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

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A reader question, and a generational "barley pop" perspective.

Reader Shea Van Hoy asked the following good question in a comment about Thanksgiving beer.

Merry Thanksgiving. Just having a thought and wondering what your take was. I thought I'd post here first, just to dip my foot in the blogosphere ... I'm enjoying a hoppy U.S. brew, Sierra Nevada, my standby favorite. But, I also enjoy a Coors Light sometimes. I know beer is part of your livelihood, but why the aversion to a refreshing, mass-produced barley pop from time to time. (I hate Budweiser by the way). I'm not saying you should drink it ... or serve it, but don't you understand that people who like good beer, such as your fruits, also enjoy visiting The Rockies from time to time? This isn't a dig, more so a reason for me to introduce myself to your blog(s), as I've wanted to for some time.

Shea, it’s not at all taken as a dig. Rather, it’s a welcome invitation for a bit of rumination.

For background, first travel all the way back to 1998, detouring to February, 2005, and a reprint of the world’s lengthiest business card (mine) entitled, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” It’s a long read, but vital to the conversation. I closed the article with this:

Of course, one tinkers with these fragile relationships at his own peril; once released, the genie might be reluctant to crawl meekly back into the bottle, and so it has been with me. It takes a certain hardness of heart to realize that your beliefs are beyond compromise, even if the result is a schism with the past. I’ve come a long way toward achieving my goal of being a better beer drinker than all the rest of them – not in terms of volume, but in terms of
understanding. If celebrating this accomplishment means sharing with them the detestable liquid that started us all down this path, and partaking of the liquid they still venerate, as though nothing has changed in twenty years of incessant, clamorous change, then I’ll have to regrettably
pass, and urge them to come to me on my terms … or not at all.

You see, the aversion to which you refer comes to me honestly, and on a personal level, it’s something that has become so deeply ingrained and packed with symbolic intent that I’m not sure it ever will change. Note also that I’ve no aversion to lighter styles of beer, like English Mild and tasty Kolsch from Cologne.

Put simply, I detest what big brewing companies have done to the essence of beer and brewing, and consequently, I have little interest in supporting the light, lighter and lightest beers they’ve devised as their chosen means of mass market destruction of diversity.

But, it may interest you and others to learn that I’m becoming increasingly convinced that attitudes toward “barley pop” are anchored in generational perspectives, and in citing these, I hasten to add that I’m being descriptive, not proscriptive.

The impetus for examining these generational perspectives stems from a piece I read not long ago about changing attitudes toward the use of popular music in advertising. When corporations first began to see the merits of grafting baby boomer rock and pop onto products, there was an outcry of indignation, most of it coming from people my age (46) or older. Remember the use of a Beatles song to sell basketball shoes in the 1980’s, and the cries of protest?

Nowadays, using as a prime recent example U2’s pervasive marketing campaign for “Vertigo,” a large cross-section of the demographic accepts and fully expects this tagged and targeted approach. For them, it’s just another day in the land of milk, honey and unlimited personal choice, whereas for the previously outraged baby boomers, using the music of their earlier lives to sell trinkets was akin to borrowing the contents of one’s soul without permission.

Coming of age as the boomers did in a staid and non-diversified post-war America, pop and rock music became a manifestation of cultural identity, and consequently a matter of fierce principle, and these sounds were held close to the hearts of many people for reasons that transcend the tunes themselves.

In like fashion, coming of drinking age in the early 1980’s meant experiencing an impossibly narrow range of choices in the realm of beer – something that today’s 21- to 35-year-old has never witnessed, and he or she is to be forgiven for regarding the current bountiful selection offered in most geographical areas of any size as something to be taken for granted.

Accordingly, there’s an entirely different and generally younger demographic buying and consuming beers, and making these purchasing choices, ones based on a completely different socialization process, and spending a little or a lot as deemed necessary with no need to exalt the beers that symbolize freedom of choice to someone like me, or to demonize the symbols of oppression … like the “barley pop” of which you speak. Pabst tonight at the dive bar, Chimay tomorrow with a four-star meal, and without any discernable militant element of being what one drinks.

There always have been those who said, and justly, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a “barley pop,” and that people like me are snobs (and even worse – can you believe what people say?).

