Homebrew – A Cure For A Rough Week

Friday afternoon I received a call from my very goodest friend. Yes I know that the word “goodest” is substandard English….a former classmate and English major friend of mine is cringing as she reads my post!

My “goodest” friend was on his way home and was in need of an ear, good thing because I have two of those, and a good beer of more. I seem to always have beer on hand. I actually needed a break….I was trimming the crepe myrtle – not the annual “Rape of the Crepes” but the removal of those pesky branches that originate at the base. The T-shirt I was wearing was soaked as he pulled up into the drive way! Perfect timing as I needed a homebrew too…..but for different reasons.

I have two homebrews in the mini-kegs(Tap-a-Draft) 6 Liter bottles in the house fridge, my Father’s Day Ale ~ 6.2% ABV and a Session Summer Ale ~ 4 % ABV. The Session Ale is a tangy citrus like beer where as the Father’s Day Ale is more of a Pale Ale.

I poured us both a pint and put my listening ears on. The first pint slid down rather quickly so I poured another…..for both of us! The second pint was sliding down nicely and the week from hell was slipping into the past and plans for a better weekend were looking up. 45 minutes into our session we both had a smile and the warmth of friendship and good beer shared between the two of us.

It was time for me to finish my chores and my “goodest” friend went home and readied himself for a great evening…..We took our wives out to a movie, “The Heat”, laughed our asses off, had a late meal and all in all a great day and a great evening…….all starting with the “Cure” – a nice chilled homebrew!


Yes I Got Beer! – go ahead and cringe again…..

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly





Scientific Link Between Beer and Meat

I really shouldn’t say scientific, it is more like years of observation that validates the statement above.

This past weekend at my humble abode I observed this link in hyperdrive…. I wanted to have a good homebrew and in response to my wife’s request I went to the store to grab something for dinner. I decided to grab a couple of whole chickens to skewer on the rotisserie ….. that wasn’t good enough. I decided to kill two birds with my homebrew and smoke a whole brisket….Why not, I had to be out there watching the chickens so lets get a brisket going.

I decided to use my homebrew Session Ale as part of the brisket seasoning process and as the liquid to provide moisture in the smoker. I sliced up some of my homegrown Elephant Garlic to add a little more flavor to the liquid and also to the smoke box. I used a local seasoning put together by the “locally famous” BBQ guy, Rick Alspaugh…. he also owns the local Ace Hardware store, involved in the community and a  friend through the swimming community….an all around good guy.

The chickens were seasoned with the same rub and place on the rotisserie skewer and I added some wood smoke using apple! I got the beer out, the meats ready to go and it hit me that the link was evident…not just one meat but I was sucked into doubling up. Fortunately I had enough beer to make it all work! That’s the benefit of brewing your own!!!!

Ready to check on the brisket.

Ready to check on the brisket.

That yummy smoke is rolling out of the smoker!

That yummy smoke is rolling out of the smoker!

About hour 2 of the many, many hour process.

About hour 2 of the many, many hour process.

Chickens just warming up.

Chickens just warming up.

The dead soldiers lined up along with some of the Elephant Garlic.

The dead soldiers lined up along with some of the Elephant Garlic.

A platter full and ready to eat. The brisket was still being slooooow cooked!

A platter full of dismembered chicken and ready to eat. The brisket was still being slooooow cooked!

So, yes grilling, smoking or preparing meat does link to beer and the opposite holds true….good beer leads to cravings for meat. I see a three of four meat weekend somewhere in my future! What beer should I triple up or quadruple up with??? Hmmmmm. So many choices

Drink Local, Drink Responsibly – Enjoy Meat!


It is Father’s Day!

It was Father’s Day….,about a week ago. This past week was a whirlwind working trip in California. two days in Bakersfield, two days in Oxnard/Santa Paula and a short night in LA at the airport.

In Bakersfield I arrived early and had some time to kill. Normally I can find family, both blood and in-laws but not this trip. I always try to find time to get to the Lengthwise Pub out on Calloway in the Rosedale area. Besides making great beers they always have an excellent assortment of guest beers on tap. I opted for a nearby local beer, General Sherman, from the Tioga-Sequoia brewery in Fresno. Fresno is known for???????hmmmmm??? raisins maybe but not beer. Oh yes, the Fresno State Bulldogs!!!!!

The General Sherman is a great IPA and a monster of a tree! I included a photo of the brewery coaster in the post below…,reminds me of the forest service patches!


I tried the “Indica” IPA by Lost Coast, good but the General Sherman was much, much better – just my opinion!

