Thursday, December 15, 2011

There's dirt in them hills!

On a late ride yesterday, I found dirt.  Yes you may say "obviously" but this wasn't just any dirt, it was dirt amidst a sea of sand.  It had traction, loam, and dampness!  It made my whole day.  It's also on a fun little loop that I hadn't seen before, and only hit by accident.  Certainly a nice little gem.  just thought I'd share.

Oh and a Team Face First update, I in true form upheld the namesake of Face First on our last ride as I ineptly lost it on a small drop at the exit of a parking lot.  Anyone can fall in a parking lot, but a true champion gets up and does the rest of the downhill without falling.  Total Win.

I've been wearing my gratuitously sized belt buckle as much as possible, and look forward to bigger and better things with Face First.  Oh and look for a gear review to come soon.  It'll blow you away, the review and the gear.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Belt Buckles, Big Rides, Turkey, Plethora of new beers.

      Team Face First wins buckles.  Jeff Abbott, Brandon Tracy, Jay Rutherford and I won buckles.

 It's been a while since I've entered something here, but I have been doing great in depth research of liquids that have undergone fermentation at least one time.  All because I'm a scientist.  Fresh off the press are a host of new reviews, and some other goodies...

Easy Street wheat-Odell Brewing
It's an unfiltered american style wheat, it's got a little citrus tinge to it.  It's got a nice lighter feel, and an easy drink.  It doesn't offend the palate, and can be enjoyed with most things. It won't supplant my go to hef, but it's certainly a nice little beer.  I'd drink it again, but I don't think I'd search it out.  B-

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse
One of the most delicious hefs, has slight taste of clove, banana, and pours a nice thick head.  It's got a delicious smooth taste, with a nice robust amount of carbonation.  Not too much carbonation, but such a smooth sip.  If your'e looking for a new hef to break out of your rut with, I suggest this.  It's absolutely delicious, and will certainly appease any palate.  I've yet to find a fault in this beer.  A+

The Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Freaking stoked on this beer, it's got an amazingly rich and smooth pour with a nice thick light caramel colored head.  It's got a hell of a drink, it's not for a light drinker.  In any way.  It's a super smooth thick bitter chocolate, coffee, some citrus, and bold bold bold hops. It towers in the glass like a bold friend at a party.  Except its the only person at the party.  The beer dominates whatever else you had in your mouth, which isn't a bad thing, but it's certainly best enjoyed alone, and I drank mine at around 40 degrees F, and enjoyed it until the last drop.  Solid A.

New Castle Werewolf
It was almost too much alcohol taste, it was nice. but not necessarily the blood red ale I expected.  It was a unique taste of mostly malty, and caramel with some hop flavor, it's significantly different than the original new castle.  Certainly a nice drink, but on the same token, not sure it's what I'd search out again.  I liked the aspect of something new, but wasn't super impressed with the delivery..  C+
Spaten Oktoberfest:
One of my favorite marzens.  One of the true marzens in my opinion.  I've had a few, it's a little darker than most labeled as a marzen,  but it is lighter than the Bayern Oktoberfest which is also a marzen.  It pours nice and light, it's a clean crisp drink with a great sip.  It's nicely carbonated, and has a consistent refreshing flavor all the way down.  It's certainly one varietal I'll keep around.  Especially because I can feel like a man, and pour a few into my stein without feeling the repercussions in the morning...  A.
Delirium Noel It's a sweet winter belgian strong dark ale.  It's deliciously hinted of the holidays, with brown sugar, nutmeg, clove, and winter spices.  It leaves the mouth with a dry hint of alcohol, it's smooth, thick, and a great winter sipping beer.  It certainly warms the heart, and all the extremities.  I haven't had too many belgian strong dark ales, but it seemed that this was almost too much compared to the others that I've had.  It was nice, and I'm easily tempted by the pink elephants...  B.  

