Beer in cans?

Beer in Cans? Just the way Dad used to drink it.

On a Friday night a few years ago I was talking with the manager of Kappy’s in Medford. I was looking for Wachusett Green Monsta IPA. He found some 12-packs of their other varieties but no 12’s of #GreenMonsta. We started talking about beer. Imagine that!

He said he brings the canned beer in carefully, he’s not sold on it yet. Some breweries do a better job with the cans than others. I’m sure I looked like an un-educated fool as the look on my face probably said “whadda ya mean?”

I got the impression he felt that quality ale and beer in cans was a bit of a fad. Eventually connoisseurs would go back to drinking craft beers from bottles and quit buying anything in cans.

At the time I thought he may be right. In 2014 craft brewers were just starting to use cans.

I drank crappy beer out of cans for years and was perfectly happy. I was all of 22 when I discovered Bass Ale in bottles.

So many breweries are putting their fine ales in aluminum cans now. Even Sam Adams is canning beer. A few years ago the Mega Breweries used cans, but the craft breweries only used bottles or kegs. Aluminum was blasphemous. Bite your bottle opener! I love all of the fine craft ales. The past twenty years have been a great time to be a “beer” drinker.

Love life, love Harpoon!,beer

I never really cared about the argument over green glass versus brown glass. My beer never hung around long enough to notice any difference. Good beer in glass bottles was good beer.

I drank my first Sam Adams Boston Lager in 1986 at a cast party at the Huntington Theatre. It was in a bottle. I had my first Harpoon IPA at a bar in Kenmore Square that same summer. At the time Harpoon was only available on tap, or so I was told.

When that first Sam Adams Boston Lager hit my palate I felt like I had finally tasted beer. This was what beer was supposed to taste like. Much like finishing a marathon, my life was changed for ever by that experience. The Revolution was on.

I had always been searching for flavor in beer. Bud, PBR, Michelob were all variations on American light. My friends and I started drinking Bass Ale and Newcastle in the bars when we could find it. It wasn’t until I came to Boston in the Summer of ’86 that I had my first American Craft Beers. It’s been 35 years of mostly joyful drinking with a few nasty hang overs sprinkled in over the years.

About ten years ago I began to see craft brews in cans at the local package stores. I looked them over, but for the most part I wasn’t familiar with the brewers. I like to try new brews but felt I wouldn’t get the true flavor in a can.

At about the same time a friend of mine brought some fantastic cans of beer to the Lone Gull 10K in Gloucester. As we sat on the grass and had a few post race cold ones, I began to realize that delicious nectar can come from a can. I was coming around.

ale, IPA, beer in cans

Last summer I bought a few 12-packs of Cisco Brewers of Nantucket ales. I like to sit in my hot tub and have a beer or two. Wrestling with a bottle opener can be a pain, and there’s always the chance of dropping a bottle on the patio. Wet hands and all.

The idea of taking a can or two out to the hot tub seemed like a good solution. Cisco makes some great ale and the cans didn’t seem to affect the flavor at all. Sitting in the hot tub, I drank the beers from the can. Only a dummy takes a pint glass out to the hot tub.

Since those initial experiments with beer in cans, I’ve tried different breweries canned offerings. Except for a cheap 12-pack from a brewer I had never heard of before (Lion’s Head), they have all been quite enjoyable.

What do you think about beer in cans?

I’m sure that you have tried craft beer and ale from a can. They are everywhere now. All of the breweries use cans and it seems to be the favorite container for the newest breweries.

Do you always pour these into a glass or do you drink from the can? What’s your favorite canned offering?

Since those first craft ales in cans a few years ago I’ve come to appreciate them.

What ever they have done, the can doesn’t seem to effect the flavor.

Cans are also easier to deal with. You don’t need an opener and they rarely break.

Drink well my friends, and be smart.


I Can’t Drive 25

Boston is famous for aggressive drivers. But with winter and spring potholes ruining our roads even we can’t drive 25!

