Saturday, January 24, 2015

Whittle: Number One With a Bullet

Bill Whittle fires back at the gun grabbers with facts. They hate that.


Seems to me our cities would be safer if we just outlawed Democrats.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fidelis 1775 Ale

This bottle of 1775 Ale was a gift from a friend this Christmas season. I enjoyed it recently on a late, cool evening. It was a perfect fit for the occasion. The beer pours a deep copper color topped with a persistent beige head. The strong aroma is caramel and sweet malt.

The flavor is rich with malt and a touch of dark fruit. It's well-balanced and not overly sweet, with just a hint of bitterness at the end. It's smooth, with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. At a "moderate" 7% ABV, I could have had another easily. This Old Ale style beer is said to be reminiscent of the beer the Marines would have enjoyed at Tun Tavern in 1775. Those Marines surely enjoyed the ale of the day, and I enjoyed the 1775 Ale very much.

Fidelis Beer Company is a relatively new company from Burke, VA. Founded by a U.S. Marine, the business has good beer and community at its core.
At Fidelis, our mission is to produce world-class beers to benefit world-class causes. “Fidelis,” Latin for “faithful” summarizes our core values in one word. Fidelis Beer Company strives to serve a larger purpose than just beer. We seek to benefit our community, our people, our business partners, and our society in everything that we do.

Proceeds of 1775 Ale are donated to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, which is all the more reason to drink it. I believe this is just the second beer from the brewery, the first was a Saison or Farmhouse Ale. A Saison, followed by an Old Ale; definitely not your every day styles. After enjoying the 1775, I'll seek out the brewery's flagship Saison too. Good beer and good causes — more than sufficient reason to enjoy the beers of Fidelus Beer Company.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Flying Dog Doppelbock

This was another of the review samples I received recently from Flying Dog BreweryBrewhouse Rarities Doppelbock was the last in the limited release series for 2014.

Flying Dog Doppelbock was poured into the cool Flying Dog glasses we "stole" last month. It pours a dark, but translucent copper color. There's a thick beige head that is relatively short lived. The aroma has some caramel notes but is quite faint. The flavor has dark fruit notes with a roasted overtone. There's also a hint of bitter hops at the end. Most notably the beers leaves a sweet stickiness on the lips, but there's no cloying sweetness in the flavor.

In somewhat of a twist for Flying Dog, this beer was pretty much on style, without any twists, other than perhaps a bit of extra hop bite. I found it quite tasty and enjoyable on a cold Winter evening. This review may be short, but there's not much else to say; it's simply a well done Dopplebock.  I'd like to find a bit more to help get through the rest of the Winter.

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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Assault Soup

Public schools are now "arming" students and teachers with canned vegetables as protection against active shooters in schools. An Alabama school recently sent letters home asking students to arm themselves with canned goods.
The procedure will be the same as we have done in the past with the addition of arming our students with a canned food item. We realize at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard. The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive. The canned food item will give students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure in case an intruder enters their classroom. 
We are asking each student to bring an 8 oz. canned food item (corn, beans, peas, etc.) to use in case an intruder enters their classroom. We hope the canned food items will never be used or needed, but it is best to be prepared. At the end of the school year, the cans will be donated to the food closet.
This is the state of surrender we've reached when it comes to the safety of children in schools. In a Concord, MA, school "each science classroom is equipped with cans of soup to be thrown at the intruder in the instance that the intruder enters the classroom." Rather than allow trained personnel access to firearms, which might actually discourage the violent criminal from entering the schools in the first place, educators choose to protect students with fruit cocktail. Do twenty 7th graders throwing cans stand a chance against an active shooter? Of course not. In their own words, the administrators' goal is to lull the kids into simply feeling secure. Security theatre is all they have.

One wonders, if a student brings a 16 oz can of soup instead of the requested 8 oz, will that lead to a charged of possessing a "high capacity" weapon? Will canned fruit in a lunch box be treated as a concealed weapon? I pity the kid who chews his pop tart into the shape of a can of soup. Maybe they could equip the students with "ammo" belts to hold extra cans.


In all seriousness, this is the level of absurdity to which the hoplophobes will go to avoid seeing scary guns in schools. A good guy with a gun might be able to stop a bad guy with a gun. A teacher armed with creamed corn is woefully ill equipped. I wonder if the people who came up with this plan sat around a table smugly thinking, "If only Columbine High School had been stocked with canned peas." Or "It's a shame someone didn't bean Adam Lanza with some chicken noodle soup." The deep seated fear of doing something to actually protect kids would be laughable if it wasn't the safety of school children they were risking to appease their own fears.

Indeed, some schools systems are taking a realistic approach to student safety. There are at least 10 states that have provisions for armed employees. Missouri legislators recently overturned the hoplophobic governor's veto of a bill allowing trained teachers to carry in school. Teachers in a north Texas school district are discreetly armed. However, until we see a repeal of the ineffective and unconstitutional Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, students and teachers will be relying on a well-stocked food pantry for protection.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Demand for Factory Beer

This morning I read the Facebook page of a local restaurant that has always promoted its selection of craft beers. They were noting improvements and changes for the coming season. Among those changes, one caught my attention...
In addition to our Craft/Micro/Import Brews....We will be offering, Bud Light, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra and Miller Light. 
I don't recall that I've ever seen the addition of factory beer promoted as a plus, it's usually the other way around.

