I make a pilgrimage to the local “packey” about once a month to re-stock the old fridge. It’s always tempting to pick up the usual 12-pack of Sam or Harpoon. But I also try to get at least one brew that I’ve never had before. I’ve had plenty of Harpoon IPA and enjoyed every drop of it. While talking with the manager over at Atlas Liquors in Medford about all of the new breweries and seasonal brews, he pointed out this new IPA from Harpoon.Harpoon Leviathan IPA is an Imperial IPA and is 10% alcohol with 90 IBU. Now, 10% is
Harpoon Leviathan IPA
Pouring the heavy stuff
Glass of Leviathan IPA
Over the top hops
strong for an IPA which is usually in the 5-7% range. This is more like a barley wine. IBU stands for International Bitterness Unit and is how brewers measure the bitterness of their creations. The bitterness in beer and ale is derived from hops. There are a wide variety of hops grown all over the world. Each variety and each location can impart their own unique flavor profile. Assessing the qualities of hops can get quite technical and often involves chemists or biologists working in a lab. But, your tongue will do a fine job of telling you what you like and what is “too hoppy”. Some people like malty beers like Oktoberfest or Marzen. I’ll take a well hopped ale any day over one of those heavy, sweet brews. But I digressContinue reading “Harpoon Leviathan IPA Brew Review”
A lot of guys don’t like to cook or grocery shop. To me, doing the shopping and/or cooking means I get to eat more of what I like. Call me crazy. If you can’t cook yourself a meal your missing one of the basic skills in life. There is always something new at the grocery store to try.
I’ve had a garden since I bought my first house over 20 years ago. I like going out to the garden and picking some food for dinner, or to make salsa or sauce. Nothing better than fresh. We have had dinners where every veggie on our plates was picked within the last hour. I don’t have much luck with salad, but I’m getting pretty good with tomatoes.
Fresh garlic is awesome stuff. The flavor is unbelievable. If the stuff in a jar is good for you, the stuff right out of the dirt has got to be even better. Garlic, onions, tomatoes and basil from the garden make a great fresh sauce. Late in the year I have bell peppers.
To me, summer isn’t over until I’ve picked the last tomato. With a few sheets of plastic and a little mulch I can often keep my plants going well into October.
Last year we had potatoes out of the compost pile! They grew all by themselves. All I did was water them when I did the rest of the garden.
For most of us, our ancestors were farmers at one time or another. Having a garden in my back yard is my way of keeping a bit of family tradition going. The smell of the soil and the feel of the dirt under my bare feet is something my father felt and our great-great grandfathers felt. The soil is part of our bond.
I have built up the soil at our current home over the past 10 years. The dirt that came with the house was not garden quality soil. I’ve brought in two loads of composted manure which really helped to build up our garden and flower beds. The traditional way of enhancing the soil is still the best way.
I also like to brew my own beer. I’ve got a long way to go before I can make anything as good as Sam Adams, Harpoon or Smuttynose. But it’s fun trying! There are only four ingredients in beer/ale: water, malt, hops and yeast. The variety of hops and malt, or malted grains, is vast. Even making changes to the water can change the flavor of your brew.
I brew at a basic level and don’t mess around with water chemistry. I do love my hops and like to try different varieties. My last batch had 5 different hop varieties in it. The great thing about brewing is that you rarely mess up so badly that you can’t clean up your mess. And, the more you drink the more often you get to try another batch. It’s a tough job!
Brewing beer can be time-consuming and it does create a distinct odor in the house. Hobbies are supposed to fill your free time with enjoyment. Creating the wort, the boiled malt and hops, can take a few hours. It takes time to get two gallons of water to boil.
You have to pay attention during the boil. Many recipes require you to add hops at different points in the boil. You don’t have to be precise but you can’t be off by 5 or 10 minutes. Then you have a different brew all together.
Many years ago when I first starting brewing my pot boiled over, in a very big way. Not only did the boil-over extinguish my gas burner but it over flowed the stove and poured onto the floor. It was so bad that the wort leaked through the floor into the basement! Fortunately the basement was not finished at the time. I cleaned it up, but the wife was not happy!
One of the many great things about brewing your own beer is that you become familiar with the different flavors in beer. You come to understand where the flavors come from and appreciate the subtleties of different styles. It’s like being a musician or chef, you can discern the individual components of a song or a meal. You can sense the irony or humor in a song or on a plate. You can also just listen, eat or drink and enjoy the sensational experience.
I’m not really a car guy, but over the past few years I’ve started doing more of my own maintenance. Why pay $75 for an oil change when I can do it for half that price. Recently I bought a 1.5 ton jack so that I can do brakes and other more involved work. The jack that came with my car is a widow maker for sure. How can BMW sell a $40,000 car with a $10 jack? The things are freakin treacherous.
Now that I have a semi-pro jack I’ve tackled brakes. I watch the DIY videos on YouTube and other DIY sites. Then I go look at my car and scratch my head. There must by 5 million BMW 325*.* cars on the road. Are they all that different? I guess it’s part of the challenge. My car never looks quite like the car in the video. Or the bolt is a different size. Or they skipped a crucial step.
I try not to get too comfortable with when the car is on the jack. It’s not like I know what I’m doing. Caution is the key to safety. I bought the 1.5 ton jack because last year my car fell off of the jack that came with my car. That was a “holy shit” moment. My leg could have been under there. Fortunately I had a wheel under the car to keep it from going all the way down. Still, it was a wake up call. I needed to upgrade my equipment.
I know a lot of people don’t like to do maintenance work on their car. It is dirty, can be dangerous and requires learning something new. I’m still trying to figure out most of the features on my smart phone. For me, it is a great feeling to be able to go back under the hood to do a job the second time and know my way around. Building on my experience and knowledge I can do more complex work.
Hobbies should be fun, challenging and provide learning experiences. Running teaches me a lot of things. My DIY hobbies teach me other lessons and provide a great deal of satisfaction.
Besides running, what types of hobbies do you enjoy?
I just signed up for the last two races I will be running in the #Will Run For Beer Series. This race series is managed by #LOCO Sportsin New Hampshire. They have been running the series since 2007 and this will be my third year of participation.
The series of seven races takes place in Southern New Hampshire and North Eastern Massachusetts. The New Year’s Day Race and April Fool’s race are run by local running clubs but still count for the series. If you register for the series and then run five of the seven races you get a nylon wind jacket. It costs $5 to sign up for the series and then you need to register and pay for each race separately.
Not a bad deal, and a great motivator to get out there and run. There are two half marathons in the series, but you don’t need run either one to qualify for the jacket.
It’s a lot of fun and one of the race sponsors is #Smuttynose Brewing Co. Running and cold Smuttynose, what’s not to love? Last year I thought I’d run two or three of their races so I did not register for the series. I ended up running five of the races anyway. If I had registered I’d have another one of their jackets hanging in my closet. This year I’m going for it.
If you and your friends are looking for a great series of races you should definitely check out “Will Run For Beer”. Smuttynose is a great sponsor and there is always plenty of beer after the race.