Saturday, May 31, 2014

Back For Another Adventure

Another Adventure Brewing beer that is. Friday evening Colleen and I returned to the Stafford County brewery to check out the Bookworm Brown Ale that we had sampled last weekend. We weren't disappointed. Bookworm Brown Ale has a rich, malt and nutty flavor. The brown sugar used in the brewing gives the beer a sharp, crisp bite in the finish. More nutty, than sweet, it's quite a tasty beer.

Adventure serves no food inside, but they are recruiting local food trucks to set up in the parking lot. This evening, Martina's Cantina (no website that I could find) was on hand serving up fresh Mexican-style food. One of the featured foods, that seemed to be quite popular, was the "Terminator," a burger topped with a fried egg and pull pork. Maybe next time I'll try that, but this evening we were in the mood for lighter fare. I ordered a tamale while Colleen opted for a couple of pork tacos. The dishes were topped with green salsa and cilantro creating a flavorful treat. The food is fresh and very tasty.

But now I had a quandary. I had enjoyed the Brown Ale very much, but was torn between another glass, or the Expedition IPA to go with my spicy food. I ultimately opted for a glass of the brewery's most popular beer, the IPA. I noticed a slight difference in the beer from the last time I had it; the beer was less bitter in the finish, but still with the hoppiness I so enjoyed. We were told later that the brewers had tweaked the brew just slightly in this batch as they thought it a tad too bitter previously. As expected, the IPA was a perfect accompaniment to my tamale.

Dinner finished, I switched back to the Brown Ale for another tasting. (Don't judge, it's research.) Even right after the spicy food and hoppy IPA, the nutty flavor of the Brown Ale was bold enough to stand on its own. After enjoying ourselves for a couple hours, we both decided we were hungry again. I went back to the food cart and ordered a couple more tamales. Oh, but now that quandary returns. I guess I'll have another IPA.

All good times eventually end. However, I did buy an extension to the fun in a manner of speaking, by grabbing a growler to go of the Expedition IPA to be enjoyed in the very near future.

Range Trip: Trash Run

This week we were able to get in a late afternoon trip to the range for some shooting fun. Most of my recent practice time at the range has been solo, so it was good to have Colleen and a friend along. A steady rain had been falling for much of the day, but we're seldom dissuaded by inclement weather. By the time the car was loaded and we arrived at the range, the rain was reduced to a light mist.

Upon pulling in, we saw right away that the driveways into both pistol ranges were blocked by orange cones. Uh oh, that's not good I thought. Upon closer examination, we saw signs that read, "Pistol range is closed until the trash cans are empty. We are all volunteers." Petty? Perhaps. I've never been a fan of group punishment for the transgressions of a few. (Perhaps that's why I so despise the anti-gun crowd.) The organization does have a rule that you are supposed to take your cardboard trash with you, but a small, lazier crowd ignores that rule. So we emptied the trash can and filled two large bags of trash, mostly cardboard target refuse. The trash can was now empty so we figured we were free to shoot. We did jokingly remark, that according to the posted sign, there was no requirement to actually haul the trash away.

Sanitation engineer duties complete, we finally got set up to shoot. I put up a couple of USPSA targets for myself. Colleen and Checkered Flag set up a couple of the colorful Rob Pincus targets discussed here. I expended about 50 rounds doing my thing, but I kept looking over at the other targets. "Gee, those targets are fun," I remembered. Soon I replaced my target with one of those and we all started doing various fun drills; like calling colors and shooting on the move at the small shapes. I did get in some strong hand and weak hand only shooting too, which is something I hadn't done in quite a while.

Eventually, we all had gone through the ammo we had brought along. Just in time too, as the heavy rain was approaching again. We policed our brass, along with brass left on the ground by previous shooters. That other shooters often leave their brass behind, also in violation of the rules, is irritating but does mean more for me to trade in! We stuffed our own target trash into the bags and loaded the bags into the car. A quick detour to the nearby "convenience center" completed our range trip.

It was fun couple of hours, despite the unexpected chore. I do worry that if members keep ignoring requests to haul out their trash, the club leadership is going to take more drastic, and punitive, action that will affect even those innocent of violations.

Our range afternoon ended as all good range trips should; musing about the day over some good craft beer and a delicious meal prepared by Colleen.

Friday, May 30, 2014

"When SHTF, I'm coming to your house"

How often have we heard that, or something similar? When non-gun owning acquaintances find out about our interest in self-defense and firearms, they remark that they "know where to go when trouble starts." It's often said as a joke, but not without some seriousness. I usually just smile, but in my head I'm evaluating their declaration. "What do they offer?" Or I think, "Sure." Or even, "No way in hell."

