Saturday, October 22, 2016

And now for something completely different: St. Benedict’s Brew Works beer and brewing retreat at the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana.

Not only is this one of Indiana's most unique breweries. Surely it ranks high on the national list.

Located at 860 E. 10th St. in the Benedictine Sisters’ former art studio, St. Benedict’s Brew Works is believed to be the only U.S. craft brewery on the grounds of a women’s religious community.

But there's even more.


Beer-brewing retreat Nov. 11-13

Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand will offer a retreat, “Brewing with the Spirit: A Monastic Craft Beer Experience,” from November 11-13 at St. Benedict’s Brew Works, a craft brewery on the grounds of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana.

Brewery owners Vince Luecke and Andy Hedinger will share the history of beer and spiritual reflections on Gospel parables about grain, earth, yeast, and water. Participants will sample beers, learn beer terminology, and make craft beer.

The retreat begins at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, November 11, and ends at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 13. The first evening will be a social and a discussion of beer styles for the second day, which will be the actual brewing of the beer. The first night is optional.

The cost of the retreat is $320, including meals, abundant beer sampling, and two nights’ lodging at Kordes Retreat Center. The cost for one night is $270. Commuter cost is $200. The size of the retreat is limited to 12 people. Two other retreats are scheduled, from February 24-26, and March 3-5.

Register by calling 812-367-1411, ext. 2915, by visiting, or by sending an email to For more information on the retreat, contact Vince Luecke at 812-719-2301 or email

Luecke has a master’s degree in Catholic Thought and Life from Saint Meinrad School of Theology. He is the editor of two newspapers. Hedinger holds a law degree from Indiana University Mauer School of Law. He practices law full time and also owns and operates Monkey Hollow Winery and Distillery near St. Meinrad.


Friday, October 21, 2016

My suggestion to Stone is Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

"Quotes for Stone Berlin."

On October 9, I received this e-mail from Greg Koch, founder of Stone Brewing Company and a great favorite of mine. Has it really been nine years since Greg visited the Public House?

Hello Friends!

I would like to ask you for your quotes!

I need two types….

#1 – I am looking for philosophical quotes that relate to beer, ethics, and your personal philosophies. We are writing these quotes in various places at Stone Berlin. You can see an attached example from our friend Sam Calagione. I am open to both quotes that you have coined, as well as quotes from (other) famous people. If you give me a quote in German or other language, please translate it into English for me (although we’ll write it in its original language).

#2 – Many of you have already had a chance to visit Stone Berlin. I would love a quote from you of your experience, what you thought of the project, how you’d describe it to other people, or just an out-and-out testimonial. Anything you’d feel comfortable sharing would be appreciated!

So many of you have made a special trip to Stone Berlin already, or have one planned in the future. We appreciate your friendship!



A few days later, the Interwebz began chatting about layoffs at Stone California, and after a week, this story appeared of October 21.

Stone Brewing lays off about 5% of its workers
, by Peter Rowe (LA Times)

Stone Brewing Co. announced this week that it has cut “approximately 5%” — about 60 — of its 1,200 employees, a sign of the growing pressures on craft beer.

Dominic Engels, who in August succeeded co-founder Greg Koch as chief executive of the Escondido, Calif., company, was not available for comment Thursday. But in a statement he said that despite these layoffs, “Stone remains one of the largest — if not the largest — employers in the craft brewing segment.”

Yet Stone is caught between global conglomerates and small independent operations. There are now 4,800 breweries in the country, including 130 in San Diego County, both historic highs.

Consolidation is also rattling the industry. Last year, New York-based Constellation Brands bought San Diego’s Ballast Point for $1 billion, and MillerCoors acquired another San Diego brewery, Saint Archer, for an undisclosed sum ...

I'd take a stab at telling you how I feel about it, but that's the point: I don't feel anything at all.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Against the Grain and Dauntless Distributing Announce Shelton Brothers’ Festival Events."

This press release is presented verbatim. If you're attending the Friday and/or Saturday evening sessions of The Festival, say hi, because I've volunteered to work both.


Against the Grain and Dauntless Distributing Announce Shelton Brothers’ Festival Events

2011 marked the beginning of a partnership unlike any other in the beer industry. Kentucky’s most unique craft beer distributor, Dauntless Distributing, and Louisville’s first brewer owned and operated brewery,Against the Grain, opened for business and joined together to help in the expansion and evolution of the bluegrass beer scene.

