Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hops and Ska

 I can't believe it's that time of year to pick hops already.  I went out back to check on my plants to see how soon they'd be ready, and they were ready.  It was an odd growing season, and I wasn't expecting much, but to my surprise, they actually grew pretty well again this year.  Now, in years passed, I've picked anywhere from 5-7 pounds, and that wasn't the case this year, but I'm still pretty pleased with the 3 pounds that I ended up with.  Thanks to Tonya (my wife,) and Larry (my father in-law) for helping me pick this year.


This is my end result, 3 pounds bagged up, and into the freezer.  These will come out of the freezer shortly so I can brew an Imperial IPA with them and the other 3 pounds that's still frozen from last year.  I'm told that I will also have 3 pounds of honey and some white grape juice to add to it, so it will be an interesting beer to brew.  As long as I can keep it in the fermenting bucket and not on the floor, it should be good!
 My brother in-law Jared has been telling me to try this Woot Stout, another Stone Brewery collaboration.  He said, it may be his favorite beer of all time.  At $8.99 this 20oz bomber of 13% ABV goodness was a steal.  I can see why Jared likes it so much.  There is so much complexity in every sip.  Rich, thick, roasty and sweet all come into play with this very smooth full bodied stout.  This is a must have beer, and if I see it again, I may have to get another bottle or two
 The past few years, I've had an annual work trip to Kansas City for some Continuing Education classes.  I also meet up with an old friend of mine from my time in the Quad Cities.  This year was no different, except when we get ready to leave the bar after some food and a few beers, he mentions there is a band playing about a block away for free, called Reel Big Fish.  http://www.reel-big-fish.com/

 I've been a fan of them since the mid nineties, and loved them the first time I saw them over 7 years ago.  So how could I pass up seeing Reel Big Fish again?  The answer, is I didn't.  They put on an amazing outdoor show in the rain.  This is the kind of music that makes you want to get up and dance, but since I don't/can't dance, I just bobbed my head enthusiastically and sang along to all of their songs.  As a former trombone player, it's always been a dream of mine to play a few songs on stage with them.  Being about 4 feet from the stage was good enough for me that night.  As luck would have it, we met Derek (bass guitar) and John (trumpet) a few bars later in the evening.  They were both extremely friendly, and as much as I wanted to talk music with them, after a few minutes, we left them alone so they could enjoy the rest of their evening.

So I know this is mainly a beer blog, but other than a few of Boulevard's Tank 7's, the downtown beer scene was pretty forgettable.  Seeing one of my favorite band of all times, now that was truly amazing!
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