Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sonya's New Bike


On Thanksgiving, I had 2 beers of choice.

1) Blue and Gray's Winter Spice Ale

Picked up a growler of this as well as their Temporary Insanity Imperial Stout on Wednesday. We opened Wednesday night to taste, but drank the bulk of it on Thursday. The initial taste was super cold out of the fridge, so it was hard to gauge the taste on Wednesday. Let it warm up a bit on Thursday to get the full taste. Nice and spicy as the name implies. A very good winter beer.

2) Dogfish Head's Pangaea.

After watching a video on Dogfish's Facebook page saying this was the ultimate Thanksgiving beer, I decided to break this out of my stockpile. Brewed with ingredients from all 7 continents, this is a bit of a novelty beer. As recommended on the side of the bottle, I drank from a wine glass. Then, I was called "gay" for not drinking out of a beer mug...this comment was from a Coors Light drinker, so I had to take the comment with a grain of salt. Tasty, but nothing memorable. Due to the high price, I probably won't buy again.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Season

It's time to stock up on holiday ales.

Troeg's Mad Elf
Affligem's Noel
Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve
Sierra Nevada's Celebration

I also picked up some non-holiday beer. Dogfish Head's Pangaea (brewed with ingredients from each continents) and Avery's Reverand. So far, have just tried the Avery (a kick ass quadrupel, a great sipping beer) and the Sierra Nevada Celebration.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

$60 six pack

Ever wondered what a $60 six-pack looked like? This is 1/6th of it...The Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA. I'd been wanting to try this for awhile, but wasn't willing to pay the $10 for a 12 oz. bottle. When I heard that Dogfish Head was going to be offering samples at the Alexandria Whole Foods, I headed over hoping to try their collaborative effort with Sierra Nevada (Life and Limb). I inquired about the Life and Limb and found out that Whole Foods was taking a list of all that want the beer. Apparently it's brewed in limited quantities and there's quite the demand. Anyhow, I went ahead and sampled the rest of the Dogfish offerings...all of which I had tried before except the 120 minute IPA. At 18% alcohol by volume, no other beer in the world packs quite the punch (or so they claim). You'd think that it would have an unbearable alcohol taste at that level, but it's far from it, nor does it have the hoppiness of a normal IPA. It's actually quite sweet and very drinkable....a mighty fine brew. The Dogfish man says it ages well, so Sonya picked up a bottle to save for a special occasion. Her plan is to drink it after the National Marathon in March.
As for Life and Limb, I'm now on the search for this Holy Grail. I hit up another Whole Foods today in Fairfax as well as Wegmans and a Total Wine and More. Still no luck.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kid Hop

Took Jack to his first rap show yesterday...Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.

They're definitely not the Wiggles. They've got talent, and all of their songs are adult-friendly. You can tell these are real rappers that adapted themselves to singing for kids, and it looks like all the kids enjoyed it.

Jack with Skidoo

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Sausage

Normally my diet is all business, no sausage. But for the past two weeknds, sausage has been the signature dish on the menu.

Last week, we went to Ben's Chili Bowl. This is a much ballyhooed restaurant in DC. Their signature dish is the half-smoke. Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, the Obamas, Bono and Ted Koppel all love this place. It has to be good right? Has Bono ever led anyone astray? Surely Ted Koppel knows a good chilidog when he sees one.

The line to the joint snaked through the restaurant, out the front door, and through the adjacent alley. When I saw this, I knew the place had to be good. After a half hour or so, we ordered a couple of half-smokes and milk shakes. Miraculously, we were able to find a seat as well.

The half-smoke doesn't look that impressive. It's about the size of the standard hot dog, and the chili has the appearance of your run of the mill Hormel canned chili. The sausage was pretty decent, but nothing special. The chili tasted like it, canned and bland. The half-smoke doesn't sit well in the stomach either. I felt this the rest of the day. Overall, I give the half-smoke a C+. The sausage earns an A-, while the chili earns a D. The line earns an F.

The next day, was the Cross race where brats were served up with Ommegang beer...a much better experience. The beer's an A+, the race was an A+, and the brat gets an A.

Saturday night, we ate at Capital Ale House in Fredericksburg. This place kicks ass. The beer menu's very impressive, more or less a book. They have quite the variety of imports, domestics, and local beers. I saw quite a few bottles of "vintage" beers in the cooler, going for upwards of $30 for a 25 oz bottle. For the most part, their drafts were reasonably priced. I had a Sierra Nevada Triple for $4.50. Getting back to the sausage, I noticed that the "stuffed pretzel" is one of the signature dishes. It consists of a Bavarian pretzel, stuffed with Havarti cheese, sauerkraut, sweet mustard and a Kielbasa. I was in sandwich heaven. This thing rocked! I have never had a sausage based dish equal to the stuffed pretzel, nor have I been in a beer restaurant of this quality. An A+ sausage for sure.

Virginia Beers

Added to the stockpile this weekend, as well as tried a few new drafts.

Friday night, I had a Legend Brown Ale (from Richmond). It was smooth and very drinkable....a good session beer. It was a good mellow beer to drink the night before a marathon.

After the race, we went to Richbrau where I had a kickass black and blue burger which was washed down with their IPA and Pilsner. Both high quality beers. As I hobbled off to the bathroom, I noticed they had a cooler full of 22oz beers beers for takeout. I picked up 3 of 'em...the Big Nasty Porter, a Pale Ale, and their Octoberfest.

