Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Dreaming Of A Head, Chest, Even A Waist High Christmas, notes from the Rogue

Malibu's at 8th, 12/15

   Waist to chest high any of the weekends that I'm not busy with the holidays would be nice.  We've had some nice waist -plus days with water lingering around the 50F mark.  But, of course, the timing blows.  Let's face it, the holidays keep you running. Not much time (or bones-$) to do the travel this time of year either - 'cept maybe to see the lights.  So what do ya do after clearing your pockets, catching the lights, and checking off the good/bad list?  Grab a cold one 'n load up that surf dvd. Com'on man!

   Tonight's brewski is Southern Tier's seasonal offering 2XMAS.  A very Strong Ale weighing in at a hefty 8%ABV (an approximate 50 IBUs), this one has the hell spiced out of it.  A lot going on, and I mean A LOT!  Very strong scent of nutmeg, cinnamon, orange, name it, if it is in one of those Christmas cakes, this one's got it. Southern Tier claims "brewed in the tradition of Swedish Glogg."  Mulled wine.  Ok. It did pour an amber red with about a one finger head.  I could taste a boozy-wine finish. Sorta.  Not impressed with this one.  Bought a six and will be givin' away samples. Probably good for a cold day... a very cold day.  Rated it a C+ (a gift).  Merry Christmas!
"Christmas... brought to us by cola,
fast food, and beer.  Who'd have 
ever guessed that product con-
sumption, popular entertainment, 
and spirituality would mix so
-Bill Watterson

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

November's End, notes from the Rogue



   Did not get a lot of surf in November. None actually, since that first week.  I've watched the surf cam with longing the past few days, especially as the recent mild weather (60's and some 70 degree days) has boosted the surf temps into the lower fifties.  The holidays have been quite busy.  Drove to Chi-Town for Thanksgiving, bringing my Girl back with me for the week following.  Before I left I checked the reports...very flat. So, I'm thinkin', "good, I ain't missin' nothin'."  Black Friday brought some killer chest plus surf. Whataya do?  As it was, I had an awesome time.  The drive back included a special side trip to the surf town of St. Joseph, MI on the Third Coast shore of Lake Michigan,(that's what we do...we can't just drive straight...boring).
Lake Michigan dribs and drabs, 11/25

The following weekend brought in small surf to the East again...but we still checked it while cruising the MD/DE beach strip Christmas shopping.  The upcoming weekend has us in Naples, FL for my brother's 50th.  Busy, busy, busy.  I will get in at least one more time before year end.  Gotta.
Sandy's infliction: OC ankle-biters nip at the remnants of the Inlet pier, 12/1.
Nachos at the Big Chill, Rehoboth, DE, 12/1

   Taking in one of the last of my autumn brews, I had a very good French Style Ale (a Bie're de Garde) called Domaine DuPage.  Brewed by Two Brothers out of Warrenville, IL, this is a foodies beer at 5.9% ABV, smooth enough to pair with most anything, and with 24 IBUs, enough hops to finish off the palate.  Starts off with a sweet caramel malty taste with a just noticeable hop ending.  Amber pour with a one finger head.  I rated it a B+.
"Some people wanted champagne and caviar
when they should have had beer and hot dogs!"
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Genesar and Post-Sandy, notes from the Rogue

Sweet shapes, 11/1

   Every now and then I "trek-out" doin' a little explorin', little shoppin', maybe some surfin'.  On this particular afternoon I was on the prowl for a Christmas gift that ya gotta search in those hard to find nook and cranny type shops.  My way of shopping... I know what I want.  I'm on a mission.  I will exhaust all resources (and sales clerks) to find what I'm looking for.  Unfortunately, no success today.  In my travels however, I happened by one of my favorite type places.  A Revolutionary War period plantation home called Genesar.  Actually, the place's real place was during the War of 1812 as a lookout for British ships making their way through the now defunct (sealed by the Hurricane of 1818) Sinepuxent Inlet.  I am a bit of a history buff, so I was excited by this opportunity.  The current family that owns the joint is still looking for a benefactor(s) that will aid in the ever more urgent renovations. The place is literally held together by the moss that covers it, ready to crumble under the ever-increasing weight of time.

Glory and majesty

Surrounding Newport and Sinepuxent Bays
  On the beachfront, Ocean City will be under beach recovery for awhile.  Dunes need rebuilding, lots cleared and reworked, buildings repaired.  But I gotta say, the week following was ideal with sweeeeet head-high availabilities as the tide was still low but coming in.  Sandy ushered in the colder aqua (52F), but light off-shores held up some very nice barrels. Sunday however, not so much.  Less than knee high chop and the fading light discouraged any foray into the waters.  Empty beaches and scattered surf fishermen have ushered in the true off season.  Nice sunset though.
Ready, but not.

