Monday, May 2, 2016

Missing the Range

I ran across this on Facebook today.

I get it, I really do. But I laughed anyway.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lots of Beer, No Food, at Adventure

Adventure Brewing has been on a roll recently, releasing a new beer each week. Colleen and I visited on Saturday to catch up on the recent releases. We figured we'd settle in for the afternoon, take advantage of whatever food truck was on site, and try out the brewery's latest offerings. Alas, there was no food vendor in the parking lot when we arrived around lunch time. Asking inside we were told that there "might be" one later. Well, that's not comforting. We opted for a flight of five new beers we hadn't tried while we decided our course of action for the afternoon.

First up in the flight (left to right in Colleen's photo) was Black Sail Scotch Ale. This is a rich, malty beer, with mild roasted and smoky flavors. I found it very enjoyable, and I was already thinking of ordering a full pint after the flight. Next up was Smoked Belgian Ale, a take on Adventure's Belgian Dubbel. The faint smoke flavor added an interesting twist. Flower Outage Saison, brewed with peppercorns and nasturtium flowers, was next in the flight. This beer was a collaboration done with Crooked Run Brewing. It had a nice, refreshingly floral sweet flavor. Colleen liked this one a lot.

Okay, so far so good, all tasty beers so far, but there's the food question still. Well, they do have chips and salsa listed on the menu. That should tide us over. But alas, they're out of chips. So I inquire about other food options, and learn they have some pre-made "wraps and salads" in the cooler. Salads!?!?

On to the fourth beer in the flight, Kiss by a Gose. This one is another Crooked Run collaboration. The kettle-soured Gose is made with rose hips and pink Himalayan salt. The salty and tart flavor combination was a serious flavor detour from the previous beers, and it took a few sips to adjust. An interesting flavor, but not one I would enjoy in large quantity.

The beer that had my curiosity up was the final of taster of the flight, White Chocolate Stout. Described as a "golden stout made with lactose, cacao nibs, and coffee beans" the beer looked like anything except a stout. Franky, I'd never heard of a golden stout previously. The "stout" had a pleasing coffee aroma to it, and the flavor too had a nice sweetened coffee aspect. Colleen and I were both reminded of the Cocka Doodle Brew Coffee Ale we enjoyed at Parkway Brewing last fall. The difference was that this "coffee" was sweetened, rather than black. I could have easily enjoyed a pint of this Stout next.

But now we had a decision to make. There was still no food truck, and a pre-packaged salad wasn't going to cut it. Reluctantly, we closed our tab earlier than planned. Fortunately a quick lunch at Allman's Bar-B-Q satiated our hunger and we  headed off to another local brewery try out more good beer.

I offer this one word hint for any brewery with a tasting room; FOOD. Even something as basic as chips and pretzels would be appreciated by your fans, and requires little effort to keep on hand. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Indoor Activities This Week

The weather outlook is dreary at best. I haven't made use of the indoor range in the past few weeks, opting instead to take advantage of the nice weather to shoot outdoors. Looks like that will have to change in the coming week.

And perhaps there will be some time for good beer. A man's gotta cope.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Good Beer and Sports Celebrity Sightings

A lack of blogging recently isn't an indication of a lack of life activity, just the opposite in fact. It means I've been too distracted by life to sit down and write. We were out of town last weekend, in part to attend the Spring Game at VA Tech. I was pleased we had reservations at the same hotel at which we found good beer last year. Before I even checked in at the front desk I detoured to take a peak at the taps in the lobby bar. I was not disappointed.

Colleen and I visited lobby bar in the evening to relax over a few beers. Three of the offerings were old favorites, along with one new to me beer. I tried a sample of a local beer, River Company Dumpster Dog Porter, but opted to go a more hoppier route. Colleen enjoyed a pint of the Porter. I couldn't resist a pint of an old favorite, Loose Cannon from Heavy Seas, and later a pint of Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

As we were enjoying our drinks and talking with other guests, there was suddenly a lot of excitement in the lobby and bunch of folks leapt from their seats. Buffalo Bills Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was checking in to the hotel. He posed for a few selfies and things quieted down. For a bit anyway, until Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Smith walked in. He too posed for selfies and signed autographs and the lobby calmed once again. Seattle Seahawks player Kam Chancellor also made a pass-through of the lobby.

