Friday, October 31, 2008

On November 4, vote first, then sample NABC's first-ever Electimus ... "randallized."

For the record: Hopocalypse Now: Lupulin Land update.

Now, good news from brewer Jared Williamson:

Election Day special: ELECTIMUS! It's sterner pointlessness ... a special blend of our two ales (70-30; Elector and Hoptimus) “randallized” with Centennial hops. Only one ½ barrel, steeped over the weekend.

Needless to say: The Public House will not be open until 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 4.

Sportstime Pizza will observe regular hours beginning at 11:00 a.m., for what is destined to be an excruciatingly dry lunch. Sportstime has four flat screens to watch election returns, and in a departure from the norm, we'll have a couple of televisions available at the Public House, one in the front room, and, for the first time, another in the bar. There'll also be another Elector Day/Election Night promotion. When the doors open at 6:00 p.m., you can buy an NABC pint glass of Elector "It Makes Democracy Pointless" Ale at the regular price and keep the glass. Limited to the first 50 customers. Electimus is part of the deal, too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

By request: Karl and the keg club.

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

In the beginning, when the Public House had only two or three taps and we were seeking ways to encourage consumption, we had a "keg club."

The idea was to record the number of pints consumed overall, and when these pints totalled a keg, the drinker would get a prize of some sort (I can't remember what) and have his or her name recorded on a keg, which would be mounted somewhere inside the pub for viewing.

It was well intentioned, and for a while it was quite popular, and this in part came eventually to doom the project. No one had time any longer to keep track, and we became busier (perhaps I should say, became a real business") far sooner than any of us expected. Evenings stopped being intimate gatherings of friends, and became Mecca instead. There are good and bad aspects of both, I suppose. I'm happy that we the pub became successful, but I miss those times.

Karl was one of our earliest and most vocal advocates, and he fancied Guinness above all else. There'd been scattered murmurings about who could drink the most pints of Guinness, and after a trial run or three, and a "record" somewhere around 13 or 14, Karl announced that the end-all, beat-all, record-breaking day had arrived.

We took his car keys and arranged a ride home, and he proceeded to drink 18 pints in roughly 12 hours. I verified the count. A legend was born. A photo was taken.

Soon thereafter we began soft-pedaling the notion of drinking contests, although the tradition lives on in the form of periodic efforts to "run the gauntlet" during Gravity Head. Officially, the practive is discouraged ... but it's your hangover. Deposit car keys first, them do what you will.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chimay tasting delayed until Nov. 25.

It occurs to me that I forgot to inform readers that the Chimay tasting announced for tonight has been postponed until Tuesday, November 25.

I'd let you know more about what you're missing, except that we never really decided the tasting's format. That's why it was moved.

See? You don't think these things happen without a reason, do you?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hersbrucker infused NABC Elsa now "Randallized."

Jared took charge of the planning for this year's appearance by Randall the Enamel Animal, and the result is NABC's Elsa Von Horizon Imperial Pilsner modified with Hersbrucker. Jared allowed the first cylinder to steep over the weekend. Get here this afternoon a little after 3:00 p.m. and taste the hops.

In other news, the NABC web site is temporarily, but should be back shortly. Once this annoyance is resolved, we're pushing hard this week to put up a completely revamped site, so stay tuned.

The rear keg box (Guinness, Smithwick's & Lindemans) has died again, and this time I have a bad feel as to the prospects to bring it back to life. We may be out of those three brands the next few days while repair options are explored.

Grrrr.

Fall Beer & Wine Fest at Bridge Liquors is Saturday, November 1.

I'll post this now and make corrections if necessary. If memory serves, there'll be a few other participants not mentioned below. Perhaps I shouldn't mention that I've been visiting Bridge Liquors since roughly ... never mind.

