Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Text And Drive

This is not going to buff out.

Fortunately her disregard for the safety of others did not result in injury to innocent people.

"Why you shouldn’t text while driving."

Pumpkin Carving

A little pumpkin carving fun for Halloween.

Courtesy of Hickock45.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sierra Nevada Brewery Not Coming to Virginia

Last spring, there was news that Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was considering a site in Virginia for its east coast brewery. Alas, it is not to be. According to Virginia Business, the Montgomery County business park is not destined to be the new home of the brewery.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. won’t confirm the news, but Montgomery County will not be the home of the California craft brewer’s first East Coast brewery.

“Montgomery County is no longer under consideration for the Sierra Nevada project,” county spokeswoman Ruth Richey said in an Oct. 27 email.

Online outdoor retailer announced Oct. 11 that it plans to build a distribution center in the county’s Falling Branch Industrial Park. It turns out that was the site that Sierra Nevada was considering.
Although east coast sites in Tennessee and North Carolina have also been mentioned, the article speculates that the brewery may not build in the east after all.

See "Sierra Nevada brewery not coming to Montgomery County".


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Learn To Homebrew

The Fredericksburg Brewing Insiders will celebrate the annual Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day with a demonstration at the Blue & Gray Brewery on Saturday, November 5. Join these local home brewers, and all around fun people, for a day of brewing instruction.

I stopped by for a previous year's event and had a great time.

See the Fredericksburg Brewing Insiders web page for more information.

Friday, October 28, 2011

iPhone Flashlight

I own a couple of small, bright, sturdy flashlights. I also don't remember to carry one as often as I should. Fortunately, my iPhone 4 provides a satisfactory alternative. The iPhone has a very bright LED light that ostensibly serves as a flash for the built in camera, though I've never found it very effective for that purpose. There are several apps in the iTunes Store that make use of that light. One that I've tried and have been happy with is Flashlight by John Haney.

The main screen of the Flashlight app provides easy access to the main functions. The On and Off buttons turn the LED light on and off, of course. There are also Strobe and S.O.S functions built in. The speed of both those sequences can be controlled from this screen as well. The Manual button acts like the soft button at the end of many standard flashlights; hold it to turn the light on and release to turn it off.

The app also provides a bright white screen on the phone that can be used to light the way with older iPhones that don't have the LED light. Holding a finger down on the screen and then releasing brings up selections that are useful if you are using the iPhone screen as a light. There are pattern and color options offered. The brightness of the screen can be altered by sliding a finger up and down the side of the screen.

How useful is it? Very useful in my experiences. Despite being forgetful about my flashlight, my phone is always with me. Not to long ago I was as the range until dusk. When I left it was too dark to see the dials in the combination lock on the property's gate. Flashlight to the rescue. One more than one occasion I've been able to find my way down long dark driveways when visiting friends and neighbors. I've found my way to candles and standard flashlights during power outages. And the LED light is indeed bright enough to hinder the vision of nearby persons; something I confirmed personally by accident while working on this post! I keep the app on the main screen of my phone for quick access.

While it's not a perfect replacement for a small defensive flashlight, the free Flashlight app with iPhone 4 makes an acceptable replacement in a pinch. And it's always there.

Priorities - Friday Funny

Some people have them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Examining Growler Laws

As recently reported, the Virginia ABC Board is reviewing its regulations for the first time in twenty years. Beside the aforementioned advertising restrictions, VABC is also considering proposals regarding growler sales. The proposal under consideration states:
The petitioner has requested that the board allow the use of growlers, reusable containers for the sale of beer, by gourmet shop licensees. Currently, only persons licensed to sell beer for both on- and off-premises consumption may sell beer in growlers, under the provisions of 3 VAC 5-40-40.
This change would make it possible for retailers to offer "draft" beer to customers to carry home. It would help make "draft-only" craft beers more readily available, and make it easier for Virginia's small brewers to make their products available to more people. Growlers are economical too, so this is a winning proposition!

The ABC board is accepting public comment through October 30, 2011.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Snow? Say it ain't so.

We know our friends Colorado are being hit with a early snow storm, but it's 75° here currently. Imagine my shock when I see this on my desktop weather widget.

