Sunday, December 26, 2010

Week 5 Was A Wash

Well this week was Christmas Week, plus I was pretty busy with a several all day missions and several mini ANP crisises. So this week was basically a wash.  I didn't do a single workout.  Looks like I"ll be repeating this week next week.

Also Doc is only doing up body stuff now because he tore something in his knee and is having issues running .  SFC T also strained his back and is having to take Flexerol for it.  So we are a fine group of triathletes.  Hopefully next week is better.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Schwaben Brau Weihnachts Bier

The Christmas Beers continue with the Schwaben Brau WeihnachtsBier. This beer starts out the same as the other Christmas Beers I've tried.  It poured a light clear golden color with little to no head that disappeared quickly.  The aroma is very subtle and the outstanding note is one of malts.  The taste is more malty than hops but is fairly balanced although it finishes with a touch of dry hops.

I was kind of excited to get this beer since it is from the German State of Baden-Wurttenberg whereas most of the other beers that I've reviewed have come from the state of Bavaria.  I was hoping that it would be a little different style but it was very similiar to the Bavarian Christmas Beers I've tried. 

Oettinger Winterbier

The Oettinger Winterbier is a Christmas/Winter Beer that is a break from the Winter Wheats that I've reviewed the last couple of posts and it's back to more normal beers.  It's from the Oettinger Group and is called Winterbier.

It pours a reddish amber with a caramelly colored head.  The aroma is more malt than hops and the taste is smoky malt with a hoppy dry finish. 

I haven't had any of Oettinger's beers before so this was an interesting introduction.  I'll try some more of them when I get back from Afghanistan.

Merry Christmas

Well it's Christmas and you'll get a few extra posts today to round out the Christmas beers that I've been trying.  I hope everyone has a good day and they got everything they want from Santa.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kapuziner Winter Weissbier

Today's Christmas Beer really isn't a Christmas Beer.  It's properly a Winter Wheat, that's something I've learned in the last few days is that German brewers will sometimes brew both a Christmas Beer and a Winter Beer.  It's still the Christmas Season so I'll use them interchangeably.  Hopefully the purists out there don't get on to me too bad, after all I'm still on a journey of beer exploration and learning as I go!

Today's beer come from the Kulmbacher brauerei's Kapuziner line.  The Kapuziner line is solely dedicated to brewing different types of wheat beers and this is the Winter Weissbier variety. 

This beer pours a dark cloudy amber with a caramel colored fluffy head that lingered for quite awhile.  The aroma is fresh cut grass with hints of citrus and spice.  The taste is crisp, with hints of citrus and spice.  A very good wheat beer.  Not my favorite but very tasty just the same.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Starting Week 5 of Training

We move into week 5 of Ironman training.  This week.  I've been pretty busy and didn't get anything posted for weeks 3 or 4.  My boss has been on leave and I've been covering down on his duties as well as my own.

Week 3 was almost a wash due to several VIPs visiting us in Zabul.  I had to spend a lot of time working with the Police Chief to get him prepared and to make things went off in a manner that was acceptable to us.  Not real sure how well that went I probably should of just done the workouts I was supposed to do.

Week 4 was a better.  I really started to hitting the Concept C2 rowing machine as my substitute for swimming.  That is a killer exercise and really works my lats and tris as well as getting some cardio.  It also tore my hands to bits but I think I've got the calluses developed now that let me get a good hour to hour and half workout in.

I also weighed in last week.  I've hit a solid 205 at about 22% body fat.  I don't like the Army's tape test for body fat percentage but it gives me something to work off of.  205 is 20lbs over my lowest when I did Ironman 70.3 Kansas and 10lbs over what I weighed when I deployed.  All that carb heavy Afghan food is killing me.  Not too mention the 3lb bags of Hot Tamales candy that Ruder sends and the Christmas Reeses Peanut Butter Trees from Shantel and Mom.  I'm not complaining because I love eating them.  They just aren't good for me.

Week 5 features some changes to the workout plan.  If I get some time I'll post them.

