Climbing at the Gunks!

We were really lucky that we were able to drive up to NY Thursday so that we could climb Friday before the weekend crowds showed up.

We got on some classic lines that are usually very crowded.

No sport climbing here though, its all trad! There’s always lots of gear management, so most people tend to climb a little slower.

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The views here are just stunning! It was pretty hot in the sun, but lucky for me, Jack set up the anchors at trees!

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And of course after a hard day of climbing, we headed back to Bacchus!

I had mentioned to the waiter the previous night how I would love to have the St Bernardus Christmas Ale the next night since they had it in stock, and so as soon as we sat down he brought it over! We split the St Bernardus Christmas Ale by Brouwerij St Bernardus of Watou, Belgium at 10% abv.

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I love Christmas in July!

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So rich and decadent. Its amazing that it really makes you feel warm and cozy even in the heat of July! Dark fruits, candied sugar, brown sugar, caramel, spices, Belgian yeast. Fairly high carbonation, easy drinking. Such a treat!

The Return to New Paltz!

I was so excited to return to New Paltz, NY! We come up here mostly for the climbing, but there is a bar in this town that I am absolutely in love with, Bacchus!

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I just love the brick walls and all the old dark wood. It just has such a fantastic atmosphere.

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To start, I got the Weyerbacher Quad by Weyerbacher Brewing Co of Easton, PA at 11.8% abv.

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This beer was definitely a heavy hitter! In alcohol content and in taste! I really like Weyerbacher, I don’t think I’ve had a beer of theirs that I haven’t liked! Anyway, dark fruits, raising, figs, dark cherries. Mild spicing with cloves and pepper. A nice slow sipper.

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And I was quite excited to try another gueze! I ordered the Boon Oude Gueze Mariage Parfait by Brouwerij Boon of Lembeek, Belgium at 8% abv.

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Nice gueze. Only very lightly fruity. Tart with lemons and white grapes. Actually not very sweet at all. Very good traditional style, not overdone with all the bells and whistles. Sour and refreshing.

Well I certainly carb loaded for all the climbing tomorrow!

A Summer Sipper

Here in the DC area, we have had some crazy hot days. After work I just needed something to cool off and chill.

I decided to finish off the last Jack’s Hard Cider that we had in the fridge brewed by Hauser Estate Winery in Biglerville, PA at 5.5% abv. Brewed by a winery?!?

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It just pours so light! Haha! Im so used to very thick and dark beers, what a change! I suppose it is almost more like wine than beer. Yes, I know cider is not beer.

But very refreshing! Dry and crisp. Sweet apples, but tangy and tart. Super easy to drink and very nice on a hot summer afternoon!

Old Point Tidewater Triathlon Race Recap

And suddenly it was time for our next tri. I have to admit, I hadn’t been training as much as I should have been.

Well, the big difference for this tri was that the swim was in a bay. Also, it was slightly less than an olympic distance tri.

Swim: 1000m Bike: 19 miles Run: 5 miles

Race morning, we show up and I get everything ready in my transition and head down to the water to warm up. The water was pretty chilly, not nearly as cold as the first tri we did earlier this year, but cold enough that I decided to wear the wetsuit.

Warming up with the wetsuit on, I was amazed at the extra buoyancy! I heard that it really helps, but I felt like a moon man with no weight in the water!

Unfortunately that didn’t help me in the swim. Again, about 200 yards from shore, I realized that the wetsuit was too tight and constricting around my throat and I wasn’t breathing properly. Again, I stopped at a lifeguard on a surfboard and had her help me unzip the back of the wetsuit. With the wetsuit open in the back, it probably added a lot of extra drag in the water, but at least I could swim normally. Swim time: 21:29

Once the wetsuit was wet and I was out of the water running to T1, I was able to pull it off with no problems. T1: 3:16

The bike course was flat and some what uneventful, back in T2 I quickly changed shoes and was ready for the run! Bike: 1:07:31  T2: :44 (2nd fastest women’s T2 time!)

It was super hot by this time, and no shade! But since it was a slightly shorter course, for some reason mentally the 5 miles seemed much better and easier than 6 miles. I really felt like I ran strong, passed some people, and finished with a good sprint. My average mile time for the run was about 8:40 minutes. Finishing the five mile run in 43:26. I was pretty happy with that! Total time: 2:16:24

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Jack did really well again too! Finishing 12th overall and 2nd in his age group!

Later that evening, after laying out my the pool all afternoon, we looked up a decent beer bar and headed out!

We found the Taphouse Grill in Hampton, VA.

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They had a nice selection on draft and So I couldn’t resist the St Bernardus Abt 12 by Brouwerij St Bernardus of Watou, Belgium at 10% abv.

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Its one of the best quads I’ve had! Sweet dark fruits, cherries, plums, and lots of malts. A little sweet and bready, biscuits. Candied sugars, warming sensation, smooth. Very well done.

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Next up, I ordered the Trappist Achel 8 Bruin by Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij  de Achelse of Hamont-Achel Belgium at 8% abv.

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Rich and creamy. Bready and Belgian yeastiness. Dark fruits, raisins. Moderate carbonation. A fairly sweet beer, but well balanced with the dry finish.

After we had our fill we headed back out onto the street. They had closed the street off and were having a little block party with local cover bands!

Rooftop Dinner with Kaitlyn and Andy!

And my friend Chris came too! It was almost like a high school reunion!

