roblog - Official Blog of Rob Hurvitz

19 Sep 2011 - 12:31:54 PM
A Climbing Post

I've done a little traveling this year, but so far all of my climbing has been local: Exit 38 way too much, Vantage a handful of times, and Little Si twice. I've managed to do some climbs that I'd never done before, though, so that's been pretty cool. Figured I'd go ahead and list all the newness here to make me feel good about myself. Plus I haven't really visited any breweries in a while, so this is better than nothing. TR means I top-roped it, otherwise I led it. * means I'd top-roped it before, but it was my first time leading it.

  • Peaceful Warrior (5.6, hard to believe I'd never climbed this one before...)
  • Sunshine Buttress (10a)
  • Unknown (10a, new bolt line just to the left of Serenity to the same anchors)
  • Incessant Wounds... (10b)
  • Steel Pulse (10b)*
  • Go Cat Go (10c)
  • Easy Off (10c)*
  • Awareness Drooling (10c)*
  • Mortal Memory Magnet (10d)
  • Frank Black (11b)*
  • Pony Keg (5.9, TR)
  • Air Guitar (10a, TR)
  • Elvis' Pharmacist (10c, TR)
  • Chemically Adjusted Reality (10c, TR)
  • Resting Effort Emptiness (11a, TR)
  • Red M&M's (12a, TR, a rock had just popped off right at the crux while the previous climber was on it, so it felt more like an 11b)
    Exit 38
  • Old Milwaukee Road (10-, 2011 route that starts at the same spot as Jiffy Pop but goes straight up, 14 bolts)
  • Displacement (10d)
  • La Vida Locomotive (11a, 2010 route in the alcove to the left of OMR (and just right of the other 2010 route Der/ailed (5.6/10+)), 8 or 9 bolts plus a fixed draw, long runner useful for bolt under roof)
  • Late for Dinner (11a, TR)
    Little Si
  • Girls in the Gym (10c)
No pictures, sorry. I've stopped bringing my camera to these areas because all the pics look the same to me now. Oh well. I'm hoping to hit a few more areas before winter kicks in: Smith Rock, Mazama, Tieton (where I still have yet to climb -- harumph!), maybe Leavenworth, maybe Darrington. We'll see, I guess.
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16 Sep 2011 - 4:53:20 PM
Elysian Brewing Company

I've been going to the Elysian for years, but haven't gotten around to doing an "official" taster visit. My friends Greg and Alice were in town from Switzerland (they took me to three Swiss breweries and recommended a fourth when I was there earlier this year), and Greg called me from the Elysian. So I grabbed my little notebook and headed over. It was early September, luckily enough -- none of the various Elysian pumpkin beers were ready yet. Phew! Some people love the pumpkin beers. I'm not one of them...

Update! - (10/31/11) - I've been back to the Elysian twice since this post and have tried two small batch wet hop beers. Yum and double yum! The last time I went they had four (!) different pumpkin beers on tap. Yikes. I love Halloween, but this is just too scary for me.

