Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dorsky Museum and The Gilded Otter

This is a little out of date, cause this was a week and change ago.. but I went to the Dorsky Museum with the Boss for an opening she had/has going out there. The Ladies Auxiliary was actually the thing, not just the Boss. They seem to be popping up everywhere these days..

Here's a partial shot of the install.. there was more to it than just this, so you'll have to make the trip to see the rest. That child is not included, however. Hi Oscar!

These guys are so hard core, they even have their own T-shirts. More than I can say for my *own* club..

While we were out there, I hit up the Gilded Otter brewpub located a few blocks away in the center of town. Check out this doorman.. excellent job, friend!

Their menu (the one that counted..) was as follows:

I had the sampler, and I'l give props to the Altbier, the Oatmeal Stout and the Rail Trail Pale ale.. but when your Pale Ale out-guns the hops in your IPA, you've gotta reformulate that thing. The IPA, I mean! The altbier was a GABF medal winner, so I expected good things from that, and it didn't disappoint. The Stout wasn't a standout, but the rest I wasn't that thrilled with. I actually took vast notes on all of them, but my iPod seems to have eaten them. Damn. 

They had a curious brewery setup.. here's the brewery itself..

The brewery itself wasn't curious.. except for the Elmo doll seen in the lower left corner of this pic. But the serving setup was kinda strange. They took about 4 jacketed serving tanks and had them plunked down in the center of the big room, taking up prime seating real estate from the restaurant. There were four more chunked down just as you walked in, as well.. also taking up big floor space. The brewery was on the far back wall, behind the regular walkup bar. I imagine that might be a pain to brew on.. but the machinery itself was really sweet. Standard looking 7 or 10 barrel setup, but included an HLT that was separate from the rest. The little guy on the right side of this pic. Interesting. Upstairs, there was a whole lot more fermenters behind double walled glass, in what I imagine was a lagering area.. but they were also lagering in the jacketed tanks downstairs too, so.. I dunno. Curious, like I said. 

'tis all for now.. carry on.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Berliner Weisse followup and Scotch tastings..

Just a quite update here about a couple of things. Good news, in fact. First, I had a virtual beer with Geoff the other night, over a pint of '1809' Berliner Weisse from some legit German brewery. Supposedly a no-boil, mash-hopped thing of legitimate per-style brewings. In fact, it was quite awesome. Here's me and virtual Geoff drinking this beer:

Slick, eh? Same beer, same glass, same beer nerds. Dig it.

Speaking of Berliners, I just had a 1oz taste test of mine downstairs. I was expecting a dud, since my last tasting of it was na-da for tart and Geoff's was displaying sour a long time ago.. but boy was I surprised when it nearly soured me into submission right then and there. Nice! This thing tasted like a million bucks, perhaps a bit more tart even than the 1809 I had just had a few days prior.. good times coming.

In other news, I had one of my Comando boys, Savvas, come other the other day for a beer and Scotch tasting. Here we are out on the deck, digging the hard core stuff:

It was cool, as we had a mild Scotch, a mid-ranger, and a really in your face version. Good experiment. We should do this sort of thing with the other boys once or twice.. it was definitely fun. Savvas, I haven't forgotten about your Belgian beer in the fridge.. I wanna have time for that to do it up right. Stand by..

That's all for now.. carry on.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Garden update and brewin' with Frank..

Brewed up a beer of some sort with Frank the other weekend.. Think it's a pale ale of some variety, but the details escape me right now. It's for  one shot party at Uncle Mike's at the lake, and it ain't probably gonna last long. Nice guys bring a couple six packs to share with their friends.. *heroes* bring a keg. Remember that. In any case, this is how Frank rolls when he brews. Very professional.

In other news, here's some updated pics of the garden and surrounding stuff. Check this potato out:

Also finally got around to putting up the extra tomatoes my pop brought out. In fact, this pic was taken two days ago.. there's stakes in the pots now, as I just came in from doing that job because a huge storm came in and flattened out three of 'em right to the deck. I almost had a stroke when I saw that. Dig it:

 Couldn't find any room in the garden, so I had to whip up some pots for some good times old school container gardening.Had no idea how much fun this part was gonna be.. I really like having the stuff up here on the deck.. not sure why it's that much different, but it really helps as far as pest control and the ability to keep the weeds out. Works well. I think I might do a lot more of this next year on the lower deck. There's even one more out in the rear bed that surrounds the Big Rock, and a couple of pepper plants in the front in kind of a random spot in the bed near the front door. I dunno.. just ran out of space, kids.  Check this updated pic of the Earthbox with the Habanero's in it. They're actually quite a bit bigger already, as this pic was taken a few days ago and these guys just hit a growth spurt of some sort and really sprang up:

As for the regular garden, check this massive growth:

total tomato overload and bean crowding. Thats' Sarah's fault. Next year, this willy-nilly planting will not be tolerated. Dig this flower on the jalapeno:

That was the first one, but there are many more like that now. No pods yet, but we're keeping an eye out.. Finally, a parting shot of the Cascades plant. Doing quite well now, and I'm looking forward to composting the crap out of this during the fall and seeing how well i does next year.

A good Red Chicken..

Just a quick note to mark the passing of a good Red Chicken, as of yesterday.. err, maybe late the evening before. No idea which one this was, be it a Rhode Island Red, or the one Golden Comet that I originally started out with. This is the first death of a chicken we've experienced here, and it was a little rough on the kids at first, but they seem to understand it all now and how things work. And hell, here I bought five, really wanting just the three, because I thought I'd lose one as a baby chick to some sort of illness and lose another to a fox or something right off the bat! 

As far as I can tell, she expired as a result of what they call 'egg binding'. Check the def.:

"In farmingaviculture and animal husbandry, the term egg binding refers to a medical condition in birds where the female is unable to pass an egg that has formed. The egg may be stuck near the cloaca, or further inside. Egg binding is a reasonably uncommon, and potentially serious, condition that can lead to infection or damage to internal tissue."

..what they don't mention here is that it *mostly* results in death. It's pretty serious, and it's what happened here at the Pleasant Valley Ranch. Darn it. 

That's her right there, the red one closest to the camera, on the left. Thing is, ever since about.. oh, just after she started laying, she's been firing out these weak shelled eggs, that mostly break upon exit. Well, nah.. maybe 1/3rd of 'em break on laying.. the rest are paper thin and mostly survive. Once, I put a thumb through one of 'em when I picked it up because it was so weak. Almost as if there was no calcium on the outside to give it strength, just the inner membrane, which is thin and flexible.. I saw this coming, but didn't have any options but to cross my fingers and hope for the best. It's a genetic thing, you see. They're all on the same diet.. if they all had weak shelled eggs, I'd know it was a calcium deficiency issue, and I could rectify that.. but the rest of the birds are all doing quite well. All good shells and no problems.. but since it's one bird out of five, with only the one problem, it can only be genetic. It was bound to happen. It's just too bad it did..

So, now we're down to four. We'll see how that goes. I don't want to have less than three.. five really was a good number, but I don't want to introduce another hen into the mix all solo like.. that wouldn't be quite fair. I'd sure like to have a rooster in the mix, but.. well.. that probably wouldn't go over too well in the neighborhood.. though it wouldn't be against any town regulations. ;-)