Obviously I decided long ago that however much truth there is to this position given the unimpeachable fact that a vast majority of Americans prefer “barley pop” over my proposed alternative, that I’d nonetheless not concede a single inch, and would always be prepared to discuss and debate the topic with the ultimate aim always being to encourage critical thinking about beer … and by extension, critical thinking about life itself.

Just as I’ve attempted to do here, today, in response to your excellent question.

As noted here previously, there are times when milder and lighter beers appeal to me. Lately I find myself oddly nostalgic about lazy, aimless Sunday afternoons watching NFL games and draining cases of Coors Extra Gold or Schaefer with my pals. Indeed, there were many good times in the past that revolved around beers I wouldn’t drink with my worse enemy’s lips today.

However, I can’t go back to it, neither in the sense of the beer, nor to that state of consciousness. They’ve passed, and something else that has passed of late is the intensity of my annoyance that mass-produced banality rules the world. Perhaps it always did. It’s far more important for me to make the best out of my little corner of the cosmos than to care who drinks what, but spend a little time with me, and you’ll be a convert for life.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NABC Naughty Claus to debut at Saturnalia MMXI.

NABC’s brewhouse duo, Jesse Williams and Jared Williamson have submitted recipe notes for their newest creation: Naughty Claus Winter Warmer, which will debut at Saturnalia MMVI on Friday, December 15.

Art work has yet to be received from Tony Beard, artist-in-residence, but we’re sure to have it soon.

Naughty Claus Winter Warmer
OG: 1079
ABV: Circa 7.5%
Malts: English 2-row, biscuit, Vienna, chocolate
Other fermentables: Black molasses, dark brown sugar
Hops: Saaz (very small amount)
Spices: Sweet orange peel, cinnamon sticks
Yeast: House English ale yeast

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

REWIND: Beer to go with your Thanksgiving meal.

Originally published on November 24, 2005.

At noon today, my wife, my mother, two aunts, one uncle, a cousin and the Curmudgeon gathered for a holiday buffet meal of turkey and the familiar fixings, served within the venerable confines of Tommy Lancaster’s Restaurant, a downtown New Albany institution that might have been considered a trendsetter during the Kennedy administration and hasn’t done much to alter this time-tested winning formula ever since.

But that’s all well and good, and not to be construed as criticism. Tommy’s does what it does, just like downtown New Albany’s other hoary survivor, the South Side Inn, and if Betty Crockery-style Imperial American 1950’s Era grub is what you seek, these are two prime practitioners of it will serve it up to you at a reasonable price, with paneled ambience to match.

During my second (and final) trip through the chow line, I noticed an elderly gentleman nursing a Miller Lite.

At first suppressing a shudder, it then occurred to me that matching bland beer to bland food seems perfectly reasonable in the context of sensory deprivation … but how would the true beer enthusiast – as opposed to America’s sadly ubiquitous Swillocrats – reckon the suitability of beer choices to accompany the ideal Thanksgiving feast?

When it comes to choosing wine for the Thanksgiving table, Bob Johnson writes:

Some - including my Wine Lines colleague, Glen Frederiksen - will tell you that a rich, buttery Chardonnay is the best white wine because it mirrors the rich flavors found in such holiday fare as mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and, of course, turkey.

Others will proffer that the only red wine to choose is Pinot Noir, because its cherry, cranberry and spice notes so nicely complement the myriad side dishes found on the Turkey Day table.

And still others believe in the "anything goes" philosophy, basically inferring that because there are so many disparate flavors on the holiday table, it would be impossible for a single wine to provide total pairing pleasure.

The truth is that virtually all of the arguments have merit, and there is no single answer that trumps all others.

Beer, not wine?

I favor the full-flavored approach, one that resembles the Pinot Noir strategy of the wine lover. There are obvious Belgian parallels with the “cherry, cranberry and spice notes,” as is the case with McChouffe, Chimay Premiere (red) and Gouden Carolus Noel, to name just three.

From the German perspective, a fat mug of Doppelbock would hit the mark, especially if such a normally clean beer could be juiced with fruitiness – but wait, such a heavenly beer really does exist: Aventinus Wheat Doppelbock.

