Monks Blood and Cookies

Yes Virginia…Monks Blood and Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies Do Go Together

Rainy days always dampen my mood, but there are two things that can make me feel happy! Have had some Monks Blood in my refrigerator for awhile and thought it was the perfect beer to crack open on this droopy day.

Monks Blood on my Mac

After doing the “eyes are getting older” arm movement, (there are those of you who know exactly what I am talking about), I was able to read the description on the can. Now mind you, I waited to read it until after having a couple sips …didn’t want to cheat. It is described as a Belgian Style Dark Ale brewed with Cinnamon, Vanilla, Oak Chips and Dried Figs. Enjoyed the flavors except I couldn’t pick out the cinnamon in the first few swallows.

Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Cookies

Did however taste it after I decided to sneak a couple of the Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Cookies my oldest daughter had made. The cookies not only brought out the cinnamon, they enhanced the sweet/tart taste of the figs. I am not a fan of eating “just” figs, but figs in beer I can do. All in all, it was a pretty good beer. Will definitely be drinking the second can in the icebox.

Downpour be damned! I am in my happy place – here in my living room – during American Craft Beer Week – upping the endorphins – with some chocolate – and calming my soul with beer. Life is good!

American Craft Beer Week Untappd

Author Jamie Lynn Morgan

Hipmunk City Love: Where To Find Craft Beer in Milan Italy

Blog Post Type: Summary of a City Guide

Hipmunk City Love: Where To Find Craft Beer in Milan Italy

Microbreweries have been booming in Italy over the last few years. With over 500 now in northern Italy, Milan in particular is full of places to taste some of the best Italian craft beers. Even if you want an English Pale Ale or an America IPA you’ll find everything you like. Many Milan hotels are close to the breweries, but for a cheap stay try the Cervo Hotel with rates starting at around $78 per night. You could do some sightseeing on the Open Bus Milan tourswhile visiting these four breweries near the hotel.

Milan Downtown

Photo by Globetrotting Girl via

No IPAs but You’ll Still Have a Bitter Beer Face

You won’t find any IPAs at Lambiczoon. What you will find are Belgian lambics, a kind of naturally fermented sour beer. The first sip may be disconcerting, but once you get used to their vinegary aftertaste, you’ll become a fan. Sit at the counter of this comfy place and start with a Framboise, a sour beer made with raspberries. Some say that Lambiczoon also makes one of the best burgers in town. Open hours are Monday to Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., and Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Visit One of the Biggest Craft Beer Producers in Italy

The Italian craft beer movement owes a great deal to Teo Musso, the man behind Baladin brewery. Started as a microbrewery in the small village of Piozzo, Baladin is now one of the biggest craft beer producers in Italy. Take a seat at this simple pub and enjoy the atmosphere. It is a mix of an English brewery, a speakeasy, and an Italian trattoria. While you’re there, try the cacio e pepe chips made with melted pecorino cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Open hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 6:00 p.m to 2:00 a.m.

Old School Pub in the Working Class Lambrate District

Birrificio Lambrate is one of earliest artisanal breweries in Italy, with its own beer pub in the working class Lambrate district. The setting is exactly what you would expect from an old school pub. Try the delicious Ghisa, a smoked stout, which receives awards at every beer competition. A second site opened more recently at via Golgi 60, not far from the first one. There you will find Bavarian-style food as well. Open hours are Monday to Sunday from 12:00 p.m to 2:00 a.m.

Nothing Fancy Here but the Beer Is Great

Although Bere Buona Birra didn’t invest much in décor, it is a fun place to spend a quiet evening. The beer choices are great, with rotating drafts and a well-stocked self-service fridge. The staff is very knowledgeable, and you can even bring in or order food. Keep in mind this place opens early, but it also shuts down quite early. That makes it great for beer shopping and for day drinking. Open hours are Monday to Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Rome may have the Colosseum and southern Italy has three hundred days of good weather each year. Northern Italy, however, has good craft beer that’s well worth a visit.


Jamie Lynn Morgan is a blogger from Northern Idaho with an interest in tourism, dining, beverage, and bicycling. She now contributes to Hipmunk’s new Hipmunk City Love Project.

