Close your eyes, and let’s take a trip back in time. (Figuratively close your eyes, or get someone to read this to you.)

You’re 10 years old … it’s the middle of summer, and you’re playing outside with a gaggle of friends. Tag, hide & seek, running through the sprinkler. You’re happy; you’re carefree; and you don’t even notice that the heat is suffocating. The only concern you have is the internal struggle of not wanting today to end versus excitement over what tomorrow will bring. And then … those magic words from your mom …

I’ve got ice cream!!

But it wasn’t just ice cream – it was an orange creamsicle. It was orange, but it was sweet and creamy. Yes, it melted off the stick and onto your hand … but that was part of the fun. Yes, you’d be a sticky mess as a result, but that was part of summer. Can you taste it? Do you remember those times in the yard with your friends? This beer will take you back to the exact same place.

We’ve written about Wild Leap several times. From sours and hazy IPAs to stouts and dessert beers, they’ve been knocking it out of the park for over two years now. First brewed in early 2019, WL’s original Truck Chaser was immediately a huge crowd favorite. They followed that success with a Strawberry Eclair version that was mostly well-received, but had many people thinking that the original was better. Fast forward to early 2020 and Wild Leap brought back the Orange Creamsicle version.

Let’s go back to our time machine. Eating that orange creamsicle in the yard … what did you taste? Sweetness – orange – creaminess. All good things. And all of those are there when you take a sip of Truck Chaser Orange Creamsicle Double IPA (and some vanilla beans for fun, too). Wait … what? This sweet, creamy, citrusy beer is a DOUBLE IPA?!? Yes, yes it is. This ain’t your daddy’s IPA … tasting faintly of pine resin. This is a fabulously well-balanced and sinfully delicious beer.

From CEO/ Founder Anthony Rodriguez: “We’ve had so much fun creating this beer and fine-tuning the blend of hops and creamy milkshake flavor. We’re excited it’s back and we can’t wait to share what we’ve got in store for 2020.”

We can’t wait either, Mr. Rodriguez.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

It’s going to sound a lot like I was cramming for the mid-term. There are only a few days left in the #DrinkAndDropChallenge – not a lot of time left to sway those final results one way or the other. However, I promise that today was just a really good day. And there were LOTS of opportunities for movement and activity.

Started out as a normal day. I had my standard, regular breakfast and then sat at my desk for my standard, regular work day. Lunch was … odd. I basically just emptied old containers of leftovers in the fridge. It wasn’t a bad meal, per se. It was just a weird combination of food. And then back to the grind at the desk. All the while, I had two potential plans for the evening that would each entail a good bit of activity. One – my kid had a baseball scrimmage, but the weather was on the iffy side. Two – my regular tennis crew was talking about getting together later, dependent on whether or not they could schedule a playoff match. So, this evening could be non-stop action, completely sedentary, or somewhere in the middle.

Weather held off, so the baseball game was a go. I’m the first base coach and then stand behind home plate in the other half of the inning. It’s unbelievable how many steps I can get in just walking the 60 feet between my two stations in a game. I put up about 5,000 steps in that hour plus (I think I pace a lot communicating with the kids on first.) Super fun and successful evening, spending time with my boy. On the way home, I get the text message that says tennis is a go. Home to change shoes and pack the cooler, and then back out.

We played for a little over 2 hours, and an additional 8,000 steps … bringing my total for the day to over 18,000. Had a blast, got in a ton of exercise … and I still hadn’t eaten dinner. Got home a little after 10 and had some chicken taco meat on lettuce with salsa as a ‘dressing.’ Really delicious and low-cal way to finish the day. It’s certainly far from ideal to eat that late at night, but it was still a great day overall.

Of course, I drank at tennis!