---

Bridge Liquors Presents: Fall Beer & Wine Fest
Saturday, November 1, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Admission - $15

Join us for a fall festival and holiday tastingfeaturing local craft breweries, craft beer distributors and wines. Main breweries featured are New Albanian, BBC, Brownings, Upland, Barley Island, Wabash Valley, Brugge.

Food available from J-train and Market St. Fish House. Boutique bourbons will be available for tasting inside as well as sparkling wines.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

BBC's "15 Year Anniversary Ale & Art Festival" is Saturday, November 1.

Time flies when you’re drinking beer.

It doesn’t seem possible that 15 years have passed since I returned from a European vacation, drove out to the Capshew residence for a picnic, and chatted with David Pierce about the beers planned for the forthcoming Bluegrass Brewing Company.

Specifically, I’d just been in Cologne and Dusseldorf, and Dave was interested in what the local Kolsch and Alt ales were like because versions were being formulated for the new BBC.

All that’s gone down in the intervening years would require a volume lengthier than the blogging format, and time that I don’t have require for compiling it. Someday, someday. Until then, BBC’s celebrating a birthday at the original location in St. Matthews, and it looks like a great opportunity to taste some of BBC pub brewer Jerry Gnagy’s seasonals and specialties.


---

Bluegrass Brewing Company
15 Year Anniversary Ale & Art Festival
Saturday, November 1st, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

"A look through the beer view mirror"

Samples of 15 seasonal beers from the past five years & an anniversary glass for $15.00. List of seasonals available….

Amber Waves of Pain, Steam, Pilsner, Vienna, Smoked Bock, Leah's Entrage, Riley's Rye, Kotbusser, Ultra, Son of Quad, Heine Brothers Coffee Stout, Belgian IPA, Gros Batard, Rock out with your Bock out, Dubbel Dribbel, Kick in the Baltic Porter(gold metal Great American Beer Festival Winner 2008), and more!

An outside event with food, brews, fire pits, local artists.

Art Festival ... Glassblowing demonstration, Pottery, Jewelry, Paintings, Wood Working, Metal Working, Handmade Soaps and Candles

Also, a Silent Auction with BBC memorabilia to benefit Shawn Bowen, a 5-year-old child with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Albany's Speakeasy will close after a final bash on Wednesday, October 29.

The news came Friday that New Albany's Speakeasy restaurant and jazz venue is closing its doors. The final going-away party is Wednesday, October 29.

At NAC: Final "Big Band Dance and Concert" next Wednesday at Speakeasy ... then, lights out.

Post-mortems will include references to the state of the economy, but it really wasn't that simple. Throughout its roughly 15-month run, the Speakeasy was acclaimed for physical ambience and the unique nature of the jazz and dancing concept. Unfortunately, consistency in service, food and drink proved elusive, and the learning curve was slow.

Anyone who has ever worked in the "hospitality" business knows how maddening it can be to translate a great concept into a functional entity on a day-to-day basis. It's never exactly the way you'd like it to be, even after (in my case) 16 years hashing it out. The bottom line revolves around your ability to make customers feel good about paying you for the service, and to make them feel good enough that they'll come back and repeat the process. It's glib, but its true. The marketplace is unforgiving in the best of times, and when money's tighter, the work becomes harder. Speakeasy never really mastered that equation, and speaking only for myself, I wish there'd have been a way for me to be of more assistance to the owners. The plan was great, and the execution wasn't.

What happens now? It has long been rumored that Louisville-area operators have an interest in the location, and the building's owner is committed to doing what he must to fill the space even if it takes time to find the right tenant. It seems unlikely to me that the name and concept will live on, but perhaps we'll all be pleasantly surprised.

It's true that the economy is far from ideal, and yet prospective occupants of the Speakeasy site should note that it lies only half a block from the new YMCA, which will be opening in mid-November, and is expected to attract several thousand members a week to downtown New Albany.

I feel bad for the Tharps. I know that the Speakeasy was their dream, and they're in a rough place now. They tried their best, and things didn't work out, but you have to give them credit for the effort.

