Sunday, July 17, 2005

New Albanian Brewing's porter to become "old," but not as a result of aging.

Every other week, and sometimes more often if there’s time, I write Publicanista!, the official newsletter of Rich O’s Public House, the New Albanian Brewing Company and Sportstime Pizza.

You can subscribe to this on-line newsletter by going to and following the directions in the box to the bottom right of the page.

Here’s an excerpt from last week.

NABC brewer Jesse Williams has a batch of Bob’s 15 B porter on the way, and therein a problem has arisen. Evidently, the official numbering scheme for style and sub-style definitions has changed, and according to the Beer Judge Certification Program, 15 B now refers to German Dunkel Weizen.

I’m inclined to leave the name unchanged for the sake of tradition, and to observe the vital dictates of remaining contrarian at all times with respect to style, but your thoughts are appreciated. Next Friday (July 22) we’ll have a cask-conditioned firkin of Bob’s 15 B pouring from the beer engine.

Both my business partner Amy and longtime FOSSILS club stalwart Ed Tash wrote to suggest that we change the name of the beer to Old 15 B, and Ed included this rationale:

I've been giving some thought to your dilemma, caused by the BJCP changing robust porter from 15 B to 12 B. I suggest you call your Porter "Bob's Old 15 B.”

Here's why. There is book about Jack Daniels whisky published about a year ago that attempts to explain the origin of Jack Daniels Old Number 7.

According to the author, the number 7 was the license number of the Jack Daniels distillery. The borders of the county the distillery was located in changed, and the distillery changed counties (without moving), which caused the distillery to be given a new license number. Jack Daniels had established “7” as a brand name and didn't want to start over with a new name, so he put "Old Number 7" on the barrels, bottles, etc.

I have not read the book, but I heard the author interviewed on WFPL-FM 89.3 when the book came out.

Now you know more about Jack Daniels than you ever wanted to know, but bottom line is that I think you should keep 15 B in the name; your customers already know the name and what to expect from the beer.

Besides, only a handful of geeks know that Robust Porter is now 12 B.

Ed makes a strong case, and Amy agrees -- so it will be.

The forthcoming batch of Bob’s Old 15 B will be the first to bear the qualifier … but not the last.


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