Archive | February, 2012

Chafunkta Brewing Company?

29 Feb

I’m all about more craft beer in south Louisiana. With that said, here’s a press release from the Chafunkta Brewing Company, formerly the Pelican Brewing Company in Mandeville.

Lulzy Press Release from Chafunkta Brewing Company (formerly Pelican)

Given the weirdness of the name and the goofiness of the press release, I am unsure if this is an early April Fools joke, but in the interest of passing along the knowledge (and I found it amusing), see below.  And hopefully I didn’t get punk’d.

!! Breaking Craft Beer News !!
Feb 28, 2012, 07:46PM CDT
MANDEVILLE (AP) – In what is sure to be the biggest shake-up in the Craft Beer World since it was discovered that “hops” actually referred to a plant used in brewing and not what most NBA players have lots of, the formerly well known and established (on paper at least) Mandeville, LA based Pelican Brewing Company, has been renamed and is now known as the Chafunkta Brewing Company.  Rumor has it that multiple lawyers (strangely all from Mandeville) were involved, and that Josh & Jamie Erickson, the proud owners of Chafunkta Brewing Company, had no other choice but to make the name change (word is that Mr. Erickson has little to no tolerance for overpriced lawyers taking craft beer money away from craft beer brewers).When asked about it, Mr. Erickson said “How can I possibly in good conscience allow money which could be spent on grains, hops, and yeast, instead go towards paying for rounds of golf where herds of lawyers spend hours drinking countless “XXX-Light” beers and continuously wondering when the taste will come?”. Truth be told, inside sources have confirmed that it really wasn’t lawyers that prompted the name change, but instead it was simply that Mr. Erickson wished to avoid any confusion of his tasty brews with those brewed by a well-known similarly named Brewpub out on the West Coast, but only Mr. Erickson and the one upstairs knows the truth about that (rumor also has it that his wife lives upstairs).

Regardless, what we can all look forward to with this late-breaking news is that there should no longer be any confusion on the age old question, “Which Pelican Brewery is this beer from again?”.  And that alone is the only reason one should need to raise a pint and toast the newly formed Chafunkta Brewing Company!  So cheers to them, and cheers to all of you craft beer fans for your continued support of craft beer and their breweries, no matter what they’re called!

-Associated Press (aka Josh & Jamie Erickson, proud owners of the Chafunkta Brewing Company)

The End of a Streak

27 Feb

I set two goals for the year 2012. One of them was to run at least 2,012 miles this year. The other was to run at least one mile every day for the entire year. I blazed through the month of January with flying colors, running a total of 215 miles and easily hitting my daily goal. February came and the streak continued. The total mileage came down as I prepped for Rouge Orleans, then I ran 68 miles in less than 24 hours. And the recovery from that race hasn’t been exactly as planned. And I think the streak has hurt that recovery. While I’ve been used to running high mileage days and weeks, the total number of miles run on that Saturday and Sunday was well more than anything I’ve ever attempted.

I’ve struggled with ankle and knee problems since then. A trip to a great physical therapist, Gloria Wall of GO Physical Therapy, confirmed that I have posterior tibialis tendonitis in my ankle. And my ITB pain is directly attributable to that. I’ve been religiously doing the ankle exercises she gave me, and trying to roll my IT band with the Trigger Point Grid roller. And I’ve run every day through it all. Some days, I’ve run only a mile. Others I’ve gone further. Some days my ankle and ITB feel alright, while others it’s a battle just to run that mile.

Saturday I’m scheduled to run the Mississippi 50 just south of Laurel, Mississippi. Yes, a 50 mile trail race through the DeSoto National Forest. On a bum ankle and painful IT band.

