Monday, August 7, 2017

Gone Skeg, from the Rogue's notebook

"I need a drink and a quick decision..."  -She's Gone, Hall & Oates.
Not feelin' the love, Castles on 38th. 7/27/2017

   Summer is startin' to wind down. Can just feel it. No notable sessions. Seems like as of late I've dealt with more shorebreak than point breaks. Been paying the price too. Week before last, caught a couple then spent the rest of the time bitch-sliding down the face of a few waisties much to my chagrin. Blamed it on the backside. More like something missing (besides time in the aqua). 
Feelin' better on the backup...
thigh-hi skimmin', Roadways@30th. 8/4/2017
Following a frustrating sesh I faced a stone covered path to the shower. Like stepping over shards of dull glass. Puffed a sigh of relief when I made it to the shower only to lose my breath as I realized my center skeg was adios. Not just broke off...fuc#ing gone. Fin box and all; ripped right out. Not that I wanted to re-live the whole affair, but I did not recall a single wrecked ride (and there were a few) that would have slammed my stick like that. Blame it on the shorebreak.
Paddle Board esplanade, The Pines Swim Club. 8/6/2017

  Jump ahead to the now. Wife and son- Jake, and I went SUP'in yesterday morning in the Pines, then surfed Assateague in the afternoon. Nice day on the bay, but the wind picked up in the PM. Atlantic was pretty much blown out. Couldn't make up it's mind if it was goin' left or right. Squeezed out a few thigh to waists here and there. Backsides included. Not much power. Became worse as the tide went out. Jake caught a few. Both stoked. Prepared to exit the Salted. Started to wrap the leash around the tail and Damn! if I didn't snap another one. Center fin gone. Thruster became a twin fin once again. My wife just shook her head. Never an issue over the years and in two weeks, two skegs gone. Blame it on me. I guess.
Always a fan favorite, never a fan. The AP's, Assateague Island. 8/7/2017

Gone again..."better learn how
to face it." -H&O

Blame it on the workday
Blame it on the heatwave
Blame it on the tick-tock moving too slow
Blame it on any ol' thing you want
Ready, get set, here we go
-Day Drinkin', Little Big Town.
   Make all the wreckage feel a bit better? A good beer. Or two. Michigan's Short's Brewing Company throws out an outstanding IPA that pays homage to the hop (hence the play on the genus-species). Pours a clear amber with a finger plus khaki head. Thick, sticky lacing. Aromas of toffee and sweet malts with mango and orange. Thrown back, the sweet, whiskey-malt front end. Nicely balanced as the 96 IBUs of resinous citrusy bite of the hops hit 'cha in the finish. A very smooth 7.7% alcohol content will leave you at least thinking you're wanting. Rated an A. What skeg?
   Fought the sour puss with Victory's Sour Monkey... Sour Brett(anomyces) Tripel. Another 9.5% ABV, boozy favorite.  Hazy gold pour. Half finger head. Thin lacing. Sour green apples blended with lemon in the nose. Some yeast. Tastes of tart apples and lemon mixed with sweet rum. Not a dry finish in the house with this one. 10 IBUs as typical with most sours. Rated an A-.
"Don't need a reason or a
happy hour."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hit Or Miss, from the Rogue's notebook.

Hit. Assateague break, 7/15/2017.

   Love the seasons of the Eastern Shore. But the conditions can be pretty sketchy at times. Low humidity one day, In the eighty to ninety percentile over the next few. Usually in the "dog days" the Atlantic is pretty slack. High pressure systems in the area usually keep the swells in the knee to thigh range. At high tide that can mean shorebreak. Last weekend was out at Assateague with family. Managed to grab some decent thigh to waist high sets. Clean to semi-clean depending how hard the off shores were blowin'. Always seems to break better along this end of the barrier.
Miss. Evening shut-out. 47th St, 7/20/2017
Later in the week hit the 47th Street break. More thigh to occasional waist...breakin' right on the sand. Suck the sand up the wall of the swell and slam it back onto shore. Got wet. Made a few attempts. Wave would jack in front of me with a panoramic view of a packed sand landing. Backed off every time. Got some paddling in anyways.
   This time of year brings in some of the best of the Eastern Sho's harvest. Deep green 'Cukes, ' and golden yellow. Bright squash and zucchini. Pungent onions, a variety of peppers, and sweet sugar corn. Juicy strawberries, peaches, and nectarines. Luscious blueberries and blackberries. Melons of all types...watermelons, honeydews, canaries, and my favorite, big, delicious, juicy, sweet, cantaloupes. Add to that the abundance of seafood everywhere you go in the area. Very hard to miss out on a good meal. 

