Craft Beer Can Not Be Artificially Made!

A few weeks ago Caitlin from Slumbrew had put out the word to several of us in the Craft beer world (mainly the owners of Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont Ma) because of a new product called OnTap.  What was to follow was a slew of comments from a lot of people in the craft beer community in Massachusetts.  The sentiment was that it is a joke but yet you can still buy it online.  But since I haven’t gotten a hold of any OnTap what  would be my second choice?  To make artificial Lambics and Fruit Beer of course!  How do you do this?  Mio!  Strawberry/Watermelon flavored Mio to be exact:

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Yes we did Mio in Bud Light.  After the 26 x 1 Relay sponsored by the Somerville Road Runners there was free beer. The free beer was Bud Light. That also being said The Pub (yes that is the unimaginative name of the bar) sponsored the after party.  In no way am I judging the Road Runners because they are getting taken care of by the bar.  I’m sure it is difficult to have a bar that is based on sales around craft beer to have 150+ sweaty runners just come in and take over.

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When the only craft beers on tap are Harpoon IPA and Sam Summer then you know you are not in for a treat.  So it is time to experiment:

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Note the consistency of the beer in the photo.  A good beer will have more color and body in it.  This is Budweiser and it doesn’t.

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Here we add flavoring to it to see what kind of results would come from this.  By the way if you want to know the ingredients in Mio then here you go: Water, Malic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Citric Acid, less than 2% of natural flavor, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Potassium Citrate, Red 40, Polysorbate 60, and Potassium Sorbate.  Note that Propalyne Glycol is also an ingredient used for OnTap as well.  It is an odorless substance that at one time was used to clean the Gulf of Mexico spill (dear God what did I put in my body). :

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Erin doesn’t drink beer but she decided to be a test subject for this experiment.

The concoction was passed around the table of runners and we all agreed as to what used to be flavorless was now sugary, sour, and over flavored.  Any taste that Bud Light had was overpowered by the Mio. There was even a notice that one of the chemical agents was one component off from being antifreeze.  This being said I tasted something that was much more tart than a Jolly Rancher.  It might just be as bad as it sounds. 

This being said the lessons from this experiment are as follows:

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Hard work, real ingredients, and sense of imagination will always be more desirable than chemicals and mass production with no imagination.

Tang didn’t stop the sale of Orange Juice.

Buzz Aldrin said, “Tang Sucked”!

Craft beer drinkers will say, “OnTap Sucks”!

OnTap Beer solution will not stop the sale of real craft beers!

 

Bike to your Beer (Part 2)! Or How I Met A Man Who Is Going To Drink 351 Sam Adams In All 351 Towns In Massachusetts!

For the previous journey click here!

The night before my unknown 8.5 mile ride  that I had made on 06/23/13 I was fumbling on twitter I found a man who was willing to go to every city in town in Massachusetts to have a Sam Adams beer. It may seem like an easy choice until you see that there are 351 towns, eight of them are dry, and some of them don’t even have public roads that go through them (looking at you Monroe). So at 6 am I became aware of my day:

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Meeting up at the Burren isn’t that hard since it is only approximately a mile from my apartment.  I could have even went to the Dubliner which is only and extra .25 miles. So receiving a message stating he was in the area I grabbed a shower (I ran the Tory Row 5k earlier that day) and biked over.

I had to search around the Burren for only a moment before finding Todd. We sat down and I knew that I had to have a Samuel Adams “Summer Ale” out of respect for Todd’s mission.  As for Sam Summer I will say that it is a full bodied ale that is crisp with lemon zest and is a beer where most Summer beers base their recipe from.  It is a four out of five pours beer! But enough about Sam Adams because you know how great the beer is.

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That being said it seems to be a pretty impressive feat. When you think of Massachusetts as just Boston you might just be selling the state short. Some locations and towns in the state can be fairly hard to get to.  It is why the Mass Pike does a bellied loop down into Springfield and back up into Worcester and Boston. The Quabbin Reservior is length wise 18 miles North to South and is in the middle of the state.

Speaking with Todd something became fairly obvious: Todd was on a mission but he was obliterating his goal.

Did Todd come accross as someone who has a personality of a movie star that overwhelms you?  No, but he has found a niche that very few of us are able to find in life.  Not only that he has been able to raise over $25,000 for cancer research.

