Friday, February 27, 2009

Ramblin' Man Amber Ale, mk II.

After a fine day skiing in the sunshine out at Purgatory, what could be better than a pint of well crafted home brew out on the deck? That's right - just about nothing. Pictured here is my second attempt at a deep amber ale that I am calling the 'Ramblin' Man Amber'. The first incarnation of this brew scored a 30 (out of 50) in the recent Snodown Homebrew challenge held at the Ska Brewery(the winner in the category scored a 37). I will be serving this on tap tomorrow for the tapas and wine tasting soiree that will be going on around here. I have a keeper in this one. The next batch will hopefully have more hop in the nose. If not, I'll dry hop the sucker.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Moz - "Years of Refusal" new release.

Well, I am tentatively going to file this under the "Rock" label for now. Let it be noted, I have NOT HEARD this album yet, and only found out about it's existence late last evening. My old boy, El Gato (seen below in looking "Lemmy" - as in Lemmy from Motorhead) called me with the 'joyous' news. There's some history here. Back in my Phoenix days, or maybe it was Sandy Cruise, El Gato called and talked my ear off about the latest Morrissey release of the day, "Sad songs about nothing", or whatever that sad sack of shit album was called. Anyway, homeboy talked this thing up so much that I made a special stop on my way home, and shelled out the primo price of $18 for it at a bookstore. He had me hook, line, and sinker on this one. I was thinking the album would CERTAINLY be AT LEAST the quality of "You're Arseanal" ( yeah - an album named arse anal)... I put that thing in, and was surprised, to say the least. By the time the children's choir background vocals came in on track 5, I was ready to throw thing thing out on the side of the road. This was in Los Gatos, and I still had another 30 minutes over the hill on Hwy 17 to the 'Cruz. So you could say that "I got got". So it was with some trepidation that I greeted the news of the new Moz album last evening, the 'greatest release in years'. At some point, I'll have to relay the story of El Gato's tribulations in getting the thing to play on his CD player. For now, suffice it to say that it was very "Jim Anschauer"-like... you know, the author of the old "Cruisin" column in the onion?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks 180gm Vinyl 2008 Re-issue

If you are any kind of "Van Fan", or dig the vinyl, you'd better go and shell out the 20 clams for the 180gm vinyl re-issue of this masterwork. It has the power and beauty the likes of which are rarely seen in an artists early works - Bobby Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde' comes to mind - and a quality of sound... liquid smooth on the front with a dry finish, like a well crafted mellow red wine.

Lance was saying it reminded him of Iron Maiden's seminal release, 'Killers', and also (and I quote) "it kicks frickin' ass, man, just like Metallica on 'Ride the Lightning', Man!". I haven't heard the Maiden in a LONG TIME (I owned it on tape in the 80's...) but I guess I'll have to check it out again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trader Joes 2008 Vintage Ale - BU YTHIS NOW!

I bought two bottles of this on a lark while at my old neighborhood Joe's down in Ahawatukee last weekend. I had seen it the year before, but assumed it was shyte and didn't bother. OK - THAT JOKE WAS ON ME!! I brought one of the bottles over to the 'Brew Crew' meeting & Social Hour last evening out in Mancos. As I drew out the cork, the first thing I noticed was the prominent "Unibroue" logo stamped on the side. "Holy smokes!", thought I. Unibroue is a brewer of incredible power out of Quebec, on the order of Omegang up in New York State, or any of the trappist houses of the 'old world'. If you haven't, try a bomber of their offering, "Delerious Tremens" - It's the ceramic bottle with the flying pink elephant on it.... Anyway, it turns out that this is a bottle conditioned Belgian Dubbel that was brewed up by these wizards for Trader Joe's. The beer is a big caramel brew with dark candy sugar additions that finished out around 9% ABV. This is a big-assed Dubbel for sure (ok - for the nerds out there, it is way out of style guidelines on both ABV and color, but what the hell, right?) Man - is this stuff TASTY!!!! Wow! For $4.99 a bottle? Are you kidding me? I have an order for a case or two that's going to get called in to the crew in Chandler for delivery up here in March. I couldn't believe it. IT's beers like this that et me thinking about brewing some heavier belgian styles rather than the pale ales and IPA's I've been going after. On that note, I have an Amber and a Pale in the kegs finishing up. The mead from last fall will get bottled in the next couple of days, and the Apricot Mead is probably a month out from finishing. The next batch will be a double size (12 gallon!!) Marzen (Oktoberfest) lager. I have some serious stoke on that one. More on that later.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ska Brewing - Modus Hoperandi

