Sunday, January 31, 2016

Virginia vs. Alaska

Prior to the start of the snow from winter storm Jonas last weekend, we received a notice from the range where we shoot...
A reminder for all that the Chapter grounds are to be closed to member access at noon today.  This will coincide with the arrival of the forecasted snowfall that is to continue through Sunday morning. This closing might have to continue thru several days into next week until temperatures & melting snow allow safe use of the grounds in any way.
A post-storm update noted...
The front entrance road to the Chapter is solidly blocked by about a 3 foot ridge of snow left by the snow plow. The Chapter has no means to remove this block in order to access the property so we know it will be there for another week at least.
This evening I was reading the Way Up North blog where Rev. Paul was describing a recent trip to his local range. He commented on the winter requirements imposed there...
The range had sent an e-mail to all its members, warning that ice cleats on footwear is mandatory. When we arrived, we could see why: all the precip had melted and refrozen several times, so that the entire grounds - roads, walkways, and ranges - was covered under two inches of nearly-transparent ice.
Hopefully we'll be able to use the local ranges in the coming weeks.

Flying Dog Tropical Stout

After last weekend's historic snow, and spending a week driving and walking through dirty slush, I was ready for a beer with "Tropical" in its name. While the aroma of barbecued ribs wafted from the oven, I sat down with a glass of Flying Dog Tropical Stout. The beer is the first in the 2016 Brewhouse Rarities series. It's brewed with coconut flakes and fresh pineapple.



A hard pour built a moderate, but very short lived mocha head over the pitch black beer. The initial aroma was that of tropical fruit and a dark mocha roast. As the beer warmed, I had fleeting hints of coconut as I raised the glass to my lips. The flavor brought juicy pineapple and hop notes, along with a strong roasted malt. The flavor combination was somewhat reminiscent of some Black IPAs I've had. Tropical Stout has a creamy and moderately thick mouthfeel. The combination of roasted malt and citrus hops was joined by hints of coconut in the finish. The coconut flavor is mild throughout, but makes its strongest appearance in the finish.

I nursed my beer long enough to enjoy some of it with the ribs at dinner. The mild hoppiness and roasted flavors did pair well with the spicy barbecue. I enjoyed the roasted and mocha flavors of the stout, but the hints of the coconut and pineapple were fleeting. As I downed the last sip from my glass, I paused and looked at the glass, wishing I had just another sip or two to try and catch the ephemeral tropical flavors.

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

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five O'Clock Friday: Bud Light Clothing Drive

I wouldn't drink the beer, but I'll laugh at the commercial. An oldie but a goodie.



Have a great weekend. Drink good beer.
And if you are going to do charity work...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

McAuliffe Sees the Writing on the Wall

A month after Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced he was rescinding Concealed Handgun Permit reciprocity with 25 other states, and just days before the change was to take effect, our anti-gun governor has struck a deal with law makers to rescind that rescinding. The Washington Post reports...

Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to announce Friday that Virginia will restore handgun reciprocity agreements with nearly all states, in a stunning reversal of firearms policy that angered Republicans and gun rights advocates across the nation.

The about-face is part of a deal that McAuliffe (D) struck with Republican leaders one month after Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) severed the right for gun owners in 25 states to have their concealed carry permits recognized in Virginia.

The devil is in the details, and we must wait to see what they are. There are a few concessions already known that the governor pushed as part of his capitulation. The state police will be on hand at gun shows to do voluntary background checks for private sellers. Private sellers have always had the option to participate in the background check process, so that's little change from the current situation. A person subject to a domestic protective order will not be eligible for a concealed handgun permit while under the order. The protective order system does carry the possibility of abuse, but still there's not much room to argue with this in my opinion. Finally, people who have had their VA permit revoked cannot use a permit from another state in Virginia. Ignoring that we shouldn't need a permit to exercise a right in the first place, these so-called "concessions" already exist for all intents and purposes.

