The Last of My Dogtoberfest

There are good running days and bad running days.  Saturday, February 1st was a bad one.  From the moment I started, my feet felt like cement hitting the pavement and I just couldn’t wait for the run to be over.  I’m not sure why it was so difficult.  I did my usual warm-up.  I didn’t run a more difficult route than usual.  Yet, I felt like my legs were letting me down.  I didn’t let the struggle keep me from running the full 12.5 miles, but it was a rough one.  As soon as I finished, stretched, and cleaned myself up, I headed to the fridge to grab a beer I knew would put a smile on my face.

Flying Dog Brewery's Dogtoberfest Märzen

Flying Dog Brewery’s Dogtoberfest Märzen

Flying Dog Brewery’s Dogtoberfest Märzen (brewery) is brewed with 100% German ingredients, although it is made in Frederick, Maryland.  The beer had a medium reddish-amber color with about an inch of off-white, foamy head.  On the nose, there was some nuttiness and maltiness with hints of caramel and black pepper.  In the mouth, there was a nice maltiness mixed with lemon zest, biscuits, and caramel.  The beer was a medium body with a mild bitterness and good balance.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.   At $2 a bottle, this Octoberfest beer offered something a little different.  After my run, I opened my last two bottles of the season, and I was sad to see them go.  The beer is refreshing, with good flavor, and perfect for drinking while trying to relax my sore muscles.  The nice thing about Dogtoberfest is that it’s also very food friendly.  It’s the perfect beer to drink while snacking on some cheese and crackers or having a German dinner complete with bratwurst.  I think it also might go well with something a little sweeter like teriyaki chicken.

Question of the day: Do you drink seasonal beers?  If so, do you have a favorite season?

Price: $2 a bottle (I bought 2 singles)
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 3.5 Corks

An Aria for the Brett Lover

Running across the Key Bridge with Georgetown and the Washington Monument in the Background

Running across the Key Bridge with Georgetown and the Washington Monument in the Background

After having a rough 11-mile treadmill run on January 25, I headed into my 12-mile long run the following Saturday with mixed emotions.  I dreaded the idea of having another bad run, but was very hopeful that by heading back outside that the problems of the previous week would be left behind.  I also decided to take a slightly different route, this way I could run a few more hills, head into DC, and have a change of scenery.

Miles 1-4 were awesome, and I knew it was going to be a solid run. Miles 5 & 6 were rough, but mile 6 is always where I struggle a little in my longer runs.  So, I pushed through and by miles 7 & 8, I was feeling strong.  Mile 9 was ok.  Then there was Mile 10, when I was sure my legs were abandoning me.  I started a mantra in my head to keep myself from stopping with only 2 miles to go.  It was a hard final push.  When I finished and reviewed my split times, I realized my long runs have not only been getting consistently longer, but also consistently faster.  The best part of the run, though, was my post-run beer and pizza.

Aria by Perennial Artisan Ales

Aria by Perennial Artisan Ales

The Aria (brewery) is a Belgian ale fermented with Brettanomyces (affectionately known as Brett) by Perennial Artisan Ales in St. Louis, Missouri.  The beer has 1 1/2 inches of stiff, off-white foam and a hazy, amber color.  On the nose, there was honey, white pepper, horse stable, and wet hay.  In the mouth, there was apple, wet horse stable, and hints of honey and apricots.  The beer had a medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $13, this is the beer for a Brett lover.  When it’s done in a controlled way, I like the “barn yard” characteristics in my wine, which is why I wanted to give it a shot in my beer.  And, Perennial did a nice job.  They created a beer that was interesting and unique, yet still very drinkable.  That said, if you don’t like the Brett characteristics, you won’t like this beer.  Also, a word of warning…don’t pair the Aria with pepperoni and meatball pizza.  While the two are delicious on their own, they do not make a good pairing.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had a beer or wine with Brettanomyces characteristics?  Are you a fan or do you think it gives the drink a flawed, nasty taste?

Perennial Artisan Ales

Price: $13 for a 750ml bottle
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 4 Corks

Ready for a Long Winter’s Nap

One thing to know about how Hubby and I run is that even though we both are usually training for the same race (in this case, the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Nation’s Capital Half Marathon), we don’t run together.  That is true in training and during races.  At a race, we’ll start at the finish line together, wish each other a good race, and then go our separate ways.  Hubby is much faster than I am, so he’s always at the finish line cheering me across it.  From there, we grab our water and banana, take some photos, and recap our race experiences.