The hoppy American microbrews I love on an everyday basis just don’t strike me as good matches for the traditional dishes served at our stereotypical Beaver Cleaver Thanksgiving, but I’m betting that a Belgian-style Saison (Dupont, Glazen Toren, Hennepin) would be very compatible, with lightly hoppy dryness and peppery hints for accent.

For dessert? Perhaps an oversized Imperial Stout, designed to take the place of coffee, cream and pie (but not the after dinner cigar). At this moment in time, I’m enamored of Great Divide’s Oak-Aged Yeti and its creamy, vanilla-laced complexity.

Come to think of it, gotta run … there’s one in the fridge with the Curmudgeon’s name on it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bad news about our Oaked Arrogant Bastard keg.

I received word today that our annual keg of silky and delicious Oaked Arrogant Bastard did not make the latest Stone Brewing shipment to Cavalier Distributing, Inc.

But ... there were two Double Bastards aboard the truck.

Well, I guess I'll take them both.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A "Great Gulp" time machine: 31, going on 100 years ago.

Leave it the the “Dean of American Rock Critics” to declare U2's masterful “Achtung Baby” a bomb, and award an A Minus to a beer called Walter's from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Context is useful in this instance. U2's album was released in 1991, and Walter's Beer perished about the same time, but Christgau's foray into beer writing took place even further back, in 1975.

The Great Gulp: A Consumer Guide's to Beer, by Robert Christgau and Carola Dibbell.

Eighty percent of the beer in this country is consumed by 20 percent of the drinkers. That's why the most effective beer slogan ever conceived claims that its product is the best beer to have when you're having more than one. Oui's consumer guide to beer, presented herewith, has been devised for the 80 percent of American beer drinkers who care about that first one.

Kudos to Todd (Keg Liquors) Antz, who brought this amazing archival selection to my attention yesterday. After perusing it, I replied that Christgau's listing brought back many memories – most of them bad. There's no better summary of the cultural milieu of the 1970's, when the post-war imperial era had concluded, and the marketing- and technology driven contemporary era hadn't quite arrived.

As a time capsule transporting the reader back to a far-off time when “Schlitz and Anheuser-Busch have been taking turns at first place in national sales for years,” the guide is incomparable, as is the Falstaff Brewing Corporation fan site, source of the Walter's link.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Eileen Martin's birthday party will be at the BBC Tap Room on Saturday night.

I've learned that Eileen Martin will be in town on Saturday (November 18) to celebrate a very special birthday. Friends of Eileen's and fans of her work while brewing at Browning's (and before that, the Silo) are advised that she'll be observing the auspicious occasion at the BBC Tap Room (corner of Main and Clay in downtown Louisville) starting at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow. You are invited to come help with the merriment, and since I've no intention of telling you which birthday it is, attendance just might be the only way to find out.

If you didn't already know, Eileen's current employer is Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington, Indiana. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Be skeptical of tradition.

Here's a sketch I wrote as a preview of sorts for a possible general interest beer writing gig. For me, 300-400 words is awfully succinct.


Skepticism is the best response to any suggestion of “tradition” offered to you as recommendation for a beer.

While it may be the case that tradition plays some part in the beer being touted, more often than not it has been “new and improved” so many times that original methods and intents have been lost, or at the very least extensively modified.

Furthermore, brewing tradition is far from monolithic. Exactly which tradition is being referenced? Is it Bavarian lager brewing, or English-style cask ale? The legacy of austere Trappist monks in Belgium, or the experience of a college dropout using converted dairy equipment in rural Oregon? Grandma’s sorghum beer recipe in South Africa, or an ancient Chinese homebrew?

You’ll often hear people say, “that’s good beer.” Most of the time, they’ll say this just as frequently as the beer they’re drinking at the time tastes precisely like the beer they’re accustomed to drinking all the time.

Drinkers of Miller Lite and Budweiser are seldom heard to say, “that’s good beer” when sipping Doppelbock or India Pale Ale, and yet examples of these may be quite good – for the intended style, of which there are dozens of others, each with a profile. It’s the apples and oranges analogy, writ large.

