Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Susie & I went to our first Colts game on the 27th.  It wasn't the best game to go and see, it was the Colts first loss this season, but it was a fantastic way to see the game.

Nancy had received 4 tickets to the game from her daughter Caroline.  But they weren't just any old tickets, they were tickets to the Quarterback's Suite at Lucas Oil Stadium!

Nancy's friend Nell called her & said she was getting sick & would not be able to go the game that morning, so we suggested that we should give the option to Jon, as he also comes to Nancy's house to watch the games.

Needless to say, Jon, who was visiting with family, was beside himself and jumped (possibly literally) at the offer.  He could barley sit still in the car on the way down.

Approaching the stadium is an awe inspiring experience.  It is absolutely huge!  Having never been to any other football stadium, I'll go out on a limb and say this has got to be the best there is.

We wandered around for a while, searching for the secret entrance to the suites.  Then passing several checkpoints to keep the riff-raff out, we came to the floor of suites.

Upon passing the final checkpoint, we stepped into the Quarteback's Suite.  WOW!The first thing you see is the massive bar, where all the beer & wine is free.  TV's everywhere.  Granite topped tables and 3 food stations.

Gourmet all-beef hotdogs, pasta made to order, roast beef on croissant sandwiches, Yankee potroast, Waldorf salad, popcorn, pretzels, chips & salsa.  Did  I mention its all FREE!
This is how to tail gate.

After stuffing ourselves before the game, we wandered out to our seats to watch the team's warm ups.  There are only 2 rows of seats.  Nice cushy leather seats.  Susie & Nancy took the front, Jon & I sat behind.

Our seats were at the south end of the stadium, giving as what would have been a beautiful view of the Indianapolis skyline through the north window if it had't been snowing so hard.

The Colts entered the field just below us.  We got to see them getting ready to enter the field through their tunnel as the introductions were made.

I've heard it said many times that Lucas Oil Stadium is one of the worst places for the visiting's offense to play due to the noise level.  They aren't kidding.  The noise the twelvth man makes is amazing!  I don't know how anything could be heard down on the field.  And its really quiet when Payton is on the field.

The first half of the game was really good.  At halftime it was time to go back to the lounge, load up on some more good food & beer and live the life of the priveliged.  We were still sitting at the table when the kickoff to the Jets for the second half happened...and was run back for a TD.  A harbinger of things to come.
When Manning & the starting offense was pulled out, and Painter and the 2nd/3rd string offense was sent out on the field, the crowd went ballistic.  The boo's where as loud as the noise for the Jet's offense. 

The rest is history.  It would have been a perfect ending to a perfect day if the Colts could have pulled off a win, but I'll never forget my day of being treated like royalty at my first Colts game.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Making the Lager Leap Part II

Phase two of the Great Lager Leap is underway.  Today I brewed lager #2, a doppelbock and transfered the "experimental" 3 gallon batch #1 to the secondary.
Batch #1 had done its job in creating a nice army of yeast so that the doppelbock can get a quick start.  It was put in its new home and sent to the cooler to lager.  (That means age at a cool temperature.)  It will remain in the chill box in the Tin Whisker for several weeks.  It will then be divided into 3 one gallon batches.
In batch #1, I will add lime juice in an attempt to make a lime flavored lager.
In batch #2, I will add olive juice to see if I can create the beer that Susie says will be fantastic.
In batch # 3, I will add nothing.  Just to see how my first atttempt at a Lite American Lager comes out.
You can read a more detailed account of the actual brewing process at http://www.hchomebrew.com/

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Examiner.com beer stories week in review – November 29 – December 5

Examiner.com beer stories week in review – November 29 – December 5

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Making the Lager Leap

The Brewcat at the Tin Whisker is about ready to make the leap from only brewing ales to making some lager beers. A lager is a much more fastidious beer to make. Requiring paying more attention to temperature and conditioning.
The first batch to be done will be a totally experimental beer to satisfy Susie's eccentric tastes. She has the odd habit of adding either lime juice and/or olives to her beer. The lime is something that many mega-brewers have already taken to following the ritual of stuffing a lime wedge in the neck of a Corona. The olive thing is just plain weird. It does make for an interesting science experiment though. The olives will sink to the bottom of the glass, rise to the top like a porpoise grabbing a breath of air, and then sink back to the depths of the glass. It is a beer lava lamp.
So the first lager brewed will be a 3 gallon batch. An American light lager recipe that will be divided into 3 separate batches at bottling. One will stay unadulterated, one will get a dose of lime juice and the 3rd will get a shot of (ugh) olive juice. It will also serve as the yeast starter to build up the amount of yeast for the next 5 gallon batch.
Lager #2 will be a doppelbock. A BIG lager that should come in around 8%ABV. This is the kind of liquid bread that sustains the monks during Lent fasting.
Lager # 3 will be a maibock for the start of spring that should hit 6.5%
Stay tuned for the updates.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Knew It Was Good, But...

