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  • Let Me Introduce Fresh Hop IPA, Part 1.

    The newest Lips of Faith, Fresh Hop IPA is here, packaged up and ready for you to drink.   This beer took a lot of work, timing and logistics from a lot of people.  My New Belgium co-worker, Kenny Bloggins, lives and works up in the Seattle area and when he heard that a fresh hop beer was in the works he called me up with the idea of a co-blog-eration (that's a pun on collaboration (get it?)) with the fresh hopping of Fresh Hop IPA.  Kenny's idea was that he would head down to the hop harvest, shoot some photos and write up a report.  Then I would be at the brewery when the hops showed up (for the beer making) and I would shoot some photos and write up a report from this end, a two piece blog-extravaganza (like the White Stripes (but beer writing not music making))!  So today is part one- the harvest and hop story as told by Mr. Bloggins.  Part two will be the brewing and drinking of Fresh Hop IPA by yours truly, and it will follow this coming Thursday. 


    So here is Part One.  Take it away Kenny-


    For the second year in a row, I’ve been fortunate enough to join some of our production & raw materials procurement staff for hop selection in Yakima, WA. From Seattle where I live, it’s an easy jaunt over Snoqualmie Pass to “the East Side” where nearly all of North America’s hops production & hops-related business takes place.  This year’s trip was a little different than last year’s however, as the impetus for this visit, which happened right in the heart of the harvest, was to select batches of as yet un-harvested hops to be used in a new Lips Of Faith beer, a Fresh Hop IPA.  A big group of NBB folks are still slated to come out to Yakima for the “normal” selection in a couple weeks, once harvest of all the varieties is complete, but this particular trip was all about the Amarillo, Centennial & Cascade varieties, all of which had just come into maturity & were ready for harvest. 

    NBB raw materials buyer, Alex Jesse, had the awesome – & awesomely difficult – task of coordinating with two suppliers – Roy Farms & Gamache Farms – as well as with logistics folks & our production team to fine tune the whole process of selecting, harvesting, transporting & ultimately baptizing these beautiful, fragrant flowers into an in-process brew.  Joining her on this adventure was our assistant brewmaster & main beer-builder, Grady Hull. Together with the growers, we would hand-select the best lots of these three varieties to be harvested & sent back to the Mothership for our Fresh Hop IPA.

    As I left Seattle under a cool, gray marine layer & made my way eastward, it was impossible not to reflect upon the unique geographic & climatic conditions that make the PNW such a productive & dynamic agricultural region.  Climbing up the west side of the Cascades, the Pacific moisture clung in dense masses to the steep fir & cedar-studded slopes of the surrounding mountains.  As I topped-out at the pass, shafts of sunlight began poking through the cloud cover, revealing bright blue skies to the east. Such is the way of the rain shadow.  The Yakima Valley is a 6,000 square mile expanse of high desert known to beer lovers for its hops production, but to Washingtonians it’s also synonymous with wine grapes, apples, cherries, apricots, peaches & corn, among other delights (such as applets & cotlets).  Driving through the Valley this time of year, you see all of these as far as the eye can see, but your olfactory sense is dominated by the pungent aroma of hops.   A combination of excellent arable soil, a fortunate situation in the rain shadow of the Cascades, a northern latitude that provides super long summer days, & it’s proximity to the Yakima river for irrigation, is the reason the Valley is such an agricultural powerhouse.

    Our Amarillo supplier, the Gamache Family, has been farming in the Valley for 5 generations.  Pulling up to the farm can feel a bit like stepping back in time, as I’m sure it looked much the same fifty or a hundred years ago, with it’s neatly cropped lawn, vintage farm trucks & whitewashed barns & production buildings.  And man, that beautiful aroma is so intoxicating!  For the most part, anyone working in the fields or at the picking facility would be covered in a thick, fragrant layer of bright green dust.  On the day I arrived, we spent most of our time with Darren Gamache, who’s currently at the helm of production on the farm.  He’s not only a brilliant agricultural technician with a PhD to prove it, but he’s also extremely passionate about craft beer & the role his product plays in our labor of love. As a beer lover, homebrewer & lifelong hops farmer, he has a unique and intimate understanding of what the hops consumer is looking for, & said without the slightest trace of humor or irony, “I just want to help people make better beer.”  Much like brewing itself, there’s both an art & a science to farming. Darren clearly relies on both.  From the design of his state-of-the-art custom-built production facility, to countless hours spent on futuristic hardware & software in the lab examining materials samples from his crops to parse out all of the compounds & their associated properties, Darren is very devoted to the science of hops production.  While you & I might say, “Cascades tend to be grassy, citrusy & a little bit like grapefruit,” Darren would talk about Cascade’s inherent polyphenols & concentrations of myrcene & other compounds, how they differ from, say, Centennials or Citras, & exactly what they all contribute to its aromatics.  On the other hand, where the rest of the hops production industry relies on “dry matter analysis” of hops to determine harvest readiness, Darren says with a smirk, “I just use my nose.”  His love for the craft beer industry drives him to propagate & keep alive varieties that are not in demand & will not make money, but due to slumping production trends in the UK, could foreseeably be lost forever to the American brewer.