    Rob's Picks
  • Ryezome - 6.2% - hoppy red ale - Floral aroma. Great solid ale with floral hoppiness mixed well with the rye. Awesome full body. Could drink this all day.
  • Rapture Heather Ale - Second beer of the apocalypse. Good smooth ale. Very drinkable, but schooner only. Nice mix of maltiness and floral notes, slightly sweet. Lingering bitterness.
  • Trip XI - 8.5% - Farmhouse Ale - Strong rosemary and sage aroma. Bubbly herbal blast. Lingering rosemary and sage flavors, too. A really fun beer. Sour edge balances the herbs quite nicely.
  • Backstage Pale Ale - 5.8% - Great hoppy start. Subtle juniper notes to bready finish. Pretty light on the tongue, too.
  • Bifrost Winter Ale - 7.6% - Nice and light, with a strong bitter finish that lasts and lasts.
  • Bete Blanche - 6.9% - Pretty light on the tongue for a tripel. Good sweetness and alcohol balance. Very drinkable.
  • Nibiru - 7.6% - Yerba Mate Tripel. The first of the Elysian's "12 Beers of the Apocalypse" promotion -- a groovy new beer every month of 2012. This is a decent tripel, with good caramel and alcohol flavors, plus a slight spiciness on the tongue, which I assume is from the tea-like yerba mate. Quite nice, and not at all over the top as I expected. Only drawback is the $5.75 price for a schooner. Goes well with the Veggie BBQ sandwich, too.
  • Trip X - 7.2% - "'72 Eldorado." Single wet hop collaboration with New Belgium. Eldorado hops, hence the clever name. Subtle but strong hop aroma. Solid citrusy hoppiness. Great malty base. A big, beautiful beer. Viva la wet hop!
  • Kama Citra Wet Hop Ale - 6.7% - Good strong hop aroma. It's like a hop party in my mouth, and everyone's invited! Wow. Awesome! Amazingly tangy and citrusy hoppiness. Flavor lasts and lasts.
  • The Wise ESB - 5.9% - Slightly darker than The Immortal. Nice and crisp, good hoppy bite, fine malty balance.
  • The Immortal IPA - 6.3% - Not as overpowering as some northwest IPAs but good. Fairly light on the tongue with good citrusy hops. Hoppiness lingers a nice long time.
  • Avatar Jasmine IPA - 6.3% - Pleasant jasmine aroma and flavor -- a floral taste I actually like. Goes well with the IPA hoppiness -- mellows it out a little.
  • Mens Room Red - 5.6% - Pretty much the same color as The Wise. Great balance of bubbly crispness, nutty maltiness, and bitterness -- any more of one of the three would push it over the edge.
  • Dragonstooth Stout - 7.45% - I've liked this one a long time but haven't had it in a while. Strong coffee and alcohol flavors, hint of chocolate. Good and thick on the tongue. Yum!
  • Loser Pale Ale - 6.5% - A subtle Wise, sort of. Good bitterness, not overpowering, but lingering. Good subtle malty base -- not too strong. Slightly citrusy. Very drinkable, if you like a little bitterness.
    The Rest
  • Peste Chocolate Chili Ale - Fourth beer of the apocalypse. Slight chocolate aroma. Dark chocolate taste quickly followed by spicy chili blast. Heat lingers a long time. Otherwise pretty smooth, somewhat heavy but not too much so. There were other beers I wanted to try, but the spicy heat finished me for the night. Might be interesting to cook with.
  • Fallout Green Cardamom Pale Ale - 7.75% - Third beer of the apocalypse. Fun sweet cardamom aroma. Nice cardamom flavor that mixes well with the hops. Maybe a bit too light on the tongue -- almost, but not quite, watery. Really smooth, though, and good hop bite. Bit better as it warms up, alcohol edge starts to come through. But at $6.75 a pint, I won't be ordering any more.
  • Bete Noel - 8.2% - Very sweet, with a bit of a Belgian edge, but just a little too sweet for me. Wouldn't be able to drink a whole pint.
  • Idiot Sauvin IPA - 6.3% - Big hops! Pretty floral, with lots of bitterness. Good malty base. A little too floral for me, though.
  • Ursa Minor Berliner Weisse - 3% - Interesting. Tart, cider-like/lemonade flavor. Lemonade flavor lingers quite a while. Good summer beverage, I suppose.
  • Trip IX - 6.3% - "Down Under IPA." Golden color. Strong citrus aroma. Very citrusy taste. Not particularly crisp. Not quite watery, but close. The citrus flavor reminded me of grapefruit, which I'm not a big fan of.
Elysian Brewing
Elysian Brewing taster sword -- Seattle, WA

No more beer posts in the wings at the moment. Maybe I'll have to write another outdoorsy post, instead.
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15 Sep 2011 - 3:26:26 PM

It's been too long since my last non-beer post, so I've decided to summarize the mountains I've gone up this summer. You'd think I'd have a huge list, with me being unemployed and all, but there are only four. I could have bagged several more, but plans didn't always work out as well as I would've liked. Four isn't bad, though, and three of them are in Washington's Hundred Highest. So that's something.

