Foothills October 2015 IPA of the Month

This month’s dog is named Hops and that is a very appropriate name for this beer. The October 2015 Foothills IPA of the Month is chock full of Citra, Sorachi Ace, and Czech Saaz hops which create some wonderful earthy and berry characteristics and a very smooth bittering. I’ve stated before Sorachi Ace is not one of my faves, but the way Foothills has been blending them lately has been terrific. The malt on this one played a nice supporting role and the 70 IBU was never overpowering. This one rang in at 6.6% ABV and last night it became a new favorite, one I may have to obtain more of before it is gone. If you have a chance at this one, snag it while you can. Very well balanced and a pleasure to consume!


Pumpkin Beer – No Pumpkin Needed!

I posted about pumpkin last year and suggested why bother with it in the first place since most beers get their pumpkin-like flavors from spices and additives. Recently a homebrewer conducted an experiment and basically found it didn’t matter one way or the other which is something I have been advocating for years. Last night I had two pumpkin beers, one which was heavily spiced with a harsh clove/allspice aftertaste and the second which had an overwhelming presence of vanilla in the aftertaste. Both needed work and neither showcased any pumpkin. If you peeled away the spices you would be left with beer which you could not identify as pumpkin so just spice your homebrew or craft beer with pumpkin pie spice and save yourself all the trouble.

Oskar Blues IPA

Guess I haven’t posted a beer photo in quite some time. Last night I opened Oskar Blues IPA which is a beer I have been enjoying quite a bit lately. The 6.43 ABV beer is 70 IBU crafted with Enigma, Vic Secret, Ella, Topaz and Galaxy hops. The canned on date was 08/20/15 so this was fresh and nice. The Australian hops provide grassy, earthy, and berry notes and while this IPA will probably not blow your socks off, it has everything I love in an IPA. It was juicy and hoppy without being crazily bittered. It was smooth and creamy and paired well with food. I suggest you run out and grab a six and give it a whirl. In my area it is going for $8-10 per six so with a coupon you might get out the door at $7 or less per six. At that price this beer is a new house staple.


Did Suicide Rates Decline In Australia Following Their Gun Buyback Programs?

I’ll make this simple for you, the answer is no. Recently someone posted a meme on Facebook regarding death rates and then someone else followed up on murder rates and so I took the time to look into the CDC and FBI statistics and found both to be flawed. I also found the CDC and FBI data didn’t correlate, but that is fodder for another blog post. While presenting the data I mentioned how many firearm related deaths were suicide and someone said the suicide rate in Australia plummeted after the 1996 gun buyback so I went to find some data to support or dispute that claim and that is my blog entry for today.

So if the Australian buyback program of 1996 lowered suicide rates we should see a decline in them in 1997, 1998, etc, correct? If we look at the overall suicide rate for Australia from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we see the suicide rate increase after 1996. Now I would guess the number of firearm related suicides might have decreased, but they didn’t stop anyone from committing suicide, they may have stopped them from using a firearm as their method of choice, but in the end it didn’t change the rate.

Graph SuicideOne of the gentlemen in the discussion provided a source for his argument that suicide rates decreased. It was by Andrew Leigh and entitled Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data and I believe the passage on page 3(511) sums it up best (emphasis added), “may also lower overall death by suicide and homicide.” The article is not based in fact, if it was, there could be an absolute statement, not something as wishy-washy as this. All Andrew had to do was look at the data to see his assertion was false. I really, really despise things like this. I guess at one time we thought the world MAY be flat and everyone bought it. I must admit I did not fully read every passage in his paper, but knowing he is wrong on this main point demonstrates the paper may not be worth printing.

So there was another lesser known program to buyback pistols in 2003. One would think if suicide rates decrease after a buyback they would certainly do so after a pistol buyback. Once again the data does not support a dip in the rates. Looking at the 2012 data the number of suicides in 2003 was 2,213. That data shows 2007 had 2,227 suicides and 2012 had 2,535 suicides. The trend is heading in the wrong direction to demonstrate any guy buyback program influenced suicides to decline. I believe someone intent on doing self-harm will do so with whatever means is easiest. If one method is unavailable they will simply choose another. It is a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. So if someone engages you in a discussion regarding the decline in suicides in Oz following 1996 now you know the truth which is supported by actual data.

$600 Fifth Of Bourbon – John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve

The other night I was hanging out at a craft cocktail bar having a nice Old Fashioned and the barkeep was looking at this small bottle of Bourbon which came in decorative packaging and so I asked about the bottle. Turns out it was John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve which is a 20-year-old Bourbon packaged in 375 ml bottles. There are only 3,000 bottles which are a blend from 12 barrels from the Stitzel-Weller Distillery and bottled at 90 proof. Here’s the kicker at the NCABC the price is $299.95 plus tax or $600 per fifth if it was presented in that packaging. That is pre-gouge pricing folks. This kind of retail pricing makes some of the most sought after Bourbon’s seem darn cheap at retail.

I have a feeling all bottles will end up on bar shelves and your chance at consuming will happen at a steep price. Probably the best, I’ve not found much to love about Bourbons past the 18 year mark. Perhaps this one will be the bottle which changes that opinion. Of course the thought of paying $25 for half an ounce doesn’t thrill me much, but it is much more appealing than shelling out $600 for a fifth!

Ommegang Iron Throne Is Back!

Ommegang Iron Throne is finally back and will be available with the Take The Black Stout in a gift pack as well as single bottles and draft. Most of the Game Of Thrones inspired beers have been good, but Iron Throne was awesome. I’m not sure if the gift pack will be in my future, but I can assure you Iron Throne will find more than a few bottles purchased. The last time this was available I only found one single bottle and I purchased it. I expect this release to be much larger, but if it is available in your area be sure to grab some if you get the chance!

Rush For Rowan’s Creek?

So did I miss some huge announcement or something? I was in a local liquor store in SC and the shelf where Rowan’s Creek usually lurked was bare and a sign was up indicating it was limited to one bottle per customer due to high demand. I’ve not yet had it, but of course now I will, but to have a run on Bourbon typically means it is in high demand due to a review. I checked the website and don’t see any new awards so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Best I can figure most people prefer Noah’s Mill. I have the Willett Pot Still Reserve and the jury is still out on it. Hopefully soon I can post my opinion. If anyone knows why the rush is on for Rowan’s Creek, please clue me in.

Ruger LC9 Trade-In

Yesterday Ruger announced a trade-in program from the LC9. Best I can understand it you take your LC9 to a Ruger dealer, they give you a credit for the firearm and you purchase a LC9s. Then you send the details to Ruger and they will give you a gift certificate for $100 at ShopRuger. Here’s the rub, what is the retailer going to give me for my LC9. See I personally do not care for my LC9 the ergonomics of the safety don’t work well for me. For that reason I have not shot it much, probably less than 50 rounds. It is spotlessly clean and has hardly any wear. Brass Pro Shops and Cabela’s want $400 for the LC9s. Assuming mine is one which for some reason would command 75% of the value I still am behind in the grand scheme of things because I don’t particularly need anything from the Ruger store. More likely they would offer $200 for the trade-in and I’m down $100 on the deal.

While I don’t like the LC9, it does work well for my classes and I’ll probably keep it and use it for that purpose. If a large percentage are traded in it may actually one day be worth more in the current condition. I’ll keep my eye on it, but currently this doesn’t seem like a win-win.


Japanese Whiskey

So what exactly is Japanese Whiskey? When you go to the liquor store you sometimes find it lurking with the Scotch and sometimes with the Bourbon and to my palate it is neither and both at the same time. My sample size has been somewhat limited so I don’t speak from a position of great experience, but it certainly seems to have more in common with Scotch than with Bourbon as it is has less residual sweetness and more of a smoky aspect. I have long seen it sitting on the shelves at certain stores and have passed it by for the most part. Recently I was able to find a restaurant with a decent selection and did some tasting and decided I should put a few of them on my hit list. I returned to the same store and all the Japanese Whiskey was sold out. He said it sat there for a long time without much attention and recently people have discovered it and it is almost impossible for him to get more now that Suntory purchased Beam.

Anyway, I did find some, but didn’t realize the price they were asking. One which I found very good was Hakushu 12 Year and it tips the scales at $85-90 per bottle which is just a bit outside my price range. I top out around $70 for a bottle of liquor and it will take some soul-searching to decide if I am willing to spend outside my comfort zone. Yes, I know Scotch tends to demand a higher price, but I’m a frugal person and bringing myself to pay that price might not happen. Anyway, if you see the Japanese Whiskey and it is in your budget snag it up now, it might be difficult to find later as people discover the quality of spirit they are creating.

Texas Is Working Overtime To Demonstrate Stupidity

So most people are familiar with the glass growler which is filled with beer at bottle shops, restaurants, and breweries and consumed off premises. The container is sealed with a lid after being filled and typically consumed soon after opening because the carbonation level is not maintained once the cap is off. Because a half-gallon of beer can be quite a large volume to consume in one sitting the industry has come out with mini-growlers which hold 32 ounces and are a little more manageable.

Oskar Blues developed a large 32 ounce can called a crowler which could be filled at retail and is essentially a single use aluminum can. So instead of carrying around heavy glass with a lid which might leak you receive a can which has a superior ability to omit oxygen and has a lower volume to consume once opened than a full-sized growler. It would allow a beer to be transported without any question as to whether or not it was an opened container and IMO has many benefits.

Texas bar owners were purchasing crowlers and apparently the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has taken offense to their use saying the retail use is equivalent to manufacturing beer. Have they lost their minds? So let me understand this fully, it is perfectly fine to fill a growler and place a cap on the bottle, but it is not fine to place a lid on a can? What if the growler had a crown cap instead of a twist top, would a crown cap be forbidden? To me this smacks of special kind of stupid and I hope someone will take them to task on this asinine decision.

Texas continues a tradition of stupid beer laws. Originally beer was not allowed to be sold at a brewery. At one time all beers had to have the word ALE on them. How dumb to make someone label a lager as an ale. The worst offender has to be Lefors, TX where it is illegal to take more than three sips of a beer while standing. Where’s the eye roll emoticon when you need one!


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