  Bayern Brewing Doppelboch.  Bayern is a small Brewery from Missoula MT, and this is one of my favorite of their brews. It's a doppel, as in double brew and it's De-Licious.  It's been one of my favorites since I first tried it, before I knew what good beer was.  It's one of the easiest 8.4% beers I know.  It's a simple malty beer without complex tones, it does the job, and it does it well.  If you find this, buy it.  

Hellhound on my ale Dogfish Head brewery, A super hoppy brew with a nice lemony citrus flavor.  It's extremely high alcohol content, and a very fun beer.  It's an easy drink, and not abrasive by any means, it's deceptively potent, and has certainly gotten my attention.  The beer was made as a 100 year birthday to Robert Johnson, the mississippi bluesman.  Definitely a beer I will keep in touch on it's availability...  A+

 This is the Pyramid trail, others call it the Gila Ridge trail. I've seen both on maps.  It's a sweet trail that starts from the top of national near the west side of the telegraph pass.  The top of the trail is a sweet slightly downhill trail with great flow, and banked turns with more than enough grip for an easier ride. Once the top ridge is descended, it's a tight and technical descent down tight switchbacks that require pivot turns, and a few foot dabs here or there.  It's very loose as the trail gets more and more steep, the technicality increases as the trail nears the bottom of the hill, and then opens up into the basin of the bees knees area.  Certainly a great ride, with a very fun and worthwhile descent.

The next trail I rode recently was the Corona trail, it's a steep trail that descends from the national trailhead with a lot of exposure.  The trail is loose, with technically interesting moves. The initial bit is down a wash which one has to climb out of, and then descend the entirety of the altitude in one go.  It's a great ride for a big bike, and the Enduro certainly had fun on it. There are some interesting bits as the trail winds it's way down, partially formed by the geology of the slope with the turns being dictated by the most convenient part of the rock to use.  It's a trail that if the access were easier, and more fun, I'd ride more often.  As is it's one that I'm content having done, and don't really need to ride all that often unless someone wants a little pucker factor.

The Belt buckle from the Epic win at Barn burner.  yes it opens bottles, and yes I've used it to open bottles.  

Bees Knees

Bikes outside bar in flagstaff after epic fail.  

Oak Aged arrogant bastard.  Delish.  A

Say Weihenstephan 10 times fast.  Another tasty morsel from Germany, a bit harsh on the end, after a few...  But it's an overall smooth drink with a fantastic feel and a light taste.  An instant favorite.  A

 Tripel Karmaliet fantastic belgian triple. A

Oude Zippers, previously reviewed, still amazing.
I've got another update in the works with a race-recap, and some more gear testing and discussion...  Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I got married!  My life has been wonderful since, my wife and I have had a blast everyday since the wedding, and I'm just honored to be the guy at her side.

Surly Furious:
This delicious brew from the great City of Minneapolis Minnesota was enjoyed properly with a hamburger stuffed with Cheese and Bacon.  I love IPA's, and this one certainly came through, it's a got an imposing initial flavor, but what IPA's is soft?  It's full of character, certainly hoppy, and pine.  It's got great malty flavor too, but it doesn't present until after in initial shock of bitterness has worn.  It's falls on the darker side of the IPA spectrum, but it's by no means dark tasting, it's somewhat deceiving in that way...  It's technically an American IPA, however not having tasted a significant number if AIPA's, I'll leave it in the standard IPA category.  It's delicious cold, as from the tap, and warms nicely, however I think that the drinkability decreases  to an extent with the increase in temperature...  It was surprisingly amazing in the colder realms.  Solid A.

