Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Baron Hill to visit this Thursday’s meeting of Drinking Liberally at the Public House.

I have learned that Democratic congressional hopeful Baron Hill will make an appearance during the weekly meeting of Drinking Liberally (New Albany & Southern Indiana) this Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. at Rich O’s Public House.

Posted by Picasa Posted by Picasa

Hill’s bid to recapture his seat in a third epic electoral slugging match with Mike Sodrel is being watched throughout the country as a key indicator in the mid-term election.

In expectation of a larger than usual turnout for Drinking Liberally, we’ll be moving the meeting to the Prost special events room. DL organizer Lacy Davis has given me the okay to spread the word, and all readers are cordially invited.

As a counterweight, albeit small, to the prevailing crackpot sentiments of theocratic fascism washing over Indiana's (and the nation’s shores), I’m delighted to host the group and the candidate, and to serve Progressive Pints to those in attendance.

As a reminder, Drinking Liberally is:

An informal, inclusive Democratic drinking club. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk politics.

Bars are democratic spaces - you talk to strangers, you share booths, you feel the bond of common ground. Bring democratic discourse to your local democratic space - build Democracy one drink at a time.

(Crossposted at NA Confidential)

Monday, October 30, 2006

A must-read: "The Perils of Globeerization," from Foreign Policy in Focus.

Nothing I might undertake to write today is capable of improving on this fascinating article from the Foreign Policy in Focus website:

The Perils of Globeerization, by Chris O'Brien (October 24, 2006).

The world's cup runneth over with living beer traditions. But this vast repository of cultural brewing capital is under attack by global corporations. The top five brewing companies, all of which are American- or European-owned, control 41% of the world market. Perversely, economists and politicians calculate the conquest by industrial breweries as economic growth while the value of small-scale traditional brewing goes uncounted. Much will be lost if this global “beerodiversity” is lost to the forces of corporate-led homogenization.

Special thanks to my friend Jerry Ramsey for pointing the way to this article. Cheers!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Moths gravitate to the Lite ... beer aficionados prefer the beer in the glass.

Several of you brought this to my attention.

Beer tap handles go artsy for marketing , by Rick Armon, Associated Press Writer.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - When Roy Wadding sits down at a bar, he makes sure to scan the draft selection before ordering a beer.

His eyes zip from one tap handle to the next, searching for something different, something he has never tried before.

"I see something new and I gravitate to it," the 51-year-old Tampa., Fla., man said recently at a Winking Lizard Tavern in Columbus.

Such is the power of an eye-catching tap handle.

At my business, there are 34 beer taps and 34 tap handles divided among five different cooling units. It is impossible to look at any one and see all the draft choices.

Knowing this led us to install two big blackboards, one in the pizzeria and one in the pub, upon which are written all of the draft choices.

Newcomers typically stroll past the blackboard, park in front of the four-seat bar, study the seven visible tap handles, and ask whether these are the beers on tap.


I appreciate the points made in this article, and I understand that in the wider world of dog-eat-dog marketing, any edge is a useful one.

However, to me it’s just another example of emphasis placed on form over substance, and I’m opposed to that. It’s important for NABC to have clever artwork and graphics, and we do since Tony came to work for us, but it’s far more important for the consumer to learn about the beer inside his or her glass, and being swept away by a tap handle does not further the cause of education.

Need more proof?

… even Anheuser-Busch, the maker of the country's best-selling brand, Bud Light, has created quirky handles for its line of seasonal craft beers that include Beach Bum Blonde Ale and Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale. Jack's features a large scarecrow with a pumpkin for a head.

A bloated megabrewery like Anheuser-Busch can no more produce a “craft” beer than an elephant can sire a mouse, and yet the writer, bedazzled by the micro-exterior, is unable to distinguish it from the mockro-liquid in the glass. A-B sincerely hopes that every beer drinker makes the same mistake, but merely mimicking the outward trappings and spending millions of dollars in Goebbelsian advertising does not make it so.

You can’t read a book without cracking the cover. Admire the tap handle from afar, but delve into the true significance of what it represents, and become knowledgeable.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's all in the name.

From StrangeBrew Brewing Software, and courtesy of a Dave Pierce e-mail forward, here’s your chance to play with the … Random Beer Name Generator.

What’s better, Black Moronic Hoser Lambic or Black Moronic Hoosier Lambic?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What makes a draft list impressive?

Before coming to the central point of today’s entry, please permit me to confess that I haven’t actually been to the Pink Door, which recently opened in Louisville.

Here’s a description of the new restaurant, courtesy of LEO:

Pink Door Noodles and Tea Lounge opened in the Highlands on Friday, Oct. 13, reinventing the one-time home of Gibb’s BBQ in an edgy, high-tech Japanese style with a 23-foot video wall and facilities for patrons to pose and, in a wacky sort of recursive art, instantly become a part of the decor. Look for lighter fare, Japanese noodle dishes and sushi, along with a wide variety of teas, sakes and techno-Japanese cocktails such as the dubiously monikered Godzilla Fart, a greenish concoction of Finlandia, lime and club soda. We’ll leave it to the Bar Belle to check that one out.

