Friday, December 13, 2013

Hush The Rush, notes from the Rogue

Northside's Winterfest, 12/12.

  Met a friend in OC for dinner.  Surf has been flat.  No opportunity has presented itself yet.  So I work on enjoying the Christmas preps.  Hush the rush.  Lay back and avoid letting the stress of the season get the beast in me... uh, best of me.  It is the time of year to appreciate what we have.  Appreciate the world around us.  That's the secret to abundance.  Gratitude and appreciation. Makes miracles happen.

  To aid in my hush I have chosen two brews this time around:
21ST Amendment Brewery puts out a pretty good seasonal English Warmer known as Fireside Chat.  Named as such to give a kick in the butt with 7.9% ABV, but give a hug with it's subtle spices and cocoa much like FDR's "Chats" of the Depression-era. Pours a dark reddish-brown with a finger sized tan head.  Nice lacing.  Aromas of nutmeg, clove, and allspice with a defined chocolate taste.  Medium body balance with a 45 IBU hop finish. Nice beer. I rated this a B.

   The next was Flying Dog's Natural Selection Genus 3.  A collaboration with Evolution Craft Brewing, this bad boy was awesome.  An Old Ale that poured a muddy, hazy brown with a finger and a half head. Great lacing and carbonation.  Aged in cherry wood barrels and dry hopped, this has the aroma and taste of toasted malts with a caramel sweetness up front balanced by a grapefruit and berry finish.  I've had Evo's version, and this one outdoes it.  7.6% ABV and 35 IBUs.  Little more hops may be perfect.  Rated this an A-.
"'Do not open 'til Christmas'
should never apply to beer!"

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hold On, notes from the Rogue

"Hold on, baby, hold on. 'Cause it's closer than you think.  And you're standing on the brink."  -Kansas
Lone left.  12/7
   Holding on to the thought that I've got one more sesh comin' before it becomes "too cold." It, of course, being the water temps.  I'll deal with the colder air.  I monitor the ocean.  Still in the 50's.  Got to hold on.  This week? Fighting off a head cold.  Tempted though.  Waist to chest high semi-bumpy sets.  Winds, on shore out of the north. Couple guys out.  Not real heavy.  Already second guessing.
     Used the weekend to catch the OC Old Town deco and get some Christmas shoppin' done.

Old Town Ocean City used to light 'em up at Christmas, but as the Northside has developed and the economy pinched the local government, Old Town's sets had fallen off.  But locals have taken the reigns, the swell is building as a winter renaissance is in the midst.

City Hall

Still would like to see more.  I mean the inlet is a highlight of Ocean City.  The local council and businesses need to keep it pumpin' even in the off season.  Anyway, that's my rant.

Residual of the Inlet displays

  Finished the night with a most interesting DIPA...Crown Valley Brewing's Gunslinger. Big malt sweetness with an even bigger hop punch.  the 93 IBUs attest to that.  I liked the balance, and I could say I liked the tastes of maple-toffee combined with grapefruit. Almost too heavy and sweet for an IPA (did I say that?).  The alcohol content at 9% means any more than two and it'll be an early night, son.  Pours a hazy copper with about a finger head.  Fair lacing. I rated this one a B.
Billy Clanton: "You're so drunk, you
can't hit nuthin'.  In fact, you're
probably seein' double."
Doc Holliday: (takes out a second gun)
"I have two guns, one for each of ya."
-from the movie TOMBSTONE

Nice finish.  Nice night.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Potomac Reflection, notes from the Rogue

Sunset reflection on the Potomac, 11/30.
   Had my Italian Chicago Girl in town for Thanksgiving.  In addition to family time, and getting stuffed on turkey and ham and taters and pie, and goin' down to the beach for some martinis, seafood, and lights, we drove up to D.C. to pay respects to my father with a Christmas Wreath.  A carrier pilot in the Navy, buried in Arlington National Cemetery for his service in the Korean War.  Very reverent grounds.  Takes my breath away every time I go. Always feels good to have Lisa with me.

Miss you Dad.

