Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sierra Nevada Looking At Virginia. Still.

We've mentioned a number of times the ongoing search for an East Coast brewery site by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The considerations appear to be between a Virginia location and the Asheville, NC area. In November there was speculation that Virginia was out of the running. We did hear the state mentioned in passing a few weeks ago. Now, a company representative has specifically stated that Virginia is still in contention.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. could make a decision in early 2012 about opening an East Coast brewery, and Virginia remains in the running for the site, a spokesman for the company said this week. 
The Chico, Calif.-based maker of craft beers confirmed this year that it was scouting sites for an East Coast brewery and was considering Virginia. 
"We still have a handful of sites that we are looking at, some in Virginia and some in North Carolina and a couple of other places," said company spokesman Bill Manley, adding that he could not identify specific sites. 
If Virginia is selected, the brewery most likely would be built in the western half of Virginia, Manley said. He said the company has been looking at sites of about 50 acres with nearby rail access.

Of course, we'd prefer that Virginia was selected, but any East Coast site would be a welcome addition the local craft beer scene. It appears we won't have to wait much longer to hear the decision.

See "Virginia in running for craft brewery."

Would You Shop Here?

Imagine this sign hanging on the door of a business. Good guys would be safe here. Bad guys not so much. That's just the way it should be.

Contrast the business owner that would post that sign, with the management of Circle K stores. A Florida store was being held up by armed thugs, and one of them was urging her accomplice to shoot the clerk. The clerk reacted in defense of his life and tackled the robber. As a result the clerk was fired for his actions. Apparently Circle K considers their employees to be no more than expendable collateral, while wishing for the well-being of armed criminals.

Welcome sign available here.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Black Creek New Year's Eve Eve

Black Creek Steel Shooters held a special "Pre-New Year Match” today. I saw advance pictures of some of the stages posted on Facebook and decided it would be a fun match. And indeed, the stages proved to be both interesting and challenging. Thanks to the good weather, and a day off for many people, there was a good-sized crowd of 72 shooters. Despite the unexpectedly large turnout, the match was well run and we were done shooting by by about 1:00PM.

Stage 1 consisted of 22 falling and static targets of various sizes and distances, all shot strong hand only. That was certainly a challenge. Stage 2 was very interesting. This was a red, white and blue array of large and small poppers, both the solid and split variety. Each color had to be shot from the appropriate color box. Penalties were accessed for any hit on a wrong color target. A number of the targets were barely exposed behind wrong colored targets. This one really a lot of fun, but one that invoked a lot of penalties. Stage 3 consisted of 12 small poppers, split and solid, hidden behind barrels. Some of the targets were very well-hidden and a number of shooters left targets standing. Stage 4 was another color-coded stage. Shooters shot through ports in a wall. Two large split poppers and 3 static targets were shot through the upper port, and then 6 split small poppers through the bottom port. As with Stage 2, hitting a target out of order earned a penalty.

The match offered a variety of challenges for the shooter. However, for whatever reason, I was not shooting well at all. While I don't see my best performances at these steel matches, today was utterly awful. My best result was Stage 3, where I finished 39th out of 72. I believe I turned in my poorest performance in any match to date. The frustration of throwing so much lead downrange into the dirt put a definite damper on the fun. And it was downright embarrassing too! I'm not sure of the reason. I've only shot a few times in the past month, and have really slacked off with my dry fire practice, but that doesn't account for it. I do have video of me shooting the stages and I see some obvious issues. I'm thankful I asked a squad mate to record me, as at least I have some clues where I got sloppy with technique. Here's hoping I can get some range time in the coming weeks to work it out. I've often remarked that a good day of shooting beats a day of just about anything else, but today tested my commitment to that!

But, getting beyond the poor shooting, it was a nice day spent with fun folks.

Stage 2

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flying Dog Kujo, Here Boy

This is another look at a beer we've reviewed previously, sort of. A few weeks ago I posted a press release from Flying Dog Brewery about their "new" seasonal beer, Kujo. The name is new, the beer was previously released simply as Coffee Stout. Got it? Good. Shortly after that announcement, I received a bottle of the newly packaged beer for review.

I recall quite well the beer I reviewed last Winter. I was very much looking forward to trying the new Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout. I wondered if the experience would be the same. I am pleased to tell you, that as far as I can tell with 10 months between tastings, the beer is the same and just as enjoyable. There's the same thick mocha head. The same dark roast coffee aroma. And most importantly, the same full-flavored bitter espresso goodness.

And, like the previous review, I found my glass emptied much too quickly. But, unlike the extremely limited Coffee Stout of last Winter, Flying Dog Kujo will be making a return visit each Winter.

Disclaimer: This bottle of Kujo was an unsolicited gift from the brewery. This review written of my own free will.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mud Shooting

As noted previously, our planned range outing earlier this week didn't happen due to the crowds at the range. As I'm taking a "stay-cation" this week I was able to try again a few days later. This time when I pulled in, I again noticed cars at all the bays. But, this time, the cars were actually pulling out! Good timing. I unloaded the car and noticed that yesterday's rains left the ground very muddy, with standing water in the bay. Never have been one to be deterred by rain, I certainly wasn't going to be deterred by some wet ground. 

