Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Music - De-Evolution Version (extended play, editor's cut)

These videos are hard to explain if you weren't there at the time.  I don't know if they hold up now because I have such an easy time seeing them as I did then.  Enjoy them or dismiss them as weird - those are really your only choices, but don't just think they are fun.  They were intended to be subversive and draw attention to some of the idiocy and hypocrisy that existed at the time.  Thank goodness we have all of that straightened out now.

This one is just for fun. Enjoy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Musings on the Morning Ride Annual Winter Dinner

You can tell from the title of this blog, this is also a throw-back column, which happens to be from January 2009.  This was written shortly after we started the original blog, so excuse the "we just started with the blog" aspects and just be amused (slightly) by the rest of it.

This blog is an experiment for the three riders who make up our team. [Editor's Note - In the dark ages we only had three riders.  Now, just short of 50.  It's better.] None of us has ever blogged or had any experience with this process. That is why it was a surprise to me, when I read the Terms and Conditions of starting a Blogger blog, that I was required to use the words "Musing", "Random" or "Miscellaneous" in our blog on a regular basis. Up until now I had assumed that "Random Musings about . . ." or "Miscellaneous Thoughts on . . ." was just a lazy bloggers way of justifying not having enough substance about one topic to fill a post. Oh well, since the credo of the Team must include something about playing by the rules, we are certainly not going to deviate from our obligation to provide "Random Miscellaneous Musings."

To that end, let us muse about a ritual known as the "Annual Morning Ride Dinner." Dr. Spalm, as a student of languages, might point out that the casual observer would be struck by the "random" collection of words here, but those in the cycling circles in Spokane understand completely. The Morning Ride was begun and has been organized by a local rider, Bill Bender, since the end of World War II (I might not be right on this, but I think they started riding at 5.45 am because of a hold-over on black-out restrictions). In any case, this group of primarly South Hill residents met at a secret location for all of the important points of a group bike ride: sandbagging, trash talk, meaningless shows of testosterone, and checking out new bike equipment. But they also celebrate the camaraderie of riding together. There is an elemental human satisfaction in seeing a group of people regularly to keep up in at least a loose way on each others conditions, careers, kids and new cycling gear.

The communications of the Morning Ride are a microcosm of society's communications. From the earlier telegrams, to party-line telephonic communications, mimeographs, and now, amazingly, widespread use of the internets in the form of list servers and google groups. The spread of communication has grown the ride from its very close-knit beginnings, to a wider group due to the looser restrictions on the spread of electronic communications. Nonetheless, if you show up for a Morning Ride, you had better be able to ride. This group not only doesn't have a "no drop" rule, they seem to have a "mandatory drop" rule. The guys at the front just can't go home to the wife and kids unless someone was left as a quivering mass somewhere in the depths of Hangman Valley. If nothing else, it is up to the climbers to set things right on the way up Hatch Road.

Well, these things are all set aside once a year for a winter time gathering. All the important elements of a group of guys getting together for a meal are present here: sandbagging, trash talk, meaningless shows of testosterone, and discussing new bike equipment. The other thing that takes place is the sole award given by this group to one of its members for the Most Improved Rider of the season. The award winner receives a sculpture, in recent years a lamp, made of broken and discarded bike parts made by Mark Buescher. The decision process is shrouded in secrecy, as there is not an official vote, although there is lobbying during the course of the season, it is hard to tell its effectiveness. There is no question though, the Buescher original is valued.

This year the winner was Steve Weinberger, a local physical therapist who overcame an early season injury to rise through the ranks to become this year's Most Improved. Steve is a quiet guy, so it is hard to imagine he did any lobbying except for that done by his legs. As Rider Two says, "Bikes don't lie."

It would be nice to put together a list of winners from prior years, but this blog post has met the statutory requirement for musing, so that will have to wait for another day. If you have a picture of one of the Buescher originals, or a list of prior Most Improved winners, e-mail us and look for more random thoughts on the Morning Ride later.
Rider Three

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Q & A with a Cycling Widow

 This week we have had a few days of questions and answers from Dr. Spalm.  For a little balance, we have a guest advice columnist from someone who only identified herself as a Cycling Widow.  Hopefully it's all in good fun.

Question - I am interested in hitting my peak for a 45-mile, hilly race in June, so I understand I should be building base miles right now. How long should I be riding right now in January and February? The weather is a bit tough where I live for rides longer than 2-3 hours.

