Saturday, June 17, 2017


 This spring has flown by.  From selling our house to buying another, busy times at work, Joseph finishing the fifth grade and joining the swim team, a great vacation to Maine, and of course all the wonderful beer along the way.

The first I'll mention is Narrow Gauge out of the St. Louis area.  Thanks to Lisa and Rick (my profession beer mules) for bringing me a few crowlers back with you.
These guys have quickly made a name for themselves in just one year, even being named the best new brewery in Missouri.  After having this IPA, I can see why.  I know a lot of people are jumping either on or off the NE IPA craze, but I love it (when done correctly.)  This is done to perfection.  Some haze from the massive amount of hops used, huge citrus aroma and flavor, balanced nicely with the right amount of bitterness to keep it from being too sweet.  Honestly, it reminds me of  Pulpit Rock IPA, and that is a very good thing.  I have another in the fridge that I will be enjoying very soon.
 Sometimes, when life is insane, the best thing to do is get away with the family for a bit, and that's what we did.  The three of us took an amazing trip to Maine, spending our time in the Bar Harbor area and exploring Acadia National Park.

The scenery was absolutely incredible, unlike anything I've seen before.  The rocky shores were stunning, and it's always great to be by the ocean.  Of course fresh Lobster, crab, and haddock was on the menu daily while we were there.

However, I wasn't impressed with the local beer scene.  These NE breweries are getting a lot of hype, but I'll take our Iowa beers over most of what I could find in the Bar Harbor area.  Since I'm a nice guy, I won't list the so so breweries I encountered.

 Instead, I will list a few notables.  I have to start with Maine Beer Company.  This is a very hyped brewery so I really wanted to try them.  While I was there, I had 2 of their beer and brought back a 3rd.  The guy at the store told me "Lunch" was the best beer he ever had, so of course I had to try it.  Well, it wasn't close to the best beer I've ever had, but it was a very good beer.  A nice, clean IPA, that was well balanced and brewed with skill.  I would certainly buy this beer again and again, but to say it's even in the realm of best beer I ever had, would be a big stretch.

Peak Organic Brewery was the other highlight for me, with The Juice and Crush being the beers I'll remember.  Both solid IPA's with loads of citrus aroma and flavor, and more bitterness than I expected.  That also made them very easy to drink, and the few I brought home will be great to enjoy on a hot Iowa night.

We had a night stay in New Hampshire before flying back, so I made one last stop at a local store to bring back a few more beers.  Unfortunately, I only bought single cans, but I sure am glad I at least bought some.  Ransack the Universe from Collective Arts Brewing out of Canada was actually the best beer that I bought while I was there (even though I enjoyed it back home.)

This is a brewery that I will seek out whenever I travel.  I was immediately hit with loads of citrus, mango, and orange aroma when I opened the can.  The flavor matched perfectly with the aroma, and was dare I say "juicy."  It was also extremely well balanced both with the malt profile and the perfect amount of bitterness.  This beer was fantastic.  I also recently drank IPA #2 from them and it was nearly as good.

I'll even give an honorable mention to Hose Krusher APA from Strange Men Brewing.  Unfortunately the bottle I had was flat, but it was another well balanced beer with great aroma.  Hopefully I can join these guys in the future to brew (and drink) some beer with them.

I have a few more random NE beers to try that I've brought back with me and a few crowlers of Pulpit Rock's Loopy Lynn (possibly my favorite DIPA of all time) that I'll be enjoying soon and while they are fresh.  I plan on enjoying them even more on my new backyard patio while the dogs run around our big yard.  Until next time.  Follow me on Twitter: @Crinkletalk
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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Beer Art