Moose's Tooth Beartooth Ale: (Almost an IPA)
As touted by the rental car man, and the front dest attendant at our hotel on our first night of the Honeymoon, this was an excellent Micro brew.  Moose's Tooth Brewery plays host to some of the best beer and pizza I've had.  Their pizza is simply off the hook.  This little number is listed as a "Deep red, malty ale heavily hopped with centennial hops."  It's definitely not a full blown IPA, however, it's not far...  It was deliciously hopped with a less than citrusy hops, it made for a nice smooth taste, with a little bite.  It made a perfect pair to the spice of the sausage on the pizza.  It was bold, yet tastefully easy.  It was an awesome introduction to AK beer, and a great start to the honeymoon!  B.
Moose's Tooth Fairweather IPA:
An Alaskan IPA in every sense.  It was big, bold, and deliciously hoppy with an intense hop aroma.  It was an IPA in every sense of the IPA category.  It's a big step above their Beartooth Ale in hoppyness, and fullness.  It's not a super heady beer as evidenced by the photo-possibly the bottom of the keg, but that made the beer a little more smooth, and aided the drinkability.  It too was a good combo for the spicy sausage in the pizza.  I'd definitely take another go at this beer, and try to have a pint with a steak.  B+.

Denali Single Engine Red Ale:
It was a blast to have a new variety of beers to try out.  I'd taken this Red with a delicious meal of Fish and Chips in a Dill batter.  The Fish and chips was some of the best I had in AK, but the Denali Red was lacking.  It was a sufficient Red, however the initial taste was interesting, and slightly malty with a nice little hop, but then it trailed off.  It was a beer, not sure I'd seek this one out.  C-.

Alaskan White Hefeweizen:
Emily loves Hefs.  This white is pretty good, it's got a great nose, and a nice little bite.  It's a pretty easy drinking beer with an appeasing sip.  It's still a hef in the sense that you'll feel it in your stomach while you drink it.  It's not overly heavy, but it's certainly substantial.  I like this in general, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's exceptional.  B.

Homer Brewing Company Red Knot Scottish Ale:
One of my top 5 beers.  I've long loved scottish Ale's for a long time, and this one is up at the top of the list for sure.  solid A

There are many more beers that I've had that I haven't had the time to discuss, but I am working on getting some writing about them, however my current schedule doesn't allow for much time spent not on scholastic endeavors...
hope all is well with everyone.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7-26-11. 4 days, 7 rides, 2 dance lessons

     Dude, I just want to express myself through the art of dance:
Big few days, for starters Emily and I have taken our dance lessons for the wedding, so we have that on lock. We can Waltz like mofo's.  Emily is awesome, we are both putting in hard work as it's been a long time since either of us has danced.  Emily is a perfectionist, which definitely helps in this adventure, as we are both excited, and trying to do it right the first time to get the most out of the lesson.  It's a great time, it makes me want to take more classes with her.  She's got so much drive, and motivation about dancing, and we are tearing up the floor.
Huge rides!  For starters, Saturday out at Hawes trail area, I rode from the Walgreens and did the Saguaro trail to Mineshaft, then up Hawes.  Loop two was out ridge trail to mineshaft, and up the Hawes loop again.  Sunday morning was a nice ride out Desert Classic to the base of Telegraph and back.  Later that evening was a fast ride out on Trail 100 with one of the faster riders I know in the Valley, with a few interesting lines available if you can see them, and furthermore can make the gaps between rocks.  It ends up to be a really fun break from the monotony of SoMo...  Monday morning was the usual ride with Brandon, and a spin on the road bike to get some extra hills in the day.  Tuesday was a nice easy ride out the Chandler road to the Telegraph TH, and then DC back with a nice new loop out to the Water tanks via Corona Loma, and Secret Trail back to DC and home.  Shortly there after I took the road bike out for a commute into Tempe for a meeting at the University, and then turned around and came home. My legs are dead now. Possibly a ride tonight, depending if I can get all my things done for tomorrows take off for the wedding.