So what brought about the change in the governor's stance that saw him gain so little? At this point one can only speculate. It could be that Herring's order was just a trial balloon, one that failed miserably. There's no doubt that McAuliffe and Herring are of like-mind when it comes to restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens. I've heard it suggested that the governor was not happy with Herring's move. While McAuliffe may agree in principle, he could not have been pleased with the instant, and national, political fallout. Upsetting 420,000 Virginia permit holders on both sides of the aisle was not a wise move. I suspect McAuliffe was seeing the writing on the wall in the form of the overwhelming pro-rights support in legislative committees this session. Nearly every pro-gun bill was moving forward, while bills from the antis were dropping regularly. It's easy to argue that McAuliffe was in for an embarrassing political shellacking, and he is hoping to avoid even more pro-gun legislation coming across his desk. The governor stood to lose his "perfect" veto-proof record to date. (And he could still see that record fall.) One does have to wonder what Michael Bloomberg is thinking about his investment now.

This story is still unfolding and there's been no comment yet from the Attorney General. There's always the chance that there are more "concession" requests to come, but on the surface this is more of a win for freedom than a loss. There's been nothing said about dropping any other pro-gun legislation currently under consideration. We will still be watching the legislature closely as the battle goes on to fully defend the 2nd Amendment.

See "Va. will once again recognize concealed carry permits from other states" for more on McAuliffe's reversal of the Attorney General's actions.

Still Here

I realized that my last entry here was the First Beer of the Blizzard post. Hopefully no one thought we were lost to the storm. After digging out and getting back into the work routine, I've not had a chance to do any blog-related stuff — no interesting beer, and no fun shooting outings. Frankly, I've simply been too dog-tired when I get home in the evening to grab the laptop and muse. Winter doldrums kicking in I reckon.

There are a couple of new beers in the fridge waiting to be reviewed. I've opted to relax with other beers instead, just because I haven't felt like "working." I'll get to those soon, likely this weekend. (Or maybe tonight, now that I'm thinking about them.)

It's quite frustrating that there's not been any opportunity to get to the range. Unfortunately, the foul weather caused the cancellation of an IDPA match I had planned to attend last Sunday. Plans for a lunch time trip to the indoor range this week were disrupted by an unscheduled meeting. And most disappointing, the range we shoot at has been deemed "closed until further notice" due to snow, and subsequently, melting snow. We used to shoot in the snow and rain regularly but the club leadership has ruled bad weather shooting as unsafe. Colleen and I, along with a friend, did get out to the range before the snow. That was a good time, but leaves me itching to go again.

On the bright side, there's less than eight weeks until the start of Spring!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Evolution vs Firearms

I've often thought that I've heard just about every anti-gun argument there is. In truth, there's not much new coming from the oppressors of freedom. Or so I thought. Then I came across a web site (mis)titled "Gun Control: A Rational Approach." The site is the work of David Roper, Professor of Physics at Virginia Tech. In his writing, Dr. Roper pontificates about human evolution.
In ~200,000 of human evolution, guns have been available for humans to kill each other for only ~700 years and the extremely high killability of guns has only existed for ~115 years. That is not enough time for physical (including emotional) evolution to cause humans to use guns in such a way as to insure their survival.
The professor's pablum provides a unique view of history and science in an attempt to support the professor's anti-gun argument. Taking his conclusion further, we should consider that automobiles have been around for only about 344 years. Death by automobile coincidently also has only existed for about 115 years. So by the good professor's logic, humans are not anywhere near evolved enough to drive cars responsibly.

I wonder how the author feels about the common suggestion to treat guns like cars.

Come to think of it, Dr. Roper is probably not a fan of the flush toilet either. Humans have had less time to evolve to its use than we have with guns.

Monday, January 18, 2016

IDPA BUG Match

The first match of the year for me was the annual IDPA BUG match held at Rivanna. I've had lots of range time recently, but this was the first competition opportunity since November. Over the past few weeks I've put about 500 rounds through a new gun and was excited to put that practice time to test in a match.

