Friday, September 30, 2016

Strangeways Brewing Expanding to Fredericksburg

Big news! Strangeways Brewing posted this exciting announcement to their Facebook page...
Strangeways Brewing Opening Production Brewery and Taproom in Fredericksburg 
Richmond, VA, September 29th, 2016 - Strangeways Brewing, a three year old business based in Richmond, announces today the opening of a second production brewery and taproom at 350 Lansdowne Road, Fredericksburg, VA.  The facility is located near the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds.

The 10,100-square foot building sitting on almost 3 acres will feature a 10-barrel brewhouse, a large taproom, live event space, private event space, retail shop, arcade, and outdoor beer garden.

As a native of Virginia who was born and raised in Fredericksburg, it has always been part of owner Neil Burton's plan to expand into his hometown.  The chosen location has personal meaning for Burton, a James Monroe High School graduate. "This is the exact same building where we previously headquartered my families’ clothing operation, Burton’s Menswear, which I helped operate for nearly twenty years.  That just makes this even more special and personal."

Strangeways was twice rated Virginia’s Best Brewery Taproom by RateBeer.com users, listed by bon appétit magazine as one of “10 New U.S. Breweries to Watch, from D.C. to California”, and noted in Southern Living magazine as one of the “South’s Best Breweries”.

Burton is excited to bring his passion for craft beer and Strangeways’ signature array of beer styles to Fredericksburg.  He anticipates the tasting room being a community gathering place for folks to meet and socialize, as well as be a tourist destination.

More than 100,000 Virginians and tourists from around the world visit Strangeways in Richmond each year.  The Richmond location opened on May 29, 2013 with two flagship beers that remain on tap today, Albino Monkey Belgian White Ale and Woodbooger Belgian Brown Ale.  The brewery quickly grew into a fan favorite with its large variety of options, including Überlin Berliner Weisse Sour, which took a gold medal in the Sour European Ale category at the 2016 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup Awards.

The Fredericksburg taproom plans to feature nearly 50 Strangeways draft beers, making it the production brewery tasting room with the most taps in Virginia.  The 10-barrel brewhouse is half the size of the Richmond system, giving the brewery the ability to produce a large variety of smaller batch offerings.  In its three years, Strangeways has always been the largest producer of sour and wild beers in the Commonwealth.  The Fredericksburg facility will continue this tradition, including aging beers in wooden barrels that previously were used in the production of bourbon, rum, tequila, scotch, gin, red wine, white wine, sherry, grappa, bourbon maple syrup, etc.

“Brown Distributing has done an excellent job of distributing Strangeways beer in Central Virginia,” stated Burton, “and we’ve learned that our tasting room is an integral part of effectively sharing the Strangeways story, which then translates to demand for our products at our retail partner accounts.  This is a blueprint we hope to emulate in Fredericksburg.”

The new event space will host happenings such as live music shows, festivals, and holiday celebrations, and the private event space will be available for meetings, receptions, and other special occasions.

Light fare, including snack flights and locally sourced charcuterie will be served, and menus from local restaurants will be available for patrons to order delivery.

The new Fredericksburg location will create 27 new jobs for the local economy. Opening for the new Strangeways facility is anticipated for the first half of 2017.

Needless to say, I'm excited and looking forward to visiting the new taproom next year.

See also this review of a Strangeways event in Fredericksburg a couple years ago.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Archangels, Intercede For Us

September 29 is the Feast of the Archangels — St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and St. Michael. These are trying times for Christianity and freedom in general, both at home and abroad, with attacks coming from many directions. Governments around the world, sadly our own included, are creating laws to restrict the free practice of religion. Unbelievably, people actually stand in the street proclaiming how proud they are to have killed their own children. The satanic forces of islam continue hundreds of years barbarism and remain relentless in attacking and killing Christians around the world, including right here at home. The list goes on. To anyone paying attention, it's obvious that evil has a foothold in this world.

There's no more important time implore the intercession of these powerful warriors, the Archangels. We should ask especially for the protection of St. Michael the Archangel.


St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

St. Wenceslaus, Patron Saint of Brewers

Reposted from September 28, 2012.