I just needed to adapt my plan. My original intent was to practice shooting on the move. Instead, I found a small "island" of relatively dry ground, at about the 15 yard line. I decided to work on drawing and getting on target quickly. Setting the new shot timer set to a random start, gave me something to react to. Accuracy seems to degrade when reacting to the buzzer over simply drawing at will.  I stood in that relatively dry spot followed up each shot from the holster with one or two more shots on target. Using a paper USPSA practice target I alternated between more rapid center of mass shots, and slower "head" shots. I don't know exactly how many repetitions I did, but I fired 240 rounds this session. And the time went very quickly.

The down side of the day was that I forgot to bring my boots. Getting to and from the berm to refresh the target paper required some careful negotiation of the slippery ground, all the while trying to keep my feet relatively clean. However, on the bright side, all my used brass was left in a nice compact pile for quick pickup at the end of the day. My shoulder may have been a little sore from the repeated drawing action, but my back was saved from a lot of bending over.

Any day of shooting beats a day of, well, just about anything else. Regardless of the conditions!

Christmas Shooty Gifts!

It was a good holiday for new shooting booty. I was excited to see a CED 7000 Shot Timer under the tree from my wonderful wife. This was one of those "nice to have" things I've had my eye on for some time, but never really felt the need to buy. Besides general practice, the timer is always useful for some good natured competitions between friends.

Fortunately for my winter range trips, my son also plied me with a new sweatshirt and some long-sleeve t-shirts. These items were high on my wish list this year. Shooting practice requires more than just guns and ammo!

A frequent shooting partner gave me a copy of Mike Seeklander's "Your Competition Handgun Training Program." This training regimen for competitive shooting gets good reviews and I look forward reading it, and putting the tips to use. The aforementioned shot timer will come in handy for this too. The same friend also gifted a CR Speed "Versa" magazine holder. I currently use a couple of Uncle Mike's double mag holders. They work, but I've not been totally satisfied with them. I'll add the new holder to my competition belt and plan to eventually replace the double holders altogether.

Of course, one can't practice without ammo, so the gift certificate from Santa for use at a local outdoors store will help with that.

All these new shooting goodies, I might be running out of excuses for poor performance!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bread and Butter Pudding with Hot Whiskey Sauce

Here's one of our favorite holiday desserts. After Colleen served it at one of our Christmas dinners this week, I realized I had to share with the readers of these Musings. The Hot Whiskey Sauce is practically drinkable on its own. We use Jameson Irish Whiskey in our house.

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
5 large eggs
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces (8 to 9 slices) firm white bread, crust left on
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

Hot Whiskey Sauce:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup Irish whiskey

To make the Pudding:
In a small bowl, combine the raisins and whiskey and let soak for 1 hour. Butter a 9-inch square nonreactive baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Cut the slices in half diagonally and arrange half the bread in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping the slices. Drain the raisins and sprinkle half over the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread and raisins. Pour the egg-cream custard mixture over the bread and let it soak for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Place the baking dish in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pudding is set and the top is golden. Remove the baking dish from the water bath and let cool slightly on a wire rack.

To make the Whiskey Sauce:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the sugar, cream and whiskey. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. 

Serve the pudding warm with the whiskey sauce spooned over each portion. Serves eight.

Put the whiskey-soaked raisins in between the bread layers only. When on the top they will easily burn during the cooking. Put the buttered side of top layer of bread UP so the top of the bread pudding becomes brown and toasted - a nice contrast to the soft inner portion. 

Sign Double-take

I caught a glance of the sign as the automatic door slid open. I had to back up to confirm what I saw.

Okay, it wasn't exactly what I thought, but attention getting none-the-less.

Monday, December 26, 2011

No Shooting Today

One of our plans for the Monday after Christmas was to get a little shooting in. We had a friend visiting for the day with that intent in mind as well. On our way to the range, we discussed how there might be a lot of folks trying out new guns they got for Christmas. I hoped if there were, they would have all gone earlier in the day.

No such luck. Both pistol bays had multiple vehicles parked nearby. We drove by and determined that it didn't appear folks were packing to leave. So we drove home, planning to try again in a bit. Sadly, when we returned an hour later, the same folks were still shooting. 

The experience gives me mixed emotions. I don't know if folks were testing out new toys, or were just out for a fun afternoon. However, it was certainly good to see so many folks exercising their rights. I can't really complain about that! But then again, we didn't get to shoot today.

However, there was a nice meal to be enjoyed at home; another Christmas feast of standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. And for a late dessert, bread pudding topped with Irish Whiskey sauce. A nice consolation in any event. And the week is still young!

Christmas Is Not Over

Christmas is over? Hardly! It seems the world has forgotten that the Christmas season STARTS on December 25, it doesn't END on that day. This great Feast celebrating the birth of Our Lord can't be contained in just one day. The Church celebrates the Octave of Christmas. The Octave starts on December 25 and lasts until the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1.

Remember the 12 Days of Christmas? Western tradition holds that the Christmas season is celebrated until the Feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany is on January 6, although the Church in the U.S. shifts the day until the following Sunday, which is January 8 in 2012. This is the way we mark the end of Christmas observance in our family. Epiphany is joyously celebrated with an annual gathering of friends. Our Christmas tree and other decorations stay up until that event is over.

There's even an older tradition whereby Christmas was celebrated for 40 days, until the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord on February 2.

A local radio station plays non-stop Christmas music from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. Then on December 26, as the season is just getting started, they abruptly return to regular programming. It's amazing, and just a little sad, to watch the neighborhood decorations start coming down on December 26, and for the most part, they totally vanish by January 1. I guess that's a side effect of starting too early. It seems folks are tired of Christmas by the time it actually arrives.

I don't know about you, but we're just getting started!

