Archive | June, 2013

Galen’s first trip to Door County

27 Jun

Allow me to interrupt our regular broadcast for something a little different. It just so happened, that Alicia and I shared our day off this week. Usually it doesn’t work out that way, but since we both had the middle of the week free, we decided on an impromptu trip up to Fish Creek and Peninsula State Park seeing as we purchased a state park sticker recently anyway. Other than me forgetting a knife to cut the potatoes, plates, forks, and the butter, it was a pretty smooth day (=

We spent some time walking, getting ice cream,  running around in the bay, laughing at Riley eating plants and mostly just chilling out. In the midst of a tough financial time it’s nice to take a day to spend with your family and remember what’s really important. While we are dealing with issues as everyone is, we are amazingly blessed and I am so grateful for this wonderful dorky family of mine!

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Aww man, I look like a dork. Seriously, where’s my hair going, and why is it in such a hurry?

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Thanks for looking (=

Blue Moon: Rounder Belgian Pale Ale

19 Jun

I got another pick-six-pack this weekend, and the first up on the docket is one my wife picked out for me. She usually finds me some great stuff, and as she is not a beer drinker I love when she’s excited about picking for me.

The original blue moon was one of my staples when I first started drinking beer. I’m sure I will eventually do a review on it, but Bells Oberon will be up first, and probably next on the blog if I don’t get to Two-Hearted.

I gave this particular Blue Moon departure a fair shake, but it didn’t impress me very much. It was refreshing enough, but just didn’t really break above average.

It poured well, a nice medium to dark amber, with a small head that dissipated pretty quickly. I didn’t get a whole lot form the aroma, a light hop smell, bit of citrus and hints of the spice from the hibiscus. Not a bad aroma, but not very strong either.

The mouthfeel is what I think dropped this beer a bit for me. It was pretty watery, and didn’t have the nice malty backing that good pale ales tend to have. It was just a bit weak.

Taste was decent enough though, it had good balance, a little spiciness and fruitiness. Maybe I just needed an orange like the classic, who knows.

Overall, I proabably would pass on a six-pack, but if you’re a real blue moon lover then give it a shot. Thanks for reading!

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I got a geared bike! Bianchi Trofeo

10 Jun

Well,
it finally happened, I procured a geared road bike. It’s been a journey, for sure, but I am really excited to ride! I’ve been doing group rides for a while now, and after seeing a 2009 Bianchi at a shop in Two Rivers (that was waaaay out of my current price range), I couldn’t stop talking about it.

Lo and behold, one of my riding partners heard me out, and remembered this bike sitting in her garage, and now a few days later, it’s in my living room being tuned up (= She offered me a very reasonable price which I plan on taking. First I have to get some shoes (hopefully tomorrow) so I can take here out on a good long ride, but I can already tell it’s a fit. After doing some minor adjustments we are clicking like old friends. She doesn’t have a name yet, but soon, friends… soon.

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Keeping an open mind: Budweiser

5 Jun

Well, in an effort to expand and show that I am not a complete beer snob, I’m doing a review on a mass marketed domestic beer. We all know how much Anheuser-Busch owns of the beer industry, so that’s my biggest beef, getting the little guys to sell out. I have had the original Budweiser, Chzech-Var at Kurtz’s in Two Rivers, which is actually pretty tasty.

When I first started drinking beer, I never really wanted to drink many domestics. I guess I was biased from the start, and I don’t even know why.It was probably mostly from being completely turned off by the advertising. I mean, back in the day, the frogs made me laugh as much as anything, but the empty promises made by mass beer just really turned me off. Especially now with the whole light beer being manly thing going around. I’m not saying it isn’t manly, if that’s your poison, fine, but don’t tell me that only real men drink light beer, that’s a load of crap.

But anyways, off the soap box, that’s not why I’m here. I planned on giving the “King of Beers” a fair shake and I have.

