Friday, October 31, 2014

Five O'Clock Friday: Bacon Blessing

We already know about the blessing for beer, but there's also a Catholic blessing for another of our favorite food groups — bacon! While it might not be very useful on a (meatless) Friday, it's a good tool to share with your favorite priest.

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord

R. Who has made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit

Let us pray. Bless, Lord, this bacon which You have made, that it may be a healthful food for mankind. Grant by the invocation of Your holy name that all who partake of it may receive health of body and safety of soul, through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen. (Then it is sprinkled with holy water.)

H/T to The Catholic Gentleman.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oktoberfest Beer Tally

Oktoberfest officially ended a few weeks ago, but that didn't stop our enjoyment of Oktoberfest-style beers. I decided this year I would concentrate on trying as many Oktoberfests as I could. I didn't drink them exclusively, but I did look for them when I was at a pub, and also picked up a selection to stock the beer fridge.
  • Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen
  • Warsteiner Premium Oktoberfest (draft)
  • Legend Oktoberfest (draft)
  • Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen (draft)
  • Bell’s Octoberfest (draft)
  • Weihenstephaner Festbier (draft)
  • Sam Adams Octoberfest
  • Blue & Gray Baron von Stueben Oktoberfest (draft)
  • Great Lakes Oktoberfest
  • Sly Fox Oktoberfest
  • Harpoon Octoberfest
  • Shiner Oktoberfest
  • Schlafly Oktoberfest 
  • Wild Wolf Folktoberfest (draft)
  • Brooklyn Oktoberfest
  • Flying Dog Dogtoberfest
  • Dominion Octoberfest
The American brewers do a great job with the style, even when they apply their own interpretations. As much as I look forward to the Oktoberfest beers each year, and enjoy them very much, I admit now that I've grown tired of them. For a while anyway. It's time for some IPAs!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Clueless Shooters Shorten Another Range Trip

Regular readers are aware I shoot at a semi-unsupervised range conservation organization. There are RO's that pop in regularly to enforced the latest iterations of the range rules, and I've been told numerous times the rules are to keep the "less safe" shooters under control. My response has always been, if they can't be safe and can't follow the rules, kick them out!

Sunday afternoon my friend Greg and I were at the range getting in some practice. We were having a fun time and enjoying the beautiful fall afternoon. At one point we turned back up range from pasting targets to see three new arrivals setting their gear on the bench, AND handling and setting out firearms while we were down range. I look at Greg and asked, "You done?" to which he replied in the affirmative. We proceeded to police our brass and pack the gear, but as we were loading our gear into our cars the new arrivals began shooting — without a warning. We were caught off guard when as we had taken off our ear protection.

After getting our ear protection on quickly, we watched them for a short time. I remarked to Greg that I was glad to find he was as anti-social as I was when it comes to shooting with people I don't know. I prefer unsupervised ranges, but only when it's just me and folks I know. We watched as they continually swept each other with firearms. I get really nervous when I see someone unholster a firearm while standing directly behind another person at the line. Apparently maintaining muzzle awareness is difficult with a cigarette in your hand.

Over the years, I've found that shooting enthusiasts are by far the most friendly, safety conscience, and courteous folks I've met. That's why incidents like this are so exasperating. There's been chatter lately about limiting or even ceasing the range use at the club. In fact the hours they are open have already been reduced. It's because of people like this. When I take new shooters to the range, I make sure they understand they have a dangerous weapon in their hands. Unfortunately even some long-time shooters seem to forget that when they head out to the range. Just because it's fun doesn't you can ignore the safety rules.

And unlike the time we were admonished for shooting at three targets instead of just two, there wasn't an RO to be seen.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Flying Dog Hoppy American Wheat

A few weeks ago we received a couple sample bottles from Flying Dog, which were promptly stuck in the beer fridge, and life went on. This weekend I remembered getting that package, but couldn't recall what beers were included. I dug around and pulled out this bottle of Brewhouse Rarities: Hoppy American Wheat Ale.

The small batch American Wheat Ale pours a very cloudy deep gold color. The quickly building white head is think and creamy, though it pretty quickly drops to quarter inch thick and persistent layer. The aroma is that of tropical fruit like pineapple and mango. I might get a hint of bready wheat, but the tropical fruit dominates.

The flavor of this beer is an interesting blend of a bitter IPA and a wheat beer. The "hoppy" side definitely predominates the flavor profile though. The tropical fruit and citrus is topped with bitter rind and hint of grassiness. The "wheat" background comes through in the medium bodied mouthfeel and tingling carbonation. The finish is a lingering zesty bitterness.

Flying Dog Hoppy American Wheat Ale is a refreshing late Summer release, that might be better described as a low ABV "session" IPA than a wheat beer. But that's just fine with me.

Coincidently, or perhaps by design, the other bottle in the sample package was Galaxy Single Hop Imperial IPA. Since Galaxy is also the dominant hop in the Hoppy American Wheat Ale, I'll try to get to the IPA real soon, while the flavor of this one is still fresh in my mind.

The beer reviewed here was a promotional sample from the brewery. My impressions are provided of my own free will.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Your Second Amendment

Bill Whittle breaks it down in terms "even a progressive could understand."

Refuting "crybaby progressive whininess." Heh.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Range Time Found

After I posted that I may need to take some time off from work to rectify the lack of range time, I realized that actually was wonderful idea. So, I did just that one afternoon this week. After days of cold, wet weather, a fall day in the low 70's was too good to pass up.

