Monday, May 21, 2018

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Still on the "beer beat," but with a new identity and a renewed consultancy.


"Beer with a Socialist" is what happens when the Potable Curmudgeon momentarily mistakes the word "scientist" for "socialist," and after a good laugh, decides it's kismet.

A long time ago, while still a part-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Company (Bank Street Brewhouse had yet to be born), I started a company called Potable Curmudgeon Inc., which was to have been devoted to travel and tourism. For various reasons, this idea never came together; the last motor coach trip was 2004, and on bikes, 2008.

It's never too late to start all over again, and 2018 looks like the year for it. Over at Facebook, I've deleted the moribund Potable Curmudgeon Inc. page, in effect combining it with Roger's Simple Beer Pleasures, which has been renamed Roger Baylor's "Beer with a Socialist" -- as has this periodic blog feature.

Beer musings will remain here at NA Confidential, rather than resume at the Potable Curmudgeon blogspace, primarily because NAC has a regular and reliable readership base. This also owes to my determination that beer not be viewed in a stand-alone vacuum. Beer is part of everything, and it should be considered alongside everything.

During the past few months, I've become convinced that beer consultancy might become a viable pastime. It's never been about the money for me, and I've already been free-lancing for a while as a writer. If I can add to writing a couple more small revenue streams, it will be enough to get by. Perhaps Patreon is in my future.

There are several "beer education" and "beer entertainment" ideas I've been wanting to test for many years, and now seems like a good time to devote attention to them, because happily, my sabbatical since departing NABC has reaffirmed that beer is a place I want to be, personally and professionally. I just needed some time away to take care of other things.

As an aside, finally getting my departure resolved in February this year seems to have had a salutary effect on everyone involved. The past three years have been weird, enlightening, depressing and joyous. They're a springboard to what comes next.

Beer has been my life’s work. Beer has served as governing principle for a variety of personal interests, ranging from history to geography, through politics, and including food, travel and recreation. Beer has connected them in a way that iced tea simply can't manage, and frankly, then as now, iced tea consistently annoys the very hell right out of me.

I've come to viscerally dislike iced tea, by the way.

Do I have what it takes to be a beer consultant? Even I can't be sure, but I'm intent on hanging out a shingle. Today's world of beer appreciation, whether on the part of industry folks or paying customers, displays beer knowledge a mile wide and a millimeter deep. With a few good stories and a bit of soft shoe, I think there's a niche for infotainment.

As many readers already know, my primary interest these days is Classic Beer -- the greatest beer hits from the 1300s through the 1900s. It's what the program at Pints & Union will emphasize (mid-June is the target date).

There are times when beer hunting involves looking past the chaotic cornucopia of the present and rediscovering what always was there, patiently waiting, in plain sight. Of course, new classics are being created every day. Making sense of it all is becoming harder and harder, and maybe I can help with this.

In the months to come, we’ll see where this goes, so thanks for reading.

___

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Headlines from April 2018 on THE BEER BEAT.


This blog has gone on hiatus, probably permanently, and primarily because these days my thoughts about beer are being posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential. You'll find them there in reverse chronological order via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, at the end of each month I'll collect the links right here. Following are April's (2018) 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.

---

THE BEER BEAT: "Bock brings the Germans rushing to the beer garden."


Doppelbock is the perfect example of a seasonal beer style redolent of history and faraway places, and yet deemed insufficiently sexy for narcissistic, hop-laden, shoe-gazing geeks.

No bitterness in this soul, mind you.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Mad Paddle Brewery is coming to Madison, and there's a New Albany connection.


Having tickled the taste buds, let's have a glance to the northeast. If you ask me, Madison has always deserved a good brewery.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Fest of Ale returns on June 2, so please allow me to revive an idea for pre-fest fun next year.


(New Albany Craft Beer Week) didn't come together in 2017 and probably won't in 2018, but if Andrew Nicholson and Kelly Winslow (especially these two) are reading ... there's always 2019. I'd be happy to give you both the rundown.

