Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Countdown List

It's the end of the year, time for countdown lists.

There's been an overwhelming demand that I compile all PQs for the year...ok, 2 people asked for it, which for this blog that constitutes heavy demand.  And besides, the Internet needs another 2008 countdown, or in this case, a count-up list.

Beers are rank-ordered by PQ.  Draft beers, NAs, and F'd up beers (Sparks Energy and Bud/Clamato) are not included.  

1.   Sam Adams Winter A 47.2
2.   SA Holiday Porter A 47.2
3.   Sierra Nevada Anniversary A 46.2
4.   SA Old Fezziwig A- 43.6
5.   Leffe Blonde A 43
6.   King in a Can B 41.5
7.   SA Cranberry Lambic B- 38.7
8.   GB Czech Pilsner A 36.4
9.   Bud American Ale A- 32.1
10.  Deschutes Jubelale A 32
11.  Maui Bikini Blonde A- 26.7
12.  Ayinger Celebrator A+ 21.3
13.  Stonemill Organic C- 16.8
14.  Sam Smith’s Winter A 15.9
15.  John Barleycorn B+ 13.3
16.  Hoffbrau Weisse B+ 13
17.  3 Philosophers A 12
18.  Brewdog Punk IPA A- 9.2
19.  Koshihikari Echigo C+ 9.1
20.  Augustijn Ale B 8.4
Deschutes Inversion IPA A- Unknown
Wild Blue D+ Unknown

After compiling this list, I realized that I need to get down to Costco and pick-up their winter sampler pack...clearly the best value using the PQ system.

Augustijn Ale

A decent Belgian Tripel. The only negative thing I can say is that this one seemed overly-carbonated, masking the taste to a degree...once I let it settle, got a good apricotish taste. Although a high alcohol beer at 8%, it did not have a strong alcohol taste. Grade=B...carbonation knocks it down from an A-. PQ=8.4

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

John Barleycorn

I haven't sampled too many Barleywines. I've tried a few at brewpubs, and have had SN's barleywine offering. So, it's hard for me to compare anything with Mad River's John Barleycorn Barley Wine Style Ale. I enjoyed the John Barleycorn ale. It's strong stuff, with a pronounced alcohol taste...hard to mask the 9.5% abv. Tasted some dark fruits in was malty. It's a B+, at $2.99/ 12 oz bottle, PQ=13.3. However, with an alcohol content double that of your average beer, it's the equivalent of drinking, this one has an adjusted PQ=26.6.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Brew Dog Punk IPA

Today, Sonya surprised me with six beers from SWAM. I've been curious about this store for awhile, but it's in a shopping center that has notoriously bad parking and other traffic issues that keep me away...or I visit long enough to get a loaf of bread at Great Harvest and get the hell out of there. I read somewhere on the web that this place has the best beer selection on the island. Since there's very little left to try at the military exchanges and Whole Foods, I needed a new source.

The first beer I tried was Brew Dog's Punk IPA. This one's cleverly packaged as an "alternative" beer that really doesn't give a shit if you like it or not, because this beer's better than you. It's better than you, and it really doesn't give a shit that it's better than you, because it's got that punk attitude. Just like all things punk, it comes at a $8.99 for 1 pint 6.4 oz. True punk rockers don't wear cheap clothes and they sure as shit don't drink Natty Light.

At 22.4 oz, it's just .4 ozs too big to fit in my KBC Big Kahuna Glass...why, because it's punk and it doesn't give a shit about my conventional beer glass. Punk IPA is brewed by Brew Dog in Aberdeensire, Scotland...Anarchy in the UK, mothaf***a.

Punk IPA bills itself as a "post modern classic pale ale"...not sure what that means. It tastes like an IPA to me...a good IPA, citrusy, good hop flavor that doesn't knock you out with bitterness. It's a good A-. At $8.99/22.4ozs, PQ=9.2

The folks at Brew Dog threw in some nice text to go along with the bottle's punk attitude. White People eat this stuff up.

Six Pack

Something to work on over the holiday.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Riding in the Rain

Went for a ride with the family today. It started raining, so Carter and I found a bus stop to keep us dry.

Jack and Sonya showed up 10 minutes later during the hardest part of the rain. Clearly, Jack's having a blast.

2-3 mile ride. Didn't wear the Garmin, so no good stats for this one.

Father of the Year

Jack refused to use the car seat.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

interesting data

Attached is the summary and graph from Wednesday's ride. I stopped the Garmin shortly after the accident. You can tell from the HUD that I hit my max heart rate of 169 at mile 22, the same spot where the ride ended. Prior to the accident I was cruising along with a HR of around 120...the accident bumped up my HR by 49 was a quick way to boost the intensity, but not something I want to repeat.

