Monday, July 30, 2018

New Sights, More Practice

I had a decent practice session this weekend. My goal was to work more on sight acquisition with the new sights on the gun, and familiarize myself with what is an acceptable sight picture using target focus.

Starting out at 10 yards, I ran through 50 rounds, shooting at a moderate pace. Firing just one or two shots per string, a few shots drifted outside the -0 zone. Still, I was generally pleased.

Emboldened perhaps, I pushed the next target out to 20 yards for a slow 50 rounds. The hits weren't as good, but generally stayed within the -1 zone. The shots tended to be low, so I made a note to work on that some more next time.

Next I moved to the opposite extreme and hung a Dot Torture target paper at 3 yards. I've struggled with this drill of late, mostly because of a lack of patience when trying to shoot slowly. I had a miss on a transition shot between circle #3 and #4. I might blame that on the green laser dot from one lane over repeatedly crossing my target. After the miss I knew I wouldn't beat my 49/50 record so I shot the rest of the drill quickly, to finish 47/50.

I typically limit my indoor range practice to 150 rounds, but an extra box of ammo had somehow snuck into my range bag. :-) I finished the session shooting ten, 5 round strings, pushing as fast as I could get a flash of the red fiber dot. The first 20 rounds were fired from extension at a stationary target. For the final six strings I shot from low ready, at a timed target set to a three second exposure.

Looking at the target after those runs, although most were -0, the hits were generally concentrated in the lower left quadrant of the center circle. When I push the speed, I'm apparently pushing the gun to the left. During the Brandon Wright pistol class, Brandon encouraged me to use a little more trigger finger when we were working on fast trigger presses. I will be sure to pay some attention to that next time.

Overall, I found this practice to be both beneficial and fun. One can't ask for much more than that.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Straw Safety

High capacity packages!

Right there on the aisle where a child could get hold of them.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Five O'Clock Friday: National Scotch Day

Happy Friday! It's also National Scotch Day.

I'm not really sure of the origins of this "holiday," but who am I to argue?


Outdoor Dry Fire Practice

Most of my dry fire practice takes place indoors. Since the majority of that is working on draws, reloads and trigger manipulation, hanging some targets just about anywhere in the house suffices. Lately, I've been wanting to devote time to movement and wide target transitions, both of which are more difficult in a confined area. So I moved to the backyard.

Hanging a couple targets from the deck, and laying out a couple of shooting boxes, made for a suitable practice area. I was little concerned about raising the notice of the neighbors, but a quick scan revealed plenty of tree cover. On future sessions I think I'll breakout the target stands and a barricade too.

As a bonus, the sweat rolling into my eyes added another element of match shooting realism.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Back To A Fiber Optic Sight

I may be the last person in the shooting sports to figure this out. But here I am.

In 2015, I changed the black front post on my SIG P226 competition gun to a fiber optic sight. I shot with that for a couple years, before going back to the plain black sight. I felt the fiber sight didn't offer enough solid mass in front of my eyes to get good sight alignment. When I switched to the P320, I actually blackened out the SIG Night Sight on the front. I've shot that way with a fair bit of success.

One of the topics of the Brandon Wright class was "target focus" vs. "sight focus." Frankly, this was a new concept to me; I've always used front sight focus for all my shooting. I also felt somewhat constrained to this sight picture by needing distance correction in my eyes. I couldn't see the sights in focus wearing my distance Rx, so I shot without the corrective lenses, which meant I saw sharp sights but blurry targets.

Brandon showed us how target focus shooting works on close targets. He also rightly derided my gun sights throughout the weekend. (All in good humor.) The opportunity to shoot Brandon's gun, while wearing my distance Rx, showed me how valuable the red fiber optic was when combined with target focus. This was an enlightening experience for me. So much so that I placed an order for new sights after the first day of class as soon as I returned to my hotel, even before I showered and went out for dinner.

