Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bordeaux and Anime…

…two words I thought I would never type in the same sentence


Chateau owner Jean-Pierre Amoreau is a celebrity in Japan -- a privilege he owes to a wine-obsessed cartoon he had never heard of until diehard fans started calling him at home.

Amoreau, owner of the Puy Chateau near the village of Saint-Cibard in southwestern France, said he did not know what to think last year when he started getting calls from Japanese buyers who wanted to buy his 2003 growth bottles at any cost.

His agent explained the reason for the calls: a television show broadcast in Japan.

Named "The Drops of God," it is a cartoon about wine that has won a passionate following in Japan and has the peculiar trait of referring mainly to real bottles.

It tells the story of a famous oenologist who, upon his death, bequeaths a vast wine cellar to one of his two sons on the condition he can solve 12 riddles about 12 bottles.

After completing the challenge, the heir has to track down a 13th bottle -- the ultimate, perfect bottle of wine -- known as the "Drops of God."

"For the last episode ... millions of Japanese people were in front of their TVs about to find out the name of the chateau which Tadashi Agi thought produced the best wine of thousands he had tasted the world over," Amoreau said.

The cartoon gave birth to a comic book that boosted the success of his wine with Japanese consumers. "Today we are the best-known wine-makers in Japan," he added.

The owner of the 17th century estate is the 14th generation of wine-makers in his family, as well as being a firm believer in chemical-free agriculture in the tradition of his ancestors who banned chemicals in the 1930s.

Despite the frenzy surrounding the 2003 bottle named in "The Drops of God," Amoreau kept the 18 euro ($24) price tag even when bottles were selling in Japan for 1,000 euros.

"We stopped selling the 2003 until the excitement had died down to avoid penalizing our regular customers," he said.


Thanks to the cartoon, Chateau Le Puy gained access to lucrative Asian markets in China as well as Taiwan and South Korea. About 80 percent of the 120,000 bottles produced at Saint-Cibard are destined for export.

Among the other Bordeaux vineyards to have benefited from a cameo appearance in the cartoon are Chateau Calon-Segur, Saint Estephe, Chateau Palmer, Margaux and Chateau Poupille.

Philippe Carille, owner of the Poupille vineyard, is still enjoying the windfall, three years after his wine was mentioned in the fourth volume of the series.

"I increased my sales in Asia by 20-30 percent. In Taiwan alone, my business went from being close to zero to 100,000 euros this year thanks to the manga (cartoon)," he said.

Asia is now one of the main destinations for Bordeaux wines, which saw export volumes slump by 14 percent in 2009 and are just starting to recover from the financial crisis, according to the CIVB, a study group devoted to Bordeaux wines.

At end-June, exports beyond the European Union had grown 11 percent from a year earlier while exports to China -- now the top buyer of Bordeaux wines outside the EU -- grew a whopping 94 percent, the group said.

The fact that Chinese buyers showed up for the first time in April to taste the year's new wine is another sign of the trend. Japan, which for a period was the top Asian buyer, is now importing more wine from Bordeaux, the CIVB said.

The "Drop of God" effect, surely.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The problem with Unions

A readers submission about Sports Illustrated

SkinnyJ sent me a cryptic message via FB and a Link -

Check out #29.
And others.

My interest was piqued.

Number 29 was this one


You gotta love the cigarette.  The paragraphs below are even better.

This is comedy writer Will Shepard’s favorite cover: “I mean, come on,” he writes. “He’s just leading the league in all kinds of amazing in this picture.  It may actually be the rarest cover in sports journalism history, only because I’m fairly sure we will never see something like this ever again.  And I love — LOVE — the fact that they obviously re-touched his batting helmet, but not the cigarette.”

HA….retouched the helmet but left the cigarette.

This was actually Johnny Bench’s least favorite SI cover; Bench really didn’t like that SI put Dick Allen smoking a cigarette on the cover where all these innocent and persuadable young kids would see him.

This is kinda surprising to me, as I KNOW I have seen a picture of Johnny smoking…but I get he saw players as Role Models.  In fact, JB was one of mine growing up and we loved the Big Red Machine.  Johnny got his own cover at number 7.

I also want to add, this is a really good list and I suggest you check it out.  Who/What is number 1?  I won’t spoil it…..but it was perfect.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Research we can believe in

I hope they publish the recipe too

Marauding Vikings' ale packs a real punch

A team of archaeologists has recreated the heather ale drunk by marauding Vikings to boost their ferocity in battle.

Galway archaeologists Billy Quinn and Nigel Malcolm and businessman Declan Moore have been involved in their "great experiment" for the past three years, sampling Bronze Age brews and unearthing Ireland's ancient recipes and beer-making traditions.

The intrepid trio have just brewed their first heather ale using a recipe believed to date back to the 8th century AD.

'Bheoir Lochlannachis' is made from heather and barley; and instead of hops, which only became common in brewing in the 9th century, the herb bog myrtle is used to add flavour and preserve the potion.

Some sources believe the word 'ale' comes directly from the Viking word 'aul', and, according to legend, Norse invaders downed substantial quantities of the heather brew to whip up their battle frenzy.

The trio brewed the Scandinavian ale with barley from the Oslo Hotel Microbrewery in Salthill. The heather was gathered at Maumeen Lake in Connemara.

"We're using a recipe that was recorded in the 'Ulster Journal of Archaeology' in 1859," explained Mr Moore, MD of the Moore Group, an environmental consultancy firm. "It dates back, we would estimate, to the early Christian and Viking period."

Unlike the Moore Group's previous beer experiment, which involved using a prehistoric cooking pit heated by stones, the Viking beer was heated in a large pot and is now fermenting.

When the brew is ready, the team plans a private beer-tasting party next month. "We're going to produce around 150 litres and by the time that's filtered and sieved, there'll be 100 litres -- plenty to go around," said Mr Moore, while Mr Malcolm, general manager of Moore Group, said the finished product was eagerly anticipated.

This is not the trio's first foray into bygone brewing techniques. In 2007, the team produced a Bronze Age brew using a prehistoric cooking pit, which overturned the belief that brewing was only practised here from the 6th century onwards.

Read more:

Now we know what really happened at Roswell

Has anyone tried this?  No local distributors, but it would go great with Crystal Head Vodka :)


Sunday, September 26, 2010

900 Bottles 290K Smokes…..our Hero

A CHAIN smoking pensioner has celebrated his 100th birthday despite puffing on nearly 300,000 cigarettes — and glugging a glass of whisky a day.

Old soldier Arthur Langran - who survived being blown up by a grenade in the Second World War - claims the key to his longevity is doing what everyone tells him not to.

The dad-of-two started smoking aged 20 and has gone through at least TEN-A-DAY ever since. That works out at an incredible 292,000 cigarettes.

As well as being partial to the odd cigar he also sups a dram of Macallan single malt Scotch right before he goes to bed and credits it for his long life.

But his tipple a day over 80 years totals a staggering 900 BOTTLES.

He said: "I always say the secret is doing things you're not told to do. I have been smoking since I was 20 and I still enjoy it - and a pipe."

