Odell IPA Inspiration

Good beer, this happens to be one of my one of my favorites, can inspire wonderful accomplishments. While prepping snacks for today’s Texans game, I decided to smoke a couple of  T-bone steaks that I had purchased  a few days ago. Some intestinal issues over the past few days deferred grilling them as I was avoiding meat. Unbeknownst to me, my efficient wife decided to freeze them. Dang it! 
Looking for inspiration while sipping on my Odell IPA, I decided to smoke them while they were still frozen. My good buddy John stopped by and gave his two cents, “Can’t be done”, he says! The gauntlet was thrown and challenge accepted. With the delicious inspiration – the logic? – they were about 3/4″ thin and should cook slow enough to absorb some smoke and thaw as they cooked. Worked like a charm. 


Done to medium/medium rare and just yummy! 

Pecan and pieces of an oak Chardonnay barrel provided the smoke. Seasoning; Lowry’s seasoning salt, garlic pepper and a dash of sea salt. 

Pairs well with my Odells IPA, or should it be the other way around? Odells IPA pairs very well with smoked T-bone! 

Lesson, drink good beer and be inspired! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly, 




Thirsty in Oman

I have been relatively quiet on the beer front for a few weeks. I am waiting patiently to let my latest bottling, the Golden Wheat Red Ale bottle condition a little longer. The temptation to sample is easy at the moment. I am about 12 time zones away from the beer and the temptation! Oman is a long ways from Texas.  This quote from “The Wizard of Oz” comes to mind – “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.” I stood on top of a sand dune last night, about 30 kilometers from the UAE border just inside of Oman and said this to my buddy Gary,  “Gary, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Texas any more.”

Let me add, the Omani people are an absolute pleasure to work with, converse with and share with. Yes, we are guests in their country but I have never felt so welcome in a foreign country. The hosted a “BBQ”…..really a large grill filled with kabobs and fortunately for Gary the selection did not include goat. I haven’t convinced Gary that goat can be very tasty. As we sat around under the cabana, a young man named Ali spent 30 minutes showing us some of the beauty of his country…and yes it can be very beautiful! I am looking forward to a future visit with more time to explore!

YES – it is very dry here…..not much rain and in many places the beverage selection is pretty restricted! The hotels in Muscat do serve alcoholic beverages as they cater to a very diverse clientele in this country. A walk on the beach shows the diversity in the cultures and languages all around you. On one walk we heard, German, Italian, Hindi, English, some sort of a Scandinavian dialect, Lebanese and Arabic – probably a few more that I had no clues about.  I am looking forward to a return trip with more time to explore the country and meet more of the wonderful people here!

Looking north west from a top a dune adjacent to our humble camp of 7,000 people!

Looking north-west from a top a dune adjacent to our humble camp of 7,000 people!


Drink Respectfully, Drink Local and Drink Responsibly


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




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

What does “Drink Responsibly Mean?”

This post is something I had to get off of my chest. I had planned to discuss a brewery tour at Karbach in Houston this past Saturday but I  need to say this first and then I will come back to that post.

My observations – .

Young people back in my generation… teen years in the 60’s probably did not differ from the intervening generations when it came to drinking and drinking in excess, i.e., not drinking responsibly. I see that there is a certain age of exploration among young people than seems to be pretty much the same across generations. (see link below) I have heard consistent anecdotal evidence from my parents that “under age beer drinking” was common in the 40’s and 50’s apparently not much different from my generation and probably no different from the explorational influences on my children’s generation. What I have seen is how my children’s generation have demonstrated a very different and in a very positive departure from the previous generations. Bear with me while I elaborate.

I have heard my peers and their parents, my parents, raise a common lament. They “all” say  that “times were different back then”. That drinking didn’t cause the problems that the drinking causes now, it was different back then. I will go out on a limb and say that yes and no!

Back then and Now;

  1. It was an accepted rite of passage and they all go through it. – Age of exploration back then.
  2. Young people still drink alcohol like their parents did – the trip through the age of exploration – most move through it and do drink “responsibly” going forward in their mid-twenties. Unfortunately the consequences of not moving through can become tragic, regardless of the generation.
  3. Young people died in alcohol related crashes….innocent people died at the hands of drunk drivers – less media coverage back then – it is front page now! The pain and impact on families has not lessened or changed.
  4. The authorities tended to be lenient and shoo the kids back home after dumping out the beverages. Not so now. The realization of the liabilities and consequences are too high.
  5. Driving under the influence was commonly accepted and we usually chose the most sober as the driver. Thank God there has been a huge and positive shift to using designated drivers – unfortunately, it is not 100% universal.
  6. Peer pressure to conform to the crowd hasn’t changed! That is an unfortunate fact of life.

I could probably ramble on and I know many readers could support the statements above with an unending list of anecdotes – that in itself is troubling. Some would be humorous and some were certainly tragic. I want to thank one of my daughters for causing me to reflect on this issue. She posted a great note on Super Bowl Sunday – she asked that anyone needing to have a driver on that National Party day to call her and she would become their personal DD. As a parent I never want to receive that dreaded call about a loved one that doesn’t make it home and even worse that they have taken the precious gift of life from someone else.

In good old boy terms that lament from prior generations – “Oh, it was different back then” – “Well in my book -That dog don’t hunt”

So – Drinking Responsibly is much more than a tag line at the end of an alcoholic beverage ad….. a noble gesture but it does not gain traction until we all step up and help everyone that we love and care about to make the choices that matter most.


Young Adult Drinking


Urban Dictionary