Meanwhile, 2018 will be the third year for Fest of Ale at the Riverfront Amphitheater. Gear up and get ready.

---

THE BEER BEAT: This just might be the Pour Fool's greatest rant: "Open Letter to The Bud Sell-Outs: Cowboy Up, Whiners."


"There is one old saw that the 'owners' of these former craft breweries should take to heart and if any of you have never heard it, allow me ... 'You Made Your Bed, Now Lie In It.' "

Ladies and gentleman, give it up for Steve Foolbody (The Pour Fool).

It's the best summary yet offered, as truthfully attesting to the phenomenon of Trojan Zombie Afterlife Breweries and their former owners. Here's a relevant non-brewing history lesson.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Pints for Parkinson's returns with Maibock, so let's have a look at Gordon Biersch, day drinking and TARC.


Spurred by the groundbreaking commuter research conducted by my friend Jeff, who works in downtown Louisville -- and with a wife who does, too -- I have belatedly grasped that the #71 bus eastbound from State and Elm in New Albany (a short walk from my house) travels all the way to Jeffersonville on roughly an hourly basis during the day, stopping a mere bloc

---

THE BEER BEAT: Everybody wants to rule the world -- maybe "craft" beer will, too.


This is exactly what the world of beer commentary is sorely lacking: Beer with a Socialist. I'm grateful to Jonathan for the idea, and will owe him a beer of three is this goes anyplace.

Now, give it up for Lew Bryson and another thought-provoking (and fun) column at The Daily Beast.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Photographing traditional Irish storefronts for posterity, like the Railway Bar.


The loss of storefronts in Ireland is a lamentable cultural atrocity. It isn't restricted to pubs, but of course I'm enraptured by one of the pubs pictured in the article.

---

THE BEER BEAT: This humble plinth could be the spot where we memorialize the myriad victims of Prohibition.


It is imperative for the future health and well-being of the municipality that we embrace historical consciousness, hence my contention that the victims of the savage and deranged social experiment known as Prohibition -- surely America's second-worst idea ever, albeit well behind human slavery in terms of ramifications -- be memorialized, preferably adjacent to a watering hole that reminds us of what the heinous teetotalers tried to take away.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Speakeasies here, speakeasies there, and not an original thought to be found anywhere.


It's far easier to be "magical" when your family has profited immensely from LEGAL liquor sales, the budget is unlimited, and you're not scraping for crumbs to implement good ideas -- but money can buy neither love nor an exemption from imminent prosecution for inexcusably pretentious word abuse.

The CJ's writer somehow keeps a straight face, this being a skill I never learned.

---

THE BEER BEAT: "Putting the taproom first and building the rest of your business around an own-premise model gives a brewery unprecedented control, insight, and flexibility."


History is endlessly fascinating for a variety of reasons, among them the uncanny way that what goes around, comes around. In today, out tomorrow -- and destined to return when conditions change and the dialectic of trendiness (or purely efficient reasoning) ordains.

This whole craft brewing revolution began very locally. You trundled down the street with a metaphorical pitcher, had it filled with beer, and hoped to make it back home without drinking it all -- or, the way it was done back in pre-Prohibition times.

---

LIVE TO EAT on THE BEER BEAT: A tribute to the late Rocky's Sub Pub and a question: What's happening at Jeffersonville's "restaurant row"?


It was announced today that Rocky's Sub Pub, on the riverfront in Jeffersonville, suddenly closed. Danielle Grady's newspaper coverage is linked below, but first, a short piece I wrote for LEO back in 2009, when Rocky's debuted its beefed-up tap system. Ironically, now both Rocky's and JeffBoat are gone.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Headlines from March 2018 on THE BEER BEAT.

The Pints & Union build-out continues to be of interest.

This blog has gone on hiatus, probably permanently, and primarily because these days my thoughts about beer are being posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential. You'll find them there in reverse chronological order via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, at the end of each month I'll collect the links right here. Following are March's (2018) 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.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Taco Steve back at BSB, and a year's hiatus for the Bloomington Craft Beer Festival.


