MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600 700 Prē HTC Evo,Samsung 5. Now it serves as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Big Shag Big Stout - HDW Review

Backdated repost of an HDW missive from Camp. An important historical link in the Big Shag Big Stout saga, and pointing to the future of yooper home brews:
-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Big Shag Big Stout - Sept 3 2005
Date: Sat, 03 Sep 2005 22:59:37 -0500
From: HDW

Big Shag Big Stout - Sept 3 2005:
I am at the cabin, ending a near three week stay. I have posted 7 Big Shag updates, but frankly they'd be about 10 megs of pics, so I"m not forwarding them on now and crushing your in boxes. The first 2 1/2 weeks I was here with Jonah and Leah. Then I was called to the office for a meeting on AUG 31, drove down in a hurry, and left the tribe there. Returned to finish up some work here, and thought I should at long last try the stout, and retrieved a bottle from the well.

It is 51 degrees here, at 9PM and the temp is supposed to go into the low 40's tonight. The wood stove is keeping things fine and toasty, and true to its efficient form, I have the windows open because otherwise it'd be too hot in here.

The Big squared fizzed nicely on opening. A fine head on decanting, and good at the nose.

Yesterday I was out at Little camp, and looking at the river a bit beyond the dirt road turnoff. The clouds, river, sky, all said take this picture, so I did.

And .. Lo and behold I discovered a fine vine in complete harvest mode growing up the "do not pass" sign. The sign vine transplanted by Joel in the spring did not survive. But, this is evidence a wild U.P. hop strain doing just fine along the banks of the Escanaba. Perhaps some future trip east from the brewmaster on Labor day will mean an all Escanaba brew : water and hops. A detail of the vine:

The Big squared caught me off guard at first, as I was anticipating something heavier like a Guinness. It's lighter and chocolaty. No hint of Bay muck, algae or "bass Pee" at all. A fine stout. Another reason for a trip on Labor day may be to sample these:

About a dozen and a half of these boletus edulis came up in the front lawn at big shag. I am doing a spore print as a safety and plan on cooking these up tomorrow with a trout with Mike in Menominee. I'll report later to the mycophagists here on the success of the feast.

Lastly, Thought I'd finish with this guy, snapped on the bank when fishing yesterday.

A white sided tree frog.

How was the beer? Pretty good.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Harlan guest post: The Tale Of The Shed Repair

Big Shag update #7 August 26, 27, 28, 29, 2005




First… a digression. Nasrudin, the Sufi sage, tells this tale:
"One day I was walking along a deserted road. Night was falling and I spied a troop of horsemen coming toward me. My imagination began to work, and I feared that they might rob me, or impress me into the army. So strong did this fear become that I chose to race my horse in the opposite direction, but soon, it was apparent that they would overtake me. With that I leaped over a nearby wall and found myself in a graveyard. The other travelers, innocent of the motives I had perceived, became curious at my actions and pursued me. 
When they came upon me lying motionless, hiding behind a gravestone, one said, "Can we help you? And, why are you here in this position?" 
Realizing my mistake I said, "It is more complicated than you assume. You see, I am here because of you; and you, you are here because of me."
We had been warned years ago, Uncle Sid had said sister up that beam.  It was obvious to all by now, that the cave-in of the shed had started. So, what to do. 

The process started innocently enough, a discussion about fixing a a fallen corner of the shed. Way back in June, it was proposed to some guests at the cabin who were looking for a project, but they declined, smart lads that they are. Robyn and the Carlson crew did the initial exploratory surgery, quickly discovering the need for a specialist. A phone call describing the extent of the damage, and a discussion to forego the expensive option of hiring a professional was debated. After consulting with other experts, it was decided that Mike and I would spend an afternoon fixing the shed.

I spent a week surveying and realized that the one corner was not enough to save the shed. Confirming the earlier diagnosis, when Rachel and master carpenter Kettu arrived Friday afternoon we started the demolition, like surgeons excising a tumor removing the damaged wood.

Saturday morning found this result:


This is the southeast corner at the limit of the removal – the corner post, the beam, and the back cross support all removed.


This is the southwest corner, with the beam removed and the top sections of the supports excised as well.


