Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Beer of the Week: Olde Frothingslosh

Beer score: 2.6

Company: Pittsburgh Brewing Company

ABV: 4.7

This is a joke beer. No, really. Apparently this beer started as a joke on a radio show back in the 1950s. The joke apparently focused around fat women, and there's always a picture of a fat woman on the can, and just for kicks, the can's style changes every few years.

Anyway, this stuff tastes like a sweetened version of Bud Light without as much beer flavor. It's a novelty item and nothing more. The can's label calls this drink a "pale stale ale," and that's about right.

As this is put out by the same folks who brew Iron City, there's probably a decent chance this is just Iron City repackaged in the joke cans.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Books read in 2020: No. 8 -- The Book of Exodus, KJV

published by Zondervan

Started: March 20
Finished: March 30

Notes: Continuing my quest to read the whole Bible.

Mini review: The first half of this book is the literal Exodus tale, that of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the desert. The second half of this book are God's rules for creating the Ark of the Covenant and its tabernacle. Interesting from a historical point of view. Also interesting from a religious point of view, but it raises many questions.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Beer of the Week: Ayinger Urweisse

Beer score: 4.7

Company: Ayinger

ABV: 5.8
IBU: 12

Brewed in Germany, but I've had better Ayinger beers over the years.

Pouring this one into a glass, you'll get a solid amber color with just a touch of cloudiness and a thick head of foam.

Goes down very smooth with a light sweetness that builds the more you drink, almost turning into a sourness as it hits the back of your throat. Being that this is a wheat beer, you'll get plenty of that wheat taste, with hints in the scent and flavor of fruity bread.

Nice to try, but I wouldn't drink it regular. Still, other Ayinger beers are worth seeking out.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Books read in 2020: No. 7 -- Uppity Women of Medieval Times

by Vicki Leon

Started: March 14
Finished: March 19

Notes: I'm in the mood for some relatively light history reading, so though I'd give this book a try.

Mini review: An entertaining but also informative read. I had heard of maybe a quarter of these women, but most were new to me. For historical and fiction writers, this could provide a treasure trove of character ideas.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Beer of the Week: Mississippi Mud Black & Tan

Beer score: 5.0

Company: Mississippi Brewing Company

ABV: 5.0
IBU: 65

Despite the name, this one is actually made in New York state. The bottle says this particular black and tan is a mix of a pilsner and a porter, and I have to say, it's a pretty decent beer even though it's also the weakest black and tan I've ever had.

It's a little watery, but has a decent burnt taste to it not unlike roasted nuts.

The bottle is cute, shaped like a moonshine jug.

You can drink this. It's not the greatest beer in the world, but it's not bad.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Books read in 2020: No. 6 -- Comus

by John Milton

Started: March 9
Finished: March 14

Notes: Earlier this year I read a biography of John Milton, so now I thought I'd turn to one of his early works written long before his famous Paradise Lost.

Mini review: Beautiful poetry in a play-like form. Worth the read for those who enjoy period poetry.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Beer of the Week: Augustiner Brau Munchen Dunkel

Beer score: 5.8

Company: Augstiner-Brau Wagner KG

ABV: 5.6

This beer comes from Munich, Germany, and it has done so since 1328.

It has a texture and burnt flavoring somewhat reminiscent of a sturdy porter. It's a solid beer for those who like dark beers, especially dark German beers. It has a little sweetness to it and some carbonation. Pours a dark brown, almost chocolate in color, and has a bread-like taste.

Goes down pretty smooth and is worth trying. You could definitely do worse.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Wendell Berry quotes from 'The Long-Legged House'

"I had learned the value of silence in a place -- silence that is the imitation of absence, that permits one to be present as if absent, so that the life of the place goes its way undisturbed."

"A man should be in the world as though he were not in it, so that it will be no worse because of his life. His obligation may not be to make 'a better world,' but the world certainly requires of him that he make it no worse."

"Men who drudge all their lives in order to retire happily are the victim of a cheap spiritual fashion invented for their enslavement."

"I do not long to travel to Italy or Japan, but only across the river or up the hill into the woods."

"I seem to have been born with an aptitude for a way of life that was doomed, although I did not understand that at the time."

"Every man is followed by a shadow which is his death -- dark, featureless, and mute."

"We live in a fallen world by the dangerous presumption that we are unfallen."

"It is not from ourselves that we will learn to be better than we are."

