June 24, 2009

Black Douglas Ale

This is the last of the beers donated by Petey in that box he gave me. I have a couple more heís given me since, but there are others that have donated beers that need reviewing, and Iím tired of hearing about favoritism. BTW Petey, I havenít received the glasses yetÖ. When I get them Iíll have to drive down and deliver yours in person. Tonight Iíll be reviewing Black Douglas Ale by Broughton Ales Limited of Scotland. Yes, Wil, this is the $10.90 beer we had in Kalamazoo.

Black Douglas.jpg

Sorry about the picture quality, cell phone.

The beer comes in a 1 pint, .9 fl oz brown bottle with a hops motif blown into the glass. The label has an oval on it with a picture of a ban wearing medieval armor with a black mustache and beard. The back of the label has a brief description of the beer as well as a short description of who Black Douglas was.

There is a dark crimson color to it with a dark walnut hint. A thick, tan head formed when poured. It was made up of a combination of large and tiny bubbles. It lasted for most of the life of the beer. There is a good amount of lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent is a combination of molasses, nuts, caramel malts with a touch of yeast. Itís very aromatic, but not as strong as one would expect from a Scottish ale. The flavor is a mix of Molasses, malts, a hint of dark fruit with a slight smokiness. They blend together to make the beer very appetizing. The aftertaste is a pleasant hint of bitterness on the tongue with a mild sweetness.

This is a medium bodied beer that has a gentle carbonation level.

This beer is very easy to drink. It has a good flavor and I could see myself grabbing one if it was available or if the mood strikes me just right. I donít know if I would pay $10.90 for it in a theme bar like I did in Kalamazoo, MI. Overall I thought this was a pretty good beer. I give it 7 out of 10.

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June 17, 2009

Hiatus

I have some stuff going on in my life right now that I need to deal with. I'm not saying I'm quitting blogging, but I am taking a break. I'm going to continue the Beer reviews, but I just can't handle doing one tonight right now.

I'm not going to blog about what's going on, because I really don't want to share it with anyone, not even my closest friends at this point.

So if you don't see or hear from me in a while, don't take it personally. I'm just trying to deal with what is going on.

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June 15, 2009

Canoe Trip Denied.

Wednesday night Ktreva and I loaded up the van for the trip. Everything was set and ready to go. Then on Thursday morning I get a message from Red (Wil's Wife) saying that Wil is calling the trip due to the river condition! CRAAAAAaaaaaaaaaap!

Hmmm, vehicle is loaded... no biggie we could unpack the vehicle. My sister is expecting us to drop of the boy at her place (two hours south of us) and keep him until Sunday. It's not fair to her to deny her the weekend with the boy, especially since she had taken time off of work to watch him. That and she only gets to keep him for the weekend maybe twice a year, just because of the travel distance. I was going to have to make the trip to drop off the boy anyway.

Then Wil calls and tells me to go ahead and bring Ktreva down for the weekend. We'll bar hop, maybe do some canoeing on the local lake, drink beer, barbque, drink more beer, make fun of people, drink beer, etc. I spoke with Ktreva, and we decided, what the hell and headed that way.

Now Wil wasn't in town Thursday night, he had to go play long haul trucker. That left it up to me to entertain Ktreva and Red. We went to the local bar, Buddie's. Unfortunately it was open mic night. This means that any American Idol reject wannabe can get up and sing. The last time I was in this bar it was open mic night, and Wil booed a girl off stage and made her cry. That was over a year ago. Guess who was back? I started yelling "you suck", but Red and Ktreva made me stop.

Friday Wil finally shows up, but just for enough time so he can change his clothes and then head out to Ottumwa, Ia. He had to pick up a load of John Deere combines and bring them to Galesburg. He asked if I wanted to go with, I said sure. I figured it couldn't hurt. Plus I had never ridden in a big rig, so I thought what the hell, why not. Yea, it's a good thing I went, I noticed a road construction sign on the way there that limited the width of vehicles to 10 feet, 6 inches. The load we had was 11 feet 2 inches. If I hadn't noticed it Wil would have tried to go through. Of course he'll deny this and say that he would have checked the load width and caught it before the accident could have happened, but I know the truth. Lets just say it would have ended up with combines all over the highway! HA-ha!

