Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Island Drift, from the Rogue's notes.

Edge of an island adrift. Assateague, MD side. 11/18/2017

Island, I see you in the distance
I feel that your existence
Is not unlike my own
-Jimmy Buffett, Island

   Completely drifted into the next season without any water-time. Standing on the eastern edge of a skid of sand in constant permutation. Winds and tides join in a continuous assault on the barrier island. A western slide. Ever closer to the mainland. Could feel the pull of the ocean as land moved in the opposite direction. Blowin' a gale on Assateague. Waters, while still in the upper 50's, were chopped and sectioned depending on how far out your gaze might fall. Walking onto the beach, the wind-chill is what gotcha. Seeping through your jacket. Saturating bones.
Had to keep moving. Hovering around 50, but into the 40's with the wind. Know I sound like a broken, whining record, but it's the wind that gets ya. Tide was up, wind blowing from the east. Not conducive to a good surf. A beach- comber's day. Despite feeling the "lack of," I took solace in watching my Wife and Granddaughter scour the sand for shells. Every new shell our Granddaughter picked up seemed to trump the previous. Child's wonder. And the wandering Island ponies only heightened her buzz. We tend to lose it in the rush of the everyday, but the magic of the Island tends to help me catch a breath. Slow down time...if only for an afternoon. 

   Full Sail Brewing Company can relate to our way of life in these parts. Craft brews along the Columbia River in Oregon. Full view of SUPs, windsurfers, kite boarders, and Sailboats. Have had their beer in the past. Always good stuff. Full Sail Amber, one of the better amber ales I have had this season. 6% ABV makes it hearty and warming. Clear copper pour and a finger or so off-white head. Lacing that lasted. Tasted of malts and iced tea. With orange and lemon. Nice floral and citrus notes. Aromas of biscuit and spice. The 31 IBUs gives this a clean, dry finish. Rated a B/B+.

Mollusk excitement.

Windblown weekend. Whitecaps on the river...Sunday, 11/19/2017.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Down South Way, from the Rogue's notes

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel as seen from Fish'mans (Fisherman) Island. Cloudy, but mild (mid 60s) and
 this is the East-side, so...flat. Bad surf spot. Good fishin' venue. Hence the name. 11/4/2017.

   One of the vows upon the return to the coast was to head down south way. On a future day, for another surfing road trip. Last weekend, just a road trip. Eleventh hour provisions made. Wife and I even brought the pooch. Absolutely nothing to do with surfing. Like to try to tie in a break to each post. Somehow. Someways. Cruised across Fish'mans Island. Eastside facing the Ocean could argue some decent wave action from time to time. The con to that...accessible by boat only. Bayside west...facing the mouth of the Chesapeake...not so much. Pretty passive. Just passed by VA Beach. Nope, this trip was all about Williamsburg, VA. A hair inland. Sixty miles. Could argue a beer road trip. For the purposes of this post...that's my argument. That and a wee bit of history.  Especially the colonial era. Hard to find a more complete living example than Colonial Williamsburg. Wife gives me $hit because I get a tad carried away with the camera. Tend to get a lot of the same pics from trip to trip, so I tried to keep it original. Beer was! Gotta love it. We did.
Chowning's Tavern traffic.

Muzzle Flash, a hoppy amber ale from Williamsburg's Brass Cannon Brewing. Picked it up in the DoG Street Bottle Shop. Never made it out to the brewery...maybe next time. I liked this one. Nice hop bite (est. 50 IBUs) with a strong malt backbone. Big head on this, though I think it may have been a warm glass contributing. Poured a clear amber. Aromas of toffee and pine. Smooth finish. Sessionable at 5.8% ABV. Rated a B+.

Shops approaching the Capital Building

Wetherburn's Tavern

Merchant Square
Wethernburn's Tavern, where merriment was a specialty of the house. And no wonder with Bristol Ale on tap. Imported from bloody ol' England via Bristol, the beer at that time required high alcohol content and extra hops to keep it drinkable through the trip across the "pond."  Part of AleWerks Brewing's Historic collection; picked up at a colonial store in Merchant Square.  An English Strong Ale that poured a cloudy brown with sediment. Nice finger thick tan head. Smells of chocolate and malt. Tastes of vanilla and brown sugar. Smooth, slightly sweet, but crisp hop finish. This one is a strong hitter at 7.3% ABV. Rated a B.