"In spite of all the talk about the law of tooth and fang and the struggle for survival, there is in the lives of the animals and birds a great peacefulness. It is not all fear and flight, pursuit and killing. That is part of it, certainly ... But there is peace, too, and I think that the intervals of peace are frequent and prolonged."

"Although I have become, among other things, a teacher, I am skeptical of education. It seems to me a most doubtful process, and I think the good of it is taken too much for granted. It is a matter that is overtheorized and overvalued and always approached with too much confidence."

"A tyranny of fanatical peace lovers is as credible to me as a tyranny of militarists, and I don't think there would be any difference."

"Take a simpleton and give him power and confront him with intelligence -- and you have a tyrant."

"It is certain, I think, that the best government is the one that governs least. But there is a much-neglected corollary: the best citizen is the one who least needs governing. The answer to big government is not private freedom, but private responsibility."

"In spite of our repetitious outrage at the violence in our streets and slums, we spend seventy per cent of our revenue on weapons -- and so prove beyond doubt that we cannot imagine a better solution than violence."

"... there is undoubtedly a limit to how long private integrity can hold out in the face of, and within, public disintegration."

"With the world in our power and our power assigned to the moral authority of those who will profit most by its misuse, we continue to bless and congratulate ourselves upon the boyhood honesty of George Washington."

"There is good reason, for instance, to suspect that the foreign mission programs of certain Christian denominations have served as substitutes for decent behavior at home, or as excuses for indecent behavior at home ..."

"So long as government speaks with a fervent idealism it is free to prolong its inertia and to indulge in expedient corruptions."

"They go to the country to rest, only to reproduce there the noise, haste, confusion -- and, surely, the frustration -- of city traffic."

"To be worthy of admiration in any final sense, government help will have to accomplish the result of making itself unnecessary."

"If a man continues long in direct and absolute dependence on the government for the necessities of life, he ceases to be a citizen and becomes a slave."

"That the land and its people could have been so far brought down is explainable only by the failure of governors to govern and legislators to legislate and judges to judge in the interest of those they are sworn to serve -- only by the subservience of our governmental ideals to the stupidity and greed of officials who have been willing to justify, by a spurious rhetoric of free enterprise, the right of the rich to get richer, by any means, at anybody's expense."

"... the people who might have been expected to care most selflessly for the world have had their minds turned elsewhere -- to a pursuit of 'salvation' that was really only another form of gluttony and self-love, the desire to perpetuate their own small lives beyond the life of the world."

Books read in 2020: No. 5 -- The Long-Legged House

by Wendell Berry

Started: Feb. 17
Finished: March 9

Notes: One of the most preeminent authors from my home state of Kentucky, I've long wanted to read some of his work, so I start with this book. To tell the truth, it's not impossible I had Berry as one of my creative writing professors back at the University of Kentucky in the late 1980s or early 1990s, but I don't recall that (and think I would, so it probably didn't happen). Anyway, looking to enjoying this.

Mini review: Turns out this is a collection of essays about various topics. Some little bit of this is about politics in the 1960s, when all of this was written, but much of it is like a Kentuckian's version of Thoreau's Walden, and that makes for a fine read. Walden fans will definitely want to break into this one. Also, I wrote down a number of good quotations from this book, and you can find those here.

Friday, March 06, 2020

A night with Kevin Smith

Yes, that's Kevin Smith.
Over the Black Gate site this week, I talk about seeing Kevin Smith live and how that relates to the mission of the Rogue Blades Foundation, where we promoted the heck of heroism.

Beer of the Week: Smuttynose Maibock

Beer score: 8.4

Company: Smuttynose Brewing Company

ABV: 8.7

The flavor here is RICH, as in flavor. The price is actually very decent. But that flavor kicks you right at the first sip. And what is that flavor? It's difficult to describe. Kind of grainy, as in wheaty, almost like this brew came right from a farm field and was served to you. Has a fine caramel smell, and there's a hint of fruit, perhaps citrus or grape, in the back of that scent. Goes down smooth though there is a strong alcohol flavor with fruity undercurrents right at the back of the tongue.

Goes well with broiled pork chops and potatoes, I can say. Might be a little too strong for drinking every day of the week, but if you're in the mood for something different, then this beer is more than worth considering.

Comes from the Smuttynose Brewing Company of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and those folks should be proud of this brew.

A maibock is traditionally a light-colored lager with a robust amount of alcohol, and that's the case here. The Smuttynose folks put out a new maibock each Spring, and the one I tried was for 2011. I'll be looking for this one again for future years.