This weekend I replaced the stock sights on the P320 with a Dawson Precision competition sight set with a black rear and fiber front. I elected to wait until after the Rivanna match, rather than jump into a match with an untested installation. The swap was surprisingly quick and trouble-free.

On Monday I took a trip to the indoor range to try out the new sights. My first group of 10 shots at 7 yards elicited a comment of "Show off" from the range officer, so I figured the sights were installed well. I spent the rest of my time shooting at 10, 15 and 20 yards to confirm the sight picture and point of aim. I wasn't shooting from rest but the sights seem to be where they should be.

When shooting head shots at 10 yards, it was almost breathtaking to be able to see the head of the target through the rear notch, behind the front post. My previous setup required guesstimating the head target location since it was essentially covered by the front post.

I shot some 3, 4, and 5 shot strings as fast as I could see the red dot return. I am still shooting without my distance Rx, which means I'm probably leaning more to sight focus than target focus. Even so, I am enthusiastic over the results and looking forward to getting in more practice.

I need to spend much more time getting accustomed to the new sights and to using target focus for close shooting. I'll do most of that in dry fire. I also have a much needed appointment with my optometrist in a few weeks, so eye glass changes may be coming.

Even though fiber optic sights are pretty much the standard for competitive shooting, I've never really understood how to use them properly. You can teach an old dog new tricks, and I for one, am looking forward to learning a few.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Open Carry is Constitutional

So says the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
(Reuters) - A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees a right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense, finding that Hawaii overstepped its authority to regulate firearms possession outside the home.

The ruling by a three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, makes the San Francisco-based court the sixth U.S. circuit court to interpret the Second Amendment that way and could set the issue on a path toward the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not taken up a major gun rights case since 2010.

The fact that this comes from one of the most liberal and anti-rights Appeals Court in the nation must have the leftists breaking out in hives.

Wouldn't it be funny if this ruling was upheld by SCOTUS and the snowflakes started demanding we carry concealed because seeing a gun scared them so much?  Sweet, sweet, schadenfreude.

See "U.S. appeals court upholds right to carry gun in public."

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

July IDPA at Rivanna

I headed out early Saturday morning for the monthly match at the Rivanna range. Rain was forecast for the afternoon, but if the prognosticators were to be believed, we'd have good weather for shooting.

We started off facing a simple line of eight targets. However, looking behind them, we found three non-threat targets positioned to catch "shoot throughs" if one was not careful. Shooters could engage any of the targets from either, or both, of two shooting boxes. Many took a conservative route and shot from both positions to take advantage of the safest angles. Since I was feeling bold, I opted to shoot all the targets from one box, adjusting my lean as necessary.

I couldn't see for sure if the non-threats were clean from my shooting position. I anxiously awaited the squad in the adjoining stage to finish so we could move forward and score. The plan worked, I hit no non-threats and finished -3 points down.

The next stage had us facing some distant targets from either side of a wall. A parallel wall down range offered closer shots at some of the targets. Shooters had the choice of shooting all targets from either end of the further wall, or using time to move forward to take closer shots on some targets. There was a head shot only target that tempted many shooters to the closer position. In another moment of boldness, I opted to shoot all the targets from the more distant wall, saving the time involved in moving up range.

When I hit my position to shoot the head shot target, the angle I needed to shoot from was greater than I had felt during the walk through. Despite my earlier confidence, I didn't feel I was getting a solid aim. And indeed, despite slow fire, I did miss one of my head shots. In retrospect making the run to the second wall may have paid off. Disappointingly, I tagged one of the non-threats as well. This stage became an exercise in "shaking it off."

Stage 3 was a "standards" stage with three barrels arranged in a large triangle, and three open targets set down range. A magazine downloaded to six rounds was placed on each barrel, and the empty gun holstered. The stage description called for loading the gun at each barrel, and shooting the three targets "one the move" from each position. The latest IDPA rules prohibit any penalties for not moving while shooting, even if the stage brief calls for it. It is up to the shooter, knowing his own skill level, to make the determination of when shooting on the move is beneficial.