Jacob Winter Weisse

Today's Christmas Beer is another change of pace, the Winter Weisse from Braurei Jacob in Bodenwohrer about 90 minutes south of Vilseck to the east of Autobahn 93. 

This winter weisse pours a deep golden amber with a substantial head that lingers.  The aroma of wheat and spices fills the nose.  The taste is an exquisite blend of wheat,citrus and spices.  A very tasty Christmas Beer and more in line with the taste I was thinking of for a Christmas Beer, I've just never had a wheat Christmas Beer before.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Altenmunster Winterbier Dunkel

Today's Christmas Beer is a little different from the others.  It's the Altenmunster Winterbier Dunkel from the Allgauer Brauhaus from Kempten, Germany About an hour South and West of Munich.

Not only is the bottle different but this beer pours a deep reddish brown with a caramel colored head that quickly disappeared.  The aroma is smoky malt and that carries over into the taste which is more smoky caramel malt with a slightly hoppy clean finish.  Not much spices here but definitely more in the direction of what I've come to know as a Christmas Beer.  A great change of pace from the golden Christmas Beers of the last few posts.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Leikeim Wintertraum

Another Winter Dream this time from the Leikeim Family Brewery in Altenkunstadt, just north of Bayreuth and about a 90 minute drive from Vilseck.  I haven't tried any of their other beers so this was a new brewery experience for me. 

This Winter Dream pours  a golden amber with only a small head that disappeared quickly.  The aroma is distinctly hoppy which carries over into a flavor that is more hoppy than spicy and full bodied.  The beer finishes dry and crisp.  Not a bad beer.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monchshof Weihnachts Bier

This week's Christmas Beer comes from the Kulmbacher Brewery's Monchshof line, the Weihnachts Bier.

This beer pours a clear golden amber with almost no head.  The aroma is light and the subtleties elude my sniffer.  The taste is light and crisp with just a hint of hops and it finishes light and clean.  Not a bad drinking beer.

This was the third Christmas/Winter beer that I've tried and they have all not been what I've expected.  All are crisp and light with clean finishes and virtually no taste of spice.  Most of the Christmas/Winter beers that I've had in the states were all heavy and dark with hints of spices and chocolate.  I don't know if I'm disappointed or confused.  I'm still looking for some more so we'll see what other varieties I dig up.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tucher Christkindlesmarkt Bier

This weeks Christmas Beer is from my second favorite brewery, Tucher Brau from Nuremberg.  They call it Christkindlesmarkt Bier

This bier pours a light golden color with virtually no head that quickly disappears as you can see in the picture.  The aroma is very subtle so it eludes my sniffer.  This is a very light beer with more of a malty taste than a hops.  It does have a slight after taste. 

I must admit I was slightly disappointed.  Not quite what I expected from Tucher.  Good but not great and much lighter than I expected from a Christmas beer.

Week 2 Ironman Training

Well week 2 of my Ironman training is complete and I was pretty good in accomplishing my tasks this week, only missing the long run yesterday.

I have to thank the members of the triathlon message board who have given us numerous ideas on how to get around the lack of spin bike and swimming pool at our small FOB.  We'll be giving all of the recommended exercises a try.

We were sitting down the other and talking about races next summer and I think SFC T, Doc and I have all agreed to try and do the Cologne half iron distance together in early September 2011.  Check out the tentative schedule I've updated it accordingly.  Doc ran it last year and said it was a great race.

On the flip side it is starting to appear that I may be running Ironman Regensburg on my own.  My buddy Andy who had agreed to race with me is having sever issues with Achilles tendon and may have to have surgery.  He's pretty angry about it since running is his stress relief and he can't run.  I've told him to get on the bike and get in the pool. 

Stand by for more updates next week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weltenburger Winter-Traum

Today's Christmas beer is from Weltenburg Abbey, a brewery that is a personal favorite of mine, and I was glad to see that they had a Christmas offering.  I was not disappointed in this beer and Shantel even thought it was pretty good.  Here is what I thought.