Colleen, our friend Checkered Flag who also had the day off, and I loaded the car and headed over to the range. Colleen was lamenting that she hadn't used the shotgun since our class with Tom Givens last May, so we started on the shotgun field. We set up our five clay stands and took turns running the array of targets.

After a few runs at that drill, we moved over to the rifle range. There we set up two targets with multiple color aiming areas. We shot standing at various distances, and a bit while on the move. Despite it's effectiveness as a defensive weapon, every time we take the AR to the range, Colleen remarks it's also really fun to shoot. Perhaps there's an additional rifle in our future, since we're sharing just one at the moment.

Finally it was over to the pistol bay. We spent the next hour simply enjoying the time shooting. Checkered Flag has a collection of what we refer to as "Little Man" targets that he uses for his precision shooting practice so we also put them to use.

A plethora of targets
It was an exceptionally enjoyable few hours. I've not been out to the range a lot recently, and Colleen has been even less. It's still one of the best diversions from daily stress I know, and it's a fun way to spend time with my lovely wife. We should really make it part of the regular schedule of life.

A sign of a good day - a full brass bag!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five O'Clock Friday: Beer On the Brain

Thought for a Friday...

H/T to The Feral Irishman (Possibly NSFW).

Has VCDL Gone PC?

A recent email from the Virginia Citizens Defense League contained an essay entitled "Firearm vs weapon, CHP vs CCW - words mean things." Within that post, VCDL President Philip Van Cleave made this comment,
Avoid the use of the word “weapon” when referring to your firearm.  Weapon has a negative connotation, referring more to something used in an aggressive or offensive manner.  The military carries weapons.  You and I carry for defensive reasons only.  Instead use the words firearm, sidearm, handgun, or the firearm type, such as Glock, Sig, etc.

I was taken aback. What is this PC nonsense? Van Cleave claims that "weapon" has a negative connotation. He posits it is because the military carries "weapons." Does that mean the military has a negative connotation, or is deployed only for offensive purposes? A weapon can certainly be used defensively, as one was just this week in Canada, and also 100's of times each year, by civilians in the United States. I carry a defensive weapon. In fact, I carry a dangerous defensive weapon. If it wasn't so, I wouldn't stake my life on it.

I agree with the VCDL in that "words mean things." That is why we should not cede the language to the hoplophobes. The enemies of freedom have already usurped words like "tolerance" and "liberal." We see it everyday in the news when mass killers are described as "shooters" or "assault weapon" is used to refer to just about any semi-automatic gun that's black.

Do I say "weapon" every time I refer to my gun? Of course not. Will I avoid the use of the term for political correctness? Certainly not.

On the other hand, maybe VCDL is on to something.

 I suppose my "pistol" would be allowed wherever this is posted.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

That's 2,000 Musings

The previous post was number 2,000 for these Musings. I find it appropriate that the subject was reminiscing over one of my long-time favorite beers. Now to get to work on the next thousand.

The post announcing my 1000th post, not the post itself, is consistently in the most popular post listing in the sidebar, though I'm not sure why. It will be interesting to see what happens with this one!

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon

It was like visiting with an old friend. This week's "Steal the Glass" event at Capital Ale House featured beers from Heavy Seas Brewing in Maryland. One of the beers was an old favorite of mine, Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA. Also available were Cutlass Amber Lager and Small Craft Warning Über Pils. Naturally, I started with the Loose Cannon.

Two different glasses were offered for "stealing," a Belgian-style glass and a standard "shaker pint." I opted for the stemmed glass, as did Colleen for her Cutlass Amber Lager. Loose Cannon on draft has long been one of my favorite beers. It's not uncommon to find that a beer on draft tastes better than the same beer from a bottle. However, I've repeatedly found that Loose Cannon is significantly better on draft. So much so that I rarely bring it home, choosing to enjoy it whenever I find it on draft (which is infrequently in my local area.) The pine and fresh citrus flavors, caramel malt, and mild bitter finish brought back memories of the many pints enjoyed through the years.

I noticed that shaker pint glass offered sported an updated logo, different from the Clipper City/Heavy Seas pints I acquired years ago. So, in the interest of completeness, I opted for another helping of Loose Cannon, this time in the logo pint glass. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Quest for Range Time

There's been no shortage of beer blogging recently, but time for the second topic listed up there in the header has been sorely lacking. I've been lamenting about this situation with family and friends, but this evening I was reviewing my shooting and practice journal, and it really hit home — I need to get out to the range more!

There was a time when I'd manage two or three matches in a month, and at least one range trip for practice each week. Just this past July I squeezed in four matches! Then in August, I did one match, and hit the practice range just twice. September faired slightly better when there was time for not one, but two matches. However, there was but a single practice session at the range the entire month, although we did take a fun class in September so that counts as practice too. 

So here it is, the waning days of October, and I've been to the range just twice. They tell me shooting is a perishable skill, so I fear there may be cobwebs on more than just my range box.

I think I may need to take a little time off from work to rectify this situation. Yes, that's the ticket...

Bold Rock Cidery

After our great lunch at Wild Wolf Brewery last Saturday, we headed over to Bold Rock Cidery. Just last year we drove past Bold Rock but did not have time to stop in. At the time, it was just a small barn by the side of the road. Well, things change in a year and it's apparently been a very good year for cider. We walked our way up the hillside along a winding boardwalk, arriving at the 12,000 sq. ft. building that houses the cider making and bottling operations, a cider museum, and a large rustic seating area in which to enjoy the cider. Numerous tasting stations are set up where visitors are treated to free samples of the four ciders being produced. There is also a multi-level deck where one can sit outside and take in the view.