Answer - This is a very good question for all cyclists. How many hours should you be spending on your bike in January and February? I have a question for you. How many hours should you be spending with your children during January and February? How many home projects should you be putting off in January and February? If you have no children and no home projects, then by all means you should be ridding your ass off this time of year, otherwise, let's talk priorities!

Question - I have seen pictures of the CSC/Saxo Bank riders standing in a cold pool after riding, which apparently has some training benefit. Can you explain what soaking in a cold pool after a training ride does physiologically?

Answer - Do you seriously have time to stand in a cold pool after riding?! You are spending enough time on that bike that I cannot imagine you are considering doing anything but getting off the thing and spending time with your children. You do realize that one of their parents has to help with homework, get meals ready, and keep this house together? Cold pool? How about frosty reception!

Question - I have a knee issue that comes up every year when I get back on my bike. It usually goes away when I back off the miles a bit and stretch regularly, but one of my riding buddies suggest that I go to a yoga class 2-3 times a week to help with my flexibility and joint strength. Would you agree?

Answer - By all means, go to a yoga class two or three times a week to balance out all that time you spend by yourself and with your cycling buddies. That should be a great cure! You should also think about standing in a cold pool followed by a lengthy massage. Just live the dream and pretend you are a full-time professional cyclist. Or at least the dream that your "hobby" deserves to soak up every minute and every dollar you have!

Question - Cycling Widow, you seem a bit bitter. Is there anything we can do, that is, anything that doesn't involve riding our bikes less?

Answer - I think the question speaks for itself.

Team Level Disclaimer - The above post does not represent the views of any of the spouses of team riders, or the spouses or significant others of any riders we personally know. We are blessed to have tremendously beautiful, smart and supportive spouses, but we have heard stories about less fortunate souls. Our prayers are with them.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bonus Spalm

What's this?  A bonus Dr. Spalm?  Yes, that is exactly what this is.  Just be quiet and enjoy, okay?

Dr. Spalm - Can you explain why amateur cyclists shave their legs?
- Sasquatch in Spokane

Dear Sasquatch - First of all, welcome to Spokane, Mr. Williams. I loved you as Mork. Not so much at Patch Adams.

As to your question: Can I explain why amateur cyclists shave their legs?


Since I get paid by the word, I will elucidate further.

Unacceptable reasons to shave your legs:

1 - Shaved legs are more aerodynamic.
If sneezing is the difference between you being a weight that wins bike races or not, then by all means, shave off the 3 grams of hair on your legs, reap the 0.00001% aerodynamic increase and don't forget to sneeze.

2 - My legs look better in my cycling shorts.
Really? If this is your reason for going hairless then please have your legs waxed and don't forget the bronzing spray. You should be in the local gym taking steriods and gazing at yourself in the mirror and not taking up room on the local roads that real cyclists could use.

3 - I want to be taken seriously as a cyclist.
Respect is earned, not given. Floyd Landis won his first bike races wearing plaid socks and overalls. The first guy across the line or up the hill gets respect regardless of how hairy his (or her) legs are.

Acceptable reasons to shave your legs:

1 - Road rash. Scrapes and falls happen in cycling and shaved legs are easier to clean up, bandage and scab. It may not sound pleasant, but it's true.

2 - Cleanliness. Shaved legs are easier to clean up. This is particularly necessary if you are finishing a race and have a drive home. A wash cloth and water can clean up your legs and other bits to reduce some "issues." This begs the question of how high legs get shaved, but there are some things that Dr. Spalm won't discuss except in the privacy of a paid consultation.

Excellent reason to shave your legs:

1 - Your Director Sportif expects it. This is really the only excellent reason to shave your legs. The massages are easier, and the road rash/cleanliness reasons count much more when you are making a living on your bike.

Until next time, I remain faithfully yours, Dr. Spalm

Q & A With Dr. Spalm

For your reading pleasure today, a bit more Dr. Spalm.  Who knew it was going to be a whole retrospective of Spalmisms?  Me, that's who.  Enjoy.

Dr. Spalm - It is an extraordinary coincidence that your name is also an obscure cycling term. Did you feel compelled to become a vaguely European cycling consultant because of your name?
Curious in Spokane

Dear Curious - I am pleased to hear that you are aware of the cycling affiliation with my name. It is indeed an obscure term as one of the team riders recently informed me that even among Spokane's equivalent of the tifosi, it was an unknown term. As I have always had a very, highly personal way of explaining the term in person, I will instead refer you to the Urban Dictionary definition:

Spalm - To apply ointment or lubricant to the undercarriage of oneself to prevent chafing or sores. Before going running, Penelope spalmed her nether regions to avoid chafing from her ass cheeks rubbing together (

I would not personally use the term "ass cheeks", because I prefer the term "buttockal lobes", but then that is the term my mother always uses, so you will have to excuse me. You can tell, however, that this is a real word because it has its own page in the Urban Dictionary and it is cited right there so you can check it.

