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.

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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.

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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.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Headlines from April 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.


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 April's ruminations, with the oldest listed first. Some are more topical than others, and I'm past the point of caring about it.

Having noted this, I found that writing about my favorite pubs made me feel good. There may be more of it.

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THE BEER BEAT: Indie, not craft, because "There is absolutely NOTHING 'independent' about AB/InBev."


I haven't gone cold turkey on the "craft" descriptor, and find myself using the word here and there (usually in quotation marks, as intended to emphasis the escalating irony), but zero tolerance is a worthy goal to which we might aspire.

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THE BEER BEAT: Retro and dive, tavern and free house. Stages of development. A rumination.


We’re approaching an important local anniversary in the saga of better beer, because at some point in the late summer of 1992, the first keg of Guinness was tapped at the Public House formerly known as Rich O’s.

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THE BEER BEAT: The Hibernian (Hi-B) Bar, one of my favorite pubs in the world.


It's been 30 years since I climbed the stairs to the first floor (in Europe, that's how they're numbered) and beheld the cramped majesty of the Hi-B. Somewhere up or down another set of stairs was the loo. The publican Brian O'Donnell was a legend even then, and as I write, it is my earnest hope that he's still alive and scowling.

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THE BEER BEAT: The Dolphin, one of my favorite pubs in the world.


Few such pubs can boast a semi-official house artist. The late Beryl Cook was a painter who moved to Plymouth after the retirement of her husband. They opened a guest house nearby, and gradually Cook gained fame as an artist. Because The Dolphin was her local, several of her paintings chronicle pub life.

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THE BEER BEAT: BrewDog's private equity $$$ bonanza: "Not bad for ten years of being rude about the rest of the UK brewing industry."


BrewDog's antics have entertained me for a long time. The company's success reminds us that while P.T. Barnum may have been an American, hucksterism never has been confined to just one country. I hope the founders of BrewDog make a mint, whether in dollars, Euros or pounds sterling. I'll be at a local establishment somewhere, drinking myself to sleep.

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THE BEER BEAT: Jim Koch ponders whether it's "Last Call for Craft Beer."


Just my two cents. It's hard feeling sorry for Jim Koch, though in some ways I do. Samuel Adams Boston Lager is one of the most important beers in American brewing history, whether "craft" or macro. It helped pioneer a whole segment, and it's still really good for what it is.

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THE BEER BEAT: St. Radegund Free House, one of my favorite pubs in the world.


Regrettably, my paean to St. Radegund Free House in Cambridge, England must begin with the sadly belated report that former landlord Terry "Bunter" Kavanagh died five years ago at the age of 75.

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THE BEER BEAT: A neighborhood dive bar for the post-craft beer world?


It's feeling like a lab rat, as though you're part of an ongoing experiment in anxiety escalation -- like an arms race, always hoppier, sourer, stronger and plain weirder; the wheel constantly is revolving, and there's nothing upon which to hang one's metaphorical chapeau for longer than one keg (a sixth barrel), lest another begin pouring the diametrical opposite.

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THE BEER BEAT: Sometimes compliance takes a labyrinth.


Attention, oppressed Indian(a) ATC permit holders.

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THE BEER BEAT: Valley Malt. Pioneer Valley. It all comes back to me now.


And, during two recent trips to Western Massachusetts, it never once occurred to me that Valley Malt might be located nearby, as in fact it is -- in Hadley, just a few miles from Diana's niece's family in South Hadley. We almost certainly were within minutes of the malting, and may well have passed it a half-dozen while driving back and forth.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Headlines from March 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.


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. Here is another month, with the most recent listed first. Apologies if topicality has gone out the window. I'm still groping for a working routine.

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THE BEER BEAT: An assortment of headlines for beer and dissection.


Every year is the same, and I repeat once again: SUNDAY SALES ALREADY EXIST. Each year without fail, someone writes a column like this one lamenting Indiana's undisputed legal weirdness, and it always ends with the broad claim that there is a prohibition on Sunday sales. But beer, wine and spirits are available for carry-out on Sunday from small Indiana's brewers, vintners and distillers -- and there are virtually no restrictions pertaining to on-premise consumption.

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THE BEER BEAT: I've decided to skip this year's Session Beer Day observance. See you in 2018.


