Monday, November 15, 2010

Pale rider

No, that is not my nickname during the winter months.  I'm talking about Pale Ales, and IPAs, that kind of Pale.  I know this time of year I should be at the liquor store buying seasonal "fall/Autumn" style beers, but I just cannot quite my love affair for the hoppy hopped up Ales.  Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of the Porter, the Stout and of course the Amber Ale, and this time of year the Oktoberfest seasonal.

I just rode the fixie over to the liquor store and picked up Avery Brewing's IPA.  Avery is out of Boulder, Co and have been brewing what they call "eccentric ales and lagers that defy styles or categories" since 1993.  I don't know what it is about the craft beers that come out of Colorado, but there is something special about them, at least for me.  It might be the Northeast for you or the Northwest, but give me a good craft beer out of Colorado and I am a happy man.

Avery's IPA by the numbers:  6.5% ABV 69 IBU's  So for you that know what those mean, pat yourself on the back.  For the rest of us, it means that this beer has twice the alcohol that an Oklahoman beer has, and it is a fairly bitter beer.  The Bud Light drinker should change the channel at this point, if you made it this far.  This IPA has four varieties of hops Columbus, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial.  I believe, (correct me if I am wrong. to lazy to google this right now) that these varieties are all from the West and Northwest.  With the four hops going into this beer you will experience a very hoppy beer -go figure.  The flavors and aroma are very complex with citrus and floral overtones.  Even with the complexity of the hops, this beer is an exceptionally smooth beer, for an IPA mind you.

As the label on the bottle says "Our IPA demands to be poured into your favorite glass to truly appreciate the citrusy, floral bouquet..."  In a glass you notice the smell right off, a crisp sharp clean jab to the nostril, that changes once the IPA hits your tongue.  The hops come alive while you take a sip, and you are left with a subtle but not overly bitter finish.  This is a complicated beer that is masquerading as a simple "have a few" beer.  I had a nice pasta dinner with bologease sauce lots of garlic salt and some Parmesan cheese, and I could taste the differences that this beer has to offer.  It was three different beers, the before meal, during, and after dinner dessert.

Words are fun to play with when trying to describe something that needs no words to describe.  Take a drink and you will come up with your own opinion of Avery's IPA.  My opinion plus $4.00 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.  But a trip to your local liquor store and $8.00 will get you a six pack of one of my favorite IPAs.  I know it is not IPA season, but this pale rider is hooked on the Pale Ales.

Waiting, Wanting

Tomorrow will be week number 1 of my brewing experience.  I'm working real hard doing nothing.  I have one more week before I test the final gravity and go to bottle.  It has been killing me to wait not knowing how this is going to turn out.  I want it in the bottle ready to pop a cap.

I have decided to brew an IPA as soon as I bottle next week I will start the brewing process for my next batch.  Plus, if the first batch goes South I will have a back-up waiting in the wings.  I went to the Liquor store last night to get a sixer of Pale Ale and have some bottles to recycle for my beer.  I assumed all micro brews used non-twist off caps, yeah they don't, and I just so happened to get ones that twist off and I can't use them.

The beer was good, can't complain there.  Hood River, Oregon's own Full Sail Pale Ale.  It is a nicely hopped Pale with what drinks like an alcohol content on the lower side for Pale Ales.  Even though it clocks in at 5.4% it does not overwhelm the flavor.   It is not overly hopped, but just the right amount and a nice woodsy flavor, not on the minty or floral side.  Not that I don't like minty or floral.  I would say for a Pale Ale it is an uncomplicated straight forward double or triple hopped Ale, with a flavor that begs for you to enjoy more than one in a siting.  Bet you just can't have one.  So, all of this makes up for the fact that the bottles are twist off.

If you like Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, check out Full Sail and be prepared to add a new favorite to the "will buy again" list.  If for some reason you find that you cannot enjoy, let me know and I will send a disposal unit to your doorstep free of charge.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In the cave

Last week was the dreaded time change.  The only good thing about the change was that we got an extra hour of whatever you happen to be doing at the time, my hour just happened to be sleep.  The downside to the whole time change and this "wintertime" is the absence of light.  I'm talking about the Sun.  It comes up doesn't warm up much and then disappears before you know it.

This makes for a short time to do things outdoors.  By the time most of us get off work it is already dark, oh yeah, and that goes for you kiddos in school.  All day spent indoors while the sun is out.  What a waste.  The only thing to do is get bundled up charge the lights and hit the trail (the road is just too flippin' dangerous in the dark) or hop on the rollers or trainer.  Kill me now.

Our team started trainer sessions on Tuesday and what a suffer fest that is.  It just kills having to ride a bike that goes nowhere.  If it was not for the fitness gain, then what is the point?  You are taking a vehicle of freedom and shackling it immobile.  It is a perverted act that happens over and over again.  This does not make it right, it is WRONG.  Bikes were not meant to be caged animals, and the people who ride them are supposed to be free.

I guess to some extent "you gotta do what you gotta do".  I don't like it, I won't stand for it, and I will never condone indoor training.  It should be something that we do but do not talk about.  In cycling circles indoor training should be done, but only when absolutely necessary.  And...if you enjoy indoor training keep it to yourself you sick-o.  Trainers/rollers are wrong and you should never admit to using or owning them. 

See you at the next trainer session.