It is a – “small world after all”….. the young man sitting next to me was Kirk- not Curt, but Kirk. He is a Kern County fireman and knows, loves and consumes good beers! As we chatted I mentioned my Houston home and previous home in Bakersfield. He asks if I worked for Chevron and yes I did! Turns out his Father-in-law is one if my former co-workers! Too funny. Ok, put yourself on the Disney ride because I know the song is looping in your head.

Later in my trip I got to spend an evening with my daughter, son in-law, grand kids and great grand son! It doesn’t get much better than that! My great grandson is amazing! I could nibble on his cheeks all evening! My son in-law is a keeper, he had a six-pack of Stone IPA in the fridge for me!!!! It was a perfect evening.

Then off to LAX the next day and dinner in between at the Chart House near Malibu. While waiting in line for our car the valet pulled up with a sleek car with an amazing throaty exhaust sound, obviously many well coordinated cylinders ready to press the occupants back into the seat!!!!! A Maserati, yes, a sweet Maserati. The valet blipped the throttle for his enjoyment and yes, for mine too! I sent him after my rental car and reminded him to behave. We had a good laugh as we got into our Chevy Impala! Parked near us on the way out was something labeled “Bentley”, looked pricey but I am sure it doesn’t sound like a Maserati let alone a Chevy Impala.

Good week in California. Now, what next?

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly!

Strange Noises at 3:30 In the Morning

Friday night in the Decker house was very pleasant. Our youngest son, Joe had just graduated High School and was on a six day trip to Mexico with family friends. Joe is off to Texas A&M in the fall so we are having a peak at the “empty nest” that many of our acquaintances have told us about. I won’t go into any details but I think it will be very, very enjoyable. You can’t wipe the smile off of my face…”nuff said”.

Back to the strange noises! My son is allowing us to bond and baby sit his dog…..hmmmm. She really is a sweet dog! At 3:30 this morning, this normally very quiet dog starts barking loud and with purpose. So, out of bed I stumble and look out the window where she is focusing her barking efforts. I flip on the backyard light and nothing. I thought initially that it may have been a raccoon or some other critter. I didn’t see anything but she was glancing out the window and toward the garage. Seemed a little odd but dogs will be dogs and their hearing is so acute….who know what was stirring her up.

Kathy quizzed me about what was stirring Sierra up and I told her that I was clueless. She said. “I know that, but what was she barking at?” The comment almost went over my head but standing nearly 6’3″ it bounced off of my forehead and registered as a little slam! Being the forgiving type I let it go.

I attempted to fall asleep but my mind was racing now. I thought I heard some voices, quiet but insistent, coming from the backyard. I tried to focus a little harder and the words began to take shape. The words I heard were like, “Oh, it so cold in here. Please takes us out of this cold place!”

That didn’t make a lot of sense, maybe I was dreaming! Then it as like I was hearing, “take me in your hand and enjoy me!” I perked up a little at that point! Then I figured it out when I heard, “We are waiting for you. We are cold and ready to be sampled!”

I grinned, I knew that the fridge, not really the fridge but those cold beers so lovingly placed in there this past week were calling to me. Much like the Sirens luring the sailors in Greek mythology! I put some wax in my ears and vowed to wait!

My friend John came by about an hour ago and I told him the story about the sounds emanating from my fridge. What a great friend! I had promised to leave the fridge alone at my daughter’s request but he stepped up to intervene and investigate for me. Thanks John.

The voices were real and while he was here we liberated a few of those crying out for our attention.

A suite of the liberated posing before some of Elephant Garlic I picked today.

A suite of the liberated posing before some of Elephant Garlic I picked today.

A Greek Tragedy....the beers were packed tightly into the fridge. As I tried to liberate one next to this one....it bolted, landed on its head and leaked profusely. I was able to save a good portion of the contents! Insert smiley face here!

A Greek Tragedy….the beers were packed tightly into the fridge. As I tried to liberate one next to this one….it bolted, landed on its head and leaked profusely. I was able to save a good portion of the contents! Insert smiley face here!

Those of you that drink good beers, don’t bash me too harshly. In my younger days I drank a lot of Coors before I knew better. It was cheap and easy to get! I remember a trip where Mike Rossi and I loaded up a couple of cases of Coors, $ 5.25 per case and drove south to pick-up Steve Murphy, one of our good buds that had moved to Palos Verdes Peninsula near Torrance Beach. I wonder if they both still remember the panic when that guy in the Gorilla costume tried to get into the car with us….or at least that’s how I remember the incident.