The explanation is here. Looks like we might see flakes falling, mixed with rain, on Saturday. Nothing to worry about. Other than it's time to bring the plants inside.

Just Because You're Paranoid....

Doesn't mean they aren't watching you.

Click to embiggen
I hope they're learning a few things. :-)

Actually the most disconcerting part of that is noting that the Department of Homeland Security is still using Windows XP.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Entitlement" Attack Hits Distiller

Iconic distiller Jack Daniel's is being attacked by the same dangerous thinking that we've recently seen espoused by those "occupying" parks and streets in cities all over America. A Lynchburg, TN resident is making the outrageous claim that the local government is "entitled" to take more of the money earned by the only industry in town.
“We are entitled to more money from the only industry in the county – Jack Daniel’s distillery,” said Charles Rogers, a 75-year-old retiree and self-described “concerned citizen” of Moore County – home to Lynchburg and Jack Daniel’s.

Rogers wants the proposed tax to pay the bills for new schools, roads, bridges, even a new water treatment plant.

Rogers says Moore County is “entitled” to more money because Jack Daniel’s used bucolic images of small-town life in Lynchburg to sell its product. And as Norman Rockwell made a living off of his iconic images of Americana, so too should Lynchburg, according to Rogers.

If Mr. Rogers thinks that people buy Jack Daniel's simply for the "bucolic images" he probably believes that Häagen-Dazs is made in a scenic town in Denmark.

Were it not for Jack Daniel's there probably wouldn't be a Lynchburg, Tennessee. The company is the largest employer in the county and supports a tourism industry that probably keeps every other business in the town alive. If anything, Moore County owes thanks to Jack Daniel's for the county's prosperity.

Rogers claims the distiller could simply raise the price of their product and pass along the new tax. In other words, he feels that not only is the county "entitled" to the distiller's profit, but is entitled to collect from everyone who buys the product, where ever they live.

This sort of thinking is like a creeping infestation that is slowly destroying our country. People who subscribe to this entitlement mentality no longer wish to strive for success, instead they scheme to take from others what they can't, or won't, earn for themselves.

See "Jack Daniel's Faces More Taxes From Cash-Strapped Hometown in Tennesseefor more on this infuriating story.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blue Mountain Breaks Ground

Last month brought the news that Blue Mountain Brewery was celebrating the opening of their expanded brewpub. Not content to sit idle, this week owners Mandi and Tylor Smack and Matt Nucci broke ground on the new Blue Mountain Barrel House production facility in Colleen, VA. As usual, Nelson County Life Magazine was on hand to witness the event.
Blue Mountain Barrel House and Organic Brewery is a 10,000 square foot production-only facility for the 10 lines of Blue Mountain beer that will be kegged or bottled in 750ml corked bottles and undergo 100% natural refermentation. These beers will be USDA certified organic and will tend toward the more “specialty” end of Blue Mountain’s beer production spectrum. Beers brewed will include the popular Dark Hollow Bourbon-Barrel Aged Stout and Mandolin, but will also introduce new styles such as an imperial pilsner and a barrel-aged Belgian-inspired ale.
The amazing success and rapid growth of Blue Mountain Brewery speaks to the quality of the beer they produce. This groundbreaking marks the second in a trio of projects that the brewery is undertaking. First was the aforementioned brewpub expansion completed just last month. In the near future Blue Mountain plans to also build a production facility for its bottled beer lines.

I've enjoyed a number of Blue Mountain beers, but notice that for some reason, I've not mused about them here, except for the excellent Pale Ale. I think I'll need to rectify that!

See "Blue Mountain Brewery Breaks Ground On Production Facility In Colleen" for more information and more pictures from the ground breaking ceremony.

Photo By Tommy Stafford : ©

Friday, October 21, 2011

These Precious Snowflakes

Dealing with a generation that grew up when dodgeball was banned from the playground and everybody got a trophy.

