Friday, December 28, 2007

The Berkeley tour

On the Sunday prior to Xmas Terri and I made a quick trip in the Mini to visit a couple of hop places in Berkeley that we have somehow previously missed. Our first stop was Triple Rock which boasts of being the 5th oldest brewery in the US. It is housed in a typical old Berkeley style building with high ceilings and cool old ornate wood works. We tried a pint of the organic Pale Ale called 'Bug Juice' and a couple pints of the Ipax IPA. I thought the Bug Juice was a bit hoppier than a standard Pale but Terri found it mildly offensive and so I finished most of it. The Ipax was much more to both our liking and we enjoyed it's pleasant west coast IPA qualities that included a great floral aroma and a nice clean dry drinkabilitity. The server was a bit annoying and they didn't offer beer in growlers so we moved on down the road to look for Jupiter Brewing.
Since we needed the exercise and parking spots seemed to be a somewhat rare commodity in Berkeley we opted to walk the four blocks to Jupiter.
The sign on the wall looked a bit too trendy but once we entered the building we felt immediately at home in yet another high ceilinged Berkeley establishment. Jupiter Brewing also doesn't offer growlers, which is really too bad because their 'Quasar' double IPA is quite excellent. At 8.5 abv it just reeks of tomahawk and williamette hops (or so the menu told us). The building, staff and whole ambiance of the place is great. 12' ceilings, copper bar, heavy baroque Wall panels, outside beer garden, a dozen quest taps and 4 nitro stations make it a must visit in this part of the world. I even sampled an 'Old Speckled Hen' on nitro. Not bad for an otherwise boring English brew. We really didn't want to leave Jupiter but I was on a mission to find Bison Brewing which was only a couple miles away.
We found the sign on the building where it used to be but learned from the new Asian food establishment that now occupies the building that Bison moved to Chico a month ago. Hmmm...that actually sounds familiar somehow.
Since we were now on Telegraph Avenue there was only one thing to do...skip going to the Bears Lair and jump over to College avenue and visit Barclays Pub.
I learned one interesting fact at Jupiter that Triple Rock, Jupiter and The Bears Lair (which is on the grounds of the UC Berkeley campus) are all owned by the same group.
Amazingly we found a parking spot right across the street from Barclays and quickly went in for a pint of Russian River Pliny the Elder. Barclays is below street level just inside the Oakland City Limits and after a four year absence and I was glad to be back. Terri and I had a great conversation with the beer serving wench about uber hoppy beers and she rewarded our excellent conversation by only charging us for one pint.
Soon we were off again to meet Zack and Oralia for dinner at the Englander in San Leandro. The Englander seems to have about 10,000 taps of top quality beers from around the world in all the finest styles. We had a Pliny and a RR IPA with dinner while Zack and Oralia enjoyed a Franzenkaner or two.
The food and service were excellent but we were soon off to the Bev-mo in Pleasanton to do some last minute Xmas beer shopping. A hop hunter and his families work is just never done......

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday 12-16-07 XMas Cookies

We started the day with a nice French Toast breakfast that soon morphed into a cookie baking marathon. We made numerous dozens of sugar cookie cutouts (which Terri decorated on Monday) peanut butter kiss cookies and finally some double chocolate chip monsters.
The junk food construction took all day so naturally we needed libations that could get us through all the mixing, measuring, cutting, squeezing, dolloping, cleaning, baking and arranging.
At about 11am we started off with a bottle of Affligem Tripel that I had somehow avoided consuming the previous two weeks as it sat in my winter cooler garage. The Tripel, despite it's big beer reputation, seemed appropriate considering The Chiefs football day was rapidly heading down the tubes in yet another home defeat. Besides the Belgian's 8.5% abv promised to keep us warm on the chilly December morning. Terri insisted on a red after the "Belgian Burgundy" so we headed in that direction with a couple of North Coast Red Seals. After the Seals we naturally gravitated to the hop realm where we sample a couple of new brews that I'd just picked up. One was Mt Shasta Brewing's "Mountain High" IPA from Weed CA and the other was Butte Creek Brewing's Organic India Pale Ale. Both IPA's were excellent examples of what I might term early session IPA's. Pleasant hoppy nose, especially in the Shasta, nice medium body with just enough malt to carry the hops through to a pleasing finish. The Butte Creak also offered a nice hint of caramel going down.
Naturally as the day wore on the cookies were flowing from dollops to cooling board and the IPA's were flowing as well. Racer 5, Green Flash Imperial and a couple of 2007 Sierra Nevada Big Foots rounded out the day. Hopefully everyone will enjoy the cookie plates as much as we did making them. Well...I guess that's not really possible.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Just Thursday