The Weltenburger Winter-Traum, (Winter Dream) pours a deep reddish amber with virtually no head that leaves only slight tracing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is caramelly with some fruity overtones.  The flavor is tart and full of malt and the beer finishes sharp and clean.  Not a bad way to start the Christmas Season.  Go out and find yourself one of these.

It's Time For Christmas Beer

I was pleasantly surprised when I came home for R&R in late October and found Christmas beers on the shelves of the Getranke Markts. I had already resigned myself that I would miss out on the good German Christmas beers this year and have to make up for it next year.   I actually found so many that I'm going to schedule two posts a week since I don't want them to carry over outside December.  So look for posts on Wednesday in addition to the normal Sunday posts. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

PrivatBrauerei Fassla Lagerbier

This weeks Rauchbier is the Lagerbier from the Privatbrauerei Faessla.  We didn't stop into the brewery here but I've got it located for future reference since I hear good things about their food as well as the beer.  Here is what I thought of the beer.

The Privatbrauerei Faessla Lagerbier pours a golden amber with little to no head much like the other rauchbiers I've reviewed.  The aroma is distinctly smoking malt but more malt than smoke.  The flavor is hoppy with just a hint of the smoke and the finish is smooth and dry.   A pretty good beer.

This is the last of Rauchbiers of Bamberg that I either tried in at the brewery or brought a bottle home.  Since there are many more to try from there and we'd like to see some of the other sites there again, I'm sure we'll be headed back.  That means look for more Rauchbier reviews next summer.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 6 Ironman Training

Today was long run day.  I'll be honest I could barely walk today after 60 minutes of stairs yesterday.  In fact I'd been setting at my desk getting ready for a meeting when a particularly frustrating email popped up and I let out an expletive.  Doc left the conference room and came back in just as I was about to start the meeting and gave me two lidocane patches.  He'd thought that I'd been sitting for so long that I had really stiffened up.  I gave him back the patches and everyone had a good laugh.

Even though I was hobbling I made it down to the elliptical and got my long run equivalent today.  In fact the 60 minute workout and the stretching I did afterwards really improved my ability to walk.

Elapsed Time: 60:01
Calories: 544
Distance: 7.57 Miles
Distance Climbed: 4705 feet
Average Speed: 7.57 MPH
Average Pace: 7:55 / Mile
Average Heart Rate: 152

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 5 of Ironman Training

I successfully dragged my backside out of bed this morning so I could get my workout on early.  Today was supposed to be a bike day but of course I don't have a bike in Afghanistan and I'd hate to explain to Shantel how I got hit by an IED because I was riding my bike along the road.  The Army has promised me a stationary bike but that was back in late July/early August and is probably going to be one of those things that I leave my replacements instead of getting any use out of it myself.

So with that said SFC T and I hit the stairs for an hour, Doc was still sleeping.  Stairs?  You say.  Well if you can come up with a better alternate bike exercise let me know because I've never been a fan of running stairs and that hasn't changed.

Coming Down

 35 Stairs, Yes I counted them.  What I didn't count was the times I went up during the 60 minutes we did this.  I don't think I want to know.
Guess Who

Visitors From 100 Different Countries

If you all will click on the box with all of the flags on the right hand side of the blog you will discover that this blog has had people from over 100 different countries view it.

That's quite a number considering there are only around 195 countries in the world, give or take one or two depending on your country's political agenda. 

Now what I didn't do was go and pull out entities such as Wales or Scotland whose flags are probably counted in that 100. 

Still, all in all, 100 different countries viewing and over 4,000 unique page hits is quite a feat for my ramblings about beer drinking and triathlons.  Too bad I'm not good enough at writing, beer drinking or triathlons to make any money doing it. 

One thing I find fascinating with the flag counter is that dispite all of my talk about living in Germany and drinking German beers, the number of vistors from Germany only ranks number 5 on the list of visitors with USA, France (WTF!?!? France?), Canada, and Great Britain leading the way.  Things that make you go hmmmm.

