Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blackened Voodoo

Today I am sharing a beer! I have selected a Blackened Voodoo from Dixie Brewing in New Orleans.

The name is certainly cool, and the label is well designed and catchy. This brew sticks out on a shelf pretty well.

The plane gold bottle cap that is a TWIST OFF fails to get me excited, but I cracked into it anyway.

Well, it looks nice. The light tan head forms and holds nicely, but the deep auburn, nearly red color makes me wonder why they call it... BLACKENED?

The clean malty, slightly hoppy nose is very inviting and typical of black lagers in my limited experience.

The sweet hoppy flavor doesn’t balance very well with the soda water consistency and mouthfeel, but somehow I keep wanting to take another sip... Perhaps just to confirm what I thought I tasted last time.

The hop presence isn’t very strong in the glass, but I must admit to having had one from a bottle a few days ago, and I thought that it was much better that way.

That seems a bit counter-intuitive, that a bottle tastes better than in a glass? But I think that the problems with balance and body are mostly covered up by the bottle.

I wouldn’t call this a bad beer, but it’s not anything I’m really interested in. It’s not flavorful enough to be a flavorful beer, it’s not malty enough to be a malty beer, it’s not hoppy enough to be a hoppy beer and it’s too sweet to call it refreshing.

It basically reminds me of my first extract batch of homebrew... And that was 14 years ago, before extract kits were very good.

All in all, if this is the last beer on the shelf, go ahead and give it a whirl. But other than that... There are a lot better beers to try.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Come On Down!

Happy Tuesday Pū'ali koa!

I hope you are all making plans for the weekend and such... It’s never too early to plan.

Speaking of plans.... It’s getting close to the deadline to register for the Second Annual Conched in Key West Bar Crawl! Register by September 1 to ensure that you get your custom made event shirt. The $30 fee is certainly a bargain when you consider all that you’ll be getting. 

A chance to meet Robert Burr from Rob’s Rum Guide?

Drink Specials ALL weekend thanks to Cruzan Rums?

An opportunity to stay at the world famous LaConcha hotel in Key West?

Party till 4 a.m. With the Big Kahuna?

Come Party With Me!
How do you beat that? Well, how about if we add some smoke’n deals available through Starfish Travel and the Key West Express?

Book Today, ask for vacation time tomorrow!  You don’t even need to take the whole week off to come down. Most of us will be arriving in Key West on Thursday evening and sleeping on the plane home Sunday.

Hit the like button on the Conched in Key West facebook page, and then head on over to the official signup page at and shell out your $30 to help Reef Relief and guarantee your t-shirt arrives in the mail before they are all gone!

Come On Down to Historic and beautiful Key West! Spend the weekend with me, and you’ll have stories to tell for the rest of your life!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Do you wine? Part 2

Thanks for checking back. Here is the rest of the story about my mead  making night.

Since a gallon of honey weighs in at 12 pounds, I am a tad shy of my 3# / gallon recipe that I’ve come to love. But the addition of the fruit will help raise the sugar content plenty, so I think things will work out fine for a mead that could see the cellar for 4 or 5 years.

I tend to add fruit in the secondary, a period where the wine is removed from the sediment and yeast that is present during the initial phase of fermentation and quickly settles to the bottom. Today we are adding the fruit to the initial fermentation.

Now that the air lock is set, all that is left is to wait... Maybe for a long time! This could take between weeks and months to finish fermenting and when it does, it will spend many months resting in secondary to ensure that it is completely clear before it’s bottled. That will help minimize the gook at the bottom of the bottles. I also believe that it helps the mead to age in bulk before it’s bottled.  Proof of my dedication to this method is the “Leap Year” Mead that was a month short of 4 years old when I bottled it and the 5 gallons of Chocolate Mead that has been in my basement for the last year-and-a-half.

This could be drinkable sooner than I will try it. The first bottle of this will not likely be opened for a year, and hopefully some bottles will stick around for many years. Like... DECADES.

Mead has a way of playing tricks on you and it can get really good over time. It, like any other wine or beer, can go to hell pretty quickly if it’s not taken care of!

The best news is that I’m not done. I will be adding flavor as this progresses. And the better news is that I have plenty of time to figure out what they will be.

