Monday, February 28, 2011

More on Charlie

I just can’t get enough of Charlie Sheer… me a sadist.

I love how much he smokes during this interview too.  I honestly believe that what you see is what you get with Charlie (vs the “I’ve got to protect my image” from most in Hollywood.

I wish him luck in his case…..

Iowa Bourbon?

Ok Randy or Steve….we need many many bottles of this to test out Smile

What else are you going to do with all that corn?

Because Iowa is the nation's top corn-producing state it should, in turn, produce bourbon, thought Jeff Quint, founder of Cedar Ridge Distillery, when he first began distilling vodka in 2004. That's because bourbon, by definition, is a whiskey made of a grain mixture that is at least 51 percent corn.
Despite the apparent logic of that notion, there wasn't a single bourbon producer in the state.
"It seemed odd to me that we're in the heart of corn country, the best corn-growing region in the country, and nobody was using that corn to produce bourbon," he said.
And so he decided to do so himself.

His first batch of bourbon, made of a mash that was more than 70 percent corn, went into new, charred oak quarter barrels from a Minnesota barrel mill in 2008. The distillery bottled it last summer, with each bottle hand-marked with the barrel and bottle number.
Inside the bottle is an 80-proof spirit that Quint aimed to be in line with, rather than challenging, a premium mass-produced bourbon. That's unlike some craft distilleries that aim to put a twist on traditional spirits.
"We want it to be close to a mainstream bourbon," he said. "When people taste it, we don't want them questioning what they're tasting. We just want them to think to themselves, 'This is a good, solid bourbon.'"
And largely, Quint's efforts are successful. The bourbon is a smooth, sweet amber spirit, with a melange of charred oak and vanilla notes. It falls short, like many, if not most, young whiskeys, in that it lacks a complexity, or depth of flavor, that develops from more time in the barrel.
Because sales have been brisk, the distillery plans to rapidly expand its bourbon output. It now ages its bourbon in full-size, Missouri-produced barrels and aims to up its output from 3,000 cases to 4,800 cases a year.


A Sad Day for Music (Again)

This was speculated back in September 2010, and right now it looks to be coming to fruition. 

This makes me very very sad Sad smile


Pogues' upcoming US tour is their last

The Pogues band member Peter "Spider" Stacy has confirmed that the Irish rock band's upcoming tour of the US will be their last formal Stateside tour together.
Conflicting reports have been published over the past few months as to whether the band's 'A Parting Glass...' tour was simply an end to the long-running group's hectic touring schedule, or to the band itself.
"I think we are basically pretty certain this is the last tour of this type we'll be doing in the States," longtime Pogues member Stacy told Billboard.
However, Stacy claims that the group haven't officially disbanded for good, although he admitted that this will be their last multiple-date tour.
"There might be the odd sort of one-off here and there," Stacy continued. "We're not saying this is absolutely, definitely the end.
"But as things stand at the moment I don't really see us continuing as we have been. It seems to have run its course."
The Pogues will begin their 'A Parting Glass...' tour on March 3 with a show in Chicago.

Here are the last tour dates if you want to catch them -

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Iceberg Martini–From a real Iceberg

Ok, this is cool… I want to roadtrip to Newfoundland.


Apple Pie (Drink Recipe)

By now, Simon’s weekend should be in full hangover mode….so it should be safe to post this, as his guest should be well acquainted with “Apple Pie’.

I love grain liquor drinks, and seriously think that if you are drinking on a budget…..Everclear and Kool-Aid cant be beat.  If you’ve got a little more pocket change, you can step up to this one….Cheers

Apple Pie

  1. Put 1 gallon of apple cider, 1/2 gallon of apple juice and five cinnamon sticks in a large pot, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 2 cups of sugar and stir until dissolved. Take off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Remove the cinnamon sticks and add 2 cups of grain alcohol. Pour into pitchers and put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


  • Mix 1 shot of rum with 10 oz. of apple juice in a shaker to make an apple pie with a crust. Toss in two pinches of powdered cinnamon. Shake and pour over ice or put in a mug and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Fill half a shot glass with apple cider and top with vodka to make an apple pie shot. Place whipped cream on top.
  • Fill half a shot glass with apple juice and top with spiced rum to make an apple pie slammer. Top with whipped cream.

The Perfect Job

The 'Pub Guy' marks a milestone

Canada’s “Pub Guy” Bill Perrie has a dream job that allows him to travel around the country in search of bars to drink his favourite brew.

Perrie, 53, of Stouffville, was nursing a cold one at one of his favourite Toronto watering holes, The Firkin on King, on Thursday to mark his 2,500 bar visit.

He was accompanied by friends and fellow beer aficionados who openly profess their love for suds.

“It has been a labour of love,” said Perrie, who has written seven books on Canadian pubs. “The people is what makes a good pub great.”

Perrie said Toronto has many world-class pubs and bars that cater to everyone.

“There is such a diversity here that it all depends on what you feel like,” he said. “I am a great believer in local pubs.”

Perrie, who has an Internet radio show and is a columnist for Pub Magazine, has been travelling the country since 1999 checking out pubs. He has racked up thousands of kilometres in search of “hidden gems.”

“I did not set out to visit as many pubs as I could,” Perrie said. “I am always on a quest to find great local and hidden gems.”

He interest in pubs date back to his days in Scotland, where “bars were like a community centre that people attended everyday after work to catch up with friends.

There are many pubs that are a pleasure to visit, he said.

“The local pub is the true hub of the community and a great place to unwind with friends and neighbours,” Perrie said.

Firkin general manager Dan Targonsky said Perrie could have gone to any the GTA’s 2,500 pubs to mark his milestone visit.

“We are honoured to have him here,” Targonsky said. “He is working to spread the word about the many great pubs out there.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Reader Submission #4- Make a Laser with Gin and Tonic

HA – We won’t be destroying the Death Star anytime soon, but this is a good “Science” Article submitted by Mike (His 2nd and our 4th Reader Submission of the day).  Time to break out the Gin….because Gin makes a man mean.

How to Make a Laser From a Gin and Tonic

Making a liquid laser requires patience, but yields the world's coolest party trick: Hit it with enough focused energy, and a gin and tonic can be transformed from a predictable beverage into a super-chic space-age libation.

It was the summer of 1969. Scientists in Rochester, N.Y., prepared to fire up an experimental laser. Everything was in place—from the cooling system to ensure the laser didn't burst into flames to the warning lights informing other researchers to stay away. It was in every way a typical day in a typical laser laboratory, except for one fact: On this day, the laser doubled as a gin and tonic.
"I'd heard stories about gin-and-tonic lasers for years, but couldn't find out anything definite about them," says laser researcher Stephen Wilk, who published an article on the history of edible lasers in Optics and Photonics News in 2009. He finally tracked down an Eastman Kodak advertisement dated June 1969 that announced Rochester researchers had built a laser from a "certain well-known brand of quinine water" used to make gin and tonics.
The ad invited "ambitious youngsters" interested in creating their own liquid laser to contact Bruce Burdick, who worked at Kodak at the time. Burdick is now retired and can't recall the exact circumstances around which the gin-and-tonic laser was built, but he remembers the adman who came up with the attention-grabbing copy. "Walter Lippman in the communications department had such a way with words," Burdick says. The advertisement was meant to generate buzz about lasers, which had been invented just nine years earlier. "I don't think people were that familiar with laser applications in the world like we are today," Burdick says.
There are countless ways to convert energy into coherent photons, and lasers come in many shapes, materials and sizes. To make something lase, you must have an intimate understanding of its atomic structure. That structure determines what type of energy is needed to prime it for lasing. Laser scientists dream of discovering brand-new laser materials—whether gas, solid or, yes, even liquid. Edible-laser pioneer Theodor Hänsch once said, "Anything will lase if you hit it hard enough," and to prove his point, he partnered with Arthur Schawlow in 1970 to build lasers out of a gelatin-and-dye mixture very similar to Jell-O.
As for gin-and-tonic lasers, another great milestone occurred in 1975 in Boulder, Colo., at the National Bureau of Standards. Scientists there made lasers out of vodka, rum and gin—but the lasers didn't produce much power. "There are better uses for ethyl alcohol," wrote the scientists in the IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics.
Research into the gin-and-tonic laser has not progressed much in recent decades, but the liquid legend remains for today's ambitious youngsters—or enterprising adults—to re-create. Getting it to work probably won't win you a Nobel Prize, but it might help you toward that PhD in laser physics. Here are a few key steps to taking up that challenge.

