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Awkward Introductions

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

Sitting down at our table at a recent beer dinner, we exchanged introductions with the other couple at the table…Man: “We’re not drinkers. We’re not smokers.”Me: “Well, we’re not smokers.”A laugh and smiles all around. It turns out couple were regula…

Michigan Beer Chair

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

A perfect weekend project…Just to be clear, the perfect weekend “project” would be sitting in the chair all weekend, not building the thing.Here’s to a relaxing weekend!
[ This content originated at Musings Over a Pint ]

A Range Time Break

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

There are telltale signs that let me know the summer is over and the dreaded cold weather isn’t that far off. One such clue is when the backpack blower gets strapped to my back and I start blowing leaves, which occurred this weekend. Another is when I …

Enjoying the Outdoors at Strangeways Brewing

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

After our beer exploration at Highmark Brewery, we headed over to Strangeways Brewing to continue our Saturday flavor journey. Since the Strangeways location was (sort of) on our way home it seemed silly not to. As with our previous visit, this was als…

It’s Monday on Blogger

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

Looks like the elves at Google managed to fubar the works again. About half the images on the Musings are missing this morning. I’m seeing this on other Blogger-based sites as well, and the other users are reporting the issue on the Blogger support for…

Highmark Brewery

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

Highmark Brewery opened early this year, just across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, in Stafford County. Somehow I hadn’t even heard about the brewery until this summer, and we finally made a visit this weekend. The brewery is located at the end of an unassuming commercial building, and I’ve actually driven by it on several occasions without noticing.

Entering the spacious tasting room, the large chalkboard listing the beer menu jumps out. With seventeen selections listed, I turned to Colleen and noted, “We have a few decisions to make.” Upon closer examination, some of the beers were marked as being out. Highmark has a large selection of fruit enhanced beers; peach, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, grapefruit, pineapple all were seen on the board. After a few minutes we had a selection of eight beers to try in our flight.

The beers we decided upon were Ginger Farm Saison, Blue Stone Kölsch, Yellow Belly Pale Ale, Déjà Vu White Peach Pale Ale, Highmark IPA, Sticky Fingers ESB with Strawberry, Amber IPA, and Raspberry Smoke Stout.

We spent some time working through the beers. We both especially enjoyed the Ginger Farm Saison and the Amber IPA. The Saison had a refreshing, moderately yeasty flavor with a hint of spice. Highmark’s take on Red Ale featured a pleasing toasted malt base with a touch of bitter hops. This was my favorite of the bunch. 
The Blue Stone Kölsch was the only disappointment of the beers. We felt it was lacking in the expected crispness, and clarity. The flavor was to me “soft,” and seemed stale. Leaving that one behind we enjoyed all the others. Overall, the beers were decent, though on the safe side. Granted many of the beers that might be expected to have bolder flavors, the IPA’s and Stouts, were unavailable during our visit.
Highmark’s website features a long list of food trucks that visit the brewery regularly, unfortunately there were none on site during our Saturday afternoon visit. As we sipped our beers, we detected the aroma of something cooking coming from the back. Soon, bags of fresh popcorn were delivered to the bar, and we promptly grabbed a couple (well, three eventually.) The popcorn was popped in coconut oil giving it a wonderful flavor. That was a nice treat to go along with the beer.
There were other local beers we wanted to try during our afternoon outing, so after finishing our flight, we headed out to another brewery and more beer.
To be continued…

[ This content originated at Musings Over a Pint ]

It’s All About Responsibility

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

I’ve written on the subject of beer and firearms together previously, and it’s not an uncommon topic of discussion among friends and acquaintances. In my opinion, nothing beats a good beer after a fun day at the range. Quite often I have to m…

Dangerous Anti-Gun Legislation Introduced

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

By “republicans.” Though that’s not really surprising.Read the bill here: these weasels are more interested in doing something than they are in doing something. This c…

"Gun Free Zones" Movie

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

This short film sums up “Gun Free Zones” perfectly.H/T to Andrew Branca.
[ This content originated at Musings Over a Pint ]

Potomac Grail IDPA Match

Syndicated From: Musings Over a Pint

On Saturday, I made the 2 1/2 hour drive to Thurmont, MD to shoot the Potomac Grail IDPA Match. I opted to shoot in the afternoon session, and so enjoyed a leisurely Saturday morning before I headed out. The drive was pleasant and on mostly rural roads, although I did have to fight with the Google Maps app to avoid the Interstates. The weather for the match was a little warmer than I had hoped for, but it was not unbearable.

The twelve stage match (match book here) was held at the Thurmont Conservation & Sportsman’s Club. This a nice facility with plenty of parking close to the bays. With one exception, the stages were set up two per bay, and the same SO crew ran each squad through both. Small squads and spacing between squads generally kept things moving, excepting when one squad got out of order, causing a cascading backup. It was a long but fun day of shooting and we completed the twelve stage match just before sunset. I enjoyed seeing friends and making a some new ones as well.