After standing there, and probably looking lost for a few moments we were directed to a tasting station where we tried out the four ciders. Bold Rock Virginia Apple is light, crisp and slightly sweet. Next we tried Virginia Draft. This cider is darker than the first, and drier with a bit less sweetness. Crimson Ridge Vintage Dry is a sparkling cider with a mild flavor and dry finish. Crimson Ridge Vat No. 1 is a sparkling cider with hints of tart green apples.

After our sampling, we made our way the serving bar where we all opted for glasses of Bold Rock Virginia Draft. Carrying our glasses outside to the deck, which is built over the hillside behind the cidery. It provides a gorgeous view of a mountain stream and of the mountains covered in their fall colors.

We lingered quite some time while sipping our cider and taking in the views. The weather was extremely pleasant and perfect for sitting outside. After finishing our drinks, we went inside to see the displays about cider making, as well as the watch the bottling machinery visible through glass walls. Watching the constant stream of bottles going down the lines, to be filled with cider and then packaged, combined with the rhythmic sounds accompanying the process was very mesmerizing.

The new Bold Rock cidery is quite impressive, and shows just how popular cider, particularly Bold Rock Cider, has become. Next time we visit, perhaps we'll pack a picnic lunch to enjoy while overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Need of a Geography Lesson

Overheard at the pub...

Scene: Sitting at a local pub during a Heavy Seas Brewing event. Guy #1, drinking a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, pontificating to Guy #2 drinking a Blue Mountain Dark Hollow Stout.

Guy 1: "They don't serve domestic beers here."

Tactical 1st Aid & Collapse Medicine Course

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to take the Tactical First Aid and “System Collapse” Medicine course put on by Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training. Greg was in the area putting on two classes hosted by FPF Training. The day before, Greg taught his Extreme Close Quarters Gunfighting course out on the range. We weren't able to do that class, but after experiencing Greg's teaching, it's on my list of things to do now. Greg is a 19-year veteran police officer, including 13 years as the full time tactical training officer for his agency. He has a hobby of third-world travel, and as such has developed extensive knowledge on surviving outside a "civilized" medical system.

Greg starts the class by going over how the tactical first aid taught in this class differs from the "standard" Red Cross or EMT first aid procedures. Those are highly valuable skills too, but for different situations. Think about the typical issues seen by our EMT and paramedic squads; car accidents, falls, and illnesses are probably the most common things seen. Treatment in these cases typically involves stabilizing the patient until he can be transported to a hospital. For shooters on the range, wilderness hikers, or for warriors on the battlefield, there may be no hospital nearby. There could be multiple injured persons, or gunshot victims needing treatment while the bullets are still flying. In these situations, the injury is most likely to revolve around blood loss, the circulation system, and respiration. In addition, this course covers survival during a short or long term break down of our medical system. Imagine your local hospital filled with pandemic victims. Are you willing to go to the hospital when you slice your hand open in the kitchen? Will doctors and EMTs report to work when people start dying of widespread disease? It's not hard to imagine scenarios where one might have to deal with a serious injury of a family member, or oneself, without the benefit of the local EMT responder and emergency room.

We spent a lot of time going over how to stop massive blood loss. Starting out with Israeli bandages, and other compression bandages, we learned the differences, along with how and when to use them. More importantly, we practiced applying various types of compression bandages to others and to ourselves. (It's not so easy to properly apply a pressure bandage on your own strong-side arm.)

We also covered tourniquets in depth. There's a lot of misunderstanding, and downright outdated and incorrect information regarding the proper use, safety and effectiveness of tourniquets. Much of what we know now comes from experiences in Vietnam and the Middle East conflicts. Once the pariah of emergency medicine, studies have shown that significant numbers of lives could had been saved in Vietnam by the proper application, rather than avoidance of tourniquets. After covering some of the main types of tourniquets available today, including C-A-T, SOF-T, and TK-4, we practiced their use. And again, we practiced both on partners and on ourselves. It wasn't the most pleasurable experience, but it's important to know how to apply these life-saving tools quickly and properly. We also covered the use of hemostatic agents such as Quikclot and Celox, including how to use them to transition from extended-term tourniquet use.

After lunch we moved on to respiration issues, including basic airway clearing procedures, as well as more advanced topics. Clearing a throat obstruction with an emergency cricothyroidotomy was covered. Chest cavity wounds and treating the "sucking chest wound" or tension pneumothorax was discussed next. We also covered how to relieve the pressure on the lungs by "burping" the wound or doing a needle decompression. Greg emphasized that these procedures are considered medical procedures, with related moral and legal complications, and should be considered only in emergency situations.

Moving on to circulation, we covered wound treatment including proper cleansing and disinfecting. Emphasis was placed on the difference between a quick rinse in the kitchen sink before heading to the local doc-in-a-box for treatment, and thoroughly cleansing and closing the wound in the home or field. We learned basic suturing, which we practiced on chicken thighs. Stapling and other (preferred) alternatives for closing wounds were also covered.

