Monday, January 31, 2011

To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it!

Thank you, Charlie Chaplin.

First things first, yes, I ran the 5k.  I finished it, ran the entire way without stopping or walking, and I did it in under 40 minutes.  Those were my personal goals.  My trash-talking son beat me by roughly 8 minutes.  My body is still sore, but I have to admit it was a LOT of fun, and I plan on doing more.  Big thanks to the family for encouraging me, pushing me, and tolerating my gripes after the fact, and a big thank you to our dear friend Tonnya who ran with me and set a pace faster than I would have... which is exactly what I needed.

On to beer...

The Ale and the Witch is awesome.  I highly recommend it to anyone in St. Pete, either living here or visiting.  Brett (the owner) has put together a really great place for the craft beer lover, tucked away just enough to avoid a regular intrusion of Ed Hardy-wearing jack-wagons who might stumble by looking for the highest alcohol beer they can find so they can high-five their buddies wearing 2-sizes-too-small tshirts and then asking why there's no Mic Ultra.  32 taps of pure awesome.  And five minutes from home.  I love it.

It has been interesting to watch the HopSlam release activity around the country.  I listened to Mike and Phil at United We Drink discuss the scarcity and hype and difficulty acquiring it on their side of the state, while here in St. Pete its readily available in multiple places.  And while Total Wine is carrying it for $19.99 a six-pack (same as South Florida, it seems), my personal favorite place of Rollin' Oats has it for $15.99.  Still expensive, but interesting that the price is so drastically different.  It's a phenomenal beer, mind you.  Rumor has it you can also find it on tap in a few places around town. has released its 2011 "Best" list, and once again, the Stout is king.  That irritates me.  I love a good Imperial Stout as much as the next person, but there are a disproportionate number of them in the top 25, in my not-so-humble opinion.  That said, it was great to see Florida - and Tampa Bay in particular - getting some serious props in the listings.  No "beer culture" my ass!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dust in the Wind, Dude...

Some random thoughts for this week...

I am preparing (more or less) to run my first race since I ran cross country in high school.  A 5k, to be exact.  Oh, I have run since high school, but it was either while training for whatever sport I was playing, or running to or away from something.  Chronic knee issues, conditioning (or lack thereof) and the fact that I am sprinting towards 40 have all be things to deal with in the return to "fitness".  My eldest son, approaching 11, has two 5k races under his belt since December, and has found a genuine interest in running.  He's built like a runner, tall and lanky, all legs.  Sports are not generally his forte, but he like running and seems to be good at it so far.  He is not one for trash-talking, either.  Not in video games, board games, anything.  When I told him I was going to run the 5k with him this coming weekend, he said "Okay.  You'll have to see the eye doctor."
"Eye doctor?"  I wear glasses, but was a bit confused.  "What do you mean?"
"So he can get my dust out of your eyes after the race..."
Damn kids these days... no respect...

I am really hoping to get my hands on some Sierra Nevada Hoptimum.  I have not seen it anywhere yet, but I am sure its around.  I will find some...

I have one thing to say about the upcoming Packers-Steelers Superbowl: meh.

Lee Norman Williams - aka Hoptopia - posted an interesting question the other day.  "Is ranting about certain elements of the craft beer community and craft beer industry going to be a major trend in 2011?"  This prompted a good discussion amond some of us craft beer lovers.  I liked what Erik Boles from BeerTapTV had to say: "Remember, it's not what beer IS, it's what beer DOES that matters. Beer isn't what you do, beer is what you do while you're doing what you do."  I think it is a great philosophy, and elitists be damned.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year, New Perspective, New Opportunities

It is amazing what just the flipping over of a calendar page can do for one's psyche.  In reality, nothing about the fabric of space/time changes, but it feels really good to put difficult things behind you in a symbolic manner.  Looking forward to 2011 (as laid out in my previous post) I have a lot of things I want to accomplish.  But life has a funny way of happening while you are making plans.  Just in the past ten days, new opportunities and revelations arise.  But those are for another day...

I recently wrote a beer review for Stone Brewing's Lukcy Basartd, a beer I genuinely enjoyed.  The original Arrogant Bastard was a very influential beer for me in my craft beer journey, and I said so in the article.  Naturally, my editor and the magazine tweeted a link to the article, as they always do.  And i got this response:

Yep... that's Greg Koch, owner and brewmaster at Stone Brewing.  So, that felt pretty good to have that kind of affirmation.

I also learned that there is a new craft beer bar opening in St. Petersburg.  It will be within the next few weeks, and the guy in charge seems to have a good plan.  What makes it funny, though, is that it is opening in a location at the base of the building that I used to work in!  It figures, after five years there, just a few short months after I leave, a craft beer bar opens there.  Not that it would have kept me there... *shudder*

And finally, I was asked to write an article on the Cigar City Brewing label art contest that was announced today.  It's nice to be the one people come to for something like that.  Makes me feel like I am contributing and part of the scene.

I am sure the days and weeks ahead will reveal more and more good stuff.  I feel it, and I look forward to the surprises.

Cheers, all.