Whenever I think about James Joyce and his descriptions of drinking stout in early 20th-century Dublin, I can’t square it with Guinness as I’ve known it my entire adult life, even if Guinness has been very, very good to me.

That’s because stout in the writer’s day wasn’t served by the familiar nitrogen system that came into being only later, after the war, and was designed to mimic the characteristics of cask-conditioned (naturally carbonated) ale while offering predictability (and greater profit) to the presiding publican.

It’s very likely that the stout being served at a Grafton Street public house in 1900 had a slightly sour or even funky edge to it, and lest you jump to the conclusion that this is a bad quality, consider that it aptly complements the sharp contour of heavily roasted, unmalted barley – a prime source of classic Irish stout’s dry palate. It also would have added fetching additional flavor components, and might have made dry stout an even better match for oysters than it is today.

Of course, a shot or six of “the grain” and all notions of tradition become academic, just as they did for the regulars staggering back across the Liffey a century or more ago.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sometimes the show can't -- and shouldn't -- go on.

(3:30 pm bulletin)

NABC, Rich O's & Sportstime will not be open today or tonight.

With our former employee Andrew's funeral (see below) concluded, it's obvious that no one is in any shape to work, and so we're going to close for the entire day. It will be business as usual on Thursday.

On behalf of the entire crew, we're sorry for any inconvenience, but it's simply been too emotional of a day.

NABC mourns the loss of Andrew Johnson, an employee and friend.

Over the weekend we learned that Andrew Johnson had died of injuries suffered in a tragic house fire near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was a well liked and skilled former NABC kitchen employee who left our staff only a short time ago to move south and further his education at Middle Tennessee State University.

Speaking personally, Andrew was a good kid, a good worker, and his friends at the extended NABC family will miss him. 25? It’s simply too damned young to be taken away.

Note that NABC (pub & pizzeria) will be closed Wednesday until 6:00 p.m. so that Andrew’s friends and co-workers can attend the funeral service. Thanks for understanding.


Funeral Services for Andrew Christopher Johnson, 25, of Otisco, IN will be held on Wednesday November 15th, 2006 at 2:00 PM at the Grayson Funeral Home in Charlestown. Visitation will be on Tuesday from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM and after 9:00 AM on Wednesday. Mr. Johnson passed away Friday November 10, 2006 in Chattanooga, TN. He is survived by his fiancée Joy Vest, his father David Johnson, mother Patreesa Timbs, brother Nathan Luker, sisters Elizabeth Brents, Angelica Brents, and Diana Rodriguez, and his grandmothers Lorene Johnson and Mary Timbs.

(Cross-posted at NA Confidential)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Attention MSNBC: I got your top ten cities for beer lovers.

Just as I wouldn’t look to Gilbert & Sullivan to provide a list of the best auto mechanics, or to Simon & Garfunkel for tips on Icelandic whale blubber processing, it would seem self-evidently senseless to trust Sherman Brothers Travel & MSNBC for a list of “Top Ten Cities for Beer Lovers,” and yet they’ve graciously made the call, so now I have the pleasure of picking their list apart.

Ouch. Some make sense, while others suggest the presence of hallucinogenic compounds not normally present in beer. Here they are, in alphabetical order.

Burlington VT
Mexico City
Portland OR

Bob Ostrander correctly noted the most obvious clunker while reprinting this list at Indiana Beer, asking, “Mexico City?”

Yes, says the anonymous compilers, because the presence of “fun taverns, mariachi clubs, and bars … where you can taste your share of local beers” thrusts the Mexican capital into the upper echelon, although any “beer lover” worth his or her malt knows that bells and whistles take on a diminished sheen when all those local beers taste exactly alike.

Obviously someone was taking a stab at counter-intuitive witticism during the course of breezing past more relevant Bavarian locales to exalt the options in Berlin: “Is there any place on earth better to sip Berliner Weise (beer with woodruff or raspberry juice) than in its city of origin?” The answer, or course, is no, there isn’t, especially when one understands that Berliner Weisse (with not one, but two letters “s” in the spelling) is seldom seen anywhere else except Berlin.