Step One: Energy

A laser requires energy to operate, but it's not always as easy as plugging one into a wall socket. The gin-and-tonic laser would have to be powered, or pumped, by other lasers. During the 1975 experiment in Boulder, researchers pumped straight gin using a 20-watt carbon-dioxide laser, which is 4000 times more powerful than a 0.05-watt laser pointer. CO2 lasers are used regularly in medical procedures, such as laser eye surgery and skin resurfacing treatments. You can buy a used one for several thousand dollars, but it's also possible to build a cheap one in your basement. Unfortunately, as the researchers noted, gin doesn't make the most powerful laser: With 20 watts of carbon dioxide laser light, they could only produce 0.00001 watts of coherent gin laser light.
Step Two: Reflection

Every laser employs two mirrors that trap energy inside the gain medium—in this case, the gin and tonic. The Boulder researchers who lased gin set up two copper mirrors at either end of a copper tube. Energy builds up inside the drink until the molecules get excited enough to release photons. A small hole in one of the mirrors allows the laser light to escape. Gin produces light in the far infrared end of the spectrum, at 393 microns. It is invisible to the human eye, so a special detector made out of gas is needed to "see" the photons.
Step Three: Coupling

Lasers are tricky beasts; painstaking and meticulous alignment is usually required to get them to work. Just having a source of energy and mirrors to trap it isn't enough: You'll also need a focusing lens to couple light from the carbon dioxide laser into the gin and tonic. It can sometimes take days, weeks or even months to get a material to lase for the first time. Everything must be adjusted to fall within a wavelength—which in this case is equal to the thickness of a few strands of hair or a tiny bubble in your drink.
Once these three steps have been executed perfectly, the gin in your drink will begin to lase—at which point all of the meticulous effort will be worth it. After all, while it may be weak and invisible, how many people can say they drank a laser?
Caution: Lasers can damage the eye with prolonged exposure, even at laser pointer–class power levels. Any laser experiment should be conducted by trained professionals who have a proper understanding of the dangers of lasers—and a good pair of laser safety goggles.

And now, a THIRD Reader Submission

WOW….what was starting out as a slow day has really picked up.

Now I have Jen submitting a Haiku (With Pic) -

grimacing, filled with hatred--
Have a drink, lady.

Thanks Jen….and Cheers

Don’t be MADD….Be Happy

I absolutely 100% without a doubt despise MADD.  As a general rule, organizations and groups that try to force their beliefs on others don’t sit well with me….and this group is right up there.

From getting their agenda in schools, to “sponsoring” Police Roadblocks, the effort this group puts out is crazy.

Whenever talking about them, I always point to this great article at Modern Drunkard Magazine that highlights how they inflate their numbers.

So, now that you know where I stand……I want to thank Mike for submitting this article. 

Former president of MADD arrested on DUI charge

A former president of the defunct local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving was arrested recently by the Gainesville Police Department on a DUI charge.

Debra Oberlin, 48, was arrested after she had difficulty on a field sobriety test. She registered a .234 and .239 on breath alcohol tests. Florida's legal limit for driving is .08.

Oberlin, a Realtor, had no comment when contacted Thursday by The Sun.

On Feb. 18 at 1:10 a.m., an officer spotted Oberlin driving erratically on Northwest 19th Street, swerving and crossing lanes, an arrest report states. Oberlin was pulled over in the 3600 block of Northwest 39th Avenue.

The officer wrote that Oberlin smelled of alcohol and had watery, bloodshot and dilated eyes. The report states that Oberlin told the officer she had four beers.

Gainesville's MADD chapter existed for several years in the 1990s before closing in 1996 because of lack of financial support. Oberlin was the chapter president for three years.

Homegrown Tobacco

Thanks to TommyG for the article.

I actually did a test run of this last year, but had my timing off a little.  By the time the plants were big enough to transplant…the ground had hardened up and we went through a DRY spell here in MO.

I do have a lot of compost (the only thing the horses are good for) so I might try again this year with a small raised bed, especially since Debi got me some Hops strands too.  Smokes and Booze baby….Smokes and Booze.

Now in Brooklyn, Homegrown Tobacco: Local, Rebellious and Tax Free

The cigarettes Audrey Silk used to smoke — Parliament Lights — are made at a factory in Richmond, Va. The cigarettes she smokes these days are made and grown in Brooklyn, at her house.

Ms. Silk, a retired police officer and the founder of a smokers’ rights group, grows her own tobacco and dries the leaves in her basement.

Leftover tobacco leaves in Audrey Silk’s backyard. Ms. Silk says the leaves look “like elephant ears” that droop from the stem.

Ms. Silk’s backyard is home to raspberry and rose bushes, geraniums, impatiens and 100 tobacco plants in gardening buckets near her wooden deck. Inside her house, around the corner from Flatbush Avenue, in Marine Park, she has to be careful stepping into her basement — one wrong move could ruin her cigarettes. Dozens of tobacco leaves hang there, drying on wires she has strung across the room, where they turn a crisp light brown as they age above a stack of her old Springsteen records.

She talks about cartons and packs in relation to crops and seeds. Planted in 2009, her first crop— 25 plants of Golden Seal Special Burley tobacco — produced nine cartons of cigarettes. Ms. Silk would have spent more than $1,000 had she bought nine cartons in parts of New York City. Instead, she spent $240, mostly for the trays, the buckets and plant food.

But for Ms. Silk, 46, a retired police officer and the founder of New York City Clash (Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment), a smokers’ rights group, it is not just about the money. It is about the message. In the state with the highest cigarette taxes in the country, in a city that has become one of the hardest places in America to find a place to smoke, Ms. Silk has gone off the grid, growing, processing and smoking her own tax-free cigarettes from packets of seeds she buys online for about $2. She expects to produce a total of 45 cartons after planting two crops — the first in the summer of 2009, the second last summer — and estimates that she will have saved more than $5,000.

“It’ll make the antismokers apoplectic,” said Ms. Silk. “They’re using the power of taxation to coerce behavior. That’s not what taxation is supposed to be for.”

There are no federal, state or city laws prohibiting New Yorkers from growing tobacco at home for personal consumption. Still, Ms. Silk has kept her homegrown tobacco a secret for the most part since she planted the first crop, though she has offered cigarettes to her boyfriend and a few neighbors. This month, however, she changed her position on keeping quiet, after the City Council approved a bill banning smoking at parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas.

“The only way we’re going to win now, since you can’t reason with the irrational, which is the City Council or any lawmakers,” Ms. Silk said, “is you have to take the position of giving them the finger.”