    Amarillo hops are a hot domestic variety whose flavor/aroma profile usually contains descriptors like “citrus”, “orange”, “grapefruit”. Lesser known is the story behind the development of this variety – it was a total fluke.  A rogue plant was found growing in one of the Gamache fields. It looked different, & upon further inspection it certainly smelled different.  This can happen when a random male plant growing as a weed nearby to female crop plants accidentally pollinates a female, yielding an unintended hybrid.  Darren’s sensory perceptiveness is so astute that he recognized this variation immediately & he really liked what he smelled. Lab analysis confirmed it actually was different.  It takes time to build up a crop from one plant, but that’s exactly what the Gamaches did.  Now Amarillo is a trademarked variety & a household term amongst commercial craft brewers & homebrewers alike. 

    We spent most of our time touring the fields & the facility with Darren, smashing hop cones in our hands & inhaling the delicious vapors through our noses, trying to suss out which lots were the best for our beer.  A damn fine way to spend a day! 

    …which brings us back to the whole reason for the visit – the Fresh Hop IPA.  So, what’s so special or  different about harvesting for a Fresh Hop (or “wet hop”) beer? Unless you’re making a Fresh Hop beer, you are sure to be working with hops that have been conventionally harvested & processed for storage/use at a later date – they’re cut, separated, dried & processed in any number of ways, including whole-cone, pelletized, turned into extract, or made into other “downstream” products.  Fresh Hop beer, on the other hand, presents a unique opportunity for brewers to use un-kilned, unprocessed hop cones fresh off the vine.  These hops still retain all of their moisture content (hence “wet”) & can begin to oxidize, degrade or spoil within 48 hours of picking.  Using them presents an amazing opportunity to the brewer, but also a tremendous challenge in timing beer production to the very narrow window of harvest. Typically, growers can’t offer much lead time & won’t know the actual harvest day until just a couple days out. Fields will be cleared of ready varieties in a matter of a day or two.  For Fresh Hop beers, we look for hops that are at their absolute peak of essential oil content & freshness. This means minimizing the time from when the grower deems them ready for harvest until the time of their eventual immersion in the wort that will become beer.  Because of this, Fresh Hop ales have been mainly the provenance of those brewers within striking distance of the Pacific Northwest.  For most other brewers, the time & expense associated with distance, in combination of the greater volumes needed, can be a deal breaker.

    We dabbled with our first Fresh Hop IPA last year in a small batch made in collaboration with Elysian Brewing in Seattle, for our “Trip Series” of draft-only, Northwest-only beers.  Trip VI, as it was known, was one of the best things to come out of that series.  The judges at the only Fresh Hop beer festival approved of it too, giving it the silver medal at Yakima’s Fresh Hop Ale Festival.  This year, we took that same recipe & scaled it up for production & inclusion in our Lips Of Faith line.  I’d say Fort Collins is right on the cusp, at about a 15-hour trip from vine to kettle.  Of course, small batches can be taken by air, but for larger production beers, such as the one we’re making, a refrigerated truck is the only way to go; remember these hops haven’t been dehydrated, so they’re much more voluminous & heavier than what’s normally used in the brewhouse.