Thanks for visiting and keep coming back.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ironman Training Day 2

I'm not going to post every day of training, just some highlights here and there or whenever the workouts shift gears. 

Day 2 is a run/swim day.  With that said there is places for me to run in Afghanistan but I darn sure don't want to be swimming in the rivers I've seen and I haven't seen a pool here although I'd bet that there was at least one in Kabul.  So instead of a swim we've decided to do a core workout based off a Men's Health Fab Abs workout plan.
I can only hope my abs look like the guy on the cover by the time cycling through the six week workout a couple of times.  I really doubt it though.  Here's a few pics of me trying my best though.

The other part of today's workout was the run and let me tell you for an early morning in run at 5200 feet in the middle of November in Afghanistan the weather is what I'd call "brisk".  I'm not sure my lungs thawed out until I was done in the shower this morning and I had the water as hot as I could get it.  SFC T was smart about it, he spent 30 minutes on the elliptical instead of braving the cold.  I'll probably have to follow suit next time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Zabul PHQ Triathlon Club

Today was Day 1 of the 26 week Ironman Base Training for the Zabul PHQ Triathlon Club.  The workout today was strength:

Step Ups
Bent Over Rows with Kettlebells
Squat with Kettlebells
Push Ups
Seated Dumbbell Row
Heel Raise

40-60% of 1 Rep Max
20-30 Reps
3-4 Sets 90 Seconds Rest Between Sets

Not a bad day for the first workout.  It helps to have a couple of other guys prod me out of bed at 5:30.

Here are some pictures of us working out in our ghetto gym

That's me doing the step ups with a 20lb weighted vest.  Much harder than I thought it would be

SFC T doing the step ups as well.  His little brother did an Ironman this summer and has been talking crap to him ever since.  He's going to do the base training with me while deployed to see what kind of shape he can get in.  I'm going to try and talk him into doing an Olympic Distance or Half Ironman when we redeploy.

Doc doing the seated dumbell rows.  The smallest dumbells we have are 20lbs and the rows really suck after awhile with them.  Doc's done a Half Ironman before and my goal is to talk him into doing Ironman Regensburg with me as well.

Klosterbrau Bockbier

This weeks Rauchbier comes from Klosterbrau in Bamberg, it's their Bockbier, a Helles Bock.    They brew seven other types of beers but this was the one that I grabbed off the shelf at the Getranke markt to try.

This beer pours a golden amber with only a little bit of head.  Lots of tiny bubbles make their way to the top.  The aroma is smoked malt but not nearly as overpowering as the Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock.  The flavor is overwhelmingly malty with just a hint of smoke and underlying taste of hops that carries through to the aftertaste.  Not a bad beer and it went well with some smoked cheese and summer sausage.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spezial Brau Rauchbier Lager

The Spezial Braueri was our next beer related stop in Bamberg.  It was also on several recommended sites lists and according to one you can actually watch the brewing process.  I saved that for another day and just concentrated on sampling their beer.

The waiter made fun of us as I snapped a picture of the lager in it's glass, he wanted to know if I wanted to take a picture of Shantel's water as well.  OK I know I'm a tourist and it shows no matter how much German I learn and how European I try to dress.

The Spezial Brau Rauchbier Lager poured a reddish amber with a light head that dissappeared rapidly.  Unlike the Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock that I reviewed last week this amber only had a light smoky aroma.  The lager also tasted light and watery (I'm starting to wonder if that's not a characteristic of Bamberg beers)with only a light smoky flavor followed by some hops.  All in all a pretty drinkable beer.  I could see myself drinking 3 or 4 of these at a sitting as compared to the one or two of the Urbocks that I reviewed last week.  Shantel even liked it, pretty high praise from her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Triathlon Training Essentials

As I get ready to start my Ironman Training program I thought I would lay out a few Triathlon gear essentials.  This list isn't all inclusive even if I've listed items like running shoes and bikes.  They are just some of the things that I wouldn't do without, but some of you may not need or want. Here goes.

Let's start with the Swim.

