Friday Random Beer in My Fridge

Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring! Buds on the trees. Warm days with cool breezes. Dusting off the golf clubs. Ther re-emergence of billions of little bugs that can fit through your screen on the one day it's truly warm enough to open your windows and air-out your house.

But Spring also means celebrations (at least in Germany) of having made it through another winter. And how do they celebrate? With Maibock. Sure, Maibocks start with Mai (May), but it's never too early in the Spring for a Maibock.

Today's delicious selection is none other than Smuttynose Maibock, from Smuttynose Brewing Company in New Hampshire. Being a fan of many of their other beers, I figured I couldn't go wrong here.

And indeed, I was right!

Maibocks are lighter than regular bocks, and tend to have a more pronounced hop character and a more noticeable alcohol burn.

I will avoid smarmy springtime references in my description. I'll keep it clean, just like this beer.

The offering from Smuttynose is a basic Maibock: clean as glass with a great hop-to-malt balance.

It has a lovely clear amber body with orange highlights when held up to light. It is capped in a plush, foamy head of off-white froth that has great staying-power and leaves a very elegant lacing down the glass.

The nose yields a sweet, sugary, almost syrupy note up front. It is followed and complimented by a lightly toasted almost bready malt with a scant hint of light fruit, like melon. The hops give a floral scent, underlayed with that lovely German spiciness. And there, under it all, is that slow alcohol burn.

Medium bodied with a standard carbonation.

The flavor is rich with malt: big huge sweetness, sugary (from the unfermentable dextrins), and chewy-syrup. There is a light toasty, bready taste. Definitely some melon sweetness is in the mix (more from malt than the choice of yeast). There is a vague hop presence, spicey, which is enhanced by the alcohol tinge of the 7.5% brew. Just plain well-balanced and expertly crafted.

Maibock is a hard style to pull off. You could very well end up with a massive Oktoberfest and quash any hop character and balance. Conversely, too much hops and you have a standard Bohemian pilsner. Well, Smuttynose has pulled it off nicely. There are some better examples available on the market, but for an American version of a strong German tradition, this is very drinkable and I recommend it.


Can't Touch This

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm MC Rove!

Dear God. Crooks and Liars has the goods.

The clip is from the Radio/Television Correspondents' Association dinner last night. Apparently, Rove like to go home, have a drink (nonalcoholic, of course, which immediately undermines his credibility here at Around the Keg), and "tear the tops off of small animals."


I'm still looking for the audio clip of Buish's remarks, where he pokes fun of such hilarious snippets such as his low approval ratings and the veep shooting a guy. Ha ha.


One, Two, Three, Fo'....FIF!!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I heard this report on NPR on the way home last night, and immediately thought of the whole skit referenced in the title and picture. Too funny for words, and SO poignant. "I pleeeead the fif...(SLAM)...I pleeeead the fif....(slam)"

Then I read this report on WaPo today. Again, chuckles and chortles. Because of Bugs Bunny, Monty Python and Dave Chappelle, there is not much that I can possibly take seriously any more.

From the NPR story:

Monica Goodling, who serves as the Justice Department's liaison to the White House and counselor to the attorney general, notified the committee Monday that she will not be testifying about the scandal.

Justice Department documents show that Goodling helped determine which prosecutors should be fired . The documents also showed that she worked closely with White House political operative Karl Rove to remove the United States attorney in Arkansas so that one of Rove's aides could take the job.

As White House liaison for the Justice Department, she'd be able to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee whether top Justice Department officials knew they were giving false testimony when they said that the White House was minimally involved in the removal of the U.S. attorneys.
Her contention to the committee is that she had "become aware that a senior justice department official had blamed her for his false testimony." And as yet another indication that Gonzo is all alone, along with Rove and Bush, is
Goodling's invocation of the Fifth Amendment rattled Republicans on Capitol Hill. Adam Putnam, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, and a staunch Bush supporter, had this to say about Gonzales: "I believe that this tornado that he's in the center of is largely of his own making, and I believe [it] does undermine his ability to continue to serve the president in the way that you would expect."
I would also like to point out that Republicans joined Dems in the House to repeal the sneaky little section in the Patriot Act that allows the AG to appoint US Attorneys. Bush has apparently said he will not veto the measure, which while smart, is also not surprising and doens't help one way or the other. Geese are cooked.

It makes me wonder:
In the House yesterday, a provision stripping the attorney general of the power to appoint interim U.S. attorneys indefinitely without Senate confirmation passed overwhelmingly, following a 94 to 2 vote in the Senate last week.
Exactly who are the two who voted against it?? What misguided bumblefucks actually see the good in this provision so as to have voted against the blatant political maneuver with no benefit to justice being served? And even in the House, by passing "overwhelmingly," there must still be a few who think this is fine. Click here for the House vote (329 - 78). Got one of the Fighting 78 in your district as your Rep? Write them and tell them they're out of touch. I am proud to say that Mike Rogers (R - MI), my Rep, actually voted no, thouch the 78 nay votes all came from the Republicans.

For the Senate vote, click here. The 2 no votes were Bond (R - Hopeless) and Hagel (R - Outtatouch).



