Monday, July 6, 2015

Staying at Guy Harvey's

The Guy Harvey Outpost on St. Pete’s Beach is a relatively nice hotel with cool gimmick... Guy Harvey!

First, let me tell you why we chose to stay at the Guy Harvey Outpost.

1. Pet friendly.
2. Our usual hotel was booked solid and even telling them that I am the Big Kahuna didn’t magically open up a room.

We absolutely love the area, and I don’t think it matters where you stay, the beach and the water is all the same. So when the Guy Harvey came up as an option, and the price was in line, we were on board. We were traveling with Kahuna’s Chick’s parents, and their dog. Guy Harvey has a separate area for pets, and you don’t have to be anywhere around them if you don’t want to be. 

The best part of the resort is the staff. I wish I’d had spent more time writing and taking notes, because the woman at the front desk, and our housekeeper were awesome! They both had the personality and sense of service that made me sad to leave them after the few days we were there.

Friday, July 3, 2015

One of my favorite parts about all of you is the diversity of people who show up around BigKahunaBrew.com. That makes it easy for me to find topics that someone will be interested in. 
This week, I’m going to focus on a few hard-learned travel tips.

We are very fortunate and get to travel a few times a year. We don’t travel as often as we would like, but a lot more than we used to.  Because of this, we like to make the most out of every trip, and that can mean getting creative with travel planning.

We often take the midnight flight out when we vacation. This means Two tired kids and Kahunas when we get where we are going. This issue is made slightly worse by the fact that most hotels cannot get you into your room until 2:30 or 3 p.m. Not usually a big deal, but if you cannot catch a couple of zzz’s on the plane, you could be in for miserable first day of vacation.

Our way of mitigating this travel trauma is to try and shower just before leaving for the airport and make sure we have blankets and pillows for the kids. Then just do your best to zonk out on the plane for a few hours.

We also think it is best to keep your first day of vacation fairly low-key. You don’t want to bottle-rocket on the first day and be too tired to enjoy the next few days.

Reduce stress by ensuring everything is taken care of BEFORE you leave. This means know how you are paying for all of the additional fees at the airport.

Often times we are sucked in by low fairs, but that can turn disastrous if you are not careful! On a recent trip, we were hit with nearly $1000 worth of fees at the airport. Frontier charges between $15-$50 for each seat at check in. Carry-on bags (Typically free) are $45 and checked luggage is $35 per bag. When traveling with a party of 4 or more, and two of them children, that makes for an expensive hit at the gate that could have easily been avoided by traveling on a better airline.
If you don’t know about these fees, they could put you in a serious bad mood to start your trip!

Travel as light as possible. Easier said than done... But you are on vacation, not a fashion show. You do not need 3 different outfits for every day.

If you are on a beach vacation, take two swimming suits so one can dry while you wear the other. Take some extra shoes and don’t worry about bringing high heals or your wing-tips. DO make sure that you have proven shoes. Blisters and sore feet are no way to enjoy your weekend trip!
Finally, don’t be afraid to put beer in your room. Buying some beer or a bottle of rum and some mixers sure helps the vacation budget over paying for all of your vacation drinks at a pool bar for $11 each.
If you have travel tips, let’s hear them! We can use all the advice we can get!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Look for more moonshine.


I’m sure you all have noticed the (sometimes) overwhelming selection of “Moon shine” at your local bottle stores lately.

First of all, I hate this term! Like I’ve preached several times before, words mean things! “Moonshine” is illegal, white whiskey made without Uncle Sam’s approval.

The jars you see in stores are white, unaged whiskey. Often times this type of liquor is called “white dog.” But it is not, at least in my mind, moonshine.

This type of whiskey is cheap, easy and fast for the distillers to crank out because there is no aging time. They simply go from still to bottle to store.

Bourbon is aged for a minimum of two-years in new barrels made from white oak. Kentucky Whiskey is also aged in NEW oak barrels which are essentially hand-made by craftsmen and use only fine white oak.


A recent article in the Wall Street Journal estimated that Bourbon sales are up 35 percent since 2010, and the harvesting of the white oak has been severely abbreviated. You guessed it... That means there is a shortage of barrels.

Overall, that’s an excellent thing for the spirits industry, and a great opportunity for brewers looking to age beer in oak. The “One and done” life cycle of Bourbon sales provides ample wood for brewing.

Other distilled spirits such as rum can be aged in used barrels and they are likely to an increase in their supply chain in the years to come.  Some distillery have increased production as much as 50% to try to keep up with future demands.

As this all comes back to the white dog, if a distiller only receives half of his order of barrels from the cooperage, I’m willing to bet the other half of the production run will end up on store shelves labeled as “Moonshine!”

As you might expect from craft distillers and the long term success of older distillers, the quality of some of these white whiskeys on the market is very good, often time the same distillate that is used for their flagship brands.

If you have a favorite white whiskey, we would love to hear about it!

Have a great week friends,

Friday, June 26, 2015

Age your hooch?

There are things that make us laugh out loud... Heck, that’s what LOL stands for! There are things that are simply amusing and make us smile for a few seconds then we move on... Insert Facebook Meme. There are things that bring us simple joys like a well prepared adult beverage or a cigar, and there are things that bring lasting joy to our lives, like family, friends and travel.

I think the marketing industry is taking advantage of some of our “Joy Button” moments and push them a few times too many over the course of a year!

