Friday, October 24, 2014

Five O'Clock Friday: Beer On the Brain

Thought for a Friday...


H/T to The Feral Irishman (Possibly NSFW).

Has VCDL Gone PC?

A recent email from the Virginia Citizens Defense League contained an essay entitled "Firearm vs weapon, CHP vs CCW - words mean things." Within that post, VCDL President Philip Van Cleave made this comment,
HANDGUN, FIREARM, SIDEARM, GLOCK VS WEAPON 
Avoid the use of the word “weapon” when referring to your firearm.  Weapon has a negative connotation, referring more to something used in an aggressive or offensive manner.  The military carries weapons.  You and I carry for defensive reasons only.  Instead use the words firearm, sidearm, handgun, or the firearm type, such as Glock, Sig, etc.

I was taken aback. What is this PC nonsense? Van Cleave claims that "weapon" has a negative connotation. He posits it is because the military carries "weapons." Does that mean the military has a negative connotation, or is deployed only for offensive purposes? A weapon can certainly be used defensively, as one was just this week in Canada, and also 100's of times each year, by civilians in the United States. I carry a defensive weapon. In fact, I carry a dangerous defensive weapon. If it wasn't so, I wouldn't stake my life on it.

I agree with the VCDL in that "words mean things." That is why we should not cede the language to the hoplophobes. The enemies of freedom have already usurped words like "tolerance" and "liberal." We see it everyday in the news when mass killers are described as "shooters" or "assault weapon" is used to refer to just about any semi-automatic gun that's black.

Do I say "weapon" every time I refer to my gun? Of course not. Will I avoid the use of the term for political correctness? Certainly not.

On the other hand, maybe VCDL is on to something.


 I suppose my "pistol" would be allowed wherever this is posted.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

That's 2,000 Musings

The previous post was number 2,000 for these Musings. I find it appropriate that the subject was reminiscing over one of my long-time favorite beers. Now to get to work on the next thousand.

The post announcing my 1000th post, not the post itself, is consistently in the most popular post listing in the sidebar, though I'm not sure why. It will be interesting to see what happens with this one!

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon

It was like visiting with an old friend. This week's "Steal the Glass" event at Capital Ale House featured beers from Heavy Seas Brewing in Maryland. One of the beers was an old favorite of mine, Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA. Also available were Cutlass Amber Lager and Small Craft Warning Über Pils. Naturally, I started with the Loose Cannon.



Two different glasses were offered for "stealing," a Belgian-style glass and a standard "shaker pint." I opted for the stemmed glass, as did Colleen for her Cutlass Amber Lager. Loose Cannon on draft has long been one of my favorite beers. It's not uncommon to find that a beer on draft tastes better than the same beer from a bottle. However, I've repeatedly found that Loose Cannon is significantly better on draft. So much so that I rarely bring it home, choosing to enjoy it whenever I find it on draft (which is infrequently in my local area.) The pine and fresh citrus flavors, caramel malt, and mild bitter finish brought back memories of the many pints enjoyed through the years.

I noticed that shaker pint glass offered sported an updated logo, different from the Clipper City/Heavy Seas pints I acquired years ago. So, in the interest of completeness, I opted for another helping of Loose Cannon, this time in the logo pint glass. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Quest for Range Time

There's been no shortage of beer blogging recently, but time for the second topic listed up there in the header has been sorely lacking. I've been lamenting about this situation with family and friends, but this evening I was reviewing my shooting and practice journal, and it really hit home — I need to get out to the range more!

There was a time when I'd manage two or three matches in a month, and at least one range trip for practice each week. Just this past July I squeezed in four matches! Then in August, I did one match, and hit the practice range just twice. September faired slightly better when there was time for not one, but two matches. However, there was but a single practice session at the range the entire month, although we did take a fun class in September so that counts as practice too. 

So here it is, the waning days of October, and I've been to the range just twice. They tell me shooting is a perishable skill, so I fear there may be cobwebs on more than just my range box.