I recently came across an essay entitled "Gun Wimps for Gun Rights" that got me thinking. The author explains his lack of desire to own any firearms, while supporting the rights of others to do so. So far, so good. But he goes on to explain the reasoning behind his support for those rights.
So I would like to make a plea to my fellow citizens: please buy, carry, and even stockpile weapons. Carry them with you always. Keep them in your homes and cars. It’s especially important to do this in public places, where freak murderers lurk. The weapons should be loaded and dangerous, capable of killing with one shot. 
I especially desire this because I don’t want to do this. Truth be told, I don’t like them. I don’t want them in my home. I don’t like shooting at the range. I don’t like looking at them, shopping for them, cleaning them, or even thinking about what they do to others. I loathe violence of all sorts, and hope to never have to use it. I’m a pacifist in spirit.
I was reminded of a situation a few years ago when a co-worker provoked a homeless person with what he considered a humorous remark, but one that caused the other party to begin pulling knives out of his backpack and waving them threateningly. My worker, knowing I was likely armed, took shelter behind me. When I had some words with him later he remarked, "I knew you'd protect me." (He did later become a gun owner.)

I exercise my rights for my safety and the safety of my loved ones with whose protection I am charged. Should people who WILL NOT (as opposed to CANNOT) defend themselves expect the same protection? What do we do about those who make a conscious decision to NOT protect themselves and their family? This could apply to food and shelter planning as well, not just defense against violence. This isn't a question of should such people be aided, or if there's a moral obligation to so do. That's a personal decision for each of us who choose to be prepared. The question is, do the willfully helpless have a right expect aid from others?

My own Faith teaches that I have a "grave duty" to protect those entrusted to my care, and my family knows and rightfully expects such protection.

"Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility." (CCC 2265)

I do agree completely with the author's assertion that an armed society will provide for a safer society. He, in some sense, understands the inherent right to self defense in a free society, and the roll firearms may play in a free and safe community. However I find his expectation that it is others, not himself, who will provide for his and his family's safety, to be both naive and selfish, and even somewhat offensive. He concludes with this:
The only real means to prevent the emergence of a world safe for criminals and government is to see the proliferation of guns among everyone else. I’m sorry, but I will not do my part in this respect. But I will defend the rights of others to do so, with a sincere hope that they will stockpile and be ready. Yes, I’m a free rider, but gun owners need to know that I’m truly grateful.
Grateful or not, is he justified in his expectations?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Two Local Breweries. And BBQ.

Sunday afternoon we headed up to the newly opened Wild Run Brewing Company, Stafford County's second craft brewery. Wild Run is an offshoot of Short's Branch Brewing Supply, which is located at the Aquia Pines Camp Resort.

We drove into the camping resort and found the camp store, and thought, "I guess this must be the place." Inside the home brew supply / camp supply store we found logo pint glasses on display and a couple of kegerators behind the register. Three beers were listed on the board; 0311 Pale Ale, Ed's Amber Ale, and Sterling Stout. Alas, the Stout was out and the lady running the camp store was unsure how to change the keg, but assured us the owner would be back shortly. We ordered samplers of the Pale Ale and Amber to try out.

Coincidentally, we ran into Sarah and Jeremy from BadWolf Brewing in Manassas. They were on the way to a nearby point of interest for some family outdoor time and stopped to visit. Colleen and I enjoyed a pleasant conversation on the deck with them before we all headed off to our next destinations.

Both of the beers were very enjoyable. The 0311 Pale Ale was moderately citrusy and a classic American Pale Ale. Likewise, the Ed's Amber Ale had a pleasing caramel malt base. We'll definitely plan to stop back and try out the Stout, and any other beers that Wild Run puts on. We were told that there are plans to add some additional parking and an outdoor patio for folks coming to enjoy the craft beers. Next time, I expect we'll stay longer.

Our next stop was Adventure Brewing. I first visited last Friday, and was looking forward to a return trip with Colleen, as I'd knew she'd enjoy the beers as well. The much lauded Grapefruit Wheat wasn't back yet so Colleen ordered a glass of the Stiletto Stout. I had read on the brewery's Facebook page that the Stout was just about gone, and indeed, there was but half a pint left. That partial glass emptied, Colleen ordered a glass of the Backpack Wheat. An experienced admirer of the style, she pronounced it "very good." I enjoyed a glass of the Expedition IPA, as a starter.

Backpack Wheat

By now, food was in order. It so happened that STEVE-O's BBQ, Burgers & BACON was outside serving up delicious food. I ordered a (huge) pulled pork sandwich with slaw while Colleen opted for a classic BLT. The sandwiches were delicious and just the thing to accompany the good beer. (Oh, the deep fried tator tots on the side were tasty too.) A Super Power Pale Ale was a fitting accompaniment for my lunch. (When you're visiting Adventure Brewing, be sure to ask about the story behind the naming of the Pale Ale.)

