Double Dose of Stupidity in the Ozarks

We drove from the Lake of the Ozarks to Rolla Missouri for my son’s soccer camp at the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus. Small town, small campus and a very good engineering school. After dropping him off we headed headed toward Licking MO to set up camp at Boiling Springs Resort.

The first act of stupidity was listening to Joyce – my nickname for the GPS voice. I should have listened to the other voice in the passenger seat, yes dear, I should have known! So, an ill advised turn led to a missed turn. Joyce said drive .3 miles then turn, turn and turn – which should have brought us back to the missed turn.
Well, no roads existed where she advised us to turn! In fact, the next three suggestions were also void of even a deer trail. So deeper into the Ozarks we go. The road, no it was really a two-track now with the trees closing in and I think I am beginning to hear banjos! Two miles, now three and I keep hoping now for a loggers truck turn about.
Just as I think the road is ending we go through a gate and there is a house with an area that looks big enough to get this 28′ trailer and truck turned around.
Ok – remember the backing lessons from the previous night Bishop – that is another story- and see if you can get this rig turned around.
I am making good progress and I notice a gentleman standing at the front door watching my maneuvers – no shotgun or banjo, I hope!
As I get it all ready to drive out of his yard I decide to satisfy his curiosity and let him know why I came for such a short visit.
Jim Stanford was his name and he was grinning like the Cheshire Cat as I told the story. He provided great directions and told us to turn the GPS off. It was a useless tool. Besides no roads were shown for 4 miles on the drive back toward pavement. His parting comment – ” You can use my yard anytime you want to turn around!”
I smiled and shook his hand and off we went….thank goodness there weren’t banjo players on his porch!
The second act of stupidity – parking the trailer on a slope, not real steep but steep enough, no wheel chocks and off the supports it rolled. Only a foot or so but enough to bend the trailer tongue jack and three of the four stabilizers!
I need a beer, a really good beer and maybe more! I am so pissed off at myself! No major town anywhere near and I need parts and probably a repair guy! Fingers crossed!
If this is my last post I may be squealing like a pig! I think I have 3 Boulevard Ales in the fridge. That may ease the pain!
TTFN – and maybe for a long, long time!


Boulevard Amber Ale in Osage Beach MO

Ok, what a day! Should have been just a couple of hour drive from Branson MO to Lake of the Ozarks –

Eight hours later, several U-turns on Highway 54, a dead battery, a people watching event at Walmart waiting on the battery and so freaking hot – we are drinking cold beer and considering a Mac & Cheese gourmet meal.

Walmart gets high marks here in in Osage Beach for their beer but mediocre marks in the auto service dept. they stock a full suite of Boulevard Brewing Co. beers! I bought a sizer of the Amber Wheat Ale- bottle conditioned – just like my home brewskis. There is that home brew feel, in a good way, for bottle conditioned beer – a little yeast is added as they bottle the beer. Adds a nice complex flavor – that is what it says on the label and I do AGREE!

Kathy is drinking Corona Light, I forgive her! She was in need of more beer than I wanted to drink!

A few beers, Mac & Cheese, a few rounds of dominoes and a road trip with my wife – doesn’t get much better than that.



Branson Missouri – Dueling Pianos

Looking for local beers while enjoying the fun at the Dueling Piano Bar in Branson Missouri. My wife decided to try the Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Ale and decided that it wasn’t too bad. My first beer, yes I had more than one…is that a surprise. I am on a mission to sensibly sample every craft beer brewed in the local area! I had the Boulevard Pale Ale as the opener. It was pleasant – not a lot of aroma but the hopping was nicely done. It is brewed in what they call the International style…not wildly hopped like some of the American IP’s.

Next  I tried ……….. well it was a darker brown than a Newcastle but with a little more body…..Oh well it was very tasty but as always I want to sample the local stuff – as I was typing the memory came back! It was Three Blind Mice – A brown beer by Mother’s Brewing Company in Kansas City Missouri. Well worth the effort.

The bar keep lead me along and asked me to try another creation by Mother’s…… Anything for Mother’s, eh? He and I chatted a bit about me being a home brewer and he brought me a beer called Sandy – a hopped up wheat ale. He had it in bottles and it was the best of the evening. I like their website…..enough notes included to get me experimenting for the fall brewing season.

The bar – Dueling Pianos in Branson Missouri was a hoot….summer time on a Wednesday evening and it was almost too much fun….it wasn’t the beer, I promise but I sang almost every song they played….

If you look closely in the mirror you can see my wife, son, his girlfriend and me taking the picture!



West Texas is still too Dry

After my last blog and lament – about the persistent rain and draught beer drought in West Texas my wife shot me a note….”Try Murray’s Deli Hun!” – the only acceptable reply to her request is and was “Yes Dear!”