For this particular stage, the best option for the "game" would be to run quickly to the next position and shoot while standing. Of course, doing so left the shooter facing good natured shouts of "Gamer!" from his squad. While I did make a fast run to each position, I found myself taking the shots while moving into place. Old habits are hard to break I guess. Even though I dropped five points, I finished the stage 3rd overall.

The fourth and final stage was an interesting course with six targets, all requiring 3 hits each, placed among several walls. All of the targets were either partials or blocked by non-threats, or both. After engaging two up-close targets we retreated to four other shooting positions to shoot a single threat target at each. There were as many options for shooting order as there were targets, and shooters differed in their approach. I opted to move left to right in the middle, then right to left at the back. Though adding a couple extra steps, it put my standing reload at an "open" head shot and I finished on a tight leaning head shot with ammo to spare if needed. One low shot had me -1 for the stage for a strong finish to the match.

The predicted rain held off long just enough to complete the match and get on the road. It started sprinkling shortly after I began my drive home, becoming heavy from most of the drive. Despite a few miscues, I was pleased overall. I remembered a few things from the class last weekend, but still need to get in practice to tune and ingrain that training. The final score had me 5th of 45 overall, 4th of 19 in SSP and 2nd of the 3 shooters in SSP EX. It was a very fun morning of shooting and enjoying the company, and banter, of friends.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Rebellion DC Whiskey Bar

I spent most of last week in Washington, DC, stuck inside a hotel. Seated in a meeting, I was using the Untapped app to see if there was anyplace nearby for good beer. A listing for Rebellion DC popped up, and I noted the tagline, "Bar, American Restaurant, Burger Joint, Whiskey Bar."

Checking out the website I noted they claimed some 300 Bourbons and Whiskey's. Reviewing the online menu, though it was outdated, five different vintages of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Bourbon were listed. I also remembered that a coworker was a fan of said spirit. So, plans were made, and we ventured over to Rebellion one evening.

Arriving and taking our place at the bar, I was thrilled to see the extensive display of bottles behind the bar. But, where to begin? In this case, we both opted for Pappy's. My companion ordered the 20 year old, while I was slightly more budget conscience with the 15 year offering. The higher proof of the 15 year Bourbon is noticeable, especially compared to the 20, and it was quite an enjoyable libation.

We started a discussion with the bartender, asking about interesting recommendations for our next pours. He told us about WhistlePig The Boss Hog IV - The Black Prince.

The online reviews we checked were quite favorable. This unique rye won Best Whiskey at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. At the prices I saw online, I'll likely never indulge in a full bottle, but a single pour, why not? I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Despite the 119.2 proof, this was a smooth and flavorful drink.

A long day behind us, and an early start ahead of us, we called it a night. After so many meetings and conferences in DC over the years, I am glad I finally discovered this unassuming bar with the amazing whiskey offerings. The libation selection is outstanding and the staff was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. It was a very enjoyable diversion from the business of the week.

On our Uber ride over to Rebellion, we noted that we passed by the hotel where we hold our winter meeting each year. Plans are being made for a return visit...

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Going to IDPA Nationals!

Were in! 

This September, I will be shooting in the IDPA National Championship match.

Four of us who shoot together regularly will make the road trip. I'm looking forward to an exciting adventure.

There are fun times ahead! (And lots of practice to prepare.)

Friday, July 20, 2018

Competitive Pistol Training with Brandon Wright

I recently took part in an intensive two days of competitive pistol training under the tutelage of Brandon Wright of Wright Shooting. Brandon is a Distinguished Master in IDPA and a USPSA Grand Master shooter, and a member to Team Smith & Wesson. In addition to his shooting accomplishments, he’s an excellent instructor. The seven others in the class were folks I shoot with regularly, which added to the fun, and even created a bit of friendly competition.

