Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Beerpalooza Review

This whole thing started back in August when the Jayhawk argued against buying pumpkin beer because it wasn't cold enough outside. A week later and a flip of the calendar into September, I reminded him that by the time it would be cold enough in the ATL, pumpkin beer would be a distant memory, so we picked up our first 6 pack and unknowingly, Pumpkin Beerpalooza was born.
There were just too many options to try and limiting ourselves felt confining and close-minded. We'd be the first to admit we are huge nerds (both in terms of beer and life), so with a lax form of the scientific method, we went about trying a variety of pumpkin beers (in responsible fashion). We did draw the line at trying ciders, and we obviously didn't try every pumpkin beer in existence, but we were able to slowly work our way through many of the seasonal offerings at our local store. After all that hard work, it only seemed right to share it with you, purely for educational purposes. Without further ado, here are our reviews from our 1st Pumpkin Beerpalooza.

UFO Pumpkin (Harpoon): Another great beer from the UFO (UnFiltered Offering) series. More pumpkin flavor than others, but less spicy. It has lots of real pumpkin flavor paired with an awesome unfiltered beer. We really liked this one. Available in 6 packs.
Harvest Pumpkin Ale (Blue Moon):  Lots of pumpkin-pie spice flavor, dominating the pumpkin flavor to the point where it was hard to detect. To be honest, this beer was up against some tough competition and that was really it's undoing.  Nothing was wrong with it, but it was by far our least favorite of the bunch. Available in 6 packs.
Punk'n Harvest Pumpkin Ale (Uintas): A newer to us brewery, Uintas Punk'n is very drinkable. With one of the better pumpkin flavors on this list and a lower spice level of a hint of cinnamon that's not overwhelming, it's a beer that you wouldn't mind knocking back a few. Available in 6 packs.
Pumpkinhead (Shipyard Brewing): A seasonal favorite (partially because I'm a huge homer and it reminds me of fall in New England), Pumpkinhead was a strong contender going into the 'palooza. It has a strong cinnamon flavor but in the smooth way, not the spicy-bite kind of way. Another very drinkable option that is not complicated. Lightest body on the list. Goes great with a cinnamon-sugar rimmed glass. Available in 6 packs.
Punkin Ale (Dogfish Head): The only Brown ale on the list, Punkin has both a good mix of pumpkin flavor and spice. The spices are not overwhelming and they compliment the solid pumpkin flavor. It's delicious and smells like fall. Available in 4 packs.
Pumpkick (New Belgium Brewing): When I originally read that this beer had cranberry juice and a touch of lemongrass, I was dubious. I'll be honest, I love New Belgium. It's one of my favorite breweries and I love that they push their beer in new ways, but I wasn't sure this time it was going to be a winner.  I'm happy to say, I was wrong. It works. It works really well. By far the most tart beer on our list, Pumpkick took pumpkin beer in a lighter, sour (but not too sour) beer direction. Available in 6 packs.
Smashed Pumpkin Ale (Shipyard Brewing): Previously a favorite at our house, the often hard to find Smashed version of their classic pumpkin ale is worth looking for. Big flavor combined with a mild spice level, this ale has perfect balance of nutmeg and pumpkin dominating the aroma. Both the flavor and aroma are fantastic. Very drinkable, but be mindful of the 9% ABV. It'll catch up with you. No really, it will. Available in 22oz bottles and on tap when you are really lucky.
Imperial Pumpkin Stout (Harpoon): Dark, heavy, and a higher ABV than the rest (10.5%), this stout has a strong malt/molasses flavor. Harpoon describes it as "half imperial Stout, half pumpkin ale" but I would call it all stout with a strong flavor and a hint of spicy top notes. Non-Stout or dark beer lovers need not apply. :) Available in 22oz bottles.

Do you like pumpkin beer? Any favorites we should try?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chickamauga Marathon Training Week 5+6

So, work has been a bit busy. Not making excuses, just letting you know I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth. The good news is that I've still been running and I'm rapidly approaching taper time. This training cycle has flown by!

Week 5

Monday: I rested.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest

Tuesday: Was stuck at work a bit late, so I only had time to squeeze in a 4 miler.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 4 miles (8:47/mile pace)
Sporting some pink on the treadmill.
Wednesday: The Monster was a bit under the weather (refused a meal for the first time in her 70+ dog years) and I was a bit freaked out. She's been my roommate longer than the Jayhawk (but I love them equally). I skipped my workout to head home and check on her and spend a little extra time with her. After a little creativity (lunchmeat), I got her eating and back on track.
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: Rest

Thursday: Decided to add a little mileage to make up for the skipped workout on Wednesday. Then decided to round it out to a full 10k.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: 6.2 miles (8:38/mile pace)

Friday The Jayhawk's birthday! With our birthdays only 9 days apart, we tend to share our celebrations and spread it out into one long celebration, or Birthdaypalooza. Kicked it off with a little pizza and beer, fuel of champions, and then promptly fell asleep at 9:15. I am a party animal.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest

Saturday: Weather was weird. The partly sunny forecast never arrived and it rained a good chunk of the weekend. Busted out a little speed work on the treadmill.
Planned: 16 miles  Actual: 3.1 miles (8:11/mile pace)
We've been rocking the pink all month! How do you #ShowYourColors?
Sunday: Had planned to do my long run, but rolled my ankle about 3 miles in. Decided to limit it to 5 miles and see how it felt for the next day.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5.1 miles (8:19/mile Pace)

