Friday, October 30, 2015

Sedona Taphouse

Sedona Taphouse opened in downtown Fredericksburg a few weeks ago. Never wanting to go right away when a new place opens, we waited and finally stopped in for dinner this week. Colleen and I generally prefer to sit at the bar when we visit a pub, but the bar seating was full. Fortunately we waited only about 10 minutes until I received a text message our table was ready. We were seated and quickly approached by server for our drink orders.

I didn’t count precisely, but estimated we had about 50 draft selections and 250 500 [Ed., new count from other reports] bottled beers to choose from. We stuck with draft this time, but the bottle list had quite a range of styles and breweries giving us even more great optons. Happily we noticed that the bottled beers were being poured into glasses as they were served at the table, to be enjoyed as the brewer intended! Settling on Three Stars Peppercorn Saison and Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale, we perused the extensive food menu in-depth.

Sedona Taphouse offers a variety of dining options; salads, pasta, tacos, flatbread pizza, sandwiches as well full dinner entrées. It’s great to see such a varied menu, especially one that includes lighter “pub” options. We ordered a Mediterranean Hummus appetizer, with marinated peppers and feta and served with warm flatbreads. The appetizer was very flavorful. The marinated peppers topping the hummus added bit of extra flavor to the generously sized appetizer plate. The flatbread was warm and wood-grilled.

For the main course, Colleen chose the wood-grilled Crab & Shrimp-Topped Tilapia drizzled with lemon caper butter, served with garlic whipped potatoes and asparagus. I opted for Fontina Marsala Pork Chop, topped with melted fontina cheese and house-made Marsala sauce with sautéed mushrooms, and garlic whipped potatoes. Our dinner entrées arrived in a timely manner after we finished the starter course. In fact, the service at Sedona was noticeably efficient. One of our laments about some of our favorite local haunts is that the food service is often quite slow, sometimes annoyingly so. Sedona seems to have the kitchen processes down, and we remarked on that several times during the evening.

Our dinners were well prepared and quite tasty. My pork chop was moist and the marsala sauce hit nice bite to it. Colleen enjoyed her tilapia plate as well. After enjoying our dinner, we convinced ourselves that we needed dessert; in order to do a proper review. We opted to split the featured Salted Caramel Cheesecake, a NY cheesecake topped with warm caramel, fresh ground sea salt and toasted walnuts. I am not typically a fan of cheesecake, but I took one for the team. Truth be told, I had no trouble devouring my half of the large slice. It was that good.

We had a wonderful experience at Sedona Taphouse. It was quite busy and a bit noisy. But not in a bad way; a lot of people out enjoying good food and beer in pleasant conversations. The service was efficient and friendly. The food was excellent. The beer list is extensive and demands further exploration in the future, and I look forward to doing that in the near future.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Word of the Day

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.
-- seen online

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Parkway Brewing in Salem, VA

Prior to our visit last weekend, I'd had tried only one Parkway Brewing beer, Get Bent Mountain IPA. I've enjoyed that one on draft several times, and even bottles in the fridge. It's a really good IPA, so I had I high hopes for more good beer during out visit. I was not to be disappointed.

We opted to try a flight of six beers, choosing from the ten available. We enjoyed our beers in the large seating area that was open to the outdoors, in front of a wonderfully relaxing fireplace.

First up on our Parkway Brewing flight was Seeing Colors Spiced Autumn Ale, a brown ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove and nutmeg. The beer had a pleasant aroma and classic fall spice beer flavor. As we got to the next beer, Colleen remarked, "Didn't we get the coffee beer?" What was in the glass looked all the world like a Pale Ale; aren't coffee beers usually dark? Picking up the glass, she smiled and announced it did indeed smell like coffee. Cocka Doodle Brew Coffee Ale looks like a Pale Ale, but smells and tastes like fresh brewed coffee. Good fresh brewed coffee at that. There were undertones of a citrusy pale ale, but the coffee flavor, and aroma, predominate. I found it to be an extremely interesting and tasty beer.