First off, the label is a classic. It speaks of elegance and history and is really quite beautiful. The colors are striking, and it’s a well packaged product. But come on, of course it is (=

It pours a very clear yellow-ish gold (into my wonderful Homer glass, which I found quite fitting, all things considered) with a pleasant amount of head which dissipates in just a few seconds. Smell is simple, slight hops, barley, maybe a little rice comes out, but it pretty much has the typical pale lager aroma, not much complexity, but it isn’t bad either.

The mouthfeel is fairly watery, there’s no strong caramel smooth backing, but there’s nothing wrong with it, it just doesn’t have a lot of depth. The taste too is actually mostly pleasant. I wasn’t really disappointed at all. Again, there’s no real complexity, but to be fair that’s not what this beer is even trying for. It’s a decent pale lager, maybe a bit too fizzy, but well balanced overall. It’s a good flavor though, consistent and quite refreshing to be honest.

Overall, I probably won’t buy more very often, but that’s more a reflection on the mass production than the beer itself. In no way is it an awful beer. It does exactly what it sets out to do, refreshes and gives a widely accessible simplicity. And as much as I hate seeing breweries succumb to the AB-Inbev empire, if they get new people to start drinking beer who then move on to bigger and better things, I’m fine with it. So go ahead, crack one open with a few buds (= It’s sure affordable if nothing else.

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Thanks for stopping by (= Let me know what you’re drinking!

So I’m spamming myself to sell some bikes (=

2 Jun

Well, I found a bike. Ummmmm, it’s a really really good deal, and I am trying desperately to come up with the necessary cash. It’s even my color. Yeah. So I am selling two bicycles, and have listed them on craigslist.

One of them is my red Firenze GL5000. I noted in a previous post that I have given up work on this bike, but taking it for a test ride today, it’s really not a bad bike. I cleaned it up nice and it actually rides pretty well. The deurailler needs some tweaking, as it has issues with the small gear in front, but it shouldn’t be a big thing. The chain is clean and there’s no rust to be found anywhere. I thought it looked better without the fenders and rack, but they come with and are easy enough to put back on.

I’m asking $75 to start, but come take a look and make me an offer, and we’ll see what happens!

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The second bike is my old mountain bike. This one has stories behind it, let me tell you. It’s a 1996 frame, and the frame itself is still in great shape, with only a few nicks in the paint. I got this bike in high school and on a really rainy day after a cross country meet, I sort of daydreamed off and ran into the back of a parked car. OOF. The car was fine, and no one cared much, but my bike was another story. The fork was shot, totally bent. This leads to the one glaring problem with this bike that you’ll have to deal with.

My friend put a set of shocks on it, but the for doesn’t quite fit. I’ve been told all it needs is a spacer, so it may be an easy fix for someone with know-how. The brakes are perfect, I mean they are sharp, as well as the shifters. The tires also are still in really great shape, and they are pretty decent tires. The crankset is meh, could use replacing, but the bike still rides and shifts. I’m asking $75 for this one as well, but again, negotiating is fine. Oh, and it comes with a really sweet set of lights a friend gave me. They light up greenish-yellow and are great for night-time visibility. I really just want to get a little closer to that gorgeous Bianchi that’s never going to leave my dreams (=

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Thanks for looking, and if you know anyone interested, please pass it on.

GT http://appleton.craigslist.org/bik/3844961969.html

Firenze http://appleton.craigslist.org/bik/3844973179.html

New Glarus: You wish you lived in Wisconsin.

2 Jun

There are times that I don’t like living in Wisconsin. For instance, when you have nearly 6 months of below 20 degree weather and then go back to your hometown in the month of JUNE and it’s 50 degrees outside. Those times are not so cool.

But New Glarus is one of the great reasons to love Wisconsin. How many states have a well established brewery making astounding beer that caters only to residents and visitors of its own state? Possibly only one, I am not sure if there are others, so I cannot say with authority.

