Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saw the Gourds at Gruene Hall on Friday night. As always, a great show. It's really the perfect venue to see them in. They are self described as music for the unwashed and well read. The venue is the oldest operating dance hall in Texas. No a/c, just fans. Creaky wooden floors. Screen windows. Cheap beer... and a Texas heatwave. They did more covers than normal, including the bluegrass version of Michael Jackson's Don't Stop. What? Too soon? It was one of the more musically brilliant things I've heard recently. They have a new set of artwork for the band. As much of a nerd as I am, I just didn't see myself wearing the t-shirt, which is kinda' Conan the Barbarian meets Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Of course I got the bumper sticker, and "Luddite Juice" coozy. Here's the killer Gourd, you can imagine the rest:

On Saturday we worked our way out to the Real Ale Brewing Company 13th Birthday Party. On our way out we hit the new Wimberly Brewing Company for a taster. It's owned by a former SF 49er, Bruce Collie. Unfortunately, I've got to say I'm not impressed.

That's the beers in order. The one that they don't make, is the Real Ale Fireman's #4. Second from the left. You'll notice that it's the only clear one. I don't mind the hefeweizen being cloudy, but most of the rest should be clear. So, here's the blow by blow:

The hefeweizen: Actually, it's not too bad. I'm not a huge wheat beer fan, but it's a decent hot weather beer. Not the SN Kellerweis by any means, but not bad.

Fireman's #4: This is a good light drinking beer by Real Ale Brewing Company. Balanced, not over hopped. Not made by WBC.

The "transitional": He should be embarassed to serve this. Kill it. Kill it with fire. Now! This doesn't even qualify as a bad homebrew. Tons of lactobacter, maybe some acetobacter also. Yuck. Use it as feed for a compost heap. I couldn't take more than a few sips.

The Sunset Blonde: Meh. It's a little sweet. Drinkable I suppose, but again he's got issues with the clarity of his beers.

The IPA: Again with the cloudiness (see below). Beyond that it's seriously off balance with the hops. It seems like he used hops that would be good for aroma and floral notes as bittering hops. It needs a good dryhopping and some lower note bittering hops. I love super hoppy beers, but this is way off. The malts seem o.k., but it's ruined by the way he chose to hop it.

The Porter: This is actually their best beer. It's got some good chocolate flavor. I have to wonder given the rest of the beers whether he got this one right by accident.

I really hope he gets his act together, as I love breweries and want to see them succeed. I think he's a homebrewer with a lot of money. I don't think he actually knows how to brew all that well, or at least he hasn't figured out how to upscale a homebrew setup to a business operation. He needs to hire a good brewer and let them have at it. It's not really here nor there, but he apparently has 13 kids. The oldest is 16. Do the math. That poor woman. He needs to spend more time brewing and less time fucking.

Then it was on to Real Ale Brewing Company. The word of the day was HOT! It was a fun event, but they need to rent a few more tents for an event like this. The owners and brewers were all friendly. We took a brewery tour with their head brewer (Eric "the Tyrant"). There were some over zelaous homebrewers in the crowd, and it was the end of the day, so he got a little sidetracked, but it was fun. There is no such thing as too much stainless steel.

The Rio Blanco Pale Ale was good as always. I got to taste a couple of brews I haven't seen in bottles. I hope their Lost Gold IPA ends up in bottles, because it is the awesome. For now, it's only on draught. Best beer of the day. Up there with the best. They had a dark german wheat-rye that was decent (Dunkleroggen) which was pretty good. Also only on draught. Maybe I needed a lemon wedge with it. The 13th Anniversary Ale is a Belgian, and I guess it's good for a Belgain, but they aren't my thing. I missed out on two of their cask ales, which sucked. I was looking forward to that. All in all, it was a good party, and I'm glad they are doing well.

