Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blend Me

For a couple years now I have been blending beers together and have generally really enjoyed what has been produced. For me it all kinda started with the Speakeasy beers Big Daddy IPA and the now readily available Double Daddy.

Tonight I decided to introduce a Double Daddy into a glass already half filled with Avery Brewing's India Pale Ale. It was really a no brainer and I would have been shocked if it wasn't really good. Of course I wasn't shocked and I'm currently on my second one.

I really like the mix of a double IPA with a suitable single IPA for the balance it creates. Typically the doubles have that added sweetness that can be a bit overbearing at times and the mix always seems to smooth all of that out. Plus (naturally) the added BU's from the double mesh so well with the single it just all good. An IPA and a half if you will. Or IPA+ ..or sure it even really needs a handle.....and despite the photo.....just a proper glass will do.
I'm usually careful to blend beers of a very similar style but in the future who knows...maybe a little adventure is in store and I'll go for a blend that may not seem such a natural on the first look.
Anyway... I believe that experimentation is almost always a worthy may not always work out but it's usually pretty entertaining to give er a go and see what develops.
It seems more and more brewers are on to blending as well.

Oh ya...I recently read that Bear Republic is has developed a Racer 5/Red Rocket Ale blend called 'SuperFreak'. That is definitely on my list of things to hopefully try soon.

And like one of my friends noted yesterday during one of the quieter moments in our 60 mile bike ride....wines have been blended why not beer? I agree and I personally think it is the wave of the future. I just love those Surf metaphors.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And he's off...

Well....Rick is anyway...that dapper Pacific Brew News/DRAFT magazine Beer director stopped by my humble abode this evening to get fitted up with a few growlers for his greatly over due trip to the Beer paradise that is San Diego. It was all I could do to watch him drive away with some of my favorite growlers..... but without me! Man... working for a living just sucks. And yes,,,that's Rick checking out the hatch of my Mini Cooper at the 2006 Oregon Brewers Festival

He'll be all set for visits to Alpine Brewing, San Diego Brewing ,Green Flash, and Pizza Port. I know he has several other stops in mind as well as some other sorta official duties that will also take him to the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo.

I fully suspect he'll also find his way to Obriens which refers to itself as the hoppiest place on earth. And now that the Liars club has moved to Alpine I could imagine him stopping in there to check out the new facility. Wait a long is gonna be down there? Oh ya...just a few days...until Saturday I think. I guess he'll need to travel down there again soon to even scratch the surface of all the great beer places to visit.

If I know Rick he's got his own list of other stops that will likely include Ale Houses, Pubs, Eateries as well as bottle shops and liquor outlets. He is a man that will seek out and find different and interesting beers where ever they might be.

And I see San Diego Brewing has the Hopnotic IPA featured on their web site as their beer of the month. Hmmmmm.

But of course the new Kriek and Exponential Hoppiness coming out at Alpine on the 16th is cause for major celebration.

So ya....looking forward to Rick returning with some Hoppy Southern Cal treats...and stories of all his good times. Check out the blog on the Pacific Brew News site for his reports...they never fail to include lots of interesting facts, observations, news and good beer information.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ya sure..I'm here..sorta

Obviously I have little to say lately. Just bikin along getting ready for the Epic Redwood Ride and pondering some drives down South to visit my Dad. He's pretty much the nitro man now and just hanging on to life for us all.
This whole death thing hangs kinda heavy on me and I don't really deal with it all that well. It just seems so final and done. I know CP and Ralph have a much different perspective of it all but the reality of it all is ....well...I just don't.
Ever since my Grandfather unexpectedly died in 1965 (he was younger than I am now) the whole death deal has been unfathomable, mysterious and epically painful for me.
So ya.. I guess I gotta get with the reality program and take it like a man and all that BS...but still it's just not coming easy. Face up to it I weakly remind myself.
After all these many years of hardly getting along we're finally kinda on the same page and dammed if he ain't about to cash it all in. But then I know that has also been a motivating factor to our samepageness.
The finality of it all just reeks. Wish I coulda...woulda...things to say....blah blah fuckin blah
Oh well...that's just humans for ya.....Finally once in a while they (me) might miraculously figure something out when it's virtually too late.
Like the Frank Zappa song 'Dumb all Over'
or Canned Heats 'Human Condition'
I guess life is just a song....or just a beast...or as I prefer to think of it is what it is and it's all it ever shall be.
Man.....I hope there's a beer in my fridge strong enough to offset this BS.......
Although obviously at this point all these friggin beers I've already consummed haven't been enough to offset my usual writing, and life......deficiencies.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


No trip down to our old Hesperia stomping grounds in the Mojave Desert is complete without at least one completely windblown day; and this last trip we got a couple of them. But first a little traveling explanation.

Terri and I picked up Oralia in San Ramon at about noon:30 Thursday March 27th and arrived in Hesperia at approximately 11pm. Zack, Dan and Kevin had to work and were delayed getting out of town until nearly 5pm. They all were scheduled to open up the San Dimas Stage Race on Friday with a Time Trial that rolled out Cat3's and Cat2's mid-day.