 Discovered DoG (Duke of Gloucester) Street Pub on our last visit a couple years ago. Expanded since. Beer brings success. Success breeds expansion. Also within Merchant Square, we now had Hair of the Dog...an extensive bottle shop...in back. This place supported local brewers...Virginia's specifically. Obvious they love their craft. Did a collaboration with AleWerks to develop Maizie's ESB. Extra Special Bitter named after Maizie, the owner's pooch. At an estimated 30 IBUs and 6.1% ABV, poured a reddish-orange with a tan, finger thick head. Bitterness with little citrus up front. Toffee-malt hit in the back. Not a big fan of this one. The company dog got the better deal. Rated a C+.

The Virginia Beer Company was on our radar from the start of this trip. Like an approaching set in the distance, it didn't take long to hone in on this ride. Finished off the opening night with their 8-brew flight plan, sampling all on tap. Couple of belgians, IPA, DIPA, a blonde, and a Wheat Ale. Downing a reuben at lunch, I washed it back with the Saving Daylight Wheat Ale. Apropos considering it was the last day of DST. This was the brew that led us to our evening break and the tasting sesh. Light, straw yellow in color. Drank this directly from the can as well as the tasting. Distinct flavor from the Belgian yeast. Additional aroma and tastes of banana and grapefruit. Ever so light hopping on the end (25 IBUs) to produce a crisp, refreshing finish. A real session beer at 4.9% ABV. A starter in the Flight. Rated a B-.
"Fall back, and have another."
Closing Fife & Drum Corps.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Losing Daylight, from the Rogue's notes.

Relaxed stoke. Holidays on 66th, 11/2/2017.

Pull up, player! An eye on the beach at low tide. 11/2

   Managed a couple weekend sessions on Assateague during the summer months, but never did much of the OC coast except during the week. Didn't keep to my commitment. True offseason now as the next solstice approaches. The earlier sunsets mean I'm losing daylight. End of the weekday surf. Standard Time only allows weekends. Unless I'm off work...which ain't happenin' this season. Last week, did my final weekday of the year. This time I took my Wife's recommendation and reverted back to the rubber top. Always happy to minimize the rubber. Small surf. Semi-clean for the most part. Low tide but comin' in. Light east-southeast onshores. Air was hangin' around 70F. Water still in the upper 60's. Swell seemed to cross. Some rights. Some backside lefts. No real power. But the sets kept me shifting around for position (kept off the chill), and came in three and four at a time with a slight build from knee to thigh. Calm in between. Add a relatively full, bright moon to help judge the sets (as best I could) and I was surfin' well past nightfall. The early 70's band King Harvest had the vision. Supernatural. Considering the fast dropping sun and corresponding time crunch I've felt the last few times I've been out, I would have to agree. Very relaxing, almost supernatural night.
   Porters make very good transitional beers. Perfect for this time of year. Not real thick like the winter ales and stouts can be. Can be heavy enough to ward off any chill.
Case in point...Dewey Beer Company in Dewey Beach, Delaware. We payed a visit a few weeks ago. Joined by my brother and his wife. Did a flight and was impressed by Hobo Soup Porter. Kinda an Imperial at 7.1%. Poured a dark, dark brown. Light tan, 2-finger head. Thin lacing that dissipated quickly. But again, despite ABV level it did not feel heavy. Lofty aromas of toffee and raisin. Notes of coffee and light chocolate on the frontside. But what I really enjoyed was the balance of hops. Never been slaphappy about porters. Don't really think about about hoppy porters either, not that this was too much so. But, great balance. I'd estimate around 40-45 IBUs. Light bitterness on the backside that begged for another sip. Did not take long to finish off the crowler that I brought back. Felt it too. Rated this an A-/B+.

