Sunday, December 18, 2011

Credit Union Cherry Blossom

Last week I received entry into the Credit Union Cherry Blossom race on April 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. While I have run parts of this course in several races (CUCB, Army 10-miler, Marine Corps Marathon) this one is my favorite. It is a manageable distance completely within the District and the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom. Last year, I completed the race in 1:25:24, a PR for me in the 10 mile. This year my goal is to shave time off that PR and run the race in 1:20 – 1:23. This would be a significant accomplishment for me because I have only completed one race at a pace less than 8:30, and that was a 5k.

To accomplish my goal, I will be following Hal Higdon’s training program for a Half-Marathon (, and chronicling my progress here. Training officially begins on January 9th, but in the interim I will be building up my base.

12/12 – 3 miles on the treadmill in 33:17. Cardiovascularly, I felt great. Legs have a long way to go to get into running shape.

12/14 – 3 miles on the treadmill in 32:47. Goal was to run it faster than Monday’s run and push myself a bit to determine how fit my legs are. Ran one mile at a 10 minute pace to see how long I could sustain a higher speed. Legs fatigued more quickly and reduced speed to complete the mileage.

12/17 – 4.1 miles on the treadmill in 45:54. Goal was to complete a longer run than the previous two runs at a sustainable pace. Felt good afterwards.

12/18 – 15 minutes of yoga. I successfully completed the poses and stretches in the routine, but will need to build the strength and flexibility over time. Based on my previous training experience, this will be the most difficult part of the program to maintain on a consistent basis.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bavarian Hefeweizen

The Bavarian Hefeweizen is the fourth wheat beer that I brewed this year, along with Clementine Hefeweizen, Belgian Witbier and American Wheat. I have been experimenting with this style to find one that can become a regular in my brewing rotation. While all of them have been good in their own right, the Clementine Hefe has taken top prize and will make it to the brew kettle again soon.

The Bavarian Hefeweizen was brewed from Northern Brewer's kit utilizing the Danstar Munich Wheat Beer yeast. By all accounts, the results were excellent. The beer is light, smooth and very drinkable. It is over flowing with banana and cloves and has a slight hop finish. Overall I liked it and would recommend it, particularly in the Fall as part of your Octoberfest celebration.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Year of Brewing

2011 has shaped up to be quite the year for homebrewing. So far, I have brewed 11 batches. A few have stood out from the rest. They are:

Backhouse IPA - Inspired by Northern Brewer's Chinook IPA recipe, and brewed in the Backhouse on Erie Road, this one is the big winner for me. I adjusted the recipe for ingredients I had on hand, but it was pretty true to the original. 3oz of Chinook hops brings a nice floral, yet bitter flavor. I am enjoying one as I write this post.

Phat Tyre - a recipe that pays homage to the famous brew from Fort Collins, CO, this one is a real crowd pleaser, particularly if you live somewhere that the original is unavailable. I first brewed this when Northern Brewer sold the kit with the actual yeast from New Belgium. This one was good, but there is no substitute for original ingredients.

Clementine Hefeweizen - Easily my wife's favorite beer I've cooked up this year, combining a favorite fruit with a favorite beer style. This is a wheat based malt fermented with a kolsch yeast so it combines characteristics of wheat beer with lager smoothness. This one will make the regular rotation of beers when Clementine's are back in season.

California Common - a true American original, this one was my first attempt at lagering and controlling fermentation temps. I don't have a lagering fridge yet, but this brew prepared me for the upcoming Buffalo winter and lagering beer the way mother nature intended. It's also nice and hoppy so fit my palette well.

North American Wheat - Inspired by NB's American Wheat recipe, but brewed in Canada and adjusted for ingredients on hand, this was the favorite beer this summer at the beach. The name reflects it's International Heritage. It was flavorful and drinkable, enjoyed by all. This will be a regular addition to my summer brewing rotation.

Brookmoor Lager - My take on Rocky Racoon's Crystal Honey Lager, this was the last brew I contemplated brewing on Brookmoor Drive. It is a homage to the 18 months we spent in Maryland. Almost equal parts malt and honey plus Cascade hops give this brew a crisp, smooth, but bitter character. While delicious, I will continue to refine this recipe to arrive at a house lager.

Other brewing efforts focused on the British Isles: English Bitter, Breakfast Stout and Irish Red. These are great beer styles that I like to brew early every year.

Also tried my hand at my first Belgians with a Wit and Petite Saison. More to come on those.

Beers on order: Nut Brown Ale (think New Castle) and Bavarian Hefeweizen (to be ready just in time for October settlement on our new house!).

This Fall I also plan to try my hand at kegging my beer.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Add Video to Your Website

Okay. This is pretty flippin' cool. I just went to, a video syndication service, and was able to add video to my blog (at the very bottom) very easily and for free. Not sure if it adds anything to the site, but the idea that even a relatively unsophisticated person like myself could add video to their blog in just a few minutes is pretty powerful. I didn't have to create anything. I just selected the categories I wanted, pasted the Java script into a Blogspot widget and was off and running.

Scroll down to the bottom and check it out. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Couple of Thoughts Today on Beer

So today's post is a quick update on what I'm brewing. Santa was kind and brought some new beer kits from Northern Brewer. What I'm learning is that the homebrewing culture in Minnesota is also better (and cheaper) than the homebrewing culture in Maryland. I just saw a great recipe for Clementine Hefeweizen from Northern Brewer (check out blog post here and did a quick calculus on the ingredients bought and shipped from NB vs. my local homebrew supply store. NB not only came up with a killer recipe but won on cost (shipping included) hands down. This recipe will be a welcome addition to my late January brew schedule.

Second, I just found this awesome website on growing hops ( which is something I plan to try in my garden this Spring. Question is, what do I grow?

Finally, the Fat Tire is looking good. It's been in the secondary fermenter for about a week. Will bottle next week. Thinking about firing up a stout tonight.

Life is short. Drink good beer.