Cigar City Brewing Tampa

Last week I found myself in Tampa for business and was not feeling especially wonderful. I decided that despite my allergies or cold I would venture over to Cigar City and give their taproom a whirl. I didn’t tour, but once inside it appeared there were at least two bars with ample seating in two areas as well. I chose the back bar and settled in near the end. There was a bartender and a bar back and IMO it would have been better to have two bartenders and let them share the cleaning duties. At any rate after my bartender started waiting on me, he made me feel like a king, remembering my name and noticing my empty glassware just as it drained. I really appreciated I could get a sample of anything, a taster size of anything, and then some of the larger beers allowed short pours. I mixed and matched my way through several offerings and then it became clear if I wanted to do more I should have taken an Uber ride so I departed. The beers ranged from very good to outstanding and one Brett Pale Ale aged on oak was blow your socks off good. I’d sneak back here in an instant and make sure to just taste my way through the board. I’m not sure how many they had on, nor how much that would cost, but arriving in the early afternoon and with ample pacing I believe it could be accomplished. If you have not been to Cigar City in Tampa then make sure you stop in, several of the beers I had were taproom only and I was the first to enter them in Untappd which is pretty rare nowadays.

PS: Turns out I was pretty sick which is why you haven’t seen a post in awhile. I’m still getting better, but I do have some topics in mind for this week!

Cigar City Brewing
Tampa, Florida

Firearm Warranties And Customer Service

Recently a fellow instructor discouraged a student from investigating a Taurus firearm based on their own past experience with the company. Best I can recall from a foggy brain that happened over five years ago, but it is apparent the pain is still felt from poor customer service and slow warranty service. When that happens we often steer clear of a particular manufacturer as a result. I’m not exactly sure that is fair, especially if the sins are sins of the past. Let’s take a look at a recent incident with customer service which happened to a friend of mine and you decide if you would buy their firearms knowing what could happen should you need a warranty repair and have to deal with customer service.

I mentioned the incident back in September in the post Accidental Discharge?. My friend was at a sporting clay event and loaded the magazine and then used the cartridge drop feature to load the chamber. When he did the gun went off. Everyone thought he had his finger on the trigger, so he repeated the sequence of events and the gun went off. He called me to ask what to do and I told him to call the manufacturer. From here I am going to miss part of the story since it did not happen to me, but basically they asked him to ship the firearm to them so they could investigate. He took it down and at the shipping place they wrapped it in bubble wrap and then boxed the firearm for shipment. It was in perfect condition when he shipped it. I should point out I suggested he get a firearm with a plastic grip and stock for sporting clays, but he liked the wood furniture and spend over $1,000 on the shotgun. After he did not hear anything from the manufacturer for several weeks he called and was told they could not replicate the discharge. He explained how that happened and they told him they would try again. After a few more weeks passed by he called again and they could not locate his firearm. He called many, many more times and finally got a tech on the phone who said the firearm had numerous broken parts, scratches, and dings and was on the way back as damaged before they received it. He told them it was in perfect shape when he sent it and had some photos of it. He asked them to recall the package since he was not going to accept it from them. They did as he asked and when the firearm came back they called and indicated it was almost destroyed in the latest round of shipping. What is very odd about the entire incident is the person who could not replicate the discharge made no mention of damage and later another tech mentioned his gun was beaten nearly to death. In the end they agreed the damage was something he did not cause and sent him a new firearm. None of this gets to the root of the problem which is why did the gun discharge without having a finger on the trigger. The secondary problem is why would a manufacturer destroy someone’s firearm while it is in their possession and where is the customer service? The manufacturer of his shotgun is Benelli and I think most of us would agree their firearms are considered some of the best. OTOH based on this singular experience of a friend should we all stop considering purchasing their firearms? I say no. If you want to consider a Benelli then by all means do so, but be aware of what you may face if you need warranty service and document the packaging and condition of the firearm.

My experiences with firearm manufacturer customer service have all been positive. I can imagine with one bad personal experience and numerous complaints in the past they would not top your list, but don’t count out a company based on poor past performance. Think of Hyundai. Their first cars in the US were so awful when they fixed the issues no one would buy them so they offered a 10 year warranty. With the extended warranty people started to buy the cars and eventually they became known for their reliability.


Wish List 2017

I think the last time I posted a wish list was 2014. I figured it was time to revisit and determine what I’m currently dreaming about.

  • Ruger Precision – 6.5 Creedmoor (18008)
  • Marlin 336C – .30-30 (specifically with white trim on the stock)
  • Radom Vis 35 – 9mm
  • Uberti Buntline – .44-40
  • SAA – .44-40
  • Ruger Red Label – 12 gauge

Much of the list appears similar to what I published in 2014. The Ruger Precision in 6.5 has proven illusive at an affordable price. It can be had regularly for a few hundred more than I want to spend so I’ll patiently wait until I locate it at the right price. I can then apply that savings to the optics and other attachments.

A Marlin 336C has always been something I have wanted. I love a lever gun, but never had one growing up. The 336C was a rifle I often saw in magazines and the appearance spoke to me and it still does. Of course it isn’t any old 336, it has to have that white trim on the stock and especially in the grip area. I’m not well versed on the firearm so it’s an I’ll know it when I see it kind of purchase.

I’ve had my eye on the Radom Vis 35 for some time, but it is a firearm most people do not want to sell. With the American Rifleman feature last year I figure the prices are going to rise and make them even more difficult to find at an affordable price.

I need a buntline like I need another hole in the head. The ridiculously long barrel just speaks to me for some reason.

Everyone needs a SAA to go with their lever action rifles and as I said in 2014, I just haven’t found the right one yet.

I like the look of the Ruger Red Label, but the price gives me pause. They brought it back a year or two ago, but currently it appears to be out of production. If I don’t even run into one it won’t break my heart, but it still remains on my wish list.

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Be Careful Instructors, Students Are Depending On You

I was disappointed recently by a fellow instructor who discouraged a former student of theirs from pursuing a firearm which has not yet been released. It was obvious the student was drawn to the firearm which IMO is one of the first steps in deciding if you want the firearm or not. Sure if you are going to conceal the firearm you need to think about many, many other topics, but to discourage someone from considering a firearm you have not held, touched, read range reports on, and fully investigated is the equivalent of poor parenting. As an instructor you should assist the student to the best possible firearm for their budget and needs. Had this particular firearm been out on the market with substandard reviews then my opinion of the situation would be much different, but because the only tangible reports were tactile from Shot Show 2017 and the gun is not on the market, to tell a student to overlook it is bad form. I’ve actually had my eye on this particular firearm and believe it may turn out to be a winner. I’ve been wrong many times in the past, but this one looks to me to be on the right track to be a great firearm for IWB carry. Anyway, if you are an instructor and have a favorite manufacturer do not allow that bias to carry over into the decision making process for a student. Just because I am a Ruger fanboy does not mean I would tell someone to avoid an S&W, Bersa, or Taurus, I would fully research the firearm they are considering and would probably head to a large firearm store to put my hands on it and decide for myself before offering an opinion. There is no way I would tell a student anything about a firearm which is not yet on the market other than to read the articles out now and I will be glad to assist them with an evaluation once the firearm has been released.


Join The NRA Or Renew Your Membership!

Since the beginning of the blog we have had an NRA tab where you could join. The NRA brings much more to the party than what you frequently hear on the news. Training courses from the NRA are essentially to proper firearm handling and situational awareness. Often this training is overlooked by the media and the fact that almost every state has NRA training somewhere in their statutes whether it be for concealed carry, police officer training, or some other purpose such as range development. The best thing a firearm owner can do is join the NRA if for nothing else the firearm insurance. You can become an associate member for as little as $10 or can join as a regular member for $30.

Join or renew today at this link!

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Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond

I’ve been trying to make the rounds of the Bottled-In-Bond Bourbons as I run into them and when Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond went on sale this month at NCABC for $13.95 a fifth I figured why not add another notch to the belt. I poured it neat and it did not thrill me so I dropped in a cube and was once again underwhelmed. Then I made a Bourbon and ginger with Powell & Mahoney and where there was once darkness the light shined down from above. While not one I would choose to take neat or over ice, I would mix EW BiB into a drink in a nanosecond. If you’ve been looking for that perfect inexpensive Bourbon to have for the occasional mixed drink this might just be the one. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!


Celebrating Five Years

Today is the fifth anniversary for the blog. When it started 1,827 posts ago the direction was unclear and with this post once again the direction is a bit of a mystery. Trying to post daily has proven difficult when a fresh topic idea isn’t forthcoming, for that reason the plan is to only post when there is something relevant or fun to say. That might be a reminder of a particular day to celebrate a drink or beverage of a discourse on how ignorant a politician is on the topic of alcohol or firearms. The goal will be for topics to concentrate on firearms and fermentation only occasionally coloring outside the lines. Thank you to everyone who receive the blog via email and to those who visit regularly to read what we have to say.

Cheers to you all!


Auchentoshan American Oak

When NCABC had a sale in December I decided to snag a bottle Auchentoshan American Oak when the recommended Valinch was MIA. In fact I could not locate Auchentoshan Valinch anywhere so I opted for the little brother. At $35 on sale it was not much of a stretch to give this single malt a whirl. First the good news, this Scotch is filled with oak aroma and flavor. Now the bad news, this Scotch is filled with oak aroma and flavor. The aroma was fresh cut oak and the flavor was sandalwood, cinnamon spice, leather, and more oak than I would tolerate when combined with the other flavors. It just didn’t work for me and as I placed the bottle in the recycling bin last night I was not sad to see it go. If you are an oak fan you should probably give this a whirl if you can find it at a price point similar to the NCABC sale, but otherwise I would suggest you take a pass.