Spend a Weekend Exploring “Beer City” Philadelphia

“Blog Post Type: Planning a Trip to a City”

Always known as a beer city, Philadelphia was once the greatest brewing city in the Western Hemisphere. More than 90 breweries operated in Philadelphia, but Prohibition brought the brewery boom to an end. The decline continued all the way into the 1980s. Things are different today. Philadelphia has regained its reputation as a premier brewing city. Where can you taste acclaimed beers? What breweries can visitors tour? Read on to help you plan your weekend trip to Philadelphia.

City Center

Photo by Nayif Kalla via

Start In the Center

It is impossible to get to all the great beer spots in a single weekend. This itinerary highlights the places that everyone should visit. There are many Philadelphia hotels to choose from, but centrally located is The Sheraton Society Hill Hotel. Once you check in, get yourself ready for a weekend of food and brew. Keep in mind that you can get just about everywhere via public transportation or by walking.

Friday Evening Beer Snapshot

Start by taking a short walk to National Mechanics Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant. It is less than a mile from the Sheraton. The beer choices number more than 30 and the menu is full of well-prepared pub food. This makes it a great place to eat dinner and enjoy your first round of beer. Try not to overdo it as you have more beer adventures ahead.

Full Day of Beer on Saturday

After having breakfast, it is time to explore a Philly brewing staple. Philadelphia Brewing Co. is open for tours Saturdays between 12 and 3 p.m. They don’t serve food, but are happy to sell you all the tasty beer you can drink. The brewery is a 3 mile walk or 40 minute ride via public transportation from the Sheraton.

Now it is time for food. Head back toward the hotel and stop at the Standard Tap the first gastropub in the country. After eating and imbibing, take a few moments to explore the shops on 2nd and even get yourself a treat. Then it is time for a nap before heading out for a beer filled evening.

McGillin's Olde Ale House

Photo by Hayley Gallagher via

Saturday Night Libations

As the night begins remember beer drinking is a marathon, not a sprint. Your first stop of the evening is Tria at 12th and Spruce about a mile from the hotel. Match up some beer with 3-5 cheeses and chat with the knowledgeable staff. Once finished there take a short walk to check out Fergie’s, (the most authentic Irish pub in town), and McGillin’s Old Ale House, (opened in 1860). Both offer great beer selections. Finish off your evening at 9th and Federal; it is a Philly tradition to end the evening with a Philly Cheese Steak.

Saved the Best for Sunday

Just a thirty minute walk from the hotel you will find Monk’s. They don’t just have a beer list; they keep their beer collection cataloged in a three-ring notebook. Order brunch or lunch and toast your weekend with a tall draft.

Of course, this is just a sample of the amazing food and drink in Philadelphia. You will need to plan your trip and go experience it for yourself.


Jamie Lynn Morgan is a blogger from Northern Idaho with an interest in tourism, dining, beverage, and bicycling. She now contributes to Hipmunk’s new Hipmunk City Love Project.

Hipmunk City Love: Seven Best Party Hotels in New York City

Nightlife in New York is world-famous and the hottest spots in town are hotel bars and lounges. People go to hotels for different reasons. Some to sleep, others for spas, and some for celebrity-chef restaurants. Then there are those who go for the nightlife. Here is a list of seven hotels that are best for party goers. At these hotels a night of “staying in” is not a night of watching pay-per-view movies.

New York’s Only Swim Up Bar

Room Mate Grace, near Times Square, provides affordable rooms with a party atmosphere. A four-foot-deep pool open 24-hours features the city’s only swim-up bar. With a DJ five nights a week it has a club-like feel. There are also organized parties, such as Wednesday gay pool parties.

If You Are Willing to Wait in Line

DJs spin regularly at Above Allen at the Sixty Les. This lounge has a deck area and retractable roof. It is a members only club, but if you wait long enough in line you may get just get in. Take in views of the Manhattan skyline while rubbing elbows with beautiful people.

Find The Loud Young Crowd

Looking for where the twenty and thirty somethings spend their evenings? You will find them at the Soho Grand where the music gets loud. Having to push your way to the bar is not uncommon. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, get a bit crazy when the DJ is there spinning the tunes.