A night later Pat McAdoo and I tried Murray’s Deli in our search for good beers. At first we thought that my dearest one had been omniscient! Well, – they offered draught beers in three sizes, 12 oz, pint and 22 oz…..that was a good sign.

The waitress asked what I wanted and I responded with my usual” I’ll have a cold beer!”

She gave me that squint! “Ok” she said, “we have cold beer. What flavor do you want?” Then she asked. “Domestic or imported?”

“It all depends. I don’t want anything like Bud or Coors!”, I told her.

She ran off a list of a few, Guinness was first and she had Bass Ale, Shock Top, Shiner, Blue Moon, Miller and a few others….. I told her that I like Guinness but that was a “one and off to bed beer” at the end of the night so I will have a Shock Top – oops, she was back a few moments later…..the keg was dry then the second choice – the Bass Ale was dry….. I then asked about what they had in bottles?

She grabbed me by the arm and dragged me up to the beer case (gently of course) and said “Take a look and pick out what you want!” Even though she is not my wife I couldn’t help myself and said, “Yes Dear!”

She dropped me off at the case and I grabbed a Shiner “Wild Hare” Pale Ale….nice bit of hops but not too hoppy – insert chuckle here for the subtle humor –  It really was a pretty good beer. In a bit she came back by and informed us that the Shock Top was up and running again, yes, I just had to have a real pint! Still no Bass Ale keg in the back but….. Hun, Murray’s was a bit better but it looks like Midland is in a craft beer drought.

With the flood of workers to the Oil Patch Boom going on in Midland – a quality establishment with a good selection of great beers would be a boon….A business opportunity maybe????? The guys at the hotel bar thought that it sounded like a great idea! I need to take their advice with a grain of salt…It was obvious that they had been there a long time and several were managing to stay on their bar stool when we returned from the AA baseball game at the local stadium near 10:00 PM. By the way, the stadium has Ziegenbach and Dos XX on draught …. a good sign for beer lovers. Go Rockhounds! Who would ever name a baseball team like that…. I guess “Rockhounds” make a bit more sense from the geological side of an oil town…. They could have named them the “Doodlebuggers” – a term applied to the seismic folks that listen for acoustic waves bouncing off of rock formations deep below their feet. I wonder what the mascot would have looked like?

Bishop – me – on the left, Cash Owens, Aurora Owens, family friend and Jamie Owens. Photo by Pat McAdoo at the Rockhounds game. Any beer visible?



West Texas Drought

There was been a little improvement from the severe 2011 drought – but not much. I am in Midland Texas this week working for a few days. The drought is extensive and pervasive….I cannot find a good draught beer anywhere. Now a couple of establishments will have a Shiner, or a Blue Moon and once in a while a Sam Adams Seasonal but that is where Midland’s deviation from the Bud or Coors beer mindset ends. This town is nearly barren. Now, I can go into a store and pick up some bottles of good craft beers but my thirst needs a pint of a good microbrew to cut the dust..An IPA with a good dose of bittering hops and a nice hit of floral hops at the end of the boil for a good nose. California beers, Colorado beers, Pacific Northwest beers – Texas has some really good breweries but apparently kegs can’t roll all the way out to West Texas.

Dinner was good this evening, grilled scallops but the choices for a beer to wash them down with was sad. I had a Shiner…..the other choices besides the standard yellow fizzy water everyone serves were Peroni – not a bad beer but a little weak, Stellas Artois – ok but still just so so – and Shiner….At least Shiner is a Texas beer! I ate and drank lightly so I could get my work out in back at the hotel. Watched the recap of the Tour de France on NBC Sports network…. Go Mr Wiggins!

I have googled for some help in finding a decent pint between Midland and Odessa and have come up empty….The Wall Street Bar & Grill did have a Bass Ale in bottles but where can I get a good, really good pint out here? Help Needed!

Signed – Mr. Dried and Parched Decker

The Making of a Convert

Good news on the home front. My wife has been receptive to trying new beers, a good thing in my opinion. She went down the path of trying the Blue Moon Wit Ale, as long as she had an orange slice, then Stella, now she prefers Shock Top on a regular basis- sans the orange slice and the best news!!!!! She drank a Coors Light yesterday and proclaimed that it didn’t taste like a “real” beer! Hun, you have made me so happy! Oh, by the way – she likes most Blonde Ales, Abita Purple Haze, Shiner Bock and who knows where I will get to lead her next.

Welcome to the Club!



Brewing Day has Arrived

Finally dug through my brewing kit and found a “roundtooit”!!! I always seem to be saying that I will scratch this or that off my list once I get around to it! I found “it” and the brew is in the kettle!

The batch is 5 gallons of an American IPA. While brewing I decided to try a Sam Adams ” Grumpy Monk” Belgian IPA. Pretty tasty! I thought I tasted cloves in addition to the hops- read the label and I guessed right! On my tongue is a lingering citrus, bitter orange taste. A bit like a beefed up Blue Moon. Not a Blue Moon that my wife prefers but one that is savored and enjoyed by my increasing fondness of all things IPA!

