Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Parting Glass (2006).

"The Parting Glass," a Scots/Irish traditional song, is referred to by some sources as a precursor to "Auld Lange Syne," and somehow fitting as we approach the end of another year. Thanks to my cousin Don Barry for introducing me to this music so long ago …

Of all the money e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm I've ever done,
Alas! it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
To mem'ry now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
That I should go and you should not,
Good night and joy be with you all.

If I had money enough to spend,
And leisure time to sit awhile,
There is a fair maid in this town,
That sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips,
I own she has my heart in thrall,
Then fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pants Down Port Drinkers on December 28: A recap.

As previewed in November, the Pants Down Port Drinkers gathered at Prost on Thursday night for the annual holiday season’s tipples and nibbles.

Pants Down Port Drinkers to convene on Thursday, December 28 at the Public House.

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In addition to numerous examples of the bottled and fortified pride of Portugal, we had other dessert-style drinks to savor: Six-year old Tokaj (Hungary); Lurgashall Tower of London, Scotch-infused mead; and Pome, a Calvados liqueur made with unfermented apple juice.

We enjoyed a superb selection of tasty appetizers to complement the libations. These included several salamis, pickled herring, and the culinary highlight of the session, an odiferous, creamy and utterly delectable goat cheese from Capriole Farms. I was transported to Europe, and didn't want to com back home.

Of the ports, it was difficult to choose a favorite, and I didn’t keep notes. Any time the table groans beneath the weight of multiple portions of 20-Year Tawny, you know you’ve come to the right place. As for surprises, Graham Phillips’ tasty white port from Quinta do Portal was an unexpected pleasure. Of course, there were others.

Although it has come to be a cherished part of the holiday season, our annual port tasting remains a very loosely organized, and is designed to stay that way. However, in response to popular demand, we intend to commence a spring and fall meet as well. These will be more structured, with specific ports chosen, and participation offered by subscription (probably limited to a certain number of people).

I’m organizing an April session, and Tim Eads will call the shots some time in the fall. Information will be posted here, and a mailing list also will be gathered.

Thanks to all those who attended this year’s event. Port may not be the best lubricant for my gout, but until something better comes along …

Friday, December 29, 2006

Saturnalia MMVI: On tap today (12/29/06) at NABC.

Saturnalia MMVI started two weeks ago, and stocks are rapidly depleting. Here's a snapshot as we enter the last two business days before New Year's Eve -- and take note, NABC will not be open on Sunday, December 31, or on Monday, January 1, and furthermore, there'll be no Indiana carry-out sales on either of these days thanks to indefensible and outmoded "blue laws."

As of Friday, December 29 at 1:00 p.m., Stone's Oaked Arrogant Bastard is on tap. We weren't supposed to get it, but did. Enjoy. Also, NABC's cask-conditioned Strathpeffer is pouring on the handp pump. Run, don't walk, to get a taste of Jesse's and Jared's honey and heather "gruit ale," which is absolutely delicious, and won't last long.

Finally, there is a keg of Rogue Chocolate Stout in house, and it will go on tap when the next American microbrew keg blows. Could be tonight. Could be tomorrow. Bring a sleeping bag.


De Dolle Stille Nacht

Aventinus Weizen Doppelbock
Spezial Rauchbier

Hambleton Nightmare Yorkshire Porter
Ridgeway Lump of Coal

Anchor Christmas Ale (“Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”)
*Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury
*NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries (third keg)
*NABC Naughty Claus (fourth keg)
NABC Strathpeffer (heather/gruit ale; cask-conditioned; date TBA)
New Holland Blue Goat Doppelbock
New Holland Dragon’s Milk
Pyramid Snow Cap
Rogue HazelNut Brown Nectar
Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve (second keg)
*Schlafly Christmas Ale
Stone Double Bastard



St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel
Regenboog Wostyntje Mustard Ale

Kiuchi Hitachino Nest New Year Celebration Ale 2006
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Red Rice (will return)

Ridgeway Santa’s Butt
Young's Winter Warmer

*Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout (in transit)
Oaken Barrel Epiphany (in transit)



Corsendonk Christmas Ale
Gouden Carolus Noel
*Petrus Winter Ale

*Jenlain Biere de Noel

Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout
Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser



BBC Hell for Certain
Delirium Noel
Great Divide Hibernation Ale
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
Mahr’s Christmas Bock
N'Ice Chouffe
Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf (another keg later)
Rogue Chocolate Stout (third of three kegs later)
*Shmaltz Monumental Jewbelation 5766 (one more 1/6 keg in January)
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (third keg gone; more to come later)
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter (another keg later)
Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA
Upland Winter Warmer

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Part 2: A few random Saturnalia notes and observations, and the Scratch Report.

Wednesday was devoted to tidying up the loose Saturnalia ends, and although the results are sad, at least now we know the status of the listed selections.

First, good news: As reported yesterday, our annual keg of Stone’s Oaked Arrogant Bastard unexpectedly arrived, and it will be pouring this weekend (by Friday, December 29).

Also, Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout and Oaken Barrel Epiphany are still expected to come, although their ETA’s are unknown.

Brooklyn Brewery’s entry is somewhere in the Midwest on a truck. Oaken Barrel’s was not shipped to World Class Beverages when expected, but there’s still a good chance that a keg will make its way a few miles north from Greenwood to WCB, then all the way south to us. Had I known it would be a problem, I’d have stopped and loaded the keg into the car when visiting Indianapolis two weeks ago – except, for you ATC-based readers, I know it’s illegal and would never dream of trying.

Time for the bad news.

The much anticipated Jenlain Biere de Noel was not to be found aboard the pre-Christmas Shelton Brothers shipment to Cavalier Distributing, Inc., but a keg of St. Druon de Sebourg, a blonde abbey-style ale also brewed by Duyck, actually did make the trip and will be the designated substitute for Jenlain in the Saturnalia rotation.

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser is still considered a possibility for later in January. For now, we’re setting the contingency aside and will be happy if it comes to fruition.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale occupies a curious sub-category. It has been so easy to procure in the past that I saw no problem with making it part of the annual Thanksgiving week Saturnalia preview, and yet when I ordered another keg for the main event, it was gone. So, we had it – and we didn’t.

There was a wholesaler inventory listing for Gouden Carolus Noel, and it was not listed on the invoice as depleted when ordered, but it was not on the delivery truck, and has not since been found. Apparently all were sold before I placed my order. This one’s good enough that I’ll try to make a special order and re-list it for Gravity Head in March.

Straight up: Petrus Winter Ale and Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout are not coming. Scratch ‘em. Cavalier’s next shipment isn’t until January 10, and in addition to some of the encore kegs (see below), there’ll be a handful of specialties – not replacements, exactly, but a couple of fun items, including Mahr’s Ungespundet Lager, De Ranke XX Bitter and Achouffe La Gnomette.

The remaining Saturnalia selections are in stock at NABC, and waiting patiently to be connected and consumed:

De Dolle Stille Nacht (only 20 liters of the nectar)
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest New Year Celebration Ale 2006
Regenboog Wostyntje Mustard Ale
Ridgeway Santa’s Butt (first of two)
*Schlafly Christmas Ale (previewed earlier)
St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel (first of two)
Young's Winter Warmer

These have blown, but more will be arriving for encores over the next few weeks:

Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf (another 6-gal. keg coming)
Rogue Chocolate Stout (third of three kegs coming)
Rogue HazelNut Brown Nectar (second of two kegs coming)
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (third keg gone; more coming)
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter (second of two coming)

Bona Saturnalia!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Part 1: A few random Saturnalia notes and observations.

Thanks to all those readers who’ve come by to taste this year’s winter solstice slate of special beers. Opening weekend was slower than expected, and since then, it’s been gratifying, indeed. Empties are piling up in the corridors.

As I’ve mentioned to many, it’s been a frustrating ordering cycle – rather like a yo-yo, with selections available, then unavailable, then back again.

Cases in point: Anchor Christmas Ale (“Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”) and Oaked Arrogant Bastard.

It appeared that none of Anchor's annual spicy, herbal holiday nectar, which is a longtime personal favorite, would be entering Indiana. However, the staff at World Class Beverages beat the bushes and found two kegs. One is on tap now, and another will follow it.

As for the Oaked Arrogant, I’d scratched it entirely and added an unexpected bonus second keg of Stone Double Bastard to the list, but after an e-mail exchange with Stone’s founder and mastermind, Greg Koch, a precious Oaked Arrogant barrel arrived. Sincere thanks to Greg for being the King, and in a benevolent way, and look for the seal to be broken by Friday, December 29.