Pink Door Noodles and Tea Lounge
2222 Dundee Road

When the doors to the Pink Door first opened, the usual discussion ensued at the Louisville Restaurants Forum, and none of the comments would merit turning the discussion toward beer if it were not for this observation:

“Service was very friendly, (the) beer list on tap was impressive (Erdinger!) and the ambience was almost too hip for the 'Ville.”

I decided to visit the Pink Door’s web site and see for myself. Here’s the list of drafts:

Erdinger Hefe-Weizen
Kentucky Ale
Blue Moon
Coors Light
BBC Nut Brown

And bottles:

Rogue Morimoto Soba
Bud Light
Miller Lite
Corona Light
Falls City

I want to stress again that today’s ruminations are not intended as criticism of the Pink Door.

Rather, looking at the draft list and others like it, how “impressive” is it?

To be sure, Erdinger on tap is seldom seen, and two BBC microbrews are a bonus … but otherwise, how adventurous is the draft selection?

Taken together with the bottled offerings, there simply isn’t much in the way of stylistic diversity. There are ten golden lagers, with only the Singha providing hop character. What need is there for Kentucky Ale when BBC’s superior Altbier is present? Morimoto Soba, Rogue’s buckwheat ale, while intriguing, almost certainly makes the list solely for its Japanese imagery, and the domestic Blue Moon and imported Erdinger serve precisely the same consumer taste.

In the final analysis, Pink Door’s draft list is “impressive” only in the context of demographic territory somewhat removed from its Dundee Loop locale.

It’s highly likely that the Pink Door’s owners and bar manager put little thought into the draft list, as it is the habit almost everywhere for management to defer to the suggestions of beer wholesalers, who in turn seldom can be trusted to think outside the box. The reason why it matters is that when an establishment purports to serve a particular clientele, it can do so far better by being pro-active in its choices, and basing these selections on reasoning that extends beyond the self-interest of the supplier.

Why is it an article of faith that the “hip” crowd is seeking ever more creative cocktail and wine options, but aren’t willing to apply the same desires to its choice of beer?

Why is it that these customers are duly challenged with a Godzilla Fart and not with Imperial Stout?

Why is it accepted that Japanese beer goes with sushi and Chinese beer goes with egg drop soup, when the Japanese and Chinese lagers offered are precisely the same style, and utterly lacking the brains or the brawn to make food matches interesting?

To conclude, and for whatever reason if occurs, it’s a shame that beer gets such short shrift in these matters. Dining and drinking establishments that are in competition for the discretionary income of consumers stand to benefit from differentiation, but although they commonly understand this in relation to cuisine, décor, wine lists and designer bourbons, many seem unable to extend the analogy to beer.

Why is that?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stone 10th Anniversary India Pale Ale.

While absent from work during the September biking expedition to Europe, the friendly people at Cavalier Distributing deposited two cases of Stone 10th Anniversary India Pale Ale 22-oz “bombers” in my storage room.

It took a few weeks for me to realize what it was, and when I did, I took a bottle home, where it rested for another couple of weeks. Finally I noticed, and drank it.

Good, good stuff.

Stone 10th Anniversary India Pale Ale appears to be the brainchild of Mitch Steele, who defected from the Anheuser-Busch industrial colossus to become Head Brewer at Stone. For background, see:

From the empire of wet air to the arrogant bastard's lair.
(24 May 2006)

Archives unearthed: Mitch Steele visits FOSSILS (from 1998).
(26 Jun 2006)

Steele's baby is as hoppy as you would expect a Stone-style IPA to be. His tasting notes reference “piney hop aromatics,” “tropical fruit” and a “full-bodied” palate, and I can’t improve on such observations. At 10% abv, it’s a tad stronger than Stone’s everyday IPA and Ruination Ale.

Although I realize that my tardiness in this matter means that most Stone special edition fans already have picked up their bottles at The Keg, there’s a case and a half (18 bottles) of Stone 10th Anniversary India Pale Ale for sale at the Public House.

If you haven’t had it, and you’re a hophead, Steele’s creation is a must-taste. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Press Release: "Ambitious Brew," a book by Maureen Ogle.

I've purchased the book, but not started reading. A review will appear at the conclusion. Somehow, I'm aproaching this with a degree of skepticism that isn't merited by advance reviews, both on-line and from my friend Maury, who made the initial recommendation. Must be the Curmudgeon in me.

The book is available locally at Destinations Booksellers in New Albany.