The Burren in Somerville was his last stop after making stops in Chelsea, Brookline, and Cambridge.  The Burren was approximately stop 280 on the list of 351 stops.  If you are counting the days on a calendar this was on the 174th day of the year and if you are doing the math that is 1.6 stops per day. Also if you look at it as 71 days left of different bars he will be done at the end of August with the pace he is going.  But it would make sense because if you are from Grafton and you need to get stops done in Pittsfield why not try to knock out Lenox, Richmond, and Washington as well.  The more interesting thing to learn is that some of the towns have no bars.  So you have to connect with people to get this mission accomplished.  When I spoke with him he stated the last town left on his list was Windsor (I think).  There were some really good stories of some of the trips he had coming up. Pixies Outlaw Bar in Monroe was a place he was about to stop but realized that it would be worth sharing with his entire family instead. The nudist colony in Hancock sounded like it would be an interesting story to hear when it happens.  The last stop will be in Boston (Jamaica Plain) at the Sam Adams Brewery sometime in early September.

We also talked about Jim Koch, the founder of Sam Adams.  He had said that Jim was very supportive.  As someone who had visited the brewery and met Jim during Boston Beer Week I can attest to this statement.  He also said that Jim had planned on making a couple of stops on this tour and would be at the final stop at the Brewery.  Todd also stated that Jim informed him to try other beer as well which Todd also had a Harpoon Summer Ale while at the Burren.

While I didn’t stick around to drink with Todd for his final beer I did learn of the surprises that come in life when you put yourself out there. I’ve also learn that the love of beer can make you new friends.  Cheers!

Tory Row 5k (How I learned it was too hot to PR)

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On 06/22/2012 I had a PR for a mile run.  That being said I ran in the second lane instead of the first for the first three laps around the track which added .04 miles and 15 seconds to my time.  After looking at my time for the mile the day before I realized that a PR is in sight.  However mother nature supplied 90 degrees of sunshine and 100 percent humidity.  As for Tory Row:

Mile 1- Started off very well but noticed that my time was upticking over a 7 minute pace before the end of mile 1. By the end of the first mile I realized that it wasn’t going to be my day. Before this mile had ended I had faded to a 7:13 pace.

Mile 2- This is where it started to go downhill (or uphill if you are looking at it technically). Uphill is where I was draging and figured it would be best to walk it out. This cause the pace to drop to an 8:04.

Mile 3- Patches of sunlight really started to set in and when it is 90 degrees out that is never good.  There were times I had to walk it out but I noticed other runners doing the same.  The must have been feeling the pinch of humidity. Still again an 8:11 pace to finish this mile.  Luckily I know how to sprint to the finish line to finish the race at 24:07.

Not close to a PR but another race in the books so…..

Let’s talk about the beer:

Fisherman’s “Honey Pilsner”- This was a nice surprise.  Usually Pilsners are not full of body and can almost come across as a little bland. Not this one! Though I didn’t catch the taste of honey as much there were some very good citrus flavors in the profile of this beer. It was a bit cloudy in the body of it but nothing wrong with that. Four out of Five pours.

Portico “Fuzzy Logic” – Wow, What can I say about this but it was a shock for a Kolsch.  This is a great summertime beer.  The mix of fruit and floral hop went well and didn’t overbite the tounge at all.  I earned my beer on this one. Four and half pours.

Fisherman’s IPA –  This IPA doesn’t scream West Coast but it doesn’t completely scream your not West Coast IPA either.  It has a good balance and a refreshing hop taste that isn’t bitter at all.  A nice way to finish out the races afterparty. Four pours.

The awards were announced around Noon and the afterparty ended a little bit after that.  That being said you have to know where to go to continue the party.  As for giving this secret my lips are sealed.

Bike to Your Beer (Part 1)!

So Drinkcraftbeer.com has decided to put on the Brewvet.  In personal opinion this is a great way to show athleticism as well as an appreciation of excellent beer.  Does it involve running? No.  But it involves Craft Beer and this is one half of the equation.  For those who are not into clicking a link above then here is a description from Drinkcraftbeer.com ,the reasons of what I am doing and why:

What is a Brewvet?

A friend and award-winning blogger in Washington, DC, Mary of Chasing Mailboxes, provides the inspiration for the concept. Two years ago Mary combined her love of the long-distance cycling sport known as randonneuring and the simple pleasure of a good cup of coffee and created the Coffeeneuring Challenge. Since a randonneuring event is called a brevet, it only made sense to call our take on this concept the Brewvet.

The brewvet concept follows the spirit of the Coffeeneuring Challenge – incorporate take 12 separate bike rides, each of which fitting into a specific category, for a total distance of 100 km (62 miles). Just like in a brevet, you must provide documentation of each stop on your adventures. If you complete the challenge you’ll even get a little prize.

