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

Letting Loose with a Loose Cannon

Tuesday was a fairly quiet day at work.  Congress is in recess, so the Members and Congressional staff are either back in their districts or states working or they’re on vacation.  As Hubby and I aren’t escaping DC until the end of the month, I’m using the time to catch up on the things that piled up during the chaos of June and July.  That meant Tuesday was an email day.  I spent it going through, literally, hundreds of emails.  It was definitely not fun, but I had to do it.

After a day of emails, I headed home to the monthly condo association meeting.  It’s one of those things I have a love/hate relationship with.  I’ve been on the board for 5 years and have been president for 2 of those.  There is definitely a thankless aspect to the job, but I love the community and most of the time the people who live here are friendly and respectable. All in all, we’re lucky that even though our board doesn’t agree on everything, we get along well and we are fairly efficient, not one of these horror stories with 3-hour long meetings and board members yelling at each other.  So, Tuesday evening was the monthly meeting, and there was a lot on the agenda.  The meeting was about an hour and half, which is long for us, and by the time I got back to our condo, I was ready to relax with dinner and a beer.

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA

The Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA (brewery) is an American IPA brewed by the Clipper City Brewing Company in Baltimore, MD.  The beer had about an inch of white foam and was a dark orangey, topaz color.  On the nose, there were yellow grapefruits, oranges, and Pine Sol with hints of thyme and something floral.  In the mouth, there were pink and yellow grapefruits, French bread crust and a touch of bitter grass and pine needles on the finish.  The beer had a medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $2.37 for 12oz bottle, I enjoyed this beer, although I expected a little more from it because the Loose Cannon is their flagship beer.  I paired this beer with Hubby’s grilled tilapia seasoned with his own cajun spice mix and a three bean salad, both of which went nicely with the beer.  A lot of casual beer drinkers don’t realize how food-friendly a beer can be, but don’t make that mistake!  Beer and food (and not just bar food) are meant for each other, and the Loose Cannon his one is definitely a beer worth opening with dinner as it was a great compliment to the meal.

Overall, this was one of the beers I was most looking forward to trying during DC Beer week because I see it on tap all over DC, and in the toss-up between it and another local brew, the other local beer has always won.  But, not this time, and I was glad of it because the beer was very good, went down smoothly, and would definitely be something I ordered out if it was on tap.

P.S.—Yes, I know that Heavy Seas is brewed in Maryland, but they were big supporters or DC Beer Week 2013 and were listed as one of the participating breweries, so I’m sticking with the DC Metro area during DC Beer Week 2013.

Question of the Day:  Have you tried any of Clipper City Brewing Company’s Heavy Seas beers?  What did you think?

Price: $2.37 for a 12oz. bottle or $8 for a 6-pack
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Running & Relaxing with Sneaky Pete

Last Monday was a quiet day at work, which was a nice change from the craziness of the week before.  I think everyone was having a slow start coming off the holiday weekend, but it was exactly what I needed.  Mondays are my planning day for the whole week, so it was nice to have the organization time without being pulled in several different directions.

I arrived at work in time to catch up with emails from the four-day weekend before I sat down with my assistant to create a weekly to-do list.  After that, she and I headed to our weekly department strategy meeting, which is often rather lengthly.  After the weekly strategy meeting, I had just enough time to respond to a few more emails and schedule a couple of meetings for the week before heading out to a lunch meeting.  The afternoon was more of the same, with a monthly organization-wide staff meeting and ice cream social to break-up the afternoon.  My day ended at a reasonable hour, which is one of the many things I love about my new job.  Leaving at 5pm meant I had time to go home, throw on my running shoes, and get in a short run before dinner.  It was only my second week running post-surgery, so I did short run/walk intervals and at a very slow pace, but it felt great to be out there.  And of course, all of my runs end in a “recovery beer,” and this one was no exception.

Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA

Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA

The Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA (brewery) is from Idaho and had a 10% ABV.  The beer had about an inch of off-white foam on the top, and the liquid was a dark amber.  On the nose, there was citrus with hints of honey and something woody.  In the mouth, there was citrus, honey, pine, and hints of carmel.  The beer had medium body and carbonation with a slight bitterness in the finish.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $7 for a 22 oz bottle, this beer was exactly what I needed after a busy day and was refreshing, as I cooled down from the run.  I sipped away, decked out in my compression socks and icing my hip, while Hubby   prepared sauteed chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner.  The pairing went well, but what was even better was when I topped off my glass, laid down on the couch, and watched some trashy TV.  It was a good beer for a relaxing summer evening.

Question of the Day:  Are you a runner?  Do you enjoy having a recovery beer or wine after your run?

Price: $7
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Marathon Monday with a Michel-Schlumberger Wine

Let’s be honest…last week was a crazy week in the United States.  Mid-way through the week, I sipped on some wine and tried writing a post about Marathon Monday’s bombing.  I mean, I’m a runner who knows the ups and downs of training for a long race, although I will never been fast enough to run Boston.  I know the joy of seeing the finish line in the distance, the relief of crossing it in one piece, and the ecstasy of the beer going down while I ice my legs and put on compression socks once it’s all over.