We get it almost every night
When that moon is big and bright
It's a supernatural delight
Everybody's dancing in the moonlight.
-King Harvest

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hallow Shore, from the Rogue's notes.

Sunset on the Assawoman. Mouth of Herring Creek, 10/22/2017.
First time out, near keeper Flounder...just under 17"
My unimpressive Sea Robin.

   A quick run through the last couple weeks of October. Different water time... Limited it on my surf. However, some flounder fishing in. Incredible day on the bay . Visited a few old haunts during homecoming at my former College. Glory days past. A crazy All Hallows Eve in Berlin Maryland. Quite the spectacle. Granddaughter loved it as did my wife and daughter. Really something to see and already on schedule for next year.

WMC/McDaniel Homecoming, 10/21/2017. 

   Beer. First up. Clipper City Brewing, aka Heavy Seas. Their October seasonal Treasure Fest. Got a sixer of this one. An Oktoberfest Lager coming ashore at 6% ABV (like the pun on the whole heavy seas thing). For the Oktoberfest time of year this one, though not the traditional marzen, was very smooth drinkin' with a nice 35 IBU hop bite in the finish. Put together with German malts and hops plus an added American dry hopping on the tail-end. Pepper and malt in the aromas. Spiced apple and toffee were detected in the flavor. Well balanced without getting crazy. Poured a shimmering amber with a finger plus head. Rated a B+.

Closed out the month with another of Oregon's Ninkasi brews. Aptly named Dawn of the Red. Big red IPA. Poured a hazy burnt orange. Finger thick, off white head. Thin lacing. Notes of malt and some pine in the smell. Drank this brewski when we got back from the whole Berlin TOT (tricks or treats) revelry. Damn! That was one well put together Halloween blowout. Once again, I digress. Really nice pour, but this tasted more like an English IPA. The 77 IBUs did their job in the bitterness department. Not much sweetness from the malts. More resin than citrus. A big beer without big taste. 7% ABV. Not a six repeater. Rated a B-/C+.

The End Is Beer!  -ANS

   The Coolest Small Town in America, Berlin, MD. Host to Tuck Everlasting and The Runaway Bride. Whose borders include the OP.  Keep your porch lights on ifn' you're treatin'. Off, if your out trickin'. This town literally shut down streets, let skeletons out of the closets (and trunks), and stirred up the dead. One of the best Halloween hooha's in the US of A!


The Point

The search for candy knows no end.
Berlin, MD 10/31/2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Tale Of Two Weeks, from the Rogue's notes.

"It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness..." -Charles Dickens
Turning into the wind under the dim of evening; chop 'n slop at 66th and Holidays. 10/11/2017
   Two weeks whose conditions couldn't have been farther apart for this area. This time of year dusk is a blue-grey streak that accelerates with each passing day. Time in the water during the week (post workday) means heading out just a bit earlier than usual. Truly losing the advantage of DST. Week of the 11th. Overcast most of the day. Rainy. Offshore winds whipping in multiple directions. A sloppy mess out in the break. Water still warm. Around 70F. Air about mid-70's with 90+% humidity. Waves jacking up, then losing power with the backwash echo of swell bouncing back from shore. Really had to be quick jumping on these. Set up for a frontside takeoff and suddenly the wave would reverse direction and break left...on my head in some cases. As the sky dimmed (there was no sun) I saw a fast right outta my periph, spun, and managed to snag the curling lip as the wave began to collapse on itself...pretty frontside that I entwined myself around, slashing around the tight wall before finishing off close to shore. This one was a loner. Muscled a couple quickies thru the session, but spent most of my time shuffling up and down the lineup trying to get position. I remember thinking that despite the wind, rough conditions, and pelting rain, this was somewhat of a fun surf. Never really got frustrated as I had other times.

Leftovers after the door has closed. Finishing up in the mush.
Holidays, 10/19/2017. 