    Once selected & picked, our fresh hops would be sorted, scaled & then wrapped & loaded into a reefer truck.  For part of our total selection mix, we actually got to use a makeshift wooden skid to redirect the flow of Amarillo cones, which were on their way to the kiln on a giant conveyor, into bins for our own use.   Once loaded, the hop truck would leave Toppenish, WA, on Saturday, on an overnighter bound for Fort Collins. The truck was outfitted with a GPS unit which was in turn linked to Alex’s computer, so she could monitor progress in real-time. At T-minus 3 hours to arrival, we would mash-in our first batch, such that the expected arrival of the hop truck at the brewery would coincide with the timing of the first fresh hop addition. That would kick-off 20 straight hours of brewing this Fresh Hop IPA.  It takes a lot of time to make four 180-hectoliter batches! 

    The point of using fresh hops is to capture the purest essence of the hops when they are at their peak readiness, to showcase the aromatic compounds found in the flower’s resins. The process we use for extracting what we want from the fresh hops is to use our Lauter Tun as a giant hopback.  The Lauter Tun is normally used to separate the solid matter (grain) from the wort after mashing & before the boil.  In this case, we would have already mashed, Lautered & boiled before refilling the Lauter Tun with the wort & then adding the fresh Amarillos in at that time. The good stuff we’re after within the hops dissolves quickly when exposed to hot water, so it only rests for 10 minutes before being run-off, rapidly chilled & piped to the cellar. Thinking back on all of Alex & Grady’s planning & travel, it really seems like an awful lot of work for only 10 minutes of hops addition!  But the proof will be in the pudding, or, make that beer.  And the process of hand-selecting in the field hops that will go into our beer is a priceless opportunity & a reminder that, after all, beer is very much an agricultural product tied to the whims of climate & geography. 


    Stay tuned for part two (Juicebox's time to shine), and we'll see you Thursday!

    _Juicebox and Kenny

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  • Tour de Fat Wrap-Up...

    It's Tuesday and the 2011 Fort Collins Tour de Fat is nothing but a fond memory, but boy-howdy, the home town show was a doozie.  It all started with the bicycle parade, and (as always) it out did the year before.  There were people on bikes everywhere, I was on the sidelines watching it all go by and it took almost an hour for the whole thing to leave, people just kept coming (and coming), in fact the total number of people is said to have been hovering around 20,000 (that is one large group of costumed weirdos).  The Ryamiese Twins threw down the beats to get the whole thing started and eventually they ran out of things to rap about (that was pretty funny).  Then the parade returned and the show got under way and it was pure bliss.  There was hilarity, sincerity, and lots of great music.  We even had a fellow named Jim trade his car for a bike (not just any bike, a custom Black Sheep commuter (made right here in Fort Collins)) and Jim also agreed to use that bike instead of the car he no longer owns for one whole year.  It was a magical day.  It was also a great day for some Fort Collins non-profits (Overland Mountain Bike Club, Fort Collins Bike Co-op, and Bike Fort Collins to be exact).  All of the beer money's (as well as merchandise money's, parade donations, bike valet cash, and every other penny earned) was placed in their hands, and that was a lot of moneys, over 90,000 buckeroo's in cold hard cash (when all was said and done) went into the ground level pockets of these fine organizations.  That is a big take away for a one day event and the Fort Collins bike community will feel this influx of money and joy for the coming days, months and years.  And all with a 88% waste diversion rate (kudos Zero Hero, kudos).

    Overall the 2011 Fort Collins Tour de Fat was a smashing success, but the season is not quite over, the rolling Tdf train of bicycle fun (and destiny) still has six more shows, Denver, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Tempe, and then it all finishes in Austin in late October.  Look out if you live in these areas, because this is a party you don't want to miss.  In one day you can ride bikes, taste beer, be entertained and contribute to society.  So get out there and have some fun.



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  • Don't miss your chance to win the bike!

    As we approach the first dawn of September the chances of you winning a 20th anniversary custom New Belgium cruiser bike are getting slimmer and slimmer.  The Joy-Ride campaign is coming to a close as of the 5th of September and when that door closes so does your opportunity to win the bike.  As it stands you still have 5 ways to win- writing, talking, getting your photo taken, getting your video taken and the random entry, so get on it.  Here is the link to the page for entries and it should explain all you need to know about this last week (and change) of this wonderful contest and your odds of winning.  So keep it coming and we will keep picking winners everyday (for just a few more days).

