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Brew & You



I'll try to review a different beer on a regular basis. So you stop by often. Feel free to comment about the featured beers and serve up your own suggestions as well.

So let's get started! I'll prime the beer pump with this offering:

This week is brought to you by Duvel.

From all the beers I mention, it may sound like I'm a heavy drinker. I'm really not (I only weighed 202 lbs at last check). There are far heavier drinkers than me.

There may be a science to drinking, but I only ascribe to two main principles:

1) My hand flies up and my mouth flies open

2) My fly goes down and THEN I pee

There is another 'principle' that I thought I'd share with you, based on my own personal observation. One can drink all they want and not get drunk as long as they are fishing.

When I was at my training base in Biloxi, Mississippi, awaiting Further Instruction (AFI) I had a couple of months to fish. Keesler AFB sits on Mullet Lake. This is where the Mississippi meets the Gulf of Mexico and forms a lake. Awesome fishing there, because where fresh water meets salt water there are a variety of fresh and salt water fish swimming about.

Most the time I fished directly off a pier, but sometimes I rented a flat bottom boat with either the Rutherford or Johnson motor. The cost was eight bucks for all day, and came with a tank of gas.

I loved the pier so I could use my brill net. That's a small (less than 5 foot diameter) cast net with about a 20 foot rope you put on your wrist so you didn't loose it. It's round (hence diameter mentioned above) and weighted around the perimeter.

You grabbed one part of the edge of it and draped in a certain manner across your arm, holding the opposite edge in your teeth. You threw it out in an arch spinning it so that it opened up in a large circle. It is always a good idea to let go of the net with your teeth. The net would sink to the bottom catching fish along the way.

It takes some practice, but it is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. No baiting hooks, and you never know what you'll pull up, unless you can see what you are casting for. I will never forget the first successful cast I made. I pulled it out, and to my amazement there were 5 little fish in there! One was a glass catfish, another was a 4 inch Menhaden (some call a Mossbunker) and I can't remember the other 2. Hey, I said I would never forget the first successful cast, not all the details!

Luckily for me an elder fisherman was watching me with amusement. He was telling me what I had, as I was throwing them back into the water. As I reached for one little fish about 3 inches in diameter. Yes it was round and puffed up like a balloon, apparently to make it more difficult for me to swallow it. As I reached into the net to grab it the old fisherman said "wait!." He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a Bic pen. He stuck it in the mouth of the fish and it was quickly snapped in half!

"That thar is an oyster fish son. Better not stick yer finger anywhere near that one" he told me. "They use them jaws there to break open oysters. That's why they calls 'em oyster fish."

I took an ice chest with me fishing everyday. In it I had four quart bottles, or 24 bottles (a case) of Miller, or Budweiser, or other cheap macro brewery beer. I'd fish, and eat those fish, and drink all day right there on the pier. There were a couple of grills right there and picnic tables. Everything you need for a great day of fishing and drinking. Not once did I ever get drunk! That's damn near scientific proof of what I told you at the start. As long as you are fishing, you never get drunk. At least when drinking beer and eating the fish you catch.

It's a good thing I had my ice chest with me on my fourth or fifth successful) cast. I threw a perfect cast. The net looked like a Frizbee, and landed on the surface with a barely noticeable slap. It sunk quickly and as I began to pull it up it nearly pulled me off the pier. Son of a bitch! What the hell do I have in there? I know why sailors curse. Has to do with the constant surprises the ocean serves up. I barely got the net on deck, and four other fisherman ran over to me with their ice chests and bait buckets. The Menhaden were running and it took nearly 10 minutes for the millions of them in that school to pass the pier on their way back to the ocean.

I filled up five ice chests and three bait buckets. Of course, the ice chests had lots of other fish and bottles and cans of beer. I learned how to put the hook through their heads right through the eye sockets. They don't die that way, and swim around until something eats them.

That day hooked me to casting nets, and I understood why Jesus' disciples used nets right then and there! It's not even fair for the fish. They don't stand a chance. I don't fish for the sport. I fish to eat! When someone asked me if I want to go fishing, I always say, "No, I want to catch fish."

Two other things real quick and then we can get down to business. I was with a buddy on the boat and knocked the bait bucket into the water while baiting our hooks. The shrimp started swiming out of the bucket and the bucket was sinking fast. I threw the net at it and caught the bucket just in time! As I untangled the bucket from the net, I saw about a pound and a half fish.

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It was the ugliest fish I had ever seen and I pulled it loose from the net throwing it into the lake. My buddy yelled, "No!" but too late. "That was a flounder, you stupid idiot." For those that don't know. Flounders are bottom dwelling fish mostly. He had come to the surface to get some shrimp from our bucket free gratis. God played a trick on them and gave them 2 eyes on one side of their head. Actually, they swim along the bottom sideways, and over the millions or billions of years, the bottom eye crept around to the other side.

Lastly, have you ever heard a string of Croakers? I was pulling in striped bass as quick as I could toss out my line one evening at the end of the pier under the sodium vapor lamp. When the guy next to me grew tired of fishing, or satisfied with his catch, he pulled up his stringer of Croakers. A small, skinny, green fish that made a sound like a frog. I nearly fell down laughing to hear about a dozen of them all going at the same time!

Now to the biz of fizz. I love the sound of beer as it foams and fizzes. Not everyone pays that kind of attention to their beer, but I love everything about it. Last week my bro-n-law served me up a Warsteiner Premium Velum. A tasty Pilsner from Germany. When I got back to town, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a sixer of Warsteiner Dunkel, they didn't have the velum. Dunkels are good too. It's an ale brewed with a toasted barely usually weighing in at over 5% ABV.