My next challenge will be fermenting temperatures! Last year’s AC work on the house has left my bedroom 6-8 degrees cooler than the rest of the house and the electric bill is nearly cut in half – two very good things in Houston. Now the dilemma!

Sweetheart, dearest one, we will need to share the bedroom with the fermenting vessel for a couple of weeks. I promise that it won’t cause any problems! I promise to not let the 6L mini-keg leak out into the back fridge like a recent event. I promise to provide back rubs on demand until this batch is properly kegged and conditioned!

Guys, did I over commit? I will look at the cost benefit ratio over the next few months. I may or may not be able to report back in much detail.

The Sam Adams with the brew kettle steaming away in the background. I also enjoyed an Amber Ale brewed by a local friend while making sure the watched pot continued to boil.


Beer – A Health Food!


Have a Beer With Friends – To Your Health


The paragraph below is pulled from “Men’s Health News” online resource. You now….if you search long enough and hard enough you can find benefits to all sorts of behaviors. I have always considered beer to be the “Bread of Life”! Now we have a body of research to bolster my beer drinking activities. My only question – it says drinking a little more than a pint of beer per day has significant health benefits –  how much is a little more? Two pints, three pints or ????? I am feeling pretty good now(no, I haven’t been drinking)….my love for both coffee and beer are now considered to have significant health benefits. Take a look at the link at the end of the paragraph too. Be optimistic about your beer drinking…

“Red wine may soon have company on the healthy drinks menu. According to a recent review of more than 18 studies on booze, beer is just as good for your heart as vino. Drinking a little more than a pint of beer a day could make you 30 percent less likely than non-drinkers to suffer from stroke, heart attacks, and heart disease, researchers found. Credit heart benefits to the alcohol itself, and polyphenols (antioxidants) in beer. And make sure to drink that beer with a smile—click here to learn The Surprising Heart Benefits of Optimism.”



More from New Mexico

I am getting pretty close to walking in my front door and getting the brewing area sanitized for the next batch of homebrew. I hope to boil tomorrow sometime.

I just left Carlsbad New Mexico  – yes that is in the good ole USA! Thursday night we sampled a meal at a restaurant called the Stock Exchange located in the “Old City Hall” at the corner of Canal and Fox St. Now don’t blink when driving around looking for it …. it is hard to spot. Lets talk beer. I asked our young waitress if they had any local beers and she told us now. After looking at the list I saw a “Marble IPA” – I decide to take a chance that it may have been brewed reasonably nearby. While she was of to grab my pint I searched for Marble Brewery on the iPhone and found that it is brewed in state, up in Albuquerque! I will put that in the category of local – if you have ever been to SE New Mexico, you will know that the distances are vast and local is just way too small. I will include Albuquerque in the category of local.

The Marble IPA was outstanding!!!!! Beer Advocate had a 91 rating in the list. I am not schooled in the art but I do know what my mouth likes and this was top notch! Then I tried the Marble Red….it was good, is there really any bad beer? So many beers and so little time…..I may have to get down to the Flying Saucer this weekend and add some notches to my card….just three at a time. The meal started great…the cucumber gazpacho was refreshing and then the bite of some hot peppers grabs your attention….I liked it but it could overwhelm some. The cooks definition of medium didn’t match mine – medium well was delivered but a steak is a steak – unless of course it goes to well done!

A steak, two roasted green chilis, glazed carrots and a Marble Red….Just it get any better?

Drink beer for whatever Ales you,


New Mexico Beers –

I am spending the week in Carlsbad New Mexico earning a little more beer money for me and my honey. I have been able sample some New Mexico craft beers over the past couple of days. I have been reasonably well satisfied. I have tried the Santa Fe Pale Ale and the Santa Fe Nut Brown Ale. The pale ale was drinkable…..does a beer need to really be any more than that???? -….. The Nut Brown was more than just drinkable – full body, nice lace in the glass and just plain better than good. At the Yellow Brix Restaurant on Canal St. in Carlsbad.

On another night I tried a couple of beers from the Rio Grande Brewing Company – The Rio Grande IPA and the Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza. The IPA was very nice, not an overwhelming nose but a healthy and pleasant dose of bitterness. I have to admit that the Chile Cerveza was a disappointment. Poured from the bottle in a vigorous fashion and I could not produce anything resembling a head on this beer and Chile … must not have infused this bottle…..could have been a one off experience so maybe I should give it another try. At the Trinity Hotel in Carlsbad.

All of this beer talk has made me anxious to get home to brew a batch…… Maybe I can add some of my home grown chili’s and create something unique.

Spent today underground in the Carlsbad Cavern….. My partner and I walked in….lots of downhill and chose to walk out……lots and lots of uphill. Me thinks I need a beer! Cavern image slide show below with a beer theme.

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