Throughout the two days of Competitive Pistol II, Brandon reviewed, in great detail, both the fundamentals and advanced techniques employed in competitive shooting. We discussed not only the how but also the why of the techniques we covered. And we ran the associated drills, over and over, as our very observant instructor demonstrated, watched, critiqued, and corrected.

While the techniques we learned were applicable to action pistol shooting in general, the emphasis of the class was on IDPA competition. The major themes of the class were efficiency in getting to the shooting, and then making accurate shots. With the 2017 IDPA scoring change to one second penalties per point down, inaccurate hits became even more costly. Putting the gun where it needs to be quickly, gives the shooter more time to insure accuracy. 

Naturally, I won't give specifics here, you'll need to take the class yourself. General topics included different sight pictures, varying trigger presses, footwork and movement, reloading, and moving targets, among others. The individual concepts were reviewed and practiced. Different methods were timed and compared. A log book is a critical component of Brandon's training. Eventually we put our new knowledge all together and ran different small stages to see how it worked.

Stage planning was also covered throughout the course. Brandon reminded us frequently why it is important know our skills and strengths, especially focusing on the time it takes to perform various actions. We were able to shoot the small stages repeatedly in order to compare and different interpretations of ways to shoot the stage. We even got in a few mini-competitions throughout the two days.

I fired somewhere around 1,050 shots in the course. Though I came away with sunburn and achy muscles, it was an intensely fun two days of shooting and learning. Several days later I am still processing everything did. I took copious notes, and have been adding to them since. Brandon has an amazing ability to break things down into individual components, fine tune what we do, and put it all back together again. There were many "ah ha!" moments throughout the course, as well as many bad habits broken and falsehoods disproven.

Going in to the class, I knew there was a lot that Brandon could teach me. Despite the awareness of having a lot to learn, the class was a humbling experience. I believe that seven of the eight students in the class hold Expert classification in at least one IDPA division, yet Brandon found frequent areas for improvement; grip, trigger control, stance, foot placement, stage planning... Despite that, the training was both inspirational and confidence building. With practice, I believe I can make that new knowledge part of my arsenal and habits, and improve my shooting.

I found the investment in tuition, ammo, hotel, food, and gas to be all money well-spent. Fortunately, so much of what we covered can be practiced in dry fire, in my home. Now that my week of travel for work is over, I look forward to doing just that.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

No Blog Fodder

Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?

It's been a busy week, but not one that was filled with shooting activities, nor even good beverages. On the bright side, today is my "Friday" as I am taking tomorrow off to begin two intense days of competitive pistol training with a great instructor. I hope to have an AAR on that next week.

Next week I'll be stuck in America's worse run city for work meetings. It's my intent to experience nothing self defense related to write home about! We'll return to regular programming soon.

Meanwhile, have a look at some of these folks.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sanner's Lake July IDPA Match

It's been a while since we made it to the monthly match at Sanner's Lake in Lexington Park, MD. The past two I've signed up for have been rained out, so Saturday's unseasonably cool, and dry, forecast was a welcome sight. (And something I checked frequently in the days leading up to the match.) As I drove past the farms en route to the rendezvous to pick up my shooting accomplice, I noted the car thermometer read 68° and the corn stalks were moving in the breeze. It was going to be a pleasant day.

The Sanner's Lake puts on a remarkably well organized match with six quick and fun stages set up. The first stage we shot had a long wall across the bay with targets to be found at both ends and in the middle. Starting with a turn and draw we engaged a couple of targets before moving to a narrow opening in the center. From there we shot paper targets and two falling steel poppers. Continuing across the stage we made a hard lean around the wall to finish on a distant targets placed back across the middle of the stage. Shooting just -3 made for a good warm up.

Next up was an interesting array of targets we engaged while standing behind a barrel, with some leaning or small shift in stance required to open up some of the shots. Three threat targets were set behind two non-threats. The center target was placed upside down, with the head just peaking out below and between the penalty targets. The requirement was to have four body and two head shots on each target, and all magazines were downloaded to just 6 rounds. There were several things that played with my head on this stage.