With 70,000 people, Bamberg’s ten breweries and dozens of available regional craft beers easily surpasses anything of a purely fermentable nature that Berlin has to offer, and the cost structure in Franconia is far more favorable. To be sure, you won’t find Berliner Weisse in Bamberg, but there are plenty of Hefe Weizen ales to sample – and one of them (Schlenkerla) is smoked.

I’ll second Amsterdam, Brugge, Dublin, Portland and Prague, but with caveats: Many “beer lovers” would prefer the mellow café ambience of a smaller city like Haarlem to the claustrophobic bustle of Amsterdam, and enthusiasts might well opt for Guinness as poured in any rural Irish pub to the pint drawn in Dublin, although certainly the literary connotations beheld in the latter are high-ranking when it comes to extraneous considerations.

Based on what I’ve heard and read of late, Copenhagen (a strong contender for its lagers and civility even before its recent beer and brewing Renaissance) probably deserves a nod over just about any city in Japan, and perhaps any city in Asia. Also, having just returned from Vienna, there’s a strong case to be made for the Austrian capital’s options for “beer lovers” based on its multiple brewpubs alone.

It is indeed strange that no cities in the UK are mentioned in the article. London emphatically is not the best place for traditional English ale, although food, drink and culture from the entire planet are readily available for the plucking. Cambridge, home of the St. Radegund pub and a fine place for a crawl, probably would be my choice, but I’ve not traveled extensively in England, Scotland and Wales. Manchester struck me favorably with regard to big cities and beer, but the best time was had in the Yorkshire countryside.

In America, I’ll readily concede (without having been there) that Burlington may well be a good choice, although Denver merits a look, with at least eight breweries downtown in addition to the unparalleled Falling Rock tap house.

If in the end my choices seem rooted in Europe and America, that’s because the best beer in the world generally comes from Europe and America, with honorable but isolated exceptions gladly made for emerging beer and brewing cultures in Japan, Italy and perhaps even certain corners of South America. These are steadily gaining ground, and yet to me, the classics still hold sway.

Sapporo for canned lager from a vending machine, or Dusseldorf for fresh Altbier? Montreal for a handful of admittedly fine brewpubs, or Brussels (and environs) for authentic lambic?

Mexico City for the same insipid lager beers that New Albany’s La Rosita Grill vends less than four blocks from my front door, or traditionally brewed draft Eggenberg lagers in the Old World splendor of Cesky Krumlov?

If it’s all about the beer, then the list narrows considerably. If it’s about cold and alcoholic liquid combined with unique culinary and cultural offerings, then the “best place” might be almost anywhere: A bottle of Singha in Bangkok, Namibian lager after a big game hunt, or even Pabst in whichever dive bar has the best barbecue somewhere in Alabama.

Why does Internet fluff inspire my contrarian instincts?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Coming in August, 2007: Sandkerwa NA. Here's the scoop.

This past August, our biking group began its Central European program of roadwork with three “training” days in Bamberg, a city that most of you know remains my favorite in all of Europe, and is the thriving epicenter of the remarkably prolific craft brewing region of Franconia. We enjoyed fortunate timing, as the city’s annual Sandkerwa was winding down.

It was raining on Monday when Kevin and I arrived, so we huddled beneath the archways and savored copious portions of Schlenkerla.

The weekend festival, which dates back at least half a century and originated as a modest neighborhood parlor fete, now takes place throughout the venerable, narrow streets and flower-festooned petite squares in the UNESCO-listed old town, just below the stunning hilltop cathedral and ecclesiastical area and near the famous island-built town hall that splits the Regnitz.

It was my first time to Sandkerwa, and as with the city itself, there can be no doubt that many return visits will be made. It should be sufficient recommendation to note that during the 360 days a year when Sandkerwa is not running, Bamberg is the finest city in the country for sampling traditional Bavarian beer and cuisine, with moderate prices, inimitable quality, and marvelous people who will return your interest in their home with unparalleled hospitality.

To place a yearly street festival in the midst of everyday excellence, with streetside booths vending aromatic and succulent foodstuffs and bountiful offerings of flavorful local beer styles is just lacing on the glass … and, as a bonus, drinking from a glass is exactly what you’ll do at Sandkerwa. No plastic cups are to be seen. Rather, a deposit equal to the price of the glass is made, and it comes back to you when you’re finished drinking.