On Saturday, Taco Steve debuted at the freshly painted and recently redubbed Bank Street Brewhouse; the word "cafe" never really sounded right, did it? About a dozen customers were eating and drinking on site when I stopped by around 3:30 p.m. to chat with Heather Morris, who runs the front of the house.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Narrower focus, deeper appreciation -- or, a few words about the Pints & Union beer program.


If you're curious about those five fixed taps, here's the way it looks to me today.

Guinness Stout
Pilsner Urquell
Fuller's London Pride
Anchor Porter
Bell's Two Hearted

Conjecture this lineup augmented by (for example) Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Tripel Karmeliet, as well as Steve's scrumpy; furthermore, imagine it remaining in place for two months, allowing repeated samplings of the sort that fix lasting and affectionate memories, rather than hurried reviews at a crowd-sourced scrum.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Sunday sales in Indiana: "Now that we have today out of the way it's just 7 days a week of normalcy."



Todd "Keg Liquors" Antz contributes this list of media coverage centering on Opening (Sun)Day, 2018.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Let's review a few headlines, from Louisville (and Indy) Lager to Brimstone Big.


I had a lunch meeting on Friday, and the three of us met at the recently re-refashioned Bank Street Brewhouse for some Taco Steve treats and NABC libations.

Now cast irrevocably as a member of the "former owner" camp, it still feels a bit weird for me to return as a civilian. This said, everything was fine. Taco Steve is impeccable, and the four beer samples all were solid.

---

THE BEER BEAT: "Belgian bars put the boot into tourists who steal beer glasses."


At out forthcoming pub Pints & Union, the bottle and can selection will include beers that should be served in specialty glasses. I'll try my best to find generic examples of these, and it will work out. After all, it's about the beer, first and foremost.

Meanwhile, get over to Belgium. Once there, enjoy the excellence of the country's many beer-friendly drinking venues -- and get your shoes back when you leave.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Paint your sombreros green, and Erin Go Blagh -- a timeless classic for a green-hued holiday.


Yes, tomorrow it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Time once again to endure the tasteless annual outbursts of shamrock-mounted hokum fueled by wretched green-colored lager, not to mention the inability of many revelers to get the holiday’s nickname right.

---

THE BEER BEAT: In search of beerways, with side orders of New Albany Social and Thunder is #SoIN.


The point of this digression?

If the Southern Foodways Alliance chose to include documentation about Louisville bartenders, certainly the same notions that preface folkways and foodways also apply to beer, whether as a stand-alone idea or as a subset of either (or both), and yet when I google “beerways,” most of the links that come up are about beer-themed pathways in the sense of scenic highways or bike routes.

---

THE BEER BEAT: This is why the classic British-style pub CAN and DOES make it in America.


Logically speaking, there cannot be British (or Irish) pubs in America. They can be British-style and Irish-style, which is why so far during the short life of the Pints & Union project, I've taken great pains to clarify that inspiration is being derived from British pubs.

We're building a pub, not a Disney cookie cutter.

---

THE BEER BEAT: England, or one man's heightened cholesterol panic is another man's nostalgic repast (2013).


I found myself hungry for English comfort food and daydreaming about Real Ale, and with the pantry barren of Marmite, made do instead with kippers and my last bottle of Fuller's ESB.

The words of Inspector Morse, classic British television police crime solver, popped into my head.

“The secret of a happy life is to know when to stop – and then go that bit further.”

I was plunged into a reverie about our last trip to the United Kingdom in 2013.

---

THE BEER BEAT: A Pints & Union preview video at New Albany Social... plus the new Falls City taproom and a Michael "Beer Hunter" Jackson birthday greeting.


Joe Phillips did a live Facebook video earlier today at Pints & Union, courtesy of Kelly Winslow and her New Albany Social juggernaut. Embedding seems a challenge, so here's New Albany Social video link -- as well as a couple of interior shots (below) from when I ambled past this morning and chatted for a bit with Resch's crew.