Enjoy a Luxury Stay and Exclusive Rooftop Bar

Sixty SoHo has newly renovated guest rooms and suites done in big city style. This feeling continues at A60 one of the most exclusive rooftop bars in the city. Only card-carrying members and hotel guests get into the club. Unlike some members-only clubs it isn’t that easy to get in without a connection.

Two Different Parts of Town With Different Ways to Party

Hotel Gansevoort is the first full service luxury hotel in Manhattans Meatpacking District. Five years after it opened, Plunge, the Gansevoort’s rooftop lounge, still draws crowds of twenty and thirty somethings. While they are not enjoying the nightlife they can take in the skyline view.

After the success of the original property in the meatpacking district, the Gansevoort Park Avenue brings a slice of glamor to the New York nightlife. There’s an impressive amount of space to party with a large list of venues that include the Plunge lounge that runs across the top floor of the hotel and out to the pool deck.

Hotel Guests Get to Move to the Head of the Line

Wanting to rub elbows with the hip, beautiful, and famous? The Gramercy Park Hotel‘s Rose Bar is one of the places they meet over drinks. Being a hotel guest gives you an advantage if people are waiting to get in. You move to the head of the line! It is best to reserve a table through the concierge, but even that isn’t a guarantee.

New York City has perfected the art of partying. Now go eat, sleep, drink and play at any one of these seven New York hot spots.


Jamie Lynn Morgan is a blogger from Northern Idaho with an interest in tourism, dining, beverage, and bicycling. She now contributes to Hipmunk’s new Hipmunk City Love Project.

Cincinnati Skyline

Reenergize At the 21c Cincinnati On An All Girls Vacation

Blog Post Type: Summary of a City Guide

While spending time with your loved ones, colleagues, and acquaintances is important, every woman needs a good “girls only vacation”. The 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati in the center of downtown Cincinnati’s arts district is the perfect place! The Cincinnati Museum Hotel opened to acclaim and continues the mission to share innovative new art and ideas with the public. It is next to the Contemporary Arts Center and across the street from the Aronoff Center for the Arts. The Museum is open to the public free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Exhibits include rotating curated exhibitions, multi-media installations, poetry readings, film screenings, artist lectures, and live performances.

So Many Amenities You Won’t Want to Leave

21c Cincinnati has renovated and energized the historic Metropole Hotel building. The property includes The Spa at 21c; Cocktail Terrace, a seasonal rooftop bar; and Metropole restaurant, featuring a menu that revolves around a custom-built, wood-burning fireplace. The design integrates many of the building’s original features, including the exterior terra-cotta tile, a sweeping staircase leading to the second floor ballroom, and the original mosaic tile floors in the restaurant and elevator lobby. Spend your ladies vacation, pleasing your palate in your pajamas with room service, enjoying a spa treatment, or browse one of the exhibits in the museum.

Metropole Is The Perfect Place to Quench Your Thirst or Grab a Bite

Metropole, in the hotel, offers a contemporary take on old world cooking techniques. The menu focuses on dishes cooked in a custom-built wood-burning fireplace. An ever-changing menu showcases the region’s sustainable farmers and producers. Featuring hearth roasted meats, fish and vegetables; grains; and homemade charcuterie. The bar and lounge invite you in to explore rotating craft beers on tap, craft cocktails with farm fresh ingredients, a number of Kentucky’s finest Bourbons and Ryes, and old and new world wines. You will feel at home with the original mosaic tile floors, arched windows, and architectural details, establishing the warmth and vitality of this historic gem.

If You Do Decide to Venture Out

Downtown Hotels in Cincinnati, Ohio are close to many great attractions. 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati is definitely one of those hotels. Let it be your home base for your Queen City adventure. Make it memorable. As a hotel near Great American Ballpark, it gets you closer to many exciting downtown Cincinnati events. Attend a Cincinnati Reds or a Bengals game, hang out at Riverfest, or revel in Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati. It’s so easy to get around to experience fantastic shopping. From upscale malls, the world’s finest jewelry and department stores, and funky little boutiques. Cincinnati is a pedestrian paradise, with riverside parks, bridges for walking, and old riverboats on which to drink, dine, or even attend the theater.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate just a few days away with some women you trust. Call your girlfriends and plan your next ladies vacation in Cincinnati at the 21c Cincinnati!