That’s why the streak has to stop. While it’s disappointing to let one of my goals go, I have to focus on some other goals. I’ve got this race to run Saturday, followed by the FORGE Headhunter 10K  next Saturday. I’ve already registered for the XTERRA Oak Mountain trail marathon on May 20th just outside of Birmingham, Alabama. And I’ve got another destination race or two planned for this summer. I can’t afford to keep running hurt. Plus, it just plain sucks not being able to run like I want to. I miss running fast, I miss running long through the woods, I miss just the sheer joy of getting out and running. Right now, all my focus is on my ankle and knee and how to run without hurting. That’s no way to run.

So that’s why the streak stops now. 57 days in 2012. 58 days overall. 400 miles. It was fun while it lasted. And I’ll try it again. Someday.

Squatters Outer Darkness

26 Feb

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Saturday was a cool and cloudy February day, one that was just calling for a nice stout to end it. I’ve had a Squatters Outer Darkness sitting in my fridge for a while just waiting for me to crack it open. So today was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

Squatters is part of the Utah Brewers Cooperative based in Salt Lake City. This Reserve Series brew is a very complex and intensely flavored Russian imperial stout. It pours a pitch dark black with a brown head that disappears rather quickly. The smell is of oak, vanilla and deep dark chocolate. The taste is much of the same with a touch of molasses, licorice and of course, bittersweet dark chocolate.

This is a well hopped stout, and there’s some bitterness in the finish. The ABV is 10.5%, so it packs quite the punch like all Russian imperial stouts.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this beer, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Squatters has a good double IPA called Hop Rising that I enjoy quite a bit, so maybe it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. Oh, and the label kicks ass, so that should have told me this was going to be a good beer.

This gets 4.5 bottle caps out of 5 from me. Look for Squatters Outer Darkness at Whole Foods in Baton Rouge while it’s available. I’ll probably grab another soon to age until next winter.

Ommegang Seduction

23 Feb

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Ommegang is a brewery from Cooperstown, NY that only became available to us in Louisiana in the second half of 2011. Although they are an American brewery, they do a great job of replicating Belgian-style ales. Among their regular lineup are BPA (Belgian Pale Ale), Ommegang Abbey, Hennepin, a farmhouse saison, and Three Philosophers, a Belgian Quadrupel.

Ommegang also produces a handful of specialty brews, among them Seduction. Seduction is a Belgian-style porter brewed with Callebut chocolate and Liefmans cherries. It is a rich and malty brew that is both smooth and warming. It weighs in at only 6.8% ABV, so it isn’t overly powerful.

Seduction is sold in limited edition 750mL bottles and I’ve also had it on draught at the Barley Oak in Mandeville. But get it while it lasts, because it won’t be around long.

Seduction gets a solid 4 out of 5 bottle caps from me.

Bayou Teche Courir de Mardi Gras

21 Feb

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What better way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than with a Mardi Gras beer? And while Abita may be the king of Mardi Gras brews with their seasonal Mardi Gras Bock, another Louisiana brewery has an offering for carnival season.

Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville released their Courir de Mardi Gras seasonal earlier this year. It is a Biere de Mars, or French farmhouse ale. It celebrates the arrival of spring and is definitely a spring beer. It’s very refreshing with its healthy dose of wheat. This would be great at a crawfish boil or just sitting out on the back porch on a warm spring day.

But supplies are limited, so if you find it, don’t pass it up.

Update on New Balance 730’s

20 Feb

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Here is a follow up to the post a couple of days ago about the New Balance 730’s.

I had intended to test them out on Saturday morning, but the monsoon we had all day told me I should wait a day and wear them for a dry run. I did wear them for much of the day Saturday around the house, to a neighbor’s birthday party, and on a trip to the grocery store. They are very comfy for just casual wear shoes and they feel absolutely flat, despite the purported 3mm drop. There is only token cushioning, but more so than the Minimus trails. The toe box is roomy and shouldn’t give anyone issues with pinched toes.

I set out this morning for a 10 mile run around my neighborhood in them. They worked exactly how I thought they would. Just a nice flexible, no frills shoe with minimal drop and just a touch of cushioning. I think these would make for a great road racing shoe up to a half marathon distance, since they are very light and there’s just not much to them. There is no insole, so these could easily be worn sockless (I went with my DryMax Hyper Thin socks).