Watching the Border - Friday Funny

Yep, sometimes our procedures make about this much sense too. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wild Wolf's New Home

The fine folks at Nelson County Life alerted us to the news of Wild Wolf Brewing's impending opening at their new home.
Within a matter of days Wild Wolf Brewing Company will begin brewing beer at their new and permanent home in Nellysford, Virginia. This past week Danny Wolf, the brewmaster, at WW was busy getting everything ready to start production. Wild Wolf has been on an aggressive fast track construction and remodeling project at the old Rockfish Nursery location on Route 151. The restaurant portion of the new operation is nearing completion with an anticipated opening date of 11.11.11.
Congratulations to Wild Wolf. I look forward to when I can visit and taste some of those beers.

See "Wild Wolf Gets Ready To Brew At New Nellysford" for more information and pictures.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

iPhone vs. 50 cal

Gratuitous destruction and explosions for those of you who hate the iPhone. And for fans of big bullets.

You're welcome.

Change Through Violence

I don't pretend to understand what the Occupiers want. Apparently neither do they. On the Occupy Wall Street web page they admit there "is NO official list of demands." The only commonality among the participants seems to be they want free stuff. But I do understand HOW some of them want to bring about change. A Wall Street Journal poll found that one-third of those polled support the use of violence to bring about their agenda, what ever that might be.

Never wanting to let a crisis go to waste, the Europeans have taken up the occupy meme. In Rome we see the results.

Remember how upset the left became when a Florida pastor merely threatened to burn a book valued by muslims? Apparently their feigned respect for holy symbols doesn't apply to Christianity.

This can only end badly.

On the bright side, it's a safe bet that Catholics aren't going to be rioting and beheading people over the destruction of the Blessed Mother statue.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Flying Dog Table for Two

Time to write up another sample that was sent by the folks at Flying Dog Brewery. I received this bottle some time ago and I forgot about it until recently. Table for Two is labeled as a "Belgian-Style Table Beer" and is the result of a collaboration between two Maryland breweries, Flying Dog and The Brewer's Art.

In keeping with the theme of the name, Colleen and I shared the bottle and poured it into a couple of Chimay glasses. Table for Two is a golden-orange color with a thin, short-lived off-white head. The aroma is grainy and slightly sweet. The mild flavor comes across as bready, with just a hint of Belgian yeast, and a bit of honey sweetness. There's a note of pepper in the background too. The mouthfeel is effervescent and sticky. It finishes with a lingering bitterness and is moderately astringent.

I'm always happy for the opportunity to try out a new beer. Table For Two is a somewhat plain beer, with just a hint of Belgian-ness to it. We found it interesting, though not exceptional.

*FTC Notice: I drank and reviewed this beer of my own free will. No compensation was received for the review.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bowman Distillery Tours

It was reported this summer that renovations were underway that would facilitate public tours at Fredericksburg's A. Smith Bowman Distillery. Bill Freehling over at Fredericksburg Business Browser is reporting that those tours will begin on November 1.  The 'no appointment needed' tours will begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Samples will be available to those of legal drinking age after the tour.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Funny

A Texan Visits Galway.........

The Texan paid a visit to Galway, Ireland. He enters a pub and raises his voice to the crowd of drinkers. He shouts, 'I hear you Irish are a bunch of drinkin' fools. I'll give $500 American dollars to anybody in here who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back to back.' 

The room is quiet and no one takes of the Texan's offer.

Paddy Murphy gets up and leaves the bar. Thirty minutes later, he shows back up and taps the Texan on the shoulder.  Is your bet still good?' asks Paddy.

The Texan answers, 'Yes, 'and he orders the barman to line up 10 pints of Guinness.

Immediately, Paddy downs all 10 pints of beer, drinking them all back to back.  The other pub patrons cheer and the Texan sits down in amazement. The Texan gives the Irishman the $500 and asks, 'If ya don't mind me askin', where did you go for that 30 minutes you were gone?' 

Paddy Murphy replies, 'Oh................... I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first.'

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hardywood Park Beers Arrive

I've mentioned the new Hardywood Park Brewery a couple of times recently. Richmond-area craft beer fans can now enjoy the beer from this newcomer to the Virginia beer scene. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, which opened in Richmond in September, is now selling its beer at 30 local restaurants.

Brown Distributing Co. delivered the brewery's first keg to Commercial Taphouse on Wednesday. Numerous other local restaurants should have the beer on tap this week, said Eric McKay, the brewery's president and co-founder.

