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, now serving 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, May 14, 2006

Cousin Matt's Abalone Adventure

Matt gets his share.


Base camp.

Abalone cove awaits.


Matt & Mike on the beach with abs.


Apres dive.

Big Shag Big Stout - Sea Ranch

Matt and Zach toast the now fully matured flavor of Big Shag Big Stout.

This entry back posted from an edited contemporaneous e-mail to friends and family:
-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Big Shag Big Stout - Number 9 of 12

Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 17:59:00 -0800

From: MW


Continuing the chronicle of the best documented 12-Pack of beer in the history of the world. Number 9 of 12 was consumed on Saturday May 13, 2006 at Zach's Sea Ranch home in northern California. It was enjoyed by Zach, Matt and myself over dinner.

A dinner fit for a stout of this stoutitude.

On the menu - Sautéed Abalone steaks taken from the ocean the very same morning and prepared using "Lou's North Beach Recipe", served with white wine, parsley, garlic sauce. Served with rice, asparagas, and a freshly picked artichoke from Zach's garden.

The stout, like me, only gets better with age.

Thus endeth my allocation of BSBS. - mw


[NOTE: I have not fully audited the final count of the beer, but am using the established system of numbering the bottles chronologically as they are consumed.I believe there are now three remaining. One in the possession of Matt Rea and two in a hidden recess of the well pump at Shag Lake]

-----------------------

Post Script: In retrospect, I believe my count on the BSBS bottles was in error. the post will be updated with an accurate countdown once the audit is complete.

Post Script 2: As suspected, the original e-mail had a wildly inaccurate count. I am not sure what I was thinking - apparently I was counting backward from what I guessed was left over.

The corrected count...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A plan comes together -
Cousin Matt visit.

video
Matt fly fishing in abalone cove shortly after arrival.
The result was unsurprising.

The e-mail thread tells the story of how the trip came about, but more importantly an explicit Big Shag Big Stout commitment (highlighted in red) ...
From: MW
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 2:14 PM
To: MR
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

If we leave by 11, we'll have you to the airport by 2ish. Plenty of time with a cushion. I think we'll plan to head north mid-morning on Friday, get there early afternoon, and have time to get your fly wet that afternoon. I've never done any fresh water fishing up there, so - no expectations - I won't be much of a guide. And I don't know how to fly fish. But I did just buy a vintage fly rod and reel on e-bay.

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

From: MR
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 2:00 PM
To: MW
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

3:40 PM Sunday out of SF.

-----------------------

From: MW
Sent: Monday, April 24, 2006 2:40 PM
To:MR
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Yes. Get a late flight.

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

From: MR
Sent: Monday, April 24, 2006 2:24 PM
To: MW
Cc: HDW
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

I love it when a plan comes together.

My conference ends Thursday at 5:00--we could leave then or sometime early Friday morning. I’m at your convenience. Return Sunday AM is fine--I’ll get an afternoon flight home. As long as I’m buying a California license anyway, should I throw in my fly rod and some steelhead flies?

From: MW
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2006 12:55 PM
To: MR
Cc: HDW
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Matt,
Cool. Turns out there is a nice minus tide on Saturday the 13th at 6AM. Perfect. We are on. Best will be to drive up as early as you can get free on Friday to avoid the weekend escape traffic madness. Probably drive back Sunday AM. You will need to get a California Fishing license (which will cost some money), but I may be able to lean on a friend for a place to stay.

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

From: MR
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2006 12:20 PM
To: MW
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Mike,
Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you. I’m so overwhelmed these days it seems like I’m paralyzed when it comes to making decisions (or maybe that’s just old age). At times like that my brother Joel has an amazing ability to clarify issues. His statement: “…seems like an opportunity to go abalone fishing with your cousin is a life experience not to be missed…” brought me to my senses. Is that offer still open? If so--let’s do it. Drive up Friday afternoon or Saturday morning and return Saturday evening or Sunday morning? Matt