The final portion of the class was devoted to drugs, both over the counter and prescription. We talked about what medicines should be included in a emergency medical kit. We discussed alternatives for common drugs, as well as benefits and drawbacks. Greg also shared his experiences on how to legally obtain the discussed medicines, including prescription drugs, to prepare for travel or a collapse situation.

As a shooter, I am often at the range by myself. In the event of a serious injury, I may very well be the first responder, or the only responder. Even without the threat of a zombie apocalypse, this is important information to know and I feel better equipped after this class. Greg constantly challenged us to think about alternatives to the treatments and supplies we covered. We talked about how many of the first aid supplies, and even the packaging they come in could be multi-purposed. In fact, improvisation was a constant theme throughout the day. (Which reminds me I need to add duct tape to my kit.) After all, this is also a collapse medicine course. There are a few adjustments to be made to the contents of my range bag and my car med kit, and those fixes will be done very soon.

Greg is an excellent and highly qualified instructor. The material is presented in an interesting and engaging manner. The class was never boring, despite the heavy subject matter. There were several students in our class who were taking the course for the second time, there's so much information in the class, it's hard to retain it all at once. After the class we were given a CD with over 150 medical references as well as documents summarizing the class material. I've not even had a chance to go through that material.

As with other course reviews I've done, I've only given very high-level information here. There was much, much more information shared than is covered in this post. I'm not qualified to explain the material in detail, and it would be unfair to both Greg and the reader. Take this course if you can. For local readers, FPF Training will be hosting this and other classes from Greg next year. If you can't learn from Greg, get the training from another qualified instructor. In a tactical or collapse medicine situation, this is the stuff you need to know.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wild Wolf Brewery

Colleen, Checkered Flag and I head down to Nelson County on Saturday to take in the scenery, and breweries on Route 151. I had heard that the fall leaf viewing season was underway, so we expected crowds, and indeed they were there. When we drove past Blue Mountain Brewery, the first brewery on the "trail," we were shocked by the number of cars, but since we had other plans, we continued on. In addition to the expected fall foliage sight seers, it seemed every stop we made had wedding party celebrants in house.

We made this same trip last year, so this time were focused on the places we did not stop last time. Our first stop was Wild Wolf Brewery for lunch. Despite the lunch time crowd, it took no time at all to get a table in the outdoor seating area.

Naturally, the first decisions were regarding beer. I've only had a couple Wild Wolf beers, and they had at least 12 on tap this day, so I was a bit fraught with indecision, and I didn't want to try a bunch of tiny samplers. Eventually I settled on the Wee Heavy, and out of curiosity added a taster of Folktoberfest, the brewery's seasonal Oktoberfest beer. Colleen went for the Blonde Hunny, while Checkered Flag selected the Dry Stout.

For food, we all ended up going the BBQ route; a BBQ platter for Colleen, the House Smoked BBQ Ribs for Checkered Flag, while I strayed off the traditional path a bit with Pulled Pork Tacos.

The Folktoberfest beer was created as the official beer of the annual Richmond Folk Festival. It's a classic German Oktoberfest beer with the addition of Columbus hops, giving a crisp finish to the beer. The Wee Heavy was especially delicious and flavorful. At only 5.7% ABV, it's a mild Wee Heavy but quite enjoyable. The aroma brought forth caramel malt and dark fruit. The flavor was slightly sweet,  a little earthy and nutty, and finished with a pleasant smokiness. It was a fitting accompaniment to the BBQ Pork and spicy jalapeños in the tacos.

My dining companions shared sips of their beers as well. The Blonde Hunny is a Belgian style Blonde Ale. The refreshing unfiltered ale has some honey sweetness, along with a mild citrus and pepper spice kick to it. The Dry Stout is also quite good. It's got roasted coffee and dark chocolate, with a pleasant bitter and dry roasted finish.

All of the beers we enjoyed at Wild Wolf were very well-done. Also, the food was great. The house-smoked BBQ, in all forms, was quite tasty. We enjoyed ourselves very much sitting outside, enjoying the good food, great beer, and beautiful Autumn air. We had other stops planned, and a lot of driving to do, or I probably could have lingered at Wild Wolf for quite some time. We do look forward to going back.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday Night at Adventure Brewing

Each Friday evening there's a special treat in store at Adventure Brewing. It's Randall night! Dave, who also frequently tends the bar at Capital Ale House, dons an Adventure Brewing t-shirt and pours one of the Adventure beers infused with special ingredients. This weekend, we finally had a free Friday, so Colleen and I, along with Checkered Flag, spent it at the brewery. We arrived right at opening time, even before Dave, and listened as just about every one asked, "Where's Dave?" as they entered. This is apparently a popular and anticipated event.

This evening's special was Sweet Innocence Stout, which is Adventure Stiletto Stout pushed through vanilla beans. While we eagerly awaited that, I enjoyed one of my Adventure favorites, Second Ascent Double IPA. And food, of course we needed food too. Fat Mike's Gourmet Grub was set up outside, offering a variety of delicious fare. I opted for a Cheeseburger topped with Fried Pickles, and a side of Jalapeño Poppers. It was the perfect combo to stand up to the Double IPA.

The Randall set up, we eagerly waited as the Stiletto Stout steeped in the vanilla beans. Dave took frequent "test sips" to see if the flavors were ready. Eventually the pours began. The aroma and flavor of the vanilla, combined with the coffee and chocolate flavors of the Stout, made for a tasty and quite enjoyable drink. As the evening wore on, Dave tweaked the set up, a little more bean, more or less steeping time. We also tasted a sample later in the evening and noted the vanilla flavor, while more noticeable, had taken on a "softer" tone.