Pabst Brewing Co. was originally named Best Brewery, founded by German immigrant Jacob Best in 1844. Jacob’s son Phillip took over the company and would later meet Frederick Pabst, who went on to marry Phillip’s daughter. Best Brewery was already bottling Best Select with the famous blue ribbon around the neck of the bottle, signifying the first-place position it earned in several competitions—often winning against its rival, Budweiser.

Under Best’s tutelage, Frederick Pabst mastered the craft and business of brewing, and bought a stake in the company when it went public, eventually becoming President. In 1889 the name of the brewery was changed to Pabst Brewing Company. Naturally, like any modest German, Frederick continued advertising the superiority of the brewery’s most famous drink, but changed its label to read Pabst Blue Ribbon.



The epic story of the most American drink, from the immigrants who invented it to the upstart microbrewers who revived it.

By Maureen Ogle

Pabst, Schlitz, Anheuser-Busch: the names are ubiquitous from TV ads, banners at football games, summer barbeques. Beer might seem as American as baseball, but that has not always been the case. A wave of German immigrants arriving in the middle of the nineteenth century were the re-creators of the pleasures of the biergartens they had left behind. They became beer barons with successes, vast wealth, and their transformation of American life. Through temperance movements, Prohibition, and anti-German sentiments during both World Wars, they persevered to turn beer into the national drink.

When the big brewers emerged from the dark ages (1918-1932) they realized they faced a country that had to learn to drink beer again. With new innovations in marketing, advertising, and packaging, beer became bigger (and blander) than ever before – setting the stage for the emergence in the 80s of a new generation of microbrewers who have become the success stories in today’s market and whose ambitions reshaped the drink.

AMBITIOUS BREW “pubbed” on October 2nd, 2006—FIND IT NOW in your local bookstore.

MAUREEN OGLE is a historian whose previous books include All the Modern Conveniences and Key West. She lives in Ames, Iowa.

For more information, please contact:

Peter Horan
Harcourt Trade Publishers
15 E 26th St
New York, NY 10010

Monday, October 23, 2006

Randall, meet BBC Altbier.

It was our plan last Friday to stage a 2006 encore presentation of Randall the Enamel Animal, the instant dry-hopping machine invented by the lupulin-crazed masterminds at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. However, it did not come to pass owing to technical difficulties, and has been rescheduled for the coming Friday, October 27.

NABC’s Jared Williamson has been Randall’s keeper since we bought it from Dogfish Head in 2005, and this year Jared improvised a system to pass the modified beer through a cold plate so as to put a bit of a chill back in it, the difficulty being to keep the beer cool as it sits in the cylinder at room temperature and absorbs hop flavor.

Unfortunately, stray hop cones clogged up the lines. Jared’s fixed the problem, and we should be ready to pour BBC (Main & Clay) Alt on Friday. It is likely that Hallertauer hops will be used in Randall for the Alt, a German style beer.
We chose BBC Alt because we wanted to taste how Randall modified a beer that wasn’t already overtly hoppy. Last Friday prior to the stoppage, we’d passed a few glasses of Alt through Randall, and the results were tasty and hopeful.

In other words, I would have drained a few in the name of science – and there’ll be another chance this Friday.

Photo credit: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Imposing lineups, on and off the field.

Last night the Curmudgeons visited our friends Jay and Teresa for an evening of delicious taco salad, world championship baseball and just a few fine libations for good measure.

Jay and I combined beer stocks to produce an outstanding lineup of winning beverages, with a half-liter bottle each of Kulmbacher Monchshof Schwarzbier leading off and providing a gently roasted, chocolate-accented contrast to the ground beef in chipotle sauce, olives, sour cream, hearty black beans, cheese, sour cream and spicy salsa.

When dinner was cleared, it was off to the couch for the beginning of Game 1 of the 2006 World Series, and one of the finest post-feast libations imaginable: A year-old 22-oz bottle of Peche Mortel (“mortal sin”), the coffee-infused Imperial Stout from the Dieu du Ciel! (God in Heaven!) brewpub in Montreal. It was smooth and mellow, with any remaining edges rounded, but still packing an appropriately caffeinated punch with a 9% abv chaser.

Both the Tigers and the Cardinals had scored an early run when we opened a 750 ml bottle of Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu, the latest archival fermented beverage to emerge from the mad brewing scientists in Delaware. Looking at the list of ingredients, including “pre-gelatinized rice flakes, wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers," one might conclude that the resulting beverage would have mead overtones. One would be correct. I would have liked to pair Chateau Jiahu with carry-out barbecued spareribs, a flagrantly inauthentic item of Chinese cuisine – and might yet do so with the remaining bottle at home.

Albert Pujols crushed a homerun, and we opened a 750 ml bottle of Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru, an old favorite that is unavailable to New Albany retailers. It was a good follow-up to the Dogfish Head, replete with a sturdy and typically Wallonian fruitiness that called to mind everything from plums to berries to rhubarb.

