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!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Counterclockwise Swell, notes from the Rogue

The left hook. Northeast spin off Holiday's and 66th. 9/28/2017

   Better session to partake in as of recent. Somewhat decent surf courtesy Hurricane Maria. Not to order though. Shit-ass lefties. Always end up getting thrown around by 'em. When these somebitches come up the coast we get the backside of the counterclockwise spin. Which in effect gives us nor'easter swells. Gives me backsides. Only way to do better is to take more. Only way to get better is to stay wet. Let the water move you.
Tough season. Doin' weekenders soon. Equinox past. Standard time comin'. Weather should remain mild for a tad longer. Humidity high, but then so remain the temps during the day (mid 70s). Coldest at night has been upper fifties. Seems the water cools as the nights cool... still hanging between 69F and 70F. Easy to get out with minimal rubber. Hey! I'm just grateful to get out.
"Exercise is medicine....movement is life."  -John Dadataki

Couple of A listers this time around. Both IPAs...go figure. A newbie brewery for me, Ninkasi Brewing, Eugene, OR. Home of the Ducks. Really smooth taste to this Northwest IPA. Liked the hit of resiny pine and floral citrus with a bit of sweet about it. Even at 81 IBUs, not overly bitter. Poured a deep copper. Light haze. Not quite a two finger head. Even lacing. Scent of orange and grapefruit, even at 6.8%, I'd have me another, and another, and... Gave this an A-rating.
My other big weiner, was Two Hearted Ale by Michigan's Bells Brewery. This IPA poured a nice hazy amber with a lasting two finger head. The 7% ABV was not overwhelming or boozy. Nice balance of mango and grapefruit bitterness (55 IBUs) and lightly sweet malt backbone. I've seen the reviews that call this the #1 beer in America. And, Lord knows they market the hell out of it...the $hit is everywhere. However, while I don't necessarily agree it's the best, it is a damn good beer. A-rating number two.
"Curry. Beer. Chutney tray.
Beer. Rock Music. Craft beer.
Talk to me."
  -Terry Tibbs

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Steel Brush, notes from the Rogue.

"That's when it all goes wrong. I turn back to see the biggest set of the day going square,
there's nothing I can do...it smashes me, leg here, arm there..."
-Al Mackinnon. UK Surfer
Closed down for the evening. Feeling the sting, Holiday's & 66th. 9/13/2017

   Last couple of weeks have been harsh on my confidence. Painful sessions. A ride here and there followed by trips through the washer. One too many grinders on the head. Tried to hold position in the strong currents, Staring down the sets as they loomed up outta the blue-grey dusk. Needless to say got slammed with lefts and rights while Hurricane Jose scoured the Right Coast like a steel brush across metal churning out to sea after passing by New England. Water's still in the low 70s. Air has been cooling into the low 70s. Can make for chilly finishes. Had the spin cycle to keep the blood warm.
Walking off Jose's lacerations.
30th Street junk. 9/21/2017

   Close friend of ours in town over the weekend. Shown the local watering holes and whatnot. Included St. Michaels in the digression. Managed to put down a couple of brewskis in the process. The first. A heavy typifying recents times on the water. Troeg Brewing's Doppelbock legacy, Troegenator. One of those meals within itself. Translucent reddish-brown pour with about a single finger tan head. Caramel and chocolate in the aromas with a taste of sticky sweet molasses and  woody malt up front finishing off with a 25 IBU tone of hops. Bitterness balanced the sweet front nicely. This one was chewy. More apt to be thought of as a colder weather brew. But, the 8.2% ABV gives this beer the ability to take the chill off after a late surf session. Too many and it's another churning in the washer. Rated an A-.

Bellevue from the ferry. Tred Avon River, 9/17/2017.

   St. Michaels- always a good time. Took the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry in. Lyon Distilling; great Maryland rum. St. Michaels Winery; a tasting room by the sample or glass. Eastern Shore Brewery; improved variety. Had to hit Gina's. Out to Wades Point to set up our post Thanksgiving reservations. Local shops.
"Rum for all!"  - Capt. Jack

Zach's serenity. Wades Point, 9/17/2017.

   Finished up at Foxy's Harbor Grille. Burgers, tuna steaks, and I had to get the soft crab sandwich. All good. Washed all back with the DR's best. Presidente Beer. The review on this Pilsner style is easy. The Dominican Republic's version of an American lager. Pale yellow pour. Thin head. Watered down taste. Slight bitterness, thus low IBUs. 5% ABV means an easy drinker on a hot day. In the Caribbean or on St. Michaels harbor. The warmer it gets the worse it gets. So keep 'em cold. Ironically, just talking with our DR manager about this brew during my Cali business trip. Rated a C.

"Shhh! I hear a Presidente
calling me."
-DR bar patron

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Veer, notes from the Rogue.

"I run six plays, split veer. It's like novocaine." -Coach Boone, Remember the Titans.
Clean lines; frontside veer. 30th and Rodeways, 9/7/2017.

   Irma. Cat 5. Cruising west towards the Gulf. Cut right driving into Florida. Barrelling head on, veered left up the Gulf Coast. Driving up the gut of Tallahassee. Through Georgia into Alabama before cuttin' right into Nashville, Tennessee. A hurricane that comes up and to the left of us will usually give some nice frontside rollers and this past Thursday evening was waist plus and pumpin'. Just under 75F water. Air in upper 70's with some humidity. Sky of reddish- purple, and blue. Nice night out, but now the sun is setting fast. Not much light left by the time I get home, change, and head on out. Find myself pushin' instead of enjoyin'. One and not much more before I'm done. Frustrating, considering how nice it was tonight.