Hit. Awesome Clawsome...King Crab, MD Blue Crab
Lobster and corn; shore abundance.

   What better brew to join 'em then a local brew. Fin City's Bimini Key Ale, a Bahamian style ale. What the hell is that? Gonna say a pale lager. Regardless, this pours a pale yellow with a quickly dissipating finger-thick head. Enhanced with tons of key limes...the biggest aroma that hits ya. Light peppery taste accompanies more key limes with a fresh bite in the finish from the 18 IBUs of light hopping. Only 4.0% ABV so washing down seafood, produce, or anything else is a pleasure with a few of these. Simple. NOT complex. Nothing sophisticated about a pale lager. Makes it very repeatable. Named after the OCMD boat builder Bimini Marine, rated this one a B-.
Out to sea. Will be back when the
beer is gone.  - Bar Sign
"There will always be another wave."   Shaun Tomson

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Neoprene Free Season, from the Rogue's notebook

Getting back. Near waist high take-off along the trail.  Holidays coast, 7/13/2017.

   In the few times I've gotten to hit the surf, the best that I've been able to to do is snap a few knees and thighs. Didn't come without being slapped down myself...once or twice...or so. Still shorin' up those kook legs. No morning sessions yet. More water time always improves water time performance. Gets ya into surf shape.
Barely knee highs.  47th Street snippets, 6/29/2017.

Despite the typical early summer small-scale swell, the nor'east chop, and on-shore winds the water's now neoprene free. Mid 70's. Comfortable. Makes it a little more maneuverable in outta shape mode. See what happens in the up 'n comin' weeks.
Closing torment. Holidays end-game, 7/13/2017
"You know the nearer your destination...

the more you're...

...slip slidin' away."     -Paul Simon

    Company in town. Understand it happens when you get a house near the beach (another reason to get more time in the water). We like it. Friends or family. It's all Family. Like this week. Dinner with my brother and his kids. On the weekend, dinner with my Wife and her Daughter and Sister. Nice.
Bros and brews at Dead Freddies.

Seafood, beer, and a Margarita (or two).
Hooper's Crab House

   With company, a couple of brews thrown back. Alaskan Brewing Company's Amber, an Alt style beer (meaning "old") brewed in the German tradition of cold fermentation. Supposedly improves the conditioning. No fireworks here. Poured a clear, amber red with a finger and a half off-white head. Good lacing. Aromas of biscuit and grain. Lightly sweet. Average taste. Very malty. A little nutty. Light bitterness (18 IBUs) in the finish. Good beer, Not a standout. At 5.3% ABV, it ain't gonna keep 'em warm in Alaska. Rated a C+.
   Coronado Brewing put together a nice IPA sure to enhance any summer surf sesh. Islander IPA filled my head with aromas of mango and citrus sprinkled with pepper. Smooth malt sweetness in the taste combined with the mango and notorious hop-forward grapefruit. Three different hop varieties pumped 65 IBUs of resinous pine bitterness for a crisp finish. Poured a hazy, orangy gold with a finger of white fluff head. A newbie West Coaster in my book. Not the best of the IPAs I've had, but dangerously easy drinking at 7% ABV. Nice brew. Rated a B+.
"Coaster? That's for people
who put their beer down."


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Sunday Workout, from the Rogue's notebook.

The Jimmy S.