In any case, the answer to your question is "no," I did not feel compelled in my career choice. Rather, I let my natural inclinations lead me to my career choice and I changed my name to match. It had been my childhood nickname, much as Rider 2 is also known as "Quicksilver" among some portion of the local riding population (and yes, Quicksilver, movie magic really is made when you combine Kevin Bacon, Nelson Vails and the tumult of the messenger bike scene). The origin of my nickname is best left to the mists of time, but suffice it to say that everyone involved has received either therapy or time in detention, so it all turned out okay.

Much to my surprise, it turns out it is relatively easy to change one's name in most states and since I was not changing my name to evade creditors, this time, the judge banged the gavel and I have been Dr. Spalm ever since. Now onto more cycling questions.

Dr. Spalm - Your answers are as clear as the mud falling from Sven Nys as he outkicks Lars Boom. Is there a reason for this? Also, does Spokane really have "tifosi"?
Confused in Spokane

Dear Confused - Your question would imply you are one of the fixed gear crowd, because no one else outside of Belgium would make a convoluted reference to Messers. Nys and Boom. My question to you would be, why do fixed gear cyclists enjoy cyclo-cross so much? Do you not notice that those gentlemen, as well as most of those winning such races stateside, use not only gears, but also carbon tubular wheelsets and the newest, lightest, most expensive technology? I applaud the ethos of the fixie, but I would appreciate greater consistency in the application of these principles. For example, you would shudder at the addition of a cupholder to your beloved fixie, and yet most of you spend your time commuting to local bars. Well, not a question I can answer now.

As for Spokane tifosi, I concede that this may not be strictly true in the strictest sense of the word. Tifosi are generally the knowledgeable fans of a particular soccer club, formula one team or a particular cyclist. For instance, the subject of an upcoming post, Paulo Bettini, has his own Cricket Tifosi. But, I believe in the broader sense of the word, we Spokanites may also be lacking, as the word is most commonly applied to the old men in corner cafes smoking cigarettes and arguing about the race of the day. Here in Spokane we have old men, we have cigarette smokers, we have establishments that could reasonably resemble an equivalent of a corner cafe, and lastly, we have people who discuss the races of the day, but I am not personally aware of the coming together of all of these elements. The day the Swinging Door announces pitcher specials for Milan-San Remo, we will know the tifosi have arrived. They will have to smoke outside, but you get the idea.

Thank you kindly for your questions. I will look forward to conversing at my standard by-the-word rate at a future date.
Dr. Spalm

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dr. Spalm Answers More Reader Questions

Today, another oldie from Dr. Spalm.  We will return to your scheduled program shortly.  In the meantime, have a locally made brewski and be amused, horrified or enlightened by Dr. Spalm.

Dr. Spalm - I am an organizer of a local racing team. We have a bunch of riders and cover all categories, from first-time racers to experienced and fast folks. After an unfortunate and nauseating experience last year, I am interested in instituting a new rule that would limit the purchase of skin suits to those team members who are really skinny enough to not gross people out. Any suggestions?
Open-minded, but not THAT open-minded

Dear Mostly Open-Minded:
Thank you for the opportunity to address this issue. A few years ago Dr. Spalm was actively petioning Wal-Mart to stop selling white cotton/lycra stretch pants to women that should NOT, under any circumstances, be wearing such garments. These poor women apparently did not own mirrors, nor were they aware that to cut costs, these pants had a limited amount of fabric that was forced to stretch extraordinary distances to cover their subjects. As such, these pants became lattice-like and see-through and not movie star "how could I have not known that when the paparazzi took flash pictures these intimate body parts would be "accidentally" exposed" see through, but instead "Omar the Tent-Maker had 3-packs of these panties with teddy bears on them" see through. Let's just say that Wal-Mart was steadfast in their stand that women of ALL sizes should be able to wear cotton/lycra stretch pants, but thankfully they have fallen out of fashion.

So, where does that leave us with skin suits. You might consider some simple objective tests, such as a percentage body-fat test or a BMI index rating. You might also consider pointing out to these large, or more likely, extra-large, riders that their speed on a bicycle is not being limited by the aerodynamics of their clothing as much as the extra weight being supported by their bike frame. However, these might all lead to uncomfortable conversations in which reality is unpleasantly imposed on the dreams of these undertrained and overfed riders. Instead, I suggest that you tell them the skinsuits are not made in their sizes and if they persist in finding factual information to the contrary, the best option is to lose their orders and ask them to wait until next year when team clothing is re-ordered.