At the same time, we must be thinking of what comes next. Prospects for downtown New Albany remain bright. It's all a matter of finding the right combination.

At NAC: Open thread: Speakeasy will close on Wednesday, October 29.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hopocalypse Now: Lupulin Land update.

(Updated Monday, November 3)

In terms of that ever mysterious realm of consumer preference, Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming probably is the most taste-specific of the draft fests we stage each year. Gravity Head selections share the common characteristic of being strong in alcoholic terms, but can vary considerably otherwise. Saturnalia beers include a broad range of winter and holiday choices, encompassing all ABVs and a cornucopia of stylistic perspectives.

But it seems that people either like hops or don’t, and although each year there are several blessed conversions as the previously frightened take a second taste of IPAs, wet-hop ales and ESBs, the dividing lines are drawn fairly tightly. The aficionados camp outside the door, while the non-hoppy seek solace in other arms.

Anyway, here’s the rendering of currently available hoppy drafts after a week of Lupulin Land. Note that several of these are expected to expire today, so the lineup should be different by Saturday. At the very bottom of the page, in approximate order, are the beers ready to come on line in the next couple of days.

An * means that it's the first time on draft at the Public House.

Microbrews
Crooked Tree Double Crooked Tree IPA 1/6 barrel
Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale 1/2 barrel
*Left Hand Chainsaw 1/6 barrel
*New Holland Existential - Ale 1/6 barrel
Oaken Barrel Superfly IPA 1/2 barrel
Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale 2 x ½ barrels
Stone Ruination IPA 1/2 barrel
Two Brothers Heavy Handed 1/6 barrel

Imports
De Ranke XX Bitter 30 L
*Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor 2 x 1/6 barrels
Houblon Chouffe 2 x 20 L

Fallen Soldiers (some destined to double back)
*Allagash Hugh Malone Ale 1/6 barrel
BBC (Main & Clay) Dank IPA (firkin)
Boulder Mojo IPA 1/2 barrel
Browning’s Brewery She-Devil 1/2 barrel
Breckenridge 471 Double IPA 1 x 1/6 barrel gone, and another coming later
Clipper City Heavy Seas Hop 3 (cask-conditioned firkin)
Founders Centennial IPA 2 x 1/2 barrel
*Founders Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
Founders Red’s Rye 1/2 barrel
NABC Fifth Anniversary (V) ½ barrel
NABC Oaked Croupier ¼ barrel
NABC Oaktimus 2 x ½ barrel
Rogue “John’s Locker Stock” Glen 2 x ½ barrels
*Schlafly Hop Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
*Schlafly India Brown Ale ½ barrel
*Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale 1/2 barrel
*Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale 2 x 1/2 barrel
*Three Floyds Alpha Naught ½ barrel
*Victory Hop Wallop 1/2 barrel

Coming next (not necessarily in order)
*Alvinne Extra 1/6 barrel
*Browning’s Brewery Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA 1/2 barrel
Rogue “John’s Locker Stock” Double Dead Guy 1/2 barrel

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Baracktoberfest or Palin Ale? Schlafly offers a choice.

I wouldn't.

During the course of browsing Schlafly's web site in preparation for our Harvest Hop and India Brown schwag night last evening, I saw that our favorite St. Louis brewery had entered the political fray with these two t-shirts, artfully balanced between partisan camps.



Tom Schlafly's a far more fair and balanced man than I. There's no way I could ever put the NABC logo on a Palin t-shirt and still sleep at night.

Hunting from the air is such a turn-off ...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reminder: Schlafly promo tonight.

On Monday night, October 20, Scott Shreffler, Nick Vickery, and Kent Householder from Schlafly in St. Louis, MO, will be hosting a Schlafly Promo Night at the Public House from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. There will be a drawing every 30 minutes for a bucket of Schlafly merchandise (t-shirt, hat, glassware, keychain, etc.) The drawings begin just after 6:00 p.m.

Lupulin Land selections Schlafly Hop Harvest Ale and Schlafly India Brown Ale will be on tap. Come by, press the flesh, have a few pints of hoppy ale and maybe win some schwag.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I believe in beer, too.

Our friend and regular pub patron Amy posted this essay this morning, and I hope she doesn't mind my reprinting it here.

It's ironic. I regularly read accounts about how non-believers like me constitute a threat to peace of mind, Christian conscience and the American way in comprehensive terms, but I can't recall the last time I invaded a local church's physical space and demanded to proselytize about atheism.

Did I really use the word "ironic"? I meant "hypocritical."

----

Separation of Church and Bar, by Amy Weatherford.

It is not everyday that I get into a religious debate with anyone... much less people at Rich O's. But my time had come to debate something loudly in the Couch area. There were two couples that came in from Meade Co. KY. One of them happens to be a Circuit Court Judge. The night started off well with the women ordering wine and the two men having Spaten and me drinking Alpha Naught. How religion was brought up into conversation is blurred to me now, but the topic arose.

Being a regular at Rich O's I know I should have just stopped right there and changed the topic but the Judge was persistent in his wanting to piss me off. I enjoy discussions about controversial topics with people that understand that there is more than one view point in the world and I sensed that there was only one view point for the Judge but continued anyway. Then the question came about...

"Do YOU believe in Jesus Christ?"

STOP... Amy do not answer. Change the subject now... is all I could think, but my recent smart ass came rearing its ugly head.

"Well what do you mean by... believe?"

"That Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior."

"I believe in the historical Jesus, but as to the hypostatic union... I don't know
if anyone can be for sure."

At this moment I can only think about the Big Lebowski and that a world of pain is coming my way by fucking with the Jesus. One thing lead after another. The Judge saying that he lives his life by the laws of God and me explaining that we "got" those laws from a book called the Bible that was written by man and man is fallible. And that the laws that he works within by being a Judge was written by men and that I hoped when he was on the bench "judging" that he remained in this earthly jurisdiction.

After me going through a short Theology lesson on the Bible. The rest of his crew chime in and say that its ok that I am conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in my opinions because I am YOUNG and the Judge informs me that he took a course in world Religions and that he "knew" everything about it.

This is where I lost it.... I did not throw anything... I did not compromise my good upstanding character at Rich Os. I stated clearly...

" I am glad you took one course in world religions when you were in college in
the 60's. I see that it has done you a lot of good. And apparently my 4 years of Theology and Political Philosophy courses that I took in the past 6 years count for nothing. The bottom line is there are different strokes for different folks and if I don't believe that Jesus Christ was our Lord and Savior... I guess I'll meet you in Hell."

I stand up and get another beer and they exit the couch area to return to Meade Co. one of them goes to hug me while whispering in my ear... "If you live with Jesus in your heart you will be ok. You just have to believe."

Me not saying any departing words, sat down on the couch with the cask in my hand and said "I believe in BEER!"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Browning's still brewing beer.

Apparently both the Browning's and Park Place restaurants are closed for good, but all indications are that brewing will proceed for off-premise distribution, at least for the foreseeable future, and that's good news.

Browning's beers are brewed by Brian Reymiller and distributed locally by River City (Louisville) and World Class Beverages (Indiana). Brian's She-Devil IPA has become a great favorite in metro Louisville, and justifiably so.

When I learn more about the future of the brewing arm of Browning's, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming omnibus preview: PR, beer descriptions, links and schedule.

We’ll again be exceeding OSHA’s legal limits on IBU’s per square foot of floor space when Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming 2008 begins on Friday, October 17. It is our seventh harvest hop celebration, and the occasion for Kentuckiana’s hopheads to unite over a pint or two of America’s most bitter beer and to banish thoughts of abominations like Milwaukee’s Blech to the nether regions formerly reserved for silver-bulleted sinners, Miller Lite miscreants, and Auggie Busch’s backyard brunch chardonnay sippers

Lupulus Eroticus.

The American Heritage dictionary defines lupulin as the “minute yellowish-brown hairs obtained from the strobili of the hop plant, formerly used in medicine as a sedative.” The word lupulin is derived from the new Latin lupulus (hop species, a diminutive of the Latin lupus, hop plant, from lupus, wolf). Credit Pliny the Elder, and if you ever visit Russian River Brewing Co. in California, drink the beer named for him.

Or, more simply: Bitterness beats watery flaccidity any old day.

Contrary to persistent rumors - probably spread by the same people who still insist that Bock beer is the result of brewing vats being cleaned once a year in springtime - beer is not “made” from hops. Beer is “made” from barley, and sometimes wheat and oats and rye. In short, beer is brewed from grain. The body and color of beer derives from these grains, and the alcohol is but a calling card left by yeast happily snacking on sugars in the malt.

Hops act as the spice of beer. Hops balance the inherent, malty sweetness. Hops provide the seasoning. Hops cleanse the palate and leave you begging for more. Hops make it interesting, and perhaps healthy as well: According to researchers for Japan’s Kirin Brewery, isohumulones, agents of bittering in hops, may help curb the development of fat in the human body.

Misconceptions about hops are annoying, persistent and entirely understandable. If one is to judge by the non-flavor profile of America’s best-selling mainstream lagers, it is certain that the majority of beer drinkers in our purportedly great nation are suffering from severe lupulin deprivation. It’s way past time to reverse that trend … just as bitterness, aroma and flavor.

Trellis succulence: Now more than ever, there is no exit strategy.

It’s always difficult to predict which of the beers described herein will pour and when, as typically the juggling of late arrivals and handling of always temperamental firkins require last-minute improvisation. However, here’s the list of what we believe will be featured during Lupulin Land 2008. Look on the blackboards to see what’s pouring on a particular day.

The Clipper City Hop 3 firkin will lead off on Friday, to be followed when depleted by BBC's Dank IPA at some point next week.

Randall the Enamel Animal will be crawling out from his lair to modify a beer, but to be truthful, we haven't decided when this appearance can be expected.

On Monday night, October 20, Scott Shreffler, Nick Vickery, and Kent Householder from Schlafly in St. Louis, MO, will be hosting a Schlafly Promo Night in Prost from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. There will be a drawing every 30 minutes for a bucket of Schlafly merchandise (t-shirt, hat, glassware, keychain, etc.) Schlafly Hop Harvest and India Brown will be on tap. The drawings begin just after 6:00 p.m.

Alpha King, Arrogant Bastard, Bell's Two Hearted and Sierra Nevada Pale will be pouring as always, alongside whichever NABC ales (Elector, Hoptimus, et al) that are ready when the clock strikes 11 on Friday morning).

LUPULIN LAND 2008 GUEST MICROBREWS
* signifies a first-ever draft appearance

*Allagash Hugh Malone
English two-row malt and pale crystal, with Simcoe hops added during “first wort hopping” as it is pumped into the kettle. Warrior hops go in when the boil begins. More Simcoe hops for aroma go in the whirlpool, and are used for dry hopping. 8.5 % abv.

Bluegrass Brewing Company (Main & Clay)
Dank India Pale Ale
Firkin. Brewer David Pierce sezs: Dankology! American-Style India pale ale characterized by intense hop bitterness and high alcohol content. Anamount of Simcoe and Amarillo hops are added, resulting in a crisp beer. Dank is deep gold with a full, flowery hop aroma and a strong hop flavor (in addition to hop bitterness). India pale ale has a medium malt backbone and a full body.Malts: Cargill Special Pale, Dingemann's Aromatic and Caramunich. Lupulin Land Twist: Additional dry-hopping with Amarillo. 80 IBU; 8% abv.

Boulder Mojo IPA
Founded in 1979, Boulder Beer Company is Colorado’s oldest microbrewery, although Mojo IPA did not become part of the product line until (circa) 2003. Amarillo and Centennial hops; 6.8 abv.

Breckenridge 471 Double IPA
From the Colorado micro’s small batch “471” series, with Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, and Fuggles. 70 IBUs, 9.2% abv.

*Browning’s Harvest Ale
As the program went to press, we learned that the Browning’s brewpub and Park Place restaurant has closed. Initial word from the Browning’s camp is that brewing will continue. Brewer Brian Reymiller says that his Harvest Ale has 7 malts and 7 hops, and was finished with maple syrup. 55 IBUs.

Browning’s She-Devil IPA
Reymiller’s training at Victory Brewing in Pennsylvania undoubtedly contributed to Louisville’s most talked about IPA in recent years … and the main reason why hopheads hope for the brewery’s continued existence.

Clipper City Loose Cannon Hop 3 Ale
Firkin. Taking a cue from Rogue’s I2PA, Hop 3 means “hop cubed.” English Pale, Carapils, and Munich malts provide underpinning, while Magnum, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo and Palisade hops add zest. 7.25% abv.

Crooked Tree Double Crooked Tree IPA
The Michigan microbrewery does it the right way. Everything that goes into its “regular” IPA is doubled, except the water. The result is massive. 13.6% abv.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
At 9% abv and 90 IBUs, it should come as little surprise that a 12-oz serving boasts 294 calories. If that isn’t liquid bread, nothing is.

Founders Centennial IPA
As the name sensibly implies, expect abundant Centennial hops. There is a lower IBU count (48) than you might imagine in what amounts to a veritable “calibration” beer for American-style IPA.

*Founders Harvest Ale
Rave on-line reviews, but as yet, no chance to preview the draft version. I’ll be rectifying that first thing on Friday morning, October 17.

Founders Reds Rye
Ruby-red in color, thanks to four varieties of Belgian caramel malts. Malted rye adds bite. 100% Amarillo hops calculate to 68 IBUs, with 6.4% abv.

Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale
American-style Pale Ale brewed with “wet hops,” scheduled to be kegged in early October and boarding a truck soon after. With luck, we’ll have it ready for pouring by the end of October. Circa 5% abv.

*Left Hand Chainsaw “Double Sawtooth”
At 9% abv, Left Hand’s Chainsaw is the logical enhancement of its everyday Sawtooth. Northern Brewer and East Kent Goldings hops are featured.

NABC Fifth Anniversary
5 MALTS: Maris Otter, 2-row, Caramalt, Aromatic, Special B
5 HOPS: Simcoe, Saaz, Nugget, Galena, Centennial (80 IBUs)
YEAST: House London
Brewed in honor of NABc past, present and future. 5,555 second boil (92:35) and 5 hop additions. 10% abv

NABC Oaked Croupier
Dedicated to the workers at the Caesars Indiana riverboat casino in nearby Harrison County, and aged with oak chips. Circa 7.5% abv.

NABC Oaktimus
Oaktimus begins with Hoptimus, which is brewed with Simpson's Golden Promise malt; Northern Brewer, Fuggles and Cascades hops; and the house London yeast. Dry hopping with Fuggles and Cascades lends a West Coast feel to a powerful 9% double IPA, which we prefer consuming young and fiery, unless it is oak-aged, in which case Hoptimus becomes Oaktimus. It’s a different animal entirely, and as usual, one keg of it won’t last very long.

*New Holland Existential—Ale
The brewery promises “200 pounds per barrel ofAmerican-grown malted barley … 10 hop-strikes, totaling 37 ounces per barrel of American-grown hops.” That’s a start, isn’t it? 25.5 Plato, 10.5% abv.

Oaken Barrel Superfly IPA
Oaken Barrel is located in Greenwood, Indiana, which for us makes it the ideal stop before or after any journey to the state capital. It’s been a while since Superfly came to the Public House, but memories of Cascade goodness linger.

Rogue (John’s Locker Stock) Glen 2008
John Maier’s 4th edition of Glen again boasts Simpson Golden Promise as the base malt. Glen ’008 measures in at an original gravity of 18.1 Plato and 64 IBUs. Hops are Horizon, Simcoe and Amarillo for bittering, and Centennial for aroma.

Rogue (John’s Locker Stock) Double Dead Guy … “D2”
Rogue’s legendary John Maier explains: “D2 is the new reincarnation of our classic Dead Guy Ale. It is mahogany in color. It’s full bodied and has an amazing mid-palate richness of toffee and caramel. The hops are evident also, with just enough to keep the maltiness in check. Malts are 2 row, Munich and C15. Hops (boiling) Cascade, because I was out of Perle; aroma, Crystal (because I was out of sterling). 19.8 Plato; 4.9 Plato T.G.; 50-60 IBUs; circa 10% abv.”

*Schlafly Hop Harvest Ale
Our favorite St. Louis brewing company that isn’t owned by a multi-national Belgo-Brazilian conglomerate dry (wet?) hops this ale with freshly harvested Simcoe hops flown overnight from Hop Union, the famous hop merchant in Yakima, Washington.

*Schlafly India Brown Ale
Very little of this special edition ale made it out of St. Louis, and we saved our keg for Lupulin Land. Schlafly’s Tap Room brewer Brennan crafted India Brown to celebrate his marriage to Natasha. It’s brown in color, but hopped more like an IPA, especially in aroma, as it was dry hopped with Cascade and Willamette. 40 IBUs, 5.2% abv.

Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale
Last year at the ripe age of 27, Sierra Nevada released its Anniversary Ale nationally for the first time. Now it’s back. Two-row Pale, Caramel & Munich malts; Chinook (bittering) and Cascade (finishing and dry-hopping) hops; 46 IBUs and 5.9% abv.

*Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale
As an experiment, Sierra planted its own hop field on the brewery site. The local climate proved ideal, prompting another unique “wet hop” ale brewed with Chinook, Centennial and Cascade.

*Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale
Originally released in May, 2008, and using freshly harvested Pacific Hallertau, Motueka and Southern Cross hops from New Zealand. Consequently, SNSHHA is the first “fresh hop” ale to be available in the USA in spring. 66 IBUs and 6.7% abv.

Sierra Nevada Wet Hop Harvest Ale
Sierra’s pioneering “wet hop” ale, brewed with Centennial and Cascade, first passed the Publican’s lips twelve years ago at a brewers’ reception at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver … and I still look forward to it yearly. 60-65 IBUs and 6.7% abv.

Stone Ruination IPA
It’s time for a reality check when a 7.7% IPA with 100 IBU’s begins to seem meek by comparison to some recent entrants in the ever escalating “IPA multiples” competition … but it’s not passive at all, and not to be confused with fizzy yellow lawnmower beer.

*Three Floyds Alpha Naught
On-line reviews indicate that a previous batch of AN from 2004 leaned more in the direction of Barley Wine. This one, from earlier in 2008, is being described as a hop lover’s Double IPA panacea. We’ll know soon enough. Specs unavailable.

Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA
Different “wet hops” are used in different batches, but as this program went to press, we hadn’t yet determined which variety was used in our allotment. It will be posted when gleaned.

*Victory Hop Wallop
Described by the great PA brewery as its annual homage to hops, with American whole hops and imported German malts suggesting a stepped-up Hop Devil. 8.5% abv.

IMPORTED BEERS

Our seventh assemblage of hop-laden draft beers once again is dominated by American microbrews, although many more hoppy “Old World” beer styles than ever before. Here are four from Belgium ...