On previous Fridays, they've served Super Power Pale Ale through varied ingredients such as Cucumber, Jerky, Hops or Jalapeños. They've done an IPA with fresh hops, and Stiletto Stout with habanero and coconut. Who knows what tasty combinations will show up next!

We had a very enjoyable evening, chatting with the Adventure folks, and other friends who happened to stop by. Each time we visit Adventure, I'm struck by the "neighborhood" feel, and the friendly atmosphere to go along with the good beer. We have a bit of a trek to get to the brewery, but it's always been worth the drive.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

More Virginia Brewery Expansion

We've heard recently about major craft brewery expansion into Virginia. However, it's not just the big guys, our local craft breweries are growing as well. As excited as I am to see Stone and Green Flash coming to Virginia, the successes of our local brewers is even more exciting.

This week Adventure Brewing posted a help wanted ad to their Facebook page, looking for a full time brewer.
As Stafford County’s first brewery in over 250 years Adventure Brewing Company is dedicated to bringing quality craft beer to our local area. We are a small do it yourself style brewery operating on a three barrel self-engineered brewing system. Although we have been in business for only a short time, demand for our beer has been high and we find ourselves in need of a full time brewer to help meet that demand. We are looking for someone who has a creative entrepreneurial spirit who doesn’t mind rolling up his or her sleeves to accomplish whatever needs doing. The potential candidate must be someone who can operate and fix self-engineered systems and assist in the transition to a larger automated distribution sized system in 2015. We offer a competitive salary, a great working environment and the opportunity to flex your creative muscles. 
Just last weekend we were at Capital Ale House and I saw Adventure Expedition IPA on the menu, and I was very happy to see their beer being distributed. That help wanted ad also points to expanded brewing capacity. Which means we'll be seeing Adventure beer in even more places, soon.

Also this week, BadWolf Brewing posted on their blog news of a future larger location. They have located a space on the east side of Manassas City and plan a Spring 2015 opening. On Facebook they recently reported that a new 10 barrel brew system has been ordered for expanded capacity.

And BadWolf isn't just looking out for themselves. After being deterred by zoning laws in nearby Prince William County, they are being proactive in helping to change the laws to allow for other breweries to come to the county.
This time last year, we began the search for the new space and for one reason or another, it did not work out. There were several options and ideas thrown about. One of the particular jurisdictions we had considered was Prince William County, a place we grew up in and knew well. We almost picked a neat little spot in Woodbridge, which the biggest obstacle were the laws pertaining to breweries in the zone we had our eyes on. I guess "pertaining to" would be incorrect; the issue was the zone would not allow our particular business model to work. We wanted to place a brewery (just like little BadWolf) in a B-2 space. Sadly, we did not have time to wait for the process in working with zoning officials and the county to change the legislation. It was disappointing but at the same time, we had another idea. Why not pave a path for other breweries to make it easier for them to open in the B-1, B-2 zones? 
So, we proposed that they refine and update their code to help other breweries to open up in the future. Jeremy was asked to speak with several local municipalities to clarify our own business practices and current zoning in the City of Manassas. This talk, along with suggestions to the Prince William Zoning Board about ordinances pertaining to breweries is now showing results! They are moving forward with a new proposal to make it legal for a brewery like our little BadWolf model to open up in commercially zoned areas within Prince William County. This is very exciting news!!

Exciting indeed. Virginia craft beer fans are very fortunate that we have so many successful and passionate brewers providing us with good beer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another West Coast Brewer Setting Up in Virginia

Last week we heard the news about Stone Brewing Company's expansion to Virginia. This week, San Diego based Green Flash Brewing Company broke ground on their new facility in Virginia Beach.  From the Virginian-Pilot:
The shovels that kicked off construction of a $20 million brewery in the Corporate Landing business park on Monday symbolized more than an economic development achievement for Virginia Beach.

When San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Co. is finished building its second facility in early 2016, Virginia's craft beer output stands to increase nearly 40 percent over what specialty brewers produced last year in the commonwealth.

Couple that with Stone Brewing Co.'s announcement last week that it will build a brewery in Richmond, and the state's craft production capacity could quadruple.

We first reported on Green Flash's Virginia plans early last year. But it was still surprising news when I saw the report of the ground breaking ceremony yesterday. I guess I'd forgotten about them. Green Flash plans to build  a 7,400-square-foot tasting room and an outdoor beer garden on the site.

See "Craft brewing locally, statewide shows heady growth" for more on the Green Flash expansion and it's affect on the Virginia craft beer industry.

Photo courtesy the Green Flash Facebook page

Infantilism Has Replaced Liberalism

The trouble with the left.

Buffalo burgers, "damned delicious as well."  Heh.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Founders Pale Ale on Nitro

Sunday evening, Colleen and I decided to grab a quick dinner at Capital Ale House. Early Sunday evenings at the pub are generally quiet and we enjoy sitting at the bar and chatting. This evening it was so quiet that we both commented on the enjoyable background music and wondered if it was always playing and we missed it on our numerous previous visits.

After enjoying our meals and accompanying beers, Colleen treated herself to dessert. The desserts at Capital Ale House are made for two people (at least) so I helped a little. However, my "dessert" was a glass of Founders Pale Ale served on nitro. I generally associate Porters and Stouts with nitro servings, though using the gas on other beers is not unheard of, so I ordered a glass, strictly out of curiosity.