Some listed selections won’t be coming, and others have reinforcements on the way. It’s crazy, and I hope to have an update by the weekend.

When I was selecting Saturnalia beers, it surprised me to see Hambleton Nightmare Yorkshire Porter available in regular keg form, as opposed to the cask-conditioned variety that we’ve poured at least twice previously since the cask cabinet first came on the Public House scene.

British-brewed ales inevitably, and in my view wrongly, suffer in comparison to American microbrews, especially when the judge is well-disposed toward extreme indigenous stylistic examples.

Consequently, several customers who’ve tried the Hambleton have expressed relative disappointment. They say it’s too light, too mild in alcohol content, too under-carbonated and too delicately flavored … and yes, all these qualities of a good cask Porter are certainly there, just not in sufficient volume to match a fondness for “robust” interpretations stateside.

All right, I know that for $6.75 a pint, perhaps there should be “more” to the beer. Rest assured that I didn’t arrive at the price without a measure of soul searching, but in the end, it represents the customary mark-up based on the wholesale price I must pay. Verily, these beers aren't getting any cheaper.

Staying in the UK, we’ve tasted two Ridgeway ales so far, Lump of Coal (on tap now) and Seriously Bad Elf (first keg gone), and both have been not only good, but considerably better than I remember from previous appearances.

Note that Ridgeway's Santa’s Butt, presumably exhausted after legal challenges and a full evening’s work three nights ago, awaits his turn at bat, and all three have second 6-gallon kegs coming in mid-January.

My last draft Lump of Coal perhaps two years back was a dry Stout that was oddly arid to the point of asphyxiation, and Seriously Bad Elf, from the ever escalating “damned bad elf and getting worse” series, admittedly was good in its last incarnation, but not brilliant. Both had flaws, were a tad cloudy, and seemed perhaps slightly mishandled in transit.

Happily, this year’s versions of both merit high acclaim. They’re bright (i.e., clear) and very fresh tasting. Seeing as the Ridgeway recipes call for heightened versions of traditional English styles, both deliver the flavor one would expect with the added bonus of greater heft. Seriously Bad Elf in particular takes the “winter warmer” formula into Double IPA territory, but without sacrificing the quintessential character (fruity, biscuity malt and classic English hops) of far milder ESB’s and bitter ales.

Think of Samuel Smith Winter Welcome -- with balls.

Coming Thursday: More Saturnalia thoughts.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Saturnalia MMVI - update ... on tap today (12/26/06).

Remember that some sacrificed kegs will be returning, and several kegs are in transit. Later this week, there should be a full rendering on which kegs still are expected, and which will not be coming to us. Stay tuned.

Today's special: The very last of our NABC Artemsia (cask conditioned, on the hand pump), for only $3 a pint.


Spezial Rauchbier


Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Red Rice


Hambleton Nightmare Yorkshire Porter

Ridgeway Lump of Coal


Anchor Christmas Ale (“Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”)

BBC Hell for Certain

*Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

*NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries (third keg)

*NABC Naughty Claus (fourth keg)

New Holland Blue Goat Doppelbock

New Holland Dragon’s Milk

Pyramid Snow Cap

Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve (second keg)

*Shmaltz Monumental Jewbelation 5766 (second 1/6 keg)

Stone Double Bastard

Upland Winter Warmer









Delirium Noel

Mahr’s Christmas Bock

N'Ice Chouffe

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil

Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf (another keg later)

Rogue Chocolate Stout (third of three kegs later)

Rogue HazelNut Brown Nectar (another keg later)

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (third keg gone; more to come later)

Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter (another keg later)

Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA

Sunday, December 24, 2006

NABC holiday closings and our updated web site.

NABC, Rich O's and Sportstime are closed on Sunday and Monday, December 24 and 25 (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We'll reopen for business as usual on Tuesday, December 26.

You're invited to take a glance at the updated web site: I've rebuilt it completely, and all the raw information is there even if, in the end, I made a few mistakes that render the appearance different depending on the monitor. No matter; it's great to finally have it updated, and I anticipate continuing to tweak until I get it right.

Happy holidaze, readers, and Bona Saturnalia.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturnalia MMVI - update ... on tap today (12/23/06).

I'll update throughout the day.


Spezial Rauchbier


Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Red Rice


Hambleton Nightmare Yorkshire Porter

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil

Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf


BBC Hell for Certain

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

NABC Artemsia (cask conditioned, on the hand pump)

*NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries (third keg)

*NABC Naughty Claus (third keg)

New Holland Blue Goat Doppelbock

Pyramid Snow Cap

Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf

Rogue Chocolate Stout (second keg)

Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve

*Shmaltz Monumental Jewbelation 5766 (second 1/6 keg)

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (third keg)

Stone Double Bastard

Upland Winter Warmer









Delirium Noel

Mahr’s Christmas Bock

N'Ice Chouffe

Rogue HazelNut Brown Nectar

Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter (another keg later)

Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Velocity on beer: It's like Jerry Falwell on morality.

What can be said about the journalism style necessitated by the target demographic of a weekly lifestyles supplement to a wretchedly corporate newspaper that more accurately describes the conceptual futility therein than the fact that a Starbucks coffee concoction merits inclusion in a column bearing the title “One Great Dish”?

Of course, I speak of Velocity -- and wish I didn't have to do it.

This week there's a “beer primer,” one inspired not by sensibly visiting the many establishments in metro Louisville that are capable of providing a range of beers (and, presumably, which advertise in Velocity), but by a trip to the Flying Saucer in Nashville.

The less said by the Curmudgeon, the better. Read it here:

From Pilsner to Porter
What is the difference between a lager and an ale? Check our beer primer and raise your pint IQ.

When finished, vote for your favorite sections in the comments section below. Here’s mine:

Pilsner: Golden, light, dry and bottom-fermented, this form of lager is technically required to be of "super-premium" quality.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

NABC graphics: Bonfire of the Valkyries and Naughty Claus.

NABC artist-in-residence Tony Beard’s imagery is a cherished part of each new brewhouse creation, as these latest examples fully attest.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

FLASH: Bistro New Albany will be open on New Year's Eve.

I confirmed with owner/chef Dave Clancy today that bNA will be open on Sunday evening, December 31, for New Year's Eve dining, and perhaps one or two Progressive Pints.

For those who don't know, bNA is located in downtown New Albany on the corner of Market and Bank. NABC beers are on tap, and Chef Dave's a culinary wizard.

Consequently, Mrs. Curmudgeon has agreed to an evening out, and I plan to test the limits of my (so far) successful weight loss program. Chef Dave notes that the regular dinner menu will be served, with five or so evening super specials.

Anyone up to join us? Downtowners who can walk to the Bistro and back might especially welcome the chance to stay close to home. I might bring a special bottle or two of subversive beer ... so , let me know, and we'll reserve space.


In case you didn't know:

There's only one Dave at the Bistro now. Chef Clancy and Dave Himmel have parted ways, amicably I'm told, and DH is said to be pursuing other related projects in downtown New Albany. I wish him the best, and plan on keeping readers abreast of his next move.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Craft this, craft that -- and no fundamental difference between the two.

I’ve learned that the Brewers of Indiana Guild will make an effort again this year to amend the law pertaining to microbreweries so as to allow Sunday carryout of craft-brewed, small brewery beer.

The last time this change was introduced, the Indiana legislature unceremoniously crushed it amid the usual grandstanding and the shrill complaints of professional anti-drug activists that it would lead to societal ruin as massive numbers of Bud Light drinkers would see the light convert overnight to paying double their customary tariff for televised Sunday sports drunkenness, buying IPA and Imperial Stout for underage drinkers, and wrecking vehicles.

However, note the hypocrisy inherent in the state legislature's record of pinky-bending indulgence toward wineries, which can sell their wares for carry-out on Sunday.

Craft winery, craft brewery … is there any difference beyond discredited stereotypes about beer and wine?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The first weekend of Saturnalia MMVI has concluded.

I was pleased to see the two new NABC beers, Bonfire of the Valkyries and Naughty Claus, so well received by patrons. Of the remaining starters, hardest hit probably has been Mahr’s Christmas Bock, N'Ice Chouffe and Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter.