In order to accommodate shooters who had yet to acquire holsters or multiple magazine carriers for the new IDPA division, all stages had table or low ready starts, and any magazines were staged on tables or barrels. All guns and magazines were loaded with just six rounds per IDPA rules.

The first stage my squad shot had the shooter seated at a table, facing a falling steel popper that activated two drop turners, which fell at essentially the same time. You had to be quick to put two shots on one, and then catch the other on its second exposure. I posted a video of the movers in action here. It was quite the warmup to get the match started! I've often lamented that I wasn't able to shoot some stage twice, and this time we did. Each shooter ran the stage twice and the times were added.



Next up was a stage requiring SHO and WHO shots only. The first string was shot left hand only around the left side of the barricade, and the second using the right hand only from the right side. If anything, this stage showed me I need to work more on shooting single handed with the small gun.

For the next stage we started with the loaded gun and extra magazine on a barrel. Picking up the gun, we engaged three targets in tactical sequence, did a reload on the clock, and reengaged the targets with two head shots each.

The final stage was a field course, with magazines set out on a couple of barrels. At the start, you engaged three targets while backing up. Grabbing a fresh mag from a barrel, the next three targets were engaged through a small port in a wall. The center target of that array was very low to the ground and close to the wall; it made for a stretch to get gun up an over to make the shot. Moving to the last position, another reload and three more targets from cover completed the course of fire.



This was the first time I'd shot a BUG match. I had a great time despite it turning into a longer than expected day. The stage with the popper and drop turners created a backlog of shooters due to the time required to reset (twice for each shooter.) However, that time was spent socializing with other shooters, and the weather was surprisingly pleasant for January. I was mostly pleased with how I shot, using the small, and new-to-me gun. I won't be shooting it every match, but I expect I'll break it out from time to time in future matches as it is surprisingly fun to shoot.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Blue & Gray Purchased By Adventure Brewing

The rumors of an impending sale have been going around since a sales announcement for an unnamed brewery "located 1 mile from a very historic downtown in central Virginia" was seen on Craigslist a few weeks ago. I suspected Blue & Gray was the brewery being offered but had no confirmation, until now. Fredericksburg.com reported on Friday that Adventure Brewing has purchased Blue & Gray Brewing.

According to the report, the Adventure Brewing tasting room in Stafford will remain open, while the Blue & Gray facility will become Adventure’s production brewery. Some of Blue & Gray's beers will continue to be produced by Adventure.

This is exciting news for the craft beer scene in the Fredericksburg area. Congratulations to Adventure owners Tim Bornholtz, Stan Johnson and John Viarella on their success. And a big thank you goes out to Blue & Gray founder Jeff Fitzpatrick for his pioneering efforts with craft beer in Fredericksburg. His brewery, founded in 2002, was the first in the Fredericksburg area. Best wishes in your future endeavors Jeff!

See "Adventure Brewing purchases Blue & Gray Brewing" for more information on this exciting news.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Five O'Clock Friday: Don't Be This Cat

This early Felix the Cat cartoon serves to remind us that cartoons were not always for kids, and often had a darker, but still humorous side. Titled Woos Whoopee, this Felix adventure tells the tale of a wild night of drinking in a speakeasy, followed by an interesting hallucinogenic walk home.


Enjoy the weekend. Avoid the dragons.

H/T to Brookston Beer Bulletin for digging this up this classic.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Loser-in-Chief

The 10 US sailors taken hostage have been released, and no doubt the story will fade from view in a day or two. Prior to their release, the Loser-in-Chief gave his last discourse on how much he despises the United States of America State of the Union speech. Notably absent was mention of the nine men and one woman taken by the Iranians. Former Navy SEAL Matthew Bracken penned a very interesting comment over at American Thinker...
I rarely pull out my dusty old trident, but in this case, here goes. I was a Navy SEAL officer in the 1980s, and this kind of operation (transiting small boats in foreign waters) was our bread and butter. Today, these boats both not only had radar, but multiple GPS devices, including chart plotters that place your boat’s icon right on the chart. The claim by Iran that the USN boats “strayed into Iranian waters” is complete bull$#it.