   Sunday in the Pines. Weather: full sun in the upper eighties. Water on the St. Martin, mid 70's. Waves are still pullin' the typical summer short-runs. About knee high. Water just touching 70F. Wife and I decided to go for about a five mile or so bike ride and then hit the Swim & Racquet Club beach to finish off the afternoon. Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Tried out the new 12 ft Jimmy Styks SUP. Birthday present to the wife. Good size board. As I rented, I had a good comparison. The rental was shorter and wider. The JS much more narrow than I anticipated. Obviously a little more work on the core. She did well. Nice Sunday workout.
  Afternoon refresher, Dogfish Head's Beer to Drink Music To '17. A tropical Blonde brewed with lime, kiwi, and hibiscus. Not your typical summer beer. 6.8% ABV means more of a sipper than a guzzler. Poured a light amber with a finger plus off-white head. Thin lacing that hung. Floral notes combined with citrus in the aroma. Tasted of lime and mango. Maybe a little kiwi. Malt background, but not real sweet and enough hop bitterness (30 IBUs) to make this very refreshing. Rated an A/A-.
"Mind you, I've always been
musical...Mother used to sit
me on her knee and I'd
whisper, 'Mummy, Mummy,
sing me a lullabye do,' and
she'd say: 'Certainly my angel,
my wee bundle of happiness,
hold my beer while I fetch me
-Les Dawson

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Beyond the Grass-line, the Rogue's notes.

Cuttin' the grass...better than eatin' sand!
Holidays beach breakin'. 6/22/2017

   In season. Solstice. Time to show gratitude for what you get. This time of year it's on the low-low. Waist high at best. Water's been warming slow. Still 'bout 69F. July warms up considerably. Brings in the tropics. Starts the hurricane season. Some chest to heads. But, there is time for that. In the present, I take what I can get and am thankful for it. Not getting out enough to do much more yet anyways. Still busy unpacking the never ending load of boxes. But, morning sessions will be in the July plan. Past week brought high tide and water breaking damn near the beach. Nothin' worse than an unscheduled beach landing. Churns up the sand from the bottom. Sea grass everywhere. Had to get beyond the grass-line to the lineup. Still painfully close to shore. However, this type of break seems to add urgency to set-up in the ride and I move a bit quicker. Least it seems like it. 66th Street...Holiday's Break. Finally some rights. Knee high fast exits. Caught a few. One semi-memorable. Just happy to be in the ocean.
   Fellow Western Maryland alum, Tom Kehoe started Yards Brewing in 1994. Concocts a nice line. Brawler is an English Mild Ale landing at 12 IBUs which translates to malt forward. similar to a brown ale. Unfortunately, not one of my favorites. Pours a dark copper with about a finger khaki head. Little bitterness with aromas of sweet malt and tasted a tad like a weak Sam Adams. 4.2% ABV ...a nice craft intro to the Bud/Bud-Light crowd. Rated this a C+. Better than a Bud Light!
   Sessionable, when it comes to IPAs, sometimes could mean watered-down. Weak. Like knee to ankle high waves. Not in Pipeworks Brewing's case. I've sampled their beers in the past. Never really bought any. Mango Guppy IPA delivers that signature grapefruit-citrus punch in only 4.6% ABV. Aromas of honey, mango, orange, and pineapple. Tastes of  honey and citrus and able to feature the grapefruityness of hops versus overpowering with additions. Pours a hazy orange-gold with a bout a finger plus white head. Nice carbonation and full lacing. Light sweetness followed by a refreshing hop-bitter finish. More than a semi-memorable ride. Rated a B+.

"What'd you like, Normie?"
"A reason to live. Give me another
-Norm Peterson

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Hour, the Rogue's notes.

Yeah, let's go drink till the beer runs dry!
American life in the summertime.

-Francis Dunnery

   We've hit Ocean Pines on the cusp of summer. Got here/closed early May. Been moving in ever since. Boxes emptied, full of keepers and throw-aways. Re-framing and hanging of old pics, paintings, and posters. Furniture, bought and sold. Still quite a bit left to do. But we do find time to slow and take in the water views of the surrounding St. Martin. Call it Civil Twilight. Happy hour. That magic time when the sun begins to drop and paints the sky hues of red, orange, pink, and blue.
Mix in family (my Boy and his girl over for Father's Day), some crabs. Some sweet corn. Throw in a surf. Sometimes a beer. Or rum. Or both. Maybe write one of these here posts. Enjoyin' life on the Point.
When life gives you lefts...take the the damn lefts!
NE soup, 66th St., near Holidays. 6/14/2017


   Crystal Lake, IL. Been there. Worked the area in my now fading previous career. The lake itself would be a prime attraction if not for the political back biting. Kills me sometimes. Own a home on the water and you think you own part of the water. Regardless, home to a nice little Mid-West brewery. Crystal Lake Brewing. Unfortunately, never got a chance to sample it. Did sample a nice blonde lager though. Chrystal Lake Beach Blonde. Sessionable 5.3% ABV made it easy to throw one back (and a few more if'n I had 'em). Poured a straw yellow with a white head; maybe a finger thick. Thin lacing that dissipated quickly. Aromas of grass and light malt. Cracker-like with a little tang of citrus in the flavor. The 18 IBUs gave it just enough dryness in the finish to add this as a decent summer offering in one's cooler. Rated a B-.

