Thursday night I hit up the pool for some pool running. Instead of the typical 30 minutes, I decided to push it and got for 40. While that 10 minutes might not seem like much of a difference, I was EXHAUSTED by the time I finished. I was able to cover 500 yards, which is pretty good for me, and I definitely feel like I’m becoming more accustomed to the whole thing.
Yesterday morning I had an early PT session so I did 7 miles of round trip bike commuting to get in as quickly as possible (aka sleep longer). However, after a long day, I crashed early last night and didn’t get any exercises in before bed.
This morning I woke up early to get in a workout before work. I started with my typical exercise ball exercises and then jumped on the bike. Matt’s track workout Thursday night was 2400 m, rest, 1600 m, rest, 2x 800 m with rest in between. Converting that into my bike workout looked like this:
0-10 minutes – warm up
10-22 minutes – building sprint
22-25 minutes – recover
25-33 minutes – sprint
33-36 minutes – recover
36-40 minutes – sprint
40-43 minutes – recovery
43-47 minutes – sprint
47-52 minutes – cool down
Yesterday I received the go ahead to start walking outside as much as I want, which is awesome because I’m having a hard time keeping focused for bike workouts. They definitely aren’t my preferred workout (I love being outside) so it’s tough for me to sit inside on the bike that long. Fortunately I had some pretty awesome episodes of Boy Meets World to ease the pain today .
3 Stars Brewing Company
For Matt’s birthday this year (which was February 19), I spent a lot of time trying think of the perfect gift. I wanted to give him something that embraced DC and gave us a chance to experience a new part of the city, since we’re both sad to be moving soon, but with a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds for me job-wise, I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, either. (Also because I’m still paying for his bike!) So after what felt like months but was probably more like one, I finally came up with the perfect idea!
The craft brewery scene in DC has really been taking off during our time living here, which has likely been aided or maybe gone hand-in-hand with passage of legislation allowing growler sales. When Matt and I first started dating in 2008, I was happy drinking Blue Moon…but quickly learned from Matt that there is a wide world when it comes to beer and not all of it is worth drinking. You could almost say Matt has turned me into a beer snob. But neither of us have spent much time getting to know the local brews, so for Matt’s birthday I planned weekend excursions to the 3 breweries in the District plus the 1 in Alexandria, which included a tour, tasting, and growler of his choice.
We started our brewery tours 3 weeks ago (we took last weekend off since I had experiments but are making that up next weekend) with a trip to 3 Stars Brewing Company located in the Takoma neighborhood. Due to zoning regulations, none of the breweries are particularly close to a Metro, though the farthest is about 2 miles so they are definitely within walking distance.
The breweries don’t open for growler hours until sometime between 12-1 pm, which is perfect since I finish working around noon. And instead of grabbing lunch on our way over, the breweries always have one of DC’s food trucks cooking up delicious eats for their patrons. (We’re always starving by the time we get there, so our first stop is for food!) When we went to 3 Stars, Curly’s Q was parked inside serving up BBQ. (Curly’s truck was parked inside because his truck is too big to meet DC regulations so he can’t sell from the street in the District.) Curly was handing out samples of his peanut butter, or ground nut, soup, which Matt and I gave a try.
Matt had ground nut soup when he lived in Ghana one summer, and thought it was a similar flavor. We both thought it was pretty delicious…and went back for seconds. Matt told me it was interesting to just have it as soup, though, because in Ghana they would eat it with a doughy ball called fufu, which they would tear a piece off and dip into the soup. So definitely not the menu item you’d typically expect from a BBQ food truck!
While everything on the regular menu sounded really good, Matt and I both opted for the pork plate, which was a pulled pork sandwich with a bag of chips and one side.
I threw on some of Curly’s special sauce (delicious) and Matt and I split sides of the baked beans (which came with corn in it!) and mac and cheese (which we added Scotch Bonnet pepper to). Being from Topeka, Matt obviously grew up on KC style BBQ, but I grew up on Memphis style because my dad is from Tennessee. This BBQ was really similar to Memphis style, so I think I probably enjoyed it more than Matt, but we both found it to be REALLY good! The meat was a little on the fatty side, so I think adding some of the slaw to the sandwich would have been perfect – having some acid to cut through some of the heaviness. On its own, I wasn’t a fan of the slaw, but slaw isn’t my thing to begin with. The mac and cheese was awesome but one of the things I was most surprised by was the baked beans – they tasted smoky, which I’ve never tasted in beans before! I loved it! And if you don’t believe me that it’s good, just ask Curly’s ex-wife.
After chowing down, we headed into the tasting room to try the various beers available that day. They had 3 beers available for tasting (peppercorn saison, pandemic porter, and southern belle), and we received 4 tickets for tasting when we walked in.
DC breweries are full of hipsters…and the children of hipsters. So weird.
After tasting all three, Matt and I agreed that the southern belle was our favorite (a brown ale), and wanted to purchase a growler of their ebony & ivory, which was the southern belle from a cask with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans. Unfortunately they were all out by the time we made our decision…the first indication that going early is smart when you’re checking out the local breweries on Saturdays! Instead we opted for a growler of the southern belle, which I definitely did not complain about! (Easily one of my all-time favorite beers.)
We then jumped in on the 3 pm tour with the owners of the brewery, Dave and Mike. It was really cool to hear how the brewery started as the two of them brewed beer together in Mike’s kitchen, and then basement, every Sunday…which was particularly painful for Dave as he was working at The Big Hunt (a local bar) into the early hours on Sunday mornings. That was how they developed the recipes for their beers, leading to what eventually became 3 Stars (named for the DC flag, which is painted on the wall of the brewery if you aren’t familiar with our flag). The two are proud to use DC water for their beers, and really hope to have a significant role in the future of the District. Listening to them talk about what they’ve accomplished so far and where they hope to take their brewery, I was proud to know that great businesses like this are developing and growing in DC. This place has a lot more to offer than gridlocked politics.
We had a great time getting to see the brewery and learn about their story. I have a much greater appreciation for what it would take to get a brewery started and how much each part of the process requires. I loved the story they told of how the southern belle came to be – a beer they weren’t originally interested in producing. The owner of their facility wanted them to brew a brown ale for an event, which they kept informing him they didn’t do. He told them they didn’t understand…but they finally put together a recipe for a brown ale and brewed it, and it is definitely my favorite in that category. (They also brewed the only porter I’ve actually enjoyed.) Their beer is awesome and I love their message. If you’re in the area, go check these guys out. And if you’re ever traveling through or to DC, don’t forget to check out 3 Stars. We have some incredible hidden gems in this city!
And if you go on a day where Curly is serving his Q, you’ll get a flashy karaoke show on your way out the door!
On second thought, maybe I should’ve gotten Matt that shirt for his birthday….
Your Turn: Do food trucks have a big presence around you? Any local craft breweries in your area? Have you ever had 3 Stars brews?