Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kulmbacher Edelherb Pils

Today's offering is the Kulmbacher Edelherb Pils.  This a former German Agricultural Society Gold Medal award winning beer so I had high expectations for it.  I was not let down.

This Pils poured with a substational white head that lasted for a while.  The color was a very pale clear golden, with lots of tiny bubbles throughout the body that maintained the head.  The aroma hints at hops, a theme that is carried over into the taste.  There is no explosion of hoppiness rather the taste reminds me of fresh cut grass and then there is just a subtle tweaking of the taste buds as the hops makes it self known.  A very subtle but flavorful Pils.  Not a bad choice for a hot summer afternoon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This Week's Recap

This week's workout schedule looked like this.
Mon - Off Day
Tues - Swim Test 3x300 for time
Wed - 45 minute run working on cadence and foot speed
Thurs - Swim day 6 x 400 and 8 x 100
Fri - Off
Sat - Brick 3 hour bike/2 hour run
Sun - 4:30 hour bike

Because of the Prague trip last weekend and some rain on Monday this what it actually looked like.

Mon - 5 hour ride - Rained out
Tues - 4 hour ride (Carried over from Sunday/Monday and cut short by an hour because of rain and other issues)
Wed - 45 minute run
Thurs - Off
Fri - Swim day 6 x 400 and 8 x 100
Sat - Brick 3 hour bike/2 hour run
Sun -  4 hour bike

Overall not a bad week I was really pleased with Tuesday's long ride.  I did 60+ miles and felt great.  The brick on Saturday was also good.  A solid 45 miles on the bike followed by just over 10 miles.  If I can continue those paces throughout the whole Ironman I will have no issues making my 14:30 hour goal. 

On the flip side I am fighting some achilles tendonitis and some severe pain in my nether region from sitting on the bike saddle for "forever".  The tendonitis doesn't seem to too bad and I'm icing and stretching them to keep them as loose as I can.  I've switched from riding the Dual to the P3 full time so I'm thinking the nether region pain has to do with the seat adjustment on the P3.  I tweaked the seat adjustment a little and applied vasoline for both Sat and Sun and I'm relatively pain free as I write this we'll see what happens when I wake up in the morning.

Kulmbacher Lager Hell

Continuing the Sunday/Wednesday beer reviews with the Kulmbacher Lager Hell.  Most of you who read this blog have seen where I've described Helles beers before.  For those who haven't the short of it is that the brewers in Munich in the mid 1800's came up with Helles in response to the Pilsner's developed by their Bohemian neighbors.  Not quite as hoppy and just as golden it's a beer that is still widely served across Bavaria. 

The Kulmbacher Lager Hell is a fine example of the Bavarian style Helles.  A thin white head that lingers and leaves traces on the side of the glass. The color is a cloudy gold with lots of effervescent bubbles that tickle the tongue. A delicate aroma that is more malt than hops.  The beer goes down light with the aforementioned tickle and the taste is one of roasted barley with just a hint of intense hops, but not overwhelming, flavor at the end.  A very pleasing beer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Staropramen Svetly

Here is another beer from our trip to Prague last weekend. If you ask for a beer in Prague chances are that you will get a Staropramen.  That's what I had when we went to the Hard Rock Cafe to collect our Prague Pilsner Glass.  I didn't take any notes while drinking my Staropramen there so I picked up a bottle to go and cracked it tonight.
The Staropramen Svetly is a Bohemian Light Pilsner.  It poured with a very light head that disappeared very quickly.  The aroma was almost nonexistent.  The flavor was very light, slightly sweet and very little flavor of hops that dominate a typical pilsner.  I'd almost say it was watery.  Despite teh fact taht you can git this everywhere in Prague, I would guess that was because the brewery is in the city itself and and not because it was anything special. 

An OK beer but if you are looking for a hoppy Pilsner I'd recommend you go looking somewhere else.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kulmbacher Export

Today's beer is the Kulmbacher ExportExport beers are a pale lager developed in the Ruhr valley region of Germany  as competition to the Czech Pilsner and the Munich Helles, this brewing type also allowed the beers to stay fresher longer and be "exported" further from their breweries.
It pours a very pale golden with about an inch of white foamy head ( I missed it in the picture because Shantel had taken the battery out of the camera to charge.)That leave a fine tracery on the edge of the glass.  Lots of carbonation is visible throughout the body.  The aroma is faintly sweet and the taste is initially malty with a light hops finish.  Not a bad beer but also not one of my favorites.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Workout update

Our trip to Prague this weekend didn't derail my workouts too badly.  The derailling was left up to Shantel's doctor and today's weather.