As I saw the server bringing my glass over, I immediately thought of a pour of Boddington's Pub Ale. The beer had the unmistakeable creamy appearance from top to bottom, and the glass was topped with fine foam. I said to Colleen, "Quick, get a picture" since the beer was rapidly clearing as the bubbles rose to the top. The Pale Ale doesn't hold the creamy appearance for long. The bitter citrus flavor of Founders Pale Ale is muted somewhat by the nitro serving, but it is still quite flavorful. As expected the mouthfeel was smooth and creamy. The nitro-induced creaminess lasted throughout the glass, even as the liquid cleared in appearance.

I rather enjoyed the Founders Pale Ale on nitro, and will look for it, and other Pale Ale's served that way in the future.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Beer and Flies

A recent study has shown a mutually beneficial relationship between fruit flies and beer. 
The familiar smell of beer is due in part to aroma compounds produced by common brewer's yeast. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports, have discovered why the yeast, formally known as S. cerevisiae, make that smell: the scent attracts fruit flies, which repay the yeast by dispersing their cells in the environment. 
Yeast lacking a single aroma gene fail to produce their characteristic odor, and they don't attract fruit flies either. 
"Two seemingly unrelated species, yeasts and flies, have developed an intricate symbiosis based on smell," said Kevin Verstrepen of KU Leuven and VIB in Belgium. "The flies can feed on the yeasts, and the yeasts benefit from the movement of the flies."

As a graduate student, the researcher had been studying how yeast contributes to the flavor of beer and wine. (Sure, it was all for science.) After discovering that yeast cells produce several pleasing aroma compounds similar to those produced by ripening fruits, he came across a yeast culture that had attracted a swarm of fruit flies which had escaped from another lab. That early experience led to this study years later.

And that's why beer steins have lids.

Picture from Texas Celtic.

Guest Wi-Fi: Not So Much

I was enjoying dinner and beer at a local pub recently and attempted to use their Wi-Fi, something I had done in the past at this same location.

Locked Wi-Fi access sort of defeats the whole "guest" thing, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Breaking: Stone Brewing Coming to Richmond

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch...
After an all-out push that included the installation of a kegerator in Virginia's Executive Mansion, state and local officials are expected to announce Thursday that Stone Brewing Co. has chosen Richmond for a coveted new production facility, its first in the eastern United States.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to make an economic development announcement Thursday at the mansion, and multiple sources confirmed that the announcement will focus on Stone.

The Richmond City Council recently created an exemption to the light industrial zoning rules to help smooth the way for the California craft brewery. The Richmond location is expected to include the popular restaurant and retail attractions seen at existing Stone World Bistro & Gardens locations. So, yea, it's a big thing.

See "Sources: Stone Brewing coming to Richmond" for more on this exciting news.

Adventure Grapefruit Wheat is Back

Back in May, during their opening weekend, one of the most popular beers at Adventure Brewing seemed to be their small batch Grapefruit Wheat. In fact, the keg kicked during my Friday evening visit, even before the "official" grand opening on Saturday. I don't think there's been a time I've been at Adventure since that someone didn't ask about the beer's return. Well, this week the popular beer was finally back. Colleen and I stopped in Sunday afternoon and she was able to enjoy her first pints of the beer she's only heard about. I stole a few sips, and it was as good as I recalled.

Adventure had posted last Friday on Facebook that they had another experimental small batch brew on tap, an English Bitter. I was very interested in trying that one, but alas it had only lasted the one evening. So I moved on to another new Adventure beer, Sidekick Smash Pale Ale. Sidekick is very low alcohol beer, at around 3% ABV, and is brewed with 100% Virginia grown hops. Sidekick has a mild citrus aroma, and an even milder flavor. It took me a couple sips to get an impression of the subdued citrus flavor profile, but I did enjoy this extremely sessionable ale.

A regular visitor to Adventure Brewing, the STEVE-O's BBQ, Burgers & BACON food trailer was set up in the parking lot so we ordered a couple of Bacon Cheeseburgers and some deep fried "tots" for lunch, and then a couple more beers to go along with the food. Colleen opted for a second pint of Grapefruit Wheat, and I chose Second Ascent Double IPA. Second Ascent is a rich Double IPA, checking in at a respectable 9.1%. Sweet malt combines with plenty of citrus bitterness to make an enjoyable, and amazingly drinkable beer. One was enough for a Sunday afternoon.

We hadn't been back to Adventure for a few months due to busy schedules, and admittedly, an aversion to summer traffic on I-95. But, summer is over, and the interstate congestion is back to "normal" so I am sure we'll be back soon, and regularly.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Remembering the Battle of Lepanto

October 7 marks the anniversary of The Battle of Lepanto in the year 1571. In this historically significant battle, the Fleet of the Holy League defeated the much larger fleet of the Ottoman Empire. This Christian victory stopped, for a while, the aggression of the "religion of peace" into the Mediterranean, and into Europe as well. Untold hundreds of thousands of innocent people were saved from slavery, execution, and other barbarisms the moslems were bringing to conquered lands as they spread their violent and tyrannical agenda.

We have a good idea what an islamist victory at Lepanto would have brought to Europe and the rest of the world. Witness the genocide of Christians in the Middle East and the application of "islamic law" in those same lands, as well as the growing islamic unrest in Europe. We should offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those Christian warriors of long ago, even as we face the resurgence of islamic conquests at home and abroad.

