Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pi Day and Amish Four Grain

Despite what some crabby people will tell you, it's Pi day. And since it only comes every hundred years, we decided to celebrate a bit.

Pillsbury cheery-blueberry filling recipe
I was not successful centering my Pi symbol
Pizza Pie from Rollo's
Eleanor smelling our Pi Pie
She's too young to partake in either pie, but at least she can tease here future brother/sister about being there for a 5-digit Pi day.

Amish Four Grain

This Pennsylvania pale ale pours reddish amber with a thin head. What are the 4 grains? I assume there was wheat and rye in there, but they balance each other out too well. A little sweet, not bad, but I was expecting more flavor from the multitude of grains. 5.6% ABV. I wonder what the Amish community would think of the name, though. Maybe the grain were purchased from Amish farms?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Red Nose Day and Leute Bokbier

Red Nose Day is a charity telethon done every two years to raise money for children's medical research. It's produced by British charity Comic Relief and broadcast by the BBC and commonwealth affiliates, but hasn't had much traction here in the United States. I only know of it thanks to the Flight of the Concords song which I'm compelled to share with you:

Leute Bokbier

Photo from
This is another Van Steenberge product, but one I failed to capture on film. I tried it in my Chimay chalice, not the goblet pictured. It pours a rich mahogany with towering rocky head. Flavor is sweet, malty, and a little sour, but not as harsh as Monk's Cafe. 7.5% AVB. Not my favorite of the group, but an interesting inclusion in the sampler pack.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ranger Museum and Ranger IPA

Photo from
Eleanor's official first museum visit (of many, no doubt) is the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco.

Photo from
I'm not going to recount the illustrious history of the Rangers here. Go to the museum or wikipedia for that. But I'll tell you some things that stuck with me:

The organization is older than you think (1823).
The early Rangers were also surveyors documenting the Republic for settlement.
The 7.62mm AR-15-style carbine was created for the Texas Rangers.
Individual Rangers have A LOT more autonomy over their personal equipment than other law enforcement officers. Some of them like to look flashy. Lots of personalized etching.

Eleanor and Grandy
New Belgium Ranger IPA

This is a prime example of the American IPA style that I don't much care for. Hops just because they can. This was part of a New Belgium sampler, so it was fortunate for me there were only 2. It pours golden with a half-finger of head that dissipated to lacing. Floral hops, if that's your thing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Kabul and Krombacher Alkoholfrie

Back in November 2013 I had a layover of a few days in Kabul and realized how poorly I had documented the deployment. I tried to take a bunch of photos to capture the atmosphere of the area before I left the country, but I am not very good at it.

Before our flight to Kyrgyzstan
Krombacher Non-Alcoholic Pils

It's not good compared to real beer, but surprisingly competent as an imitation beer. Krombacher is a German brewery and as such strives for a continental Pilsner with this brew. It looks like prop beer from a theater production with its bright golden hue and 2 fingers of foamy head.  Taste is a bit bready or hay-like with clean hops finish when drank properly chilled. Don't let it get warm, as the inadequacies of the non-alcoholic recipe become more intrusive. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

ICON Alliance

A lot of cruiser/classic bike riders don't wear full face helmets. I was one; my first helmet is/was what's called a 3/4th style where eyebrows to jaw is open to the road. It afford great visibility, feels very free, and I'll still wear it on a low speed excursion around town or on a back road.

But highway riding is a different beast. The above picture is the same model full-face helmet I wear, taken from a Reddit thread thanking the manufacturer. The what-if-you-crash reasoning is sound enough and needs no re-hash here, but the secondary benefits have their own immediate value and importance. Full face helmets cut the wind much better than open helmets; your neck will thank you after long rides. They can be cooler since they have more directed vents and air channels or warmer if you close those vents up. they keep bugs and road grit from getting to your eyes/face far better than any bandanna/sunglasses combination ever will.

Before I got the ICON Alliance, I had a different brand full-face helmet for my commute. On the ride to work one day, the visor on my helmet came free on one side. I was able to secure it with duct tape, it it's still an unnerving thing to happen at 70 mph. While the duct tape would hold for a few days, I'd decided to shop around for a better helmet. Safety and design details are what drew me to the Alliance; price is what made me choose it. They're both mediums, but the Icon fits more snugly. The visor mechanism feels more secure and it has a steel retaining pin to lock it in the down position. It's $40 more expensive, but I feel like I'm getting more than $40 worth of improved design features and functionality. This is what's good for me and my head, but there's no replacement for trying on helmets in-person. Heads vary in their shape and proportion and it's safer to have a cheaper helmet that fits than an expensive one that doesn't.