The first thing you need is a good set of goggles.  Goggles are relatively inexpensive but if you don't have a pair you'll quickly find that the chlorine in the pool will irritate the heck out of your eyes.

The next item you need is a wetsuit.  Not all races are wetsuit legal races but evern though I'm from the midwest where it gets hot as blazes in the summer, I've only done one race that was not wetsuit legal.  In addition to keeping you warm they also give you a bit of extra flotation.  These can get fairly expensive but if you are just begining in triathlon or just don't want the expense you can rent a wetsuit from here, they'll also give you the option to buy.

What's this next little item you ask?  It's a waterproof case and earphones for an iPod shuffle.  While many people may not view this an essential item, I do.  I've spent hours in the pool trying to improve my stroke (with few positive results) and this little baby makes the laps fly by.  Get one for your shuffle or other iPod here I highly recommend it.

Now on to the Bike.

You don't have to get a super fancy bike like the one pictured (I've been bugging Shantel to let me get the  bike in the picture and I think I might have succeeded) but you've got to have a  bike.  It's an essential part of the swim/bike/run theme of Triathlons.  I've seen people do Half Ironmans on mountain bikes, I've seen athletes do sprint triathlons on cruisers, all that matters is that you have a bike.  All of my bikes have been used so you can find some good deals out there on Ebay, Craigslist or through your local triathlon club with someone wanting to upgrade and get rid of thier old bike.  Just make sure you get one that fits you and spend the extra money to go to the local bike shop and have them fine tune it to fit your frame.  Not only will you go faster but you will be more efficient and have a better transition from the bike to the run.

To go with your bike you'll also need a helmet, it's a USAT rule that you can't race without a helmet, in fact if the helmet must even be buckled outside of the transition area.

For those of you that live in an area that doesn't have a long biking season a bike trainer is absolutely essential, especially if you plan doing an early season race.  I also like to set up in a room with a TV and watch a movie or something while also getting my workout on.  There are several different varieties available and I've got a cyclops brand that I've had for years and use constantly and it continues to hold up.

Finally for the run portion.

You'll need a good pair of running shoes.  Shantel is always giving me crap that I actually have more shoes than she does.  That's not strictly true but it's close.  I go through a pair of running shoes about every 3-4 months.  I'm a big guy (190-200lbs) so I pound the heck out of my shoes and I change them often.  A good rule of thumb is to change them out every 300-400 miles.

The next run essential is an elastic system that makes it so you don't have to tie your shoes, you just slip into them and off you go.  I have been using these for years on my running shoes and absolutely love them.  You  can get a pair like I use from here.   

A heart rate monitor is the next run essential.  I'm a big fan of training in heart rate zones.  It works for me and tons of other runners so try it yourself sometime.  I also use a Garmin 305 Forerunner GPS as my heart rate monitor.  Not only does it track my heart rate, download the data to my computer but it tells me how far I've gone.  I can even use it to see how I do against previous runs along the same route.  Finally it can also measure my bike works out my rpms and catagorize it differently than my runs.  It's also a little on the expensive side but I can't imagine training without it, so I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it.

The last run item can also be used for swimming as noted above.  That's an MP3 player of some kind, I really don't know what I'd do if I didn't have my iPod when it comes to long swim workouts or long runs.  I don't use it while biking and don't recommend any one else does either. 

The final thing you need for triathlon training is a plan.  There are a ton of them out there, some for free like the ones listed here and here or some will cost you a little bit.  As a 26 year old I did my first Half Ironman and I finished in around 7 1/2 hours without a coherent training plan.  As a 35 year old I did my second and third Half Ironmen finishing one in just over 6 hours and the other in 6 1/2.  The difference was that I had a plan and it worked.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock

While home on R&R the family and I took a quick day trip to Bamberg Germany, home of rauchbier or smoked beer.  The breweries in Bamberg are actually listed as one of Germany's Best Breweries.  They were also listed in our Germany Day Trip Guide Book, it also had many recommendations from our friends who had been here before.  So how could we pass it up.  I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the Bamberg Cathedral, the New Palace with the Rose Garden, or the river cruises.  So if you come to visit us you'll probably find yourself making the 90 minute drive up to Bamberg with us.  But back to the beer.