Christmas Eve & Aged Samichlaus

After the Christmas Vigil Mass, Colleen and I relaxed with a 2006 bottle of Samichlaus Bier. I've set a few bottles of this once-a-year release aside each year since 2006, and decided Christmas Eve was a good time to break out one of the oldest.

At 14% ABV, Samichlaus is a good candidate for aging. In fact, some say it's mandatory. The beer in this bottle was brewed, per tradition, on December 6, 2005 and aged for 10 months before bottling and release. The beer pours an attractive, translucent dark copper color, with no head whatsoever. The aroma is brandy-like with hints of raison and plum. The flavor follows with dark fruit and sweetness. Even with the high alcohol content, the alcohol is not noticeable. However I would be lying if I said I didn't detect a pleasing warmth growing inside as I sipped. The aging really serves to smooth out the flavor quite nicely. This is the perfect sipping beer.

We brought out some homemade maple sugar candy, along with cheese and crackers. This was a great way to kick off the Christmas Feast.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I wish all of you a joyful and blessed Christmas season. May the blessings of God be upon you today and throughout the year. 

Birthplace of Jesus, Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
Photo by C. Turley, August 2010
And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us. And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.  --Luke 2:15-20

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Kind of Ornament

The frothy mug o' beer was another gift from St. Nicholas.

Just Plain Christmas

"Just give me plain baby Jesus lying in a manger Christmas!"

Amen Stanley! Christmas already has a theme, let's stick with it.

A Shooter's Jingle Bells

I've mused about the ring of steel previously, but this takes it to a new level.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Remembering the Cristeros

Anti-Catholicism has been called "the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people." Recently, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, one of the top U.S.-born clerics in the Vatican's Sacred College of Cardinals gave an interview in which he expressed his thoughts regarding the persecution of Christians, in particular Catholics, in the United States.
VATICAN -- One of the highest ranking cardinals in the Vatican has said that the United States is "well on the way" to the persecution of Christians. 
Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and now the head of the Vatican's highest court, told Catholic News Agency that he could envision a time when the Catholic Church in the U.S., "even by announcing her own teaching," is accused of "engaging in illegal activity, for instance, in its teaching on human sexuality." 
Asked if the cardinal could even see American Catholics being arrested for their faith he replied, "I can see it happening, yes."

We would do well to recall the recent history of Mexico. Just 85 years ago an anti-Catholic president initiated a wholesale persecution of Catholics that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 250,000 people — Priests, laity and soldiers. The Cristeros were the faithful who revolted against this oppression in order to defend their faith, and their Priests. Despite the recent claims of the uninformed, the Catholic Church does support the right to self-defense. These brave warriors understood that quite clearly.

Could it happen here? The thought is not that far-fetched as evidence of increased discrimination mounts. The city of San Francisco passed a resolution calling the Church's teachings "hateful and discriminatory" and the U.S Supreme Court refused to hear a civil lawsuit filed against the city in defense of the Church. (Contrast this with the Obama administration's active support for the imposition of laws against criticizing Islam.) President Obama's many anti-Catholic policies are well-documented. The Department of Homeland Security even recently declared that those sharing Catholic views on the sanctity of life are to be considered potential terrorists. What's next?

Shooting of Father Francisco Vera. He was guilty of saying a public Mass

Jesuit priest Miguel Pro, executed by firing squad, 23rd November 1927

When the persecution arrives, I only pray that the evidence for my conviction is plentiful.

More images of the Cristeros War can be found here.

Cidery and Brewpub Coming to Nelson County

Virginia's Nelson County, home to Devils Backbone, Blue Mountain, and Wild Wolf breweries will soon be home to a new cidery and brewpub. has the story:
A Danville native plans to open Virginia’s first cidery and brewpub. 
John Washburn, who grew up in Ruffin, N.C., and graduated from George Washington High School in 1965, is currently building Bold Rock Cidery and Brewpub near Wintergreen in Nelson County, where he now lives. Right now, 15,000 square feet of cidery buildings and a restaurant are under construction, but eventually the cider pub will offer four varieties of hard ciders and a relaxing atmosphere nestled in the Blue Ridge countryside.

Washburn will have his first cider ready in March. Tastings and "to go" sales will be available as well. The brewpub is expected to follow late in the year. The cider will be produced using Virginia-grown apples, most provided by Nelson County orchards.

See "Danville native to open Virginia cidery" for more details.

Bam! Pow! - Friday Funny

The classic Batman opening, redone with Legos.

Glad they didn't try to recreate Julie Newmar's character. Some memories are better left alone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Practical Beer Advent Calendar

I found this too late for this year, but I am putting it on my "to do" list for Advent next year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An English Warning to America

Will Americans be as gullible as the Brits where?

The gun-grabbing politicians in the U.S., and their supporters, are no less dishonest than their British counterparts. Be forewarned.

I wonder how the disarmed citizens in Great Britain will make out in the coming collapse.

Devils Backbone Expanded Distribution

The Devils Backbone Production Brewery, mentioned here last month, is up and running. The Virginia Eagle Distributing Company is preparing to distribute the beers.
Virginia Eagle Distributing Company (VED) – The local beverage wholesaler, with locations in Verona, Winchester, and Charlottesville, is proud to announce that Virginia’s very own microbrewery, Devils Backbone, has begun production at their brand new brewery in Lexington, VA. 
< ... >
Four Virginia-based companies have been tasked to distribute the local brew beginning in mid-January. Virginia Eagle will begin the initial rollout, followed closely by Brown Distributing (Richmond, VA), Century Beverage (Lynchburg, VA) and PA Short Distributing (Roanoke, VA). 
“I am very excited about the addition of Devils Backbone to our portfolio of local craft beers,” said Scott Heinz, Chief Operating Officer Virginia Eagle Distributing. “This brewery is known for award-winning brews and we are pleased to be selected as a distribution partner for the brand.”

