Gunpowder On My Own Flies

I got out on the Gunpower River on Friday before the real cold weather, wind and snow came in this weekend. It was a balmy 40 degrees but there were at least six or seven other guys on the water. The river was high, at nearly 300 CFS and Backwater Angler suggested using streamers between York and Falls Road. I brought along a few black and green wooly buggers that I tied myself (yep, I’m finally tying my own flies), and with a double streamer rig got into some nice wild brown trout in the riffles. I would cast up stream and across and let the fly swing down and strip back in upstream toward me along the seams.

It was a real pleasure catching trout on flies I tied myself. The trout weren’t large, but then they never seem to be in the GP. In fact, I wonder if there’s any sizeable fish in there at all sometimes. Fish over 13 for 14″ are rarely reported. If any of my MD readers have an idea why leave a comment and share your thoughts. Maybe the big ones are all nocturnal due to the pressure? The Gunpowder Riverkeeper, Theaux M. Le Gardeur,  has a great year end review on the Backwater Angler blog if you’re interested in the activities taken this year to protect the river and its ecology.







Nearly There

Last weekend I opened up a bottle of the honey ale, now 3 weeks bottle conditioned and lo and behold, it was finally ready for a tasting. Sharing my brew on Christmas Day with family proved to be nerve-wracking. You see my brothers and sisters and their spouses love to drink. Obscure Belgian lambics, they’ve had them. Cask-conditioned sour ales, they’ve tried ’em. They were hitting brewpubs and drinking craft beer years before the craze. So, I poured two bottles and dolled out the ale. Turns out the first bottle was sweet and rich, but could have used a bit of carbonation, the other was just about perfect, well carbonated, great head, and somewhat less sweet, and pale–but all in all a fantastic ale. So, I gave everyone two bottles each and told them to drink them in a week’s time.

As I suspected, I should have given the batch a more aggressive priming of sugar with a better mixing job before bottling. Hence the difference bottle to bottle. I will open one more tomorrow for tasting before finally refrigerating them to stop whatever tiny amount of residual carbonation might be taking place. And in honor of my spirit animal, I chose a stag’s head as my mark and designed a custom stamp for my brewing efforts. Hey don’t laugh, I have a spirit animal, don’t you?

Bottled Brew

Give Back

Ghost of Christmas Present


Its been a strange holiday so far, let me explain. On the one hand, I couldn’t be happier to once again be living close to my father, brother and sisters and their families. I even feel closer to my in-laws in Atlanta. I’m surrounded by extended family too, and lots of young nieces and nephews. While I dearly miss my friends back in New York, it brings me great joy and comfort living here in D.C. On the other hand, the tragedy in Newtown, CT is a sobering reality. And while this is a festive time, some people I am very close to are experiencing pain and loss this season.

Its in these times, where a blessing has more to teach us, than to provide. And, of course, that’s what the holidays should be about. To me they are a time to put aside your wants and desires and to celebrate each other, our common bonds and to make a promise to one another that we will love and hold Christmas in our hearts the year round.

So, a gentle reminder, to myself and to all deadbaiters. Give back. Don’t wait and don’t feel guilty if you didn’t do any giving this past year.  Just give back. Find a way to help your common brother and sister, the Earth that holds you, and the all mighty universe, God or being that created you. Hell, maybe you’re just happy the Mayans were wrong.

Here are some ideas:

  • Take a child to a free museum. Today, almost every urban museum has free days, and if you live in DC, nearly every museum is free at some point in the week.
  • Give away your favorite book. Share a story that’s meaningful to you, maybe they’ll find it meaningful too.
  • Make a care package. For those struggling through tough times, a homemade lasagna, handmade baked cookies or a carefully selected basket of local goodies can turn around someone’s day.
  • Write a letter. No not an email, but a handwritten two or three page letter to a relative or friend you don’t spend enough time with. Share your life, reminisce, ask about their lives or tell a story.
  • Donate unused winter clothing. Do you really need those boots or that coat you haven’t worn in two years, or that  funny elf hat anymore? Its going to be a cold winter but you can keep someone warm.
  • Gather your family’s resources to help another family. We all know have a family friend that’s fallen on tough times. Instead of just one person helping out, ask your entire family to pitch in and help. Maybe they need a big item that you all can take care of together?
  • Give someone some time off. Remember giving you parent’s I.O.U.s promising to wash the dishes or take the trash out when you were a kid at Christmas? You can do the same thing for a friend of family member who might need a night off from the kids.
  • Invite your neighbor around. If you know your neighbors might be alone this season, or if you just want to thank them for keeping their dog off your lawn this year, invite your neighbors around for tea or cocktails, open your heart and open your home.

Schott Pop-up


For my homies in NYC… I love their peacoats. Always topnotch quality, always affordable.


SCHOTT WinterPopUp

Where: 107 Mercer Street

(At Spring Street)

New York, NY 10012 in SOHO

Hours: Daily 11am – 7 pm

What: Featuring a selection of classic leather, wool, nylon, and shearling jackets made in the USA. Shirts, sweaters and accessories for men and women.

Green Hat Gin

Green Hat Gin

Great story. As far as they know, the folk at New Columbia Distillery are the first to make legal gin in Washington, DC. Green Hat Gin has popped-up here and there around the District (try DC Reynolds) and is available direct at their distillery on New York Ave, along with some pretty cool swag.

Green Hat Gin is named for George L. Cassiday, the chief “capitol bootlegger” in the District during the 20s. He literally worked for the House and Senate during prohibition in their offices, and despite a couple of run-ins and a brief stint in jail, he was a “good man simply supplying the market.”

George Cassiday Bootlegger

When he was arrested, Cassiday was was wearing a green fedora and he became known as “the man in the green hat.” After a second arrest, the notoriously nice-guy bootler became fed-up with the hypocrisy of imbibing congressmen and senators and started publishing his story in the Washington Post–one week before the 1930 election. No doubt his column had an impact on repealing Prohibition. Up next for New Columbia Distillery, whiskey in about three years.

Guide to Men’s Shopping in DC

Just in time for the holidays, I’ve decided to publish a guide to places that appeal to me as a sometime shopper in the D.C. area. As in my holiday guide, if you read this blog regularly and are into quality craftsmanship, clothes and gear that will last you a lifetime, American-made stuff, you’ll probably like the deadbait D.C. Men’s Guide.

It ain’t easy to find solid menswear shopping in D.C., but its here if you look hard enough…and now you have a shortcut! If your favorite spot didn’t make the list, its because I probably haven’t heard about it, don’t care for it, or never shopped or ate there. I’ve also left out the soul-sucking made-in-china-stan retailers, with a couple of exceptions. I’ve also included a few good spots to hang-out, gear-up, and places to get your outdoor stuff too.

deadbait DC Men's Guide

Hugh & Crye (online but DC-based)

Lost Boys

Vineyard Vines


Universal Gear

Rag & Bone

Palace 5ive

J Press



Rue 14

Gant (Swiss-owned but American-heritage)

Jack Wills

Brooks Brothers

J Crew


Allen Edmonds





Urban Angler

Hudson Trail Outfitters



Sterling & Burke

Smash Records

The Grooming Lounge

Leica Store


The Foundry



Cork Market

Seasonal Pantry

Three Little Pigs

DC Brau Brewing Co

Port City Brewing Co

DC Reynolds

Union Market DC


Meridian Pint

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

The Brixton (English Pub from the Hilton boys)

American Ice Co.

H Street Country Club

Granville Moores


Needs More Time


Well I’m getting very good carbonation from the bottle conditioning of the White House Honey Ale my brother and I have been brewing. Good fizz but no lacing yet as with a good pour, and it has a lovely caramel color with a touch of haze. Now, as for the taste. Well when we bottled the beer it was sweet, delicious but flat. Now its very, very dry, bitter, harsh and chemical-ish, but not sour. I’m worried. Its only been about two weeks of bottle-conditioning, but I’m worried there was some contamination during the bottling. I’m not sure what to do think.

The homebrewers forums all say to just be patient and perhaps to wait up to a month or more. It gives time for the yeast to spend, and for the flavor to mellow. Apparently, the bitterness doesn’t increase from conditioning and comes from the BOIL were the alpha acids were isomerized into the ale (in short, absorbed), but that bitterness can recede quickly after a period of conditioning. Oi vey, how can something smell so damn good, look so good, and fall so flat on the taste! I guess I’m going to have to just wait it out…. In the off-chance that the beer just needed to be chilled I’ve got one in the fridge for the next 48 hours and will crack it open this weekend and see if its any better. And again, the forums say if its still no good, wait some more.