Saturday, April 6, 2013

Trails & Ales -- Leg 4

Tuesday, April 2nd

Daily totals:

- 11 miles (7AM/4PM - all trails!)
- Spider Bite First Bite (Pale Ale)
- Spider Bite Boris the Spider (Russian Imperial Stout)


An hour's worth of morning miles in one of my favorite trail section at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum. Lush Rhododendron groves, mossy paths, natural tree root staircases all tucked into a small nature preserve along the wetlands on the banks of the Connetquot River. In total, there's just about 3 miles worth of lopping trail in this section, but the diversity of terrain and setting in each corner is so great that it makes it easy to get lost in there for hours, just "playing" in the woods. The morning jaunt in the trails here served as a location scout for the afternoon's film shoot, which would be taking place on the same pine needle paths and mossy landings of this hidden gem of a training ground. That run/film session would expand into yet another section of my beloved Greenbelt Trail system, but I'll save the verbal description of that beautiful landscape and provide some visual stimulation, courtesy of what the lens captured. Video coming soon, but in the meantime here are a few still frames from that ethereal sunset session in the trails of relentless forward motion...


A double serving of the same trails should only be matched with a pair of craft concoctions from the same micro brewery -- The choice of the evening: Spider Bite Beer Co. (Holbrook, L.I.)

First Bite Pale Ale
5.5% ABV

This Pale Ale packs a punch of great flavor, decent hop character, and goes down quite easy. Though it weighs in above the 5% mark, I'd still consider it a very sessionable beer. It's surely one to be enjoyed on at the dinner table, a cool spring evening, and even the hottest of summer days. First Bite would cater to a wide array of palates and taste buds -- a solid ale from a fine brewery who has made the image of a spider somewhat likable again. TRY THIS BEER.

Boris the Spider (Russian Imperial Stout)

This delicious sludge is not for the faint of heart. At first pour, I thought my friend had handed me a bottle of Aunt Jemima as some sort of joke. A thick, blacker-than-black, liquid flowed slowly from the mouth of the bottle, creating a carmel-colored head atop it's midnight body. When my nose first breach the aroma that escaped from the abyss I was certain I would not be a fan of this one. "Trust me," said a fellow craft beer enthusiast. "You'll enjoy it." WOW. Not what I was expecting. This powerful stout was like nothing I've ever had before in it's category. I myself am a big supporter of Guinness, but this glass of dark stuff was in a league of its own. Tangled up in a web of rich, complex flavors and amazing maltiness, Boris the Spider is a real treat for lovers of the dark stuff out there. If you like Guinness, or if you want to take your taste buds on an adventure, there's a discovery awaiting in the glass if you do so dare to depart into the depths with Boris the Spider. RECOMMENDED FOR STOUT LOVERS LOOKING FOR AN 8-LEGGED KICK.

**Notable mentions from beyond borders: Alchemist Heady Topper (An incredible Double IPA from Warren, VT. I have no words, other than "GET ME ANOTHER ONE!)

Also from the Green Mountain State, Lawson's Fine Liquids Kiwi Double IPA (simply HOP-tastic!)

Hit the trails and discover some ales...

Stay Relentless, folks!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Trails & Ales Tour -- Leg 3

Monday, April 1st

Daily totals:

- 4 miles (1mi trail/3mi roads)
- Brooklyn Lager
- SixPoint Bengali Tiger

TRAILS (roads):

A short, condensed outing -- Lots to do today, so I had to eek out a quick pass through a nice little trail section called Paradise Island. While the name sounds majestic, it’s merely a tiny system of nature trails just off the Bayard Cutting Arboretum. Still, despite being a spec on the grid, it’s a beautiful little getaway from the roads. It’s about 1.5 miles away on the streets before you get to the hole in the chainlink fence that is the gateway to such a place. Although I could only fit in a quick miles worth on the soggy pine paths, it’s always an amazing feeling to get in the trails, no matter the time or distance. Besides, a shorter day likely worked in my favor with a couple of big days ahead...

Tomorrow should bring a double (2 runs, A.M. & P.M.) with some trails in the morning followed by a film and photo shoot in the Greenbelt system with the folks at Red Vault Productions. Stay tuned for updates on that! In the meantime, check out their incredible work at


Since the road-to-trail ratio weighed heavily in favor of the asphalt today, I figured it was only right to welcome a fine Lager into the Trails & ALES Tour -- a familiar and refreshing one, at that.

Brooklyn Lager (Brooklyn, NY -- Yes, it’s part of Long Island)
5.2% ABV

Touted as Brooklyn Brewery’s flagship beer, its Lager is a true masterpiece among the others in its category -- and that’s coming from a “hop head.” While Lager’s are not known for their hoppy character, this brew doesn’t disappoint in it’s malty flavor. Easy-drinking, great taste from start to finish, and the perfect beer to enjoy while watching the NY Mets pound the Padres 11-2 on Opening Day at Citi Field, located in the neighboring borough of Queens, not too far north from the brewery itself.