Sometimes you almost just stay home and watch some TV or do whatever crap you might do....but sometimes you just know you gotta go...get something...go somewhere and be...well....kinda be somebody....perhaps just yourself.
Well Thursday is just that sort of a night and so...after work..we did.
Off to BJ's to enjoy the Sierra Nevada Celebration before it goes away for another year. Where lo and behold (I know I know that's a song from the Basement Tapes, but kinda fit) we run into our good buddies Rick and Tracy.
We had some dinner and it was a grand time, very pleasant and interesting people to hang out should be so lucky maynard.
Afterwards we bid ado and headed over to Vino's because...well...just because. Hell..because they still have Lagunitas Hop Stoopid and Avery Brewing Hog Heaven.
The only other peoples in the place was our good buddy Mike, the manager of Pyramid brewing in downtown Sacramento who happens to live in nearby Lincoln.
We shared a couple hoppy beers and then we were on our way. On our way with a couple of 22oz bottles of Thunderhead IPA and the promise of growlers of the morrow...thanks to Mike.
And tomorrow it's the annual company XMas party..and an opportunity to introduce some co-workers to extravagant and interesting beer indulgent behavior.....I can't wait. And yes indeed..they have no idea.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Redwood Ride

To Ride bicycles from Brookings Oregon to San Francisco California, following the coastal route as much as possible. Camping and sampling the local beers from the breweries scattered along the way. Approximately 450 miles in 6 days of riding.
WHEN: The last week of May or the first week of June 2008.
WHO: 5 to 6 relatives and/or friends of The Hop Hunter. Including at least one person in support... driving and pulling a 25' travel trailer. Riders to include a LLLab Electrical Engineer/CAT2 racer, a NASCAR/SONOCO Fuel executive, one Terminix Regional Manager/Triathlete, a True Value Hardware Store Owner, a Ford master Mechanic and the Hop Hunter himself.
WHY: Because we can. Because it's epic. Because it is worthy and fun. It is also the 25th anniversary of The Hop Hunter and James initial cycling adventure that started in Crescent City and ended in Bodega Bay in 1983.
Stay tuned for updates on date revisions, rider changes and optional routes and climbs.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Early Sunday afternoon it quickly became obvious that our football team was in for yet another long day (and No it isn't the SF 40whiners or Oakland Faders) so we decided to take the short drive to Folsom to check out some new Beer place that was opening up. I recalled from one of Ricks email's earlier in the week that it was on East Bidwell so we showered up after our ride and headed that way in the Mini Cooper.
After driving up and down the area of Bidwell looking for where I thought Manderes was I received a very timely phone call from Mark The Beer Geek who was wondering where I might be on that nice Sunday Afternoon. I explained that I was having trouble finding the new beer place so he accessed his vast beer information network hooked me up with the address and we immediately u-turned right back to it. Turns out the Beer Geek was headed to the Auburn Ale House for some of Brian's tasty treats. If we weren't on the mission to find the new place we may well have joined him in Auburn.
On our drive to Manderes I told Terri "I sure wouldn't be surprised to see Rick and Tracy here today" and as we walked in the door Tracy's huge smile indicated that indeed they were in the house.
I spent the first 10 minutes or so trying to observe, ingest and catalogue all the beer taps and bottles on the shelves behind the bar but the task was fairly overwhelming. My first thought was that somebody affiliated with this place sure does have some clues about beer. It seemed that there were beers of most every type and generally speaking the selection that they stocked was typically a very good example of that style. I mean...they had Old Rasputin on tap for crying out loud. The last time I saw that I was in Fort Bragg at the North Coast brewery.
There were also a lot of Belgians as well as selections from quite a few countries including Italy, France, England , Germany and of course Ireland, Scotland and Canada. The beer menu is impressive. I highly recommend going to the Pacific Brew News Blog to see Rick's photo's and for a more in depth report. He and Tracy also tried a couple of their menu items.
I did manage to reset my trip meter before I left that house and discovered that Manderes is less than 15 miles from my home. This might be too dangerously close...too close indeed. I'm afraid some return trips will be in order fairly soon.
Afterwards, on the trip home, we made a stop at the Sacramento Brewings Oasis off Madison Avenue for some of their revamped IPA and Barleywine. Just a couple more beers that just don't suck.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

