Author Archives: grandeizer

Boarstall Tower Buckinghamshire, England.

Boarstall Tower is a 14th-century moated gatehouse located in Boarstall, Buckinghamshire, England. Boarstall tower was built by John de Haudlo in 1312 and is all that remains of a fortified manor house that was destroyed.

I stumbled upon this National Trust site on accident when I was viewing the Brill Windmill which is only a matter of minutes away. Pay close attention to the signs out front because they are only open on specific days throughout the year and this could create problems for those of you wanting to get a closer look.

Opening Times

  • Open Wednesdays, 1400 – 1700, from 2 June to 25 August
  • Open 1100 – 1700 on 3 and 5 April, 3 and 31 May, 28 and 30 August
  • Admission by timed ticket only (subject to availability), including members
  • Last admission 30 minutes before closing


Adult – £2.60

Children – £1.50


The Tenant, Boarstall Tower, Boarstall, Aylesbury HP189UX

Tel: 01280 822850

Parents Visit the United Kingdom

My parents decided to pack up their things and head over to England so they could see their grandchild Connor for the first time and also see some sites around the United Kingdom. My old man would only be around for a week so we wanted to pack in as much as we could in the short time.

First, we decided to start things off by taking a day off because my moms plane did not arrive until midnight and I was pretty tired of driving back and forth to Heathrow Airport. The day off allowed us all a chance to play with Connor and take a break before heading off on our first trip.

Our first trip was to Edinburgh which is the capital city of Scotland and getting there would involve a six hour car ride with a packed car and a 3 1/2 month old. Was this a nightmare waiting to happen or what? It turns out that Connor is a champ and loves traveling because he did not fuss until we entered Edinburgh. The drive was pretty easy except the half-hour or more spent looking for our hotel in the city center. The architecture and feel of Edinburgh is just amazing and you just cant help being surrounded by history on every street. After finding the hotel we went out on the streets of Edinburgh and ended up at a restaurant named, The Filling Station that served some incredible food. Among the vast amount of beer consumed, everyone tried their hand at eating what they called, “The Haggis Stack”. It was haggis, potatoes, and gravy and it was actually fantastic. The rest of the trip was spent touring the city, eating food, and trying scotch at several different locations.

One of the highlights of our trip to Scotland was a little rest stop named Westmoreland that gave off one of those down home country feelings. They served fresh food with the ingredients coming solely from local farmers throughout the area. The food was fantastic and we made sure to check it out on the way back too.

After getting back from Scotland we decided to take another day to rest and hang around the house before heading back out.

Next, we woke up early to catch a one-hour train from Bicester to London for a fun and exciting day trip. The train ride was over before we realized it and we were moving around in the London Underground. Our first stop of the day was at the British Museum where we spent about two hours marveling at numerous exhibits that existed throughout history including the Rosetta Stone and mummies. After the museum we stopped off at a rather old tavern for a bite to eat and a pint of my favorite beers. The lunch was over so we went back to the underground so we could visit Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, and the Tower Bridge. After the day was over I think everyone was ready for a nap including Connor.

Finally, our last trip was to Stonehenge and the beautiful city of Bath. The drive to Stonehenge was less than two hours but it was raining the entire time. Not bad considering this was the first time it rained the whole trip. Stonehenge was a quick stop before we headed off to the city of Bath. In Bath the ladies did some shopping while dad and I checked out one of the best preserved Roman Baths in the world.

All in all it was an exciting, jam packed trip that was lots of fun.


This was my second beer of the night for our make your own sushi night and it brought back a lot of great memories from the three years that we spent in Japan.

I had quite a few of these back in Japan so I wanted to post a picture for my personal online beer collection.

So, here goes…


Serving Type: 650 ml Can

ABV  (Alcohol By Volume): 5.0%

Asahi Super Dry

I was wandering around a local Asian food store and just happened to luckily find the beer section. To my surprise they had Sapporo and Asahi Super Dry, so I quickly grabbed a couple bottles of each and headed for the register.

After living in Japan for three years I would say that I consumed a fair amount of Japanese beer. Asahi was one of the beers I drank on the regular and it was good to get my hands on it again.

It is nothing spectacular but when I went out on the town I really got into drinking a lot of Asahi. It was sushi night at our house so I cracked open a bottle of this stuff to be reminded of the “good ole days” back in Japan.

Serving Type: 500 ml bottle

ABV  (Alcohol By Volume): 5.0%

McEwan’s No.1 Champion

This was my first shot at tasting Scottish beer and I thought McEwan’s No.1 Champion was pretty good. Overall I found this Scottish ale to be pretty good but nothing spectacular.

It poured a deep ruby color and that led to a very rich and dark tasting beer that I thought was very pleasant overall. At 7.3% ABV this had a pretty good kick behind it.


Serving Type: 500 ml bottle

ABV  (Alcohol By Volume): 7.3%


DuvelA stubby looking brown bottle with a white, red, and gold label just happened to catch my eye the other day so I thought it was time to give it a taste. The beer in question was Duvel, a Belgian strong golden ale that I can never recall ever seeing before. I have been really liking Belgian style brews so I thought this would fit right in with out a problem.