Chuggability Continued

Back in January, Sonya and I had a beer chugging contest. I declared Bud Heavy (aka The King) as the most chuggable beer.

Last week, Carter and Jack decided to have their own chugging contest...with chocolate milk. They quickly realized why milk isn't a good choice for chugging.

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

Fantastic beer...complex taste, spicy, fruity, strong tasting beer. Great winter-time brew, even if it is in the 70s/80s here.

Expensive at $9.99/4 pack.


This stuff is so good, the boys decided to leave a bottle of Celebrator and a plate of cheese for Santa.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Was riding onto Pearl Harbor early this afternoon when I noticed a car behind me moving slowly, but appeared to not know where they were heading. I normally ride a good 3 ft into the lane, as this is a multi-lane road, plenty of room for the cars to go. As the car begins to pass me, I notice that I only have about six inches between my bike and the car. The car is traveling slightly faster than me at 20mph and is very slow to overtake me. Also, I see that I'm slowly being pushed towards the curb. I tap on the window to let them know I'm there. As I bring my left hand back to the handlebar, I look down at my wheel and watch it hit the curb, head hits ground, I roll on the right side of my body, I hear some stuff hit the ground. I quickly take off my helmet, throw it on the ground and chase the car. Adrenaline's pumping, so I don't notice the blood flowing down my legs and I'm not quite dizzy from the thump on my noggin. I give my share the road speech, peppered with plenty of "what the f**k do you think you're doing?"...look back at my bike, convinced I heard carbon snapping and yell even louder when I think my bike was destroyed. The couple in the car keep telling me they're sorry, and somehow use a recent cancer diagnosis of the driver as an excuse. I couldn't follow the linkage....if cancer was going to cause him to nearly hit people by running them off the road, then he shouldn't be the driver, right?

A fellow cyclist rolled up and helped me out...he called the cops and checked out my bike making sure it was rideable while I sat there dazed. I got the full emergency treatment with 2 police and ambulance and a firetruck...quite the scene. They checked me out and I filed a police report. I told the cops and paramedics I'd be fine to ride home. Before I took off, I noticed the passenger in the car was pretty emotional...went over to tell her to not worry about it, they didn't hurt anyone. The driver came over, said he was sorry...then caveated the apology with a "i thought i gave you plenty of room"...I stood there in shock, not knowing what to say. I stared at the guy, said "merry christmas" and left. Not sure if he received a ticket...felt bad for the guy being diagnosed with cancer, but I still don't know why this was an excuse...and why he ended the exchange with a half-apology.

Bike appears to be ok...I got a good road rash, a couple bruises and my pinky's stiff. I've felt a little light-headed, but that could be attributed to the 3 beers I've drank while setting up Christmas toys.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stone Mill Organic Pale Ale

According the the label, Stonemill Pale Ale is brewed by Green Valley Brewing.

The label also depicts a log cabin, a lake, somewhere out in the wilderness...away from it all, where organic beer flows, granola is a plenty, body odor is en vogue...the quintessential dirty organic hippy existence.

The label is very Thoreauesqe.

My Thoreau vision was destroyed when I visited only to find that this is a Michelob product, which of course is owned by the behemoth Anheuser-Busch....a large corporation which is not very Thoreau-like.

On the positive side, AB was recently bought by a Belgian company, InBev, which appeals to my liberal sensibilities....anything European is desired.

None of the above really matters, because this beer is very unremarkable. I'm not likely to buy this again. It tastes like a mass-produced, watered down Pale Ale. Can't really say anything good about it. C-, PQ=16.8

Sunday, December 21, 2008


The Garmin 405's performance on the bike has been inconsistent. It usually shuts down on its own, or flashes a blanks in all the data values. The last few rides, it has worked perfectly. Here are graph/map/HUD snapshots from Saturday's ride. I know this representation of data is important to everyone...

Koko Head and Kona Beers

Went to Koko Head Sonya hiked up to the top, the boys and I tried to make it up as far as they could. Carter made it halfway up, to the 5th (of 11) telephone poles, because he's going to be 5 next year. Jack made it to # 4. Carter's goal is to hit the top before we leave in the summer.

Followed it up with lunch at Kona Brewing Company. Used the opportunity to taste some of their drafts beers. Started with a Hula Hefeweizen. It was served a little too cold, masking the signature Hefeweizen taste. As it warmed up, the beer got significantly better. The banana/clove flavor wasn't too overpowering. Very refreshing. I give it a B.

2nd pint of "liquid aloha" was the Castaway IPA. This IPA is dry-hopped...the hops were very powerful, but the beer wasn't too bitter. The taste went well with the shrimp melt. Good stuff. An A- for the beer and an A for the shrimp melt.