Despite a hectic two days in Prague.  I drug myself out of bed yesterday and strapped on my running shoes and took off on my 2hr 45min run.  It was overcast and slightly chilly so I put on a long sleeved t-shirt, I was regretting that about 45 minutes into the run as a downpour soaked it and made it pretty heavy.  I kept slogging on and when I came back by the house I dashed inside and stripped it off and put on my brew to brew running jacket and was off again, after all I was dumb enough to sign up for an Ironman, so I've definitely got to be dumb enough to keep running running in the rain.  I felt strong throughout the whole run and while my 10:50 avg for 15 miles at 155 bpm (high zone 3 for me) won't set  any records it is well below the pace I need to complete the marathon portion of the Ironman so I was happy.

Today was a whole different story.  I needed to make up the 5 hour bike ride and Shantel had a doctor's appointment.  No big deal we would just drop off Macen at day care since his school was out for a German Holiday.  Oops no space in day care, so Macen and I went with Shantel to her doctor's appointment.  We dropped her off and thought we would do a Daddy and Son day out in Amberg for a couple of hours or so.  Well that couple of hours stretched into almost four hours and as we were driving home the clouds closed in and it began to rain.  Not the sudden outbursts of yesterday but a steady drizzle with a mixture of heavy downpours.  I may be dumb enough to sign up for an Ironman and to run in the rain but I HATE biking in the rain.  So I sat down with some of the Czech beer I picked up this weekend and readjusted the schedule a little and blogged about the brewery we went to in Prague.  I thought that was a good use of my time.

Strahov Monastery - Klasterni Pivovar (Brewery) - Prague, Czech Republic

While Shantel was researching things to do in Prague she found that according to trip advisor the number 14 thing to do was the Strahov Monastery Brewery known in Czech as Klasterni Pivovar. If you are of a more religious or historical bent check out the monastery itself which dates to 1143 and has a library of around 16,000 volumes including several latin codices that date to 1143 or older.  But if it's good beer and food you are after you have to visit the Pivovar and it's restaurant. 
We skipped the monastery and instead had lunchat the Pivovar and sampled the beer.  Every thing was outstanding and definitely worth a stop if you are ever in Prague.  Enjoy my thoughts on the beer and the pictures below.  

This was our last stop in Prague so Shantel wasn't letting me have more than two small beers here, even though we had tram and subway rides before I would be driving anywhere.  So I selected the Amber and Dark Lagers, but I brought home bottles of the India Pale Ale and the in season Weissen(Wheat) beer.  The beer is branded St Norbert after the saint that founded the monastery's order.

St Norbert's Amber Ale - This is definitely an Amber ale with the color reflected throughout the creamy head that left light tracings on the side, continuing to the deep copper with hints of amber inthe body.  The aroma is one of lightly roasted malts.  The taste is slightly caramally sweet with just a hint of hops in the after taste.  This was the first St Norbert beer I had and if it was the only one had I would of still been singing it's praises.  But next up was......
St Norbert's Dark Lager - A dark latte colored head.  The body is so dark black that you can't see through it.  The aroma is of chocolaty roasted malts and the taste lacks bitterness and has just a hint of sweet chocolate in it.  I'm not normally a fan of dark lagers or beers, but this was a really good beer and had me trying to convince Shantel that she might have to drive us out of Prague since the first two beers were so good I would just have to try the other two current offerings then and there.  Of course Shantel one and I ended up taking a bottle of the IPA and the Weissen home with me.
St Norbert's India Pale Ale - This beer pours with a head that appears slightly browned and it quickly dissipated.  The body is deep copper and the aroma is one of aromatic spices with clove perhaps predominating.  The taste is surprisingly only has an undercurrent of ever so subtle hops with roasted malts dominating.  Another excellent offering.