There were only 2 issues, neither of which were bothersome. Like the 110 trail shoes, the tongue is only stitched to the upper at the base. So it did tend to move around and to the side a bit. That didn’t bother me running, but it did slightly annoy my OCD symmetry issues. The laces are the flat type and one of them came untied during the run. A double knot easily fixed that.

In all, this is a great no frills minimal road shoe from New Balance. I will definitely put these into the rotation, which will help spare the tread on my trail shoes, since I have been hitting the roads a good bit in my 110’s lately. They are also great casual wear shoes. The normal warnings about taking it easy when wearing low drop shoes for the first time definitely apply here. As I said, these could pass as zero drop shoes if I didn’t know otherwise. These may save me from buying the new Minimus Zero line, which is due out in March.

Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet 1.5 Double Black IPA

18 Feb

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It’s a rainy and cool Saturday, which means my wife is cooking a gumbo and I’m trying some new brew. The first one is from Mercury Brewing Co in Ipswich, Massachusetts brewed under the name Clown Shoes. This is their first anniversary ale, called Hoppy Feet 1.5. It’s a double black IPA weighing in at 10.0 % ABV.

And it tastes just like it sounds. It’s hoppy, but not overly done, with some malt balance to it. This is an excellent black IPA, which are pretty tough to find outside of the Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale and Stone’s 15th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA. Mikkeller does some as well, and I’ll review some of those in a future post.

Unfortunately, we can’t get the Clown Shoes line here in Louisiana, but they are available just across our western border in Texas.

New Balance 730 initial impressions

18 Feb

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I got home today to find a box on my front porch. Inside was a pair of the newly released New Balance 730 shoes that I ordered from Running Warehouse for $63 shipped.

These shoes seem to be a great light option for runners wanting minimal drop in a road shoe. They are built on the same platform as the Minimus, and use the same mesh in the upper. However, they do have more cushion underfoot. From the picture, you can see just how flexible they are even with that cushion. Walking around the house, they are very comfy with ample room in the toe box. They have only 3mm of heel to toe drop and my size 12’s weigh in at only 8.125 ounces. By way of comparison, my Minimus trails weigh in at 8.375 ounces and my 110’s are 8.875 ounces.

I’ll give them a whirl tomorrow, but the New Balance snob in me says I’m probably going to love these shoes, especially on longer road runs.

Green Flash Double Stout

17 Feb

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Green Flash Brewing Company is a San Diego brewery that doesn’t yet distribute to Louisiana. But thanks to a friend’s trip to Texas, I was able to score a bottle of their Double Stout. This is a very nice imperial stout that drinks easier than the 8.8% ABV suggests. This is a solid 3.5 out of 5 bottle caps.

Follow Green Flash on Twitter @greenflashbeer and check out their website at Green Flash.

Pour Me Somethin Mistah – Stone/NOLA collaboration

16 Feb

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Stone Brewing Co from San Diego and NOLA Brewing out of New Orleans recently worked together on a collaborative beer, which they named Pour Me Somethin Mistah. It is an imperial porter made with Steen’s molasses and satsuma peel. It weighs in at 8% ABV and has between 75-80 IBU.

I got a chance to try it out Wednesday night at The Cove in Baton Rouge. It was poured cold, so I let it warm up for about 15 minutes, since I got word that it really helped bring out the flavors in the beer. It definitely has that Stone profile, very hoppy, but it doesn’t sit on your palate overly long. The satsuma peel flavor is very understated, but you can taste the molasses in the finish. It definitely is better once it warms up a bit.

I’d give it a 3 1/2 bottle caps out of 5. Glad I got a chance to try it. I was also fortunate enough to be able to bring a growler of it with me to enjoy at home. I’m hopeful that NOLA and Stone will continue their collaboration each Mardi Gras season.

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