 A rauchbier gets it's smoky flavor because the malt is dried over an open fire.  To sample our first rauchbier and to get a bite to eat we stopped into a place called the Schlenkeria Braureiausschank that was recommended in our guidebook.  To read more about it's history and rauchbiers click here

Since I like bocks I tried their Urbock (Original Bock), that they only offer in October.  It poured a deep amber that was almost black with virtually no head and no tracing.  The intense smoky aroma penetrated even my stubborn sniffer.  The beer itself tasted thin almost watery with a only a little bit of hops flavor penetrating the overwhelming smoky taste.  Overall I'd call it interesting rather than good but it did go well with the boiled pork belly (that's a whole another story) and saurkraut.

I picked up two bottles from different breweries in addition to stopping in another brewery to sample their beer before leaving.  So look for reviews of those in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I May Have Lost My Mind But I've Got A Plan......I Think!?!?

Here's a screenshot of the proof that I really have lost my mind.  At least that's what several of my friends have told me, even the ones who regularly do Marathons or Half Ironman distance races.

But I do have a plan. I've picked up a copy of Training Plans for Multisport Athletes by Gale Bernhardt  it has a 26 Week Ironman training plan that I will use to establish a good base prior to redeploying and then it has a 13 Week Ironman training plan that I will use to sharpen up prior to the race.  There are right about 26 weeks left in this deployment and then just about 13 weeks from when I get home until the race.  So I think this would work out quite well.  I am somewhat concerned about the swim portion as always, but I should be able to muddle my way through the water just like I always do, I'll just have to hit the pool hard when I get back.

Now if I can just get my buddy Andy to sign up for this race like he promised me he would.  You know misery loves company.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Paulaner Oktoberfest bier

I'm back from Afghanistan for a little R&R and one of my regrets is that I missed Oktoberfest.  It didn't fit in with what Shantel and I had in mind for R&R though so it can't be helped.  I did have to listen to several days worth of some of my Soldiers regaling me with their stories from R&R and Okotoberfest before I left though and it made me extremely jealous. 

I did get home just in time though to catch a few of the Oktoberfest beers still on the shelves of the Getranke Marts.  So I had to try one.  The choice was easy since the Paulaner Oktoberfest beer came with a 1 liter glass mug to go with it.  I mean how could I pass that up.  A liter beer and a mug all for 1 Euro.  Here's what I thought of it.

This beer pours with a dark coppery tint and nice fluffy head that lasts about 5 minutes.  In essence it looks exactly like all of the pictures of the beers that those well endowed barmaids are serving to all of the revelers in Munich during Oktoberfest.

The aroma is fine balance between hops and fresh cut grass and the flavor is just as balanced with just a hint of hops and a slightly dry finish.  Most definitely a very drinkable beer.  I've enjoyed the the other Paulaner's I've had and this beer just reinforces that.

If you can't get to Oktoberfest find one of these Paulaner Oktoberfest Beers and a big glass mug and imagine you are sitting in a big tent in Munich.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

5 Mile Route At The PHQ

Here's a screen shot of my 5 mile run route inside my compound in Afghanistan.  Notice all of the turns.  I have to do so many just to get one lap of .6 miles.  That's not even counting the 120 some steps that I either climb or descend during the route.  I'm actually hoping the steps help me gain more pedal stroke power.

