Entering the Twilight zone

Twilight Summer Ale

There's nothing better than beer for flushing out the headgear on a hot summer day.

Ack. Ninety-something outside and only a little less than that inside. By the time I got done shoveling out the VeloBarrel this afternoon I decided I was not interested in cycling of any sort, especially as practiced by me. So instead I rode the Vespa down to the grog shop for a sixer of Deschutes Brewery’s Twilight Summer Ale.

This tasty brew, a seasonal beer available from May through September, will take the rabies out of the maddest of dogs beset by Englishmen in the noonday sun. Herself likes one on a hot day, too, so we’ll put a couple in the freezer for 10 minutes and then hit ’em hard, like a hungry Hemingway chugging a distingué at a Parisian café. Well, I do, anyway. She nurses hers as if Prohibition is coming back.

I like the Green Lakes Organic Ale too, though I was not impressed by my first encounter with the brew. My second, however, followed the first leg of the Adventure Cycling Association‘s 2010 Southern Arizona Road Adventure, when a new friend and I had a dram apiece at the Velvet Elvis in Patagonia. Something about 48 miles of cycling and 3,400 feet of vertical through sun-splashed, wind-whipped southern Arizona, I guess. Whatever — I was an instant convert and have remained one.

Not much action in Le Tour today and even less tomorrow, the second rest day. Tuesday brings the Alps, and thus the pain; all the big shots vow to attack without mercy, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

Well, that would be refreshing, wouldn’t it? So far it’s the officers doing all the talking and the grunts doing it hand to hand, just like in real life.

17 Responses to “Entering the Twilight zone”

  1. Khal Spencer Says:

    The temperature was down in the seventies today in the Jemez Mts. and the fire seems to have subsided to the point where the air looks like air again. Well, there ain’t a lot left to burn in some parts. So I did another ride up there out to Las Conchas, where the fire started.

    Its pretty dramatic and one can see how the fire moved through the forest towards BombTown. Some of the mountains south of NM4 look absolutely blackened whereas areas with previous burn scars clearly did not get as hot and terrible. Apparently the fire on the south side of NM-4 was the worst kind of crown fire during that first day and it looks it.

    ‘Twill will be in someone else’s lifetime before that forest comes back.

    But that ride did make me eligible for a Victory Beer and some white wine when I got back. Mainly because I managed to do the entire climb without shifting into my fat slob brand (pat. pending) 34-28 bailout gear. Bring on those Alpine climbs…..the fat bastard is ready!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      K, it’s just sad what’s happened down there. Now I see the chile crop is apparently going to be smaller than normal because of the drought. One thing after another; que triste es la vida.

      I’m going to get out for my own long, hilly ride early tomorrow morning before the heat kicks in. I have a couple deadlines to flog, but I do better on those when I’m cracking a bad sweat anyway.

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        Grass is already growing in the burn area at Valles Caldera, so there is good news, at least if you are a cow (or a grass-fed beef eater). Meanwhile, still no rain. Between the torched mountains, scary-clear skies where there should be thunderheads, and the chile crop crisis, I’m feeling like we are living in a Rod Serling short story on climate change. This is…the Twilight Zone.

        I’m afraid it will be more than political scorched earth these GOP folks inherit.

  2. barry Says:

    Ah yes Patrick… it is a fine day to drink beer! But then every day is, if in the correct frame of mind. It’s trying to get hot here again. Yesterday I had to wear arm warmers (in July….in North Carolina!!!) on our little 30ish mile ride on wet roads made a little wetter as we rode. I should have ridden today, but the garden needed a few chores performed- such as planting some peas for late summer pleasure. I even found another couple potatoes that I missed recently. Into the pot they go.

    So for my suffering (feeding mosquitoes is hard, thirsty work) I’ll enjoy some ales myself.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Barry, we haven’t been gardening, but some of our friends and neighbors have, and we’re sucking wheel on them big-time. Plus we have a couple killer farmers’ markets within cycling distance. I’m always willing to trade cartoon money for carrots. But skeeters I can do without.

  3. BenS Says:

    95 degrees and 90% humidity for Evanstons Super Week event. 14 hours of wrangling volunteers (high scool women basketball volley ball and cheer team). Great kids, but a local brew will not make me feel alive.

    A nice chilled white and falling asleep watching the Tour will have to do. 6:45 ride tomorrow.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ben, 6:45 sounds about right. It’s only 70 or so here by then. I’m constitutionally unable to arise and ride at that hour due to my Gaelic ancestry, but I expect to be headed for the foothills by 9 at the latest.

      I rode in Palmer Park the other day and was surprised to find the trails in such good shape after our short monsoon season. The Guardians of Palmer Park have been busy in there. I was able to ride a couple of bits that have baffled me recently, and it wasn’t because my skills have suddenly improved.

  4. John Dallager Says:

    So….Patrick: Where is the “grog shop” please in Bibleburg that you purchased the afore referenced “Summer Ale” from Deschutes please? I’m a fan of their Inversion (love the hoppiness) and if Herself enjoys it…..I may be in luck with my bride of 41 years!

    Banged out a good hilly 40-miler today with some friends, then followed with some rock moving and grass cutting so as to keep the Colorado vegetable garden and 7600 foot elevation “empire” looking ever sharp for relatives visiting later this weekend.

    C’est possible est Coaltrain????