Today is the feast day of St. Wenceslaus, who is regarded as a patron Saint of Czech brewers.
St. Wenceslaus, duke of Bohemia, was born about the year 907 at Prague, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). His father was killed in battle when he was young, leaving the kingdom to be ruled by his pagan mother. Wenceslaus was educated by his grandmother, Ludmilla, also a saint. She taught him to be a Christian and to be a good king. She was killed by pagan nobles before she saw him king, but she left him with a deep committment to the Christian faith. 
Throughout his life he preserved his virginity unblemished. As duke he was a father to his subjects, generous toward orphans, widows, and the poor. On his own shoulders he frequently carried wood to the houses of the needy. He often attended the funerals of the poor, ransomed captives, and visited those suffering in prison. He was filled with a deep reverence toward the clergy; with his own hands he sowed the wheat for making altar breads and pressed the grapes for the wine used in the Mass. During winter he would visit the churches barefoot through snow and ice, frequently leaving behind bloody footprints. 
Wenceslaus was eighteen years old when he succeeded his father to the throne. Without regard for the opposition, he worked in close cooperation with the Church to convert his pagan country. He ended the persecution of Christians, built churches and brought back exiled priests. As king he gave an example of a devout life and of great Christian charity, with his people calling him "Good King" of Bohemia. 
His brother Boleslaus, however, turned to paganism. One day he invited Wenceslaus to his house for a banquet. The next morning, on September 28, 929, as Wenceslaus was on the way to Mass, Boleslaus struck him down at the door of the church. Before he died, Wenceslaus forgave his brother and asked God's mercy for his soul. Although he was killed for political reasons, he is listed as a martyr since the dispute arose over his faith. This king, martyred at the age of twenty-two, is the national hero and patron of the Czech Republic. He is the first Slav to be canonized.
According to BeerHistory.com, the Saint's protection of local hops earned him much regard.
Because Bohemian hops were so valued, Wenceslas ordered the death penalty for anyone caught exporting the cuttings and obviously endeared himself to the local hop growers and brewers. He became the patron saint of Bohemia and Czechoslovakia and his crown became the symbol of nationalism for the Czechs. By extension he became a patron saint of Czech brewers.
King Wenceslaus is the inspiration for the Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas.

So let's raise a glass of fine beer to the Good King, Saint Wenceslaus.

Missing Mom

My mother passed away on this day in 2010. After six years, remembering the loss still invokes a fresh pain. There's so much I want to tell her, so many things about her grandson's life I wish I could share with her in person.

But still, her ever present smile remains fresh in my memories. Even in her suffering, she always had a smile for her family and friends. I pray that the joy she found in life is always part of me.

Requiescat In Pace, Mom.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Didn't Empty My Pockets After Shooting

Received this text from my dear wife...


Oops. Sorry honey, I thought I emptied my pockets. Love you!

And it was a quality round too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

So Much Stupid

Just when you think liberals can't get anymore ridiculous...

It's hard to imagine anyone reaching that level of stupid without serious drug abuse or inbreeding.

Perhaps Hayes is joining Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in being "grateful that nobody got hurt." 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rivanna IDPA and Weapons Master Match

The Rivanna IDPA club put on it's "Weapons Master" match this weekend. In additional to the usual IDPA match, there were two stages each for shotgun and rifle. The rifle and shotgun stages were optional, and shooters could shoot either or both. Even though I have shot neither the rifle nor the shotgun competitively, I signed up and was looking forward to the fun.

I opted to start with the shotgun stages. The courses of fire required shooting birdshot, buckshot and slugs, both while standing and on the move. The ammo types were mixed throughout the stages, and only three rounds max could be loaded in the gun at any time. Keeping the ammo straight was to be the most challenging, and frustrating, part of shooting the stages.

The first stage started with a single round of buckshot in the gun. After engaging a paper target, three rounds of birdshot were loaded and three clay targets were shot on the move. Arriving at the next position there were two falling steel targets, one requiring buckshot, the second a slug. Next, three more clays engaged on the move with birdshot. The final position had a paper target requiring two buckshot rounds. 


The second shotgun stage was of similar setup. One of the positions had a steel target that activated a drop turner. This is where that stage went wrong for me. With two rounds of buckshot in the gun, I hit the steel and turned to the drop turner — which wasn't moving. Thinking I missed the steel, I lowered the gun to load another round of buck. As I did, the steel completed its fall and the drop turner dropped. So not only I had a missed target, there's was a round of buckshot to eject before I shot the next targets. Any plan I had was gone from that point on!

I was happy with my shooting, though my reloading could be timed with a sundial! I have no "muscle memory" built up with the shotgun. As fate would have it, I was also the first shooter on the squad for these stages, so did not have the benefit after watching anyone else first. Never having shot a tactical shotgun match before, I was not expecting to be jumping between ammo types throughout the stage. I had different ammo staged in a side saddle on the gun, in a vest pocket, and in a pants pocket. I'm not a fan of "memory stages" in general but still enjoyed the shooting aspect of the stages.

After the fact, I thought of a number of things I should done differently, especially with regard to how I carried the ammo and reloaded the gun. Despite the slow runs, and the missed target issue, the stages were a blast. I learned a lot and am looking forward to getting to the range for more work with the shotgun. 

