Friday, February 29, 2008


Finally I think I may have turned the corner on this dirty illness business. I went out intending to spin real easy around the neighborhood yesterday and ended up getting nearly 16 miles in 61 minutes. My lungs were still a bit underachieving but my legs were screaming for more. I Had to reel them in a couple of times. At one point an HP bike commuter timed the traffic light perfectly and drove past me as I got myself underway. I immediately had to remind myself not to give chase as I was trying to keep my Heart Rate under 150 and not do too much my first day out in nearly two weeks.
Today I snuck out of work a bit early and managed to fit in 93 minutes and added another 24 miles to February's meager total (221 miles). Felt good again and rewarded myself with a Franzenkaner when I got back. I also added a couple Avery IPA's and the world felt better than it had in weeks.
Tomorrow I plan to put in a slow two hours and hopefully at least 30 miles. Baby steps I have to remind myself......although June 1st seems likes it's sooooo close.
Part of my legs motivation is the fact that I've lost approx 25 pounds since January 1st. However, there is no time to sit back and enjoy that decent progress. Another 30 pounds still needs to be misplaced before our departure in Brookings. And that's 30 pounds that will become increasingly more difficult to shed. I can't wait.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Sucking continues

Not too much to report so far this week....after the visit to the doctor I have now concluded taking the five $150.00 dollar LEVAQUIN tablets and I am yet to feel nearly good enough to get back on the bike.
I did return to work today and despite thoughts otherwise...I managed to make it through the entire day which finally ended at 4:30pm.
With the weather clearing up I'm thinking so too perhaps will these weeks of persistent illness. I have never been so sick for so long. I am now approaching 10 days without a hop beverage of any type, which, it has been suggested is an illness in of itself. And off the bike for 8 days.
I'm setting my sights on March....the month of renewal....or so I hope. Spring time springs eternal or some such loopy cornball calendar quote I thought I read somewhere.
I a little 40 mile bicycle ride and a few double IPA's really that much to ask for?
I got my fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

This does suck's now official..from the doctor his-self...I got Bronchopneumonia. The 02-23-08 S.O.B.E.R. Group Barleywine event has been rescheduled (to an as yet unknown date) and I'm just not too happy about it. Nope...just not too happy at all.
This little bout with a bug also cost me my day watching the Tour of California in downtown Sacramento....not to mention untold number of miles in preperation for the Epic Redwood Ride that is scheduled to start June 1st.
No...this just isn't fitting my schedule what so ever.
Looks like I will also miss out on any kind of visit to 21st Amendment and Magnolia BIG BEER MONTH. Although I have to wonder why my favorite new beer from the Bistro's 8th annual Double IPA fest (21st Amendments "Hop Crisis?", in case you haven't read my previous entries) isn't a part of the official beer list.
Hopefully it isn't just a one-off deal..... which this illness damned well better be!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Over the years riding my bicycle on the paved roads of America I've had my fair share of odd ball occurances...but today's episode opens up a whole new chapter of weirdness.
It was nearing 5pm and I was traveling North on Fiddyment at about 17 mph when I noticed that the last car that passed me quickly swirved into the bike lane and was slowing to a stop. I looked back over my shoulder to see if there was a significant break in the traffic that would allow me to go around this new obstacle but due to the hour all I saw was an endless stream of vehicles. Dispite my irritation I was going to have to stop or stop and get up onto the sidewalk to get around this annoying car. After I stopped I noticed there was a lone elderly woman in the car and she seemed to be signaling me. Being the reasonably responsible individual that I am I thought she might be in distress so I moved up to her passenger side window to see what was up.
Welllll....apparently I had a sign on my back that said "Local Tour Guide" because the woman immediately explained that she forced me to stop because she was lost and wanted to find out how she could get to Lincoln.
Despite my amazement at her astonishingly arrogant, self serving and dangerous act I answered her questions and pointed her in the right direction. But apparently my directions weren't simple or clear enough for her and she chastised me for being vauge and demanded I tell her again.
Despite the fact that I know she must be someone's dear old grandmother...I told her exactly where to go.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The BISTRO'S 8th Annual Double IPA Festival