The Nov/Dec issue of Zymurgy magazine has arrived. Zymurgy is the official publication of the American Homebrewers Association, the national organization for homebrewers and the sanctioning body for AHA competitions.

In this particular issue was the listing of all the Best of Show winners in the AHA sanctioned homebrew competitions in the country this past summer. Anxious to find my name listed in the magazine, I was quite surprised to find that the Indiana Brewer's Cup is the largest competition in the country! 732 beers were entered this year.

To receive top honors in any competition is exciting but then to find out it is the largest event in the country just really puts it over the top!

For the Kokomo locals, Jon at the Half Moon has put Susie's Sweet Stout on the list to be brewed in January. Meanwhile, I will continue to practice making it here at the Tin Whisker in preperation for next year's Indiana Brewer's Cup dinner when I will have to supply 10 gallons of it as the featured beer of the evening.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Back to Normal

We're back! And the Barnhart Barista & Group Therapy is resuming it's normal schedule.
We spent a very windy week in Key Largo. Even though we were at the other end of Florida, hurricane Ida still had its effect on the weather. the winds were usually 20-30mph until the day before we left, keeping all water activities at a standstill.
But we made the best of it by starting every day with a champaigne breakfast at Mrs. Macs restaurant and ending with some fantastic seafood dinners.

A trip through the Everglades on Tuesday let us see some things you just don't get to see in Indiana. Crocodiles, alligators & even a manatee, at least I think it was a manatee. What we actually saw was a rather large motionless hump floating in the bay that periodically had a couple nostrils pop out of the water in front (I think it was the front) of it.

Susie had a close encounter with a couple of artistic dolphins when she got to paint with them. The dolphins did the painting and Susie was the easel. It was a conceptual piece between the 3 of them and rather abstract in nature. She then got to rub their belly and received a gift from one of them.

I got to do the classic "tourist pose" in front of the world's largest lobster named Betsy. I thought I was being clever until I saw another lady doing the exact same pose 2 days later as we drove past.

I also got to be a parrot perch for a parrot that liked to give "kisses". So after being told that parrots can exert up to 1000 pounds of pressure with their beaks, to see a very large bird come walking up your arm toward your face is very exciting!

We also found the original African Queen that is kept in the harbour by the Holiday Inn in Key Largo.

Even though the sign says you can still book cruises on it, I kind of doubt it's seaworthiness.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween 2009


This year brought 325 people up our walk, through the full blown cemetery that seems to mysterously appear every year about this time. And just as mysterously dissappears almost overnight.

It was a chilly evening, but that didn't slow down the continuous line of trick or treaters that braved the temperature and decorations. If you work out the math, 325 people in 120 minutes. It comes out to 2 3/4 people per minute, or one person every 22 seconds.

One new decoration this year is the poor soul hanging upside down wrapped in webbing from the spiders by the tree.
The casket is still a favorite and the story teller got some better recognition this year in his new spot at the base of the steps to the porch.
But by far the top favorite thing is the smokey bubble machine! Many kids totally forgot the reason they had come up when the bubbles surrounded them on the porch. Bubbles trump candy anytime!

Murder, Mystery and Mayhem

The 2009 Halloween party was another rousing, albeit wet success. 31 people came to help Susie & Larry celebrate their anniversary and partake in the yearly gathering of all sorts of people dressed in odd costumes. And a few who don't.
The Tin Whisker was a big hit, and was never empty. It really helped ease the congestion in the kitchen that has always been a tight spot in year's past. The Brewcat kept the taps flowing with the help of Jeff G. who, appropriately dressed as a butler, stepped in to fill in on occasion when Larry stepped out.
The costumes this year were stellar! Everyone very nicely fit in with the theme, and there were no costumes that went against the rules! That's not to say there weren't some very disturbing ones though. The Pogo/ John Wayne Gacy costume on the eve of Halloween when the streets will be filled with children was a questionable decision. And the "bomb" the Unibomber set off in the living room was surprising.