"Photo by Geoff Gulley via"

Enjoy a Two Day Craft Beer Experience in Cincinnati

Blog Post Type: Expert Opinion Piece

The greater Cincinnati area saw a boom in craft breweries. In a short period, Rhinegeist, MadTree, Double Barrel, and Ei8ht Ball are now household names among beer nerds. This is in addition to some of their older brethren at Fifty West, Cellar Dweller, and Blank Slate. Beers being produced easily rivals that of other established beer towns on the west coast or up north by the lakes. When visiting to experience the brewery scene, plan two to three days to see everything. Brewing stops are a bit spread out, so plan for transportation and travel time.

Planning Your Brewery Tour

Visiting a brewery is the single-best way to experience beer. You get to see the beer-making process plus meet and talk to the brewers. Most of all, you can sample beers that are as fresh as possible, straight from the source. To be safe, don’t try to visit more than three breweries in a single day. Take your time and make it a several-day excursion.

Plan carefully for safe transportation. It’s easy to get caught up in tasting beers at one or more breweries and then not be safe to drive. Plan a taxi or designated driver for day trips, and find cheap hotels in Cincinnati for longer trips. PLEASE don’t drink and drive.

A Beer Experience That Combines New and Old

Start your tour with these three breweries, two of which are in the same historical neighborhood.

Rivertown Brewing Company’s ales and lagers are well-respected and widely available. If you’d like to take a tour, they are available on request with a reservation. Call at least a week ahead to check availability.

Rhinegeist’s beers are big, bold, and not afraid to stand out. The brewery is in Over the Rhine, which has brewing heritage, and the building is actually the old Moerlein bottling building from 1895.  

Christian Moerlein is one of the classic names in Cincinnati brewing history. The brewery we know today opened in 2004 by Gregory Hardman. The brewery offers tours and has a tasting room.

Go Mad On Day Two

Hopefully you had so much fun on day one that you are ready to tackle another day of great beer. The tour includes just two breweries, leaving you time to visit any number of other great beer spots in Cincinnati.

MadTree is known for being the first craft brewery in Ohio to put its beers in cans. They offer several beers that are taproom only and worth the trip. There’s also a food truck on site most days to grab a bit to eat.

Mt. Carmel Brewing originally started in a small farmhouse in 1924 but re-opened in 2005, making the beers their current brews. Tours of the brewing facility are available Saturdays at 1pm.

If there is an opportunity to buy some beer to take home at any of your stops, do so! It’s fun to pull out a bottle from a brewery a few weeks later. Treat the trip as an opportunity to try something new and to have fun; just don’t over-do it!

Jamie Lynn Morgan is a blogger from Northern Idaho with an interest in tourism, dining, beverage, and bicycling. She now contributes to Hipmunk’s new Hipmunk City Love Project.

Visit Rochester for Real Beer Week and Expo

Blog Post Type: Summary of a City

First came wine lovers, and now there are lovers of beer. Rochester has plenty to keep beer fans happy, including an entire week dedicated to great beer. Usually known for the region’s wines, Rochester is developing a reputation for brewers and their craft. Brewed from hops, barley malt or wheat, Rochester craft brews will give you plenty to explore and enjoy.

Real Beer Week and Expo

The Rochester Real Beer Week in June around Father’s Day features an amazing series of craft beer events for every palate. There are beer launches, happy hours, tastings, pairings, pig roasts, clam bakes, concerts, games, tap takeovers, Father’s Day specials, and a burlesque show.

The anchor event of the week is the “Rochester Beer Expo,” an annual craft beer tasting event. Local business owners from the South Wedge neighborhood joined forces to bring you a street party with over 80 different craft beers. Along with craft beers you can find ciders, locally made cheeses, and local eats such as Cajun BBQ, fresh pizza, poutine, German and Italian sausage, wraps and sandwiches.

Photo by Cara Mason Rea via

Photo by Cara Mason Rea via

Stay On the Cheap to Stay the Whole Week

Because you will want to stay in Rochester for the entire week, you will want to find cheap hotels or vacation rentals. Here are a few options to get you started.