Saturday February 9th was a good day to die. Or at least once The Bistro's big time mega killer doozie of all IPA fests was in the books it would have been....and frankly I would have not even noticed. Ok, OK..that's about as dumb as those lines in the movies about "Waking up in the morning with my throat cut"...but you get the idea.
Fortunately Zack and I got a nice 2 hour ride around San Ramon completed prior to heading over to the Bistro so we were primed and thirsty. The event was in full swing by the time Terri, Zack, Oralia and I arrived which was just after noon thirty. We quickly paid the 25 dollar entrance fee and with our small fluted sample glasses in hand we dove into the hoppy fray.
This was the third time I had attended this event and I immediately recognized that it had grown a bit since my last visit three years ago. Literally grown out onto the street West of the bar proper. This new tent addition was a good thing, my three year lapse in attendance was mainly due to my shear inability to get to the beers on my last visit. Sardine packed beer sipping just isn't my favorite thing don't cha know.
And yes..this event is definately a beer sipping experience. No pints are poured during the event which runs from 11am to 8pm. Which considering the abv of most of these hop monsters is a pretty logical rule.
Anyway....I made my way outside and went straight for the Seabright brewing "DoubleWide"....why??..because it was on the end and easy to get to of course. Before I began my sampling I consulted the official event beer guide and noticed there were 34 beers listed. I also heard that there were some omissions and that the actual number was closer to 40.
It was at that moment that I realised I wasn't going to be able to do any personal judging in this cramped and crowded environment so I just decided I would keep track of the beers I the order I sampled them. And wing it when I got to this point.
My good Buddy Rick was fortunate enough to get an invite to be one of the official judges for the event so I figured he could fill me in later on what happened with all the ultra secret downstairs goings on...should there be anything of interest besides some massively overworked tastebuds. This is how it went.....
1. SeaBright "Double Wide" - solid but unremarkable.
2. 21st Amendment "Hop Crisis?" - Probably my favorite new beer of the day.
3. Green Flash "5th Aniversary Double IPA - Along the lines of the Imperial.....not a bad thing
4. Great Divide "Hercules Double IPA" - No recollection here
5. 21st Amendment "Hop Crisis? - Yep...already back again
6. Avery "Uber-Schwein Imperial Red" - I think this is the Hog Heaven incognito
7. Flying Dog "Double Dog" - This stuff won? Hard to believe. Too light in body.
8. Pizza Port "Hop 15" - Couldn't stay away from that for long
9. Russian River "Pliny the Younger" - see above
10. Valley Brewing "Uberhoppy" - Excellent beer from the Stockton brewery....surprised me
11. Schooners Grill "Alpha Avalanche" - Wow...Schooners nailed it. Nice.
12. 21st Amendment "Hop Crisis?" - Hey...the line was short!
13. Anderson Valley "20th Anniversary Imperial IPA" - Disappointing.
14. Firestone Walker "Union Jack" - Good brew from Paso Robles
15. Russian River "Pliny the Elder" - Had to have some
16. Pizza Port "Doheny Double IPA" - Was a lot better last time I was in San Clemente
17. Speakeasy "Double Daddy" - Solid beer...usually in my fridge
18. Mad River Brewing "Steelhead Double" - See above
19. Bear Republic "Racer X" - I 've always really liked this beer (Silver Metal winner)
20. Butte Creek "Revolution II Organic Imperial IPA" - Definately the best Organic I've tried
21. Drakes "Denoginizer" - uhhh what?
22. 21st Amendment "Double Trouble IPA" - Not nearly as tasty as the Crisis.
23. Jupiter "Quasar" - help me
24. Moylans "Hopsickle" - why? (Bronze Metal winner)
25. uhhhhhhhhhh.......time for a burrito yet?

'Only' 25 samples and yet Rick's breathalizer had a reading of .32 on it at one point. Or was that for Terri? Either way it was a grand time that ended with Super Burritos at La Imperial (how perfect is that name after a day of Imperial IPA's) just around the corner.
Fortunately Zack kept himself in check and was performing the designator driving duties due to the fact that he was signed up to race in the "Cherry Pie" crit in Napa the next day.
Naturally you should check out the pacificbrewnews site for addition Double IPA fest information and definately for Rick and Tracy's photo's.
Oh ya...who won the event? As of now the only info I have on that is Flying Dog "Double Dog" won the Gold Metal and Russian Rivers "Pliny the Younger" won the peoples choice award.
Incidently "The Younger" was not allowed to compete in the compitition due to it being billed as a "Triple IPA". Bogus politics if you ask me...but justice was served as Vinnie still took home the popular vote.

Thursday, February 7, 2008's a growler!

