Beer of the Week: Moose Drool

Seattle-based musician Coulter is a true rock 'n' roll runner having run a 3:55 1500 (the equivalent of a 4:13 mile) when he competed for his college team. He can still throw down some fast times when he's not busy touring with his band and when his midlife crisis kicks in in a few years, he could do some damage as a masters runner. If you're a fan of The Smiths, Morrissey, and classic glam rock I highly recommend checking out Coulter's music. Like most runners and musicians, Coulter likes beer so I'll stop rambling and let him take over here:

Moose Drool Brown Ale
big sky brewing co. missoula, mt.

"the mind recoils with the word, 'montana'. clearly, people wind up there for strange reasons. the hollywood mogul who wants their own mountain for the same price of a small bungalow in silverlake. the conspiracy-theory nutjob who sees nuclear-proof bunkers in the never ending series of rolling hills and crag-filled mountains. the nature-loving romantic who's seen "a river runs through it" far too many times (i.e... once). all these people have one thing in common. ok, two..... most likely, they consume far more booze and assorted numbing agents than your average citizen, and out of sheer deference to their new-found homeland, along with a decidedly discriminating palate, they choose: moose drool, a fine brown ale churned out by the sound folks at big sky brewing company, missoula mt. the initial swallow conjures up a syrupy feel... much like the topping for pancakes served on one of those legendary montana winter mornings when the thermometer is stuck on 38 below. and that's without the windchill, which is too depressing to even calculate. some unlucky jackass has frozen his tongue to a lampost somewhere, and this fine bevvy is the only cure. the next sip conjures up a sense of boldness. pull on the lumberjack shirt, strap on the boots and go out and chop some goddamn wood, nancy! who cares if it's july! you can never have enough fuel. bombs ARE coming!! and the finish cries of isolation. the kind of isolation that can only come from a state that doesn't need speed limits. big sky. few will ever visit, and even fewer will pitch their tent there for good. but for those up to the challenge, of both the beer and the bit sky state, the reward is a unique, not-for-everbody payoff of sweet isolation..... a bite behind the product. seldom appreciated. impossible to duplicate. embrace strange. embrace moose drool."



Any of you who grew up in the '80s probably played games like Pac Man and, my favorite, Centipede. Last night one of the bands on Elephant Stone, Philadelphia's The Situation, played in Detroit at a bar called The Belmont. I drove up for the show and was thrilled to discover that they had some old school machines, including Centipede. Situation guitarist, Joe Castro, is also a big fan and we threw down a lot of quarters before the band played an amazing set, which no doubt got them some new fans in the Motor City.


Running Update

Training has been going pretty well. The weather has been pretty brutal lately -- really humid -- but I'm hanging in there. This summer, I've been trying to adjust to higher mileage than I had been doing and it's starting to work well for me. 2005 was my first year on the comeback trail and I averaged about 35 miles a week for the year. I probably did 35-40 from January through May of 2006 and now I've been trying to adjust to 45-50 with a few down weeks to get used to the transition. One of the things I've been doing is slowing down the pace of my long runs and recovery runs, which has allowed me to run faster on my harder days (i.e. intervals and progression runs). It's also giving me more energy to run further on the long runs and easy days. Gotta try to become an aerobic monster! My next race is an 8K on Saturday night August 5th in Allen Park and then I want to train for 8 weeks straight with no races before gearing up for the final homestretch of October, November and master's club nationals cross country in SF on December 9th.


Beer of the Week: Skullsplitter

This week's entry comes from awesome artist Arabella Proffer:

I came upon Skullsplitter after browsing through my favorite liquor store, the image alone got me as it stuck out amongst all the other imports in the cooler; it reminded me of Roxy Music’s Avalon cover art. My mind worked like this: Bad ass viking picture + Roxy Music + bitchin’death metal name + 8.5% alcohol = SOLD! Skullsplitter is from Scotland, named after the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney.

I’m not going to go over the aroma, taste, hints of maple, dry aftertaste, dark yet light to the taste bla bla bla too much. True it looks as though it should be a stout or a porter, but it is a red ale, and that makes it dangerous. I also believe the 8.5% label to be a bit of an understatement (wink-wink), as Skullsplitter was long illegal to sell in the United States, and I’ve had 9% beers in the past that never kicked my ass this much.

The price is a tad expensive for a 4-pack, but you don’t need anything beyond that. I had two beers -- relatively light for what I expected -- and by the second beer I had to go to bed and lie down. What Arrogant Bastard beers (8%) do to me in 5 pints, Skullsplitter did in 2. A beer that can cause me to go beddy-bye in two beers flat is very impressive indeed. My suggestion is have just one with dinner in a snifter, because if you think this sounds like something to pound with your buddies at a party to show off, boy are you going to regret it the next morning.