I’ve been drinking New Glarus only since I turned 21 back in 2006, but they’ve been brewing since 1993, and have just recently put out their 20th Anniversary American Strong Ale. This is a fun story (=

I’ve only recently begun to find out about the extreme limited editions that many breweries put out these days. Some of them garner thousands of fans lined up outside and the beer sells out literally in hours. I could go nuts over this, but there are still so many amazing beers for me to taste that I am able to temper my excitement and stay reasonably within my states restrictions. I would lvoe to find some Pliny the Elder or Dogfish Head 120 minutes, but hey, I have to remember what i have right here in good ‘Ole Wisconsin.

When I found out that New Glarus was putting out a limited release I knew I would have to have it. So today, on the weekend of my wife and my 5 year anniversary, we stopped at Ridgeview Liquor in Green Bay hoping to stumble upon some of this sought after beverage. As expected, they were sold out. Had been for ages in fact. I talked to the owner and he said that ******* might have some. Yeah, I’m not telling you where yet, because I may need to buy another one to store, and these are going fast. Message me if you really want to know! So Alicia and I journeyed to said purveyor of alcohol, and as soon as we walked in I spotted it in the first section from about 30 feet away. I ran up, grabbed a bottle and proceeded to do a funky little hop-jig-dance-like-thing in the middle of the aisle. My wife is used to this sort of embarrassment (=

Well, story time over, it’s time to talk about the beer. Oh yeah. First off, the label is great. It’s somewhat quaint, homey and spirited at the same time. I love the Carey’s ability to be a little quirky with some of their labels and just really do what they want, it’s a great thing.

This beer pours dark. In fact, I had a lighting area set-up, and the darkness of the beer actually caused me to have to reshoot (hence only one picture right now). I’ll get a few more up when I have the second bottle… not sure when that will be, it depends on whether or not I am able to procure another one to store for much later consumption. Anyway, it’s dark. It’s this beautiful rich dark amber color that has a murkiness to it. It also poured with a monster of a head. This amazing beast of a head. I actually attempted to float the bottle cap, but I flinched and it fell to the bottom of the glass. *awkward confession*. The head sticks around too, just looking at the lacing afterwards makes me almost giddy.

The aroma is wonderful as well. At first I didn’t even know what style this really was, as I’ve only had one strong ale before. Turns out it’s modeled after a Belgian Dubbel. I couldn’t quite identify a particular smell, but it turns out it’s plumb. You can tell too, but its’ not like a super fruitiness, just this delicate hint, and it really stands out. It also gives off a slightly stouty smell, more malty than hoppy, and definitely gives a sense of the reason it’s called a Strong ale. I should clarify here, that I haven’t had many of this style before, so if I do miss some things I apologize. I’m still rather an infant in the scheme of beer tasting (=

Upon first taste, I honestly was amazed. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it exceeded whatever expectations I may or may not have realized I had. It is a very “alive, robust and complex” beer, just like the bottle says. It’s powerful, almost like this slightly nutty, slightly fruity wave of beer strength that just carries you off into the ocean. Like I mentioned, the plumb taste is present but not with an overbearing fruitiness, but a perfect hint of sweet amidst a sea of power.

The mouthfeel is glorious, a caramel smoothness that massages the taste buds and soothes the soul. Just looking at the monster head (whenever I get photos up) gives you a sense of the thick smoothness that is present within.

I’ve had most of New Glarus’ selection, including some they don’t even make anymore, and this one is like nothing I’ve had from them. It’s on par with the Raspberry Tart for sure. It’s filled with wonderful complex flavors and is truly something to behold.  If I could buy up cases of this to share with everyone, I would. If you find it near you, DO NOT HESITATE, there is no decision to make here, just buy it. Buy three, or for, or seventeen. Drink a couple and save a couple. I plan to drink my second and go back for one or two more to store for a couple years and see what happens.

*Photo Edit* I managed to find a couple from the shoot that were usable, so I can save my 2nd bottle for a while (=

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