I think I may need to take a little time off from work to rectify this situation. Yes, that's the ticket...

Bold Rock Cidery

After our great lunch at Wild Wolf Brewery last Saturday, we headed over to Bold Rock Cidery. Just last year we drove past Bold Rock but did not have time to stop in. At the time, it was just a small barn by the side of the road. Well, things change in a year and it's apparently been a very good year for cider. We walked our way up the hillside along a winding boardwalk, arriving at the 12,000 sq. ft. building that houses the cider making and bottling operations, a cider museum, and a large rustic seating area in which to enjoy the cider. Numerous tasting stations are set up where visitors are treated to free samples of the four ciders being produced. There is also a multi-level deck where one can sit outside and take in the view.



After standing there, and probably looking lost for a few moments we were directed to a tasting station where we tried out the four ciders. Bold Rock Virginia Apple is light, crisp and slightly sweet. Next we tried Virginia Draft. This cider is darker than the first, and drier with a bit less sweetness. Crimson Ridge Vintage Dry is a sparkling cider with a mild flavor and dry finish. Crimson Ridge Vat No. 1 is a sparkling cider with hints of tart green apples.

After our sampling, we made our way the serving bar where we all opted for glasses of Bold Rock Virginia Draft. Carrying our glasses outside to the deck, which is built over the hillside behind the cidery. It provides a gorgeous view of a mountain stream and of the mountains covered in their fall colors.



We lingered quite some time while sipping our cider and taking in the views. The weather was extremely pleasant and perfect for sitting outside. After finishing our drinks, we went inside to see the displays about cider making, as well as the watch the bottling machinery visible through glass walls. Watching the constant stream of bottles going down the lines, to be filled with cider and then packaged, combined with the rhythmic sounds accompanying the process was very mesmerizing.

The new Bold Rock cidery is quite impressive, and shows just how popular cider, particularly Bold Rock Cider, has become. Next time we visit, perhaps we'll pack a picnic lunch to enjoy while overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Need of a Geography Lesson

Overheard at the pub...

Scene: Sitting at a local pub during a Heavy Seas Brewing event. Guy #1, drinking a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, pontificating to Guy #2 drinking a Blue Mountain Dark Hollow Stout.

Guy 1: "They don't serve domestic beers here."

Tactical 1st Aid & Collapse Medicine Course

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to take the Tactical First Aid and “System Collapse” Medicine course put on by Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training. Greg was in the area putting on two classes hosted by FPF Training. The day before, Greg taught his Extreme Close Quarters Gunfighting course out on the range. We weren't able to do that class, but after experiencing Greg's teaching, it's on my list of things to do now. Greg is a 19-year veteran police officer, including 13 years as the full time tactical training officer for his agency. He has a hobby of third-world travel, and as such has developed extensive knowledge on surviving outside a "civilized" medical system.

Greg starts the class by going over how the tactical first aid taught in this class differs from the "standard" Red Cross or EMT first aid procedures. Those are highly valuable skills too, but for different situations. Think about the typical issues seen by our EMT and paramedic squads; car accidents, falls, and illnesses are probably the most common things seen. Treatment in these cases typically involves stabilizing the patient until he can be transported to a hospital. For shooters on the range, wilderness hikers, or for warriors on the battlefield, there may be no hospital nearby. There could be multiple injured persons, or gunshot victims needing treatment while the bullets are still flying. In these situations, the injury is most likely to revolve around blood loss, the circulation system, and respiration. In addition, this course covers survival during a short or long term break down of our medical system. Imagine your local hospital filled with pandemic victims. Are you willing to go to the hospital when you slice your hand open in the kitchen? Will doctors and EMTs report to work when people start dying of widespread disease? It's not hard to imagine scenarios where one might have to deal with a serious injury of a family member, or oneself, without the benefit of the local EMT responder and emergency room.

We spent a lot of time going over how to stop massive blood loss. Starting out with Israeli bandages, and other compression bandages, we learned the differences, along with how and when to use them. More importantly, we practiced applying various types of compression bandages to others and to ourselves. (It's not so easy to properly apply a pressure bandage on your own strong-side arm.)

