Barley Browns Brewery

Main Street

Baker City, Oregon

The unassuming exterior of Barley Brown’s sits on Main Street in Baker City, and inside the cozy Western atmosphere is everything you could hope for in a small town brewery restaurant.

The Facts:

  • Claims to have the best American wheat beer in the world.
  • Won the gold medal in the 2010 World Beer Cup in Chicago, which takes place every two years and is sponsored by the Brewer’s Association.

Cliché but necessary signs featured in the restaurant:

  • “You can drink thirty or forty glasses of beer a day no matter how rich you are” – Adolphus Busch
  • “Beer: So much more than just a breakfast drink.”
  • “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” -Ben Franklin (This quote isn’t quite what most brewers think it is, see here)


First time ordering a beer by myself (the person I was supposed to meet had to cancel last minute). A man to my left at the bar just got back from a trip where he “killed thousands of salmon” he exaggerates proudly. I wonder what that means?

The restaurant is bustling with locals and families even on a Tuesday night. Some of them must be regulars, and of course in keeping with small town style, all the waitresses know them. “See you next week,” one waitress says to a group leaving.

I don’t know anything about beer. These are just my observations. I ordered the Stumble Off pale ale and the classic spaghetti and meatballs, which was delish. I ordered the pale ale because I recognized that name, and thought that might be something my fiancé had bought before.

Huge mistake! Apparently (as I discovered after) a pale ale has the most hops (whatever that means) making it one of the most bitter tasting beers. Aka not the best one to have when you are just starting out and have no idea what you’re doing, like me.

In general, Barley Brown’s was a great place for a classic Americanized meal, and was definitely the best I had in Eastern Oregon, although you can’t go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2

(spoiler alert)


How they kept Mrs. Weasley’s dialogue from the book during the battle scene

Ron’s ridiculousness

The epic moment when Neville kills Nagini

The special effects with the protection charms around the castle

Ron actually looking like he’s 40 at the end while everyone else looks the same, and it being hilarious

How they managed to fit in Snape’s memories and history in a reasonable amount of time

Snape in general/Alan Rickman

How good Ron & Hermione’s kiss was


How awkward Harry & Ginny’s kiss was–it never gets better

That awkward moment when Voldemort hugs Draco Malfoy

How they cut out the part where Voldemort brags and celebrates more about killing Harry/When Harry doesn’t feel the cruciatus curse

The fact that they didn’t include the explanation about Dumbledore’s past (aka why he had all three deathly hallows items, or how Ariana Dumbledore died) I know it’s not realistic to include every story or plot line from the book in the movie, but there are plenty unnecessary added scenes and slow-moving sections between parts 1 & 2 that we could do without.

Most hated: how understated it was when Harry killed Voldemort.

In the book, everyone in the castle watches, the tension builds as Harry explains about the Elder Wand, then he finally kills Voldemort with it, and we see his body fall to the ground looking satisfyingly weak and feeble. Instead, we got an abandoned outdoor entryway and Voldemort disintegrating somewhat honorably into ash, and not nearly as much celebration afterward.


Added notes after seeing it a second time:

What was up with McGonagall sending the Slytherins to the dungeon??

More annoyed at the lack of recognition that Harry just killed Voldemort. It’s like he turns to ash, nobody sees it happen except Harry, then suddenly everyone is just in the Great Hall cleaning up and chatting away.

The attempt to add humor with Professor McGonagall saying “boom” was kind of awkward. I know they were trying to make it funny because she’s normally so serious, but she seems out of her element the entire movie anyway so it doesn’t feel as surprising to hear her say those things.

White Wine Sangria

SANGRIA |sa ng ˈgrēə| noun

A Spanish drink of red wine mixed with lemonade, fruit, and spices.

ORIGIN Spanish

Literally ‘bleeding’ ; compare with sangaree

Time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients: large bottle of favorite white wine (I used Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio), 2 white peaches, 4 strawberries, orange juice, and sprite.

Combine bottle of wine wine, 1/4 cup orange juice, and sliced up fruit in large pitcher. Chill in refrigerator. Add 1/4 cup sprite right before serving over crushed ice.

Group Projects: The Not So Silent Grade Killer

The infamous group project. Commonly results in angry emails, unfair grading, and an utter lack of faith in your peers. Usually due to idealistic professors who assume all students in their class are actually qualified to be there. Listed below are the archetype students of the college group project.