 Karben4 out of Madison, WI may just have the greatest label of all time with their Fantasy Factory IPA, and the beer's not bad either.  I've heard a lot about this beer, some true, some not.  This beer falls into the hype category.  People have been saying it's super juicy and talking like it's a NE IPA.  It's not.  What it is, is malt heavy, wonderfully balanced with the hop bitterness, and a fantastic citrus aroma.  This beer was not at all what I was expecting from all the "juicy" descriptions I've read about it.  That being said it is a fantastic IPA that I would buy again and again.  Before NE IPA's came around this is exactly what I would search for in an IPA.  I'm glad I have family in Madison so I can get fresh Fantasy Factory on a regular basis.  Cheers Karben4!!  Nice work.
 A few more first time beers for me (also with great can art) come from Chicago's Pipeworks Brewing.  Thanks to Rick and Lisa for muling me these great beers.  The two most hyped beers are Ninja Vs. Unicorn, and the Mosiac hopped Lizard King.  This is where I'll start.

Mosiac hops may just be the greatest smelling aroma hop there is.  Citrus fruit explodes your senses when you take that first smell (yes, I'm a nerd that smells my beer.)  The great thing about Mosiacs is that they taste like they smell, and there's another citrus fruit explosion when you have that first drink.  After the first few drinks however, that's where single hop Mosiac beers loose me.  The "juicy," fruity flavors subdue and a musty, earthiness of the hops take over tasting like dirty gym socks.  Strange to say that's not necessarily a bad thing, but can get a little overwhemling.  So, for me, I like Mosiac hops, but I prefer them to be blended with other hops to help alleviate some of those musty flavors.  Don't get me wrong, this is still a great beer, and I know there are a ton of people out there that love single hop Mosiac beers.  So, if you're one of those people, you should definitely try this beer.
 Ninja Vs. Unicorn is my clear winner between these two Pipeworks beers.  This Double Pal Ale has more citrus flavor and a little less malt and bitterness that Karben4's Fantasy Factory, while still being incredibly well balanced.  It doesn't have quite the citrus aroma as the two beers above, but it makes up for it by being a  well rounded brew.  This is a dangerously "crushable" Pale Ale.  The danger being it's a Double Pale Ale weighing in at 9% ABV, but drinks like a 5% ABV beer.

I love this beer, and will absolutely be buying more whenever I have the chance.  It was so good, just writing about it makes me want to have another!  This is crazy to me, I've tried beers from two different breweries that actually live up to the hype around them.  That really doesn't happen very often.  Great work Pipeworks,  keep churning out these fantastic beers.  And kudos to your can designers on the great labels.
When you talk about well hyped beers, you can't leave out Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stouts (BCBS.)  The pinnacle of the BCBS line is their Rare, This version of BCBS is aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels for two years before being released.  This is a bottle of 2015 Rare that I've cellared for over a year.  So when my good friend Pat came to town, we took it to Decorah to share with some of my favorite brewers at Pulpit Rock.

First let me say this.  It is a fantastic barrel aged stout.  It's a thick, syrupy, dark beer with sweetness, roasted flavor, and well balanced with the bourbon.  I would buy this beer again, for $10-15 dollars, not for the $60-70 they sell it for.  It's not worth that much.  Too be honest, there's not much difference from the normal BCBS that you can easily buy for $10. This is a beer that has been hyped up for no reason in my opinion.  Yes it's a great beer, and you should try it if you don't pay full price for it, but there are plenty of great barrel aged stouts on the market for a third or even a sixth of the price!
Luckily I was able to share that beer and several others with Pat, and brewers from Pulpit Rock, Mike, Justin, and Bob.  The two things I love about visiting Pulpit Rock is their amazing beer, and getting to see the brewers.  These guys are great, and I consider myself lucky to call them my friends.

I'm also lucky to drink IPA's like Mr. Hoppy Pants (shown to the left.)  I would put their Double IPA's (and many of their other beers) against any brewery in the country, and they will hold their own.  Pat, whose not a big IPA fan loves coming here for the Double IPA's.  Last time it was To Hop and To Hold (let's hope Justin doesn't have to get remarried for them to brew it again,) this time Mr. Hoppy Pants.

I also want to say congratulations to Pulpit Rock on having Saftig being named one of the best beers in America by Men's Journal.  This is a well deserved distinction for them.  While I didn't have any Saftig that day, I did bring home a few crowlers to enjoy.

