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Its been a quiet week around here.  Not that I’m complaining, because this weekend should be fun filled.  Tomorrow marks Lois and I’s 5 year anniversary.  In most years past, we’ve used it as an occasion to go away somewhere.  This year we can’t do that, so instead we’ll be having some fun locally.  Including sleeping in as late as we want, while the kids spend the night at the grandparents.

If you’re not as romantically occupied this weekend, then you should spend the entirity of it at the Memphis Taproom for the Mystery Beer weekend.

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There are several bike and beer events coming up this month. A rider on Sat told me about the River Horse Hops to Hops MS ride that is coming up on Sept 7th.  I won’t be able to do this ride, but it sounds like a fun one.

A ride that I am planning on doing is the Victory Bike Fresh Bike Local ride on the 21st.  Farms, food, beer, bikes, sounds perfect to me.

Then there is always September’s Beer of the Bike ride.  If you missed Sly Fox this past Saturday, then you missed a good time!  You won’t want to miss Sept!

I just heard about a new blog, called The Epicurean Cyclist, which I’m glad that I’ve started reading.  Because I saw this post today, and it put me into a whimsical place.  This basically completes my bumper sticker: “I’d rather be…”

Many more amazing photos here:  Flickr Slideshow

I’m recovering after a roller coaster week of bachelor living and Jersey Shore extended family “vacation.”  I’m taking things slower this week.  But here’s a couple thoughts.

I love shrimp and scallops.  I tried to beer-brine and grill some this sunday.  The brine was a bit too intense for the little shrimpys, but the scallops came out awesome.  I used Victory Hop Devil with some sea salt and spices.  I really like the idea of marinated/brining in beer.  I hope there will be much more of such things in the future.  I just need to get my Lucy Saunders book back from my brother in law for more beer cuisine ideas!

This Saturday is our monthly “Beer of the Bike” ride.  We had to change the plans at the last minute, and honestly, I like the new plans better.  We’ll be riding out to Sly Fox (Edit: I found out that the Sly Fox site was just redone, check it out, it looks great!) .  I’ve been really enjoying their beers lately, and I’m looking forward to trying to grab some growlers at the brewery!  It exciting to me that a silly idea I came up with, as a new years resolution of sorts, has taken on a life of its own.  I’m expecting close to 20 people to ride with us on Sat.  I can’t wait!

Last night I took an after dinner bike ride up to Mt Airy to meet some old friends at McMenamin’s.  I had heard good things about this place and wanted to check it out.

The ride itself was harder than I expected.  I always forget how hilly Mt Airy is.  I fared better than Micah however, who joined me on his brakeless track bike.  12 miles in a little over an hour?  That’s not much to brag about.  But a beautiful ride nevertheless.

The bar is a great little spot on a happening little block.  I loved seeing such a wide variety of clientele, and it was packed for a Tuesday!  A remarkably different scene than I’m used to.  It brought back fond memories of the Glenside Pub (where I proposed to my wife, btw).

The beer list was a little slimmer than I had expected, but they still had some interesting options.  I started off with a Rogue Tripel, which I can’t seem to find much info about online.  There were several poorly marked items on the list, including “Maple Nut Brown.”  Our server thought that maybe the brewery was something like “Bushwackers,” which didn’t sound familar to me.  I shouldn’t have, but I ordered one anyway.  Terrible.  Maybe they had the lines crossed with the Rodenbach or something, but it tasted far too tart to be intentional.  Maybe it was dirty lines, or contamination, I don’t know, but it was really far from mapley or nutty.  I washed it down with a couple pints of Beamish.  They actually had a hand pump too, but the ESA cask had just kicked, sadly.

It seemed to be understaffed, so unfortunately the service was particularly poor this particular night.  Thankfully, after waiting for an hour for our check, my gracious friends offered me and my bike a ride home.

I hate to say bad things about a place, but the mediocre beer list, bad beer, and slow service is enough for me to not go back anytime soon.  At least its not worthy of a twilight 12 hilly mile ride on its own.

When Earth Bread and Brewery (finally) opens up, maybe I’ll give it another try.

I left the Jersey shore on Sat without the wife and kids.  They are staying down for the week, while I came back for work.  I’ll be joining them on Wed night, but for 3 days, I’m living single.

And what else would I do as a single person except the two namesakes of this blog?  So yesterday I slept “in” till 8am, and promptly took a 17 mile fast loop around Fairmount Park.  I’m continually discovering new paths through it.  Its probably not new to most, but there are some really nice roads to bike on hidden within Fairmount Park, complete with climbs and skyline views.

Back at home, my equally wife-less friend Justin and I made a run to the Foodery for sixpacks and set the stage for an afternoon the likes of which I haven’t known since high school.  I started the afternoon with a Bell’s Java Stout.  Creamy and rich, and just the right amount of coffee flavor, definitely not overkill.  Then we had Sly Fox Incubus.  I’ve had this recommended to me, and it didn’t disappoint.  Smooth triple, with just enough spice and bite.  I also had a Heavy Seas Peg Leg Stout.  A Russian Imperial that was also a solid choice.  But I don’t know if I’ve ever met a RIS that I didn’t like.

The cheese selection had a hard time keeping up with the big beers, but the Dubliner from Trader Joe’s made a valiant effort.

Before I knew it, it was 7pm and we were still playing video games.  And I hadn’t even started on my homework!!

I haven’t brewed any beer in close to a year now.  That fact is unsettling to me.  This post may serve only as private motivation for me, but that’s (going to have to be) OK.  I have a number of close friends who brew, some are rather new at it.  And most are pretty excited about it.  That excitement is getting me thinking about it more these days.

The last batch I brewed was a collaborative brew with my friend Tom.  We did a Belgian IPA (Vive le Fête) where he built the hop bill and I developed the malt and adjuncts.  It turned out to be the best one I’d done to date.  We even pitched brett into half of it, which is still fermenting away a year later.  Before that I had attempted a black saison and a “witwine.”  All of which I was/am pretty proud of.  All of which I intend on brewing again and improving upon.

“Intend” is the key word, however.  I’ve used Jane’s birth as an excuse, I’ve used lack of money as an excuse, but now its time to focus more energy on doing it instead of making excuses.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably a friend, and a friend who brews.  So, lets do this.  I’m going to start saving up some change to get ingredients.  Something dark, chewy, wintery.  I’ve missed the chance for summer beers, I don’t want to miss my chance to brew something big and ready for winter.

Mid years resolution.

Last night I was pleasantly surprised by a knock on the front door.  My sister in law (“Aunt Li”), who lives across the street, was standing there holding 2 open bottle of Hitachino Nest beers.  Apparently, her and a friend had tasted them and didn’t like them at all.  One person’s trash is another one’s treasure!

I haven’t had it in awhile, but Hitachino Nest is probably up there on my “favorite breweries” list.  Top 10 maybe?  I really like their beer.  And my daughter, whose first word was “owl,” used to be obsessed with their logo.  I would take her beer shopping with me, and inevitably when I asked her what I should get, at little over one year old, she would respond “Owl!” and point to a bottle of Hitachino Nest.

Last night it was a bottle of XH and Ginger Brew.  The XH was my preference, while Lois favored the Ginger.  The XH is aged in cedar sake casks, giving it a unique woodyness.  Like drinking out of a humidor.  So delicious!

A wonderful surprise on a otherwise mundane Thursday evening.

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