Lastly, I would like to make it clear that Dr. Spalm is not opposed to extra large riders (Chapeau mon ami, Rider 3), but is merely opposed to skinsuits (or white cotton/lycra stretch pants) on these generously-proportioned and jolly riders.
Dr. Spalm

Dr. Spalm - After the usual middle-age process of having kids and getting ahead at work, I have put on a few pounds and need to get active again. I really want to do a triathlon, but the only bike I have is a mountain bike I bought at Costco. Do you suggest I ride that or buy another bike? I really like the looks of the time trial bikes.
Trying to Tri

Dear Very (Trying that is):
I am not sure how to answer you. It leads to a number of questions I have. Putting aside the question of why anyone would want to do a triathlon, my answer would be either a) Are you serious? (said ironically), or b) Are you serious? (said seriously).

The only thing sillier than trying to train for and complete a triathlon on a department-store style mountain bike would be buying a special purpose time trial bike before you have started riding or training for a triathlon. Actually, maybe the reverse is truer. I'm not sure.

Here is my suggestion. First, go ride the bike you have. Ride it as fast as you can for approximately the distance you plan to ride in the triathlon. Immediately after completing this distance, if you then feel the strong urge to hop off the bike as fast as you can and start running, preferably a marathon, then maybe you're right that triathlons are appropriate for your future.

As a second test, I suggest that you sit down at a bar with some appropriate beverage in front of you. Briefly consider the distance the drink sits in front of you. Now, put the drink at least two bar seats away from you and then reach out to try to drink from it from this position. If you find that this new position is preferable to your starting position, then a time trial bike might be a good option for you.

Lastly, regardless of these tests, if you find that you can't ride a bike in a straight line, you probably are a born triathlete. Good luck.
Dr. Spalm

Monday, June 24, 2013

This is seriously crazy.

Peter Sagan is a phenomenally talented young rider who, when he isn't squeezing the tushes of podium girls or wearing tacky t-shirts, can also ride a bike better than the average person, whether it's sprinting or, apparently, getting a bike into the car rack quickly.  Just watch.

Dr. Spalm's Cycling and Ettiquette Advice

This week, a review of some older Dr. Spalm columns.  We could talk about our new imperial IPA that was just kegged Friday, Clocktower Imperial IPA (It'll Ring your Bell), but that will wait until they are ready for distribution.  Just give us a few days.  Until then, enjoy a review of Dr. Spalm favorites.

Welcome to the last source of useless cycling information, arcane racing trivia and etiquette advice you will ever need. We are very excited to have secured the services of the renowned cycling expert, Dr. Spalm, who has graciously agreed to answer our reader questions. Or at least all of those that can reasonably be discussed in a semi-family-appropriate fashion. Keep in mind that Dr. Spalm's family includes a wide selection of ne'er-do-wells, black sheep and librarians, so he is not put off by much.

In light of the recent return to cycling of a famous grand tour winner, we thought we would answer this question that was posed to us in a bike shop while we were looking for some winter riding shoes:

Dear Dr. Spalm - You seem vaguely european, so I think you can help me with this. I see that Ivan Basso is returning to the ranks of professional cycling. I have heard Signore Basso called both Birillo and Tranquilo. I have watched enough cycling to understand the basics like peloton and grand depart, but what is Ivan telling us?
Sincerely, Confused in Spokane.

Dear Confused - This is a fascinating question, so thank you for asking. Also, because I get paid by the word, I am likely to use fillers in starting and ending most of my questions. As regards Ivan Basso, these were not terms that you heard Phil and Paul tossing around in a fevered pitch as Ivan crossed a Giro mountain pass. Their comments are sufficiently confusing that not even Dr. Spalm can explain some of them.

Tranquilo, as you might deduce if you were a student of languages, as is Dr. Spalm, translates roughly to "tranquil". This is like Nyquil, in that if you have enough of either you are asleep, but it is a more peaceful and less drug-induced state. Maybe drug-induced is the wrong phrase to use here. Anyway, it means that one is at peace with him or herself. Signore Basso declared himself "tranquilo" when he was accused of doping to boost his cycling performance. He was "tranquilo" because he knew the truth of the matter and he was not bothered by such baseless and frivolous accusations. Next, he told us that he was no longer tranquilo and instead he was Birillo. Now, you might think this means that his next mental state was that of a scrubbing cleanser pad. Instead, it meant that he was, in fact, his dog.