    Also, this weekend is the home town Tour de Fat.  That is right, the world's largest bike parade and world's awesome-est party are about to get dropped right here in Fort Collins.  If you are anywhere near Northern Colorado this weekend it is in your best interest to come on by.  Over the past 11 years this party has been at the Mothership (NBB HQ), but this year there is a venue change, make sure you take note.  This years party will be focused in the blocks surrounding Civic Center Park (follow the link for detailed details pertaining to such things as directions and addresses), if you are anywhere close to the right place you won't be able to miss it.  So costume up and prepare your inner (or outer) freak because this party is not to be skipped, great music, great beer, great entertainment, great times (all will be had).  The parade takes flight at 10am and the kegs get tapped at 11.  Now you know the all the need-to-know details, see you there.



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  • The East Coast (among other things...)

    Alright, so I have been gone a while.  First there was the fracture to my pelvis bone, then my lovely bride gave birth to our first child (a girl (a beautiful, healthy girl)), then I went to Portland for the 2011 Beer Bloggers Conference (and subsequently got my twitter account hacked (it's better now (check it out @carnie_nbb)))(oh and PS, this should be getting a write up all it's own in the next few days). 

    So it has been a busy few weeks for me, but believe it or not The New Belgium Brewing Company did not slam to a halt in my absence... in fact things rolled on smoothly without me (maybe too smoothly).  And now I am going to try and catch everybody up on all the things that over the last few weeks have gone under-reported on this here blog.

    Thing one-  NBB beers are now (meaning this instant) available in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  A whole bunch of different 22oz bottles are now on the shelves and in the coolers of beer shops and bars in that area.  Read all about it here at DCbeer.com. Things are a buzz on the Twitter landscape with the news of Fat Tire coming to the area as well (check out #fattire and #newbelgium (if you are into such things and look out towards the social media landscape)).  My favorite so far has been from @The_Beermonger I knew #NewBelgium arriving was a big deal, but... #DCquake.  It is nice to know that now is not to early for earthquake jokes (another wonderful wonderful pair- topical humor and Hoptober, give it a try).

    Thing two- The Hub at DIA adds a Spoke.  The New Belgium Hub at Denver International Airport (gate B80) just got another friend to go drinking with (or more accuratly- at), the Spoke.  Located at gate A61 the New Belgium Spoke is open and serving beers.  Up until now you needed to be on a United flight (or have lots of time to kill) if you wanted to head on in for some NBB beers.  That is not the case anymore.  Next time you are flying through the Mile High City grab a La Folie (or whatever else your tongue may be asking for) at the Spoke and take a load off.

    Thing three-  A super great Fort Collins event this Friday night...  This summer has seen the release of the Tour de Fat coffee table book and a bunch of us are getting together this Friday to celebrate.  The fine folks at Wolverine Farms Publishing and a few NBB faces are hosting a reading, bike-riding, beer drinking affair this coming Friday.  If you are in town (and read this blog) show up to the tasting room (the Liquid Center at NBB HQ) at 5pm August 26 (one more time, this Friday) for a toast and a reading.  Then we will all jump on bikes and ride out to the Bar SS for more beers and more readings and probably another toast.  It is going to be really awesome (really).

    Thing four-  They make juicebox's for cats (though I don't think a cat can use a straw (just saying)):


    On that note, it's Tuesday and I'm out.

    Talk soon,



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  • The Tour de Fat; A photo essay (as seen through the eyes of my telephone).

    Well it's Tuesday and the big weekend is over.  I had a lot of fun on the other side of the Tour de Fat, and the show was something special.  Here is a small breakdown for you: the 2010 Fort Collins Tour de Fat raised over 70,000 dollars for local cycling organizations, had 15,000 people on the bike parade, and diverted 93% of our waste from the landfill.  Those are some impressive stats, but aside numbers and pats on the back I would love to share with you some pictures, a photo essay if you will (with brief commentary):

    This dignified looking gent is running for Mayor Matthews Street (I'm not sure that is a real political position).

     The bald eagle in a moo-moo (one of my favorites).

     This guy traded his car for a bicycle and made the commitment to ride it (exclusively for a year).  The picture is a bit on the dark-side (color-saturation not the force) but you get the idea, lots of excitement surrounding his entrance.

    (no discription needed).

    I think he looks like a sheriff (with a monocle), and that mustache is truly in Tour de Fat form.

    Frankly I can't tell whether or not these two are in costume (but it seems like they are enjoying themselves).

