Sunday, April 12, 2009

Surprising beer find - New Belgium's Trippel

When it comes to beer, I swear by Beck's Pilsner and Stella Artois (at the moment). When it came time to replenish my stock last week, I got that "it's-time-for-a-change" feeling. A little bit of change to coincide with the change of season... not unlike an untimely rash to match unwashed bargain bin clothes.

I found myself gravitating to offerings from New Belgium at my local liquor store. Maybe it's the fancy bottle artwork which makes you think their art department has a huge surplus of red orange crayons. But I digress...

Choices choices. Fat Tire? Been there done that. No matter what anyone says it still tastes like soil. Good soil with nuts and malt. Soil that you would want to drink. Tickles my brain at the prospect of twisting the saying "Eat my dust" to "Drink my dirt". But I digress again...

In the end, I took a 6 bottle pack of New Belgium's Trippel. I have tried a triple ale so why not. To the uniniated, a trippel is named for a strongest ale in their lineup. This beer kicks in at 7.8% ABV (alcohol by volume). That is almost 50% more that your typical beer. A good bang for your buck alcohol-wise. (or -vise, whatever).

The taste is surprisingly good. Then again I'm a trippel first-time. For all I know, this might be mediocre for Belgium-style trippels. Surprised at the amount of carbonation. This beer fizzes more than it foams. This gives it a fresh and crispy note. Drank it straight from the bottle so no comment on the color. I got vanilla-like hit for its body. The finish is long with a hoppy sort of aftertaste which I like. Interestingly enough, the flavor changes the warmer it gets. Light and crisp initial punch gave way to a more caramel-like smoothness as it warmed. There is another flavor there that I want to describe but have no comparable food experience yet to describe it. The beer is probably too complex to describe in the 3-bottle I've had so far. I think this beer would go well with strong cheese. Something with a pungent flavor to cut through the beer's complexity.

Overall a pretty good beer for insightful conversations. Don't chug it. Savor it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Back again

It's been months since I last posted. I never even followed-up my "best of the 90's albums" post. I can list a couple of reasons for the neglect:
  1. I tore the ACL on my left knee and had surgery to reconstruct it. I spent 2 months on crutches and 6 months under physical therapy. This ended any marathon plans for 2008. This is not really a good reason for not being able to blog. Most people will use this idle time to blog but then again, I am not like most people.
  2. We were planning for a wedding. This happened last dec. 23. Wedding planning is like training for marathan with the end result result mostly in the hands of other people.
  3. Nothing worthwhile to blog about. I'm not a microblogger or have feelings of "angst" to push me to blog.
Neglecting my blogging does give me enough material at hand to successively post entries (not that I'm really going to do it).

I'm obviously rationalizing my neglect in an effort to exorcise my i-didn't-do-it-so-i-feel-weird feelings. Blogging is not a strong compulsion (yet) but it has enough gravity to be associated with "neglect".

We'll see if this post gets a follow-up. Maybe being newly married will change my blogging habits.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Best albums of the 1990's (part 1)

I realized that I've amassed quite a collection of music in my 23 year audiophile life (I got my first Walkman in 1st grade).

With that thought I decided to do a "Best Of" entry to compartmentalize my musings on what I consider "good music." This is all a matter of personal taste. Those who know me well are aware that "personal taste" equals "absolute truth" in my world so try not to flame me. In any case, I hope that you will find an album here that you missed out on and give it a play on the old cassette player. I believe we call them mp3 players nowadays.

Here we go. My top 10 best albums of the 1990's in no particular order. I'll break them up to entries of two each.
Note that I won't include any "Best Of" albums here.

Ace of Base - Happy Nation (US Version)

I discovered this album a couple of weeks before it charted internationally. It has 3 versions. I found the re-released European version with the all-too-ubiquitous single "The Sign" in it.
What drew me to it? The sound
was fresh. Reggae fused with Swedish pop sensibility and sprinkled with techno. This was ABBA on Ecstasy!

Incidentally, it wasn't the
hit singles that I gravitated toward but more to the "techno tracks" such as "Waiting for Magic" and "Dancer in a Daydream".

Ace of Base is once again active but less one member, namely Malin Berggren. She was the main face and voice of the band
in the 90s. Personally, with her voice out of the mix, this Ace of Base comeback will lead nowhere.

Give this album a listen. Not just the tracks that every 30-ish person knows but also the ones in between.
Fillers you might call them but they certainly played the role well. This album wasn't once the best-selling debut
album of all time for nothing.