As most readers know by now, (my mother) died two weeks ago, and I'm happy to have kept my vow of sobriety (if not outright abstinence). We're never to old to learn, or to feel. Session Beer Day was to be the resumption of normality, and yet to be honest, I'm not feeling it. I can see myself having a couple of beers somewhere, just not in the previously suggested format.

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SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS meets THE BEER BEAT: Boontling, a local dialect made famous by Anderson Valley Brewing Company.


Hop Ottin' was a precursor to our IPA-crazed contemporary era, and it also serves to introduce today's lingo.

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THE BEER BEAT: Bryan Roth on sexism, anonymity and speaking openly about diversity.


If the guild is supported by the majority Indiana breweries, and it is, and if these breweries agree that it's a good thing for the guild to lobby on their behalf, then the corollary is for them to accept an obligation to be socially responsible -- precisely because the Indiana legal regime stipulates that irresponsibility (serving minors, etc) is grounds for the revocation of the brewing privilege.

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THE BEER BEAT: "'Pinup versus pin her down': Indiana beers stoke controversy."


Last December, I was revisited by ghosts. It's a recurring phenomenon with me.

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THE BEER BEAT: Airline pricing for movie theater drinks, although we've little idea which ones.


If I were an editor at Business First -- well, that's unlikely, given that business-oriented publications contain far too many numbers for a humanities major like me, and anyway, it's my habit to refrain from fetishizing grubby capitalists -- I'd ask the contributing writer why some of the following beers are tagged by brand name, but the wines are identified by style.

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THE BEER BEAT: Highlights but no Lites, or a beer news roundup.


Coincidentally, as I ponder the most recent effort (fingers crossed) to bring the NABC buyout saga to a conclusion, All About Beer offers a wonderful tip about the power of realism.

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THE BEER BEAT: No beer ... but a whole lotta mezcal in the new edition of Food & Dining, including a previously unpublished feature-length essay.


The assignment began as a column-length look at Louisville resident Marcos Mendoza and his Mala Idea line of mezcal, then John Carlos White turned me loose to write about mezcal at length -- and at deadline, we'd see where it took me.

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THE BEER BEAT: "HopCat is the craft beer lover’s meow."


Since Food & Dining is a quarterly, I wait until the current issue is published, then backtrack three months for the reprint, so this profile of HopCat is from Winter 2016; Vol. 54 (Aug/Sept/Oct) -- and yes, HopCat is a chain pub and eatery.

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THE BEER BEAT: The revenge of analog in terms of drinking beer? I like the idea.


The single most memorable beer article I came across during the past week didn't so much as mention beer, not even once. Instead, the article in question is a brief rumination on the message to be gleaned from a new book by David Sax called The Revenge Of Analog: Real Things And Why They Matter.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

Headlines from February 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.


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, at NA Confidential.

You'll find them there via the all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat. However, whenever the urge strikes, I'll collect a few of these links right here.

Here are another month's worth of them, with the most recent listed first. One of my columns sneaked in there, too.

Apologies if topicality has gone out the window. I'm still groping for a working routine.

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THE BEER BEAT: Some great ink for Floyd County Brewing Company.


Crucially for Floyd County Brewing Company, the business is a classic brewpub model. The beer is brewed and consumed in-house. It's the right model for the here and now. The object is to dial in the beer at FCBC's home base, and then become a can't miss destination for local beer lovers.

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ON THE AVENUES: A stern side view of Gravity Head, nineteen times over.


Gravity Head might be staged differently, but as they pertain to what unexpectedly has become a bona fide tradition, an array of minor and often weirdly eccentric points adds up to a greater sum.

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THE BEER BEAT: A compendium of local and regional craft beer headlines.


Once upon a time the pace of change in regional brewing circles was fast, but not so rapid as to defy the efforts of an intrepid observer or two to consistently document the phenomenon.

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THE BEER BEAT: Why not a Session Beer Day pub crawl in downtown New Albany?


With Session Beer Day 2017 less than two months away, it's time for me to decide how I'll be honoring the occasion this year, and here's what I've come up with. This year, I'd like to make my Session Beer Day stroll in downtown New Albany. You're welcome to join me.

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THE BEER BEAT: You may need pickle brine after the Stupor Bowl, or throughout Trump's term.


Welcome to the pickleback: A whiskey shot with pickle brine as a chaser. Thanks to K for the link.

