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The Hay Say has MOVED!

6 Oct

Thanks for coming, but THE HAY SAY has now MOVED!

You can now find us at:

www.thehaysay.com

I hope you visit!

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Admin Note: New Features!

15 Sep

I’d like to take a minute and first thank everyone for reading The Hay Say!  I hope that you enjoy what you see.  The Hay Say has recently added a couple of new features that you might enjoy.

First off, for all you Facebookers out there, you can now ‘Fan’ The Hay Say and get updates, links to fun articles, and share anything you wish!  You can do that by following this Facebook Link or by clicking the Facebook icon in the top right.

Another new feature is the Subscribe button to the top right.  You can now subscribe to the blog and have everything delivered directly to an RSS reader or straight into your e-mail inbox!  You’ll never miss a post if you subscribe.

One of the things I’m really excited about developing is a collection of all my running routes around DC.  I’ll be mapping them from generic locations in Columbia Heights and the U St. area, so that other people can use them or modify them if they are looking for a new route.  The collection will be compiled on Map My Run, and you can link to any route or share some of yours with me if you like.

And last but not least, a little plug for my twitter account.  Don’t forget to follow!

Thanks!

Keep running, keep drinking, keep eating, and keep living local.

Why I Drink Beer – Part 2

29 Jul

Stone Smoked Porter

Part 2: Hot and Cold

Picture this, It’s late July and you are on your way home from work.  It had been a stressful day at the office, keeping you at the desk a little over an hour late.  Once you’re able to get out, the bus decides not to show.  Knowing that it will be another 30 minutes until the next bus arrives, you decide to walk 5 blocks to another line that should pick you up sooner.  Before you even make it even one block, the sweat starts beading up on your forehead.  It’s 94 degrees and the swampy humidity of DC is ever-so heavy.  By the time you get on the bus, your back is soaked, your face is red with heat, and your feet are screaming for freedom.  You finally make it to your home bus stop and begin the short walk to the house.  Within ten minutes, the shorts are on, the fresh t-shirt feels great, and you are chilling out on the stoop with a Dogfish 60 min in hand.  Everything feels better.

Now picture this, It’s late January and you are on your way home from work.  It had been a stressful day at the office, keeping you behind your desk well past the usual quitting time.  By the time you are finally able to get out, the early sunset is long gone, and the winter chill has settled in.  As you walk through the darkness to your bus stop, an icy breeze starts burning your ears.  You try to plug the holes in your peacoat with the new scarf your sister got you for Christmas, but it just isn’t doing the trick.  Every minute in this bitter cold feels like 10.  The snow from the weekend before is still slowing down traffic, making the wait for the bus that much more dreadful.  Finally you make it to your home bus stop and begin the short walk to your house.  Within ten minutes, the sweats are on and you are curled up with the girlfriend in front of the TV.  You pour a Stone Smoked Porter.  Everything feels better.

Both of those scenarios seem to occur far too often in this fine capitol city.  With short Falls and even shorter Springs, it seems like the entire year is filled with weather extremes.  But even when you can’t count on nice weather, you can always count on a nice Micro Brew.  Beer is one of the only drinks around that can be both crisp and refreshing on a hot summer’s day AND wholesome and warming on those cold winter nights.  No matter how unnerving the weather, beer can always give you that comforting feeling.

That is one reason why I drink beer.

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Why I Drink Beer – Part 1

16 Jul

La Cerveza de Costa Rica

Beer, you’ve gotta love it.  Believed to be one of the oldest prepared beverages, beer trails only to water and tea as the world’s third most popular drink.  It can be found all over the world, in the biggest cities and most remote of locations.  It is everywhere, and enjoyed by so many.  Here is the first in a series of short essays on why I drink beer.

Part 1: Imperial

I don’t remember my first beer, but I remember first learning to enjoy it.  The first beer I would have called my beer of choice was Imperial, a Costa Rican Lager, similar to any typical Latin American lager.  It is gold in color, light in taste, and has a foamy white head.  I remember trying out different Costa Rican beers, and as a beer rookie, I wasn’t really able to tell the difference.  There isn’t much special about Imperial, except the memories.  As a teenager studying abroad in town with no other gringos, it was beer that brought me together with my new friends.  It was beer that loosened up the tongue and brought out the Spanish.  And it was beer and beach that brought out more laughter than anything else.

