This hop plant is growing a lot faster than the rest. It's been in the ground for 2 weeks, and 2/3's of it is new growth since then. I don't know the first thing about sexing plants, and I assumed I bought all females, but I don't really know. What I DO know is that I've read that males grow faster than females. Maybe one of you can tell by the picture? Otherwise, they're all fresh starts from 1 gallon pots, so I wouldn't be surprised if it just took some plants a little longer to get established. They're all growing pretty fast at least. On another note, my rhubarb is growing really nice again. I'm hoping with a little fertilizer and all the extra sunlight it's getting, the next batch of rhubarb wine I make will be a little more sweet and citrusy than the last batch. I drank a gallon of my spring batch over the course of the last week, and it was very nice, but I'd like a more pure batch next time around that doesn't need as much honey to get it where it needs to be with fermentable sugars.
Saturday, I rode my bike over to the horse brass an hour and a half early to try to get some good seats for what turned out to be the last US game at the world cup. When I arrived to find no available seating, we rode over to Apex bar, and waited around out front for a bit for them to open, so we could watch the game there. Despite the outcome, I had a real good time with a hopworks crosstown pale, a firestone velvet merkin, a bottle of russian river consecration, and a bottle of Cascade Kriek (the last two were shared). After my world cup hopes were crushed, I (reluctantly) rode with the pack over to Green Dragon, and had a Rogue John's Dark and Scary BSDA. After one drink, we headed south again to Hopworks, were I tried the barrel aged 300 before continuing east to Safeway for some deshutes inversion and meat for the grill. After a good BBQ, I went to bed early to prepare for a 7:00 am WC match between England and Germany, were once again, "my" team was crushed.
After soccer, I spent the afternoon making a few improvements to the cave. It had been getting messy, and I decided to rotate the "exhibit" on the north wall to showcase my glassware collection, which I think looks a lot nicer than my bottle collection did there. While I still don't plan to part with the bottles, it was looking really sloppy, and in this case, one man's treasure was just another's recycling.
A quick shot of all the goodies I have in my light-proof cabinet, waiting to be consumed. It's not ideal for aging, but it's dark, and it's an underground garage that stays real cool, and I've had pretty good success with it over the last few years, so I'm not too motivated to upgrade.
After getting everything in order in the cave, I decided to take advantage of another nice day, and rode bikes with a friend over the river to Deschutes for their 22nd anniversary celebration. I wasn't too interested in the music, but the BBQ outside sure smelled good. Still, I skipped the block party and went inside for pours of Black Butte XXII. After the controversy about this years bottling, I wasn't really sure what to expect. The description sounded fantastic, although a bit difficult to pull off in my opinion. Served in the deschutes reserve tulips, this beer looked about as I thought it should. Less head maybe than previous batches, and certainly less than the abyss, but this was a forced carbed beer, and I found the carbonation to be sufficient. While cold, the only thing I could easily detect out of the long list of special ingredients was CHOCOLATE. Lot's of it. It was as if they tasted Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti last year, and said "we should attempt something like this." While it wasn't Southern Tier "Choklat" chocolaty, it was definitely a much more prominent usage than past vintages. As the beer warmed, I could faintly detect a bit up peppery prickliness on the back of my tongue, but I feel like the pepper flavor was very nuanced compared to other examples of hot pepper stouts/porters. Harder to pick out still was the flavor the oranges imparted, but I thought for a second I detected them in the last few warm sips at the bottom of my glass.
Overall, the description had me thinking this was perhaps an overly ambitious project that could have either worked incredibly, or epically failed. Despite the issues they had with the bottled version, I say what I tasted was very good, and certainly not a failure, but a bit underwhelming after what I've been anticipating for months since originally hearing about the changes to the recipe.
I had a second glass, making sure I got my fill since these wont be seen in bottles in 2010, and then I rode my bike back home to relax and recoup for work tomorrow.