Posted by: Blue Lou Logan | December 27, 2011

Booze and Boat Bits #5 (5 short items of interest)


Keeps me in rations

1:  I love good rum, but I am not a total snob.  Although I know and value quality, I still want to make sure I have rum even as I wait for the next paycheck.  That’s why Cruzan is awfully nice, because it’s inexpensive and tasty.  I recently decided to further explore the lower shelves.  But how to decide, other than the orange sale tag?  How about a pretty label?  On the left we have Calypso Spiced Rum.  The name is meaningless:  There isn’t even a remote reference to the Goddess of the Sea, whether among the ancient Greeks or the modern Captain Sparrow fans.  What we do have is a bodacious redheaded pirate with a very nice chest…and a very nice chest full of treasure.  Oh ad men, I am weak.  I soaked the label off, pasted it on a card, burnt it around the edges, and had a cool bookmark (now between pages 342 and 343 of The Mauritius Command).  On the right we have Admiral Nelson’s Spiced Rum.  The Hero of Trafalgar now sports flaming red hair, an eye patch, a cutlass that appears to be curved backwards, and…both arms!  OK, so the Nelson of the rum world bears about as much relation to his historical namesake as, well, the Morgan of the rum world.  The common denominator here isn’t just nautical kitsch but spice, which seems to make cheap rum palatable in much the same way that blending does for cheap whiskey.  The good news is that, with some ginger ale and a good squeeze of fresh lime, it may not be a fancy cocktail, but it keeps the crew happy.

A sad portrait

2:  Meanwhile, the fate of the Kalakala has gone from unknown to downright mysterious.  On December 19th, it was reported that the ferry had a buyer for Rodrigues’ token dollar.  The name and location of the buyer is unknown to apparently all but him.  Indeed, all that has been officially posted is:  “After considering offers from two interested parties, the Kalakala has been sold for $1 to an anonymous buyer. The Kalakala will be saved from the scrap yard and restored to her full glory.”  Unofficially, Rodrigues has told the Seattle Times that the buyer is not in Washington State; New York is rumored.  Meanwhile, Rodrigues has been under the gun of the Coast Guard to move or at least to offer a plan.  On December 23rd, his appeal for an extension was denied.  The Coast Guard doesn’t even believe that this “buyer” exists.  So now there’s a distinct possibility that the next actual owner of the Kalakala may be the Corps of Engineers, who may move her, “pin” her in place, or do nothing at all.  As usual, Rodrigues speaks more mythically than realistically.  The ferry needs someone with vision but also with, ideally, some idea of how a boat works, funding, and connections.  What we have instead is a purported fairy godmother, with the authorities on Rodrigues’ heels.  Seriously Steve, show us the moneybags.  Even the faithful need to see that miracle, not just promises.

You never know what you’ll drink…but it’ll be good.

3:  I love random beer!  I discovered  a while ago at Fred Meyer the Dick’s Beer Variety Pack, and I got another box of random beer last week.  The case could contain any of fourteen different brews.  I like Dick’s generally–this is a brewery in Centralia, WA, that produces about 3,500 barrels per year in about 20 varieties.  Buying random beer does have its risks:  I may be stuck with styles I just generally wouldn’t choose, like IPA and hefeweizen.  On the other hand, their trademark dark Dick Danger Ale is very tasty, the Irish Ale is right up my alley, and the Lava Rock Porter I have in my tankard right now is roasty and deep.  Consider the season and opening that gift from the aunt that doesn’t know you.  Now consider opening up a box, and even though you don’t know the details, you get beer.  A worthy adventure, eh?

4:  I have been completely remiss keeping up on Somalia, what with being absorbed by Naval exploits of 200 years ago.  There have been attacks averted (by Iran!), civilians released, and pirates sentenced.  It is my duty (at least to my own interest) to get caught up.  I will do this in a more thorough post soon.

Cheery, yummy

5:  Lastly, a thank you to my coworker, Joseph, for giving me a truly great beer.  Trader Joe’s 2011 Vintage Ale is in fact made by the great Unibroue brewery of Chambly, Quebec, makers of well-known beers such as La Fin du Monde and Maudite.  Trader Joe’s scored a marvelous, dark, bubbly, and spicy limited edition ale.  It’s good, it’s cheap, and it won’t be around for long.  Go now!

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