Arthur, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, downed pints of ale at his local pub to celebrate the milestone.

His eldest son Peter, 62, revealed doctors had told his father to KEEP smoking — despite having gone through 292,000 in total already.

Peter said: "These days he rolls himself five or six a day but used to smoke more and has his pipe once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

"The doctor has said it's not worth getting him to give up the cigarettes."

Peter added: "He's had a tough old life. He was an orphan, had a terrible time living and working in Canada and was blown up by a grenade in the war."

Arthur - whose wife Ivy died in 2000 - was born an orphan and sent to Canada by National Children Homes when he was 14 to work as a farmhand.

He returned to Britain in 1940 to join the Army and fight the Nazis in the Second World War.

Chunks of lead shrapnel from an explosion he was caught up in still remain under his skin.

For years Arthur celebrated his birthday on September 8 but discovered after leaving the Army and applying for a birth certificate that it was actually on September 6.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Phil Hartman would have been 62 Today :(

Phil had a quirky voice and great delivery.  Here he is pitching Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor. 


When Maß attack

Man, this story hits home (almost literally) on so many levels.

When Glenn sent it over, it immediately brought back a memory of a fest I was at in Augsburg, where an Lt friend of mine just walked into the tent.  Someone had thrown a Krug and it hit a girl, rupturing her eye.  The Polizie showed up, and for some reason (to this day, I still don’t know why), they blamed him. 

Here he was, surrounded by his friends and cops picked him….the only sober one in the bunch.  It took a LOT of talking before he was “cleared”, and it showed how dangerous it can be in a fest tent late at night.

I also recall an attempt at plastic mugs at fests, one was even inflatable…..and that didn’t work either.  Nobody would buy them and the Germans laughed.

Finally, the picture……look at the heads on those beers.  Where is the quality control?  The beer is supposed to be above the dimples to the head line.  I was with Connie and Mike one time at Oktoberfest and Mike sent his back….refusing to pay.  The beerwench was furious and called over the cops.  One look at the “Schaum” and he shook his head and sided with us.  The only time I like the Polizie in Germany.

Enjoy the read -

Photo: DPA

This year’s 200th anniversary Oktoberfest has proved to be rowdier than previous years, officials said this week, citing a jump in the use of the festival’s famous large beer mugs as weapons.

Revellers at the beer festival resorted to hitting each other with the one-litre glass beer mugs, known as Maßkrüge, 15 times in the first five days alone, compared to nine in the same time period last year, Munich police reported.
The initial cause of most tankard attacks often remains unclear, police spokesperson Peter Beck said.
“One of the reasons is an excess of alcohol consumption,” he added, explaining that this often leads to conflicts.
But the suggestion to use safer plastic steins was vehemently rejected by organisers five years ago. Their argument? Drinking beer out of plastic cups is simply sacrilege and Bavarian beer requires a vessel befitting its status.

Chalk this up to “Did you ever wonder…?”

Did you ever wonder how much ash a 20-a-day smoker makes?


Click HERE to find out (sorry, Maniac World doesnt allow someone to embedd)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

He’s still Irish………

Seems like the British Press is all over the Irish Prime Minster Brian Cowen again. 

Brian CowenAs I blogged about HERE, everyone seems to be pointing out what a lush he is….but to me (and in his defence), I don’t get it…..he’s the IRISH PRIME MINISTER!!! Doesn’t he have an image to uphold?

Anyway, here is the LINK to another article focusing on his love of booze.  The highlights include:


  • Wednesdays are midweek ‘nights out’ as Thursday is not a Dáil day
  • Members of the public report seeing him slumped at hotel bar
  • One Budget night he went on a boozing binge into the early hours
  • Even as a student, he spent all his food money on ‘liquid lunch’
  • Also, there are some great pictures of him….so it is worth a gander just for that.


Where’s Grannie Clampet when we need her?

After brewing my own beer, I have often wanted to try making my own moonshine…..but the legal ramifications always seem to jump in the way.  There IS a movement afoot to allow craft distillers a license for personal consumption, and I personally don’t understand why it hasn’t passed…other than the fact that a single batch of liquor could produce 25-30 gallons of hooch….which would be a potential hit to tax revenue.  Gotta saddle us with those Sin Taxes.

Anyway, here is an article on how Moonshine is starting to make a comeback….thought everyone might enjoy.


White lightning, mountain dew, firewater — you know it as the illicit substance made in secret by tax-dodging mountain men and drunk by people looking to alter their reality in a serious way.

But hooch is being infused with a whole new spirit thanks to a new generation of home and professional distillers.

"Moonshine is multifaceted these days," says Max Watman, who researched the underground liquor industry for his book, "Chasing the White Dog."

The idea of bootleg liquor conjures up a vision of lazy creekside afternoons. And there is a small population of moonshiners still carrying out the mountain tradition. But modern moonshine mostly falls into two different categories, according to Watman. Sure there are criminal organizations that essentially prey on the poor. But there also is a burgeoning hobbyist scene made up of the same type of people that drove the microbrewed beer movement.

"The hobbyists are much more adventurous and a lot of fun," he says. "It's very much a product of our time. We are obsessed with authenticity and we are obsessed with craft, or at least a certain segment of our population is. It's part of the farmers market world. We all want to make our own cheese. We all want to cure our own bacon. It's the same group that wants to make their own booze."

Unlike curing your own bacon, or even brewing your own beer, however, distilling spirits is illegal without a government license, and they aren't easy to get.

Still, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says illicit distilling isn't a significant problem. Though the economy in particular has prompted more people to explore making moonshine, a bureau spokeswoman said there hasn't been a big bust since the '90s and overall it's a much smaller problem than in the past.

To meet the burgeoning interest, a number of companies have started selling stills, ingredients and directions online, though most note that it's advisable to check local laws before producing alcohol. There also are online forums where enthusiasts can pose questions and trade tips.

Making moonshine is as easy as mixing a grain such as corn meal (though you can make moonshine with just about anything) with sugar, water and yeast. Once it ferments, heat is used to draw the vapors into coiled tubing that drips the distilled liquid into a container.

While it may be easy, it is not without risks. Made from improper ingredients (such as wood) or in a still made from dangerous plumbing (such as a car radiator, which contains lead), moonshine can be riddled with toxic chemicals, causing blindness, kidney failure, even death, said Dr. Robert Geller, director of the Georgia Poison Center.

"And in the U.S. we've had outbreaks of both during the last 10 years," he said.

The traditional definition of moonshine is an illegal distillate from an unregistered still on which taxes have not been paid.

But modern practitioners, such as Colin Spoelman of King's County Distillery in Brooklyn, N.Y., use the term to cover legal but unaged (as in no time in the barrel) whiskey, also known as "white whiskey."

King's, which is licensed, is selling white whiskey in medicine style bottles labeled simply "moonshine."

"What we're doing is a very smooth and very refined and very high quality moonshine," says Spoelman, who became interested in the spirit after trying a jug of it in his native Kentucky.

