found drama

get oblique

BJCP Study Group: Category 16

by Rob Friesel

Study session #16… meet Category 16: the Dark British Beers. Very small group tonight (only four!) as we contended with a nasty winter snow storm that forecasts predicted would start to peak more-or-less smack in the middle of our study session. But we had enough to move ahead. And by that, I mean that we had Category-appropriate beers, and more than two people to talk about them.

Category 16 beers: Dark British Beer Continue reading →

2017 Wrap-Up

by Rob Friesel


  • 50 “home days” with E. while he was in part time preschool.[1]
  • Managed to ski 10 times between the bottom half of the 16/17 season and the start of the 17/18 season.
  • Visited 2 National Parks that we’d never visited before.[2]
  • Read 36 books.[3]
  • Read 380 articles (blog posts, etc.) between September and December. But I only started tracking those midway through August, so it could easily be 1140.[4]
  • Ran in 2 × 5k races.
  • Parted ways with 1 sweet cat.
  • Between the phone calls, letters, and emails, probably been in touch with my Congressional rep and Senators over a hundred times.


  • Despite those 50 home days (vide supra), my overall performance did not appear to suffer.
  • Mentored a couple of people on leading technical teams. Arguably successfully.
  • Switched out of a software engineering role into a user experience role.
  • For the first time ever, negotiated on my compensation package, stood firm, and got the thing that was most important to me.
  • Did not change careers and become a pro brewer.
  • Did not change careers and become a vaunted novelist.


According to RunKeeper…

  • 297.1 miles of cycling over 20:51:59 — mostly in the gym.
  • 914.8 equivalent miles on the elliptical over 97:38:00.
  • 32.4 miles of hiking over 20:03:34 (13 total hikes).[5]
  • 159.5 miles of walks over 57:18:26 — many of these midday breaks at work.
  • All of those, plus a few others? 397 activities over 207:38 (and some seconds) for about 140,986 calories. More active this year in terms of time and mileage, but fewer calories.


  • 21 brew days all together.
  • 10 new-to-me styles; 18 different styles in total.
  • 17 at home brew days.
  • 4 with the crew brew days.
  • At least 1 solo at-home brew day every month[6] (1.4 on average).
  • 10 partial mash batches.
  • 8 all-grain batches.
  • 3 mead batches.
  • 5 competition entries across three competitions.
  • 3 ribbons brought home, including Mead Maker of the Year.
  • Earned my BJCP Provisional Judge status and judged in my first competition.

Relatively productive year.

  1. Not counting any sick days, school breaks, nor family vacation. []
  2. Great Smoky Mountains and Acadia; we started to plan out a trip to Yosemite but… the expense! []
  3. I use the Fogus definition, so this 36 includes 6 abandoned books, 2 unfinished books, and the book I’m reading right now. Didn’t count the books I read to the kiddos though. []
  4. A note about method here: my typical article-reading workflow is to see something I want to read, drop it into Instapaper, read it later, and then an IFTTT recipe makes a note in Evernote; at the end of the month, I count up those notes. So if something doesn’t go into Instapaper first (which is probably about 10% of the time) then it doesn’t get counted. []
  5. But roughly twice as much as 2016 in all ways. []
  6. Technically Imposter Syndrome wasn’t at home unless you count Colchester’s Mead Hall as my “home away from home” and technically it wasn’t solo because I brewed in front of an audience but I was the sole brewer… so I’m counting it for August. []

Homebrew #47: Jade Weka

by Rob Friesel

For regular readers of this series, you’ll remember when I brewed up Prosody (Motueka) and declared my love for the New Zealand hop varietals. A little before that brew day, I’d gotten my July/August 2017 copy of BYO with its Style Profile on the New Zealand Pilsner. Intrigued, I put together a recipe similar to the one in the article. And since I’d ordered enough Motueka in the first place… add in some Pacific Jade and… Jade Weka it is.

Jade Weka Continue reading →

BJCP Study Group: Category 20

by Rob Friesel

Like our study session for Categories 6 & 8, session #15 was double-booked with a club meeting. Only this club meeting was not a supplement to the study group, but rather the study group format was tweaked to accommodate the meeting. And so it goes.

Our modified format? Score an Old Rasputin at home and bring in the scoresheet for discussion.

Old Rasputin Continue reading →

Homebrew #45: Evil Clone

by Rob Friesel

After making two batches of mead in front (“for”) strangers, and both times as sort of an accident, I decided to make some on my own. Being big fans of Havoc’s Root of All Evil around here, we decided to make our own version of it. Since Groennfell and Havoc have their recipes all online, “cloning” this one was easy: just crib from the source!

Now, I give you Evil Clone:

Evil Clone, first pour Continue reading →

BJCP Study Group: Categories 3 & 14

by Rob Friesel

Study session #14 was originally going to be dedicated solely to Category 14 (Scottish Ale), but a couple of factors came into play that allowed us to double up. First, other than a couple examples of 14C. Scottish Export, our coordinator for the night was having a real bear of a time finding any beers to demonstrate the other styles. In a bit of a windfall though, we discovered that we had enough examples of Category 3 (Czech Lager) that we could mix in that one to make the best use of the evening’s session.

Category 3 and 14 (mostly 3 though) Continue reading →

dream.20171128: hidden kitchen

by Rob Friesel

You’re standing in the kitchen of the home you once owned in Barre. It’s a stunningly banal scene: you and A. unpacking bags of groceries, chatting about meal plans and minor home improvement projects with your parents who have just arrived after a five hour drive. One of these improvements would be to the kitchen, which you’d already done some work to but never quite felt satisfied with. You go on to remark something about the appliances, reaching toward the counter to set down some staple item. That’s when you notice it. Across from the counter, the kitchen goes on and on. There must be dozens (a hundred? more?) of additional square footage that you’d just never — not after so many years — noticed before. While the cabinets aren’t new, they’re certainly in good condition. But beyond that. There’s a toaster oven. (Actually, three of them.) A toaster. A refrigerator. A dishwasher (full of clean dishes, no less). And the four of you come around the counter to investigate the space.

Homebrew #46: Honestatis (Mk. VII)

by Rob Friesel

Honestatis. My house extra amber ale. I’d been out of it since mid-May. An awfully long time to be out of the beer you were born to drink. The time had come to brew up the next batch. But there was a plot twist. A friend of mine had brewed a batch or two of his own take on it, and we were both gearing up to brew this at the same time. Why not combine forces? Honestatis (Mk. VII), the redux:

Honestatis Mk. VII Continue reading →