Back to Business with the Downright Pilsner

After several crazy weeks of traveling, things finally started to get back to the normal busy pace towards the end of July.  On Wednesday, July 23, I spent most of my day in meetings or on conference calls while walking back and forth between the House and Senate sides of the Capitol.  I was trying to squeeze in last-minute meetings with Capitol Hill staffers because I had several policy issues pop-up as Members of Congress finished the last of the legislative work before heading back to their states and districts for the August recess.  It was one of those days that I thought was going to be quiet when it first started, but by the time the day ended, I was shocked to realize the day was over and I never even ate lunch.

I got home too late to make it to my yoga class, so I decided to go for a run to burn off the last of the day’s energy before dinner.  And, of course, part of that stress-relieving routine involves following that run with a cold beer.

Port City Brewing Company Downright Pilsner

Port City Brewing Company Downright Pilsner

The Downright Pilsner (brewery) is a German Pilsner from DC-Area Port City Brewing Company (actually located in Alexandria, Virginia).  The beer was a medium golden color with a white sudsy top.  On the nose, there was yeast mixed with hints of lemon and Granny Smith apples.  In the mouth, there were Cheerios, a dry grass, and hoppy-bitterness with a hint of something floral that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  The beer was light-to-medium bodied.

Is it worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass.  At $1.99 for a single 12oz bottle or $11 for a 6-pack, this beer was refreshing, but it’s not a beer I would go searching out.  I prefer a little more flavor mixed in with the hoppy-bitterness.  Plus, there are other Port City beers, like the Derecho Common, that I enjoy a lot more.  At the same time, if the Downright Pilsner was being served somewhere, I wouldn’t say no to it either.

All in all, it felt fantastic to start the normal routine back up.  Honestly, I didn’t even realize how much I’d been missing it, and having the Port City Downright Pilsner hit the spot after a busy workday and a run in the hot weather.

Question of the Day: Are you a Pilsner drinker?  If so, do you have a few recommendations?

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

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

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

Über Pils = Über Good

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Über Pils

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Über Pils

Admittedly, but the time the end of the week arrived, my enthusiasm for DC Beer Week 2013 was waning.  The experience gave my a good sense of what local brews I would order on tap when I’m out, but the Port City Brewing Company Derecho Common was the only one I would consider buying for home, and that one will be a seasonal option for me.  Ultimately, what I was finding during my week of DC beer is that everything just tasted average.  And then I opened The Heavy Seas Warning Über Pils.

The Heavy Seas Warning Über Pils (brewery) is an Imperial Pilsner from Baltimore, Maryland.  The beer is a medium amber with about an inch of foamy head.  On the nose, there were oranges with hints of corn, flowers, and biscuits.  In the mouth, there was citrus and toffee with hints of flowers, honey, and biscuits.  The beer is a medium body with medium carbonation.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $2.47 for a 12oz bottle, this beer is the perfect mix of hoppy and malty.  Admittedly, I don’t tend to buy Pilsners, as they’re often a little light for my tastes, but I’d never tried an Imperial Pilsner before.  It was a pleasant surprised!  I drank the Über Pils on its own on a Friday night, and I was very sorry that I didn’t have another couple of bottles to go with dinner, as I suspect that it’s a good food beer. Hands down, this was my favorite of the beers I tried during DC Beer Week 2013!

Question of the Day:  Have you ever had an Imperial Pilsner?  If so, which one was it and is it a beer you would recommend?

Price: $2.47
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 4 Corks