I've been frequenting Blue and Gray Brewery in Fredericksburg since August. This is a pretty cool business, where you can go to have growlers filled. Got a grolwer of their Belgian Style Ale...tried it Sunday night, and it was the best damn Virginia made Belgian Beer I've ever had, at least an A-. The other growler is their Pale Ale. There are 22s of a Lager, "Fred Red Ale" and a Stout.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Richmond Marathon

Ran the Richmond Marathon yesterday. Nice course, well-supported, perfect running conditions. Was running strong for the first half, steadily moving towards a better than 3:40 finish....then went over a bridge at mile 15 that was windy and cold. It sucked the life out of me. Briefly picked it up again after the bridge, motivated by the sounds of a DJ scratching up some records for a fly MC at mile 17. Slowed down again. Picked it up at mile 20, when the 3:45 pace group went passed me. Managed to keep running albeit a little slower and finish at 8-minute improvement over my last marathon. Although I slowed down over the last 10K, this wasn't as bad as the last 2 marathons where I was cramping and struggling to the end ensuring days of hobbling and pain. I'm only hobbling a little today.

Sonya was the fan of the day with her cowbell.

The photo of the guy with the tutu was on the camera prior to the photos of, I take it this guy beat me. Nice.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ommegang & Bacon Bar

It's a rainy day, so I could thing of nothing better to do than go beer shopping. At last weekend's race, Ommegang Brewery was one of the sponsors, so I got to try a couple of their Abbey Ales on draft...A+ beer. So, today I picked up one of each Ommegang variety I could find. Also, since I saw it available, I picked up another bottle of the Sierra Nevada Harvest.

Louis Winthorpe was with me on this trip to Wegman's. He loves bacon and chocolate. My philosophy is that when you mix two of your favorite food items, you either have a synergistic effect of creating a mind-blowing dish, or you get a sort of negative synergy (what's the opposite of synergy?) that creates one of the vilest sustance known to man. I call it the Strawberry Quik effect. Sonya purchased some Apricot Stilton last week, under the premise that she was expecting some sort of magical cheese-fruit synergy. Instead, we got something that tasted like a sugar-covered gym sock. See my review of the Bourbon Ale for more on this idea.

Needless to say, bacon-chocolate tasted awful..sort of smoky, too damn salty, and a bit chocolatey. When bacon fell into the cholocate at the Vasges plant, it was not the same magic that happened at Reese's when chocolate fell into the peanut butter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Cross

Did another cyclocross race today in Southern Maryland. Raced in the Cat 4 field...must've been 100 or so riders in this race, and I don't believe all were true Cat 4s. You could see the sand falling out of the jersey pockets of the guys up front. I heard that a couple of Cat 2s were in the field. So much for it being a beginners race.
The race kicked off at 9am....there was a lot of dew on the ground, so sections quickly got sloppy. In fact, about 100 yards into the race, before the group started to string out, there was a big pileup. Over the course of the first lap, I saw a lot of guys go down, and had a few people cross wheels with me, and go down off my back wheel. I managed to stay upright most of the race..I did slip on one of the tight corners right in front of the announcer and most of the spectators. Jack managed to see it...awesome.
I did get a lot of cowbell out there. My cheering section was the most vocal of all in the Cat 4 race.
Jack kicked some major but in the 4 and under little Belgian race. Here he is tackling one of the barriers like a pro...the kid behind him is requiring assistance. Jack led from the beginning and never looked back.
Carter had a fast race as of the first finishers in the 5-6 year old group.
Another great event on a beautiful Sunday. They served up Ommegang Abbey and Hennepin Ale, along with some brats and fries, and even had a funk band playing. I'm pretty impressed so far with the events in the area. The promoters go all out and make these fun events for everyone, and do it in some very nice venues. I discovered a new mountain bike trail in this park...apprently 10 miles of winding singletrack.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NYC Marathon

Sonya was lucky enough to have her lottery number picked for the NYC Marathon. I got to sit the sidelines this weekend and hang out in NY.

The day before the race we went out for beers at the Pig & Whistle with the Pope. The Pope told Sonya to go to confession. So we went to St. Patrick's Cathedral where she confessed and got a "special runner's blessing." It's been awhile since she's been to confession, so I was amazed that it only took 30 seconds for her to be absolved of all sin.
I got a good spot in Brooklyn to watch the early parts of the race. Here are the lead women at mile 8 with Paula Radcliffe in the lead. They were moving. I tried to get a second close-up shot, but they were gone.

I did some more walking and subwaying, then saw Sonya again in Manhattan at mile 16. I was slow on the camera, so no shots of her...I then moved to Central Park at mile 25. Tracking her on the iPhone, I knew almost exactly when she'd cross my spot but again I suck with the camera. She crossed the line at a fast 3:50...I guess that confessing and blessing did some good. Pressure is on me in Richmond next week.

While we were in the city, Sonya found a new club to join.

...and I tried to meet O'Reilly, Hannity, and Beck.

It's only grape juice

3 unrelated words to attract the grape juice. The picture shows avocado, yet there's none in the can.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

DC Cross

A couple weeks ago, I entered my first cyclocross race. It was loads of fun...aside from 24 Hours of Hell, the best bike race I've raced in. With no race prep, or real 'cross riding, I had no expectation to do well. I knew they were giving out free beer and pomme frites after the race, so that was my sole motivation. Ended up 56th in a field of 125 Cat 4s. It was a fun day, at a nice venue....we hung out and watch some of the elite races, drank some beer...good time. Tomorrow is my second race, for which I have done no preparation. Promises to be another good time...nice weather, good park and sausage, beer & pomme frites for sale.

The kids fared much better in the Lil Belgians race.

Jack easily took first in a field of older kids on training wheels. He was the smallest rider out there. He went off the front at the beginning and never looked back. He even did a second lap for good measure. Look at that intensity.

Carter took 3rd in his group of 5-6 year olds.

It's also the day we found out we were expecting...a 3 year old.