The Day After…

On March 26, 2008, in Brew Pubs, Craft Beer, Food, Homebrewing, Music, by Mark Ranes

Yesterday, we dropped off Brenda’s car in Livermore, grabbed a rental (a Pontiac G5 – ugg!) and headed off to Concord. After a quick stop at MoreBeer to get a variety of stuff – most notably four vials of White Labs Pacific Ale yeast (thankfully White Labs has decided to make this yeast available year-round. It used to be one of their seasonal Platinum strains), we headed off to the EJ Phair Alehouse. I was disappointed that the didn’t have Drake’s IPA on tap, but they did have Stone IPA, so I had that with their Spicy Steak Wrap. Good stuff:)

Spicy Steak Wrap

We killed some time shopping and then picked up the Jag. Traffic was light (spring break?) and we got to Redwood City with plenty of time for dinner. We had Mexican food for dinner, at a place called Margaritas, about a block from the Fox Theater. As we were finishing dinner, Paul Thorn and the band walked by the restaurant, presumably heading out for dinner before the show. I waited in line at the box office to pick up our tickets, while Brenda got in the main line to enter the Little Fox.

Little Fox Marquee

There was open seating, so we were hoping to get good seats. There were only a dozen or so people in line in front of us, so we weren’t too worried:) Unfortunately, there were having sound board problems, so we had to wait an additional half hour, out in the cold, before we were let into the theater. At 7:30 p.m., they let us in and we grabbed two seats, literally in front of the center-left side of the stage. We were so close I rested my feet on the stage for most of the show! I grabbed a couple of beers for us (I had a Sierra Nevada Pale). We kicked back waited for the show to start. It was a older crowd, and many of the folks had Paul Thorn stories to tell. Paul and the band came out exactly at 8:00 (I love people that are on time:) and he immediately apologized for wearing an ugly shirt.

Paul Thorn Performing

He said he’d gone out for a run that afternoon, come back to the Little Fox, and was bummed that there was no shower – so he’d taken what he called a “whore bath,” where you clean yourself with paper towels and water. Then he discovered that the venue didn’t have an iron to press his shirt for the show, so he had to wear a shirt that he could pull directly out of his suitcase, and didn’t need ironing. It was an interesting shirt…

He played almost all of the new CD, but the cuts sounded polished, like they’d been playing them for years. Paul sang an acoustic set in the middle of the show, to spell the band, and he played one of my favorite unrecorded tunes, “Might as Well Stay Married.” One of the lines goes “I couldn’t get laid when I was single, if you threw me in a women’s prison, so I might as well stay married.”

All in all, the band played for two solid hours, without a break, and it was the best show I’ve seen Paul put on. After the show, Paul met with crowd to sign CDs and take pictures. He is a gracious guy and took the time to chat individually with everyone who wanted to meet him.

Mark and Paul

Me and Paul. Aren’t you glad I Photoshopped out the bloody eye? 🙂

Brenda and Paul

Brenda and Paul

Autographed CD

My autographed CD

We were on the road by 10:15 p.m. and home a little after midnight:)

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Wow! Wyeast 1388 is a Workhorse!

On March 24, 2008, in Craft Beer, Homebrewing, Stuff..., by Mark Ranes

Jeez – just a little more than 48 hours later, the Belgian Strong Golden is all but done! The airlock is only bubbling about once every 30 seconds and there’s a huge yeast cake on the bottom of the carboy. Tomorrow morning I’ll give the carboy a swirl (yea, I’m a swirler:) to re-suspend the yeast and hope to get a couple more points off the final gravity. I’ll not rush this ale out of glass, so it’ll sit on the yeast for at least ten days, if not longer.

On a completely different note, when I woke up Saturday morning, eager to brew the Belgian Strong, I noticed that one of my eyes was red – like a small blood vessel had burst, but it didn’t look too bad. My eyes are often pretty funky looking and red after taking a shower, so I didn’t think a whole lot about it. But within an hour or so it kinda blossomed (if you look carefully at Saturday’s pictures you can see it:) and over the next day it started looking pretty bad. Brenda suggested that if it didn’t get better I ought to call the optometrist’s office and see what they had to say. By Sunday, it looked bad and I had pretty well decided to call the eye Doc on Monday morning.

I called this morning and they reassured me that the burst blood vessel wasn’t dangerous, or even that urgent, but I could come in if I was worried. A strange coincidence, I’d planned on getting an appointment for a regular check-up this week since I’m on spring break. Of course, they had no last minute appointments available, but put me on the “call list.” Well, I got a call about 3:00 p.m. today saying that they had a cancellation for 4:00 p.m., so I jumped at the opportunity:)

The doctor looked at it, laughed (he’s an old family friend:), and said I had a good one indeed!

Red Eye Mark

It may take as long as a month for all the blood to drain out and make the eye look normal again. Great…

Tomorrow is a full day. We drop Brenda’s Jag off in Livermore to get worked on, I have a leather jacket to return to Wilsons in Pleasanton, then it’s off to EJ Phair (they currently have Drakes IPA and Schooners IPA as guest handles – yum!) in Concord – and a quick trip to MoreBeer. Once we pick up Brenda’s car, we’re heading down to Redwood City and the Paul Thorn show. Life is good!

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