March Madness arrives early!

3 Feb

So guess what showed up on my front door this evening?  Our tickets to the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, Rounds 2 & 3 (they will always be Rounds 1 & 2 to me) at the Rose Garden on March 15th and 17th.  Holy shit I am excited!  Miranda and I managed to convince a group of 6 people at work that we should attend this year (tough sell, I know), so we got a hell of a College Basketball weekend planned for the 15-18 of March.  Two days of live action and two more days at the Marathon (really so-so beer but free popcorn!) watching a phenomenal sporting event. If Gonzaga or Michigan end up playing in the bracket out here, be on the lookout for two crazy-ass graduates from those schools going apeshit in the stands during those games.  That will be Miranda and/or our friend Josh.  I got no particular dog in the fight, as my alma matter is New Mexico State University, and they are definitely not playing in the tournament this year.  Oddly enough, this will be the second time Miranda and I have attended the opening round of the tournament in the same city.  In 2000 we were both in Tucson, AZ.  Miranda was following her beloved ‘Zags and I was on a road trip with buddies to watch some ball.  We only realized we had both been there years later, shortly after we met at work.  Interesting how small the world can be.

To celebrate the occasion of our tickets arriving, I popped open a bottle of Rayon Vert from Green Flash Brewing in San Diego. 

The beer is labeled as a Belgian-Style Pale Ale and clocks in at an even 7% ABV.  I found this at Brewligans, when I stopped in to take a peek on Wednesday.  Nice place they got there.  Looking forward to heading out to Troutdale to sample the draft list soon.  Anyway, the beer intrigued me, as I have always had an up-and-down relationship with the beers from Green Flash.  My experiences have been with their IPAs, and I think it is safe to say that they are typically hop bombs.  Not to get into it too much, but these are what I think of when someone says “West Coast IPA”.  Definitely have a nice hop nose, but they blow your palette out of the water with the bitterness.  Balance does not seem to be the first order of business with those particular beers.

This one, though, was really nice.  It had a nice hop nose that was grapefruity and orange all at the same time.  Additionally, there was a fruity quality to the smell that you would expect in some Belgians.  The taste was clearly “West Coast”, with a hop punch in the mouth…but it was followed by that awesome Belgian-funk that I like, and a nice smattering of the malt.  A little sour…a little fruity…a little wild.  This is a summer beer to me, but it was still nice to take one down in celebration on a windy winter night in East Portland.   I am sure this beer is available at most local bottle shops, so check it out if you can.


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