Watch our video here. <---- font="">

That same year, world-renowned beer importer, Shelton Brothers, held their first beer festival. The Festival, as it’s simply named, is the world’s greatest and smallest artisanal beer, cider, and mead festival.

The 5th annual Shelton Brothers’ festival will be held in Louisville October 28-29. This coincidence has made it possible for Dauntless and Against the Grain to highlight their unique five-year friendship and ability to host the world’s greatest beer festival. Together they’ve planned a host events leading up to the fest and a plethora of after parties during the weekend. They also brewed a beer with Mayor Greg Fischer to welcome brewers and attendees from around the world coming to Louisville for The Festival. The beer is a pale ale brewed with pineapple, as a symbol of welcome.

Shelton Brothers' Festival Events 

For more information surrounding The Festival events please reach out to Kayla Phelps

For questions about events at Against the Grain please contact Katie Molck at

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Piss off, Spike: Trojan Terrapin's baseball-themed "brew lab" is just another multi-national concept, isn't it?

There's the intended "craft" imagery, whether the exact word is used or not:

Brewery goes to bat with the Atlanta Braves (CNBC)

Terrapin Beer Company is stepping up to the plate.

The Athens, Georgia-based brewery is opening a taproom and "brew lab" adjacent to SunTrust Park, the new home of Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves, which will open next season.

"To have the Braves behind us with their branding and their fan base, I'm very excited," said Brian "Spike" Buckowski, Terrapin's co-founder and vice president of brewing ...

Then there's what it's really about:

... The deal is part of a multiyear partnership between the Atlanta Braves and MillerCoors (NYSE: TAP), whose Tenth and Blake craft division purchased a full ownership in Terrapin in July after owning a minority stake since 2012. Terrapin produced 57,000 barrels of beer last year, up nearly 25 percent from 2014.

MillerCoors is no stranger to the brewery connected to a baseball stadium concept.

Another Tenth and Blake brand, Blue Moon Brewing Company, has operated The Sandlot Brewery inside Denver's Coors Field since 1995.

It's bad enough that SunTrust Park is a paean to suburban sprawl. Now it gets to be a shrine for mockrobrews, too.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The band, not the beer: "Houndmouth: From the Hills to the Limelight."

Just before Christmas in 2012, NABC’s sales rep Richard Atnip (now with New Holland Brewing) asked me if it would be possible for us to do a collaboration beer with Houndmouth.

Naturally, I replied: “What is Houndmouth?”

Richard graciously supplied me with links to YouTube videos, and I did my due diligence. Not everyone in my company at the time was enamored of the idea, but a meeting was scheduled, and all four band members attended.

The meeting went well, and I thought it was worth doing. A sticking point was determining what style of beer to brew, and Richard suggested a hoppy American Wheat, rather like Gumballhead by Three Floyds Brewing. Brewer David Pierce created a formula, and we did a test batch at the smaller Grant Line Road brewhouse.

This small batch accounted for the initial release, but when the Iroquois Amphitheater sales opportunity (below) arose through River City Distributing, a batch was brewed at Bank Street Brewhouse and kegged for RCD.

The apex of Houndmouth (the ale) was at the Boomtown Ball in May of 2014, when NABC had Houndmouth during the festival and also at The Grand for the band’s show.

To make a long story short, Houndmouth Ale didn’t get further traction because there was no way NABC could package it properly (probably best in 12-oz cans or bottles) without contracting it with another brewery which could do this sort of package – and this was too expensive an investment without having multi-state distribution; otherwise, the beer couldn't follow the band.

Apparently NABC didn't brew Houndmouth for this year's Boomtown, but imagine the marketing tie-ins had the brewery done so for the opening night and first few weeks of this exhibition at the Carnegie -- which is right across the street from Bank Street Brewhouse. 

At least there'll be a few items of Houndmouth Ale memorabilia at the Carnegie (thanks AP). Here are links to two articles from 2013, followed by the Carnegie's press release.

All about Houndmouth, the band ... and the beer.

As band and beer, Houndmouth slays Iroquois.


Houndmouth: From the Hills to the Limelight

The Carnegie Center for Art & History invites you to the opening reception for our latest exhibition, "Houndmouth: From the Hills to the Limelight" on Friday, October 28th, 6:00-9:00pm. Come out and wear your "Saturday night kind of pink" to be entered to win an poster autographed by the band! This reception is free and open to the public.

"Houndmouth: From the Hills to the Limelight" traces the success of the musical group Houndmouth whose members all hail from New Albany, Indiana. This special exhibition documents the remarkable rise Houndmouth has experienced from playing local venues to selling out concerts across the country. The exhibit will include personal memorabilia, concert posters, costumes, instruments, original videos, and much more. It will be on view through January 21, 2017.

Making a special appearance at the opening reception, Crosley will have their mobile record store "The Crosley Cruiser" at the Carnegie Center and selling Houndmouth related records and merchandise.

Also on view will be Kentucky College of Art + Design's "Digging in the Air" helium-filled sculpture, winner of the #IamPublicArt Rumble on the River installation!

Share your love of all things Houndmouth by posting photos on Instagram using the hashtag #HometownHoundmouth! Photos will be added to a live photostream and become a part of the exhibition! *Instagram accounts need to be set to "public" for images to appear at the Carnegie Center.

"Houndmouth: From the Hills to the Limelight" was made possible by the generous support of Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County, Wesbanco Bank, and 91.9 WFPK. Thank you!


Monday, October 17, 2016

AFTER THE FIRE: These old, old habits die hard.

AFTER THE FIRE: These old, old habits die hard.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

"Never be afraid of the obvious, because it's all been done before."
-- Noel Gallagher

Throw out the tired qualifiers, strained excuses and special exceptions. Any year we have the opportunity to travel is a very good year, indeed, even on those rare occasions when Donald Trump is running for president.

You may insert any relevant jokes about “running away,” “he keeps me running” or “running on empty” – or, conversely, just get the “runs” and be done with it.

Verily, whether a lush, teetotaler or embracing any state of bibulosity between these extremes, our collective electoral agony finally ends with Election Day, November 8. Speaking personally, I’ve already made my choice, and you cannot sway me.

It’s Sicily, and we leave shortly after the election. I know very well where I’m going to go when the volcano blows – Catania, at the foot of Mount Etna.

However, the object here isn’t to recap the year’s road trips. Nor will I dare explore the implications of a strange dream just the other night, in which Michael “Beer Hunter” Jackson turned to me and said, “If most Trump voters are white males, and if most craft brewers are white males, then isn’t it time to start over?”

Rather, it is to concede that whenever you hear me claim to be a drastically changed man in terms of personal habits, I’m stretching the truth just a bit, not unlike America’s major party political candidates.

In fact, while the Curmudgeon continues to soft-pedal his ties to beer and the brewing biz, it remains that these old, old habits die hard, and each of our travel opportunities in 2016 has been (or is being) preceded by a thorough examination of the best beer options nearest the destination in question.

Which is to say, I haven’t entirely stopped being fervently judgmental when calculating my discretionary spending decisions and exercising them for better beer, although I do my level best to avoid reading reviews at RateBeer, Beer Advocate or anywhere else.

If I can’t survey available options and make these critical distinctions by now, relying on my knowledge and experience, then those many years of liver abuse were plainly squandered.

The good news is the pace of that particular assault on my body definitely has slowed. Nowadays, thinking back on the exploits of three decades, it flummoxes me to have consumed so much beer. It wasn’t always drinking; it was sheer swallowing.

I’ll likely spend the remainder of my life trying to remember – first, to recall what actually transpired, these memories being frustratingly elusive, but moreover, pondering a consciousness once capable of impelling this powerful urge to imbibe. It’s hard to say why, now that I no longer feel that way.

Well … not very often.


Returning to within earshot of my point, it seems to me that when you’re drinking far less beer overall, decision-making becomes more efficient and streamlined.

Spectacular arrays of Barrel-Aged Sour IPAs at multi-taps and other hyper-specialized beer bars eventually come to factor less into the selection equation. Having done my little bit historically to develop these concepts, I’ve nothing against them. It’s just that in the present time, a clean, well-lighted local spot with a good beer or two on tap suffices perfectly well.

After all, I’m probably only having two or three beers, anyway. That’s the great joy of a vicinity like Madison, Wisconsin, because even the VFW posts there have draft New Glarus Spotted Cow, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s hard to find an establishment that doesn’t offer a few solid “craft” options.

This sensibility is less developed in metro Louisville, although it’s getting better. Consider a place like Vic’s CafĂ© in New Albany, an old school bar with quality food at reasonable prices, as well as bottles of Bell’s Two Hearted for three dollars, every day.

In short, no longer must we segregate ourselves in armored beer geek siloes, surrounded only by fellow IBU-counters. As better beer proliferates, so do our options for those times when we’d just like to have a good beer or two, an honest bite, and a seat in the real world.


Returning to the notion of travel fulfillment, I’m a longtime advocate of walkability. Accordingly, my advance scouting usually means examining the Google Map in great detail without autos in mind, calculating the distance from hotel to beer bar or brewery, and poring over public transport options.

In a pinch, I’ll estimate the length of the drive – for purposes of a taxi, if nothing else. Naturally there are times when one must drive, and when this occurs, you go to New Glarus and fill up the trunk, making for many happy evenings on the porch once you’re back home.

For a beer lover, there are obvious dividends to urban wandering on foot, which simply cannot be replicated in a motor vehicle. For one, to walk is to be exposed to far greater detail than can be experienced in a car. More importantly, activity stimulates the metabolism. You can eat, drink and burn off calories during the walk itself.

Of course, walking doesn’t absolve the drinker from potential issues with perambulation while intoxicated, but these pale in comparison with drunk driving.

The ideal scenario for me is a looping circular stroll, beginning at home or hostelry, and meandering toward a brewery tap or beer bar, perhaps walking for an hour or two, maybe more, time enough for the pints and bites at my stop to be a genuine reward.

The way back can be a directional potpourri. At every conceivable byway, the more sessionable the pints, the better to augment my quota with an extra one for dessert.

At the end of the drinking day on the road, there are no right or wrong itineraries. For me, the ultimate goal of better beer always was to incorporate it within everyday neighborhood life, not sequester it in a gated community, aloof and removed.

This is my objective when traveling, too. Urban revitalization and palate renewal are birds of a feather, better observed afoot and awake.


October 10: AFTER THE FIRE: The Great Taste of the Midwest is the best beer fest of them all.

October 3: AFTER THE FIRE: New Albany’s Harvest Homecoming occupation isn't alleviating my "craft" beer Twitter depression.

September 26: AFTER THE FIRE: The seasonality of Oktoberfest in time, beer and year.

September 19: AFTER THE FIRE: This week in solipsistic beer narcissism (2014).


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Last of my summer's patience: Walking holidays in the UK that lead to pubs.

The Craven Arms (from The Guardian).

One of my obsessions during the period spent contemplating my NABC-xit was the long-running British television show, The Last of the Summer Wine.

ON THE AVENUES: The last of the summer beer.

 ... It’s hard to imagine a more unfashionable concept in the milieu of the smart phone and driverless car, and perhaps that’s why I’m so attracted to it.

For the uninitiated, the series ran from 1973 through 2010, a staggering 37 years, with almost 300 episodes aired. Virtually all emphasize a timeless sense of place, with much location filming amid the workmanlike stone buildings and rustic, gorgeous rolling hills of Holmfirth, Yorkshire.

There is a basic narrative premise remaining unchanged throughout the program’s run: “A whimsical comedy with a penchant for light philosophy and full-on slapstick (following) the misadventures of three elderly friends tramping around the Yorkshire countryside.”

I actually stopped watching the show during last year's mayoral campaign, as it rendered me dreamy and inert, and no longer willing to read sewage treatment consent decrees.

Then, this morning, the missus pointed me to a piece in The Guardian about walking the English (and Welsh, Scottish and Irish) countryside and drinking real ale in the UK, and I dissolved into melancholy reverie. It is 9:00 a.m., and all I can think about it Ordinary Bitter.

Coincidentally, the Inspector Morse episode we watched two days ago contained a wonderful subtle vignette, wherein Morse and Lewis have retreated to a pub to discuss their investigation, and as Lewis speaks, Morse (a cask devotee) gazes soulfully at a pint of ale being sinuously drawn.

By the way ... get me the fuck out of here.


20 great UK walks with pubs, chosen by nature writers

Pull on your boots and enjoy the countryside in all its autumn glory. Ten of Britain’s best nature writers reveal their favourite routes – and where they like to refuel on the way.