Thank you for asking.

Okay, it was just pointed out that my contract does allow wordiness, but prohibits obliqueness. So, I will, at my normal per word charge provide a bit more explanation.

In the examination of a blood doping lab in Spain, there were a number of bags of blood with code names on them. One or more of these bags were labelled "Birillo", which just happened to be the name of Ivan Basso's dog. Ivan was, of course, shocked and surprised by the enormous coincidence. Despite his shock and suprise, he was also "tranquilo". Signore Basso was next shocked and surprised to find out that it is relatively easy to take a DNA test of both Ivan's blood and Birillo's blood and determine whether it was the Basso family dog that was blood doping or someone else. I hypothesize that he has less "tranquilo" at this point.

Rather than accept the potential shame of having a doping dog, Ivan confessed that he had considered blood doping, went so far as to have bags of blood stored in a medical lab 2,000 kilometers from home (HMO restrictions, I'm sure), but he had never, ever actually used any unsporting chemical or blood advantages to, for instance, transform over one winter from the back of the time trail pack to the very front. Thankfully, he saw the light before crossing over to the dark side.

So, to wrap up for my fellow students of language, tranquilo = I'm sure that my secrets are safe; Birillo = It is far better for me to confess to thinking about doping than have anyone think my dog is a doper.

Yours in Cycling, Dr. Spalm

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Music - Electric Guest

Usually you get a long intro, but not this week.  Just a music video from a song I love.  From Electric Guest. 


Friday, June 21, 2013

So Many Questions

Regular readers know that I have been married for a long time.  Not "cute" we-are-having-our __ month anniversary long-time, but actually and genuinely for a long time.  As a result, you get used to certain things within your partnership.  There are big things and small things that fit into this category, serious things and silly things even.  But when the routine gets dramatically changed, it suddenly wakes you up to the fact that you have become rather dependent on, or reliant on, things being a certain way.  And when they aren't that way, it raises questions.  Lots of questions.

My spouse is currently out of town and will be for two weeks.  This is the first time in nearly 25 years that I have been at home while my wife was out of town.  It turns out, I should have done a bit more preparation before she left because I have some questions.

  • Can I leave my own toothbrush head on the handle the whole time you are gone? Seems polite to check.
  • Should I make the bed ever day?  If the answer is yes, is that because I am setting a good example for our children or because I "want" to?
  • Can I use your fancy shampoo while you are gone, or should I leave it alone like usual?
  • I know that you dropped off shirts at the dry cleaners for me, but it turns out there are a whole bunch of them.  Which one should I go to?
  • Does it matter what dog food I buy?  Will the dogs care?  Will you care?
  • Do I have to feed the kids three times each day, or can we just eat when we are hungry?
  • When you make a salad, I think I know the ingredients, but how do you get the salad dressing all over everything?  Is there a machine for that?
  • How many nights in a row are we allowed to eat pizza?
  • Did you think about making some food to put in the freezer for us?  Maybe a lasagna, some meatloaf, some hamburgers, a lot of sandwiches, some bowls of cereal - you know, stuff like that?
  • Is there a maximum amount of time that I should allow the kids to play XBox?  They said that you said they could play as much as they wanted while you were gone.  Also, I'm not very good at most games, so I'm gonna need some more time set aside for that.
  • Would it be "fun" if we have a cooking competition and the rules require each child to prepare and clean up all the food for that day?
  • Do you want me to water the plants?  If so, which ones and how much?  What about a survival-of-the-fittest thing where we just keep the ones that live until you get back?
  • If the boys and I have a wrestling match and accidentally break something, say like a leg of a table, just for example, not that it has happened or is even likely to, is there someone that can fix that, and just another follow-up, how long does that take?
  • Totally unrelated, but if one of the kids is injured, in a very slight and totally meaningless way of course, I know we have medical insurance, but why doesn't the lady at the emergency room have a record of it?
  • If one of the dogs has an "accident" on the floor, it would be totally irresponsible to not clean it up immediately, but wouldn't it be easier after it dried if it was in a place that wasn't in the way?  Also, the rug cleaner stuff (Found it! It turns out it was with a bunch of other cleaning stuff?!) says that I am supposed to "blot".  What exactly is blotting?  Seems more 'merican to scrub.  
  • Is there a particular schedule where I am supposed to do things like vacuum and clean toilets?  Wouldn't it be easier to just wait until the 30 minutes or so before you arrive home?
  • Do you know how hard it is to take care of all of this stuff, and kids and dogs and house and all?  You should have mentioned it at some point.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Beer Know-it-All

Today, a guest blog by Emily, our Sales, Marketing, Do-Everything Wonder person.  Emily joined us in January with a natural interest and affinity for all things beer, but since then she has had a crash course in beer, beer styles, making beer, draft issues, you name it.  And, apparently she is putting some of it to good use in service of the beer drinking public.