Even if it sounds like I'm complaining I'm really not.  This route has some benefits.  The steps increase my calf muscles and hopefully my pedal power and I'm also running at about 5200ft eleveation.  I've done a couple of runs while on R&R and my average is about 10 minutes faster than Afghanistan so it is paying off. For now.  I'll be doing lots of turns and climbing lots of steps as I start training for Ironman Regensburg

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Back

For R&R that is.  I have been horrible about doing any posting from Afghanistan.  My excuse is that my work network won't let me go to the blog site and we just got our commercial internet up, besides I'm in Afghanistan and I'm not allowed to drink beer and I think that if there was a triathlon there it would be the first one ever.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the beer reviews that I scheduled to be posted while I was gone.  I didn't quite get them stretched out to post up til I came back for R&R.  I've only been back a couple of days but I've been busily scouring the Getranke Marts looking for beers that I haven't tried yet so that I can get a few more posts scheduled while I finish out my deployment.  There will be an Oktoberfestbier review and reviews of Christmas beers that are starting to hit the shelves as well as some local beers that I've found so enjoy those as they come up.

My workouts have not been going as good as I would have hoped.  I'm doing two full time jobs in Afghanistan and while I do manage to do a couple of runs and several workout sessions a week, I'm not where I would have liked to have been now.  I'm only up to about 10 miles comfortably and that's not going to cut it for when I get back.  In case you haven't heard I've lost my mind and become a victim of peer pressure as I signed up for the 2011 Ironman Regensburg.  My buddy Andy was talking about coming to Europe next summer and wanting to get together and doing a race.  Well we both started trash talking on email and the bottom line is we both decided to stretch out and test ourselves at the Ironman distance.  The only part that worries me is the swim but I should be fine even with that.

Well more later.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Scherdel Edelhell

This weeks beer review is a Scherdel Edelhell from the Scherdel Brewery in Hof, Germany.  This a Pilsner from a flip top bottle.

This beer pours a clear pale golden yellow with a nice head that stays around for awhile.  The aroma is one of hops.  The taste is a light tasting beer finely balance pilsner with really just a touch of the hoppy flavor that characterizes a good German Pilsner.  That's not a bad thing to me since I like pilsner's just a little more balanced and this is definitely a drinkable beer.  So if you can get your hands on one then give it a try.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weltenburger Anno 1050

The last beer I tried in a halb mass glass on our trip to the Weltenburger brewery was the Anno 1050.  This Marzen or Oktoberfest style beer is named after the year in which the brewery was founded at the Weltenburger Abbey.  According to the Weltenburger website this beer has won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup in 2008, It's not quite as decorated as it's brother beer the Barock Dunkel but that's still an accomplishment.

This beer poured a dark reddish amber with a light tan head.  The aroma was very faint of sweet caramel.  I almost didn't catch it with my inadequate sniffer.  The tast was definitely sweat caramel with just a hint of bitterness.  This beer finished slightly dry but still infinitely drinkable.  A great beer.

I managed to taste most of the beers that the Weltenburger brewery offered between the beer garden and the samples on the tour.  I don't like to write a review on a beer unless I've had a full bottle or mug of it so full blown reviews of the Weissbeir and the award winning Barock Dunkel are going to have wait until my next trip to the brewery.  Sounds like as good excuse as any to head that way what do you think

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weltenburger Urtyp Helles

While we were going on the river boat to the Weltenburger Kloster brewery.  I decided to get a preview of their beers by ordering a one of their Urtyp HellesHelles if you remember is the Bavarian everyday beer, only recently being passed by weissbier as the most popular beer.   I was ultra excited for my first taste of a Weltenburger beer since everyone had been telling me how good they were.

As you can see this beer poured a dazzling pale gold.  You can clearly see the bench on the other side of the table.  By the time the waitress got the beer to me the head had mostly dissipated.  Despite the lightness of the color this beer had an aroma that assaulted the senses, the fresh cut hay that had been rained on almost like the scent of silage for those of you who know what that is.  The taste was crisp slightly hoppy with that fresh cut grass flavor assaulting the palate.  This beer was not bitter at all, just a full bodied and flavored beer that was a great way to get introduced to the Weltenburger beers. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weltenburger Asam Bock

The Weltenburger Asam Bock is this weeks beer review, it's a doppelbock from the Weltenburger Kloster Brewery in Weltenburg, Germany.  If you remember the brewery tour was one of the last things that I did before I deployed and it was really cool, read about it here.

