Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Headlines from November 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.


Previously, I've explained why this blog has gone on hiatus, adding that my thoughts about beer will be posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential.

You'll find them there via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- I seem to have settled on monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are November's ruminations, with the oldest listed first.

Some of these posts are more topical than others. On occasion, there'll be references to beer in posts using "The Beer Beat" as a label, though not a title. I hope this isn't overly confusing.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.

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THE BEER BEAT: A pint of bitter, please, because it's The Dubliners at the The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, 1977.


It's the mid-1970s lineup of the Irish folk band The Dubliners, performing on a throwback British television show called The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, depicting a fictional working men's club -- a form of private pub with ale and stronger drink, in addition to indoor recreation (snooker, darts), or a haven for what Americans would refer to as blue collar workers.

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THE BEER BEAT: Martin Luther, gruit, hops, brewer's droop and Industrial Disease.


Whether it's Buhner's or Bostwick's research, I've no idea whether any of this is entirely reputable. I always thought it was the alcohol itself that contributes to erectile dysfunction, but strict veracity isn't my point.

Rather, it's the phrase "brewer's droop" itself, and joyfully recalling how it was used by Dire Straits in the song.

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ON THE AVENUES: When it comes to beer, less might yet be more.


I remember being in Prague in the mid-1990s. We’d wander through downtown neighborhoods hunting beer – sometimes hopping trams, other times the subway, but most often on foot. The objective was to find drafts from as many of the Czech Republic’s breweries as possible, and having identified these beers, to drink them straight down.

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THE BEER BEAT: It's a cornucopia of ephemera, from Quaff On to Lazlo Toth.


"I used to occasionally drink your BUDWEISER Brand, that's how I know the name of your company, and all the fine products you make, light as well as Dark. I have a marketing idea that goes with your name since you have the same name as our new President, George Bush. Since he wants a 'kinder, gentler nation', I thought up the idea for you to sell a new beer, -- BUSH BEER -- A KINDER, GENTLER BEER."

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THE BEER BEAT: Your brain on coursework, or expanding the mind one pint at a time.


At one point in the oral history interview, I paused for breath following a rambling recollection of perhaps ten minutes' duration, all of it spent detailing fake IDs, Mario's Pizza, the family room at Steinert's, 4-for-1 Thursday nights at the Troubadour -- though omitting the famous case of Wiedemann smuggled into (and out of) the fraternity office via a trumpet case during the campus chemical cloud lockdown -- suddenly aware of my inability to remember anything substantive about any of my classes.

Or what happened to the trumpet.

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THE BEER BEAT: Beer news overview, featuring our Bamberg correspondent; Pearl Street Taphouse's anniversary; and a Dauntless beer dinner at La Chasse.


Kim Andersen is an evil man, taunting the terminally New Albany-bound (that's me) with this photo of delicious, freshly-poured Spezial Rauchbier, as snapped from his current vantage point in Bamberg, Germany.

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THE BEER BEAT: I brought my passport for beers at J-town's 3rd Turn Brewery.


As a final indicator of my regrettable sloth in getting around to visiting this two-year-old "new" brewery, 3rd Turn already has expanded to Crestwood, 13 miles away from J-town -- this time outside the Gene Snyder Freeway (i.e., I-265) perimeter of Louisville locality demarcation.

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THE BEER BEAT: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and a stray recipe for Eastern European Sauerkraut, Bean and Mushroom Soup.


At some point in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I'd pre-order as many kegs of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale as North Vernon Beverage could acquire via hook or crook, and we'd pour them at the Public House for weeks on end.

Probably a keg each year was deposited directly into my own stomach. It's a wonder we ever made any money. Holiday sentimentality is utterly lacking in my interior world, and yet this annual arrival of Celebration Ale truly came to define the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

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THE BEER BEAT: One excellent afternoon spent pub crawling with beer on the periphery of the wine walk.