Though she has become more vocal about her tobacco, she remains apprehensive. She said that she worried that antismoking advocates and the Bloomberg administration, which pushed to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, would make homegrown tobacco their next target. “We fear that the antismokers are so hysterical that if they start finding that people are doing this, they would craft a law to make it illegal,” Ms. Silk said. “I’m waiting for the black helicopters to start flying over my yard.”

Jim Johnson, the president of, the company based in Mississippi that supplied Ms. Silk with her seeds, was not surprised to learn that the Golden Seal tobacco had done well in the Brooklyn sunshine. He said that tobacco would grow anywhere there were about 100 frost-free nights, and that he even had customers in Alaska. Mr. Johnson said tobacco was “a very tough, resilient plant.”

If there are other New York City smokers growing tobacco at home, they appear to be keeping it to themselves. Ms. Silk does not know anyone else in the city who does so. But they are out there: Mr. Johnson estimated that last year, he had more than 1,000 tobacco-seed customers in the New York City region.

Ms. Silk sat in the house she shared with Bingo, her dog, and Albert, her parrot, and pulled a cigarette from a Parliament Lights pack. “Don’t let this fool you,” she said. “I put my roll-your-owns in here. I just saved all my old Parliament boxes.”

Ms. Silk was smoking loose tobacco she had bought. She is in a lull in production: she finished smoking her first crop and has been too busy to prepare her second. The delay works to her advantage. “If I want a better flavor,” she said, “the longer I can leave it, the better it is.”

Growing tobacco saves Ms. Silk money, but costs her time.

She has to plant the virtually microscopic seeds in trays indoors and then, weeks later, transplant them to buckets outside. She waters the plants daily until they grow to be about five feet tall, with big leaves that droop from the stem. “Like elephant ears,” Ms. Silk said of the leaves. “That’s why, when people joke around and say, ‘They’re going to think you’re growing pot,’ I’m like: ‘I’m sorry. There’s no one mistaking this for pot.’ ”

Then there is the processing: washing leaves in her kitchen sink, drying them over the downstairs tub, hanging them in the basement, storing some in boxes she keeps in a walk-in closet, removing the middle vein from each leaf, forming bricks out of about 25 leaves and feeding those bricks into a hand-crank machine for shredding. After planting her 2009 crop, Ms. Silk had to wait several months before smoking her first cigarette from it. The authorities, she added, should not be concerned that she might be illegally selling her cigarettes.

“I make meatballs,” Ms. Silk said, by way of explanation. “My recipe is a four-hour ordeal. My biggest loved ones do not get any. When I have to put a lot of work into something, I don’t share.”

The 100 plants from her second crop are not much to look at now: mostly bare stems standing upright in the cold. Still, her Brooklyn tobacco is a source of pride, as both a green-thumb accomplishment and a political statement. She has even named her garden in honor, or dishonor, of someone important in her life: not her boyfriend, her dog or her parrot, but her mayor.

Charlie Sheen vs David Arquette


Two celebrities are in the news here lately, David Arquette and Charlie Sheen.  Both are Hollywood Bad Boys….so I wondered which one would make a better spokesperson (as if I could ever afford an endorsement from either) for Smokes and Booze.

Let the contest begin

Acting Career -

  • David Arquette-  Sharkboy and Lava Girl, Dirt Squirrel, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Outsiders (TV Series in 1990).
  • Charlie Sheen- Three and a Half Men (Now canceled), Being John Malkovich, All Dogs go to Heaven 2, Three Musketeers, Hot Shots, Part Deux, Men at Work, Navy Seals, Major League Series, Wall Street, Platoon, Ferris Buellers Day Off, Red Dawn
  • Both were in episodes of Friends and the Scream Series.

Winner- Charlie Sheen

Women -

Winner – Charlie Sheen

Vices -

  • David Arquette-  Checked into rehab for treatment of "alcohol and other issues" on January 1, 2011, shortly after celebrating New Year's Eve
  • Charlie Sheen – Do I really even need to go there??????

Winner – Charlie Sheen


  • David Arquette – Was a former  WCW Champion and appears on Howard Stern Drunk and Oprah Sober (isn’t that backwards?)
  • Charlie Sheen – To many to list, so we will just go with his latest tirade (my favorite is where he talks about AA, transcripts HERE).

Winner – Charlie Sheen

Overall, it’s pretty clear that Charlie would make a great Spokesperson.  If anyone out there knows him, I would love to do an interview.  He had me at WOLVERINES, but sustained me with Charlie Waffles.

And to David Arquette……who cares that you had your first beer at 4?  I beat that by 2 year and have photo proof.  Take responsibility for your actions and Man Up.  Look at Charlie, you don’t see him whining about loosing THE BEST SHOW and all those women in his life do you?  We all know you want to get back with Courtney (why I do not know), so go begging back and get out of the news….or go whole hog and use Charlie as a Role model.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crazy Cigar Settlement

Randy says that I haven’t posted enough lately on Cigars or Tobacco.  While I have had a few pics, it’s been really quiet for me due to the weather.  With the snow and cold, I just haven’t been outside to smoke a good stogie.  Hopefully that will change soon.

In the meantime, check out this crazy story where someone sued their neighbor for his cigar smoke.  To think, what if I sued to to loud music keeping me awake (or a neighbor’s loud children for that matter)?  How about stinky curry food from a next door apartment?  Hell, it’s NYC…..can you sue over the car exhaust?

Smoker to Pay Penalty of $2K Per Cigar to Anti-Smoke Neighbors

After months of enduring the cigar smoke wafting into his apartment from his elderly neighbor's unit, Upper East Side resident Russell Poses couldn't take it any more. He claims neighbor Harry Lyson had stubbornly refused to give up his cigars, leaving Poses and his wife—who live with their two children on East 79th Street—no choice but to file a $2 million lawsuit against him. But a nasty legal battle came to an end yesterday, and Lyson got off easy with a settlement that will cost him just $2,000 per cigar if the Poses family ever smells smoke.

And if Lyson doesn't pay the fine within 15 days, he'll owe an additional $1,500 per violation, according to the agreement. His lawyer says the deal puts his client out into the street (though he better stay away from the park). "This was one of the few pleasures left in his life," attorney Jeffrey Marcus tells the Daily News. "At his age, I felt he'd earned the right to enjoy his cigar and his brandy at the end of the day." But Poses, an equities trader, insisted his neighbor's filthy pleasure was stinking up his dining room. Of course, you've got to wonder: what kind of red-blooded Wall Street trader objects to a little cigar smoke?

Beam and Defoe….pure excellence

Lately, Jim Beam has been doing a few things right (HERE), and they continue their streak with their latest Celebrity Endorsement….Willem Defoe.

Celebrity Endorsements are nothing new, and we’ve covered quite a few in the past (HERE, HERE, HERE and others)….but I really do like this new commercial with the highly underrated Defoe.  It almost reminds me of the scene in Boondock Saints where he recreates the crime scene.  Excellent.

Remember the Alamo (a recipe)

Below you will find a brief story of the Alamo, beginning with this day in History (Feb 24, 1836).

So, to commemorate these brave souls…join me in raising a glass tonight.  If you are looking for suggestions, how about an Alamo-


This is a recipe for Alamo, with Wild Turkey® 101 bourbon whiskey, tequila, 151 proof rum, Tabasco® sauce and black peppers.

How to Make a Alamo

Build ingredients with 1 - 2 ice cubes in a highball glass, and serve.