The brewery's first beer is Hardywood Singel, a Belgian abbey-style ale. A pumpkin ale made with local ingredients is due out in about a week.

The beer also will be available in bottles next week at some local retail stores, primarily independent shops, McKay said.
Indeed, all three Richmond-area Capital Ale House locations tapped Hardywood Park Singel yesterday. Singel is a Belgian Abbey-style Blonde Ale. Unfortunately the brewery is not yet distributing in the Fredericksburg area. I inquired of Capital Ale House via their Facebook page about bringing the beer to their Fredericksburg location. In reply they let me know, "We are currently working on a Hardywood Steal the Glass night to have in the near future in Fredericksburg!" I'm looking forward to it.

Shooter's Prayer

For the USPSA shooters...

When I breathe my last, and open my eyes in Glory, may the first thing I hear be "Unload and show clear." Amen.

H/T to Fill Yer Hands for the inspiration.

Imploring the intercession of St. Gabriel Possenti is always a good idea too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blogroll Additions

I've added some new blog links to the Shooting Links page over the past few weeks. If you haven't noticed, be sure to check them out. I'm sure you'll find the sites as interesting and as entertaining as I do.

Guns & Coffee
The other fermented beverage.

Gun Blog Black List
A large compilation of blogs about guns and other interesting commentary.

Internet security and firearms.

Gun Free Zone
Defending against the suspension of logic.

Food, guns, humor.

Do you link to Musings Over a Pint from your site? Let me know and I'll reciprocate. 


in a corn field?

Family Lost In Corn Maze Calls 911 For Help

Yep, you read that correctly. But don't worry, the emergency personnel brought in a K-9 unit.
A man used his cellphone to call from Connors Farm in Danvers at about 7 p.m. Tuesday after he, his wife and two children became lost in the maze, police said.

Police alerted farm management of the man's predicament, and a rescue, including a K-9, was organized.
All's well that ends well. The family was located "about 25 feet inside the maze."

I'm thinking dad would fit right in with the lost souls who Occupy Wall Street. Or, perhaps he should join the DC group. It's hard to get lost in an elevator.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Health Benefit of Beer

Well, this is different...

The health benefits of beer have been reported, and debated, for some time. From advertising to more modern claims, I've heard it all. Or so I thought. The Great Divide BrewBlog has a post describing a beer massage, featuring of course, Great Divide beer. The Mile High Malt Scrub and Microbrew Massage is offered at Denver's Ritz-Carlton Spa. The 75-minute, $200 treatment features the brewery's Samurai Rice Ale and Yeti Imperial Stout. In addition to the beers being incorporated into a body rub, the recipient does get to drink both beers during the course of the massage.

I admit having had beer spilled on me more than once, and I never considered it a plus. But, as they say, we learn something new everyday.

See Beer Spa for a detailed description of the treatment.

Bait and Switch?

The Beatles? Maybe it's a "bait 'n switch" scam.

Left Hand Stranger

I debated over writing about this beer. I typically avoid posting reviews about beer I didn't care for, or that are just plain bad, preferring to spend my time sharing thoughts on beer I enjoy. Left Hand Stranger American Pale Ale isn't necessarily a bad beer, but also not one I found particularly tasty. It's not what I expected from this Colorado brewery. I'll post my thoughts, you decide.

Left Hand Stranger is a transparent, bright marmalade color. Even a hard pour creates only a thin, short-lived head. There is a mild floral aroma, with a bit of a soapy background. The flavor is mildly citrus but there's also a distinct sour aspect to the finish. Even for a mild pale ale, the overall flavor profile is weak. The aftertaste leaves a lingering bitterness behind. I often prepend the word "bitterness" with "pleasing" since I'm a fan of bitter finishes in beer, but there's something off here. The mouthfeel is thin, with too much tingling carbonation.

Left Hand Stranger is best described as underwhelming. I won't go as far as saying it's unpleasant, but I think my initial comment was "bleh." I've had a couple of these so far, and I'll likely finish the six-pack, but won't seek it out again. I checked some reviews on some online beer-review websites and found the feedback to be oddly varied. The ratings and comments run the gamut.

