Saturday was my first brick session this year. In one aspect, I was looking forward to it because it signaled that training is well under way and the racing season is just around the corner. On the other hand, I was dreading the fact that it is still winter and I would have to do my brick session indoors. I wanted to at least do the run portion outside, but after having biked on the trainer, I was way too sweaty to just head outside.
I started the session with 1:15 on the bike at a consistent, steady pace. I watched part of Modern Marvels: Walt Disney World to kill the time. Absolutely fascinating. It made the time fly by. I am going to have to schedule more from the series for future rides.
After the ride, I hopped on the treadmill for 20 minutes. I hate running on the treadmill. The only reason we actually have a treadmill is because the previous owners left it behind when they moved. I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually used it. However, Jennie does get a bit of use out of it. Nevertheless, it was easier to just go from the trainer to the treadmill rather than get showered up and dried off before trying to go out into the cold and run outside.
Overall, it was a good first brick of the season. Hopefully it warms up soon so that I can move the training outdoors.
After training and lunch, Jennie and I headed to the West Michigan Brewers Guild Festival at Fifth Third Ballpark. We got free tickets from a friend’s husband who works in the industry. The tickets included 15 beer tokens, each redeemable for 3 ounce samples of beers. They had over 50 microbrewers and 300 varieties of beer available for sampling. It was a blast.
At first, it was very overwhelming. Tons of people (around 5,000 tickets sold), beer everywhere, and not knowing where to start. Chris had lots of good advice on what to try and what to avoid because of his work – such a horrible job working in the beer industry.
We started off at the Mount Pleasant Brewing Co. with a Train Wreck Amber and Coal Stoker’s Blackberry. The Train Wreck was aptly named; a couple of those and you would be a train wreck. It was a strong (8% ABV) beer brewed with honey and maple syrup. The Coal Stoker’s Blackberry was much smoother and just as good.
After that, we headed to Old Hat Brewery and Grill.
We continued on to the Old Boys’ Brewhouse for Old Boys’ Brown Ale and then to the Corner Brewery for Michael Faricy’s Irish Stout. If you know me, you know I’ll never turn down an Irish-style beer.
We made sure to stop by a couple of the breweries that we recognized – namely Hopcot and Rochester Mills Beer Co. Both are restaurants we have eaten at before (and plan to again), so it was nice to be able to try some of their beers ahead of time to know what we’ll like. The beer from Rochester Mills was an organic beer, which gave it a unique taste, but that also might have been due to the fact that it was served from the right breast of a bikini clad mannequin.
After about two hours in the cold, Chris and Noelle shared their VIP passes with us, which allowed us to go inside, sit down, and warm up for a bit. Once we warmed back up, we made the rounds again and hit a few more breweries. I had to try Schmohz Brewing Co’s Kiss My Scottish Arse Scotch Ale based on the name alone. I also tried a beer from The Livery in Benton Harbor. Benton Harbor is where one of my half Ironman races is going to be this year, so maybe we can visit the restaurant this summer for a post race refueling session.
Even if you know nothing about beer (and I know very little), it can be a lot of fun. If you don’t know what kind of beer you want, just pick it based on name. Some of the best named beers of the day were: Kiss My Scottish Arse Scotch Ale, “Hands Off My Goat!” Stout, Sage Against the Machine American Pale, Ghettoblaster, Pooh Beer, Kilt Tilter, More Cow Bell IPA, Motha Pucker Dark Sour Ale, and Bees Knees Honey Ale.
Overall, it was a ton of fun and many great beers were had.