We also covered tourniquets in depth. There's a lot of misunderstanding, and downright outdated and incorrect information regarding the proper use, safety and effectiveness of tourniquets. Much of what we know now comes from experiences in Vietnam and the Middle East conflicts. Once the pariah of emergency medicine, studies have shown that significant numbers of lives could had been saved in Vietnam by the proper application, rather than avoidance of tourniquets. After covering some of the main types of tourniquets available today, including C-A-T, SOF-T, and TK-4, we practiced their use. And again, we practiced both on partners and on ourselves. It wasn't the most pleasurable experience, but it's important to know how to apply these life-saving tools quickly and properly. We also covered the use of hemostatic agents such as Quikclot and Celox, including how to use them to transition from extended-term tourniquet use.

After lunch we moved on to respiration issues, including basic airway clearing procedures, as well as more advanced topics. Clearing a throat obstruction with an emergency cricothyroidotomy was covered. Chest cavity wounds and treating the "sucking chest wound" or tension pneumothorax was discussed next. We also covered how to relieve the pressure on the lungs by "burping" the wound or doing a needle decompression. Greg emphasized that these procedures are considered medical procedures, with related moral and legal complications, and should be considered only in emergency situations.

Moving on to circulation, we covered wound treatment including proper cleansing and disinfecting. Emphasis was placed on the difference between a quick rinse in the kitchen sink before heading to the local doc-in-a-box for treatment, and thoroughly cleansing and closing the wound in the home or field. We learned basic suturing, which we practiced on chicken thighs. Stapling and other (preferred) alternatives for closing wounds were also covered.

The final portion of the class was devoted to drugs, both over the counter and prescription. We talked about what medicines should be included in a emergency medical kit. We discussed alternatives for common drugs, as well as benefits and drawbacks. Greg also shared his experiences on how to legally obtain the discussed medicines, including prescription drugs, to prepare for travel or a collapse situation.

As a shooter, I am often at the range by myself. In the event of a serious injury, I may very well be the first responder, or the only responder. Even without the threat of a zombie apocalypse, this is important information to know and I feel better equipped after this class. Greg constantly challenged us to think about alternatives to the treatments and supplies we covered. We talked about how many of the first aid supplies, and even the packaging they come in could be multi-purposed. In fact, improvisation was a constant theme throughout the day. (Which reminds me I need to add duct tape to my kit.) After all, this is also a collapse medicine course. There are a few adjustments to be made to the contents of my range bag and my car med kit, and those fixes will be done very soon.

Greg is an excellent and highly qualified instructor. The material is presented in an interesting and engaging manner. The class was never boring, despite the heavy subject matter. There were several students in our class who were taking the course for the second time, there's so much information in the class, it's hard to retain it all at once. After the class we were given a CD with over 150 medical references as well as documents summarizing the class material. I've not even had a chance to go through that material.

As with other course reviews I've done, I've only given very high-level information here. There was much, much more information shared than is covered in this post. I'm not qualified to explain the material in detail, and it would be unfair to both Greg and the reader. Take this course if you can. For local readers, FPF Training will be hosting this and other classes from Greg next year. If you can't learn from Greg, get the training from another qualified instructor. In a tactical or collapse medicine situation, this is the stuff you need to know.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wild Wolf Brewery

Colleen, Checkered Flag and I head down to Nelson County on Saturday to take in the scenery, and breweries on Route 151. I had heard that the fall leaf viewing season was underway, so we expected crowds, and indeed they were there. When we drove past Blue Mountain Brewery, the first brewery on the "trail," we were shocked by the number of cars, but since we had other plans, we continued on. In addition to the expected fall foliage sight seers, it seemed every stop we made had wedding party celebrants in house.

We made this same trip last year, so this time were focused on the places we did not stop last time. Our first stop was Wild Wolf Brewery for lunch. Despite the lunch time crowd, it took no time at all to get a table in the outdoor seating area.