    This had to be my favorite piece of this year's TdF.  It is a port-o-potty with a karaoke machine built right inside.  I got in there and did a rousing rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart (the folks outside standing around waiting to pee thought I did an alright job).


    Then there is this (tastefully represented in black and white (and more recent than September of 1980)), and I am not entirely sure how to describe it so I will not try.  Maybe you should look up Tour de Fat and Tony Danza together on YouTube and you might come up with a video of the Boss in action.

    Well there it is my friends, a quick stroll through my day at the Tour de Fat.  I think these pictures represent the Fun better than my words ever could.  So hopefully you can make it to one of these amazing shows this year, and if not, next year is always an option.



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  • Have a Few Minutes to Kill?

    When I am sitting back thinking "man, I wish I had something to do for the next hour" you know what I do? I go out and find a good spot.  Having the ability to see a good spot for what it is can take a few years to truly fine tune, however almost everyone has the rudimentary skill to find a decent spot.  And this morning  while cruising my bike around I found a decent spot (borderline great).  It is just along our (the people of the world (but most geographically specific; the City of Fort Collins)) beautiful river, in the shade, and equipped with a perfect bench. 

    But let's lay out the scene (and with this I can perhaps arm you with the required tools for personal upgrade to pro spot finder).  The wind was in my hair and the sun was in my eyes, but up ahead on the trail I think I spy a fork in the road.  Now, the trail that I'm riding is pretty close to the river at this point so the fork (headed in the river's direction) couldn't be a long spur, it had the markings of a great view point from the very beginning.  And I cannot stress the importance of the view enough, whether it be a nature view, a cityscape, people watching, the subject of the view matters not, what does matter is that you (when sitting at your spot) can look at something.  And sitting is also quite important.  To achieve a high level of relaxation standing is not an option, laying down is good (but generally negates the view), this leaves sitting.  A tree to lean your back against can do the trick, but I prefer a nice comfy bench, a bench that has options for sitting style, as well as a firm surface for sitting support.  I decided to risk it and take the left on the jaunt, I mean what's the worst that could happen?

    This left turn was the best decision I made all day.  I was greeted with shade lending trees to block the sun, a river view, a nice looking bench, and even a little walk-down-to-the-river-to-dip-your-feet kind of path.  Pure heaven.  I laid down a sweet skid, jumped off my bike, and immediately took to sitting down.  I relaxed, at one point I even sat on the ground and used the bench as a back rest, then came back up to the sitting level and used the length of the bench top to stretch my hammies.  This was a morning to sit back and take it all in.  About 25 minutes in I decided to test out the dip-your-feet path.  I extracted my feet from my shoes, rolled my pants up, and journeyed down the dirt incline towards the (assuredly) cold water.  My brain was wandering and my eyes were getting heavy from all the relaxing, the cold water running between my toes and under the arches of my feet was exactly what was needed.  This quick shock brought my awareness back and after a few minutes I retreated back to the sitting bench where I sat just long enough time to dry my feet and stick them back in my shoes for the journey home.  The only thing that may have made this time better would have been an ice cold can of Sunshine (but 9:15am on a Tuesday isn't exactly beer:30 (well maybe not this Tuesday)).

    So next time your out on your favorite bike shred just don't blow by that little spur that you always blow by, maybe take the off-shoot, because at the end may be a bench and a view with your name written all over it.

    See you Friday for another classy food pairing idea.


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  • First Kriek and now Biere de Mars?

    That's right folks, after last weekend's tearful goodbye to Transatlantique Kriek I now have more sad news; we are on our last few cases of Biere de Mars.  The photo below represents the last of our, the Liquid Center's, stock of this classic:


    There are a few places around the town, and country that still may have a few bottles in their cooler, but if you want a bottle from the source now is your chance, don't delay, or you will miss out.  To give a quick run down of this beer I will say this, It is a wonderful beverage in the traditional Biere de Gaarrdstyle, brewed with wheat along side the barley and some whole oats to add a creamy mouth feel this treat is spiced with lemon verbena and finished Brettanomyces to carry a lovely sensation of over-ripened pineapple and the lemon zest lends it a dry, citrusy finish.  Come get yours.

