Friday, June 26, 2009

Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier

Last Saturday I went 'off the sauce', and haven't drank a beer since.

A few weeks ago, I had picked up a Sam Adams Summer Sampler Pack...one of my favorites. I had previously tried all the beers in the pack, except for one--the new Blackberry Witbier.

I'm usually a big fan of anything distributed by the brewer patriot, except for the Cherry Lambic they push in the winter seasonal pack. As a rule, fruit and beer don't mix. Beer really doesn't mix with anything, unless you're in France drinking a panache, which is tolerable and preferred since French beer sucks and it needs all the help it can get. I had low expectations for the Blackberry Witbier.

Sonya opened up the last bottle of this stuff last night. Decided to have a sip, just to say I've tried it. Had one sip, and it reaffirmed my belief that fruit and beer don't mix. It also reaffirmed my decision to stay off the sauce, keeping me squarely on the wagon.

Grade=D
PQ=11

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sushi

We went out for Sushi tonight. Carter wanted fish eggs, one at a time.

video

Reminded me of this classic bit from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tour de Big Island

Last weekend, we headed over to the Big Island where I raced in the Tour de Big Island Stage Race. We stayed in the Hilton Waikaloa Resort. Thanks to the global economic crisis, this temple to capitalism is offering some discount rates. Sonya and the kids spent most of their time there while I raced.



The first race was a time trial along Queen K highway. It was a short, 6 mile effort. I suck at TTs, but I knew I'd have a decent chance in this one as it was short and had a climb at the end. Managed to pull off a 3rd in the Master's 4/5.

Second race was the crit later Saturday afternoon. This was one tough short course with a short but steep climb to the finish. After the neutral lap, we quickly split the field apart on the climb. I managed to hang with the front group for the first 4 laps, then a preem was called. Everyone went to sprint up the hill to fight for the preem, but my legs didn't have it. Managed to hold my position for the rest of the race, finishing 3rd in Maser's 4/5. Timers had some issues counting laps, so I didn't make it into the official results. Oh well, I was shelled off the back anyway, so who cares...glad I didn't waste too much energy trying to chase the lead group.

Sunday morning was the road race. This was a 19 mile loop with 6+ miles of climbing...a total elevation gain of 1600' per loop. The race was a mass start with all categories leaving together headed down the hill from Waimea to Honoka'a, where we reached speeds of 50mph. At the bottom, we made a hard right turn and started a tough climb. A lot of folks started out climbing hard. I decided to ease into the climbing...ultimately this proved to be a good idea. I kept my HR low and slowly worked into a steady rhythm passing a lot of riders on the early-mid portion of the hill. I'd move from group to group, resting when I bridged up and leapfrogged my way up the hill until I ended up in a group of about 7 strong riders. I then sat up to eat a bit, and lost this group. Another rider came up and we worked together to bridge up to this group of 7. On the 2nd loop, we hammered down the hill...I think I saw my speedometer briefly hit 55mph...and picked up 5 more riders at the bottom. At the start of the 2nd climb I kept losing my chain, causing me to lose this group. They didn't get too far ahead, but for whatever reason I didn't bother chasing. In the end, this was probably a bad idea. I rode most of the climb by myself. About 4 miles into it, I looked back and saw a few riders about 30 seconds behind me. I pushed up the pace until I reached another rider....a Cat 3 rider who had to go 3 laps. Since I was only a few miles to my finish, I told him it would be ok for me to pull him until I needed the help. At that point, I gave a max effort to put the group behind me out of site. Never caught up with the larger group of 12. I ended up being 4th guy to finish the B race, 2nd in my category. Had I known the winner was in that group of 12, I would've made an effort to latch back on to the group at the bottom of the hill...don't know if I could've pulled away in the end, but I could've tried.

Here are the results...ended up with a 2nd & 2 x 3rd place positions...good enough for 2nd overall in Master's 4/5. The race was a lot of fun...great courses, excellent support. They even gave out free burritos at Tako Taco after the race. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kirkland's Signature Handcrafted Beer

I've had a love/hate relationship with Costco.

I love:
1) Their bagels
2) Quality cheese in massive quantities and ridiculously low prices
3) Their hummus (the perfect white man's food)
4) They sell 1.75 Liter bottles of Maker's Mark for $35 (a steal in Hawaii)
5) They routinely have cases of Sam Adams' sampler packs for a low price
6) Their pumpkin pie
7) Their croissants

I hate:
1) The parking lot
2) Receipt inspections
3) People fighting to get free samples of hot dogs or mac'n'cheese, making the aisles hard to navigate
4) The parking lot
5) The crowd surrounding the food court
6) Giant tubs of mayo
7) The crowd
8) The parking lot

A few weeks ago, went down the beer aisle expecting to find the Sam Adams' Summer Sampler. Instead I found this gem:



Generic Costco store-label (Kirkland's Signature) beer. I've never seen a store-brand try to compete with the national brands of beer. I've seen the "Military Special" line of rot-gut alcohol at the Class 6, that's about the closest comparison. With a generic beer, you'd expect some nasty Natural Light quality of beer brewed under the Sam's Choice label at Wal Mart. Although they sell massive quantities to hyper-consumers, Costco tries to cater to a different segment, reaching out to the yuppie market whenever they can. They do just that with the Kirkland's Signature line of beer. Brewing was outsourced to Gordon Biersch, a pretty decent "micro-brewer" that brews on a macro-scale. They also undercut a lot of the microbrews sold in the store. At $21.99 a case, the Kirkland's Signature is $3 cheaper than it's nearest competitor, Sam Adams. I did a little research on the web and see that this has a lot of the brewing community upset, as the big box company is cutting in on their turf. I stay out of the beer politics and won't make a judgement there. I will judge this to be some high quality brew. The Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Hefeweizen and German Lager are all good. I give the Pale Ale and Hefeweizen each an A, while the Amber and Lager are both B+. Give it an average of A- for the pack, yielding a PQ=48.

With beer like that, I guess I have to overlook the parking and the crowd at the sample stands.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

swimming

We've spent the past couple weeks learning to swim....spent a lot of money too. I'm not sure of the total so far, but swim lessons ain't cheap. The swim instructor is raking in more per hour than I've ever made.

Some progress has been made...they're no longer afraid to get the faces wet and are able to move pretty far across the pool. They love the bellyflops and cannonballs.

Next step is breathing out underwater.

Watch to the end and you'll see the 2 headed towel monster and the whitest abs in Hawaii.

video