___

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Headlines from February 2018 on THE BEER BEAT.


This blog has gone on hiatus, primarily because these days my thoughts about beer are being posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential. You'll find them there in reverse chronological order via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, each month I'll collect the links right here. Following are February's (2018) 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.

---

THE BEER BEAT: There's one small problem with the Growler USA franchise coming to Jeffersonville, Indiana.


Meanwhile, the News and Tribune informs us there'll be a new beer business down the road in Jeffersonville. The header says it's a brewpub, but I think not.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Just so you know, Devil's Backbone is a Trojan Zombie Afterlife Brewery, Beer Necessities has perished, and AB InBev remains a pack o'vermin.


Repeat after me: "Pack o’ vermin." Like a plague virus, nothing AB InBev touches can be considered healthy or good.

I reiterate: Follow the money. There's enough excellent beer out in this and any other market to preclude supporting vermin with your money.

---

THE BEER BEAT: "Pints & Union to open in New Albany, will be inspired by classic European pubs."


But first and foremost, Pints & Union marks a return to the ethos that originally compelled me to go into the beer business. For this opportunity, all thanks to Joe Phillips -- and serendipitously, Taco Steve (Powell).

---

ON THE AVENUES: Golden oldie classic comfort beers at an old school pub? Sounds like Pints & Union to me.


Food and drink lend themselves to constant reinvention, and yet it cannot be denied that there are eternal, renewable “classics” amid the bedlam. Clichés become such precisely because they contain an element of truth, and certain aspects of the human experience stand the test of time, whether an umbrella, mouse trap or a lovely, satisfying De Koninck.

In summary, for several years my troublesome contrarian instincts have been telling me that the beer climate is ripe for a principled, thoughtful return to founding values, emblemized by a relatively small, mostly fixed list of classic beers on draft, and in bottles and cans, to be accompanied by some hearty old-fashioned beer education, which seems to have been tossed aside in the era of cyber “craft” fandom.

---

THE BEER BEAT: "Busting Up the Brotherhood of Beer: Time to confront sexism & harassment in the industry."


Here comes the learnin'. I'd suggest diverting your gaze from Untappd, if only for a few seconds, and partaking in something real.

---

THE BEER BEAT: On crowlers, Southern beer terroir and Sunday sales changes in Indiana.


Crowlers aren't new as such, but they're new to New Albany, so stop by FCBC, watch the show, and buy a can of beer to go.

---

THE BEER BEAT: The twentieth Gravity Head begets a Pints & Union update.


Mark Lasbury does an excellent job of describing what Gravity Head looks like to the uninitiated (bizarre insanity), so take it to the bank: what makes me mildly churlish isn't the absence of personal recognition, but the fact that beer history is routinely neglected these days -- and there's a lot of history to Gravity Head.

---

THE BEER BEAT: "Akasha Brewing Company: Karma and craftsmanship, cruising under the radar" -- from Food & Dining Magazine.


While Indian cosmology might make a fine category on Jeopardy!, the story of Akasha Brewing Company (909 East Market Street) in Louisville’s ever-evolving NuLu neighborhood is decidedly more prosaic.

---

THE BEER BEAT: At long last, my NABC business divorce is about to be finalized.


Now it's 2018, and tomorrow morning -- three years after I followed Dr. Freedman's advice to pull down my pants and slide on the ice -- my ass is FROZEN SOLID, and a bit chapped, but the exit transaction finally will be complete.

___

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Coming soon: "Pints & Union to open in New Albany, will be inspired by classic European pubs."


For more than a year, I've been working with my friend Joe Phillips on a pub project at 114 E. Market in downtown New Albany called Pints & Union.

On Wednesday this week, the cat slipped from the bag in the form of a fine write-up by Kevin Gibson at Insider Louisville.