AleSmith IPA/Ballast Point Dorado Double

On December 1st (the day of the Seasonal Tasting event) Brian Ford donated a couple of 22oz beers that he'd picked up on a trip South for his annual Thanksgiving weekend dirt-bike get away. We never came close to getting to them that day so Terri and I decided to heed the Beer Geeks ways and do our own little head-to-head tasting comparison.
The beers were Alesmith IPA and Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA. Typically we wouldn't necessarily match up a double against (against doesn't really seem the correct word either) a single IPA but in this case we wanted to try them both so we went for it. I have had the Dorado on one previous occasion, that being the Mammoth Mountain Bluesapalooza in August, and I wasn't that impressed. I also realize that that was a day literally over flowing with hoppy beers and it may have suffered my undeniable palate fatigue.
I have also read accounts of the Alesmith and it sounded like it could hold it's own.
Upon open opening the Alesmith IPA it's obvious grand hop-ness came roaring out with a flourish that only a great West Coast, or San Diego style as some prefer, IPA can offer. This IPA met all the style guidelines and then some, the pale gold appearance, solid mouth feel, big citrus flavor backed by a tongue teasing hop bitterness that we all love so well. Terri was smitten as well and compared it to the Green Flash West Coast IPA because of it's pepperiness and drinkability. The Alesmith showed big signs of it's bottle conditioning with major bottom floaters obvious even in the stark dark bottle packaging.
Initially the Ballast Point Dorado satisfied with it's typical double IPA sweetness but by the time we'd finished the bottle we were both looking at each other and pondering several oddities. For me the aroma had slight vegetal notes that distracted me while the grain bills overwhelming caramel aftertaste left me less than thrilled. Terri reported no detectable aroma and a touch of Cinnamon in the aftertaste. She also said "Both these beers are great" so her objections were very minor.
I overwhelmingly preferred the Alesmith in this comparison, which is not to say I disliked the Ballast Point offering. Given the opportunity to try the Dorado again I would most likely do so and if I found it in my local beer store I buy a bottle. As a double it doesn't really measure up to the standard of the industry Pliny the Elder....but then...what does?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Pair this

As I mentioned in my previous entry I'm not real knowledgeable about all the possibilities when it comes to food and beer pairings...which is not to say I'm completely in the dark and lack any experience in that theatre. I have a couple or actually three items that might be of interest that I have come up with and really enjoy at certain times.
I actually like nothing better than to season up some nice chicken breasts with some chipotle and BBQ them. I usually cut the trimmed up fowl into midsized manageable finger food sizes and literally drench them in chipotle. The easiest way is to just put them in a bag shake-n-bake style to get a really nice caked over solid coating. After you pull them off the grill arrange them on a platter and then liberally grade extra sharp cheddar cheese all over them and then cover them for about 5 minutes. Just enough time to let them rest slightly and for the cheese to melt. After that you'll need at least a big hoppy San Diego Style IPA , Imperial IPA or an Imperial Red to wash the down with. The hops, heat and the sharp cheese are like heaven together. For those that don't quite like that level of heat I suggest keeping some sour cream or sugar handy for quelling that fire. The IPA just isn't going to do that for you.
Another great pairing is more of a brunch or early afternoon treat. I often like to start any drinking day with a good authentic Bavarian Hefeweizen like Franzenkaner, Hof, Weihenstephaner or even the locally brewed Sacramento Hefeweizen and freshly baked soft oatmeal cookies. With or without raisins. I know, I know...sounds crazy, but I suggest you try it might be pleasantly surprised. final beer/desert of the night can quite top an Imperial Stout float. Just make the traditional Root Beer float and substitute a nice stout for the Root Beer and enjoy. Sweet, dry or milk stouts work fine too but naturally I like the big bold flavors of the motor oil monsters.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Seasonal tasting