We've heard that the distribution will eventually be statewide. Unfortunately the initial list of distributors does not include any who distribute in Fredericksburg. We'll have to wait just a bit longer it seems.

See "Devils Backbone – The Adventure Begins………."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two Years Ago

Two years ago today we were digging out from this.

And that Winter was just getting started.

OCCUPY! Your Local Brewery

During my recent visit to Blue & Gray Brewery, I picked up a new brewery t-shirt, one that's quite apropos to current events. Jeff from the brewery described the new shirts in an email:
You may have heard the brabble generated by the Occupy Wall Street protestors.  Now that local governments have begun to shoo the protesters back to their parents basement apartment we at the Blue & Gray Brewing Co. are getting very concerned:
We believe someone should make an honest profit from these anti-capitalism efforts before the fervor dies down.  We think it should be by us.  Therefore, we have contracted to exploit American workers to produce OCCUPY! Your Local Brewery T-shirts available in time for Christmas.

I reserved my shirt as soon as I received the email and will wear it proudly. The shirts were offered to brewery email subscribers initially and will be available to the public on December 22. Stop by the brewery to get yours.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Recent Blogroll Updates

I added a few more interesting blogs to the links pages this past week. Check them out for yourself.

On the "Beer & Food Links" tab:
A continually updated and comprehensive list of breweries and brewpubs in and around DC.

On the "Shooting Links" tab:
"I am a girl with a gun who believes strongly in my right to keep and bear arms as protected by the 2nd Amendment. This is my journey from a girl who was afraid of guns to a girl who carries one."

On the "More Links" tab:
United Conservatives of Virginia
"If you think all conservatives wear suits you haven't met the United Conservatives of Virginia! We go where wingtips fear to tread!"

The Daily Caller
Commentary on a wide-range of topics. They've even recently added a "Guns and Gear" section.

Giving Obama Credit Where Due

Bravo Sir. Jimmy Carter is no longer the worse president ever.

Here's a clue Mr. President, if you can't lead America, don't blame us. Blame yourself.

Truly Local Beer

There's a trend recently of brewers focusing on using local ingredients in their beer. I mused on one such effort recently when reviewing Flying Dog Secret Stash. Greg Kitsock looks into this trend in-depth in his Washington Post article "Brewers put local hops, barley, yeast and more into their beers."

Kitsock examines beers from local breweries, such as Flying Dog, Dogfish Head, and Brewer's Alley, as well as others. Besides the expected barley and hops, other local ingredients may come into play. Flying Dog uses Rappahannock River oysters in their Pearl Necklace stout. These efforts help support local farmers and local causes. Of course, helping the community is a great way to introduce craft beer to a wider audience.

See the entire article here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wing Tasting

Lee's Retreat, at the Blue & Gray Brewery, is expanding its Wings menu. They are deciding between four new flavors, and gave their patrons the opportunity to vote on their favorites, in the "Iron Wings Competition." We stopped by for lunch on Saturday and got in on the last day of voting.

The free sample plate included a couple of wings and samples of the four new flavors. After finishing the wings, we finalized our choice using the finger-dipped method. The flavor choices, clockwise from top in the photo, are:
  • Asian Coconut Ginger
  • Spicy Red Pepper Pesto
  • Glazed Maple Mustard
  • Colonel Mustard
The Asian Coconut Ginger sauce had a nice spicy flavor in the finish. The Spicy Red Pepper Pesto was a spicy, thick sauce. The Glaze Maple Mustard Sauce featured sweet maple syrup. The last one, Colonel Mustard, featured tangy mustard. All of the sauces were quite good, but we could only vote for one. It was a tough choice, but in the end, both of us selected the Spicy Red Pepper Pesto as our favorite. Perhaps the pub will relent and add more than one new wing flavor to the current roster of Spicy Blue Buffalo and Chicken Stonewall Wings.

I'll update this post when the winner is announced.

Riddle Me This

A riddle for your Sunday morning.

Can you answer all seven of the following questions with the same word?
  1. The word has seven letters.
  2. It preceded God. 
  3. It is greater than God. 
  4. It is more Evil than the devil. 
  5. All poor people have it. 
  6. Wealthy people need it. 
  7. If you eat it, you will die. 

I'll post the answer in the comments a bit later.

H/T to Meadow House Musings.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Wright Brothers' First Flight

On this day in 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. One-hundred and eight years later we have the Transportation Safety Authority standing between us and the plane we want to get on. Almost makes you wish those boys had stuck to bicycles.

When Logic Is Elusive

Recently I had an anti-freedom advocate tell me that the 2nd Amendment was responsible for a deranged person stealing a car and murdering a police officer. He seemed incapable of comprehending that crime happens even in countries that don't have a Bill of Rights. I never could get him to explain the "logic" behind his thoughts. This same "logic" tells us we need gun-free zones (like Virginia Tech), where only criminals will bring guns, to keep us safe from criminal activity. A legislator in Wisconsin recently came to the conclusion that if he banned law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons near gas stations, the criminals would stop robbing those businesses. That train of thought baffles me.