Several patrons asked for comments about the projected rotation schedule, but it's difficult to say how the second wave will unfold. Numerous listed selections are yet to be delivered, and just as many may or may not make the trip. It's been a difficult procurement cycle. The good news is that plenty of quality beers will be on hand for tapping my the middle of next week.

Keep checking here for updates.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Times change, and so does A-B.

It wasn’t that long ago that Anheuser-Busch was enforcing ideological purity within its allied beer distributorships, eschewing carrots and wielding sticks as only an 800-lb brewing behemoth can, and demanding that A-B houses be A-B houses and nothing else, damn it – in short, purge yourselves of Mexican imports, Samuel Adams and regional craft brews, and experience the myriad financial joys of Buschian conformity.

It was zymurgological cleansing, to be sure, and as ham-fisted as you’d expect from an uncultured brewing monstrosity.

But the Clinton years are sadly passed, and as times have changed, A-B has been hurriedly procuring distribution rights to micros (Goose Island) and imported beers (Stella Artois, Bass) alike.

I was asked whether it worried me that some day, A-B might acquire the rights to Guinness. Not at all, I answered; Diageo has gutted the Guinness brand to such an extent that A-B distribution might actually be a step back up. At any rate, it would give me an excuse to quit selling Guinness and find (or brew) another dry stout.

The point to me is that the cyclical nature of multinational business interests, and the sole imperative of increasing shareholder wealth, is such that only the terminally naïve persist in believing that the A-B’s of the world stand for any semblance of enduring principle. The bloated monolith’s current zeal for distributing other brands might dissipate just as quickly as it occurred to whizzbang wunderkind Auggie IV in a blinding flash of chardonnay-induce clarity.

Then the brands will be quietly repositioned, dumped, or converted into aluminum-clad pet shampoo like Budweiser itself.

Meanwhile, America’s reality-based craft brewers will be making honest beer for discerning people.

Care to guess which place I’d rather be?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Saturnalia starting lineup.

Delirium Noel
N'Ice Chouffe

Mahr’s Christmas Bock

Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Red Rice

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil

BBC Hell for Certain
Great Divide Hibernation Ale
NABC Artemsia
*NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries
*NABC Naughty Claus
Rogue Chocolate Stout
Rogue HazelNut Brown Nectar
*Shmaltz Monumental Jewbelation 5766
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter
Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA
Upland Winter Warmer

Unleash your inner pagan at Saturnalia MMVI, a winter solstice draft fest at NABC.


In pre-Christian Rome, Saturnalia was the annual winter solstice celebration that originally coincided with the feast days for Saturn (god of sowing and the harvest), Consus (god of the storage bin) and Opa (goddess of plenty).

Many of our contemporary winter holiday traditions derive from Saturnalia’s pagan roots, including the hanging of wreaths and garlands, donations to the needy, prayers for peace on earth, time away from work to be enjoyed with family, and of course eating, drinking and merriment.

On Friday, December 15, Rich O’s Public House and Sportstime Pizza pays tribute to these ancient pagan origins with the kick-off of Saturnalia, a draft beer festival scheduled to last past Christmas and New Year’s into January of 2007.

For NABC’s third Saturnalia celebration, I’ve gathered more than 40 special kegs of beer – some rare, some seasonal and others just innately festive – from America and around the world (see complete list below). Some of these hard-to-find beers will be appearing in draft form for the first time ever in metropolitan Louisville.

When the doors open at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 15, the first 17 sacrificial Saturnalia selections for MMVI will be revealed, tapped in a ritualistic manner … and the hedonistic pleasure will begin. The remaining kegs will be tapped as needed as the first wave depletes … and so it will proceed past New Year’s into January, 2007.


Pricing and portion sizes vary according to alcohol content and style. Selections marked with an asterisk * are appearing on draft for the first time at Rich O’s Public House and Sportstime Pizza. There will more than 40 draft beers in all, with 17 to be tapped on December 15, and the remaining ones following in due course as openings occur. This will take several weeks. During the festival’s run, information and updates will appear on these web sites:

Potable Curmudgeon
NABC (under reconstruction)

Veterans observers of the process involved with procurement will recall that none of my festival draft lists are the same from beginning to end. The large number of trap doors waiting to be sprung, carpets ready to be pulled out from under and curves queuing to be thrown guarantees that 100% success is absolutely impossible. But ... the dust finally has settled for the most part.

Here is the entire list. Friday's starting lineup simply isn't yet clear, but perhaps I'll know by Thursday afternoon.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale
De Dolle Stille Nacht
Delirium Noel
Gouden Carolus Noel
N'Ice Chouffe
*Petrus Winter Ale
St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel
Regenboog Wostyntje Mustard Ale

*Jenlain Biere de Noel

Aventinus Weizen Doppelbock
Mahr’s Christmas Bock
Spezial Rauchbier

Kiuchi Hitachino Nest New Year Celebration Ale 2006
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Red Rice

Hambleton Nightmare Yorkshire Porter
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
Ridgeway Lump of Coal
Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf
Ridgeway Santa’s Butt
Young's Winter Warmer

Anchor Christmas Ale (“Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”)
BBC Beer Company (Main & Clay) Hell for Certain
*Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury
*Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout
Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout
Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser
Great Divide Hibernation Ale
NABC Artemsia (mugwort/gruit ale; cask-conditioned; date TBA)
*NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries
*NABC Naughty Claus
NABC Strathpeffer (heather/gruit ale; cask-conditioned; date TBA)
New Holland Blue Goat Doppelbock
New Holland Dragon’s Milk
Oaken Barrel Epiphany
Pyramid Snow Cap
Rogue Chocolate Stout
Rogue HazelNut Brown Nectar
Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve
*Schlafly Christmas Ale
*Shmaltz He’Brew Monumental Jewbelation 5766
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Stone Double Bastard
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter
Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA
Upland Winter Warmer
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Meals will be prompt, and no gong sounded.

Check out this hotel restaurant menu from the year 1857:

Louisville Hotel Table d’Hote

Verily, all the essentials are in place, with a purely French approach to cooking, ample quantities of meats, dispensable veggies, abundant wine from around the world, and even Guinness (imported from Dublin) and India Pale Ale from the UK.

This probably would have been the best beer list in Louisville in 1957 ... and as recently as the early 1980's.

Absolutely fascinating.

Many thanks to Doogy R. for posting this on Robin Garr’s Louisville Restaurants Forum.

The Allsopp’s label was found here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chapter 56: Sometimes it's embarrassing to be an American.

On a topic unrelated to beer, at least at the outset, it seems to me that if not for the existence of bilingual residents of the nation of India, low labor and operating costs alone would not be sufficient for multinational companies to locate there.

Granted, outsourcing is a complex and partisan topic, but the simple point is that if there is to be such a thing as a global economy, whether great or small, one absolutely critical factor in understanding its impact has to be the role of language skills.

Except, of course, in the quintessentially American cultural wilderness … which brings us back to beer.

Bar owner on 'We Speak English' window sign: If you don't like it, call me

MASON, Ohio (AP) — A bar owner who faced a discrimination complaint over a message in his window has removed a sign that read "For Service Speak English" and replaced it with one reading "Here We Speak English."

"If someone doesn't like it, have them call me," Tom Ullum, owner of the Pleasure Inn in this city northeast of Cincinnati, said Tuesday.

There’s a town in Argentina called Ullum, although the name sounds German or Scandinavian.

Anyway, the first thought that strikes me is the sheer counter-productivity of it all. It’s highly doubtful that the relatively small percentage of Spanish speakers are entering Mr. Ullum’s bar and attempting to pay for his ice-cold light beer and vintage pickled bologna with pesos, bolivars or colones. My guess would be they come bearing dollars, which are reputed to spend the same irrespective of their speaker of origin.

It’s just as unlikely that their language proficiency poses any real problem in communicating in the international dialect of Retailese.

During a quarter-century of travel throughout Europe, I can’t recall a time when it proved impossible to convey simple thoughts even when there was no linguistic common ground – even in France, the target of so much yokel wrath in the States.

It’s amazing what can be accomplished if one simply desires to get along with other human beings.

Perhaps that’s the language Mr. Ullum doesn’t speak.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Here are the contest rules for (Your name here)Fest in May, 2007.

The next installment of (Your name here)Fest will come in late May, 2007.

The first was DaveFest, named for Dave Siltz, which took place earlier in 2006.

The (Your name here)Fest is a consumer’s choice beer fest, with the Publican (that’s me) attempting within reason and various distribution constraints to assemble an annual contest winner’s ideal draft lineup.

