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I’ve taken on a new hobby in the last 2 years, which has begun to account for much of my time, thought, and internet browsing.  For my birthday in 2008, Lois and some friends were kind enough to give me a nice pipe and some tobacco and supplies.  I enjoyed this pipe for many months, before delving more deeply into the hobby.

The more I read, learn, and smoke, the more I’m beginning to see the similarities between beer and pipe tobacco.  The same curiosity I found with beer, I’ve been finding with pipes.  There is an endless variety of pipe styles, materials, shapes, and tobacco blends.  The blends themselves are described with much of the same vocabulary as beer is (as is wine too, I’m assuming).  And what is more, pipe tobacco can be “cellared” much like beer.

I’m not going to fill up this blog with tobacco reviews and pipe talk.  Though I have been keeping a “tasting” journal, much like when I first started to appreciate beer.  Though I can’t promise I won’t make some pairing suggestions in the future.

And if you also smoke a pipe, please, bring in on the next ride!  As the weather warms up, I’m looking forward to enjoying a nice bowl of latakia under a spring sun!!

Meet at the Art Museum steps this Sat, 1/23, at 11am.  We’ll be doing some riding through the park then head over to Dock St in West Philly

I was thinking today about free time.  I really wish I had more of it.  The original purpose of Beer by Bike, as it was conceived (as Beer of the Bike), is really needed again for me.  In case you’re new, I started up the monthly ride series as a way to both a.) go on a good bike ride and b.) explore more of the great beer spots in our area.  This was at the end of 2007.  Jane was 6 months old, and life was pretty busy.  I really needed at least one day a month “off.”  Now, with Penny around, life is (impossibly) more busy.  Making time even more limited, I’m a certified real estate appraiser now.  So my days (and nights) are filled with inspecting houses and working on the computer.  Makes it so I don’t even want to look at a computer when I don’t have to.  Thankfully I’ve managed to continue our monthly rides (if not regular updates of this blog) through this time.  And I don’t intend on that changing.

So, I don’t have this month’s ride planned yet.  But it will happen.  Sept 26th.  Something fall-y and long-ish.  I really want some Oktoberfest beer.
Madeline's first day of preschool
In other personal news, we purchased a Kona Ute.  Once we get our custom rack all hooked up, we’ll be able to carry all three girls on one bike.  I’m super pumped about that.  I’ve already used it to pick Madeline up from school.  Oh.  Yea.  Madeline is now in pre-school.  Ha, I’m a real dad now.

Sorry for the rambling personal post. After several weeks of silence, its kinda inevitable.  Fall is coming.  I can’t wait.

For the first time this year, I think, I didn’t really have to work this weekend.  (I write this as I’m working, 10pm Sunday night).  It was a strange sensation.

Last night, for about 36 seconds, Lois and I were on TV.  The Samantha Brown show on the Travel Channel contacted me several months ago about filming one of our bike rides.  Its a long story, but Lois, Rose, Sonya, and I met up with Samantha on a rainy afternoon and visited several places around town, drinking beer, chatting and filming.  In the end, they only used the shots from Yards Brewery, and none where we were actually talking.  So it was kind of a bust.  But at least we were on TV.  And we got the drink a Westy 8 with Samantha and Tom Peters, so I’m not complaining.

Baby #3 is due in 4 weeks. As if life wasn’t crazy enough.  I can’t wait to meet this kid.

Apparently there is a channel showing the Giro D’italia.  I’ve never heard of it, but US (Universal Sports) is showing the race every night at 9pm.  Now I don’t have to wait for the Tour De France to watch cycling at night!  Although, the coverage is pretty annoying, lots of Lance.  And the commercials are super irritating.

And I’m going to Puerto Rico in June!  Lots of exciting things on the horizon…

I took Jane out on a “date” Wednesday for a birthday happy hour at the Memphis Taproom.  I met Jonny and Lana, and immediate had a glass of Cantillon Vigneronne.  Man I love real Lambics!  I actually thought this was a Gueuze at first.  The grape flavor is really mellow.  I also had a Uerige Doppelsticke, which I knew little about when I ordered it.  I was rather blown away by this beer.  Its a strong Altbier, almost a doppelbock, but crisper.  So good.

They were also passing around plates of food.  It was a nice chance to taste some of the meaty options at Memphis that I’ve yet to have in my meat eating adventures.  Chicken liver mousse, not really my cup of tea.  Kielbasa and sauerkraut, much much more so.  I can’t wait to get back there for dinner to have a whole one.

So happy beerthday Memphis, and others…

Life is busy these days.  I’m weeks away from being father to a third girl.  I’m working way more hours than I want to. And I’m sleeping far less than I should.  But I suppose I should get used to that.

But I am finding myself often in the country for work, which I’m making the most of.  I’ve been able to schedule lunch at Sly Fox one day and Victory another.  I hadn’t been to Victory before, so that was a treat.

And I’m in the car much more than on my bike, which annoys me to no end. But there’s no avoiding it right now.  That is, until I’m able to ride a couple hundred miles within a couple hours, then maybe we’ll see.

Except for Beer of the Bike, where we rode to Earth Bread and Brewery last Saturday.  I’ll update there soon.

Expect some changes in both sites soon, Beer of the Bike will soon be known simply as Beer by Bike.  The fate of this site is still up in the air.

And speaking of which, check out the awesome birthday gift Lo got for me!