This week I bought a six pack of Krombacher, and also went to Maiko's Japanese Restaurant where I imbibed Sapporo and Kirin Ichiban. Pronounced icky, not itchy bon.

I love Japanese beer. They use lower amounts of malt and grains and some are made with rice, corn and potato. They are a bit sweeter than a wheat based beer because of the rice and sorghum or sugar used. My nephew and son were having saki bombs. It's like a depth charge but with a glass of saki already in the larger glass. Then you pour the Kirin in and drink it all down at once. You may also, drop the saki glass into the beer.

Last night I bought some Hoffbrau Munchen. These little munchkins are 11.2 oz 330 ML bottles, so I felt a bit shorted. I must admit the taste made up for the 0.8 ounce of beer less than the typical bottle of beer that comes in a six pack.

I also picked up a bottle of Duvel. The one in the larger bottle (of course) here:

Since it is a generous portion at 1 pint, 9.4 ounces, and weighs in at 8.5% ABV, and it's early yet, I'll tell you about it later.

Anyways, I enjoyed reminiscing. As always, celebrate life and lift your glasses, bottles, and cans, because...

We're not doers we're beers!


Monk E Mind (author) from My Tree House on June 09, 2017:

Brew & You

Brought to you by Draft Houses everywhere!

I feel for those persons that live in towns, cities or villages where there are no Draft Houses. Where we live, in the Austin, Texas area, there are dozens of breweries, mini and otherwise. Whether you are out for the brew, the food or the flix, there is always the opportunity to try a local craft beer.

I hope to cover a few of these, movie houses, restaurants, and brew pubs in a series of Brew & Yous. Today I'd like to focus on one of the premier spots in Austin, Texas called the Oasis. This huge facility boasts 5 levels of decks overlooking the beautiful Lake Travis. Folks come here to watch the sunset and try some of their own specialties like ....Lake Monster.

There are three stages, and cover bands like the Brews are always beating out some great tunes to dance to. Their restaurant serves up Tex Mex and Americana cuisine and cocktails. The Long Island Tea or Margaritas can give you the one two punch, so be careful, or you'll go down for the count.

The grounds are covered with phenomenal sculptures, fountains and gardens. There are quite a few places to spend your money, like a record store and a chocolate shop.

We are trying to drink our way across Texas, and by we, I mean me, but Mrs Mind usually comes along to keep me and the son in line.

The down side (if you choose to call it that) is that eventually you might drink yourself into the Pour House. This is a pub that recently opened nearby. Maybe I'll show you that one next week.

Until then:

Lift your glasses and celebrate life, because...

We're not doers, we're beers!

To see the spectacular images go here:

Monk E Mind (author) from My Tree House on October 28, 2016:

Brew & You

This special edition of Brew & You is brought to you by Catalina Island. Off the coast of California, just a skip across the Pacific Ocean (26 miles from Long Beach), is a small island called Santa Catalina.

For 30 years, Art Good’s Jazz Trax festival has been held there in the little town of Avalon at the Avalon Casino and Ballroom. Mrs. Mind and I have had “attending the festival” on our bucket list for 30 years, and we finally checked it off this month.

Jazz Trax was celebrating its 30th year and coincidently there was another reason to celebrate. The Wrigley’s built Avalon Casino and Ballroom 87 years ago. This was bitter-sweet for me because my father just passed away at the age of 87. The Wrigley’s also built Wrigley Field in Chicago. Since the Cubs are in the World Series this year, the Wrigley’s were in attendance Saturday Night enjoying the music of Grace Kelly, celebrating Jazz Trax’ anniversary and the Cubs return to the MLB World Series (playing against the Cleveland Indians). The Wrigleys have a mansion on the island at the top of a mountain.

Of course, the first thing that I did there was find the beer. The island has a nice selection of crafted beers which can be obtained at the Catalina Island Brew House.

I enjoyed an IPA at the Lobster Trap called Indica IPA. It had a taste that reminded me of something I used to try from California…I can’t quite place it….but I know it has to do with something California is known for.

The glass was appropriate since I was having Thresher Shark just caught by the owner of the restaurant the day before. He told me it had to sit in ice for 24 hours so the muscles could relax allowing the steaks to tenderize. We ate a lot of fish there including Sea Bass and Yellow Tail. There’s nothing better than getting your fish fresh from the Pacific Ocean. I tried, but didn’t taste any Fukushima.

We enjoyed a submarine ride along the coast, and saw lots of Calico Bass, Baramundi and Opal Eye.

The Baramundi must of migrated from Asia and Australia, as they are generally from the Indio-West part of the Pacific. It’s a type of sea bass. The Opal Eye is called that because his eyes are bright blue opalescent. I jettisoned some food to the buggers and they know who are their benefactors.

The ocean was clear and the weather was fantastic. Touring the harbor via sub was nice but also above water was stunning. Lots of boats and tremendous sunsets.

Those are ways to get around the island, but there are different ways of getting around on the island. Mostly walking, cycling and Segways for the tourists, but the main mode of transportation is the golf cart. There is a 20 year wait to get a car, truck or SUV on to the island. The majority of these are Yamahas, Club Cars and an occasional Cushman, but here’s one I found customized to look like a 48 Chevy!

Of course the concert was three days of fantastic jazz artists from the Average White Band to Acoustic Alchemy. Our favorite was a young woman by the name of Grace Kelly. One of the best sax players I’ve ever heard, and a great singing voice as well. You may recognize her from the sound track of the TV series about detective Harry Bosch.