At the moment I’m thinking that, since this will be a very lightly fruited mead, and since it will be very dry, I will add a bit of chili pepper, oak and black pepper. But that theory could change at any given moment. I will try to resist the urge to add nutmeg and ginger... Just because that’s what everyone does to peach flavored... Well, anything peach flavored actually.

Regardless of what I end up putting in it, it will be a one-of-a-kind batch and it saved me from tossing out a half a box of peaches.

I hope that you might try your hand at making mead one day, and if you do, I was serious about the book Complete Mead Maker. It is well worth the money and it includes a ton of information and several very good recipes.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Change of plans

Ok, So I know that some of you have showed up today to hear the rest of the mead making story. But to be honest, there is nothing but a bubbling air lock to show you. So I’ve decided that the mead will wait till Saturday, and bring you something completely awesome.
My friend Carlton Grooms and his company "Flying Fish Interactive" has a new app out. Sure, you saw me tweeting the hell out of it the other night, but I think you deserve more info!

Go2TheKeys, The Definitive Guide to The Florida Keys, Creates New Model for Travel Apps!

This app delivers comprehensive and constantly updated information coupled with an instructive guide. It allows tourists to navigate like locals.

Go2TheKeys, the first in a series of localized ‘Go2’ Apps from Flying Fish Interactive, breaks away from the impersonal data intensive approach common in travel Apps. Instead, Go2TheKeys delivers information gathered from a local perspective and then provides a guide in order to make sense of it all.

Go2TheKeys delivers the most up to date and robust information available anywhere, period. Each of the more than 2,300 listed businesses and points of interest were visited prior to inclusion.

Go2TheKeys let’s visitors navigate and enjoy a destination as if they were locals.

“Each business in The Florida Keys represent more than a data point to us. Each is an owners dreams and investments, an employees job and profession, a families income. Each represents a customers memory of a great vacation with family and friends.” Says Carlton Grooms, co- founder and CEO.

“We could not create this best in class App for The Florida Keys without having spent time getting to know our neighbors. I think that unique level of commitment and knowledge comes through in the App.” Grooms said.

“Go2TheKeys is a result of applying cutting edge technology and programming in new creative ways.” Said Lee Jones, the co-founder and CTO. “We constantly pushed the envelope of the Apple iOS. We applied our own location based services solutions to create something consumers have never seen. I am personally excited about our proprietary coupon system.”

Go2TheKeys can be used by visitors before their trip to The Florida Keys in order to plan their itinerary and highlight things they want to do and see. Keys businesses will be able to send customized offerings to users based on their interests as they plan their vacation. Once in the Keys, users can easily navigate The Keys, explore points of interest, and take advantage of Go2TheKeys unique coupon system which delivers customized offers to the traveler.

With Go2TheKeys loaded on their iPhone, visitors to The Florida Keys will no longer be lost due to no information or paralyzed by too much information. The App will help lead users off the traditional tourists paths and introduce them to a broader experience in The Keys. It will also help them save significantly more than traditional, non-earth friendly, paper based coupons and advertising.

Go2TheKeys is now available in the Apple App store for iPhone. The Android version will follow soon. It is being offered for FREE for a limited time.

So if you are going to be heading down to the islands in this lifetime... GET IT NOW!

If you’re not going to head to the southern string of islands, get it anyway! It’s FREE! Just check it out! I promise that even if you’re not headed that way, it will show you what a travel app should be!

See you on Saturday.... And will I see you at the second annual Conched in Key West Bar Crawl?


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do you wine any?

If not, you should. No, not whine, wine. Like make some wine.  It’s fun, it’s easy, and the results can be delicious! And this time of year, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Bountiful fruit stands and farmers markets are the wine makers playground. And the best part is, if you can imagine it, you can probably turn it into wine.

With a little know-how and a short list of equipment, you can make some great tasting wine, or better yet MEAD!

Mead is wine based on honey. Some mead is made with only honey and water. And to be quite truthful, those are my favorite. Their flavors wander from fruity to estery to blasting with honey... hell, I’ve had a few that you could confuse with a very light chardonnay.  Some meads are made with spices, some with fruit... basically, like I said, if you can imagine it, you can make it. If you’ve ever tried mead and liked it, rest assured that you can very easily make a better version than you can buy.