  Afterwards, spent some time around town catching the sights.  Maybe the Redskins are suckin' ass (nice metaphor, eh?), but the beauty of Washington overshadows them.
Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Pool

  Beer review time.  Troeg's Hop Back Amber Ale.  Good stuff for me at 55 IBUs as this ale is chock full of three types of hops with a fair balance of toffee/caramel malts. Deep red-orange hue with a light tan finger and a half head.  Excellent lacing.  Smells of pine, grapefruit, and honey.  Taste begins lightly sweetened with a bit of a strong caramel malt tone in front; the characteristic fruit citrus of the hops in the finish.  6.0% ABV means get me another!.  Rated this a B+.
"This is grain, which any fool can eat,
but for which the Lord intended a more
divine means of consumption...Beer!"
-Friar Tuck, from Robin Hood,
Prince of Thieves

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mental Strain, notes from the Rogue

November sky, SBY 11/23.    "It's all about where your mind's at."   -Kelly Slater  

  Been in a funk lately.  Can't surf during the week as the sun has set by the time I'm off work.  Work itself has been a mental strain.  Need a surf.  Need to get wet.  But, flat conditions continued thru the weekend as water temps dropped into the lower fifties. With nights falling below freezing it's no wonder.  Feels like the clock is ticking before my season ends.
   Brother came down Saturday to hang out.  Needed the relax time.  Family is always good. Went to a local brewpub.  Drank some beers.  Did some dinner.  BS'd. Hung out. Watched a movie.  Let go a little.  A nice beer to help was Heavy Seas Great'Er Pumpkin, Imperial Pumpkin Ale.  At 10% ABV this'll mellow you out real quick.  I've oft heard it said about some pumpkin beers that they're like drinkin' a slice of pumpkin pie. Great'Er lives up to that.  Pours a deep cloudy orange-brown with a finger tan head. Fair lacing.  Aged in bourbon barrels so a little boozy, but the aroma and taste are full of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spices that seemed to blend well with a dry vanilla finish.  Not too much of a hop bite with approximately 25 IBUs, however the dry finish made it very smooth going down.  Did this from a 22oz. bomber.  Don't need much more than that.  Definitely a favorite for a crisp autumn evening.  Rated it an A-.

"Perfect beer for burning them 
leaves"    -DsW

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Full Of It, notes from the Rogue

Frosted AM color.

   Alarm goin' off at 7am.  Bathroom floor chilled.  Frost on the ground.  Really had to drag my ass outta the house to get to the beach.  Once I'm on the road, I'm good. Coffee helps.  Morning temps in the upper thirties. Water dipping below 60 (full suit and boots now, Son!).  Standing on the beach I scrutinize the low surf.  Knee high I guess. Light northwest winds made for very clean backside conditions regardless of the small size. Add high tide and you lose the wave's energy.  You also get short rides. The lineup was pretty sparse as well.  Only a few of us out there, and in the was just me.  Solitude.  Calm sea, the sun sparkling like thousands of diamonds as I paddled out.  Gulls riding the air currents, dolphins dancing north. Chilly morning, but peacful out there on the water.  Stoke comes in number of configurations.  This morning was full of it.
Cold solitude, 11/9.

Arial show.

    Took stock of the day's session with a Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale.  At 5.5%ABV, Flying Dog Brewery does an excellent job with what has become one of my favorite Pale Ales.  Pours a deep hazy amber with a one and a half finger head.  Good lacing, hint of malt and fruit in the aroma.  The hops (35 IBUs) provide a good balance and clean finish to the light malt sweetness in the taste. As I said, a session favorite...rated it an A.
"The answers to life's problems aren't at the
 bottom of a beer bottle, they're on TV"
-The Simpsons

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Detonation, notes from the Rogue

Shore explosion.  Wicomico County, 11/2.

   First days of November, air in the low 70s, water still around 62. Got the blast of autumn colors for the trek to the beach.  Water still comfortable at 62F, though full on rubber is now used.  Waist to occasional chest sets.  Fairly clean.  High tide kept 'em from jacking on me so a enjoyed a few nice carving rides.  One thing about wearing a full suit though, after a couple of hours my arms and shoulders are feelin' like lead. Had a somewhat strong northbound current, so I'd been walking the beach a couple of times during the afternoon.
Autumn detonation. Holiday's, 11/2.