However, when I listen to an anti-gunnner like Congressman Hank Johnson I begin to understand that I may be expecting too much when looking for logic from the anti-gun mindset. Here, Johnson is blathering about the so-called "gun show loophole." Apparently he also forgot he was supposed to be investigating the 0bama administration for breaking domestic and international law by forcing gun dealers to sell guns to known criminals.

They say, "know your enemy." Thank you Congressman for helping me to understand.

H/T to Weer'd World for pointing out this video. Johnson is the same brain trust who fears the island of Guam might tip over due to overcrowding.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Better Debate Questions

With all the partisan rancor proceeding any election, perhaps we need to look the candidates' views on issues that are more germane to everyday life. In an interesting coincidence, this week I came across two articles, both mentioning Republican presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, and his views on two subjects we muse over frequently.

First, on beer:
"It's the stouts, the bocks and then the white ales and the wheats,” said Santorum during a stop at the Millstream Brewery in Iowa on Sunday. He also said that he’s a fan of Guinness and will “drink a light beer if it’s really hot."

Not the former senator’s cup of tea: IPAs, which he called “a little too bitter."

 Second, on guns:
Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has seven guns, spokesman Matt Beynon told The Daily Caller. His favorite, the aide said, is a Kimber 1911 pistol.

I happen to enjoy IPAs, and I'm a SIG SAUER fan, so I differ with the candidate on those specifics. But wouldn't the debates be a lot more stimulating if the topics were bit more compelling?

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

'Tis the season of stolen baby Jesus statues. It happens every year. Individuals with nothing constructive to do take up stealing religious statues from area yards and business. Earlier this week an 80 pound statue was stolen from a local shopping megaplex. The figure is valued at more than $200, which means the culprit could be charged with grand larceny, which is a felony. Today, police recovered the statue.
A citizen provided vital information to police, which led to the identification of the primary suspect in the case.  The suspect, a 25 year old female from Spotsylvania County, had uploaded a picture of the stolen Christ child on her Facebook page, and the concerned citizen printed the image and the related comments before the Facebook post was removed. 

It's bad enough that a 25 year old hasn't matured past juvenile pranks, but that she is stupid enough to post pictures of the stolen item on her Facebook page is a real head slapper. The article goes on to state that charges are pending. Can someone be charged with being an idiot?

Beer Carry Fail

Spilt beer for your Friday Funny.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Limiting Free Speech

I read this today:
The State Department began a three-day, closed-door meeting Monday to talk about U.S. free speech rules with representatives from numerous Christian governments that have lobbied for 12 years to end U.S. citizens’ ability to speak freely about Christianity's history and obligations.
Don't believe it? You shouldn't. I changed a couple of words. The secret meetings were actually with islamists, not Christians. The goal of the meeting with the Obama administration was an attempt to negate the 1st Amendment for U.S. citizens when that speech involves criticism of Islam.

Yep, elections have consequences.

Read "Islamic governments angle for speech curbs in the US" for the actual text of that opening paragraph.

The Bill of Rights

On December 15, 1791 the first 10 amendments of the Constitution were established, after ratification by the Commonwealth of Virginia. These amendments are what we call the Bill of Rights. Designed to guarantee personal freedoms and limit the government's power, these articles are often twisted today in order do the opposite; limit personal freedom and expand government power.

Speaking of the Bill of Rights, how long before we see the "president" sporting a fancy military jacket emblazoned with fake war medals and celebrating his new powers?

How Much Beer Is Enough?

A fellow blogger asked recently, "Seriously, just how much beer to you have in the house? And how much do you drink a day?" This is actually a post I've been thinking about writing for a while, so Andy's friendly question gave me a reason to go ahead and share my thoughts on, and reasons for drinking, good beer. Many people mistakenly assume that because I have a passion for good beer, I must surely drink a lot of it .

To expand upon my posted reply to the first part of the question, at this point in time, we do in fact have quite a bit of good beer on hand. The beer fridge is pretty full, and there's backup. The main reason for this is that many of my favorite beers are coming out this time of year. Also, we do more entertaining over the holidays. My guests expect, and deserve, a selection of good beer. How much beer is too much? (How much ammo is too much?)

There are times when the beer fridge gets pretty empty. I try to avoid such times as I like to have a choice when I want a beer.

To answer the second part of the question, I don't enjoy beer every day, in fact it's a relatively infrequent treat. Enjoying a good beer is no different than enjoying good food. I enjoy chocolate cake and prime rib, but I have neither very frequently. If you want me to pick a number, I'd say I average two or three beers in a week. Some weeks, maybe none. There are a number of factors that influence those numbers.

First and foremost, I'm busy. As I've said beer is a pleasure food; I want to take the time to enjoy it. That's why most of the times I enjoy beer it's done at home. But if I'm spending the day at my son's swim meet, or participating in a pistol match, or volunteering at church, there's no time for a beer. Even if I'm enjoying a rare weekend "off," I'm often looking forward to going out shooting. I certainly will not have a beer if I'm going to be shooting anytime later in a day. Of course, I do often enjoy a beer after a range trip.

Even when we eat out, typically I don't have a beer with the meal. This choice could be made for a number of reasons; often there's no interesting beer on the menu, or I may be facing a long drive home, or I may even have plans to hit the shooting range later.

In short, drinking a good beer is a pleasure, not a constant.

