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Beer:30… Hinterland Pale Ale.

Straight from Green Bay Wisconsin comes Hinterland, with their distinctive pint sized four packs of libations. From the first time this beer made an appearance at my local store, I was intrigued. I do enjoy pale ales, and as with many craft beer fans it was my first jump into the craft market. A pale ale was my gateway beer, a Sierra Nevada. You always remember your first I suppose. Anyway, enter Hinterland’s version:

The ale pours a beautiful shade of orange, with a nice citrus hop aroma. This beer looks very nice in the glass, better than in the photo above. Once you start to drink it, it is good. But something is missing. It has a very watery feel to it, with a subdued hop flavor. No real hop bite. Granted, this beer is not advertised as a hop monster, but I expected more hops overall with this one. It is a decent beer that is easy to drink, but I feel my money can be better spent elsewhere. If only it tasted as well as it looks…

If you are in the mood for a mellow, decent, but not stellar pale ale, then this beer is for you. There are more beers of this style on the market though that make it hard for me to buy this one again. According to their website they have quite a variety of styles on the market, I might have to go another route with Hinterland…

On a side note, anyone remember their “Gateway” craft beer?

Cheers!

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Just Riding Along… Banjo Brothers.

The Minehaha bag from Banjo Brothers.

While waiting for a certain rear rack to come back into stock, I turned my consumer attention towards saddlebags for my Brooks B17. Saddlebags seem to be a great option for commuting, and they also seem pretty handy for bike camping. Unfortunately, not too many companies throw out a decent, large quality bag without breaking the bank. That was my thought, until I stumbled onto Banjo Brothers.

Banjo Brothers carries quite a variety of bicycle related bags, including their Minehaha line, which focuses on the older style, canvas bag. This is their “medium” model, which holds 650 cubic in. or 10L if you prefer the metric system. Large enough for a couple spares, my camera, some tools, and some spare clothes. With room for more. I feel that this bag with my small, front panniers on a rack will give the Troll a great bike packing setup for some overnight trips this summer. Now if only I can figure out what to do with my tent…

Spacious...

What sets Banjo Brothers apart from other companies in my opinion though, is their customer service. After receiving my bag in just a couple days, I realized that I was missing the seatpost strap. After a quick “tweet” letting them know the issue, I had my missing link practically the next day. Super fast! You normally don’t get service like that very often.

If you are in the market for a canvas bag, check them out. Quite a bit cheaper in price, but way above and beyond in customer service and quality. They definitely have my business in the future!

Just keep spinning…


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Beer:30… North Peak Vicious.

North Peak Brewing Company's Vicious

Every other summer my family takes a trip to northern, lower peninsula Michigan, just outside of Traverse City. This area is known for it’s multiple clear lakes, sand dunes, the Great Lake, and surprisingly quite a few craft beers. I am not really sure what is going on up north, but Michigan is turning out quite a bit of quality beer. During our last trip, I discovered North Peak, and really enjoyed their versions of some staples in my diet. Seeing the company name again on a recent family outing, this beer made the journey back to Milford for an official write up. Enter the Vicious Wheat IPA…

Wait a minute, did I just say a wheat IPA? Yes, yes indeed.

But before that, check out the packaging. I am a sucker for clever marketing/packaging, and this beer makes me think of good times just by looking at it. Almost looks like a Red Stripe right? Right off the bat, that makes me like this beer. But this beer is more than just it’s almost trademark infringing look, once poured into a glass you will see why.

The beer pours with a nice, fast forming head that is stickier than I was expecting, especially due to it’s reddish/amber hue. The head dissipates leaving a little bit of lacing, and some subtle aromas start to hit your nose. Scents of citrus hops slightly, with an earthy wheat smell to it. Not the most fragrant IPA that I have ever had, but this is a beer tasting, not a beer smelling. No negative points there. Once you start to drink it, you realize that this is a keeper. Smooth, smooth wheat flavors, with a tiny sweet malt touch balance the scale with the 72 IBUs, to give this beer a very minimal hop character. The hops are there, just not choking out the other flavors like some IPAs. You almost forget that this is an IPA, but the bit of hops are a subtle reminder. Very interesting, and I have to say I was reaching for a second.

This beer has been one of my favorites, and I will definitely be buying more of it. One of the smoothest, easiest drinking beers that I have ever had, and just in time for my trip up north to sit by a cabin on a lake, watch the sunset, and drink good beer. Welcome the newest beer into my top 5.

Well done North Peak, check out their site here.

Cheers!


Just Riding Along… Enter WordPress.

After using Blogger for quite some time, I finally hit the point where I needed to move on.  With their new layout, I could not get into the flow of things, and since I have been contemplating using WordPress for a while, the time seemed to be right to make the switch.  Thankfully, it has been a bit easier than I thought it would be.

Thanks for the start Blogger, it’s not you it’s me.  Well, actually, it is you.  But anyway…

Thanks for reading this far, please bear with me as I learn this new system.

Just keep spinning…

 

 


Brand New Cyclist…

The past couple days have been quite the whirlwind, due to my second child being born! I still cannot believe that he is here already, and now comes the adjustment period in life where we all figure out how to fit everything in. After a few days off from any sort of physical activity, I got out on a trail run, which I think I will be doing quite a bit of that to keep my activity level up. Now I start the countdown of when he can come for a ride in the bike trailer.

At this point though, all is well with the world.

Just keep spinning…