As you can see, we all had a good time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deschutes Jubelale 2008

My favorite thing about Christmas is all the holiday/seasonal beer that is issued during this period. It's quite the challenge to find a wide variety of beer in Hawaii, and you never know what type of winter beer you'll be able to find. So far, I've only seen Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale in one store about 15 miles away...hopefully I'll see it again before Christmas. The same day I found the SN, I saw Deschute's Jubelale. I elected to pickup the Jubelale, since I've bought at least one six-pack of the SN Celebration every year since at least '98.

Winter Beer doesn't really go well in Hawaii, but I've found that on a rainy day (which we've had plenty of late), you can crank up the AC, look outside and pretend like it's winter. In these moments, I want to "warm up" with a nice, heavy, spicy winter ale. Deschutes definitely did the job...a little spice, but not too spicy, good aroma, and it didn't taste like a fermented Christmas tree. It's a solid A, PQ=32

I was looking to expand my beer glass collection, as I've noticed that real bear afficionados drink various beers in varying types of glasses. You can notice from my pictures, that I'm loyal to the pint glass. I did some research, and found that some believe wine glasses are a good option that allow you to "get the best out of your beer."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Perfect Pour

Something else to do on a rainy day....the perfect pour challenge.

Indoor Workouts

Due to all the rain, was unable to ride again this morning. The boys and I decided to workout indoors.

After the warmups with Jack, Carter helped me "max out"


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Leffe Blonde

Leffe Blonde is some good stuff. It's light, but not too "lite". It's got a nice fruity aroma and spicy taste, but it's not overpowering. To top it off it has a high alcohol content, but doesn't have a strong alcohol taste.

The label says it's best served in "its own chalice-shaped glass". I have no chalice shaped glass...just your standard conical pint glass. To be a true beer-taster, I must invest in some fancy tulips.

Overall Grade=A
PQ =43

Video from Sunday's Race

I'm nowhere in this video, but it gives an idea of what the course looked like.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Koshihikari Echigo

Overpriced Japanese rice beer ($4.29/17 oz at Whole Foods). Reminded me of OB or Cass. Not bad, but not good either. The only beer with rice in it that's worth drinking is the King in a Can.

Grade = C+
PQ = 9.1

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Xterra Trail Run

Today was the Xterra trail run half marathon at Kualoa Ranch.

Sonya took 2nd in her age group for the 10K.

Carter and Jack were able to test their new running shoes in the kids' race.

I was nervous about the race, since my heel has been hurting the past few weeks. I haven't ran that much lately, just a couple of times since the Val Nolasco 1/2 marathon last month. I've only been on a trail twice the past couple months. Due to the nervousness, I was using the bathroom (woods) as the gun went off. That startled me, so I stopped what I was doing and quickly joined the race in progress. The first 3 miles were familiar to me...these were roads used during the 24-hour mountain bike race last year. I knew what to expect...lots of climbing. This was true for the entire race....try to find a flat spot somewhere on that graph. During these first few miles, I was running strong, passing lots of folks going up the hill...partially due to the fact that I started near the back of the pack. My pace for the first 6.5 miles was pretty good and I thought I could knock this run out in under 2 hours. Things quickly changed, as that's about the time the big climb started. Started up the big climb feeling strong. I saw a lot of people walking up the hill, with only 1 other person running. I jogged up the hill passing dozens of walkers, until I finally had to break down and walk near the top. I highlighted the moment on the graph where my fast race all fell apart....1:14:16 is where the grade picked up to 24%+ and I started walking the last few yards to the top. Got some water and Gatorade at the aid station, and started following walkers onto the single track. It was hard to get running there, as most folks were walking. Parts of it were runnable, others were muddy or too steep. Things started to suck worse as the single track started going down hill. The guy in front of me couldn't stand up and slid most of the way down. I fell once and got a rope burn to show for it. The single track lasted a couple of miles, then we hit some more road...all up and down hill, then back to single track that I was familiar with, as it was part of the mountain bike race last year. I was glad they threw that section in, as it was much more passable than the previous trail. The single track also had some of the best views on the course. After the singletrack, we passed back through the start area. I tried to find Sonya and the boys, but at 10 miles, my mind was dazed, my legs were jelly, it took a lot to not throw in the towel. The next 3.1 miles was a repeat of the first 3...1.5 miles up and 1.5 miles down. I did this section much slower than the first 3, and ended up walking parts of the climb. I trudged through the rest of the race, trying to finish strong. Ended up finishing in 2:21:42 according to the Garmin. A little slower according to the official results, since I was busy at the race start. That's substantially slower than the 2 road half marathons I ran this Fall, but I'm still happy with it. This race was hard.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Deschutes Inversion IPA

Very bold, bitter, hoppy taste. Smells sort of fruity, but couldn't really notice that in the taste. A solid IPA worth buying again. Grade=A-

Not sure of the price on this one. Based upon the taste, I'd be willing to pay $8.99/6-pack.