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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Founders All Day IPA Review


All Day IPA, which is produced by Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a delectable “session ale.” It is an ideal summer beer for the imbiber who prefers consuming a brew with flavor and holds watery light “beers” in contempt. However, All Day IPA is not too heavy either, and would likely be classified as medium to light bodied. Moreover, it is most certainly on the thin side when it is juxtaposed against other heavyweights Founders offers such as Dirty Bastard, Breakfast Stout, and their world class Porter. Furthermore, All Day IPA is a mere 4.7 percent Alcohol by Volume which pales in comparison to their more potent products. Therefore, All Day IPA represents the best of both worlds, as Founders Brewing Co. has successfully, and commendably, found a way to reduce body and alcohol content without sacrificing too much flavor. It is also important to note that All Day IPA is the first Founders beer to be canned. Mike Stevens, the CEO of Founders, has stated that his company has embraced the “recreation element,” as having beer available in cans caters to the outdoor drinker who may want to enjoy an adult beverage at a location where glass bottles are prohibited [1]. Having All Day IPA available in cans has most certainly proven to be a clever marketing tool.
The picture on the label shows a canoe strapped to the top of a station wagon, which is traveling down a dirt road, and it is not a stretch of the imagination to wonder if this image represents a family visiting their summer cottage. Therefore, it is a fitting picture as All Day IPA smells, and tastes, like summer vacation. The first whiff is very citrusy and the aroma reminds one of a sticky July afternoon, and smelling freshly cut grass, or perhaps a clean lake, while listening to a ballgame on the radio with bratwursts, hot dogs, or hamburgers cooking on the grill. Although All Day IPA is now available year round, it is a beer that is a more appropriate beverage for the deck or patio, as opposed to a beer one would enjoy by the fireplace on a January night while reading a great book or watching an entertaining movie. 
When poured into a glass, All Day IPA is golden brown with a thin head which disappears rather quickly. The description on the side of the can describes how All Day IPA is “naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains, and hops” which have been “balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish.” The description proceeds to state that the beer is an ideal companion to celebrate an honest day’s labor, and one would be hard pressed to disagree with that statement. The first crisp, clean, and delicious sip, which stands in sharp contrast to the other aforementioned mainstream light beers, is both refreshing and rewarding. The impeccably blended flavors erupt in the one’s mouth, and the drinker is hit by a “hop punch,” which is strong, but is far from a knockout blow. At any rate, All Day IPA is a suburb beer, and as soon as you drink one, you will be ready for the next one.

Till next time,

BF

References  
Ellison, Garrett. "'The Beer That Almost Wasn't:' Founders' All Day IPA Cans Finally Hitting
Store Shelves." MLive.com. 29 July 2013. (Accessed 25 Aug. 2013)  <http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/07/all_day_ipa_cans.html>.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Movie Recommendation: The Winter War (Talvisota)



I would like to strongly recommend the Finnish movie The Winter War (1989), which is also sometimes called Talvisota which is Finnish for "winter war." I am a sucker for historical films, and movies such as Tombstone, Braveheart, and Saving Private Ryan will always remain permanent residents of my personal top ten favorite flicks. The photograph above shows the uncut, and extended, version of The Winter War which is imported from South Korea and runs approximately 70 minutes longer than the U.S. release. The movie is in Finnish with English subtitles. If you are interested, it can be found on Amazon right hereThis is more of a movie recommendation as opposed to a movie review, and therefore I am going to refrain from delving into the plot details of this movie. However, I would like to tell you a little bit about how I came to find out about this film, as well as some of the historical information surrounding it. 

Earlier this year, I was writing a paper about the history of Finnish sovereignty for a class while I was in my final semester of college. I began my paper by writing of how Finland, after being ruled for nearly seven centuries by Sweden, their Nordic neighbor, fell under the colonial rule of Russia in 1809 which gave birth to a new era which would last until 1917. In early 1918, shortly after Finland had declared independence,  a civil war broke out in Finland, which pinned "The Reds" against "The Whites." The former were "radical socialists" who wished to emulate the Bolshevik revolution of Russia in Finland, whereas the latter were primarily composed of "anti-radical nationalists" [1]. In 1919, the horrifically brutal civil war had finally subsided, and "The Whites" had prevailed. The movie The Winter War picks up in late 1939, two decades after the Finnish Civil War, and depicts the four month struggle between Finland and the Soviet Union. While I was researching information on The Winter War for my paper, I discovered that there was a film about it, and simply decided that I needed to watch it.     

In November of 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland, and although the Finns were greatly outnumbered, they proved to be able to inflict significant casualties and damage and fought incredibly hard in teeth chattering extreme weather [2]. The Finns destroyed more than 2,000 Soviet tanks by using Molotov cocktails which was one of their favorite weapons and tactics. However, due to the superior manpower the Soviet Union possessed, they would ultimately prove to be too mighty a foe for Finland, and in March of 1940, Finland would sign a peace treaty and would be forced to cede 10 percent of their territory [2].  


If you will, The Winter War was something of a "Nordic Thermopylae," or the "Alamo of the East," meaning that it pinned a brave and tenacious group of people against a numerically superior enemy. Although the Finns would ultimately go on to lose, the story of The Winter War has lived on throughout history as one of the classic David vs. Goliath stories of all time nevertheless. If you are a history buff like me, then I can assure you that you will enjoy watching The Winter War.     


Till next time,

BF 

References: 
1. Tiersky, Ronald, Erik Jones, and Saskia Van. Genugten. Europe Today: A Twenty-first Century Introduction. Third ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. Print.

2  Hickman, Kennedy. "The Winter War: Death in The Snow." About.com Military History. (Accessed Aug. 20 2013). <http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/navalbattles1900today/p/winterwar.htm>.



     

Friday, August 16, 2013

Manly Tools Made in the USA


At the bare minimum, every man should own at least a couple of tools, and the photograph above shows a few tools which undoubtedly fit into the necessity category. However, a man should strive to own a complete set of tools someday, and continue to procure a few per year as he navigates through life. By the time a man reaches his golden years, his goal should be to have his garage decorated with tools from wall to wall. It may, but does not necessarily have to, resemble the one that Walt Kowalski, the surly Korean War veteran Clint Eastwood portrayed in the outstanding movie Gran Torino, had at his domicile. Today, however, I would like to narrow the focus to merely discussing two essential tools that, at least in my book, every man simply must possess. Remember, a pyramid is built one brick at a time, and likewise, a tool collection is built one tool at at time. 

Moreover, to quote Clint Eastwood in the aforementioned film Gran Torino, after Tao, the young Hmong boy whom Walt becomes something of a father figure to, tells Walt that he could never afford all of the tools that he has in his garage, he simply replies by telling him that a man acquires his tools over a period of fifty years which I have already alluded to. Walt then proceeds to give Tao a vice grips, a roll of duct tape, and a can of WD-40 and proceeds to tell him that he can perform most any task with merely these three items. Therefore, you should never feel bad if you don't have all of the tools that Walt Kowalski had...at least until you get to be as old as he was! 


Be that as it may, you really should have a couple of tools, and you need to start somewhere, and you need to start small. It is never too late to begin starting your tool collection, and although I would find it hard to believe that any man has reached his adulthood without acquiring any tools, one simply never knows these days. Thus, as I have already mentioned, we will be discussing two tools today which will serve as a great starting point in a tool collection for any man of any age. Furthermore, both of the tools we will be discussing are made in the USA. I mentioned in a previous post of mine, which was entitled Things Made in America: Zippo Lighters, that I may begin doing a monthly segment on American made items, and this post will serve as the de facto second installment of the series. 


Now that I have kept you in suspense, the two tools that we will be discussing today, will be the Estwing Hammer and the Channellock Tongue and Groove 420 Straight Jaw Pliers which are shown in the photograph above. These two tools will likely remain staples in the Alpha Male tool box for eternity.   


The first tool, the Estwing hammer, is simply a classic. The photograph above, as a matter of fact, shows two members of the Estwing Hammer family. The one on the far left is a 20 oz. straight claw, and the one in the middle is a 16 oz. curved claw. They are also available with the iconic leather handle as well. Moreover, Popular Mechanics  has an Estwing 16 oz. straight claw hammer on their list of "12 Quality DIY Tools for Kids." Popular Mechanics claims that as long as a boy doesn't lose his Estwing Hammer, then he will  most likely have it forever. 



See Popular Mechanic's entire list of "12 Quality DIY Tools for Kids" right here: http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/hand-tools/diy-tools-kids-estwing-16-ounce-straight-claw-hammer#slide-9       

The second tool, the Channellock 420, is also a classic and, much like the vice grips Walt gave Tao in Gran Torino, will come in handy in performing an infinite number of home chores.  


You can check out this product on Channellock's website, and read all of the wonderful five star reviews on the 420 Straight Jaw right here: 
http://www.channellock.com/420-Straight-Jaw-Plier.aspx. 

Please feel free to leave your comments, let me know what you think about these two tools, and also feel free to tell me what your favorite tools are and whether or not you would like to see a follow up post which would cover more American made tools. Please don't be bashful! 


Till next time,

BF

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Real Life Iron Man...or "Brick Man?"

One of the reasons I started this blog was to write about contemporary tough guys who achieve unimaginable feats such as the one Jim Dreyer recently accomplished. A short while ago, Dreyer, whose nickname is "the shark," swam 22 miles across Lake St. Clair over a span exceeding 50 hours while he towed a ton of bricks behind him. The bricks were safely stored in two inflatable boats. Dreyer entered the lake shortly after 8:30 a.m. on the morning of Monday, August the 5th, and safely arrived on Belle Island around 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, August the 7th. Dreyer originally believed that this voyage would only take him a mere 30 hours. However, he fell asleep for a spell and drifted back and he also got lost for a breif time. Nevertheless, he persevered which is a definitive characteristic of the Alpha Male.   

Moreover, Dreyer also performed this act for a very good cause, as he did it "as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Michigan." He also made the claim that the bricks represent the effort Michigan needs to undergo as we rebuild. Stories about guys like Mr. Dreyer, who do hardcore stuff for a good cause, most certainly have a place on my blog The Way of the Alpha Male.              

Read the full article by Cory Olsen, which I paraphrased, right here: 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Three Months In: A Letter to my Readers

Dear readers,
Next week Thursday, which is August 8th, will mark the three month anniversary of the day I launched my blog TWAM (The Way of the Alpha Male). I started TWAM on May 8th of 2013 as a young writer, who was less than a week out of college, and ready to embark on a new adventure. The reason I started a blog was because I had discovered a passion for writing in college, and I knew that I wanted to be able to figure out how to write for a living, and I thought that starting a blog would be a good place for me to begin. I simply wanted to get my writing out in the open where it would be readily available for anyone to view. Moreover, my father had purchased Jon Acuff’s book, which is entitled  Start, as a graduation present for me. In this book, one of the questions that Mr. Acuff says you need to ask yourself is “what is it that you cannot stop doing?” Mr. Acuff, who is now a famous writer, blogger, and speaker, says that for him it was writing and sharing his thoughts. The answer to this question is the same for me. Furthermore, I would certainly like to be as successful as Mr. Acuff someday, and a blog turned out to be a pretty good starting point for him.
I simply love to sit down and write, especially about topics I am passionate about, and plan to continue doing so. I started TWAM with the intention of writing about some of the things that I know about and love such as family, dogs, trucks, healthy home cooked meals, hunting, fishing, campfires, manly TV shows and movies, historical tough guys, and how I believe a man should act in general. Somehow, society seems to have drifted away from the days when most men would stand tall, have a firm handshake, look you in the eye, open the door for a lady, and put others needs ahead of their own. Therefore, one of the reasons I started this blog was to see if I could do something to help return us to those times, but have yet to publish a post related to this subject. If you would like to see one, please feel free to let me know.  
In writing about these topics, I hoped to find loyal readers who enjoyed reading my thoughts, and shared my hobbies and interests. I believe I am beginning to succeed in doing so. As of today, I have been circled by 104 people or groups, and I would like to send out a special thank you to anyone who has ever read or commented on one of my posts. My most popular post to this day is still my story Karli: The Day we brought Home our Dream Dog, and I really appreciate the fact that this story has received such an overwhelmingly positive response. The story is very special to me, and it was my pleasure to share it with others.
I would like to turn this over to my readers now, as I would really like to hear some feedback from my audience, because I really do revere and value your input. I want you to know that I write this blog for you; not for myself. If you read my blog regularly, but do not comment, please feel free and welcome to comment on this post. As the three month anniversary of the birth of my blog rapidly approaches, I am curious to know what you think about my posts in general, and if there are any topics you would like me to cover. Please let me know if you would like to read more stories about our dog, or whether you like to see more posts about healthy meals, or would like to see more reviews such as the one I did on Bird Dog Seasonings, or if you would like to hear more about life in Michigan.  I would like nothing more than to grow my audience, and in order to do so, I need the feedback of my readers to help me. Thank you all very much.
Sincerely,

BF