Listen to: Living in Danger, Waiting for Magic, Dancer in a Daydream and yes, do indulge in your secret love for "The Sign". I won't tell a soul.

Best listened to: When driving

Watch: Living in Danger live at the 1994 MTV Europe Music Awards.

U2 - Achtung Baby

"Awesome album cover...what artist?" I asked the saleslady at my local department store(Manuela 2). She grabbed the album and read the spine, "Uz... eh..." she said, "no... it's U2". (translated from Filipino).

U2 with a new album? This was news to me. Remember this was the early 90's. It was before public Internet so information was scarce. Heck, it was U2 so I plopped 100 pesos($4 then) for it and took my find home. Put the tape in my bulky Mega-Bass Sony player and listened.


They turned rock techno!

Sure the delayed shimmery chiming guitars where still there but what happened to the overall sound? Bono sounds possessed and is falsetto-happy. The rhythm section is more upfront in the mix. It was radical departure from their old selves. It's way different from the old-school, self-righteous, political U2, but I liked it. No... I really really liked it! My Walkman played this album so many times that i think the magnetic head has memorized it.

Listen to: The Fly, One, Mysterious Ways

Best listened to: In the shower before school or work

Watch: The Fly live from Sydney - Zoo TV Tour

Sunday, February 10, 2008

R.I.P Brother Felix Masson FSC

Linking to Brother Ceci's post on brother Felix's passing.

He will be missed.


Apparently a call to picket at the site saw a couple of folks protesting in sub-zero temps in downtown Minneapolis. I think they call it Project Chanology.

I have no axe to grind against Scientology. I just find the internet movement against the group very interesting.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Back to Baroque

Just wanted to post a performance of my favorite J. S. Bach work, the Goldberg Variations, as performed by Glenn Gould.

Along with Miles Davis' Kind of Blue album, it will always be a staple in my music player.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Van Halen Live in Minneapolis 2007

I finally got to see my guitar hero Eddie Van Halen live!

Suffice to say, this is the loudest concert I have ever attended. Bring earplugs if you decide to watch their 2007 tour.

Compared to the Hagar-era Van Halen I watched on DVDs, the energy of a Roth show is frenetic and balls to the wall rock. No Hagar songs to be heard. It's all DLR Van Halen from the late 70's to 1984.

Eddie's guitar was spot on the whole night with a lot of old-school shredding. It was some the fastest shredding I have seem him do. I can't tell for sure but I think he was still using his Peavey guitars with the "Peavey" label taken off.

My only complaint is that the vocal mix wasn't perfect. I can barely hear DLR above the roar of the instruments. It's not a dealbreaker as I never really listened to the lyrics. I had my jaw to the floor almost the whole show and barely had enought time to headbang to the music. The sound coming out of Eddie's guitar is... IMMENSE... pure BROWN SOUND!

Awesome concert. I'd watch it again.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Great 2007 Wimbledon Finals

Finished a 5 mile morning run outside... saw the start of the Wimbledon Finals. Federer vs. Nadal.

Finished a 30 minute gym session... saw the start of the 2nd set. Wow, a first set tie-break!?! Hmmm this is going to be interesting.

Finished breakfast. Nadals wins the 2nd set. I've never seen Federer pushed this hard in the finals before. I've watched every Wimbledon finals since 1990. Federer won his first in 2003. I was onshore in Minneapolis then.

Tie-breaker again in the 3rd set! Nadal is no pushover chasing after shots that looked like winners. I am not surprised, given that the French Open is the most exhausting tournament. I am surprised that Nadal is showing excellent feel on his volleys.

Finished a quick shower and grocery. Nadals wins the 4th set 6-2! This has got to be Roger's most difficult Wimby.

Ate lunch and watched the final set at home. Roger saves himself more than once from break point down 15-40 by putting his fast serve to good use. Roger finds his 5th gear and focus. Nadal loses his nerve and the match. I'm still amazed by Federer's shot-making ability and acuracy. Federer wins with an overhead smash. Borg shows his approval.

Easily one of the best finals I've seen in recent years (but not the best match). Topping this are:
A. The epic 1996 US Open quarter-finals between Sampras and Corretja that lasted more than 4 hours.
B. Goran Ivanisevic's emotional Wimby finals win against Pat Rafter in 2001.

U.S. Open on August 27!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

KG to LA?

Will these two guys be in the same golden uniform next season? Bittersweet for me if it happens.