Like anything I do, I believe the key to success is abandoning your fear of failure!

So, if you’re interested, take a moment and let’s make some mead. (This is admittedly NOT a comprehensive guide. Read the Complete Meadmaker by Ken Schram for that)

This batch started out of necessity. They say that necessity is the mother of all invention, and I’m here to tell you that procrastination is the father of necessity! I bought a box of peaches and forgot about them. Then didn’t buy jars, so here I sit with a case of peaches going bad and nothing to do with them.

I began with 25 of the most ripe peaches in the box. Cut the bad spots out with gusto and washed them. Then I simply hand smashed them into my fermenting bucket making sure to keep the pit in my hands.

These 25 peaches net about 3/4 of a gallon of peach mush, to which I added water and honey to make a total volume of 5 gallons. A little yeast nutrient to get things going and two packages of wine yeast and we are making honey wine!

For those of you familiar with the concept, No, I didn’t worry about using campdon tabs or sanitizing the fruit. If the yeast does it’s thing, it will take over and raise the alcohol level quickly enough that all will be fine.

I spent 3 hours trying to re-liquify a gallon jug of honey that I had sitting around... For the last 2 years.

This was honey that I bought from a local bee keeper in hopes of a project long ago. As I said about procrastination.... well, it simply never happened! So, I have old honey, that will work just fine! It just took some work to get things flowing again.

This is admittedly a bit light on sugar for me. I normally begin mead with a ratio of 3# Honey for every gallon of a batch. That usually leaves me with a starting gravity (a measure of the sugar content that is used to calculate the alcohol content in the finished product) of 1.100... a nice place to start. 

Check back in on Thursday for the rest of my mead making evening!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy Rum Day

So, just in case you didn't know, today is Rum Day!

We dig rum here at BKB, and I think you will like it too! It's similar to craft beer in that there is an endless palate of favors to discover and enjoy. Also, like beer, rum is very easy to enjoy and easy to get into.

You don't have to start with a 30 year old Appleton Estate. You can grab a $30 bottle of Brugal or a $15 bottle of Cruzan. They are all so good!

If you are interested in learning about rum, check out Robs Rum Guide. He is like Mr. Rum, and a Top sponsor of this year's Conched in Key West Bar Crawl.

There are a ton of places to learn about rum, but listening to the man that slings it makes for some great reading at Bahama Bob's Rumstyles.  And if you can get down to crawl with us, Bahama Bob will even mix you a drink! has new rum related info every day, and it's always worth the read.

 So, I guess what I'm saying here, is if you don't get the chance to celebrate RumDay with a nice stiff drink, you can at least celebrate by expanding your knowledge a bit.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Long Story Short.

Wife's work computer has a hard drive failure.

I spent the day on Monday in the city waiting for the fix-it guys to recover data... which worked.


It's going to take 2 days to install the new drive and migrate everything.

And I will be up all night finishing the work I didn't do while waiting for the computer to be diagnosed and fixed.


My Mac from home has been recruited into active office duty until the work machine is repaired.

Thanks for checking in.... Hope to see you on Thursday!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

A little lesson that I will soon forget!

AHH The homebrew competition. IF you’re sick of hearing about it, maybe I can perk your funny bone by telling you about it.

Last Thursday was the homebrew competition,. I’ve been planning for it for months, I kew when it was and I still failed to prepare.

The beer was kegged on Tuesday. The problem? I kegged the beer Tuesday night after I had taken my C02 bottle to the fair grounds so we could serve soda pop at a food booth that we help with every year.

As you might have expected, the little bottle in the kegerator was empty.

Living in BFE, I wasn’t sure I’d find any bottles to trade or refill, but I lucked out and the local ACE had one in stock and for just over $40 I was on my way.

By Thursday evening, the beer was carbed up just fine, the sediment blown from the bottom, ICE in cooler, cooler in pickup, keg in cooler phone, keys, C02 and both kids all loaded into the pickup.


CRAP! Cooler, Ice, Beer, C02, keys and kids moved into other pickup, and we’re off! A little later than I’d hoped, but off!