Serve in Highball Glass


Ingredient    Quantity   Suggested Brand or Flavor

151 Rum       1.5 oz          Barcardi 151
Tequila         1.5 oz          100 Proof Tequila
Bourbon        1.5 oz          Wild Turkey

Pepper          Dash
Hot Sauce     .5 oz            Tabasco

This Day in History – 2 February 1836

On this day in 1836, in San Antonio, Texas, Colonel William Travis issues a call for help on behalf of the Texan troops defending the Alamo, an old Spanish mission and fortress under attack by the Mexican army.

A native of Alabama, Travis moved to the Mexican state of Texas in 1831. He soon became a leader of the growing movement to overthrow the Mexican government and establish an independent Texan republic. When the Texas revolution began in 1835, Travis became a lieutenant-colonel in the revolutionary army and was given command of troops in the recently captured city of San Antonio de Bexar (now San Antonio). On February 23, 1836, a large Mexican force commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana arrived suddenly in San Antonio. Travis and his troops took shelter in the Alamo, where they were soon joined by a volunteer force led by Colonel James Bowie.

Though Santa Ana's 5,000 troops heavily outnumbered the several hundred Texans, Travis and his men determined not to give up. On February 24, they answered Santa Ana's call for surrender with a bold shot from the Alamo's cannon. Furious, the Mexican general ordered his forces to launch a siege. Travis immediately recognized his disadvantage and sent out several messages via couriers asking for reinforcements. Addressing one of the pleas to "The People of Texas and All Americans in the World," Travis signed off with the now-famous phrase "Victory or Death."

Only 32 men from the nearby town of Gonzales responded to Travis' call for help, and beginning at 5:30 a.m. on March 6, Mexican forces stormed the Alamo through a gap in the fort's outer wall, killing Travis, Bowie and 190 of their men. Despite the loss of the fort, the Texan troops managed to inflict huge losses on their enemy, killing at least 600 of Santa Ana's men.

The brave defense of the Alamo became a powerful symbol for the Texas revolution, helping the rebels turn the tide in their favor. At the crucial Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 910 Texan soldiers commanded by Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana's army of 1,250 men, spurred on by cries of "Remember the Alamo!" The next day, after Texan forces captured Santa Ana himself, the general issued orders for all Mexican troops to pull back behind the Rio Grande River. On May 14, 1836, Texas officially became an independent republic.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I’m guessing he won’t get a date…

….especially after THIS police blotter report.

I tried playing MadLibs with the Headline, and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t come up with anything worse than what was actually there……eeeeeeeeeeeeew

Postal worker suspect in assault on police officer

Spit feces during a breath test, affidavit says.

MBT–Stop Number 1- Broadway Brewery

So, about a month ago, I had an idea to start a series of articles regarding the Craft and Micro Breweries of Missouri.  

I think these small time (I don’t mean that derogatory) breweries are really the only thing that keeps us from drinking Budweiser day in and day out (remember, Guinness started this way) and are an essential part of the Missouri culture and economy.

When I felt out my friends, fellow bloggers and a few breweries, I got some instant feedback.  Everyone seemed for it, so we just waited for the perfect minute to strike. 

We had another Brewpub in mind to kick things off, but things didn’t work out as we thought, so…on the spur of the moment, we decided to hit a local…Broadway Brewery in Columbia MO.


Established in 2009, Broadway is one of the newer breweries on the tour.  Focusing on locally produced produce on their menu with a brewpub to boot, the owners felt that Columbia MO could support two Craft Breweries…with both complementing each other vs. directly competing.

A quick look showed us that Sunday was our best bet, with a Signature Brewery Glass and first drink for on $5 and a additional beers for $2.50 (some of the higher end beers would be an additional $1).

We arrived unannounced Sunday Morning and took over a corner of the pub as 6 of us sat down to taste various beers.

As we sat down, various questions came up

  • Is this a serious tasting? <I voted that since this was the first, it would be more informal>
  • How do we cleanse palettes? <I didn’t know, but researched it for Rex HERE>
  • Do we have score sheets? <No, but we are working on being more professional in the future>
  • Should we eat while tasting? <Against everything we would later learn regarding palettes, we all voted YES>
  • Where is Morton? <He was too depressed to come>

We started out with no rhyme nor reason, and again…this could impact the views here and in the future, we will take a more systematic approach (hey, this was our first time Smile)

Here are the notes from group -


  • Blonde Cream – <TommyG> I like a hoppy beer as much as the next guy, but I would never describe myself as a hop head.  I can and will drink ESBs, APAs, and IPAs and enjoy them; but I much prefer Belgian beer styles that place less emphasis on an overpowering hoppy character.   Perhaps that would explain why I felt that the Blonde Cream was my favorite ...of the day.  Visually it was pleasing, being kind of a cloudy blonde beer and the first that you noticed when you drank it was that it imparted an interesting, almost creamy mouth feel, that almost coated your mouth in a beer-y goodness.  While all of the beers we sampled that morning were tasty, I felt that the Blonde Cream was one that really stood out to me personally.
  • ESB – <Rex> Mike and I agreed that the ESB was more like Extra 'Meh' but it did give an opportunity to chat up the server with lame ESP jokes which I'm sure were the first anyone had every heard.
  • Dry Stout – <Ed>You can definitely get the taste of roasted coffee and malt. I liked the dryness, but this wouldn’t sit well with me over a three hour bender.
  • Alt Bier - Awaiting other input
  • Double IPA –  Schafly Imperial Stout and Double IPAAwaiting other input
  • <Ed>From nose to finish, this is for the hopheads. Little disappointed that this was served in a snifter vs a Pint glass, but I can somewhat understand the desire to hold some of the hoppy aromas in with a taper so that your nose is directly in there for full enjoyment. A little darker than I expected, the flavors really come through as the flowery/grassy notes really step out. This and the Winter Strong were my two favorites.
  • Imperial Stout – <Ed> Upon initial tasting, it was the general consensus that this tasted just like Guinness (the non-Nitrogen bottled version). No that there is anything wrong with Guinness, it’s my favorite beer, but it was not what was expected nor as advertised. Later, when meeting with the brew master, he checked and found that the taps had been mislabeled with Schlafly Imperial Stout. Easy mistake. Served in a snifter glass, the beer has a great color and aroma. The advanced flavors of caramels and malts work well, but the hint of hops is a little off-putting. While a good beer, I would pour this by the pint instead of the snifter to make it more worth the price.
  • One of the menu items that was not available on tap wasWort the Winter Strong Ale.  It was currently in the fermenting process.  Paul was kind enough to draw off some of the wort and let us get a preview-
    • Winter Strong Ale- <Ed>While still not properly aged; this would be the beer I would gravitate to here at Broadway Brewery. Sweeter than I expected (although not sticky sweet like a Barley Wine), I got hints of fruit (Blackberry) and nuts with great mouth feel. Would love to try this when fully matured.

BREWERY TOUR-                                   brewery

Both TommyG and I did get a few moments with the Brew master Paul, and he was kind enough to take us on a quick tour of the brewery.

While smaller than I expected, it was efficient and seemed to handle the demand (400 Barrels a year) for them. 

I was particularly surprised to learn how much Paul’s Assistant Brew master handles some of the brewery process itself.  Far too often, the assistant is not much more than a cleaning lackey, so this is a testament of them cutting their teeth at the same time and learning from experience.  This can only bode well for the future.