Jesus and Mary Chain reissues

Along with the prime time Rolling Stones (1964-1973), The Jesus and Mary Chain are my favorite band of all time. Their first five albums have all been reissued by Rhino Records with bonus DVD footage of all their videos. Formed by Scottish brothers Jim and William Reid (both on vocals and guitars), the JAMC set the UK indie scene on fire in 1984/85 with a series of stunning singles including "Never Understand," "Just Like Honey," and "You Trip Me Up," before releasing their debut album "Psychocandy" in November 1985. I was an exchange student in England that year and bought the album the day it came out and it has remained in my top 5 of all-time ever since! Psychocandy contains everything that's cool about melodic '60s guitar pop, along with a heavy dose of Velvet Underground jaded cool and lots of reverb and feedback. This is the template that pretty much inspired My Bloody Valentine and every shoegaze band since. The rest of the JAMC catalogue is phenomenal as well (though I'm still not fully sold on 1995's countryish "Stoned and Dethroned"). 1987's "Darklands" combines majestic pop nuggets like "April Skies" and "Happy When It Rains" with jaded downbeat rock gems like "Nine Million Rainy Days". 1989's "Automatic" is high octane rock 'n' roll, probably the most 'conventional' JAMC record but it contains some of their most beloved tunes such as "Blues From A Gun" and "Head On," which was covered by The Pixies. 1992's long-awaited "Honey's Dead" holds it's own with "Psychocandy" as the group's tour de force with blissful and punishing groove heavy stunners like "Reverence" and "Rollercoaster" and dropdead amazing pop stunners like "Almost Gold". Anyway, I bought the reissues of the first for (passed on "Stoned and Dethroned" for now) and the remastered sound is amazing. It's like listening to the records all over again for the first time like those amazing Stones reissues from a few years ago.


Only in Cleveland

No, this photo wasn't taken in Mexico it was taken in the lobby of the office building where I work. They were having some sort of fiesta and you could have your picture taken with a donkey. This guy was really cool and mellow!


Beer of the Week: Two Hearted Ale

Here's a new feature for Rock 'n' Roll Runner... beer of the week. Our first selection is by my BMLC teammate and big time rock 'n' roll fan John Voorhees:

"Bell's Two Hearted Ale has been a favorite of mine since I discovered it about a year ago. As its maker, Bell's Brewery located near Kalamazoo, Michigan, puts it, Two Hearted Ale is an:

India Pale Ale style well suited for Hemingway-esque trips to the Upper Peninsula. American malts and enormous hop additions give this beer a crisp finish and incredible floral hop aroma.

Being from Michigan, that's a description to which I can relate. Better yet, it's a beer with which I never seem to get bored. A clean, crisp, hoppy taste with a strong citrus taste that is brewed in the true tradition of IPAs, Two Hearted Ale is a great beer for a meal or just sitting on the back porch in the summertime. You may be out of luck finding this one if you live outside the Midwest, but if you can get your hands on it, treat yourself right and give it a try."


Wire reissued!

The first three Wire albums have been reissued on Wire's own Pink Flag label in really cool digipacks made to replicate the old vinyl artwork down to the T. In case you've never heard them, Pink Flag (1977), Chairs Missing (1978), and especially 154 (1979) are three of the best albums from the original punk/post-punk movement of '76-'82 that spawned a shitstorm of influential rock 'n' roll groups. Wire were probably the most unique. They had the manic energy of The Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones etc. but those groups sounded almost primitive next to Wire. Pink Flag has 21 tracks clocking in at around 35 minutes, some of them mere snippets of 40 seconds or so. None of this is thrashy though. It's bare bones minimalist pop music that is catchy and timeless. Chairs Missing was sort of a transition album. Less 'punk' than Pink Flag, it found the group developing their melodic pop chops even more, especially on their breathtaking single "Outdoor Miner." 154 is the toure de force. It's dark and scary like the more experimental work by Bowie and Eno, but it's far more realized. Along with Joy Division this is as intense as pop music gets; 154 feels like a creepy film soundtrrack with a punk rock edge.


Hot Town Summer in the City

Man, what a scorcher! It was 95% humidity at race time at the Tortoise and Hare 5K in Ann Arbor on July 4. I didn't run my best race but still managed to finish 3rd in the 40-44 age group. My BMLC teammates Tom and Steve were 2nd and 4th respectively so we put on a good show. The weather definitely had an effect on our times. I ran 18:39, which is a full minute off my best masters time! I started out slow but I couldn't really get into a good groove in the second half, which was what I was hoping for. Mile splits were 6:02, 6:01, 5:57 and :39. I was pretty pissed off at first but I've been training super hard and haven't tapered at all for my last two races. The focus is definitely on the fall so when I back down a bit, the performances should get much better. Hey, at least I look smooth in the 'official' race photo to your left. Took Wednesday off and today I did a nice long and easy 14 miler in the metro park. It was 70 and breezy and near perfect running weather. Even saw a deer! Next race is an 8K on August 5th. I'm going to back down a little this month and try to get more race sharp and hopefully I'll be able to throw down a sub 30:00. BMLC partners-in-crime Tom, John, and Josh will also be running.


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