As I fired my first string of six, two each across each target I put two tight shots in the upper portion of the center target and immediately thought, "D'oh, that target is upside down!" I knew right there I was already down 2 for the stage. I reloaded and the second mind game hit me, and I found mysef thinking, "Was I supposed shoot SHO or WHO?" That is often the case when we have these downloaded stages shooting the same targets after the mag change. I took my next six body shots on each, this time placing them all correctly. After the final mag change I finished with the head shots. Made them all, but also nipped the bottom of a non-threat.

Stage 3 started with a short run to cover where we engaged two distant targets, again with a menacing non-threat placed in front. Three close targets were shot through a port, before we moved to finish with two more targets from cover. Hitting the targets a bit too wide while avoiding the distant non-threat, I was 5 down for the stage, all on those two far targets.

The next stage provided another chance to strategize. Standing behind a barricade, we had to engage five paper and two falling steel poppers, using priority from either side of cover. Again, all magazines were downloaded to six rounds. That meant if I shot everything clean, I'd only need to do one reload. I finished confidently, and as we began to score the SO asked, "Did you see that steel?" To my frustration I had left one of the poppers standing. I had called the shot good. I had heard the ping. But I apparently only nicked the steel. If I had noticed the miss I would have needed to perform another reload; since my reload is much faster than the 5 second penalty, it would have been a good tradeoff. I guess I should remember to look at the steel.

Stage 5 also included falling steel and may have been my favorite run of the match. Starting at a close target, we fired six shots on it while retreating around a wall towards a center opening. At this position we shot a steel plate which activated a swinging arm holding two non-threats placed in front of three steel poppers. The poppers had to be knock down during their intermittent exposures. Hitting everything one for one meant having one round left before moving to the next point of cover. There was a lot of discussion about intentionally missing one steel to go to slide lock. For me, and many others, there seemed to be no issue with that miss coming up on it's own when trying to hit the steel too fast. :-) The stage ended on three targets, again fronted by two non-threats. I was happy to shoot the stage just one point down.

The final stage was shot while seated. The unloaded gun and all magazines were on a table in front of us. We began the course of fire by pulling a rope to activate a swinging non-threat which moved between an array of three targets in front of the table. To either side were more targets, with non-threats present as well. All targets were to be engaged with one head and two body shoots. All the target groups were of equal priority so there were many theories proposed on the best timing of the shots to avoid the swinging penalty target. I opted to shoot the center group first, then move to the sides. When I made the last head shot in the center group, I had a brief thought that it may have been a miss, and even more briefly thought to go back. Alas I did not and finished the stage -5 due to that miss.

I was generally pleased with how I shot on this day. The one HNT and two misses contributed about half of my points down. I still managed to finish 8th of 47 Overall, 6th of 22 in SSP, and 4th of 6 in EX classification.

While the courses of fire were not overly complex or extravagant, they did test a variety of skills and offered some challenging shots. What they also did was make you think. (And that's where they often trap me.) You had to be cognizant of target engagement order, work with the timing of the movers, and watch for temptingly placed non-threats. It was an extremely fun match, made all the more enjoyable by the unseasonably nice weather. We started shooting at 9:00AM and were driving away from the range before noon. After quick stops to shop for distilled beverages and lunch, I was back home in plenty of time to, well, do nothing except sit on my porch and enjoy the wonderful weather.

Did I mention the weather?

More photos of the stages are here.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Preparing For A New Arrival

Relax, I'm talking about a new gun.  :-)

The money invested in new firearm goes well beyond the cost of the gun itself. There's always a variety of holsters to buy, magazine carriers, extra magazines, and of course copious rounds of practice and self-defense ammunition to verify the operation of the weapon. Since I am anticipating the purchase of a SIG P365 at some point in the not-too-distant future, I've been "pre-loading" some of those supplies. The calendar in spring and summer is also full of holidays when many suppliers offer sales, so I've been taking advantage of those as well.