Has anyone else run had Left Hand Stranger? What was your experience?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quote for Today

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
-- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October Steel Match

The monthly match at Black Creek Shooters was held this weekend.  I haven't been able to attend this event since April so I was looking forward to the "ring" of lead on steel. As a bonus it was a beautiful fall day; perfect for being outside. The match consisted of four stages of static and falling steel. I enjoy this match as it allows me to fully load my (evil, high-capacity) magazines and shoot more between reloads. When I shoot Production in USPSA I'm limited to 10 rounds max in a mag.

Stage 2, the first stage our squad shot, consisted of 5 steel plates and 5 shooting positions. From each position engage each target with 3 rounds. When you complete the fifth shooting position, do a mandatory reload and reverse direction and engage the first four targets again. This was a fun stage and I was happy with my run.

Stage 3 was very interesting. There were 9 split poppers that were engaged by shooting through a barrel set on its side, while remaining seated. You started with the loaded gun, as well as your additional mags, on the table. With that much metal downrange, one can be tempted to just blast away. But that doesn't work; aiming is still required. A lone standing half-popper looks mighty small when the clock is running!

Stage 4 consisted of just three round steel plates. The directions were to engage each target with three rounds, move to the closer shooting position and engage each target with two rounds shooting strong-hand only, then repeat using weak-hand only. Shooters were required to perform a reload between each group of three. I always look forward to the weak or strong-hand only stages as I try to practice those skills regularly. Unfortunately, that hasn't frequently paid off in competition. This time though I was very happy with how I did. I did make up a couple of shots when I wasn't sure if I had hit the target. I had my highest finish on this stage, so maybe the SHO/WHO practice might be starting to pay off.

Stage 1, the last stage I shot, was a 24 round stage. From behind the first barricade engage the plate rack, then move to the wall and engage three spring-loaded poppers. From behind the center barrel engage the steel plate with six rounds before continue to the last two shooting positions, which mirrored the first two. Despite looking forward to this fun stage, I just couldn't get my act together and struggled with the plate racks. As one of my squad mates remarked, "You know that small bump thing on the front of the gun...?" Yea, I should watch it better. This stage pulled my finish way down. It was fun anyway, but it's frustrating to be having a good day and then do so poorly on the last stage. Black Creek is the only opportunity I have to practice on a plate rack, so I need to attend this match more frequently.

I've commented before that the shooting can be a family activity. There were a number of husbands and wives shooting together today. Several of the dads even had their young children along. The kids played together in the back, all wearing appropriate eye and ear protection of course.

This was a really fun match. The squad consisted of a wide range of shooters, from a Grand Master shooter to a first-time competitor. Everyone was friendly and helpful, and there were a lot of smiles to be seen.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Flying Dog Pumpkin Ale

The Flying Dog Brewery shipping department has been busy lately. Earlier this week another surprise package arrived at my door. Inside was a bottle of The Fear, the brewery's seasonal Imperial Pumpkin Ale. As noted previously, I'm not a big fan of fruit and veggie beer, and while I enjoy the occasional pumpkin beer, I don't seek them out. Examining the (always interesting) Flying Dog label I see "brewed with pumpkin and spices." One of my beefs with so many "pumpkin beers" and that it's all about spices, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon..., there's not any pumpkin detected, if involved at all. The accompanying flyer reads "we've stayed true to the season by using local pumpkin in the mash." Okay, let's give this a shot.

Flying Dog The Fear pours a dark, ruby-brown color. The beige head is thick and persistent. Immediately I could detect the prominent aroma of spices, and yes, squash. There's some nutty sweetness in the aroma too. The flavor is dark, rich malt backed by mild spices. As with the aroma, I can taste the pumpkin. The finish is moderately bitter with some lingering spiciness.

Although I was skeptical, I did enjoy The Fear. I probably won't go out and buy a six-pack, but that's my individual preference. I'd recommend it strongly for fans of pumpkin beers. If I was out for a beer and found this on tap, I think I'd have another. Thank you to Flying Dog for allowing me to try a beer I probably would not have selected left to my own devices. 

FTC Notice: I drank and reviewed this beer of my own free will. No compensation was received for the review.

