Sierra Nevada 2015 Celebration

Last night I felt the need to celebrate so I opened a bottle of Sierra Nevada 2015 Celebration Fresh Hop IPA. The annual release is one I welcome as an IPA fan and this year is quite tasty. I once tried cellaring the beer and found after about three years the flavor really starts to fall off so I quit and now I enjoy it soon after release. The 6.8% ABV IPA features Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops to achieve 65 IBU and it does so very well. While the beer varies from year to year it remains a favorite.

This year if you share your photo of celebration you can score two Sierra Nevada glasses by uploading the photo to the website. Supplies are limited so get them while you can!


Laquan McDonald Video

I probably should leave this topic alone, but it has been on the news cycle daily so ever since I watched the video of the October 20, 2014 shooting I just keep scratching my head about several things. The first of which is why the Laquan didn’t just drop the knife and surrender. According to the Chicago Tribune he had PCP in his system which would explain the hyper behavior. Knowing now he was severely impaired by a hallucinogen explains his dangerous behavior and lack of reasonable judgement. In the video we see shots fired at Laquan as he moved down the road and the impact of those shots. The most disturbing of which is the rounds hitting as he was lying on the ground after he spun around. The question in my mind is why did the officer shoot in the first place when Laquan made no movement in the direction of the officer which I could see, perhaps someone else noticed something different. Checking the video again, Laquan is actually moving away from the position of the officers. I see this as an opportunity to use a Taser or other non-lethal methods such as beanbag rounds or pepper spray. Someone had to know he had a knife and not a gun so a well placed round in the wrist would have ended that portion of the event quickly allowing them to eventually restrain the young man. Instead the officer arrived, jumped out, and opened fire.

So now the officer is charged with first degree murder and I don’t understand that either unless they have evidence he planned to shoot and kill Laquan. I can see a charge of manslaughter or a lesser murder charge since there was no credible threat to him or other officers at the moment of the shooting, and also no reason to shoot a suspect lying on the ground. Had Laquan gotten up and lunged at the officer then we’d be having a much different discussion. I think the DA is overreaching with these charges. I also think the DA should be fired for waiting over a year to bring charges. As soon as they reviewed the dashcam footage a grand jury should have been convened and the charges brought forth. I can fully understand the frustration of the family and others when it takes more than a year to decide what charges to bring. Is it any wonder Chicago has turned into the murder capital of the US when they cannot even bring charges and they have the crime on videotape?

From where I sit there are several takeaways from this incident. Number one would be to not take drugs and commit crimes. If Laquan had not taken PCP , had not carried a knife, and had not committed crimes he would most likely be alive today. The second would be officers need to be look at non-lethal means to end a confrontation and to only use deadly force when absolutely necessary. The third would be to not shoot a suspect once they are lying on the ground. The fourth would be to bring charges as quickly as possible following an incident. Sure there are peer reviews and outside agency investigations, but a year later is preposterous. It does not bring justice for the family of the deceased and it does not bring closure to the officer involved in the incident. The bottom line is this should have never happened and the incident could have been prevented by Laquan and should have been handled differently by the officer.


Foothills November 2015 IPA of the Month

I almost thought I was going to miss this month’s dog, Maddie, when I went to a local bottle shop and they had sold out and then another and found the same thing. Typically either of those shops are a cinch to pick up the Foothills IPA of the Month, but because I had been out of pocket it was looking grim. Then I hit one more shop which is part of a large chain and they had a plethora of the beer so of course I snagged two. This month the beer is made with a blend of Amarillo, Horizon, Chinook and experimental hops and they worked very well in the beer. The hops are front and center providing 79 IBU in the 7.1% ABV beer. While not my absolute favorite in this years series, this one is solidly in second place. If you can find it, by all means try. It is a juicy mouthfeel of hops and considering I opened it yesterday it certainly made for a Hoppy Thanksgiving!


Review My Homebrew

A new website has popped up called Review My Homebrew and it is an interesting idea which will probably fall flat on it’s face. The idea is homebrewers can submit their bottle of brew and have it evaluated by a judge for the small sum of $40. Now that does include shipping so it really isn’t a huge fee in some ways since the shipping and packaging will eat up a chunk of those costs and their is return postage or scanning costs to consider. It also takes time to receive, unpack, chill, evaluate, clean up, etc. Most people get this from a competition for less than $10, but this service is promising a Grand Master judge evaluation. There is only one problem with that, BJCP Judges are not allowed to charge for judging. They can receive gifts, or gas reimbursement, meals, you know all the petty stuff, but they cannot charge someone for judging. So while this currently mentions the BJCP in a few locations, I suspect it will soon have to change in order to stay within the bylaws unless the judge in question is not being paid for their services.

I doubt very many people will shell out 40 beans for someone to tell them their beer blows, but you never know. I never thought people would buy really expensive sculptures for brewing when they can do the same thing with a cooler and a flip flop for mash/sparge, and then just a kettle so stranger things have happened and there are people out there willing to pay for things I would never even consider.



Last night I finally found some Pechuga Mezcal at a bar in NC. I have been searching for this for quite some time and figured it didn’t exist. The aroma is closer to that of blanco tequila with a bit of peppery spice thrown in. The flavor is another beast altogether with meaty umami, peppery spice, and smoky phenols all rolled into a delicious beverage. I drank it neat since I had no idea how it should be consumed and it was definitely a sipper. Pechuga is made by adding raw chicken breast in the column of the still so it captures the flavor in the distillate. I’m not sure who came up with that idea, but I’d love to shake their hand!


Irish Craft Beer Thoughts

Recently I spent some time in Ireland and while I am sure I missed quite a bit I can say the scene in the country needs some work if they want people to flock there as a beer destination. Occasionally you can find a local draft on one of the taps in a pub, but generally that does not happen. There are some breweries which are becoming regional in nature and even distributing outside Ireland in the UK, but when the local produces a beer which is essentially the same thing as Harp I just cannot call it craft. I found a few places with bottles and unfortunately most of what I found had production issues such as acetaldehyde. One standout was Galway Bay Brewing which was a true craft beer thinking outside the box with many innovative brews with few flaws to be found. My suggestion if you are traveling in the country and your goal is craft beer to do some extensive research ahead of time, perhaps even contacting each brewery to find out where you can locate their brews. Otherwise you might just be stuck with the standard fare of most pubs which ain’t bad, but it also ain’t craft!


What Does It Take To Shoot 1,000 Yards?

Ever since Ruger came out with the Precision Rifle I have had the question what would be needed to shoot 1,000 yards running around in the back of my brain. I know practically nothing about how to shoot long-range so I decided to do a little research into the topic. Even after some cursory research I still see I have much to learn on the topic.

If you to are interested here are a few links to check out:

Field & Stream

ITS Tactical

Shooting Illustrated


Beer Cocktail?

At first my inclination was to just say no, but after thinking about it a bit why not. I mean we often add syrup to a Berliner Weiss or mix beer with cider or beer with another beer so why wouldn’t a well crafted beer cocktail be the cat’s meow? Besides, it all boils down to personal taste so mix up what you want when you want and rock on. Think I’ll take two beer cocktails!


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