Since I'd had Get Bent IPA previously, I opted for the Grapefruit Get Bent Mountain IPA to compare. This version of the beer ramps up the citrus aspect. The flavor brings to mind juicy pink grapefruit flesh, with just a hint of sweetness, like the touch of sugar added to a grapefruit half. Between the Coffee Ale and Grapefruit Get Bent, we had a proper "beer breakfast" going.

The flight up to this point had been relatively moderate in both flavor and ABV. We kicked it up a notch for the second half, starting with Four Damn Fights to a Pint Double IPA. Bold tropical fruit and pine hop flavors combine for a pungent, bitter brew. Following on the heals of the Double IPA was Barrel Aged Ravens Roost Baltic Porter. The alcohol aroma and flavor stood out strong over the dark roasted, mocha and bready porter. Colleen described it "Like a rum and coke, but with bourbon," and that truly hit the essence of the beer.

We closed out the tasting flight with Magellan Belgian Dark Abbey Ale. Despite checking in at 11.1% ABV, the alcohol was amazingly well-masked in both the aroma and flavor. Rich notes of plum, raisin, and dark cherry with a touch of brown sugar made for a very tasty ale. I could see sipping a full glass of this one in front of the fire for a relaxing evening.

Unfortunately we were on a tight schedule and did not have time to linger longer, and enjoy more of the excellent beers at Parkway Brewing. However, we will be passing through the area frequently in the future so I will try to plan for a more extended visit on an upcoming visit. I'm looking forward to enjoying more of the fine ales at Parkway Brewing.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Liberal Paradise

Meme of the week.

How about we round up the anti-gun crowd and give them the home they have been demanding?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Flying Dog Gourd Standard Pumpkin IPA

When I pulled the bottle from the review package sent by Flying Dog Brewing, I spied the label "Gourd Standard" and thought, "Oh, a pumpkin beer." Of course, it's always exciting to try new beers, but I'm not a big fan of the pumpkin ales that fill shelves and tap lines this time of the year. Then I read the smaller text at the bottom, "Pumpkin IPA." Well, that's Flying Dog for you — always twisting things up. I was intrigued enough to try it.

Gourd Standard Pumpkin IPA pours a dark amber color and is cloudy in appearance. The aroma brings the expected spices; nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin, and a sweet malt base. Those are not IPA descriptors. The taste starts out much as a typical pumpkin ale, but the profile quickly changes and some IPA bitterness comes into play. The IPA-ness is not overwhelming but a pleasing piney bitterness comes to the forefront. There's a hint of mouth-tingling astringency in the mouthfeel as well. The finish is hangs around with earthy and bitter notes, along with a bit of stickiness.

This is a schizophrenic beer. The aroma is full on pumpkin ale; the flavor is predominately IPA. But it's not totally an IPA, as the more you sip, the more the pumpkin ale personality begins to show itself in the flavor. I found my brain wavering, trying to decide what I was drinking. In the end, the IPA won out, and that's a good thing in my book. Gourd Standard is an interesting addition to the fall vegetable beer season, and something that definitely breaks the mold.

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rivanna IDPA Match

"What am I doing?' Those were the thoughts in my head as I headed out early Saturday morning for the monthly Rivanna IDPA match, with the dashboard displaying 39°. But I had packed gloves and a fleece jacket, so I was ready for a fun morning of shooting.

There were four stages providing our entertainment that morning. Stage 1 started with the shooter holding a shovel, which was used to knocked over a nearby popper, triggering a drop turner. I was wearing the fleece jacket rather than my "gamer" IDPA vest but was still able to get the shots off on the fast disappearing target. There were six more targets down range to be engaged.

The next stage began standing arms length from a single target which required three shots from retention. Backing up from that target, we found three targets to the right of a wall, followed by three to the left of a parallel wall. I was actually "down zero" with what I consider a respectable time for the run. I distinctly remember a sharp focus on the sights and being conscious of the trigger pull and my grip on the stage. I should do that more often!

The third stage of the match required distance shots and elicited a lot of groans from the shooters, and also a lot of good natured ribbing. The targets were estimated to be placed at 15, 25 and 35 yards. Two targets at each distance required three hits on each. My plan for the stage was, "I have 31 rounds, why leave any behind?" I was there to shoot, so I might as well shoot. I wasn't going to win any steak knives anyway. Despite the good-natured "complaining" it was fun, especially since I rarely get to shoot anything beyond 20 - 25 yards.

Stage 4 was designed to keep our brains working. The stage was divided into three "sections" each holding three targets. All magazines were downloaded to just six rounds each, and all shooting was to be done on the move. The course of fire started with the shooter engaging the first three targets, in tactical sequence, while retreating. Reloading before leaving the cover position marking the next section, we found three targets to be engaged, in any order, while moving across the bay. After another slide lock reload, there were three more targets, again to be engaged in tactical sequence, this time while moving forward. It was a lot of fun, and being the first stage our squad shot, was a good way to wake up the brain cells.

As usual, the Rivanna match provided good shooting with a range of challenges. This was the first year I've shot Rivanna IDPA, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The matches are well-run, folks are friendly, and it's always a good time. The only downside to Rivanna is that the match conflicts with the Cavalier USPSA match, which I have also enjoyed shooting in the past. Even though I concentrated on IDPA this year, I'd still like to get to some USPSA matches in the future. Too many matches on the same day; a good "problem" to have I guess. Maybe I'll need to alternate next year.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What Did He Say?

I recently came across this Facebook group description...
This is a group based upon the reality of enigmas. It is only for the ability to question, and independent education. Not all things here are in fact, "Fact." But as a community, society, world, -we must communicate, debate, and educate. If anyone has a questionable post, or comments, please do it in a civil, manner. Debating is fine, but keep your kool, -present the facts/truth/evidence. Slander/trolling/excessive cursing, and Caps are not allowed, and you will be metaphorically, thrown the f*** [edited] off of my page. This page is about the reality of the Nation, and world we live in. Please respect it, and keep bringing others to the light.
Liberal arts major perhaps?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Comment vs Compliment

Two very different comments heard recently, directed to my musings on beer.

Commenter #1: "Oh, you're the alcoholic."

Commenter #2: "You are the first guy I think of when I think beer."

I smiled in response to both statements, though with different intent.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cedar Mountain Practice Match

This past Saturday I made the short drive out to Culpeper for the Cedar Mountain Youths monthly practice match. Match organizer Mike had set up four stages based on USPSA classifier stages and two larger USPSA-style field courses. The previous matches this year all consisted of classifier-type stages only, so the two larger field courses were a change. Fortunately it occurred to me the morning of the match that I should probably bring my USPSA belt setup, which I've not used all year, in order to carry more mags. I've typically shot the Cedar Mountain matches using my IDPA belt and two mag carriers.

The morning was sunny, and quite cool. While I was waiting for the match to begin, I was really wishing I had brought a jacket. It did warm up as the sun got higher and it turned out to be a very pleasant morning, although the low sun was a bit of an inconvenience on the first stage.


Our squad shot the four classifier stages first. The shooting went very quickly, with just four of us on the squad, and we waited a short time for the other squad to finish the larger field courses. I went out fast on the fours stages, with the expected results. But, it's all just for practice and fun anyway.

I was looking forward to the longer field courses. As I was doing my walk-throughs I realized it was a good thing I remembered the USPSA gear, as that allowed me to make reloads on the move and drop partial mags, a stage plan I've gotten out of thinking about after shooting IDPA this year. At the end of my run on the first field course I felt really good. I felt even better as I quickly checked the targets. Then I heard the RO clear his throat and point to a target I had skipped. A target that not only had I failed to engage, but one that I never even noticed in the walk through! It was a low and close target, an easy "2 Alpha." It wasn't even that hidden; I think I had tunnel vision on the steel plates and swinger to be shot through the same port. That will teach to me to not check the target count against my stage plan. That hurt, and I admittedly needed a few minutes to assuage my frustration.

That's the one

The final stage, and second field course, was another mix of steel and paper, with lots of options for engaging all the targets. For my own ego, I needed a good run on this one to finish the day. And I got it. I may have been (purposefully) slow, but the score was 18 A and 2 C, with all the steel being hit one for one. It was a fun run and a good way to end the morning. Both of the field courses were my best stages of the morning; that whole "watching the sights" thing really works.

All in all it was an exceptionally fun morning. We were done shooting a little after 11:00 AM and had the stages torn down in short order. This was the last practice match at the club for 2015 and I'll miss the monthly low key events until they resume next Spring. Not only are the sessions a fun way to get in some practice, but I've introduced a number of new folks to practical pistol shooting at Cedar Mountain this year as well. I'll be looking forward to next year and the quick Saturday morning shoots.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Whither the Men?

As the left continues in its quest to redefine destroy marriage and the family, the loss to society is becoming more apparent. Bill Whittle, and others, get to root of so many of society's ills — the absence of fathers and strong men in the home. Watch below.

Bobby Jindal also spoke out last week regarding the inane whimpering of so-called "father" of the Oregon killer.
"And who is it that generally commits these evil acts of mass murder that are becoming routine? It’s almost always young men who have either no father figure in their lives, or a broken relationship with their father. Is this just a coincidence? Of course not.

"Now, let’s get really politically incorrect here and talk specifically about this horror in Oregon. This killer’s father is now lecturing us on the need for gun control and he says he has no idea how or where his son got the guns.

"Of course he doesn’t know. You know why he doesn’t know? Because he is not, and has never been in his son’s life. He’s a complete failure as a father, he should be embarrassed to even show his face in public. He’s the problem here.

"He brags that he has never held a gun in his life and that he had no idea that his son had any guns. Why didn’t he know? Because he failed to raise his son. He should be ashamed of himself, and he owes us all an apology."

Despite a precipitous decline in violent crime in recent years, the left maintains a laser-like focus on "the gun." But they must, otherwise it will become obvious that it is their own agenda which is fostering the rise in unstable people carrying out these heinous crimes.

Larry Correia recently gave a proper fisking to the metrosexual ramblings of the self-proclaimed "modern man" to whom Bill Whittle refers above. It also worth your time to read.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Living In The Twilight Zone

Meme of the week.

Sadly, we don't have to imagine it, we're living it.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Flying Dog Dogtoberfest

I do look forward to the Oktoberfest beers showing up on the store shelves and local taps each fall. The rich, bready malt flavors just seem to go with the cooler weather. During the rest of the year I lean towards the bolder citrus and hoppy styles, but for a few weeks I take a respite from Pale Ales and IPAs. One of the Oktoberfest beers I manage to grab each year is Flying Dog Dogtoberfest.

Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Märzen pours a deep orange-amber color with a moderate beige head. The aroma is a rich, bready malt. The flavor profile brings in roasted and caramel malt, with just a touch of sweetness. A hint of nuttiness comes through as well. The finish leaves a mildly astringent bitterness and mouthfeel is moderately thick and creamy. The Fying Dog influence in the beer is apparent from the slightly notched up flavor profile compared to the average Märzen.

I probably won't enjoy as many Oktoberfest beers this season as I have in the past, but I have more Dogtoberfest in the fridge, so I'll be having more of this one at least.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On Defending Christianity

"How does a man love according to divine precept his neighbor as himself when, knowing that his Christian brothers in faith and in name are held by the perfidious Muslims in strict confinement and weighed down by the yoke of heaviest servitude, he does not devote himself to the task of freeing them? . . . Is it by chance that you do not know that many thousands of Christians are bound in slavery and imprisoned by the Muslims, tortured with innumerable torments?"  --Pope Innocent III

Sadly, little has changed since those words were written. Little except for the Christian's willingness to defend against oppression and violence, even when the attacks are faced here at home, rather than in far off lands.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Trio: Good Food and Drink in OBX

Each year when we visit the Outer Banks, the Trio Wine, Beer, and Cheese shop is a regular stop to stock up on tasty beverages to enjoy during the trip. However, we've never taken the time to stop in to the bistro and enjoy the food and beer offered there. Finally, during our last trip we visited for lunch, on not one, but two occasions.

The Trio menu offers cheeses and other appetizers, soups, salads, panini and desserts. There are also 24 rotating beers on draft, including several served on nitro. The beer selection is prominently displayed above the bar on a large TV screen. During our first visit I tried a beer I have not had previously, Tyranny Hoppy Red Ale from Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, NC. Colleen opted for Rogue Brewing Shakespeare Oatmeal served on Nitro. For lunch we ordered an Olive and Feta Dip appetizer, and a couple of paninis. 