No one waits until the baby arrives to begin preparing the nursery, right?

Still to be added; belt magazine carrier, extra magazines...  And the gun.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Five O'Clock Friday: Who's Line Is It Anyway?

It's Friday. Let's start the weekend with a laugh.

Cops. Terrorists. Guns. No sex. No profanity. 
They probably wouldn't allow comedy like this on TV these days.

Dry Fire for Summer Carry

It's heating up out there, in more ways than one. Summer is no time to let down your guard. During the warmer months, I prefer cargo shorts and t-shirts for casual wear. (I actually prefer cargo pants all year, fashion be darned.) During these thin cover garment months my holster and gun is harder to conceal, and ends up against my bare, and often sweaty, skin. To overcome that, I'll occasionally carry a compact gun in a Sticky Holster in the front cargo pant pocket. Instead of a magazine pouch on my belt, I use a SnagMag carrier for the extra magazine.

Drawing from the pant leg pocket holster is slower and less convenient than my regular IWB holster setups, so some of my dry fire time is spent drawing from the Sticky Holster. In the unlikely event I need to get the gun out, I neither want to think about where it is, nor fumble the draw.

Retrieving the extra magazine from the SnagMag in my pocket is also a different motion than grabbing a mag from the belt. I use the SnagMag frequently but I still practice. This spare mag carrier is easy and quick to draw from, but it's needs to be practiced so the motion is second nature.

The down side of dry fire practice with both of these products is the time to "reset" between draws. Both the holster and the mag carrier must be removed from their respective pockets in order to be reloaded and then repositioned.

Dry fire practice manipulating the gun is so often seen as merely a competition shooter's practice routine, especially for those of us without regular access to a range where drawing from a holster is permitted. Regular live fire with your EDC gun is critical, and dry fire practice is just as important. When you change your carry position, be sure to practice getting to the gun quickly and safely.

Stay safe. Stay alert. Stay armed.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

This Week's Range Session

I have mixed feelings about this week's practice session. It's probably best summed up as "Well, almost."

I started out with some SHO and WHO shooting at 10 yards. That part of the afternoon I was especially pleased with, despite not having practiced those skills in a while. Following that, I hung a target at 20 yards to get in the distance practice that I had skipped last time. After the first magazine I pulled the target in close enough to see the holes, and noted I was shooting low. I adjusted my aim fore the next 40 rounds and saw a lot more centered holes. At the distance it's hard to focus on a specific spot on the target so I wasn't expecting touching groups, but still need to work on tightening it up a bit.

For the last third of my 150 round allocation I decided to have another run at a fast Julie Golob 50 round drill. I did this one at 10 yards and tried to shoot it as quickly as possible. I had the same issue I typically face at the indoor range; the head shots drift low. I am not sure if that's due to the target being set higher than typical or if I subconsciously shy away from the target hanger. Sometime I should hang the target much lower on the cardboard and test that theory. (Did I mention lately how much I miss having an outdoor practice range?)

Still, any range time is good range time. Adding to the enjoyment, my son is finally home for the rest of summer and accompanied me, as he'll hopefully do often this summer. I enjoy shooting with him, and it's fun to have company for the drive. And now I also have some ideas for the next practice time at the range.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America 
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ...

July 4th, the day we celebrate our Founding Fathers' bravery in declaring independence from an oppressive government. It's a truly American holiday, made possible by a well-armed citizenry. This day shows us why those on the left have such a great fear of freedom-loving Americans with guns. And indeed they should be afraid, and would do well to remember history.

Happy Independence Day!

May God Bless These United States

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"Gun Violence" License Plates

Virginia probably offers more vanity license plate options than any other state, with well over 300 options available for purchase. Starting July 1, naive or willfully ignorant residents can order a Stop "Gun Violence" plate for their vehicle. The plates a offer drivers the ability to display their cluelessness to the world, much like those Hillary presidential bumper stickers are doing.