Was Andy trying to imply something about my drinking habits? Nah, I think he's just jealous. :-)

BTW, be sure to stop by Andy's blog at In Search of the Tempestuous Sea.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Class Warfare In Shooting Sports

Here's an nice video featuring the top women USPSA shooters at the 2011 National Championship match. While watching the clip, it wasn't the skill of these ladies that struck me, although those skills are indeed impressive. No, it was a feature of the practical shooting sports that may be unique in the sporting world. As I watched, it occurred to me that I've competed on the same fields, on the same day as some of these top shooters. I've even shot on the same squad at local matches with some of them.

That realization is certainly not a reflection on any great ability I have, but it is a reflection on the sport itself. And this is not unique to the women shooters. I've been lucky enough to shoot with some of the top men too. That's one of the things that has always impressed me about the shooting sports, and shooters in general. They are friendly and always willing to share advice, with anyone. We all put our pants on one leg at a time, so to speak. I'm a middle of the pack "C" class shooter, and I get to test my skills on the same course, on the same day, at the same time as Master and Grand Master shooters.

How many weekend duffers will get to golf with Tiger Woods? How many school yard football players will get to scrimmage with the Washington Redskins? (Well, given the Skins' recent record, maybe that's not such a bad idea.)

Enjoy the video.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Watching A Weasel Squirm

Watching Eric Holder squirm and try to cover his incompetence brings a smile to my face.

Given the Holder's long history of questionable ethics, it makes one wonder what sort of person would nominate him for dog catcher, much less Attorney General.

Preparing For Winter

Some folks gather wood. I gather other necessities.

We'll be warm for a while.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Roanoke Railhouse Brewery

Located in an old Dr. Pepper bottling plant, this Roanoke, Virginia brewery is marking three years of brewing. The beer is distributed in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. I've heard of the brewery, but sadly, I've never had their beers, nor do I recall seeing it in my limited travels, despite them being available as close as Richmond. Apparently plenty of people have though, and the beers are well-liked. This is evidenced by the brewery's amazing growth story. The Roanoke Times has an informative story giving the history:
Roanoke Railhouse produced its first batch of Track 1 beer in 2009. It was distributed to just a few local restaurants and bars.

As the brewery approaches its third year of business, sales have doubled and the brewery makes two lagers and an IPA that are distributed from Marion to Richmond and from Staunton to Raleigh, N.C.

Davidson has mostly given up his real estate practice, spending long days at the brewery to take care of everything from production schedules to working with distributors. He's hired a brewmaster trained in Germany and employs several others to help bottle and package the beer.
Currently Roanoke Railhouse Brewery offers three beers; Track 1 Lager, Caboose Imperial Lager, and Railhouse IPA. After reading the Roanoke Times article I'm going to be on the look out for these beers. They are definitely on my "must-try" list.

See "Business is brewing for Roanoke Railhouse" to read the complete story.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

There's Yogurt On My Beer

When I visited the beer fridge last night, I was greeted by the sight of interlopers. There were yogurt packages nestled amongst the beer. Looks like some shopping had been done at the "large quantities only" store. Perhaps I should call it the yeast-products fridge instead.

Out of curiosity I did a quick search online and found this recipe for Greek Yogurt Beer Bread. Maybe we'll try it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blogroll Updates

Here's a couple new links for you to enjoy. The Shooting Links tab is growing, and for good reason. Check it out. The label is somewhat general, the folks linked there write not only about shooting sports, but self defense issues, politics, and general observations about our wacky world today.

An NC Gun Blog
"An ordinary guy with an ordinary gun learning more about the law and the Constitution now than he ever learned in school."

Weer'd World
"... a former field Marine Biologist who has given up his offshore pirate lifestyle for a lab coat to work in the pharmaceutical industry ... firearms owner behind enemy lines in Massachusetts."

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

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sierra Nevada: Virginia still in contention

That's the headline over at
(Asheville, NC) – ABC News 13 aired a brief story last night on New Belgium and Sierra Nevada coming to town.

When asked about states still in contention, Assistant Brewmaster, Terrance Sullivan, said, “Virginia is one of them,” along with North Carolina and a few others.

Even though the focus of the news video is Asheville, NC hosting representatives from both Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, the call out to Virginia is worthy of note.

See the News 13 report here.

King Arthur and the Witch

This week's Friday Funny. Enjoy.

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question?....What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer. But the price would be high; as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first. The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life. He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:

What a woman really wants, she to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared. And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bridal chamber. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day....or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would YOU do?

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself. Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Now....what is the moral to this story?

The moral is.....
If you don't let a woman have her own way....
Things are going to get ugly.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Flying Dog Kujo

This is an update on the Flying Dog Coffee Stout that was reviewed here this past February. Coffee Stout was a limited release beer in the brewery's Wild Dog series. I enjoyed the robust coffee flavor in the beer, and apparently so did others. Flying Dog announced they have "promoted" the beer to be permanent fixture in their seasonal rotation.
Flying Dog Brewery Unleashes Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout

“Enjoy your new pet!” Ralph Steadman exclaimed as he unleashed new art on the world.

That pet is Kujo, Flying Dog’s Imperial Coffee Stout, which is hitting shelves and draft lines in the mid-Atlantic next week. Once an experimental release named simply Coffee Stout, the brew has now found its spot in Flying Dog’s permanent seasonal rotation.

“The most exciting part of inaugurating a new beer is getting original art for it from Ralph Steadman,” VP of Marketing Ben Savage, said. “What he sent back was terrifyingly brilliant. You can feel the aggression coming off of it, which is perfect for such an intense beer.”

This 8.9% ABV brew is made with locally-roasted coffee from Black Dog out of Summit Point, West Virginia. Flying Dog plans to release Kujo each winter.