In talking with Paul, we learned that the brewery is a second job for him (thus the involvement of the assistant), that he got his start as a home brewer, Broadway Brewery is a sponsor of the True/False Film Festival (hosting the Director’s Dinner) and that they have a vision of expansion…with a plan if need be.Paul

<TommyG> Paul the Brew master admitted openly to being a hophead to Ed and Myself when we were touring his brewing equipment.  That would explain why almost all of the beer offerings were a little too hoppy for my taste.  I drank them all, and enjoyed them all, but I felt a little more variety could be a good thing here.  I get that he is trying to embrace the American brewing style of spiking everything with bitter hops, but its just not my thing.  I think an addition of a milder beer, like a British Style brown ale or a wheat beer could have replaced one either the ESB, APA or IPA and it would improved the portfolio.


<Ed>I personally won’t get into the food (if Debi wants to start her own Food Blog, I would happily support her), other than…while there were a few problems, there was no food left on plates when we were done.  I will commend the manager for a free round when he heard of the shortcomings, as it is this time of engagement that can make or break a restaurant/pub.

<TommyG> So, you go to their website, and trying to read the menu is a disaster.  They really could have done a better job with posting it online.  Even worse?  There are no prices posted online.  That is because while their food isn’t crazy expensive, its priced a little too high for what you get.  Don’t get me wrong, everything is very tasty, and made very well.  It just doesn’t seem like a great bang for the buck.  When I want light pub fair, I don’t want it to be too heavy on the wallet.  And I also expect the food to be made right.  That morning we ordered eggs, 1 order over medium; 1 sunny side up; and one over easy.  There was not anything cooked easy about the eggs.  All of the yolks were cooked hard, and that was just simply not how we ordered them.  That being said, we all ate them with a smile because it was simply delicious; but it was not how we ordered it.  Their dinner menu also feels a little small.  I can always find something on it to order, but I could never shake the feeling that I only had half a menu and that there was another menu with better options on it that someone wasn’t sharing with me.  Food overall 3 out of 5.  A passing grade, but…

<Debi> I ate it, but only because it was there, and I was drinking.  If I ever go back, I will definitely eat first


<Ed>On Sundays, they have live music, that was quite honestly nothing short of excellent.  All Proceeds from donations go to a charity that is near and dear to us, so that was a big plus.

<TommyG> Broadway Brewery wins big when it comes to the ambiance.  Located in a basement section of Downtown Columbia, it utilizes its space perfectly.  It is cozy without feeling crowded, the lighting is subdued without ever feeling dim and claustrophobic.  The décor leans heavily towards exposed brick and polished wood and while a little bland, they manage to pull it off.  Our waitress was excellent; friendly, prompt, and helpful. The live music they had that day was fantastic, an Irish string ensemble and they provided the perfect backdrop to the afternoon.  My only beef with the place is the men's room.  It is cramped and they shoved too many toilets into too small of a space.  When you are dropping about $20/person for dinner and drinks you don’t want to be crowded in the bathroom.  Another two or three feet of linear space (or removing a urinal) would have made all the difference.

<Mike> LIVE BAND!!!

<Debi> Gave this a rating of 5 with the Band- They were awesome

<Rex> The bacon was perfect enough to make up for any problems I might have had with the food.


<ED> Overall, as with any place, there were some good and bad, but in the end…it’s all about hanging with friends and experiencing new things. The story regarding the Imperial Stouts being swapped will stick with me for some time, and I really liked the atmosphere.  While small, the brewery meets current needs, and it holds a good spot behind the bar to view.  The bar itself contains the basics of a pub, although I will add that I like the “Guest Tap” idea they currently have going.  This way you can get alternative samplings from other breweries from Tap vs. a Bottle.  Other than the Schlafly mistake, I sampled

  • Pear Cider – The nose of this was sweet and inviting.  Flashing me back to my youth, it smelled of Sweet Tarts (not your typical term) and Pears.  (Very) Dry and refreshing, this in itself would make a great palette cleanser between beers.  To bad we found it late in the session.

The hardest thing is rating this brewery…as CoMO also has Flatbranch, one of the best in the nation.  This would be a struggle for any up and coming establishment, but I think Broadway is holding it’s own.  If you go in with an open mind, I definitely think you would find something on the beer menu to satisfy you.  Give them a few years, and they could be a contender.

<TommyG> Giving it an average score of 3.16 / 5.  I can live with that.  I enjoyed myself, and I plan to go to Broadway Brewery again in the near future.

<Mike> A reasonable variety for a small brewery, with a good supplemental selection from other small brewers. 

<Debi> I rated the house beers a 2 (because they all tasted alike – like too much hops) and the Guest Tap 4 (A good variety of interesting beers).

<Rex> Overall I was very satisfied, my only real complaint is that they understandably can't maintain that large a selection of house beers. This problem could easily be remedied by using the slots available for a wider variety.

SCORECARD – I am still waiting on feedback from the others on their rating.  I guess this is the number 1 lesson learned….collect scorecards on the day of the event.  Check back later for their feedback as well.


Broadway Brewery can be found between 8th and 9th Streets at 816 East Broadway in the center of downtown Columbia and they can be followed on Facebook (HERE) or on Twitter (@BBintheDistrict).

I guess it’s not good to be the King

A 31-year-old man was arrested on Saturday morning by Warren police after he told a clerk he was “the king” and didn’t have to pay for cigarettes.
He was accused of threatening a clerk at the 7-Eleven store on Schoenherr and 12 Mile roads and fighting with police.
Detective Lt. Michael Torey said Warren police obtained a warrant over the weekend charging Joseph Lawrence Borowiak who gave an address of Sandusky, Ohio, with strong-arm robbery and resisting and obstructing officers.
Torey said a 62-year-old female clerk from St. Clair Shores told police Borowiak, who was wearing a blue bandana over his face, walked into the convenience store at 6:30 a.m. and asked for a pack of cigarettes. When she asked for $6 Borowiak allegedly said, “The king doesn’t pay for cigarettes.”
Police said Borowiak lunged across the counter and attempted to grab the cigarettes. As he went around the counter the clerk dialed 911 and told Warren police what was happening.
“A witness in the store saw Borowiak swing at the clerk and then run out of the store,” Torey said. “The witness followed the man and told police where he was headed.”
Warren officers spotted the man walking in front of the Verheyden Funeral Home at 28499 Schoenherr. As police approached they told him to get his hands out of his pockets but he kept on walking.
“The suspected yelled to the officers he didn’t do anything,” Torey said. “The officers tackled the suspect to the ground and attempted to handcuff him.”
Police Tasered the man but it had little effect because he had several layers of clothing, Torey said. Police took Borowiak into custody when several more officers arrived.
Borowiak was convicted on March 16, 2005 with possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to one year six months in prison.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Coca-Cola and Muslims

As you might recall, recently a picture/photocopy of an only book pertains to reveal the “Secret Recipe” of Coca-Cola.  To me, this is what I affectionately call a Big Whoop Moment…..because who really cares?

Well, apparently a Muslim in Israel does. 

Israeli sues Coca Cola for containing alcohol

The NIS 1.2 billion class action suit claims NIS 1,000 for every Muslim in the country.

20 February 11 16:01, Yossi Nissan

An Israeli Muslim filed a NIS 1.2 billion class action suit against The Central Bottling Company Group Ltd. (the Israel franchisee for Coca Cola) in the Jerusalem District Court today for compensation for mental anguish and infringing the independent choices of the individual.

The plaintiff, an Israeli Muslim, filed the suit following publication on the web last week of what is apparently the secret recipe of Coca Cola, and which allegedly contains alcohol. The class action suit was filed by Advs. Hani Tannus, Ofir Cohen, and Mahmud Machjana.