Since then, beer for me has meant just that:  bringing people together, making new friends, and sharing in laughter.  Whether you are out at a bar with friends, sitting around the house with family, or in the back yard lighting up the grill, beer just seems to set the mood.  Co-workers become friends, heartbreaks are mended, and anniversaries celebrated, all over beers.  I’m not really sure why beer can be credited for so many great things…maybe it’s the alcohol, maybe it’s the taste, or maybe just the history.  No matter what the reason, the mood is set, the people have fun, and we keep drinking the beer.

That is one reason why I drink beer.

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Brewing TV’s First Episode

11 May

Northern Brewer, one of my favorite homebrew supplies stores, has started a new online show airing once a week.  They are calling it Brewing TV.  Here is what they have to say on their website:

“Brewing TV’s mission is to cover the world of homebrewing through the magic of video.  There are so many stories to be told, brews to be brewed, and people to profile … in other words, no shortage of segments and content to be shot.  The homebrewing community has always been a strong one, whether it’s your LHBS, a club in your city, you and some friends brewing in your kitchen on a weekend afternoon, or an online forum with rabid regulars. Brewing TV is a place where those different communities can connect and hear about what homebrewing has been, what it is, and where it is going.  Brewing TV is a voice for homebrewing culture … the “why,” not the “how.” If you want technical, you can always read a book!  Seriously, read more books.

I highly recommend you check out episode 1, as they meet the guys behind Fulton Brewing Company, brew and American Wheat, and explore the Upper Mississippi Mas Out.  Enjoy!

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Home Brew #2 – Not Too Pale Ale

19 Mar

Not Too Pale Ale

After the first batch, Newly Nutted Brown Ale, turned out half decent, I decided it was time to go ahead and start a new batch.  This time I wanted something a little hoppier.  I have been on a pale ale kick recently, so I took off to mLHBS in search for a good IPA kit.  They pointed me towards Brewer’s Best Imperial Pale Ale.

Brew day went much quicker than the first.  Starting out better prepared, I didn’t need to look at the book for instructions every 30 seconds.  The boil time for the wort was 60 minutes, slightly longer than the nut brown.

Roommate Filling the Bottles

I let the beer ferment for two weeks, compared to just 1 on the nut brown.  After taking the gravity of the beer, I was a little disapointed that it only came out to about 6% ABV instead of the predicted 8%.  I’m not really sure what I did wrong, but maybe it will turn out to be a good thing…

Roommate was a kind friend and helped me with the bottling.  Sure, he didn’t have his glasses on, so we lost a little beer on the floor, but it was a huge help and saved a lot of time.

The picture of the beer at the top of the page was after priming in the bottle for one week.  There wasn’t much head after just a week, but the taste was great.  It has tons of bold hoppy flavor, perfect for quenching your thirst.  After letting the bottles sit for 2 weeks, the head was about 1 inch thick.

Stuck inside a cramped white cubical all day, I can’t help but think about the beautiful weather just out the doors, Opening Day just a few weeks away, and a Not Too Pale Ale just right for drinking.

Recipe:

Fermentables

6.6 lb. Light LME

1 lb. Golden DME

1 lb. Corn Sugar

Specialty Grains

1 lb. Crystal 80L

8 oz. Victory Dextrine

4 oz. Carapils Dextrine

Hops

2 oz. Bittering

1 oz. Flavoring

1 oz. Aroma

Yeast

1 Sachet

Boil Time 60 min

OG = 1.060

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The Daily Hay – The Perfect Pint

17 Mar

The Daily Hay is a sometimes daily feature, highlighting whatever I feel worthy of your 5 minutes or less. No real commentary, just a link to the article, music, or video. Enjoy.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Home Brew #1 – Nut Brown Ale – Time to Bottle

1 Feb

About 50 bottles, sure hope it is good...

Bottling the first home brew was much easier than I expected.  I had been warned of its tedious work, so I recruited some help, KFB, and made a game plan.

The bottling process really started the night before any of the first batch left the bucket.  With less than 24 hours before go time, I only had about 12 empty bottles.  Lucky for me, it was a few days before my birthday, and I was throwing a party.  My friends can party, so I knew it would be no problem to get the 50 bottles needed.  My concern was the need for 50 non-screw top bottles, but fear not, those same friends like to party with a good brews that happen to have pop-tops.  We were in business.

After sleeping in the next day, I was ready to get started.  While KFB was out running errands, I decided to do some of the prep work.  I sanitized all of the equipment, and started prepping the bottles.  This part ended up being the only annoying part of the process.