 A lesson from the Official Czar of beer in Phoenix.  If anyone drinks extensively, or has been to the Chandler Whole Foods Market, they have met James.  James is the only person I know that can completely succinctly describe to you any type of beer, and enlighten you as to the subtleties between certain varietals.  Today, I sampled one of the best Tripels I've had in my life.  It's a beer brewed for the Papago Brewery here in PHX, but ding ding ding, it's brewed by the folks who make the Gulden Draak in Belgium.  Oude Zuipers "Old Drunk" as it's english translation lets on gets you where you want to be in a hurry. And not only that, it's simply Dumb-Foundingly Door-Busting Deliciousness!  It's not as sweet as the Delerium tremens, nor as robust as the Gulden Draak.  But it's got more alcohol than either the Tremens or the Gulden Draak at roughly 11%, and relatively low on the IBU chart it's an easy drink that makes your insides happy.  It's got an amazingly smooth yeasty taste, and you can literally feel the belgian heritage in the yeast.  You know it's not from America, we simply aren't this good yet...  And It's on tap at a few places in town, Whole Foods, and the Brewery isn't far from work.  I found a new best friend.  I'm not exclusively into the Belgian Tripels, but
I'm more than elated when I find another one.  Especially so close to home.  The Lumberyard Brewery in Flagstaff also has a Tripel, but this one surpasses that in a heartbeat.  Until next time, cheers.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

7-19-11. Back Logging, big rides.

As the title states, I'll begin the process of looking back into the annals of time, and start to drop more beer knowledge on y'all. Another great detail to this post is the amount of riding I've accomplished lately, it's 3 days into the week on my heart rate monitor and I've slammed the heart rate zones, and blasted calories from my love handles.  Even Emily says so.


    Blue Moon Belgian White: This beer needs no review, if you don't know it. this site isn't for you.  One of the most prolific, tasty, and easy Belgians on the market.  It's deliciously smooth finish make it a beer enjoyable all year round, and likely the most widely spread Belgian white on the market.  A-.

     Alaskan Amber: I'm pretty sure I wrote about this.

     St. Cloud Belgian White: previously reviewed.

     Grain Belt Brewing Nordeast: an unfortunately cidery let down...

     Brother Benedicts Bock: I believe I've written about this little gem, if not.  It's more or less un-remarkable; in the medical sense...  It's a bock, darker heavier, yet to me, kind of slightly out of my palate.  I just feel like this beer was missing something. maybe compassion. C+

     McSorley's Irish Pale Ale:  A delicious beer brewed in NYC, it's a nice little twist on the pale ale.  Nothing that will blow your mind if you've done extensive Pale Ale investigation, however a nice break from the monotony of the Pale.  I'd recommend this one.  Also as an aside, I've been told that this is from the Oldest Irish Tavern in New York.  Solid A, just not quite the +...

     Harvest Moon Beltian White: previously consumed, and enjoyed. My assumption on the differentiation from the norm on the spelling was to allure more possible drinkers into thinking it's a new variety, or a beer so good spelling and grammar were tossed to the wind. The latter on me...

    Bayern Amber Lager: Previously described as an exceptional Amber from Montucky!

    New Belgium Blue Paddle Pilsener Lager:  The only beer I know of that was named after a boating race.  The FiBArk festival in Salida CO has all the goods on this beer. New Belgium named it for the event, and it's an awesome pilsener for a hot summer afternoon.  Very crisp, very delicious.  A.

     Indian WellsBrewing Co. Death Valley Pale Ale: Gerry disapproves...

     Big Sky Brewing Co. Summer Honey seasonal: A deliciously simple beer, take a sweet simple amber  with a pale like crispness, and add honey for a sweet aftertaste, and a smile overwhelms your insides.  A+

     Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Union Jack IPA:  A nice simple, hardy IPA, it's very good alongside a tasteful meal, IPA's can overpower a generic food, and I enjoyed this one with either a bolder steak, or by itself.  Great IPA for the cooler climes.  A

     North Coast Brewing Co. Pranqster Belgian Style Golden Ale: Se Magnifique! A wonderful beer with a taste that will push you into your seat.  It's one of the most delicious Belgians I've had, It's more akin to a Delirium Tremens than a traditional Belgian.  It's sweeter, and smoother.  Oh how smooth, it's like a Velvet blazer in the 70's, or whenever their prime was(If Velvet blazers had a popular era). A+

