A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

Star Wars……who doesn’t love this movie?  I have been a big fan of the franchise since I was a kid.  Of course I have seen all the movies and anticipate their arrival in theaters.  Of course there are the three prequels which are so-so.  I was really excited to hear three new movies would be coming out.  I have already seen A Force Awakens, got the inbetweener of Rouge One this December and then the 8th installment in the franchise late in 2017.

star wars alamo logo

All these later movies can trace their origin back to the original trilogy.  When they where first released I was to young to see them in theaters.  In fact when Star Wars: A New Home was released, I wasn’t even born yet.  Fast forward almost forty years and the Alamo Drafthouse is bringing back the original trilogy.  The Almao is known for funky stuff and this trilogy is right up their alley.  You just have to see a movie here if you get the chance.  Now I would finally be able to see all three movies on the big screen.  Delay after delay for ticket sales and then a date change on top of that but finally the day arrived.

IMG_4349None of my family could understand how I could sit in the theatre for three movies in a row.  If you’re not a fan you wouldn’t understand.  When you find something you are passionate about, only others who are equally as passionate can understand why we do the things we do.  I see the same thing with Phish all the time but I digress, today is all about Star Wars.

It took a lot longer to get to the Warner Theatre then I anticipated.  I arrived almost 30 minutes after the first movie and because this is the Alamo, I decided to head to Shelly’s for a cigar and beer till A New Hope was finished.  I planned to smoke a cigar after the movie but the middle of the afternoon suited me just fine.  As hot as it was outside, it was nice smoking a cigar indoors while drinking a beer and watching the Olympics.  In fact this was the most Olympics I had seen since they started.

IMG_4350Cigar finished and A New Hope over, it was time to settle in for the remaining two movies.  Not much to say other then the movies are great and if you haven’t seen them, go.  Shows ended earlier then I thought too.  Still took forever to get home on Metro because of SafeTrack.  I did love the fact I could get on Wiehle-Reston East and take it all the way into the city.  Once they complete the Silver line it will be even easier getting into the city.

Loved the experience, not sure if it was totally worth the ticket price but it was a great adventure on a blazing hot Saturday nonetheless.

The Adroit Theory of Beer

New_Skull_Logo_ATBCOn Saturday we went to a family gather.  My niece Ellie just turned 9 and happened to be in town from Vancouver.  Bobby took the kids on a cross country adventure for a two week vacation in Virginia.  Saturday was a big family gathering to celebrate her birthday.  Eric who is a pretty avid hop head so naturally we started talking about beer.  One of his favorite local breweries is Adroit Theory.  Nancy went when they first opened and I had never been so it was about time we took a short trip to Purcellville to visit this micro brewery.

Tons of barrels for aging beers.  More then half were aged in some sort of wooden barrel.
Tons of barrels for aging

Like many breweries now a days it is in an industrial park on the outskirts of town.  There is a patio outside and when we arrived, they had the garage door open.  The patio is rather large and has plenty of seating.  Despite all the canopy cover it was still to hot to sit outside.  We found a table next to a fan and settle in for a few samples.  The place certainly has a hard rock and punk theme going on with the decor and music choice.  I think it lends to the selection of beer they create as well.

They don’t do flights but do offer 3 ounce pours of any beer they have on tap.  The day we went that was 24 taps, one cask and maybe half a dozen bottles.  Looking over the menu it is some eclectic stuff I must say.  At least half are barrel aged and only one had an ABV less then 5.  Most of the beers are definitely imperials with the average, throwing out the 4.6%, is at least 10%.

serious working going on here
serious working going on here

Adroit uses some interesting ingredients to come up with their beers.  Looking at the menu it would appear they have created 450 different varieties and are always coming up with new stuff.  I love the creativity they have with their beer.  We stayed for a good long while and I had four beers.  This is certainly a place you can visit and spend hours sampling beers for two reasons.  First they have such a large variety of beer and two is because of the high ABV.  If you are not careful, you’ll start feeling it real quick.

The flavor combos they have are really interesting.  Lots of stouts aged in a variety of liquor barrels.  Tons of saions and farmhouse ales thrown in for good measure.  If you like to be adventurous in your beer, this is certainly a place to but on your list of must see brewers here in Virginia.

A nice bar area at the brewery.
A nice bar area at the brewery.

Happy 70th Birthday Dad

Pretty nice space for Fair Winds.  Still an industrial park but lots of space and well laided out.
Pretty nice space for Fair Winds. Still an industrial park but lots of space and well laided out.