What he isn't selling is high-powered hooch. The alcohol content of King's Moonshine is 80 proof, comparable to mainstream liquors. "We want people to enjoy the taste and taste the grain and not be quite so overwhelmed by the alcohol," he says.

King's County whiskey is 80 percent corn, organically grown, and 20 percent malted barley imported from Scotland. They're a small operation, making 2.5 gallons a day. For a while they were working without a car until someone moving to Chicago heard of their plight and donated a '92 Geo Metro.

Frank Coleman, spokesman for the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council, thinks illicit liquor is best avoided.

But the unaged whiskies being made by legal craft distillers are a different matter.

Though their sales are just a fraction of the market, there are scores of legal microdistillers springing up around the country.

"There's been a boom in spirits consumption over the last decade, people moving away from beer toward spirits, and the marketplace is just drifting in that direction," he said. "It's really about recapturing America's lost heritage that was crushed by Prohibition."

Copyright 2010  AP News

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smoked Salmon Vodka

Smoked Salmon Vodka.  Why?  Wait….let me think about it for a minute.  Smokes and Booze…..Smoked and Vodka.  But throw in Salmon. Ok, WHY?

The interesting parts of this video, first they basically show you how they make it…..and two, how small production this place is.  Maybe I should move to Alaska and open a distillery.

A Smokes and Booze PSA

If you have your kids with you…..take them into the bar.  Of course, if you live in a state (like Indiana) where kids are not allowed and you want to buy a 6pack, go to Walmart.

Bridgeville man arrested for leaving son in car while buying beer

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Bridgeville man was arrested on Tuesday for leaving his 4-year-old son in the car while he went inside a bar to buy beer.

David Anthony Hopfer, 40, was scheduled to be arraigned at 1 a.m. today on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and possession of a controlled substance. He was also to be charged for parking illegally and for driving with expired inspection.

In a criminal complaint, Officer Roger Itzel said he saw a car parked illegally in front of the Markee Bar on Baldwin Street and a child sleeping in a car seat in the back. He said all of the car windows were up except for one on the driver's side, which was down part way, and he estimated it to be about 80 degrees outside.

Mr. Hopfer came out of the bar about five minutes after Officer Itzel arrived and was arrested. A bartender later came out with a $20 bill Mr. Hopfer had left, saying that he had come in to buy a six-pack of beer.

The officer also found two pill bottles on the front seat, both with Mr. Hopfer's name on them. But the prescription on one of the bottles was for Adderall, when the bottle actually contained two pills of methadone.

The boy was left in the custody of his mother, Autumn Christie, who arrived at the scene to pick him up along with the car.

Read more:

World oldest man a 32 Degree Mason

What an interesting thing.  Br. Breuning became a 32 Degree Scottish Rite Freemason 3 years after my Grandfather James Minor Bell in 1922.

This is via Br. Hodapp’s blog – Freemasonry for Dummies

Brother Walter Breuning, at 114 years old, is the oldest living American, and the 7th oldest person in the world. He celebrated his birthday yesterday at a retirement home in Great Falls, Montana. Brother Breuning is a 32° Scottish Rite Mason who joined the fraternity in 1925.

Walter Breuning was born on Sept. 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minnesota, and moved to Montana in 1918, where he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway for 50 years.
His wife, Agnes, a railroad telegraph operator from Butte, died in 1957. The couple had no children.
Breuning inherited the distinction of being the world's oldest man in July 2009 when Briton Henry Allingham died at age 113. Allingham had joked that the secret to long life was "Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women — and a good sense of humor," according to Guinness World Records.
The Guinness organization and the Gerontology Research Group each have verified Breuning as the world's oldest man and the fourth-oldest person. Three women were born earlier in the same year as Breuning.
Robert Young, senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records, presented Breuning with a copy of the book's 2011 edition that lists him as the record holder.

Walter Breuning- Scottish Rite Freemason from Scottish Rite on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This is how they drink Tequila in Sweden

For the record, I recognize the bottle (can’t remember the name) from when I was in Germany… is pure rotgut

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Oktoberfest kicks off in Munich

Munich's mayor has tapped the first keg, opening this year's annual Oktoberfest in southern Germany, where millions of guest from around the globe are expected to clink mugs of frothy beer in celebration of 200 years of the world renown festival.

Mayor Christian Ude used two swift taps of his hammer to open the first keg Saturday and declare "O'zapft is," or "It's tapped," signaling the opening of the beer festival that runs for the next 17 days.

This year's Oktoberfest marks 200 years since it was first held to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria.

It is also the first year that smoking will be banned in the beer tents after the southern German state of Bavaria passed strict anti-smoking legislation earlier this year.

Beer was a Medicine

I knew it was good for you :P

Researchers Find 2,000 Year-Old Beer Was Used as Medicine

Researchers at Emory University discovered that ancient Nubians consumed regular doses of sickness-fighting antibiotics, most likely in their beer.
The study, led by anthropologist George Armelagos and medicinal chemist Mark Nelson of Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is the strongest evidence yet that the art of making antibiotics, which officially dates to the discovery of penicillin in 1928, was common practice nearly 2,000 years ago (
During chemical analysis of human bones from Nubia dated between A.D. 350 and 550, Armelagos and Nelson found traces of tetracycline, an antibiotic still used to treat bacterial infections, including pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections, acne, and infections of skin, genital and urinary systems.
Armelagos and his fellow researchers believe the source of the antibiotic to be beer, a beverage regularly consumed by the Nubians. The grain used to make the fermented gruel contained the soil bacteria streptomyces, which produces tetracycline.
The researchers are convinced that these ancient people knew what they were doing, and purposefully perfected the fermentation practice so that they could take advantage of this powerful natural medicine.
According to Nelson, even the tibia and skull belonging to a 4-year-old were full of tetracycline, suggesting that they were giving high doses to the child to try and cure him of illness (eScienceCommons).
And the Nubians aren't the only culture to achieve better health through an occasional home brew.
In ancient Greece, Hippocrates used beer as a remedy to facilitate diuresis, reduce fever and heal wounds. Aretus of Capadocia also recommended it for diabetes and migraine.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Some History…..


The Tanqueray Family was granted a crest featuring battle axes and a pineapple – the same crest that appears on our bottle today for their bravery & hospitality. The battle axes were for bravery in battle during the crusades; the pineapple was for hospitality, a tradition Tanqueray continues to this day (the hospitality, not the battling).

What can you say….he’s Irish

I don’t see what the big deal is here.  He’s Irish and Prime Minister.  If I had those two going for me, I would be drunk during interviews too ;)

DUBLIN — Prime Minister Brian Cowen is resisting calls for an early election in Ireland amid fears about the nation's debt troubles — and his own ability to steer the country through the crisis.

Cowen was accused by politicians and commentators on Irish radio Tuesday of being drunk or hung over after he gave a croaky interview to RTE, the state broadcast network. He often offered vague, semi-coherent answers to questions on Ireland's battle to save its banks and reverse its deficit.

Asked by a reporter for TV3 about speculation he was struggling from the aftereffects of late-night drinking, Cowen replied curtly, "That's ridiculous." He also criticized the question as being "uncalled for."