While we were visiting, we were treated to tour of the brewing operations, and a taste of Bookworm Brown, right out of the tank. This Brown Ale should be ready by next weekend. Brown Ales can often be somewhat on the boring side, but not so this one. It had a nice hoppiness to it and was quite enjoyable, even early. I'm predicting a return visit will be planned around the Brown Ale.

We had a very enjoyable afternoon partaking of local craft beer and food. There's a plethora of local brews and local food popping up in the area. I for one, am looking forward to lending my support!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Media Bias

Is there a better indicator of leftist media narrative against guns than this headline on the Chicago Tribune web site?

The accompanying article does go on to mention that the Hollywood liberal woman-hater killed half his victims by stabbing, but apparently that wasn't important enough to affect the headline. It's quite interesting that all the killer's stabbing victims died, while less than half the people he shot were killed. Still, the focus is on the gun. Of course, the source of the murderer's rage, the fact that he was raised in a pornography-worshipping culture which teaches that women only exist for a man's sexual gratification, doesn't get a mention at all.

The idea among California men males of murdering women for refusing their sexual advances seems to be not uncommon.

Walnut Ridge "Rock and Roll" Match

The Walnut Ridge Practical Shooters held their monthly USPSA match this past Saturday. The pleasant drive to the event was made even more enjoyable now that the sun's up early. Even the wildlife was up and about, as I counted deer, fox, turkeys, and a bald eagle among my sightings in the morning. The weather could not have been more pleasant for a morning of shooting,

As the Walnut Ridge match director is inclined to do, good use is made of the bay real estate. Stage 1 was the Classifier CM 13-05 "Tick Tock." This stage requires an unloaded gun table start. A mandatory reload is also made using a magazine from the table. The center top target is partially covered by a no-shoot sitting menacingly (or mockingly if you prefer.) I didn't hit any white, but did pull some of my side target hits into the C zones. It was a fun stage, and interestingly, my best stage finish of the day. Stage 2 "Rush," saw the shooter engaging both steel and paper targets, including the Classifier array, from around walls and through ports.

The next stage was labeled "Floyd" and included a Texas Star and a swinger among the falling steel and paper targets. A last minute change due to a drop turner malfunction added in the fun of a final 7 yard sprint to engage a lone target at point blank range. It was fun to see the may ways folks tried to engage that target on the move. And, yes, even at point blank range an A hit is not guaranteed. (I did get mine). Stage 4 "Halen" had four paper targets on either side with a plate rack and two falling poppers in the center. You had to shoot either the paper or steel, perform a mandatory reload, then engage the remaining array.

The final two stages in the last bay, like last month, were large field courses combined into one set up. In "Zeppelin" you engaged all the steel targets. For the final stage, "Maiden" all the targets were USPSA paper targets. What made these courses interesting, and challenging, were the numerous, and small, ports built into the solid walls through which many of the targets were engaged. In the words of another shooter, "Who gave them wood?' Unlike the popular snow fence walls, where you can see the targets as you come into position, the targets aren't visible through the solid walls, and in this case, were not visible except from very limited points looking through the ports. That the ports required bending, stooping, or even kneeling, added to the challenge. The odd-position shooting played havoc with my accuracy, not to mention my back, especially on the steel run.

Overall, it was a very fun match. And, I had no misses or other penalties for the entire match. That's a win in my book! I always enjoy the way the folks at Walnut Ridge add little twists to the stages to create interesting and challenging courses of fire. I hadn't actually picked up on the naming pattern for the stages until I saw the match results posted that evening. Perhaps my subconscious mind had picked up on it though as I tuned into the 70's satellite radio station for the ride home.

Since this was also Memorial weekend, I thought it especially apropos to find these poppies blooming at the sides of the range berms.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
--Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, November 19, 1863

No matter how you choose to mark the day, take a moment to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice, so that freedom shall prevail.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Free Beer!

Remember the vending machine at the Winter Olympics that dispensed free beer, to Canadians only? 10 Barrel Brewing Company has provided the same service to anyone with a valid, over 21 ID. As part of the campaign to promote their new summer brew, Swill, they placed the machine in random locations.

Alas, 10 Barrel is located in Boise, Idaho, so I don't expect to see this gift-giving machine around here. 

"They Disarmed Their Warriors First"

How much longer will we stand idly by, like the proverbial frog in boiling water?

Now that the 0bama administration's horrific treatment of veterans has been exposed in the VA scandal, Whittle's observations, originally published on April 11, are all the more unsettling.  Disarming, and allowing to die, seems to be the progressive modus operandi when it comes to our Nation's heroes.

During this Memorial weekend, let's also remember those veterans who died due to a broken corrupt government healthcare system. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fish in My Yogurt

A co-worker stopped by my desk recently with a disgusted look on her face. She showed me her now empty yogurt container and asked "Why is there fish in my yogurt?"

From the Müller FAQ: "We use kosher gelatin from tilapia to maintain the light and airy texture of the fruit mousse."

Fish, or parts thereof, does make it's way into unexpected places, Isinglass (fish bladder) is used by some brewers as a filtering agent, much to the chagrin of some consumers.

I suspect the PETA folks who object to hot dogs on Memorial Day might be dry heaving right about now.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale

From the moment I heard that Flying Dog Brewery was making a beer with OLD BAY® seasoning I was intrigued. Growing up in Maryland, Old Bay was a staple on the table. Many a summer afternoon was spent consuming copious amounts of steamed crabs covered with the iconic spice. Heck, when we needed a break from picking crab meat, we'd spead butter on crackers and put OLD BAY on them! Shrimp, fish, even corn on the cob, the OLD BAY food pairings were endless. All these found memories aside, I was intrigued, but still curious — would this flavor combo really work?

After a hot afternoon on the range, we were relaxing with some cold beer while waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Colleen was preparing BBQ ribs, and it seemed the right time to open the sample bottle of Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale. I offered to share the bottle with my dining partners, but they declined, opting for more "traditional" beer flavors. Pouring my beer, the familiar smell of OLD BAY wafted forth. That was not unexpected, though I was mildly surprised at the aroma's strength. The beer poured a bright yellow color with a thick white head.

Taking the first sip, the OLD BAY spice flavor was prominent. But it wasn't all OLD BAY spice.  There's a lemony tartness in the background, as well as some hefeweizen-esque yeast and wheat flavors coming through as well. The finish lingers with a bit of citrus and pepper. As I continued sipping, the spiciness remained but didn't overwhelm.

I was really enjoying this beer, but still offered a few sips to the others. Despite their initial hesitation, they too found the beer to be quite enjoyable. In fact, during dinner Colleen mentioned that she thought she would go out the next day and see if she could find any at the store. I have seen reports that the beer is selling out quickly. 

I found Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale to be surprisingly refreshing. It's a light bodied beer, in spite of the robust and spicy flavor. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but I quite enjoyed this beer. I hope Colleen is able to find some for sale locally. That's now two beers from Flying Dog in recent weeks that I think we'll keep on hand this Summer. The first one I reviewed last month, Flying Dog Easy IPA, seems to be in high demand as well. The last time I made a trip to the beer shop, I grabbed the very last six pack in stock. I'll be keeping my eyes out for both of these now.

A portion of the proceeds from Dead Rise OLD BAY Ale Dead Rise will go to True Blue, a program that advocates on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay’s 5,500 watermen and promotes sustainably harvested Maryland Blue Crab. Flying Dog has also teamed up with leading chefs in the region to create The Dead Rise Cookbook, with recipes featuring Old Bay seasoning. The proceeds from the cookbook will also help benefit True Blue. I have the book in hand and we'll be reviewing some recipes from the cookbook in the near future as well.

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

Spammer, you so funny

I woke up to this entertaining missive this morning:
There were nevertheless several prop motivated to produce a get of the usb ports however, along with a good work way too due to the fact Pennsylvania wines excursions wouldn't be a part of the ultra-modern morning way of life in any other case. shot glasses 
I've redacted the link to an Etsy store selling etched shot glasses. I guess when the California-based Etsy vendor hires some spammer from Bangladesh to do his dirty work, he shouldn't expect quality. The comment was left on this "Wine, Whiskey, Craft Beer" post, so maybe the spammer was taking the post title to heart.

But at least I had a laugh.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Defensive Shotgun Class With Tom Givens

This past Sunday, Tom Givens of the Memphis, TN based Rangemaster training organization presented a Defensive Shotgun class in Culpeper, VA. The class was hosted by John Murphy at FPF Training. Tom was assisted by Lynn Givens who is a knowledgeable instructor herself. I attended the class with Colleen, and our good friend and frequent shooting partner, "Checkered Flag."

The course opened, as all gun training should, with a reminder lecture on gun safety and range rules. Throughout the day, we took breaks from shooting to discuss topics such as shotgun modification and accessories, ammunition types and history. A lot of misconceptions about the shotgun were corrected during the course of the day.

The hands-on drills started out with us learning how to properly, and efficiently, manipulate the weapon. This includes properly mounting the gun, and keeping it loaded and running. That's the key to successful use in a defensive situation. Unlike your semi-auto pistol, or rifle, once you shoot a pump shotgun, it's no more than a club until there's another round loaded. We spent a lot of time doing dry fire, and then live fire, ingraining the bang-chunk-chunk rhythm to load a round without delay after firing. Later drills concentrated on properly loading rounds into both loaded and empty weapons. In fact, everything we did the entire day was designed to emphasize getting the weapon into the fight quickly, and keeping it there.

Although most of the practice was done with inexpensive birdshot, the exercises were focused on the idea that a defensive civilian gun would be loaded with buckshot. One major shotgun fallacy which was debunked is that "you don't have to aim a shotgun." Yes, you do even at close range, unless you want to risk losing the fight, or even killing your neighbor with an errant buckshot pellet. Even at 5 yards it's easy to have a shot miss the center of the bad guy. Most of our work was done at a real-world distance of 5 yards. In addition, we patterned our guns with buckshot and slugs out to about 20 yards. I was quite surprised to learn that with quality 00 buckshot, even out to 20 yards, it's possible to put a single, compact hole in the paper target. (Unfortunately, most in the class had brought along cheaper training ammo, but Tom gave us all a round of Federal FlightControl Wad so we could see what our guns could do.)

I will not write up all of what we did and learned that day. You need to take the class and do the work yourself to learn it. However, I'll share a couple of very illustrative drills that helped to emphasize the critical points of weapon manipulation and aiming. One such drill Tom calls "Rolling Thunder." We were divided up into groups of 5 or 6 shooters. At the start command, all would load a single round, and each shooter would fire in turn immediately after the previous shooter finished. Immediately after shooting that first shot, you had to load two rounds and be ready to fire both before the "rolling thunder" came back around to you. After 2 shots, you would then load three and fire all when your turn came again. After that, you loaded and fired four. That's when the pressure really built as you didn't want to be the one to not be reloaded and ready to fire when your turn came.

The final drill of the day was a man-on-man competition. We started with two rounds of buckshot loaded in the gun. The drill was to fire three rounds into the head of an FBI 'Q' target before your opponent did, so there would be an emergency reload involved as well. All pellets had to be contained within the head or you lost. Sadly, I pulled my first shot a bit to the left, which meant my opponent had beaten me. But that's okay, I have no problem being married to a beautiful lady who can also run a defensive shotgun! It's all about teamwork.

I was suffering through a few aches and pains the following day. Still, I'm looking forward to getting back on the range to practice and hone these new-found skills. The shotgun is an excellent and highly effective home defense tool. It's also very misunderstood. There's a lot of internet (and gun store) misconceptions about the weapon and how it is used. At the end of the day, I was not surprised by how little I knew, but was truly impressed by how much I had learned. I will also admit, despite all the hard work to learn critical skills, it was an amazingly fun class. We ended up shooting 150 rounds of birdshot, about 50 buckshot, as well as a few slugs. Tom Givens is a respected trainer and an excellent teacher. If you have a shotgun for home defense, I strongly recommend you take his course, or at the very least, get training from a competent instructor.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Adventure Brewing is Open

Adventure Brewing celebrates their Grand Opening today, May 17. The brewery was actually open the past two evenings, and I was able to spend Friday evening at the brewery trying out the beer and chatting with the busy brewers.

Adventure Brewing Company is the dream-come-true for three home brewing friends, Tim Bornholtz, Stan Johnson and John Viarella. The trio have set up in a spacious industrial setting just a few turns off of I-95 (Stan told me that no more than "three turns from the highway" was one of the requirements they had for their location.) There is plenty of parking outside, and lots of space for seating, both inside and out. The interior's wood and stone theme is still under construction, but the 30 foot long wooden bar is the centerpiece. The wood came from a 200 year old Sycamore tree that once stood on the grounds of the Stafford Courthouse.

There were five beers on tap Friday evening; the four year-round beers and a specialty beer. I opted to start out with a flight. The five glasses are presented in heavy wooden "boat." I've seen some flimsy flight carriers that were at risk of losing the glasses, not so with this design!

Going left to right, the first beer is the surprising Grapefruit Wheat. This one came from a pilot batch made with the brewery's regular Backpack Wheat with the addition of grapefruit. The citrus addition added a refreshing tartness to the beer. The grapefruit was prominent but not overwhelming. Being a small batch brew, this one was kicked before the evening was over. However given the reception of the beer, they'll brew more.

Next up was the Backpack Wheat. This is a very mild Hefeweizen with just a hint of banana and bready yeast. It'll make a good "gateway beer" for folks starting to move away from mass-produced beers like Blue Moon and into the craft beer world. 

Super Power Pale Ale is the brewery's year round Pale Ale. This is a hybrid beer of sorts. The recipe is based on Adventure Power Pilsner, but since the brewery is not yet equipped for lagering, they "made it an ale." The beer has a slightly fruity flavor with a hint of citrus, and a chewy malt base. It's a different interpretation, but one that's quite tasty.

Next we came to Expedition IPA. Naturally, this was the beer I was most looking forward to trying. I wasn't disappointed. It's not a super bold beer that will scare off the less adventurous, but it's still got the kick to satisfy the hop head. The juicy citrus hops are well-balanced by rich malts. My favorite beer of the evening, I enjoyed a full glass (or two) after my tasting trial was complete.