Last Saturday was my dad’s birthday.  Unfortunately he is no longer around to help celebrate but that doesn’t mean we didn’t celebrate without him.  I miss him everyday.  Times like this make me really appreciate the time we did spend together.

In honor of him we went to a local brewery in Lorton, Fair Winds Brewing Co.  This is the first time I have been to the brewery and besides the Kerri’s Cure, I haven’t had their stuff before.  They are on a few local taps, most notable Lost Rhino Retreat near my house.  Despite that, I never had their stuff before and was looking forward to it.  Being a celebration, I dove right into full glass, skipping the sampling they offered all together.

Fair Winds Dank & Stormy
Fair Winds Dank & Stormy

Having just returned from France and all Belgium, farmhouse, and saison it was about time I drink a proper IPA so I dove right into the Dank & Stormy.  This imperial IPA was really good in my opinion, getting an above average score from me.  While waiting for Matt and Pat to arrive, I had time to get their Home Port Sout which was also good.Once the rest of the crew arrive we caught up about our recent trip to France and reminisced about my dad.

That night we went back to Pat’s house for a nice dinner.  We decided to have a classic “Henry meal” which he would love to cook on Sunday: flank steak, roasted potatoes, and asparagus.  Nothing special but it was always a go-to meal for him.  Having that meal really brought back some memories.

My dad has been dead for two years now but it seems like only yesterday he was still with us.  I think of him often and miss him a lot.  Its the little things that I miss the most like not being able to give him a call and ask for advice or hit a brewery for a good beer.  I know we will meet again but until the, I am going to live my life like he would want me to.

Happy birthday dad.

cheers dad!
cheers dad!

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Our traditional weekend at the beach to kick off the official start of summer.  Most of March was rainy and unseasonable cold in our area so we had high hopes for a nice trip to the beach and the weather really delivered I must say.  Nancy and I got an early start to our travels and left our house by 2pm which for us was early but by Memorial Day weekend traffic, was still late.  It look us 4 hours to arrive but once we did it was great to finally be there.

Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Dogfish Head Festina Peche

Pat arrived on Thursday and Greg, Maggie and the kids were already there hanging out.  We arrive just in time for dinner but ended up skipping it that night and went straight to drinking and smoking.  Nancy and I stopped to get a growler of Festina Peche from Dogfish and it took us no time at all to finish that growler.  This years blend is pretty good by the way, they are back on top for their seasonal sour!  Arriving as early as we did it felt like we had an entire day at the beach.

Saturday was certainly the best day of the weekend in terms of weather.  We got an early start and spent several hours on the beach just lounging and relaxing.  Rarely do we actually go to the beach for various reasons but with the whole family in town, we made it a point to get out there.  For everyone it was a perfect day.  Greg and I spend our time under umbrellas people watching.  The ladies bathed in the sun getting their first official tan of the year while the kids played on the beach.  Jack was the only one to get in the water and as we knew, it was cold as crap out there.  The temperature was in the low 70’s with a nice breeze coming off the water, even the sand wasn’t hot.  Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a better beach day.

Memorial Day weekend so we just gotta cook some ribs.  They didn't turn out well but everyone still loved them.
Memorial Day weekend so we just gotta cook some ribs. They didn’t turn out well but everyone still loved them.

That night was our turn to cook so we decide to smoke some ribs.  Overall it was a disaster.  When I opened the pack of ribs they where rotten so that meant a quick trip to the grocery store to resupply.  Then the equipment I had was sub-par and caused a problem cooking the ribs.  First there was  flare up that scorched the ribs, then I couldn’t get a constant temp that I needed.  After four hours they where done but in my opinion they tasted like crap, not up to my standards, but everyone ate them and no one went hungry that night.

After dinner it was back to the side of the house for cigars and drink.  Honestly it was one of the things I loved the most about the weekend.  Just hanging out with the family having a great time.  I got to sample some great beers and smoke a shit ton of cigars with Greg.  Each night it was funny, the adults hung out and the kids would disappear to the boardwalk.  Greg and Maggie didn’t have to worry much about the kids.  Where the house it, everything is in walking distance and with it being a tourist town, there are families, kids and cops to watch over everyone all over the place.  This allowed the adults time to relax and the kids to entertain themselves with a moniker of freedom.

It was a perfect day at the beach.
It was a perfect day at the beach.

Sunday was an early morning for myself.  On Saturday night Joey asked what time the sun rose, 5:38am in fact.  He wanted to grab a coffee and watch the sun rise from the beach.  I thought that was such a cool idea I joined him.  The morning came early but Joey to his credit, was already up and making coffee by the time I got downstairs.  To my surprise Zack also joined us as well.  We drove down to the beach and spend about 2 hours watching the sun rise and the town come to life.  Joey and I smoke cigars and we all just hung out enjoying the beauty of nature.  It took a while to get the boys to talk but by the end of our time, we had a good conversation.  When we got back to the house the boys went back to sleep and I took the time to enjoy another cup of coffee and read the post on the porch before the house awoke.

