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."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Summer Done. The 2nd Season Rules, notes from the Rogue

Ahhh, to be cleeeean, 9/30
  Checked out the report before I left.  Tide coming in, off shore winds about 10kts. Water still hangin' at 70F.  Clean. Waist high.  For the second week in a row I hit the surf from thirty-five miles out and this time I get the opposite of last week.  Last week the height was right chest to head, but far from clean.  This week very clean, but waist high? Hardly.  'Bout knee to thigh. Very clean, but tough to catch without hittin' the shallows.  Alright, I'm done whining.
Hear it?  It's callin'.  Git out there! 9/30

   Able to carve quite a few, especially as the tide began coming in.  Mostly frontsides.  I'll take it.  My backside sucks.  A seriously awesome evening.  Tons of quick rides,  even a few cruises dragging fingertips through short, deep, translucent green walls.  And the sign to the evening's end...the rise of a glowing amber-orange Harvest Moon.  Summer is done. Our second season now rules!


   The evenings taste was Flying Dog Brewery's The Fear, Imperial Pumpkin Ale. The only real fear I had was running up on the beach.  Turned out, on one of my last "step-offs" into knee deep sauce, as I finished a ride, I stepped off toward the beach and the next wave flipped the board into my right knee.  Most of my pain and fear occurred as I examined the resulting pressure ding (more like a serious dent).  Off-season repair. But I digress.  The Fear poured a dark reddish brown with a less than finger fluff of head. Light pumpkin in the finish, but plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg in the smell and swig. Carbonation was fair.  Strong alcohol warmth in the finish, with more spice than bite. Put it to ya this way, more hype than hop. I'd still have another.  I rated it a B-. Cool label though.
"Why is there only one time of year...
when we embrace THE FEAR?"
 -Flying Dog