Friday, October 7, 2011

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 main fleet of the Ottoman Empire. This Christian victory stopped, for a while, the islamic aggressions 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 spreading across conquered lands.

No one can say for sure what an islamist victory would have brought to Europe and the rest of the world. However, we see clearly how Christians are treated in islamic countries today, we witness the implications of "islamic law" in those lands, and we read about the growing islamic unrest in Europe. Theses hints of what could have been gives one a cold shudder, followed by a prayer of thanksgiving for those Christian warriors of long ago.

Lest we be complacent today, 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.

Wall Street Protest vs. The Tea Party - Friday Funny

Q: What's the difference between the Wall Street protesters and the tea partiers?

A: The tea partiers have jobs, showers and a point.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Saint Josemaría Escrivá

"To compromise is a sure sign of not possessing the truth. When a man gives way in matters of ideals, of honour or of Faith, that man is a man without ideals, without honour and without Faith." -- Saint Josemaría Escrivá. The way, 394.

On October 6, 2002 Saint Josemaría Escrivá was canonized by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Blog Anniversary - 4 Years

Time flies when you're having fun! It's hard to believe it was four years ago, October 6, 2007, that Musing Over a Pint came online. I've had a lot of fun writing these posts, and I think there's even a couple of you who have had fun reading along. I've made some new friends, and offended a few others. I must be doing something right!

Tell your friends. Pull up a stool. There's more fun to come.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Need A New Hat

Sometimes you just have to say goodbye to an old friend. My Blue & Gray Brewery cap has been my constant companion for many years. It's traveled to numerous beer festivals, shooting matches, and plenty of other outdoor activities. I grabbed it the other day to pack for the Fredericksburg USPSA match and noticed that the ol' boy had seen better days. The embroidered logo was faded and unrecognizable, the brim and top were stained, and there certainly wasn't any shape left to it. Even though I'm not given to vanity, I decided that perhaps it wasn't fit for wearing. It's time to retire this cap.

The next order of business is finding another suitable cap. But I don't wear just anybody's advertising. Any of my favorite breweries or shooting sports businesses want to send a new cap my way?

New Pub Opening in Fredericksburg

F.W. Sullivan’s, a Richmond, VA bar and grill is opening a location in Fredericksburg later this month. The restaurant, to be located at 407-409 William St. is planning an October 27 opening, according to

Of special interest to readers of this blog, of course, would be the craft beer menu at F.W. Sullivan's. I have not been to the Richmond restaurant, but the company's Facebook page gives a hopeful hint. Posted there are photos of tap handles representing Paulaner, Victory, Starr Hill, Spaten, Legend, and Southern Tier breweries. That's a good sign. The food looks interesting too. We'll find out soon.

Update, October 19: From Sullivan's Facebook page: Slight change of plans, the great and almighty Commonwealth of Virginia would prefer us to open a little bit later that planned. NEW GRAND OPENING DATE: November 10th

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Local Master Distiller Retiring

The Fredericksburg Business Browser is reporting that A. Smith Bowman Master Distiller is retiring. Joe Dangler has been employed by the Fredericksburg distiller for 33 years.

See "Joe Dangler retiring as A. Smith Bowman master distiller".

October USPSA Match

The October USPSA match sponsored by the Fredericksburg Practical Shooters was held this past Sunday. The day dawned cool and overcast and there was a steady rain falling while I was driving to the match. The rain was off and on all morning, but except for one brief outburst, was mostly light. The temps stayed in the upper 40's with a cool breeze. Definitely a classic fall day!

The match consisted of seven courses of fire. Six stages made use of the props left in place from last month's Area 8 Championships with the target placement altered to give us some slightly different challenges. It was interesting to talk with the other shooters on the squad and compare our recollections of shooting the stages at Area 8. The seventh stage was a classifier standard exercise.

One of the more fun stages for me was Stage 6. This course of fire had thirteen targets requiring 26 shots minimum. Except for the slightly different target arrangement, this was the setup for Area 8, Stage 8. So I had an idea on how to attack it, or actually an idea on how to better attack it. I had 22 A's, 1 B, and 1C, and then wouldn't you know it, a hit on a No Shoot. Despite that error, this stage tied with Stage 2 for my best finish of the day.