With the Cardinals firmly in control, the game and our session moved into the late innings. As the closer, I’d brought along yet another 750 ml gem, St. Bernardus 12 Special Edition. I explained to Jay that the St. Bernardus brewery near Watou in Belgium brewed secular clones of Westvleteren ales for decades before the monks declined to renew the contract a decade or so ago, leaving the brewery on its own. The decision was reached to not fix what wasn’t broken, and a new line of abbey ales was born.

Here’s the description:

The St. Bernardus Abt 12 is recognized as one of the best ales in the world. For the occasion of our 60th anniversary, our brewmaster Bert Van Hecke created a unique and special variety of the St. Bernardus Abt 12. This "Special Edition" contains hops from Poperinge: Challenger and Golding, and has been brewed with black, amber, munich and pale ale malts.

I’ve always thought that the regular edition St. Bernardus Abt is within a figurative stone’s throw not just of the St. Sixtus abbey, but also of the Trappist monastery’s internationally renowned star performer, Westvleteren 12. The special edition goes even further. It is dry on the palate, but still immensely malty (11% abv) without being sweet. It’s an amazing, balanced and harmonious blend of flavors, and as good a parallel to the original product line as you’ll find without heading off to the tasting room north of Poperinge.

The game, and the Detroit winning streak, both came to a close, and with the ladies chatting, I stole away to produce a final post-game treat: An Avery “The Czar” Imperial Stout” bomber from 2004. The Czar is aggressive when young and needs a year to mellow into silkiness. I was surprised to find a nutty nose in the two-year-old sample, with plenty of roast, coffee, chocolate and licorice flavors remaining on the palate.

It was a wonderful evening of high octane thrills on the diamond and in front of the television set. Thanks to Jay and Teresa for having us over … although if there’s a seventh game, I’m not sure the preceding lineup of beers can be topped.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Here is a preview of the "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)" section of the NABC web site, which Jay Tyler and I are in the process of revamping.

Q. When will it be finished?

A. Don't ask.

f. My grandfather told me that bock beer …

He meant well, but it isn’t true. Bock beers do not come about because of the dark residue of once-yearly spring cleaning. Also, the beer you had in Prague that was identified as “12” referred to gravity, not the alcohol content (and the fact that it made you drunk probably owed to the injudicious use of absinthe). Darkness is not an indicator of strength, and ale won’t give you a headache unless you drink far too much of it – same goes for lager.

g. What’s the difference between ale and lager?

Glad you asked. As terms, “ale” and “lager” exist to divide the world of brewing into “top-fermenting ales” and “bottom-fermenting lagers.” Both terms refer to the behavior of the yeast during fermentation. Top fermentation was the default mode until the advent of cooler, bottom fermentation techniques two hundred years ago in Germany and the present-day Czech Republic. Most (but not all) classic continental ale styles hail from the British Isles and Belgium, while most (but not all) lager styles originated in Germany and Central Europe.

h. Can you get Fat Tire/Alaskan Amber/Westvleteren 12?

The answer is “no” to all three, because they don’t have legal distribution channels to the state of Indiana. Neither Fat Tire (New Belgium Brewing in Colorado) nor Alaskan Brewing Company seek to ship beer as far away as Indiana, and Westvleteren’s Trappist abbey does not export from Belgium to America.

i. Why is there a blue toilet seat on the wall?

Here’s the explanation, but you might want to open a beer first.

The Story Behind the Seat.

j. What does the Red Room mean?

Regular customer Dave Siltz once overheard someone asking this question, and his response was:

This dingbat behind me just asked me why the red room is called the red room. I told her that it might have something to do with the wall that's painted red, but that my money was on the 11,000 pieces of Communist memorabilia on the walls.

In short, the Red Room means whatever you want it to mean, but in the very beginning, it meant that the wall was large enough to accommodate the oversized three-part Lenin poster (purchased in the USSR) that I’d never previously had room to hang in my various places of residence.

Mundane, but true.

k. Do you have any "normal" beer?

Yes, we do. According to FDA guidelines, we have certified each and every one of our beers to be "normal" by means of a secret, mysterious process that involves a clean glass and a big thirst. Some of our normal beers are foreign, and some American. Some of our normal beers are not "that dark &*%#." However not one of them is "light," because (all together now), it’s a LITE FREE ZONE.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Here is a preview of the "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)" section of the NABC web site, which Jay Tyler and I are in the process of revamping.

Q. When will it be finished?

A. Don't ask.

a. Hey, Rich, how about another beer ... uh, you’re Rich, right?

My income level is none of your business, and my name is not Rich. It is Roger. No one in my family is named Rich, either. Actually, Rich was the original owner of the business, and its namesake dating back to 1990. Only his name remains.

b. I seem to remember a long time ago that you were thinking about changing the name from Rich O’s to something else. Now I see that the doorway says “Public House” without the “Rich O’s.” What gives?