That afternoon we all hit the outlets.  Everyone was able to find something, including myself which I never do.  I know the ladies did a number on the credit card by the amount of bags they kept walking out of stores with but it was good to get out and get some new threads.  Our last night at the beach and it was a steak dinner cooked by Greg.  The steaks where well done but still tasted good.  Afterwards we made our first trip out on the town and hit the Beachside Bar just down from the house, a new place that has recently opened up.  Our last night was pretty somber and quite in fact.  It was the last night to the end of a great weekend.  Come Monday all of use with the exception of Pat hit the road to come home.

IMG_3614Monday the Free’s got a super early start.  Greg doesn’t like traffic so they got up really early and started packing for the drive home.  Surprisingly we all made it out of the house by 9 to head back to Virginia.  Just in time for the rain to start from a tropical storm that was coming up the coast.  That tropical storm caused our Sunday to be dry and clear for the most part so it wasn’t all bad.  Nancy and I made it home in a record 4 hours with plenty of time to relax and get ready for the short work week ahead.

This was definitely one of the better trips we have had to the beach during Memorial Day.  We got some new travel companions with the Free’s, Saturday was a perfect beach day, cold beer, lots of cigars, good food and family.  What more could one ask for?

Stony Man Mountain

A few weeks ago I decided to go hike and lets just say that didn’t happen.  Since my last hike turned into a beer adventure, I decided to try again for a hike.  I knew it was going to rain in the morning but by the afternoon it was going to be clear and 71 as a high.  The fatal flaw in this plan was that was the weather for my house.  I figured that since Shenandoah National Park is to the west of my house, it would stop raining sooner out there and shouldn’t be a problem.  Next time I need to check the weather in the park not just my house.

IMG_3502I got a late start, like always, and drove the couple hours to get to the park entrance at Thorton Gap.  Looking through my hiking book I wanted to hike Hazel Falls and Cave, it sounded like a pretty good hike, little over 5 miles out and back nothing terrible.  I should have known when the park ranger at the entrance said it was free admission to celebrate the park service 100th anniversary things would be packed.  The lot for Hazel Falls was jammed with no available parking even along the road.  This just meant a quick change of plans and onto the next parking lot.  Because my first choice was taken, I was going to settle for any open lot I could park at.

I had to travel another 10 miles into the park before I found a place to park and start my hike.  When I got out of my car, I didn’t even know what trail I was near and had to rely on the map at the trial head to tell me where I was and what my options where.  It ended up being a trail to the top of Stony Man mountain which was good with me, I love hiking up mountains for the views from the top.

IMG_3509The trail itself was rather busy for such a crappy day.  I can only imagine it was because of the free admission, it certainly wasn’t the weather that was bringing everyone out that day. The first section was pretty strenuous with a lot of switch backs to make it up the mountain. I would say about a third of the way up the trail there is a large cliff section, with all the fog you couldn’t see much of anything but it was still amazing.  I was sitting on the edge and while I couldn’t see much, I could see the wind pushing the fog and as it hit the side of the mountain, it was getting pushed up the cliff.  It was really cool to see the power of the wind with the fog.  It was almost like tracks racing up the mountain, you really had to be there.  When I was finished I ran into another couple that thought I had a wing suit and was going to jump off.  I might be crazy but I’m not stupid.

IMG_3526The rest of the trail was pretty moderate.  Near the top of the mountain the trail starts to split off with no signage which sucks.  I honestly thought I was going to get lost but eventually I did find the summit of the mountain.  Just like the cliff I found lower on the mountain, fog obscured the entire view of the valley.  Regardless, I found a nice seat along the edge of the mountain and just hanged out for a while.  Here it was still windy but I couldn’t see the fog rolling through like further down on the cliff.  I believe there is path that wraps around the base of the mount and connects to the trail lower down but they had this section closed off for a bird sanctuary.

Having spent my time on the mountain it was time to head home.  With all the crappy weather it finally decided to rain when I was about half way down the trail.  The week before I left my rain jacket at the beach and have been cursing that ever since.  I certainly could have used my rain jacket that day but it was fine.  A nice hike with lots of people the day I went.  I really would like to go back on a clear day and really get a view from the top, hopefully it will also be not as busy but its nice to see so many people outside enjoy the national park system.