Stay at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, where you’ll be near the airport and the University of Rochester. Enjoy the complimentary, hot “Be Our Guest Breakfast” buffet each morning and an evening hospitality reception on Tuesdays and Thursdays with complimentary cocktails and snacks.

La Quinta Inn & Suites Rochester South sits in the business district and is convenient to Sports Centre at MCC and the university. The hotel does not have the evening receptions like the Country Inn & Suites, but it has a complimentary continental breakfast.

If you really want to stretch your cash, this Airbnb listing could be what you are looking for in the “South Wedge” of Rochester. The description states that it is clean, spacious, and quiet in an amazing neighborhood. According to the photos, it looks like a small one-bedroom bungalow. At $45 a night, it doesn’t get much cheaper.

Explore the South Wedge

Even though there will be plenty to do at Real Beer week, you may want to spend some time exploring The South Wedge area. Rich with history, the area is home to two National Historic districts, with two local Preservation districts within the boundaries of the neighborhood. Keep yourself sober with a historic walking tour of the area, or explore many long-established specialty businesses. Some of those businesses are Cheesy Eddie’s, Premier Pastry, Lux Lounge, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, Boulder Coffee, Thread, Open Face Sandwich Eatery, Mise En Place Market, Solera Wine Bar, and several others.

Rochester is one of the most creative cities in the nation. Be ready for delectable surprises when it comes to the food and drink at Real Beer Week. Get planning so you can get packing.


Jamie Lynn Morgan is a blogger from Northern Idaho with an interest in tourism, dining, beverage, and bicycling. She now contributes to Hipmunk’s new Hipmunk City Love Project.


February 2015 INW Girls Pint Out Monthly Get Together

at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
The Backyard

1811 West Broadway Ave, Spokane, Washington 99201

Hello ladies! For the new year we are going to start having a set monthly meeting that happens on the Second Wednesday of every month starting with February.

We will meet at the same place every month, but will switch it up between themes and invite breweries to coordinate with our monthly venue for special events.

No Charge to attend just join us for a pint. Will be BYOB (Buy Your Own Beer).

We will move our brewery tours and road trips to quarterly events that will be in addition to the monthly set event.

Image via Flickr by  cizauskas

Take a Brewery Tour in Richmond, Virginia

Blog Post Type: Expert Opinion Piece

The craft beer scene has become vibrant in Richmond, Virginia. World-class food, happening outdoor scene and local history contribute to the success of the city’s beer industry. The Richmond region has more than a dozen breweries, located anywhere from downtown to out on farms. Enjoy a brew on the patio at the Legend Brewing Company, Virginia’s oldest operating microbrewery. Looking for a Gingerbread Stout, stop by Hardywood Park. Stroll on Lickinghole Creek’s 220-acre farm, try a unique concoction at Strangeways’, or head to Center of the Universe. Richmond is a beer lover’s destination like no other.

Stay on the Cheap and Spend More on Beer

When planning to go on a brewery tour, make sure to save money on lodging so you can have more money for beer. Here are a coupleof cheap hotels in Richmond to consider. The Comfort Inn Conference Center Midtown sits near attractions, plus you don’t have to go far to find something to do. The hotel offers free breakfast every morning, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and fitness facilities. If you want to stay close to the airport, choose the Best Western Plus Glen Allen Inn in Glen Allen. It also offers a complimentary hot/cold buffet breakfast, an outdoor pool and a fitness center.

Image via Flickr by Sky Noir

Image via Flickr by Sky Noir

Travel in November and Take the Brewhistoric Tour

For five consecutive years in November, and Richmond Breweries United have organized an eight-hour tour called the Richmond Beerhistoric Tour. The tour features beer and culinary treats from local breweries and eateries, helping participants gain a better appreciation for the history of Richmond beer. If you’re planning to go, be sure to buy your tickets early as it usually sells out fast! Be one of 50 craft beer aficionados on two buses tasting Richmond’s finest beers. The following places were participating stops in 2014: Mekong Restaurant, Capital Ale House Downtown, James River Beer Caves at Rocketts Landing, and Legend Brewing Company.

