Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Update, Reminder, & Gulden Draak

I'm back in Texas after 3+ weeks at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Highlights: our wargame opposition did not breach our base defenses this year and I got to watch a wild bobcat hunting rabbits with our night-vision overwatch camera. Lowlights: no laundry facilities and a guy in my platoon had an emergency appendectomy while another contracted a flesh-eating bacterial infection also requiring surgery. Overall, it was vitally necessary training for me in my new role, but I really wished we could have kept our slot to train there in March. The well-populated deployment timeline would have been much more agreeable with those additional 2 months.

I know this is tiny, but I really like USGS topo maps.
It's about that time to remind my dozen or so readers that there can't be any operational details published here or on Facebook. If you want to be included in my more substantive email updates, please shoot me an email. Any details I include in letters, phone, or skype shouldn't be mentioned online either. Keep it vague or ask me first. Fortunately, this time I expect to have internet access during the whole tour.

Since I interact with most of you entirely online anyway, the deployment may not seem like a huge change. However, for Sarah this will probably be more rough than the 2011 Iraq tour. She's developing friends and a support network through her Masters' program at Baylor, but it's not as well-established or geographically dense as folks she could rely on in Pittsburgh and State College. I'm sure I'll find my fair share of adversity, but please remember to support her as well.

Gulden Draak

If it were merely a 10.5% ABV beer called 'Golden Dragon,' it would still be extremely cool. But Gulden Draak is more than that. It's "named after the golden statue at the top of the belfry in Ghent;" leaving the name untranslated is much more powerful and the opaque packaging is at once both iconic and mysterious. And it keeps UV light from skunking your beer. The beer itself pours with a rich color and rocky head. I didn't take notes on the aroma, but I remember it being appealing. The flavor is full of sweet malts that don't stray over to the saccharine line. That 10.5% goes down smooth.

Is it a Tripel? A Barleywine? I don't care, but it's definitely a brew worthy of a chalice.