With all this Frost, I Can’t Drive 25!

During the winter the ground freezes and creates frost.

Freezing water is one of the greatest forces of nature. It cracks solid rock and shapes mountains and landscapes across the world and even on other planets.

Probably most impressive is that frost can slow down Boston drivers! Even in the city most of us can’t drive 25!

Frost Heaves

When moisture freezes beneath pavement it expands and creates pockets of ice called lenses. This creates what we call “frost heaves”.

I can't drive 25, Frost heaves

These frost heaves create bumps, humps and dips in our streets and roads.

As long as these ice lenses remain frozen we have frost heaves.

When the ice thaws and leaves gaps beneath the surface, we begin to have bigger problems.

Pothole Season

I Can't Drive 25, pothole seasonPothole season is essentially all winter. Water under the road freezes when the ground freezes and we get frost heaves.

On any winter day when the sun is strong enough to raise the road temperature above freezing those ice lenses begin to melt.

When gaps created by expanding frost melt, the pavement cannot support the weight of traffic.

All winter roads thaw and re-freeze. With each cycle the pavement is heaved by frost and then becomes unstable as those ice pockets melt.

As traffic drives over these weakened areas the pavement collapses and we get our winter batch of potholes.

Spring into Pothole Season

I Can't Drive 25 mph on this!I don’t know if we spring into pothole season or fall into it, but it is as inevitable as the changing of the seasons.

This year the winter pothole season seems worse than usual and I can only imagine what spring will be like.

As the spring thaw sets in all of the heaved pavement weakens and breaks up. Potholes pop up like crocuses. But they last a lot longer!

The weather hasn’t been that unusual in New England. And according to AAA people are driving 13% fewer miles.

Maybe instead of driving to work, people are spending more time driving around town?

I Can’t Drive 25!

I have been doing my fair share of local driving.

There are a few roads near my house that I drive on almost every day and they are a mess.

One road is called “Commercial Street” which is very appropriate. There are many businesses and warehouse on this street. At the beginning of the street is a Budweiser warehouse.

They must send out 50 to 100 beer trucks every day. 100 fully loaded trucks go out every morning and 100 still very heaving beer trucks come back every afternoon.

In addition to the beer trucks, every sort of heavy commercial vehicle uses this road every day. Not to mention several thousand cars.

I Can’t Drive Straight

Commercial Street is so bad that it often feels like I’m driving on a slalom ski course.

Some drivers move to the sides of the road. The parking lanes get less traffic, have fewer potholes and you are less likely to bend a rim.

When cars are parked on the side of the road, you have to take your chances.

I see people weaving around potholes they see and often hitting ones they cannot.

I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing where the potholes are, but I have to pay close attention. If I loose focus for even a moment I will hit a pothole that I should have missed.

It’s virtually impossible to miss all of them.

Inevitably there are new potholes that weren’t there the last time and BAM! I can just see my tire compressing right down to the rim.

I’ve done enough work on my car that I know what all the suspension parts look like. I can visualize what is going on when ever I hit one of these car killers.

Many times when I turn onto Commercial Street the cars in front of me slow down. Sometimes I think they are going to pull into a business, but they are just looking for the path least likely to bend their frame!

It’s pretty funny to see an approaching car move to the side of the road. It looks like they are pulling into a parking spot, but they are just trying to drive down the road.

Others drive slalom. I often wonder if the police would ever pull these people over for weaving in traffic or crossing the center line. I’ve driven down the middle of Commercial Street many times to avoid the worse potholes.

It’s gotten to the point that if a car moves to the side of the road the car behind them doesn’t even try to pass. They know what is going on. They also know that driving faster than 25 could damage their own car.

The roads in Boston and Cambridge are no better. When a car drives by sounding like a trawler, I wonder if they paid for that noise or if they are going to pay for that damage.