Alcohol is forbidden by Islam, and the plaintiff cites he has been unwittingly drinking alcohol for years. He therefore claims Coca Cola is guilty of misleading consumers, infringing the independent choices of the individual, and causing huge mental anguish.

The plaintiff says that his class action suit comprises NIS 1,000 compensation for each of the 1.2 million Muslims living in Israel.

The suit said, "This is one of the greatest deceptions in the history of consumer affairs, when a company ignores the existence of alcohol as an ingredient despite being aware that the Muslim world abstains from products like these. This is a very serious matter and it certainly won't be the last in the world in light of the fraud.

I hope this Einstein realizes that the recipe of Coca-Cola has evolved over the years (they don’t put Cocaine in it anymore either) and the stated alcohol is no longer included.  Actually, in thinking about it….I doubt he does. 

To me, this does explain why Coke is such a good mixer with clear liqours….because that was how it was originally intended.

Oh well….good luck on the class action case….but in the end, I’ll take mine with Rum.


How to cleanse the palette

So this came up during our first stop of the Missouri Brew Tour this weekend, and I think it is a valid question.

How does one cleanse the palette when tasting beer?

  1. Begin with the lighter offerings and work your way up to the heavier, headier choices.
  2. Eat white bread, pretzels or crackers and sip unflavored water between sips.
  3. Pause between tasting each wine or beer to allow your palate time to "breathe." Clearing your mouth of one taste allows you to better appreciate the next one.
  4. Wait to have a meal until after the tasting. While wine and beer are wonderful together, any foods you eat with them affect their taste.
  5. Skip mints, gum or candy until after the tasting.

We actually didn’t do to bad with this list, other than eating breakfast as we drank.  I seem to recall that Rex found a certain beer took on a whole new dimension after he ate with it.

For those interested, I would also suggest reading THIS list over at the Bruhaus.  The best suggestion on their list is “Don’t take the beer to seriously”.  Beer (to me) was meant to increase camaraderie, and that is the ultimate goal when participating in a tasting (or an endeavor such as the Brew Tour).  Getting together with friends is really what it is all about.

Cheers -

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Samurai

Today we have a behind the scenes picture from AICN that shows to Samurai having a smoke break during takes.  But note, one isn’t just any Samurai….he’s Toshiro Mifune.  Toshiro is probably most famous to Americans for his role as Lord Torinaga in Shogun.  But for the geeks out there, we know he was in The Seven Samurai…the inspiration for the Magnificent 7 and Star Wars.

Smokem if you Gottem-

Friday, February 18, 2011

Drunk Baby, Marionettes, Raiding Tables…..

…What’s not to love?  Thanks Jenn for today’s Laugh.  This is instant classic.

This Day in History–Feb 18, 1933

Yoko Ono is born.  If being married to her doesn’t drive you to drink (or worse), I don’t know what would.


There were two stories in the news this week that involved Twitter -

First- We have Tweet of the Day (Courtesy of the Red Cross)-

Tweet of the Day

 Dogfish Head Brewery made a meme out of the hashtag #gettngslizzerd, asking people to donate. And donate they did: “After I drop off a pint of blood to the @RedCross, I’m replacing it with a pint of @dogfishbeer #gettngslizzerd,” tweeted @ereed812.

Second was regarding Rahm Emanuel and someone else using a name similar to his (!/MayorEmanuel) on Twitter.  Whoever it is is HILARIOUS and I am now following it as well (two words – Gin Jacuzzi)

Rahm Emanuel offers $2,500 to fake Twitter author

Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel is offering a reward if the person behind a fake Twitter account poking fun at him comes forward.

Emanuel says he'll donate $2,500 to the charity of choice for the author of @mayoremanuel, a hilarious send up of the former White House chief of staff's campaign travails that comes complete with all the expletives in his arsenal.

The account was set up before Emanuel was kicked off, then reinstated on the Chicago ballot. It has thousands of followers -- more than Emanuel's real Twitter account, according to The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress.

Emanuel made his offer on WLS radio yesterday -- exactly one week before the Feb. 22 election

Finally, if you use Twitter, you can follow Smokes and Booze  (!/smokesandbooze) and Randy at MySideoftheBar (!/MySideofTheBar) .  If you have a favorite Twitter Tweeter – place them in the comments section below.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Latest Salvo from the idiots at

What am I supposed to do?  The Rocket Scientists that run have now contacted because I have ONE copy written image of theirs on my website.  Wooooooooo is me, Wooooooooo is me, WOOOOOO IS ME!.

According to the Email below, that page is now in “Draft Status” and cannot be viewed now…..big whoop.  In their jealous rage (for loosing the PayPal Dispute) has now caused the one page on my site that actually spoke POSITIVE of their product to be removed.  Now, if anyone comes across my site, they are 100% Guaranteed to see what sleezeballs these guys are, learn their selling tactics and know once and for all how AWSOME (insert Sarcasm HERE) their customer service is.  I might put up a SPLASH type page there in the future, but for now….it’s to much work.

Needless to say, I find the whole thing funny.

Here is the Email I received an hour ago-

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content (the image at in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

A bit of background: the DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. If you believe you have the rights to post the content at issue here, you can file a counter-claim. For more information on our DMCA policy, including how to file a counter-claim, please see

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). You can search for the DMCA notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Chilling Effects search page at, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed. If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.


The Blogger Team

Affected URLs:

A Smoking Ban repealed

Finally, a city gets it right.  Wake up CoMo…you can do the same.

Campbell County Repeals Smoking Ban

Will bans in nearby counties stand?

By 700WLW News

Thursday, February 17, 2011

( Newport ) Many of the people who attended Wednesday night's Fiscal Court meeting in Campbell County, where commissioners voted 3-1 to repeal a smoking ban passed in December, say they will work to have other smoking bans repealed. The vote came after several contentious meetings, where newly elected commissioners vowed to repeal the ban after numerous people said they preferred bars and restaurants to make their own rules regarding smoking.
Others questioned the scientific integrity of studies that secondhand smoke is harmful, while others pointed out that many bars and restaurants are already smoke free.


Ok, I stumbled onto an interesting website today.

Master of Malt is a company that has been around since 1985 as a brick and mortar and have since jumped into the Web with both feet.

Looking at their site, they have it all, which is great for me…as a guy stuck in the middle of nowhere MO.  As an example- More than 30 different styles/ages of Laphroaig.  Talk about a tasters dream.

Not only do they have a broad selection, they also have some great history/trivia on each distillery. 

Master of Malt 25th Birthday CelebrationsWhile the above two items would make any vendor a viable candidate for my business….it’s the fact that for a large number of their products, you can buy samples. Prices can vary based on the product ($5 to $150 for 30ml), you still get a chance to try some of the rarest and finest whiskies of the world.

How about we all pick one to start and have a group review (virtually)?  Who’s in?  THIS is my vote.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A new Laphroaig Commercial

Boy, this commercial is one weird ride….I think I need to watch it drunk.

I like that the first people he sees have such crazy big noses (a shout out to the peatyness of the product perhaps?), followed by the violin (quickened heart rate). 

Hmmm….like I said, for proper interpretation of surreal and artistic liquor commercials…I need a drink.


Washington Apple (Recipe and Review)

Ok, this one has been a long time in coming, partly because I lost the napkin it was written on.  I’ve now found it (although it is in about the same shape as the Shroud of Turin) and wanted to pass this along.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Simon and I were in KC in preparation for a staff meeting that week.  We had started watching the game at our Hotel Bar, but we were eventually cut off (That is a whole other Blog Post in itself & I swear we were nowhere close)…so we headed down the street to The Cheesecake Factory.

