Foothills October 2014 IPA of the Month

I’m really digging the Foothills IPA of the Month series. Thus far they have ranged from good to outstanding and this month is one I think is just good, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. October finds us with Brew-Hilda which is 6.8% ABV with 93 IBU from Cascade, Amarillo, Citra, and Equinox hops. It was juicy, fruity, grassy, but had an herbal quality that to me just didn’t quite fit in which is why I say it is just good. Now with that in mind it is one I would suggest you find and try. The problem is that boat has probably already sailed. The naming contest for November has begun and the leaves are beginning to fall already. If you haven’t been able to get any of the series you have two months remaining, get on it!

What’s Old Is New Again

Last night the gentlemen beside me at the restaurant were discussing cocktails and the topic which caught my ear was the Old Fashioned. I turned to them and we had a nice discussion of the drink and some local places who made it very well and some who don’t quite grasp the concept. I conveyed some stories of what I had found and we had a nice conversation. What I find interesting about the exchange is they were both 29. I remember one time at a restaurant ordering an Old Fashioned and one of the people in my party said, “Nice drink old man, that was my father’s drink.” Not the type of comment you want to hear about your beverage choice when out for dinner, but it was made in jest. In hindsight I should have ordered him a kids milk in a sippy cup for the old man jibe. It’s good to see cocktails coming back into style, even if they are a bit Old Fashioned. ;)

Don’t Trust It Unless You Checked It!

I was in a sporting goods store where I overheard the clerk and the patron chatting about problems sighting in a rifle. Next thing I know the clerk has a rifle on the counter pointing into the store trying to sight in with the scope. Behind him was a vacant archery alley where the operation could have been done safely without pointing the rifle at anyone, but that is not what he did. I walked to the back of the store trying to keep aisles and merchandise between me and the rifle muzzle and quickly exited the store. I realize the chances of a round being in the chamber is very small, but because I did not check the firearm I don’t trust it and I certainly don’t trust some yahoo behind the counter. My take on it was the customer brought in the rifle with a complaint and he was trying to fix it. What if there was a single round in the firearm, or even worse, multiple rounds. If Bubba had touched that trigger you might be wondering where your daily dose of Bangers and Mash was while I recuperated from an “accidental discharge.”

Recently an instructor I mentored early in her instructor training posted one of her students had been given a firearm by a friend to look at and instinctively he racked the slide to check the chamber. Of course the person with the firearm thought the chamber was empty when they removed the magazine, but the pistol had a round in the chamber which was ejected when she racked the slide. He was thanking that instructor for drilling them on always checking the firearm to be sure it is unloaded. Had he not have had that training the event could have ended much differently.

The bottom line is each and every time you pick up a firearm you should check it to be sure it is unloaded before moving forward with whatever you planned to do with the firearm. Also you can let all those around you know and check for themselves if they desire. In the case of the store clerk he could have simply pointed the firearm down the archery lane or at a wall and I’d probably have finished my shopping experience and potentially made a purchase. As it happened I just left. I figured it you hire someone so stupid as to be pointing the muzzle in the direction of customers you do not deserve my business.

Fair Security Is Just Fair

The NC State Fair is over for 2014 and with it comes some interesting observations. First off many who attended indicated security was lax when present at all. So anyone meaning to do harm could easily have done so. Second Commissioner Troxler and Police Chief Keith promised anyone could have an officer escort them to the car and it seems that just didn’t happen or rarely happened. Two people were robbed at gunpoint on Saturday night returning to their car. I wonder if they had asked for the escort if it would have been available and provided. What would really be sad would be if they did ask and one was not available.

So what can be learned from the fair this year. Concealed carry permit holders were not allowed to enter even thought they should have been according to NC law. People entering the fairgrounds passed through lackluster security which could have easily been circumvented by those with criminal intent. Police presence was lacking and unavailable. Larry B. Wooten had promised an officer for every football field yet just off the fairgrounds two people are robbed at gunpoint. Do you really believe there were that many officers Larry? In summary the fairgrounds and surrounding area are probably not a safe place after dark. Allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed would not have impacted anyone with the exception of those with bad intentions. The criminals knew everyone at the fair was unarmed and preyed on the weak. We told you it might happen and unfortunately it did. We can all blame Judge Stephens for allowing the possible to become reality.

Zymurgy Decoction – I agree!

In the November/December issue of Zymurgy there is an article entitled Decoction: Worth The Effort? and I agree with the results based on the decoctions I have done. On page 54 the score averages are given for infusion, decoction, double decoction, and triple decoction. It was no surprise to me to see the decoction scored the highest, the infusion was next and the rest trailed. What I found when I was brewing often and entering competitions was decoction added at best a point or two to the score. It basically improved the complexity, but not much, ~2%. In the Zymurgy article the difference between decoction and infusion was 1.6% with the decoction taking the nod. For most beers it simply isn’t worth the time and effort.

Which New Law Exactly?

I’m was more than a little disturbed when I found out a gun control group posted on Facebook adding the Washington school shooting to its propaganda. What I would like to know is exactly what law or legislation they think might have stopped the assailant? He was a minor, there are laws on the books about minors and firearms. No illegal firearms in school, that law is already in place. No discharging firearms, that law is in place. No killing others, that law is in place. There is no law you can pass which will do anything other than punish someone after the fact. It will not stop violence from happening. Just this week a man in NYC went after the police with a hatchet. I presume that is because he was not able to find something else to use. Someone bent on mayhem will create mayhem.

So I ask all you gun control folks who read or come across my blog to spell out that legislation which will stop a popular athlete with no outward signs of problem from murdering his classmates. Detail it out so we all can understand this new idea.

Ottawa Tragedy and Heroism

Unless you’ve had your head under a rock, you have no doubt heard about the tragic murder of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who was an unarmed honor guard at the National War Memorial. Later the gunman was taken down by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers in the Canadian Parliament. I want to focus on these two individuals, one who was slain for no reason at all and another who did his duty and by all accounts is a hero. Often when tragedies occur we focus our attention on the person who committed the act, so much so that their name is the only thing we remember about the event. In this case let’s change the memory to be that of Cpl. Cirillo and the actions of Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers. I think that will honor the memory of the slain and injured and the actions of those who responded.

My only comment about the gunman will be regarding the choice of firearm. It is certainly a rifle and based on the hammer and appearance I’m going to conclude this is a lever-action, most likely a .30-30 since they are widely available and used often for hunting. The magazine appears full length so it would hold no more than seven rounds. Where I am going with this is no magazine restriction, even a tubular magazine restriction would have stopped this act. No pistol registration would have stopped this act. No scary gun AR ban would have stopped this act. What ultimately stopped this act was a good guy with a gun!

Pumpkin – The Good

Earlier in October I expressed my thoughts on pumpkin beers. Last night I decided to fill the glass with a few and decided there are really two types of pumpkin beers being served. Those that taste good and those that suck. I was lucky enough to have both last night and smart enough to leave the sucky one on the table when I left the establishment. Pumpkin doesn’t have much flavor by itself so breweries rely on spices to get their message across. The second beer was a muted mess of just ok and I didn’t feel like wasting my time to finish it. The first is arguably one of the oldest pumpkin beers although it wasn’t brewed for a while. The beer came about between 1992 and 1999 and I would guess that makes it one of the oldest pumpkin beers in the US. That beer is Cottonwood Pumpkin and it has always been a great beer. I won’t waste your time talking about the other beer I had last night. The recipe was devised by King Don Richardson who is now at Quest in Greenville, SC. For awhile a similar beer was brewed by Catawba when it seemed Carolina Beer & Beverage was no longer going to brew it. Finally Foothills purchased all the brands and resurrected the beer to former glory. If you get a chance to get some Cottonwood Pumpkin that would be worth your time, otherwise it will be a crapshoot whether you will get good beer or not.

Zupfen Gose

I wish that Zupfen Gose had not been my first beer from Steel String Brewery. I wanted to give it some love, but sadly I could not. It wasn’t atrocious or anything and I did drain the bottle, but when cold the flavor was watery and oversparged with tannins in conjunction with an overuse of salt and under-use of coriander. As the beer warmed the flavor improved, but not enough to push this into a new realm. Gose is the hot trend right now, but that doesn’t mean everyone does an awesome job. It was good, but it was sub par as a Gose. Their version was 3.8% ABV and was bottled on 9/22/14 so freshness was not the issue. If they want to make it better, don’t oversparge, lower the salt a skinch and up the coriander a tad. The sourness was just about right, but the tannic nature of the beer just didn’t do it for me. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I’ll make it a point to try a future batch of it for comparison, but I wouldn’t suggest you rush out to find it based on my single bottle experience.

There Goes The Neighborhood

Yesterday I happened upon a story of a woman in Rochester, MN who was so incensed by a man taking his daughters to school with a concealed firearm she took his picture and posted it on her lawn in front of the school. As it turns out the man broke no laws and had even been the head of the school PTA. I think I can read between the lines enough to know that the woman, Kim Edson, has some personal vendetta against the man other than the fact he is legally carrying a concealed firearm. To me it sounds like bullying tactics by Kim. If I were the man I’d post a photo of Kimmie on my lawn and say this woman tried to bully me into doing something by posting my photo on her lawn.


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