Lest we be complacent, heed the words of Robert McMullen,
Many Christian knights, soldiers, and sailors have died defending Christendom against the onslaughts of Islam down through the centuries. Today, the borders of many European countries, Canada, and the United States are practically wide open, and the old enemy is invited to come in and make himself at home. And many 'Christians' in the West are just too busy enjoying their material prosperity to be bothered with unpleasant history. 

But the enemy has not forgotten history. He remembers it all too well, and he is still deadly serious about his religion. His goal over the years has not changed in the slightest, and he is very patient. The enemy within is now smiling, just biding his time.

And also the reminder from Theodore Roosevelt, writing at the start of the 20th Century,
Christianity is not the creed of Asia and Africa at this moment solely because the seventh century Christians of Asia and Africa had trained themselves not to fight, whereas the Moslems were trained to fight. Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought. If the peoples of Europe in the seventh and eighth centuries, and on up to and including the seventeenth century, had not possessed a military equality with, and gradually a growing superiority over the Mohammedans who invaded Europe, Europe would at this moment be Mohammedan and the Christian religion would be exterminated.

The uninformed, the willfully ignorant, along with the islamic mouthpieces in our own government, continue to spout off about the "peaceful muslims." Yet history shows us islam is not, and has never been, peaceful. That a majority of muslims aren't actively killing Christians and other non-mulsims, does not mean they don't support those who do. It in no way changes the true basis of the islamic creed. The truth is, you cannot separate terrorism from islam. There is nothing in islamic theology that proves this aggression as un-islamic. All of Christendom once knew this, but sadly over the centuries many have forgotten, or surrendered to political correctness.

The violent acts of faithful followers and imitators of mohammed, those who actually do as their "faith" commands, are occurring daily around the world, ignored by the leftist media, and excused by inept politicians and the clueless Hollywood elite. The "lone wolf" attacks on our country have been occurring for decades. How long before we face a renewed, and modern, version of the moslem fleet that sailed against Lepanto? The head of the FBI says is coming, "very, very soon." Let us mark this anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto with an increased awareness of the very real threat to civilization from this satanic and barbaric ideology.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Seven Years of Blogging

Today marks seven years, and the 1,984th post, since the inception of Musings Over a Pint. In blog years that's at least middle aged I think. I must admit, I frequently wonder why do I do this. It's not for money, nor fame and glory. But no sooner do I start thinking it's time to retire, I sit down and put bits to disk and remember — it's fun! I've also met some great folks, over the years, both virtually and for real, which is a great reward for the time devoted to this little project.

As I mentioned often, I use this blog as a journal for my own entertainment. It's fun to go back and relive fun times from the past; good beers, interesting trips, fun shooting events and the occasional rant. Sometimes I even convince myself other people find it interesting too.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

GABF Virginia Winners

Two hundred and thirty-four U.S. Breweries took part in the Great American Beer Festival held in Denver, CO over the past three days. Virginia breweries had a great showing, as usual. Congratulations go out to Devils Backbone Brewing Company for being named the Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year. That's a testament to the hard work by the folks at Devils Backbone, who were awarded Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year in 2012, and Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year in 2013.

Here are the Virginia breweries that went home with medals.

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA DB Brewery Team

Category: 3 American-Style Fruit Beer - 56 Entries
Gold: Raspberry Stout, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, VA

Category: 41 American-Style Dark Lager - 19 Entries
Silver: Old Virginia Dark, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA

Category: 42 German-Style Schwarzbier - 37 Entries
Gold: Schwartz Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA 

Category: 43 Bock - 27 Entries
Silver: Turbo Cougar, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA

Category: 56 American-Style Amber/Red Ale - 140 Entries
Silver: Amber Waves Ale, Capitol City Brewing Co., Arlington, VA

Category: 62 Irish-Style Red Ale - 60 Entries
Bronze: “Hydraulion” Red, Three Notch’d Brewing Co., Charlottesville, VA

Category: 67 German-Style Altbier - 33 Entries
Bronze: Alt Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Basecamp, Roseland, VA

A complete list of GABF winners can be found here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Beer Hound Open in Culpeper

Friday evening Colleen and I headed over to Culpeper to take in the opening of Beer Hound Brewery. The brewery had its beginnings as a nano-brewery located in Barboursville, VA, and the move to Culpeper has been long-awaited. When we arrived there was a large crowed both inside and outside, despite some rain showers moving through the area.

Entering the spacious pub area, we were greeted by loud, live music. I'm a fan of old rock and country music, but the volume made it quite difficult to place an order, and even the bar staff was struggling to converse with clients. There was a bit of a crowd so we had time to peruse the large chalk board menu. Beer Hound was pouring nine beers, plus a house root beer. We opted to order a flight of nine samplers. We headed to a distant corner and took a seat at one of the tall narrow tables provided. Even at the furthest indoor seats from the band, who we could not see as they were located around the corner, we found discussing the beers near impossible. We were however, very pleased to see the big buckets of roasted peanuts provided and hope that's on ongoing feature in the tasting room.

