Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore MD 2023

[2023-July-04-thru-09, Baltimore, MD US]

So I was at the 2023 Mensa AG or Annual Gathering in Baltimore, MD. Usually I don’t do tours when I go to a convention; however, I could not pass up going to the only (so far) Guinness Brewery in the US. I have been to the Dublin Guinness Brewery (a few times) so this would be a perfect thing to do. Plus it was a Friday 07-JUL-2023…

So here are pictures from the tour. This brewery creates experimental brews and then when they think they have a hit, they will produce it for distribution. However, a lot of it is small batch experiments and you need to be at the brewery to taste those special one of a kind until they run out concoctions.

Oh, one last thing. In Dublin, you only get one Guinness on the tour and you can’t buy additional ones. At Guiness Open Gate Baltimore, not only do you get multiple samples on the tour, you can order more after (or before) the tour; plus they have a kitchen, so you can order food. So that is a big plus. Here are the pictures from the tour.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore MD

July 4th Fireworks on the Raven at the Mensa AG 2023 BWI

[2023-July-04-thru-09, Baltimore, MD US]

So I decided to go to the 2023 Mensa AG or Annual Gathering in Baltimore, MD. Didn’t take any pictures at the convention since it was really just people walking around, going to seminars, and hanging in the hospitality suite.

However, I did take pictures aboard the Raven and cruised around the inner harbor area and then watched the fireworks. So if you want to see a few pics of the ship and a bunch of the fireworks, click on the piture or link below:

July 4th 2023 Fireworks aboard the Raven – Baltimore, MD US

International Steampunk Symposium Cincinnati 2023

[2023-June-16-thru-18, Cincinnati, OH US]

Haven’t been to a con, for a long, long time. So this is to rebooting my con scene adventures, starting out with the International Steampunk Symposium in Cincinnati from 16 through 18 of June, 2023. I went for the afternoon tea on Saturday, everything else is a bonus…

Arrived late as always, since I have to fly after work. Hit the hotel, got two bottles of water, and snoozed.

Worked during the day as usual. Later afternoon, I went wandering. The vendor room was fantastic. (Sorry, I didn’t get any pics there.) And the Great Grandiloquent Wordsmith and his wife were at the con! We chatted for the longest time. It was major fun and a huge bonus meeting them! If you are not familiar, please do go visit:


I bought a flask with a leather carrying case to add to my steampunk belt and also got a two inch suspender stretcher. (The suspenders are fine back to front but they keep on falling off the shoulder so I wear it in an “X” on the back, which makes it short and then I fell hunched down all day so this alleviates the problem. And of course, I just noticed that the emblems on them match (not that it matters, the suspender extenders will be under multiple layers of clothing).


Okay, the tea event was rather weird. Just walk in, get seated, eat, and drink. No intro, no hello, or welcome. I was randomly seated with another guest; but that was fine, we had a nice chat. The big thing was, though, no three tier tray for the food – I mean with Steampunk, presentation is everything, no? (And no Pimm’s. No Pimm’s! Not that I expected that of course.) The food was actually great, with scones and everything.


Sunday – Was travel back to reality time. But you can suspend disbelief for a few more minutes perusing the (very few, sorry) pics I have taken. See all the pictures by clicking on the picture or link below:

International Steampunk Symposium Cincinnati 2023

Balboa Bay Resort Wine and Spirits Fest 2023

[2023-26-thru-28-May, Newport Beach, CA US]

I was updating my events site I made at and actually used the site to see what was happening. I updated the website and then started looking for things to do. I was looking to go somewhere for Memorial Day weekend and found out that the Balboa Bay Resort had a wine and spirit fest. So I booked a flight, got a hotel room, and got event tickets. So here is another weekend jaunt:

Thursday – arrived late. They gave me a bottle of wine which was a good start for the weekend.

Friday – worked during the day (being 100% telework is a good thin) and at night I went to the Macallen tasting. 12 year Sherry Cask, 12 year double barrel, 15 year, and the Rare Cask. The event was presented by US Macallen employees. They had visual as well as other sensory materials to enhance the experience. It was really great.

Saturday – the wine and spirit fest was packed. And there were half a dozen well stocked food stations provided by the hotel. The food wa absolutely smashing. It was visit a booth, get more food, visit a booth, get more food, repeat. That night, went to the Macallen tasting again. A great day and a great night!

Sunday – the wine and spirit fest again. The crowd was way down so it didn’t feel cramped. It was a more relaxing day. But more food, it was great.

See all the pictures by clicking on the picture or link below:

Balboa Bay Resort Wine and Spirits Fest 2023

Key West Food and Wine Fest JAN 2023

[25-JAN-2023 to 29-JAN-2023 Key West, FL US]

Where I am, it was snow all over the ground from weeks ago that has not melted. Iced over one morning and the bare branches of the trees and everything was coated with ice. Looked enchanting so I snapped a few pictures. Then to the airport. The plane was empty going out. Got to Key West on Wednesday night and visited with the wine and food fest group as they were finishing the dinner. Made my rounds quickly and said hello to everyone.

Thursday, went to Sloppy Joes as always. And of course took a pic just because I always do. Then off to the first Key West Food and Wine Fest dinner on Thursday night. Amazing as usual. Food, wine, really great. Chef gave a quick talk on the food and pairings (picture above).

Friday, I took a day off for the festivities and went to the Prime Steakhouse on Caroline Street. I ordered an entire bottle of Malbec so I can take the left over back to the hotel, in theory, of course…

Saturday was lunch at the fest. Each meal paired with wine of course. Great presentation. Great food and music. One of the wines (see pictures below) was approximately $270 per bottle (if you can find any, it actually goes for more). We got a taste of it 🙂 This link was working as of January 2023: Bressia Ultima Hoja Blend.

The last fest event I went to was Saturday afternoon at the wine tasting right by the Key West Light House. The lighthouse was open so I went in of course and took pictures. Then soon as I got out of the lighthouse a Boeing V-22 Osprey was flying overhead so I took a picture of it. I enlarged it and you can see faint detail – not bad for a phone camera…

I missed the Sunday brunch but it’s okay, I went from Key West to Miami and got onboard an American Airlines Boeing 787 in Business class from Miami to Dallas. The flight was too short! While the food was obviously not chef cooked nor on site; however, it was good, especially with drinks, of course.

See all the pictures by clicking on the picture or link below:

Key West Food and Wine Fest 2023

The Key West Food and Wine Fest is every year on the last weekend of January and you can get the information here. The program for each year is posted around October of each year at the Key West Food and Wine Fest official site.