This was an Epic Fail as far as adventures go...  It was reported to be an awesome trail, however it was decent, it was most certainly not intended for mtb's.  Brandon Tracy, my cycling and general adventure comrade. We started up the Bees Knees loop, and went out to the end of Desert Classic, took a wrong turn, did an extra 2 mile there and back.  And ended up hike-a-biking for longer than I care to say.  We made it up to the top of the desired descent, however it was hardly a mtb trail.  It was a rough ride down.  Fun, but challenging.  all told ended up at about 3 hours and twenty-something minutes for roughly 11 miles...  The next day was an easy day, with a small ride to get the legs moving again.  However, the day after that, I made a classic dumb choice.  I'll take a long ride during the midday heat here in AZ, it was a cooler than average 108 at the start, but reached temps of 118 during the last leg of the ride.  I left from the house, westward on Desert Classic(DC) ascended Telegraph, then rode National all the way eastward to the end of the trail, and took DC back to the house.  After that one was said and done, I was completely exhausted, 3 hours, twenty-something minutes again.  But this time with a more respectable 23 miles, I only had to go up one pass, and rode the ridge for the length of the trail, which was nice in parts, but a fair bit of walking in others.  Definitely not a ride I'll repeat in the exact fashion it was completed in...  I'll alter it a little to ride the road, and then catch back up with the trail at the next intersection, foregoing the walking and adding to the riding and enjoyment time.

In other more pertinent news, it's less than 10 Days until the wedding!  I'm so excited that Emily and I are both getting restless for the day to just be here!
thanks for reading

Monday, July 4, 2011

7-4-11 America. Extended Edition.

To celebrate America and all it's glory, is the bona fide goal of all citizens around this time of year. What better way to do so than Gluttony. That, and Beer in cans disguised as American Flags. Brilliant. The weekend started out as an honest camping trip, and turned into an excellent adventure of epic proportions. Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, 2 nights camping. and sufficient beer drinking without photo-documentation... My apologies, I was slacking. I know. Soon, with the forthcoming time off the bike, due to either a torn Meniscus, or an irritated IT band, I will start back-logging all that I have consumed in the past...well, since I started collecting labels, and taking notes. Keep your eyes peeled for new updates, and copious amounts of pedantic writing about beer. Also, soon, I will change the name of the blog to incorporate the Beast of beasts; Gus. So I will transition the site into shortly, I will notify all the faithful readers when this takes place.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Fair bit o riding lately. I've found that in an area like Arizona where the heat doesn't subside at any point of the day. It's best to just flip the Sun the bird, and go whenever you can. It doesn't matter. You sweat uncontrollably either way. So you may as well go when the trails are empty, and you're able to go faster without worrying about coming upon another cyclist traveling in the opposite direction. I rode a new trail on the North side of South Mountain. For those in the area the loop consisted of:
1) Starting at Beverly Canyon trailhead.
2) East to to Power line trail to the road.
3) Up the road to Mormon, and right on Ridgeline trail.
4) Staying North on Ridgeline to finish on the very bottom of Javalina descent back to the parking lot.

This was an exciting little loop that took about 50 minutes, it was like 5something miles, and a nice amount of climbing, there were a couple spots where poor pedal positioning caught me off guard, and threw me off line on a short technical climb. Making for a foot dab here and there, but all in all a sweet little loop. It had the technical fun climbs, and the fast ever interesting descent. The route went up about 4-500 feet, and had a couple fun bits. It's definitely a route I'll do again to add diversity to my Desert Classic/ Corona Loma/Helipad loop.