And so, finally, to the point of this digression.

For quite some time, I’ve been looking for an excuse to devote a Public House festival to a huge lineup of draft beer from Germany, but although Oktoberfest is a worthy concept, it’s been done to death. After all, I’ve always advised travelers to spend as little time at Munich’s internationally famous version of Oktoberfest before taking the three-hour train ride to Bamberg and finding a much more user-friendly experience, as well as simply better beer.

As such, then why not a new tradition here: Sandkerwa NA.

Ours will begin in late August, when Bamberg’s does, and it will feature those of the city’s beers available to us here in the States: Schlenkerla, Spezial and Mahr’s among them. There’ll be other Bavarian beers representative of those available in Bamberg, i.e., wheat ales from Schneider and St. Georgenbrau Keller Bier from nearby Buttenheim.

Maybe … just maybe … we can use the Prost room to offer a sampling of Bavarian-style cuisine, although I’m here to tell you that no American alive today prepares sauerkraut the way its cooked in Franconia, and it may be difficult to do Schweinehaxe right.

No matter. Look for Sandkerwa NA in late August, 2007. While it won’t be a substitute for the real thing, it sounds like fun.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

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

(Tuesday, November 15 update: The verified total has climbed close to 600, probably in the 570 range, and yesterday I began the truly messy task of hitting those musty old banker's boxes in search of ancient documents - RAB)

Last night, BARD was started. I've been wanting to undertake the project for quite some time, and finally the bug bit. Here's a brief description:

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.

How many different beers have been on tap at my establishment since we began? This has been the subject of much bar debate, and although I won't pretend that the final tally will be 100% accurate, I've determined to get as close as possible.

So, last night I began going over records from 2001 to 2005, supplemented by some other remembrances and a fairly exhaustive list of NABC (35) and Rogue (45) beers ... and the current tally is 424.

I don't think it will reach 1,000, but somewhere in the 600's is possible.

More later. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jealousy rages as Big Kim conquers Bamberg - again.

Many of you know Kim Andersen, my globetrotting pal of long standing, who has been thriving on the ground floor of the recent Danish craft beer explosion and never misses a chance to do, ahem, field research in other parts of Europe.

A week ago I began receiving hourly text messages attesting to Kim's progress as he returned to my adored Bamberg to monitor the quality of the city's numerous local beers and attend a bock beer unveiling at the hilltop Spezial Keller (i.e., beer garden).

The photos have begun trickling back. That's Kim, surrounded by nubile beer aficionados. Next is an aerial view of the festivities at the Spezial Keller. Finally, Kim and his fellow travelers (left) enjoy the bounties of the historic Schlenkerla tavern in the company of owner Matthias Trum (with his girlfriend, whom I've not met).

That's right. Those are smoked lager beers on the table. Aaarrgh.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Revenge of the Highlanders.

Congratulations to Cumberland Brews, winner of the "Best Beer List" category in this year's Readers Choice award in LEO. Flanagan's Alehouse finished second, and Baxter Station third.

Readers looking to experience Louisville's best beer list should look here:

Sorry -- there wasn't room for the 200+ bottles.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

(S)election results show: Elector wins again.

Thanks to all of our patrons for last evening's early rush at the Public House. The 50 Elector-filled logo glasses were claimed by 6:45 p.m., and the excitement carried through a highly political evening.

Go ahead, say it: Nice touch on the patriotic front-door makeover.

In summary, much progressive discussion and many Progressive Pints. My kind of night ...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

REWIND: Another NA (non-alcoholic) election day.

Don’t forget: You must have an ID to vote – and to get served.

Don't forget: If you're looking for a polling place, call the Floyd County Democratic Party at 812-207-7941.

Don't forget: When the taps open at 6:00 p.m., NABC's having a special promotion. Buy a signature NABC logo glass of Elector at the regular price, and keep the glass (first 50 customers).

You've forgotten, but the following first ran on May 2, 2006.


Another election day is here, and with it eleven hours of state-mandated prohibition against the sale of demon rum.