The prime minister flatly denied the accusation at a subsequent news conference. "I think it's a real new low in Irish politics," he said. "It's an appalling and unfounded assertion," he added, Cabinet members flanking him in a show of support. "I have a hoarseness in my throat for which I apologize."

Between drunk and hungover?
Michael Noonan, the finance spokesman for the opposition Fine Gael party, insisted he wasn't making a personal attack with his criticism. "I was listening to the interview. He certainly was a man who was coming at the interview at the end of a very late night," he said.

One opposition politician, Simon Coveney of Fine Gael, tweeted that Cowen sounded "halfway between drunk and hung over."

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin defended his boss, saying Cowen was "very hoarse" during the interview on the "Morning Ireland," which was broadcast from Galway, the site for his party's two-day conference on party policy.

Martin added, "There is always a social dimension to occasions such as this week's Fianna Fáil gathering, but no more than that." Fianna Fail is the name of Cowen's party.

Renowned for his gruff public persona, Cowen traditionally lets his hair down at the annual conference with ballad songs and pints of beer into the small hours.

But headlines about a partying leader are the last thing the government needs as it seeks to squeeze more cutbacks out of a badly stretched electorate and convince investors that Ireland is not on the rocks.

"This is an exhausted man running an exhausted government. For me, this is just another example of why we could really do with another election as soon as possible," said David Farrell,Professor of politics at University College Dublin.

"He is a person who is clearly under a lot of stress and strain and this is revealed by this morning's very poor performance," Farrell said.

Cowen's party has a shaky parliamentary majority. His government faces re-election by 2012.

A Feel Good Beer Story (aren’t they all?)

What would make a guy from New Mexico hop a plane in Albuquerque, fly to Pittsburgh, then rent a car and drive to Harrisburg, just for a chance to buy a bottle of beer?

For Brian Cochran, the answer was Troegs Brewing Co.'s limited-release brew called Splinter Blue -- a combination of the Harrisburg craft brewer's Dreamweaver Wheat, tart cherries and a funky strain of yeast known as "Brettanyomyces."

Aged for 18 months in oak barrels, the 750-milliliter bottles of the limited release went on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, and all 401 bottles were gone

The brewery planned to sell only 400 bottles to the public. Cochran, who came from Farmington, N.M., after hearing about Splinter Blue on the "Beer Advocate" website, got No. 401, a bottle originally reserved for one of the brewery's sales representatives, who gave it up after hearing how far Cochran had come.

Beer lovers began lining up outside the Paxton Street brewery shortly after midnight. By 5 a.m., there were close to 50 people in line. Sales were limited to two bottles per person. The brewery handed out bottle caps to the first 200 in line, similar to the wristbands used when concert tickets go on sale.

Cochran, who arrived around 9 a.m., was about 20 people behind the last bottle cap but figured he would stay in line when the capless people in front of him left, hoping somebody would decide to buy just one of the $22.95 bottles.

That didn't happen.

"I was one behind the guy who bought the last bottle. I thought I was shut out," said Cochran, toasting his good luck with a sample tray of Troegs other offerings in the brewery's tasting room.

"It is pretty amazing to see how far people will travel to try a beer that they don't even know will still be available when they get to the brewery," said Chris Trogner, one of the two brothers who own the brewery.

Cochran came the farthest, Trogner said, but others came from New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Not all were as lucky as Cochran. Ben Manos, a student at Towson University, drove up from Maryland on Thursday morning.

"When I got here, around 9:30, there was a line out the door and around the building," Manos said. "I ended up being about 20 people behind the last guy who got a bottle."

Because Troegs had never brewed this particular beer before, the enthusiasm for its release was based primarily on the brewery's reputation in the craft beer community. Cochran first tried Troegs Nugget Nectar ale at a brewfest in Milwaukee.

For Manos, his first exposure came on his 21st birthday. Troegs' Troegenator Double Bock was the longest name on the beer menu at a bar where he was celebrating, so he decided to try it. That led to a visit for a brewery tour, where he saw the oak barrels in which the Splinter series is aged.

"To be honest, it sounded like a breakfast cereal, with the cherries. But I knew I wouldn't be able to get it again, so I figured I'd try it," Manos said.

Though Manos didn't get a Splinter Blue bottle, he did get a nice consolation prize. To celebrate the Splinter Blue release, Troegs also put special one-off variations of two of its regular beers on tap in its tasting room: one of its Javahead Stout, a coffee-influenced beer, that had vanilla beans added to the firkin; and a variation of its Pale Ale flavored with fresh, wet Simcoe hops.

"I did get to try the two special beers on tap," Manos said. "And hopefully they will do more of the Splinter beers."

Trogner said Troegs does plan to release two others later this year: Splinter Tan and Splinter Black.

Tan will be based on the brewery's popular holiday offering, Mad Elf, with wild yeast added to sour the beer. Black is a Russian imperial stout. Like Splinter Blue, both have been aged for more than a year in the oak barrels that give the Splinter series its name.

Trogner said the brewery will be releasing about a few thousand bottles of each of those.

Like Troegs' other limited-edition series, the "Scratch" beers, the Splinter series represents experimentation and exploration by the company's brewers. The brewery's Javahead Stout and Flying Mouflan barley wine each got their start as one-offs.

"If we find things we enjoy enough, down the road we may have them more readily available," said Trogner

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Over at Tobacconist University, there is a great blurb on the lies of second hand smoke.

The Proof of Lies

Padron in carThe Surgeon General said there ‘is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke’, and suddenly smoking bans spread around the globe.  But, this statement defies logic and the fact that the dose makes the poison.  This is true in epidemiology, science, and medicine; it always has been and always will be.  That is why you can consume pesticides, hormones, and harmful pharmaceuticals in your food, water, and consumer products and still survive.  The dose makes the poison.

The Surgeon General, EPA, FDA and every government, and every non-governmental agency that has promoted smoking bans has lied to you.  In fact, a quiet street has five times more carbon monoxide than a smoky bar, and there is absolutely no significant evidence showing that second hand smoke causes lung cancer (and there have been plenty of studies).  In fact, you should be more worried about the fumes you inhale on the street than the aroma of tobacco.  We all know that you can run a hose from your car exhaust into the vehicle and be dead in a few minutes.   Yet, I have spent countless hours in cars in Nicaragua with the windows rolled up (to avoid the dust) and inhaled 2,3, and 4 people’s cigar smoke.  The gentleman in the picture has been doing that for decades and he is 83!  The fact is, we have been lied to and our entire society has been re-engineered to treat smokers like second class citizens because of second hand smoke.

The site if full of information on Tobacco, Cigars and industry stuff…so if you are interested, I highly recommend checking it out.

Making a Zen Cocktail

Actually, veteran Tokyo bartender Kazuo Ueda doesn't drink.

As a junior high school student, he collapsed after he drank a cocktail made by his older brother.

But at the same time, he was attracted to the cool style.

Ueda said he was attracted to bartending because he couldn't drink.

When he gets a shaker in his hand, his gentle demeanor suddenly changes. In his personal "hard shake" technique, the cocktail is made by shaking long and vigorously.