Beer is on my mind. All the time. And not in an addictive “I need a beer now or else” way, but more of a “What’s going on the beer world, what’s that he’s drinking, I wonder what kind of beer she likes, who would have thought to brew that style, what on earth makes this one taste so bad/good, why don’t they have any good beer here, this place has the best line-up ever” way. I literally woke up in the middle of the night last night, and thought to myself “What was the name of that beer that he told me I should try?”

Because of my position with the brewery handling marketing and sales, I think it’s important that I have a decent understanding of what’s trending in the market, what’s working and what’s not, and to get a sense of what it is that people are looking for. I also try to be knowledgeable about beer in general, how it’s made, what styles there are, what causes certain flavors and aromas to be more prominent than other, and so on and so forth.  Now, I may know more than your average beer drinker (let alone a 25 year old beer drinker), but I still have so much more that I could learn about this craft. But I do enjoy “showing off” how much I have learned in the past 6 months.

For example, a friend and I went out for a drink Sunday afternoon to enjoy the beautiful weather, when the table behind us started grumbling and moaning about their beer. I turned around to listen (you may say eavesdrop, I say listen, tamato tomato) to their conversation with their waiter.  Their beer was super murky and they were convinced the restaurant got a bad keg.  The poor server had no idea what to say, she even admitted she knew very little about beer and said she would get them a new one.  Then I heard something that made me say “Ah-ha!”.  Manny’s. They were drinking Georgetown Brewing Co’s Manny’s Pale Ale.  I decided to interject. I let them know that Manny’s was an unfiltered beer, which means that between the point that the beer was conditioned and kegged, the beer isn't filtered (the way most beers are) and this leaves behind some yeast and other sediment that is naturally in the beer. I explained that the yeast left in unfiltered beer is what causes some beer to be cloudy, whereas filtered beer tends to be clear.

They still were wary.  They had had Manny’s before and it NEVER looked like that before (they really stressed “never” if you didn’t get that). I proceeded to ask the server when the keg was tapped and how it was stored before. She said it was just tapped no more than 30 minutes ago. As for how it was stored, she stopped for minute, thought about it, and said in the cooler.  I asked if it was right side up or upside down in the cooler.  She very confidently said, “Oh, right side up for sure, I tapped it myself”. Ding ding ding! There’s your problem.  I explained that since Manny’s is unfiltered, it should be stored upside down prior to tapping because the yeast will tend to settle on the bottom of a keg, which is where a tap system pulls from, therefore causing the beer to be extra cloudy and murky.  I had her pour a pitcher or two through, and voila, the Manny’s they know and love.

They proceeded to drink and enjoy their Manny’s in the sun while I basked in my “Look how much I know about beer” success. It’s the little things in life that make me smile.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tap Handle Close to Home

As a fledgling brewery, we are really happy to have the support of any restaurant, bar or other establishment that decides to pour our beer.  We think it means that they like the beer and want to support a local company.  It also means we get another spot where people get to try our creations. 

That said, we get a lot of requests to come to the brewery and try the whole line-up of beers.  It is fairly common for breweries to have a tap room or brewpub attached to show-off the range of beers.  We didn't have space for that and putting aside a long discussion of the joys or not-joys of operating restaurants, we just wanted to focus on making beer and supporting those who were pouring it.  We probably will backtrack on this and do some kind of tasting area down the road, but for now, we have the next best thing. 

We share our building with lots of tenants, but one of them is the Rocket Bakery on First and Cedar.  They have carried beer and wine for quite a while, but all in bottles up until this week.  Now they are the happy owners of a new draft beer set-up and started pouring just last weekend.

Starting line-up - Two River City, Selkirk Abbey and Iron Horse

Makes me thirsty!
You can see that they are doing pints and growlers.  As an added bonus, they also have River City Red growlers for sale, just in case you don't have one in your collection yet.

Stop by, have a beer and let them know you appreciate their support of good beer and local beer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Good Reminder

I saw this via Nick Lawhead's Twitter and a blog to which he contributes -  It is a nice reminder that we live our lives with those across the table, not just across the internet.