   The week of the 19th. Frustrated. Semi- clean. Thigh plus. Breaking right...when they weren't closing out. Power loss as they neared the low tide shorebreak. Water had now dropped into the upper 60's. About 68. Wife had advised to stick with the rubber top. I went with the spring suit. Should have listened to the Wife. Not comfortable in the spring suit. Add the fast fade of the evening sunlight... I just could not get position. Either too far past the break, or too close as the next set jacked in front of me. Did manage a couple tweeners (between a waist and a knee). Missed on quite a few. Late and then dumped on quite a few. Again. That inner kook. Been a rough season getting back in the water. Have loved every second. Not over yet. 

   Two nice beers this time 'round. guaranteed to take the chill off. Harpoon's Flannel Friday. An ode to the autumn cool down. Their 5.7% fall seasonal. Poured a hazy amber with a finger and a half white foam head. Fast dissipating lacing. Aromas of toffee, with light citrus. Tasted of toasted caramel malts that provided a light sweetness the finish. At 35 IBUs, enough bitter pine hops on the back end to crisp this one up good. Not always a Harpoon fan...but I really liked this one. Easy drinkin'. Rated an A.

I had the Gulden Draak (namesake of some gold dragon on top of a belfry) at a tap house after a surf session earlier in the month. Now this one will really take the chill off at 10.5% ABV.  A dark Strong Belgian Triple with a cloudy ruby-brown pour. About a half a finger tan head. The scent of banana, toffee and the all too familiar Belgian yeast. Really hung there with the first taste. Some chocolate covered cherry. Some coffee. Roasted malts. A little spice and clove. More of the Belgian yeast. Somewhat boozy (big surprise). Rounded out with a light 18 IBU hop finish. Brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge. Be vewy, vewy, careful... quick with the hammer to the head! Rated a B+.
"There's only one thing I hate
more than lying...Bud Light, which
is water lying about being beer." 
-Ron Swanson

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Short Work, notes from the Rogue

"We love surfers...for the same reasons we admire excellent soldiers: because despite themselves they
 have bowed to a force much greater than themselves, which in this case is the wave, and submitted
 to the gnarly rigors of its discipline."  -Peter Heller, Kook.
Wading to submission. Holidays, OCMD. 10/5/2017

   Wow. Already October. My mid-week surf time has been in severe decline with harvest time (that rhyme was mine). Conditions have been pumpin'. Sometimes clean sometimes not. Fairly active 'Cane season. I can say, unlike our southern neighbors (prayers to Gulf Shores and vicinities, Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia), we've been fortunate. Taken it a lot on my head this season. Very green still. Rides come, but few. Like my sessions. Part of the problem. Water still warm; 'round 70F. Last week, Maria closeouts. Hard to judge in the dusk. Easier to get rolled. Maybe good that darkness fell fast. Made short work of my surf time. Made short work of me. Nightfall comes fast. November ends the mid-week sesh. Gotta clip the coastline earlier if I'm gonna see to get position much less get any decent rides out of it.
   That time of year to hook up with the Autumnal brews. Like my sessions...getting darker. Over the past weekend the wife and I did our annual pumpkin hunting trip. Quite a few of 'em out there. Missed on a few prime targets, but finally bagged the gourd of choice and some color to help display the prize.
Tiki Punkins? Tiki Punkins! Elmers, a Delmarva classic.

Perfect brew to accompany? Outta Seattle. Elysian Brewing's Punkuccino. 6% ABV is enough to warm ya as you hunt for that prize mount. Poured an opaque brownish-black with light floating sediment..assumed that was the pumpkin. Thick tan-brown fingerish head with sticky brown lacing. The fragrance of coffee is prominent with a pumpkin background. 

Not classified as a porter or a stout, but this is more than an ale...closer to a porter. Plenty of Pumpkin, cinnamon, and espresso in the flavor. Nice clean finish at 20 IBUs. Rated a B+/A-.

   In Chicago last year I did this Octoberfest by New Glarus. Staghorn. Went fairly well with burgers and brats. Pale amber with about a finger white head. Grainy aromas with a hint of spice. Malty, lightly sweet, nutty taste. Some carmel. Even at 6.25% it tasted a hair weak though. Not very intense (15 IBU) on the hop side. Rated a C+.
Spilling a beer is the adult
equivalent of losing a balloon.

Happy hunting!