The mystery of the night was finally solved with 5 people fingering Oliver as the one responsible for the crushing of Susie's spirit. Here's the rest of the story;

The Tin Whisker was packed the night Susie Sweet's spirit was crushed. Rita & Rhondus had quietly slipped back into town to tie up some loose ends and were relaxing at the Tin Whisker with Blackie who had just finished up doing some more work in the back room and was waiting for Susie’s arrival to get paid for his work.

Big Joe & Azure were sitting at a table with a bag from the local drug store sitting next to Azure. When they left, Azure forgot the bag and left it on the table. The Brewcat picked it up when he went to clear the table and found a little bottle of spirit remover in it.

Jonnie & Kim were anxiously awaiting Susie’s return for this month’s loan payment.

Lou & C were there to offer to pay Susie hush money to keep her from reporting them.

Mary Tunson stopped in to meet Tommy Tuber & the WatchMan who were yet to arrive. While she was waiting, Oliver jumped up into her lap to curl up and purr.

Just then Susie walked up to the door and looked in the window to see her pride & joy on the lap of the meanest person she knows. Oliver looked straight at her & he seemed to smile.
Her spirit was crushed! How could her pride & joy find comfort in the lap of her greatest tormentor? She collapsed in a heap on the sidewalk. Her crushed spirit draining from her staining the pavement, and her eyes locked in a vacant stare. The Brewcat took the spirit remover left by Azure and tried to clean up the mess her crushed spirit made and then he phoned the authorities.

Congratulations to Cathy for being the winner when her name was pulled out of the hat of correct guesses.

Congratulations also go to Celeste (Col. Mustard's Wench...I mean Wrench) and Gary (Jack the Ripper) for Best Costumes and Diane for Best Food.

What was he thinking?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tapping Party of Susie's Sweet Stout

It was a record for the Broadripple Brewpub for the tapping of a Best of Show beer! As best as we could count, 48 people attended the event. Coming from as far as Wisconsin to help Larry & Susie celebrate the tapping of Susie's Sweet Stout, this year's Best of Show award winning beer from the Indiana's Brewers Cup.

As the first pint was pulled from one of the brewpub's two beer engines, a steady stream of people began to arrive. Kevin, the head brewer of the Broadripple Brewpub, provided a complimentary pint to everyone to kick off the festivities and then brought out a fine assortment of munchies for the growing throng.

The biggest surprise of the day was when Susie's brother Rick, his wife and two of their friends walked in after making the drive from Waterford, WI. that morning.
In addition to the Wisconsin group, 4 members of the Howard Co. Homebrew Club, 3 past co-workers (including Nick their boss), 2 Break Away Bicycle Club members, the majority of the Barnhart Barista & Group Therapy and several Indiana Beer dignitaries were in attendance.
The stout brewed by Kevin & Larry turned out fantastic, especially when served through the beer engine. It gave the beer a smooth creamy quality that can't be duplicated with the traditional method of serving with just CO2.
Thanks to all who came out to make this one of the high points of the year for me. I was surprised by the turnout and hope you enjoyed the beer and had a good time. Thanks to Kevin and the Broadripple Brewpub for providing this experience and for those of you who couldn't be there, I highly recommend you get to the Broadripple Brewpub and have a Susie's Sweet Stout before its all gone! I know quite a bit of it disappeared yesterday.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tapping party for Susie's Sweet Stout

Brewemaster Kevin at the Broadripple Brewpub says that the 7 barrel batch of Susie's Sweet Stout we brewed on Sept. 30th is now out of the primary fermenter and is conditioning to be ready for the Oct. 17th tapping. He says it smells great!
Susie's Sweet Stout is the 2009 Indiana Brewer's Cup "Best of Show" award winner, and as part of the glory for that honor, Kevin had me come down to brew up a batch.
The tapping is at 3:00 on Saturday the 17th at the Broadripple Brewpub.
On a much smaller note. The Tin Whisker's tapping for my second 5 gal. batch will be at the Halloween party.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome to the Barnhart Barista & Group Therapy's new age of socializing.
Here you will be able to communicate beyond the usual Friday morning sessions.