The Offline Glass from Mauricio Perussi on Vimeo.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dang those Japanese Citizens are Clever

A River City Red team cyclist, CD, sent this our way and it is equal parts cool and unbelievable.  Have you ever talked to someone from a small town around Spokane that complained about how crowded it was in the "big city"?  This video would indicate that we collectively need a bit more perspective on what that means.

This video also would indicate that we need a totally new introduction to our blog - something more like this:

But I digress.

Take a look at this video for bike parking . . . FROM THE FUTURE . . .

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Music - Soul Train Edition

Not many words today.  I ran out of them.  But how about these two performances from Soul Train.  The first from 1973.  The second from 1975.  Those must have been two BIG years.

Skip to the 3 minute mark if you want to hit the music (starts with interviews).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Yum - Yum - Part Two

One of the things that we do at the brewery is think about beer.  It's sounds contradictory, but we do.  Yesterday we sat down with tasters of six beers (three pale ales, one "india session ale" (or ISA) and two ambers) and had a conversation with one of our accounts about beer.  None of the beers were ours, two were local and four were not.  It was an interesting conversation and it's always nice to get input from people who drink beer rather than make beer when contemplating the stuff that so often fills our glasses.

There are a few things that came from that meeting including a future blog topic of the process we use to come up with a new beer recipe, but it also was interesting to consider just what goes into a category of beer.

First, let me state clearly and loudly that a) I applaud the creativity and risk-taking that American brewers (particularly western brewers) are willing to take; b) I am not a category snob and care relatively little about the exact bounds of which beer fits into which category or style; and c) I only had two things to clearly and loudly state.

With that in mind, take a look at the IBUs of the beers we drank - 65, 60, 50, 50, 46 and 35.  With the prior knowledge that this session included an ISA, three pales and two ambers, would you guess that the ISA was the 65, the pales 60, 50 and 50, and the ambers at 46 and 35?  I would.  But then again I always go for the red herring in a murder mystery.

Instead the highest IBU rating of 65 was on one of the pales, the other two pales were both 50, the ISA was 46 and the ambers were the furthest apart at 35 and 60.

Of course, the other thing about an IBU is that it is a mathematical calculation that is objective, hence it's use, but that is only a starting point and can lead to vastly different subjective experiences with the same number.  At our tasting, the highest IBU pale was definitely the hoppiest overall, but the 60 IBU pale had very little hop aroma and relatively little body hop, while the 46 IBU ISA had a very noticeable (and nice) floral hop aroma and good hop flavor throughout.

What does this tell me?  Two things: first, that brewers today are constantly pushing the bounds of our pre-defined categories, so that we accept and expect that an IPA or ISA might be lower hopped than a handful of pale ales and that ambers will have a wide range of hop character; and second, that the IBU is a starting place, but hardly the definitive answer on what your nose and taste buds are going to experience.

In the wine world it is expected that at times you stop to "think" about your wine, the grapes, flavors, etc.  It has gotten a bit silly at times ("This wine has essence of black currants that have been braised in a fennel-balsamic reduction made over an oak fire on a cool spring day."), but it does lead to an appreciation of what is in your glass.  I would encourage you to stop and smell not only the roses this weekend, but also your beer.  Take a drink, think about it, then go on enjoying it.  Cheers.

Yum - Yum

Mmmmm.  That crow sure tastes good.  Very filling and nutritious too*.

*For details, see promises made in last blog.

I thought about doing a blog suggesting that I have been living in a time warp, where everything around me continued to move at regular speed but I was trapped in a slowed down to a metabolically impossible rate which caused three days to pass for the rest of you but only ten minutes for me, but then I realized some of our more astute readers might consider that implausible.  Others of you would put down your bongs and say "totally, dude," but those readers spend their discretionary income on things other than tasty beers so they aren't really our primary audience.

Anyway, let's get back on track real soon.  We will go back to writing about beer, bikes and random stuff and you drink beer and come by for a visit now and again.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


What?!  It's Tuesday?  How can that be?  Why didn't someone wake me up?  How is it possible to sleep through an entire day and into the next?  Was I drugged or ill or kidnapped or just what?  All I know is that I love this blog too damn much to just skip a day without an explanation.  It's just not possible.  I would crawl through broken glass (hey, John McClane, looking at you - but only in the first three movies when the franchise still had integrity) to make sure I shared something on the blog.  I would ford streams and climb mountains.  I would run through fire (well, after donning appropriate protective gear and what not).  In other words, I would do anything to make sure that a blog as fresh and tasty as our beer appeared here each day.