When it comes to training, we both usually hit the treadmills, and running together on treadmills isn’t really fun.  Plus, honestly, I think there’s also an element of enjoying personal quiet timing.  We both run with music, but it’s also a chance to just be in our own heads and go.

11 miles on the treadmill doneA few Saturdays ago, we both had to get in an 11-mile training run, and we ended up actually hitting the treadmills at the same time.  I don’t know what it was about those 11 miles, but for me, the run was a slog from start to finish. Maybe the problem was the couple of previous runs, including my 10.5 mile run the week before, were good, solid runs.  Maybe the gym was a little too hot, so I was over-heating a little.  Or, maybe I just wasn’t feeling it, so it was a rough run.  Whatever it was, from mile 3 on, I was looking at the mileage counter thinking there was no way I was going to make 11 miles, and by mile 9, my 6 mintue:1minute run/walk intervals switch to 3:1 intervals.  Instead of being motivated by Hubby when he finished before me, I was green with envy, and I was sure that was going to be the end of the run, even though I hadn’t actually gone the full distance.  But, somehow, I struggled through, and the moment I saw I was at 11 miles, I dropped the speed down to the slowest walk I could do while still be upright.

Blue Mountain Barrel House Long Winter's Nap

Blue Mountain Barrel House Long Winter’s Nap

To say it was a bad run would be an understatement, but it was done.  I had just enough energy to drink my post-run protein smoothie, stretch, foam roll, shower, and open the beer I couldn’t stop thinking about from the moment I stumbled into the condo.

Long Winter’s Nap is a Maibock by Blue Mountain Barrel House, a division of Blue Mountain Brewery in Virginia (brewery).  The beer was a medium golden-amber that was almost honey-like with 1/4 inch of off-white, sudsy foam that lingered.  On the nose, there was a breadiness mixed with hints of grains, apples, and nail polish remover and a sweetness on the finish.  In the mouth, there was toffee, bread, and hints of apples and honey.  It had a medium body and some lacing.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $13 for 750 ml, this beer was a slightly heavier, very smooth winter ale.  Usually I find that winter ales taste a little too much like I’m drinking beer that has been steeped in potpourri or that has had pine needles left to soak in it, but this winter ale didn’t have any of that.  There were hints of the season without it being a dominant characteristic, which is exactly what I like.

Blue Mountain Barrel House logo and corkAll in all, I’m not sure if it was the beer or the long run (or maybe a bit of both), but it definitely left me feeling ready for a long winter’s nap by the time I was done with it.  It paired nicely with the spinach and artichoke ravioli that Hubby made for dinner and was even better as I stretched out on the couch to watch a movie.  Without a doubt, it was the best part of my run!

Question of the Day:  What do you think of winter seasonal beers?  Do you have a favorite?

Price: $13 for a 750ml bottle
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Post Run with Flying Dog

Hubby and I are both training for the USA Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in March.  This will be Hubby’s first half, and my second…and it will also be just a few days shy of the 1 year anniversary of my hip surgery.  Even though we took a few weeks off from training over the holidays and while we were in Italy, we’ve both been diligently sticking to our training plans.  And, Saturday is our long run days.

BW Instagram Running SelfieThis past Saturday, I decided to do my long run outside, even though it was freezing cold.  Right before Thanksgiving my iPod Nano died, and I need to run with my Nano.  For me, it’s not just about the music.  In fact, what I love the most about running with the Nano is that it integrates with Nike+, which means I have a “running coach” in my headphones to tell me my pace when I hit the right button, as well as let me know each time I went another mile, whether I ask or not.  So, with my old one completely unusable, I ended up with a new one.  Unfortunately, though, the default calibration on the sensor wasn’t accurate for me, so I needed to head out to the track to calibrate my Nano/Nike+.

Originally, I planned to do run 1/2 mile on the track while calibrating, and then head back inside for the rest of my 10-mile run.  I was sure 27 degrees was going to be too cold.  Plus, I’m a slightly peculiar runner in that I normally prefer the treadmill.  It keeps my pace consistent, and it usually feels like the runs go faster.  Once I was out there running, though, it felt great.  I followed a 6:1 run/walk interval and was weaving up and down the streets of my neighborhood.  Before I knew it, the Nike+ running coach told me I was half way done with my run, so I texted Hubby to make sure he wasn’t worrying and to let him I was going to finish the run outside.