Not much waiting, 11/11

Good day.


   Tonight's brew hails from the City of the Salt Lake in Utah, Uinta Brewing's Dubhe Imperial Black IPA.  A whopping 109 IBUs and 9.2% ABV will kick yo ass fo' sho'!  Yes, the beer is pronounced "Doo-Bee" and is named after Alpha Ursae Majoris, a red giant with a mass 4x that of the sun.  Sure to fire up a few.  Pours a smooth black with a creamy, tan, one finger head.  Hints of citrus and pine in the smell with strong roasted malts and coffee in the taste.  Crisp finish without the heaviness of a stout.  Loved it. Rated this an Imperial A.
"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."
                                 -Homer Simpson

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fury And A Woman Scorned-Sandy's Wrath, notes from the Rogue

Taming the Beast.  Virginia Beach's Raven Lundy carves up Sandy in the OC,   October 29, 2012
   It was labeled a "Superstorm" similar to the "Perfect Storm," the Halloween Nor'easter that ravaged New England in '91.   A tropical Missus that couldn't decide if she wanted to be a Hurricane or not, collided with a northeast storm and cold front outta the west to morph into a true living Wraith.  Felt by all but untouchable.  (Some analysts refered to it as a "Frankenstorm."  Really?).  Very angry. Very violent.  And we were very fortunate that she brushed by us, however the upper east side (New York and New Jersey shores) got slammed.  My only casualty- my computer blew a power supply.  This post on borrowed equipment.
  Some initial pics including the above Nick Denny photo of a sic triple overhead making all the surf covers.  Seriously insane rides.  These guys have been chasing hurricane swell for years.  Needless to say, ya leave this surf to the pros.  More to come...
On the prowl.  Photo Courtesy N. Denny

OC Pier damage

SUPERFLY! photo courtesy N. Denny

Tow-in maybe.  No Photo-Shopping here.  Photo courtesy N. Denny

OCMD Bayside

Seacret flood

Sandy's Rage.  OC Inlet, 10/29.  Photo courtesy N. Denny

   The beer of the hour, Hop City's Barking Squirrel Lager.  A clear amber ale with nice lacing and a one finger off-white head.  5%ABV and 24 IBUs puts this one on the maltier side.  You know, I figured big storm, Barking Squirrel sending out the alarm, but during these situations, a hoppier beer would definitely do a better job of keeping one on his (or her) toes.  In addition to the malts, this one had a grainier aftertaste. A little watery going down.  Very average.  Graded it a C.
"If you guys are going to be throwing
 beer bottles at us, at least make sure 
they're full."
                          -Dave Mustaine, Megadeth

Friday, October 26, 2012

The End Is Near, notes from the Rogue

  Contrary to what one might believe the title eludes to, what I'm actually speaking of is the end our temperate weather.  About a year after Irene skimmed by us, Hurricane Sandy is barreling towards our piece of the Right Coast and at some point will collide with a cold front sneaking in from the West.  What forecasters are calling a "Frankenstorm" will in effect scatter our warm waters and air temps we've been enjoyin' and leave us shaking in the sub-60's. Boooo! Hiss!  Head to double overhead swell.  Yes!  Flooding, leaves and branches everywhere, power outages, continents separating?  Stay tuned.

  While we wait, no hurricane party is complete without a good beer. Heavy Seas and Devils Backbone Breweries teamed up to bring into shore a dangerously delicious black pilsner called "Land Ho!".  An almost black pour with tints of ruby-red, and a dense dark tan one finger head.  Tastes of burnt toast and brown sugar with hints of coffee.  A little heavier than a pilsner...almost a thin stout.  Finishes crisp, with flavors of light pear and tart hop bitterness.  25 IBUs, 5.25% ABV.  Good stuff.  I rated it an A-.
"If die I must, let me die drinking in
 an inn."
  -Walter Mapp, Author

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Flippin' Out, notes from the Rogue

Clean and green, 10/21


   Bee-U-Tee-Full day.  Low tide... still headed out.  Glassy thigh to occasional waist high rollers. Water is now in the low 60's and yes, I'm wearin' the full 3/2.  I hate that old rubber suit.  It binds me, takes away feeling, gets heavy, slows me down, fu#ks up my stance.  But for a few quick slashes left and right, I spent most of my night flippin' out.  Burying the nose of the board.  Board flips up.  I flip forward.  Twisting my body as I hit the water.  Instantly covering up with my arms and hands to avoid an errant board on the head.  Lost my groove this afternoon.  Even found myself waiting for the next set thinking "not havin' fun."  Can't surf that way.  And I need a full suit to surf these water temps.  It's been seven years.  Time to trade up.