Last but not least…..Ashleigh and Ben, please forgive us for we have sinned and opened the fridge before the appointed time. (John did it!) Give me my penance! They really needed our intercession!

Heading towards a great Father’s Day!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly,


Proofreading and Editing provided by Lisa Decker




Father’s Day Friend – This Why we Have True Friends

If you have been following my last two beer blog posts you know that I am facing a dilemma concerning my restricted bounty, likely some good IPA’s, hidden in my fridge out in the garage. As my friend John, also a hop-head, says….I am conflicted! In fact, as good friends always do for their “Buds”( commonly translated as “Mates” in other English speaking countries) who are in trouble, he has offered up what I think is a reasonable solution….Here is what John thinks, amazing words of wisdom!;

Dear Bishop,

I sense you are conflicted about this scheduling issue/restriction and as a loyal friend want to offer a proposal, just to help out my bud.  We all have different perspectives and perceive our challenges in different ways.  In this case I see the note on the paper plate and question how it should really be interpreted…..I question if the note truly applies to everyone or just you?  Consider this….what if you “sensed”  there were a technical problem with the compressor or the condenser coil and you expressed concern about the internal temperature… If you had any such concern, certainly if Ashleigh were available she would ignore the “do not open” sign if she needed to check the inside, or Kathy would have permission to take a look. 

Perhaps for a small sampling of the loot I could help out and open the mini fridge “for you” to check and make sure that everything is OK….. Or perhaps, as the prior owner, I could be missing a special brew that perhaps had been left in said mini fridge before you acquired it !!! ( which by the way I thought was for Joe ???)  

Just a thought….. Oh and I can offer said services and would be available this afternoon or tomorrow during the day if you are really worried about that thermostat.

Just being a concerned friend,

John “

You know, many times gut feelings are amazingly accurate! I “sense” that the integrity of the gift in my little fridge are at risk of succumbing to this brutal heat wave engulfing my external fridge tucked away in a non-air conditioned garage. I have John’s number and I will not spare any expense to ensure the safety of the cargo my daughter Ashleigh and her co-conspirator, eldest son Ben, have placed in what they felt was a safe environment. I will place a service call with John and post our findings later…. Yes I am willing to offer remuneration ( I learn something every day, this word, remuneration has always been used by me in speech as renumeration!, an indication of why I took bone-head English my first quarter at UCLA) – sorry Ash, had to err on the safe side of the issue.

My friend John, a true hop-head and an even truer friend! He isn't the hop-head with the hop-head hat. John is the hop-head without the hop-head hat!

My friend John, a true hop-head and an even truer friend! He isn’t the hop-head with the hop-head hat. John is the hop-head without the hop-head hat!

PS – John truly is the prior owner of the mini-fridge in question, es la verdad! Joe will probably use it in his dorm in the fall. Which means that I may need to “upsize” hmmmmmm! Sounds good to me.


Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

An IPA Weekend

I have been staring at the little fridge in the garage wondering what treasures have been stocked inside. Daughter Ashleigh hinted that I may find an IPA or three in the mix! I am tempted to open the fridge door early…..I have a flight to catch at 9:00 AM on Father’s Day. I need to leave the house at 7-ish to get to the airport with enough time that I don’t stress about lines and waiting. On a positive note I do rise early so I could wait till Father’s Day and treat myself to some cold IPA’s at 5:30 AM – in some circles that may a be a bit early…….

“Hey Geoff, what time would it be in Perth if I cracked the top of beer at 0530 my time? You say it would be 1830, 6:30 PM in Perth…..OK Mate, I’ll have two with you on Father’s Day if that is OK with you?”

Geoff, this is really a sunrise photo taken one morning on the back porch...let's pretend it is 6:30 PM and you are on the porch hoisting a cold one with me, mate! Cheers!

Geoff, this is really a sunrise photo taken one morning on your back porch looking across the Swan River…let’s pretend it is 6:30 PM and you are on the porch hoisting a cold one with me, albeit long distance, Mate! Cheers!

I believe I hear small voices tempting me to open the fridge early....patience little one....only I ain't so little nor patient!

I believe I hear small voices tempting me to open the fridge early….”patience little one”….only I ain’t so little nor patient!


FYI, I enjoyed a Longhammer IPA with my honey, my partner, my sweetheart and my wife yesterday at the Brickhouse in Humble, TX. Before you think I am a bit kinky, it was just one woman who is all those things to me!!! Love you Kathy, Forever and Always, 10/2/1982 – and I didn’t have to look inside the wedding band to remember that!


Prepare all y’all, August First will be the Third Annual “National IPA Day”……start planning your activities!