It's entirely possible to begin a Saturday afternoon at Floyd County Brewing Company with a couple of locally brewed beers and a burger, then stroll over to Big Four Burgers + Beer for another local beer, before walking eastbound to Hull & High Water and having ... one more "craft" beer, prior to an end-of-pub-crawl night(afternoon)cap -- well, two -- at Gospel Bird, with the added bonus of a restorative dose of Fernet Angelico.

__

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Headlines from October 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.


Previously, I've explained why this blog has gone on hiatus, adding that my thoughts about beer will be posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential.

You'll find them there via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- I seem to have settled on monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are October's ruminations, with the oldest listed first.

Some are more topical than others. In October, there were several travel-related postings using "The Beer Beat" as a label, but not as a title. I hope this isn't overly confusing.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.

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THE BEER BEAT: "Craft," "quality" and other beer semantics -- but independence genuinely matters to me.


One conclusion of Bryan Roth's piece on the beer semantics of craft and quality is that relatively few beer consumers as yet care very much about the ownership of the brewery so long as the components denoted by "craft" are present.

In short, whether the brewery is independent or monolithic/corporate just isn't a consideration because it tells consumers little about "quality" as this concept is applied to the denominator "craft."

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The 2017 Poperinge Hop Parade, Part One: One must pour the proper foundation for maximum parade enjoyment.


Back at the Grote Markt, there were leftover tokens from the previous day's visit to the "Lekker Westhoeks" beer sampling. As we sipped again on Sunday, the visiting band from Wolnzach in Bavaria serenaded the denizens of nearby sidewalk cafes.

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The 2017 Poperinge Hop Parade, Part Two: The procession itself, and where to dine afterward.


Poperinge's triennial hop parade seeks to tell the story of the magic cone used in the production of beer, as placed in the historical context of the Westhoek ("west corner") region of Flanders, embracing this vicinity in Belgium as well as a slice of nearby France.

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THE BEER BEAT: From Sunday sales in Indiana to garlic tastings, an overview of informative news items.


Having recently returned from fact-finding mission to Belgium and the Netherlands, and while in Haarlem enjoying enjoyed more than one session at the Jopenkerk, it's an excellent time to remind readers that there's no better use for a shuttered church than to trasnform it into a house of beer worship.

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THE BEER BEAT: The Second Annual Harvest Craft Beer Hop takes place on Friday, October 13.


Last year restaurateur Ian Hall and his crew at The Exchange pub + kitchen organized the first Harvest Craft Beer Hop. This year it's bigger and better, featuring a stellar lineup of downtown New Albany's food and drink establishments ... 13 in all.

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Out there in the fields, or a visit to De Plukker Hop Farm Brewery outside Poperinge.


Luc had decided that with the weather as yet variable, he'd use the car, and so off we went for an inspection of De Plukker, an organic hop farm and brewery.

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THE BEER BEAT: Beaumont's list of top-notch airport bars somehow prompts a Super Bock memory.


For some unknown reason, Stephen missed the Super Bock Lounge at Francisco Sa Carneiro International Airport in Porto, Portugal. Seeing as it will be the next "airport of call" for the Confidentials come February, I may have to heed the call of duty and investigate.

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THE BEER BEAT: Louisville Craft Beer Week VIII begins today ... in Jeffersonville.


For a dram of perspective, let's glance back at the inception of the celebration in September, 2010.

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ON THE AVENUES: I'd like nothing more than to go for another ride.


Regular readers know that Diana and I recently traveled to Europe, spending the bulk of our time in Poperinge, Belgium and Haarlem, Netherlands.

Kevin was a big fan of both these places, and when we returned to them a month ago, each bicyclist I saw pedaling past – there were hundreds in all – reminded me of the epic beercycling times we had.

It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that our acquaintance began in the late 1980s over beer, not bicycles. Kevin started patronizing Scoreboard Liquors, the package store where I worked, and after a brief lull (I believe he moved away for a short time) we met again when the Public House came into existence in 1992.

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THE BEER BEAT: "One hundred years ago, Britain nationalized hundreds of its pubs — and invented a better drinking culture."


Simply stated, speaking as one who is fascinated by World War I and British pub culture and the notion of prohibition, this is a worthy digression to which I'll be returning.

