Saturday, October 29, 2016

Avalanche Early Season Paired With Captain Bucky O'Hare Carrot Cake Brown Ale

9.5 pounds 2 Row
1 pound Belgian Pils
.5 pounds Victory
.5 pounds Caramel 45
.5 pounds Pale Chocolate
.5 pounds Biscuit Malt

1 pound Lactose @10 minutes

1 oz. Willamette
1 oz. Fuggle

American Ale Wyeast 1272

1 tbl nutmeg
1 tbl allspice
1 tbl coriander
2 tbl brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
At Flameout

1 Vanilla Bean
8 oz. Chopped Almonds
Soaked in rum (because I'm a pirate) and added in secondary

What a crazy early season, eh? I began the start of hockey season by watching my favorite sports movie of all time, Goon.

Ignore the terrible trailer. This movie is excellent. I liked it so much I ordered and proudly wear a Ross "The Boss" Rhea jersey from a shady online store who turned out to be a super friendly Filipino man who told me my purchase would help provide his family with clean drinking water. Sooooo I'm pretty much saving the world here guys.

But I digress.

The boys in burgundy opened with the offensive juggernaut Dallas Stars who were the highest scoring team last year. I came ready to get rowdy and left surprisingly positive. 

It was an absolute artillery slugfest. If Dallas had a decent goalie I would put money on them winning the Cup. Fortunately for us, they have Niemi and Lehtonen. Who are both decent goalies, but decent goalies don't win championships (unless you are Chicago or Detroit, who won multiple cups in spite of their goaltenders.) 

The good guys finished an absolutely brutal road trip by swinging through Pittsburgh, Washington, Tampa Bay and Florida, who are all basically guaranteed to make the playoffs this year. And you know what? It actually wasn't bad. Washington made us look like a 10 and under team, but they are my Stanley Cup favorites this year and are playing pissed off at an early exit from last season. That score could have been much worse. 

The bottom line is the optimism is there. There are flashes of Bednar's new system in every game; pucks are skated out of the defensive zone almost immediately with a short nouthbound pass or a quick bounce off the boards to get it to the neutral zone. No more absurd two-zone rockets that get intercepted. 

And even though we lost by a goal to Winnipeg, I again saw flashes of potential. The 1st period looked like the good ol' boys, lost in their own zone chasing the puck down and getting pushed out of the attacking zone after a single shot. But in the 3rd period Colorado shot 20 times (!), which is more than the good ol' boys used to shoot in the entire game. And as soon as I figure out how to make gifs out of videos, I'll throw up some highlights and go in greater detail.

So, let's recap with some Good Things and Bad Things:

Good Things
-More shots
-MacKinnon and Landeskog are playing like manimals
-Rantanen is back in the lineup, and playing in the top 6
-Zadorov is looking great
-Martinsen is hitting everything in sight and is great on the forecheck
-The Power Play is approximately a billion times better than last year
-Bednar's new defensive system is starting to show, which is good for Varly. Varly is a reactive goalie and likes to see the shots so he can react (and he can flash the pad in like a quarter second.) He's not like a say....Belfour or Brodeur who are able to set up perfectly angled without seeing the puck
-The defense is also more aggressive with the puck attack and getting their sticks in the passing lanes

Bad Things
-Duchene is playing his game only every so often. He needs to play his elite game every time. He's capable of taking over the game single-handedly when he's on
-Defense is falling back on old habits and collapsing in the defensive zone
-5 on 5 Colorado is still having trouble maintaining the zone and are falling back to being one and done
-Iginla, man, I love ya but you don't belong anywhere near the top 6. The play dies every time you touch the puck. I'd like to see him on the 3rd line and power play duty

So hey, it's early. I said before that it will be a long season. A deep strategic system like Bednar's takes time to implement, especially after about a decade of a nothingburger system with an extra side of nothingsauce. 

But the potential is there, and you can see a change in the wind. Or feel. Feel a change in the wind. Whatever, I'm expecting at least a better and more structured season.

Now let's talk beer.

This is my carrot cake brown ale. Back when I first started brewing, the pumpkin beer craze was in full swing and has only gotten worse (or better, depending on how much you like pumpkin beer.) Personally I like fall for the pumpkin beers if only because it is so saturated it forces breweries to try new things. 


In an effort to be a unique snowflake I chose to brew my own take on the fall spice craze and threw together a carrot cake recipe. The first 4 years were....not great. They ranged from offensively malty to hilariously overspiced to just plain mediocre and forgettable, which I think is one of the greatest insults to a beer. 

So try number 5 turned out.....


It's malty with a hint of spice and sweetness. The lactose gives it a creamy, foamy finish. The spice isn't overpowering or too subtle. It's nice and balanced if I do say so myself. And I do. I do say so myself. 

It's fall, it's window opening and patio drinkin' weather, hockey is back. What a great time of year. I'll pair it with a great spiced beer.