mom and I. Her nametag says Mugs. Her friend Carol was Jugs. LOL!

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With my friends, Nicole and Kristin. I am a bit of a giant.

Breweries in attendance:

  • Buffalo Commons Brewing Co. – Mandan
  • Bird Dog Brewing – Mandan
  • Rhombus Guys – Fargo/Grand Forks
  • Drekker Brewing Co. Fargo
  • Fargo Brewing Company – Fargo
  • Souris River Brewing – Minot
  • Laughing Sun Brewing Co. – Bismarck
  • Kilstone Brewing – Fargo
  • Junkyard Brewing Company – Moorhead, MN

2 home breweries – I’m not sure where they were from? I think Minot and maybe Minot Air Force Base?

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Above are my friends from Buffalo Common Brewing pouring samples.

Having this at the state fairgrounds was great – free parking, huge room, nicely lit and very clean. They had tables for seating and the breweries spread across the room. It was nice not to be packed into a beer event for once. Lines moved swiftly and I hardly had to wait.

We proceeded to pretty much try at least one beer from every booth. I only had a sip at Buffalo Commons because I am probably most familiar with their beer and drink it somewhat often. I wanted to try new-to-me brews. There was no way to taste all the beers – you’d be too hammered so I choose what I typically like: lighter in alcohol volume and generally I don’t care for IPA’s. I loved all the beer and drank every sample I had.

Top Three for me in no particular order

  • Strawberry Blonde – Bird Dog Brewing
  • Pilsner – a home brewer and I can’t remember their name
  • Irish Red – Kilstone Brewing (this was a great, easy tasting beer, it wasn’t just because my parents were pouring!)

We had a wonderful day of tasting. As usual, I have a few recommendations for changes they could consider in the future. I have been to a few festivals so I have seen some things that work.

  • Give a commemorative cup to each attendee for beer sampling. For each beer you were given a small, few ounce plastic cup. It ends up to be a lot of waste. Also, people love anything they think is free. It wouldn’t have to be glass and could be smaller in size. Or just have them printed up with a line that marks where a couple ounce pour would be. This also would give attendees a chance to wash out their beer glass with water if provided. The more water, the better when drinking.
  • Water. Provide (free) water for the festival attendees. This seems like such a no brainer. More water = better.
  • Food. The food provided looked great. It was a taco bar with typical toppings – hard/soft shells, meat, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, etc. But it was HELP YOURSELF. Hello, people drinking and an open food bar is not a good combo. It was gone fairly quickly. It would be better if they had someone serving normal portion sizes. But the food is a great touch. Other places have had companies giving samples (like Cloverdale) and that might be a future consideration?

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Overall, I really enjoyed the afternoon and was jacked to see so much wonderful beer in one room. I hope they do it again – I’ll try my best to attend! The money collected from gate admission went to the North Dakota Brewer Guild and from reading their website, this is a noble cause I surely support!

The North Dakota Craft Brewer’s Guild was founded in 2013 to promote craft brewing and to protect the interests of the craft brewing community in North Dakota.

  • The objectives of the North Dakota Brewers Guild are to:
  • promote the highest standards of professional brewing in North Dakota
  • increase public awareness and appreciation for the variety and quality of North Dakota craft beer
  • advocate for state and federal laws that promote Guild Members’ ideals and that foster brewery profitability
  • provide a forum for discussion, support and initiatives for the common good of North Dakota’s brewing industry

Giving Back – The Guild and member breweries support charities throughout the state through cash and beer donations, often partnering for special events and action initiatives.

Cheers!

Posted in Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Misc | 2 Comments

Dinner idea: Italian Stuffed Sweet Potato

Sometimes I see certain recipes or ideas online and I can’t get them out of my head and warp them into a combo I think would be good. Now, this might sound kind of odd, but it was really good. What we had was a sweet potato stuffed with Italian spiced ground turkey, homemade Ragu sauce and topped with a little feta cheese, red pepper flakes and green onions. You might notice that I top a lot of my meals with green onions. I love the mild taste and brightness they bring to a dish. Below is a guideline of how to put this meal together.

ItalianStuffed

Italian Stuffed Sweet Potato – serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium baked sweet potatoes (tip – I bake a bunch of these at once and just keep in the fridge for easy meals)
  • 1 pound Italian style ground turkey (you can find this in the grocery store already seasoned Italian style – feel free to add any additional spices when cooking this. I would suggest oregano, garlic powder or red pepper flakes)
  • 1 can tomato sauce – Ragu style (my husband cans his own and we used a full mason jar)
  • Garnish: feta cheese, red pepper flakes and green onion

Brown your ground turkey in a large skillet. Drain off any fat or juice if needed. Add spices if you wish. Add tomato sauce and heat through. Slice your sweet potato open and stuff with your turkey meat. Top with cheese and enjoy. Serve alongside a veggie and you have a great, well-rounded meal.

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I loved the combo of the spicy meat with the sweet potato. If you give this a try, enjoy!

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