Saturday we actually decided to spend some time on the river. We put on the river at Fort Wallace (don't ask me why they call it that, there's not fort there) Just east of 74 and we pulled out at the Wolf Covered Bridge. We did this trip in about 30 minutes, which means that the river was flowing at about 6 to 8 miles and hour. We would have liked to have gone longer, but we already had the vehicles at the Wolf. However, it worked out okay because that gave us time to run to town, get some more beer and prepare for everyone to show up for the night barbeque.

That night Wil cooked a bunch chicken and pork chops for everyone. They were really fantastic. A bunch of guys showed up and we sat around, drank beer and talked. Except for at one point when Ktreva and I disappeared for a little exploration of Gilson. That is all I'm going to say about that tour. So for those of you that left before we came stumbling back at 1:30 in the morning, sorry. It was nice seeing all of you!

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June 10, 2009

Floating the Amaqounsippi

No Beer review tonight. This weekend Iím taking Ktreva on a canoe trip, the exploration of the Amaquonsippi. Itís a period correct trip (with the exception of the canoes, life jackets, water jugs and toilet paper in a plastic bag). We are doing the last leg of the trip this year. I did the second leg last year, Ktreva didnít go. Since we are getting ready for that, I just donít have the time to do a proper beer review. Iíll try to put up an extra one next week to make up for it.

Iím pretty damn excited about this trip. It looks like the river is going to cooperate, so we wonít have to drag our canoes down the river. I get to spend the weekend with my wife and friends doing what we love, what more could I ask? Iíve gone over our gear a couple of times now to make sure that we have no non-period, or non-period looking materials. Where this trip isnít juried, Iím still trying to take the high road and make sure my stuff is right or as close as I can get with what limited resources are available to me with the time constraints.

Iím sure some of my friends will give me some grief over some of preparations. I keep a journal of the re-enactments that I do in a period looking book. For my own reference I made a slightly detailed hand drawn map inside the bookÖ that I based on the USGS topographic survey. Yes, you can scream loser at me now, but if I had the patience Iíd be a cartographer! This is an exploration and I like to document things. This brought me some hazing last year when I was using my portable GPS to document wear we were stopping, camping, etc. I just wanted to document the trip.

Now I know some people could care less about this type of stuff, but some of these are the same individuals that thrive on reading other peoples journals and seeing their maps. One of the highly debated topics amongst archeologists and historians is exactly where certain camps were specifically located, hence why they have spent years trying to find the Lewis and Clark sites. We love getting information from the journals, itís a primary source. Yet I try to document something and I get the ďWeíre on the river, thatís where we areĒ statement. Its okay, to each their own and if they donít like it, then I donít have to share it with them! (Also they didnít want to see the modern GPS, but weíll just glaze over that fact).

This year Iím trying something different. Iím using some knowledge that I obtained since last years trip. I wonít be as accurate as a GPS, but Iím sure I can get the general area. Of course the worst heathens on this trip (which are some of my closest and dearest friends) will still give me grief over it. Just like theyíll get over the fact that I give them grief that this trip is more akin to a drunken float down a river than it is to a canoe trip! (very little paddling) hehe

Iíll let you all know how it went when we get back.

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June 06, 2009

D-Day

Today is the anniversary of D-day. I would like to take a moment to thank all of the men that fought and died during the invasion of Normandy.

I salute you.

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June 05, 2009

Star back on the rise?

At work we have a client that is extremely unhappy with us, and has threatened to take their business elsewhere. They have a large contract with us and where their loss wouldnít be devastating; with the state of the economy we just donít want to lose anything.

In order to appease this client some very unorthodox concessions were made. Without going into too many details, what they are asking for would be something akin to those that work in a manufacturing area having each individual part made by hand instead of using machines. Coiling springs, bending tubes, filling bottles, loading trucks one piece at a time with out the used of any mechanical assistance or tools, each piece being identical and still keeping the same deadlines. Yea, trust me, itís like that.

This agreement was entered into by executives and marketing with full knowledge that our painfully inadequate systems couldnít handle the request. They turned the ďhow toĒ over to our director to work out. Now Iíve had my falling out of favor with my director and upper management since Okla-farooking-homa. Heck, remember I was in talks with the stateís attorney last December and January over possible fraudulent activities. Iíve pretty much been persona non-grata for so long now that they donít even complain when I donít go to meetings.

When I was called into a meeting with the director and she was asking me what we could do to implement this agreement, I was floored. They havenít asked my opinion on anything in so long that at first I just sat their quietly thinking she misspoke. When it became abundantly clear she hadnít, I really wasnít sure what to say. We spoke for a good hour on the situation, kicking around various ideas and doing the pros and cons over the different solutions. At the end I was assigned a task of overseeing the creation and implementation of the agreed upon procedures.

She gave me full control to make any changes I deemed necessary and to use any resources I felt necessary. I asked if I was going to have to run anything past my assistant manager or managers. The director advised me that for this case, I only had to keep her informed and run any major changes past her. I would have no ďinterferenceĒ from upper management in the office ďlike in the pastĒ.

Iíll be honest, my jaw about hit the floor.

My being a normally suspicious person, I started to think they were setting me up. I started adding caveats to various things like, ďI canít guaranteeĒ or ďThereís too much room for errorĒ and the like through out the conversation. My director flat out told me, ďThere is a huge percentage of this failing and our loosing the client. We know that, but we want to do everything in our power to keep them.Ē I couldnít help but ask why she chose me for this task. Actually hearing her say that she felt not only was I the best person for this job, with my background, skills and abilities, but that I would work the hardest to make sure everything was done to please this client in her opinion left me stunned.

It almost made me feel like they appreciated me.

I wonder what sheíll say on Monday when she finds out we are already ahead of schedule.

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June 03, 2009

This one speaks to me.

In this new texting age, this speaks to me.

Funny Pictures

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Belhaven Wee Heavy

(Que Fanfair) Tonight marks Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn twelfth donated beer that has been reviewed. That means he is the first to earn Full Enabler status, which earns him all the rights and privileges that goes along with the status*. I would present him with his complimentary glass; unfortunately I have not received them yet from the manufacturer. The twelfth beer is Belhaven Wee Heavy Scottish Ale by the Belhaven Brewery Company of Scotland.

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It comes in a large 500 ml (16.9 fl oz) brown bottle. The label is an oval label. There is a scarlet label on it. There is a gold border and in the middle is the rampant lion of Scotland. The name of the beer crosses the middle of the label, with the name of the Brewery arched over the lion. There is also a matching neck label.

When poured into a pint glass, there is a dark brown color with a rich ruby accent. Light passes through easily, but the beer is dark enough that you cannot clearly see through it. It appears to be clear, with no floating bits in it at all. An inch thick tan head formed. It was made of mostly tiny bubbles with the occasionally larger bubbles mixed throughout. There was some nice lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent is a subtle combination of Butterscotch, roasted malts, prunes, raisons with a slight brown sugar scent. The scent reminds me of Glogg (a traditional Scandinavian winter drink). The taste is a complex mixtures of roasted malts, dark fruit and peat smokiness often associated with Scotch Ales. The flavor opens up more as the beer warms toward room temperature. The aftertaste is mild and pleasant

It is a medium bodied beer. There is a decent level or carbonation.

This is an excellent Scottish Ale. A delightful combination of scents and flavors that makes it a pleasure to drink. The 6.5% ABV isnít noticeable in the taste, but one should be aware of it. I could see myself sitting down with friends on a cool summer night and drinking a bottle or two with them. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

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June 01, 2009

Another step towards complete government control.

Well itís official. Iím never buying a GM product again. General Motors Files for Bankruptcy Protection.

The plan is for the federal government to take a 60 percent ownership stake in the new GM. The Canadian government would take 12.5 percent, with the United Auto Workers getting a 17.5 percent share and unsecured bondholders receiving 10 percent. Existing GM shareholders are expected to be wiped out.

Chrysler did this back in April, and when they did I was annoyed that the government feels the need to own and operate businesses. I vowed at that time to never own a Chrysler product again, but that wasnít a big deal because I vowed that when I was in college and Iíve never seriously looked at buying anything ever made by Chrysler.

Iíve owned Fords and GM products, and other than Ford cars, Iíve been happy with them. Iíll never own another Ford car after the catastrophes that were the two previous ones I owned. Now I know some of my readers will throw magazine reviews and statistics compiled by ďindependentĒ sources, but honestly my experiences with the Ford car division and others that I know that own them pretty trump what ever I read in a magazine from a person I donít know. Ford trucks Iíll swear by, theyíre a good sturdy truck.

With GM now out of the running, when it comes time to get replace either my truck or Ktrevaís van, I know it wonít be with a vehicle made by GM or Chrysler. Iím not buying a vehicle from a government owned company. Oh, and now that they are partially owned by the Canadian Government as well, Iím definitely not buying from a foreign government.

Fortunately it will be years before I have to buy a new vehicle.

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