The bike racers were driving hard straight through down Interstate 5 while the three of us were meandeering across California on several highways because of a required stop in Fresno at Sequoia brewing. Due to several of Zack's races in the area recently Oralia is becoming quite a regular in the Tower District wateringhole and I think she may even be thinking of joining the Pint Club! We filled a couple growlers with IPA and their wonderful pale Ale.
We had all our bikes mounted to Darek's deluxe bike rack which was itself securely attached to Terri's cop car Crown Vic 's receiver hitch. We planned to ride during our four day stay in the cultural wasteland.
Our plan was to ride early in the day and get done in time to attend Zack and Kevins CAT2 races as well as Dan's CAT3 heats; most of which were scheduled at roughly 1pm each day.

Friday morning Terri, Oralia and I made it out by 9am and did a nice 15 mile loop that included nearly 600' of climbing. The girls were cussing me at the time on the hills but by the time we were done they really enjoyed the fact that they pulled through it all pretty well. After eating lunch I went out again and rode to Oggies Brewery in Apple Valley. What a nice day.

Saturday we made it out on time again despite the fact that the Oggies Brewing, Sequoia Brewing and Russian River Brewing products were flowing freely in nice accompaniment to my Moms Friday night gringo taco feed.
This time virtual family member and great friend Ralph joined us on his "Too small for his beer proportioned 6'6" body" Raleigh aluminum framed road bike. To be fair Ralph hasn't ridden in some time and so the plan was to take it as easy on him as his ample ego would allow. But despite our well intentioned plans the local winds had other ideas. By 9am the winds out of the South were all wickin along at what seemed to be in the 15-20mph range.
We all managed to clock 10+ miles that included a brutal slog home into a beast of a head wind on an exposed 1% grade for 3 miles. It wouldn't seem like too much to the seasoned racers we had in the house but to Terri, Oralia and especially Ralph it was a daunting task. They all pushed on through it without so much as a single complaint and frankly I was quite proud of them.

On Sunday it was a whole new ball game. The winds continued to grow in intensity with gusts that the news reported as being in the 40mph range. Terri and Oralia were not interested in riding in those severe wind conditions and frankly I didn't blame them. Ralph and I on the other hand are just a couple old fools dumb enough to give her a go. Especially since Oggies Brewing in Apple Valley is located almost purely downhill and downwind from our starting spot. Mercy.

The very first challenge Ralph and I faced was a 20+% downhill that I went 40+mph on at the start of my solo Friday afternoon ride. I figured there would be a big cross wind about half way down so I kept my speed in check and all the paramedics in Hesperia were glad I did. A gust nearly cleaned me off the bike completely and blew me four feet across the road. Ralph took quick note of it and slowed his speed as well. After that sphincter testing jolt we more carefully picked our way across the old potato lands of the mesa and decided to cross the Mojave river on Rock Springs Road. The generous looking riding shoulder turned out to a hellishly grooved tire shredding mess so we were forced to ride the edge of the well traveled road instead. Just about that time we noticed that the wind was picking up the grit off of the river bed and sandblasting everything that passed that way. Ralph had it in his ears and I swear I was still noticing granules 2 days later sifting around the inside of my helmet. Yes indeed...this was the life...livin the dream. Ultimately of course we made into the Jess Ranch area where we met Terri, loaded the bikes onto the car rack and might have slipped into Oggies for a pitcher or three of Green Flash Imperial.
So's one of my old favorite sayings but it's so spot on. The wind doesn't sucks!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


On our return trip from the desert on Monday April Fools Day Eve we made our way East off Highway 99 a few miles and found Brewbakers in downtown Visalia.
The brewery is housed in a really cool old building that used to have ridiculously high ceilings that have wisely been turned into space for fermentors and a beer garden/patio. As you walk in the front door you are warmly greeted by the copper and stainless steel brewing equipment that immediately lets you know you are in the right place.
It was early in the afternoon when we arrived so the bar was uncrowded and we found a nice spot at the bar nearest the bronze tap handles. Having already visited their website I knew they didn't have their IPA on..... but the Pale Ale was a fresh batch and I really wanted to try their Sequoia Red which they refer to as their flagship beer.
The Pale Ale was quite drinkable and so we ordered a pitcher. Very clean, reasonably hoppy and just a fine session beer. The Red on the other hand was quite annoying...since they ran out of it an hour before we arrived. Yep..that's right....I missed it by an hour.
Steve the bartender felt my pain and fed me a couple of samples of their Schwarzbier to try to keep me from crying. The Black German Lager was solid but I really yearned for the subtle hoppiness and roasted malt backbone that I figured their Red likely possessed. A couple of the regulars wandered through while we were eating our Reuben and French dip lunch and they all groaned at the loss of their favorite local libation.
The rest of their beer menu was filled with Apple, Apple Raspberry and a Honey Wheat. I guess I should have sampled them but just didn't. Not really typical Hop Hunter fare although considering the top quality of their Pale Ale and Schwartz it wouldn't surprise me if they were highly drinkable for those that enjoy those sort of .......a......light summer beers.
We took a growler of the Pale Ale home.
Glad we stopped...