The Inquisitor
–This person questions every single decision the group tries to make, while never offering any ideas him or herself. Constant criticism is the inquisitor’s strong suit–unfortunately there’s this thing called a deadline. The group has to make some decisions, but apparently this person likes to spend hours at the tables in the EMU fishbowl over-analyzing every part of the project.

The Leader
–The sometimes overbearing and annoying group leader. On the other hand, sometimes they are forced to step up when no one else will. This often results in hours of editing everyone else’s sub-par work.

The Quiet One
–This person does the absolute bare minimum, and is probably proud of it. The quiet one gets his or her work done, but rarely offers any ideas or suggestions. Good luck actually getting a promotion in the real world.

The Slacker
–This person relies on everyone else. He (yes he–not going to lie here–it’s usually a guy) does absolutely nothing yet reaps the benefits of everyone’s work. He is late to group meetings, stumbles around his speech, and doesn’t respond to any emails. But there is a way to seek revenge. Document unanswered emails and lack of work, and have everyone else in the group sign off on it before you turn it in to the professor.

Just when you thought college was better than high school, the inescapable group project comes along ruining grades everywhere.

A Reliable Smoke Detector

“Test procedure: hold a smoldering cigarette three inches from your mouth and blow smoke toward the detector.” – A little piece of history on the inside of a cabinet at Drew’s house.

Yes, this may have Drew and his roommates a little worried about the quality (and age) of their smoke detector. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but notice and appreciate the simple and laid-back times of a past so different from today’s lawsuit heavy world.

The Yoga Nazi

So I spent a good part of winter break convincing my fiance Drew that taking a yoga class at school was a good idea. Yoga could help his flexibility, and had helped me relax during midterms and finals. Usually the teacher was the typical hippie-Eugenian with a few facial piercings, but overall pretty nice and laid-back.

Little did we know, the first day of class we had come face-to-face with The Yoga Nazi. “EVERY MAT must be exactly three floor squares apart and there can only be three rows of mats,” said a middle-aged lady with high-water yoga pants caught between being capris and actual pants. Only three rows of mats in an overflowing class like this? That meant every time someone came in a few minutes late the entire row had to scoot over and reposition their mats EXACTLY three squares apart to fit the new person in, when there was plenty of space behind the third row.

“Well maybe she will get better once we actually start doing yoga,” I said, trying to reassure Drew. Instead of meditating and starting our poses, she had everyone gather around her at the front. Then the chanting began. She handed out sheets to everyone with five different chants in Sanskrit. “I promise my other class wasn’t like this,” I reminded Drew.

The first 20 minutes of a 50 minute class were wasted on positioning our mats and chanting in Sanskrit. When we finally got to the yoga part, the nazi emerged in full-force.

“You have the hip flexibility of a crippled old man!” she exclaimed at the poor guy in the third row. She paced around the room, searching for her next victim to critique into oblivion. “Shoulders back, MOVE your hips up, COME ON!” her voice boomed throughout the rec room. To make matters worse, I had a heavy-breather right next to me. I know doing yoga is all about coordinating your breath, but there’s no need for ALL of us to hear your over-the-top hyperventilating breathing pattern.

I don’t know where this teacher thinks we are, but this is supposed to be Hatha Yoga I at a university campus recreation center. Who could relax and actually get into the stretch of a pose, or even meditate, with this crazy lady with her grey hair piled in a bun yelling at everyone and imposing her OCD tendencies on us? If I actually wanted to repeatedly chant in Sanskrit and become a yogi master  I would have signed up for Ashtanga Yoga III.

After attempting two classes, we dropped that yoga class and never looked back.

Ever After…at any age!

I was reading my Southern Weddings magazine last night and I came across THE CUTEST little back page article and I almost cried. It’s about Ruth and Jerry Merritt- who both met each other and got married at age 83.

There is some information on their old website but the best part, the Q&A, is in the actual magazine. Here is the excerpt. Read with a Southern drawl in mind.

Jerry: We first met at the dinner table at Cumberland Village here in South Carolina. The first thing that I noticed was that she was a Christian lady and very sophisticated. Ruth: I overheard from my friends that Jerry was the best gentleman around here. The first thing I noticed about Jerry was that he had a lot of character in his face. We’re both old, but we’re going to make the most of what we have. It’s a good time together, and we’re very happy. He’ s a good husband who takes care of things. The secret to a happy marriage is commitment. Romantic love is important, but love isn’t everything. Love by itself won’t guarantee a happy marriage. Marriage is a challenge, but the secret is to find God’s will with one another and commit to it. Jerry: I think love is very important!

Southern Weddings magazine Vol. 3, p. 168

courtesy of & Donnan photo