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Monday, May 23, 2011

The blog that almost was...

This was very nearly a blog about running. Yes, you read correctly, I said running. I love running. I'm not particularly fast,  but its great fun, keeps me in shape, and I love being able to stay competitive on some level, even if my biggest competition is just a clock and the arbitrary times I try to hit.

When I was pondering the idea of blogging, I went back and forth between beer and running. If I wrote about running, what would I write? I envisioned lots of posts about time- mile splits, 5K times, 10 K times, etc. To my running friends, it would probably be cool. But I felt like it would have a limited potential readership, and if I was going to write, I wanted subject matter where the research was a little less exhausting and audience limiting. So I chose beer for my blog, but I continued to run. Which brings me to Sunday..

This past Sunday was the 10th Annual Harpoon 5 Miler to benefit the Angel Fund. I had run 7 of these races previously, only missing year 1 (because I didn't hear about it), and year 8 (because my wife was due with our first child on race day). But this year they threw us all a curve ball, moving the race date up a few weeks, from its usual June date.

As usual, I was there at the start, running solo this year. My usual running buddy chose not to run this year (she had recently run a marathon in a pretty stellar time, and was entitled to some rest).

The gun sounds, and I take off with the crowd. The weather is cool, the crowd is awesome, and I'm just feeding off the adrenaline. I abandon my strategy and go out waaaay too fast. I decide to keep running until I see my wife and daughter and mother in law, who are somewhere near the half way point, then I plan to slow down and crawl to the finish. Mercifully, I see them at the halfway point, wave, and figure just as soon as I'm out of sight, I'm walking. But something odd happened. Once I got out of sight, I just kept running. Oh, it hurt like hell. I kept yelling out about how bad my legs hurt, how I had nothing left, but I kept going. Mile 3 on 1st street? Still running. Mile 4, just inside the Marine industrial Park? Still running.

I turned that final corner behind the brewery, expecting to see a 44 or so on the clock. And what I see is 3....8? No, is that really a 7? 37? No f*cking way! I get closer, yes, the clock clearly reads 37 minutes, suddenly I feel great (odd how that works, ain't it?) and I just start sprinting to the finish. I finish in a new personal best of 37:31, which blows away my previous best of 40:24 big time. I strut around the finish area, my arms raised in personal victory, clapping my hands. I needed to celebrate, obviously. So I went to the store and bought....

Hop Back Amber Ale
Troegs Brewing Company, Harrisburg, PA
6 % ABV
12 ounce bottle poured into a glass

The label describes this beer thusly: "Each batch of HopBack Amber Ale flows through a bed of whole flower hops creating a fresh aroma, spicy taste, and rich caramel note that defines our signature beer."

This beer pours a nice dark amber, just as the name suggests. Two fingers of nice, creamy white, thick head forms, and dissipates fairly quickly. Smell is nice- malty, spicy, some hops, as advertised, but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is awesome. Creamy, velvety, warm, smooth, light- as good as it gets. Taste is great. Its malty, with some sweetness from the caramel malt, nicely balanced out by spicy hops, and a very, very slight bitterness at the end. I love it. Absolutely love this beer. 4 out 5, and I might be under rating this.

This is the second beer from Troegs that I've drank, and its as awesome as the first. This brewer is worth watching.  Check them out at Jacob Wirth on May 31st as they do a tap takeover as part of Boston  Beer Week.

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