    And in other news, in the weather front ofnorthern Colorado we have been experiencing some rains as of late.  The Cache la Poudre is approaching the June Rise and all of our gardens are in bloom.  But it being Colorado, with all of this moisture comes copious amounts of sunshine, and those paired together bring rainbows.  I was walking to work the other afternoon, the rain had just stopped and the sun peeked its face out, then BOOM, a beautiful rainbow.  What made this rainbow special was that the end stuck right into the roof of NBB HQ:

     (the brewery itself is a little tough to see in the photo, but trust me, the rainbow sticks right into the roof).

    The only thing that would have made it more awesome would have been two unicorns slow dancing to "Endless Love" on top of the colorful arch (but that didn't happen (at least not that I could see)).

    So on that note my friends, have a great weekend and I look forward to speaking with you on Tuesday.


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  • Dunk tanks, water slides, and further weekend shenanigans.

    Well it's Tuesday, which marks the beginning of my work week.  I am ready my friends, I feel refreshed, recharged, and full of hope for the coming days.  And why do I feel so good? The weekend past was full of so much happiness that I almost passed out.  Let's go over it.

    Saturday:  I was working, slanging tasters and giving tours.  NBB HQ sure can get full of nice people when a Saturday rolls around.  I gave two tours all totalling 50 fantastic times (51 if you count me twice), we poked around the plant, drank a couple beers, took some lovely pictures and some folks even tried to win a bike (you can win one too, just go here and bike yourself).  Saturday also marked a sad day in the LC for two reasons: one, Tom's last day.  Here is Tom looking really nice (all teeth, no eyes):

    Tom no longer works in our department, he is now wrangling himself some raw materials, we wish him the best of luck. 

    Sad Saturday reason two, no more Tansatlantique Kriek.  This beer has been in stock at the Liquid Center coolers for a while now and it's time to say goodbye.  We officially sold the last of our bottles and it was a teary occasion for sure (I wept (uncontrollably)).  But fear not good readers, there is a few bottles out there in the world ready for purchase in fine package stores the country wide (at least in our distribution areas), so go and find some, or go here to find some, the beauty of the pink head is something to behold (and drink). 

    Saturday evening rolled around and fun was had.  We went out and played foosball, drank Eric's Ale out of a tap, and took shaker face photos.  If you don't know what shaker face photos are, let me explain: first have a beer (not mandatory, but recommended), then shake your face side to side really fast, and mid shake have a friend or loved one snap a photo.  It looks like this:

    Can't you just smell the fun coming off that guy?  Now you should go try it and let me know how it turns out.

    Then Saturday evening came to a close, we headed home to get ready for the Sunday that was in store.

    And then the sun came up (you couldn't really see it due to the greyness of the shy, but trust me it was there) and with it I jumped out of bed.  The wife and I bummed around the house for a while, did a few chores and then headed over to Mikey C's for the kick off to summer.  It was drizzling on and off all day so the sunny break we received for the bike ride over was very lucky indeed. And upon getting there we realized that this was no regular party, there were bands, BBQ, beer, a giant inflatable water slide, and a dunk tank.  That's right ladies and gentleman, a dunk tank.  It wasn't really getting used at all (possibly due to the cold temperatures and the rain) but we tried our hardest to get people in there.  We tried bribing kids, paying teenagers, betting, rock-paper-scissors, everything, and none of it was working.  Then out of nowhere Bogan stepped up.  I think he may have been ready for a bath or something, but either way, he stripped down to skivvies and hopped up on the plank.  It took me a few throws to hit the mark, there was a crowd gathering and the nerves were flaring, but after a few throws, BOOM, I nailed it and he went crashing into the water.  Lucky for us my beautiful bride had the fore-thought to document the moment digitally, and she came up with an awesome picture:

    Again, the fun is smellable, and look at that water displacement, something special.  She really caught the moment, thank you Megan.

    The rain then started to fall again and Bogan was pretty cold so going back in the dunk tank was not really an option (I was going to do it, but i am allergic to water), so we moved on to find different entertainment.  Fierce Bad Rabbit is what we found and those folks can throw down  Check this video out, you'll probably enjoy it, then go here and buy their album, I did and it's really good.