Stiletto Stout was the last beer in the flight. This is a full-bodied Stout with a rich roasted malt flavor. The bitterness lingers in a dry finish. At around 7% ABV, this was the "biggest" beer on the menu. I predict this will be a favorite among Adventure's fans.

The brewery was surprisingly crowded. The "soft" opening was promoted through social media and word of mouth. I heard many folks commenting, "my friend told me you were open." With the doors open, some fans were enjoying the cool evening, playing on the corn hole boards set up outside. For myself, I spent a few hours at the bar, enjoying good fresh, local beer and chatting with other patrons. I asked folks their opinions of the beers, and although everyone had their favorites, there was a not a poor review to be heard. 

There's no food currently served in the brewery, but plans are in the works to have food trucks on the premises. There will be several local vendors serving food for the Grand Opening. Adventure Brewing will be open on Thursday and Friday evenings 6:00PM to 10:00PM, Saturdays from Noon to 10:00PM and Sundays Noon until 6:00PM. They are located at 33 Perchwood Dr, Stafford, Virginia.  I'll see you there!

Speed Trap

I get it. There's a 90 degree left turn ahead, but .15 miles per hour might be a tad overly cautious.

That works out to 13.2 feet per minute. So about a car length a minute. I'm guessing to remain legal one needs about 4 minutes to make the turn.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Craft Beer Revolution by Steve Hindy

Steve Hindy is the cofounder of Brooklyn Brewery. He was there at the beginning of America's craft beer revolution. His new book, The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers are Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink, tells the story of how America grew from less than 40 breweries in the 1970's, to around 3,000 today. Steve shares the story behind the story, and it's a fascinating tale.

When I received a review copy of the book, the first thing I did was leaf through the pages looking at the many black and white photographs, and reading random excerpts. I saw names and faces I recognized, and many who I only recognized by name. It was at least a week later when I finally had a chance to sit down and start reading, from the beginning. I was immediately hooked.

The story of the craft beer revolution starts with a single brewery in the mid-60's, when Fritz Maytag revives the Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco — a craft brewery that still exists today, unlike so many of the early pioneering brewers. The story continues with the fledgling Craft Brewers Conference, and "revolutionaries" such as Sam Koch, Ken Grossman, Charlie Papazian, Jack McAuliffe, F. X. Matt, and even Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

I'm only about a quarter of the way through the book, and the story is up to the mid to late 1980's, the period where I, along with many Americans, were just discovering these "unique" beers. (At the time we simply knew there existed these different, more flavorful beers — I didn't know about "craft beer" or the breweries behind them.) I expect the book to become even more riveting as more background to a familiar story is revealed.

Steve Hindy is an accomplished journalist, in addition to being a craft beer revolutionary, having discovered home brewing while serving as a Beirut-based correspondent for the Associated Press. (I'm willing to bet it's a fascinating story involved there as well.) I'm enjoying his telling of the history of craft brewing in the United States very much. Only life's other commitments force me to put down the book. As a craft beer fan, I feel a connection to the story. This is not a far-off tale, or one of ancient history. Indeed the story is recent and is continuing today. Hindy's recounting is extensively researched and footnoted with personal conversations and published accounts from those who were there. If you're a fan of good American beer, or American drive and entrepreneurship, I recommend this book. You can find The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers are Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink on Amazon in hardcover and Kindle editions, and at brick book stores now.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. My impressions are provided of my own free will.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dominion Abbey Ale

Abbey Ale is the latest release in the Dominion Brewing "Pinup Series." The slightly irreverent artwork actually has some basis in history. It was a Benedictine nun, Hildegard von Bingen (1098 - 1179), the Abbess of Diessenberg, who first wrote about the preservative powers of hops in beer.

I shared the sample bottle with Colleen this weekend; after all it was Mother's Day. The Dubbel-style beer pours a deep copper color with a thin off-white head. The aroma is yeast and caramel. The flavor brings in caramel, butterscotch, banana, and a hint of dark fruit. A touch spiciness comes through at end. The finish leaves behind a mild sweetness while a moderate carbonation tingles the mouth. The 7.5% ABV adds just a touch of detectable warmth, but the overall profile is quite smooth.

We both enjoyed the Abbey Ale. It was a delightful late afternoon "appetizer" on a relaxing Mother's Day. Splitting the 12 ounce bottle left plenty of room for dinner, dessert and drinks to come later.

Abbey Ale replaces Candi Belgian Tripel in Dominion's Pinup variety pack and will also be available on draft in the mid-Atlantic states.

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

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thank You, Mom

This is the fourth Mother's Day since my mom passed away. I can't call her to wish her a Happy Mother's Day, or tell her how much I love her. I was sitting here thinking, what else I might say if I could talk to her once more. One additional thought does come to mind, "Thank you, mom." If you haven't said it to your own mother recently, today would be a good day.

We all miss you mom.