___

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Headlines from September 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.

Previously, I've explained why this blog has gone on hiatus, adding that my thoughts about beer will be posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential.

You'll find them there via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- I seem to have settled on monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are September's ruminations, with the oldest listed first.

Some are more topical than others. In September, there were several travel-related postings using "The Beer Beat" as a label, but not as a title. I hope this isn't overly confusing.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Remembering Michael Jackson and revising the beer tasting syllabus.


The Mesa gig was on August 23. I knew the 10th anniversary of Jackson's passing was coming soon, but wasn't sure exactly when; while eating lunch at Brugge Brasserie on Wednesday, I glanced at my e-mail and saw the notification of Tom Acitelli's letter perfect tribute in All About Beer, linked here.

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ON THE AVENUES with THE BEER BEAT: We are dispirited in the post-factual beer world.


Come to think of it, contemporary cocktail-driven bar programs seldom advertise on the basis of “cheap” whiskey, do they?

Verily, it’s forever top shelf and upscale with wine and spirits, but when it comes to beer, the dumbing-down always lies waiting, just around the corner.

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ON THE AVENUES with THE BEER BEAT: Beef Steak and Porter always made good belly mortar, but did America’s “top” steakhouses get the memo?


Perhaps the simplest answer is best. There is no documentary evidence to suggest that the customer base of such a steakhouse desires beer choice. Moreover, the profit margin on wine and liquor surely dwarfs the return on beer, so only a few popular lagers are kept around for the die-hards, and that’s that.

I’ve long since learned to mournfully adapt. Precisely because my operating assumption is that steakhouses customarily downplay beer, I harbor absolutely no expectations once I’ve resolved to dine at one of them.

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TRAVEL PRELUDES: Mechelen, with a side of Gouden Carolus.


Het Anker’s flagship Gouden Carolus Classic remains a great favorite of mine, and in 2008 I was at the peak of my powers, since largely ceded, to cajole favors from importers and wholesalers. In this case it was a guided brewery tour for the group.

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TRAVEL PRELUDES: Poperinge and a date with Westvleteren.


Trust me - it's really Westvleteren 12, the beer that “disappeared” from circulation when it was selected as the best beer in the world by readers of RateBeer.com.

Not that it was easy to find, even in Belgium ... even where it is brewed.

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TRAVEL PRELUDES: For a town so small, Watou packs a big gustatory punch.


I've been extremely fortunate to have enjoyed more than one meal at the 't Hommelhof restaurant in Watou, founded twenty or so years ago by Stefaan Couttenye and his wife, the late Sabine Dejonckheere. On one early springtime visit, hop shoots were on the menu.

When Chef Couttenye opened 't Hommelhof, the notion of beer cuisine in general, and local food sourcing in particular, remained a minority taste even in a place like Belgium.

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TRAVEL PRELUDES: Haarlem's awesome Cafe Briljant is winding down (for now), but not before I have another drink there.


On September 30, Rob will preside over the Cafe Briljant's final evening in business at the current location. Happily, I'll be able to drink a few beers there before this closing event occurs.

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TRAVEL PRELUDES: An eagle's nest, a tasting room; a study in brown.


The Dutch word "proeflokaal" (test classroom) appears to be one of those only vaguely translatable concepts, although at root it implies something on the order of testing/tasting room, and may have originated from the habit of jenever (Dutch gin) distilleries operating sampling venues nearby.

When Peter van der Arend opened his specialty Dutch beer bar, there were only a few dozen breweries in the Netherlands. The number now is in the hundreds. He definitely was on the front end of a savory trend.

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ON THE AVENUES with THE BEER BEAT: Getting in tune with the straight and narrow.


It seems to me we’re all guilty at times of espousing a false dichotomy, in which there is mass-market corporate swill on one side and exuberant, innovative craft beer on the other, but the problem with hegemonic Cold Beer War dualism like this is that it utterly excludes a beer like Schlenkerla Märzen. Maybe it fits rather comfortably in the same metaphor with non-aligned nations of the 1970s.

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TRAVEL PRELUDES: Finally, a chance to visit the Jopenkerk -- a Haarlem brewery in a church, and with gruit beer.


By 1996, the present Jopen company had been formed to brew beer in Haarlem on a regular basis, although at first it functioned strictly as a contract brewer. In 2005, after years of negotiation, Jopen purchased the Jacobskerk, and in 2010, the renovated church opened for business as the Jopenkerk brewpub.

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THE BEER BEAT: Hull & High Water is only days away, and it has me all playful about beer lists.


I caught myself wondering what sorts of wine are to be sold at an inland seafood shack, then began trying to remember when (or even if) I've ever ordered wine at a seafood restaurant of any sort.

Everything about Weaver's piece screams "beer," and precisely because not a soul has asked me, here are a few ideas for a solid, nautically-and-aquatic-themed beer list.

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THE BEER BEAT: "How Jared Williamson Found Love — and a Head Brewing Job — at Schlafly."


In an effort to keep this simple: I'm delighted at Jared's career path in brewing, honored to have played a small part in encouraging it, and thrilled that he was able to go to Germany for a taste of what has inspired me for so long.

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On the BEER BEAT, and back in Poperinge for hop festival Saturday, 2017.


Poperinge's hop festival runs from Friday through Sunday every three years. I first attended in 1999, and have missed only 2011 in all the years since. Next up is 2020, and I intend to be there.

In my opinion, the festival steadily has improved from one to the next. It remains almost entirely organized and operated for the benefit of the city and immediate proximity; outsiders are welcome, and yet it's very local in nature.

__

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Headlines from August 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.

Previously, I've explained several reasons why this blog has gone on hiatus, adding that my thoughts about beer will be posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential.

You'll find them there via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- I seem to have settled on monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are August's ruminations, with the oldest listed first. Some are more topical than others, and I'm past the point of caring about it.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.

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THE BEER BEAT: The Moon Under Water -- so, how does Orwell's perfect pub look today?


A survey in the United Kingdom has undertaken to compare Orwell's angle with the rigors of modernity, and to update it. I think the 1940s ideal remains valid in a number of core objectives, which might be summarized by ambiguity: a "perfect" pub has to be a special one.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Visiting the Carlsberg brewery just prior to the Altercation in Copenhagen.


Kim was at work on Wednesday, and I knew the way to Carlsberg, so there was no doubt that Barrie's limited amount of time on the ground in Copenhagen would include a brewery tour. It wasn't necessary to twist his arm.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Elephant, Mouse, wonderful friends and a Titanic Struggle.


This story has been told, blogged and altogether beaten to death on a dozen occasions at various blog portals, though never before with photographic evidence.

As part and parcel of my ongoing commitment to taste and decency, I'll be sparing readers the more graphic photos, which include bodies slumped in unsuspecting doorways, phallic Lenin busts and other testaments to the oddly redemptive power of Elephant Beer.

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THE BEER BEAT: Read about my "Beer Night" at Mesa next Wednesday (August 23) with Chef Ruben Freibert's appetizers.


For me, this tasting feels like my first solo gig after leaving the band, and as such, it's potentially liberating. NABC tastings eventually became necessarily restricted to our own beers, rather than the world's, and while NABC's house beers were good, it's nice to contemplate events ranging a bit farther afield. If this one goes well, hopefully there'll be more.

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THE BEER BEAT: Scofflaw Brewing flies the bird as AB InBev shareholders watch with preda-masturbatory glee.


Now, Scofflaw's friends and foes alike at last find common cause to unite, rejecting the newborn mockrobrew to find the next greatest Northeastern IPA, and lofting those middle fingers in the precise direction this most honest of all personal salutes always should have been pointed.

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THE BEER BEAT: Schansberg explains Sunday and Indiana's lingering sales restrictions: "Support for restrictions is driven by greenbacks more than blue laws."


I've decided to post this link on Saturday so you'll have time to read it before Sunday, when you can readily purchase cold beer to go at your local brewery, but not at a liquor store or a grocery.

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THE BEER BEAT: Hew Ainslie, an early New Albany brewer and Scottish-American poet.


Hew Ainslie was New Albany's first commercial brewer. This biographical sketch below was written by Louisville goldsmith, writer and homebrewer Conrad Selle.

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THE BEER BEAT: Thanks to Mesa (A Collaborative Kitchen) for a great inaugural beer night.


I was a tad rusty, and a few synapses failed to fire, but overall last evening's gingerly dipped toe of a first-time-in-two-years beer sampling went fairly well. Thanks to everyone who turned out; to Chef Ruben Freibert for his nibbles (and our borrowed server Brett); and to the whole crew at Mesa.

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THE BEER BEAT: A late August compendium of links about local and regional beer.


There was a time when the general rule of thumb was to wait a bit before reviewing a restaurant or brewery, this representing a tacit understanding that while no one excuses bad food, beer or service, it usually takes a while to put things into place. Curve balls are common at the start, and even boomerangs.

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THE BEER BEAT: YAY (effing) YAY -- my friend Patti and her pal Cindy get some serious ink, and I'm not talking tattoos.


Here you go, Patti -- your fifteen minutes of beer fame, although honestly, it's fifteen years. You've been a rock star all along.

__

Friday, August 04, 2017

Headlines from July 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.

1987 vintage.

Previously, I've explained several reasons why this blog has gone on hiatus, adding that my thoughts about beer will be posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential.

You'll find them there via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- I seem to have settled on monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are July's ruminations, with the oldest listed first. Some are more topical than others, and I'm past the point of caring about it.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Are barstools even necessary? There ARE alternatives, you know.


As David Wondrich explains, more templates of barroom design than we ever realize actually derive from top-down bureaucratic standards inherited in the aftermath of Prohibition, at times abetted with Hollywood's regimented narrative.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Changing an empty keg the Soviet way.


Here is one of the very first sights I saw in Leningrad on the morning of July 2, 1987.

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THE BEER BEAT: Dan Canon and the welcome return of progressive thinking at NABC.


Most importantly of all, welcome back to the real participatory local world, NABC. I missed your political consciousness these past two years. It was something I'd taken for granted. Maybe it will survive without me, after all.

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THE BEER BEAT: Dollars and cents remain the most rational arguments against AB InBev.


There'll always be exceptions, but life is about the everyday. In the main, as a consumer, I'd like to know exactly where my money is going. Whenever possible, I'd like to see my money directed to indies.

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THE BEER BEAT: "Why Brexit could mean a pricier pint of Guinness."


It's worth remembering that the distance from Dublin to Belfast is a scant hundred miles, less than the drive from New Albany to Indianapolis.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: The finest restorative Pilsner Urquell ever, upon arrival in Prague.


I limped to the long, imposing counter where a brawny, mustachioed man stood next to a pair of matching taps, both pouring the exact same nectar, and with a wheeled cart filled with clean mugs. Mustering my courage, I flashed four fingers and muttered, “Pivo, prosim,” having miraculously recalled the proper words without stealing a glance at the guidebook buried somewhere in my day pack.

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30 years today on THE BEER BEAT: The Automat Koruna, one of my favorite pubs (?) in the world.


You told the cashier what you wanted and paid, to be given a receipt, then waited in a customarily long line, handing the receipt to one of the white-smocked beer pourers. The reward was a cool half-liter (or more) of golden, pilsner-style Pražan beer, brewed a few miles away in Holešovice district of Prague.

You consumed your Pražan and also ate while standing at a stainless steel table. There may have been chairs at the Automat Koruna, but if so, I can’t remember them, at any rate, I didn’t ever sit. Crowds were a constant, and stand-up space sometimes at a premium.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Worshipful pilgrimage to the Pilsner Urquell birthplace shrine.


We caught a train from Prague to Plzeň, got there well before noon, and reconnoitered. From the station, the Pilsner Urquell brewery was easy to see and smell, although we knew to inquire at the official state-run Čedok travel agency (actually established in 1920, prior to communism), which surely would be located somewhere in the center of the city.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Meeting the gang at the legendary Imbiss by Gleis 16 at the Hauptbahnhof in Munich.


July 16, 17 and 18 are holy days in the pantheon of my beer travels, for it was on those three days in 1987 that four good friends from Hoosierland came together in Munich. I was joined by Bob Gunn, Barrie Ottersbach and my cousin Don Barry for three nights of Bavarian bacchanalia.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Munich's incredible Mathäser Bierstadt, symbol of a lost era.


For example, “beer halls” in the sense of the Hofbräuhaus generally do not exist in matching scale outside the city of Munich. Moreover, in 1987 a beer hall even larger than the Hofbräuhaus was our home away from home for two glorious evenings: Mathäser Bierstadt, which was tied to Löwenbräu.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Friday nights and Saturday mornings, Munich-style.


It was Don who famously rose, grinned broadly, and disappeared. Later when asked, he insisted that his parting had been effusive and memorable, a valedictory oration surely among the most eloquent ever uttered in such an honorable establishment.

I'm here to tell you that he never said a word.

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THE BEER BEAT: I guess if NABC isn't celebrating its 30th birthday, then I will, with a look back at the 25th.


Yesterday (July 22) was the 5th anniversary of the New Albanian Brewing Company's 25th anniversary, which means the business entity variously known as Sportstime Pizza, Rich O’s Public House, the New Albanian Brewing Company (later, adding Bank Street Brewhouse, now dubbed NABC Cafe & Brewhouse) has celebrated its 30th birthday.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: A ferry ride from France to Ireland, with the help of Super Valstar and Guinness.


The magic moment possibly occurred at lunch in Versailles while Bob was still traveling with us, or somewhere amid the Ottersbach/Baylor excursion to Pointe du Hoc on Saturday, but I'm thinking it likely came in Cherbourg on Sunday afternoon. Of course, I'm referring to the time we drank deeply of the Super Valstar, or as it read on the label, "the big blonde."

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Stouts galore in Cork, Kinsale and the Hibernian Bar, but in Ballinspittle, not so much.


The great thing about Cork is that it had not one, but two of its own classic Irish Dry Stouts: Murphy's and Beamish. Sadly, they've long since ceased to be independent, but add the ubiquity of draft Guinness, and the city was a stout-lover's dream.

One bar we found had all three on tap at once. By contrast, there may have been two Guinness taps in all of Louisville at the time.

__

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Headlines from June 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.


Previously, I've explained several reasons why this blog has gone on hiatus, adding that my thoughts about beer will be posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential.

You'll find them there via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- probably monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are June's ruminations, with the oldest listed first. Some are more topical than others, and I'm past the point of caring about it.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.

---


THE BEER BEAT: "Please stop calling your legal, open-to-the-public bar a "speakeasy," and other adventures in fake news.


Allow me to suggest that far too many lamentations about the scourge of "fake news" are found to emanate from those who routinely and unquestioningly absorb vast mounds of extraneous bilge written and photographed in the service of food and drink promotion.

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THE BEER BEAT: Falls City nixes its previous expansion plan, and now the new brewery is slated for NuLu.


Obviously, it makes little sense for the Neace family to own a brewery and for it not to supply vast amounts of beer for games played by the soccer team, in which they also have an ownership stake. This new projected brewery location is a bare mile from the proposed stadium site.

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THE BEER BEAT: Ted, Shannon, their businesses, and what happens when creative exuberance meets that immovable capitalist object.


Brugge Brasserie is safe and sound, though there have been tumultuous times for Ted and Shannon, owners of the Broad Ripple shrine to the wonders of Belgian steak frites and ale. They've been compelled by reality to make a difficult business decision regarding Outliers Brewing and The Owner's Wife, their newer ventures on Mass Ave. in Indianapolis.

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THE BEER BEAT: Cincinnati area lagers during Reds baseball on Thursday, June 8. I hear they serve Bud Light at Louisville Bats games.


How very avant-garde of them. Next thing you know, Bats management will admit to the existence of iPhone selfies and have a special commemorative event -- or maybe it's finally time for a Mike Calise Bobblehead Night. At the same time, periodic visits to major league parks in recent years have convinced me that in the big leagues, they're getting it. In Minneapolis in 2014 and Cleveland last year, local "craft" choices were many and varied, if predictably pricey.

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THE BEER BEAT: The timeless wisdom of Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon.


Finally you took the abundant hints and stepped off the merry-go-round, only to be nickel-and-dimed into oblivion because now you're a quitter. You find it difficult to address all this publicly, because you can see that the behavior currently being directed against you can be explained by the same behavior once directed against them. That's life.

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THE BEER BEAT: Neace Ventures acquires Tin Man Brewing Company.


For now, just the press release. After U2 is finished tonight and there is time to think, maybe I'll offer analysis, but for now, I'm simply delighted for the Davidsons. They're first-rate folks and I hope this is a power move for them. And this: Damn it Neace Ventures, I was really hoping you'd buy my 1/3 share of NABC. Guess I'll keep having to e-mail that guy in Shanghai.

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THE BEER BEAT: 30 years ago today, labels from beer hunting in Red Hungary ... and töltött káposzta at Czarnok Vendéglő.


Sturdy half-liter returnable bottles were the norm. There were a handful of breweries in Hungary, including the once-dominant Dreher plant in the Kobanya district. The beers they brewed were lagers in the broad German and Austrian tradition, with an occasional dark or bock included in the range. "Imported" beer meant brands from Czechoslovakia, East German and Poland.

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THE BEER BEAT: I'm curious about the origins of the smooth, crisp and milky Pilsner Urquell pours.


I've been vaguely aware that the Pilsner Urquell international distribution effort of late has been emphasizing the "three pours" draft approach. I'm all aboard, and want to learn more. If my pub sanctuary project-in-development gets off the ground, this will be my daily classic house lager -- and make no mistake, Asahi as Urquell's new owner ranks nowhere near AB-InBev's level of multinational swinishness.

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THE BEER BEAT: Day drinking porter with the porters at the market pub.


Historically, a porter is a person employed to carry burdens, as at a market. In the UK, what makes a "market pub" noteworthy is its exception with respect to allowable opening hours.

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THE BEER BEAT: Making light switch covers great again, and other examples of stewed cranberries tasting like prunes.


File under: Slow news day. Or maybe "any publicity is good publicity," this coming from the guy who put Lenin (and Che) on the Red Room wall.

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And a non-beat bonus:

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: We only want to get drunk, so send away the tigers and climb into your cups.


It is my belief that frequent drinkers of alcoholic beverages, of whom I am unrepentantly one, have about as many ways of describing our condition as the Inuit have for snow.

__

Monday, June 19, 2017

Headlines from May 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.


Okay, okay -- I'm two weeks late.

Previously, I explained several reasons why this blog has gone on hiatus, and explained that my thoughts about beer will be posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential. You'll find them there via the all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- probably monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are May's ruminations, with the oldest listed first. Some are more topical than others, and I'm past the point of caring about it.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.

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THE BEER BEAT: Schaller’s Pump has closed, but why was Chicago's oldest bar called a "Pump," anyway?


The demise of any 136-year-old bar is both newsworthy and regrettable. What strikes me about Schaller's Pump is the name itself. Nowadays, you simply don't see too many bars referring to themselves as "pumps," although there are a few newer establishments around the country that have borrowed the rare old-school usage.

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THE BEER BEAT: The Pour Fool nails it yet again, as "Budweiser Finds Another Sell-Out" -- this time, Wicked Weed.


Like others before it, Wicked Weed Brewing has died. That's unfortunate, indeed, but from the moment the ownership of Wicked Weed passed to AB InBev, this previously independent brewery was transformed into something else. Now it's Wicked Trojan Zombie Afterlife Weed. We'll always have our memories.

Speaking only for myself, I wouldn't drink a WTZAW beer with Donald Trump's lips.

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THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever: "Tastes of paradise can shatter mirrors" (2014).


Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants and Intoxicants (is) by the wonderfully named Wolfgang Schivelbusch. He is not a Groucho Marx character from Duck Soup, but a German-born cultural historian operating from a decidedly (Karl) Marxist perspective.

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THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever: "This week in solipsistic beer narcissism" (2014).


Given the perpetual linkages between education and personal advancement, why is it that people choose to devalue the notion of education, eschewing the why, how and wherefore, and substituting in their place a solipsistic, narcissism-driven, knee-jerk, me-first hedonism?

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THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever: "Let's explore anti-local craft beer unconsciousness" (2013).


We don't need Bourbon County Stout when other versions of wood-aged stouts (and other styles) produced by genuine indies are in the same league.

We don't need whatever sour specialty used to be brewed by Wicked Weed before its untimely demise.

Instead, we need to log off Untappd, hide the phone, find a local brewery and enjoy a fresh beer with living, breathing humans.

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THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever: "Localism + Beer" (2012).


It makes no sense to labor over writing a fresh new essay when we've all been here before, and whether or not the "keep politics out of my narcissism" caste
realizes it, we've been here ever since Goose Island died.

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THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever. Localism is the salve for your cognitive dissonance.


There are plenty of laws that might be enacted to put AB InBev in its place, but these are unlikely to be written, because who benefits the most from robber baron multinationals if not the politicians accepting their campaign contributions?

Accordingly, if vile politicians give money to AB InBev with the aim of preserving monopolies and suppressing choice, why would you even consider doing the same -- even if it's your precious Bourbon County Stout?

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THE BEER BEAT: It has been three years since BSB's original kitchen closed, so let's return to "Ice Cold WCTU (A Modest Proposal)."


By January of 2015, I'd decided to run for mayor and take a leave of absence, which turned permanent shortly thereafter -- and no, they haven't paid me a dime yet. Perhaps it's time to make an attorney rich.

All in all, it's been a charmed life, and I have few regrets. One of them is that it wasn't possible to follow through on what undoubtedly was my greatest idea: Ice Cold WCTU, a museum and conceptual memorial to the victims of Prohibition, doubling as the unique shtick to draw customers to the brewery.

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THE BEER BEAT: Moss the Boss and his L’ Eblouissant (The Dazzling), one of my favorite pubs in the world.


Even then, we almost missed The Dazzling. There was no sign apart from a back-lit Murphy’s Stout oval, adorning an accurate facsimile of an Irish pub front. We stepped inside, only to find the pub officially closed to make room for at least two dozen Namur locals gathered there to celebrate their recent return from a tour of Sri Lanka.

At this juncture, our first acquaintance was made with the Belgo-Irish force of nature known as Alain Mossiat, to be forever known as “Moss the Boss.” Moss welcomed us, albeit a bit warily at first. His resistance began to crumble when it became evident that our beer pilgrim credentials were exemplary, and so an impromptu compromise was reached.

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THE BEER BEAT: Starlight Distribution's entire inventory was destroyed by Friday's flooding.


Condolences to Starlight Distribution and solidarity with the recovery. The same goes for all the folks north of us who suffered damage from yesterday's flooding.

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THE BEER BEAT: It should be in a museum, but the original Public House keg box has a new, loving home.


It was dubbed the Jouett Meekin Memorial Keg Box. For a while, I kept beer tapped to drink at home, and used the keg box for Harvest Homecoming Parade parties and occasional social gatherings. I’m quite attached to this hunk of metal and draft lines, but the time has come to find her a better home.

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THE BEER BEAT: Odds and ends from the month of May. I can't remember anything before that.


It's good by me. Any effective strategy for dealing with sexism in "craft" beer is likely to be incremental. We're talking attitudes, and these take time. Speaking of time, I'm a history nut, and "extinct" styles fascinate me.

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THE BEER BEAT: Fest of Ale is almost here, though New Albany Craft Beer Week wasn't.


In 2016, I took a stab at organizing a New Albany Craft Beer Week to precede Fest of Ale, and to culminate with it. It's a common promotional device, and one exercised widely. It didn't happen in New Albany this year.