For an open-water transit between nations, the course is studied and planned in advance by the leaders of the Riverine Squadron, with specific attention given to staying wide and clear of any hostile nation’s claimed territorial waters. The boats are given a complete mechanical check before departure, and they have sufficient fuel to accomplish their mission plus extra. If, for some unexplainable and rare circumstance one boat broke down, the other would tow it, that’s why two boats go on these trips and not one! It’s called “self-rescue” and it’s SOP.
Read the rest here... 

Bracken has real world experience and I think valuable insight, and his entire post is worth a read.


"Surveys show..."  Heh.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Red Dragon Brewery Opening Planned For Summer

Fredericksburg will soon have another craft brewery. Red Dragon Brewery was granted a special use permit by the City Council on Tuesday.

A special use permit was required as the planned location is zoned for commercial/transitional office, which does not allow for a brewery. Most speakers at the hearing spoke in favor of the brewery, but one Council member voted in the negative. The permit approval places restrictions on the hours of operation and prohibits outdoor service.

Brewery owners Thomas Evans and Danial Baker plan an English-style pub at the location on Princess Anne Street. A July 2016 opening is anticipated.

Congratulations to Red Dragon on the progress so far. I look forward to visiting this Summer.

Future Home.
Photo from brewery's Facebook page.

You can follow the brewery progress on the Red Dragon Brewery Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Blog Linkage Updates

I've been doing some cleanup on the links tabs at the top of the Musings. There are now just two link tabs, each with long lists of interesting links. I've also removed numerous links to blogs that are sadly no longer active. If a blog hasn't been updated in over two years, I won't waste your time directing you to it. Unfortunately there were a lot of dead links among the beer blogs especially.

The Craft Beer & Food tab focuses on just that. There's a subsection for local places to eat and drink good beer, a larger Virginia-related section, and a longer general beer blog listing. Most of the recent updates to this tab have been in the list of Virginia breweries.

The Shooting, Freedom & Faith tab has lots of interesting links for further reading on those subjects. Again, the first subsection has links to local clubs and matches. There's also a large general list of shooting and freedom-related links, followed by some specific sections devoted to politics and faith.

I've been neglectful in pointing out new additions to the links as I add them, and plan to get back to that going forward. Here are a few links that have been added in recent weeks.

Midwestern Rebel
"Sharp words, ideas and commentary on life politics, family and overall preparedness"

Peace or Freedom
"Just your average GI pissed off at watching the Left destroy the country he's sworn to protect."

The Last Tradition
"A blog of Politics, News, Crime, and Culture from a Conservative POV"

If you write a blog that might be of interest to readers of these Musings and wish to add reciprocal links, let me know and we'll make that happen.

Cheers!

A Brewery In Your Gut

Apparently this really happens...
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Drunken-driving charges against an upstate New York woman have been dismissed based on an unusual defense: Her body is a brewery.

The woman was arrested while driving with a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit. She then discovered she has a rare condition called "auto-brewery syndrome," in which her digestive system converts ordinary food into alcohol, her lawyer Joseph Marusak said in interviews this week.

A town judge in the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg dismissed the drunken-driving charges this month after Marusak presented a doctor's research showing the woman had the previously undiagnosed condition in which high levels of yeast in her intestines fermented high-carbohydrate foods into alcohol.

In tests done to prove her case, the woman achieved a blood alcohol level of .36, without consuming any alcohol.

All possible jokes aside, this doesn't sound like a fun way to live.

See "Woman Beats Dui Rap With Claim Her Body Brews Alcohol" for more on this rare, but not unheard of condition.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Box of Rocks and a Problem Solved

I typically bring target stands with me when I go to the range. During a recent outing, I skipped the stands, knowing the ground would be muddy, opting instead to hang my target on the provided rope. Wouldn't you know it? Before I fired the first, the wind picked up and the target was pushed to a horizontal position.