St Norbert's Special Beer Weissen - This beer has a classic wheat beer's frothy head  and the color is a cloudy copper gold.  The aroma of honey, citrus, cloves, and fresh cut grass assails even my notoriously finicky sniffer. It goes down smooth, sweet, and with a burst of citrus.  I was wishing I  was drinking this beer on day when the temps were in the high 90s instead of the low 60s.  A perfect summer beer.
Another addition to my growing collection of stone ware mugs from central Europe.

Now that you've read what I thought of St Norbert's beer see what they think here.  The off season beers that I didn't get to try include a pilsner, a bock and a doppelbock.  For those of you who visit us in the short time that we have left in Germany and there is time in your trip for a run to Prague, you can count on going on here, I just wonder if I can get the beer in racks to go instead of the single bottles.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kulmbacher Festbier

It's time to start reviewing beers again.  I've decided to start with several beers from the Kulmbacher Braueri from Kulmbach Germany.  The Kulmbacher brand is the premium brand for the Kulmbacher AG group, I'm a big fan of the group's Monschof specialty line and now it's time to try the premium line.

It's fest time in Germany so why not start with the Kulmbacher festbier.  The beer pours with a snow white head that slowly dissipates.  The aroma is one of freshly cut grass.  The flavor is mildly hoppy finishing crisply with just a little bit of an aftertast that lingers.  A fine beer for summer fests or even back yard bbq's.

I am definitely glad to be back in Germany with the ability to drive down to the local Getranke Mart and have my pick of any number of different beers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Swim Day

Today's workouts were a short 30 minute run in the morning and then 6x400s and 8x100s in the pool.  The workout plan said the swim should take 60 minutes.  Well the Ms Bernhardt obviously hasn't met my non swimming self.  This all took me about 90 minutes with 30 seconds between the 400s and 15 seconds between the 100s.  Despite my slowness I think that's pretty good for only two weeks worth of swim workouts in the last 19 months.  One of these days I swear that I will get some swim training to improve my times and my workouts.  Right now though the focus is endurance and ensuring that I have the ability to stay in perpuatual motion for 14 hours.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a 60 minute bike but we've decided to head for Prague for the weekend and I'll be skipping the bike ride.  We'll be back Sunday and with a little rearranging I'll still get my long run and long bike and some time in Prague.  Check back out here for our adventures in Prague, I'm sure we'll find some beer or a brewery or two to visit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Bike

Today's workout was a short bike ride.  My new Cervelo P3 has been here for almost 3 weeks and other than a spin around the block after I put it together I haven't ridden it for a workout.  Well the guy who I bought it off has been giving me crap about that so after I got done with work today I tweaked the fit (it still needs a tuneup and a professional fit) and made sure everything was pretty close to the way I wanted it and off we went.

The work out was a low intensity 60 minute ride.  I've done it a couple of times since I've been back on my Cervelo Dual.  I really wanted to see how the two bikes performed differently and if the P3 was really going to be as fast as I thought it would be.

The route was virtually the same, I had to do a detour today due to road construction so it's a little longer. But the results are about 2.5 mph faster for the P3 at a slightly lower HR avg (146 vs 149). Max speed was actually faster for the Dual 32.4 mph vs the P3 at 32.1 but I really didn't turn it loose on the P3.  See the charts below.  I'm thinking I'm really going to like riding the P3.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm Back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK Well I've actually been back for almost three weeks now.  I've been readjusting to family life, work and triathlon training.  I'm actually in week 6 of my 13 week Ironman training.  Training has been going all right.  The first couple of weeks were while I was still in Afghanistan and of course there was no pool or swim time and all of the biking was on stationary bikes. I had a pretty good run base so that has been carrying me through.

The 13 week plan I'm using is from Gale Bernhardt's Training Plans for MultiSport athletes.  It's the 13 weeks to an Ironman For Athletes with Limited Time.  It's not very time intensive during the weeks but the weekend workouts are pretty long.  I'm find the workouts are really achievable during the week, but the intensity really jumps on the weekends when they get longer.  Last Saturday's 4.5 hour bike ride was the first time I've gone over 60 miles in a long time and it really wasn't that difficult.  I've had some issues with the swims but that's more in finding a suitable place to do the number of laps I've got to do than in the distances that I have to swim. 

Right now I'm on track for a 14.5 hour race, about 90 minutes short of the 16 hour cut off.  I'm confident that as my training progresses I will be continue to shave more time off of that.

Check back, not just for the beer reviews that will start again but for the training updates that I'll keep posting.