A rear view, above, and a top view, below of the limit of the initial teardown.


At this point we felt good about the state of the work, as it seemed still doable. By mid day substantial progress had been made toward putting it back together.



What you see above are all of the back sections of the beams sistered, with double new beams on each of the outermost corners. Soon, the plywood decking went on:



But... Then the trouble started. We had envisioned feathering the new roofing under the old. As we peeled back the tar paper more problems were discovered. Notice the large wooden patch in the image directly above –this wood was completely rotten. Notice in the picture above, sections of the original plank decking that were missing. Not rotted, just never put in place – short width planks on both sides that had major holes. We retired for the night – despairing a bit.

The next day we decided the only reasonable thing was to bite the bullet, rip out the newly discovered problems and take off all of the roofing surface. It was the only way to confirm the stability of the upper part. Demolition of the rotted middle section and the top decking exposed.



We replaced the holes, and trimmed the overhanging rotted drip edge. The end of day 2 on project shed.

This is what the reconstructed SE corner looked like with new overhang installed.


Project rolled roofing material was then under way.



Monday night at about 6 PM – the masters of construction rest – the project complete. 


The masters of destruction created quite a mess made in the process, and that mess is still in place. I'll try to get back up to do some cleaning, but the packing and sorting and delivery to the dump of that material will have to wait for some future visitors.

The shed repair is complete, and I believe made solid for at least twenty/forty more years.

A new complete rolled roof, with about 5/8ths new plywood decking, plus proper drip edges. The odd fold over on the strange soffit at the front of the roof was preserved. It was idiosyncratic, and had no basis in historical shed reconstruction, but because it seemed to work, and was a telling architectural detail, we worked to preserve it.

Also added were two vents to the back corners for air exchange, thinking that perhaps that might keeps things dry in there. Not a lot of pictures of the kids in this message, although they did take most of the photos.
"It is more complicated than you assume.
You see, I am here because of you; and you, you are here because of me."

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Big Shag Big Stout - Hood River Review

A Hood River review was documented in this e-mail without photographic support. Backposted here to document the historically significant brewmaster notes.
---- Original Message ----

Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 5:42 PM

From: MW

Subject: RE: Northern Californian Big Shag Big Stout tasting

No really. What did you think of the beer? - mw

---- Original Message ----

Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 15:01:46 -0700
From: MR

Subject: RE: Northern Californian Big Shag Big Stout tasting


Joel,


You neglected one other important review--nephew Connal was overheard to remark "...tastes like every other beer I've ever tasted" in a surly attitude typical of a 13 year old. Now mind you I didn't see him actually take a taste of the Shag Stout and you also have to wonder how one so young could develop such a discerning palate but in the interest of fair and balanced coverage I think we must report on his review.


- Matt


-------- Original Message --------

Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 12:59:46 -0700
From: JR

Subject: Northern Californian Big Shag Big Stout tasting


In the county Eastern Oregon, just across the river from the county Washington, the first tasting of Big Shag Big Stout was performed in Hood River. Unfortunately, we were camera poor for this event and there is no visual evidence this occurrence actually happened and the following may go down as "folk lore" or even "urban myth".


Present were brewmaster Joel, UP trout catching master Matt and wife Tina AKA "The Bee Slayer", The Original UP'er Aunt Betty, Neumann family daughter stealer Uncle Don, Newspaper Editorialist Kirby and wife Lorree "Salad Maker Supreme". Missing was Brent "The Ill Fated" , of whom it was noted
"but Brent is not here so should we really go on with the tasting?" The response of "W.W.B.D.?" left us all stunned and shocked at the clarity of Kirby's vision. With nothing really more to say we cracked open two of the allotted Northern California Oregon County's share of 4 bottles.

The beer was simply amazing. Perfect carbonation, roasty with hints of molasses and very easy to drink. "hints of bass" and "This tastes like the outhouse in the old shed" (Aunt Betty) were flowing forthwith and without abandon. Uncle Don, noted that he had never drunk so much Shag lake in his life!" Newspaper man Kirby yelled "stop the press" as the sun faded out of sight only to later realize that no light shall pass through Big Shag Big Stout.