The Tier 2 match was promoted as a BUG/CCP self defense themed match. There was also a specialty division for “Carry Optics,” a division that to me seems somewhat contradictory to me. A late addition was made for Stock Service Pistol (SSP) in order to increase an early low registration count. The CO and SSP shooters were limited to loading 8 rounds in their magazines to keep some parity across divisions. I shot the SIG P320 Compact in this match.

When I first looked through the matchbook, I kept thinking, “Well, that’s different.” There were a lot of interesting props and scenarios which were sure to keep it interesting and challenging. I was not disappointed. I heard shooters throughout the day commenting on the uniqueness of the stages. It’s hard to pick my favorites, but I will describe some of the more interesting situations we faced.

In “Caught in the Kitchen” we began sitting or prone underneath the “kitchen table” with our gun on the ground near us. All shooting had to be done with our head under the table. The target placement was such that we had to shift our position between each of the three target arrays. As I crawled out from underneath after doing my walkthrough I was still unsure exactly how I was going to position myself. Interestingly, once I started shooting everything fell into place. This actually turned out to be one of my best stages, which I shot with just one point down.

“Spear Him” required us to simultaneously knock over a target with a two-handed throat punch, while stepping on a stomp plate the activated a drop turner and a swinger. The drop turner was fast and you had to be quick drawing your gun to shoot it before it disappeared. I did manage to get my two hits on it. Four stationary targets completed the stage.

“Food Court Terrorism” began by shooting a falling popper that activated an up-and-over target. After shooting that we went prone behind a row of barrels to engage the final three targets. Shooting prone is not all that common, at least in the matches I shoot regularly, and here were two prone stages in the same match. I enjoyed the chance to do so, especially since shooting from a prone position is forbidden at my local range.

“Girlfriend’s Ex Pepper Spray” had us starting out spraying a target in the “face” using an inert pepper spray trainer. We engaged targets while retreating, and again from behind cover. “John Wick Deadly Pen” was another stage with an out-of-the-ordinary start. We began in an elbows-forward blocking position holding a pen in our hand. The run started with us stabbing the pen into the bad guy’s “head” — an overripe melon. Then, running to retrieve our tabled gun we hit a stomp plate which activated a swinging non-threat before engaging the rest of the course of fire.

I always find “pick up” gun stages in IDPA to be fun challenges. I’ve not shot a large variety of hand guns and it’s interesting to try something new, and I also enjoy the mystery of what that first, cold shot will be like. As opposed to the truly awful trigger on the pick up Taurus at the Maryland State match this spring, on “John Wick One 7 Round Mag” we picked up a really sweet Remington 1911. (I’m not a 1911 fan, but maybe a full size 1911 might be a fun addition.) We did get to dry fire the gun a few times before shooting it.

Starting with the loaded gun in our strong hand, we had to engage seven targets, one shot to each, with the 1911. We then deposited the gun in a bucket, drew our own weapon, and finished the course. The targets engaged with the 1911 were set in three arrays that were arranged in a line, but placed with just enough separation in distance to require shooting in priority rather than down the line. I bobbled a bit picking out the order while I was shooting. The other threat targets on the stage were marked with black gun silhouettes, and interspersed with black hand non-threat targets, which caused me a few second looks. I finished just 2 points down, but learned a lesson to have my planned target shooting order better in mind.

“Mine Shaft Rescue” was an indoor stage built outdoors. The course of fire was encased in black plastic tarps. A small amount of light leaked in, but the optional flashlight was essentially a requirement. I was actually looking forward to some additional experience shooting with the light, even if it was only one stage. I ended up just two target points down on the stage, but also had one hit on a non-threat.

Another unusual shooting position tested us on “John Wick Shotgun Left.” In this we simulated being attacked in the middle of a shotgun reload. We were required to have the shotgun slung around our neck with the stock on our strong side shoulder, holding the barrel in our support hand, loading port up, and holding a dummy round at the port in our strong hand. We had to maintain the positioning of the shot gun while engaging three targets weak hand only. This should have been a clean run for me, but despite a lot of weak hand practice lately, I dropped three points. It was still fun.

In what was likely the most talked about stage, our strong hand shooting was really put to the test in “Hurricane Rioting.” For this challenge we held a ballistic shield in our support hand and at the start used it to push through a wall of four barrel “attackers,” knocking them over in the process. We then engaged six targets on the move, strong hand only, while looking through the window in the shield. Arriving behind cover, we dropped the shield and reengaged the targets with two more rounds each.

This was quite a unique challenge. At one point during my advance, I got a little off balance and staggered side to side a bit. I recovered but did give the SOs a good laugh. Though finishing seven points down for the stage, I was generally pleased. Again, it showed me that I need a bit more practice with one-handed shooting, although I have no range where I can add movement to any of my practice.

The low point for me in the match was when I had a brain synapses misfire and shot a strong-hand-only string freestyle, earning a 10 second Flagrant Penalty on one of the Standards stages. That, and the hesitations on the 1911 stage, reminded me that I need to be sure to do a final, specific, mental run through right before shooting. In both these cases, I think my mental prep amounted to “shoot them.”

