Tag Archives: Sierra Nevada

Two strong beers and a weak one

Lately, I’ve faced a daily choice of studying GRE math problems or pulling weeds in the (now thoroughly moqsuito-treated) yard. I’ve been opting for the latter…and actually enjoying it. Perhaps I have a future in manual labor. My college professors would be so proud.


Still boot-camping and running around 20-25 miles a week. That doesn’t make for very interesting workout posts, so you can just take my word for it.

Still eating lots of protein and (mostly) avoiding shitty carbs. I’ll do a post about that at some point…still deciding what I think about it.

Still not really dropping any weight and my body fat/muscle percentages have hit a standstill (at 22% and 40%, respectively), but that’s okay. I’m pretty happy with how I look and feel at this point. I’m going to continue the whole boot-camp-and protein-focused-diet thing through August, at which point it will be time to start thinking about doing some real running again.

Anyway. Let’s talk about beer? We’ll start with something easy:

(I was sure I must’ve reviewed Magic Hat’s Elder Betty in the past, but I can’t find anything in my horribly organized “archives.” Go figure.)

The fruity wheat. Not my favorite style of beer, yet somehow it keeps finding its way in to my fridge. And from there, it’s a short leap to a frosty glass on a sunny porch.

There are certainly worse ways to spend a summer afternoon.

The body’s a little thin and the berry thing is gimmicky, but overall the Elder Betty is an enjoyable beer. I prefer my wheat beers a bit more on the thick and hazy side, but I’d buy this to serve at a party. It would have broad appeal and be more interesting than Bud Light or whatever. At 5.5% ABV, it’s a great choice for day drinking.

Bottom Line: Nothing earth-shattering, but enjoyable. (Purchased at Mac’s Beer and Wine, $11/6)

From a sessiony wheat, let’s move on to a boozy Belgian:

I speak from experience: if you’ve had a horrible day, sipping a glass of the super strong and slightly sweet Trappistes Rochefort 10 will make it better.

The Trappist monks at the Abbey de Notre Dame de Saint-Remy in Rochefort, Belgium brew just three beers: Rochefort 6 (a Belgian Strong ale), Rochefort 8 (a Dubbel), and the Rochefort 10 (a Quad).

I haven’t tried the 6 or the 8, but I’ll say this about the 10: it is out-of-this-fucking-world good.

I picked up this bottle several months ago. I carefully packed it and moved it with me to Atlanta, and it’s been sitting in my fridge ever since. Just waiting for the kind of crappy day that would make me be all like, DAMN IT ALL TO HELL, I’M DRINKING THE EXPENSIVE ONE!

And it really did make my day 3000% better. It’s that good.

After pouring a rich brown, the first thing you notice about this beer is its smell: like earthy candy, with dried cherries and molasses and caramel and chocolate-covered raisins, but the kind from an expensive chocolate shop and not, like, Raisinettes or whatever. Before I even took a drink, I could tell there was a lot going on in this beer.

The flavor echoed the aroma, with a perfect punch of boozy heat (surprisingly gentle, considering the 11.3% ABV) at the end of each sip. Sweet, but not at all sticky. With a nice thick body and such wonderfully complex flavors, it was very much like drinking dessert. I savored every drop in that bottle.

Bottom line: YES X 1000. One of the best beers I’ve ever consumed. A bit tricky to find and definitely pricy, but worth buying if you see it. Ages well. (Purchased at Tasty Beverage, Raleigh NC, $9/11 oz)

And because I’m apparently trying to get the most bang for my buck these days, here’s another strong one:

A whole-cone Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada: the Hoptimum.

Side note: I’m starting to have trouble keeping track of all of these hoppy wordplay beer names. Hopsecutioner. Hoptical Illusion. Hoptimus Prime. Hop NotchModus Hoperandi. ApriHop. And I’m sure there are many more that I can’t recall. Cute and clever, but also feeling rather overdone. Enough!

Anyway. I forgive Sierra for the cheeky name because the Hoptimum is a solid beer.

It is, of course, very hoppy and puckery. Its IBU rating clocks in at a hefty 100, beating the brewery’s other IPA offerings (Celebration Ale at 65 IBU; Torpedo at 70). But stick around past the first bite of bitterness and you’ll be rewarded with a nice balance of pine, citrus and caramel flavors which linger through a dry finish. The high alcohol content (10.2% ABV) is noticeable, but not unpleasant.