Now, I knew of the CCF for it’s food, but I had never tried their bar…even though it gets some great quotes in the movie Step Brothers -

Dale- Would it be cool if Brennan and I opened just one present each... ...since it's Christmas Eve?

Robert/Dad- I'm gonna go down to the Cheesecake Factory, have a drink.

Nancy/Mom - But it's Christmas Eve.

Robert/Dad- Merry Christmas.

Next Scene

Nancy/Mom -Well, you reek of Scotch and cheesecake.

Robert/Dad - You know... ...tonight at the Cheesecake Factory was the happiest I've been in months.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

At the downstairs bar, we got to watch the game and met a great bartender named Chad.  He was engaging and funny, which are signs of a good barman, and not once did he cut us off.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes of the night was “I knew you guys were professional drinkers when you called for an Oban”.

I won’t go into all the drinks we had (I don’t think I can remember them all), but I will point out Chad makes a mean Martini and I also wanted to highlight his signature drink –

SAM_0075The Washington Apple

1.5 oz Crown Royal

1.25 oz Sour Apple Pucker

.5 oz Cranberry Juice

2 oz Apple Cider

.25 oz Cherry Syrup

As you can see it’s a layered drink and served over ice in a tall glass.  It really does taste like a Washington Apple and personally give it 5 Stars.

It’s not on the menu (as of yet), but I am sure Chad would whip you up one in a heartbeat.  Just swing by The Cheesecake Factory on the Plaza in KC and tell him Smokes & Booze sent ya.

Ed Note- To the Management of The Cheesecake Factory – I do want to point out that you staff in KC is excellent (not just the food).  If other Restaurants and Bars paid as much attention to the customers as you team did to us, the world would be a better place.  Great Job and keep up the good work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some good causes and FREE PANCAKES

IHOP National Pancake Day, March 1, 2011

The only way this is booze related, is because who doesn’t like pancakes when they have had a few pints?

Anyway, on March 1, International House of Pancakes (IHOP) will celebrate National Pancake Day by offering guests a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. With every short stack of pancakes served, diners will be invited to make a donation to Charity.  This year there are two know charities that I support and thought I would pass along to everyone.

The first is Shriners Hospitals for Children.  Being a Mason (but not a Shriner), I 100% understand and support this great charity.  I called our local IHOP to see if that was the one they would be supporting, it’s not.  However HERE is a list of IHOPS who do, and if your region is covered…please stop by.

Here in Columbia MO, the local IHOP is supporting the Children's Miracle Network, another charity that I endorse.  If I were to yield the Shrine Hospitals to any other charity, this would be it. 

Columbia’s IHOP is open 24/7, so there is no excuse for not getting up early and supporting some good causes before work.

Hats off to IHOP (Debi can attest how much I struggle with our local one, but I will give them props when due) for their generosity.


Worlds largest beer company keeps getting bigger

Well, it appears InBev continues to gobble up other brew companies throughout the world.  If you want to see the current list (minus Kirin) then go HERE.  I would also suggest watching the movie Beer Wars, which can be viewed online with Netflix.  Personally, how this is not a Monopoly, I will never understand.

Kirin To Sell Stake In China Beer Affiliate To Anheuser-Busch InBev

TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Kirin Holdings Co. (2503.TO) said Monday that it has agreed to sell its entire 25% stake in China's Dalian Daxue Brewery Co. to Anheuser-Busch InBev NV.

The move comes as part of Kirin's efforts to reorganize its Chinese beer operations, but the company will keep holding two other beer production companies in China, Kirin Brewery (Zhuhai) Co. and Hangzhou Qiandaohu Brewery Co. Kirin declined to comment on the value of the Dalian Daxue Brewery transaction.

Kirin bought the 25% stake in Dalian Daxue Brewery in 2004 for about Y3.87 billion. With annual capacity of 280,000 kiloliters of beer, the Chinese brewer operates in Liaoning Province in the northeast, one of the regions with the highest beer consumption in China.

-By Hiroyuki Kachi, Dow Jones Newswires; 813-6269-2789;

44 Stone (Soft Launch Review)

Debi and I visited 44 Stone on Sunday for their “Soft Opening”.  For those of you who do not know, a Soft Opening is to allow the kitchen to actually cook to order, shake down any nuances that a restaurant may have and to hone the service level of the wait staff.

So with those considerations…here I go.

As of the Sunday, the interior still looks and feels like Hemmingway’s.  The biggest plus was the removal of the Steel Bead Curtain separating the Bar area from the rest of the restaurant.  This was an eyesore from word go…and I’m glad to see it gone.  Another improvement was the removal of the couch seating in the bar, and to raise the tables up.  I really liked that. 

Dominating the wall that used to separate the dining area from the store front used to be “Candy Glass” windows…this has now been replaced by a HUGE Chalkboard with all the beers and whisky (whiskey) available.  I must say that the list IS Impressive and diverse.  In fact, at least three of the breweries represented are local and are covered in an upcoming project of mine, the Missouri Brew Tour.

While there, I sampled -

  • Belhaven “Twisted Thistle” IPA- I loved the twist of having this passed though Nitrogen – Very Creamy
  • Fuller’s ESB – A good staple, especially on Draft.
  • Kelpie Seaweed Ale – Will need a second sample.  I liked it – Debi didn’t, said it tasted like Low Tide
  • Young’s Chocolate Stout – For a can, excellent.  I would love to find a place that has this on Draft.  The hints of Chocolate were perfect.
  • Belhaven “Wee Heavy” – Had this before in Amsterdam and Debi got it for Nostalgia sake…I still like it and would buy again.

Debi noticed that there was no Guinness and was quite dismayed.  It turns out, everything they have in stock is not reflected on the board…so you will have to ask. 

This leads to probably the toughest call for me, which is the education of the staff.  It was very apparent that the waitress didn’t know the beer list or hadn’t sampled any of the beers yet.  It’s early, I get that…but if the guys at 44 Stone take any advice from me…hold a Beer Tasting and let the staff learn a little.  This is a fairly common mistake, even Flat Branch has this issue and they have been established forever.  People are going to come in and ask for recommendations…so a prepared staff will go a long way.

Missing from the Whiskey Menu was Connemara, and when speaking with Dave…I totally get why.  In the distributor world, there is some little troll that sits behind a screen somewhere and decides how much of X goes to State Y.  You can order all you want, but that is not going to affect the outcome…you get what you get.  Connemara is sadly on this list.  I knew this from the Tinderbox, and I had hoped this had been rectified.  Sadly it hasn’t and it shouldn’t reflect on the Pub.

The food was OK in my opinion (Debi wasn’t impressed).  There were obvious shortcomings and mistakes, plus service was a little slow as the staff learned their way around.

I personally liked the homemade ketchup (made with PBR) and the Fish for the Fish and Chips was spot on.  Also, with the English Breakfast, the sausage was some of the best I had.  For disclosure, I am focusing on the positive here, as again…this was a shakedown day. 

To me, the highlight was just a twist of fate…whereas one of the Owners (Dave’s) parents ended up sitting with us.  We had great conversation and I got a feel for the vision of the restaurant, some idea of the influences on the menu and was able to observe Management interaction with the staff.

I can honestly say that everything we pointed out as an issue, Dave addressed with staff and I also viewed his attention to detail which will hopefully trickle down to the rest of the staff.  Of all things, this was very encouraging. 