Last evening we were able to head over to the "Office on the Hill" for the release party of Ska Brewing's new mainline brew, the "Modus Hoperandi" IPA. This will mark their first release that wil be sold in Kegs, Bottles, and Cans. These crazy bastards are going to tear it up with this one! The place was packed last night, with a local funk act, 'Megaphone', providing the soundtrack. After sampling the new brew, I give it two thumbs up! The hop character is strong but not overbearing with a big citrus finish. It come in around 7%abv, and 70 IBU. The malt character is very simmilar to the 'Euphoria' seasonal (winter release) IPA. I would compare the hop flavor Full Sail's IPA, though this has even more citrus peel in the finish. Well done, fellas!

A note on the name - it is a play on Modus Operandi, as in "The killer's M.O." You can't miss with bad-assed Ninja stuff like that!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why the Old Left Must Die

I'll admit that I have bit on the 'new progrossive' vs. 'old left' dichotomy that publications like The Nation have been promoting for some time. I pulled the following page from the back of Harper's magazine. I offer up the circled adds as proof that the old left is sick and depraved. In particular, I find the "European Beret" to be morally questionable at best, and downright shameful at worst. I won't comment on the spanking fetish video, other than to openly wonder if my old buddy, El Gato, already has a copy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sierra Nevada Torpedo

Check this out:
A new year-round IPA release added to the already strong Sierra Nevada lineup. Apparently, there are two unique facts surrounding this brew.
First, the name derives from a brewing device (the Hop Torpedo) that acts as an inline dry-hop container. Hops are packed into the torpedo, and beer is shot through it on the way to the finishing tanks. You can read about this process in the press release here.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, the beer is brewed with a NEW HOP that Sierra developed called Citra. I found the following description here:

Do you know ... The new hop variety CITRA ?:
The variety Citra, with a alpha acid content
between 10-12% and an oil content of 2-3 %
originated from a cross between the female
European noble aroma variety Hallertauer
mittelfrueh and a male that was derived from the
variety known as U.S. Tettnanger. Citra is 50%
Hallertauer mittelfrueh, 25% U.S. Tettnanger and
the remaining 25% is East Kent Golding,
Bavarian, Brewers Gold and other unknown hops.
Citra has a special flavor and aroma that it
imparts to beer. Depending on the brewing
process and the hopping rate, the flavors and
aromas of beers hopped with Citra might range
from grapefruit to lime, melon, gooseberry, and
lychee fruit
OK, I have no idea what lychee fruit is, but it sounds interresting. My only other thought on this (other than "when will I get to quaff some here in D-Town?") is that it reminds me of that classic line from the Spinal Tap song, "Big Bottom"....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sushi in Phoenix

We went out for Sushi in Phoenix this past weekend with my folks. The Chili Ponzo Yellowtail delivered again. The joint is called RA, and I would recommend it (and the Ponzo Yellowtail). For a smaller joint, try happy hour at 'Stingray' just north of old town Scottsdale.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Favre to Retire - No one cares

Our old boy, Brett Favre has said that he'll be hanging up the axe, again. In contrast to the front page headlines that his sordid return from retirement caused back in September, (click on September 2007 at the right for comments from that time), the news today rated print on page 6A of the Durango Herald. The front page headline was a story about some dogs that were being shipped to Boulder for adoption. Well Brett, I guess we see where you rate now,sucker. The beauty of the New York Jets is that these clowns spent $140 million prior to last season aquiring talent, and still managed to miss the playoffs. Go Jets!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

For Sale: RACE CARS! (Farmington)