Random assortment of beers in the cooler tonight (2 of which have already been featured this month):

Tomorrow is the last day!! Weigh-in with official results comes the day after.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Freedom, for so many reasons. First – my kids were on Winter Break last week. For those who aren’t familiar with my local school district’s calendar, let me give you the Cliff’s Notes version. Apparently, kids here need to have a full week off every hour and half or so. We start at the beginning of August and then get at least a full week off in September, November, December/ January (2 weeks), February, and April. The kids love it … the parents, not so much. Fortunately, my wife and I both work from home, so we don’t have to pay crazy $$$ to put them in camp or hire a college kid to watch them. Unfortunately, we’re both home with  them full time. And that causes … friction. But wait, there’s more.

Atlanta is now SEATlanta. It rains here more than it does in some tropical forests. Last week, with the kids home, we had monsoon-ish rain every day but one. So – imagine a bunch of energetic kids locked in a house with two people trying to work … and they have nowhere to go to expend energy. This caused a decent amount of … friction.

Fast forward to today, Sunday the 24th. Mark it down as a day with actual, real, honest-to-goodness sunshine. Not a cloud in the sky. Idyllic conditions. Freedom. Freedom from the week of no school (because they go back to some level of sanity starting tomorrow), and they were able to play outside. Calgon, take me away.

Today’s Food

Yes, even though the fields were a swamp, my kid’s baseball team decided to swim through practice. So, I got a bunch of additional activity in today. That, coupled with tons of work in the yard in the sole window between torrential downpours, gave me a massive headstart on the day.

  • Running out the door for church this morning, I grabbed the ole standby – my Fiber One bar.
  • Lunch – I kinda assumed that practice would be cancelled because it rained all night. Alas no, we still met. I barely had time to get home from church, change, and get to the fields, so I just had another Fiber One bar. Yeah … if you’re scoring at home, that makes two for the day. Definitely getting my fiber in. On the way home, I caved and got myself a small bag of Doritos. It was a small fail, but at that point, even those disgusting looking hot dogs on rollers in the gas station looked appetizing.
  • Dinner – it was soup and grilled cheese sandwich night for us. But to be honest, the grilled cheese sounded gross – just because of the calorie and nutrition value. I’m almost excited to be thinking that way. Yes, they’re delicious, but my sole focus right now is on having one good day after another. I made some stovetop Kung Pao Chicken – not low cal at all, but it wasn’t over-the-top either. Today has been a good calorie day.

Beer. Beer is Good

See the sunshine in the background??

As mentioned above, the sun was out. It was beautiful, truly. I coached my youngest in baseball, I played basketball with my oldest, I did some work in the yard. It just felt good to be outside. Today was a day for day-drinking. I started off with some Wild Leap Alpha Abstraction Vol. 4. They now have 5 different versions of this beer. I’ll admit that I’ve only had Vol 3, 4, and 5. And this is my least favorite … I still love it. It’s a delicious beer, and it makes me happy. Imagine how much I liked #3 and 5!

But wait, there’s more. I then turned to Nashville’s finest … Bearded Iris Homestyle. I am winning Sunday. Hazy, citrusy, smooth, delicious, consistent. This is a fantasttc beer. And then, yeah. I added a DFH 90-Minute IPA, just for good measure. THIS was a great Sunday!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Maybe you’ve heard of or experienced that awkward periodic lull in conversation. You’re in a room of people, engaging with each other and having a great time. And then suddenly …….. nothing. Everyone simultaneously stops. And it gets eerily quiet, very quickly.

That’s basically today’s story. Nothing noteworthy. Nothing super exciting or off-the-wall. The beer was great (see below) but other than that … nada. But I promised you a post every day to monitor progress, and so we press forward!

  • Breakfast – Back to the Fiber One routine.
  • Snack – Two 100-calorie packets of cashews/ almonds. (That’s 200 total calories for the math wizards out there.)
  • Lunch – More leftover zucchini lasagna
  • Dinner – Steak salad from Willy’s. YUM! I left off cheese and dressing, and added veggies all over the place. All in all, a pretty dadgum good calorie day.