Way back during Bill Clinton’s first term, we considered a name change, and we even had a contest to solicit a new one. Nothing came of it, but recently we decided to gradually permit the Rich O’s name to whither away, and to encourage our customers to think of us as the New Albanian Brewing Company, with a Public House and Pizzeria – hence the doorway art you’ve seen when visiting.

Just for kicks, here are some of our favorite entries from the long ago name change contest (A to Z):

Academian Nut Pub, The
Big Chief Tablet, The
Cozy Rut, The
Drunken Messiah Pub, The
Eddie LaDuke's Place
Farting Rat Pub, The
"G (eorgio)" Spot, The
House of the Rising Bigfoot
Inn Utero
Jolly Roger, The
Karl Scharrer's Real Home
Lenin 'n' Leave 'em Cafe
Morning Wood Pub
NLA (No Lite Allowed)
Overflowing Ashtray, The
People's Glorious Revolutionary Bar & Grille
Quaffing Albertine, The
Roger's Babe Emporium
Surly Cock Pub, The
Two Babes and Ignatius
Urge Overswill
Velvet Elvis, The
We Close at Ten
Xenophilia's Heinie, The
You Know, the Place Next to Sportstime
Zymurgy in Paradise

c. Do you bottle your house beers?

No, and we have no plans to do so barring a decision to have a beer or two contract-brewed for us elsewhere at a brewery built for the job. Bottling is the reason why so many brewers go swimming in a pitcher of their own beer – sometimes during business hours.

d. Can we get NABC beer in (fill in name of state)?

No, unless the name of the state is Indiana, where we are legally permitted to self-distribute. In Indiana, you can get NABC beer by the growler at our Public House and Pizzeria, or by the glass at one of (NABC’s off-premise accounts)(link). We maintain a Kentucky distribution agreement solely to participate in the annual Brew at the Zoo celebration. We do not ship beer through the mail or parcel delivery services.

e. Is it supposed to be served this warm?

We’d dearly love to be able to serve all our beers at the proper temperature, but this is complicated immensely by the fact that we're using seven separate refrigeration units to store them. I used to try and keep the beers in the 45-degree (F) range, and still prefer them to be kept this way when possible, but to be honest, it doesn’t always work out that way.

In general terms, the colder a liquid is, the less you'll be able to taste it, and while mass-market swill is enhanced by the suppression of the drinker's taste buds, better beers are not. Take our word for it: Once you grow accustomed to good beer served cool, and not ice-cold, you'll never go back to frosted mugs of insipid MGD.

(continued tomorrow)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

UPDATED: Preliminary keg orders for Gravity Head 2007.

This post has been moved forward to January, 2007.

Go here for the updated version.


Previous updated Saturday, January 13.

It should be obvious what I've been doing during the current work week. It's the time of year to begin ordering, stockpiling and conniving to obtain drafts for Gravity Head, which will be here sooner than you think (March 9th).

Start arranging those designated drivers now ...

* never before on draft at the Public House and Pizzeria

# already in stock

Microbrewed Gravity

Imported Gravity

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Preliminary keg orders for Saturnalia MMVI.

Updated Tuesday, October 24

I've been using the beer blog as an organizational tool for our three yearly draft beer festivals. Next up (less than two months away) is Saturnalia, a showcase for holiday and seasonal styles, with a few fun beers thrown in for good measure as stocking stuffers.

The list below represents those beers ordered to date. It is inevitable that the list will change, but with luck, perhaps not too much. I'll come back to this from time to time with updates and fresh information.

* never before on draft

# already in stock

*Affligem Noel
Corsendonk Christmas Ale
De Ranke Pere Noel
Delirium 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

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

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
Ridgeway Lump of Coal
Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf
Ridgeway Santa’s Butt


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bud Hope, R.I.P.

In the early 1990’s, when I edited and published “Walking the Dog,” the official newsletter of the FOSSILS homebrewing and beer appreciation club, a member of the Louisville-based LAGERS club approached me and asked if he could write an article for the annual “Travel Dog” issue.

It was Bud Hope, and he wanted to share with all of us his memories of numerous beers enjoyed during a youth spent in Germany as an Army brat. It was an entertaining account of local fests, lager beers, splendid celebrations and the occasional pork knuckle, and although he never wrote anything else for me, I look back on his sole effort with considerable fondness, as it seemed to exempify the author's zest for life.

Last week, Bud died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 48. While not a beer geek in the contemporary sense, Bud was a longtime, charter member of the Louisville beer community, putting his money, his time and his energy into the LAGERS club and later into several incarnations of the BBC brewery and taproom in downtown Louisville, maintaining an upbeat, positive disposition when business wasn’t as good as it might have been.

Bud was a rock, and he’ll be missed by one and all. He was a person who I always looked forward to seeing even if we were never more than casual friends. There was something about his sense of humor, the big smile, and his delivery; I couldn’t put my finger on it, and just appreciated his unique perspective on life.