I’ve considered buying an off-road truck, but I don’t think any vehicle could stand up to this punishment.

Around here, I can’t drive 25 mph and neither can anyone else!

Drive Safely My Friends!


First Run in 10 Days

With so many distractions, it has been a challenge getting out for a run. I’m not even sure when my next race will happen.

I’ve been holding off posting anything for the past week or so.

I’m still kind of in disbelief about what is going on around us and very close to us.

And while the world seems to be wobbling on it’s axis, my mother has been to the ED twice. Thankfully not for COVID-19, but still some serious shit.

The last place anyone wants to be during a pandemic is at a hospital. That’s where all the sick people are. And that isn’t a joke.

Being preoccupied with my mother’s health and that of the world, writing about running seems trivial.

My office is closed and I’ve been on a combination of vacation time to spend time with my mother and working from home.

The weeks never end and the weekend just has fewer emails that need a response. And what day of the week is it anyway?

First Run in 10 Days

Running is a great way to bust stress and step away from the world. I know this. I really do.

Running is that magic pill that cures so many ills.

I’ve just been so washed out lately that I haven’t been able to help my self.

I’m tired, I’m stressed and I have a crap ton of worry.

Saturday I finally went on that run I’ve been telling my self to go on for a week.

I had to make an effort. There was nothing automatic or easy about getting into my gear.

Every one thinks of me as a runner, but I’m not a coin operated boy. Some times it takes everything I’ve got to go and do it.

The first two miles were an effort. I wanted to run six miles but I didn’t know if I’d make it to three. I had to work my self up to caring.

I did the neighborhood watch run as I call it. I run up and down the streets in my neighborhood and am never more than a half mile from home.

You can see from the map below that one street ended at a park. It was the end of the street and I was turning around anyway, but there was literally a sign of the times on the fence.

All city parks are closed until further notice. It wasn’t just a Facebook post from the city anymore.

First Run in 10 Days, Neighborhood Watch Run

The Neighborhood Watch Run is a great way to see what is going on and see things I miss when I drive by. Most of these streets I never drive on.

When my watch chimed four miles I knew I would hit six miles.

My legs felt okay and I was just plodding along. No time goals, only a miles goal.

I also decided that I could do five or six miles each day for the rest of the month.

I can’t say it felt great. But when I got back it somehow felt normal.

Stay Healthy my Friends.


Is the Run to Remember Overpriced

Are you running in the Run to Remember 2016 Half-Marathon or 5 Miler?

Registration is still open and you can save $5 with this coupon code: MARATHON5

Currently registration for the half-marathon is $110. I know that if you registered early it was $75 or $80, which is a bit more reasonable for a city race.

They do have to close down a lot of streets and there is a lot of security. Just the number of details required to keep the streets clear is phenomenal.

They provide a good amount of food and drink at the after race party, but no beer. The medal is also a quality finisher’s medal. I’m sure that some of the food items are purchased but other vendors donate in order to reach 10,000 runners.

Is the Run to Remember overpriced?

At $110.00 for a half marathon, I would say yes. If you have never run in Boston the unique experience may be worth the price of admission. For anyone who has run this race at least once, probably not so much.

boston's run to remember,running,bostonIn economic terms I think the market has spoken. The price that the market will bear for a half-marathon is somewhere lower than what the Run to Remember organizers are charging.

In 2013 this race sold out in about a week. We all know why. I don’t have pricing data in front of me, but it seems that the price for this race goes up $5 to $10 each year. In 2013 they could have charged $150 because everyone wanted to stick their running the in the face of terror.

Now that things have settled down I think the pricing power of the race has diminished significantly. The race is May 29th and I get an email with a coupon code almost every day. Unfortunately the coupon is only for $5 off of a $110 registration fee.

Obviously the race has not sold out yet. It may sell out on or before race day, but if registrations fall significantly short of the organizer’s goals their fundraising will be significantly impacted as well.

While it is difficult to know what the “market price” for this race is, I think it is safe to say it is $10 to $20 less than what is being asked for this year’s race.

What do you think? Are you running the Run to Remember this year? Did you decide not to run due to the price or because you’ve run it before?

Run well my friends and be safe this Memorial Day weekend.


© 2016 Andrew Nagelin

Brendans Home Run 5K

Brendans Home Run 5K

This was the 14th running of the 5K in honor of Brendan Grant, and my second race of the day.

I’m working on 50 races by September 4th and the timing seemed right for this race. In 2014 I ran the BAA 10K and then drove to the Smuttynose Brewery in New Hampshire for a 9:30 5K.

I made it to New Hampshire and was the last person to start that race. Runners were actually finishing when I was heading out for my run! Because they were picking up the course as I ran it, I missed a turn or two.

Brendan’s 5K was a 10 am race just 20 minutes away. Piece of cake, right?

Off to Belmont

I didn’t waste too much time hanging around after the BAA 10K. I chatted with many friends, but everyone knew I was on a mission and took no offense to my haste.

I did the quick step down Charles Street and over The Longfellow bridge to my car. I had my building pass, so I used the facilities in the building’s gym and used one of their towels to dry off a little bit.

All I had to do was go down Memorial Drive and take a right onto Mass Ave/Rt 2A. I made the light for the turn onto Mass Ave and thought it was a good omen for smooth sailing.

I proceeded to hit many other red lights, and waited for pedestrians and buses. Then I made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up spending 15 minutes or so trying to figure our WTH I was. I could see the start time approaching.

As I approached Belmont High I could see cones in the road. I was in the right place, but there was no parking!

There were cops everywhere, but I ended up going the wrong way into a parking lot and parked headed in the wrong direction. I figured I was off the road and I was on a mission.

I took my car key and stuffed it into my tiny shorts pocket. I never trust that pocket – no zipper. I only knew the general direction to go and quickly found the race team and director breaking everything down.

Adrenaline surge!

The whole scene was reminiscent of last year at Smuttynose.

I’m sure I came of as a pushy jerk. The race director had encouraged me to come out for the race, she knew what I was doing, so I figured I had some latitude.

I spoke with one guy who pointed me towards a group and said “talk to the lady in black.” Well, there were two of them so I just started talking to the entire group.

They didn’t hear me at first, but I was being a little aggressive. I just made a hell ride from Boston, there was no way I was going to miss the race.

After I asked where to get my bib for the fifth time the Race Director finally looked at me and told me to “go talk to her” and pointed to another lady. This lady looked in two boxes for my swag bag.

I asked if I could leave my swag bag there. She said something, I pinned my bib on and left the bag.

Brendans Home Run 5KI asked where the race started and they pointed to towards the track. Everyone seemed confused by me repeatedly asking where the race started.

One guy said, this is where they finish. Brilliant. I needed to know where they started. I explained for the 10th time that I was late and was just starting the race.

The guy finally realized what I was asking. He told me that the leaders were coming in so I needed to stay to the side.

And I’m off, way off!

Brendans home run 5k, 5k race
Brendans 5K

I took off in the outside lane as the winner passed me in the opposite direction. He was cruising.

As I rounded the curve the second place guy was approaching. There was a guy laying on the track taking photos, so I tried not to run in front of him as number two rounded the corner.

As I ran down the strait away the lead pack was now heading down the track. I managed to get by them, cross the grass, and headed out to the street.

I was running against traffic and at times the lane was packed. I ran outside of the cones to avoid a collision.

At the rail road bridge in Belmont we turned right and went to Channing Road. There were all kinds of runners coming back, I figured it was an out and back.

It turns out I was supposed to take a left onto Cross street soon after getting onto Channing Road. As I got to the end of Channing Road the volunteer manning the corner asked me what I was doing.

He was a bit perplexed but then told me to run to the next corner and look for signs or a volunteer. I saw two guys turn where I was supposed to go and turned left.