A ride qualifies if you either stop to drink a beer during your bike ride, or purchase a beer on your bike ride that you drink shortly after you get back home.

The Categories

  1. Buy Local: Ride to your favorite local bar and enjoy a beer.
  2. Brew Local: Take a break during your ride to enjoy a locally brewed craft beer.
  3. Enjoy your Hops: Enjoy an IPA on your ride (obviously not while you ride…take a breather and get your IPA on).
  4. Cider Century: Ok, we don’t mind if you ride less than 100 miles – but at least try a crisp hard cider!
  5. Spring Classic: The first rides of the professional season are in Belgium, seek out some Belgian beer.
  6. Macro Ride: Sometimes you end up in the middle of nowhere, and all that’s there to drink is one of the beers from the macro-brewers. Plan your route better next time!
  7. Porteur Ride: A porteur bike is built for carrying loads – but a porter is built for enjoyment – and we hope you try one!
  8. Go Exploring: Try a new craft beer for the first time!
  9. ‘Tis the Saison: Originally brewed for farmers laboring in the fields, saisons are crisp, refreshing, and a perfect complement to a warm bike ride.

The Rules

Rules? Yes, there has to be rules! That’s another quirk of these randonneur events. It seems like a lot, but I promise you’ll still enjoy yourself.

  1. In the interest of safety, you can only count 1 ride per day. If you have more than 1 beer per ride, it still only counts as 1 ride. Know your limits and be safe!
  2. You must complete at least one ride in 7 of the 9 categories above, and a total of 12 rides. Each category can only be used twice.
  3. The 12 rides must be completed between May 30th, 2013 and July 14th, 2013.
  4. There is no minimum length for each brewvet ride, but once you have completed all 12 rides, the total distance you’ve covered must be at least 100km (62 miles).
  5. Complete the Brewvet control card at each stop. Document the location, the beer you enjoyed, the miles you rode, and the date. Also be sure to take a photo! Get your Brewvet card when you sign up here!
  6. Once you have completed your Brewvet submit your 12 photos and completed control card to john “at” drinkcraftbeer dot com. Photos can submitted on your blog, as links to a photo sharing website or tweets, or via email. Deadline for Brewvet submissions is July 21, 2013.
  7. Everyone who successfully completes the Drink Craft Beer Brewvet will receive a prize. In fact, even if you try but fail, we might send something your way so feel free to submit whatever you can. To participate, sign up here.

Here is the story of My journey:

06/19/2013 –  I biked a total of 12 miles to the Urban Grape to see the Urban Hop selection.  While at the Urban Grape I found a bottle of Full Sail 25th Anneversary Pale Dopplebock. Afterwards it was off to Marina Drive for Race Menu’s run with Mass Challenge.  Seeing that the Bruins were playing the run didn’t last long and everyone went home. Trying the bottle of Full Sail I had just Purchased I noticed that there was more of a taste of booze and grain than there was hop and citrus notes.  It surely wasn’t the best beer I have had but cross one of the two #8s off my list.

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*Kitty wasn’t hurt while taking this photo.

06/20/2013 – I biked over the the Brewery Sessions for a beer and concert series featuring Balto at Wormwood Park in Fort Point. There was a pre stop at Trillium Brewery to pick up a growler of OneBoston IPA.  The concert was supplied with a keg of 5 Mile Rye Saison which was very welcome on a mild summer day.  This is actually a wonderful hazy lemonesque color which paired perfect with the sunshine. It was a perfect balance of local hops and grain which makes one of the two #9s and a six mile bike ride a very enjoyable one!

06/21/2013 – The bike ride was to Tory Row for bib pick up for the Tory Row 5k.  This is a Five mile trek that I have often taken to Harvard Square. They served Harpoon Summer for runners  signed up for the race for free.  That being said Harpoon Summer is a good beer but not spectacular.  It’s crisp but there is something that is left to be desired.  At least a #2 is out of the way.

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06/22/2013- After Running a PR for the Mile (also in the 2nd lane instead of the 1st for 3/4ths of the run) at the 26 x 1 Challenge. The after party was sponsored by the Somerville Road Runners and held at The Pub in Somerville.  If you have never been to the Pub just note that their selection of beer is abysmal.  Harpoon and Sam Adams are the only craft beers on tap so what did I do. I counted this as a Lost Macro #6 and even more embarrassing is that this was only a two mile ride.  Sad enough I had the free Bud Light but not before seeing if using Mio can replace using OnTap beer enhancement.  The results were less than desirable. There will be another blog about this later.