I thought for a moment, and quickly scrounged a solution. The plastic box from a new magazine, some rocks, and a bit of tape solved the problem. The wind-driven swinging that still occurred simply added to the challenge.


It ain't pretty, but it worked. And the box of rocks has been added my range supplies.

Brewing For a Good Cause

Last week twenty area brewers got together at Fair Winds Brewing to support a fellow brewer's wife. Kerri Rose is a new mom, and the wife of Matt Rose, who runs Forge Brew Works in Lorton, VA. Kerri is battling cancer and the local brewing community gathered to brew a special Belgian Pale Ale. Proceeds from the sale of the beer at the breweries involved will go towards the Rose's medical bills. 



This special beer will be available on January 29 at the following breweries:

Adroit Theory Brewing Company
Adventure Brewing Company
Bad Wolf Brewing Company
Caboose Brewing Company
Capitol City Brewing Company
Corcoran Brewing Company
Crooked Run Brewing
Fair Winds Brewing Company
Forge Brew Works
Heritage Brewing Company
Lost Rhino Brewing Company
Mad Fox Brewing Company
Ocelot Brewing Company
Old Bust Head Brewing Company
Old Ox Brewery
Ornery Beer Company
Port City Brewing Company
Spencer Devon
Tin Cannon Brewing Company
Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery

For more on this worthy effort, see "Special Batch of Beer to Benefit Brewer's Wife Battling Cancer." And then get out to one or more of those breweries and enjoy a pint or two later this month.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mass, Brass, and Beer

It was a pretty good Sunday for a Catholic beer and shooting enthusiast. The day started, as it should with Holy Mass. Though it was overcast in the morning, by the time Mass ended the sun was shining and the temperature had hit 60°, which was remarkable for January.

I quickly loaded up the car and made an unplanned trip to the range. Despite the exceptional weather, I got in before the crowds showed up. The fun of spending an hour shooting wasn't dampened by standing in, and retrieving brass from, an inch of water from overnight rains.

After that it was a quick lunch and a trip to the grocery store for supplies. The rest of the day was spent feet up, reading and watching football good beer in hand. The beer I enjoyed, Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA, coincidently was gift from a fellow Catholic shooting enthusiast.

Yea, a pretty good Sunday indeed.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Commander in Deceit

"Dana Loesch strikes back at the president's extreme overreach by shedding light on his dishonest history of enforcing existing gun control legislation. The "Commander in Deceit" continues to empower and enable gang members, felons and repeat offenders … while the only people he continuously punishes are law-abiding citizens."

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hardywood Gingerbread Stout Flight

Gingerbread Stout is a much sought after seasonal release from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. The brewery also brews up a number of variations of the popular beer and Fredericksburg Capital Ale House recently held a flight night offering four Gingerbread Stout varieties. When our family visited for dinner this week, Colleen and I started off with a flight of the beers to go along with our appetizer course.


When the beers were served, there was no visual distinction among the glasses, and our server gave a somewhat hesitant recital of the order. However the aroma of each beer is unique and we were able to confirm the order from smell alone. First up was the "standard" Gingerbread Stout. The 9.2% ABV Imperial Milk Stout is rich with flavors of milk chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. The initial sweetness and spice flavors give way to a roasted bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, a trait which carried across the beers.

The second beer in the flight was Christmas Morning. The base Gingerbread Stout is conditioned on fresh roasted coffee. The aroma of dark coffee is strong a precursor of the rich flavor to come. The spice of the Gingerbread Stout is complimented by the taste of strong, full-flavored coffee. The combination works extremely well.

Next we moved on to the barrel aged versions of the first two beers. Just lifting the glass of Bourbon Barrel Aged Gingerbread Stout to my nose gave an excellent hint of what was to come. Twelve weeks of aging in Virginia bourbon barrels adds strong, flavorful oak and bourbon notes.