I've made a few subtle changes to the bike, to see what happens. I've got it pretty much where I want it, and can't think of anything I need to change. It's at 26 lbs, and 9 ounces. Pretty damn light for a 6" front and rear trail bike that's still fully capable. It tears up everything I have put in front of it. It's without doubt raising the bar on my ability and confidence. Which is nice, the learning environment is so much better when one is in a comfortable state, and can focus solely on the the task at hand without thinking of the quality or robustness of what your'e using. I changed the Purgatory 2.4 inch tires for some slightly smaller in a Purgatory 2.2(rear) and Eskar 2.3(front) with a lighter weight casing and these roll so much faster than the older tires. The front is a new tread pattern for me, while the rear is a similar tread as what I had-just in a smaller size. The front has proven good thus far, yet a few of my friends have stated that it must be really ridden aggressively to get all the positive attributes out of the tire. Most of the negative review's I've read online have likely been by less aggressive folks who don't yet have the confidence to really slam the front wheel into a corner, and let the side knobs do their job. It should be noted that even though the rear is the same tread pattern, losing the width on the tire is significant in terms of it's performance. It's bite isn't as good as it's bigger brother. On the steep, and loose climbs predominantly found here, the 2.4 seemed to hook-up better in most cases, especially when it was really loose. That said, I'm smitten with the new tire choice. I also am trying some of the ESI Foam grips in the Chunky size. No, it's not a reference to my weight, the grips have differing diameters and "Chunky" is the thicker version of the regular. My hands are huge. It's not that I'm a small guy, it's just that I've noticed I have large mallets. The "Chunky" was the choice for me, yet after an initial ride. I think I could have gone for a "Super Chunky" if the option had presented itself. I am stoked on them for two reasons,
1) They help with the forearm shock from riding such rough trails.
2) I lost 60+ grams by switching to these from the ODI Rogue Lock-ons.
3) They win.
I'll be sure to give a longer term review of the grips as time passes, as with the tires, and I'll likely make note of any changes to the bike.

I took an Exam in my summer class on Friday, I knew every question on the exam. Instantly. I sat down, looked and knew the answer. This happens rarely for me. I was ecstatic to know that my grade would likely remain an A, or go up and get that elusive plus suffix. The issue at hand, was the amount of coffee consumed that morning. I have been brewing about a liter +- a few ounces here or there. I'll use a Nalgene bottle and have it in my back pack on my 2 hour pilgrimage to class. Some is usually ingested in the car, until I spill. Then it's back to the bag, the same process usually happens on the 40 minute shuttle bus. Once on solid ground, where nothing can interfere with my enjoyment of the freshly ground Guatemalan roast. I continue, generally without regard for it's temperature, or the effect I know it will have on my bladder. Last friday was an extreme scenario, I somehow managed to drink the whole liter in about 20 minutes after I arrived at campus and began my last minute quick read through of my notes. Needless to say when I reached the classroom I was shaking, and my mind was on overload. I have never in my life completed an exam that fast. It was literally terrifying. I double and triple checked everything for succinctness(as that's where most of my mistakes lay, in simply assuming that the teacher will know that if I got this answer, why should I have to go through all the steps to prove it.) I made sure to write every little thing down, I drew pictures, I owned that exam.

Numero Uno:

Death Valley Pale Ale. First impressions aren't usually my strong suit, however in this case I was dead on(get it?). It was on sale at Whole foods marked considerably down. Mistake number 1, I should know better. It's a nice beer, yet oddly malty for a pale ale. It's got a darker color than one would expect, and a taste to match. I'd like it more in the winter or a cooler time of year, yet it's not bad, just most definitely not what one would think from a Pale ale. C+.

Blue Moon Belgian White. Don't knock the big guys, this beer is actually a very good Belgian. Simple, not ridiculously delicious, but certainly tasty. It's a smooth drink that's easy to enjoy. It's still got that signature belgian taste, yet somehow eludes all the harshness you can have ina beer like this. A-.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