---------------

From: MW
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 7:55 AM
To: MR
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Matt,
Yes you can take abs with snorkel only, and a full wetsuit is required. I have a spare, but don't know if it will fit you. If you get a pass from the boss, you can stay at our place if you need to overnight before or after the trip north. Better idea, bring her down for the weekend. Also, I have no idea about the right season for the steelhead. We'll figure it out between now and then. This article from the New York Times about a year ago provides a good flavor for the experience. - Mike


-----------------

Hey Mike,
Sorry about the delay in responding--I get overwhelmed in email at work and sometimes things get buried. You present some intriguing ideas. I’ll have to consult with my wife and see if I can stay perhaps into the weekend for some family bonding time and recreation. I’m always up for fishing although it’s ages since I’ve steelheaded. Abalone fishing sounds very intriguing. As I recall, you snorkel to do that, correct? I assume I would want a wetsuit? - M


-----------------

From: MW
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 1:13 PM
To: MR
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Depends on your flights, and how much you want to do ... It is about a 3 hour drive (actually 2hr 45 minute) each way. I've done day trips, but I think we would be hard pressed to get up and back on Friday in time to make an afternoon flight. If you wanted to take another day or two, we could potentially do some fishing (not sure of the season - Gualala and Garcia River have steelhead - never fished it though), and the Abalone season is open if you want to get your face wet. - mw

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

From: MR
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 12:32 PM
To: MW
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Mike,
I’m attending a conference that runs Tuesday-Thursday. It’ll be located at the St. Francis on Union Square. I’ll fly in Monday around noon and have some separate meetings with coworkers scheduled for Monday afternoon and evening. I do expect to be pretty booked during the day tues-thurs; I’m presenting a couple of papers in that timeframe but won’t know exactly when until the final agenda is distributed. I expect evenings will free except for the usual conference carousing. Even though the conference ends Thursday evening I’m not scheduled to fly out until Friday afternoon to give myself some play time. A visit to Mendocino sounds lovely. Is that something we could do on Friday? - M


---------------

From: MW
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 11:16 AM
To: MR, JR, HDW
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Matt,
Right now that week looks wide open. Looking forward to seeing you. Are you busy during the day all week? I'm thinking you might like to take a day trip North to see our property on coast. Are you attending a conference? What conference? I will consider your beer plan, but tend to think that my bottle of Shag Stout would like to return to the UP for its birthday. - mw


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

From: MR
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2006 3:42 PM
To: MW, JR, HDW
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Oh yeah, you did say you had one left. And now that you mention it…I’m kind of thirsty too. How about this? You and I drink yours when I’m in San Francisco in May. That’ll be close enough to one year to call it an anniversary and we can report back to the rest of the boys how much we really like it. Then I’ll keep my bottle safely hidden away (maybe) until it’s 2nd anniversary at Shag at which time I promise (assuming the bottle is still sealed) to share a sip with everyone. By the way, I’ll be flying into SF on the afternoon of May 8 and out on May 12. I’ve got plans to meet up with some coworkers on Monday evening but after that nothing scheduled in the evenings. Any time in particular work for getting together with you and Sigrid?

---------------

From: MW
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2006 5:02 PM
To: HDW, JR, MR
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

I still have one Shag Stout '05 in my possession also. However, I have no illusions about it lasting past its one year anniversary. I am only hoping I can keep it intact for its triumphant return to its birth place. It has lasted so far, because I hid it from myself and "out of sight, out of mind". However these daily reminders from all of you do not portend well for its longevity. - mw

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


From: HDW
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2006 3:37 PM
To: MR, MW, JR
Subject: Re: I'll be SF in May Gentlemen,

I think that the Big Shag Well has proven itself to be a rather untrustworthy place to stash handcrafted beers in hope that they might age to perfection. In fact I think that the Neumann/Wallach clan has shown that it has no willpower whatsoever where alcoholic beverages are concerned. I, on the other hand, have what I believe is the last bottle of Shag Lake Stout ‘04 resting comfortably in my stable 60º basement. The question is this, do I open it up and drink it myself in May in honor of the one year anniversary of its “born on date” (in which I’m sure it’ll be much fresher tasting than any three-week old Budweiser out there). Alternatively, I could age it another year to share it with my fellow brewmasters. In that case it might have aged beyond its prime--but I doubt it.