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      John, you can find the Twilight Summer Ale at Coaltrain. They were a little late to get it — they kept the Red Chair NWPA a little longer than everyone else — but it’s there now. Weber Street Wine & Spirits (712 N. Weber St.) also has it.

  5. Ira Says:

    I’ve got some recovery time going on. Had a plastic fork fail on me last week. Left a substantial amount of DNA on the tarmac, and the guy behind me did a face plant and rearranged his face. So, I think I’ll stick my feet up and enjoy a cold one on the deck. Will it be lager, or ale? Decisions, decisoins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZPDPcE6yas

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ouch, Ira. I know steel forks can (and do) fail too, but it sure seems as though they fail less often. I’m down to one carbon fork, on the Jamis Supernova, and I’m really judicious about where I ride it. Hope you and the guy behind you heal quickly.

  6. Boz Says:

    Upper 90’s here in Duluth (MN, not GA) and the same with the humidity. Carrier is running non-stop.

    Hitting some Lienie’s Summer Shandy and Sam Adams Summer Wheat in celebration of an un-planned summer vacation courtesy of the Teabaggers I worked for. I should able to pile on the base miles I missed this spring.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Damn, Boz … did this just happen, or did you mention it earlier and it somehow slipped my mind? Any prospects? Besides malt and mileage, that is?

      I look at JournalismJobs.com from time to time and hoo-boy, that is so not encouraging. Time was a scribe could pretty much roam the country at will, moving from newsroom to newsroom like a bad case of the crabs. No longer. Hope you have good luck finding a soft spot to land.

      • Boz Says:

        I started this job 13 months ago and was laid off this last Friday. Unemployment for my enjoyment, at least for a few weeks. Luckily, the Mrs. is gainfully employed at long last, and our nut is pretty easy to crack. BTW, just stopped and picked up some Twilight on your recommendation. Several local shops stock it, so I’m surprised I hadn’t sampled it yet. Late afternoon on the porch can’t come soon enough!

  7. High Plains Drifters Says:

    Once a summer I’ll hunt down a hefeweizen, to try to relive my days in Germany, but it’s never quite the same. And that’s not a bad thing. Trying to force the past into the present is a recipe for disaster, be they culinary, Oedipal, or anything in between.

    I had a legitimate, clinical addiction to hefeweizen back in the day. Our town had a largish beer garden, the Gartenlaube, that was popular with the biker crowd, of the motorized type. Not talking Harley and muscle bikes — the German biker scene was all about crotch rockets and touring bikes, either of which required the pilot to suit up in padded leather from head to toe. Instead of a sleeveless t-shirt and no helmet, the German biker dressed as though reentry from space was a possibility on each ride, with enough nonputrescible cow hide to survive a half-mile skid on Autobahn pavement as the traveler’s velocity fell from 180 kph to a complete rest.

    The high carbonation level of a proper hefeweizen meant that this beer had to be bottled, never kegged. And the Germans, God bless them, are nothing if not a people who do things the right way, with the smallest detail of ones daily existence the result of years of engineering research and practice. Again, this highly carbonated brew would bubble right over your glass, like champagne poured over Pop Rocks, unless you poured it just right. A very tall, slender glass, nearly a foot high, was the official tool for drinking a weizen. Often it had a swirl to the glass pattern that spiraled down, not unlike Miller’s poorly conceived vortex bottle or Lynskey Helix tubing, I guess to coax the beer to settle down to the bottom and not erupt in a volcano of beer froth.

    But here’s where the art came into the pour. The glass was laid on it’s side, with the mouth hanging over the edge of the bar by half an inch. In a high volume beer garden, dozens of glasses would be positioned as such side by side. The bartender would pop the cap off of the bottle, and in one swift motion, torpedo the bottle into the glass, lift the glass to an upright position via the bottle, and then slowly raise the inverted bottle in the glass in order to keep the top (now the bottom) of the bottle about a quarter-inch below the level of the beer in the glass.

    Still with me? How’s this:

    The beer was poured until all but a quarter inch was left in the bottle, and then the beer in the glass was allowed to rest for about a minute. The bartender worked his way down the bar, pouring two at a time, one with his left, one with his right, until he had poured a dozen or so. Then he come back to the first one, swirl the last bit of beer to pick up the yeast that had settled, and poured it into the glass. Finally, five minutes after you had ordered, your beer was ready.

    There was one more little trick to this summer beer. I still haven’t figured it out and have only been able to replicate it once, but there was something about the specific gravity of this weizen. It was typically served with a slice of lemon, and occasionally a lemon seed would drop to the bottom of the glass. Because of the high carbonation, the surface tension or something would make bubbles stick to the lemon seed, and eventually it would rise in the glass. When it broke the surface, the bubbles were released and the seed would float it’s way back to the bottom of the glass, only to repeat the process. Sometimes, we’d order one more beer than there were people in our group, so we’d have this beer glass version of a lava lamp for entertainment. Someone would inevitably say, that’s alcohol abuse, wasting a beer like that. As if … this was Germany … where there’s always one more beer waiting for you.

    To simpler times.

  8. Service Course Velo Says:

    If you can get your mitts on the Bachelor ESB, it’s a great post ride, hot weather beer. The colder the better.

    • Boz Says:

      Tough to get around here. Most of their other beers are available within walking or biking distance of my place. Handy…

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