Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part, notes from the Rogue

Late Friday Snow...Saturday Evening Sunset, 1/26

   Subfreezing temps.  A couple of mid-60s plus days mixed in as teasers (and melt the snow).  Water temps hovering around 40F.  The waiting is the hardest part.

   Baltimore's Heavy Seas Black Cannon is a seasonal Black IPA modeled after their IPA offering Loose Cannon.  At 45 IBUs it has a nice balance of caramelly (word) malts and the piney-citrus of a generous importation of hops to develop a bittersweet offering perfect for healing the long cold stab of the winter blues.  Pours a deep brown/black.  Very nice lacing behind a 1/2 finger brown-tan head.  Burnt roasted sweet coffee taste with a refreshing dry finish.  A six is enough.  7.25% ABV.  Plenty warm after you've done that!  No problem nodding off either.  I'll admit...I'm a bit partial to Black IPAs.  And I'm from Maryland.  I gave this an A.  Tough it out!
"Suiting up ain't so bad with
waves like these staring you 
 -ESM Magazine on Winter Surf

Monday, January 21, 2013

First Snow Accumulation, notes from the Rogue

OC's shore, lightly dusted. 1/18  (photo courtesy

   What can I say?  This is a boring time of year.  I gotta force myself to hit the gym. There have been few opportunities for surf, and I have not been able to take advantage.  Lame. The next few nights will be in the lower twenties and teens.  That'll sure as sh** knock the water temperature down.  So- not much to report on.  Last Thursday, late night into Friday, early AM, the shore had it's first snow.  From a dusting to 2 inches, depending on your locale.  A few pics.  A nice beer. Stoke. Just look around. You can find it.
Back yard

   Into the 50's by late afternoon.  Very few traces of snow left by the end of the weekend.  Consequently, I snagged a Farmhouse Saison aptly named.  21st Amendment Brewery's Sneak Attack.  Sporting an interesting rendition of George Washington's Delaware River Crossing on the can.  Pours a hazy gold with a pillowy white two finger head.  A dry hopped Saison brewed with a spicy Belgian yeast and Belgian Candi sugar.  Heat provided by an ABV of 6.2%,  it's peppery aroma, and lemon overtones bring in a little summer that is the perfect "anecdote" to winter. Refreshing carbonation and nice, even lacing.  At 38 IBU's it gives a nice dry finish without being overly bitter. As this drinks much lighter than the ABV's might indicate, it will sneak up on ya.  Be nice and git me another! Rated it an A-...only because I need ta get used to the idea of a lighter beer as a winter warmer.
"If you were going to sneak across the
Delaware River unnoticed, you might 
not consider doing it in a boat full of 
guys in brightly striped swim shorts
waving flags.  In winter. With George 
-Shaun O'Sullivan, 21st Amendment
Brewmaster and Co-founder

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Empty Town, Empty Surf...notes from the Rogue

Got a cannon?  Empty OC, Early January, 2013

   My grandfather used to say that you could shoot a cannonball down the center of Coastal Highway during an Ocean City winter and not hit a thing.  Even today, at times, a very true observation.  The Atlantic flatties have been so bad this month, I believe one would be hard pressed on a longboard even. SUP time!  Water's in the lower 40's. Not my bag. Get me about five, six degrees warmer, I'd go lookin' for a groove.

   The now groove-line, Barrel Trolley Pale Ale No. 3.  5.3% ABV, 35 IBUs.  Barrel Trolley brewing out of Novato, CA brews this English Pale reminiscent of the Prohibition days when "getting a beer was a clandestine process."  Pours a cloudy amber with a light tan 2 finger head. Biscuit-like malt combines with a hoppiness that has traces of mint and the more prevalent pine in the taste and you can smell the familiar floral scent of the hops as you knock it back.  A bitterness that is refreshing, but a bit dry in the finish.  A better Pale than I've had for a while.  Gave it a B rating.  I'd do another.
"I've always believed that paradise
will have my favorite beer on tap."
-Rudyard Wheatley, Author

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ready To Suit Up, notes from the Rogue

     New fullsuit from my girl for Christmas.  5/4 Hyperflex Cyclone-2. Super Stretch Quantum Foam neoprene. Great fit, light (sounds like a commercial, yeah?).  We'll see.  Almost feelin' like I got a new stick!  Water's in the low 40's now, but anticipating that in a few months the test run will come.  In the mean time, I did some test runs for a few of this year's holiday brews and added some experimental Winterfest light pics for aesthetics.  A nice year-end/New Year  beer review...

Holiday glow of the Winterfest forest

Sam Adams came up with a winner for Christmas with this Winter Warmer.  Old Fezziwig Ale pours a light mahogany with about a finger and a half head.  5.9% ABV is about average for SA beers but this combines the nice spice of cinnamon and ginger with hints of raspberry and chocolate.  At 25 IBU's, the herbal hops finish it off nicely.  I rated it a B+. Gimme another!

Harpoon Brewery's Winter Warmer was little more than average.  A copper pour with about a finger's worth of off-white head, the aroma was weak, a light smell of spice. And in drinking it was kinda malty, kinda sweet, little spice.  Not the amount of carbonation I like, and an almost acidic finish. Also 5.9% ABV and 22 IBUs. Not much warmth in this winter.  I rated it a C-.

Flying Dog.  I like these guys.  Not too many of their beers don't rate at the top of my list.  Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout is another winner.  Made with Rappahannock River Oysters this one screams of the Chesapeake Bay.  Pours an opaque black with a two finger brownish-tan head.  Aromas of coffee, and malted chocolate.  Can sense the mineral-like oyster taste, but roasted malts and chocolate dominate (which is good). Velvety, creamy texture that enhances the flavors. Excellent carbonation. As with all Dogs, 35 IBUs gives it a nice bite in the finish. At 5.5% ABV I can have another, and another, and another...rated this Necklace an A!

The Enjoy By IPA series of Stone Brewing has shown much success, and this "End of the World" offering was no exception.  Loaded with 11 different varieties of hops, it was a heaven-sent brew for hop-heads like me.  Set up to be finished off before the end of its 35 day freshness cycle, I unfortunately, was a little late in tapping in.  Regardless, at 88 IBU's this blows out the taste buds for sure.  Poured a hazy dark gold with a this white head.  Smells of oranges and pine with that awesome hop citrus burst in the taste.  At 9.4% ABV, one 22oz. bottle is enough.  I rated it a B+ although had I given the freshness a chance this surely could have been an A.

The Pyramid on 95th St.

the 9400 Building

"Drink like Bing Crosby!"
-R. Ramsay

Finally, I finish with Sam Adams White Christmas Wheat. 5.8% ABV definitely makes this one repeatable.  And at 8 IBUs it leans toward the refreshing side of summer in the winter.  Pours a bright but hazy amber-gold with a 2 finger head.  Nice lacing and carbonation.  A Witbier with tones of nutmeg and cinnamon in the smell and orange hints in the taste.  The spices and citrus combo allow each sip to enhance the holiday mood. I rated this an A-.