Paraphrasing Robert Frost, we have promises to keep -- and miles to go before we sleep. The first link leads to Gibson's story, with a few thoughts of my own; the second offers some information about how we refer to drinking establishments; and the third provides an overview of my thought process in devising a revolutionary throwback old school progressive beer program.

As there is further information to report, I'll copy here from NA Confidential.

------

THE BEER BEAT: "Pints & Union to open in New Albany, will be inspired by classic European pubs."


First and foremost, Pints & Union marks a return to the ethos that originally compelled me to go into the beer business. For this opportunity, all thanks to Joe Phillips -- and serendipitously, Taco Steve (Powell) ...

Pints & Union to open in New Albany, will be inspired by classic European pubs, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

Leave your cellphone in your pocket, and if you want to watch the local college hoops game with some cheap wings, well, you’ll be going somewhere else.

Pints & Union, which owner Joe Phillips hopes will open sometime in April at 114 E. Market St. in New Albany, will be inspired by European-style (or “Anglo-Irish”) pubs, built for conversing over a pint — or five. Even the name reflects typical pub names in Europe and the United Kingdom.

“We’re going to resurrect the spirit of what a real pub is,” Phillips told Insider.

------

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: On taverns, pubs, Gaststätten and Bung -- with a Mencken chaser.


It's an understatement to say we have lots and lots of work to do, but it's good to have plans, goals and timetables. Until the grand opening, we might spend hours parsing the similarities and differences of pubs, taverns, bars, cafes and the like, as with this chat at Trip Advisor about three German-language descriptors: Gasthof / Gasthaus / Gaststätte ...

------

ON THE AVENUES: Golden oldie classic comfort beers at an old school pub? Sounds like Pints & Union to me.


I’ve had enough of venues with 20 beers on tap, the inevitable majority of them IPAs, with the remainder Imperial-this, barrel-aged-that, most of universally high gravity. I’m driven to utter distraction when returning to the same venue two weeks later, only to find that 18 of them have changed, with a whole new crop of “what do you have that’s new,” which might actually mean something if there was an outside chance that the best of the new beers would reappear in less than a year ...

___

Friday, February 02, 2018

Headlines from January 2018 on THE BEER BEAT.


This blog has gone on hiatus, primarily because these days my thoughts about beer are being posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential. You'll find them there in reverse chronological order via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, each month I'll collect the links right here. Following are January's (2018) 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.

---

THE BEER BEAT: "The Drinking Bout in the Cathedral Porch," or why it's time to make the Feast of Fools great again on New Year's Day.


Make no mistake: "Lux Optata Claruit," from the section called "Mass Of The Asses, Drunkards And Gamblers," is drinking music equal to "Gimme a Pigfoot" or "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight."

One need only observe an expanded context.

---

THE BEER BEAT: On inauthenticity, disinformation, RateBeer and those disembodied breweries of the Trojan Zombie Afterlife.


If Trump were to consider deporting counter-revolutionary swine like these, I might consider voting for him.

ZX Ventures is a global incubator, operator, and venture capital team backed by Anheuser-Busch InBev. We are a small army of futurists, dreamers, doers, designers, engineers, scientists, marketers, brewers, builders, and data geeks.

---

THE BEER BEAT: We always cook with beer. Sometimes, we even add it to the food.


Which brings me back to your meal and beers tonight.

What you’ll be experiencing tonight is something exceedingly rare in the current time, so oddly offbeat as to be a counter-revolutionary act. Your meal tonight and those drinks accompanying it are not being crowd-sourced. Ratings have not been consulted, polls have not been taken, and not a single selfie was harmed in the preparation of this feast.

Rather, the bill of fare was selected because in the experience and intuition of Chef Fill-in-the-Blank and Anonymous Brewing, it was felt these dishes and beers belong alongside each other.

---

THE BEER BEAT: How "Ambitious Brew" prefaced "I Know What Boyz Like" -- and "The Misogynist Within."


The (pre-Prohibition) brewers didn't know what hit them, primarily because they refused to pay attention until it was too late.