The technique was even introduced in a New York Times special feature on cocktails.

"If you just shake hard, the ice melts and it becomes watery. The key is to make it mild by creating bubbles in the liquor," Ueda, 66, said.

It is hard to explain, but when you drink it, your taste buds will tell the tale.

Ueda took top honors the first time he entered Japan's national cocktail competition in 1980. The following year, he won the silver medal at the world championships in Germany.

He has written 10 books about the art. He says his compilation "Cocktail Technique" covers all there is to know about making cocktails. This spring, it was translated into English.

In May, at the invitation of a U.S. group which runs a website about cocktails, he held a seminar in New York for professional bartenders.

He explained, "The Japanese 'cocktail way' is to give importance to both the technical and spiritual aspects."

They applauded him, with one attendee saying, "For Ueda, cocktails are both life and art."

Before making a cocktail, he looks carefully at his customer's face. This ritual enables him "to concentrate on making a cocktail for that person."

"True professionals devote their lives to creating the perfect drink. I want people to appreciate the flavor," he said.

He has no hobbies. Every day at Tender, a bar in Tokyo's Ginza, he aims for ever greater heights.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Have you been drinking?

A great tilted room sketch.


Ably sent over a story for the blog, and it fits nicely to another I was going to post today.

First, Alby’s “Oktoberfest all over the world”

This is a really interesting read that outlines the following facts pertaining to Oktoberfest

  • Was non-religious
  • Started as a royal horserace
  • The largest NON-German Oktoberfest
  • The largest American Oktoberfest
  • What Oktoberfest is like in a muslim country.

A very good article, Thanks Glenn.

This then ties to another Oktoberfest story I saw.

Bacteria to fight beer stench at Oktoberfest

It appears that Bavaria has voted in a smoking ban (I would NEVER have imagined this happening) and Oktoberfest is trying to impliment it this year (a year early).

What they are finding, is that the smoke covered the smell of “other inevitable odors at a beer festival that runs for nearly three weeks.” 

So what have they come up with to cover-up the stale beer, piss, trash smell of over 4 Million people?

A bacteria slurry called “Elbomex” that will be poured over the floorboards every night.  As an added bonus, only the Hofbrau tent is being advertised as using this…..the other two “Beir Zelts” are being kept secret until after the event….so it will be hit an miss if you get the full smell-o-vision result.

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Equal Opportunity Offender


Ok, I am not going to get into the political debate over the 9/11 Koran burning.  I’m just glad I live in a county that allows everyone to express their own opinions and beliefs without going to jail (like I almost did in Germany for wearing an Adolf Hitler World Tour Shirt).

I’ll let you judge yourself

Australian lawyer smokes pages of Bible and Koran, asking 'Which is best?

In a 12-minute clip entitled "Bible or Koran – which burns best?" Mr Stewart, who works for the Queensland University of Technology, holds up the two religious texts before ripping them apart and lighting the rolled up pages.

At one stage he inhales deeply from one of the roll-ups before blowing out the smoke and commenting: "Holy".

The video, which has since been deleted, was posted on the video-sharing site over the weekend, coinciding with the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Last week Terry Jones, a controversial Christian preacher who presides over a small church in Florida, drew international condemnation after announcing a plan to burn 200 copies of the Koran.

"With respect to books like the Bible and the Koran, whatever, just get over it," Mr Stewart said in the footage. "The video was a joke video, of course," he added.

"People do this stuff all the time and if people get really upset about this then they're taking it far too seriously."

Mr Stewart, a member of an atheist group in Brisbane, has begun a period of leave following a meeting with his employers today. He insists he wasn't smoking drugs in the video but had sprinkled grass cuttings into the rolled up pages.

"The university is obviously extremely, extremely unhappy and disappointed that this sort of incident should occur," Queensland University of Technology vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake said.

Islamic groups urged Muslims not to react to the provocation

"There is no need for this kind of thing, just to create disunity and disharmony among people living in Australia," said Sheik Muhammad Wahid, president of the Islamic Association of Australia.

The Obama Administration Hates Drunks

I know this is a pretty bold statement, but then again….meet 17 year old Luke Angel of Britain.

His crime- Sending an Email to the President. 

Here is his description of the event-

"I don't remember exactly what I wrote as I was drunk. But I think I called Barack Obama a p***k. It was silly - the sort of thing you do when you're a teenager and have had a few."

This lead to a visit from UK Police, him being photographed and BANNED from America…..FOREVER.  No other formal charges were made.

Come on, he was 17 and Drunk.  I’m sure Barry regretts his days smoking pot and doing Coke.  Doesn’t it seem harsh to ban a kid (who BTW, is not even considered an adult in the US) for life?  This is probably a reciprocal banning…..since the UK has banned Michael Savage.  Wait, having listened to the Michael Savage show……there is no way the Obama Administration would do him any favors.

People just need to lighten up…..and have a beer :)



Ryder Cup limited edition Whisky

After my last trip to the UK, I did a review of Penderyn Whisky.  Penderyn is unique in that it is a product of Wales.

As you can see from the review, I wasn’t impressed.

Now, the pretentious Penderyn Distallry is releasing a limited edition called Celtic Manor 2011 Ryder Cup Edition Whisky.

Seriously?  Ryder Cup Edition?  Limited Edition of 200 BOTTLES?  Why even bother.

Then again, this is the same company that has a private group called the Penderyn Club, open only to UK Residents and costing £99 for 3 years.  You would think they would want to promote their whisky a little more, but judging from my tasting experiences….maybe they are ashamed to.

What a B*%#H

Meet Laura Lewis Brown, Contributing Writer for the Nashville NBC Affiliate.

Laura wants to call out her husband for his affair with a “Skinny Stinky Mistress” in a open forum.  You see, her husband’s affair? Smoking.

This isn’t something that apparently arose overnight.  In fact, her husband smoked before he met her (over 12 years ago).  He only “quit” (or so he says) when they started dating.  Throughout the years, Ms. Brown saw many tell tale signs, and she continued to nag her husband.  He doesn’t smoke around the kids (or her, by her own admittance), so the only person he is hurting is himself.  Yet, it appears Ms. Brown is a very controlling person….wanting her demands met.  So now she is dragging their personal life into the media as a form of Soap Opera, in attempt to shame him into quitting.  She has become Ahab and this is her White Whale. 

I’ll let you read the article HERE if you are so inclined, but I can summarize with “Bitchy Woman Drive Husband to Smoke”.

I just wish people would realize, some people smoke because the LIKE to.  Not everyone who smokes is a jonesing addict that needs a cigarette every 15 minutes.  At least her husband is being a responsible smoker (even though I don’t believe in the 2nd hand crap) and if that is his only vice, leave him to his peace.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Salute to SSgt Salvatore Giunta

On this day of rememberance for 9/11, I would like to Salute SSgt Salvatore Giunta, the first living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Here is his story-

Salvatore GiuntaDES MOINES, Iowa – A 25-year-old soldier from Iowa who exposed himself to enemy gunfire to try to save two fellow soldiers will become the first living service member from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the Medal of Honor, the White House announced Friday.

