Tag Archives: Labyrinth Black Ale


Also known as rock climbing. Also known as “holy crap, I didn’t know I had these muscles!”. I tried to prepare for a night of rock climbing as best as I know how.
Indian buffet. Isn’t that protocol for pre and post workouts? It is in MY book!
I got a Groupon a few months ago for half off of an open climb at Boulderdash in Westlake Village. I did a teeny, tiny bit of rock climbing when I was younger and loved it, so I pounced on this deal.
Then, I let months go by until it was almost expired before I actually forced myself out of my comfort zone and into the gym.
I’m so glad I did! This place is wonderful, and all the staff are extremely kind and helpful. I climbed up a variety of easy to painfully inverted routes for the first open gym time and after, they offered to let me stay and try out the bouldering and traversing section.
I thought it over for a while, then felt the sharp knife-like pain shooting through my feet from the tight climbing shoes, and recalled that I just HAD to be home by 6:30pm for a prior engagement.
Labyrinth – a new (to me) beer that Janelle and her husband brought to my attention when we were tasting at Wades last week. This beauty clocks in at 13.2%ABV, pours a delicious burgundy color and offers up an extremely sweet raisin aroma with just a hint of anise. It’s very full bodied and malty, full of rich chocolate tones, caramel and sweet raisin. Did I mention it clocks in at 13.2%ABV?
I also had to finish up with the final movie of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. 6 discs in 4 days = LoTR geek overload. Now it’s over. I’m lost and sad. Halfway through the final disc, I started feeling the marrow of my bones begin to scream and ache from climbing, and the rope burn from belaying too fast start to sear through my shoulder. My muscles – they crave more!

I’m thinking a rock climbing membership may be in my future… Since I’m all out of Lord of the Rings discs…


Filed under Uncategorized

So. Much. Beer.

I have my Cicerone test to become a Certified Beer Server on Saturday, so my day was spent like this:
Healthy monsta to start! We had a peach that was about to pass its prime, so I threw it in the Vitamix. Nothing like getting two cups of spinach in before 9am!
Then I got down to business.
My plan was to start studying at 10am, and not stop until all fifty-six of these styles’ ABVs, IBUs and SRMs were memorized!
But then I started posting pictures of what I was preparing to study for on my Bites ‘n Brews Facebook page and forgot to actually BEGIN the studying part… (I was even wearing my Odell IPA sweatshirt to mentally prepare!)

Eventually, I DID get down to business! I spent a good three hours learning about the off-flavors you can encounter in beer, how adding oats to the brew creates an oily or silky texture to the mouthfeel, that lowering the mash temp will create a thinner, crisp finish, that umami surfaces in beer with a taste of soy sauce, that having DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) present in the beer creates a canned corn taste…
Yeah. And that’s just a small part of the perception of flavor section.

Luckily for my sanity, I had plans to meet up with Janelle and her hubby, Andrew at Wades Wines for a beer flight night!
There wasn’t a style setup this night, unlike the previous beer tastings we’ve been to, but an introduction to some new beers they have on tap. I’d already tried both of the Heretic brews at Ladyface with Janelle last month, but needed another look.
Any brewery that has their own coasters AND temporary tattoos has made it!
Of all the four beers, the last two stood out most to me. Heretic’s Evil Twin is HOPPY! The Bruery’s Humulus Lager is… different. Big hops on the nose and taste, but they fade immediately after the swallow. Here’s the confusing part: Evil Twin = 45IBU. Humulus = 70IBU. Whaaaa? There’s a HUGE difference in the bitterness of the Evil Twin vs. the Humulus. Evil Twin almost bowled me over, but Humulus seemed pretty tame. I had to come home and find out how IBUs are rated.

I came home, ready to research how IBUs are determined, but I opened my fridge to this:
That’s not including the Dogfish Head Sah’tea and Labyrinth Black Ale I picked up after the tasting tonight… Needless to say, I opened a Boont ESB and promptly forgot about IBUs. Until tomorrow…

Random catch-up time! I asked on Twitter yesterday if pairing a CoCoNut PorTeR from Maui Brewing Company with a super spicy butternut squash and leek soup was a bad decision. Two people responded to me, recommending that I stick with an ESB instead…
I received those recommendations halfway through the bowl of soup and glass of porter. Oops. I’m happy to report that the coconut porter does NOT overwhelm the soup! In fact, I couldn’t detect any of the “hand toasted coconut” in the porter. It smelled like a dense, rich coffee porter stuffed with chocolate malts. I enjoyed a can (or two) to soothe my blazing mouth while I watched Black Swan.
It was an intense night.

And now, I’m going to retire to the soft couch that beckons me from the living room, and rot my exhausted, beer fact-riddled brain and watch a stupid comedy. G’night!


Filed under beer, beer tasting