The staff is very friendly and spoke very glowing of Management as well, which is also an indicator that there is a good course set…they just need time to work out the kinks.

Overall, I enjoyed the beers and liked the bar setting.  The struggle I foresee is that 44 Stone has very big shoes to fill with Hemmingway’s.  Hemmingway’s was a very fine dining restaurant and some customers (my wife included) might come in and be expecting that again.  As long as proper expectations are set, and once clientele become comfortable with the menu set, I think 44Stone will become very successful. 

Iron Chef–Battle Beer


Debi introduced me to Iron Chef when we met.  Of course it was Iron Chef Japan back then, and you never knew what kooky ingredient you were going to get….or how they would make it into Ice Cream.

I’ve never warmed up to Iron Chef America, maybe because it seems to be all about Bobby Flay and his image has really saturated the market. 

However, this one is kinda interesting…..Battle Beer.  Part 1 is linked here and you can jump over to YouTube for the rest.  The look on the Chairman’s face when he introduces the ingredient is worth the price of admission all by itself.  Enjoy & Cheers.

Monday, February 14, 2011


WOW….has it really been two months since this saga began?  As many of you recall, I blogged about back in November, saying it sounded interesting.  In Dec, I placed an order and they missed the Christmas/New Year’s deadline I was looking for, which lead me to Blog HERE.  I received my Asian Snakewine on January 10th, and promptly labeled it a Fraud.

What you might not know was that I started a fraud report with PayPal for “Non-Receipt of Goods” just prior to it actually arriving.  Once the product did arrive, I then changed the claim to “Damaged and Not as Advertised”.

While there were some pains along the way when dealing with PayPal (I get they are trying to get as much evidence as possible), I received a great email this morning -

Letter 1

In it, I learn that I won the case…but I would have to return the bottle. 

I would have been fine for this, except that they were wanting me to ship to France vs the place of origin, Thailand. 

This made me a little nervous, as I would be shipping un-labeled liquor, in a leaky bottle, to another country of origin.  I was in the process of contacting the USPS about this when THIS email came in -

Letter 2

I honestly couldn’t believe the gall of this person.  It’s all my fault?  Send it to another customer in the US (after I posted the condition HERE)?  I have to pay for shipping <Direct Quote from PayPal- we've determined that you'll be eligible for a refund (including handling and shipping) once you've returned the merchandise to the seller.>?  I really did think this guy is crazy….especially when you add his PS -

please could you also delete our Email address from your blog post as we have many new customers who contact us directly using this Email address, but we prefer that they contact us using the contact form on our store. Thank you for your post.

I don’t have his email address listed, only the web URL.  Needless to say, I responded that I still thought their product was a fraud and might violate US Laws (no label and the way it was shipped into the US).  I also said I was re-contacting PayPal.

Let’s just say, contacting PayPal via phone was a dream.  The CSR was very friendly and helpful, and once she understood the situation (especially that it was liquor)…she found again in my favor.  She also let me in on a little trick -

PayPal Education 101 – If you have a dispute being resolved by PayPal and they provide you an address to have the item shipped back to the vendor….ship to that address ONLY.  Any other shipments violates their terms of agreement, and they will find for the vendor. 

The CSR said this was a fairly common tactic by sellers, because they will not be held accountable or forced to pay a refund. 

After a good 15 min discussion with PayPal, I hung up feeling better…but this was compounded by the email received 20 minutes later -


Full Refund….No Action Required.



This of course leads to me to wonder, how do encourage companies to provide good customer service?  It didn’t take me long to realize Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey is a company that needs more publicity, as they are a class act and are a group that understands that the liquor market is a tough one.  I blogged on them in the past, as a sign of gratitude (imagine that) they sent me some promo swag and samples.  What better way to show my support of a company that gets it….plus get the message out on this particular scam with

So, for the first 10 people that share this link on Facebook or retweet, I will send an item from the Fireball Goody Bag. 

My hat is off to them for recognizing that Blogs do make a difference, that the customer comes first and a big thanks for their generosity.

A Romantic Story–The S&B Way

Ok, who takes drinks from a Polynesian Sideshow Mel?  Never mind…if you read the story, you find out and learn the consequences.

Happy Valentines Day Smile


 Residence: IMMOKALEE
 Age: 27
 Occupation: LABORER
 Case #: N/A

Immokalee man, outraged by men in drag, arrested on weapon and disturbance charges

IMMOKALEE — Outraged when he learned the women he bought drinks for were actually men in drag, an Immokalee man was arrested by Collier County Sheriff’s deputies Saturday after causing a ruckus in the bar.

Josue A. Hernandez, 27, of an unknown Immokalee address, according to reports, was at a bar on Boston Avenue in Immokalee when he learned the people he was socializing with and purchased drinks for, which he believed to be female, “were in fact men dressed in women’s clothing,” according to deputies. He then became irate, breaking bottles, starting fights with other customers and causing a disturbance, deputies said.

A large, fixed-blade, hunting-type knife was discovered in Hernandez’s waistband. The knife, which had a wooden handle and a 6-inch blade, was hidden under his shirt, according to reports. The knife is the kind “normally used for the skinning and gutting of deer and other large animals and was in no way a common pocket knife based on its blade length and design,” deputies said.

Hernandez was arrested shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday and charged with disorderly intoxication and carrying a concealed weapon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stupidity in the news

Today we have to stories that just show how “out of touch” we have become in this day and age.

First we have parents of Tracy Hottenstein, who have filed lawsuits against everyone they can think of with regards to their 35 year old daughters death.

You see, Tracy was found in Sea Isle City Bay in February 2009.  The coroner ruled she died accidentally from hypothermia and acute intoxication.  This is a tragedy, but whatever lead her to be in the bay at night was her decision….as she is well beyond the legal age of 21.  However, her parents have decided to go after 19 defendants, including -

  • The owners of two bars she was at on the night she died
  • The couple who invited her to dinner at their home that evening. The hospital where she died
  • The doctor who pronounced her dead
  • The Sea Isle City Police Department
  • Individual officers who — the suit claims — did not allow rescue workers to perform lifesaving treatment for hypothermia after they discovered Hottenstein had no pulse.

All this is due to the annual “Polar Bear Plunge” (which she did not participate in), and the alleged fact that the this is a state-created danger. 

Face it folks, your precious little snowflake is taking a dirt nap for making a poor decision.  Grieve, mourn or do whatever you need to do, but get over it. 

The Second Story is in regards to a can of unopened beer being found on a school bus.  I am personally torn on this story, and would love to hear other’s feedback.  While I can see this was a stupid idea on the bus drivers part, is it worth ruining the guys life?  I doubt it.  In particular, when I lived in Columbia, I used to see buses parked at Walmart and HyVee all the time.  These were bus drivers using buses for personal use, which was allowed under their contract.  So, if they do shopping…is there a restriction list on what they can buy and transport?  Is this school district going to search all the bus drivers for cigarettes (also a legal product and “dangerous to children”)? 

The key phrases here are-

“There’s no state law that prohibits a school bus driver from transporting alcohol on a bus, [although] it’s certainly a violation of most policies,” Scott said this week.

After being advised of the incident, Lane said, she checked with six superintendents in the state and discovered that none of their districts’ policies really addressed such a situation.

“I was surprised when I was seeking guidance and counsel from other folks [that] people didn’t have anything in writing,” she said.

Little Johnny and Tiny Suzy have surely seen beer before.  I’m sure they have been in a vehicle with beer as well.  To me, this is a non-issue, but it will only be a matter of time before the lawsuits fly.

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