Week 6

Monday: Rare Monday off from work (yay Federal holiday)! Got in a 10 miler with no ankle trouble.
Planned: Rest   Actual: 10 miles (8:43/mile pace)

Tuesday: Short recovery run to stretch out the legs.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 3.25 miles (8:45/mile pace)

Wednesday: Mid-week run. Nothing exciting to report
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:43/mile pace)
Thursday: Another mid-week run.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:44/mile pace)

Friday: It was a long week. Took the Monster to the vet for her all better exam. She got nervous (per her usual), but was declared healthy!
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
That is all nervous drool. Someone isn't a fan of the vet.
Saturday: Joined up with a group of friends for their last 12 miler before Rock n' Roll Savannah Half Marathon.  Added on a few extra miles afterward at a quicker pace for my last big run of the training cycle.  To rehydrate and recovery, the Jayhawk and I headed up to North Georgia for a wine tasting at Yonah Mountain Vineyards. Definitely was feeling the miles after the 90 minute tour, but that's what the wine was for. :)
Planned: 20 miles  Actual: 12 miles (10min/mile pace); 5 miles (8:53/mile pace)
The weather was stunning all weekend.
And there's Yonah Mountain overlooking the vineyard.
Enjoying the cool caves.
Sunday: Quick recovery run to celebrate the new year. 3.3 miles for 33 years (I got in the 33 miler in August). Legs had a little more zip than expected. Apparently they like the new age.
Planned: 4 miles   Actual: 3.3 miles (8:01/mile pace)

How has your October been going? Does yours seem to be flying by as well?

Friday, October 17, 2014

26.2 with DONNA Discount code

Happy Friday Everyone!

In celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I've got a little treat for you.

Remember when I ran 26.2 with DONNA last year and loved it?
I loved it so much I'm going back this year.

Well, I want you to join me. 
Use the promo code "Ambluv15" to get $10 off registration for any of the races (Half Marathon, Marathon, or Marathon Relay).  The code is good through the end of online registration!
If you would also put "DONNA Ambassador Referral" in the how did you hear about the race and my name (Elisabeth) below, that would be great. Then they know I am doing my job!
I hope to see you all there. Please let me know if you are joining! I would love the chance to say hi and run a bit together or just take goofy photos! Can't wait to see you there!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Faces of Cycling

Do you only realize how many faces you make after seeing them on film? How is your Wednesday going?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chickamauga Marathon Training Week 4

I want to give a little Shout out to Courtney over at Running for Cupcakes.  She has her first full marathon this weekend so head on over and wish her good luck! I'm sure she will do great!

Monday: Felt pretty good after Sunday's 18 miler. Happy to see that my return to long mileage didn't cause trouble.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
Even on the bike I show my my #runDonna pride.
Tuesday: I forgot my water bottle. It wasn't that I got that thirsty on the treadmill, but I use it to break up my run mentally. I ended up bringing my big Nalgene from my desk at work to the gym, but that only lead to some unintentional comedy.  Do you know how hard it is to get the water from the Nalgene to your mouth while running? The treadmill and I were soaked.  Any who, got the miles in and a little bath.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:44/mile pace)

Wednesday: I just didn't have the umph to go 8 miles today, so I did 5 with the idea of getting the 8 tomorrow instead.
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:42/mile pace)
Sporting my pink at work. Yep that's me not in running gear.  ;)
Thursday: Work got the best of me and I was happy with the 5 I got. Time to recommit to the training schedule and work get back to it's hectic old self.
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:46/mile pace)

Friday: It was a long week. I was happy to see Friday arrive. Been passionately wearing my pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Have you? Join in on the #ShowYourColors campaign!
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest

Saturday: I didn't run a step this weekend. Not a single one, but I made up for it with a little bicycle riding. Starting on Saturday and heading into Sunday, I participated in one of my favorite events of the year, 24 Hours of Booty (Read last year's recap here). The temps dropped for the weekend and it was beautiful weather for riding.
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 51 miles cycling!
The lighting of the glow stick is always so emotional. 
Sunday: Day 2 of 24 Hours of Booty and I finished out my century, caught up with old friends, and absorbed the amazing/heart wrenching/hopeful stories of my co-riders. Truly an excellent weekend (full recap coming later this week).
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 51 miles cycling!
Such a lovely day!
How was your week? Did you do anything to mix it up?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Recap

Miles: 82.4

Races: None, but I'm okay with that. I got enough racing miles in last month.

Highpoint of the month: Recovering well from the Snakebite 50k and getting back in the training groove without injuries or incidents.
Not so Highpoint of the month: Work was really stressful, but I won't bore you guys with that kind of stuff.

Indulgence of the Month:  Umm, enjoying a few pumpkin beers. Full review coming soon. :)

What I am looking forward to in October: October is one of my favorite months of the year and it's not just because both the Jayhawk and I have birthdays (here is last year's running celebration). There's also that it's my favorite season, Hockey returns, Halloween (a holiday celebrated with silly costumes and candy, what's not to love), and Breast Cancer Awareness month! 26.2 with DONNA is hosting a few campaigns this month to increase awareness and celebrate the women facing breast cancer. One is the #ShowYourColors photo a day challenge. Just share the image below (also available on my instagram) and use the hashtags when you upload your photo each day to be eligible for prizes.
You don't have to be wearing the item, just take a picture of it!
I'll be hosting a few small giveaways, sharing my personal connection to breast cancer, and kicking off my fundraising campaign. I hope you all join in!

How was your September? Any big plans for October?
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