Oh Happy Day

Friday, July 22, 2011

I am like a kid on the last day of school. I can't concentrate. My mind is in a thousand places right now. I keep checking the clock.


Today is the Michigan Brewers Guild's Summer Beer Festival! More than 50 breweries. 450 beers to try. FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY. I might explode.

Here's the full list of breweries and the beers they're bringing. It is overwhelming. I am beside myself. Some highlights for me to hit this evening include:

  • Arbor Brewing Buzzsaw Massacre Double Dryhopped Cask Ale

  • Bastone Brewery Midnight Oil Imperial Stout

  • Bell's Spiced Stout

  • Black Lotus World Wide Wheat

  • Blue Tractor Smoked Silly Red

  • Brewery Vivant Zaison “Super” Saison

  • Corner Brewery Flamboyant Red Flemish Oak-aged Sour Red

  • Dark Horse has 6 tables; I can't list everything I want to try. So all of it. Parking there for a while

  • Founders Cashew Mountain Brown AND Devil Dancer (it's back!!)

  • Grizzly Peak La Poisson Rouge Wood-aged Red

  • Hideout Double Bubble DIPA with Bubblegum and the Cherry Mango Chile Pineapple Pilsner

  • Hopcat Sage Against The Machine Honey Sage Pale Ale and the Ville De Morte Peach Saison

  • Jolly Pumpkin Bam w/Jasmine

  • Liberty Street Clementine Lemon Thyme American Wheat

  • Mt Pleasant Sacred Gruit

  • Like everything from New Holland

  • Odd Side Firefly - Habanero and Papaya

  • Saugatuk Spring Thaw Spruce Ale

  • Schmohz Zingiberene Ginger Gruit

  • Everything from Shorts, twice

  • What else is there to say other than I better bring a lot of Gatorade and water. I'll need it.


    Could a Former Comedian be Elected President?

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Just asking.


    Yellow Journalism

    I don't know anything about the blog "SwashZone", but they wrote a great, well-documented piece about yellow journalism both past and present.

    Check it out.


    Beer Rebellion Part II

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    While Wisconsin's new laws may be benefiting super-shitty beer-maker MillerCoors in Wisconisn, the State Government shutdown in Minnesota is screwing them.

    CNNMoney reports that because the company was not able to renew their brand registration before the state shutdown, they cannot sell their product.

    Ahhhh Karma.


    Still Got It

    Doonesbury, FTW:


    My Kind Of Rebellion

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Now here's a rebellion I can totally get behind:

    You may recall the Republicans’ budget trick in Wisconsin which was designed to protect MillerCoors from competition from the InBev distribution network. The provision also royally screwed small craft brewers. The great GOP champions of free market competition effectively made it illegal for craft brewers to market their beer wholesale, prevented them from organizing co-ops to distribute their product and limited expanding their individual brewpubs to no more than two restaurants.

    Beer drinkers and activists flooded the Statehouse with calls and letters and actually flipped five Republicans, who joined a couple of Dems to request the Governor veto the provision. Walker of course, ignored the request and the corporations won that battle. But craft beer supporters aren’t giving up without a fight. They’re dumping gallons of MillerCoors on the street and have been convincing some traditional taverns to drop MillerCoors products altogether.[H/T Balloon Juice
    My favorite line in the whole piece is "The great GOP champions of free market competition effectively made it illegal..." That says it all. They really aren't interested in competition whatsoever; just the biggest corporate payouts and corporate favoritism and cronyism.

    Here's the original article that Balloon Juice linked; it includes a video of roughly 50 gallons of Miller getting poured into the street. Normally, spilled beer breaks my heart. This time? Dump away.


    This Week In Skepticism

    Thursday, July 07, 2011

    From one of my favorite sites, Skepchick, come a handful of articles dispelling the bullshit we tend to believe as gullible homo sapiens:

    1) 7 'Ancient' Forms of Mysticism That Are Recent Inventions

    2) 6 Things From History Everyone Pictures Incorrectly

    3) Image Of Virgin Mary Appears In Bird Dropping On Area Family’s Truck (which is a phenomenon which we shall, from this point forward, refer to in the tags at the bottom of our posts by its proper name: Pareidolia)

    The first two articles are from Cracked, and some of the best humor is in the captions below their pictures they use to illustrate their points. Pure hilarity.

    I will admit to being duped by the Yoga myth; it is at least plausible as an "ancient" practice.

    Around the Keg: shattering your preconceived notions since somewhere around 2005.