   Actually, just got back from the Midwest last weekend. Chicago and Family for Labor Day. Managed a few decent brews as well including Anchor Brewing's Go West! IPA. Poured  bright amber-gold with about a foamy, finger thick head. Clean grapefruit and pine aroma. Very smooth going down. Lightly sweet with resin and citrus up front and 75 IBUs of herbal hop bitterness in the back.  Nice fresh bite in the finish. At 6.7% ABV, I really enjoyed this San Fran IPA. If it weren't for the mixed six, I'd have had another. Came in at a B+/A- rating.
The difference between beer
and your opinion is that I asked
for a beer.        -Bar Sign
Post 'cane peace, 9/7/2017.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Scent Of Havoc, notes from the Rogue.

"The serene brutality of the ocean. The electric power felt with each breath of wet, briny air." -H. Black
Dropping in for dinner. Last day of August, 2017. Holidays- OCMD.

"Cry havoc, and let slip the
Dogs of War!"  -General Chang 
 July marked the beginning of 'Cane season. But, it's this time of year that the atmosphere really begins to churn in the southern Atlantic. Last week. I could smell it in the air. That briny scent of havoc that comes when a system brushes the East Coast. Tropical Cyclone 10.

Think it was a cross between a tropical storm and a depression. As it passed it just seemed to break apart. Humid enough as the 76 degree temps felt more like 86. Resembled more of a nor'easter. Those big, bruising, backsides I love so much. Waves about chest or so. Little ripply along the face. Water in the low to mid seventies. Started down the face a steep fast left before eating lunch. Or, dinner as it were. Not much more after that as the sun set down leaving me to walk back a few blocks (several times) under a deep purple and orange-pink sky.
    The Pines has more than it's share of rental properties. Been watchin' em cycle in and out all season. Different peoples each week. Riding bikes. Walking dogs. Been thinning out lately. Summer coming to an end. Owners coming in to do repairs; spend their time on the water. Makes this beer perfect. Summer Rental. A Radler brewed in the German cyclist tradition. Flying Dog Brewery put together a nice combo of sweet and tart. Easy drinkin' (4.5 ABV) light Lager steeped with grapefruit and passionfruit provided a light aroma of citrus with just enough hops to finish dry, crisp, and refreshing. Clear, pale yellow pour with a thin half-finger head. Light lace. Pretty simple offering at 10 IBUs. Mixable (Gin/Vodka) is always good. Rated a B.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Summer Swing, notes from the Rogue.

Sometimes obliging, sometimes not...Assateague's temperamental break. 8/2017

Assateague's stoke. 8/2017

   Been nice to get back to get back to the Shore. Good to see the wife adjusting as well. Amazing what some good seafood will do! Plenty of company. Friends. Family. Now August. Summer in the apex. Mix in a little surfing and primo summer beer. Goes a long way in dissolving the stress of a move. Puts you in the swing.

August on the Sho' and we had to do Blessing of the
Combines. Snow Hill, MD 8/5/2017.

                   Millville, DE. 8/2017                         

Chicago's Revolution Brewing put out
a super summer IPA in Tropic-Hero.
Big aromas of mango and melon.
Finished with the sweet of peach
and bitterness of grapefruit. 
7% ABV, a big 70 IBUs.

Summer peaches, Ocean View, DE 8/2017

When it wasn't shorebreak, it was late day short rides. Surfing kibbles until the 'Canes start trippin'. 
67th Street thighs, Mid- August, 2017.

   Dogfish Head ixnayed the Brew Pub. Put up a literal venue. Remodeled the brewery into an oyster house. Had to check it out. Good grub with all the added brews. An added advantage to our piece of the Right Coast. They haven't lost their touch.

This one impressed me. 17.5% ABV
70 IBUs. World Wide Stout. 
Brewed with roasted
malts & tons of barley. Throw in
some coffee. Some vanilla. Age in
an oak barrel. Dogfish did this
stout good. Black Velvet brah. 
Knock ya on yo ass!

Heaven's Pearls...the Chesapeake & Maine superstars.

Dogfish's Summer IPA. Lupu-
Luau. Pils malts and oats. 
Copious amounts of hops and
coconut. Poured a hazy pale 
orange. Nice white foamy head. 
Tasted of coconut and citrus. 
7.3% ABV.45 IBUs. Couldn't stop
at one.
   2017 White Marlin Open was not to be missed.
First couple of days were a washout as storms
moved through the area. By Day 3, a couple
hundred boats a day. The featured, an 87lb.
Yellowfin (pictured at weigh-in) that won a
couple hondo G's, and the heaviest White
Marlin in tournament history at 95.5 lbs. 


Mid-summer mushburgers at Rodeways, 8/2017.

"Horse Racing is animated roulette."  - R. Kahn.
Can't let summer go by without a trip to Ocean Downs. Trotters, late August. Racetrack Road, Berlin. 
Always a nice Pale Ale to toast the
evening to. Smooth, with a touch of
orange zest and melon. Bitter resin
notes in the finish. Solemn Oath
outta Naperville, IL did Old Faithorn
up right.

Sunrise on the St. Martin. Late August, 2017.  Good time to walk the dog with my Granddaughter.