One last thing I want to mention quickly is Des Moines Beer Week starting June 16th.
I went to the beer fest last year (see earlier entry) and had a blast.  Check out the website so you don't miss out on the fun!

It looks like spring is here, and I now have some great patio beers to enjoy.  What are some of your favorite nice weather beers.  Comment below or on Twitter @Crinkletalk

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Pudgy in My Glass

I don't write many beer reviews anymore.  I know there are many people out there that do a better job of that than I (search Twitter for @iabeerbaron) but sometimes you get the opportunity to try a great beer that you feel the need to share your experience.  I recently wrote about the good people at Pulpit Rock Brewery in Decorah, IA and their first ever bottle release.  Pudgy, an 11.6% abv Imperial Stout aged on 4 different kinds of vanilla beans lived up to the hype.

It poured dark and thick with little to no head.  The smell of vanilla was predominant along with some roasted and chocolate malts.  The mouth feel was creamy and velvety smooth with soft carbonation.  Marshmallow, vanilla and chocolate danced on my taste buds, not competing with each other, more working and blending together.  I had some chilled and allowed some to warm to see how  the flavors differed, and honestly I didn't notice a great deal of difference.  All the same flavors where there, maybe just in a slightly different balance.

In short, if you were lucky enough to get a bottle it's worth keeping and drinking.  I know the thought of trading is tempting when you can get 3-5 other great beers for this one, but I think you'd be doing a disservice to yourself not to enjoy this brew while you can.
Fun with filters

If I'm going to talk about one beer, I might as well talk about two.  My first true attempt at a NE IPA (or NE Iowa IPA) called Hazy Little Thing Called Love was inspired by the IPA's brewed by 515 and Pulpit Rock.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  Don't get me wrong, it's still not in the same league as 515 and PR, but good enough I'm happy to share this beer with others (including the brewers at PR) and not feel ashamed by it.

I used a pound of home grown hops that I split in the beginning and end of the boil (mixture of Nugget and Mt Hood.)  I also mixed several ounces of Mosaic, Galaxy, and Wai-iti hops at the end of the boil, and double dry hopped during and after fermentation.  This resulted in a well balanced IPA with enough bitterness to keep from being too sweet, yet loads of passion fruit, peach, and citrus making it very easy to drink.  I also used a pound of flaked oats during the mash process for the first time.  This added a little haze and smoothed out the mouth feel.  This is a beer I will likely brew again.  Will I make some minor changes?  Sure.  I would probably add more dry hops and try to keep the carbonation on the softer side.

After slowing down on my home brewing the past few years, I've been a bit underwhelmed by my last several brews, and I finally feel like I'm getting back into my brewing groove, if you will.  The pursuit of making the perfect beer still eludes me, but I finally feel I'm back on the right track.  I'm thinking about brewing smaller batches more often so I can keep experimenting with my recipes and improving my brewing skills.  In the meantime, I'm lucky to live in Iowa where there are many fantastic breweries only a short drive from me.  Cheers!

Friday, March 3, 2017


The last few weeks have been incredibly stressful at work, but I was lucky to have a little time on the weekends to spend some time at two of my favorite breweries.  515 in Des Moines and Pulpit Rock in Decorah are straight killing it.  The small but mighty breweries are kicking out some fantastic beers made even more enjoyable by the awesome people that brew them and work there.

Scottie and Whitney keeping everyone hydrated!

I'll start first with Pulpit Rock and their first ever bottle release.  Pudgy, an Imperial Stout aged with vanilla beans.  They had just 400 bottles of liquid goodness for sale on a cold Iowa morning, the day after a snow/ice storm, and the craft beer community still showed up to sample some incredible beer.  1 bottle of Pudgy may not be be enough so luckily the guys at PR (Pulpit Rock) out did themselves with the on tap line up.  A few of the standouts, Stink Juice (Double IPA,) Pillow Talk (fruit beer,) and Sticker Shock (Imperial Stout.) 
The craft beer community has quickly caught wind of the beers these guys are making, and the trading sites are going crazy as everyone tries to secure a bottle from the first release.  I've seen people offering up to 5 great beers just to get a hold of one Pudgy.  You may ask, is it worth it?  Honestly, I can't answer that yet, as I have yet to enjoy my bottle.  I can tell you this, if it's as good as their other great beers like Stink Juice, Loopy Lynn, Sticker Shock, or #Gallagher, it most certainly is.  I'll post an update after I indulge myself on its vanilla goodness.