SixPoint Bengali Tiger IPA (Brooklyn, NY)
6.2% ABV

Ah, yes. A fine IPA for the palate any day of the week. This beautifully crafted variety also hails from Brooklyn, and unlike the stuff from their neighbors, all of their beers are only available in cans (and on tap, of course). While canning continues to grow among our nation’s micro breweries, Sixpoint was one of the first to pack the shelves with this 16oz. aluminum greatness. In my opinion, one of the better IPAs out there (and even better on tap, if you can find it) with it’s burst of flavor, slight caramel maltiness, and hop-tastic attack on your taste buds from beginning to end, courtesy of the dry-hopping technique Sixpoint uses in this wild animal of a brew. I definitely recommend this beer for the fellow IPA freaks out there, and to anyone who is looking to “step up” to the hoppy goodness of a smooth IPA that won’t leave you on the floor after enjoying a few of them.

Stay tuned for Day 4 updates on the Trails & Ales Tour -- coming complete with behind-the-scenes action of the film and photo shoot with the adventure filmmakers at

Follow the Trails & Ales Tour as the journey unfolds #trailsandales

Instagram: @RunningOnBeer
Twitter: @robriccardo

Monday, April 1, 2013

Trails & Ales Tour -- Leg 2

Sunday, March 31st

Daily totals:

- 6 miles (5mi trails/ 1mi road)
- Blue Point No Apologies (Double IPA)
- Blue Point RastafaRye (Rye Pale Ale)


A fairly "short"day in the trails, but I'd rather run 5 miles with my dad than 50 miles by myself any day of the week. Getting my father out on the trails was especially great since he hasn't run much, or really at all, since he had surgery on his legs just one month ago. With no plans to tackle a set distance, "Big Rob" and I hit the fire roads and dirt paths at Heckscher State Park, a local spor perched on the Great South Bay with some decent trails wrapping its outer edges. With the park being so close to my home, just a 5 minute drive away, it's always served as a local escape and venue for some backyard exploration ever since I could walk. Hitting the park with pops served as a great bit of nostalgia, as we trekked over familiar grounds in a way that we haven't done as a duo ever before. Despite his recent time under the knife, his legs held up well and I so kindly pulled the mileage "trick" on him -- simply telling him he had gone only 2 miles when he was already a full 4 into the day. He likely knew I was full of it, but I was determined to pull him to a nice rounded 5 miler to round out Easter morning. In the end, we tackled the task on the trails without issue and reached that unmatched sense of freedom one finds when being out in the elements. With the morning both a success and an enjoyment, I no longer felt sorry for pulling that "mileage trick" on dad -- and to that, I say "No Apologies," which brings us to a proper beer to fit just the occasion...


Blue Point No Apologies (Patchogue, L.I.)
10.0% ABV

That's right, NO APOLOGIES. This rare small batch Double IPA packed a punch of amazing flavor and a huge hop character, as expected with a Double or Imperial. Carmel malts balanced well with its 93 IBU and seemed to cover up its very high ABV. Blue Point is just one of many great local Long Island breweries, and is one of the closest to my house. I've tried dozens of their varieties over the years, every one of them pleasing and satisfying in their own way, but I had never tried the No Apologies D-IPA before, so it was a perfect compliment to what the day on the trails brought to my father and me: Discovering a new, unfamiliar variety together with the help of a very familiar venue/brand. And of course, what a way to break the NO IPA Lenten promise... Double style. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BREW!

Prior to having this Blue Point Imperial, my favorite Double IPA had been Ruckus Brewing's "Hoptimus Prime" (PA), but I can say with confidence that No Apologies has taken the top spot with my palate, and dad agrees. A bias towards Long Island beer over others? I say no, but if it truly is, I'm not sorry (as the beer itself notes).

**Some notable mentions (from Long Island, and our friends from beyond borders):

- Blue Point Rastafa Rye (7.5% ABV, a fantastic and strong Rye Pale Ale, with Bob Marley on the label)

- Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA (7.2% ABV, an incredibly well-balanced and happily hoppy serving from this San Diego, CA brewery)

- Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (8.3% ABV, one of THE BEST Black Rye IPAs out there. Full of flavor, with a nice carmel-flavored and colored head that satisfies even the most stubborn palates)

**Day 3 of the Trails & Ales Tour ahead, but it's sure to be a condensed version thanks to METS OPENING DAY -- Next stop: CITI FIELD!

Happy Trails & Hoppy Ales, folks.