Twilight happy hour...Father's Day on the Point. 6/18/2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The 6th Sin, the Rogue's notes

"Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with
a sledgehammer, and then you'll notice you've got their strict attention."
 -John Doe, SE7EN
Walking off the hammering. 67th Street nor'east blow, OCMD. 6/8/2017
  Not really masochism. More like gluttony. Trying to find my surf-legs with a "never-give-up" attitude. Mid-week session. Despite the poor conditions, continued to surf my piece of the Right Coast searching for position; looking in vain for a break in the 15-20 knot, NE wind driven swell. Often been told (not that I listen) that there is a reason no one else is out. The surf report is rarely favorable, especially when the winds blow outta the nor'east. Swell-Info had "red" everywhere. Sloppy, chopped up leftist sections. Mid-tide and a rip here and there helped to get into the line-up. Regardless, I was sucking air each time I got past the foam. Hammered time after time as I was dragged by a relentless southbound current. Knocked around as I worked my way back to firm footing. Swallowed a mouthful of seawater along the way. Then a four to six block walk back to where I took on the anarchy once again. A ride here and there. No big-league moment. Left wondering when enough was enough. Not necessarily enjoyable. Definitely borderline excessive.
   Been up to Heavy Seas. Like their "Pirate" attitude. A reflection of backbay Chesapeake culture and one of Baltimore's top breweries. TropiCannon Citrus IPA; you would think a summer offering. They claim year round. I'm keeping it to Spring/Summer. Pours a cloudy, dark orange with a finger and a half, tight, off-white head. Strong aromas of tropical pineapple, mango, peach, and tangerine. The flavor downplays the citrus aromas with a malty caramel sweetness in the background, and at 45 IBUs, a dry resiny bitterness to the finish. 7.25% ABV to wash away the bumps and and bruises. A six'll help recovery good on a balmy summer evening. Rated a B+/A-.
Scars are tattoos with better
-Anonymous Pirate

Monday, June 5, 2017

My Element, the Rogue's notes.

Droppin' into foam; still got a kick and felt the stoke. Couldn't wait to go after the next one.
Holiday's, 66th Street in the OC. 6/1/2017

"The longer you surf, the more you begin to appreciate that pretty
much any wave will do. It's not so much the actual ride as it is just 
being there - just being able to get out there and go through the 
whole experience."      -Gerry Lopez

   Sea air fillin' my lungs. Full suit. Boots. No gloves. After the initial shock, I was continuously doing the cold salt submerge to cool down. Once my hands got used to the low 60's water temps and I had snipped the first couple short cruises, I reclaimed my element. Semi-clean thigh with occasional waist point breaks. Mid- tide, goin' low. A few righties breakin'. A few lefties. No excuse for the number of misses I had. Clearly relapsed a bit deep into kook form. No worries. I live near the water now. Near my element. Missed a May surf. Early June start. Busy settlin' in, but uh... Yeah. I've said it before- water time, need more.
   Tropical Torpedo IPA. A weapons grade infusion of hop bitterness. Kinda like the sharp sting of that initial cold slap of Lady Atlantic with or without the rubber. Sierra Nevada delivers the rush of hops with the tropical aromatics of papaya, mango, and grapefruit. Clean golden pour with a finger plus head. Good carbo. Decent lacing. Fruity sweet taste up front with a dry, bitter finish in the end. Good IPA. Not as "go to" as the Torpedo IPA itself, but well worth the purchase. Rated a B+.
"Buy any two drinks, and 
pay for them both." 
-sign in bar

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Move It On Over, the Rogue's notes

Move out ready. Aurora, IL 4/30/2017

So move it on over
Rock it on over
Move over little dog
A big old dog is movin' in.
   -George Thorogood and the Destroyers

  It was on. The move. Truck in Friday. Packed Saturday. Closed Sunday. Followed a rain storm all the way to the Coast. No Fitz storm, but still made the drive painful. Didn't deter us. Throw in a few beerskis. Good to go. Will miss our friends and neighbors. Tradin' up traffic for flood insurance. As intimidating as the consideration of water damage might sound, we've chosen the insurance. Give us liquid sunshine and water-views. Here come da Pines!
At Home.
The Point, Ocean Pines 5/8/2017.