I've never seen a gun become "violent." A person applying sentient behavior to an inanimate object would seem to be lacking a connection with reality. It's fitting that the bill authorizing the special plates provides for $15 of the fee for the plate to go be used to provide treatment "to individuals receiving public mental" treatment. The special funding would go into effect in 2020.

Of course, the phrase "gun violence" actually has no meaning. It's simply a catch phrase made up by leftists to influence the naive into supporting their disarmament agenda. Frankly, if I ever see a firearm committing violence on its own, I'll be inclined to call to an exorcist.

There is a requirement that 1,000 of the plates be purchased by the end of the year in order for it to be a permanent offering. Sadly, if the number of faded Obama bumpers stickers I still see is any indication, they might just make that number.

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Better Way to Do Lime & Beer

We spent a relaxing Saturday afternoon enjoying a few tasty beers over at Strangeways Brewing. As they do on many weekends, the brewery had a number of new releases on tap, which we specifically went to try out. Besides the new beers, there were a few other beers that sounded interesting, so we tasted a few samples to start.

The folks at Strangeways are very open to giving a taste of a beer before you order. If you are debating between two, they offer small tastes of each. This is good business in my opinion, especially with their large, diverse, and sometimes strange, selections. I've been in other local breweries that charge for even a sample. After a few sips and discussion, we decided on our first, and second beers.

We started with two very different beers, but both of which included lime in the ingredient list. Colleen opted for Everlasting Light Lime Kölsch while I chose the darker Key Lime Cantilever Dark Ale.

The Kölsch was a very crisp and refreshing beverage. The added limes and kaffir lime leaf added a tart pop of flavor to the beer. It was not overly sour and quite quaffable. My Dark Ale went down easily as well. The beer blends the malt sweetness of a brown ale with the roasted malt and hop bitterness of a Black IPA. The touch of lime in the finish further enhances the unique flavor.

I also tried a sample of the regular Cantilever Dark Ale. This too was a tasty beer, and I briefly debated between the two. I chose the Key Lime version for the slightly unusual enhanced flavor profile. I've often said that the only reason to add a lime to a beer (I'm looking at you Corona fans) is to kill the skunked flavor of the beer. In the case of the Strangeways beers, the tropical citrus served as a flavorful addition, not as a coverup.

We continued our fruity exploration with Nana Jeanne's Peach Cobbler Belgian Strong Dark Ale in Colleen's glass and Comfortably Plum American Sour in mine. The Belgian Dark Ale offered, again, a twist on the classic style. The peach was subdued, adding just a hint of fruit sweetness. The Plum Sour treated with a blast of tart fruit flavor. It went surprisingly well with my spicy quesadilla lunch.

I am an unabashed fan of strongly hopped beers, but at Strangeways I tend toward the fruit and sour beers in my pursuit of robust flavors. However, intrigued by the descriptors of "dark aroma notes of pineapple, mint and mango" I concluded my visit with a glass of another new release, Work Jorts IPA. The beer had a some bitter citrus notes and a hint of green leafiness. I added this one to our "to go" list we had in the works.

And what's flavorful beer without flavorful food to match? The Phat Yummies food truck was on hand to satisfy the food cravings. A couple of tasty quesadillas made the perfect accompaniment to the liquid libations.

Before we left, we had a few more decisions to make. It's a holiday week, so we grabbed a few 32 ounce crowlers to go. Our list included three of the aforementioned beers, Everlasting Light Lime Kölsch, Key Lime Cantilever Dark Ale, Work Jorts IPA, and one more we had only sampled, Orange Cream Banana Clipper Hefeweizen. Those cans will keep for a while, but we'll get to them soon. Real soon.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Media Weapons Experts

It amazes me that there are people clueless enough to sit in front of their televisions listening to these idiots and nod their heads in agreement.

We must not forget the chainsaw bayonet and the 12 Gauge AR-15 to gauge the full idiocy of the media talking heads.