Tough App Reviewer [ A T ]

Good but not complete

Where is Peyton Randolph, the first elected President of the Continental Congress? Seven men served as President of Congress, well before George Washington was elected.

What about President John Hanson, the first president of the US under the Articles of Confederation? For complete accuracy there were seven other "Presidents" elected under the Articles, before the US adopted the current Constitution.

And there should be a footnote about the 1849 "president for a day" David Rice Atchison. Although the claim has been refuted, technically he could be considered to have been the acting President before Zachary Taylor was officially sworn in; a statue in his honor in Kansas City, MO says "President of the U.S. [for] one day".


Occupy Wall Street may be metastasizing [ P. PI ]

Warning 'Occupy Wall Street' may be metastasizing!

I was finishing filling up with gasoline at a Mobil station near work. A clipboard-carrying black youth approached me. His attire - including béret - suggested Sociology Major with a semester or two of Art History.

He said "May I ask you a question"?
I said "You mean besides that one."
He paused for a moment, possibly realizing he may be dealing with a different IQ level than he was accustomed to.

He then asked "Do you know what 'banks' are"?

Thinking my earlier response to his question had stripped some gears in his head, I replied "What????!!"
He said again very clearly "Do you know what 'banks' are"?

Sighing inwardly, I realized this was either a very bad trick question - sort of like when you sign up to 'win' a 'free' rug shampooing at the county fair - or I was in the presence of a drug-addled sociopath. I replied calmly so as not to agitate the hipster; "yes, I know what 'banks' are".

He then said rather ecstatically, "That answer qualifies you for our survey".
"Great" I thought; "the only people who COULDN'T answer correctly would be infants, people who can't understand English, and those in 6th or 7th stage Alzheimer's".

Cursing to myself that the Venn diagram intersection of me and the above three items is a 'null set', I said "Let me ask you a question, do you know how a 'gas station' works"?

Blank stare back at me; I swear if he had gulls they would have been flapping.

"Here's how it works, I just filled my car with gas, and now I'm leaving.

(cue Foley artist for engine rev and tire screeching)


The Strutt [ Be ]

I had the pleasure of going to The Strutt in Kalamazoo MI. Sort of an unusual name, it nonetheless offered very good food, a great beer selection, and what appeared to be good coffee (based on those who partook of it).

I tried the vegetarian fajita, which included eggplant - it was very good. The beers as you note include chupacabras, which was actually better than expected.

Also had a bit of a beer scoop - Craft Bräu will be brewing at The Strutt by 2012. That's why they moved out their coffee roaster.


Moderate in Maumee [ Be ]

Went to the Granite City Food and Brewery brewpub in Maumee OH last night. Beers were good, nothing exceptional except the IPA; food was very good.

In summary:
Granite City Food & Brewery - Northern Light Lager - 5.5
Granite City Food & Brewery - Pilsner - 6.0
Granite City Food & Brewery - Wag's Wheat American Wheat - 6.5
Granite City Food & Brewery - Brother Benedict's Bock - 7.5
Granite City Food & Brewery - Duke of Wellington IPA - 8.5
Granite City Food & Brewery - Broad Axe Stout - 7.0

I did not try the abomination of Northern Light and Bock called Two Pull - apparently there's a whole slew of "mix and match" beers available. Note this is punishable by death in Belgium.


Nirvana in Boardman [ Be ]

Let me first say I plan to update my blog more on a day-to-day basis especially when I am traveling.

It's very hard to be impressed.
Let's start out with that concept.
We've seen men allegedly land on the moon, the twin towers fall, implants surpass the 800 cc mark, and the Red Sox win the Series. So how can a simple bar/restaurant impress. Well, let me tell you, the Vintage Estate Wine and Beer establishment ( a.k.a. V.E. Tasting Lounge) in Boardman OH is amazing.

Less than 1 hour northwest of Pittsburgh, this store has 20 great beers on tap, good food, free wifi, as well as the ability to buy any beer (or wine if so inclined) in stock and you can drink it in the bar!

I had a nice conversation with one of the principals - PR - and sent him an email of the Belgian breweries and beer restaurants I have visited. I was VERY surprised that they had Poperinge Hommel Bier, one of my and IC's favorites.

So a great start to a short trip, as well as more daily blog updates. Note I still have to finish writing up a Portland OR trip, a trip to Chi-town and Kalamazoo area, as well as a west coast vacation that includes the Portland OR BrewFest.

And in summary:
New Holland - Golden Saison - 7.5
Avery Brewing - The Kaiser - 8.0
Two Brothers - Atom Smasher - 8.5
Abbaye Des Rocs - Grand Cru - 8.5
New Holland - Ichabod - 8.0
Ducato - Nuova Mattina - 7.5
Young's - Double Chocolate Stout [nitrogen] - 9.0
Moa Brewing - Moa Noir - 7.0
Breckenridge - Agave Wheat - 8.0


Why a Mac [ A ]

Why do I use a Mac? Well, let's look at the 1st 9 days of September using Mcafee's iPhone "threat update App." We see one Mac issue, whereby if - when playing an infected movie and click "yes" to a permission request (that you never usually see when playing a movie) the QuickTime movie App will crash.

Compare that to PART of but ONE DAY for Microsoft and Windows.

