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?