Philly Beer Week has come and gone.  I must say, though I missed alot, I was fortunate to get to some really great events this year.  I already wrote about the long bike ride below, so I won’t repeat that.  But here is a quick summary.

Memphis Taproom – Their No-Repeat beer week was outstanding!  I stopped in three times, but I always felt like I was missing something great every day that I wasn’t there!  The highlight for me was the Allagash Interlude, what a complex beer!  But the Fuller on cask was great, Obamagang, La Merle Saison, Port Midnight sessions, the list goes on!

Triumph – I found myself here a bunch of times too.  First for a beer and cheese tasting.  While not sublime, I enjoyed it quite a bit.  The Klash of the Kaisers was awesome too, with a cheap 9 beer flight of some amazing pilsners.  I voted Sly Fox’s Saint Charles Bridge as my favorite.

The Brewery Bike Ride – I posted a recap of the ride over at Beer of the Bike.  Over 150 people came out for this event!

Zythos – This was by far my favorite event of the week.  It was tolerably crowded, had a really nice food spread, and had some amazing beers.  I felt like within the first hour I got my ticket’s worth.  Sure I would have liked more visible signage for the tables, and some drinking water would have been nice, but overall this event ruled.  A full post about the beers I tried might be warranted, but for a taste: Scires, Super Baladin, Hanssens’ kriek, gueze, and cassis, Taras Boulba, De Ranke XX Bitter, ‘t Smisje Calva Reserva and Grand Reserva, Urthel Samaranth, and 12% Importers had some spectacular bottles that I need to track down the names of.

In summary: I can’t wait for next year!

Lots of sites and people have been posting their picks for Beer Week.  I’m very excited that many of these have picked my humble Brewery Bike Ride as a top pick.  Its going to be a packed out ride, but I’m excited nonetheless!  The most recent such posting was at none other than Draft Magazine, wow!

Its a bit old news at this point, but I had a interesting experience last week.  I hinted at it in my previous post, but I had a chance to be on a TV show!

I was contacted (by roundabout means via Chris LaPierre) by the producer of the Samantha Brown show on the Travel Channel a couple weeks ago.  Apparently they somehow heard of the Beer of the Bike rides that I do and thought it would be a nice feature for the show.  We met, planned and set up a brief pub crawl ride.

There were some errors in planning, and Wednesday I found myself scrambling to gather the 10 or 11 people that had planned on filming with us on Thursday.  Sadly very few of those who had planned on coming (and had taken Thurs off from work) were able to make it.  Due to the weather, they decided to scrap the actual riding too.  I don’t think Samantha was excited about riding a bike through a rainy 40 degree day.  Go figure.

So I ended up drinking beer and filming for a TV show with Samantha Brown, along with Lois (6 months pregnant), Rose, and Sonya.  A stark contrast from our usual rides, which are heavily male populated, and of course, are actually rides.

We started at Yards, with a faux tour, including some staged dark malt additions by Samantha.  We spent the most time at Monks, where Tom Peters poured some amazing beers, including a 6 year old Westvleteren 8.  That alone made the day worth it.  We ended the day at South Philly Taproom, where Adam and Joe poured us some local favorites while we chatted about the Philly beer scene on camera.  And Lois got her chance to shine by dissing the suburban beer culture, ha, which she mildly regrets.

Some other high points: getting to wear a fancy wireless microphone, a full meal at SPTR paid for by the show, having a chance to plug my idea of a Travel Channel show – filming me riding my bike to different breweries worldwide.  I’m glad that at least some of you all were able to be a part of it, especially Lois!  I just hope they manage to hide her pregnant belly, I don’t want to be seen as encouraging alcohol consumption during pregnancy!  The episode should air sometime in May.  Stay tuned!

I was at a bar last night that brought back memories of college.  I was there with Chris from Iron Hill, and he commented on the glaring lack of anything American on draft.  The English/Irish quasi-macro tap list reminded me of  my college years.  Of my first beer ever, a Bass ale somewhere in New England at 22 years old.  Yes, I didn’t have a sip of alcohol until my 21st had come and gone.

We got talking about such things, and the conversation included, at times, the bartender.  It turns out he tended at my old college watering hole, Floods, in Stroudsburg, PA.  The place where I learned to love beer.  I had my first Samichlaus there.  My first Thomas Hardy’s.  I don’t know if the place is still as good as it is in my mind, but memories can be sweet.

Chris relayed some stories about drinking belgian beer at Brigids in the mid-90’s, before Monk’s was even opened.  About meeting various stars of the Philly brewing scene before they were stars.  The good ole days.  I enjoyed the stories, and wished that I had been there.

All this looking to the past serves only to distract from the real reason I was out at a bar on a Monday night.  The future.  You’ll just have to wait to find out what I’m talking about.

Twitter

  • Beer by Bike ride is happening this Sat! Meet at 2nd and Poplar at 10:45 for a ride out to the Hop Angel Brauhaus for their holiday party 6 years ago
  • Hey, remember how we used to ride bikes and drink beer? Want to do it again? How about Dec 18th for a little holiday ride? 6 years ago
  • The Tweed Ride is this Sat!!: http://on.fb.me/bIY8u0 6 years ago
  • Any Philly beerbybike'rs want to meet up with Evan from @beercycling tonight at Monk's? 6 years ago
  • We are planning our official BeerbyBike Homebrew camping extravaganza for next weekend. If you want in, please let me know ASAP 7 years ago