“We like to say that Kujo is the savage spawn of two brewing worlds – coffee and beer – colliding,” Brewmaster and COO Matt Brophy said. “But in that collision, it’s important for us to maintain the balance between rich and roasted stout characteristics and the deep, dark coffee notes.”

Coffee and beer, my two favorite brewed beverages! Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout should start showing up in these parts in a few weeks. I'll be looking for it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Problem of Islamophilia

Bosch Fawstin has written an honest and enlightening essay on what Islam means to its true followers. I've excerpted a couple of paragraphs here.

"Non-Muslim Muslims and the Jihad Against the West"
My name is Bosch and I’m a recovering Muslim.

That is, if Muslims don’t kill me for leaving Islam, which it requires them to do. That’s just one of the reasons I’ve been writing and drawing against Islam and its Jihad for a number of years now. But fortunately for us, Islam hasn’t been able to make every Muslim its slave, just as Nazism wasn’t able to turn every German into a Nazi. So there is Islam and there are Muslims. Muslims who take Islam seriously are at war with us and Muslims who don’t aren’t.

< ... >

Another problem with Muslims who aren’t very Muslim is that they lead some among us to conclude that they must be practicing a more enlightened form of Islam. They’re not. They’re “practicing” life in non-Muslim countries, where they are free to live as they choose. But their “Islam” is not the Islam. There’s no separate ideology apart from Islam that’s being practiced by these Muslims in name only, there’s no such thing as “Western Islam”.

There is much more. The author describes the problem facing our nation as "Islamophila." This is the uncritical, uninformed, and absolute defense of Islam by Western elites, and the criticism of those who dare to inform themselves and others. Recently the Obama administration ordered the removal of any mention of Islam in FBI anti-terror training materials. This same administration classifies the Ft. Hood massacre as just "workplace violence." These are clear examples of giving in to political correctness and refusing to face the truth about Islam, and the danger to our freedom it presents.

Bosch Fawstin gives a perspective that may be eye-opening to many. Even normally patriotic Americans are often afraid to speak the truth. The problem is Islam and Islam is at war with us.

"All that is necessary for evil to prosper is that good men remain silent." --Edmund Burke

70 Years Ago Today

On December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy," the United States was attacked by the naval and air forces of Japan. The attacked killed 2,400 service men, women and civilians. The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the U.S. was at war with Japan, and our nation entered World War II. Today as the numbers of surviving WWII veterans dwindles, it is important to keep their memory alive, and recall how a strong, united, nation responded to this act of aggression. Japan was eventually devastated as a nation, and America's dead were not lost in vain.

On September 11,  2001, a new generation experienced a brutal attack on our nation by another enemy sworn to our destruction. America has yet to find the resolve to defeat that attacker. In 1941 our leaders avenged the attacks. Today our leaders apologize to our enemies for offending them. In 1941 we responded by going after those responsible. Today we respond by restricting the rights of our own citizens.

Today, let us pause to remember the American heroes who defended our nation after the unprovoked attack on December 7, 1941.

Photo from the Naval History & Heritage Command.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St. Nicholas Treats

As noted previously, December 6 is the Feast of St. Nichols. One tradition surrounding this Feast involves children leaving their shoes out, in which St. Nicholas will leave treats such as candies or fruits so the children know he had visited. It is from this tradition that we get the Christmas stocking.

Big kids sometimes get treats too.

I took some of those treats to the range today.

Ballistic Therapy

After devoting Friday evening and most of Saturday to our son's swim meets, I was ready for a bit of shooting fun. After Mass Sunday morning, then lunch, then a trip to the grocery store, then chores, I headed out for a short break at the pistol range. (Okay you got me, I skipped the chores.)

Since there was little time left until dark, I set up just one of the 10" steel circles. Much of my range shooting is done at close distances of 10-12 feet, so I decided to work on some longer shots. The steel target is great for this as it's easy to hear the hits, which are harder to confirm on paper at a distance. USPSA stage designers like to throw in some long shots on steel, so it's a needed skill. Not to mention shooting at steel targets is just plain fun! I did most of the shooting from the 20 yard line and was making the vast majority of the hits, so I stepped back to 25 yards for a bit too. Maybe the good shooting was a gift from St. Barbara in honor of her feast day. I am sure that consistently hitting an 8" target at 20 or 25 yards off-hand may not seem like a great feat to many experienced shooters. But I can recall just a few years ago when hitting anything smaller than the berm itself at 25 yards was something I only dreamed about! I was feeling so good I even put in some good strong-hand only shots at 20 yards.

The short time at the range was both refreshing and relaxing. If there was any frustration from the day it was thinking about those matches at Black Creek Steel where the targets are often closer, and larger, where I've sometimes struggled to make the steel ring. There seems to be something about the sound of the timer buzzer going off that affects my shooting. But, maybe all the dry fire is starting to pay off. In any event it was a great way to cap off the day. Well, that and a good beer later.

Feast of St. Nicholas

Reposted from December 6, 2007


December 6 is the Feast day of St. Nicholas, one of several Patron Saints of Brewing. St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, was a wealthy and generous man. His generosity towards others led to him being the inspiration for the tradition of Santa Claus and gift giving. It's not entirely clear why Nicholas was chosen as a Patron Saint of brewing. Tradition states that Nicholas was having a beer at an inn where the inn keeper had murdered three boys and packed their bodies in a barrel of brine. Nicholas was offered some salted meat with his beer. Due to a local shortage of food, Nicholas became suspicious, found the bodies, and brought the boys back to life. He died on December 6, 345 A.D. or 352 A.D.