A few miles down the road, my son points out that we are all but OUT OF GAS! DAMMIT!

At this point, there is nothing to be done but hope for the best. We are pointed toward the closest gas station, and I’m sure we will make it.

If that little gas station was 14 miles from my house, we had 13 miles worth of gas to get us there.

Pushing the pickup, with beer, cooler, ice, C02, keys and the kids driving... Oh, did you notice that the phone didn’t make the transfer from the first pickup to the second? Neither did I.

Fortunately, one of our off duty Sheriff's Deputies stopped and helped push the truck over the hump and got us to the gas station.

Credit card at the pump please... Or not. For whatever reason, the pump wouldn’t take the card, so standing in line inside was a must. But, 10 minutes later, we were on our way... Again.
Showing up at the comp 15 minutes late, I was glad to see that they had not started yet and we served beer! We served beer to almost 50 people.

You’d think that I would have gotten some votes? Well... Yeah, I got some, but as good as my beer was, one of the other contestants had made the Apricot Blond from Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, and he cleaned house with it.

This beer has traditionally done very well at our little competition. Matter of fact, both times I made it, it won.

So. There is a lesson here.

Get your shit together! This isn’t supposed to be a stressful thing!

But now, it’s time for another rodeo... No, not like that, a real rodeo. And I’ll be sitting on the fence photographing the whole thing.

Have a great weekend folks!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hey all!

Short post today because I’m busting it getting ready to serve a brew to some unenthusiastic patrons of our only local homebrew competition.

I’ve talked about it before, but here is how it works.

1. Get in line and get a ticket (FREE)
2. Drink beer
3. Drop your ticket in the box corresponding to the beer you liked best!

I have told you about my failures in this brew.

1. I boiled the grains trying to get a few extra degrees during the mash.
2. I gave it a full 2 weeks less time than it needed
3. I ended up kegging a beer that should have been bottle conditioned
4. After kegging, I discovered that the bottle of C02 in my keezer was basically empty

So basically, I’m going to serve a brew that is so green it should be Irish!

I did manage to grab a refill of the bottle, but only thanks to the paintball crowd in town and I will say that in this particular instance... ACE IS THE PLACE!

IF you manage to find this post on Thursday, I’ll be working at the office until 5, hauling ass 15 miles to home with a few bags of ice and both kids, grabbing the keg, bottle, regulator and hoses, a cobra tap and a cooler to put it all in, hauling another 15 miles to the fair grounds and hoping to pour the best damn Strawberry, Blueberry Jalapeno beer that this crowd has ever tasted!

Hope your day rocks!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Responsible Consumption!

Ok, there is always a lot of talk about binge-drinking college kids and how irresponsible they are.
So, I took it upon myself to just see what that does, or does NOT consist of.

One night last week, I realized that I’d had a bottle of rum open for a few hours and it was disappearing pretty quickly. I started thinking about people who like to brag about drinking whole bottles of alcohol and began to wonder if they are full of shit, or just getting it all drank down fast enough that they can finish the bottle before passing out.

I was, of course at home, and would NOT be driving anywhere, so I figured what the hell. I’ll give it a go.

I did have one immediate and surprising result... And a pleasant surprise it was.

I put out a few tweets about trying to drink a bottle of rum in a night, just to get a feel for how people in general would react to the notion.

Being that about 90% of my twitter followers are party people, beer aficionados, rummies and beach bums, I was amazed at the concern and caution tweeted my way!

The fine folks at Sailor Jerry Rum even cautioned that it was a bad idea, and made note that this isn’t a responsible thing to do. But again, controlled environment and not exactly being a college student who doesn’t know his limits... I decided to soldier on in the spirit of research.

The up shot of the whole deal, is that I set a rate of 3 drinks per hour and was drinking quite a bit of water and juice as the evening progressed. 4 hours later, the bottle was gone.

As pointed out by Sailor Jerry on their twitter account, a 1 oz pour should net you 20+ cocktails per bottle. But who mixes 1 oz pours? I use a shot glass to measure drinks, and usually think more in the lines of “Parts” rather than Ounces.