Naturally, the first decisions were regarding beer. I've only had a couple Wild Wolf beers, and they had at least 12 on tap this day, so I was a bit fraught with indecision, and I didn't want to try a bunch of tiny samplers. Eventually I settled on the Wee Heavy, and out of curiosity added a taster of Folktoberfest, the brewery's seasonal Oktoberfest beer. Colleen went for the Blonde Hunny, while Checkered Flag selected the Dry Stout.

For food, we all ended up going the BBQ route; a BBQ platter for Colleen, the House Smoked BBQ Ribs for Checkered Flag, while I strayed off the traditional path a bit with Pulled Pork Tacos.

The Folktoberfest beer was created as the official beer of the annual Richmond Folk Festival. It's a classic German Oktoberfest beer with the addition of Columbus hops, giving a crisp finish to the beer. The Wee Heavy was especially delicious and flavorful. At only 5.7% ABV, it's a mild Wee Heavy but quite enjoyable. The aroma brought forth caramel malt and dark fruit. The flavor was slightly sweet,  a little earthy and nutty, and finished with a pleasant smokiness. It was a fitting accompaniment to the BBQ Pork and spicy jalapeños in the tacos.

My dining companions shared sips of their beers as well. The Blonde Hunny is a Belgian style Blonde Ale. The refreshing unfiltered ale has some honey sweetness, along with a mild citrus and pepper spice kick to it. The Dry Stout is also quite good. It's got roasted coffee and dark chocolate, with a pleasant bitter and dry roasted finish.

All of the beers we enjoyed at Wild Wolf were very well-done. Also, the food was great. The house-smoked BBQ, in all forms, was quite tasty. We enjoyed ourselves very much sitting outside, enjoying the good food, great beer, and beautiful Autumn air. We had other stops planned, and a lot of driving to do, or I probably could have lingered at Wild Wolf for quite some time. We do look forward to going back.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday Night at Adventure Brewing

Each Friday evening there's a special treat in store at Adventure Brewing. It's Randall night! Dave, who also frequently tends the bar at Capital Ale House, dons an Adventure Brewing t-shirt and pours one of the Adventure beers infused with special ingredients. This weekend, we finally had a free Friday, so Colleen and I, along with Checkered Flag, spent it at the brewery. We arrived right at opening time, even before Dave, and listened as just about every one asked, "Where's Dave?" as they entered. This is apparently a popular and anticipated event.

This evening's special was Sweet Innocence Stout, which is Adventure Stiletto Stout pushed through vanilla beans. While we eagerly awaited that, I enjoyed one of my Adventure favorites, Second Ascent Double IPA. And food, of course we needed food too. Fat Mike's Gourmet Grub was set up outside, offering a variety of delicious fare. I opted for a Cheeseburger topped with Fried Pickles, and a side of Jalapeño Poppers. It was the perfect combo to stand up to the Double IPA.

The Randall set up, we eagerly waited as the Stiletto Stout steeped in the vanilla beans. Dave took frequent "test sips" to see if the flavors were ready. Eventually the pours began. The aroma and flavor of the vanilla, combined with the coffee and chocolate flavors of the Stout, made for a tasty and quite enjoyable drink. As the evening wore on, Dave tweaked the set up, a little more bean, more or less steeping time. We also tasted a sample later in the evening and noted the vanilla flavor, while more noticeable, had taken on a "softer" tone.



On previous Fridays, they've served Super Power Pale Ale through varied ingredients such as Cucumber, Jerky, Hops or Jalapeños. They've done an IPA with fresh hops, and Stiletto Stout with habanero and coconut. Who knows what tasty combinations will show up next!

We had a very enjoyable evening, chatting with the Adventure folks, and other friends who happened to stop by. Each time we visit Adventure, I'm struck by the "neighborhood" feel, and the friendly atmosphere to go along with the good beer. We have a bit of a trek to get to the brewery, but it's always been worth the drive.