Tools to Help You Find and Enjoy Breweries

One of the easiest ways to find nearby beers on tap and in bottles, plus participating restaurants, you will want to check out the website and app. Trinkin provides updated lists using GPS location services of where you can find them. Another useful online source for festivals and homebrew stores is the Virginia Beer Trail. Better yet, let Richmond Brewery Tours be your designated driver and bus you around. Local tourism organizations, like Richmond Region Tourism, recognize the power of agritourism and include breweries on their websites. They have even created videos celebrating diverse flavors and fun at breweries, special events and restaurants.

Other Breweries to Visit

Be sure to also add these breweries to your brewery tour. Extra Billy’s in Midlothian, for beer and barbecue; Ardent Craft Ales, Isley Brewing Company, and Triple Crossing Brewing Co. (named after Richmond’s one-of-a-kind three-tier train trestle). These award-winning craft breweries offer tasting rooms with bocce courts and beer gardens. Once you’ve toured the breweries, visit one of 85 world-class restaurants serving craft beer. No matter what you’re beer pleasure, Richmond has it.

Jamie Lynn Morgan is a blogger from Northern Idaho with an interest in tourism, dining, beverage, and bicycling. She now contributes to Hipmunk’s new Hipmunk City Love Project.

Salt Lake City: The Top Food City for Your Wallet

Blog Post Type: Summary of a City

Mormon Temple Square

Salt Lake City: The Top Food City for Your Wallet

Salt Lake City is seeing an increase in affordable farm-to-table food. Salt Lake has a lot of options to set up a perfect base camp for your visit, all within a 35 minutes of downtown.

Full-service hotels and lodges at the mountain resorts offer a bit of luxury or for places that are more like home vacation homes and condos are the perfect choices. If the city life is more your style, you’ll find just what you’re looking for at hotels and motels. Downtown offers options from 5-diamond luxury, all-suite hotels to basic, clean economy rooms or charming bed and breakfast inns.

Eat Out on a Budget

The city offers several options for eating out while visiting Salt Lake. With a diverse assortment of restaurants, including great American classics and dining options from every corner of the world, you will find what you are craving. In fact, some of the city’s best and most popular restaurants serve their food for as little as $10 a plate.

The Red Iguana serves nationally famous moles slow-cooked according to secret family recipes. However, if you feel like grabbing a speedier bite hailing from the same country, swing by Barbacoa Mexican. Visit Himalayan Kitchen during the evening for a totally affordable and delicious dinner, or during lunch for their all-you-can-eat buffet. Chanon Thai, with fresh aromas of herbs, is usually packed with customers. This eatery, which serves some of the best and most flavorful Thai food, is great for takeaway.

Another option is the Downtown Farmer’s Market for a delicious, locally sourced meal for around $10. Looking to dine for two? A three-course meal for you and your partner will cost about $35.

Hotels with Restaurants for a Cheap Stay

Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel in the downtown area has restaurants offering the perfect dining options to enjoy a great meal. Start your morning off with Starbucks, explore 5th Street Grill, and unwind with a cocktail in Extra Innings.

Little America Hotel is in the heart of Salt Lake City, and the Little America Hotel Coffee Shop is the perfect setting for a delicious meal in a casual ambiance. For a modern twist, try Lucky H Bar and Grille with Executive Chef Bernard Götz and his culinary team. They serve great food with menu items like perfectly cooked steaks, seafood, and pasta, as well as small bites and appetizers, which are available at the bar.

Hotel Monaco is in central Salt Lake City and has the best Lake City restaurant. Bambara consistently wins awards as the city’s top dining destination. From a casual cocktail to an unforgettable meal, Bambara can suit any traveler’s tastes.

Hardest Part is Narrowing Down Your Options

Two main factors involved in planning the perfect trip: making sure everyone has fun and experiencing things you don’t experience every day. With so much to see and do in Salt Lake City, the hardest part about planning your trip will be narrowing down your options.


Author Bio: Jamie Lynn Morgan is a blogger from Northern Idaho with an interest in tourism, dining, beverage, and bicycling. She now contributes to Hipmunk’s new Hipmunk City Love Project.