Matt

---------------

Harlan Wallach - 万里 wrote:
Re: I'll be SF in May

Sorry – Joel ... This is unacceptable, but since you appear to be backing out of your commitments in this area... A couple cases of the Russian imperial stout will have to suffice I guess...

-----Original Message-----
From: JR
To: MR, MW, HDW
Subject: Re: I'll be SF in May

Harlan and Mike:
I've got lots of traveling on my calendar this year, as well as a good amount of 'honey-do's' for the summer. Realistically I don't think that I'll be able to make it this year. My actual plan is to try for an every-other-year trip up Upper. As for beer making...well....it's time you boys went solo! I could send out all the goods and we could even do iChat during your brew session to make sure everything goes just swell.

How many bottles of Shag Stout do you boys have? Brent, Kirby, Matt and I are meeting in a couple of weeks and I'm gonna break a bottle out to see how things are going.

Cheers, Joel
-----------------------------------

From: MW
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 10:03 AM
To: JR, MR
Cc: HDW
Subject: RE: I'll be SF in May

Ship it. In fact you should ship it this year since you are not coming. We'll age it in the well for a year so it will be ready when you get there in '07. We won't drink it in the meantime. Really.

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

From: JR
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 7:48 AM
To: MR
Cc: HDW, MW
Subject: Re: I'll be SF in May

I'm thinking any airline company in their right mind wouldn't let us on board with that much alcohol! joel

--------------------------------------

On Mar 9, 2006, at 7:33 AM, MR wrote:

Cuz,s and Bro'ss,
I'm with Joel--can't swing a UP trip this year. I'm taking the family to Great Britain this summer. That/s about all the traveling my wallet can stand. We'll be back in 07. The answer to Harlan's question about whether or not there can be too much hops in beer is the same answer to everything else in life--it depends. However, as in life, when in doubt--go big.

Joel, I'm thinking we should be brewing up a really big beer to celebrate next year's trip. One that needs at least a year of bottle--conditioning to be really good--ala - Fred. What say you?
- Matt

-----------------------------------

From: JR
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 5:06 PM
To: HDW
Cc: MW, MR
Subject: Re: I'll be SF in May

Usually, hops are harvested in the fall...about the time you (Harlan) snapped the photo of them hanging off the bridge. Too much snow in the winter...can't really see them...makes them hard to pick. Plus, how gauche to be seen out in snow shoes while picking hops. How much to use depends upon a few factors. Hop potency varies with variety. I'd say wild UP hops are average in potency....so, use an average amount. except....different beers use differet amounts. We used 2 ounces in our stout...maybe for an IPA one might use 6 or 10 oz. of hops. Dried hops that is... undried hops weigh 80% more than dry hops and so fresh off the vine you would need more.

An easy drinking Escanaba ale or Lil'Camp lager may only require 2 oz. of wild hops. With any luck, my one surviving transplant will have some flowers this year and I'll have a better sense of what to tell you. - joel

ps...in beer...there is never such a thing as too much hop

---------------------------------------------

On Mar 8, 2006, at 4:42 PM, HDW wrote:

Oh my god....

Everyone, a child of three, knows you harvest hops in the fall in the UP.

-----------------------------------

On Mar 8, 2006, MW wrote:

BTW - when is the appropriate time to harvest the Escanaba Hopps? Can they be harvested in the spring?, fall?, anytime? This is clearly a necessary ingredient for the next batch. How about Escanaba Ale? Lil' Camp Lager? - mw

-----------------------------------

On Mar 8, 2006, at 12:35 PM, HDW wrote:

Matt -
What are Joel and your dates for your 2006 annual UP fishing and beer making trip ?
-Harlan

On Mar 8, 2006, MR wrote:

Hey Mike, I’ll be attending a conference in San Francisco May 8-12. I can’t remember if that conflicts with your annual trip to the Great White North, but If you and Sigrid are around I’d love to get together. -Matt