Ever since Leg Spreader first oozed to the surface three years ago (really -- it was January, 2015), much has been accomplished with respect to sexism in "craft" beer.

Quite a bit is left to be done, judging by another excellent piece by Bryan Roth, who is one of the most thoughtful beer writers around -- perhaps the Dave Zirin of good beer?

---

THE BEER BEAT meets "comfort beer." It's undervalued, but real -- for instance, like Fuller's London Pride. Did I mention undervalued?


1. What one word, or phrase, do you think should be used to describe beer that you’d like to drink?

Comfort.

As I was laying out this post, another paean to comfort beer popped up in my Twitter feed, leading to immediate pangs of hunger for an authentically rendered Cornish pasty (pastie, British pasty, oggie, oggy, teddy oggie, tiddy oggin or oggy oggin) washed down with one or more adeptly pulled PINTS OF BITTER, damn it.

---

THE BEER BEAT: V-Grits, False Idol Independent Brewers, their bricks 'n' mortar vegan brewery in development -- and the BSB Hangover Hoedown in 2015.


As has been widely reported recently, V-Grits is partnering with a brewery start-up to be known as False Idol Independent Brewers in a bricks 'n' mortar shared vegan brewery space at the former (and revered) Monkey Wrench at 1025 Barret Avenue ...

... I strongly suspect V-Grits and False Idol will do quite well with this concept, and perhaps a yearly commemorative Monkey Wrench Ale would be appropriate.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Chili cook-off at Donum Dei Brewery on the 28th, to benefit APRON.


Just when you thought "Bowl Season" was finished, we present the first chili cook-off to benefit Apron, Inc.

---

THE BEER BEAT: This smoked beer story is fine, thank you. Also: Eiderdown and Sunday sales.


Today's linked posting at Atlas Obscura strikes me as a perfectly reasonable introduction to the genre of smoky flavored beers, so naturally, I saw the article subsequently mentioned somewhere on Facebook, and found a heated debate among purists as to whether Garrett Oliver's description of a firebox was technically accurate, how such glaring errors as this fatally compromised his stewardship as editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer, and whether every "t" was crossed and "i" dotted -- and I was muttering obscenities to myself.

Give me a freaking break.

I thought: Have any of you ever stood behind a bar and tried to help a real person understand what smoked beer was all about, with the goal of encouraging the customer to try one, and maybe even enjoy it?

---

THE BEER BEAT: Have a look at this Pints&Union pub buildout progress report.


Later the building housed two bars, first Love's Cafe and then more recently, Good Times. It is in the process of being almost completely rebuilt from the ground up, with much of the original wood slated to be repurposed in the interior. When the work is finished, it will become Pints & Union, the forthcoming pub being sketched by Joe Phillips and yours truly.

Our shared vision takes the traditional Anglo-Irish pub as a starting point. It might be described as "progressively old school," although this phrase lamentably is being used by someone else.

---

THE BEER BEAT: "Dives and hives" in Nawbany, a new brewery coming to Floyds Knobs, and other tales of the drinking life.


Sara's pub crawl also took her to Jack's, Brooklyn and The Butcher and Hugh E. Bir Cafe. Taken as a whole, her wanderings testify to a rich diversity of drinking options in New Albany, and in spite of my own personal trials and travails, I have to admit I'm proud to have played my role in it -- and look forward to doing so again.

Speaking of start-ups, I too was surprised to see a brewery coming soon to Floyds Knobs (Our Lady of Perpetual Hops).

___

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Headlines from December 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 December'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.

---

THE BEER BEAT: The pervasive fog of Hoosier regulatory wars.


The overarching topic of conversation was the ever-expanding intersection of beverage alcohol production, agriculture and tourism. Examples of places where these pursuits come together are farmers markets, special events and fests, and the floor plan of Huber's.

What is the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission's stance on regulating these activities -- and what will it be tomorrow? Those are the questions.

---

THE BEER BEAT: What a beer guy like me can learn from Master Sommeliers like Brett Davis and Scott Harper.