Flying Dog Brewery K-9 Winter Ale

Flying Dog Brewery K-9 Winter Ale

By the time I finished, my legs were exhausted, I was mentally worn out, I was glad to come inside in the warm, and I had my usual post-run beer craving.  But, the run was one of the best ones since my surgery.  It was also the longest, and it just felt right.  So, I drank my post-run protein drink, showered, and gave into the beer craving by opening a Flying Dog.

The Flying Dog K-9 Winter Ale (brewery) is brewed in Frederick, Maryland.  The beer had a dark, clear amber color with a 3/4-inch cream colored head.  On the nose, there were baked sweet potatoes, walnuts, and something herbal.  In the mouth, there was toffee, allspice, and pinecones mixed with toasted maltiness and a touch of molasses on the finish.  The beer was medium bodied.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $2 a bottle, this beer was exactly what I needed after my long run.  It’s a lighter winter ale, but what I particular like is that I don’t feel like I’m drinking a Christmas tree or a glass of potpourri.  It has the nice winter spices without being overpowering.  I paired it with a two slices of meatball pizza.  After running and considering how cold it was outside, neither of us felt like cooking or going out, so we ordered delivery from Pete’s Apizza.  Not only was delivery the right choice, but the pizza made an outstanding pairing for the beer.  All in all, the K-9 Winter Ale isn’t my favorite of the Flying Dog beers, but it definitely is one I would grab again.

P.S.  If you haven’t filled out my reader survey yet…you have until Sunday! It’s only 10 questions (9 multiple choice questions and 1 “anything else you want to tell me”).  So, please take 2 minutes to complete it. I’d love to hear what you like and what you want to see more of at A Glass After Work!

Question of the Day:  Are you a runner?  If so, what do you crave after your long runs?

Price: $2 a bottle (I bought 2 singles)
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 4 Corks

Dying for Another Dead Guy

This past weekend was the Marine Corps Marathon 10k (known as the MCM10k).  Hubby and I set the alarm for 6:15am, which is earlier than we both get up for work and a very painful wake-up time on a Sunday morning.  We spent the next half hour waking up, putting on race clothes, drinking some water, and eating the little bit of “fuel” that we could stomach that early before we headed to the metro.   We were on the National Mall in time to see the sunrise over the Smithsonian Castle, which was beautiful, although very cold, to watch.  We clung to our sweatshirts, turning them into the baggage claim at the last minute before heading over to the start line.  From that point on, it wasn’t long until the race got underway.

For those of you who are runners but have never run the MCM10k, I highly recommend it!  You essentially run the last 6.2 miles of the Marine Corps Marathon, including the killer uphill finish that is lined with Marines cheering you on.  This was my first long race since my hip surgery, and I’m so glad I did it.  Sure, my hip and my leg muscles are still feeling it a couple of days later, but it’s a good race.  I was mentally and physically in a good place the whole time, and now I’m pampering myself with a little recovery time before lacing up the running sneakers again.

Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales

Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales

Unfortunately, though, the race was the start of our day on Sunday, which meant several hours of grocery shopping and other errands before Hubby and I could finally relax on the couch to recuperate.  When we finally finished, we grabbed some pizza and beer at one of our favorite local spots and then came home to watch Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead.  Earlier in the day, I bought a couple of beers that felt “Halloweenish,” and, for me, there is nothing like drinking beer on a day that I’ve been running, so I was excited to open one of them up while we settled in for the evening.

The Dead Guy Ale (brewery) is a German Maibock from Newport, Oregon.  The beer had a dark cooper color with a think, foamy, cream-colored head.  On the nose, there was a doughiness mixed with some caramel and hints of apricots.  In the mouth, there is caramel mixed with bread.   The beer was medium bodied.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $10 for 650ml, this beer wasn’t overly complex, but it was a solid, enjoyable choice.  It had a strong maltiness with just a touch of hops peaking through to give it a brightness that wasn’t too bitter, but that lingers on the finish.  I drank it with a leftover piece of white pesto pizza, and while that may not have been the best pairing, there is no doubt that this is a food-friendly beer.  The one caution I have is that it’s very drinkable, so don’t be surprised if you find your glass is empty sooner than you expected.

Question of the Day: Have you had any of Rogue Ales?  Do you have a favorite?

Price: $10
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 4 Corks