Friday, May 21, 2010

A Kirschwasser and a Couple of Weissbiers

What could go better after having chopped down a tree (well I got about 1/3 of the job done today with a hand saw), albeit not a cherry tree, than some fine German Kirschwasser (Cherry Brandy) made in the Black Forest? Wait, please don't tell me - I know - some Kirschwasser and a couple of hefe Weissbiers. The way I anticipate my muscles and joints to start aching tonight or tomorrow, sort of like the tree must have felt, I figure a nice neat dollop of Kirschwasser and a couple of biers will hit the spot and maybe also smooth out some knots in my muscles before they get to stiff like a tree's. Of course, if I drink a bit more than what I plan to imbibe then I may wind up turning into a stiff, or at least wind up sort of zombie like anyway.

Kirschwasser, although called a brandy, tastes nothing like any brandy that has ever passed my lips before. It is much more akin to the home stilled white lightning like concoction that my friends' dad used to make down in his basement. Good old Mr. Stiene (hope I spelled that right, as I remember it was not Steine but Stiene but those days are hazier now than they were even back then) had a still set up right in the basement next to the older of his two son's room, right there next to the washer and dryer if I remember right. He would be sitting there when we went over to hang out with Gas (one of his two sons) and every time he saw me he invited me for one and one always turned into two! Two wouldn't be a concern except for the fact that the clear as pure water liquid refreshment that he had dripping out of that still, drop by drop, started at about 125 proof and went all the way up to about 160 or 170 depending on the batch. I always thought the best stuff was right at 132-136 proof - funny how I have remembered those numbers after all these years but I have to admit the stuff was memorable. He basically fermented fruit peels, and other bits of fruit he gathered from fruit he and his wife grew at a summer cottage they in owned upstate NY. Mrs. Stiene would make preserves, and things like Apfel Strudel (sometimes a whole one just for me) and Mr. Stiene would turn the leftovers into a stairway to heaven or at least into one heck of a good tasting drink that cured the common cold as I recall. If I was coming down with the sniffles or other cold signs, I did not have em anymore after two shots of that magical elixir.

But I digress, so let me get back to the Kirschwasser. It is very much like what Mr. Stiene used to make. I love it. The particular brand I was able to find lately, after not having had any in probably 5 years now, is made by Alfred Schladerer (amazing I could spell that without looking, must be the German in me). It is 82 proof, nowhere near the stronger homemade stuff of my younger years but tasty indeed. I used to drink what I think was another brand, or at least a stronger version of this brand. It was around 90-100 proof as I recall though that was long ago and I could have that wrong. Regardless, it is one heck of a drink - somewhere between white lightning and rubbing alcohol. Now that may not seem like much of an endorsement but it is, really. You see, the first time you have it, you will probably think of either the rubbing alcohol taste on an oral thermometer or maybe rocket fuel - or both. As you settle back and get used to it, it grows on you or at least inside of you as it warms your soul and so does your liking for it grow. That is of course if you have a taste for things like neat whiskey. I say neat because it is the only way I have ever drank this Teutonic elixir. I suppose you could mix it with fruity juices or sweet sodas and it would taste great, it would probably make a super fine ingredient for a fruit punch, but I like mine straight and as I said it is the only way I have ever let it pass my lips. By the way, despite the name of Kirschwasser (literally cherry water) there is not a hint of cherry in it that I can taste. Of course that was the same with Mr. Stiene's home made magical elixir, you would never have guessed it was made from things like grape peels, peach peels, apple peels and the like.

Now, while I just said I drink it straight, I must also point out that Kirschwasser is a wonderful accompaniment to biers, especially to weissbier of the hefe (yeast) variety. I have already written, more than once, about my love for weissbier so let me just end this post here so that I can run upstairs and grab the two I have waiting for me in the freezer. They should be just about perfect by now, just like the Kirschwasser that I have been enjoying while I have written this post.

Remember - drink responsibly and legally!

All the best,
Glenn B

A New Gun Should Be Coming Soon...

...and while it will not be a new gun as in newly manufactured, never before been fired, it will be new for me. My dreams of a new rifle in .308 may be on hold for awhile longer being we just bought a new car for cash last week. And by new car I mean yes new right out of the dealer's lot, fresh from the factory with only 23 miles on it and those were mostly from driving from one dealer who had it in stock to my dealer. So all the money I saved while I was out in Phoenix has already been spent and that was only enough to cover a bit less than 1/4 the price tag. The rest came out of our bank accounts leaving them pretty depleted. Still though, I have managed to squirrel away some cash for a rifle, maybe even two or three of them if I am frugal. Of course i do not mean top shelf rifles although one may yet wind up being a newly manufactured and brand new never been fired before rifle (except maybe for a test firing at the factory). The other one or two though will have to be much less expensive and something along the lines of military surplus.

That said, let me also say I have one or two in mind. They are so much in mind that I tried to order them today from
Classic Arms. The thing preventing a sale was they did not already have a copy of my C&R FFL so I had to email them that first. I called them about 20 minutes after I emailed them a copy but they were not able to open it to check it because the woman who usually does so was busy. I thought I'd get back to them again before they closed today but I got carried away with clean-up after chopping down about 1/3 of a Japanese Maple Tree in my back yard (maybe I'll do the rest next week since the shoulders are aching because I only used a hand saw). When I remembered I was supposed to call them it was already about an hour and a half after they had closed. Oh well, come Monday, I guess I'll be placing my order.

What I am planning on ordering are one or maybe two Mosin Nagant, Russian, 91-30 Hex Receiver Rifles of Tula manufacture. Supposedly all serial numbers will match, I am only ordering these if that is the case otherwise I may order a single Enfield instead. Two of these, in what sounds like excellent condition will go for $260 plus shipping. Not $260 each but $260 for both of them, not a bad deal on two rifles. You can see hem here: Scroll about half way down the page to see them and a description of them. I am not getting the ones with the laminated stocks, but with the hardwood stocks. I will add the extra $10 a piece to get them both hand-select. Hopefully at least one will be really-really nice and a keeper. The other one, maybe I'll keep or maybe I will sell. Such is the way of a collector. buy more than one to make sure you get a nice one and maybe then keep both or hold onto one for a future private sale when you need the bucks. Of course, I may well have it forever (at least my mortal forever).

I already have two other Mosin Nagant rifles. One is a Russian 91-30 with a bent bolt in good to very good condition. The other is a Hungarian M44 in fine to excellent arsenal rebuilt condition with all matching stamped numbers. They are fun guns to shoot, the ammo is inexpensive if you shoot mil-surp, and they are one of the easiest guns to detail strip that I have ever owned.

Now if they do not still have the ones I want (they do show them on their website so I have my fingers crossed) then I may go for an Enfield #1 MK4. They go for a substantial amount more at almost $240 each but they too are great and fun guns to shoot. I have never owned one but have fired ones that friends own. Nice rifle, a workhorse of the British army from before WWI up through the 1950s. I suppose time will tell once Monday rolls around (Classic Arms is not open on the weekends).

All the best,
Glenn B