The S.O.B.E.R Groups 3rd annual Seasonal Beer tasting event is now in the books. As usual a splendid time was had by all. If you want to see a detailed account of all the beers that were sampled and the voting for the years "Best of Show" and the winning brew I suggest going to pacific brew news for Ricks report. I know it will be more accurate and inclusive an account than I can deliver.
We were missing a couple of group members, although there is no actual list of people in the group, any sign up mumbo-jumbo or fees, we did have a couple new participants that enhanced the proceedings. Brian Ford, owner/brewer extraordinaire of Auburn Ale House , my new neighbor "Bob" as well as another one of Lisa's friends "Amy" who was also at the Thanksgiving gathering the Saturday prior. Amy did a good job helping Mark, The Beer Geek, with the blind pour and cellering duties. Jay Page, a highly decorated home wine maker and significant friend of Beermann's was also in the house.
Wild West Radio's owner/creator, general manager, on-air personality and chief bottle washer Jeff Scammon also participated as did Jose Alverado who as usual brightened the event with his warmth and beer enthusiasm. My son Cody and Breann, his wife of seven months, also made a late appearance as did Jay's wife Linda. And naturally Rick, Tracy, Mark the Beer Geek, Myself and Terri were also present.
I made a pot of chili the week prior to Thanksgiving and froze a portion of it to specifically save for this event. It wasn't a particularly spicy/hot version but I think it, along with breads and cheeses (thanks Jose), blended pretty well to the spiciness and complex natures of most of the winter brews that were on the menu. My knowledge in the nationwide growing interest in beer/food parings is woefully under developed but is something that will hopefully be expanded upon in the years to come.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cold Cycling

Well winter is surely here when the shoe covers, arm warmers, gloves and wind jackets come out of the ole kit bag and bicycling becomes a bit more of a winter sport than anyone desires. There is actually nothing better than a unseasonably mild and calm winter day to stretch out some miles, but those are the days you enjoy but never remember years later. The days where over heating is never a problem and the layering system works wonders.
It's more likely you'll recall the briskly brutal wind blowing rainy days that leave your feet feeling like solid blocks of ice and your nose running like you just finished a two week cocaine binge in the middle of a hay fever lab experiment.
Any even semi-dedicated cyclist knows exactly what I'm talking about.
And low and behold that season is upon what the hell.....grab hold of it with gusto, try to avoid driving headlong through any swirling fallen leaf water spouts and above all watch out for slimy piles of wet leaves. You don't want to do an Omar.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Soccer? Oh please......

Yes, I am the typical crass American that just doesn't get Soccer at any level. I've tried to watch it. Really I have. I've even pretended to be 'politically correct' and put up with, and maybe even join in some World Cup banter and discussions when that special year comes around.
But I just have to face it...I much prefer going to web sites like and reading about how truly insignificant and un-American soccer really is.
The quotes are hilarious and right on the money.
No one that actually likes the activity, and no I don't even think of it as a sport, will read the comments and it's too bad...there is some funny stuff on there.

I say just leave it for the communists and third world countries that are unfortunately unable to afford anything more than a dust plot of ground, a ball and a makeshift goal to punch it through. I mean who thought it up "Hey lets play a game and not use our hands"

This attitude will naturally leave people dismissing me as just another ignorant American, but I'm not (well about this anyway) I've checked it out over an extended period of time, I've tried it...It sucks, it's boring, it's as much fun as watching a copier jam. Even Jim Rome gets this one right.
People actually KILL each other over the outcome of matches. Can you imagine? Not even Yankee or Cowboy fans are that ignorant and rabid.
For all those that love it and consider it some sort of huge do-or-die National or Internatural cultural icon that signifies the greatness of ones country.......I am sad for you, just sad. How did you ever get this crap into your head?
With all the great sports we have in America why oh why do people waste their time on such drivel.
And why do I waste my time writing about it?
Because..I'm a cycling fan and what could be more un-American than that?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cream isn't Clapton's Back up band

I recently was loaned a copy of Eric Clapton's autobiography, which as of this morning I have finished reading. As several of my friends, and some acquaintances, over the years have come to know I have always been a ardent Cream fan yet not really that big a fan of Clapton in particular.
Sure sure, he's a truly great guitarist and has dwarfed Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in record sales and popularity since their breakup in 1968 but the guy just annoys me. Or rather more precisely his FANS have always really annoyed me and I'm afraid I have always layed the blame on poor ole Eric's doorstep.
In fact the very person that was kind enough to loan me Clapton's Autobiography was overheard telling her 7 year-old child something to the effect of "Oh listen to this song dear...It's Eric Clapton singing White Room". every knowledgeable Cream fan knows..that's Jack Bruce singing that particular song, and most of Creams songs for that matter. Jack and his lyricist collaborator Pete Brown also wrote the tune. A tune that Eric often plays live in his concerts to this day. And good for him, it's a fine tune and he does it pretty well even without Jack's superior vocal range.
So there I go again I guess, lobbying for all three of Creams members to be recognized equally rather than the ridiculous notion that Jack and Ginger were just Eric's sidemen. Clapton's book...he'll tell ya...he was virtually intimidated by the skills of his band mates and reached musical heights in that band that he never again achieved.
So ole Eric ain't really such a bad chap...even if he did steal George Harrison's wife Patty (Boyd). But then she has her own book out now as well and you can read all about it from her angle. I did, thanks to Terri's thoughtfulness on my birthday, but frankly I'd rather just go put on my old LP of Disraeli Gears and listen to that at maximum volume.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