This beer poured thick with a brown almost black body and a tan head.  It definitely gave off a chocolatey aroma.  The beer went down the throat very thickly and tasted of chocolate and finished slightly dry.  A very satisfiying experience. 

I was a little shocked at how thick the beer was.  I was expecting a regular bock and not a doppelbock since most doppelbocks are seasonal and it was late May when we went to the brewery.  It was very good though and I definitely have another one when I return.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Schlichter Winkler Brau Dagesteiner Rittertrunk

This beer has a mouthful for a name, Schlichter Winkler Brau Dagesteiner Rittertrunk, so I'll break it down first before I get to the review.  Schlicter, the beer is from the town of Schlicht.  Winkler Brau, Winkler Brewery.  Dagesteiner, I have no clue and Ritter trunk means roughly knight drink.  So this is the Dagesteiner Knight drink from the Winkler brewery in the town of Schlict.  With that said the Rittertrunk is a dunkel type beer.

Here's what I thought.  It pours a rich amber with tints of red.  A light brown foam head crowns the beer and just barely crests the rim of the glass.  It gives off a rich sweet aroma that reminds me of caramel.  The taste is slightly sweet with the caramelly theme continuing.  It finishes surprisingly smooth, light and clean for a dark beer. 

I really kind of liked this beer which surprised me.  It is from the local brewery here in Vilseck and if you remember I didn't like their doppelback back in the spring time.  This is actually the third beer I've had from the brewery even if it's only the second I've reviewed here, hey I can't keep track of EVERY beer I drink, and I've liked the Rittertrunk and the other beer I've had.  So that just means I'll have to go back to the brewery when I come home from Afghanistan.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Monchshof Schwarzbier

The final beer in my variety rack from Monchshof is a Schwarzbier.  Schwarbier literally means black beer in German and as it is a very accurate description as you can see from the picture.  Read more about Schwarzbier here.

Monchshof Schwarzbier pours a dark, almost black with an amber colored head that quickly disappeared.  An aroma of roasted malt that almost bordered on chocolate assaulted my nostrils almost from the get go.  The taste was a smooth chocolately with just a hint of bitterness that finishes off a little on the dry side.  An excellent beer but one that also seems to fill you up quickly.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Monchshof Orginal Pils

On tap or I should say out of the bottle today is Monchshof Original Pils.  I've stated repeatedly that I'm not a fan of the highly hopped bitter Pils that I keep finding in Germany and I was prepared to not like this Pils.  Here's what I thought.  A pale pale yellow that poured with almost no head.  Not much of an aroma to penetrate my perpetually inadequate sniffer.  A clean crisp taste that finishes with just enough bitterness to let you know that you are drinking a Pils.  Almost a balanced taste.  I was pleasantly surprised to like this beer.  It was a nice change of pace to not be overwhelmed by bitter hops. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Monchshof Fienes Helles Lager

This week's review is for Monchshof's Fienes Helles Lager, their everyday beer.  I've mentioned it before but the beer that majority of beers that you see in this huge German beer steins are more than likely a helles.  Here's what I thought:  The beer pours a pale golden yellow with a delicate foam head that quickly dissipates.  The aroma of fresh cut flowers penetrates even my impaired sniffer.  The taste is crisp and light with just a hint of bitterness and finishes with a faint spicy aftertaste.  This a great beer for drinking on a hot summer day and one that I could easily lose track of how many I've had.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Monchshof Kellerbeir

This week's beer is the Monchshof Kellerbier.  A kellerbier is an unfiltered lager normally brewed for local consumption from casks only. They are also known as Zwick'l beirs.  Read more about them here.

You can see two things from the picture.  1. This kellerbeir didn't come from a keg, it came from a bottle. and 2.  There isn't much head to the beer.  If you clicked on the read more link you would have read that is a charactistic of a kellerbeir.  The color is a deep caramel that is slightly cloudy.  The beer was crisp with a taste of roasted malt, not too overwhelming though.  A very drinkable beer and one that I liked much better than the related Veldensteiner Zwick'l from a few weeks back.  I'll probably add this one to the repeat beer list.