- nothing like cooking up a fresh batch of torillas with guacamole to start off the day. #
The HeBrew Jewbilation beers have always struck me as creative despite their strict rules: 1 ABV % point, 1 grain and 1 hop variety per year celebrated. It sort of seems similar to what KFB did with Excelsior! (née Manbearpig), except…different. Where we had no idea what our blend of however many different kinds of grain would yield, I’m sure the folks at Schmaltz (the parent brewing co.) are considerably more competent. No doubt these are complex beers, and they’re only getting moreso as the years go by. But they’re still really good without becoming bland or confusing messes of flavor.
That being said – the 12th is very tasty. I had significantly more trouble finding this one than the 11th last year, so it could be that I’m not alone in this opinion. Like I said, it’s complex. There’s a sort of general “maltiness” and a “hoppiness,” and of course a rather noticeable alcohol aroma as well. What stands out in the aroma for me is, for lack of a better description, the smell of fresh baklava. I mean, like, the second that the syrup is poured onto the pastry, when everything is a hot, crispy thing of beauty (not that the resulting product is any less beautiful, but that’s the topic for another post (ooh, a post about baklava aesthetics – intriguing)). There’s a certain sweetness reminiscent of honey, a spiciness that reminds me of cinnamon, and a malt aroma that evokes the scent of almonds and walnuts.
In the flavor, the spiciness takes a backseat to the other two major components, which themselves are transformed by their new liquid manifestations. The sweetness loses some of the delicateness and crispness of honey to instead be more of a cloying slap on the cheek (an enjoyable, endorphin-releasing slap). The nuttiness of the malt similarly loses some subtlety. This is also largely due to the presence of a number of other strong malt flavors, not the least of which is one of smoked malt that lingers for some time.
As I almost always do for beers of this type (i.e., anything over 9%), I wholeheartedly recommend letting this one warm up. Not only do the aromas and flavors open up massively as expected, there is a delightful smoothness and richness that simply isn’t there when cold. The closer it gets to room temperature (for me, around 65 F right now), the larger the beer feels in the mouth, the more substance it carries, and the better it is as a thing to drink.
Of course, as it warms up, I get progressively more drunk from actually drinking it, but certainly that has nothing to do with my final analysis: this beer is awesome, but probably only as a standalone. It would certainly overpower most pairings, except for perhaps some very good, preferably very dark, chocolate.
I rode about 30 miles with William today, give or take a few. I don’t remember what roads we took, so I can’t plot the route. I do remember a few bitchy hills, though, that I’ll have to add to the training regimen. The biggest thing that I took away from today’s ride is that I seem to be making progress. It could simply be that I was riding with another person today – that always serves as automatic motivation – but I really do feel like something tangible has improved. My muscles got less sore during the ride, even when I was coming home by myself, and I was able to endure the pain for slightly longer each time I pushed myself. Ross tells me the pain never goes away, that getting better is simply getting better at handling the suffering. I still have a lot of work to do, but today was a step in the right direction.
All jokes about the Wii and Wii Fit aside, I’ve been impressed over the last 3 weeks by this gadget. I never expected that the Fit would instantly help me lose all the weight I need to. And there’s no way that using the Fit on its own will make me a superstar athelete. What is apparent, though, is that this machine is great at making me stick to my plans over a long period of time.
We paid money for it, so we’re going to use it. And every time you use it, the software tells it like it is. No sugar-coated punches. And by automagically keeping track of your progress in terms of both BMI and weight, you can see real changes happening even if they’re not visible in a mirror. And if something goes wrong (i.e. the numbers go up), the software tells you in plain terms – “you gained weight.” And when you gain weight, you have no choice, except for powering off the console, but to tell the software why.
The Fit also forces you to set realistic goals. It won’t let you make a goal that changes your weight by more than 20 pounds. It’s a great idea, because it encourages the realization that these things happen slowly. That’s something I’ve been grappling with for a long time. I imagined that a change in diet would show results immediately. Then I imagined that starting up biking would do the same. When nothing visible happens in the first week, or even the first month, it’s easy to get discouraged. The Fit, though, tells you to keep going in a way that very few humans would, in my experience.
For the trip out to (and possibly up) Palomar in just about one month. Not a lot of time, so I’m going to have to push it. Hill reps start tomorrow morning. Tons and tons of reps. Let’s just hope my spoke holds up.