An evening in Roseville

Too hazy, lazy and tired to make the hour and a half drive down to San ramon to pick up our BBQ and visit our youngest son and his fabulous bride Oralia we decided perhaps we should stave off couch potatoism and venture forth to finally sample the new IPA at the Roseville version of J's brewing company.
And as DRAFT beer magizine's newest editor type person told me last week.....this beer doesn't suck!!
Also on the menu was Sierra Nevada's "Harvest Ale". Mannnnnn oh man I continue to love this beer. I have ran into it now in three seperate locations and everytime it just ROCKS!
We also managed a short visit to Vino's, and despite the fact that Sean and Toby are now history...they still were able to provise us with pints of HOPSTOPID and Avery's HOG HEAVEN!!
We also grabbed a few bottles of specials to help stock up the Saturday Thanksgiving event. I heard it was gonna be "Beyond Epic" this year...I hope that's true....
Ohh..oh oh I remenber now....there is a hilaroius story from BJ's that I need Terri to help me with. Perhaps next time...because ...naturally...she nodded off.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Next stop... Thanksgiving

Every year here at the Soberment we host a Thanksgiving type food and drink fest gathering for family and friends on the Saturday after the traditional Thursday. We've been doing it now for the past 5 years and it is growing and growing. We have a humble and rather smallish three bedroom/2 bath abode that simply bursts at the seams on that festive occasion. It spills into the garage and onto the back patio and if the weather is nice (it usually is) even into the front yard. We roast one turkey in the BBQ on the back patio and another in the oven. We also do a ham and Ralph tells me this year he's coming up and bringing a massive side of beef and a BBQ/smoker to cook it in.
But as usual there is also a large focus on the Beer.
I am in the process of trying to talk (begging) Brian Ford of Auburn Ale House fame to pull me off a 5 gallon cylinder of his great "Isotope Pale Ale ,weapons Grade IPA" for the occasion. We are also still hording our left over supplies of and Alpine products from our trip South for the surprise party last week and have managed to hold on to some Russian River growlers as well. Oddly we also have a growler of Jack Russell Brewing IPA in my fridge who's origin I'm still wondering about. (Terri knows I'm guessing)
I also hear that Sacramento Brewing is releasing it's fabulous Imperial Red on 11-16-07 at the Oasis Site in Citrus Heights.
And who knows what goodies some of the guests will bring. Did I mention that my good buddy Rick plans to brew that day as well???? Got himself a new beer sculpture I hear

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Surprise, Surprise Surprise

Well...Ralph was definitely surprised and fine time was had by far as I know anyway.
Jimbo showed up with some Alpine "Duet" which is just one of the finest IPA's I've ever known. The first time we came across it a couple years ago on one of our Alpine safari's they had it listed on the Brewers board as being a Pale Ale with 5.6% alcohol. Naturally we bought copious amounts due to it's outstanding hop aroma and fine balanced drinkability. Thinking of course that if we can find this nice a beer that was that low in alcohol.......well... turns out either we can't read or the fine folks at Alpine just made an error that time and it's really closer to 7% ABV than we'd hoped. Nonetheless it is a rare and wondrous day when you can get your mitts around a pint of....or three of it.
Fortunately Jimbo also brought along some Pure Hoppiness, which at times, for me anyway, seems the only beer even in the same class as Vinnies "Pliny the Elder". He also made a last minute stop at Green Flash for some West Coast IPA and Imperial. We can get both beers up here at the local Nugget Markets and/or BevMo but the glower product always seems a bit of a step above.
At the surprise party Ralph, Jimbo, CP, Terri and I shared our growlers of Sacramento IPA, "Auburn Ale House 'Isotope Pale Ale" West Coast IPA, Pliny the Elder, Duet, Pure Hoppiness and a Lagunitas Hop Stoopid with the other party revelers, but there were but a few sippers and even fewer takers of the fine assortment of California Hop products.
The next evening Ralph, Terri and I made short work of a Blind Pig, Pliny, a Moylans Hopsickle and a rare growler of Avery Brewing Hog Heaven Barleywine.
On the way North on Monday Terri and I stopped at Sequoia Brewing in Fresno and had lunch. They had a really nice seasonal Hefeweizen and a 8% Dopplebock. I had hoped for the Log Splitter or the Buzz Saw but my luck was poor.
We also noticed that they have changed the name of their IPA from "Mineral King IPA" to "General Sherman IPA". When I asked our wisp of a bartenderess about the change she muttered something about "New investors wanting it changed". Fortunately they hadn't altered the recipe as far as we could see and we opted to bring home a growler full of it. Naturally I had my Sequoia growler stashed in the trunk of the Crown Vic for just such an occasion.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hop Inventory