Got a call today while I was at work....from a couple of incorrigible suspicious types I know from Southern California. It seems these shady characters were off on a bit of a hop hunting mission of their own somewhere in the Newport Beach area. I'm led to believe they were actually in the bay itself waddling around in under-inflated flatulent-propelled bath tub kayaks undoubtedly playing battleship or staging short winded jousting runs using their paddles and yelling vulgar Hunter S. Thompson quotes at the top of their lungs.
Well...maybe CP and Ralph aren't quite that crazy anymore...but I imagine they had a good time floating around Newport Bay knowing that they would finish their day with a stop at the Newport Beach Brewing Company.
They reported that the beer was pretty good and they also managed to grab a couple of growlers before tying the kayaks back on to their vehicle and making the 100 mile trip back up to the cultural wasteland.
Ralph and I sampled NBBC's products last year at the Mammoth Mountain Bluesapalooza but amongst the talent of that beer fest I don't recall their beers making an impression. Which isn't neccessarily a knock on them.
We also met the owner of the place at Green Flash Brewing last year on a growler stop. He and I were wearing matching Russian River IPA shirts. I recall quizzing him about the possibility of whether his Mom had dressed him that morning as well.
Ralph says one of the growlers is for my growing collection here in Roseville but may or may not actually have any liquid left in it by the time it makes it up here for the annual Pacific Brew News/S.O.B.E.R Group Barlewine session on Saturday February 23rd. I'm certainly hoping it does, but the best part of the bargain is Ralph is driving my parents up here for the occasion. They also get to watch Zack race in Merced on Sunday before returning home.
Just gonna be another fine weekend here at the Soberment...looking forward to it.......just like I am that Newport Beach Hoppy beer......or growler....whichever the case may be.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Big Daddy's not a post about the fine IPA from Speakeasy... it's just a few comments about my Dad who has once again flirted with the bastards of doom and death and come away with another few, or hopefully plentyfew, days left on Gods Grey earth.
Frank Zappa may have coined the phrase of God's Gey Earth but it's my Dad Charles B. Lybarger who has looked fate in the eye and declared "Not until I'm ready" and dared to skate away into weeks and even years of existence beyond anything that any Doctor has ever dreamed him possible. 20 years ago they gave him four years to live. And so on and so forth up until this past year when four heart surgerys were labeled the maximum doable dose of carving any human could reasonably endure. Yet...he lives on.
In fact in three weeks we here at the SOBER Group will be hosting the third annual BarleyWine tasting/podcast for Pacific Brew News and my old man has made it a point to attend the proceedings.
Obviously I am hoping and even willing him to actual make the 430 mile journey north to join us in this years epic event. And even obviously more so in his attempt to look the grim reaper in the eye and say "fuck you bitch....not till I'm ready".
I don't care who ya are.........Ya gotta love that.
OK then...well..there's that......and good night.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Finally....Sierra Nevada's legendary Barleywine 'Big Foot' is available to us here in the Sacramento region. Darek and I were forced to cut short our usual Saturday bicycle ride by some really foul and rainy weather so we decided why not go in search of Big Foot instead.
Rick mentioned that he found the stuff in Phoenix last week whilst he was down there on a DRAFT magazine headquarters visit...and also read that you could get it in Oregon, Washington and even back East in someplaces. Obviously this was very annoying news for those of us that have been patiently awating the arrival of this otherworldly nectar.
We learned from a S.O.B.E.R. group member Friday that it could be found at the Local Beverages and More for $9.99 a sixer. High priced for other beers but seemingly typical for one of the worlds great Barleywines.
Well I'm here to tell you you want to skip that trap and go straight to Total Wines instead. Darek and I walked out of there with a case each and spent less than 33 bucks for it. That's right $7.49 a six pack!
I almost hesitate to report it but considering they had cases stacked in huge piles in several store locations I believe there's enough to go around.
They also had 12 packs of Sierra Nevada ESB in huge quantities.
I'm already thinking I need to go back and get another case...before they figure out what they're doing.... and also because I think I need one in the closet to open next year. And maybe in each and every closet I got in my house.