I’m also someone who has been a rabid spectator of friends who run marathons.  So, I know the laughter and love that goes into putting together the signs that cheer on runners as they go by (as well as how much the runners actually enjoy those signs during the race).  And, I know the excitement of watching “your runner” breakout into a huge smile when s/he sees you on the sidelines when only a moment ago they looked like they were ready to collapse in defeat.

And, I’m a New Yorker who was living in DC during 9/11, so I know firsthand how a perfect day can turn into a nightmare.

Maybe knowing all those things makes my heart break that much more for those people who were in Boston during the bombing…maybe not.  But, my heart does break for them.

I wrestled whether I should even write a post about the Boston Bombing, since I wasn’t there to experience it and I hate the idea of the wine being associated with something so horrible.  I’ll leave the description of what it was like to actually be only a block away from the race to fellow blogger Shelby from Eat, Drink, and Run, as I wasn’t there.  However, not all wine is opened at the end of a good day, so I ultimately decided to blog about last week.

Selfishly, I was relieved that by Monday evening I had heard from everyone I knew running the race and living in Boston. They were all safe.  Very rattled, some stranded in the city…but everyone was safe.  When Hubby came home, I immediately gave him the list of who I heard from and then we just sat on the bed sharing the details we each knew.  Afterwards, Hubby helped me open a bottle of wine and carry it to the couch, since that’s a precarious thing to do on crutches, and we settled in just in time for the President’s press conference.  From that point on, I spent Monday night glued to the news with a glass of Michel-Schlumberger Pinot Blanc in my hand.

2011 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc

2011 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc

The 2011 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc (winery, amazon) is from the Dry Creek Valley area of California.  The wine had a pale, lemon-yellow color.  On the nose, there were apricots, pineapples, and grapefruits mixed with a hint of lemongrass.  In the mouth, there were apricots, pineapples, and yellow grapefruits with hints of limes and white flowers.  The wine had a light body and medium-to-high acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $17, this wine is perfect for after work, particularly as the warmer weather starts rolling in.  Admittedly, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to long-time readers that I loved this wine, as I’ve reviewed a number of Michel-Schlumberger wines and I always enjoy them, but their wines are reliably enjoyable.  I’ve even reviewed past vintages of the Pinot Blanc–both 2008 and 2010.  The exciting thing for me, though, is the wine has inched slightly down in price, so that it makes it more of an affordable daily wine.

As for last Monday night, this wine was exactly what I needed. It paired well with the dinner Hubby made—chicken sautéed in peanut oil and garlic with steamed fresh green beans—as both the dinner and the wine were fairly subtle.  After dinner, went we went back to the news, it isn’t so complex that it distracted me from the serious events of the day.  At the same time, though, it was reassuring, familiar, and delicious.

Question of the Day: Did you know anyone at the Boston Marathon last Monday?  Is everyone you knew ok?

Price: $17
Purchased at Lot18
Overall: 4 Corks

Going with a Goldwater

*** I received this wine as a sample. ***

Stelvin closure for a 2011 Goldwater Sauvignon BlancThis week was an interesting one for me, as I went back to work part-time…crutches and all.  The Boss has been wonderful about the whole surgery situation.  He’s more concerned about my healing properly than about my pushing too hard.  This past Wednesday was a perfect example.  I had planned to be in the office for half days all this week.  However, after two days of being up and around, my leg was pretty swollen and my hip was begging for a day of lying on the bed with some extra rest and ice.  Not to mention that I’ve also started going to physical therapy twice a week, and even though my sessions are scheduled for an hour, they usually take closer to an hour and a half.  So, combine the increased daily activity with rehab exercises and a significant scaling back of the pain medication and I was feeling it.  I emailed The Boss on Wednesday morning to ask if it was ok for me to work from home, as that is not something that is automatically allowed in my office.  He responded with an “absolutely” almost immediately.

My at-home workday was full of reading for my current project, emails, and phone calls, which was just my speed.  Admittedly, I did take a little time during lunch to walk around the block in our neighborhood, as the unseasonable 90-degree weather in April and all the cherry blossoms in bloom were too much to resist, but otherwise, I took it easy.  By the time Hubby walked in the door, I was shutting down for the evening and ready for a cool, crisp summer white wine.

2011 Goldwater Sauvignon BlancThe 2011 Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc (winery, amazon) is made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Wairau Valley of Marlborough, New Zealand.  The wine had a very pale golden-yellow color.  On the nose, there were gooseberries and passion fruit, with hints of white pepper, green bell peppers, and honeydew melon.  In the mouth, there were gooseberries and green bell peppers mixed with hints of passion fruit, white pepper, and ginger.  The wine had a light body and crisp, bright acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At an SRP of $18, this NZ Sauvignon Blanc offers a little something different, while still holding true to the gorgeous freshness that so often is found in New Zealand versions.  The complexity is perfect for lingering over a glass on a 90+ degree summer day.  But, don’t let that stop you from pairing it with food.  The wine is goes just as well with a lighter summer meal like the seared tuna steak salad Hubby made for dinner.  So, all in all, this was a good white wine on a day where I needed to be off my feet and relax, particularly in the hot April weather.

Question of the Day:  What was your weather like this past week?  Did you go for a seasonal wine change?

Suggested Retail Price: $18
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks