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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What in the Wide, Wide World?

I keep playing with the Tokina 11-16mm lens. And lately when I take the enormous lens cap off it, I picture Slim Pickens crying out, "What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on?"

So I was on my way to Grain to Glass to get some yeast and I realized the lens would be very interesting for shooting tall buildings up close. I realized this as I passed 12th & Oak, where the Jackson County Courthouse sits across the street fro Kansas City Hall. Beautiful buildings, if the architects who designed them could imagine the inept and corrupt decision making that would go on in these structures, they'd have designed them as Soviet style concrete blocks.

I'm still a loyal Bacchus & Barleycorn guy as far as my homebrew supplies go. I'd been out there to get the ingredients for a Belgian Quad, the first beer I've brewed in a couple of years.

And being it's been a couple of years, I got to talking to Alberta and almost left without yeast altogether, then went back in and got one Activator smack pack of the limited release Flanders Golden Ale strain. When I realized my mistake, I had choices. I could drive instead of cycling to work on Friday, and go back out to Bacchus & Barleycorn for a second (I was brewing a ten gallon batch, so one for each carboy, especially since it's a high gravity beer). Or I could try to get there on Saturday Morning, a time I had penciled in for sleeping in and then riding my bike to Jill's birthday party in midtown.

Or on Friday night I could try to make it to Grain to Glass before they closed and get some yeast there. A friend of mine used to work there, and I found out when I arrived, another friend does presently. I've known Alberta for over twenty years, and Bacchus & Barleycorn leaves absolutely nothing to be desired in a homebrew supply: you'd have to be looking for something incredibly exotic to have to go online or look elsewhere. And I mean incredibly exotic. And they're as knowledgeable as they come, the owners used to teach BJCP test prep classes, they've both made more wine and beer than a couple could possibly drink in several lifetimes, they know their shit. And sentimentally, my family has been doing business there since my Dad was making wine when I was growing up (before Jackie & Alberta's time, actually, when it was the Wine Art shop on Johnson Drive).

So Grain to Glass didn't sell Wyeast, so no second Activator, but they do sell White Labs, which is also excellent. Except I really like the smack pack as far as, without having to make a starter, you really get the yeast moving, you're pitching 100 billion active cells. White Labs, you basically let it come up to temperature and pitch. Though, and I'm getting a little ahead of myself because there's a post on the Quad coming up here, I admit the White Labs carboy took off faster and even foamed out of the airlock before 24 hours were up. So no dis on White Labs, they make quality pitchable cultures, too, they just use a different approach.

Oh, so now that I've digressed totally into homebrewland, these Liberty Memorial shots were taken the next day with that wide-wide lens, on my way to Jill's birthday party. And thanks to Grain to Glass I got to experiment with a yeast I wouldn't have tried otherwise, got to ride to work Friday and ride to the party Saturday.

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