Saturday, August 1, 2009

"I Stood In LIne And Was Turned Away"

I've seen quite a few posts and stories about Robert Manwill lately. One of them said that they "stood in line for over 45 minutes and I was turned away..."



My cousin's daughter was part of one of these searches 16 years ago. Remember Stephanie Crane from Challis? Do you think I even bothered with a line for that one? I still look for her, but she's never been found, even yet...

I'm not trying to be a downer but the current case seems to be more of a media event. Almost like Jon Benet. I honestly feel for the parents but I think the media is riding this one without a real feel for what is involved. They are building support, but is it effective? Or is it "Well, I stood in line, I TRIED TO HELP!"

Bull Shit! If you are really trying to help, and not just trying to be seen as socially conscious, the lines won't make a difference. You'll find a way to offer true help if it really means something to you.


I could go on and on but I hope the point is made. Don't be a social karma fake. Either believe it and do it or get the fuck out of the way. There are people who do honestly care. If all you want is to be seen doing the right thing, make room for someone who is actually willing to do something about it, besides the minor inconvenience of wasting 45 minutes in line out of the rest of your life.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oz Never Gave Nothing To The Tin Man

Tin Man 600px “That he didn’t, didn’t already have.
And cause never was the reason for the evening, nor the topic of Sir Galahad…”

My apologies to America (the band, not the country) but I’ve been a bit conflicted on this date.

I’ve reached one of those milestones today: the Big Five-Oh. Not like “Hawaii” but rather “Today is my birthday. Happy Birthday to me! ©The Beatles.” The half century mark. Does that make my life-glass half empty? Or is it half full? Hmmm…

I guess this picture and quote kind of sum up what I’m feeling. Am I satisfied with what life has brought me so far? Well, I have very few regrets. Have my dreams been met yet? Ummm, a lot, but not all. Do I have new dreams to yet fulfill? Of course!

But Oz never gave me nothing. Nothing that I didn’t already have. I’ve made do with what I found, it’s always been up to me do something with what’s there in front of me. Any failure to reach heights has been up to me. But then, just what do those heights really mean? And are the peaks any more important than the valleys? There has to be a neutral point in there somewhere and I’m still trying to find it. But frankly, if everything was copacetic, would it be any fun? How can you measure laughing if you’ve never cried? And vice versa? I’ve been both Galahad and Mordred. Hell, I’ve also been Merlin and Morgan Le Fey too.

Gawd, if you can’t get maudlin in your blog, where can you?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

After Long Silence… (with apologies to Sherrie S. Tepper)

Okay, it’s been a while. Over four months in fact. I started this blog as a means of venting. But when you lose your internet access, it can kind of get in the way. I’m kinda thinking that a blog is pretty much worthless when you don’t have immediate access. When you have to ride your bike 2.8 miles to get to the nearest free access (The Boise Library! {Yes the exclamation point is deliberate; it’s on the sign on the side of the building}).

I won’t go into details (yet) as to WHY I lost access, especially in this day and age when ‘net acesss seems like it should be a god given right.

Isn’t it?

Anyway, I suddenly find myself living in McCall instead of Boise. That’s not a bad thing. Well, I’ll definitely miss some of the music and beer scene we had in Boise but there are some huge benefits. Can you say fresh air, lower temperatures and a clearer mind my children? I knew you could.

I sat on the patio of Toll Station Pizza this afternoon overlooking the lake whilst enjoying a ciabatta-bunned burger, fries and Pikes Kilt Lifter. Their??? burger was awesome. My thoughts started flowing and I wrote them down.

The beer would have been all right if I hadn’t just tried the Secech Scottish at the McCall BrewPub. Kilt Lffter is thin and too hoppy for the style.The Secech would be close to our own Big Chub (Doohan's Revenge) if it hit 10.5% like the Chub (Doohan's), the flavor is almost there. It's only 7% instead and not quite as rich. Good? Yes. Definitely better than the Kilt Lifter (I have to use Old Chub from Oskaar Blues for a reference). That's why "Big Chub" seems a better name for Chris's and I's concoctions than "Doohans"

So let me re-trace my day: I took the free bus, complete with bike racks on front, to the Idaho Department Of Labor, just to establish myself as being unemployed because that’s what I am (try it sometime, it’s not pretty).

Honestly, how can a community of less than 3000 permanent residents afford a bus that hits the same route less than every hour from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week?

For free? And make accommodations for bicycles?

Damn, why can’t Boise do free transport? Hmmmmm????? … AND accommodate bikes at the same time? I’m living about three miles on the wrong side of town and the bus saves my ass. I take the bus "there", and then ride back.

And I’ll tell you, this bus is a sweet feature. I’ve been riding for only about a month or so now but let me tell you: I have City Legs! Boise is relatively flat. It’s not until you get on a bike that you start to understand the slight, SLIGHT! subtleties in grade. So far, there has only been one hill (on Dienhardt heading for Boydstun, across the river) that has made me jump off and Push! Two or three times more and that won’t be a problem though.

Oh well, my weak legs aside, I’m loving it up here. Even before I moved up here, I lost my love handles from the bike. The loss of my license is not necessarily a bad thing. I see places where I can make an impact, I only hope that both the locals and the prey (tourists) can appreciate what I have to offer.

Time will tell. I have an agenda for topics now but that may change. Tomorrow, I’m going to go pick Huckleberries and make a cyser. Want some?.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Barleywine Tasting '08

Ah, barleywine! That most favored nectar of the gods!

Last Saturday, a few of us got together for the annual barleywine tasting. It's been a tradition for me since '99 at The Abbey. In those days, I would put 15 of them on tap with 20 or 30 different bottles over a 3 day period. Things are slimmed down in that we don't have the draft offerings but somehow, the bottle selection has grown until it's bigger and better than ever.

After The Abbey closed, we continued to have an annual barleywine and strong ale festival over at my buddies Chris & Nicole's house on the weekend closest to my birthday (yes, today is my birthday). We had to skip last year due to a new future beer lover being on the way. This year, Toby stepped up with the idea of doing a strictly BW tasting at his place and who were we to say no? It just happened to coincide with the traditional weekend too. Score!

We all dug into our cellars and met over at Toby's at 6pm. I think there were only 12 of us but we did manage to get through almost the entire list of offerings. We had plenty of appetizers on hand to lessen the impact and much water was consumed in between for hydration. Nobody did any ratings, we just enjoyed each one and talked about them. I had a great time and I hope we can organize more events like this one. This one even topped the RIS Tasting last December!

(Note to those who were invited but couldn't make it: just wait for next year!)

Things finished up around midnight or so. Cabs were called or significant others summoned. It was only a 6 block stumble for me and the fresh air felt good during the short walk.

The picture above and list below are the dead soldiers from the evening.

  • Real Ale Sisyphus '07
  • Dogfish Head Olde School '06
  • Central Waters Y2K Kosmyk Charlie's
  • Full Sail Old Boardhead '99
  • Full Sail Old Boardhead '06
  • Full Sail Old Boardhead ''07
  • North Coast Old Stock '05
  • North Coast Old Stock '05 (Bourbon Barrel)
  • North Coast Old Stock '05 (Brandy Barrel)
  • Pike Old Bawdy '97
  • Thomas Hardy '06
  • JW Lees '98
  • Old Knucklehead Batch 10 '99
  • Old Knucklehead Batch 12 '07 (Boubon Barrel Aged)
  • Fish 10 Squared
  • Fish Leviathan Batch 4 '02 (Cabernet Barrel Aged)
  • Fish Leviathan Batch 5 '04
  • Brooklyn Monster '07
  • Troeg's Scratch #4
  • Flying Dog Horn Dog '02
  • HOTD Doggie Claws '02
  • HOTD Doggie Claws '07
  • Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot
  • Weyerbacher Insanity
  • Speakeasy Old Godfather '06
  • Duck Rabbit
  • Moylan's Old Blarney '05
  • Midnight Sun Arctic Devil '07
  • Rogue Old Crusty '03
  • Rogue Old Crusty '07
  • Green Flash
  • Sockeye Devil's Tooth '05
  • Santa Fe Brewing Chicken Killer
  • 3 Floyd's Blond Behemoth (yellow wax)
  • Upstream Batch 1000
  • Sacramento Babylon '06
  • Sweetwater Donkey Punch
  • Stone Old Guardian '08
  • Mendocino Old Talon '07
  • No Such Place Brewing Old Snaggletooth '06
It was hard to pick a favorite with so many tasty offerings. The ones that stand out the most in my mind were the Brandy Aged Old Stock, the '02 Leviathan, the '99 Full Sail, the Brooklyn and the Troegs. Only one showed any signs of oxidation ('02 Horn Dog). And we didn't even make it to the '97 Bigfoot and Old Crusty! They were all yummy though. I can't wait for next year!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Everyone should have at least one great enduring passion in their life. For me, it's been beer for the last 30 years. Oh sure, I've had lots of minor infatuations with other things during that time and some of those have endured over the years too. But beer is not a jealous mistress. You can still enjoy a great beer while indulging in your latest crush.

It all started for me back on my 19th birthday in 1978. I'd had a few beers before but I wanted my first legal purchase to be special. Something beyond the Bud, Miller or Coors that I had tried before and while intriguing, I knew there had to be more to beer than bland fizzy yellow water.

I wandered into a local Albertson's that day and perused what was in the cooler. The usual suspects were there of course but there were a few new ones I'd never seen before. Heineken? What's that? Dos Equis? Hmmm. Lowenbrau? Interesting. Anchor Steam? Ah ha! The description on the label sounded just like what I was looking for.

So I bought that six pack of Anchor Steam on my 19th birthday and I've never looked back. It was relatively dark, malty, hoppier than anything else I'd ever tried before and all the flavors blended together into this wonderful gestalt of yumminess! I was hooked.

This was in the days before the microbrewery revolution so the pickings were slim for the next few years. I tried all the imports but most of them were just fizzy yellow concoctions with a different flavor of piss added. Some were good but nothing like that Steam!

Every time I would go on a trip, I always hit the local grocery store to see what beers they had that we didn't have here in Boise. A few regional differences but still mostly variations on pale lagers.

When microbreweries started getting their offerings to Boise, I was in heaven. I remember drinking a lot of Grants and Deschutes. But I still kept going back to my Steam.

In 1995 I finally decided to try my hand at brewing my own. Hey, this isn't so hard! AND I get to put the flavors together that I want! There for a while I was brewing another batch every week. My closets were overflowing with cases of homebrew.

In 1999 I got totally fed up with the corporate life and walked out of my nice, comfy, high paying job. Six months later I bought The Abbey. With 26 taps and over 100 different bottles I preached the gospel of good beer and live original music to many a thirsty seeker. I took great pains to keep the tap line-up fresh and exciting and varied. Always ready to talk beer with anybody that wanted to know about the good stuff. Setting up personal flavor tours for anyone with an interest. And I've been told that the burgers were pretty kick ass too. And did I mention that live original music?

I tried to maintain a nice cozy pub atmosphere where everyone was welcome without the pretensions or "meat market" mentality of the downtown scene. It was a place to relax and enjoy.

Unfortunately, the economic climate of 2002 meant the closure of The Abbey. I think the economy is going to be even worse very soon but that's a rant for another time.

Next up: Passion In The Post Abbey Years...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And So We Begin...

I suddenly find myself with plenty of time on my hands and have thought about doing this for the past couple of weeks. Going from 100mph to zero in the beer world has left a void that I'll try to fill here.

Looks like I waited too long and now there are at least two new beer blogs in Boise besides this one in the last couple of days! Honest, I'm not just jumping on the dog pile, this has been on my mind for quite some time.

While the job search continues I'll use this space to jot down thoughts about the state of Beer in Boise, live music I've liked, foods I've enjoyed and whatever else in the Universe that strikes my fancy. Isn't that what blogs are for? I might even get dark and post the nasty state of my emotions too. Nah! I'm too old to be emo...

Recent Beers:
Enjoyed several different scottish ales over at a buddy's annual St. Patty's Day feed last Sunday. On hand were Old Chub, McEwans, Traquair, the scotch ale we brewed last year and of course, the ubiquitous Guinness. I brewed up another batch of scotch while the corned beef was cooking. The wort was awfully yummy, I'm looking forward to this one!

There were several other beers there too. Too many to list here. We did break into the mead stash though: a couple of pear melomels from '04 and '05. They are aging very well. Almost cracked the last bottle of Ginger Methaglyn but decided not too. It would have been great with the corned beef.

'Kay, that's enough for now. More later...