President Barack Obama phoned Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, on Thursday at the base in Italy where he's stationed to tell him he'd be receiving the nation's highest military honor, Giunta's father told The Associated Press. He will become the eighth service member to receive the Medal of Honor during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The seven previous medals were awarded posthumously.

"It's bittersweet for us," said Steven Giunta, of Hiawatha. "We're very proud of Sal. We can't mention that enough, but in this event, two other soldiers were killed and that weighs heavy on us. You get very happy and very proud and then you start dealing with the loss as well. You can't have one without the other."

Giunta was serving as a rifle team leader with Company B 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment when an insurgent ambush split his squad into two groups on Oct. 25, 2007, in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan, the White House said in a news release.

Giunta went above and beyond the call of duty when he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a fellow soldier back to cover. He engaged the enemy again when he saw two insurgents carrying away a wounded soldier, 22-year-old Sgt. Joshua C. Brennan, of McFarland, Wis. Giunta killed one insurgent and wounded the other before tending to Brennan, who died the next day.

"His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from enemy hands," the White House said.

Giunta, who enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, is now stationed in Italy with the Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He was in his second tour of duty in Afghanistan at the time of the ambush.

Giunta, who was previously awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, among other medals, called his parents after hearing from the president, his father said.

"He was very honored to talk to the president but he's very reserved about it," Steven Giunta said. "It's not something he's comfortable with, the event or the Medal of Honor."

Steven Giunta said his son is humbled because he believes he was just doing what he was supposed to be doing.

"He mentions every other soldier would have done the same thing. It kind of rocks his world that he's being awarded the Medal of Honor for something each and every one of them would have done. He's very aware of that."

"What a privilege and honor it is and what the men have done over the years to receive it, the feat, the above and beyond portion of it, it's amazing to me," Steven Giunta said.

Giunta will be awarded his medal at a White House ceremony at a date yet to be determined.

The President will present the Medal of Honor posthumously to Staff Sgt. Robert Miller in a White House ceremony on Oct. 6.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Friday

This day in History – Sept 10th 1897

On this day in 1897, a 25-year-old London taxi driver named George Smith becomes the first person ever arrested for drunk driving after slamming his cab into a building. Smith later pled guilty and was fined 25 shillings.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Maybe the Russians have something right

Drink More, Smoke More, Finance Minister Tells Russians

The things that pass for patriotic duty.
Alexei Kudrin, Russia's finance minister, is telling his fellow countrymen and women to keep buying smokes and to pour another drink or two in order to help boost government revenues.
"People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state," Kudrin said according to a translation provided by Interfax news.
New taxes on cigarettes were passed in June, Agence France Presse reported, and once they're fully implemented by 2013, the state's take per 1000 cigarettes will double to $19.20. Next year's portion of that hike should raise the average cost of a pack of smokes by about nine cents, according to a tobacco industry website. Russian cigarettes currently sell for about $1.40 a pack.
Drinking is getting more expensive, too. By 2013, heavier alcohol taxes are expected to increase the price of the cheapest Russian vodka from a current dollar equivalent of $2.81 to $4.71, according to the same source.
While lighting up to save the economic health of mother Russia may seem like a counter-intuitive idea given the costs associated with treating lung cancer and dragging river bottoms from drowned drunks, a new study finds that encouraging the nation to have a lot more to drink may not be totally boneheaded advice. As Time's John Cloud wrote:

[A] new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that -- for reasons that aren't entirely clear -- abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

That finding, and the best wishes of the Russian finance minister, appear not to have convinced Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, however. As AOL News reported last month, Luzhkov announced a crusade against liquor, signing a law that forbids the sale of alcohol between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. in an effort to cut consumption by up to 50 percent. It takes effect today.
Of course, in classic Catch-22 fashion, any decrease in alcohol sales could wipe out the financial gains derived from levying higher taxes and encouraging the populace to drink and smoke more. So what's a good Russian to do?

Blind Tasting (A Cigar Review Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a recent experiment, one that puts to the question “What would people think if given a cigar with no band and no back-story/idea of what it was?”.

So, following Randy’s excellent review in Part 1, we now go again to our friend from  MySideoftheBar  to find out what he thought of Cigar 2-

  • Temp 89, Humidity low
  • Before light: Aroma, Tobacco and earthy
  • Shaggy Cut which made for a very easy light as you would expect
  • Easy Draw and a full body cigar
  • First 1/3
    Great taste, nutty, woody or earthy
  • Second 1/3
    Still nutty, woody or earthy but with a hint of spice
    Still a great taste
  • Last 1/3
    Spice, almost sweet
  • Not hot and still a great taste, could have used a roach clip to smoke every bit of this cigar.
  • Parings:
    Would be great after a steak dinner and excellent with either bourbon or scotch, especially a smoky scotch.
    4 out of 5 stars for me as this was more my type of a cigar
    Problem only 3 out of 5 stars for a beginner

Again, excellent write-up.

So, what was the cigar that Randy sampled?

A Gurkha Vintage Shaggy

GurkhaVintageShaggy.jpg image by gotolisa

I went with the Toro Maduro and this is a staple in my Humidor.  Gurkha has quickly become one of my favorite brands, and as Randy pointed out, if you like a “heavier” smoke….I would check them out.

I also wanted to throw a quick blurb in here about Home  The last box of Shaggies that I bought was through them.  MSRP is $190, but they have the price slashed to $125.95.  This is a great deal, and I can only say wonderful things about this company.  Shipping was fast, complete and the whole process was painless.  This was my first order with them, and there is always that first buy apprehension.  I won’t have that in the future and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to shop online.  Great job to them.

That wraps up this series.  I am looking for others willing to take a chance….if interested, drop me an Email at

Cheers and Smoke’m if you gott’m.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A great cause

It’s not often that I post about something that is NOT Smokes & Booze related, but when I do….I hope everyone stands up and takes notice.

Today I wanted to talk about Kraft Foods Huddle to Fight Hunger. 

Football season is upon us, and one of the greats, Joe Montana, has teamed with Kraft Foods to help fight hunger in America.  While donations are eagerly accepted (they are donating 7 meals for every $1), there are several other ways which you can contribute as well….all Free, except for a little bit of your time.

Join the “Huddle Draw

Click the Like Button on the  Krafts Foods Facebook Page

Redeem Coupons (1 Coupon = 1 Meal)

Tweet with the #KraftFightsHunger hashtag

Watch a YouTube Videos

Post a Picture

Guys, I know 1/2 of you are as lazy as me….but there is no excuse for not getting out and supporting this program.  20 Million Meals goes a long way, and you CAN make a difference.

Please join me in supporting Kraft and helping where you can.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Now we have Guns and Beer

Way to go!!!  Shows why concealed carry is such a good thing.  Save the beer!

The intruder who punched out a Chandler man while stealing beer at a keg party picked the wrong victim.

The man, who had been attempting to defend his wife during the beer theft, had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Fearing for his life and under attack, he pulled out a gun and fatally shot two men believed by police to be gang members early Sunday morning.