So I was mixing 1 part rum, 1 part grapefruit juice, 1 part Pineapple juice and 2 parts orange juice with a good splash of lime.

I don’t think that these drinks were excessively strong, nor do I feel like I was chugging them down like one might do when drinking beers with chips and salsa.

The steady pace was comfortable and probably pretty typical of a night out on the town. Say... Key West. I actually think that during the Key West Bar crawl, and the nights before, we may have been taking a bit quicker pace, possibly approaching 4 or 5 drinks per hour.

So, The end result? Would I have driven? NO WAY! Would I have been kicked out of a bar for being too drunk? Nope. Did I black out? No, but I was certainly ready for bed. Hangover? Nope. Ready to do it again tonight? No... I think I’ll save that for Key West in September. Do I think anyone should take this as a challenge? Absolutely NOT.  For one thing, that was a $20 bottle of rum that should have lasted me a week or more. Beyond that, it's not about how much you can drink, it's about how enjoyable it is.

And again, It was nice to see that my twitter party pals, and Sailor Jerry Rum were more concerned about responsible consumption than cheering TOGA TOGA CHUG CHUG CHUG.

This is even more proof that the stereotype of Beer Guys and Rum drinkers being irresponsible is simply false. Also more proof that Pū'ali koa are all grown up, responsible people who enjoy a drink or two. (or 12)

All kidding aside, we ALL need to promote safe consumption of alcohol. Some people immediately picture college students passed out in the bushes when they think of craft beer or spirits, and that simply isn’t how we roll!

Also proof that the younger drinkers... College age kids... are just showing their stupidity when bragging about drinking a lot of booze. KNOCK IT OFF! You’re giving us all a bad name!

Be Safe People!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ghost in the Guitar Part 2

Thanks for checking back!
Today, we continue our discussion with singer-songwriter Paul Jensen.

You do a lot of work helping promote other artists. That must be an amazing opportunity!     Tell us about Juan Carlos Productions.
 Juan Carlos Productions has existed now for 7 years with me, Barbara Rose Butler and John Malvey being business partners in this endeavor.  The concept was to always have fun with what we do or why do it. We have created a platform for different artist’s to showcase what they do and I believe we have achieved that.
 With so many artists taking on new styles of music, in example Zac Brown going all 70’s R&B and so many country artists taking to the Trop-Rock scene, have you ever thought of seeing what kind of inspiration you could draw from the Ocean?

I believe that artist’s are inspired by where they are planted. If I could spend time in the North West where the Redwoods meet the sea for any length of time at all I’m sure I would be inspired to write about it. You write about what you are around, who you are around and what your brain and soul is processing. I have written and recorded a song called “California” that has never been released. It was about how my Grandfather and Father migrated to that state because of the call of the ocean. Someday I hope that song see’s the light of day. For now it stays in the archives.
I have more music unreleased than released for one reason or another,

You had a vineyard? What kind of awesome was that?
 Here is an entry from my journals that speaks to how I felt about the vineyard I once had.
I will always reflect on that period of my life as one of my happiest times.

I have slept in the vines the past two nights
Will be out there tonight as well
A few plants down from the top of the row
The canes look healthy and tight
The canopies rattle soundly and healthily

In row 20
Gurgling water making its way to the vines
Crickets singing their praises of life to the clear and peaceful night
A billion stars piercing through the cloak of night
Wonderful silence in row 20

I live these plants
Beginning to understand their essence
I lay here and watch the yellow half moon shine through the leaves
I feel kindred to their life force
Row 20 is beautiful in its form
An entrance into my world of the grapes

Where can we find more of your music?
My music, as well as info, videos, and some fine stuff from some great artists, is available through

I hope you all get the opportunity to check out Paul’s work and more than that, I hope you actually hear what he is singing about!

There is something about an artist that really reaches into that deep and personal place to produce a product that you just don’t get every day!

To me, Paul is an inspiration and a treasure. His music, while not directly related to the ocean, is inherently “SALTY!”

The setting may be a bit different, but the message is the same! Embrace what you’ve been given and make the most of it!

ALL of the photos from this interview are courtesy of B.E. Butler Photography.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Ghost in the Guitar!