Presumably, this unwelcome vestige of an otherwise discredited social policy serves as a bulwark against the horrific possibility that unscrupulous politicos or their conniving agents might swap half-pints of Kessler (or a similarly valued slopping spree at Hugh E. Bir’s) in exchange for a poor wretch’s vote.

As there exists no commensurate prohibition against the sale of strong black coffee, chocolate-covered Krispy Kremes and hickory-smoked bacon, apparently the veiled but very real threat of breakfast-induced bribery is not worthy of the same scrutiny as that posed by the insidious grape and the grain.

If you’re hopelessly intoxicated after ingesting that half-pint of Kessler, are you really any more destructive to democracy than the perfectly sober voter who is following instructions provided by a fundamentalist preacher who has promised not temporal inebriation, but a favorable reference when the time comes to take up residence in heaven?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Groundbreaking beer, and a new day dawning in downtown NA.

I’d be guilty of understatement if I were to begin this entry by writing that today was an important day for the city of New Albany.

Of course, it was. While the exact degree of importance will take a few years to measure, there can be no denying that today was a banner day for my city.

Our downtown area has been moribund for decades, but during the past two years, there has been steady and discernable stirring, snooping and scheming. The advent of Bistro New Albany last spring has been celebrated often in this space, but it is just one of the positive developments that are operating or planned soon.

Gradually, people are coming to realize that the city’s old central business district stands an excellent chance of revival by applying just a few of the principles that have worked in other urban areas all around the country, which might be explained as adapting old urban patterns to fit the needs of a new breed of American that appreciates them.

Because new ideas take a while to penetrate to the heartland, it’s taken some time to sell them locally, and to be honest, doing so has provoked some resistance. One such idea that has enjoyed widespread support in the community, but that has proved unduly challenging for some of our less luminous political lights, is the urban renewal project commonly referred to as Scribner Place.

Phase One of Scribner Place calls for the construction of a YMCA and aquatic center, and when the opening segment is off the ground in 2008, there may be a second phase constructed on adjacent land that is timed to take advantage of the downtown growth and consolidation brought about by the success of the first.

A novel public-private partnership has been the impetus for the Scribner Place project. Ground was officially broken earlier today, and in a country increasingly torn by political divisions, it’s a relief to note that the plan’s slow march toward fruition has not been marred by political partisanship in the conventional blue-red sense. Rather, it has been marked by a palpable division between those, irrespective of party affiliation, that can see a wider world and understand what will be required for the city to compete in it, and those who simply cannot.

Somehow all this reminds me of our many years in the mass-market beer wilderness, patiently and painstakingly trying to convince beer drinking consumers that to “drink less, drink better” makes perfectly good sense, that all beer is not yellow and light, and that thinking while drinking is not a contradiction in terms.

After the groundbreaking ceremony today, there was a culinary “taste of NA” reception at the Grand Convention Center, the former theater adjacent to Bistro New Albany. I “sold” a keg (let’s just say at a reduced rate) of Homecoming Common to the Grand, renamed it Progressive Pale for the occasion, and watched with satisfaction as it was enjoyed by several of those in attendance.

Hey, it was lunchtime … and not everyone can justify a liquid lunch quite the same way as I can.

It may not seem like much of note to readers residing in more diverse beery climes, yet I was delighted with my plastic cup of hoppy, amber beer, consumed in a part of town that used to symbolize the city’s success, but for too many years had become the butt of jokes about its failure.

As Scribner Place takes shape, the downtown revival that so far has boasted more dreamy hope than tangible progress surely will finally begin to blossom, and for reasons of commerce, not art: There simply are too many undervalued properties suitable for profitable development according to the New Urbanist playbook, and as this occurs, there will be more eateries, shops and clubs. Then the artistic imperative will be served, as will at least some of our NABC beer. It’s going to be fun serving, growing and drinking with these as yet non-established establishments.

If you don’t believe good beer can be an integral part of a previously ailing downtown district’s revival and subsequent economic well being, jet immediately to Denver, Colorado and stroll through its LoDo (Lower Downtown). Visit the seminal Wynkoop Brewing Company, the brewpub that almost single-handedly spurred the redevelopment that now has spread far beyond it.

And believe in what good beer can do.