Except I have a confession.  I didn't.  I just slack-assed my way through the day yesterday without blogging up a single word.  Nary a tweet and not a single likey-like on Facebook. 

How could I abandon my faithful readers?  I don't know.  I wish I had a good excuse like a broken leg from jumping off the Clocktower in a squirrel suit.  Or a mild head injury from falling off my longboard after breaking the speed limit down Doomsday hill.  Or taped up fingers from sawing a branch out of a tree while I was sitting on the wrong end of it.  Something.  Almost anything. 

But instead, all I can do is apologize and try to explain that the work of the brewery got in the way.  Deadlines, orders, regulations, you name it.  We handled it all with aplomb yesterday but didn't give out the blog love that you count on.  We won't let it happen ever again.  Or least not today.  And, yeah, it will happen again and probably soon, because we are making more beer and visiting more accounts and dealing with more territory and sometimes deadlines are just deadlines that we have to meet, but don't ever forget that we love you, man (and woman).  We appreciate that you keep showing up to read, stopping in at your favorite spots to drink our beer and are out there supporting that whole drink local, buy local thing. 

We'll do our share by keeping up the beer side and the blog.  You do your share by quaffing a cold one.  Deal?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday Music - Bicycle Edition

"Hey, wait a minute. Wait a good gol-durn minute here!", said readers of the blog last Saturday. "That just isn't right! How can you do that?!?"

"What?," I responded.  "Don't you love Freddie Mercury as much as I do?"

"Of course we do," blog readers said in unison, "but how the hell can you feature Queen on blog that features BIKES AND NOT FEATURE BICYCLE RACE!"

"Excellent question, dear blog readers," I said with a look of bemusement on my face, "because," I continued, "I wanted to feature the bicycle racing songs together."

"What do you mean by the word 'songs' in that sentence, amigo?", said blog readers, who like to spice up their language with foreign words.

"I mean, the only two songs I can think of, leaving out, of course, the theme song to American Flyers (because I adore my blog readers rather than want to punish them), are Bicycle Race and Kraftwerk's Tour de France."

So without further ado, and let's be honest, there has been plenty of ado so far, the music part of Music Saturday.  First up, Kraftwerk.

Why Kraftwerk first?  Because I was hoping the kids would go to bed while that was playing because this next video feature gratuitously naked women.  And when I say "gratuitously", I really mean ridiculous and unnecessary.  Oh, that's what gratuitous actually means?  Well then, you've been warned.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Where Can I Get This Beer?

The number one question asked at our brewery - Why are you so damn sexy?

The number two question - Where can I get this beer?

Here is the answer (with the usual disclaimers that we don't know when kegs get tapped, how fast they pour, etc.).  Now get out there and drink BEER (responsibly):

  South Perry Pizza
  Famous Eds
  Post Street Alehouse
  The Onion Downtown
  Denny’s at Geiger
  Manito Country Club
  Manito Tap House
  Marabeau Park Hotel
  Spokane Country Club
  Moscow Alehouse
  Total Wine and More
  JJ’s Grill
  Chan’s Dragon Inn
  Fox Bear Public House
  Syringa Japanese Restaurant

  Spencers Steakhouse
  Post Street Alehouse
  Illinois Ave
  Iron Horse Brewery-Ellesburg
  Longhorn BBQ-Spokane Valley
  Milfords Fish House
  Sidebar & Grill
  Moscow Alehouse
  Italia Trattoria
  Total Wine
  Vintages 611
  Bag O’ Nails Pub
  Herbal Essence Cafe
  JJ’s Grill

  Total Wine
  JJ’s Grill
  Ej’s Garden Bistro
  Imbibe Wine Shop
  Pacific Avenue Pizza
  Post Street Alehouse
  Black Diamond
  Blue Spark
  Elk Public House
  Luna Restaurant

  Moscow Alehouse
  Blue Spark
  Ciao Mambo
  Fieldhouse Pizza
  Forza Coffee
  Hop Jacks
  Mickey’s Pub
  Swinging Doors
  The Basement
  Eagle’s Pub
  McClain’s Pizzeria
  Rocket Market
  Sapphire Lounge
  Total Wine

  Good Spirits
  Java on Sherman
  Chan’s Dragon Inn
  Gibliano Brothers
  McClain’s Pizzeria
  Sapphire Lounge
  Lion’s Lair
  Moscow Alehouse
  District Bar and Grill
  Lilac Lanes
  Saranac Public House
  Tomato Street
  Total Wine