All of the food was well-prepared and very tasty. My Gouda and Roast Beef Panini with roasted tomato and arugula was quite good; the sandwich lightly grilled and flavorful. The Tyranny Red Ale was an especially good beer. The aroma was a mix of pine and citrus. In the flavor, the bitter grapefruit and pine hop notes where balanced by a slightly sweet caramel malt. A lingering tea bitterness completed the flavor profile. After lunch I searched the Trio retail shop hoping to find some bottles to take home, but was unsuccessful.

We returned for lunch second time during the trip. This visit I enjoyed another panini and a Hoppy Wheat from Hi-Wire Brewing, also from Asheville. (Sounds like we need to take a trip to Asheville someday.) The Hoppy Wheat was a tangy wheat ale with predominately grapefruit and orange citrus flavors. Another of Trio's tasty paninis completed my lunch menu. Colleen enjoyed a Belhaven Scottish Ale, again served on nitro.

We enjoyed all the foods we tried at Trio. The ever-changing beer menu is very interesting and offers a variety of beers sure to please most craft beer fans. I know we'll be back the next time we visit the Outer Banks. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Eight Years of Musings

It's hard to believe, but today marks the 8th anniversary of Musings Over a Pint. The time flew by, so I must be having fun! This is the 2,199th post I've made to the blog. I realize that October posting has been a bit light so far, but I promise, there's more coming. There's a bunch of beer in the fridge. I've got some range trips planned. (But I'm trying real hard to avoid commenting on the diarrhea of the mouth being exhibited by the left after the recent mass killings in Oregon.) There's plenty of content in the wings. Stand by.

My thanks go out to those who actually take time to read these Musings on a regular basis. It's a thrill to hear from you, either via comments here, or even in person. I hope you'll keep coming back. But if you don't, don't feel too bad, I'll still enjoy reading the old posts and reminiscing about those fun times myself.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Capt'n Rolo's Raw Bar and Grill

During a recent trip to the Outer Banks, we took a drive from Kitty Hawk down towards Hatteras. It was one of the few days during the week when the sun made an appearance, so it was a very enjoyable and scenic drive. Eventually we decided to stop for lunch, and pulled into Capt'n Rolo's Raw Bar and Grill purely by chance.

Capt'n Rolo's is a small place and was quite busy when we entered. We had a seat at the bar, and soon realized that a single person was taking orders and serving food. The waitress was working hard and in constant motion, but soon got us our drinks with a smile, even taking time to offer a sample of a beer I was not familiar with.

My lunch beer choice was Double Barley Brewing Touche' IPA. This easy drinking beer has a floral and citrus aroma. The flavor leans towards citrus with a touch of bitterness. The creamy mouthfeel finishes clean with just a hint of bitterness. A moderate 6.8%ABV and well-balanced flavor made for a nice lunchtime libation.

For the food portion of lunch, I opted for a Fried Oyster Sandwich. I've ordered a lot of fried oyster sandwiches over the years. I've had some good ones, and some less than good offerings. Often I've been disappointed in the bread-to-oyster ratio. Well, the basket that was set in front of me was a sight to behold! Plump, lightly breaded oysters were piled high on the slightly toasted roll. I turned to Colleen and said, "I'm not sure how to eat this."

I put the pieces together and attacked with both hands. The sandwich tasted as good as it looked. The oysters were juicy and flavorful. Even the "salad" pieces of the sandwich were crisp and fresh. At the end, I had plenty of extra oysters left on the plate to enjoy alone. This was definitely one of the best fried oyster sandwiches, even oyster meals in general, that I've had in a long time. Colleen opted for a Caesar Chicken Wrap that was also flavorful, and huge. It reminded me, in size, of those giant California burritos we had out west many years ago. Half of her sandwich was brought home to be enjoyed later.

We finished our meals well after the mid-afternoon closing time of Capt'n Rolo's, but we were never rushed and the server was attentive, despite being busy and running the place by herself. (They reopen for dinner, BTW.) If Capt'n Rolo's wasn't about an hour's drive from where we were staying, I would have gone back for another meal. The food was delicious and served in generous proportions. We'll definitely return the next time we visit the Outer Banks.