Ralph, who has been a good friend of mine since before I can hardly remember, turned 50 years old on Tuesday November 6th. His wife Penny decided that he needed to be surprised about it ... so she organized a party on the Saturday following the actual big day and invited dozens of his friends and acquaintances.
Since learning about the party a couple weeks ago I have been diligently collecting beers that I know the quest of honor will be happy to enjoy that evening.
Here is the list of Growlers I have accumulated so far.

Sacramento Brewing - India Pale Ale
Auburn Ale House - Isotope Pale Ale (Weapons Grade IPA) (2 growlers)
Russian River Brewing - Blind Pig (2 growlers)
Russian River Brewing - Pliny the Elder (6 growlers)
Moylans Brewing - Hopsickle
Lagunitas Brewing - Hop Stoopid
Avery Brewing - Hog Heaven

The surprise party is being held in my old home town of Hesperia, which is still Ralph's home town despite the fact that he has totally bought into the reality that my nickname for the place "The cultural Wasteland" is indeed quite apt. Unfortunately for me and Terri Hesperia is 437 miles from Roseville. But since my parents, and Terri's, still live in the town the trip is always worth the effort

We'll leave Saturday morning early and be there in time for a late lunch with David and Lauren in Oak hills. I would call them by their real names of CP and Meal-Ticket but that might lend some to believe this is a less than totally factual account.
The crux of the biscuit, so to speak, is that my caustically clever brother-in-law Jimbo has also been collecting a fine array of beers in his home town of San Diego. He planned to visit Alpine Brewing, Coronado Brewing and Green Flash before heading up to the desert for the planned event. Stay tuned for the report when I get back . . . I'm looking forward to it myself!
As I recall Sequoia Brewing in Fresno and Lengthwise in Bakersfield are pretty much right along our return route as well...hmmmmm

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Isotope Pale Ale "Weapons Grade IPA"

A nice evening was spent on the patio of the Auburn Ale House sampling Brians latest creation...The IsotopsePale Ale.
It was an exceptional day in the life of a dedicated Hop Hunter ......a perfect, yet somewhat chilly post daylight-savings-time evening spent in the company of great friends knocking back the latest version of Brians brewing genius.
Essentually the Isotope is a well balanced IPA+ with a killer aroma, a great mouthfeel and a finish that just makes you imediately pour another one.
Which we did, along with bringing a couple of growlers know...just in case.
If you find yourself in the Auburn area anytime soon steer clear of the AAH and avoid at all cost the Isotope Pale Ale.........I really need as much of that nectar as possible for myself!


Since I'm in the process of changing Terri's Trex from a 11-34 to a 11-28 I figured I better get some advice on whether or not to shorten the chain. I contacted Sheldon Brown at and he told me one should always replace the chain at the same time. Seems like sound advice but since this chain doesn't have many miles on it..........
I also asked Calvin Jones at and he said it was no big deal, however if the chain was originally the correct length removing 2 links should make it shift better. I'm all for that. Two links it is. I guess I can go for the new chain if/when I screw it up.
Sheldon recommends I purchase a SRAM PC-951 from his company
Man, I sure hope my new Dura-Ace, CXP-33 Black Rear 700c comes pretty soon from I'm in need of a ride...or 10.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Well...nothing like a good flogging to get the soul in line........
"Oh...what?'s called Blogging?...uuhhhh nevermind. we go with some flogging of the English (or is that American?) language in the hopes of hops, or at least of the hope of passing on some interesting information about my personal quest for all things hoppy.
My goal here is to keep a bit of a record on my wife and I's hop travels and latest finds no matter where that might take us. Breweries, stores, festivals or back alley entrances of mad scientist home brewers.
There is likely to be some cycling and music related blathering as well...I won't be able to help myself there.
Hope it works out....but mainly I hope it Hops out.