By the time she arrived to the apartment, aka The Underground Brewery, I was ready to start.  We siphoned the beer from the carboy to the bottling bucket, trying our best to avoid the sediment.  In the bottling bucket, I combined the priming suger with the beer.  The priming suger will react with the yeast, causing carbonation.  This process takes about two weeks in the bottle.

Once everything was ready in the bottling bucket, the process couldn’t have gone smoother.  She filled the bottles, I worked the caper.  Less than 30 minutes later, we had about 50 bottles of The Underground’s first brew, a Nut Brown Ale.

We both took a little sip of the uncarbonated beer, and it tasted pretty good.  I really liked the flavors, but it is kind of hard to tell since it is flat, and the flavor profiles will continue to change in the bottle.

My expectations for this first batch are pretty low.  I’m not looking for the next best thing to hit the brewing community, but rather something that is drinkable.  After all, a good beer doesn’t make the man, but the man makes the good beer.  Sometimes it just takes a few tries.

Sometime later this week or next I should have a report on the final product.

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Home Brew #1 – Nut Brown Ale

21 Jan

The beer, ready for fermentation.

This fall I decided a needed a new hobby. Picking something that you will want to spend a lot of time perfecting can be tricky, so I took a look what I enjoy.

  • Eating, eh already close to mastering that art.
  • Running, at this point I already consider that one a hobby.
  • Dancing, whoa, I embarrass myself with enough of that as it is.
  • Drinking, bingo.

But I got to thinking, “Hobbies:  Drinking” isn’t really a winning self descriptor. So I decided to combine my creative juices, with something that will produce the ultimate reward. For Christmas I asked for a home brewing kit.

Last Sunday was the first big day of this brand new hobby. For those of you who have never brewed beer before, there are really two big days to each batch. The first is brew day, the second the bottling day. Sunday was my first brew day.  For the first batch, I wanted something easy, tasty, and rich. I went with a Nut Brown Ale.

Grains in the brew pot

Grains in the brew pot

It took me about an hour to get organized. I laid out the ingredients and equipment and did little more than stare at all the malts and tubes for nearly twenty minutes. Once I finally began piecing everything together, I started feeling a little more comfortable.  Before I knew it, I had grains simmering in the pot, and yeast rehydrating on the counter.  I was on a roll.

I boiled in the malt for nearly an hour, adding hops along the way.  When the boil was finished, I carefully added the wort to the water in the carboy and pitched the yeast.  I covered the carboy with an old sweatshirt, and placed it where it now resides in the corner of my closet.

Just 8 hours later, the yeast was really in action with the airlock bubbling violently, indicating that fermentation was taking place.  Yesterday I noticed that things had already slowed down, so I might be bottling as early as this weekend.  I was a little surprised at how rapidly the fermentation slowed, but I have been told it is nothing to worry about.  One ‘plus’ to preparing for bottling day is that you need to supply around 50 empty bottles.  The best way to do that is drink around 50 beers.  I didn’t plan ahead enough to start saving over the past few weeks, so this week I’ve been ‘forced’ to play catchup.

While I will not know for a few more weeks if this first attempt was successful, I feel good about my efforts.  I got a feel for what it takes, and how to think ahead.  I now have no doubt that this will be a hobby enjoyed (by myself and my friends) for many years to come.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don’t rely on a single Brita pitcher to purify 5 gallons of water.
  2. Make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing in your speed dial.  Thanks Greg.

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Rockville Twilight

21 Jul
Rockville Twilight 8k

Rockville Twilight 8k Course Map

I don’t get out to organized races very often.  In fact this is the first one I’ve run in several years.  But as part of the marathon training, Roommate and I are trying to get out to as many as we can.  Race #1 came last Saturday at the Rockville Twilight 8k Runfest.  We had heard of horrible humidity and tough racing conditions, but this year couldn’t have been better.  With clear skies and about 75 degrees, it was a perfect evening to lace up our Asics and hit the road.

I was really impressed with the organization of the race, and all the excitement surrounding it.  About 2000 people showed up in ready to run.  There were people cheering at nearly every corner, families out in their front yards, a guy dressed up in a banana suit, and even a jazz band that popped up a few times.  The course itself showed us a few hills, keeping the runners challenged and reminding them to push themselves.  I was lucky enough to have a pretty large crowd armed with cowbells, making it impossible to miss them even in the dark.

The post race festivities were just as good as the race itself.  With registration came 4 free beers and band.  My group closed down the party, sticking around until after the stage was torn down and the lights off.  It was a great night, making me excited about the many races to come.

This weekend brings the Crystal City Twilight 5k.  They have big Twilight shoes to fill, let’s see how it goes.

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