I was absolutely right. This small 330ml bottle of Duvel sure packs a punch at 8.5% ABV. I thought it was light and crisp on the mouth with a distinct sweet slightly carbonated taste. I thought it almost resembled the taste of a champagne but only better. This has to be one of the better beers I have come into contact with thus far. I think I have finally come to the realization of what good beer is suppose to taste like.

Do not let this tiny bottle fool you! At 8.5% ABV it will knock you on your ass. I know that I was surprised at how strong this tasty little guy ended up being. It almost makes me sad that I only bought one and I will have to hunt some more down before I can have it again.

According to the Duvel website:

With its subtly bitter bite and delicate aroma, Duvel holds a unique position within the rich Belgian beer tradition. After bottling, the beer continues to ferment for a fortnight after bottling in the warm cellars of the brewery. Finally, the beer is chilled for 6 weeks in the cold cellars. This extra long maturing process is unique and contributes to the exquisite flavour and pure aroma of Duvel.

Like I stated earlier, this one heads to the top of the list of my favorite beers.


Meantime Wheat


I bought this beer because I have really been digging the wheat beers I have had recently. Not to mention that I thought the shape of the bottle was kind of interesting.

Here is a description of the beer according to the Meantime Brewing website:

A cloudy, golden-orange beer with a moderately dense white head displaying a mixed combination of banana, fruit, bubblegum, spice and zesty aromas and flavours, all created, in true Bavarian wheat beer style, by the use of a unique yeast strain that brings out the true character of the wheat malt used in the brew.

I thought the spice aroma was evident but I had troubles finding the banana and vanilla scents. It had a fruity aroma,  I found it to be more of a peach aroma rather than banana. I really enjoy the style, but I thought this was a little watery for my taste. Being brewed here in the United Kingdom I must say that they did a good job, just not as good as some of my favorite German style brews.



Serving Type: 330 ml bottle

ABV  (Alcohol By Volume): 5.0%

Weihenstephaner Kristall Weissbier

Weihenstephaner Kristall Weissbier is another wheat beer that I ended up really enjoying. Apparently it is brewed in the worlds oldest brewery, Brauerei Weihenstephan. I figured that simple fact is enough to warrant a taste test.

The aroma is spicy with strong hints of clove and nutmeg. I thought it tasted spicy with a slight hint of banana and stronger nutmeg and clove notes. As I stated in the first sentence, I really enjoyed this beer and could drink a few of these with no problem.



Serving Type: 500 ml bottle

ABV  (Alcohol By Volume): 5.4%

Cardiff Castle (Castell Caerdydd)

It has been a couple weeks since we went to Wales but I am now just getting around to posting some images. For the first time since Connor was born, Brittany and I decided to take a little trip to get out of the house and see some new things. This was our first trip with the little guy and everything seemed to work out just fine. Hopefully we can start traveling with him now at a young age so before we know it he will be a seasoned pro.

We decided to drive to a couple hours to Cardiff which is the capital of Wales. Our plan was to check out Cardiff Castle and maybe do a little shopping while we were there.

I thought Cardiff Castle was pretty cool, but we didn’t get a chance to see some of the interior rooms because we had a stroller and they don’t allow strollers inside. They did offer a place to store strollers, but it was more like a big open room and we were afraid someone might take ours. I was really bummed we couldn’t see some of the interior rooms but I quickly got over it.

The admission fee was £8.95 per adult and £6.95 for children 5-16. The £8.95 fee covered everything we needed, but for an extra £3 you could get a forty minute guided tour. We opted out of the forty minute guided tour and decided to see things for ourselves. It was a little chilly and I most certainly had all my camera equipment with me, so I was trying to snap photos as fast as possible so we could get out of the cold with the baby.

Perhaps one of the things I enjoyed the most was just strolling around the outer walls of the castle. Maybe that is because it was really all we could do because we had a huge stroller. I think we all had a good time and I would recommend checking out Cardiff Castle if you are ever in Cardiff.

Hobgoblin Ruby Beer

About a week or so ago I tried Wychcraft Blonde beer from the Wychwood Brewery and I thought it was pretty good.HobgoblinHowever, that wasn’t the first time that I came across a beer from the Wychwood Brewery. Actually, I was told about Hobgoblin almost immediately after arriving in England. My first thought was that I really wanted to try it simply because of the name. I mean “Hobgoblin” just sounds like a bad ass name for a beer.

According to the Wychwood Brewery website

Hobgoblin is strong in roasted malt with a moderate hoppy bitterness and slight fruity character that lasts through to the end.

The ruby red coloured Hobgoblin is full-bodied and has a delicious chocolate toffee malt flavour balanced with a rounded moderate bitterness and an overall fruity character.

I would say that this Wychwood beer is probably the easiest and most popular beer to get a hold that they make. I have seen Hobgoblin at just about every marketplace where beer is sold. However, I have had to do some looking around to get my hands on the other types of Wychwood brews.

I thought Hobgoblin was pretty good and I have now had it several more times. I am still sticking with the Wychcraft Blonde in terms of taste, but I plan on tasting many more beers from this brewery so stick around.


Serving Type: 500 ml bottle

ABV  (Alcohol By Volume): 5.2%