I thought this was an exceptionally fun match. The stages were unique in their design, and while not overly difficult, provided challenges to both the shooting and mental games. I look forward to any match opportunities since my practice time is hampered by the limits of the indoor range, and an even more restrictive outdoor range. No matter the results I look appreciate the chance to do some non-static shooting.

In addition to the stage planning issues mentioned above, I found myself shooting a bit too fast and with less concentration toward the end of the day. However, I was generally pleased with my shooting on Saturday. A finish of 14th of 30 in CCP SS was not my best, but it was not my worse either. The Potomac Grail will be my last major match of the year, though there may be a couple local matches I can squeeze in for the balance of 2017. In any event, this would make a fitting and memorable conclusion to the season.

In my book, the inaugural Potomac Grail IDPA match was a success. As originally planned, the event was to include demonstrations by local self defense trainers as well. Unfortunately those did not pan out. I do like the concept behind this match, and I certainly hope it becomes an annual event. I’ll be there if it is.

I’ve also uploaded a few more photos here.

[ This content originated at Musings Over a Pint ]

Harry’s Wing & Beer Dinner

Last Wednesday evening Harry’s Alehouse held a Wing & Beer Pairing. This was the first beer dinner event we’ve been able to get to at Harry’s and it sounded like one we’d very much enjoy; four chicken wing selections paired with four beers.We arriv…


St. Patrick’s Festival To Honor Jeff Fitzpatrick

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival at Adventure Brewing South (formerly Blue & Gray Brewing) has been renamed to honor the late Jeff Fitzpatrick. The Free Lance-Star reports…

Adventure Brewing Co. is raising a pint to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in memory of the late Jeff Fitzpatrick, the area’s first local brewer.

Adventure bought Blue & Gray Brewing Co. in Spotsylvania County and are continuing his tradition of holding a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Adventure’s owners have renamed the event in his honor.

“We’re excited to host the parade this year,” said Stan Johnson, one of Adventure’s owners, in a news release. “The parade is a tradition for the families of Fredericksburg, so we’re glad to have the opportunity to continue that, and to honor Jeff’s legacy in the craft beer scene.”

This is a fitting tribute to this pioneer who brought craft beer to the Fredericksburg area. This quote from Jeff, a faithful Irish Catholic, fits his humor perfectly, and I can imagine the smile and laughter on his face when he said it. “We said ‘Kids eat free,’ and I ought to have known better than to invite a bunch of Irish Catholics to have their kids eat free.

See “Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade renamed in memory of Fredericksburg area’s first brewer” for the full story.

[ This content originated at Musings Over a Pint ]


Event: Adventure Brewing Oktoberfest

Since Adventure Brewing purchased Blue & Gray Brewing, the most frequent questions I’ve heard from folks revolve around the future of the popular St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest celebrations held each year at Blue & Gray. I’ve been told that …


Blue Mountain Beer Dinner

On Tuesday evening we enjoyed a beer and food pairing with Blue Mountain Brewery at Capital Ale House. The beers were not ones that are usually available at the restaurant, and the food dishes were specially created for the event as well.The MenuHors d…


Stealing the Flying Dog Glass

Tuesday evening the Flying Dog RV was spotted outside Capital Ale House. The occasion was a Flying Dog “Steal the Glass” night, featuring four Flying Dog beers served in an attractive etched glass. How could we resist going in?The four beers featu…


Rappahannock Political Forum 09

Local bloggers are coming to the rescue of local politics again this year in the form of the Bloggers Forum 09. Yours truly is one of several panel members participating in this event to showcase those running for Stafford and Spotsylvania VA superrvisor positions. For more info, click the banner to the right of the […]


Local Bloggers Pass 4,000 Posts!

Today marks a milestone of sorts. Actually it’s more of a surprise. I was checking some stats and has logged more than 4000 posts from local Fredericksburg, VA area bloggers. Way to go team! As we grow together, I’m working on changes to the website to group blogs.  You’ll all still end up in […]


City Taxes Going UP-UP-UP

For those of you that vote in Fredericksburg VA, here’s who you can thank for higher real estate taxes. Councilwoman Greenlaw made the final motion to raise the rate to $0.705 of every $100. That’s almost 26% percent. It was seconded by Vice-Mayor Devine. Councilman Kelly put forward an alternative $.68 of every $100. It […]


A few blog changes

First, a new addition. is a photographic view of Fredericksburg, with a bit of history about those places appearing in the shots. Death of a blog, that’s what happens when things start getting out of hand when ‘friends’ take posts in a direction not intended.  Of course I’m talking about the Fred Vegas Chronicles.  Fredericksburg’s very […]


Kindle Mania! Fredericksburg Hits the Big Time

Now get the area’s hottest news delivered direct to your Amazon Kindle! tries to bring together a diverse set of blogging content, and it is now available in more formats than ever. Hopefully they will drop the price to make getting the local inside story more affordable.