The question has been: How to fairly determine the next honoree? DaveFest was Dave’s because the idea was his, but for 2007, we’re going to do it differently. I've tried to incorporate some of the ideas he noted in this piece.

Beginning with the Saturnalia MMVI kickoff Friday, there’ll be a month-long essay contest to select the 2007 (Your name here)Fest winner.

Naturally, contestants must be 21 years of age.

(1) Contestants must present their answers to the question, “What would your ideal draft lineup look like?” in the form of an essay explaining why the particular beers are being chosen. Include personal information, reasons why you like them, and so forth. Entry deadline is January 15, 2007.

(2) Eight taps will be provided for beers of the contestant’s choosing. At least 12 beers should be specified so that alternates are available if any of the selections cannot be procured.

(3) “Stump the Publican” is not permitted. I cannot get draft Westvleteren or Alaskan Smoked Porter or Fat Tire. Consider alternates that are stylistically close, even if they’re not the same. Try to keep the choices within the range of drafts and/or breweries that are accessible via draft. I will work with you to hone the lineup.

(4) Beers like Guinness are always on draft, so there’s no reason to include and specify them if they’re favorites. They’re gravy.

(5) The essays will be judged by a three-member panel, to include myself, last year’s winner Dave Siltz (you don't mind, do you?) and a wild card to be named later. The panel’s methodology is secret, and its decisions are final.

(6) Our crack team of artists and designers will produce a limited, small-batch version of commemorative t-shirt to be vended to family, friends, co-workers and E-Bay shoppers.

Send the essays to the Curnudgeon’s e-mail, and thanks in advance for participating.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A RockWall Bistro outing.

At NA Confidential just yesterday, the talk was of weight loss (A dieter's lament: For all the meals I ate before), and so tonight the Curmudgeons set off to reward my success in shedding pounds, and my wife Diana’s in completing an inaugural semester in graduate school, and we did so by – how else? – eating a fine meal.

Our choice of table was the RockWall Bistro in Floyds Knobs, and quite the meal it was, beginning with fried oysters, continuing through a sampler platter of fresh tasting seafood (hers), a drunken quarter of a Cornish hen marinated in wine with roasted potatoes and asparagus (mine), and finishing with beignets dusted with confectioner’s powdered sugar and dredged in chocolate and black coffee.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but give me a break: It was the first big meal for me in almost two months, and without such occasional breaks in the lowered food intake routine, life simply wouldn’t be very much fun, would it?

Speaking of liquid bread, RockWall used to serve NABC draft beer, but that was several bar managers ago. The tap selection isn’t bad at all: Guinness, Bass, Belhaven Scottish and as a “seasonal” choice, Bell’s Two Hearted. Although there’s mass-market swill in bottles, the list also includes Pilsner Urquell, Sierra Nevada, Rogue Dead Guy and Upland Dragonfly IPA.

Considering the composition of the meal I had and the chef's use of red wine in preparing it, perhaps the ideal beer would have been Chimay Grand Reserve … better yet, Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru. However, since I’d already had a half-pint shift beer of Schlenkerla Urbock, a glass of red wine sufficed to ease the hen’s passage.

Just so you know, all this extravagant caloric grandeur was accompanied by an 18 km bicycle ride earlier in the day and a two-mile evening walk.

There were two too many espressos during a convivial morning’s cigar smoke with friends, but that’s another story.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mitch behind the cask cabinet at last week's Schlafly tasting.

Posted by Picasa

I neglected to report on last Thursday’s (November 30) Schlafly Brewing Company tasting. It went quite well, with most regular pub customers that evening dropping into our Prost special events room to chat with brewery reps, including Mitch Turner (above), and sample Schlafly bottles and a special firkin of volatile and tasty cask-conditioned Pale Ale.

For the occasion, we rolled the cask cabinet from its usual position behind the Public House bar, because of course portability is almost as favorable as potability when it comes to cask ale. There wasn’t proper stillage time, and tapping the firkin was comparable to the post-game champagne celebrations we’ve all seen on television, but it was a good christening for the walls in the room.

A precious few 750 ml bottles of Schlafly’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout were on hand. There’ll be returning soon, first to the rotating bottle list, then to the everyday bottle list at the first of the year.

Don’t forget that in conjunction with Gravity Head 2007, we’ll be hosting a book signing by Tom Schlafly, the microbrewery's founder and namesake, and the author of "A New Religion in Mecca: Memoir of a Renegade Brewer in St. Louis." This event will take place later in March, 2007, and will coincide with the unveiling of one or more special Schlafly beers for Gravity Head.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The lads of the village ...

... on St. Andrews Day (Thursday, November 30).

Left to right: Bob, Roz, Bill, George and Terry.

Bix is hovering above Terry.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ICRUD, re-crud and the prohibitionist gene in America.

The human landscape is littered with the phenomenon of self-perpetuating bureaucracies, particularly those instituted to address specific threats or problems.

However, the human landscape is not filled to its brim with examples of self-perpetuating bureaucracies willingly dismantling themselves whether or not the threat or problem they were instituted to combat has abated. Rather, it is generally observed that these bureaucracies merely retool and diligently discover fresh nuances to expose and battle, thus ensuring their continued existence in our lives .. and the continued arrival of pay packets for their legions.

It would be foolish to suggest that society’s struggle against underage alcohol consumption has been “won,” primarily because it cannot be “won” in the manner preferred by those gazing upon it as a problem to be solved according to prohibitionist methodology.

It would be equally senseless to tar the sincerity and earnestness of those who genuinely believe that the scale of our youth alcohol problem is so immense that we must sanction a whole array of solutions, not all of which can have their dots connected back to the target, in order to succeed.

Willful disingenuousness is another matter. Consider this letter, which recently appeared in Indiana newspapers.

Reader: Tax could help people in need

Would you spend a nickel to ensure that there were sufficient mental health and addiction services available? If the alcohol tax were increased by just a nickel a drink, that increase would generate an additional $145 million in revenue.

We all pay for the costs of alcohol misuse and abuse, whether or not we drink. But the alcohol tax is a “user fee” that would only be paid by those who drink. The alcohol tax in Indiana has not been raised since 1981, meaning that alcohol is cheaper now that it was over 25 years ago.

Consequently, we continue to lose valuable revenue that could be used offset the billions the state spends every year on alcohol related costs.

Many good programs that serve persons with mental illness and addiction issues may close because of lack of funding. Is the mental and physical health of Hoosiers worth a nickel? A majority of Hoosiers, who support an increase to fund prevention and treatment programs, think so. It’s time to increase the alcohol tax.

— Lisa Hutcheson, Director,
Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking, Indianapolis

Only in the last paragraph does longtime ICRUD director Hutcheson concede that the money she proposes collecting would in any way impact underage drinking in the form of funding prevention programs, but it is unclear from the text of her letter that a fundamental tenet of ICRUD is to raise the price of alcohol for all legal drinkers so that statistically few – i.e., the underage, illegal ones for whom laws against consumption already are in existence, awaiting enforcement – will be discouraged from purchasing and consuming the product.

That is, the product that they currently are prohibited from purchasing.

I will contend until the end of time that a society which permits a 19-year-old to work, pay taxes, go into debt, vote, be married (well, if heterosexual), have children and be killed in Iraq, but wishes to deny this same citizen the adult pleasure of legality when it comes to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, is a society hopelessly flawed in such a deeply fundamental way that further discussions of the matter are largely moot.

ICRUD’s very existence, and the gist of its work, is testament to a noble human instinct expressed in futile conceptual manner owing to an illogical founding premise, and perhaps in the end, it’s all something that can be explained by an innately American gene that suggests a propensity for hypocrisy and a failure to discern irony.

Rather than paying more to further the historically non-starting idiocy of prohibitionism, might we instead consider teaching our children the history and proper use of alcoholic beverages?

Or is that too much to ask of a nation that thinks it values education?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sometimes, things just happen. Like Kronenbourg 1664.

Question: What’s that Kronenbourg 1664 currently on tap at the Public House?

Last week I ordered a 30-liter keg of Monk’s Café Flemish Red, but received a 50-liter Kronenbourg 1664 instead. Mistakes happen, and in this case, I needed something to put on tap and decided to keep it. Subsequently, a credit was issued for the price difference.

None of this is unusual, except that as many of you know, Kronenbourg 1664 isn’t the sort of beer I’d usually seek out to be on tap at the pub. It’s a serviceable Euro Lager from eastern France, near Germany, and has “interchangeable, multinational corporate golden beer” written all over it. Not that it’s bad, mind you. It’s just that dozens of other pale lagers occupy the same ground, and I’ve never seen the need to have very many different ones on tap unless Spaten Lager runs dry (as it does from time to time).

I concede that brand loyalty is a strong factor in consumer behavior, even in a business like ours where we’ve tried to decrease blind allegiance and tout the notion that one can be sufficiently educated to make his or her beer choices from a diverse position of strength. If the wait staff knows to translate consumer requests for big selling yellow beers into “you’ll like German beer called Spaten,” then 90% of the time, all will be well.

Besides, almost any beer will deplete at the right price point. Also, on two separate occasions within the past month, a customer recently returned from Europe asked about the availability of Kronenbourg.

To both of them: I bought it for you.


Monday, December 04, 2006

UPDATED: Note the changes: Saturnalia lineup and update.

Updated Thursday, December 7

Saturnalia, which recalls the pagan roots of our contemporary Christmas holiday season, begins on Friday, December 15. In beer terms, it is NABC's annual showcase for holiday and winter seasonal styles, with more than a few fun beers thrown in for good measure as stocking stuffers.

Veterans observers of the process involved with procurement will recall that none of my festival draft lists are the same from beginning to end. The large number of trap doors waiting to be sprung, carpets ready to be pulled out from under and curves queuing to be thrown guarantees that 100% success is absolutely impossible. This year's Saturnalia is no exception, but somehow it's been more galling than in the past, primarily because spanners have been tossed into the works from directions that previously weren't considered problematic.

However, as always, there'll be quite a few worthy beers and a celebratory atmosphere.

This is as final a rendering as I'm capable of offering. The starting lineup will be announced next week.

* never before on draft







SCRATCHED (ordered, but won't be delivered).

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Big day on December 16th: Cigars, Homebrew & Saturnalia.

The holiday season is notorious for worthy and festive events piled one atop the other, and frantic dashing back and forth.

I’ve previously noted two of them in this space: NABC’s Saturnalia holiday draft celebration begins on Friday, December 15, and the Pants Down Port Drinkers will convene on Thursday, December 28 at the Public House.

The 16th is shaping up as a crowded Saturday.

The 16th will be the second day of Saturnalia as well as the date for Youngstown Cigar Shop’s annual open house and the FOSSILS club’s yearly Christmas party.

Mike Stephens will be hosting a Christmas Open House all day on the 16th at his Youngstown Cigar Shop, which is located at 1411 Youngstown Shopping Center, Jeffersonville (foodies will not that the cigar shop is right behind Mai’s Thai). Free cigars, door prizes and chili are on the agenda.

The FOSSILS club party will begin later in the day. Here’s the official statement on the matter, and if it sounds like fun and you’re not yet a member … it’s remarkable inexpensive … then you’d best begin recruiting a member to issue you an invitation.

FOSSILS Holiday Party
Date: Saturday, December 16
Time: 6 p.m. - 11 p.m. (Dinner at 7 p.m.)
Location: Prost! at Rich O's Public House

To give everyone a break from the kitchen, or grocery/deli as the case may be for some, we are having this year's event catered. So, relax - we have you covered!

Tentative menu:
Appetizers - stuffed mushrooms, spinach kase, BBQ meatballs and crudites with hummus.
Dinner - BBQ chicken and pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, baked beans, pizza, breadsticks and salad.

Bring items for the raffle - gift wrapped if you wish - this is one of the best raffles of the year!

Dress festively if you are in the mood to do so!

Admire the FOSSILS Christmas tree!

Event cost: $15 per person includes appetizers, dinner, homebrew and dessert PLUS five (5) raffle tickets. Additional raffle tickets available, of course.

RSVP: We need to deliver a headcount for catering, so please
RSVP to me with the number attending in your party. Guests (21 and over) are welcome to attend - please remember to include them in your RSVP.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

NABC’s Bonfire of the Valkyries: Magic fire mood music for Saturnalia.

To know the Curmudgeon well is to understand that ounce for ounce, he craves smoked beer as much or more than any other beer style on the planet.

Consequently, those knowing readers who aren’t enthusiasts of the smoked beer genre often express wary trepidation with the prospect of visiting Bamberg, as they’ve been bombarded for so long with merry tales of the city – most of which begin and end at the fabled Schlenkerla tavern – that they’ve come to imagine every beer brewed there as being the beech-smoked variety.

Rest assured, it isn’t the case, although if it were up to me …

Of course, there are always ample supplies of Schlenkerla and Spezial for Daddy, and to suit the tastes of almost anyone except the chronically Lite-addled, also plenty of other classic German beer styles from Bamberg and the heavily breweried adjacent areas.

(These days, even the Liteweights can find some manner of tragically misdirected diet beer to suckle, thus facilitating their decision to miss the entire point of both brewing and traveling. But that’s another essay.)

Among the non-smoked choices are a scattering of Schwarzbiers – literally, black lagers. They’re regarded as variants of the Munich Dunkel (i.e., “dark”) brownish lagers, and are black-colored, with coffeeish overtones but not burnt flavors. Naturally, German “Noble” hops are used, and help to dry the finish. If you can imagine a style falling between a mildly hopped “black” Pilsner and a Porter brewed cleanly with lager yeast, you’re somewhere in the vicinity.

Schwarzbier isn’t smoked … until now. When I seize control during the coup d’Curmudgeon, they’ll all be.

Some time back, NABC’s brew crew of Jesse Williamson and Jared Williamson profited from Reese’s venerable lesson about chocolate accidentally meeting peanut butter. They formulated Bonfire of the Valkyries, a uniquely black smoked lager. Here are the specs.

OG: 1070
Malts: Weyermann smoked 2-row, black, special B, aromatic
Hops: SaazYeast: San Francisco/”California Common” (fermented cool, as a lager)

Taste tests are being regularly conducted, and BotV will be tapped on Friday, December 15, for the commencement of Saturnalia MMVI. Anyone want to bring some smoked ham and radishes?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Smarter, perhaps richer, and yet ...

Read this snippet of an article by Associated Press Writer Erin Carlson. Go ahead. I have a reason for making you suffer.

Lindsay Lohan has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, her publicist said Friday. "She started attending some, and I think it's a positive thing," Leslie Sloane told The Associated Press. "My biggest fear is who's the big idiot to out which (chapter) she goes to."

She said Lohan, 20, made the decision on her own to attend meetings, although Sloane added: "And, by the way, she's not saying ... she'll stop drinking tomorrow."

"It's a place to go and feel safe," she said. "No one judges her, and it's going to be a slow process. But, to me, the fact that she's seeing that there's something not right makes her smarter than the next person."

And the legal drinking age everywhere in the United States is ...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's all about Scotland, at least for today.

Thursday is St. Andrews Day.

If two good friends of Scottish descent hadn’t told me this fact, I wouldn’t have known, and so for the remainder of the uninformed, be aware that St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland.

My friends say that the proper way to celebrate the occasion is to oust all things (and people) English from the pub for the day. It’s pleasant to see that nationalism lives.

Rather than Anglo-cleansing, perhaps one might drink to Scotland’s holiday according to Highland tradition of non-hopped beverages, savoring drams of the national spirit, or at least endeavor to drain some of the “other” grain (also largely non-hopped): Scottish and Scotch ale.

Truth be told, I’ve never been a huge fan of the brewing styles native to Scotland, precisely because the bitterness I crave is lacking. Of course, there are sound historic and cultural reasons for the olfactory absence of lupulin, and the richly malty character to be expected can satisfy on chilly days or during times of duress or haggis.

Come Thursday, there’ll be some bottled Belhaven Wee Heavy on hand at the Public House, alongside beer list stalwarts like Fraoch, Merlin, Old Jock, Traquair, Skullsplitter and Black Douglas.

Read more about New Albany’s poetic ale-brewing Scots tradition: Early New Albany brewer and Scottish-American poet Hew Ainslie.


Fialachd don fhogarrach, 's cnaimhean briste don eucorach!

(Hospitality to the exile, and broken bones to the oppressor! )

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"A bung-starter is a beer-mallet" ... Mencken.

In addition to his long career as a Baltimore journalist and the composer of a vast output of essays and polemics, H. L. Mencken was a scholar of the American tongue. Here’s a brief excerpt from Mencken’s seminal “The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States” (Fourth Edition, 1937):

An English saloon-keeper is officially a licensed victualler. His saloon is a public house, or, colloquially, a pub. He does not sell beer by the bucket, can, growler, shell, seidel, stein or schooner, but by the pint, half-pint or glass. He and his brethren, taken together, are the licensed trade, or simply the trade. He may divide his establishment into a public-bar, a saloon-bar and a private-bar, the last being the toniest, or he may call his back room a parlour, snug or tap-room. If he has a few upholstered benches in his place he may call it a lounge. He employs no bartenders. Barmaids do the work, with maybe a barman, potman or cellarman to help. Beer, in most parts of Great Britain, means only the thinnest and cheapest form of malt liquor; better stuff is commonly called bitter. When an Englishman speaks of booze he means only ale or beer; for our hard liquor (a term he never uses) he prefers spirits. He uses boozer to indicate a drinking-place as well as a drinker. What we call hard cider is rough cider to him. He never uses rum in the generic sense that is has acquired in the United States, and knows nothing of rum-hounds, rum-dumbs, rum-dealers, the rum-trade, and the rum-evil, or of the Demon Rum. The American bung-starter is a beer-mallet in England, and, as in this country, it is frequently used for assault and homicide.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pants Down Port Drinkers to convene on Thursday, December 28 at the Public House.

Thursday, December 28 is the likely date for the annual gathering of the Pants Down Port Drinkers of New Albany, Southern Indiana, Oz and points afar.

Coverage from last year's stellar event can be viewed here: Port wine is a holiday tradition.

Basically, the tasting is open to all comers, provided you bring a bottle of Port and a snack (absent a hunk of cheese, a fine cigar for the hosting Publican might buy your way inside). Co-conspirator Tim Eads and I would like an informal and non-binding RSVP by December 14, for the sole reason that we'd like to have the option of assigning different Port styles based on who is coming and which Ports are likely to be brought.

Briefly googling in preparation, we find:

Into Wine: Enjoying Port

The Vintage Port Site (operated by the Symington Family Port Companies)

Prior to my only visit to Portugal in 2000, the Danish journalist Kim Wiesener, a longtime friend, recommended Richard Mayson's "Port and the Douro" as the finest overview of all things Port. Indeed, it is excellent, and if you're interested in Port, it's a must-have.

There's a new edition available, and I'm sure that Randy Smith at Destinations Booksellers would be able to track it down for those interested.

Here's a capsule description:

Mayson recounts the history of this great fortified wine up to the present day, including an assessment of major vintages back to 1896. He examines the physical condition of the region, grape varieties and vineyards with an appraisal of each of the main quintas, providing a directory of individual producers and shippers.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Don't forget: Schlafly Brewing Co. tasting this Thursday, November 30.

We're putting together a Schlafly beer tasting for this Thursday, November 30, and everyone's invited. Arrangements are still being made, but my guess would be a starting time circa 6:00 p.m. We'll be in the Prost special events room, the door to which is to the right as you enter the Public House.

Schlafly is a microbrewery of long standing located in St. Louis, and recently it has broadened distribution to Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. A friend, John Campbell, is now my Schlafly sales rep, and Mitch Turner, who many will remember from his days at Pipkin Brewing in Louisville, is John's boss.

They'll be bringing brewers and other company employees to sample the brewery's everyday beers and a few special releases. I'm told to expect a cask-conditioned offering, and there just may be a door prize or two.

Also on Thursday is a holiday beer tasting from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Keg Liquors in Clarksville. Apologies for the redundancy, as it looks like Thursday was the best day for Todd and I both.

Next spring, in conjunction with Gravity Head 2007, we hope to host a book signing by Tom Schlafly, the microbrewery's founder and namesake, and the author of "A New Religion in Mecca: Memoir of a Renegade Brewer in St. Louis." This event will take place later in March, 2007, so stay tuned for more information.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday ponderings.

I may begin taking Sundays off. From writing, that is.

After all, the business is closed on Sunday. I should take at least one day a week and reboot, right? The proposal's before the committee. An alternative would be to "rewind," rather like the Best of Carson and similar space-fillers.

It's worth noting that at Mrs. Curmudgeon's suggestion, we've begun blocking time on Sunday evenings to watch DVD reruns of the long-running television series "Cheers" in chronological order, beginning with the first season, circa 1982.

Perhaps you'll get episode reviews in this space.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What's the story behind the Hugh E. Bir's Cafe closure?

Readers, do any of you know if the recent shutdown of Hugh E. Bir’s Café (corner 4th and Market in New Albany) is permanent?

I’ve heard various explanations for the cessation of activity at the venerable establishment. Whatever the reason, it would be a shame if Hugh E’s were closed for good, and although this sentiment might surprise some, it shouldn’t. Matters are seldom simple in the cobwebbed recesses of the Curmudgeon’s consciousness.

My first bartending job back in 1983 was at the K & H Café in Lanesville, which at the time was an honest country tavern with top-rate burgers and not a little eccentricity. It’s true that weekend evenings occasionally got a bit rowdy, and it would have been nice to have better beer and less country music on the jukebox, but at the time it was close to home and just right.

Aside from pulling shifts behind the bar, I drank there full time, and came to know and love both branches of the owning family, the Schneiders. Good people all, and they earned a living and put numerous children through university on the proceeds of inexpensive meals, cold mainstream beer and the odd shot of bourbon. It had somewhat the quality of the American dream.

The only constant is change, and my life changed in ways I hadn’t foreseen; after all, it wasn’t a business plan that landed me in a pub. It was serendipity. At any rate, it remains possible to move on while still having a degree of respect for one’s roots. I’ve not been to the “K” since the brothers sold out roughly 13 years ago, and Ronald Reagan was probably in office the last time I visited Hugh E’s, but I respect both even if I’ve satirized aspects of the experience from time to time.

They’re not where I’m at it when it comes to beer, food (and often) music, but to be honest, I often wish they were, in the sense that in terms of layout and interior décor, bars like those are comfortable, unpretentious and generally filled with interesting people.

Would it be possible to take the physical setting and graft good beer and international pub grub onto it? Or would the good beer demographic balk?

Just a thought. The answers elude me, but that doesn’t quell the speculation.

Friday, November 24, 2006

UPDATED: We've broken 600.

As of today, the list has reached 603. Granted, there are a few ciders within, and I've not yet perfected the filing system (roughly speaking, by brewery), but take my word for it: Tough getting even this far.

UPDATED: BARD is underway and my eyes are killing me.

BARD - BEER ARCHIVE RESEARCH DIVISION: This is a long-term archival and archaeological project to match recollections with invoices and other evidence, and to assemble a master list of draft beers served at the Public House and Pizzeria since 1990. Currently BARD is under construction.

Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru
Abita Amber
Abita Purple Haze
Abita Turbo Dog
Achouffe Chouffe Biere de Soleil
Achouffe Chouffe Biere de Mars
Achouffe Chouffe Bok
Achouffe Chouffe La Gnomette
Achouffe Houblon Chouffe
Achouffe McChouffe
Achouffe La Chouffe
Achouffe N’Ice Chouffe
Adnams Sufflok Special Bitter
Adnams Broadside Original Ale
Adnam’s Tally Ho Barley Wine
Allagash Dubbel
Allagash Tripel
Anchor Liberty Ale
Anchor Old Foghorn Barley Wine
Anchor "Our Special Ale"
Anchor Porter
Anchor Steam
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale
Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
Anderson Valley Belk’s ESB
Anderson Valley Brother David’s Belgian-style Dubbel
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA
Anderson Valley Horn of the Beer Barley Wine
Anderson Valley Poleeko Gold Pale Ale
Arcadia London Porter
Arcadia Scottish Ale
Artvelde Grand Cru
Avery 14’er ESB
Avery Beast
Avery Czar
Avery Eleven
Avery Hog Heaven
Avery IPA
Avery Karma Ale
Avery Maharajah Imperial IPA
Avery New World Porter
Avery Old Jubilation
Avery Reverend
Avery Salvation
Ayinger Jahrhundert
Ayinger Oktober Fest Marzen

Baderbrau Bock
Baderbrau Pilsener
Barley Island Black Majic Stout
Barley Island Bourbon Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout
Bass Ale
BBC American Pale Ale (APA)
BBC Bearded Pat's Barley Wine
BBC Black Raspberry Mead
BBC Black Silk Smoked Porter
BBC Black Sunshine
BBC Dark Star Porter
BBC Ebeneezer
BBC Gold
BBC Hell for Certain
BBC Imperial Stout (cask-conditioned)
BBC Kentucky Common
BBC Luna de Miel (mead)
BBC Mephistopheles Metamorphosis
BBC Monk’s Brown
BBC Nut Brown Ale
BBC Oat Malt Stout
BBC Oatmeal Stout
BBC Old Burley Barley Wine
BBC Old St. Matthews Ale
BBC Organic Amber
BBC Professor Gesser’s Mind Numbing Ale
BBC Rauchbier
BBC Ultra (Homewrecker)
BBC Weizen Bock
BBC White Wedding
BBC Brewing Company Monk’s Pale Ale
BBC Brewing Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout
Belhaven Scottish Ale
Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA
Belhaven Wee Heavy
Bell’s Amber
Bell’s Batch 5000
Bell’s Batch 6000
Bell’s Batch 7000
Bell’s Best Brown
Bell’s Cherry Ale
Bell’s Cherry Stout
Bell’s Consecrator Doppelbock
Bell’s Double Cream Stout
Bell’s Expedition Stout
Bell’s Harry McGill’s Spiced Stout
Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury
Bell’s Hop Slam Imperial IPA
Bell’s Java Stout
Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout
Bell’s Oatmeal Stout
Bell’s Oberon Ale
Bell’s Octoberfest Beer
Bell’s Pale Ale
Bell's Porter
Bell’s Rye Stout
Bell’s Sparkling Ale
Bell’s Susie’s Sweet Stout
Bell’s Third Coast Beer
Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale
Bell’s Trumpeter Stout
Bell's Two Hearted Ale
Bell’s Winter White Ale
Black Biddy Irish Stout
Black Sheep Riggwelter
Bloomington Brewing Co. Batch 500 India Pale Ale
Bloomington Brewing Company Java Porter
Bloomington Brewing Company Ruby Bloom Amber
Bloomington Brewing Company Quarrymen Pale Ale
Breckinridge "Small Batch" 471 IPA
Brooklyn Best Bitter
Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale
Browning’s Doppelbock
Browning’s (single varietal) ESB
Browning’s Hercules Ale
Browning’s IPA
Burgerbrau Aktionator
Burgerbrau Nikolaus Bier (Altfrankisches Dunkel)
Burgerbrau Oktoberfest-Bier
Burgerbrau Wolnzacher Roggenbier
Burton Bridge Bitter
Burton Bridge Old Expensive
Burton Bridge Thomas Sykes Old Ale (cask-conditioned)

Cantillon Gueuze
Celebrator Doppelbock
Celis Dubbel
Celis Grand Cru
Celis Pale Ale
Celis Raspberry Wheat
Celis White
Christoffel Winter Bock
Circle V Batch 100
Circle V Brickyard Red
Circle V Muddy Waters Brown
Circle V Oktoberfest
Circle V Pacer Pale Ale
Circle V Venus Pilsner
Clipper City (Heavy Seas) Below Decks
Corsendonk Christmas Ale
Corsendonk Monk’s Brown
Corsendonk Monk’s Pale
Cumberland Brews IPA
Cumberland Brews Red

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA
Dark Horse Sapient Trip
Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout
De Dolle Arabier
De Dolle Boskeun
De Dolle Dulle Teve (Mad Bitch)
De Dolle Oerbier
De Dolle Special Extra Export Stout
De Dolle Stille Nacht
De Ranke Guldenberg
De Ranke Pere Noel
De Ranke XX Bitter
Delirium Nocturnum
Delirium Noel
Delirium Tremens
Dinkel Acker Dark
Dogfish Heads 60 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head ApriHop
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
Dortmunder Union Dark
Dos Equis
Double Diamond

Eggenberg Ur-Bock
EKU 28
Einbecker Heller Bock
Einbecker Mai-Urbock
Einbecker Schwarzbier
Einbecker Urbock Dunkel
Etienne Dupont Cidre Reserve
Ettaler Dunkel

Fantome Ete
Fantome Pissenlit
Fantome Saison
Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale
Flying Dog Dogtoberfest
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
Flying Dog Horn Dog Barley Wine
Flying Dog In Heat Wheat
Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser
Flying Dog Old Scratch
Flying Dog Tire Biter
Founders Black Rye
Founders Centennial IPA
Founders Blushing Monk Belgian Razz
Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA
Founders Dirty Bastard
Founders Red’s Rye
Franziskaner Hefe-Weizen
Franziskaner Hefe-Weizen Dunkel
Freeminer Deep Shaft Stout
Freeminer Trafalgar India Pale Ale
Fuller's E.S.B
Fuller’s India Pale Ale
Fuller’s London Porter
Fuller’s London Pride

Gaffel Kolsch
Gale’s Christmas Ale
Gale’s Conquest Masterbrew
Gale’s Festival Mild
Gale's HSB
Gales Millennium Ale
Gale’s Prize Old Ale
Geants Goliath Tripel
Goose Island Christmas Ale
Goose Island Hex Nut Brown
Goose Island Honker's Ale
Goose Island IPA
Goose Island Kilgubbin Red
Goose Island Oktoberfest
Goose Island Summertime Kolsch
Gouden Carolus Classic
Gouden Carolus Noel
Gouden Carolus Tripel
Great Divide Fresh Hop Ale
Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
Great Divide Hibernation Ale
Great Divide Old Ruffian barley Wine
Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout (Oaked)
Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout
Great Lakes Anniversary Ale
Great Lakes Blackout Stout
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Red Ale
Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
Grotten Brown
Guinness Stout
Gulden Draak
Gwatkin Yarlington Mill
Gwatkin Scrumpy
Gwatkin Blakeney Red Perry

Hacker-Pschorr Pschorr-Brau Hefe Weiss
Hacker-Pschorr Pschorr-Brau Maibock
Hacker-Pschorr Pschorr-Brau Original Oktoberfest
Hair of the Dog Adam
Hair of the Dog Fred
Hair of the Dog Golden
Hair of the Dog Rose
Hambleton Nightmare Yorkshire Porter
Harpoon IPA
Harvey’s Sussex Best
Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Reserve (matured in Dalmore casks)
HB (Hofbrau)
Holsten Festbock

Indianapolis Brewing Co. Dusseldorfer Dark

J.W. Lees Moonraker Strong Ale
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale (Calvados aged)
J. W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale (Willoughbys Crusted Port aged)
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale (Sherry aged)
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale (Lagavulin aged)
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale
Jenlain Farmhouse Ale
Jever Pilsener
Jopen Koyt

Kasteel Biere de Chateau
Kasteel K-8
Kasteel Red
Kasteel Tripel
Kostritzer Schwarzbier
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest New Year’s Celebration Eisbock
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Ale
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest Sweet Lactose Stout
Kulmbacher Eisbock G’frorns
Kulmbacher Monchshof Schwarzbier

La Rulles Cuvee Meilleurs Veoux “Best Holiday Wishes”
La Rulles Summer
La Rulles Tripel
La Trappe Dubbel
La Trappe Enkel
La Trappe Quadrupel
La Trappe Tripel
Left Hand Imperial Stout
Left Hand Milk Stout
Leipziger Gose
Liefman’s Goudenband
Lindemans Cassis
Lindemans Framboise
Lindemans Kriek
Lindemans Peche

Maclay Eighty Shilling
Maclay Oat Malt
Maclay Scotch
Maclay Wallace IPA
Mahr’s Christmas Bock
Mahr’s Der Weisse Bock
Mahr’s Hell
Mahr’s Ungespundet Lager
Manchester Star
Mannekin Pis
Matt’s, Kevin’s and Roger’s Mesquite Smoked Centennial Hopped Pale
Mauldons Black Adder
McAuslan’s Oatmeal Stout
McEwan’s Export Ale
Mestreechs Aajt Flemish Red Ale
Mishawaka Dominator Doppelbock
Mishawaka Founders Stout
Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale

NABC Artemsia
NABC Beak’s Best
NABC Black Hand
NABC Blonde Abbey
NABC Bob’s Old 15B
NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries
NABC Bourbondaddy/Haggisdaddy
NABC Bush Hog
NABC Community Dark
NABC ConeSmoker
NABC Croupier IPA
NABC Elector
NABC Elector Select
NABC Haggisdaddy
NABC Homecoming Common
NABC Hoosier Daddy
NABC Hop Scotch
NABC Hoptimus
NABC Jenever
NABC Homecoming Common
NABC Kaiser 2nd Reising
NABC Merckx
NABC Mt. Lee
NABC Naughty Claus
NABC NobleSmoker
NABC Oaktimus
NABC Old Lightning Rod (Poor Richard’s Ale)
NABC Phoenix Kentucky Komon
NABC St. Alfonzo
NABC St. Radegund
NABC Saison Scalawag
NABC Silent Oath
NABC Solidarity
NABC Strathpeffer Heather
NABC Stumble Bus
NABC Thunderfoot
NABC Tunnel Vision
NABC Turbo Hog
New Holland Black Tulip Trippel Ale
New Holland Blue Goat Doppelbock
New Holland Dragon’s Milk
New Holland Phi
New Holland Pilgrim’s Dole Wheatwine Style Ale
New Holland Red Tulip
New Holland The Poet
Newcastle Brown
North Coast Old 38
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
North Coast Old Stock Ale
North Coast PranQster
North Coast Red Seal Ale
North Coast Scrimshaw

Oaken Barrel Epiphany
Oaken Barrel Gnawbone Pale Ale
Oaken Barrel Indiana Amber
Oaken Barrel Saison
Oaken Barrel Snake Pit Porter
Oaken Barrel Super Fly IPA
Old Slug Porter
Old Speckled Hen (nitro)
Oldenberg Blonde
Oldenberg Holy Grail Nut Brown
Oldenberg Oatmeal Stout
Oldenberg Outrageous Bock
Oldenberg Premium Verum
Oldenberg Weisse

Paulaner Hefe Weizen
Paulaner Oktoberfest
Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock
Pilsner Urquell
Pipkin Brown Ale
Pipkin Bourbon Barrel Porter (Woodford Reserve Barrel aged)
Pipkin Bourbon Barrel Stout
Pipkin India Pale Ale
Pipkin Pale Ale
Pipkin Porter
Poperings Hommel Ale
Pyramid Snow Cap

RCH Pitchfork
Redhook ESB
Regenboog 't Smisje Blond
Regenboog ‘t Smisje BBBourgondier
Regenboog 't Smisje Dubbel
Regenboog 't Smisje Kerst
Regenboog t’Smisje Speciale (i.e., Halloween)
Regenboog Guido
Regenboog Wostyntje
Reissdorf Kolsch
Rich O’s Public House Tunnel Vision (Tucker/Oldenberg brewed)
Ridgeway Bad Elf Winter’s Ale
Ridgeway Espresso Grande Stout
Ridgeway Lump of Coal
Ridgeway Santa’s Butt
Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf
Ridgeway Very Bad Elf
Ringneck Brewing FOTB Barley Wine
Ringneck Brewing Old 21 Imperial IPA
Rockies Brewing Hazed and Infused
Rockies Brewing Company Mojo IPA
Rocky River (Cleveland, OH) Kohlminator Smoked Bock
Rocky River (Cleveland, OH) Space Monkey
Rocky River (Cleveland, OH) Zeus Juice
Rogue American Amber
Rogue Artisan Lager
Rogue Brew 5000 OBF 2001 Belgian Dubbel
Rogue Brutal Bitter
Rogue Buckwheat Ale
Rogue Chocolate Stout
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Rogue Dry-Hopped Red
Rogue Festive Ale
Rogue Half-e-Weizen (formerly Mo Ale)
Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Rogue Honey Cream Ale
Rogue Imperial Pilsner
Rogue Incinerator (smoked doppelbock)
Rogue JLS Alt Bier
Rogue JLS Brewer
Rogue JLS Frosty Frog
Rogue JLS Glen
Rogue JLS Hop Heaven
Rogue JLS Imperial Porter
Rogue JLS Integrity IPA
Rogue JLS Love & Hoppiness
Rogue JLS Monk Madness
Rogue JLS SchwartzBier
Rogue JLS Skull Splitter
Rogue Jubilee Ale (Horse Brass Pub’s 25th anniversary Ale)
Rogue McRogue Scotch Ale
Rogue Mexicali Ale (later Rogue Chipotle)
Rogue Mocha Porter
Rogue Mogul Madness
Rogue Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale
Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner
Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale
Rogue Oregon Brewers Festival 2002 “Charlie” (IPA)
Rogue Oregon Golden Ale
Rogue Roguetoberfest
Rogue Rose Festival Ale
Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve
Rogue Shakespeare Stout
Rogue Smoke
Rogue Uber-Pils
Rogue XS I2PA
Rogue XS Imperial Stout
Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine Vintage 1996
Rogue Yellow Snow (later Juniper Ale)
Rogue Younger's Special Bitter

Samuel Adams Octoberfest
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat
Samuel Adams Dark Wheat
Samuel Adams Double Bock
Samuel Adams Honey Porter
Samuel Adams Summer
Samuel Adams Stock Ale
Samuel Adams Winter Lager
Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby
Scaldis Noel
Schlafly American Pale Ale (Expedition Reserve)
Schlafly Christmas Ale
Schlafly Coffee Stout
Schlafly Hefeweizen
Schlafly Kolsch
Schlafly Oktoberfest
Schlenkerla Fastenbier
Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen
Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock
Schlenkerla Weizen
Schneider Aventinus Eisbock
Schneider Aventinus Weizen Doppelbock
Schneider Weisse
Schneider Wiesen Edel-Weisse
Scotch de Silly
Shipyard Old Thumper Ale
Shmaltz Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.
Shmaltz He’Brew Jewbelation 5766
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
Sierra Nevada Brown Ale
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale
Sierra Nevada IPA
Sierra Nevada Maibock/Pale Bock
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Silo Hercules (brewed by BBC)
Smithwick’s Ale
Spaten Oktoberfest
Spaten Optimator Doppelbock
Spaten Pilsner
Spaten Premium Bock (Maibock)
Spaten Premium Lager
Spezial Rauchbier
Sprecher Special Amber
Sprecher Oktoberfest
St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel
St. Georgenbrau Keller Bier
(Stone) Arrogant Bastard Ale
(Stone) Arrogant (Oaked) Bastard Ale
Stone Double Bastard
Stone Imperial Stout
Stone IPA
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
Stone Ruination IPA
Stone Smoked Porter
Strubbe Doedel
Summit Extra Pale
Summit Winter Ale
Super Bowl 3 Smoked Hop Ale (Cumberland Brews)
Swale’s Whitstable Oyster Stout

Terre Haute Brewing Gold Label Bock
(Thomas Family Winery) Gale’s Hard Cider
Three Floyds Alpha King
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus
Three Floyds Behemoth Barley Wine
Three Floyds Black Sun Stout
Three Floyds Brian Boru
Three Floyds Calumet Kolsch
Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA
Three Floyds Extra Pale Ale
Three Floyds Gumball Head
Three Floyds Pride and Joy
Three Floyds Rabbid Rabbit
Three Floyds Robert the Bruce
Triple Karmeliet
Tucker Blackberry Wheat
Tucker Brown
Tucher Hefe Weizen
Tucker Pale Ale
Tucker Smoked Porter
Tucker Wheat
Two Brothers Bare Tree Barley Wine Style Weiss Beer
Two Brothers Bitter End Pale Ale
Two Brothers Cane & Ebel
Two Brothers Dog Days Dortmunder
Two Brothers Domaine Dupage French Country Ale
Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA
Two Brothers Hop Juice Double IPA
Two Brothers NorthWind Imperial Stout

Uerige Classic Altbier
Uerige Doppel Sticke
Uerige “Secret” Sticke Altbier
Unibroue Maudite
Upland Amber Ale
Upland Bad Elmer’s Porter
Upland Bavarian Castle Bock
Upland Castle Rock Irish Red
Upland Chocolate Stout
Upland Dragonfly IPA
Upland Maibock
Upland Oktoberfest
Upland Pale Ale
Upland Session Ale
Upland Valley Weizen
Upland Winter Warmer
Upland Wheat
Urthel Hop-It Belgian IPA
Urthel Samaranth Quadrium

Vapeur Cochonette
Victory Golden Monkey
Victory Imperial Stout

Warsteiner Premium
Warsteiner Premium Dunkel
Watney’s Red Barrel
Weihenstephaner Dunkel Weizen
Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier
Weihenstephaner Korbinian Doppelbock
Wye Valley Butty Bach
Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody’s Our Glass

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (nitro)
Young's Ram Rod
Young’s Oatmeal Stout
Young’s Winter Warmer

Zwiec Lager