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Four rides, Four Beers, and 25 miles biking down.

Running and Craft Beer Southern Style.

There is more to this than words that I will be able to describe.  Some words can give description but mainly this is more about the things that make sense and the things that will never make sense in a thousand years.  This is where I am from, this is my hometown.  So what is the first thing I do when I get home?  Get breakfast of course:

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Take note I had breakfast like this three more times. This also includes the sausage and egg biscuit from Hardee’s which came in a hamburger bun. Why did it come in a hamburger bun?  Because per my dad it was healthier that way. It wasn’t good.  It was bad and bad for me. I am still trying to get rid of the anchor in the gut feeling it gave me.

Brewery tastings and tours are also fun.  I did have to make a stop by RJ Rockers in downtown Spartanburg to get my fill of “Son of a Peach” and other beers they had available:

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The ironic note is that I saw several church and bible verse t-shirts floating around the brewery.  My mom wouldn’t be proud of that.  She already thinks that I am going to hell for drinking and wine in the bible was not fermented. But yet the brewery was slammed  with people.

Afterwards dinner (accompanied with a “Son of a Peach”):

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To just make a fact known I ate this whole thing within 18 hours.  That being said don’t eat a monstrosity like this and then plan on running an 8k the next day.  You’ll feel awful doing it. I also don’t recommend doing races that go in parking lots either:

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The race was four loops in a parking lot while people dressed in 80’s garb. No after party for the race therefore I had to go to the Greenville Beer Exchange for some goodies:

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And for beers to drink it is to Barley’s which is America’s “Most Arrogant Bar” for 2013:

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The following day was  the  Beer City Festival. Let’s say there were a few interesting characters there:

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There were some very good beers at the fest from Wedge, Holy City, Highland, Pisgah, and Burial.  I also got to meet representatives from Asheville Running Tours. However when you come out and bring beer to the masses waiting in line it is obvious that you are going to be the winner.  Wicked Weed, You impressed me:

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So much that I made sure to have a post game drink at your brewery!

Let’s talk about things that baffle me.  While running in the neighborhood I ran into this:

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Yes if you look a little bit closer that is a bridge going over a gutter ending right at the end of a mailbox. I saw three of these within a mile of each other.:

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This being said I feel that probably my best bet for running is to get away from the neighborhood all together and run the Rail Trail:

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Nature was what the doctor order but all good things must come to an end.  This is where we show our packing abilities (I do layers with beer bottles and my check in bag came in at 53 lbs):

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Until next time Sparkle City and the Dirty South…until next time…

How to do Running Club the Right Way!

On Wednesday May 29 I flew to Charlotte, NC and then had my mother drive me to my hometown to stay with my family for a week in Spartanburg, SC. After getting into Charlotte right around 9 am I knew that I would end up back in Charlotte before the end of the day I would end back up in Charlotte to run with NoDa Running Club. I let the running club know that I was coming and that I live out of state.  That allowed me to receive this nice message on Twitter:

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You know after receiving this message I no doubt would trek 70 miles to the place I flew into at the beginning of the day.  So after leaving Spartanburg at 3:30 and arriving at in Charlotte right after 5 pm I was welcomed to this wonderful site:

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With the first wave of runners starting at 6:20 and my ambitions wanting me to run with the five mile group at 6:30 I had plenty of time to pregame:

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After this it was time to run.  My plan was to do the five miles but the southern heat and humidity had other plans.  After mile one I felt that the heat got the best of me.  That being said right after mile one I stopped to get water at a convenience store.  Also you will find the most incredible things in convenience stores down south:

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But only a half of a mile later I came to find this:

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I’m going to say this is the best gesture to have in a fun run where it is 90 degrees outside.  It is something I would like to see with some of the run clubs in the greater Boston area but I digress.  Also coming in on the close of the run there is an awesome view of the city:

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Overall there was about 250 runners which any run club and several race here in Massachusetts would be happy to have those numbers.  I’m impressed with the city of Charlotte for showing up for this.  I  remember Charlotte being a place that is more known for fast food and NASCAR but I am proud to see everyone working to get healthier.  My dad offered me $10,000 to move to Charlotte six years ago and NoDa you are making it tough to say no!  Also lets not forget the beer:

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Good people and good beer make a running club perfect.  NoDa Running Club, I can’t wait to run with you again!