I've noted in the past the amusement I get when folks struggle to find an "light lager" when offered a selection of tasty craft beers. To each his own I say,  I can't convert everyone.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I Need Some Global Warming

After temps in the 60's this weekend, it looks like we'll see some Winter weather over the next couple days. From the National Weather Service...
... WIND CHILL ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 8 AM EST THURSDAY... 
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WIND CHILL ADVISORY... WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 8 AM EST THURSDAY. 
* WIND CHILL... ZERO TO 10 BELOW ZERO LATE TONIGHT INTO EARLY THURSDAY. 
* TEMPERATURES... ZERO TO 10 ABOVE. 
* WINDS... NORTHWEST 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH. 
* IMPACTS... DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS LATE TONIGHT INTO THURSDAY.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
 
A WIND CHILL ADVISORY MEANS THAT VERY COLD AIR AND STRONG WINDS WILL COMBINE TO GENERATE LOW WIND CHILLS. THIS WILL RESULT IN FROST BITE AND LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN. IF YOU MUST VENTURE OUTDOORS... MAKE SURE YOU WEAR A HAT AND GLOVES.

At least there is no expectation of precipitation, but the hourly temperature predictions are predicted to be quite chilling.

Sounds like a good time for a fire, a book, and a beer.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

More Cookies & Beer

I figured I'd better get this final post about Flying Dog's Holiday Collection out there, while we're still in the Holiday Season. We enjoyed the first two beers in the collection in November, but never got around to checking out the other two. Colleen and I dug into them the other day.

First up we had the Oatmeal Raisin Stout paired with Otterbein’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. This was a fairly typical stout, mildly sweet with little "oatness" to it. It finished somewhat dry without any bitterness. The oatmeal raison cookie accompaniment seemed to bring out a bit more sweetness from the beer.



We finished with the Roasted Peanut Brown Ale and Otterbein’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm not a fan of peanut butter beers so was hesitant about a peanut brown ale. The peanut was noticeable in the aroma but was not all that apparent in the flavor. Interestingly though, after tasting the chocolate chip cookies, the roasted peanut flavor came out more. Otherwise, this was a typical, and quite enjoyable, brown ale.

Cookies and Beer. Seriously, how can you go wrong? This was an interesting, and tasty, collaboration by Flying Dog and Otterbein’s Bakery. Of them all, my favorite by far was the combination of Oak-Aged Hazelnut Scotch Ale and the Ginger Cookies. Since Colleen is a prolific cookie baker in her own right, perhaps we'll create some beer and cookie pairings of our own.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ringing (Steel) in the New Year

We didn't make it to the range on January 1, so the first range trip of 2015 happened on January 2. It was a chilly but sunny morning when Colleen and I headed out for a bit of smoke and noise making at the range. We even dug out the steel targets for some celebratory ringing.

We started off shooting at the steel, expecting someone to question the steel use eventually. I had a conversation with the Chief Range Office just last week, and he verified I was approved to use the Nevco targets. Soon we had our requisite conversation with the on-duty RO, who quickly headed off to call the CRO at home to check out my story. He was pleasant enough about it at least, unlike some others have been.

We spent some time ringing the steel, and were both quite happy with our hits. The constant dinging on steel is what attracted the RO — I guess shooting well is a mixed blessing in this case. (And it's so much easier when you're not on the clock at a match!) It's been a long time since we took the steel targets to the range and shooting (and hitting) steel always makes for a fun time.

The rest of our time was spent shooting the cardboard USPSA targets. I worked on drawing from the holster, which I've done very little of lately, as most of my recent practice has been at indoor ranges. I even risked getting called for shooting "too fast" and took multiple shots at multiple targets in a single string.

It was a super fun morning of shooting, but the best part is the time spent shooting with my wife. It's been too long since we had a range "date." And that's certainly worth putting up with the crazy range rules.

Addendum: I've been in contact with the CRO, and he's going to work out some system to reduce the hassle we face using the steel targets.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Holiday Cheer On A Sunday Afternoon

Colleen and I headed down to Capital Ale House for lunch Sunday afternoon. Just before we left the house I saw the pub's update to their Facebook page noting that they had the Redskins - Cowboys game on the TVs behind the bar. Crud, I thought, I hope there's not a crowd. I shouldn't have worried, few people were there watching the game. (And for good reason it seems.) We heard the list of "seasonal" beers from our bartender and settled in to enjoy some holiday cheer.

One of the beers was Hardywood Park Gingerbread Stout, served on nitro. I've had this beer previously, and despite the hype around it, found it good, but not exceptional. Colleen particularly enjoys the nitro serving, so opted for a glass of this seasonal. It was actually quite enjoyable; the nitro seemed to soften the astringency we noted in the past.

My beer of choice was Delirium Noël. I saw this one get tapped during a recent visit to Capital Ale House but didn't have the chance to order a glass. The ruby-red beer has a faint caramel and spice aroma. The flavor is surprisingly mild, with dark fruits and raison, some caramel and bready notes, with a touch of sweetness. The 10% ABV is extremely well-masked.

After what seemed an exceptionally long wait, our food arrived. By then I needed a refill. I decided to  keep with the holiday beer theme and try a glass of N'Ice Chouffe. Darker than Delirium Noël, this Winter Warmer also checks in at 10%ABV. The flavor profile is a bit bolder; with more robust dark fruit flavors, more malt and a tad sweeter. The alcohol was more prominent than the previous beer, but still unsettlingly hidden.

N'ice Chouffe and Gingerbread Stout

Coincidently, another couple sat down next to us, and I heard the gentleman tell the bartender he was "debating between the Noël and the Chouffe." As he was handed two samples, I offered my opinion that the Delirium Noël was the better of the two. That was the one he selected, and he must have enjoyed it as before too long he ordered a second.

Soon we had had enough of the football game (there's a reason I not a fan of professional sports) and Cialis ads, so we headed out into the rain to head home. Despite the wet weather, I remarked to Colleen that it was odd to be walking out into 60° weather at the end of December. Not that I'm complaining. The holiday beers provided good start to another week of vacation.