Monthly Archives: December 2013

Hitachino Nest tasting

I saw a bunch of different Hitachino Nest beers at the Ashai Grocery store and decided to buy one of each. I really liked their Ancient Nipponia, which is a Pilsner.

From Japan’s most prestigious brewery, Hitachino Nest Ancient Nipponia is brewed using a forgotten strain of Japanese barley along with the historic Sorachi Ace hops.

This “new” barley malt, a cross-pollination between the European Golden Melon and the Japanese barley malt Shikoku, disappeared a “relatively long time ago” — about 50 years.
A few years ago, Mr. Kiuchi acquired 16 seeds from the Department of Agricultural History in Japan. He started to plant those 16 seeds (on a two-square-foot area!) about five years ago. After the first harvest, he planted all new seeds again and did the same the next year, and the following year …

The following are my tasting notes:

  • Hitachino Nest Red Rice: stronger, almost medicinal/astringent cedar taste
  • Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Ale: subtle ginger taste, mild spiciness, better than red rice
  • Hitachino Nest Weizen: No head, a little thin, good hefeweizen taste though
  • Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout: bitter coffee taste
  • Hitachino Nest Classic Ale: slightly medicinal/astringent cedar taste
  • Hitachino Nest Dai Dai: Not hoppy at all, too malty
  • Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale: a tiny bit spicy, couldn’t tell anything about the hops
  • Hitachino Nest XH: slightly medicinal/astringent cedar taste
  • Hitachino Nest Nipponia: slightly medicinal/astringent cedar taste, a little lighter?

In the end I was disappointed. I only really liked their Ancient Nipponia.

Cold weather biking gear

This is my second attempt at trying to bike when the temperature is in the 40s. I bought a cover that I could slip (with some effort) over my shoes. That helped. My feet weren’t nearly as cold as they were the last time. I also wore another cotton shirt. Which bring the total up to four.

While I am still not 100% warm, I am making an improvement. However, the Achilles heel to this getup is the yellow windbreaker. It is an excellent barrier against the relentless wind. However, it also acts as a moisture barrier. And, while it is quite cold out, I still sweat like crazy. What I need is something that acts as both a wind barrier but also vents moisture. Maybe I need to buy a Castelli Espresso Due Jacket for the next winter…

Boil over

Today was a really windy day. And it was probably not a good day to do an outside brew. In order to stop leaves and other unmentionables from falling into my sweet tea, I put the lid on top of the kettle. So, of course I had a foamy boil over. Sigh. Fortunately, Five Star PBW was up to the task of cleaning everything even if it took twice as long as usual…


Well, this year I participated in Movember and did not shave for the month of November (and a couple of weeks into December… I’m a slackard). I was tempted to dye it purple before I shaved it off, but did not get around to it. I definitely do not like the feel of mustaches or beards but am not motivated enough to shave every morning.

Oxygen choices

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has been playing a trailer in movies that I watch for a while now. I’m not a fan of Ben Stiller, so it is annoying to watch it all the time. However, there is one quote which got me thinking today. It is:

"I’m gonna keep this short. I have to make oxygen choices."

So swimming with a slight chest cold brings up that thought process. I have a rhythm. It is stroke, breath, stroke, breath. I keep my head straight and down until I need to inhale. Where I will get my mouth above the waterline enough to quickly breath in. Exhaling is easily done underwater. If I need to cough water out of my mouth, I can skip a breath, but I’ll be redlining until the next gasp. I’ve even tried changing the stroke/breath ratios, but 1:1 works best.

So, this morning, I’ve got to pay attention to the phlegm in my lungs. Keeping my breath steady to not dislodge anything. And if something does happen, and I need to cough it clear, I need to wait until a time where I am face down in the water and I can strongly cough it out. That way, I can quickly inhale and go back to my rhythm.

Working on this skill has taught me to not panic in the water if I happen to breath in water.