This Sh** is Bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Gods, but I want to blog. I really do. But by the end of the day, after crazy work hours, early mornings, kid time, wife time and a good, solid beer, I run out of gas. I should find a way to be a one-man show...and do a really good job of it like this guy, or find more people to post as contributors on my blog who are as good as these guys in terms of pop-culture know-how and general relevent snark.

At any rate, enough bitching. A news roundup:

--Though the real story is here, it was billed in a much more provacative fashion here of all places. It reads that Chiquita Admits to Making Payments to Terrorists. So remember: when you eat a banana, the terrorists win.

--I never really understood the gravity behind the Valerie Plame debacle. But after reading this, compliments of John Cole's Balloon Juice, I get it. It's so much biger than Scooter Libby lying, which all in all, while still illegal in this case, is just unexciting. No, this is much, much bigger and there are more people who shoulda burned for it. So now I feel like I should sell t-shirts saying "We Went to Court, and All We Got was Scooter Libby."

--I also predicted in this post on my blog, in the same post that I argued that the Plame "scandal" was really sort of no big deal, that this U.S. Attorney thing was also going to turn out to be no big deal. Looks like I got that one wrong too. [h/t Balloon Juice, again]

--Lansing, MI is getting a brewpub!! I am thrilled. But moreso, I am thrilled that they are offering fully-refundable investment opportunities. Starting at $500, there more you invest, the higher your permanent discount on your total bill is. If you're interested, throw me an email or post a reply.

--It's been four years. Jesus.

--Not only has it been four years, but now this. It' not a poll of Americans. No. ABC News polled Iraqis. 51% say it's cool to kill Americans. Hit the link and have a listen to the audio clip of the interview. Depressing.

That's all I got. Crack a beer and enjoy your day.


Friday Random...Brew?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Rather than another ber review, like every day I'm alive, this week is a little different. I am divulging a secret: the recipe for my award-winning Russian Imperial Stout, Anastasia's Assassination. This is my thrid batch of this beer in a row. As soon as I uncap the first one, demand for it rom people who drink my beer has it off of my cellar shelves in a matter of weeks. Which sucks, because 1) it's good; and 2) it takes 5 or 6 months to ferment appropriately.

At any rate, the recipe:

3 lb. Dark Malt Ext.
2 lb. Amber Malt Ext.
4 lb. Irish Stout Malt
1 lb. Crystal, 60L
1 lb. Black Patent

2 ½ oz. Perle (90 M)
1 ¼ oz. Styrian Golding (15 M)
1 ½ oz. Cascade (end)
4 T Gypsum
Irish Ale Yeast (Wyeast 1084)

1) Crush Crystal, Black Patent; put in steeping bag.
2) Bring 2 Q water to 150º, hold for 30M
3) Remove grain; sparge with 1 Q hot water
4) Add wort to boiling pot with water for 1 ½ G
5) Turn off heat; stir in Dark malt, Amber malt, Irish Stout malt
6) Add Perle and Gypsum, bring to boil for 60M
7) Add Styrian, boil for 15 M
8) Turn off heat, add Cascade, steep for 10 – 15
9) Add 3 ½ G cold water to Fermenter, add wort
10) Cool to 70 º, pitch yeast

1) 2 weeks at 70º
2) Transfer to secondary
3) 2 – 3 weeks in secondary
4) Add sugar, bottle
5) Bottle ferment 4 – 6 mos.

O.G.: 1.078 – 1.082
F.G.: 1.014 – 1.018

It's at Step 1 of the "fermentation" part right now. Ugh. Soooo long to wait, but very very worth it.

If I had more readers that actually commented on my blog rather than just read the damn thing (you know who you are)(but least I got Mike), I am sure they would add testimonial about how wonderful or not this beer is.

Take this recipe. Use it. Amaze your friends. Viva la Homebrew!



Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I am frankly underwhelmed by the whole Scooter Libby verdict. First, it's no rel surprise. Let's say it's as much of a surprise as the impending pardon will be. Second, as everyone says (including the jury), wrong guys. So Scooter lied. Big deal. It's who he lied for and why that I really want to know, and we never will. With Scooter's conviction, this whole issue goes away. The federal prosecutor didn't charge anyone with the "outing" of Valerie Plame because he didn't think there was anything there that would stick. But again, now that Scooter got smacked, I think we're at the end of this whole deal. Scooter took the hit for Rove and/or Cheney and this investigation is done. Color me...bored.

I see a lot of hay being made about this. I see there is something cathartic about someone in this administration finally...finally being held accountable for something. But the "victory," for what it's worth, is empty. The people who should pay won't. Cheney was exposed as the architech behind the smear campaign of Joseph Wilson, but h is not going to be held accountable for it.

The Dems on Capitol Hill are pointing out that this is one more thing that confirms the administration's lies to get us into Iraq. A concerted effort from the White House to suppress information from the CIA that proved the "yellowcake" charge was bullshit, stemming apparently from Cheney (as the trial showed), is the root of the idea the Dems are pursuing. But I think it's a chasm of distance between the root reason behind why we're pissed off - being lied to - and Libby's conviction, which strikes me as a bit more about retribution against those who we really can't touch (but really, really want to. In a bad way) than justice.