  Two brews, Dog. Think I may have mentioned it before. Not a big porter fan. Usually smoky. More of a BBQ pairing beer. Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewing Company has an appreciation for brew kooks like myself. Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. Still pairs with BBQ, but also goes very well with seafood (ie. oysters). Aromas of roasted barley, bittersweet chocolate, and coffee. Enough hop yang (37 IBUs) to counter the malt yin. Poured almost black with tints of brown and a two finger light brown head. Heavy lacing. The warming 6.0% ABV counteracts the sting of cool spring evenings, or a mid-50's right coast session. Sorta creamy; almost stout-like in feel. Rated an A-.
Does anyone know where
the love of God goes
When the waves turn the
minutes to hours?
           -Gordon Lightfoot, 
           The Wreck of the
           Edmund Fitzgerald
So, finished up a chilly spring sesh, but don't want a heavy porter? Fordham & Dominion Brewing of Dover, DE. does a Belgian candy brewed Tripel crashing in at 8.5% ABV sure to end the defrost tremors. Sweet and a bit boozy, Candi Belgian Tripel poured a rich gold with a tight finger and a half head. Bready. Peppery. The result of the spicy Belgian yeast and smooth malt. Tasted of tropical fruit and bananas. Herbal hops blended in at 20 IBUs which gave this sweet brew a light feel in the finish. Could be dangerous by number six. Rated a B+.

Tubular glass greeted our arrival. Roadways, 30th Street. 5/7/2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Surf Check, the Rogue's notes.

"Call it stoke, call it obsession, call it addiction. Whichever you prefer, when the waves are plentiful the
ocean has a gravitational pull that bends the will of men and women of surf in such a way that getting
 to the beach becomes the preeminent desire"
     -Dylan Hayden, Associate Ed. The Inertia

48th Street Break, 4/2/2017.

   Last before the first. Doing the last surf check coming in from the Midwest. Next time it will be the first since moving back. Looking for that first opportunity of the new season. Seems like there has been no real surf the last few times I've stood on the beach. Flat or blown with no clean up in between. Just finished the first full day of our own version of "Beach Front Bargain Hunt." Tired. Maybe slightly exhausted. Tight time frame adds to the feeling of being pressed. So, to cross the dunes and take in the view of a few waist to stomach leftist rollers helped to envision the future of what is to come. Released a breath. Let go of the tension. At least in the moment. Kinda helped that next steps involved getting some seafood amid a formidable Eastern Sho' sunset.

   This set came rollin' in as another two brew review. Started off with a pale that bursts with citrus and tropical punch. New Belgium's Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale. May be enough to wake the dead. Big explosion that quickly mellows in the aroma and taste. Only 35 IBUs but the hop flavor feels more so. Finished off lighter. Refreshed. Up front toasty, cracker-like malt. Not too dry. Poured a bright gold with a finger and a half white head. Thin lacing. Light bodied at 5.5% ABV. Rated at a B+.
   Michigan's Bells Brewery puts out a barley wine style, Third Coast Old Ale, that almost demands a cigar (the other half of my sixer is aging for that). Named for the Michigan surf breaks. Very dark, cloudy, viscous, amber-brown pour. Tan two finger head with sticky lacing... vs. lacing that slides and dissipates. Aromas of vanilla, raisins, and heavy molasses. Tastes a bit boozy as it is a heavy at 10.2% ABV. No worries here. Slight bitterness that goes well with the sweet richness of caramel and anise. IBUs in the lower 50's. Speaking of, the perfect throwback after surfing the spring 50's water temps off the OC. Intensity that mellows. Really liked this bad ass. Rated an A.