For a short time, at least 1050 mls. worth, there was no pollution on a pristine earth, only one united people roamed the planet peaceful and content. Ah crap...shouldn't have gulped that so fast!


Welcome back to reality and the fine state of Oregon just across the Columbia River from the fine state of Washington.
For food to accompany Big Shag Big Stout try smoked salmon with capers and believe it or not...fresh mango. I imagine that twinkies and ho-ho's could be a fine accompaniment to this dark, rich with highlights of garnet and mosquito larvae ale.

- Joel

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Big Shag Big Stout - The Second Review.

As indicated in the prior post, the initial sampling of Big Shag Big Stout was a simultaneous tasting in San Francisco and at Big Shag Lake. Jeff submitted this photo journal of the Yooper contingent. - mw
-----Original Message-----


From: JC

Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 9:29 PM

Subject: RE: Big Shag Big Stout - The first review.

The anticipation…


The bliss…

The savoring…


The added bonus of realizing...
I'd been drinking Harlan's bottle instead of Mike's.


And then...
the inspiration to go out and catch a 27" northern pike.



Hail to thee, Big Shag! And many thanks, Joel!

Aren't I supposed to drink Mike's bottle now? - JC
No you are not Jeff.

Bad break HW.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Big Shag Big Stout - The First Review.

Brewed only a few months prior in the UP, the first sip of Big Shag Big Stout is enjoyed on a terrace in San Francisco. The moment was documented in the contemporaneous e-mail to freinds and family - backposted here:

-----Original Message-----

From: MW
Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 3:30 PM
Subject: Big Shag Big Stout - The first review.

Our nation's birthday was deemed a sufficiently auspicious occasion for the inaugural tasting of the now fully chroizened Big Shag Big Stout. A simultaneous North Michigan / Northern California tasting was hastily arranged. The first toast was for the Lake that provided the inspiration, but after the first tasting, all subsequent toasts were for the genius of the Brewmaster that made it happen.


The drinker is initially greeted to an irresistible aroma of molasses, nuts, grain, spicy hops with a subtle hint of bass pee. A dark brown (black coffee-ish) color with a barely discernible hint of green algae highlights, topped by a thick, creamy, cedar-swamp tannin head, rounds out the look of the ale nicely. Brown sugar, roasted malt, and a finely calibrated pine-tar bitterness, which is felt on the tongue and back of the throat, ride the first wave of flavors in this complex ale. On the second wave, a berry fruitiness and undertone of hazelnut complements the consistent full, chewy, fish-scale mouth feel. As the ale warms, the roasted malt, hops and notes of rusty iron-ore increase - providing a memorable finish. This is a lively and solid example of a stout ale that would be great with fresh bread, flavored cheese and deep-fried bluegills.

Big Shag Big Stout did not suffer from the transport to San Francisco...

...with a beautiful color and robust head that stood up to refrigeration.

Anticipation and Consummation. Yum.
Well done, Joel. Bravo!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Brewing Big Shag Big Stout

In the distant future, in 2009, we approach the end of the Big Shag Big Stout story. With this backpost, we journey back to the beginning of this storied brew. Back in time to the spring of 2005...

We are at our camp at Big Shag Lake. There is a knock at the door. It is our long lost cousins from the West - Matt and Joel.

Joel begins unpacking mysterious supplies.

"Let there be beer." Joel is heard to exclaim.

The brewmaster undertakes a purification ritual before approaching the sacred brewing task.

\
Good water is the soul of good beer.
We use Shag Lake anyway.


Master brewer at work.


The brew is left to its own bubbling and fermenting devices.



Ultimately it is ready for bottling and sampling.

Boxed, bottled, and into the cellar for aging.
So it begins.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Oregon cousins tour the five forties.

Matt and Joel hike the Five Forties with MW and Ken the forester. Some pics from a day in the woods:

The road in through the Norway Pine plantation.

Over the beaver dam.

We consult Sid's hand drawn color map for reference.

Finding a corner plate.

At the poplar swamp.

Matt, Ken Joel

Matt is a tree hugger.

In a maple stand.

Discussing the post- cut status.