Here are the sad details, as transmitted by several people over the last two days.

HOPE , BUDDY " BUD," JR., 48, of Taylorsville, KY, passed away at his home. He was a manager at UPS. He was a member of Triangle Fraternity. He was preceded in death by his parents Donald and JoAnne Wyse. He is survived by his wife, Debra Hope, a sister, Margie Wyse; a brother, John Wyse; and a niece Megan Wyse; and by many more family members and friends. His funeral services will be on 10 a.m. Thursday at the W. G. Hardy- Valley Chapel, 10907 Dixie Hwy, with burial in Bethany Memorial Cemetery. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m., Tuesday and 4-8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

If you knew Bud, please note that following the visitation on Wednesday, his many friends will be convening at the BBC Taproom on the corner of Clay and Main in downtown Louisville. There’ll be beer; you’re asked to bring food, and help pay tribute to a good man who left us far too soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lupulin Land 2006 update for Monday, October 16.

Don't forget that Lupulin Land 2006 t-shirts are in stock.

As expected, our solitary 15.5 gallon keg of Oaktimus (Hoptimus aged eight months with oak chips) failed to survive opening weekend. All the other hoppy treats that went on tap Friday are still pouring. See the list here: Lupulin Land Harvest Hop Festival starting lineup and schedule.

Today: Cask-conditioned Bluegrass Brewing Company (St. Matthews) Ultra/aka Homewrecker is on the hand pull.

I've learned that Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale will be arriving at the wholesaler this week, and will come to us next Tuesday (October 24).

Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale and Great Divide Hercules Double IPA should be in-house by the end of this week, and perhaps on draft by the weekend.

Thanks to all who turned out Friday and Saturday to drink and talk hops.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Lupulin Land Harvest Hop Festival starting lineup and schedule.

Lupulin Land 2006 is under way at Rich O’s Public House and Sportstime Pizza, and as promised, here’s the starting lineup, an updateed schedule, and the current status of keg orders.

On tap today (Friday, October 13):

Avery Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Harpoon IPA
Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
Houblon Chouffe
Poperings Hommel Bier
NABC Hoptimus
NABC Oaktimus
Rogue I2PA
Rogue JLS Integrity IPA (2006 Redux)
Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner
Rogue Juniper Pale Ale
Shmaltz Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.
St. Georgenbrau Keller Bier
Stone Ruination IPA
Two Brothers Heavy Handed

Our usual suspects (hoppy ales always on tap):

Alpha King
Arrogant Bastard
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
NABC Croupier IPA
NABC Elector
Pilsner Urquell
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Coming Monday, October 16:

Cask-conditioned Bluegrass Brewing Company (St. Matthews) Ultra/aka Homewrecker on the hand pull.

Coming Friday, October 20:

Randall the Enamel Animal returns with a beer to be named later.

Order and availability status:

Here and ready to pour when a tap opens: Jever Pilsener.

Any day now: Cask-conditioned BBC Beer Company (Main & Clay) American Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale.

Probably here by Friday, October 20: Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale and Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, with a second keg of Hercules coming instead of Great Divide Titan IPA, which has been delayed until a later shipment and will not appear during Lupulin Land 2006.

Coming in early November: Bell’s Hop Slam Imperial IPA.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Lupulin Land starting lineup won't be decided until Friday.

There are times when one’s best efforts fall short, and every year, I’m forced into tweaking draft festival lineups at the last moment when product doesn’t arrive on time (or, on occasion, not at all).

The main difficulty with Lupulin Land 2006 is with the projected allotment of Great Divide ales. There are several reasons for this, but they’re less important than the reality: We’ll begin the festival with none of them, and if we’re really lucky, have all three of them in stock by October 25.

But don’t count on it. The prognosis for Titan IPA is bad, Fresh Hop Pale Ale good, and Hercules Double IPA maybe.

Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale will be late, but not too much. Bell’s Hop Slam Imperial IPA won’t be shipped until the end of October.

In all these cases except Hop Slam, I had every reason to believe that delivery would be timely when first deciding to list them for Lupulin Land. Things happen.

Here are two late additions:

Harpoon IPA ... English accent was needed.

Two Brothers Heavy Handed ... from Chicagoland.

A final note: We hope to have Bluegrass Brewing Company (St. Matthews) Ultra/aka Homewrecker on the hand pull on Friday, October 13, but won’t unveil Randall until the following Friday, October 20.

As should be evident, all of it is subject to change.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

For a net gain of one tap.

On Monday we muscled our new Beverage Air keg box into place, and yesterday the installation was completed. Tech guru Danny Burns of Monarch Beverage Company got the ball rolling, and NABC’s Jared Williamson did the rest.

We’d held off replacing the old three-tap box until the end of September, since that’s the slowest time of year, but with hop fest time drawing near, the extra spouts were needed.

See: End of an era: Keg box swap.

On Tuesday, Jared mounted two double tap towers, bringing the total taps available in the Public House and the Pizzeria to 34, a net gain of 1 over the previous total. This doesn't include the periodic use of the cask cabinet.

When Lupulin Land 2006 begins on Friday, the breakdown will be as follows:

NABC beers (including 2 Lupulin Land listed): 6
Lupulin Land listed: 14
Everyday guests (including 3 Lupulin Land listed): 10
Rotating guests: 3
Sprecher Root Beer (non-alcoholic): 1
Cask-conditioned (Lupulin Land): 1

That’s a lot of hops.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

One week, two great beer events. Are we still in New Albany?

It will not have escaped the notice of regular readers that the coming week boasts two signature beer-related events in New Albany, one that directly pertains to the city’s annual Harvest Homecoming celebration, and one that was instituted five years ago as a sort of reaction to it.

When I first concluded that a draft “hop fest” on a harvest theme would be a good idea, it seemed natural to begin it on the same weekend of Harvest Homecoming’s “booth days,” when the streets downtown are filled with food vendors. For many years, several of us have referred to Harvest Homecoming as “poor white trash days,” and skirting the issue of whether this designation really is fair, it always struck me that a good-beer-related alternative to the seething mass of humanity gnawing on elephant ears and rolled oysters would be appropriate.

Consequently, this year’s Lupulin Land Harvest Hop festival at NABC’s public house and pizzeria was organized to begin, as always, on the Friday evening (October 13) that coincides with the second day of booths in downtown New Albany.

The variable that proved impossible to take into account was the advent and success of the Bistro New Albany, which will be embracing the notion of good beer somewhat near Harvest Homecoming and transferring it to the parking lot adjacent to the restaurant’s patio. The Bistro’s beer garden will run from the 12th through the 14th, offering food, entertainment and NABC beer (with other micros and imports courtesy of North Vernon Beverage Company).

If the Bistro New Albany project is a success, Lupulin Land 2007 might be moved forward a week so that it begins on the Friday preceding the Harvest Homecoming parade, or back a week to miss Harvest Homecoming entirely.

Either way, it’s pleasing for once to be in the position of having more than enough good beer during Harvest Homecoming rather than having terminal shortage. Is Philistinism in New Albany finally on the run? Will the Bud and Lite drinkers visit the Bistro’s beer garden? Will hops alone be enough to save us from the terrors of Velvet Elvis?

Stay tuned.

Press release: BNA, NABC, NV and good beer in downtown New Albany during HH.

UPDATED: Lupulin Land Harvest Hop Festival 2006 -- coming Friday, October 13.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Al Sur music and dance ensemble will perform at the Public House on Saturday, October 21.

Submitted by Amy Baylor, co-owner of NABC.


Hi Everyone! I'm very excited to announce a special musical evening on Saturday Oct. 21st with Al Sur at Prost!, the banquet room next to Rich O's.

"Al Sur is a music/dance ensemble specializing in the performance of original and traditional Spanish Flamenco art forms. Featuring some of the finest performers in the region, . . . al Sur presents high-octane dance, vocal, and instrumental numbers firmly rooted in the rich Andalusian gypsy tradition. Most numbers are original works composed by the ensemble and feature timbre colors ranging from expressive, exotic vocals and traditional dance footwork to frenetic guitar, throbbing percussion, and the plaintive tones of the bowed contrabass."

If you've never seen this show you are in for an experience! I was fortunate enough to catch them at the Jazz Factory a while back and I must admit that I was truly moved. You can read more about the group at their web site: http://www.alsurflamenco.com.

The doors will open at 6:45 p.m. and the show will begin at 8:00 p.m. The cost to get in is only $10, but seating is very limited, so I am suggesting that you come early. We will have a few tables open in the back "15-B room" for those interested in eating before the show. Beer will be available throughout the show.

If you have any questions please call me at 502-821-4475 or Reva Young at 812-989-6178. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The joys of Znojmo air conditioning.

I wouldn’t say that Pivovar Hostan’s lagers are the Czech Republic’s best, but they’re not at all bad, and the brewery’s location adjacent to the castle atop the biggest hill in the city of Znojmo is impressive.

We weren’t able to arrange a tour, but no matter. While walking along the path that skirts the hillside brewery and leads to the castle entrance, Kevin and I suddenly were immersed in a cool breeze that smelled like fermenting beer.

It was rushing from this cellar vent.

It was enough to make grown men thirsty, and a short time later we sat at the patio of a nearby hotel restaurant, enjoyed draft Staropramen (we’d already had Hostan the previous day), and basked in warm holiday sun.

 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Press release: BNA, NABC, NV and good beer in downtown New Albany during HH.