One of the most interesting trends of late has got to be the home aging of spirits. This is where a distillery will sell you a liter of their “White Dog” whiskey (worth no more than a $10 bill) and an aging barrel (Worth $30) for the low low price of nearly $100. You take the bottle home, dump it into the barrel and take a snort every few days to see how it is coming along. After a few weeks (or days) your barrel is empty, and after convincing yourself that it was just getting good, you head back to grab another bottle for a second try!

As a guy with a burning desire to “Create” things, I have almost fallen into this trap many times. I have had several oak barrels in my life, mostly for aging beer, but a few have had wine and a few have had spirits... None have been as orgasmic as I had hoped. I will also say that none have been as effective as a handful of oak cubes from the brew supply store. 

One thing that a friend of mine, who has forgotten more about spirits than I’ll ever know, tells me, is that spirits don’t extract properly at lower proof (Percent alcohol).

We know damn good and well that an 80-proof spirit can blow the top off of your head if it isn’t properly cared for, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to do a good job of extracting the essence of your vanilla beans or the goods from an oak barrel.

http://www.1000oaksbarrel.com
Production spirits are aged at a very high proof to mellow and extract flavors in the commercial world, why would they act any differently in your home?

I am not saying that it does no good to age an 80-proof spirit on wood, far from it. We know that a 10% beer or a 12% wine can become amazing from its time on oak. But to market as if you are going to turn white “hooch” into fine spirits in your living room is almost laughable, yet it does give a lot of people a hands-on experience that could help them understand the world of aging spirits.

I would LOVE to see a few companies producing a high-proof “white dog” for aging. Some rum companies make an “Overproof” Rum or 151, as some call it. I would say this is a severely under-served market, and would give my right arm for a few new ones to hit the market.... HELLO Hemingway Rum Company.....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Big Solution to canning craft beer.

I guess that not everyone is following Craftbeer.com, so I thought I'd share this article by Andy  Sparkawk.
As always, Alaskans find a way to survive! Check it out!


Alaska’s HooDoo Brewing Finds Big Solution to Small Problem

By Andy Sparhawk
It’s summer—the best time of year to get outside. As craft beer enthusiasts though, we want to take our favorite craft beers with us. Unfortunately—but with good reason—many outdoor destinations do not allow glass. And for those of us who seek out the less traveled areas of the world, weight plays a big factor into how much beer you’re able to pack. In a state as ruggedly beautiful as Alaska, it makes sense that Fairbanks’ HooDoo Brewing Co. recently decided to can their German-style Kolsch.


“We are pleased to announce that our German K├Âlsch will now be available in cans, our first canned offering!” Hoodoo reported in their blog post “HooDoo Brewing Co. Brings Its Craft To Cans.”
Brewmaster and Owner Bobby Wilken is looking forward to the opportunity to enjoy his beer deep within the Alaskan wilderness, “I actually get goosebumps thinking about being in the middle of nowhere, up river, with a super fresh beer in my hand.”

Though aluminum packaging will aid Bobby in keeping his pack weight down, as well as the transportation costs to ship the lighter cans, the expense of simply purchasing the cans is the largest obstacle, not only for HooDoo, but for any small brewer looking to offer cans.

Read more HERE at www.Craftbeer.com

Friday, April 10, 2015

Not a DRONE!

I have long been a proponent of the term “Words Mean Things!”

Not a DRONE
That is not to say that I am a master word smith, but I believe that certain people tend to use words to evoke fear and other emotions to promote their cause.

My new cause is the Quadcopter platform for photography and video! You may call them “Drones” but I’d prefer that you didn’t!


In my mind, Civilians have no need or right to operate a “Drone.” In my mind, a “Drone” is a military aircraft operated from the ground. It is used for surveillance and to engage dangerous targets without risking a pilots life.

Unfortunately, the quadcopter industry has picked up on the term and run with it. They must believe that the marketing is worth more than the damage that is done to our freedoms.

Also, NOT a DRONE
As long as we call these things drones, we will have more than a few people ready to stop us from flying them!

Today’s high-tech quadcopter is no more of a military style drone than the old RC planes that many of us had in the 80’s.

If you attach a weapons system to it, then yeah... It probably warrants a closer look, but I don’t have guns on any of mine, and they are not used for surveillance... except to check on my cows once in a while.

This is an issue of freedom of photography, and as long as you are not using your quadcopter to invade someone’s privacy, then I don’t give a damn what you do with it. I don’t care if you fly it in a national park!

THIS IS A DRONE
Using a quadcopter to harass wildlife or peek into a window is absolutely unacceptable, but so is throwing rocks. Using some common sense around FAA Controlled airspace is a must!

Obviously,  I don’t think you should fly your quad at DIA, or around the military bases.

That said, as A pilot and a photographer, I would like to be able to work with local aircraft owners and be allowed to shoot photos and video of them landing at our class G airport.

I think that this is another example of a few idiots ruining a hobby for the rest of us!

If you should choose to buy one of these things, use it with some common sense and don’t create problems!

Enjoy this video of a few of our first flights with the DJI Phantom 2+ and have a great weekend!


~Cheers!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top 50 breweries of 2014

As if we didn't know that some of these were bad ass brewers, the Brewers Association has released it's annual list of the top 50 breweries in the country.

“The companies on this list include the vanguard of the craft industry,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “They are exposing new beer lovers to craft, opening new markets and creating opportunities for the entire category. As they continue to grow, so will the availability of innovative and high-quality beers produced for all to enjoy.”

The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
with the Buck Reilly series