The world of wine generally remains mysterious to me, and I aim to keep it that way. Hit or miss, wine remains fun; I know too much about beer to revert to amateur status, so grasping the basics about wine suits me just fine.

The educational opportunities are welcomed whenever they materialize, but I don't always seek them out.

For the past decade and a half, Brett Davis and Scott Harper have represented the other side of this wine appreciation spectrum. They're the Louisville area's Master Sommeliers, which is a very big deal, indeed.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Praljak, Yugoslavia's civil war, the brewery in Sarajevo and the bridge in Mostar.



Let's begin with the brewery in Sarajevo, which dates from 1864 and remains in operation today. I drank the typical golden lager beer back in '87, although remembering exactly what it tasted like is another matter entirely.

Significantly, it would be difficult for any brewery anywhere to continue brewing without predictable supplies of barley and hops, but since old-school breweries were built in proximity to their water sources, the wells kept functioning -- and helped keep people alive.

---

THE BEER BEAT: This iconic (and ironic) photo of Dan Canon and Rosa L. Stumblebus.



In spite of the many reasons that seeing this photo might annoy me, only one of which pertains to the candidate himself, I can't convey my pleasure in seeing it continually pop up during coverage of Dan Canon's congressional campaign.

The photo dates to Canon's campaign kickoff party in July at the downtown NABC location, whatever it's being referred to these days.

---

THE BEER BEAT: The La Chasse-Dauntless beer dinner menu is released, Porter versus Stout, and other beery odds and ends.


We haven't had many chilly days this fall and early winter, but about a month ago stouts and porters started tasting good.

---

MATCHing ensembles of cigars, bourbon, beer and cigars at Match Cigar Bar in New Albany.


Perhaps an introduction is in order, because I have the distinct impression many of my readers aren't aware of Match Cigar Bar's second location at 147 East Main in New Albany.

(Sad note -- Match New Albany closed at the end of December. The Jeffersonville location remains open)

---

THE BEER BEAT: Sunday sermonizing about the arduous path to pints, and union.


During my time as a beer revolutionary, I often asked myself what would happen when the revolution began devouring itself -- and if this isn't a perfect analogy, the question might better be stated this way: What's to be done when the beer world gets crazy, and I can't make sense of it any longer?

Obviously, this is the juncture when one goes back to the mattresses and the basics ... the simple pleasures, the timeless virtues, and the bedrock foundations.

---

THE BEER BEAT: The Bechdel Test, and what 1980s lesbians can teach us about beer.


It's best just to read what Emma Inch has to say about what 1980s lesbians can teach us about beer, with a minimum of commentary on my part, but a brief diversion to signpost the Bechdel Test.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Beer and the Christmas Truce, France, 1914.



"The two barrels of beer were drunk, and the German officer was right: if it was possible for a man to have drunk the two barrels himself he would have bursted before he had got drunk. French beer was rotten stuff."

---

THE BEER BEAT: Of seminars, books and beer: Louisville brewing history with Kevin Gibson.


Another friend, Bob, phoned last night. During the conversation he mentioned his membership in Rotary; bizarrely, I awakened this morning to a confusing mishmash of Kevin Gibson, Rotary and Louisville Beer (those eight ales yesterday may have been a contributing factor) until it dawned on me that I'd previously combined these elements in a blog post -- last year, maybe?

Um, nope. It was July 16, 2015, when I connected dots to a review of Kevin's beer book which I'd contributed to Food & Dining the preceding year.

---

THE BEER BEAT: Saying goodbye to 2017 with an assortment of links.



Looking ahead, the fifth anniversary presentation of Tailspin Ale Fest 2018 on February 17 draws ever nearer. We'll be in Portugal, crawling from one port lodge to the next in Vila Nova de Gaia (be still, my throbbing heart), but if you'll be around for Tailspin and want to attend, it's time to start planning.

I'm guessing that NABC's Gravity Head will follow on Friday, February 23, but as Liam Gallagher once sang, it's nothing to do with me.


___