And to my beautiful wife, Happy Mother's Day. Thank you for all you do for our family. I love you.

Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Red Circles and Pistol Practice

I headed off to Culpeper, VA this morning to get a small bit of shooting fun. The Cedar Mountain Youths group was hosting its monthly practical pistol practice match. The forecast called for the possibility of rain, so all stages were set up to be shot mostly from under canopies. The overcast skies and 70 degree temperature combined to make pleasant shooting weather. Fortunately the rain mostly held off and we shot just a single stage in the rain with the targets covered in plastic.

The manager of the property recently ruled that there could be no steel targets at the match. There's a common safety misconception about shooting (proper) steel targets that many folks have, but rules are rules. The match designer this month decided to simulate steel plates by using red paper plates attached to white targets. Fortunately, the white target were only holding the plates, NOT scored as no-shoots! Six stages were set up. As expected, two shots on paper and one hit on "steel" was the standard.

Stage 1 was straightforward with two plates and two regular USPSA targets. Stage 2 mixed 6 "steel" amongst six paper targets. The shooter shot either all paper or all plates, performed a mandatory reload and then engaged the remaining targets. The practice time at Cedar Mountain does not score based on USPSA divisions, and everyone shoots against everyone else. However, I had decided to shoot according Production rules and only load 10 rounds per magazine. This meant I had an extra reload on this stage to engage all the paper. Perhaps in the future I'll take advantage of the practice stages to load my magazines fully, just for fun.

Stage 3 had six "steel" plates require one hit on each, a mandatory reload, followed by reengaging the plates again. Stage 4 was a very unusual stage, comprised of solely of a single USPSA target at around 15 yards. The stage called for a single shot on the target — truly the shortest stage possible. Despite the brevity, the challenge seemed to be enjoyed by all.

Stage 5 was a "standard" stage with 6 USPSA targets, with both hard cover and no-shoot targets blended in. The final stage saw the shooter hitting two plate targets from the starting box, then moving forward to another shooting position to engage 4 USPSA targets.

It's only a 60 round match with simple stages, but the Cedar Mountain event offers some low pressure shooting fun. Better yet, it's close by. That means I can "sleep in" (it's all relative), have a bit of fun shooting and be home by lunch. Most of the folks participating don't compete in sanctioned matches and just want enjoy some shooting with like-minded people. I can't argue with that.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Evolution Lot No. 6

We stopped by a local beverage store this weekend, specifically to pick up more Easy IPA. Just in time too, since I grabbed the last six-pack in the store. Good thing there's more on the way! While we were in the store, a representative for Evolution Brewing was there pouring samples of three of the Salisbury, Maryland brewery's beers; Summer Session Ale, Primal Pale Ale and Lot No. 6 Double IPA. I've not had any of the brewery's beers, so of course willingly accepted the tiny samples. Colleen and I both liked the Pale Ale and the Double IPA very much. We ultimately decided to bring home a four-pack of Lot No. 6, opting to grab the Pale Ale on another trip. (Space in the beer fridge is at a premium these days.)

After Sunday's USPSA match, we opened a couple of the bottles to enjoy before dinner. Even though I was quite exhausted from the day of shooting, I was looking forward to the relaxing with the big, 8.5% ABV drink.

Evolution Lot No. 6 pours a deep orange color with a fluffy, long-lasting beige head. As the level of beer lowers in the glass, a sticky lacing is left behind. The aroma is strong grapefruit and orange citrus, with a bit of caramel malt. When a beer smells this rich, I often spend as much time sniffing as sipping and this was no exception. The flavor is just as big as the aroma. The juicy, bitter citrus flavor is bold and lingers for a long while. It's not all bitter citrus as slightly sweet bready malt notes come through in the background. The mouthfeel is resinous and sticky, leaving a zesty bitterness behind in the finish.

We enjoyed the Evolution Double IPA quite a bit. Colleen remarked on how refreshing the citrus hops were. Indeed, this was a surprisingly refreshing beer. After finishing my glass, I was energized enough to fire up the grill and get dinner going. It was a fitting end to a long and tiring, but fun, day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How Was Your Hump Day?

After getting the work day obligations out of the way, there was time for this:

It was just me and some noisy geese on the pond.

And now it's time for this:

That's Flying Dog Easy IPA, which was reviewed here.

Don't hate me.   :-)

What Country Did I Wake Up In?

I've been displaying the American flag, along with the Pledge of Allegiance on this blog, since at least July 2012. I do so proudly, and have no intent on ceasing. Imagine my surprise when the left in this country this week deemed the display of the flag to be a racist act. (Actually, I am not surprised at all.)

The left in California are spurred on by a 9th Circuit court ruling that the American flag is a "symbol of racial animus." I wondered if they still have it displayed in the courtrooms there. It seems the leftists are upset that patriotic Americans would protest the Court's declaration. The flag-haters choose to ignore the fact that the activist court's proclamation was based on a fear of violence by foreign students at the school, not the American citizens displaying the flag. Yet it was the rights of Americans the court decided to restrict.