Drinks local and drink responsibly!



The Countdown to Father’s Day

I have a small dorm fridge in the garage where I kept mostly my homebrews and a few craft beers in the ready for combat against the Houston heat. When I returned home last Thursday evening I went to the fridge and started to open it and got smacked by my daughter Ashleigh. Two problems she chastised me for – my early arrival gave me a glimpse of the wine barrel composter that she and my son Ben were building and they have apparently stocked the little fridge with some special craft beers, likely IPA’s! Apparently I have to wait!!!!!

Nearly ready to rock and roll!

Nearly ready to rock and roll!

Yes I think I can wait....I leave early Sunday morning so I may be a few hours early opening this present!

Yes I think I can wait….I leave early Sunday morning so I may be a few hours early opening this present!

She didn’t really smack me but I did flinch – expecting to be hit!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly



TED and a Cold Beer

All is quiet on the homebrewing front, save for the cold Session Ale I am drinking this evening. While enjoying the cold one I was reading one of the blogs I subscribe to and they suggested looking at the 20 Most Popular Talks on TED…..What is TED? I am sure a few of you may be in the dark so let me share. From the “About” tab on the website;

Our mission: Spreading ideas.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other. This site, launched April 2007, is an ever-evolving work in progress, and you’re an important part of it. Have an idea? We want to hear from you.

The Twenty Talks link;
I listened to # 10 and # 14 – surprise, surprise and started # 11 – dry humor but I do intend to finish it.

From education to brain function to inspiring messages to techno-possibilities, this list represents quite a breadth of topics.
1.Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 14,850,200 views
2.Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke of insight (2008): 11,225,783
3.Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009): 9,897,347
4.David Gallo‘s underwater astonishments (2007): 8,204,051
5.Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense (2009): 7,747,690
6.Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do (2006): 7,564,235
7.Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action (2010): 7,539,516
8.Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability (2010): 5,861,510
9.Steve Jobs on how to live before you die (2005): 5,444,022
10.Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009): 5,534,123
11.Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen (2006): 5,249,928
12.Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your creative genius (2009): 5,020,869
13.Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic (2005): 4,951,918
14.Mary Roach on 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009): 4,793,334
15.Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy? (2004): 4,759,217
16.Keith Barry does brain magic (2004): 4,475,303
17.Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe (2008): 4,470,236
18.Johnny Lee shows Wii Remote hacks for educators (2008): 3,997,174
19.Jeff Han demos his breakthrough multi-touchscreen (2006): 3,982,775
20.Barry Schwartz explores the paradox of choice (2005): 3,836,350

So, here is the deal, beer drinkers get a bad rap in some circles as being crass louts! I know differently – my suggestion, drink another very good craft beer or better yet, a homebrew and fuel the mind with interesting “stuff”!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Father’s Day –

Father’ Day is less than two weeks off. Still enough time to plan for honoring the “Old Man” with something special! I already feel honored! Kathy and I were graced with our 4 kids back in the house for a visit this past weekend. No boomerangs in this gathering! Ashleigh, coaching soccer at UTEP in El Paso was in town scouting prospects at a tournament in Houston. Lisa lives 6.2 miles away so it was a short jaunt for her. Ben has a couple of weeks off before his last semester at LSU!!!! And Joe, graduated from HS a week ago and will head off to Texas A&M in the fall.

Planning for Father’s Day should include something grilled as well as fatherly beverages to go along with it. One of my recent blogs about Beer Butt chicken was included in this linked post;
Yes, it probably is an ad of some sort but I felt honored to have it included in the 25 blogs naming Top Foods to Fix on Father’s Day! If you dig into my archives their is also a Beer Braised Chicken recipe using Brown Ale!

My Father’s Day Ale will be a bit young to drink on the 16th. I started the batch two weeks later than I should have and I will just have to suffer. My only home brews on hand include the Pumpkin Ale, a Session Ale and my Stout. The Stout is 8 months old and almost ready to walk. Sampled one this weekend and it needs a little more time. I think I should be good!

I will be honest with those of you scratching your heads on what to do for your Father come June 16th. Don’t buy a gift that gets little or no use. The most precious gift at your disposal is time spent with the old guy! Reminisce a little, listen to a story he has told several times over and laugh at his jokes, even if it is old and tired. Best yet, bring a good beer over and share it with him! FYI kids, if you don’t remember – anything with IPA in it will be just fine for me!

One don’t on Father’s Day- don’t ask him to sing any of his old Rugby Songs!!!!! No, no, NO! Bad Daddy!

If you just have to buy something- a way to mount a trolling motor on my kayak would be good!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly