Dream Job

My friend sent this picture (from here).

Winter’s approach cools the appeal some, but still my heart aches for such a set up.  Maybe I load the rig on a train and head south until temperatures in the north begin to behave once again.

But not just yet.  Today I enjoyed a perfect fall day.  I got out on the Allez for a neighborhood roll.  Short ride but long enough to have a Coke distribution truck take my right of way at an intersection.  Would have been a classic left hook, but his shot missed the mark (me).   I was going slow enough to stop.  Today and tomorrow are supposed to be as nice, so I hope to get out for a longer ride(s).

Mahar’s was hopping last night.  So busy they had to limit entry to avoid exceeding capacity.  I hadn’t seen that before, but a more experienced companion said he has.  So happy that folks are coming out again.  I hope it is because the cask conditioned ales are back, but I don’t run into many folks who get as excited.  Do you?  If not, your feelings may change if you read about real ale here.  Even more detail here.  Words don’t do it for you?  Get a pint!

I had the cask conditioned Middle Ages X from the Middle Ages Brewing Company in Syracuse, New York.  A delicious fruity and easy drinking beer.  Looking it up today I see that it is supposed to be an American double IPA, so I wonder what I was served.  A double IPA should be extra bitter with extra hops.  Might have been served a Duke of Winship (it was also being served and the description of that ale more clearly matches what I tasted).  No matter.  I prefer less bitter beers.  In any event, I am certain I need to go back and investigate.

A companion had a cask conditioned Raindrop Pale Ale from Wandering Star brewery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  I had believed that all of Mahar’s cask conditioned beers were from the Middle Ages Brewery, but this is clearly not the case.  Wandering Star opened in 2011 and apparently Mahar’s could not resist offering another real ale from a local brewer.  I am glad for it.  The Raindrop is  a real stunner in its understated perfection.  Nice toasty malts happening.  If I had a bigger beer budget, I would drink this one often.  From Wandering Star’s site, I see my first reference to IBUs (International Bitterness Units).  Similar to English Bitterness Units (also news to me), but not always in perfect synch.  A light lager might have 8 IBUs.  An Indian Pale Ale might have 100 of them.  The Raindrop is in the middle with 44 of them.  The land of perfect to my palette.  I wish more brewers placed IBUs on the label, but for now I will have to continue to learn about the typical bitterness of the major styles and wing it from there.

Wish list (not that Mahar’s takes suggestions from me, but one can dream)?  From the descriptions of Wandering Star’s offerings, I am excited to try their Mild at Heart.  From their site:

‘Dark Mild’ English style session beer with the ABV and color of an Irish Stout but a nuttier, softer mouthfeel from crystal and chocolate malts, and a finishing dryness from aroma hops. Brewed for drinkability to extract the maximum complexity and flavor from a relatively ‘light’ beer, warm fermented to accentuate dark fruit and roast malt notes. Conceived for cask and perfect served as a Real Ale. Hopped with Cluster and Perle. 29 IBUs.  4.4% ABV.

I am a huge fan of session beers and this one sounds delightful.

No session beer but no less a favorite of mine, we found on tap at Mahar’s Three Philosophers from Ommegang.  Lacey had a pint (9.8% ABV!) and lived to tell about it.  One of her favorites, so she knew where she was headed and happily accepted the consequences.

The Brewery Ommegang is such a special place.  Proud to have it hard at work in our neighborhood (defined broadly).   They have threatened to leave the area if fracking starts.  I don’t blame them.  No one wants beer made with poison water.  Even though drilling hasn’t started in NYS, property values are already dropping in counties with gas drilling leases on the books.  Potential buyers are asking about leases on properties they consider and even ask about leases on adjoining properties.  Lenders are hesitant to lend and insurers are hesitant to insure.  Already own land there?  Allowing drilling on your land is probably a covenant default under your mortgage.  Damage caused by the drilling is probably not covered by your residential homeowners insurance.

It is all so crazy.  Hard to believe anyone wants the fracking, but of course some do.  I woke at 5:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, in Delaware County, and I needed something to read while I waited for my inlaws to wake up.  The Daily Star from Oneonta was on the table, so I had a look.  This column from Chuck Pinkey invites the drilling to start and shrugs off Ommegang’s threat.

We sit upon a large reserve of natural gas, the cleanest burning energy, and we’re afraid to act. The same people who use energy produced elsewhere moan and groan at the thought of gas exploration in our area. Contamination, truck traffic and lower property values are foreseen by the same folks who predict earthquakes caused by fracking. Are we to believe fracking will move the continental shelf?

As New York dies economically, we are also threatened by Ommegang Brewery. It is warning that it would have to consider relocating if the town of Middlefield’s ban on gas drilling is struck down and horizontal gas drilling begins. Ommegang employs about 83 people. Big screaming deal! I’ve seen years when that number of farms have gone out of business.

Looks like he isn’t one to get sentimental about Ommegang’s product.  Read the comments and he makes that perfectly clear.

Chuck Pinkey owns New Holland equipments dealerships in Oneonta, Hamden and Stamford.  Hamden and Stamford are in Delaware County.  Very unlikely that fracking will happen there because of the presence of the Delaware River Watershed (supplying water to New York City).  Oneonta is in Otsego County, same as Cooperstown and Ommegang.  Fracking could happen there, but since the gas is near the surface the (current draft) regulations are stiff.  As a result, drilling is unlikely there, too.  Most at risk is Broome County (Binghamton).  The gas there is deep and the (current draft) regulations are less restrictive.  Well out of the way of Chuck Pinkey’s dealership area (and his drinking water), so he can comfortably run his dealership, write articles in support of fracking and make time to host a Tea Party rally at his dealership.  Even if sales of New Holland’s farm machinery fall off after remaining farms close due to poison water (will semi-informed consumers want produce grown anywhere in “the fracking state”?), sales to gas companies of New Holland construction equipment can fill in the blanks.  With all that I shouldn’t be surprised that Chuck Pinkey wants fracking.  

Big sigh!  Maybe it would help if I invited Chuck Pinkey over for a plate of pumpkin biscuits, soy sausage and soy milk gravy and some serious conversation about protecting our natural resources.  I’ll describe the meal as biscuits, sausage and gravy.  Fair?  Fair enough.



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