The commonality among the players is of course, they are all VA Tech alumni, in town for the Spring Game. In all honesty, if it wasn't for the other fans at the bar, and some quick Google searches, I wouldn't have known who they were, not being a big sports fan. Nonetheless, it added some excitement to an already enjoyable Friday evening.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Just a Day at the Range

On Thursday our friend "Checkered Flag" was visiting, so he, Colleen, and I headed over the range after work. It was a sunny and warm day, perfect for spending some time outside. Since I knew I couldn't get to the range on Earth Day, I counted this day as my "celebration" and figured I'd do my part in restoring some lead and copper back into the earth.

We ran no specific drills this outing, it was really just time to stand and shoot. You might say it was like dry fire practice, pulling the trigger — but with live rounds  — over and over again.

At one point Colleen asked me, "Who's the guy watching us with binoculars?" I looked and saw him about 50 yards back by the bench. When I went to talk to him I saw he was one of the range officers. He said he had come out of the club house because of the "rate of fire going on." I guess he was satisfied to find he was hearing three guns going off, and not someone violating the "rapid fire" rule, as he didn't stick around.

At least standing in just a few places while we shot made the brass easy to pick up. It was a fun couple of hours before it was time to head home for a refreshing adult beverage.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

They Don't Even Realize They Are Losing

I laughed a bit last week when anti-gun democrat Deb Lavender of Missouri introduced an amendment opening the state capitol to concealed carry for members of the public. Of course, she did so in an attempt to prove a point, and was bitten by her own arrogance. But my irony meter pegged again this week with the news about the $20 bill.

Democrat Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced that the portrait of Andrew Jackson would be removed in a redesign of the $20 bill, and replaced with an image of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. In the attempt to cover their own party's history, the left has actually managed to promote freedom and guns. Andrew Jackson was a slave owner, championed the massacre of native Americans, and was the first Democrat president of the United States. It's not surprising that the whitewashers of history wanted him gone.

Image via Amazon

Harriet Tubman was everything the progressives hate about freedom loving Americans. She is credited with saying, "There was one of two things I had a right to: liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other." And she was not opposed to backing up her freedom with a gun, in violation of the law.
Tubman carried an old percussion pistol for protection against slave-catchers and their hound dogs. This violated an 1806 Maryland statute, which forbade “any negro or mulatto within this state to keep any dog, bitch or gun.”

The pistol was also a threat against any faint-hearted fugitive who wished to turn back. As Tubman knew, any slave who returned would be tortured into revealing everything about the remaining fugitives, which would result in the whole group being captured. Pointing her gun at one escapee, who was exhausted and hungry after a day of hiding in a swamp, she told him, “Move or die.” She delivered him and the others to freedom soon after. 
Tubman was also a religious woman, gaining inspiration from biblical accounts of fleeing slaves in the Old Testament. She is even recognized in calendars of saints of the Episcopal Church and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Gun owner, freedom fighter, religious; Harriet Tubman would be unwelcome in the democrat party if she were alive today. The irony is rich.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Purcellville Road Trip

After that super fun IDPA match on Saturday, we drove out to Purcellville to visit a friend and a brewery or two. Our first stop was Belly Love Brewing.

When we walked in, I was surprised at the lack of a crowd, for late Saturday afternoon. We placed our beer orders at the bar, carrying the drinks to a nearby table. None of us had much too eat all day, so we were quite hungry, and ordered a soft pretzel with cheese and spicy mustard dipping sauces to hold us while we perused the food menu further. The appetizer was delivered promptly to our table, and was quickly devoured.

I ordered a Double IPA with an interesting sounding name, Flying Unicorn Crotch Kick. The beer had a strong, bready malt base. The bitter grapefruit and mango flavors were enjoyable and not overwhelming. The beer was flavorful but well-balanced. I expected a more extreme flavor profile, especially given the name. My glass was emptied in short order.

Colleen enjoyed a 6 ounce pour of Brooke's Currant Obsession. Just the fact that a short pour was offered made Colleen happy, though an actual half pint "short pour" would have been preferable. Despite the size, she enjoyed the mild citrus and tart hint to the Porter. Our friend opted for Eye of Jupiter Milk Stout. I stole a sip of this one and found it quite pleasant as well.

The beers we had were very good, and I would have tried more, but the need for food took precedence. The food options at Belly Love all sounded good, and the items we saw being delivered look appetizing as well. However, given that we were all extremely famished and looking for more substantial fare, we opted to look elsewhere for food. We ended up eating at a nearby old-style diner.

Having satiated our hunger, we were now in the mood for another beer stop. Adroit Theory Brewing is another well-known brewery in Purcellville. Checking online we saw that they had closed at 8:00 PM, on a Saturday. We discussed going back to Belly Love for more "research" but decided to head over to Lost Rhino, a brewery we've visited previously. I'm pretty sure a joke was made about needing a Lost Rhino Face Plant to go with my Belly Love Crotch Kick!