Next up were the two rifle stages. The first stage consisted of eight targets at increasing distances, four on each side. The targets were to be shot near to far down the left side, then far to near on the right, with three hits each. The rifle started unloaded on a table along with a magazine loaded with twelve rounds. At the start, we got up from a chair, loaded the gun and engaged the left targets from low cover. Moving to the second position where a second mag was located, the remaining targets were engage from a kneeling or seated position.  


The second rifle stage was pretty much a typical IDPA stage, but shot with a rifle. Targets were engaged from cover and from multiple positions. Each target required two body shots and a head shot. As opposed to the distance shots on the first stage, the targets were moderately close, necessitating changes on aiming, especially on the head shots. 

While I didn't win any races, I shot better on the rifle stages than I actually expected. It was great to get in some "real world" shooting rather than simply shooting while standing still at the range. 

After those fun long gun stages, it was time to return to more familiar territory and shoot the three pistol stages. The first stage was shot from a seated position, with the unloaded gun in a box and all magazines on a table. Six targets, partially hidden by non-threats required three hits each.

The next stage started with engaging three targets while backing up. Then we moved to a prone position to shoot through a ground-level opening. Behind the opening were five more paper targets, and two steel plates. The steel targets were placed directly in front of non-threat targets. I cleared the steel successfully despite the challenging shooting position.

The last stage was a quick course of fire set up in the plinking range. There were eight paper targets, arranged in pairs. They were set at an angle to each other, with a non-threat in the front. The targets were engaged from the outside of two barrels set on either side of the bay. Only four of the targets were visible from either side. This was a fast and fun stage to shoot.


This was an extremely enjoyable and well run match. We shot seven stages total, and I was on the road home by 1:15PM. I was pleased with my scores in the pistol match. I learned some things on both the rifle and shotgun courses, and am especially looking forward to getting out with the shotgun more. I had forgotten how much fun it is to shoot, especially when not shooting an extremely high number of rounds in one day.

Now I have three weapons to clean, and a lot of ammo boxes to sort out. But that's not an awful problem to have.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Anniversary Range Trip

Since our wedding anniversary fell on a "school night," we opted to delay a celebratory dinner out until the weekend. Instead, Colleen and I planned an outing to the range in the afternoon. After I finished my last teleconference for the day, we headed out. (Since it was a special day, I carried both of our ammo stocks to the car.)

Late Thursday afternoon has been a good time to find the range empty of other shooters, and so it was this visit. I’ve been wondering if folks are preserving their ammo, or the intrusive ROs have been driving people away. In any event, it’s a win for us.

We started out shooting slowly at 7 and 10 yards. After a bit we moved back to 15 yards. Colleen was shooting a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and wanted to improve her accuracy at the longer distance with the small gun. So after each round, we checked our targets, and she would announce “Let’s do it again.” We spent quite a bit of time doing slow fire at the 15 yard line.

30 rounds, 15 yards, David

I found that exercise to be beneficial myself. It’s good to spend time really concentrating on maintaining sight alignment and an even trigger squeeze. My eyesight is such that the edges of the sights are generally sightly blurred, and the targets very much so, so the concentration was good, and I was pretty pleased.

“Checkered Flag” had also joined us for the fun, so eventually we started working on his favorite “precision” exercise; shooting out a black paster. We did this from both 7 and 3 yards. Why does it always seem to be the last shot of an 8 or 10 round string that goes astray? After seeing Colleen’s target, I suspect she’ll be challenging us to the Dot Torture Drill in the near future.

8 rounds, 3 yards, Colleen

When it was my turn to pick the drill, we got in some single handed shooting. I try to dedicate at least a magazine to both strong and support hand shooting at every range trip.

While it may not be the “traditional” anniversary celebration, it works for us. We had a very fun couple of hours outdoors doing something we both enjoy. Most of my range visits I make by myself, so it really was a special “date.” On the way home, Colleen treated us all to overpriced coffee at the local Starbucks too.

And we’ll do that dinner this weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

32 Years!

Thirty-two years ago on this day, this beautiful lady and I professed our lifetime commitment to each other. And I hold that promise dear today. I have been blessed beyond words by having Colleen in my life. She’s a loving wife, my best friend, my confidant, and a wonderful mother to our son. Those who know me, might even say she’s a living saint. On top of all that she appreciates good beer and she can shoot too!

Thank you for saying yes, Colleen. I can’t imagine life without you and thank God daily that He saw fit to put you in my life. I love you more than I can ever express.

!!! Happy Anniversary !!!