First was Cashmere Mountain (8501'). During Seattle's mostly miserable July, I headed east with my friends Ira and Erik to Leavenworth, where it was just partially cloudy -- perfect hiking weather. It was a long day, 17 miles and about 6000' of elevation gain. There was a good trail for most of the way, and the off-trail part was pretty easy, especially with the large sections of snow. Fun scrambly bit at the end, as well. We took the gully full of loose rock on the way down -- glad we didn't go up that thing -- which may or may not have saved a little time. Made it back to town for dinner and a beer at Gustav's before they closed, which was nice.

Cashmere Mountain
Cashmere Mountain (8501')

pretty flower
Pretty flower by the trail

Next was Eldorado Peak (8868'). The original plan Erik and I had was to haul up overnight packs to Eldorado high camp with a rack and glacier set-up in order to climb Eldorado Needle, as well. In the end, we were feeling too lazy and just decided to tag Eldo as a day trip, although we did camp at the trailhead to get an early start hiking up. There were some clouds moving in, but we tagged the summit before they enveloped it about half an hour later. Good timing. It eventually cleared up again by the time we got back down to the car.

Eldorado Peak (8868')

Eldo summit
Erik on the summit

Argonaut Peak (8453') was third. Went with Toby, and this time we actually camped along the way at a nice site right along Ingalls Creek. We did a leisurely hike up with perhaps too many long breaks. The slide alder portion was unpleasant but thankfully short. The down-scrambling took a while, however, so we got back to our camp a lot later than we expected. These things always seem to take longer than we assume. Oh well. It was a good trip.

Argonaut Peak
Argonaut Peak (8453')

Last and least (elevation-wise, that is) was McClellan Butte (5162'), along the I-90 corridor. I'd been meaning to do this hike for years but never got around to it. Ira asked me if I was up for a relatively easy hike mid-week, and this is what we decided on. He'd never been up McClellan Butte, either, as it so happened. There's a newly built trail (lots of surveyor's tape still around), and it's really quite nice. Apparently the old trail was pretty muddy. So yeah, good little hike with some nice views from the top.

McClellan Butte
Ira on top of McClellan Butte (5162')

So what to write about next? A bike ride? Some other hike? Climbing? Yet another brewery? Decisions, decisions.
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3 Sep 2011 - 3:10:53 PM
Skagit River Brewery

I usually complain about being behind on brewery posts, but this time I'm going to complain about being behind on my outdoors posts. I've bagged a couple peaks this summer but have yet to write up anything about them. On one of those, a friend and I stopped by the Skagit River Brewery both before and after going up Eldorado (we camped at the trailhead to get an early start to the day trip), and so I was able to try all but one of their beers on tap. The skipped one, their lager, I'd had a week before at a restaurant in Bellingham. I didn't take notes at the time, as you'll no doubt notice from my brief review of it, but I didn't find much there to take notes on, unfortunately. Ah well.

    Rob's Picks
  • Skagit Brown Ale - 4.5% - Nice crisp roasted barley flavor and slight caramel sweetness. Pretty smooth.
  • Gospel IPA - 7.4% - Good strong hop attack. Initial floral hoppiness, then it diversifies. Good lingering taste. Nice light malty base. Strong floral/citrus aroma, too.
  • Farm to Market English Bitter - 5% - Really nice. Great malty/hoppy balance, and the flavor keeps you thinking, and drinking.
    The Rest
  • Highwater Porter - 5.2% - Dark color and quite bubbly. Good roasted barley and coffee flavors, but hoppy undertone is kinda floral, which is an odd mix.
  • Jenny's Scottish Ale - 7.8% - Nice darker color like the brown and good malty flavor, but sweetness is like cough syrup.
  • DelRio Lager - Kind of blah, not very interesting.
Skagit River Brewery
Skagit River taster paddle, with sunglasses -- Mt Vernon, WA

So now I need to catch up on the peakbagging posts. There's one more brewery post, too, but I won't complain about that...
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