CP and Hop Hunter Down Time

No trip to the So-Cal desert is complete without some time visiting some of my favorite peoples...The Beardsley's of Oak Hills. The famous CP, Mealticket and their two bodachious offsprings daughter Jillian and Son John Paul George and Ringo.
Unfortunately on this trip we didn't get to hook up with Laurin (Mealticket) or the kids but were fortunate to spend a couple hours with David...or CP which he is more commonly known as around the likes of us.
CP is much celebrated far and wide as the coffee roasting guru of Oak Hills. His purple bags of 'Red Shoe Roasting' beans are coveted and horded around the Soberment like gold currancy. CP is known for many other attributes as well, but none moreso with me than his deep affection for all things hoppy. He is the first person I ever knew that appreciated a lot of hops in their ales and for that I am forever thankful to be witness to.
Being a big fan of Stone Brewing he has been pleased to find that in the past year their products, as well as other assorted hop drinks, have begun to become available in the High Desert area. Formerly known as the 'Cultural wasteland' for the lagging of proper beer in the region in the midst of the craft beer revolution, the desert now finally has a brewery of it's own....Oggies Pizza & Brewing Company in Apple Valley. Which is presisely where CP found us on the Sunday of our Desert visit.
Typically my luck precluded Oggies having any 'Hop Juice' on tap that particular day, but I did find their 'Torrey Pines' IPA to fit my requirements.
Considering that we still had several growlers of Auburn Ale House IPA and Sequoia products in the cooler at home we ventured there so as to minimize driving whilst feeling the effects of the hop beverages.
After a fine evening of my Mom's great cooking, the dusting off of nearly all the remaining hop supplies and more great time spent with friends and family we finally had to bid CP adu and we parted after trading fresh roasted coffee and a bottle of Port Brewing Hop 15.
When I got home late the next day I realized that CP had named his recent batch 'Hop Hunter Down Time' apparently in response to my latest nut case idea of getting into shape for our one week 500 mile bicycle ride in June.
And let me tell ya... just like all his special roasted blends .....that coffee just doesn't suck.
Thanks again where in the world did I leave that grinder.........


As I indicated in my last entry we had family matters to contend with in the Southern California High Desert ...OK, OK ...we needed to put Grandma's ash remains into the ground in San Pedro next to Grandpa's. He died way back in 1965 and has been patiently waiting for her to be put to rest next to him ever since. Although I'm not sure he'll ever have another minute of rest from now on.
But that was their wish ....and they are my yes, it matters.
Prior to that Monday responsibility we spent Saturday night and Sunday celebrating my father-in-laws 83rd birthday and sampling one of the finest gathering of hops I've ever had the good fortune to be a part of.
My good buddy Ralph, who lives in the area only a couple of miles away right between Terri and I's parents, has been enjoying the opening of Oggies Pizza & Brewing Company in nearby Apple Valley. He collected growlers of their double IPA 'Hop Juice' and their guest tap of Green Flash's renouned 'Imperial IPA'.
Also in attendance was my brother-in-law Jimbo who made the trip up from San Diego for the weekend to celebrate the birthday and the Hop gathering. He brought growlers of Alpine Brewings 'Nelson IPA' and 'Duet'; along with a few 22oz bottles of Port Brewing 'HOP 15'.
From the North I managed to bring down growlers of Russian River 'Pliny the Elder', Moylans 'Hopsickle', Auburn Ale House IPA and the growlers of Hop Fest and General Sherman IPA I picked up at Sequoia that morning. I also threw in a few bottles of Avery's 'Hog Heaven' and Mendocino Brewing 'Imperial'.
It was a great opportunity for me since I had yet to try either the Alpine 'Nelson' or Oggies 'Hop Juice'. In fact I have been reading about the Nelson since it's creation more than a year ago and have silently been clammering to get my hands on some ever since.
Just let me tell you right here.... it lived up and exceeded every expectaion I could even imagine having. Despite the 18% rye it's kinda pale golden straw in color and carries an aroma that just slaps you directly in the face and could literely wake the dead (sorry Grandma). It gets's it's name from it's primary Hop which is from New Zealand, the Nelson Sauvin. According to the Alpine website another Kiwi hop 'Southern Cross' is utilized as well. The Nelson is the high alpha ingredient while the Cross lends a more milder and earthy style European hop character.
The Hop Juice on the other hand was a bit of a disapointment sitting amongst that line-up of beers. But don't get me wrong, it is worthy of seeking out and I am fortunate to have a growler of it sitting in the back of my beer fridge as we speak. I just won't be asking it to stand up to my thrashed taste buds after pints of all the other beers I've mentioned here. It just wouldn't be fair.
What a pleasant evening it was indeed, Jimbo, Nona (Terri's sister), Ralph, Terri and myself sitting around the fire trading off pint fills and BS just rarely gets better than that. Zack also got in on the sampling although he spent most of the evening playing cards with his grandparents in the next room. It was what the birthday boy wanted...and yep...that mattered.