The flight ended with Kentucky Christmas Morning. The original Gingerbread Stout is aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, and then filtered through roasted coffee beans. The whiskey aroma and flavor is more subtle than in the Bourbon Barrel Aged Gingerbread Stout, but still unmistakable. The creamy, sweet milk stout combined with the sublime bourbon notes was reminiscent of a fine Irish Coffee.

All four variation of the Gingerbread Stout were very enjoyable. It is apparent that the beers are "cousins" sharing a common root. My personal favorites were Christmas Morning and Kentucky Christmas Morning. In both, the coffee addition was especially well done. I was tempted to order a full serving of the very limited Kentucky Christmas Morning to enjoy with my dinner. However, the barrel aging bumps the ABV of the beers up to 10.6%. I wasn't prepared to linger that long over dinner so we selected more moderate beers from the menu to enjoy with our main course. I do hope I'm able to get back to Capital Ale House before the Hardywood Gingerbread Stout kegs are kicked.

Monday, January 4, 2016

It Was A 'Shoot-cation'

My annual staycation between Christmas and New Year's Day was made extra long this year thanks to a surprise Christmas Eve day off and the bookend weekends. I also added January 4th to my break to burn some "use or lose" time, giving me a nice twelve day break. Making the time off extra nice was being able to get in some extra range time too. Our "holiday range time" got started even before my vacation with an early morning range trip with my son who was home from college. That outing set the tone for a fun "shoot-cation." Next up was the annual Gabriel Posssenti Range Day with family and friends.

Later in the week I made a solo trip to the range. During that outing, I spent time working exclusively with a new M&P Shield. The Shield was a fun purchase that I'll use for some IDPA BUG matches. Eventually it'll be added as another conceal carry option. After putting another couple hundred rounds through it, as well as some snappy +P self defense ammo, I was getting decent accuracy with the small gun out to 15 yards, as well as achy hand. I'll work on shooting even longer distances with it as time allows.

On the second day of the new year, we had another impromptu gathering of friends at the range. Another couple hundred rounds downrange was the order of the morning. During this outing one of the guys brought along his young sons. It's always great to see young boys getting an early start in learning the responsibility, and enjoyment, of firearms. After the rest of the group left, I stuck around to do some shooting-on-the-move drills, which weren't possible with the group.

On this, the last day off before heading back to work, my son and I took another trip out to the range to shoot the AR-15. It was too windy for the cardboard targets, so we set out shotgun clays on the 50 yard berm. We enjoyed good success hitting the 4 inch targets and even got extra return on our money since a lot of times the .223 round goes right through clay, allowing requiring them to be shot again. After that we decided to set more clays on the 100 yard berm. And we hit them too! I was quite pleased especially since the rifle has only iron sights, no scope or magnification, and my distance vision isn't all that sharp. To finish off we went back to the 50 yard berm and shot more clays, this time off-hand. I have to admit the youngin' was much better than me when shooting unsupported at the small targets at that distance.

Tomorrow it's time to get back to the grind. The longer the break the harder it is go back, but at least I'll be starting back with a four day week. I am glad I was able to enjoy so much trigger time, and the range time spent with family was especially rewarding.

Now I better start replenishing our ammo stores!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

We stayed up late and drank a few beers and enjoyed fondue, at home. That's enough excitement for me, and it removes the irritation of being on the streets on New Year's Eve. It's now 2016 and I need to change the wall calendar, but otherwise life goes on as usual.

I'm not big on New Year resolutions, they tend to be over-ambitious anyway. I will say I am looking forward to getting to the pistol range to practice a little more regularly, and trying to shoot a few more matches in the coming year. There are a few local breweries I missed getting to this year, so I'll try to remedy that in the future. But otherwise, I'll continue to be thankful for the blessings of my life and pray for the continued blessings of health, family, and friends in the coming year. I wish the same for all of you.

May your troubles be less, 
And your blessings be more. 
And nothing but happiness come through your door.
-- An Irish Blessing