And now for the beer:

This just in … Wild Leap in LaGrange is for real. If you’ve been under a rock for the past year and didn’t already know it – they just keep innovating and keep winning. From their Alpha Abstraction series to home runs like this Truck Chaser. Orange Creamsicle IPA. There is such a heavy dose of orange in this one that I quite literally had what looked like orange zest pouring out of the first can. Sweet and smooth, this ain’t your daddy’s pine resin-flavored IPA. Well done, Wild Leap. Well done.
Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

I got lucky. Or maybe it’s because I knew deep down that I earned it. Long story short, I kinda went nuts today. The luck part comes in when I tell you that Sunday afternoon included a long tennis match followed by coaching my kid’s baseball team for two hours. Yes … I ate some garbage at Super Bowl time. And yes, I had more like 4-5 beers over the course of the day. But I feel like the 18,000 steps I put in allowed for some indulgences.

Breakfast – My requisite standard Fiber One bar.
Lunch – Not a lot, truthfully. When I play tennis, I don’t eat too much before, and then snack it up a bit after. A few chips … a meatball or two. That’s about it. The bananas weren’t close to ripe, so I didn’t add one of those but should have anyway.
Dinner – Super Bowl. It was a smorgasbord. Dips here, wings there, hot dogs and hamburgers o’ plenty. Not gonna lie. 1) I wasn’t the best at making solid decisions. 2) It’s almost impossible to catalogue everything I ate, because it’s a bite here and a chip there. Suffice it to say that I ate a bunch of crap and don’t feel 100% this morning. I feel like there’s a correlation. The only miniscule saving grace is that we made wings in the AirFryer and in the Instant Pot. So, they weren’t technically as bad for you as fried wings typically are. I know it’s still a fatty meat … small victories.

And now for the beer …

Among others*, I enjoyed two fantastic beers. Thanks to Sprayberry Bottle Shop for always stocking beers that make my wallet go empty.
This weekend, I went out to re-stock the beer fridge and picked up some winners. Back to tennis for a second. I’m not good at that whole “hitting the ball over the net” thing. I’m there for exercise and camaraderie. And there’s always beer. I typically like a pre-match beer, just to calm the jitters. I was completely excited to try Wild Leap’s latest in the Alpha Abstraction line … Vol. 5 (pictured above). This may be the best one in the series.
Once back home and getting everything together for the festivities, I popped open a Bearded Iris Homestyle. Again … so good.
* Yeah … as the game dragged on, I had a few. The commercials were flat, the halftime show was underwhelming, and the game was a yawn-fest. I had some beer. It made everything slightly better. Back to normal life tomorrow. Everyday routines and more normal-ish scheduled and eating habits. (Note: I know that I need to grow as a person to the point where I still make those good decisions on weekends. Again, I say … baby steps.)
Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington
It is never, ever too early for flapjacks?

Ever feel like you go through the same eating and drinking rut day after day after day after day?
Same beer … same bad decisions … same results…

Going through a prolonged challenge like this is giving me the opportunity to change some of those habits and hopefully prove to myself that a wonderful place exists: a place where I can enjoy my beer without looking like Austin Powers’ one-time foe, Fat Bastard.

Moving on to Day 2, I awake knowing that last night, while not my best effort, wasn’t terrible. I stayed within my daily allotment of calories and had a great time with friends. Success. Tonight posed a challenge for a very different reason. My beloved alma mater faced the #1 hated rival in basketball. When games turn south, it can be easy to find solace in a bottle. Fortunately, it was a comfortable and fun win the whole way through, so there were no additional temptations.

Here’s what I had for Day Two:
– Breakfast: same old granola bar
– Lunch: chili cheese dog. But instead of adding more normal fries and being extra bad, I ordered the tomato, cucumber, feta salad and it was delicious!
– Dinner: Bonus! My daughter is cooking these delicious homemade Raddish meals once a month and last night was the night. We had salad nicoise, croque monsieur, and chocolate dipped creme puffs. All from scratch! Super good, and not terrible on the waistline.

And now for the beer …


I had two yesterday: Scofflaw Neopolitan Milkshake Stout and Wild Leap Truck Chaser. First time I had had either and they both were unbelievable! Absolutely great way to finish my Saturday!

Good thing I don’t have any major social events Sunday night. Wait … what?

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington