Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rich O’s Public House CLOSED, Sportstime Pizza OPEN on Derby Day, Saturday, May 3.

Repeating the drill from Thunder Over Louisville ... no, I’m not a fan of Louisville’s foremost annual celebration of horse flesh, gambling, and the atrocious butchering of decent bourbon otherwise known as the mint julep, a cocktail which is consumed only now, and mostly by people who don't know any better.

However, I know that the majority of my friends and acquaintances enjoy the pomp and circumstance of Kentucky Derby, so be it. We’ve long since learned that there’s no sense in staffing both dining areas at NABC/Rich O’s/Sportstime on Derby Day, and we’ll not be doing so again this year. Rich O’s will be closed all day, but Sportstime will be open. No Red Room for you. Blame it on the occasion, whhich is aptly ridiculed here:

From the web: "The Kentucky Derby Really Is Decadent and Depraved."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Update: Upgrading the “everyday” guest imported draft selection at the Public House.

I first wrote of this in February., and many readers and customers have asked for an update, so here it is.

We're still working on the previously announced draft changes at the Public House. Specifically, the “everyday” guest imported draft selection will be upgraded by adding a few spouts to the front keg box behind the bar, but progress has been impeded by two unexpected occurrences: The delayed arrival of the special Delirium Tremens tower, and the abrupt withdrawal of Rodenbach from America.

Also, there has been another unexpected occurrence that’s more favorable to all concerned: The unanticipated possibility to obtain St. Bernardus ABT 12.


The custom tower, to be obtained from the importers of Delirium Tremens, has been the first hang-up; in short, it still awaits shipment to the United States, and we can do nothing until it arrives and is delivered by the beer rep. The Delirium Tremens tap will be a "family" tap in the sense of also pouring Nocturnum on occasion and Noel in season. In the interim, I'll be trying my best to keep Delirium Tremens pouring in the customary fashion.

The Rodenbach situation is more mystifying. It has been withdrawn from US distribution, and while definitive word is absent, rumor has it that there will be a reintroduction perhaps a year from now. It was a prime goal of mine to have a Belgian sour red as the centerpiece of the enhanced draft selection, and the current coping mechanism involves serving Monk’s Café Flemish Sour as the default pour, while stockpiling as much kegged Rodenbach as possible so that once a month, either the Classic or the Grand Cru will be on tap. Note that owing to the considerable expense of storing all these kegs (a year’s worth in stock), the periodic Rodenbach will be a bit pricier than anticipated. Look for the next installment some time during the week after Derby.

The other additions will be personal favorites from Belgium and Germany (see below), and the impetus is two-fold. Our major priority for the foreseeable future is implementing Operation Progressive Pint and creating another (production) brewery and taproom in downtown New Albany. Nothing will change at the current location, but I’d like to see the pub and pizzeria operating at peak efficiency, which to me means further enhancing the guest draft selection, both imported and craft-brewed, and positioning our house-brewed beers to contrast and complement these.

Here's the anticipated lineup, and don't forget that it might yet be possible to squeeze another tap into the mix.

Delirium Tremens (family)
Monk’s Café Flemish Sour/Rodenbach Classic/Rodenbach Grand Cru
Saison Dupont (family; rotation among sister Dupont brands)
Chimay Tripel
St. Bernardus ABT 12
Schlenkerla Marzen
Aventinus Weizen Doppelbock

Friday, April 25, 2008

Obama Block Party at the Public House TOMORROW.


1:20 p.m. update:

I have a few more details about the Obama Block Party for Change on Saturday at the Public House. It will run from Noon to 5:00 p.m., and there'll be free pizza and soft drinks, with the bar available for those preferring the random Progressive Pint. The organizers, who are arranging live music and a raffle, would like for you to RSVP Meghan at 317-503-9772 if you're planning on attending. Keep in mind that from the standpoint of the Obama campaign, they'd like to meet people who wouldn't mind donating a bit of time to the cause; early voting takes place tomorrow at the clerk's office, and there's canvassing to be done. This is going to be a fun afternoon, so plan on stopping by.

The earlier posting:

Okay, so it isn;t about beer ... except there'll be beer there -- and progressive pints, no less ...

After dropping into Obama HQ for further information, I'll be back a bit later to update this announcement, but for now know that we'll be throwing an Obama Block Party on Saturday, April 26 in the Prost room at Rich O's Public House (3312 Plaza Drive). Starting time is circa 12:00 noon.

Below is the default text of the statewide e-mail. Check back later for details.

Dear Friend,

I wanted to let you know about the Block Parties we're organizing in communities across Indiana this Saturday.

Indiana's primary is less than two weeks away, and supporters are coming together in their neighborhoods to share their enthusiasm for Barack.

Check out the Block Party map and find the one near you

These potluck Block Parties are a great way to get to know fellow supporters in your area and relax with some food, music, and fun.

Everyone will be welcome at the parties, where we'll take a little time to connect with each other and chat about why we're supporting this movement and what we can do to Get Out The Vote in Indiana.

And if you're registered to vote, we'll have information to help you find your polling place. Early Vote locations will be open on Saturday, so we'll have details about that, too.

If you want, bring your family, a friend, or your favorite dish -- and RSVP now for a Block Party.

See you on Saturday!

Mitchell Kent
Indiana GOTV Director
Obama for America

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Randall on steroids?

Here are views of Otto's "Randall on steroids," as equipped and pumping during Schlafly's recent end-of-Prohibition bash at the Bottleworks in St. Louis. Note that the IPA in the fermenter was already being dry hopped before passing through a second helping of the magic cone.






Susan Haberer and the brewing technician himself. Bravo!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A few St. Louis/Schlafly views from April 11-13.

Jared and Jesse visit with the inimitable Stephen Hale.


The Publican has a beer with Susan Haberer, who works hard at keeping Dan Kopman in line.


The local crazies gather in 35-degree weather to celebrate the anniversary of Prohibition's demise.


Jared and John discuss progress at the merchandise table.


Tom Schlafly (center) wore a vintage St. Louis Brown cap to the proceedings, and I admire that.


Some people partied a bit too hardy, but a fleet of taxis was nearby.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

That weekend seminar at Schlafly.

Oddly, the thing I'll remember most about our recent (April 11-13) visit to St. Louis was whitecaps on corn and soybean fields.

In short, I'd completely forgotten how many lakes there are just across the Indiana border in Illinois … except that they aren't lakes at all. They're temporarily flooded fields. Driving straight into the weather, with the wind blowing hard to the east, waves of surfer dimension could be seen rippling beneath the grain silos.

Speaking of grain, the occasion for the trip was the Schlafly craft brewery's annual "Repeal of Prohibition" party, held outside in the parking lot of the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood, a St. Louis neighborhood. In biting 35-degree weather, 1,200 people showed up to sample the 30-odd beers and drink away the afternoon. Perhaps a dozen of the male revelers wore kilts. Countless kegs from the hosts and four visiting "guests of honor" Indiana breweries were floated. All in all, it was a wonderful time and a first-class performance by Schlafly.

Before and after the event itself, we were able to tour both of Schlafly's facilities and take notes. Of special significance to me was the chance to meet founder Tom Schlafly. We talked about beer only briefly before going into baseball; in fact, he was wearing a replica St. Louis Browns cap on Saturday, which I thought was suitably oblique (note that the Browns moved from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954 or thereabouts, and became the Orioles).

My biggest insight?

At the end of the day, Schlafly isn't all that different from my own NABC other than being far larger. Its size came about over a long period of time. Schlafly may appear to be a sleek corporate machine, but it most decidedly is not that simple, because just like at NABC, a handful of owners/lifers and a cadre of efficient team members combine to do more work than they should and keep the train rolling.

That's what happens when you decide to do it yourself, and the frustrations are many. Knowing that being in business for yourself has rendered you unemployable elsewhere … priceless.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Advance note: 3rd Annual Keg Liquors Fest of Ale on Saturday, June 7.

Straight from owner Todd Antz's word processor ...


---


June 7th: 3rd Annual Keg Liquors Fest of Ale, 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

14 breweries, 2 craft beer distributors, over 100 craft and import beers, food and more. We will have 14+ microbrewers on site to sample their wares, as well as food, music, and a charity silent auction to support the WHAS Crusade for Children. Here is our lineup so far:

Upland Brewing Company
New Albanian Brewing
Barley Island Brewing
Bluegrass Brewing Company
Warbird Brewing
Bells Brewing
Browning's
New Holland Brewing
Brugge Brasserie
Wabash Brewing
Cumberland Brews
Mishawaka Brewing Company
Powerhouse Brewing Company
Schlafly Brewing
... and more on the way

Also in attendance will be World Class Beverages and Cavalier Distributing. Food will be available from Mark's Feed Store and Buckhead Mountain Grill.

Price is $25 in advance, and $30 day of the event. Tickets go on sale on April 15th and will be available at Rich O's Public House & Sportstime Pizza, the BBC Taproom and Keg Liquors, and also available online at the http://www.kegliquors.com/festofale.htm

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Planning underway for the 2008 Belgian/Dutch beercycling adventure in September.

Most readers are aware that the brew tour planned for the Pacific Northwest in May was cancelled owing to insufficient numbers. Resources now are being directed toward September, when we'll undertake a Belgian/Dutch beercycling adventure.

TRIP OVERVIEW

Know that the projected excursion is being organized primarily for the benefit of those planning on actively beercycling, with other possibilities incorporated as practicable for those who aren’t.

The idea this time is to rent bikes, not take our own, and to have them transported separately to our staging area near Poperinge. We’ll travel by train from Amsterdam/Haarlem to Poperinge, stopping for two or three brewery tours along the way, begin the biking segment on the weekend of the triennial hop festival, then cycle back to Haarlem for concluding festivities.

If there is enough interest in renting a vehicle to serve as “sag wagon,” then we’ll do that, too.

WHEN WILL IT BE?


The tentative schedule looks like this, and is subject to constant revision.

Tue. Sept. 16
Outbound Louisville to Amsterdam (overnight)

Wed. Sept. 17
Arrive Amsterdam a.m., transfer to rooms in Amsterdam (or Haarlem)

Thur. Sept. 18
Train to Mechelen (Belgium) for the Anker (Gouden Carolus) brewery tour and overnight stay at the brewery hotel if possible.

Fri. Sept. 19
Train to Ingelmunster, brewery tour at Van Honsebrouck (Kasteel brands) and maybe the Pico Brouwerij Alvinne, and overnight in Ingelmunster and/or environs.

Sat. Sept. 20
Train to Poperinge, Ieper or environs to meet the bicycles at the pre-designated lodging. Hopefully, a bike ride to France and a visit to the great beer bar atop the hill at Cassel.

Sun. Sept. 21
Parade and hop festival in Poperinge.

Mon. Sept. 22
Leave the vicinity of Poperinge and ride to Brugge; evening at Brugs Beertje.

Tue. Sept. 23
A second day in Brugge so as to make the rounds of friends and good beer bars.

Wed. Sept. 24
Bike to Middelburg (Netherlands) and an evening at “The Mug” beer bar & restaurant.

Thur. Sept. 25, Fri. Sept. 26
Make our way north toward Haarlem.

Sat Sept. 27
Arrive in Haarlem and have a party with our friends there.

Sun. Sept. 28
Official tour end. Your option as to what to do next.

AIRFARE


Flights are your responsibility, and I’ll be going in/out of Amsterdam, but I can make suggestions if need be or try to book as many of us as possible on the same flights if you wish. For flights, I work through Bliss Travel in New Albany.

WHAT WILL IT COST?


Don’t kid yourselves about costs. They will be high. When all is said and done, I can’t imagine 12-14 days costing any less than $4,000, and maybe more.


ARE YOU PLANNING ON GOING?


If any part of this is of interest, please let me know by responding to basic questions:


A. Yes, I’ll be renting a bike and riding.

B. Yes, but I’d rather ride in the sag wagon, understanding that seating may be limited.

C. Yes, but I’m going to travel by train and coincide with the group whenever possible.

D. Yes, but I have special needs/specific dates/etc.


Thanks, and I hope to see some of you there.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Eating, drinking, and downtown New Albany's emerging new lineup of establishments.

Each year when baseball season commences, fans must survey ever-changing major league rosters to account for the winter’s trades and free agent signings.

In like fashion, the assemblage of downtown New Albany eateries and watering holes has undergone a near complete overhaul in recent months. Here are a few of the changes, bearing in mind that as usual, my primary emphasis is on those businesses aiming to have good beer as part of their presentation, and consequently are of greater interest to me personally. I know that some are being omitted, and welcome their inclusion via subsequent comments.

First, a quick shout-out to Speakeasy Jazz on State Street, which has survived both the Bistro New Albany and Connor’s Place, and should benefit from the unexpected closing of the Jazz Factory in Louisville. In some form, NABC beers usually are on tap at the Speakeasy.

Many readers have asked about the abrupt departure of Connor’s Place, formerly located at 207 East Main Street, and now in storage and on hiatus. It is a circuitous story that begins with owner Dave Himmel’s inability to reach a lease agreement with his landlords, continues through his oft-stated desire to open a fish and seafood restaurant downtown, and now has cleared its first hurdle with the opening of the aquatic project earlier this week. It is called the Market Street Fish House, and is located at 133 East Market, former home of the now defunct Treet’s Bakery Café.

Just across Market Street from the soon-to-open Fish House is an unused commercial building that will be remodeled to spec for Dave by its new owner, and in this space a revamped Connor’s Place hopefully will reopen by mid-summer. The remodeling is scheduled to begin during the week of April 21.

Got all that? Might as well rename that stretch of Market as "Himmel Way" and get it over with. When Connor's Place returns, NABC will have beer there. There will be bottled or canned beer only at the Market Street Fish House, necessarily precluding NABC's draft-only product.

You may be wondering what is to become of the Main Street quarters formerly occupied by Connor’s, and the answer comes from an NAC informant:

A new restaurant will be opening where Connor’s Place was, and they are planning on having ongoing artist showcases. It is going to be called “Studios” and the owner’s name is Trish Meyer.

There is no further information on the sort of eatery Studios will be, although early indications are something in the range of Bristol Bar & Grill. Trish, if you're reading ... let us know what's up. NABC hopes to be present when the time comes, and this may be early May.

Back around the corner in the building that most natives still call the New Albany Inn, The Windsor Restaurant & Garden is open for business at 148 East Market, which in Louisville-area parlance is “where the late, lamented Bistro New Albany used to be.” Business First recently offered a preview of the establishment, which is observing lunchtime hours at present and will expand into evening dining when it’s warm enough to use the famous courtyard. NABC has been contacted about beer for the Windsor, and we’re cautiously optimistic that there’ll be a good beer program there, though perhaps not to the scale of bNA’s great list.

Meanwhile … in the historic Baer building at 321 Pearl Street, work continues on the River City Winery. A couple hundred yards northeast as the crow flies is the spot at 415 Bank Street where NABC is continuing to plan its production brewery and taproom ... and don't ask me "when" this is going to happen unless you have a wheelbarrow full of money to invest.

Elsewhere, the Orchid Asian Cafe is located at 400 West Main, and is an intriguing addition to the downtown dining scene primarily because the menu includes Thai and Vietnamese offerings beyond the usual Chinese fare, and the décor is bright, modern and absent the kitsch generally associated with “Chinese” restaurants. It’s almost impossible to fathom that the venerable Kerstien’s tavern used to occupy the new home of the Orchid. No alcohol, but we’ve been impressed so far with the food.

What am I forgetting? Make a comment and let me know. By late summer or early fall, the downtown New Albany scene might be quite interesting, indeed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cumberland Brews without Matt Gould?

Word began making the rounds on Tuesday night, and it was as bizarre as anything I can remember from 16 years of tumultuous Louisville microbrewing history. Matt Gould, brewer at Cumberland Brews since its inception in 2000, is out of a job. Apparently, he was terminated.

At times like this, which hat does one wear, and do so conscientiously?

I’m a blogger and sometimes beer authority, and this definitely is news.

I’m Matt’s friend, and this is a tragic occurrence.

I’m a business/brewery owner, and this is something that conventional wisdom suggests is none of my business … an “internal matter,” or something evasive like that.

I also confess to being somewhat of an unreconstructed socialist at times, and for me, the labor theory of value still has meaning. The cult of the coach in college basketball is an abomination, because no one – no one – has yet to purchase tickets to see Rick Pitino coach. Rather, the fans pay to watch the University of Louisville’s players play basketball.

In like fashion, it seems to me that a local craft brewery is all about the brewer. As an owner, I have a part to play, and pitch to make, but I never take credit for the house-brewed beer at NABC. No one has yet paid to watch me own. They pay for Jesse’s and Jared’s beers, and my job is to provide an overall structure for them to create and for their creation to be (a) enjoyed, and (b) something that pays for itself and makes a few bucks or profit to boot so that we can perpetuate the fun.

Certainly there are boundaries and guidelines, but this fact doesn’t change the fundamental equation.

Matt, good luck … and know that you’re much loved around these parts. If I could snap my fingers and hire you now, I would. Perhaps my ownership hat precludes voicing these sentiments, but I don’t think so. The human concerns of your friends comes first … doesn’t it?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That's not your Danish grandfather's lager, is it?

Yesterday I braved the snarling backhoes that are preparing the foundation for the gleaming new Keg Liquors and shopped for a couple of bottles of beer of the sort that owner Todd Antz stocks, but we don’t carry at the Public House. Rest assured, there are plenty. Todd’s been doing a better job of staying abreast of bottled beer, while my focus has been on draft for dispensing on premise.

One of my two final choices was North Bridge Extreme by the Norrebro Bryghus in Copenhagen, Denmark, a city that once was a frequent haunt of mine back in the day when the only beers available were narrow product lines of (mostly) lagers produced by the combined might of Carlsberg and Tuborg, and a few others from other Danish locales. My, how things have changed …

In fact, my old friend Kim Andersen has long urged me to make a return visit to Copenhagen (I’ve failed to do so since 1999), and as much as there’d be no reason whatsoever to doubt the sagacity of Kim’s intimate knowledge of the explosion of craft beer and brewing in his hometown, there simply hasn’t been the chance to go back. This oversight may soon have to be rectified.

Allowing for my small overall sampling, surely Norrebro’s version of a California-style Double IPA is the best I’ve tasted from a European brewery. At 9.5%, it hovers on the edge of barley wine. English malt gives it the richness that I believe is necessary in such a well-hopped beer. Delicious, complex and damned near thirst quenching … and mind blowing to contemplate it being brewed in Copenhagen.

If my recollection of the city is correct, Norrebro means “North Bridge,” presumably in reference to the moats and waterways once ringing the center of town, and if my fuzzy math is right, the brewery is producing about 2050 barrels a year in the American sense. To compare, NABC will brew roughly 500 barrels in 2008, and BBC (Main & Clay) I’d guess to be above 5,000 (corrections appreciated).

Now I’m researching Mikkeller, a roving duo of former homebrewing Danes turned professional, who brew American styles at various places in Denmark, Belgium and perhaps elsewhere. Both Mikkeller and Norrebro come to you courtesy of Shelton Brothers Importers, and the available styles are rare, indeed, so be sure and make friends with Todd.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Brewhouses, both BJ's and BS.

Some time last week, it suddenly occurred to me that NABC's projected new brewery in downtown New Albany should come to be known as the Bank Street Brewhouse. Maybe the original location might eventually be referred to as NABC Grant Line. At any rate, Bank Street Brewhouse could be the NABCBSB, or better yet, the BS Brewhouse.

I like the idea of BS Brewhouse, as opposed (for instance) to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, the newly opened Louisville outpost of a chain originating in California. BJ's says it is a brewhouse, but the beer being sold in Louisville comes from Reno, Nevada, where it is brewed -- literally -- in a brewhouse. That's because a brewhouse is where beer is brewed. At minimum, that's the mash tun and kettle ... right?

Even if I'm unable to predict when the project will come to fruition, at least NABC will be brewing beer downtown at the Bank Street Brewhouse.

A "brewhouse" like BJ's where no beer is brewed? Sorry, but that's BS to me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mike Farris performs at the Public House on Friday, April 18.

We've seldom undertaken to book entertainers of Mike Farris's magnitude, but visit the artist's site, listen to the song samples, and you'll understand why we did. Tickets will be on sale next week, and seating in Prost is limited. E-mail the senior editor for more information.




Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Southern Indiana wineries.

My favorite all-time package store name was attached to an off-license in Skibbereen, Ireland: The Grape and the Grain.

My world’s the latter, and I’m prepared as ever to argue on its behalf, but as evidence that wine is enjoying a resurgence locally:

Southern Indiana sprouts bumper crop of wineries; The word is spreading on the grapevine, by Grace Schneider (Courier-Journal)

The grand opening of the Best Vineyards Winery north of Elizabeth "was a great day" and "a lot of work" said (Wilbert) Best, a UPS computer programmer.

It also marked something of a trend in Southern Indiana.

No one is calling the region a mini-Napa Valley, but it is quickly becoming the state's largest grape producer, with a bumper crop of six new wineries opened or planned to open, from last fall through June 2009.

They join roughly a dozen established wineries within about 90 miles of downtown Louisville.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rich O’s Public House CLOSED, Sportstime Pizza OPEN on Saturday, April 12.

Louisville’s annual exaltation of phantom male potency, otherwise known as Thunder Over Louisville, will bring a half-million people to the banks of the Ohio this Saturday (April 12) in orgiastic expectation of a raised middle finger of a militarized air show and an unspeakably garish fireworks extravaganza that will allow them to forget – if only for a brief span of time – that the dollars in their pockets are increasingly worthless, and that there’s a NASCAR race under way somewhere in the last, greatest hope for mankind.

No, I’m not a fan of Louisville’s foremost annual celebration of bread and circuses, which inaugurates Derby Festival and signals the beginning of mint julep season in the metro area. However, I know that the majority of my friends and acquaintances enjoy the pomp and circumstance, and so be it.

We’ve long since learned that there’s no sense in staffing both dining areas at NABC/Rich O’s/Sportstime on Thunder day, and we’ll not be doing so again this year. Rich O’s will be closed all day with the exception of a special private party in Prost. Sportstime will be open with all the usual food and beer available from 11:00 a.m. to (circa) midnight.

Here are links to two special events near Thunder’s epicenter, both of which will be serving craft beers in the midst of what is otherwise a sea of swill. Have fun. I’ll be with the NABC brew crew in St. Louis to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Prohibition’s demise.

BBC (Main & Clay) aged bourbon barrel stout ... and Thunder plans.

NABC, Buckhead, craft beer and Thunder Over Louisville, April 12.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Press release from the Brewers Association: “75 Years of Beer.”

We wanted to take a moment, on this historic day, to thank all the breweries who are recognizing April 7, 1933 and 75 Years of Beer.

Historians note that Prohibition officially ended on December 5, 1933, with the ratification of the 21st Amendment. But earlier that year, newly-elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt took steps to fulfill his campaign promise to end the national ban on alcohol. He spurred Congress to modify the Volstead Act to allow the sale of 3.2 percent beer in advance of the Twenty-first Amendment being ratified. Thus on April 7, 1933 there was legal beer once again!

Media outlets such as the Washington Post, CNN.com and many more have just recently highlighted April 7, 1933 as a story worth covering. CNN.com even published a web link to 75yearsofbeer.org, so cheers to all who helped bring this day to the attention of many and cheers to the privilege of beer being back for 75 years!

Remember, too, American Craft Beer Week is May 12-18. The purpose of this week is to recognize the positive contributions of American brewers.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Publican's doing a beer class at Campbell's Gourmet Cottage on April 24.

I'll be teaching a "Beer 101" class at Campbell's Gourmet Cottage on Thursday, April 24. Campbell's is located at 291 N. Hubbards Lane (Louisville, KY 40207), and the phone number is (502) 893-6700.

Here is the description from the current spring catalog:

Thursday, April 24th
Roger Baylor - The New Albanian Brewing Company
$45.00
“Beer 101”

Join Roger Baylor, our beer expert, as our beer tasting will begin with the familiar and conclude with the esoteric, with several tasty stops in between. The world of beer offers numerous flavors and textures for the enjoyment of the drinker, and we’ll sample 2 or 3 ounces each of eight very different beers from America and the world. We’ll consider an overview of the brewing process and what factors play into the different styles. It is hoped that when we’re finished, participants will have a better understanding of beer and beer styles, and feel less confusion when looking at the many choices on store shelves. (Must be 21 years or older to attend)

Friday, April 04, 2008

BBC (Main & Clay) aged bourbon barrel stout ... and Thunder plans.

Contrary to every reasonable expectation, Gravity Head didn't really last into April, so other beers are coming on tap at the Public House. Since I wasn't expecting to have to think about it this quickly, there's no orderly plan in place at present.

However, one beer I want to mention in particular is Grand Old Fella, a special release from Bluegrass Brewing Company (Main & Clay in Louisville). In the words of brewmaster David Pierce, it's an exclusive version of his Jefferson Reserve bourbon barrel stout, and is ...

" ... A bourbon barrel worth of stout from our first batch. The stout was pulled from the first batch three years ago, aged two years in its original barrel then racked to a 23 year old barrel for one more year."

It's on tap now, and delicious. Also note that BBC downtown will be observing its annual Thunder Over Louisville celebrations, as described by Dave thusly:

Come celebrate Thunder Over Louisville and the BBC Taproom Birthday Party with us on 12 April, 2008. Doors open at 12:00 noon. The drill is the same as in the past:

Bring a dish to share (enough for 10 people), something to throw on the grill, your favorite non-alcoholic beverages, chips, dips, etc.


Parking is limited, indoor parking is first-come, first served.
Bring lawn chairs, sunscreen, etc.


I will be your host and bartender again this year. Please RSVP via e-mail so I can get a headcount. See you here!

I suggest calling the brewery directly if this interests you. Find contact information at the website: Bluegrass Brewing Company.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Schlafly/Café Lou Lou beer dinner to be Monday, April 14.

Schlafly is pairing with Café Lou Lou for a beer dinner to be held on Monday, April 14 at 6:00 p.m. For Louisville metro area residents, that’s two days after Thunder Over Louisville, and will provide excellent value to re-start the engines after the debauchery of the air show and fireworks display.

The price is only $45 plus tax and gratuity. Schlafly area rep Scott Shreffler will be on hand to present the beers, and of course Chef Clay will be manning the kitchen. I’d like to attend this one, but ironically, the previous weekend is the NABC brew crew’s three-day trip to St. Louis for Schlafly’s annual Repeal Party. Maybe if I get a special dispensation from the home front … I know it won't keep Scott from duty, although it's true that it's his job to attend dinners like this.

At any rate, here’s the menu. It’s mouthwatering, indeed.

Appetizer
Sweet Chili Prawns on Toasted Rustic Bread
Garlic, white wine, chili sauce
Hefeweizen

Soup
Potato Beer Cheese Soup
Kenny’s Country White Cheddar, Schlafly Oatmeal Stout, Pancetta
Dry-Hopped American Pale Ale

Salad
Spring Pear Salad on Micro greens
Pt. Reyes Bleu Cheese, candied walnuts, Schlafly No. 15 mustard vinaigrette
Number 15

Entrée
Chilean Sea Bass with Shiitake and Sherry-Tarragon Cream Sauce
Basmati rice, roasted asparagus
Biere de Garde

Entrée
Seared Duck Breast with Cherry-Port Reduction
Pureed celery root, haricots vert
2007 Oak-Aged Barleywine

Dessert
Dark Mocha Stout Cake
Stout crème anglaise
2007 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
& Coffee Stout

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More from the front lines combating the sad scourge of swill.

You will recall that on Sunday, I described a revolutionary discovery in the emerging discipline of beer drinking psychology.

The Kubler-Ross model and the sad scourge of swill.

During the course of my long career in selflessly assisting beer drinkers to overcome their attachment to mass-market swill, I’ve received many comments, and these suggest that the process of surrendering long-held (although sadly errant) beliefs about beer indeed brings many people to a place resembling that of the "Five Stages of Grief".

Some readers detected a note of self-congratulatory smugness in this comparison … and they are quite correct in noting it. I take a certain pride in my ability to influence lives. Wouldn’t you?

But I digress. Prior to last night’s “makeup” fundraiser for Jeffersonville Main Street at Kye’s II, a gathering necessitated by an ice storm in February that caused the postponement of the originally scheduled event, I dropped into Buckhead’s Mountain Grill on the waterfront in Jeffersonville. The ostensible reason I did so was to reconnoiter the barroom terrain for future reference, something I’ll have more to say about at a later date, because after years of uncertainty, we’ve decided to sell NABC beers to Buckhead’s.

However, this strictly mercantile factoid is not the real point of my thoughts today. Rather, I’m still thinking about the notion of recovery from swill, and how unintentionally hilarious the process can be from the perspective of the attending therapist -- which, of course, would be me.

Specifically, I was seated at the Buckhead’s bar, and eventually looked to my right. There sat a man who for many years has come into my own pub and loudly praised the craft beers we sell.

However, yesterday he was caught in the act of hoisting a bottle of Miller Lite in much the same fashion as the actors in the brand’s current spate of television commercials, during which the manufacturer of this eternally insipid liquid encourages the adoption of something approximating the Mussolini-era fascist salute to celebrate the many medals Miller Lite wins in an international beer competition that has written its category guidelines to exactly describe the stunning negation of anything approximating beer flavor, something that Miller Lite has always represented.

Of course, it all has far less to do with “style” than with the fact that Miller annually joins its fellow megabrewers in underwriting the competition.

Back at Buckhead’s, with my lapsed customer spiraling downward less than ten feet away, it might have been an awkward moment, except that he looked away from me every time I tried to make eye contact. Knowing that the key is to hate the sin and love the sinner, I wasn’t offended at all. Rather, I was flattered at his obvious discomfort.

Then again, perhaps he just dislikes me apart from my choice of beer, and that doesn’t bother me, either. Sometimes those of us in the vanguard are vilified. It happens, and there’s always Belgian ale as solace.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Final Gravity Head lineupdate: Tuesday, April 1.

No April Fooling here; last call has arrived. It's the 28th business day of Gravity Head 2008, and pretty much everything has been depleted, with only five listed selections pouring and four more still awaiting delivery. It was by far the fastest moving Gravity Head ever. Thanks to everyone who attended and enjoyed the choices.

As for those selections left to be delivered:

Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA's new ETA is Thursday, April 10.

Ola Dubh (Old Engine Oil Special Reserve) was supposed to have been in stock tomorrow, but has been revealed to be waiting in New Jersey. Mid-April.

De Glazen Toren Canaster Winter Scotch and De Glazen Toren Cuvee Angelique will not be here before Wednesday, April 16.

Dispensing will take place as soon after delivery as possible.

Here’s the lineup as it stands at opening on Tuesday, April 1.

UNITED STATES
Great Divide Old Ruffian Barley Wine 10.2% abv
Stone Imperial Russian Stout 10.8% abv
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (2006) 11.2% abv
Upland Ard-Ri Imperial Irish-style Red Ale 8.7% abv

WORLD
*Regenboog 't Smisje Catherine The Great Imperial Stout 10% abv

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Here are the beers yet to be poured, and are in transit during the month of March:

BELGIUM
*De Glazen Toren Canaster Winter Scotch 9.5% abv
*De Glazen Toren Cuvee Angelique 8% abv

SCOTLAND
*Ola Dubh - Old Engine Oil Special Reserve, conditioned in Highland Park 30 Year Old Scotch Barrels 8% abv (Mid-March delivery projected)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA 13.6% abv

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R.I.P. – depleted kegs

UNITED STATES
*Avery Fourteen 9.46% abv
Avery Old Jubilation 8% abv
Avery “The Czar” 11.73% abv
*Avery “The Kaiser” 9.37% abv
BBC (Main & Clay) Bearded Pat's Barley Wine (2006; circa 10% abv)
*BBC (Main & Clay) The Queen's Knickers 8% abv
*BBC (Shelbyville Road) Kick in the Baltic Porter 8.5% abv
Bell's Batch 6000 (2004) 10.5% abv
Bell's Expedition Stout 2006 11.5% abv
Bell's Hopslam 10% abv (poured 3 kegs of 3)
Bell's Sparkling Ale 9% abv
Boulder Mojo Risin' Double IPA 10% abv
*Brooklyn Brewery Extra Brune 8.5% abv
Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale 11.8% abv
*Brugge Brasserie Triple de Ripple 11% abv
Clipper City Below Decks Barleywine 11% abv
*Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale 9.75% abv
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA 20% abv
*Dogfish Head Fort 18% abv
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter 9.5% abv
*Founders Imperial Stout 10% abv
Left Hand Imperial Stout 10.4% abv
NABC Malcolm's Old Setters Ale 10.5% abv (cask-conditioned firkin)
NABC Oak Aged V (Fifth Anniversary Ale) 10% abv
NABC Thunderfoot (2007) 10% abv
New Holland Dragon’s Milk 9% abv
New Holland Pilgrim's Dole 10% abv
*New Holland Night Tripper 10.8% abv
Rogue John’s Locker Stock Imperial Porter ‘007 7.77% abv
Rogue XS Imperial Stout 11% abv
Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine 2004, 11.3% abv
*Schlafly Imperial Stout 10.5% abv
Shmaltz He’Brew Genesis 10:10 (2006) 10% abv
*Shmaltz He’Brew Jewbelation Eleven 11% abv (pouring keg 2 of 2)
Shmaltz He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA 10% abv
Stone Double Bastard (2005) 10% abv
*Stone XI – 11th Anniversary Ale 8.7% abv
*Three Floyds Fantabulous Resplendence X Anniversary 10.5% abv

WORLD
Burton Bridge Tom Sykes Old Ale UK (cask-conditioned) 10% abv
De Dolle Dulle Teve (“Mad Bitch”) BELGIUM, 10% abv
De Dolle Stille Nacht BELGIUM 12% abv
Delirium Noel BELGIUM 10% abv
*Dupont Moinette Blonde BELGIUM 8.5% abv
*Dupont Moinette Brune BELGIUM 8.5% abv
EKU 28 GERMANY, 11% abv
Ettaler Curator Doppelbock GERMANY, 9% abv
JW Lees Vintage Harvest Ale (cask-conditioned; Calvados barrel aged) UK, 11.5% abv
Gales Prize Old Ale UK (1998), 9% abv
Kasteel Rouge BELGIUM, 8% abv
Koningshoeven La Trappe Quadrupel NETHERLANDS, 10% abv
*Podge Belgian Imperial Stout BELGIUM, 10.5% abv
*Regenboog 't Smisje Harvest Ale ('t Smisje Kerst aged in a JW Lees Calvados wooden pin) BELGIUM, 12% abv
Regenboog Guido BELGIUM 8% abv