Well, for anyone who has been paying any attention, you know that I tend to stray a bit from the beaten path. I like things a bit deeper than average.

I see this as a good thing... Most of the time. I tend to be very passionate about things that interest me. The wife calls it obsessive. I don’t disagree!

I’ve shared some music with you before, but I think that this time I’ve got something very special that you probably have not seen or heard before.

Music takes you places. I dig a thumping beat that just sticks in your head as much as the next guy, and I must admit that some of the mindless gobbledegook on the radio really sticks in my head.

I had the opportunity to have a great singer - songwriter answer a few questions for me last week, and I think if you’ll take a minute to listen to his words and hear his music, you’ll get more than some catchy beat stuck in you head.

Paul Jensen is the type of artist that I would like to be. His recordings are noted for spiritual, haunting melodies that give you chills on the 100th time you listen to a song.

More than catchy radio tunes, Paul makes music that speaks to your soul. How do you ask for more than that?
Here is my Q&A with Paul:

How long have you been making music ?
 I have been writing (forming) original music since I was 13 years old
My Father showed me some chords on the guitar and I took off immediately writing
my own songs. I never had interest in learning other artist’s material – music has allowed me to express myself spiritually and that has meant allowing music to flow through me.
Music chose me……I didn’t choose music – very natural part of my life.
I was 15 when I had my first recording session and I’ve been hanging out in studios ever since.
I released my first “Record” when I was 18 years old – It was terrible but it allowed me to learn and realize that becoming a serious recording artist is what I wanted to do with my life.

 Why the mountains of Colorado? Isn’t it cold?
 I was born in Maryland; instantly our family moved back to Monterey California, and then moving to Grand Junction Colorado (Known as Western Colorado) when I was 3 years old.
 I often refer to the place as did the well known author and screen writer Dalton Trumbo as “Shale City”
It really has more of a Utah feel to it than what people think of when they ponder Colorado.
It is the gateway to the mountains of Colorado.
But yes, you are correct; it can still get cold in the winter.
 There are deep red-rock canyons here that have inspired me my entire life.
Deep friendships that span my entire life and family located here.

 Who were your biggest influences?
 There were so many people I it is a hard question to answer.
So many people that have helped me along the way to become a respectable recording artist.
My dear friends Will Ackerman and John Malvey have been the greatest guides to me from a production standpoint. They truly are friends as well. I love and cherish them both and have many fond memories with the both of them recording and otherwise.
I am a product of the 70’s singer/songwriter movement so there a slew of artist that are too many to list but John Denver and Dan Fogelberg and Michael Hedges are probably at the top of the list. Groups like the Eagles and America really gave me pleasurable meditations about how I thought great music could sound.
Getting to know and record with T-Bone Wolk from the band Hall and Oates while in Vermont was also very mind blowing along with Grammy award winning cellist Eugene Friesen.

 Your music isn’t exactly “Main Stream” How do you keep your focus?
 (Laughing)  I have no focus. Ask those in my inner circle.
I have read a lot of metaphysical material that smart and spiritual friends have turned me on to.
I like offbeat spots that are isolated and feel somewhat haunted. That keeps life interesting to me.
I’ve never thought of “fitting in” to any categorical aspects of music. It just is what it is.
It has kept the music pure and unadulterated and most importantly unique to me.

What is your favorite song to play live?

 I rarely play live these days but when I do I find that playing the song “Old Friends” (Mystagogia CD) is always heartfelt by the audience. It is a very old song and I think people really relate to it in their own lives and relationships with their own friendships.

What kind of guitar do you usually play?

Taylor 410 model (one of their cheapest models)
My dear friend Paul Scott rushed me down to the local music store swearing he’d found a incredible instrument for me.
He was right!
“Jenny” has turned out to be a freak (in a good way).
She has glorious sonic qualities that equal 30K guitars that I have played
She is pretty well beat up now –I’ve taken her on trips and trails and she has her ware and  tare but  is still my favorite instrument and she handles my alternative tunings as well…..I have fallen asleep playing her before and am thankful for Paul hooking us up. I have been with Jenny now for over 20 years.

Check back on Saturday for the rest of my Q&A With Paul!


The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
with the Buck Reilly series