Check out their Facebook page for more of these great photos from the release courtesy of Erik Dutcher.  And don't just check them out online, if you haven't been there, make a point to go, you will not be disappointed.
When you go to PR, one thing you'll notice is the small space they have.  You'll also notice they recently started a barrel aging program and some of the barrels are tucked away in any spare space they had around the taproom. I noticed this little note on a barrel as I walked past and it made me laugh.  Please don't touch the barrels when you visit, nobody wants to see Bob cry!!

Bob, Justin, and Mike are the brewers at Pulpit Rock.  They are talented, creative, funny, kind, and just plain good people.  This brings me back to a theme from a previous entry when I met with Austin from Single Speed Brewery.  Good people make good beer.  Much like Austin, these 3 are some of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.  They love what they do, and really enjoy great beer.  Don't be afraid to say hello, or bring something special to share with them.  Also, bring some growlers to fill, or buy their crowlers when available, because you are going to want to take their beer with you.  Trust me.
Speaking of good people and good beer, there's plenty of both at 515.  Every time I visit Des Moines I have to stop at 515.  I know there are plenty of other great breweries in the area, but this place keeps drawing me back.  Partly due to beers like Hopitits, OJ IPA, Dart Dodger, and Castaway Porter, and partly because of the people that work and visit there.  They have a little more room that PR,  but every time I go it always seems to be packed.  There's a good reason for that, the beer is that good.

You can get their Milk Stout, Brown Ale, Doppelbock, and many other great beers, but I tend to be drawn towards their hoppy selection.  That is because Barb makes some of the best Pale ales and IPA's around.

Not to be outdone by the guys at Single Speed or Pulpit Rock, Barb, from 515 is again, not only a very talented brewer, but an exceptionally good person.  After chatting over Twitter with her, I was finally able to meet her on this visit.  Again the brewing passion is evident as is her kindness.  She let me try some of Unholy Trinity, an IPA brewed in collaboration with Alluvial and Pulpit Rock, straight from the brite tank.  The beer wasn't for sale yet, or even kegged, but she knew I was interested in trying it and wouldn't be around Des Moines when it hit the tap room.  That is above and beyond what anyone should expect from any brewer or brewery.  Yet it is just another example of what makes places like 515 so great!

515 IPA Flight

Being inspired by all these great IPA's being made in Iowa, I decided to try my own NE IPA, or NE Iowa IPA as we like to call them.  It's a simple mix of Maris Otter and 2 Row Pale malts with an abundance of Galaxy, Mosiac, and Wai-iti hops at the end of the brew and double dry hopped.  I won't pretend it's as good as those IPA's mentioned above, but I do think it's one of the best beers I've made in a long time. so thanks Pulpit Rock and 515 for the inspiration!

If you like to know the people that make your beer, follow them on Twitter (Mike and Barb are very entertaining #SexyRespirator.)
@PRBC_Bob (fun game, finish a growler every time Bob tweets!)
You can also follow me @Crinkletalk

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Move Forward

I've stayed quiet on social media during the election process because I've learned long ago how polarizing politics can be.  I've seen friends, family, co-workers, and even spouses get into huge arguments about their choice for president.  I've seen smart people that I respect say dumb things and act in embarrassing manors and I've kept quiet (while silently screaming) hoping I could ride it out.  I will, in part, continue to do so.  This post is not about what candidate was the better choice, who was wrong or right, who is less evil, who lied more, or who I thought should be president.  That truly doesn't matter.  Don't try to argue with me about the candidates or bash anyone in the comments either, I will delete all of those types of things.  This is about us as a country moving forward and learning from how we got ended up with this years election.