    After they finished their set I continued to try and talk my friends into things that they would later regret and the water slide seemed to be the best option.  My friend Tyler and I love to play the rock-paper-scissors and bet on its outcome.  I have not won in months, but I figured I was due, so I laid it out for him:  I win you get in a trash bag and go down the water slide, you win I get in a trash bag and go down the water slide, best of one, loser slides.  I threw rock (which I never do),  he threw scissors (which he always does) then he started climbing the stairs to look into the eyes of the beast (and by that I mean to slide down the inflatable water slide).  He took the loss well and bellied up to the bet:

    And upon sliding he was still fully clothed and sitting in that trash bag looking sweet:

    I am proud of him, he is a gentleman, and his cell phone only got a little damp, so no big deal.

    When our shenanigans were drawing to their logical conclusion someone suggested we head over to Road 34 for a couple of beers, and who am I to argue, so we saddled up and rolled the Spring Creek Trail all the way.  Upon getting to the bar we ordered some Eric's Ales (get them while they're hot (and still around)) and launched into yet another round of shaker face.  Two rounds of shaker face in two days may not be the best idea, but caution had been thrown to the wind right around the dunk tank so there was nothing left to stop us, a besides no one would play me in foosball. 

    Peddling home was fun, cut through campus and I bent the chain guard on my cruiser while getting rad on some steps (sorry no photo), crash was barely averted and the dry warmth of my bed was just what I needed.

    Monday: Still the weekend and I slept, a lot. Then did some chores and made dinner, pasta with red sauce and a side of seared kale with olive oil paired with a Blue Paddle.

    So there it is folks, now you understand why I feel so rested and ready for the week, because remember my friends weekends are for not working, just having fun.




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    Well that was huge.  The parade alone was like a trillion people, it took over an hour just to get everybody riding, FUN, FUN, FUN.   Then we all hustled into the show and enjoyed the sunshine and other wonderfulness.  As a recap it was 70,000 dollars raised for local cycling, over 12,000 people, and together we did it with over a 90% waste diversion rate.  Nice work everybody.

    I'm going to continue with the resting now and I'll get back with you in a few days.


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  • The home show is upon us.

    Well the Carnies are in Fort Collins, hanging out at the Beer Factory, tying up some loose ends.  We have spent our week fixing bikes, painting random stuff, and discussing this weeks show.  Let us now do some discussing.  This is the Schedule of events:

    Fort Collins


    Tentative Schedule:

    • 9:00 a.m. - Bike Parade Registration
    • 10:00 a.m. - Bike Parade
    • 11:00 p.m. Performances Begin
    • 1:30 p.m. - âCarpocalypse Nowâ â Funeral procession for the car belonging to the Car-for-Bike Trade volunteer
    • 3:30 p.m. - Car-for-Bike Trade Celebration
    • 4:00 p.m. - Curtain Closes


    On the Grotto stage:

    • Oakhurst, Handpicked Holler, Judith Avers, Barclay Martin, Tom Zingaro, The Late Jack Redell, Jen Korte & Dan Craig, Tony Achilles
      Well there's that, and I'm glad we got it over with in a timely fashion.  Remember this parade (and show) are going to be really big, so maybe plan on getting there a bit early, or better yet, print your parade registration off the inter-webs (do that very thing here, (just head to the parade registration icon and that will take you to a PDF file for your completion)) and be one step ahead of the game.
      the other thing I wanted to bring up is this:
      That there is a bag of beef jerky (photo taken in a convenience store near Madras, Oregon).  But what I want to highlight is the slogan at center, "Just Eat It!".  that strikes me as a wonderful marketing ploy.  It tells you (emphatically(exclamation point and all)) to Eat it, and not just "Eat It" but "JUST EAT IT!". It is as if their saying that the consumer should stop lolly-gagging around and put the jerky in their mouth, and on top of all that the exclamation point leads me to believe they're shouting "JUST EAT IT" at me. And I don't respond well to shouting, I usually just clam up and do whatever the shouter is shouting.  Pure genius on the part of the Jerky Company, Kudos to you.
      And Lastly.  This week, as with every week, we (the TdF crew) are putting on the Team Wonderbike Bicycle Ride of Destiny.  Meet out front of the Brewery (across the street from the site of Saturday's events) at 7pm and be ready to cruise around on bicycles at a leisurely pace with old friends, and be ready to make so new ones.  So bring a bike, a smile, and all of your friends, because Thursday we ride.  And after we ride we swing back by the Brewery for some Bike-in movie action.  This week is "Into the Wild".  I have never seen it, but people tell me its a lot my own personal odyssey with Buckhunter Safari.  Sounds awesome.
      O that note,

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