Tag Archives: gordon biersch

Hold the Line: An Election Night Evening Out, Beer, Friends, and a Toto Concert

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Well shit. We didn’t get our absentee ballots from West Virginia so we could vote so we did what we normally would do and went to Gordon Biersch to eat and drink, especially for me drink. However, this afternoon a friend of ours got us tickets to the Toto concert at the Sandler Center in order to try out the new hearing assistance systems at the concert hall. Since Judy has worn hearing aids for almost 52 years and has all the latest gear for a profoundly deaf person who functions in a hearing world this is a chance to give him feedback on how the system works. My hearing aids are temporarily kaput until the Navy can get them fixed I am trying a set of the new headphones that work with the system.

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This is actually good because if we weren’t here I would be tuned in to the latest election results that we cannot influence. Of course once the concert is over and we are home I will begin to check things but sanity sometimes requires that we take a few hours off to enjoy the good things.

I won’t forget my days as a college sophomore rolling out pizza dough at Shakey’s Pizza in Stockton California to the tunes of American Top 40 and hearing Toto and their first hits Ninety-nine, Hold The Line, and Africa. I loved them and I never thought that I would get the chance to see them. So this is pretty cool.

So until we actually know something about the election results and what it may portent for our country and the world, I wish you a good night.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, music, News and current events, Political Commentary

A Happy Yet Sad Birthday

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I wrote late Monday night and early Tuesday morning about some of my thoughts on turning 58 years old. When I went to bed the article was about halfway completed. I was tired but I was troubled. I had a hard time getting to sleep, so I got up and finished the article a bit after 2:30 AM amid a sense of foreboding. about the coming day. I posted it about 3:00 AM and tried to get to sleep but I couldn’t. So I read. Finally about 4:30 was startled when my iPad fell to the floor by out bed. It woke me up and I put on my C-Pap and really tried to get to sleep.

Even so my sleep was troubled with strange and disturbing dreams and I was awakened by our oldest dog Minnie before my alarm rang complaining about something; she is quite vocal and talks much like Scooby-Doo. So I just laid awake in bed until my phone rang. It was then that I found out that our Army Deputy Base Commander, a friend who I had just worked with on Saturday had died of a massive heart-attack. He was just six months away from retirement.

I spent most of the day at his quarters with his daughters, neighbors, and my Commanding Officer trying to help care for his family and coordinate care for them between the Army, Navy, and our support agencies as NCIS and Army CID did their investigations. One thing they asked was for an Orthodox Priest to come and do the prayers that are an important part of their faith when someone had died and before their body is removed from their home.

My friend and colleague was a Greek Orthodox Christian but there were no military chaplains of that faith closer than Washington D.C. or Fort Bragg North Carolina; too far to be of assistance. So I reached out to a local Greek Orthodox Church and although their priest was out of town they scoured the area to see if they could find one who could support us. They did find one and had him call me but his schedule was such that he could not come to the quarters until long after my colleague’s body was transported to a local military medical center for autopsy. Knowing that it was important to the family to ensure that the prayers were done before his body was removed I asked the priest if it was permissible for me to conduct the prayers. Knowing that I was I priest he told me that it was permissible and so when it the mortuary personnel arrived I went with his oldest daughter to pray the Trisagion liturgy at his body.

It was hard to see my friend laying in his bed as if asleep. The cardiac event had obviously been so sudden and severe that he never awoke. I wished him goodbye and told him that I would miss him and then did the prayers. I am fortunate to have a number of Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Byzantine Catholic priest friends. As such I have been with them as they have celebrated various liturgies. For those of Evangelical, other Protestant, or Roman Catholic traditions the Orthodox prayers and liturgies are long and repetitive, but there is a difference in the way Eastern and Western Christians understand faith.

We in the West regardless of whether we are Catholic or Protestant tend to be more concerned about time than our Eastern brothers and sisters. Likewise we tend towards a certain amount of expediency and concreteness in what we believe. we just want “the facts” and by doing this deprive ourselves of the sacred mystery that is at the heart of the Christian faith. In the eastern liturgies the repetition in threes of phrases like “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us,” coupled with the “Our Father,” and “Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen” are actually much closer to the way the ancient Hebrews worshipped in the Temple than most Western liturgies, and certainly more so than the reductionistic faith of most Protestants, especially Evangelicals, but I digress. What is more important was that my friend and colleague lived his faith in an authentic manner and tonight I am sure that he is part of that timeless heavenly liturgy depicted in the book of Revelation that is reflected so well in the Eastern Rites of Christianity.

When I finally returned to my office I spent time with my staff who had taken the time to get and sign a birthday card for me as well as get me a nice box of Lindt chocolates. Then I busied myself to take care of the other pressing matters of the day before finally leaving the office to meet Judy and quite a few of my friends at Gordon Biersch. Our executive chef, Mamadou Diallo prepared a wonderful cake which I meant more as a gift to friends and the staff more than for us. I had a light dinner and a small piece of cake and did not have to pay for any of my beers. When we got home I had some day and puppy time with Izzy and Pierre which was also helpful.

Today was spent preparing for Good Friday and making final preparations for the funeral of a retired Navy Chief which I conducted this afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow will be uneventful and I will be able to finish preparing for Good Friday and for the Easter Sunrise service, and begin to plan the memorial service for our Deputy Commander, maybe get in a seven to eight mile run and catch up on some administrative tasks.

So until tomorrow, pray for me a sinner.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under christian life, faith, Loose thoughts and musings, Military

Strong Beer is the Milk of the Old: Brewing the Padre’s Pils

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

The great author of the Protestant Reformation, Dr. Martin Luther, in old age noted: “We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old.”

There is truth in that statement. The monk theologian of Wittenberg knew his beer.

Yesterday was a lot of fun. I got to brew about ten barrels of what will be called The Padre’s Pils at Gordon Biersch. I had a great time with our master brewer, Adam Gurtshaw and the experience helped inspire me to learn the craft of brewing when I eventually retire from the Navy so that as a brewer I can help out at whatever craft breweries are located wherever we eventually decide to retire.

You see I really don’t want to own the brewery, nor to I want to be in charge of anyone or anything when I retire, but I would like to be able to help out or substitute as need be. As I have told people for a number of years, I have the Sam Weinberg * retirement plan, in that I plan to have no responsibilities when I retire from the Navy. I don’t want to be in charge of anything or anyone, but I digress…

Today was cool because I got to learn about brewing and doing it was fun. It is something that I could enjoy doing. There is activity, combined with some science, and artistry to craft a great beer. I wouldn’t mind doing that as a way to keep busy when I retire and maybe supplement my income a bit by helping out in different breweries.

So in about four weeks or so this beer will be tapped at the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Virginia Beach. Unless something unexpected happens I should be back from the Oktoberfest in Munich in plenty of time for the release. I’ll let you know of the official release date when I have it, and when I do come on down and enjoy this or any of the other great beers that Adam brews.

So until we can drink together I ask you to consider the words of Martin Luther:

“Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.”

Until tomorrow,

Peace

Padre Steve+

* Sam Weinberg was played by Kevin Pollack in the film “A Few Good Men.” His quote “Sam Weinberg I have absolutely no responsibility here” is my post retirement plan.

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Brewing “The Padre’s Pils”

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Today I am taking a day of leave before I make my seemingly annual religious pilgrimage to Munich for the Oktoberfest so I can do some apprentice work brewing beer. A few months back I won a day with our brewer at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Virginia Beach. When our brewer Adam Gurtshaw asked what kind of beer I would like to brew I said a very crisp, clear, German Pilsner, something like Wurzburger Hofbrau, Lichter Pils, Henninger Pils, Romer Pils, or Bitburger Pils. All are almost champagne like in their clarity and run between 5.0 – 5.8 percent alcohol; all are hoppy but are not over hopped, and each perfect beer to pair with almost any kind of food.

When I first was stationed in Germany in the 1980s I enjoyed a lot of really good beer, but I was always drawn to the pilsners. Over the years I always enjoy a good pilsner, not the crap that some of the big American brewers call pilsner. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lagers, some IPAs, certain dark or Stout types, as well as some wheat beers, but I find that there is something exquisite in a well brewed pilsner. Thankfully, Adam loves brewing pilsner and lagers so my request was met with favor. Besides that, all my Papillons, including Izzy who is in the picture with me love a good pilsner, even my 4.8 pound boy, Pierre who is as incorrigible as me when it comes to beer.

So today I’ll be at the brewery before they open and get to help Adam make what we will call The Padre’s Pils. Honestly I am thrilled as one of the things that I want to do when I retire from the Navy is to use part of my GI Bill to go to one of the universities, such as U.C. Davis that have a master brewing program. I think that would be incredible to do and I could join the long line of German, Belgian, and French priests and monks who have inspired so many people to appreciate good beer.

So wish me luck, and hopefully a month or so after we return from Germany you will be able to join me for the tapping. I promise to let you know when it happens.

So until tomorrow,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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The Great Hampton Roads Blizzard of 2017

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I live in southeastern Virginia and beginning last night we have been under a Blizzard warning. Blizzards are not uncommon here, but normally when one wants a Blizzard here they go to Dairy Queen, but this time Mother Nature has given us a real blizzard.

It’s crazy enough here that the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore is in town. Parts of the area now have over 10 inches of snow although our neighborhood only has about 6 inches on the ground right now and I expect by the end of the storm our total will be between 6 and 8 inches of snow. The one thing that has kept our snow total down is the fact that we began the storm with sleet and freezing rain, which has also been interspersed with the heavy snow and high winds. The combination has left the roads very icy and dangerous.

We lost power for a couple of hours when according to the police some idiot crashed into a power line pole. When that happened we bundled up, defrosted the Escape and took a short drive over to Gordon Biersch until we knew that power had been restored. Since there were very few people there we had some wings and a couple of beers and Judy introduced me to a fascinating tile game called Quirkle.

The road conditions were bad. The snow was heavy and the roads icy and though few people were on the road, it was obvious that many had no idea what they were doing.

Now our Papillons love the snow, especially Izzy. It is so fun to see them play and get what Pappy owners call the “zoomies.”

So anyway, wherever you are I wish you a great day while I eat my special recipe chili and drink beer.

Peace

Padre Steve

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, papillons, weather

A Reality Break


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Just a short post today to emphasize a couple of things. 

First, just because Donald Trump is now President-Elect, life does not end. I have my concerns, but I still have family, friends, and beer. 

Second, beer is good. As Homer Simpson so correctly noted “ah beer, the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.” 

Third, and this is serious; I am going to hold off on anymore speculation about what a Trump presidency my bring. Right now everything is speculation and no-matter how well any of us think we are reading the the tea leaves the fact is the fact is that the internal divisions of the GOP may force Trump to work with Democrats to get anything done. Thus it is too early to do more than speculate what may happen after January 20th, even if we strongly believe (like I do) what will happen. 

Because of that fact I am going to restrain my comments until there is empirical evidence that I am right, and when I do write, my words will be carefully crafted in order to focus on policy and its effects than anything directed at any specific person. Emotions can carry one into shoal waters that are more dangerous than listening to the voice of reason. 

So tonight I am listening to great live music and drinking great craft beer with friends at our tapping of the Winterbock at Gordon Biersch Virginia Beach. 

So for the next few weeks I will be writing about things other than the Trumpsition. 


Have a great night, and remember, beer is good.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Unexpected Loss in the Wake of a Storm


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Today was a sad day as we unexpectedly lost a friend due to a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. Our friend Dave Shaw had just returned from a business trip and we actually saw him last night before Tropical Storm Hermine hit our area. When I saw him leaving the bar he did not seem to be well, but I assumed that it was simply being tired from his flight home, but I was wrong. 

I found out about Dave’s passing from my friend John as I was cleaning up the mess left by the storm. A mess that was only that as well suffered no real property damage, though we are going to have to find out why water is entering our house from our back yard. That is why we have insurance, but I digress. Had all we had to deal with was the post storm hassle today would have been easy, but we lost Dave, something far greater than our temporary inconvenience. 

Dave was really a good guy, and a friend to many people. He was a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman and was only 61 years old. Dave had friends who were much closer to him than me and I am sure that our mutual friends Randy and Dave are grieving more than I could ever grieve his loss as they were both much closer to him than I ever was. We were able to go with him, Jeri, and a number of other friends to the Oktoberfest in Munich just two years ago. While we were ther Dave donned a Burger King Crown and a German nicknamed him the King of Virginia, a nickname that he relished, and with good reason. 

It was sad for so many reasons, but especially because Dave and his wife Jeri were happy. They were married less than a year ago, but from the time that they met a few years ago I had never seen Dave so happy. They had just purchased a motor home so they could travel and create new adventures when he planned on retiring from his civilian job in the spring. 

I went an visited Jeri this evening, and we will do what we can to help her over the days ahead, as will many other dear friends. 

When you lose a friend unexpectedly it is most difficult, but that being said it would be worse never having to know them or have missed out on the simple joy of friendship. I would have rather that Dave had been able to live out another twenty or thirty years with his beloved Jeri traveling around the country and also enjoying his time with so many of his other friends, here, and around the world. 

As word of his passing spread I saw many wonderful comments and expressions of love and loss. Dave will be missed by so many people. Today the folks at Gordon Biersch leaned the barstool where he sat against the bar and placed a full stein of his favorite beer in front of it. It was a gesture of love and respect for a friend who though gone from us in the flesh will remain part of all of us forever. 


So until tomorrow, please take the time to love and care for your friends, and if you will, please lift a stein or pint in memory of Dave, the King of Virginia. 

Peace

Padre Steve+

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