Another fun stage was Stage 3, which used the "shaky bridge" stage from Area 8. It was good to get another chance at shooting that field course. Four of the targets on the stage needed to be shot from the swaying platform. I received a suggestion on how to take those 8 shots from a squad mate while crossing the bridge in a low creeping walk. It worked better than previous attempts to cross the bridge with little movement. The last three targets on the stage were placed the same as at the Area 8 match. In watching the movie of me shooting this course at Area 8 I noticed I had been leaning backwards when I turned for the last two shots. I made a point to remember to position myself better this time.

Except for the classifier, the stages were set up to require plenty of movement, and good planning. They were challenging but still very fun to shoot. Overall I was pleased with my shooting, but I wasn't consistent which led to too many missed shots. I need to work on getting those A's more consistently and I'll be doing more dry fire drills to help smooth things out. That said, I was happy with my planning, and then sticking to the plan for each course of fire. It's easy once the starting beep goes off to lose your way. I've been trying to focus on better strategy and execution, and I'm seeing some improvement.

The interesting stages and fun squad of shooters made this one of the most enjoyable, and even relaxing, matches I've participated in this year. Despite the gloomy weather, it was a great way to spend the morning.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Bad Sign

November 9, 2008: "Given the daunting challenges that we face, it's important that president elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one."
-- Valerie Jarrett, Co-Chair of the Obama transition team

August 3, 2011: "We knew this was going to take time because we've got this big, messy, tough democracy."
-- Barack Obama

September 14, 2011: "In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic."
-- Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget

September 27, 2011: "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover."
-- North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue

See also:
trial balloon
An idea or a plan advanced tentatively to test public reaction.

Local GABF Winners

I had such a busy weekend that I've been remiss in sharing the news about Virginia winners at the Great American Beer Festival. Once again, some of our favorite Virginia craft breweries brought home medals.

Starr Hill Brewery, Crozet Virginia
Gold in Category #34: Vienna-Style Lager for Jomo Lager
Silver in Category #15: Indigenous Beer for Monticello Reserve Ale
Silver in Category #26: Smoke Beer for Smoke Out

Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton, Virginia
Gold in Category #15: Indigenous Beer for Monticello Reserve Ale
Silver in Category #17: American-Belgo-Style Ale for Blue Reserve

Mad Fox Brewing Company, Falls Church, Virginia
Gold in Category #25: Kellerbier or Zwickelbier for Kolsch Kellerbier
Bronze in Category #45: English-style Summer Ale for English Summer Ale

Silver in Category #31: Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest for Tommy Two Fists

I should also give a shout out to another favorite brewery here at the Musings. Maryland-based Flying Dog Brewery brought home a Gold medal in Category #83: Barley Wine-Style Ale for Horn Dog Barleywine.

Congratulations to all the winners. You can see the complete award list at the GABF site here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blue & Gray Oktoberfest

Family commitments precluded me getting to the Blue & Gray Oktoberfest celebration this year. More than the missing the festivities, I was worried that the brewery's popular Oktoberfest beer would be sold out before I could try this year's batch. Friday evening we decided on dinner at Lee's Retreat and to my delight the Oktoberfest was on tap and still pouring.

Blue & Gray Oktoberfest pours a clear, dark amber color. The faint bread and caramel aroma has a hint of sweetness. There is a thin and short lived head. The flavor is toasted bread with a healthy dose of bitter hops. This year's Oktoberfest has more bitterness than I recall in previous years, which tended to be more malt-focused. A mild bitterness lingers in finish.

My first pint was enjoyed with the pub's wings. Our party was undecided so we ordered both the Chicken Stonewall Wings and the Spicy Blue Buffalo Wings. Indecision is not always a bad thing as we enjoyed both. I enjoyed another glass of Blue & Gray Oktoberfest with my often-ordered favorite, the Cheddar & Jalapeño burger. I think the little extra hop bitterness of the beer gave it the edge to stand up the the spiciness of the food.

I regret not bringing a growler with me to dinner so I could bring some Oktoberfest home. This is one of Blue & Gray's most popular beers, and for good reason.