Turns out everyone was drinking wine, so I polished off this bottle of Clementine White Ale by Clown Shoes of Ipswich, Mass at 6% abv all by my lonesome.

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It was hot out on the rooftop, even though we were in the shade, so the beer was quite refreshing.  Belgian yeast and funkiness, orange peels, light citrusy notes, slightly peppery finish.

And yes, after dinner, I relented and had a glass of wine.

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All throughout dinner, we heard the drum circle in the nearby park. Truly heart of darkness style.

But we braved the wilderness and headed up to check it out.

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The park was quite lovely with fountains and ducks. But around the drum circle was pure rasta, hippie, smelly craziness. There were also many people in the park just doing their thing: slack lining, hair braiding, hula hooping, yoga, meditation, frisbee, soccer. It was quite the urban menagerie.

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Truly an eye opener! I cant think of a better way to spend a Sunday evening!

Girls Night Beer Tasting!

After the last super successful girls night, I decided to throw the next one at my house with beer and cheese tasting.

Novak made it over a little early to “help me set up” aka “help me start drinking.” But we opened a few bottles and got the ball rolling!

First up, we opened one  of the bottles she brought, the Sophie by Goose Island of Chicago, IL at 6.5% abv.

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Very good! Almost more like white wine than beer, pours a light golden yellow with lots of bubbles. Tangerine, pear, white grapes, Belgian yeasts. Not overwhelming, well balanced and subtle.

To get another big bottle opened and started, we tried one of the Lips of Faith Series beers by New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, called La Folie Sour Brown Ale at 6% abv.

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Finally a beer I can get excited about from New Belgium! I’m not such a big fan of their Fat Tire. (Sorry!) This was a very tart and sour ale. Not nearly as complex as the Duchess De Bourgogne (which in my mind is one of the very finest sour ales). So not as complex, full, and rich as the Duchess but still quite tasty. Almost like sour apple candy. Very good in sample sizes, might not be able to drink a full 12 oz. Really makes you pucker!

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As more ladies showed up we began to have quite a nice selection to choose from! I was concerned with only having a few bottles open at once, to make sure that we were able to finish what we opened. I was having no good beer wasted!

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Genie brought what may be my favorite beer of the night! The organic Honey Basil by Bison Brewing Company of Berkley, CA at 6% abv.

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I was really impressed! You could really taste the basil! Not too faint, but not overpowering. Yet, sweet with the honey. Not to hoppy. Very well balanced and intriguing.

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Mixing it up with a little German beer, we opened the Weinstephaner Hefeweissbier Dark by Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan of Germany at 5.3% abv.

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One of the less exciting beers of the night. Biscuity, mildly sweet, nutty, mild wheat flavor.

And another incredibly unusual beer was the Banana Bread Beer by Wells & Young’s Brewing of England at 5.2% abv.

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An odd beer. Ive been hesitant to try it in the past because I was afraid of possible fake banana taste. Sweet and sugary, bready and bananas. Malty enough that the sweetness and bananas don’t overwhelm and kill you. Literally like drinking banana bread. Only had a sample taste, Id have to try it again, I would need to split the bottle with others though.

Later in the night, we got to open another beer that Novak brought, the Pepe Nero also by Goose Island of Chicago, IL at 6% abv.

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This beer is brewed with black peppercorns! It really added to the overall taste. Went well with the roasted malts, light fruit notes, dark chocolate, earthiness.

With the night winding down, and some of the ladies leaving, the last few of us decided to go for one more tasting, although we had to fight to finish! Last but not least we opened the Tanilla Porter by Knee Deep Brewing Company of Lincoln, California at 6.3% abv.

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This beer is right up my alley. Nothing crazy to sample, just a very good porter. Toasted malts, vanilla, semi-sweet chocolate. Quite smooth, better and better as it warmed up a little. Very pronounced vanilla flavor, somewhat of a dessert beer.

I had to send many of the girls home with beers because I actually had too much beer for the fridge! That’s never something to complain about!

Red River Gorge Part II

I know these next pictures are all about climbing and not about beer, but I’m going to shamelessly put them up because I am ridiculously proud of myself!

But first I would like to thank Ryan for professionally building me a cheater rock so that I could reach the start holds on the climb!

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This was my first 5.11c climb, called On Beyond Zebra. I didn’t make the whole climb clean, but I faced my fear about falling and really pushed myself. I’ve never climbed anything so overhanging!

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Halfway up the climb, there was a big ledge, which was a great rest, but moving out from under the ledge and trusting that you would find handholds and make it to the next bolt was hard! If I had fallen, it would have been huge! But I really manned up and went for it!

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At this point I was just cruising for the anchors, but I was so happy they were in sight!

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Success!

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Hiking out there’s a cute arch! (Its Hobbit sized!)

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Of course we went to Miguel’s for pizza and celebration beers!

While waiting for my pizza I had a Dominion Baltic Porter by Old Dominion Brewing Company of Delaware at 6.8% abv.

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Of course Jack brought some of his favorite go-to beers, and of course I snuck one. Roasted malts, chocolate and licorice. Hints of vanilla and caramel.Smooth mouthfeel, creamy.

I also finally got to try Lubrication by Clown Shoes Brewery of Ipswich, MA at 6% abv. Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate, molasses. Not much sweetness, bitter notes. Unfortunately thin mouthfeel and dry finish.

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A very successful end to a week of climbing!