Bottom line: An excellent choice for hop lovers, and certainly a worthy contender in the arena of ever bigger, bolder, and boozier IPAs.  (Purchased at Greene’s, $10/4.)

Writing this post has made me very thirsty. That’s a dangerous thing to be, mid-afternoon, mid-week.

I’d better get back to that yard work.

Goodbye, fall brews

I picked up a six-pack Pyramid’s fall seasonal the other day, only to notice that it was “best enjoyed by November 6, 2011.” I guess I’ll take that as a sign. It’s time to move on from nutty browns and Oktoberfests and welcome the delightful time of year when beer pours black and opaque. Ah, winter seasonals!

But since I am behind on posting these anyway, here are a couple of parting shots at autumn beers.

Comment-er Daniel has accused me of an anti-Sierra Nevada bias, based on this post, which was linked to this post, I suppose. And although it’s true that I find the perfumy-ness of their ubiquitous Pale Ale a little overbearing, I have nothing against Sierra Nevada! In fact, I kind of loved this Tumbler Brown Ale, in spite of not being a huge fan of the style in general.

It was the fact that it had a nice, full-bodied, almost creamy texture that won me over. None of that thin watery garbage. Nope – it was sort of like the cream soda version of a brown ale. With just a hint of maple syrup – nothing sticky or overly saccharine, but a touch of sweetness that I really enjoyed. Mellow and easy to drink at 5.5% ABV.

Bottom line: Yes! Enjoyed it very much. (Received in a beer swap from a friend.)

And then there was the allegedly past-its-prime Pyramid, which was perfectly fine, actually.

Pyramid is one of those labels that I tend to buy for nostalgic reasons. It’s a Pacific Northwest brewery and it reminds me of my youth. (Er…that time when I was barely 21, of course.)

But that said, I think their Juggernaut, a red amber ale, is actually pretty decent. Maybe I’m a little biased toward this brewery and also toward red ales, but I enjoyed that it struck a balance between hoppy and mellow, and had a nice quenching carbonation that left me satisfied as I sipped it post-race on Sunday afternoon. 5.6% ABV.

Bottom line: You haven’t missed out on the next big thing if you missed this one, but nonetheless, I liked it. (Purchased at Harris Teeter, $8/6)

Whilst drinking the occasional beer, I’ve been cruising through my last week of MEGA MILES before I start my CIM taper. Tonight, I tackled 4 X 1K at 5K pace.

They were supposed to be 1200’s, but the track was locked up, so we took to the streets and circled around a hilly road loop that was supposedly 1K. So maybe it was a little off? Eh, who cares. It was a good hard workout that made me huff, puff, curse, sweat, spit, etc. All of that good stuff.

Also: for everyone who has inquired about and/or imparted well wishes to my poor kitty and his unfortunately crystal-crusted urinary tract, I’m happy to say that Parker is doing just fine now. Aside from the fact that he’s sporting a majorly dorky shaved leg, a reminder of his recent stint with the IV.

He is currently eating a prescription food from the vet’s office that is supposed to break down the crystals. Following a 14-day tenure on this particular food, we will need to switch him over to a “maintenance” food to prevent the crystals.

And here is where I get all yuppy and annoying. The whole situation irks me because it’s not like I was giving him cheapo Friskies or something, before all of this happened. Both of our cats have always eaten a high-quality diet consisting primarily of grain-free wet food (Wellness brand) made from real meat, with a little dry food (same brand) to supplement.

But now? In order to get a food that prevents crystals? Apparently my options are Purina, Hills or Science Diet. These are all notoriously crappy foods, in spite of their high price tags. The very first ingredient in the Hills prescription food that I’m currently feeding to Parker is “pork by-product.” Followed by rice and corn (filler and filler). Roll your eyes at me if you want to, because I know they’re just pets…but that’s gross, and I don’t want to feed my cats that garbage. Not if I can help it, anyway.

Of course, I’ll do whatever I need to do to keep his urinary tract healthy. And if that means feeding both of our cats a nonstop diet of kitty CRAP ‘N SPAM for the rest of their kitty lives, then of course, that is what I’ll do. But I find it hard to believe that of all of the wonderful high-quality pet food companies out there, no one else has come up with a good food designed to prevent urinary crystals.

At least…not that I’ve been able to find.

(If anyone has any suggestions or experience here, please feel free to share!)