The first beer of the flight, Scottie 70 Shilling Scottish Ale checks in at just 4.1% ABV. The slightly sweet ale has hints of brown sugar, toffee and molasses. It was one of my favorites in the bunch. Interestingly, the next beer, Kujo Pale Ale was the second highest ABV beer, at 8.6%. It had a nice bitter citrus flavor. Moving on to Mutt American IPA, I was intrigued by the tropical citrus aroma. However, that didn't translate to the flavor, which we thought rather muted. This was the only beer we found somewhat disappointing, but I'll probably give it another try in the future before writing it off. Archie Brown Ale was an enjoyable, nutty brown ale with a hint of licorice. This one was another highlight in the flight. Switching gears, the next sample in the flight was the Teddy Cream Ale. Another interesting beer, with hints of white grape, honey and vanilla, Teddy was refreshing and flavorful.

With a quick refill of our peanut stash we continued the tasting exploration with Teufelhunde Abbey Blonde. The "big" beer of the bunch at 9.1%, this was still a light, thin bodied blonde ale with bread and fruit notes. Duke Amber Ale was another favorite of mine. A bready, toasted malt base was balanced with a bit of spice, giving a flavor profile we enjoyed but couldn't quite describe. The Apollo Hefeweizen is a classic German Hefeweizen. The flavors of clove, banana, wheat and yeast combine to make a mild but flavorful beer. I think this was Colleen's favorite of the group, "Mind if I finish this?" she asked. We finished with the Fang Oatmeal Stout which was served on nitro. We probably should have tasted this one earlier, as the nitro gas creaminess had mostly dissipated by now. With a moderately thin body, the Oatmeal Stout was slightly bitter, with roasted coffee, oats, bitter chocolate and a mildly bitter hop finish. At just 5.1%, Fang is another tasty, low ABV drink.

Most of the Beer Hound beers are both fairly low in ABV and mildly flavored. Their light to moderate body make them great candidates for an afternoon, or evening of sipping. We enjoyed most of the beers, but in the end opted to stop with just the samplers and forgo any full pints at this time, saving time to enjoy dinner before heading home. I saw brewer Kenny Thacker in the crowd, but given the loud music decided that any conversation would be nearly impossible, so will hope to meet him on a future visit — when there's not a grand opening celebration going on.

Interestingly, just one block over from Beer Hound is the future home of another brewery, Fär Göhn Brewing. It looks like we'll be making regular visits to Culpeper in the future.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Social Media Pub Fail

I admit it, I'm somewhat of an internet-nerd. I use social media and my cell phone to find out about events and keep up with the news. Each afternoon, I check the Facebook pages of my favorite local pubs to see if there's anything I shouldn't miss. I dutifully checked Wednesday afternoon, found nothing of interest, so I went shooting. Imagine my disappointment when I checked the Park Lane Tavern page on Thursday and saw this:

A quick calculation of "20 hours ago" put that post right about 5:00PM on Wednesday. That's the time the STG events typically start, and about one hour after I last checked the page. I'm really not interested in another Blue & Gray glass, but Blue & Gray Baron von Steuben Oktoberfest is one of my favorites from the brewery. Given that the Blue & Gray brewpub is no longer open to the general public, I would have definitely gone by Park Lane for a pint.

Well, at least I found time to hit the range, and I hopefully the beer will be available for a few more days, but wouldn't some advance notice make good marketing sense?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Just Plinking

After seeing how nature was taking over my range supplies, it was obvious that I was overdue for some range time. So after work yesterday, while the rest of the family was busy with other activities, I made a quick visit to the range. I happened to notice that it had been exactly one month to the day since I was last out practicing.

Given the increasing and ever changing restrictions at the range, I hadn't really been motivated to get over there. When I go to the range, it's mostly for the relaxation and diversion from work, with the bonus of practicing skills needed for the USPSA matches. Dealing with curmudgeons and "floating" restrictions spoils my mood and wrecks the practice time. So for this trip, I left the competition belt at home — just a leather holster and an extra magazine holder for convenience — and decided to simply enjoy putting some rounds downrange.

For most of the time I just stood and shot, but I did work on drawing from cover a bit. I was recently made aware of needing a bit more work on that maneuver. I also went through a few magazines while shooting on the move, before I started wondering if doing so, combined with the cover garment, counted as "tactical shooting," which is also a prohibited action.

Fortunately, even just standing and shooting is beneficial, especially with good concentration on trigger, or finger, control. Though keeping the hits in the A zone, my groups were tending a bit to the left. Since doing anything towards the left is anathema to me, I decided to drill on this even more. I spent most of my time standing at the 25 yard line while concentrating on the sight alignment and trigger press. Shooting both controlled pairs and single double action trigger pull shots, I ended up quite pleased with the results at the end.

It was a fun range session, despite the limitations placed by folks who, it appears, just don't want the ranges used. ("We're a conservation club, not a shooting club.") But, just plinking can be beneficial too. And it's certainly a great way to let off the stress of the work day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Draft Line of Immense Proportion

Here's a pipeline that I could get behind. Or under.
The Belgian city of Bruges has approved plans to build a pipeline which will funnel beer underneath its famous cobbled streets.

Locals and politicians were fed up with huge lorries clattering through the cobbled streets and tiny canal paths of the picturesque city and decided to connect the De Halve Maan brewery to a bottling factory 3.2km (two miles) away.

It is estimated that some 500 trucks currently motor through Bruges each year on their way to the brewery, which is a famous tourist attraction.

Now they will be kept out of the city limits, as the pipe pumps 1,500 gallons of beer per hour. Construction is set to begin next year.

I suspect the beer will travel better in underground pipes than being pumped in and out of trucks being driven around a crowded city.

H/T to Borepatch.

See "Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city."