There seems to be a lot of grasping at what is going to be "really really big." Libby's conviction was going to be "really really big" and expose all sorts of...whatever. Well, he's convicted. Sure, he lied in a big, illegal way and essentially tried to block an investigation. But an investigation to what? To nowhere. The federal fucking prosecutor sees no case that will stick. So the "big thing" turns into a bit of a mediocrity.

The firing of the six U.S. Attorneys is being touted as the next "big thing." Maybe. Maybe we'll burn another Republican Senator over it, but I certainly don't smell jail time. It is tough to prove there is some White House conspiracy here to fire guys who might be leading an investigation against administration people and replace them with hacks. Well, we know they replaced them with hacks. But why? How long will it take to find out? And will it nail anyone who means anything?

Nothing makes me more furious than how we treat our wounded troops. I can hardly listen to the NPR reports or read the Newsweek article without wanting to cry. Dudes in DC are getting fired or quitting all over the place about this. But it's not the first time our Government have fucked our injured troops (what do they mean Agent Orange is eating their skin off?), and the worse that Bush himself is guilty of in this collassal fuck-up is political gamesmanship. It rrrreeeeeaaaallllyyy pisses me off that he does it with our injured troops. But we're burning all the people who ought to be burned for it. Sure, it shows more lack of leadership from the Bushies, but if you want to talk about inept leadership when it comes to dealing with our injured troops, you've got to blame every administration since the end of WWII. As a veteran, this shit has got to get solved by someone pretty damn quick. It's been wrong from a long time.

What this is is a sum of all evils; an indication of poor leadership and a group of people so sure of their own power that they don't even try to hide the bullshit. Mostly because...what exactly are we going to do when we find out? Convict a Fall Guy and celebrate a great victory? Pretty hollow.


Home Alone: Day 3 (and 4) (and 5)

Monday, March 05, 2007

I have slightly miscalculated my days home. Day 1 was actually the day Mrs. Smitty left; she was home in the morning, but it was me and Jr. on Day 1 in the evening.

Day 2 is then technically the Day 1 post I made, and so on.

So yesterday, Day 4, brought more rampant fun. We hung with the 2 other Bachelor Dads(tm) whose wives are with mine, and their kids. Big fun. Coffee, juice, one kid barfed in the vestibule of the books store...what's that but a great time?

I have found through this adventure that while this is quite possible, especially with a pretty well-dispositioned kid like mine, but I do have newfound respect for single parents. There's no rest, no extra sleep, no sleeping in, no time for yourself.

I managed to get him dressed yet again today in clothes that vaguely match, got his shoes on the correct feet and fed with little incident.

Mrs. Smitty comes home tonight. I know she really wants to see him, but having him alone for nearly a week has been an incredible bonding experience with both of us (me and Jr.) and I have truly had a blast.

It's funny that Jen came in under the amount of phone calls I thought she'd make, but not by much. That being said, they phone calls dropped to where the only reason I heard from her yesterday was because she wanted to tell me she ran into Desmond Howard at an ESPN Day in Florida. With any luck, my next kid will be an all-star Wide Receiver.

Well, both Jr. and I will certainly look forward to seeing Mrs. Smitty again. But boy, did we have fun! And we didn't even break the house.


Home Alone: Day 2

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Day 2. We are still alive. Smitty Jr. has been given 3 square meals, snacks, and plenty of water and juice. I have even showered.

We went sledding. We went swimming at the Club. We sang and danced. We took some huge poops.

Jr. has pretty much refused to take a nap, but it must be because he is having so much fun. He's not grumpy, so I must be doing something right.

I am proud to say he has not asked for "mamma." So far, Dada is pretty cool.


Home Alone: Day 1

Friday, March 02, 2007

Mrs. Smitty has left for Florida with her girlfriends. They are going to check out baseball studs in Spring Training and visit some Disney sites.

Before we all revel in a weekend diet of strippers, booze and Schedule 1 narcotics, she didn't take the boy. My son is home, with me. So my weekend diet is now chicken nuggets, kids' music and chocolate milk.

But I am quite thrilled. Some solid quality time with my son, to absolutely ensure that the Smitty genetic code is frimly planted in my boy. Oggling women, staring at boobs, farting contests, over-eating, sleeping late, laziness and a demand for instant gratification are all a part of Smitty Jr.'s future and I have the next 5 days to make sure it is firmly in place.

So it is officially Day 1. Mrs. Smitty left yesterday morning after dropping Jr. off at day care. We survived our first night; on the docket was some rousing song-and-dance from The Laurie Berkner Band (for any parents out there, she is absolute GOLD...the songs are catchy and vaguely less than annoying and the kids love it), no less than 3 times completely through, a fine dining experience of food that seems to permanently stain his face, a frenetic chase around the house with hockey sticks, bath-time and crashing in an exhausted heap.

On the docket tonight: going to a friends' house, smearing pizza around the dining room, and the dads get to stay up late after cramming the kids into beds and pack-and-plays.

So far so good. We're all in one piece. Mrs. Smitty has only called 1,236 times, which is lower than expected but still covers the spread.



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