Instead of a big IPA at Lost Rhino, I opted for a pint of Dawn Patrol, the brewery's session IPA. As an added treat, the beer was being served from cask, and dry hopped with Simcoe hops. It was the perfect wind down for the evening. BTW, Colleen had a glass of the Lost Rhino Root Beer and it was delicious.

There are still a number of Loudoun County breweries we need to check out. We will have to plan a future excursion, one that starts much earlier in the day. I did pick up a bottle of Belly Love My Bitter X that I look forward to trying that in the near future.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rivanna IDPA Match

The April IDPA match at Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club was held this past Saturday. I was looking forward to the match since I had only been to the range for stand and shoot practice for the last eight weeks, no matches. The weather was excellent and, in a change from the winter months, the ground on the range was dry— no mud! The Match Director made sure everyone got plenty of movement in after months of mostly static shooting due to range conditions.

The first stage for our squad was a bit of a novelty stage. Four shooting areas were laid out like a baseball diamond. We started at "home plate" holding a bat which we dropped at the buzzer and ran to "first base" to put one hit on a single target. Next we ran to "second base" to engage two targets with two shots each, and then it was on to "third base" where three targets each requiring three hits. Returning to "home plate" we settled from the run to engage four steel plates placed downrange. I finished with 0 points down for the stage.

Stage 2 started with the shooter engaging two targets while retreating to cover where two more targets were shot though a port in a wall. Next, while moving across an open area there were two open targets to be engaged and two other targets, requiring a single head shot each. The head shot targets were partially obscured by a non-threat. All four of these targets were to be engaged on the move. I hit the first target with two shots, then moved to the head shots. I made those cleanly and was celebrating in my head as I shot the last open target in a hurry. I saw the two -1 hits and decided quickly to make them up before moving to the last two targets at the final position. Of course those extra shots meant I needed to do a reload to take the last shot of the stage. Overall, the extra two shots and extra reload cost me more time than the two -1 hits would have, but I really wanted the -0 on the stage, which I got.

The next stage was quite interesting, and involved a pickup gun at the start. That loaded revolver was sitting on the chest of "Earl," the match dummy. You grabbed the gun and engaged three targets while dragging Earl to cover. I've only shot a revolver a few times, and that was a "snubbie" a few years ago. Here was a gun I had never shot or even handled. To be shot strong-hand only. While on the move. I knew it was going to be fun.

I was happy to have five -0 shots and just one -1 hit with the revolver. After safely depositing Earl and the revolver we moved to the next position where we had staged our magazines and unloaded gun. Quickly stowing any needed mags and loading the gun, we hit a stomp plate that released a swinger moving between two non-threats. There were also two stationary targets to be engaged from that position. As an added twist all targets after the revolver required three hits each. Lastly, three more targets where engaged from cover at the end of the course. I finished the stage 3 points down.

The final stage involved shooting around, and through, an old car. The targets were placed in various places in front of and beside the vehicle, at varying distances. They all needed to be engaged from cover, and that generally meant a combination of leaning and stooping. I was just one point down on the stage, but struggled to twist my old back into the required positions. (Perhaps I need to learn less contorted means of using cover.)

The entire match was a lot of fun to shoot and offered a good variety of challenges. At the end of it all I was just four points down for the match. It felt good to drive away from the event with no regrets about mental errors, and misses or penalties.

This month there was also an optional side match for BUG and CCP guns. You could shoot the five quick strings at any point when you had down time. I shot the BUG match while waiting to shoot the third stage in the main match. I wondered how it would be shooting a different gun right in the middle of the match, and then I ended up shooting the revolver right after the BUG gun. Even though it was technically two matches, it was fun to shoot three different guns in essentially one event. Hopefully the side match will become a regular addition to the monthly event.

After arriving home I cleaned up and we headed out to visit a friend, and some breweries. During the two hour drive to our destination I don't think I stopped regaling Colleen with my recollections of the match. It really was that much fun. I can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Devils Backbone Founder on Anheuser-Busch Deal

Listen to Devils Backbone founder Steve Crandall talk about the history, and future, of the Devils Backbone partnership with Anheuser-Busch. There are exciting things to come.

Thanks to Tommy Stafford and Blue Ridge Life Magazine for sharing this interesting interview. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Why Locked Phones Matter

Why all the fuss about one encrypted phone? Because it's not about just one encrypted phone.

I've said from the beginning the San Bernardino iPhone issue wasn't about fighting terrorism, it was about setting precedent. Be glad the FBI failed. This time.