Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This week's props go to...

I think the highlight of my job is that I often get to see some really awesome feats of human performance. That's what turns me on about sports (no, not like that). Every so often you get to see something that makes you stop and think, "Damn, I can't even imagine how good that dude (or gal) feels right now." Oftentimes these are scenes that are syndicated across the globe and replayed in 37 different languages. Other times, they fly under the radar (as is usually the case in triathlon). So, starting this week, I'll be giving up some props to those who truly deserve it. Starting with:

BRYAN RHODES: You'd be hard pressed to find a nicer guy in the multisport world. He loves to make friends with everyone and he is one of the most gregarious people you'll ever meet. And this weekend he finally got the big win. Props to Rhodsey for hauling ass at Ironman Canada.

ANDY POTTS: No, Potts didn't win at Chicago this weekend -- he actually wasn't even close. But it's what he told me after the race that earned him his props. I asked Andy how he was planning on tapering for Kona and his response was, "By racing in Dallas." Yes, Potts will be racing the U.S. Open a mere six days before attempting his first Ironman. You know how many people are crazy enough to try that? Just one. And his name is Andy Potts. Props to him.

BRIAN AND BECKY LAVELLE: The sport's third-fastest couple (after Greg and Laura Bennett and Emma Snowsill and Craig Walton) had a huge weekend to say the least. Becky got a much-needed win in the Lifetime Fitness Tri Series and Brian had his first truly solid race in quite a while. He showed he's back after battling a string of injuries and he's got big plans for the rest of the reason. Props to both of them.

MATTY REED: This weekend, Reed demonstrated a level of craziness on par with Mr. Potts. Just five days removed competing in the Olympics, a jet-lagged Reed led the field off the bike in Chicago and went on to finish fourth. Matty is one tough dude and for that, props to him.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beer review of the century: Tourmaline Trippel Ale

My weekly reviews of brew started when I began a quest to find THE beer. You know, the beer I could enjoy on a hot day or cold; in rain or shine; in the desert or on the beach. The beer that no matter what kind of day I was having, I could toss one (or three back) and feel instant gratification.

Alas, about a year after beginning my journey, I think I've found it. About two weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite local breweries, The La Jolla Brewhouse to sample their new Belgian Trippel Ale. I was impressed, to say the least, but it certainly didn't blow me away. I told my friend and drinking partner that it probably cracked my top-ten list, but it certainly wasn't podium worthy.

This weekend, while in need of some midday refreshment, my girlfriend and I opted to give the Pacific Beach Ale House (in, you guessed it, Pacific Beach, San Diego) a try. They had just recently unveiled their own Belgian Trippel Ale (or Tripel, depending on what part of Belgian you swear aligence to), coined the Tourmaline Trippel.

Now, a trippel is exactly what it sounds like. It's an ale three times over. The monks who originally created it merely called it "strong" ale, which is really all the description you need. It's an ale with extra hops, extra malt and oh yes, extra alcohol. You'll find trippels ranging anywhere from 6-12 percent alcohol. The Tourmaline Trippel tipped the scales at roughly 8.1 percent. Not bad for 1 o'clock on a Saturday.

While the Tourmaline was light in color (similar faded gold of an IPA), it doesn't skimp on flavor. The flavors are big, bold and hard to miss. The hops hit you first and burst with an onslaught of fruit. You'll get a relatively strong hint of banana and even a little citrus. Before the bitterness of all that hop has a chance to set in, the Belgian malt does its job and the finish is as smooth as a Mexican Cerveza. Think of it as a strong IPA that stays smooth all the way to your stomach.

Now, the bartender at the PB Ale House didn't know much about the nutritional content, but I can promise you it's anything but light. Trippels usually contain 190-220 calories per 12 ounces, putting it on a shortlist of ultra-heavy brews. There may be a few porters that top it, but it's certainly in a rare class when it comes to packing on the pounds. Luckily for me, I only had three, which will only take about 20 miles on the bike to burn off. It would be worth a 100-mile ride just to have a few. It's that good. If you find yourself in San Diego, don't pass it up.