As I see it,we have a few fundamental flaws in our system, and most of them come back to money.  First, I'm disgusted by the amount of money our candidates waste during the election process.  We're talking over $6 billion!!!! With a B!  Can you think of better ways our country could spend that money?  I know I can.  How about a few obvious choices?  Education, infrastructure, and health care.

Our roads and bridges are falling apart, and people in Michigan can't even drink their tap water.  This seems like an obvious choice.

How about educating our kids, I don't think you can ever go wrong there.  Why are we still teaching kids the way we did a hundred years ago?  Are jobs the same? Not even close, so why teach them the same.  Our text books are outdated by the time they are printed.  Let's move to digital, lets have teachers be more interactive. I know when I was in classes and the teachers just droned on and on while writing on the chalk board, I stopped listening, still do. Find a new approach.  Let's invest in our kids and America's future.

Health care.  We should have affordable health care for everyone. Period. Let's stop the lobbyist from determining our prices, and stop the drug companies from advertising.  That doesn't help anyone except the drug companies and drives up our health care costs.  Let's take away the insurance companies abilities to rule our health decisions and put it back where in belongs in the hands of the doctors and the patients that can make informed decisions.

The other big problem I have with the election process is our outdated voting system.  Why can't people vote online?  If American Idol can figure it out, surely our government can.  Why do we need electoral votes?  Why are votes split up by the state?  I get it.  The system was put into place when horses and paper ruled our communication.  We are far from those days, so lets move on.  Just count people's votes as they are, and truly make every vote count.

Bottom line, let's start working together and stop the hate.  What's done is done, bickering won't change anything.  We need to come together to push for reform and make this a better country for all that live in it.  We have to set a good example for our children, show them whining and name calling won't solve anything, but rather calm and open dialogue and compromise is what will move our country towards progress.  Let's move forward.

I think Americans as a whole were/are fed up the the status quo and wanted a change.  We may just have it now.  Is it the right change?  Only time will tell.  As Walt Disney used to say "Keep moving forward."

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Single Speed

 I recently read an article that says the craft beer industry is getting stale.  That couldn't be further from the truth for the Iowa craft beer scene.  Singlespeed Brewing is proof of that.  Not only do they have a great 3 barrel brewery in down town Cedar Falls, but they are embarking on a huge endeavor of opening a 20 barrel brewery in the historic Wonder Bread building in Waterloo.

What makes a brewery successful? Making money, obviously.  Of course there's making great beer, a cool building to hang out in, good food?  Yeah, those all help too, but when it comes right down to it, it's the people that work there.  We all want to go to a place "where everybody knows your name." OK, so maybe we don't need to go to Cheers, but we do want to feel welcomed.  That's more than just good customer service.  It's people that are passionate about their craft and care about what they do and want to share it with everyone that walks through the doors.  That's Singlespeed.

I've met Austin (lead brewer) several times at the taproom.  He always has a smile on his face, and is constantly watching over the room to make sure everyone has a fresh beer in hand.  He also has a steel trap memory, but that's another story.  After having the opportunity to sit down and talk with Austin and fellow brewers Zach and Ryan for my latest podcast  I saw another side of him.  Austin comes across as a super friendly, laid back kind of guy, and he is. He's also protective, analytical, and proud of what he's doing at Singlespeed.  The passion for his job is very evident.  You can tell he wants every detail in the brewery to be perfect, starting with the people that work there, continuing with the beer, and finishing with the tap room experience.  His passion for what he does is infectious, and you can see that in Zach and Ryan with how excited they are about their jobs too.

Dave Morgan (owner) has a good vision for what Singlespeed can be, and he's got the right people in place to make it a reality.  The beer world is starting to take notice.  This month, Beer Advocate Magazine did a story on Singlespeed highlighting how they want to keep beer accessible to all.

Big things are coming from this now small brewery, and I can't wait to see what's next.

So what do you do when old friends come to town for a visit? Share some amazing beers, of course.  After splitting a Trappist Westvleteren 12 (a truly amazing Belgian Quad) we headed to Decorah for some beers at Pulpit Rock Brewery.

Pat enjoyed the fresh Kolsch, we both had the porters, but the stand out of the day for us was To Hop and to Hold.  A double IPA brewed for Justin's (co-lead brewer) wedding.  Luckily for us, they made enough to have at the brewery too.  Justin and Bob are quickly becoming a force in the Double IPA field (not to mention their friendly rivalry with Singlespeed over who makes the best coffee beer.)

Pulpit Rock is another brewery that has an incredible atmosphere.  It doesn't hurt that we were greeted by Tyler, who immediately snatched us the last open table, and got us a few beers to start with.  It was a great afternoon with great people, finished with a fantastic burger from Good Times (a recommendation from Tyler and Mike.)

Brewer Bill has been in the Iowa craft beer scene for a while now, but recently he's become a one man show.  Kickshaw Barrel Works has become his latest endeavor.  You really should check him out on Facebook and Twitter, he's both entertaining and educational.  Hopefully someday I'll be able to share a few beers with him and do a podcast.  Until then, I'll keep drinking what he's making.  By the way, what he's making is damn good beer.

If there's one take away from today's entry, it's good people and good beer go together.  I don't think the craft beer business is going stale, I just think consumers are changing what they're looking for.  We don't need the highest ABV beer, or the craziest concoction like something brewed with beard yeast, we just want good beer from people we can relate to in a comfortable atmosphere.

This is the reason I haven't done a blog or a podcast in a while.  Joseph was in 5-6th grade football, and I was lucky enough to be one of the coaches (offensive and defensive line.)  Most of our weeknights and Sundays were filled with practice and games.  I had a blast working with the kids, and can't tell you how proud I am of the whole team.

Joseph, who was one of the smallest kids in the league was a DT (defensive tackle.) Not usually a spot reserved for small people, but he really held his own.  He took on kids that easily had 30-40 pounds on him, and never complained.  I've never seen him work so hard at something before.  Even the other kids and coaches took notice earning the nickname Guyer from our head coach.  Guyer was a former player of our coach that out worked everyone else to become a solid football player.

I really loved that these kids were just as excited for the person that made a key block as they were for the person that scored the touchdown.  They really became a team, and that is what sports is all about. I was honored to be a part of it.

Don't forget to check out my podcast with the brewers at Singlespeed.

Follow me on Twitter: @Crinkletalk
Until next time.  Cheers!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Some days you never forget

 It's been a crazy few weeks here in Eastern Iowa, work has been busy, lots of overtime, the weather has been nice than humid than nice than humid, family gatherings, beer releases, and pushing myself to my physical limits doing my first ever 5K.

Let's start with the Blasen family's 18th annual golf outing.  This was my second year attending, and I took along Joseph who not only drove a golf cart for the first time, but also golfed for the first time.  It was a fun day spending time with family that we don't see very often.  We watched my dad and his brother hang out together during the round of golf, we spent time with my sisters and brothers in-law, and maybe the highlight was seeing my cousin Rick walk into the club house on his own two feet.  You may remember from my earlier entry that Rick was in a terrible car accident a few months ago.  In true Rick fashion, he has exceeded everyone's expectation for his recovery.  Working hard, and staying positive the whole time.  He is truly an inspiration to me.
 This week I was in Decorah and had an hour to kill, so naturally I went to Toppling Goliath for a beer.  I lucked out, because they had this barrel aged monster Term Oil 6-B on tap.  This was a 12.5% ABV barrel aged stout that was very well balanced.  Brewmaster Mike is an expert at barrel aged beers, and it shows in this stout.
It reminded me of a Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, but I thought is was even better.  I loved the silky chocolate notes that hit the palate first, followed up with some subtle roast malt characters, and finished nicely with the bourbon and barrel flavors.  One of the biggest problems I've seen with the BA (barrel aged) beers lately is the lack of restraint on the bourbon flavor that dominates the beer making it difficult to enjoy.  This was not the case with Term Oil.  It was extremely well balanced, and I'm glad I had a chance to enjoy this very limited brew before it was gone.  Cheers Mike!  Well done.
 Just down the road from TG is the new kid on the block, Pulpit Rock.  Open for nearly one year, this 7 barrel brewery has quickly been making a name for themselves in the Iowa craft beer scene.  I had the chance to sit down with General Manager, Tyler, and both Co-Head Brewers, Justin and Bob, share a few beers and record a podcast.  After spending some time with the guys it was evident why they are becoming such a popular brewery.  Quite simply they love what they do, and they do it well.
Pictured is there flagship beer, Saftig.  This is a super "crushable" IPA.  A simple grain bill helps highlight the citrus and fruity hop flavor and aroma.  It's very easy to see why craft beer lovers are clamoring to drink this IPA.  While this IPA is their best known beer, they like to brew a wide varieties of beers, and will be expanding on their beer styles even more in the near future.  From Bocks to English Milds, Belgian style brews, and even vanilla aged stouts, Justin and Bob  show no style is off limits.  They are creative and talented brewers that have found the perfect place to showcase what they have to offer.
 Shorty after we finished our podcast, a black cloud of death moved over the brewery.  A fast moving, strong storm blew in sending sideways rain and knocking down trees and the power in the process.  Here you see bartender/brewer Keith lighting some candles so we could all have another beer while we waited for the storm to pass.
Saturday, August 20th Pulpit Rock will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary.  Bob assured me they will make it worth the trip that weekend.  Several new and special releases and a free hog roast will be a few of the highlights of the day.  If you haven't been to the brewery yet, this is the weekend to go!  Below is a link to the podcast.  Thanks again to Tyler, Bob, and Justin for joining me for an awesome podcast!  #StinkJuice

 As many of you know I have Cerebral Palsy. It makes my life a little more difficult than the average person.  I get tired more easy, my body is always tight, and I have poor balance to name a few things.  This spring I was feeling worse than normal, and my blood pressure was sky high.  I knew I needed to make a lifestyle change so I could be a part of my families life for many years to come.  I started walking, lifting weights, and dieting.
5 months later, my blood pressure is normal, I've lost 27 pounds, and I'm stronger than ever.  A month into exercising I set a goal to walk a 5K, something that had previously been unthinkable for me.  This weekend I walked in and finished my first 5K, and I surpassed my time goal by nearly 9 minutes.
We walked for the Fredericksburg Pool as a fundraiser for them.  Joseph spends a good portion of his summer at the pool, and we are happy to support the pool in any way we can.
I was lucky to have my family with me there too.  My wife Tonya won her age bracket, as did my mom.  Joseph finished strong, and even came back to walk the last 100 meters with me.  My 78 year old dad walked with me the entire way, helping me keep my pace.
Maybe the most amazing part of the walk for me was the support from the other runners and walkers while I was walking, and the incredible support I received from them and the pool lifeguards as I neared the finish line.  Even though I was close to a half hour slower than the last walker, they were all there clapping and cheering me on.  I can't express how much this meant to me.  I have worked very hard the past 5 months working towards this goal, and really pushed myself yesterday not only to finish, but finish faster than what I was shooting for.  Reflecting on it this morning I know this is a moment I will never forget.

What better way to celebrate a personal accomplishment that having a few amazing beers, eating some local pizza (Pizza Palace), and watching Top Gun and the 2016 Summer Olympics?  Thanks to Doug for bringing me a few growlers from 515 brewery in Des Moines.
Brewer Barb and the 515 crew make some outstanding brews.  Pictured is one of my favorites, Mediocre Pale Ale.  I can't say enough good things about this brewery, their beer, and the great people that work there.  Thanks to Matt from 515 for helping me get my order together for Doug to bring up north.

I think I've rambled one enough for one entry, so don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Crinkletalk
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