    Beery Goodness

    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    I sometimes have to remember that I started this bloggity to be a beer blog, along with politics. Beer has taken a slight back seat to politics, but with complete and utter bullshit like this out there, it's hard not to write about it and shake my sword at the abyss.

    A week or so ago, I mentioned I ordered a big upgrade to my brewing apparatus. It's time, folks, as my 2 existing kegs begin to drain, to put it to good use.

    I feel weird about it, but I'm cheating. I am buying 2 highly-recommended all-grain kits from Northern Brewer. I normally like to formulate my own recipes, given them a trial run, make a tweak or two, and consider a good recipe developed. But the process of all-grain brewing is longer and a few steps more complicated. Maybe complicated isn't the right word, because all I am doing is pouring hot water over grain a couple times and straining it into a big pot. But it adds a few more steps that a beginner at the process could fuck up by not paying a hint of attention. So I bought the kits, and can follow a tried-and-true recipe from start to finish, using every new step along the way, and will have an idea of how the beer should taste versus how it ends up tasting.

    I ordered Northern Brewer's American Wheat Ale kit and their Caribou Slobber kit, which is a clone of Big Sky Brewing Company's massively-famous Moose Drool. So, classic Oberon as we Michiganians knew it when it was better, and a highly-coveted big American Brown Ale. Here we go.

    Speaking of making my own recipes, I just obtained an iPad app specifically for homebrewers: iBrewMaster. Oh, sweet motherload of beery calculating heaven. This app has it all. It has pre-installed recipes for you to test and tweak. You can write you own. Keep track of batches, suppliers, test what a particular adjunct may do to your beer (licorice? honey?), and even share recipes over an iBrewMaster community. If you brew, extract and/or all-grain, this app is so user-friendly and comprehensive that it's like it was built from the ground-up by homebrewers who would know exactly what they'd want in brewing software. Oh...wait...

    Oh, I can't help it. More awesome screenshots from the app. It's like brewer porn.

    I stumbled across an iPhone app that pulled at my heartstrings. No, it's not this. It's BrewVault. It keeps track of the beers in my fridge, the beers I am cellaring, the beers I keep meaning to buy, beers I've tasted at a bar and want to purchase later elsewhere...all of that and more. It organizes by state, by brewery, by type. It allows me to add tasting notes, which helps my reviews, especially if I am at a bar and am like "oh man, I need to review this beer" but don't have a pen and a cocktail napkin. Now I have BrewVault! Check out its cool features.

    The path to sudsy goodness resides in awesome iOS apps.


    I'm Done...

    Friday, July 01, 2011

    Nerd Rick Snyder continued his War on Michigan citizens with the passage of several bills that he wanted. One takes away the right of districts and unions to make their own agreements and caps how much districts are allowed to pay for employee health insurance. Several other bills make it easier to fire a tenured teacher and weaken the already shitty position of the teachers union to negotiate contracts.

    In the interest of full disclosure, my wife is a public school teacher, so I have a financial interest in this legislation. I also have many friends that are public school teachers. Even if this weren't the case, I would still be pissed. Snyder (who I considered voting for, but thankfully didn't) campaigned as somewhat of a moderate who would do things differently and make our state great (or some similar populist bull shit). Thanks to a GOP majority in both houses, he has been able to ignore any semblance of moderation, restraint, common sense, and reason, and has forced through a whole bunch of significant changes to the tax system and state services.

    Some fans of Dick Snyder are pleased that he is making the tough choices that he was elected to make. Thankfully, most do not agree. Over at Michigan Liberal, they bring up some polling data:

    Michigan's Republican-controlled Legislature may have passed a state budget in record time, but what they passed isn't popular with voters.

    A poll shows 61 percent of voters say they're less likely to vote for Republicans in 2012 because of the budget that cuts funding to public schools but gives tax breaks to corporations.

    I am sure the GOP is aware of this data. either they think that things will turn around and they can reap the success, or they just don't care and want to do as much damage as possible before the voters boot their asses in the next election.

    Well, I am done. If the election were held today, I would vote straight party Democratic. The Democrats are by no means perfect, but even the worst of them in this state is a paragon of reason and good governance compared to Snyder et al. I don't think my beliefs have changed all that much in the past few years, but I suppose if the readers of this blog were relying on me to be the voice of the right, we will have to add another blogger. I doubt I will be able to vote for any of the current crop of Republicans in Michigan. That being said, with apologies to Ronald Reagan for borrowing and altering his quote, I didn't leave the GOP, it left me.



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