New XTR trail brakes(M985) which in total dropped 9 ounces from the Super Enduro. I went from a set of Avid Juicy 7's where I was relegated to the solid rotor to reduce the inexorable squeal and wail of the rear brake. I was so happy to move to the new Ashima Airrotors, on the front rotor alone I dropped 100 grams. Perhaps I've become too much of a weight weenie when it comes to the bike. But to each their own, it's my passion, and dammit. Lighter is lighter, faster is faster. And I like both of those. I've been blessed to live with a lady who lets me appreciate the things I do outside. It's nice to be able to go for a ride when I please, she has no qualms about me taking off for a spin when I feel the sudden urge to sweat. All she cares is that I bring my phone and enough water for the ride. That's love. Living next to South Mountain has it's perks, and they are in the form of intermingling trails that run all throughout the area. It's difficult to stop as one is able take a new turn here, or there and end up in a familiar place with a different bearing. Endless loops lay on the terrain like a Pollock painting, without sense, or logic, but interesting nonetheless...

It's been a big week, or a big spell rather. I've lost track of exactly the test date for each of the following, except for the fact that they were photo-documented. It should be noted that I'm not an alcoholic and these weren't tested in one night. It was a span of a week or two.

The first of the recent batch was this nice little white-hef from Montana. A small brewery called Harvest Moon situated in Belt Montana. I've no idea where Belt is, but I like the beer. It's a nice light hef, It's got light floral tones, and a soft wheat taste. It's not harsh by any means, nor rough to the palate. It's a soft and mellow casual drink perfect slightly colder than the brewer recommends. Perhaps that's a defect of living in AZ, where without a coozie, the beer is cask temperature in 3 minutes... A-.

The second beer as of late to be dissected is the Nordeast from the Grain Belt Brewery in St. Paul Minnesota. I was born in the cities, so I've got a natural affinity to the beer from the region. I first had this beer on tap in Minneapolis, and had wondrous impressions. Unfortunately that was lost upon bottling. The beer was purchased in Minnesota, stored in a cooler until it's new home of the beer fridge here in phx. It seems to have gotten somewhat vinegary over that period, and upon first sip it's a nice interestingly soft mix of hops and smooth barley. But the aftertaste is one to forget. All I can think of is Apple-Cider Vinegar. Not one of Minnesota's finest exports... B-.

The life of a student. I though not the average student, am still a student. With that comes studying, I find that my studies improve whilst enjoying a beer, until of course the beer is gone. For obvious reasons. The beer in the glass is an Amber from Bayern Brewery in Missoula MT. One of my old go-to's. It's as pleasant as always, and one of the finest examples of an Amber I've yet to find. It's got all the notes you want, a nice crisp bite from hops, and a good solid barley taste that doesn't overwhelm the drinker. It's amazing paired with a red-meat meal as it's lightness brings up the meal, but stand-alone it doesn't disappoint. A.
The last beer to enter this test period is the Rogue Breweries American Amber Ale. As seen in the picture it's got the color of a brown almost, and a similar taste. It's certainly not the average amber you've tasted before. It's got a nice rounded off taste that goes well with bolder foods, and a strong drinker would like this alone. It's certainly bold, but as the picture on the label suggests so is America. A.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Post Two:

The why:
I decided to write a blog about the happenings in my life, as I think my story has some interesting notes. I have been places, seen my fair share, and have a good plan. I grew up in Missoula Montana as stated in the previous post, Missoula is a wonderland for the outdoor enthusiast. It's got the most potential to do anything you can think of doing outside. Thusly my main hobbies were cycling, skiing, and anything outdoors. I was a canoe slalom athlete for the USA development team for a few years, had an international ranking of 57th at one point, and gave that all up after a difficult fall dealing with injuries, and reconnecting with the love of my life. Of whom I currently reside with in Phoenix Arizona. A vast departure from Missoula.
The overall plan for my life is to finish undergraduate and apply to medical school in Minnesota. I've always had an interest in writing, and kept a blog before when I was traveling and training. However, I wanted to approach this blog with more diversity, and sometimes update in regards to beer, and other times with respect to bicycles, or coffee. I've been able to really enjoy the nuances that Phoenix has to offer lately, taking a summer class forces me to to my activities at night, or later in the afternoon. Which conveniently is the only reasonable time to get outside, and do something productive.
Today was a spectacular quick ride from the house to the south side of South Mountain, and a small loop taking about 40 minutes to make a couple of quick climbs, and get the heart rate up. It's funny to think that simply riding in 105 degrees is enough to do that, but exercising and trying to train for an endurance race is at times, just a poor idea.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Post One:

The title.