No, I’m not running for office. It’s just been that good of a day.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Porter, Lewis & Clark, and powerful thirsts.

The New Albanian Brewing Company had a minor role in the weekend’s Lewis & Clark festivities in Clarksville.

A lesson on Lewis & Clark; Clarksville park dedication is tomorrow, by Ben Zion Hershberg (The Courier-Journal):

The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the return of Lewis and Clark after their groundbreaking exploration of the West began yesterday as more than 300 students visited the Clarksville riverfront where it all began.

I was contacted some time back by Jim Keith and asked to supply roughly a keg’s worth of beer for today’s “brew and barbecue” gathering of living history participants.

We kegged five gallons of Bob’s Old 15-B Porter in a used wooden pin from the JW Lees brewery. You may have helped to drain the Port- or Calvados-infused Vintage Harvest Ale that originally came in it during a Gravity Head fest at Rich O’s. We had deemed the Porter to be the most authentic period ale, as the era of Lewis & Clark obviously predated the arrival of German immigrants and their lager brewing techniques.

Of course, the best choice of all would have been Old Lightning Rod, the Benjamin Franklin tercentenary ale brewed by NABC and released last January, but none remained, and the 2007 release has yet to be brewed. In addition to the pin, I delivered a quarter-barrel of Porter with conventional hand pump, reasoning that the wooden barrel would be the best choice for photo ops and the stainless steel keg could be hidden behind a keg of straw.

Unfortunately, our wooden taps were all leaky, so I had to use plastic. It’s the thought that counts. It’s always entertaining to ram the tap home with a rubber mallet, especially for people who’ve not seen it done.

After I left the waterfront, there was a phone call from an event organizer. It had been decided to expand the availability of beer to more than the imagined inner circle, so could we come up with two more kegs? Porter probably wouldn’t be possible, I replied, but it soon became evident that choice was less important than the looming necessity of having a beer for 250 more people than originally planned.

It wasn’t a problem. I returned to the brewery and scrounged a keg each of Homecoming Common and St. Radegund, met the vehicle sent to make the pickup, and dispatched the barrels toward the festivities.

With luck, there was enough for the thirsty explorers.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Attention homebrewers: For a limited time, you too can brew with Rogue’s Pacman yeast.

Regular readers know that I’m fond of Rogue Ales, and made an excellent pilgrimage to the brewery in Newport, Oregon in April along with my pal Graham.

A handful of beers were consumed … each hour.

While perusing the brewery’s website, I saw this notice. It’s somewhat old news, but still good news for local homebrewers.

Rogue's Pacman Ale Yeast (TM) Is Available to Homebrewers until December 31, 2006!

John Maier, Brewmaster at Rogue Ales has generously agreed to release his proprietary Pacman Ale Yeast (TM) to the homebrewing community. This special Pacman release distributed by Wyeast, is packaged for 5-gallon batches and available from select homebrew retailers, but only until December 31, 2006!

"Pacman is really great yeast; everything about it is good. Pacman attenuates well, is alcohol tolerant, and it produces beers with no diacetyl if the beer is well made. It's very flocculent, which makes it a great choice for bottle conditioning. I ferment almost all my beers at 60 deg. F; once in a while for certain styles I'll ferment as high as 70 deg. F, but never higher. Use lots of oxygen, and a high pitch rate. I never repitch past the 6th generation, and I always use Wyeast Yeast Nutrient."- John Maier, Brewmaster, Rogue Ales.

I'll always remember Jim Cline pointing to the temperature gauges and noting that John Maier is prone to experimenting a bit at the lower end of the 60 degree range.

I see Rogue Pacman Yeast listed in the inventory at Great Fermentations in Indianapolis, but not at Wine & Beermakers Supply in Louisville.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Flashback: Letting the pints speak ... in 1994.

Have 12 years passed since Karl set the all-time single session Guinness pint consumption record at Rich O's Public House?

Was it real, or a dream?

Does he really want me putting this on the Internet?

I guess we'll see. Of course, he wasn't driving on that far-off day/night, and to be truthful, we really don't condone this sort of activity ... but it seemed like fun at the time.

It probably accounted for a monthly mortgage payment, come to think of it. Posted by Picasa