"People in Arizona carry guns," said Detective David Ramer, a Chandler police spokesman. "You better be careful about who you are picking on."

Ramer said police have concluded the shooter, who fears reprisals and whose name is not being released, acted in self-defense and have cleared him of any potential wrongdoing in the shooting deaths.

The names of the two men who were shot to death also have not been released by police.

The shootings occurred early Sunday morning in the 600 block of North Sunland Drive. A group of men showed up as uninvited guests at the keg party, paid a $2 admission fee, then became angry when the organizers started to shut the bash down, Ramer said.

"They thought they weren't getting their money's worth," he said.

The intruders were stealing the beer when they were confronted by a woman who had been attending the party, Ramer said.

After the men started yelling at the woman, her husband attempted to come to her defense and was punched to the ground.

"This guy was punched, he was attacked," Ramer said.

When one of the intruders threatened the man with a gun, he pulled out his own gun and shot the two men to death, Ramer said. Police said they have documents confirming that the men are gang members.

Ramer said the husband showed restraint during the incident and only fired when he was threatened with a gun.

The man involved in the shooting had passed a concealed-weapons course, Ramer said. Although he had a permit, the Arizona Legislature passed a bill earlier this year to allow residents to carry concealed weapons without one.

Chandler police have arrested seven other men and plan to recommend that they be charged not only with robbery but with murder because the slayings occurred during the commission of another crime, Ramer said.

Read more:


Cigarettes, Bacon and Machine Guns

A must watch video :P

Oh the Humanity

Over the weekend a 7.1 Earthquake hit Christchurch NZ.  You can see some amazing pictures of the destruction HERE, but I think the one below captures the horror of the event.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Never Trust NASA

With apologies to Randy and the movie Armageddon, I put up the above headline. 

Late last week I posted about a whiskey that uses the sugar Type 1 Diabetics urine.  I thought it might be a used in  future space missions to provide booze in deep space.

Well, I think NASA showed their view on alcohol in space, not by chiming in on a current or future mission, but instead with the tragedy in Chile.

The 33 trapped miners in Chile have been given MP3 players, bedding, and clean clothes through supply tubes, but a NASA doctor advising Chile says there's two things on their wish list they won't be getting. The men have been given nicotine gum instead of the cigarettes they've demanded, and won't be given alcohol, at least for the time being, the Telegraph reports.

"From the alcohol standpoint, we need to first get their nutrition up before we make any considerations there," said NASA's deputy chief doctor, adding that he is very impressed with the efforts of rescue workers and the "courage and the organization" of the miners. The men were given their first hot meal in 26 days yesterday—meatballs, chicken and rice.

While I can understand no cigarettes due to the lack of oxygen, and I commend that they were given nicotine gum, but why no booze?  These guys are facing death every day….and they want a drink.  Come on NASA, give them something there.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More from Alby

So I was taunting Alby last night, saying I was going to make him a moderator/contributor on this site.  He sends over some interesting stuff AND it would always be great to have more contributors.

Instead, the big sissy bailed out ….preferring to stay behind the scenes and throw stuff over the wall from afar.  I still intend to give credit where credit is due though, so thanks dude.  Keep them coming.

Both of these articles I have mixed feelings about.

Making Beer Snobbery a More Beautiful Thing

First is a GIZMODO Article entitled MAKING BEER SNOBERY A MORE BEAUTIFUL THING.  It describes (and shows) a device called The BeerVault- a device that contains the beer in UV-filtering clear acrylic canisters, which are backlit and suspended above the bar. Each beer is kept under the same pressure as it was while in the bottle, thus preserving its taste, while also keeping it chilled and ready-to-serve via a clear volume of liquid glycol that surrounds it and circulates through a chiller.  This is to add an aesthetic feel to a bar, and improve the taste of the beer.  While it does look PRETTY, I am a purist.  When I go to a bar, I want to see tappers (with their own uniqueness) and behind the bar is the traditional home of liquors and wines.  Anything that takes away space from my beloved Scotches is going to get a down check from me.  Finally, why do they have to bring up Snobbery?  To me, bars are the great equalizer….where you can sit, socialize, have a drink and make new friends.  We don't need to encourage people to pretentious, instead we should be sharing experiences with each other and learning of the beauty of booze.  I guess I’ll wait on Alby to respond below, because I am sure he likes this (Mr. Artsy Fartsy)…, Fire Away Glenn.

The next one you will have to read yourself to believe.  It appears there is a new small batch distillery called the Gilpin Family Whiskey.  They are using the sugar laden urine of Type 1 Diabetics in the distilling process to create whiskey.  I am torn on this one….I mean really, WHY?  I can see no practical excuse to currently do this, BUT I can see an application in the future.  How about when astronauts go to Mars or Deep Space?  While I doubt NASA would send someone with Diabetes, it might develop and now they have a source for those for at least on of the ingredients.  Although, for the time being, I have agree with Glenn….I bet it tastes like Piss.


Worlds Oldest Beer Update


In THIS article, they have video of the site AND they show them trying it (I knew someone would)

What I can say is that it's a dark beer because when the bottle broke I had to handle it and got the fluid on my fingers. It felt natural to taste the droplets. There was some bitterness mixed with sweetness but it was certainly a beer scent and taste. Perhaps not a beer I would buy since I prefer light beer. But it's totally fantastic.

What surprised me is that it was still carbonated and foamed.  Most old beers were rather flat, and when you brew, you add priming sugar to keep the yeast going and start carbonation.  Here it is 200 years later, and its still going.  WOW.

Check it out.

So that is where that came from

QUESTION: Where did the tradition of giving out a cigar when a child is born come from?

ANSWER: The tradition began in the latter part of the 17th century. Cigars, being expensive, were treasured items. When a man parted with a cigar, it was considered an exceptional moment. During this era, the birth of a boy took on tremendous importance to the family, and the father would show his appreciation by handing out a valued commodity - a cigar. In time, the birth of a daughter became as important as the birth of a son, and the new father would share his happiness with a gift of a cigar.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A GREAT Day for music :)


It seems that the reports of The Pogues demise might have been premature.  :)

the-pogues200aaol-spinner-musicuk010910[1] Despite recent reports that the Pogues' upcoming Christmas tour will be the famed band's last, guitarist Phil Chevron says that's not the case. Taking to the band's official forum, Chevron has dubbed that proclamation little more than a "marketing ploy" by his bandmates.
"This claim does not come from me and I will neither be supporting it nor discussing it," an irate Chevron wrote of the group's purported final run, which has been billed as their "Farewell Christmas Tour." This quickly led to a clarification from fellow Pogue Spider Stacy on the band's message board.
"This is the last Christmas tour for the foreseeable future," wrote Stacy of the forthcoming seven-date UK tour. "That's not to say we won't be showing up at festivals here and there or maybe even the odd gig around the UK and Ireland and certainly in Europe. But we're tired of dragging our weary, freezing carcasses around these drowning islands every December, so we're going to give it a rest before you get tired of it, too. Go and see the Libertines. They're the best."
A subsequent, quick exchange of barbs between the bandmates took place, where Chevron added, "As you can see, opinion is not uniform on the matter," Spider felt compelled to calm fan's fears that tensions in the band might lead to the band's demise. "Don't get yer kecks in a twist," he wrote. "Does it say we're splitting up? No, it doesn't. And sorry to disappoint but there's absolutely no internal arguments going on, spirits are high in the Pogues camp."

How can you not love

As a long time reader, I have always loved the costumes, pranks, science projects and other zanyness over at

Given that we are a site about smoking and drinking, it was a natural fit…..with such quality entries as How Much is inside –Tobacco, a Keg, Gold in Goldschlager and a Cocktail.

Yet today, Rob put up a great “How To” in his Quest for a Solid Ice Beer Tray.  While not as fun as the others, this one has practical application and would be great at parties.  Below if a video of the final product….but skip on over to and check everything yourself, maybe you will learn something.



Worlds oldest Beer and Champagne found

First there was the discovery of dozens of bottles of 200-year-old champagne, but now salvage divers have recovered what they believe to be the world's oldest beer, taking advertisers' notion of 'drinkability' to another level.

Though the effort to lift the reserve of chaThe shipwrecked cargo of champagne and beer is believed to date from between 1800 and 1830.mpagne had just ended, researchers uncovered a small collection of bottled beer on Wednesday from the same shipwreck south of the autonomous Aland Islands in the Baltic Sea.

"At the moment, we believe that these are by far the world's oldest bottles of beer," Rainer Juslin, permanent secretary of the island's ministry of education, science and culture, told CNN on Friday via telephone from Mariehamn, the capital of the Aland Islands.

"It seems that we have not only salvaged the oldest champagne in the world, but also the oldest still drinkable beer. The culture in the beer is still living."

Juslin said officials had talked to a local brewer about whether the new-found beer might be able to yield its recipe after experts decipher the brew's ingredients.

The newest find came as divers unearthed bottles separate from the earlier champagne find. While lifting a few to the surface, one exploded from pressure. A dark fluid seeped from the broken bottle, which they realized was beer.

All the cargo on the ship -- including the beer and champagne -- is believed to have been transported sometime between 1800 and 1830, according to Juslin. He said the wreck was about 50 meters deep (roughly 164 feet) in between the Aland island chain and Finland.

The cargo was aboard a ship believed to be heading from Copenhagen, Denmark, to St Petersburg, Russia. It could have possibly been sent by France's King Louis XVI to the Russian Imperial Court.

"Champagne of this kind was popular in high levels [of society] and was exclusive to rich groups -- it was not a drink for common people then," Juslin said.

Experts estimated the exclusive bubbly to be worth tens of thousands of euros per bottle. The value of the beer has not been determined. It is also unknown whether the beer went flat while sitting at the bottom of the Baltic for such a long time.

Some of the bottles of champagne were originally produced by Juglar, a premium champagne house no longer in existence, according to Juslin.

He said the cold sea water was a perfect way to store the spirits, with the temperature remaining a near-constant 4-5 degrees Celsius (around freezing temperature in Fahrenheit, or 32 degrees) and no light to expedite the spoiling process.

Investigators and historians have not yet unraveled the mystery surrounding the exact origin of the ship or the date when the ship went down.

Juslin said other artifacts were still lying in the shipwreck, but it would take several months to lift them out of the wreck.

The islands are at the entrance of the Gulf of Bothnia, in the Baltic Sea. They have Swedish-speaking people, though the island itself falls under Finnish protection. The Aland chain forms a Nordic archipelago of more than 6,000 skerries and islands.

Blind Tasting (A Cigar Review Part 1)

Recently, I had an idea.  What if we gave someone a cigar without a band, and they had no preconceived notions of what kind of cigar they got.

Everyone has a different palette and sometimes those ideas affect how we taste the cigar, scotch or food we consume. 

So I shipped out 2 cigars to some friends, and out of 4, Randy over at MySideoftheBar was first to respond and provided a great write-up. 

Here we go.

    • Cigar: Smaller of the two, appeared to be a box Press
    • Tasted: Afternoon, Temp. 88, humidity low
    • Before Light:: Mellow Aroma
    • Good Wrap loose Packed
    • Very easy to light
    • First 1/3 – Mellow with a cinnamon taste or a spice
    • Second 1/3 – Still mellow and definitely a cinnamon spice flavor
    • Last 1/3 – Continued to be mellow with cinnamon notes.j
    • Tasted with a Jarlsburg Cheese, Olives, a light Vodka Drink and a Carmenere wine.
    • Overall Evaluation: This was a surprising cigar as my experience with box pressed cigars is limited and not all that favorable before this smoke. To me this is a great “appetizer” cigar or one you would smoke first in the day. It would also par great with an appetizer tray and a nice Rose’ or Blush wine. The cheese I tried it with was Jarlsberg, a light white cheese which made the taste of cigar smooth. You could also even have a sharp cheese and it would bring out even more flavors of the cigar in my opinion. When tasted with an Olive it brought out more of the spice in the cigar.

A very nice write-up indeed.  Great Job Randy.

So, what was the cigar that Randy sampled?

A 5 Vegas Classic Fifty Five (5.5x55) Box Pressed Cigar.

These can be found at for just $4 a stick (even cheaper if you pick up a box). 

This is a really easy and mild cigar that holds together well.  If you are a beginner cigar smoker or someone looking for some excellent priced cigars to fill your humidor, this is the one for you.

We have another review coming up… stay tuned for Part 2.

Smokem’ if you Gotm’

Having a cigar with the Governator

Here is a little insight into the world of CA Politics.

First… is illegal to smoke inside government buildings in California, so Arnie creates a “Smoking Tent”.  Panning around, that looks nothing like a tent inside….but hey, this makes it legal.  Way to go Conan….attack, improvise and overcome.

Second, during the interview, Arnie ignores the interviewee and just fires up. 

Finally, man the Terminator looks small.

How do I get a chance to get in there and raid his humidor?


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Finally, something cool to come out of Yale


I know what you are saying…..its a helicopter UAV, So what?

Well, skip to the 1:52 Mark to see why this is on Smokes and Booze.

A sad day for Music :(


Man, one of the greatest drinking bands ever (and the drunkest Frontman) is to call it quits.  Talk about a sad day for Smokes and Booze.  Cheers Shane.

The Pogues To Split After Christmas Dates

Rockers THE POGUES are to split again after one final festive tour.

The Fairytale of New York hitmakers will bid farewell to fans with a seven-date Christmas tour, which will conclude with two shows at London's O2 Academy in Brixton on 20 and 21 December (10).

The band, fronted by Shane MACGowan, formed in 1982. MACGowan quit the group in 1991 and The Pogues split in 1996.

The original members reunited for a Christmas tour in 2001 and the band has been together ever since.

The current members of the fiery party band include Spider Stacy, Philip Chevron, Jem Finer and Andrew Ranken.

Former members include the late Joe Strummer and Elvis Costello's ex-wife Cait O'Riordan.

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