New Albany’s critically acclaimed Bistro New Albany is joining with the New Albanian Brewing Company and North Vernon Beverage Company to host a downtown New Albany beer garden to coincide with “booth days” at the city’s annual Harvest Homecoming festival.

The beer garden will be located on Bank Street adjacent to bNA’s outdoor patio, and opening hours will parallel those of the booths on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 12-14. The Bistro is located at the corner of Bank and Market Streets in downtown New Albany.

The New Albanian Brewing Company has brewed a special amber lager, which will be served exclusively at the Bistro’s beer garden. Other NABC microbrews (Croupier, Elector, Bob’s Old 15-B, Community Dark) will be served, as will a selection of craft and imported beers (Upland Wheat, Upland Oktoberfest, Sierra Nevada, Newcastle, Stella Artois), the latter courtesy of North Vernon Beverage Co.

A short menu of food will be served daily in the Bistro’s beer garden, and musical entertainment will be provided on Friday and Saturday evenings with performances by Sativa Gumbo, NABC brewer Jared Williamson’s popular local four-piece band.

The Bistro’s beer garden is neither affiliated with Harvest Homecoming, nor is a sponsor of any officially sanctioned event during Harvest Homecoming, which is by far New Albany’s largest annual civic celebration, drawing tens of thousands of natives and visitors to the city.

NABC is overjoyed to help the Bistro and North Vernon Beverage in providing good beer to festival attendees, and we look forward to this birth of a vibrant new October tradition in New Albany.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Another beercycling casualty is profiled.

The Florida State sweatshirt is no more. I left it at Camp Drusus outside Prague to lighten the load for the trip home, which turned out to be a futile endeavor following the purchase of a stylish Budweiser Budvar sweatshirt at U Medvidku, which will be the topic of a later essay.

The prominent stain on the front came on the very first full day of the trip, or more specifically, after the first full day. We'd already drained numerous half-liters of beer during Bamberg's Sandkerwa street festival, and stopped for a late night snack at a doner kebap window. My first bite of the loaded goodie sent special Turkish sauce cascading across my FSU relic (I'm not a fan - it was a gift), and the rest is ... a refusal to launder clothing I'd already decided to discard. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Follow-up: Wine and Beermakers Supply is open for business.

In July, I reported the sad news that Dave Streckfus, longtime owner of Wine and Beermakers Supply on Westport Road in Louisville, had died after a battle with cancer.

My friend Ann Steckfus provides this update:

Wanted to see if you'd mind doing a followup news bit about Dave Streckfus and the store he and his wife, Dina, owned. Dina told me that she'd seen on the Potable Curmudgeon that there was some speculation about the future of the store with Dave having passed away.

Dina is still operating the store and has no plans to close it or sell it.

Her daughter, Loreana Sutherlin, will be taking care of the website and handling the on-line sales, and Dina and her employees will continue handling the retail store operation.

Thanks to Ann for this piece of good news. If you're a homebrewer or winemaker, don't forget!

Monday, October 02, 2006

GABF medals to Jerry Gnagy and Jon Lang ...

... from Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville, Kentucky, and Barley Island Brewing Company in Noblesville, Indiana, respectively.

Here are the relevant Great American Beer Festival results:

***Category: 25 American-Style Amber Lager - 35 Entries

Gold: Steam Engine Lager, Steamworks Brewing Co., Durango/Bayfield, CO

Silver: Toasted Lager, Blue Point Brewing Co., Patchogue, NY

Bronze: Oktoberfist, Bluegrass Brewing Co., Louisville, KY

***Category: 6 Coffee Flavored Beer - 28 Entries

Gold: Fuel, Capitol City Brewing Co., Arlington, VA

Silver: Black Magic Java Stout, Barley Island Brewing Co., Noblesville, IN

Bronze: Arctic Rhino Coffee Porter, Midnight Sun Brewing Co., Anchorage, AK

For more winners, see the complete list here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The beer's better now, and I don't miss football ...

... so why does it occur to me today?

Certain weekend warriors among us are fond of saying, “football is life speeded up.”

Conversely, I’d describe the pursuit and enjoyment of good beer as, “life slowed down.”

And, I previous lives, many Sundays were slowed down while watching football – though not always with the beer I’d prefer to drink now, in my current incarnation.

Still, I remember when autumn Sundays seemed truly meant for rest and relaxation, before home ownership and time-consuming hobbies like cycling transformed those previously placid days into work days ust like all the rest.

Even if the beer I tolerated then doesn’t pass my lips today, it’s pleasing to recall those aimless Sundays with friends, lounging in front of the tube, watching the afternoon’s games, and eating bottomless pots of chili.

Old habits are supplanted by new traditions, and so be it. Both have their place, but nostalgia remains what it is: Greatest hits collections of memories, with all the duds and bad parts – Monday morning hangovers, insipid cans of Coors, and raging indigestion – conveniently filtered out.