Twitchy has preserved the liberal sputtering here. I'd advise your blood pressure medicine before clicking that link.

Not Racist. Marine Barracks, Washington, DC

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"May the Fourth" USPSA Match

The Fredericksburg Practical Shooters had some Star Wars fun with their "May the Fourth Be With You" match theme. The monthly match was also a special "classifier match," so four standards stages were set up in addition to three field courses. It was a fun match, with very challenging stages. It was also one of those rare days for the infamously hot Fredericksburg range as there was a constant breeze and moderate temperatures.

The first stage our squad shot was Stage 6 "There Is No Try." The course of fire consisted of 10 paper targets, with a few only partially visible in narrow windows. I felt confident going into the stage, ran it well, and felt good at the end. In fact, with 13 A and 7 C hits, it would turn out to be my best run of the day — finishing the stage 6th out of 47 Production shooters. Unfortunately that performance wouldn't be repeated this day.

Next up was the first Classifier of the day, CM 06-06 "Golden Bullet Standards." This is a typical "shoot six, reload, shoot six" stage, requiring the use of both strong and weak hand shooting. In what would turn into the the mantra for the day, I finished by exclaiming, "Aaargh, a Mike." (Hint: Watch the front sight.) Things would get slightly better on the next stage, CM 99-24 "Front Sight 2." No Mikes or Deltas here, but the 5 C hits with 7 A's kept the score down, but still was my second best stage finish. (Hint: Slow down.)

Golden Bullet Standards

Another field course, called "YT-1300" was up next. This course included a stomp plate which activated a slow swinger. The fairly straightforward course required a bit of two-step at the end to engage the last four targets, with some careful stepping off the box while staying inside the free-fire area. Again, a couple of misses and a lot of C hits hurt my overall score. (Hint: Settle the gun when coming into position.) Next up was a newer classifier stage CM 13-03 "Short Sprint Standards." This course has more movement than a typical classifier, with more distance involved too. For the first string shoot six shots on six targets, reload and move to the next box and reengage the targets strong hand only. The second string is similar with shooting weak-hand only after the reload and move. (Hint: Practice weak-hand shooting.)

The next field course, "Sarlacc Pit" had some minimally exposed and distant shots, and an unusual activator. While running to final shooting position, the shooter pushed through a bar across the lane that activated a clamshell target. You had the option of shooting the briefly exposed target on the move, or going for the exposed head-only area from a closer standing position. I had thought to try a shot on the move but experienced an unusual malfunction while reloading when about to hit the activator. As I was watching the magazine go into the magwell, I spied a round popping out of the top of the mag. I came to a stop to remove the magazine and shake out the loose round.

The final stage of the day was CM 03-07, "Riverdale Standards." Three strings, shooting freestyle, strong hand only, and weak hand only, from a close distance, on open targets should have provided a good opportunity to rack up a high score classifier. Alas, it was not to be. If I recall, my misses on this stage were the freestyle shots, not the single-hand shots. (Hint: Don't move off the target too fast.)

Photo Courtesy of P. Begovich

Despite not shooting as well as I would have liked, the match really was a lot of fun. I was very happy with my planning and execution of those plans on the field courses. I felt good getting into position to shoot. I just wasn't paying attention to the sights as well as I should have. It's quite a contrast to last week's Walnut Ridge match when I shot much better. I suspect I'll end up with one classifier score that will help my average, one that will maintain status quo, and two that just won't count. Still, any day on the range beats any day just about anywhere else. (And I have an excuse to hit the practice range more.) Overall, an excellent time was had, and I even met some new friends. Naturally, the beer at the end of the day was a welcome treat as always!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pope's Cream Cake and Saison

The other evening we were enjoying some Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night before dinner. Even though we stocked up on this beer last Summer, Colleen and I were discussing how it really fits as a good Spring beer. After dinner we enjoyed a family movie night, and Colleen announced we'd finish off the "Pope's Cream Cake."

Kremowka Papieska is a traditional Polish cream cake dessert that was much loved by Pope Saint John Paul II. Colleen made the dish in honor of the late Pope's Canonization, and it's quite tasty, even to us of Irish decent! When the dessert was served, I had the thought that another glass of Red Sky at Night Saison would be the perfect accompaniment. Really, it just wasn't an excuse to have another beer.

The mild sweetness of the Saison, combined with the malt and yeast flavors went along well with the creamy pastry treat. The beer is light bodied with a refreshing palate-cleansing carbonation. The pasty cream is mildly flavored and was not overwhelmed by the beer. The "traditional" pairing for a Saison is pungent cheese or spicy meats. However, cream-filled pastries work quite well too it seems.