We've had our Ups and Downs, our experimental phase where I was into Chai Latte's with a shot of espresso, and left real coffee for dead. Or where I used copious amounts of sugar to dilute the bitter taste of being a man. We even had a sabbatical that lasted a few months of lonely stares due to my inability to put the coffee pot away, with shared quiet time, furthering the distance between the bean and I. But in the end, I've come full circle again to the truth in drink, the harsh taste of manhood. Black Coffee. I can't seem to think of anything else I'd rather start my day with, save for a Bloody Mary from one specific location-not within 1,000 miles...

I grew up on a bicycle, my childhood nickname was "Iker the Biker" the meaning of I've done a host of sports throughout my life. However, not one has been with me or kept my interest the way cycling has. It's the one thing I can do and forget everything else, it's the way I relieve stress, my meditation. My escape. I have done most disciplines during my childhood and adolescence, and enjoy some of them now. However, living next to a mountain, with some rolling singletrack in the Phoenix area is hard to beat. I've become sort of my own puritan of the sport, enjoying the work for the descent, and reveling in the difficulty of a hard climb. It's been great to have quality trails 3 minutes away by bike, so that by the time I get to dirt I'm warmed up and ready to go. I commute to school in the morning on a fixie, and take a break from my studies in the afternoon on a completely different full suspension all-mountain animal. It's hands down the neatest mode of travel. My love of cycling has translated into anew found hobby for my Fiancee Emily, with whom I will also ride with. It's a godsend that she appreciates time on the bike as well, and it's great to be able to share my love for cycling with her. We live in an area of phoenix with wide accommodating shoulder's and for the most part generous drivers who are aware of their inherent danger to the cyclist next to them.

Growing up in Montana, I was spoiled with great local beer. The area is littered with breweries as renowned as the Big Sky Brewery-Producer of the infamous Moose Drool Brown Ale. To KettleHouse, a smaller Brewery known locally for their Coldsmoke Scotch Ale, and the Eddy out IPA, and the Double Haul double IPA. To my favorite Bayern Brewery, owned and operated by a true German brewmaster Jurgen. He open the Brewery the year I was born, and has been providing great beer and pretzels to Missoulians ever since. This has done nothing for my wallet, but it has pushed me into finding a more interesting brew, not settling for a regular. I first enjoyed the German tastes of the Bayern(Bavaria) Brewery in Missoula, and thoroughly enjoyed the deep malty taste of his winter Ale's. A Marzen, a true Octoberfest style beer with a darker hue, and thicker taste, basically a festival based Lager. Their next seasonal arrived, and my interest grew like a wild fire. A Doppelbock, my curiosity piqued. From there it's been a journey through the different varieties, from the easy amber ales, to the hardy Doppel, and Winter Ales, the Hefeweizens, the IPAs, the Double IPA's, Scotch Ale's, and onto the Stouts, The Draughts(Irish Dry Stouts), and I'm currently residing in the world of Belgium Tripples such as Delirium Tremens, and Gulden Draak.

I'm an undergraduate student deep in my studies at Arizona State University. Pursuing a Biochemistry degree with a minor in Biological Life Sciences. I'm elated to be marrying the love of my life in July in our home state of Minnesota. Of our goals in life, the biggest is to get back to Minnesota. Our homeland. The pilgrimage will begin upon the completion of my undergraduate studies, and acceptance into Medical School at UMinnesota. Hopefully from there, we will be in Minnesota for the rest of our lives. It's been a joy to go about my life with a partner, a friend, and someone who always has my back. She has really helped me re-align my old transient lifestyle and get on track with my long-term goals, she's also helped me grow exponentially and mature as a person.