   Night ends on a good note though.  Southern Tier's Pumking, Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Clear burnt-orange pour with a less than finger light tan head.  Good carbonation, good lacing.  This went down very smooth without tasting too boozy considering the 8.6% ABV.  Flavors of pumpkin pie spices and caramel came through, but was not overly sweet.  Both nutmeg and vanilla come through in the smell as you're tipping to drink. Overall this brew was a nice contrast to my performance earlier.  Not bad hopping (a rumored 39 IBUs) but I couldn't tell if it was the hops or the alcohol that provided the snap in the finish.  I rated this year's offering a B+.
In the spirit of All Hallows Eve, 
an ode to Pu'ca, the shape shifter
of Celtic lore who would waylay
travelers throughout the night
by throwing them on it's back
and giving them the ride of 
their lives.
                          -Southern Tier Brewing

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Short Night Slop, notes from the Rogue

Sunset, 10/18
   Out for some surf and beer this evening.  Awesome head high plus surf earlier in the week thanks to Rafael, and clean swell in the waist high range expected over the weekend (plan on takin' advantage of that!).
Rafael's start, last week's waist highs.  10/10

Tonight, the elements just didn't line up.  A waist high, low tide, mushburger of a sloppy mess. Tack on a 6:15 pm sunset, i.e. short session time, and I'd almost say the trip wasn't worth it.  Almost.  It's always good to get wet.
Tonight's wash load, 10/18

Spaced-out Hurricane Rafael,
Though the 15 mph onshores had a bite to 'em, the water is still in the mid 60's.  I did manage a couple of rides that rocked me around like a roller coaster. And the post surf beer, well lemme tell ya...

   New Belgium's fall seasonal Red Hoptober.  On draft at a local BBQ Pit... at 6% ABV and 60 IBUs, you know it's got my vote as one of the best of the seasonals so far. Another surprisingly good Red Ale (this may be winning me over).  A deep, clear, red-amber pour with a nice two finger head.  Plenty of lacing and the level of carbonation and malt balance made it an easy drinker despite the strong piney hop-forward tang that finishes it. Definitely gettin' me a six.  Rated this Typhoon class brew an A!
Captain Borodin: "Well then, in winter I
will live in ...Arizona.  Actually, I think I 
will need two wives."
Captain Ramius: "Oh, at least."

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weeknight Smoothies, notes from the Rogue

Green Glass, 10/4
    Been watching the weather forecast.  It is looking like our run of 80+ days are coming to an end.  Weekend is looking surfless.  Sunny, warm Saturday with ankle highs, then the drop hits on Sunday; windy, rain, mid-fifties, and mushy.  Hope it doesn't stay low.  When those cooler nighttime temps hit, Mother Ocean's touch will start ta chill ya.
Earlier sunsets make for short sessions, 10/4

   Not tonight though.  Low tide, and some thigh to waist, walls glistening in the sunset like reflective green glass.  Very clean swell.  Water in the seventies (went out to get it while it lasts).  Light off-shore winds.  Juiced my share of evening smoothies despite the fading light of another early autumn sunset.  Had dinner with my buddy Tom, and stopped to check the jacked cars in town (it was Cruiser Weekend).  Absolutely sweet night.  Complete stoke.

Endless Summer Cruisers- October coupes.

  An original brew of the evening, Newcastle Werewolf from the Caledonian Brewing Company.  This is one of the few beers I've ever had that tastes better a little warmer. I.E. cold vs. ice cold...and I usually like my beer ice cold.  So this was different.  As it is import,er, escaped from Great Britain it is considered an Irish Red, though Newcastle calls it a Blood Red Ale.  I like that better myself.  Not a Red Ale fan, but this one had a noticeable hop bite that gave it a unique taste for a Red.  So you got the beginning smell of roasted malt and taste of spicy rye that melds into a light citrus hop finish. Poured an amber- red with a thin tan head; good carbination, fair lacing.  4.5% ABV and 24 IBUs makes this an obvious appeal to the masses.  I rated it a B-/C+.  Not great, but better than expected.
"A hangover is when you open your eyes
 in the morning and wish you hadn't."