Yee-Haw! Ol' Lance here, with another reason I LOVE the four corners! Check out this, amigro's! From the Farmington Craigslist: Race cars for sale, man! Heeeeeelll Yeah! Some poor bastard is caving to his nagging wife, and selling these beauties for a steal, man, a STEAL. $2800 bones for these honies! Man, if it weren't for this econimic downturn taking it's toll on ol' Lance's finances, man, I'd be on these tighter than knickers on a nun's ass.
And check the sweet paint job. It totally reminds me of my old "Stryper" albums. Man - that was some fierce rock. I bet I could smoke some fools down at the track after I pimped this baby "Lance Style" while Rockin' some Stryper. Heeeelll yeah...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Winter again.

18 inches of new snow up here since Sunday afternoon.
Time to bust out my favorite toy for some hot snow removal action.

As a reward, check out the sunset I got to see.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Street Signs hacked in Texas

Someone in Texas has a decent sense of humor. Check out this street sign that was hacked over the weekend:

Now that's funny. I know that in their heart of hearts, most of the good resident's of Lubbock Texas carry the dark fear that, AT ANY TIME, the Sneaky Queen Elizabeth will send over her troops, and force law abiding American's to house and feed them WITH NO COMPENSATION! And those taxes without representation! Burn the British! BURN THEM!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

'Close to the Edge' Frickin' Rocks! - By Lance.

HOLA SPACE FANZ! You know I'm back when you see this smilin' face! Yee-haw! Lance back at ya with a special release by request from my boy, Hank. Man - I hadn't seen these albums in years man, I mean years, until he busted them out today while we were wrenchin' on the jeep. You see, a few years back there was a tragic fire at my Mom's place, and the SAHWEEEEEET vinyl collection that ol' Lance had packed in over the years went up like a freakin' volcano, man! It took two days to put that shyte out - like a frickin' tire fire or somethin'. Man, I was BUMMED OUT, man! But that's the bad old days, and it's good their in my past.
When I saw this sitting on the shelf, man, I HAD TO ROCK IT IMMEDIATELY. I didn't pass go, I didn't go to Park Place, man, I threw that shit on and CRANKED IT UP! Yeah man! Back in the day, man, I used to BLAZE HEAVY to this album man! I mean, back in those days, we didn't mess around with anything besides the Mexican Red, man. Yeah - those fine red hairs over those small sticky nugs. Man, High School RULED! And any YES album was the sure fire way to guaranty a sweet ride on the Red, man. I don't even know what those dudes were singing about man! All those weird lyrics about the ancient times and things, man... YES rulez!

The Gates of Delirium - YES 'Relayer' 2003 Remaster on Rhino

As reported earlier, I kicked down on some new music a few weeks back, clearing out items that have been on the wish list for a while. Prominently featured on the back list was the remasters of the EPIC 'Relayer' and 'Close to the Edge' albums by YES. The second was a first time purchase for me. The first has been in my collection for a while on the original vinyl pressing, not exactly in 'new mint' condition. Beyond some surface noise and some scratches, the original release has a metallic quality, and a very bright sound. Though the compositions are intoxicating in their epic complexity, (the first side is entirely consumed by the monstrous suite, 'The Gates of Delirium', supposedly written after Jon Anderson had read Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece, 'War and Peace'), the sound has continually made the listening experience a challenging one. It was with GREAT EXCITEMENT that I laid the disc onto the tray last evening to see how the remastered sound had come out. The result is exactly what I had hoped for - a slight rounding of the top end that doesn't diminish the harmonic interplay of the instruments, while easing the harsh nature of the original allowing for a truly great listening experience, especially at high volumes. This is HUGE music, and is meant to be listened to LOUD!! Rock!Included in the release is the Roger Dean art from the original, like this obviously epic vision of some mystical palace where the inspiration for such ethereal and transcendent music came from. In fact, I think the guys from YES spent a lot of time astrally travelling through world's created in Roger Dean's mind, and their albums are the echoes of the sounds heard in those spaces. Or maybe that's just me when I listen to these albums. Either way, Dean's art is E-P-I-C on another level entirely. How epic you ask? Click on the thumbnails below, and bask in the glory of his visions!