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THE BEER BEAT: "There is not ONE FREAKING IOTA of truth about how AB got started in this beautifully-crafted, button-pushing, faux-sensy-poo, piece o’ trash ad."


For those readers who may be coming late to my beer-related scribblings, know that Stevefoolbody is my hero. He is so awesome that typically I have nothing whatever to add, and merely attach a link and brief teaser to encourage you to go to his page and read.

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THE BEER BEAT: It took a week to get the details straight, but BBC is leaving its current St. Matthews location after 23 years and hopes to reopen elsewhere in Louisville.


So, to recap: Owner Pat Hagan bowed (intelligently, in my view) to leasing and area development realities and now hopes to move BBC to a new location, one that will allow the expansion of brewing into bottling and/or canning. The 3rd Street brewery and restaurant remain open, and the 4th Street branch will reopen when the Kindred building is finished. The coming week will be a victory lap for BBC in St. Matthews, and I hope to make it over and learn the future of my Wort Mug, number 66.

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THE BEER BEAT: No selfies necessary, because localism is why I believe the impending Falls City expansion is good news.


But localism as an economic doctrine provides another way of looking at the world – capitalism with a more human face, complementary to a good beer ethos, and also a different collection of information that permits tying a singular love of mine (beer) to another (the community in which I live, and how to make it better). It offers sense and sensibility out of relative scale, and suggests differing standards of value and achievement.

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THE BEER BEAT: Tailspin Ale Fest returns to Bowman Field on Saturday, February 18.


In my view, Tailspin Ale Fest has become Louisville's premier beer festival, and it's the brainchild of New Albany's own Tisha Gainey.

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THE BEER BEAT: Green Mouse sez the rumors are unsubstantiated and it's business as usual at BBC St. Matthews.


If and when further information becomes available, I'll let readers know. Until then ... can someone bring daddy a nice growler of David Pierce's signature BBC APA? I've been known to pay cash for such favors.

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The past month on THE BEER BEAT.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The past month on THE BEER BEAT.


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, at NA Confidential. You'll find them there via the all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat. However, whenever the urge strikes, I'll collect a few of these links right here.

Here are a month's worth of them, with the blockbuster first.

THE BEER BEAT: The rumorama insists that Bluegrass Brewing Company (St. Matthews) will soon cease operations, but is a plot twist coming?


As for my sporting habits, times have changed, as have the beers that used to accompany them.

THE BEER BEAT: Football, how it used to be for me, why I seldom watch it at all -- and don't even mention those horrid beers.


My recent podcast was tremendous fun.

THE BEER BEAT: In which we talk beer on the "Flies on the Wall" podcast at Crescent Hill Radio.


For greater insight as to why people would ever stand in line for rare beers, there is this wonderful essay by Bryan Roth, otherwise known as "my kind of beer writing."

THE BEER BEAT: Rarity, beer quality, authenticity, and why it's so difficult to love the beer you're with.


Lew rocks.

THE BEER BEAT: The beer and whiskey that Lew Bryson wants to drink in 2017.


There was a roundup of Southern Indiana beer news.

THE BEER BEAT: News and views from local breweries, and an incredible Uff-da.


And, if you're not aware of the Pearl Street Taphouse, you need to be.

THE BEER BEAT: The Pearl Street Taphouse in downtown Jeffersonville.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The advent of THE BEER BEAT, and three links to it.



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

However, whenever the urge strikes, I'll collect a few of these links here. First, a flashback.

THE BEER BEAT: Addressing diversity in "craft" beer, with Naughty Girl once again on the wrong side of the debate.

Let’s put an old saw to the test: Is it really true that any publicity is good publicity?

Specifically, if a New Albanian Brewing Company beer and beer label, as conceived on my watch in 2011, appears alongside an article by a national recognized blogger in 2016 and then is linked on Facebook by a brewing superstar, that’s wonderful, right?


Next, when good people succeed.


THE BEER BEAT: Localism in action, from Big Woods to Quaff On, now also Hard Times.

I've always like the people at this company, and it's been instructive to watch as they've expanded the business, geographically and in terms of product lines.


Finally, saying what you mean and meaning what you say.


THE BEER BEAT: Words like "local" and "unique," and beers for cold weather.

According to what I'm hearing, Flat12 as currently constituted has no plans to brew in Jeffersonville. Of course, this could change.

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