Inspired by this feast day, is Samichlaus Bier. Samichlaus is an 14% ABV doppelbock that at one time was billed as the world's strongest beer. The name means "Santa Claus" in the Swiss-German dialect of Zürich. Brewed only on December 6 of each year, the beer is aged for almost a year and released in time for the following year's feast day. Samichlaus was originally brewed by Brauerei Hürlimann, and later by Feldschlösschen Brewery. It is currently produced by Schloss Eggenberg of Switzerland.

Even if you can't get your hands on Samichlaus Bier, raise a pint to St. Nicholas today for his generosity and the traditions of giving he inspired.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Repeal of Prohibition

On this day, December 5, in 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the long national nightmare officially was officially over. The 21st Amendment to the U.S Constitution was ratified and Prohibition was over.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

First Winter Storm of the Season

No, not the sort of winter storm that causes power outages and snarls traffic. I'm speaking of the one from Heavy Seas Brewing.

This is one of my favorite Winter Seasonal beers and I look forward to seeing it on the store shelves each year. Admittedly it's probably one of the most often mentioned beers in these Musings.

Heavy Seas Winters Storm pours a translucent copper color with a thin beige head. The aroma is sweet malt. The slightly sweet malt taste is followed by bitter citrus hops. The flavor has some mild boozy warmth and a lingering bitterness. The 7.5% ABV and hoppiness makes this a nice choice for setting a few bottles, or cases, aside for enjoying later.

It's not a weather-related Winter Storm, but it's certainly provides a reason to stay home.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Recent Blogroll Additions

I've added a few more interesting blogs to the links listings lately. The new links include some shooting blogs from other Catholic shootists. Find these and related listings on the Shooting Links tab.

The Miller
"This is the ramblings of a regular guy that has been a shooting enthusiast his whole life. It will include stories of the past and present, as well as, random rants and humor."

Nine Pound Sledgehammer
"...a Catholic, husband, dad, gun-owner, coffee addict, and all around good guy."

From the Caer
"Proud hillbilly from Preston County, WV. Faithfully Catholic. Politically incorrect, often toward both left and right."

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

Saint Barbara

Saint Barbara crushing her infidel father,
with a kneeling donor
by Domenico Ghirlandaio, ca. 1473
December 4 is the Feast Day of Saint Barbara. The fourth century martyr is the traditional patron saint of artillerymen, armorers, gunsmiths, miners, and anyone who works with cannons and explosives. She is also invoked for protection against accidents arising from explosions of gunpowder.

St. Barbara was persecuted by her own father due to her commitment to her faith. While imprisoned, torches used in her torture were miraculously extinguished when they were brought near her. Eventually she was martyred by beheading, the execution carried out by her father's own hand. Tradition holds that he was struck by lightening on his way home afterwards and his body consumed by flame.

Today, the United States Army Field Artillery Association and the United States Army Air Defense Artillery Association maintain the Order of Saint Barbara as an honorary military society. Members of the US Army and US Marine Corp are eligible for nomination for membership.

December 4, sounds like a fitting day to visit the pistol range.

Order of Saint Barbara Medallion

Friday, December 2, 2011

Would You Like A Little Whine With That?

Gee, I almost forgot to post a Friday Funny.

An Act of War

The rhetoric out of "Occupy Oakland" movement is calling for a blockade of America's west coast ports on December 12.
Occupy Oakland calls for the blockade and disruption of the economic apparatus of the 1% with a coordinated shutdown of ports on the entire West Coast on December 12th. The 1% has disrupted the lives of longshoremen and port truckers and the workers who create their wealth, just as coordinated nationwide police attacks have turned our cities into battlegrounds in an effort to disrupt our Occupy movement.
This out of touch movement has declared their desire to disrupt the economy of our nation, prevent critical supplies from reaching their destinations, as well as prevent thousands of American workers from earning a living. In any country in the world, a blockade of a nation's ports or a disruption of the the country's supply lines is an act of war. This tactic has been used throughout history by nations and terrorists alike. Now the radical left-wing movement within the U.S. is preparing to employ this tactic against our Nation. This could get interesting.

AP Photo - Occupy Oakland Nov. 3, 2011

Cretins, we grow weary of you. Seriously.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Belgium Ponders The East Coast

As mentioned previously, Asheville, NC is one of the East Coast sites under consideration by Colorado brewery New Belgium Brewing Company. The is reporting that the brewery is also looking at several other East Coast sites, including Philadelphia and two undisclosed locations
New Belgium Brewing Co. has revealed it is considering Philadelphia, Pa., Asheville, N.C., and two other cities for its new East Coast brewery and has announced two new beers in development.

For the past year, New Belgium, known for such beers as Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat, has been exploring locations for a second brewery to keep up with recent growth.

New Belgium previously named Asheville, N.C., as an option, and on Monday, spokesman Bryan Simpson said Philadelphia is also on a short list of four potential locations.

New Belgium isn't the first Colorado-based brewery to expand operations eastward. Flying Dog Brewery did the same in 2007, eventually relocating entirely to Maryland. One of the reasons given for the move was that 60 percent of Flying Dog's beer was sold east of the Mississippi River. Obviously I don't expect New Belgium to pull out of Colorado, but the trend certainly speaks well of the devotion of East Coast craft beer fans.

See "New Belgium announces 2 new beers, potential locations for East Coast brewery".