Monday, January 30, 2017

Drinking in the Sun

A friend has a new camera with a wide lens, about which he is very excited. We met for coffee and chocolate to examine the camera, and he pointed out its features.

Wide angle Koko Black

We went round to Mr & Mrs Lovely Bonkers and sat on the patio of their new house admiring the sunset, which grew ever-more impressive over the course of the evening.

Sunset reflection

They have bought some solar-powered outdoor lights so we played with them and drew pictures with light (yes, that's photography).

Several of us have been studying the BJCP guide to learn more about the different styles of ales. A couple of people were keen to take the exam at the end of the month, so we had to cram in a couple of sessions in  a week. That's a lot of beer, especially as the last two categories are Belgian strongs and specialty beers!

Leffe Blonde - smells sweet and malty; tastes of orange peel and bananas with hints of phenols and a mild, bitter finish
La Trappe Blond - orange notes and spicy yeast
La Trappe Dubbel - dried fruits and caramel malts; ruby colour; mellow, balanced alcohol. Raisins and sweet sherry characteristics; well attenuated; malt loaf
Trappistes Rochefort 6 - Floral aroma; perfume notes; light brown colour; full-bodied; smells like Turkish delight; tastes like Turkish delight; isn't Turkish delight
Westmalle Trappist Tripel - pale colour; spicy strong alcohol peppery taste; dry orange pith finish; grainy malt impression - bitey
St Bernadus Tripel - Tinned pear aroma; retentive mousse head; rhubarb and pear compote flavour; desert/ cake beer; soft fluffy mouthfeel
Duvel - The classic example of Belgian Golden Strong; earthy hop character; crisp, dry finish
La Guillotine - Caramel biscuit malt aroma; almond finger biscuit flavour
Trappistes Rochefort 10 - Belgian Dark Strong; mousse head; dark, complex and rich, fruity (figs), light vanilla aroma; moderately malty; alcohol heat; dry
St Bernadus Abt 12 - Dried fruit aroma; well-rounded full mouthfeel; damn, that alcohol is smooth - well tasty
BJCP Session #9
Prickly Moses Blueberry Hefeweizen - Not as fresh as previous bottles; lacking in fruit punch
Lost Coast Raspberry Brown - bitter chocolate notes; raspberry aroma and flavours strengthen as the beer warms/ settles
Founders Spectra Trifecta - Clean, delicate Kolsch with floral chamomile, citrus lemongrass and spicy ginger. Soft and gentle mouthfeel; great bedtime beer
Stone Mocha IPA - Chocolate and coffee in an IPA clash badly. Milky coffee taste, but it's all a bit of a mess
Renaissance Tribute Barley Wine - Like a boozy Christmas pudding tasting of sherry, dried fruits and treacle. Sensationally rich!
Ridgeway Imperial Barley Wine - 'A fusion of Russian stout and traditional barley wine'; this seems light for style with unexpected hoppy bitterness - disappointing
De Molen Bommen & Granaten - Bready and fruity armoa; malty sweet marmalade flavour; very palatable
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (2016) - Burnt toffee aroma; aggressive piney resinous hop character; bitter and hoppy
Rough Draft Freudian Sip Strong Ale - ultimate beer; caramel aroma; chewy, soft mouthfeel; bitter finish - kitchen sink beer with everything: malt; hops; sweet; bitter
Stone Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard - Slightly woody; strong and vegetal; bitter - instant heartburn
BJCP Session #10
Post-exam beers at The Durham

Monday, January 23, 2017

Melbourne weekend

We had a fabulous weekend in Melbourne catching up with friends, but first I got in a quick bike ride around Lake Burley Griffin.

So here we are in Melbourne, and the graffiti on our street is full of good advice. 

We were meeting The Mischievous Minx and the Great Galah who were there for her significant birthday present which was tickets to the Australian Open. Naturally, we met in a pub: Young & Jackson's to be precise. 

Recreating an old photo (it was with milk when she was a kid)
Hard to believe from the GG's face, but this was early in the evening
We took them to the BBL at the MCG to see the Melbourne Stars take on the Sydney Sixers. It was a beautiful evening and an enjoyable game. They soon got into the swing of it,with boundary drinks and smiles all round.

BBL at the MCG
The next morning we walked and tram-ed around the city, taking in the sights.

The Great Galah wanted us to take a photo of this street name - I can't imagine why...
Great Galah was also rather taken with this window display
There was a giant screen set up in Federation Square on which the tennis games were being shown. We sat in deck chairs and watched them for a bit. With doughnuts.

Flinders Street Station and Federation Square

Such a beautiful couple.
While they went back to the tennis, we headed to Moon Dog Brewery, where we escaped the heat (and it was very hot) and watched Andy Murray lose his final. It was tough, but we had beer to dull the pain.

Moon Dog in a shaft of light
A final breakfast next morning  by the Yarra before we had to drive home. It was a lovely weekend, and I will really miss these guys. Good friends are the best thing ever.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Lazy Summer Days

I found this graffiti out on a bike ride while cycling through an underpass around Umbagong Park. Henceforth, this ride shall be known as Bubblegum Shrimp.

Bubblegum Shrimp
Rolling out the pitch
Sunday Lunch at The Durham

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Busy Week...

Bicycle Repair Man
Flat out cat on the tiles

Monday, January 2, 2017

Biking through the New Year

We rounded off the year with a few mountain bike rides and some drinks with friends.

Breakfast with the Reid Sisters
Chester 'helping' with the laundry
25 years ago to the day we met
New Year's Eve bike ride
Apparently the Burnley Miner's Club is the world's biggest consumer of Benedictine, and Burnley FC is the only club in England to serve the drink on match days. We toasted Him Outdoor's hometown with a round of Christmas Martinez (4 parts Four Pillars Christmas Gin; 2 parts Rouge vermouth; 1 part DOM Benedictine; and a dash of Angostura Bitters). Cheers. And Cheese. Lots of cheese.

Calamity Sue; still life with cheese
New Year's Day bike ride

It's hot and thirsty work!

Cheers; Happy New Year!