Friday, June 26, 2009

So we've been having more than a bit of a heat wave. That means summer beer. I'm not generally a wheat beer fan, but the Sierra Nevada Kellerweis may be the best hot weather beer going. Not overhopped. A little flat in the finish, but its a wheat. That's how they are supposed to be.

The Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock is pretty good. A bit more malty than I like without much floral hops. Still a nice hot weather and easily drinkable beer.

I generally like the Mendocino Brewery beers, and I've liked the White Hawk in the past, but either this batch wasn't treated right or there is some variability. I recalled it having more floral hops, but all I got was the bittering hops on tasting these.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Update: Well, apparently, MTV didn't like people posting their video... That didn't take long. As a replacement I give you "Guido Beach", just in-case anyone wonders why I might have a problem with New Jersey (family members not withstanding). I claim no heritage from that shit-hole. The last minute is pure comedy gold.

Now fixed with the link from MTV...

Sacha Baron Cohen as Bruno at the MTV awards. Eminem is so pissed off he leaves the arena. Brilliant. This should happen to all homophobes...

Update #2: Maybe it was staged, but it's still funny...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I just found out yesterday was Towel Day, in honor of Douglas Adams. Read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Every year on May 25th. Carry your towel with you. Why?

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very, very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

- Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Towel Day - Don't Panic

Happy Towel Day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Because it never gets old:

Monday, April 13, 2009

It'll get you drunk! (in that 70's style...)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

File this under "had his mind on other things"...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Maybe I haven't ruined my ears with the years of rock'n'roll....
Train Horn

Created by Train Horn

And she's a nerd too.... Neko Case's new album comes out on March 3. Get yourself a listen here. The final track is 30 minutes of frog chirping. Redhead. Cusses like a sailor. Nerd. She's my celebrity crush.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More poky things....

Local wildlife....(Gray Fox)

Yes, there are live armadillos sometimes....

If you are ever driving through West, TX you need to stop here. The Czech Stop. Its about 30 min north of Waco on IH35. It's a little Czech community, of which there are many in Texas. The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner is another Czech institution. (Shiner Bock for those familiar with Texas). The Czech and Germans were some of the first immigrants to the area. There are often two types of breakfast road food in Texas: either tacos, or kolaches. In West they do kolaches and all of the assorted pastry dishes. They do more sweet kolaches than many places, but they do plenty of sausage and cheese in a baked dough. They also sell a lot of summer sausage. I forget when I found this place. I think it was when I lived in Bonham, and was coming back from a bike race in Waco. Go. On a busy travel weekend there will be a line around the building.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't give me any shit. I know it's empty. It is that good. The Hacienda Sotol mescal is the best cactus squeezin's going. It's better than any premium tequila and much cheaper. Seriously, if you can find it, try it. It WAS their añejo, but the blanco and reposado are both good in their own right, too. Sotol generally has a bit of a bad name, as do most mescals. It is made very similarly to tequila, but from a different cactus. Remember, tequila is a mescal also. It's an appelation (mostly from the state of Jalisco) and requirement that it be from a specific cactus (Blue agave). Sotol is just a different agave from a different region (Chihuahua). Definitely on point.

The Basil Hayden's is a nice drinkable bourbon, and is currently my favorite. It's strong without being overbearing. A somewhat scotch like bourbon.

Zaya is my favorite premium rum. It's from Guatemala. It's a little sweet, but not too much so. Very smooth. It's for drinking, not for mixing. It's in the same league as the Barbancourt 15 or the Fleur de Caña 12.

Believe it or not, Texas makes some good vodkas. I'm not really a vodka drinker, but I like Tito's. It has beaten much more expensive vodkas in taste tests. I think it's grain based and not potato based, which is somewhat of a heresy, but it's vodka. It's not supposed to taste like anything except clean alcohol goodness.
There is also the Dripping Springs vodka, which is a little more rough around the edges. Sometimes, that's a good thing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Apparently, the Russians invented break-dancing sometime around 1918... That, or Run DMC figured out time travel...

mash-ups are so much fun...