 Then there is this lull from the previous ride to the next.  Get a little more selective 'cause I'm dreading that paddle back out at the end of the ride.  Ya get tanked more easily.  Recovery time becomes less and less.  Begin losing the light as dusk sets in. Wanted that last ride to count.  It did!  Grabbed one of those few steep rights that I was in good position for on the shoulder.  As I dropped in I could hear the peak detonate as the wave folded over on itself.  The sound like a rifle shot combined with the burst of speed generated that rush of adrenaline.  The stoke that keeps me coming back.  Not tonight...I'd been asking for this last ride since the last dry spell began.  Drifted 5 blocks with no more plans on walking.  Don't f**k with the Atlantic when she gives you what you ask for.  End of the session.  Last one to end with a warm body intact; a bit tired, but satisfied. Next walk was back to the truck.

   Evening's beer selection- local Shorebilly Brewing's Intergalactic IPA.  A boardwalk brewery making "sessionable" beers to be able to enjoy without falling out on your way out.  I've had it before and it was very tasteless, but they've obviously been getting better.  47 IBUs, so not as hoppy as my usual IPAs, but at 6.7, be careful, because after the first, it'll start to sneak up on ya.  Pours a golden amber with about a finger and a half head.  Fair carbonation, but good lacing.  Aroma and  taste of grapefruit-banana.  Hmmm.  I rated this session a B.
"Beam me up, y'all!"   -SBC

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Road Trip- Autumn Estuary, notes from the Rogue

    Visited family in central Delaware this weekend.  Took our mother to the DuPont Nature Center near Slaughter Beach.  The estuary there is formed where the Mispillion River meets the Delaware Bay.  Huge breeding ground for Horseshoe Crabs.  Nice time.  Shrimp and clams for lunch to boot!  Good 'ol fashioned Eastern Sho' Autumn.

Firestone Walker Brewing out of Paso Robles, California.  Them dudes is makin' some great brews.  Wookey Jack, an unfiltered Black Rye IPA at 8.3% ABV serves as a great warmer on a chilled autumn night.  Pours a jet black with a one finger brown head.  Good lacing.  Has the citrus aroma of an IPA mixed with nuts and chocolate. And the the smell...big, roasty, and just as complex.  Very smooth, like a stout, with an 80 IBU hop pop.  This rates a definite A.
"All men hear is blah, blah,blah, 
SEX, blah, blah, blah, FOOD, 
blah, blah, blah, BEER."
                     -Denis Leary

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cold Feet, notes from the Rogue

Lost Beach: that jetty was covered until the recent nor'easter.  Dusk, 47th St., 10/21
  With the sun gone by 6:30 and only dusk to illuminate any swell, every weeknight is a quickie.  Autumn is getting her firm hold on the Shore now.  Water in the lower 60s(F). Air temps by nightfall into the upper 50s, lower 60s.  The roads are cold, the sidewalks are cold, the f#%king sand is cold.  The full suit is back on, though not with boots or gloves just yet.  The water felt warm compared to the rest of 'em.  But after a little over an hour's sesh, the toes were getting that tingly feelin'.  Still managed to coax a few outta the knee high bump out there.  All that for a few cold knee-high waves?  Yeah, surf's been lacking as of late.  Take the opportunities.  Always good to get wet.  Nice night.  Very grateful.

   'Bout a week and a half ago, was in Chi-Town visiting my girlfriend and she took me to a chill sports bar called the Foundry in Naperville.  Nice local brew on special, Revolution Brewing's Anti-Hero IPA.  Not overly hard hitting at 6.5% ABV, but still packing a hop wallop at 70 IBUs.  Pours a clear amber with about a two finger head. Excellent lacing.  Excellent carbonation.  Piney citrus smell with a grapefruit taste that blended well with the  malt background.  Really liked the refreshing dry finish.  Rated it an A.
"Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and 
I'm not in it for you, Princess!"
-Han Solo

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Feisty, notes from the Rogue

8th Street, Malibu's 10/9

This afternoon was a mess.  Near double overhead produced by a feisty October Nor'easter.  Rain that pelts your face.  Walking to my Terrain, I didn't need the Weather Channel to tell me my hump-day surf was pretty much off.  The board I had slid into the back was beggin' dude, seriously.  No smash wish today.  Big diff from last week. The only thing I fought were the sandcrabs.  $hit, big change from the weekend.
Anklets.  47th Street, 10/3

