Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Beer

Or is that year? I vote for both: new year and new beer.

Somewhere between my birthday and Christmas the incredible duo, Mrs. Nod and Grandma Nod, got together and gifted my inner geek with some nifty Beer Gear.

I was searching for something other than the plain beer tap handles my kegerator came with, when I chanced upon these magnificent stained glass windows with the symbols of the Four Evangelists from St. Ignatius Parish, San Francisco: Matthew (Winged Man), Mark (Winged Lion), Luke (Winged Ox), and John (Eagle).  h/t

Right then, I knew these would combine two great things I love: beer and Catholicism. Plus, it's a winged lion and and eagle -- how cool is that!?

Through the talented hands of Jerry's Wood Works, these became two very swanky hand-made beer taps in African Mahogany and Tiger Maple with painstaking pyrography, chrome tips, and Celtic knots on the handles.  Ain't they grand?

Also in my stocking was a Blichmann Floor Burner so I can make all-grain beer. This thing puts out 72,000 BTU/hr with clean low-flame combustion (won't blacken the bottom of your kettle) which can boil 5 gallons of water in about 24 minutes -- that's some serious heat!
So we took our new burner for a spin and made an all-grain IPA beer called Kama Citra. Northern Brewer describes it as:
"Pouring a tantalizing golden-amber, the seductive hop aroma gently gives way to a sturdy, yet flexible malt backbone with a delicate touch of silky caramel that supports the highly suggestive combination of juicy tropical and citrus hop flavor that follows, leading to a satisfying finish."

It's currently happily fermenting away in my basement giving off the most delicious tropical fruit aromas. Six more weeks to liquid bliss!

So let's start off 2015 by raising a glass: here's to you!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Isaiah 9: 

6 For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Go Big Or Stay Home

This year I've decided to engage the culture head-on for Halloween.

I love a good party just as much as the next guy and I love costumes too, but I kind of feel about Halloween the same way I feel about Mardis Gras -- they are celebrating the wrong day. And it's just bad liturgy.

With Mardis Gras you get Fat Tuesday, but skip out on Ash Wednesday and Lent. What's really the point then, except to party to excess?  Same thing with Halloween: a night to binge on candy and dress up with a focus on "spirits", and miss out on the Father of Spirits (cf. Heb 12:9) and the triumph of the Saints in Heaven.

We have a real holiday, and it is great. The Feast of All Hallows is the Solemnity of All Saints. The Church Triumphant -- the super-heroes who made it to Heaven who are the "cloud of witnesses" that support us with their prayers and intercessions and behold Christ in Majesty.

So by all means, ring my doorbell on Oct. 31 and let's have some fun. The girls, Blynken, Nod-girl, and Nib will be dressed in their best rendition of St. Philomena, St. Lucy, and St. Agnes with her little lamb in tow, Dab.

But you'll have to come under this 6-foot banner I got from Staples.  Just so we're clear. :D

Saturday, October 4, 2014

House On Strike

This is getting so ridiculous that it's kinda funny -- but my house is on strike.  Not the people in it, although I could fill up volumes in that regard, but the house itself.  Oh, and the appliances are conspiring against us too.

It just doesn't want to work anymore. Our house is starting to be that house-of-a-certain age. You know, the one where you decide that you're sick of your current state-of-the-house and could use a makeover -- and the house in protest just decides it's going to stop doing all those things that you have taken for granted up to now.

Like the roof and windows keeping out the rain. Like the water heater providing actual hot water for longer than 12 minutes at a time. The paint is peeling (or is that crayon?) and the carpet looks like the wrong end of a Chinese take-out.

The door frame is out of true and the garage door spring went sprung! Some outside critter got in and decided to chew a hole in the garage door insulation. Honestly, I didn't know my garage door was insulated to begin with, and certainly not with a million molecules of styrofoam.

The basement toilet refuses to flush completely despite the plunge-and-Draino routine and has developed a slow leak around the porcelain like an old man with an enlarged prostate. Not to be outdone, the oven heating element actually melted in place and sent up a shower of sparks to terrorize the kids.

The outside things looked in and decided to join the fray. The big Bradford pear tree in the back just up and dropped a 500 pound limb on our playset, so the swing-set got sunk.

The air conditioner flirted briefly with swallowing a toddler sized handful of gravel, but has since realized the error of its ways and crossed the picket line back to our side.

Finally today, after 5201 loads of laundry the washing machine is all washed up. The front loader drum came off its moorings and banged itself into oblivion, crying out "No more will I carry your load!" Gunga-ga-gunga-ga-gunga! Such a din!

The companion dryer wisely gave up its cubic yard of lint it had been hiding under its skirts and demanded amnesty. We have agreed to its terms and declared d├ętente.

We could laugh or cry, but laughing's much more fun. Here's mud in your eye. Ha! Ha!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Beer Conductor

There's a guy in Chicago, named Bill Diamond, who took a summer job at a rail yard after college and stayed there to become a Beer Conductor.
 - When the mercury plunges, this brew crew's job is to keep trainloads of beer from freezing. - Manuel Martinez
When the mercury plunges, this brew crew's job is to keep trainloads of beer from freezing.
Manuel Martinez

His job includes moving train cars around the yard to keep the beer from freezing below 13 degrees Fahrenheit.

They may get a little slushy, but the constant jostling helps prevent a hard freeze and exploding cans and bottles.

His warehouse, or "beer house" holds more than 1 million cases of beer at any given time. That's a powerful thirst, my friend.

What an awesome job! Far from being "a tedious and time-sucking endeavor" as reported by , this guy is performing a noble public service -- saving beer. >Sniff.< 

If you don't believe me, just ask Grupo Modelo S.A.B de C.V or Chicago-based Crown Imports LLC, Modelo's U.S. importer, I'm sure they'd agree; it's their beer.

This guy's a real mensch: performing a thankless task so others might beer. He can also do what no one else can do without committing a beer foul: he can shake the beer ... and it's a good thing.

Plus, being a train conductor is kinda awesome in and of itself. Every boy loves a railroad. Even my 3-year old Dab runs around the house singing Thomas the Tank Engine and making the couch  into a mountainous track or any horizontal surface into his personal train yard.

Bill Diamond is a real life grown up whose job is Beer Conductor. Combining two great things in life: beer and trains ... Atta-boy, Bill!

All aboard! Cheers!


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