I managed to make the loop and found my way back to the High School. At a few turns it was 50/50 as to which way to go. I guessed lucky for the most part.

I did not save the BAA 10K and start a new race. So my Garmin just added miles to my previous 10K. Figuring out how far I had run was not easy. I didn’t want to run 2 miles and call it a 5K. It was important to me to run an honest 5k. No screwing around, no short-cuts here.

I knew the 10K was 6.3 miles and used that to figure my 5K distance. As I approached the entrance to the track my watch had not chimed nine miles. I really needed 9.4 miles total to make this a legit 5K.

Since I was short I passed the entrance and ran down to the corner to almost 9 miles. The race officials must have thought I was nuts or an idiot to miss the turn back onto the field. I was on a mission.

When I crossed the finish line my watch said 9.1 miles. I was a little short.

While having some water and water melon I looked at the course map and saw where I had missed a side street.

I want going for a PR, win or anything other than checking off another 5K. I started 15 minutes late and messed up the course.

I ended up in 273rd out of 301 runners with a 12:10 pace. I’m not sure I deserve that. The top three guys were all under 5 minute pace. The top 14 runners were all under 6 minute pace.

Lot’s of good runners who ran the race finished ahead of me. Just the way it should have been.

I probably won’t run two races on the same day again. It diminishes the second race in my mind as the effort to get there over-shadows the event itself.

I always say, “respect the distance,” but I need to add, “always respect the race.”

The race director encouraged me to sign up and I was looking for a local 2nd race. Maybe if the logistics had worked out a little better I could have given this race the effort and focus it deserved.

I saw many people enjoying the race, many struggling with the race and people out with their kids. For me it was a notch on my belt. Not the most honorable run of my year.

Complete results on Cool Running.

A Few Good Races

Two races that I thought would be sold out by now still have numbers.

Boston’s Run to Remember has entries available at the Expo on Saturday. On-line registration has closed. For the past two years they have sold out before race day. Is the magic over?

display frame, Boston, a few good races
Run to Remember 2014

Last year the race was a mob scene. Maybe that turned people off? This year they are asking runners to self-seed themselves in the proper pace coral. It is voluntary but should help keep the 12 min mile folks from proudly lining up at the front.

The BAA sent an email Thursday with BAA 10K information. They are still accepting registrations also! Race details HERE.

I haven’t done research and a detailed analysis but it seems to me that both of these races sold out well before race day these past two years.

The surge in interest in running over the past two years has been both encouraging and discouraging.

It’s been great to see new races develop and established races sell out. It’s hard enough to turn a profit on a race, but when they do not sell out it can be really challenging. For a non-profit to have staff work for months to put on a race and then only make a few thousand dollars or lose money is not worth their effort.

So it has been great to see the support. I know some runners have complained about the increase in “casual” runners who are out for the experience of the race and joy of running with no illusions of winning. They have swelled the ranks and been a boost to our local running culture.

I fully support these runners and welcome them to all races. That freedom to participate at your own level and make the experience your own is part of what makes our sport so special and unique.

Seeing races sell out in days or hours has been discouraging. Two years ago I missed the Run to Remember because I did not sign up immediately. I’ve managed to get into the BAA 10K because when registration opens at 10AM, I have had my credit card on my desk and the registration page open.

I’m a mad man.

Surge in prices


I haven’t done the analysis but it seems that some popular races have increased their prices. I know that costs go up each year. You would think that the additional runners would cover those costs and relieve the need to raise registration fees.

High registration fees are one of the top complaints of runners in polls. Organizers need to cover their costs and pay staff or put money into their programs. I think we all understand that. But when you pay $100 to run a half marathon it seems more like a supply and demand situation.

How do you feel about registration fees?

Have you seen price increases over the past few years?

Have you seen races cut items out to keep fees low?

Run well my friends, enjoy your weekend and remember our veterans.