   Got me a fair Brown Ale recently.  Another Georgetown, DE winner outta 16 Mile Brewing Company.  6.1% ABV gives Harvest Ale a warming quality.  Pours a deep brown, almost like a porter, but with the lighter taste of a brown ale. Good lacing. Okay carbonation.  Tastes of cinnamon, caramel, chocolate, and wood like.  Yeah, like fresh chopped wood.  Creamy and somewhat, though not overly malty.  IBUs approximately 25.  Great food beer.  Rated it B, and that's good since I'm not a big Brown Ale fan.
"You can't buy happiness but you 
can buy beer.  It's almost the 
same thing."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Liquidation, notes from the Rogue

El Sol's receding.  Gotta roll, 9/23

   Autumn brings shorter days, cooler nights.  As the the year progresses to an end, time seems to run out much faster.  Daylight.  Warm spells. Surf time.  Bike time. Grass cuttin' time (love that mower).  Nothing lasts quite as long.  Well, almost nothing...  I digress.  Got  a late start on this evening.  Was gonna hit the surf.  Even had the board in the car.  Expected swell didn't arrive.  My daughter did.  Met Bo Dannon for a coffee and homework.  Got home about 6:30-ish.  Hit the road for a quick ride.  About 45 minutes or so.  Dusk most of the way.  Dark as I turned back down my road.
  The last few weeks have brought swill for surf.  Sloppy. Closing out.  It seemed I could pinch a couple of rides up front and then "boom."  Nothing.  A veritable liquidation of all swell rideable.  I'm a Kook. I try to make the most outta nothin' but I just get frustrated.  The more I push, the worse it gets.  All assets, gone.  Gotta learn to cut my losses or in this case, toss those bitter pills before I force 'em down.
"On a cloud of sound I drift in the night, any place it goes is right.  Goes
far.  Flies near.  To the stars away from here."          -Steppenwolf
So the ride is eradicated in front of ya.  It's still time in the aqua.
Liquidation.  Holidays, Mid-September
   This week's brew is an ode to the 'tweener season.  The feel of Summer not quite gone, the brunt of Fall not yet here.  Sierra Nevada's Flipside.  A Red IPA with a considerable hop kick (60 IBUs) up front.  I searched high and low for this bee-ahhtch and found it Delaware.  Thinking it was all that, I must admit a bit of disappointment.  Only because this, to me anyways, was more of an English IPA, more earthy/piney bitterness, less grapefruityness.  Minimal sweetness on the malt cusp. However, it walks the walk.  At 6.2% ABV, enough warmth to overcome the cool nights without making you too toasty during the daylight hours.  I rated it a B.
"For the final flash of summer..."
 - SN Brewing

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fear The Goat, notes from the Rogue

Mids muscle up after another Navy touchdown. 9/14
   If I'm gonna miss a weekend swell, it will always be for a good! Tripped it out to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD this weekend.  Joined my brother to catch opening day of Navy Football.  Midshipmen vs. the U. of Delaware Fighting Blue Hens.  Added cool points in the fact that my brother's son, Ben, is a Mid in his sophomore year at the academy.  Watched the March to the field, did a mini- tour of the "The Yard," and Bancroft Hall, did the two mile jaunt to the stadium.
March of the Brigade.  Ben's Company prepares to head out.

Fear The Goat
Beer, sausage, BBQ, an awesome tailgate tent (though it was predominantly DE fans - but not hostile).  And then proceeded to watch Navy roll over Delaware 51-7.  Good times, good times.
QB Keenan Reynolds was 10 for 13, 233 yards, and 2 TDs.

DeBrandon Sanders sprints for another Navy score.

Navy Pride.
  The weekend's brew was a local one.  Located in the Washington D.C. suburbs, DuClaw Brewing's Hellrazer IPA.  Billed as having "death defying levels of New Zealand Motueka Hops," this one has an aroma that is an explosion of pine and grapefruit.  At 85 IBUs, no doubt why.  Add the ABV of 7.5% and the skull on the label makes sense.  Needless to say, the six lasted a while.  Pours an orange-amber with a finger and a half head.  Great lacing with carbonation that is not overwhelming. Balanced malt allows for a casual sweet taste with a hint of citrus fruit up front with a crisp, dry finish. I like it. Gets an A- rating.
"Don't give up the
  -L. DeBeer