NOTE - edited with the new native Google Blogger App for the iPhone - I like it!


Beer Tasting [ Be G H I ]

Well, I finally made the plunge - I had a beer tasting event at my house. The best part was how the weather in CT wasn't helping - so much snow I had to send a parking diagram to everyone.

We had all the beers set around the dining table, with a description of each below the bottle(s). The description even included what foods and desserts went well with the beers. I had even gone to the trouble of setting some smoked Gouda cheese and bacon near the Rauchbier - smoked beer. Although it's not clear in the photo, we even had bottles of water to rinse out the tasting glasses, and even "spit buckets." As luck would have it a local discount store had beer-branded (e.g. Corona)!

My very understanding, tolerant and wonderful wife made her famous guacamole and spinach-artichoke dip, but the rest of the cooking was my job. We had foodstuffs in the following categories:
Meats: roast pork, barbecue roast pork, chicken breasts, hamburgers, smoked salmon, German bratwurst, bacon and soupy
Veggies: carrots, celery, mini corn, various olives, sweet pickles, tomatoes, peppers, coleslaw, ceasar salad (w/optional anchovies), guacamole and spinach artichoke dip and peiorgi
Cheese: smoked Gouda, Brie, Stilton, Monterey Jack and Gorgonzola
Bread: miscellaneous grains and rackers, Ritz, mini buns, corn chips, Ruffle, rye bread
Dessert: pecan pie, various cheesecakes, oatmeal-raisin and lemon shortbread cookies, strawberries and chocolate

The beers were a mix, I tried to go from Anheuser-Busch Budweiser to Brewdog Sink the Bismarck. Yes as a special treat I had the strongest 2nd strongest 3rd strongest beer in the world. We used small communion cups to taste it, so as not to waste it - plus it was a sublime, nearly-religious experience!

In no particular order, as I put the beers around the table to "break it up" so to speak: 
Hooker    Old Marley USA CT    Ale    Barleywine    10.0%
De Ranke Guldenberg    Belgian Abbey Ale Belgium    Ale    Belgian Abbey Tripel    8.5%
St. Benedictus Abbey    Trappist Achel Belgium    Ale    Belgian Abbey    8.0%
Van Eecke    Hommelbier Belgium    Ale    Belgian Blonde    7.5%
Franches Montagnes    Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2005    Switzerland    Ale    Belgian Strong    15.5%
Bosteels     Kwak Belgium    Ale    Belgian Strong Pale    8.0%
Brewery Het Anker Gouden Carolus triple    Belgium    Ale     Belgian Triple    9.0%
Coniston Brewing    Premium XB Bluebird Bitter UK    Ale    Bitter    4.2%
Cottrell    Old Yankee Ale USA CT    Ale    English Brown    5.0%
Weyerbacher    Double Simcoe IPA USA PA     Ale     India Pale Ale     9.0%
Boon    Kriek Belgium Ale     Lambic w/cherries    4.0%
Sierra Nevada    Pale Ale USA CA    Ale    Pale    5.6%
Dog Brewing    Stillwater Artisanal existent USA MD    Ale    Saison    7.4%
Brooklyn    Black Ops Stout USA NY    Ale    Stout    10.6%
Samuel Smith    Tadcaster Oatmeal Stout UK     Ale    Stout, Oatmeal     5.0%
Beijing Yanjing brewery     Yanjing China    Lager    American lager     5.0%   
Ayinger    Jahrhundert-Bier Germany    Lager    Dortmund    4.4
New England Brewing    Elm City Lager    USA CT     Lager     Pils, German    5.0%
Ayinger    Bräu-Weisse     Germany    Lager    Hefeweizen (wheat)    5.1%
Sünner     Kölsch Germany    Lager    Kolsch    5.2%
Anheuser Busch    Budweiser    USA    Lager    Light Lager     5.0%
Modelo     Corona Extra Mexico     Lager     Light Lager     4.6%
Ayinger    Oktoberfest Marzen     Germany    Lager    Marzen     5.8%
Hofbrau    Hofbrau original     Germany    Lager    Munich Helles    5.1%
Blossom Industries     Taj Mahal India    Lager    Pale    4.5%
Heller    Aecht Ochlenterla Rauchbier Germany    Lager    Rauchbier (smoke)     5.1%
Williams Brothers     Fraøch Heather Ale Scotland    Ale    Pale, Classic      5.0%

So we have beers from light lagers to barleywines, alcohol from 4% to 41%, and brewery size from Van Eecke in Belgium (not the smallest I've seen) to Beijing Yanjing brewery (550 acres!). I have also tried to now (why not years ago?) put photos of beer bottles on the Net.
There were several handouts provided, some of these were just ones I made up based on an Internet reference, such as the hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of Brewing; as well as many beer references. This includes (in no particular order) what beer should I drink, beer types in the beer universe, a whimsical periodic table of beer, the Beer Judging Certification Program color guides, beer CO2 amounts for those concerned with non-man-made, unstoppable global warming, the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from 1700 BC, and last but certainly not least the Reinheitsgebot.

I think everyone had a fun time. There were some surprises, such as how much people enjoyed the Hooker barleywine and the Boon Kriek. And I was told by many that the food/beer pairing info as well as the foods available made it even more fun.