*Alvinne Extra
From the 5-barrel brew house at the Picobrouwerij Alvinne near Ingelmunster comes this “restyled” Belgian-style IPA with Chinook and Amarillo hops. 8% abv.

De Ranke XX Bitter
XX’s outspoken importer, Dan Shelton, has the last word: “You might say this beer is Orval with everything turned up to 11, which is exactly what the brewers were seeking.”

*Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
"Hopsinjoor" is a pun for the four different hops used (Golding, Spalt, Hallertau and Saaz) and local Mechelen folklore in the form of the "opsinjoor" character. 8% abv.

Houblon Chouffe
Belgian beers aren’t hoppy? A new generation of Belgians are brewing well outside the stylistic box, and who better to lead the charge than the humble Ardennes gnome?

LINKS AND QUANTITIES

*Allagash Hugh Malone Ale 1/6 barrel
BBC (Main & Clay) Dank IPA (firkin)
Boulder Mojo IPA 1/2 barrel
Breckenridge 471 Double IPA 2 x 1/6 barrel
*Browning’s Brewery Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
Browning’s Brewery She-Devil 1/2 barrel
Clipper City Heavy Seas Hop 3 (firkin)
Crooked Tree Double Crooked Tree IPA 1/6 barrel
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA 1/2 barrel
Founders Centennial IPA 2 x 1/2 barrel
*Founders Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
Founders Red’s Rye 1/2 barrel
Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale
*Left Hand Chainsaw 1/6 barrel
NABC Fifth Anniversary (V) ½ barrel
NABC Oaked Croupier ¼ barrel
NABC Oaktimus 2 x ½ barrel
*New Holland Existential - Ale 1/6 barrel
Oaken Barrel Superfly IPA 1/2 barrel
Rogue “John’s Locker Stock” Double Dead Guy 1/2 barrel
Rogue “John’s Locker Stock” Glen 2 x ½ barrels
*Schlafly Hop Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
*Schlafly India Brown Ale ½ barrel
Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale 2 x ½ barrels
*Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale 1/2 barrels
Sierra Nevada Harvest Wet Hop Ale 2 x ½ barrels
*Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
Stone Ruination IPA 1/2 barrel
*Three Floyds Alpha Naught ½ barrel
Two Brothers Heavy Handed 1/6 barrel
*Victory Hop Wallop 1/2 barrel

*Alvinne Extra 1/6 barrel
De Ranke XX Bitter 30 L
*Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor 2 x 1/6 barrels
Houblon Chouffe 2 x 20 L

Bitter Like Us: 2008 Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming begins this Friday, October 17.

With Fringe Fest put to rest until 2009, I've finally had the time to organize our seventh annual Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming, which rolls out of the gate on Friday, Oct. 17.

As always, the idea is to tap roughly 11 of the kegs at once, then bring on another wave of hop-laden wonders when the first is drained. Prices and pour sizes vary. The opening lineup will be revealed as soon as I decide what it's going to be (i.e., we await a delivery or two).

The basics follow.

The Beers
Here's the place to see what's in store: Updated Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming beer list.

Hand Pull
The Clipper City Hop 3 firkin will lead off on Friday, to be followed when depleted by BBC's Dank IPA at some point next week.

Randallization
Randall the Enamel Animal will be crawling out from his lair to modify a beer, but to be truthful, we haven't decided when this appearance can be expected.

Schlafly Promo
On Monday night, October 20, Scott Shreffler, Nick Vickery, and Kent Householder from Schlafly in St. Louis, MO, will be hosting a Schlafly Promo Night in Prost from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. There will be a drawing every 30 minutes for a bucket of Schlafly merchandise (t-shirt, hat, glassware, keychain, etc.) Schlafly Hop Harvest and India Brown will be on tap. The drawings begin just after 6:00 p.m.

Monday, October 13, 2008

BBC's Kick in the Baltic triumphs at the '08 GABF.

A hearty pat on the back (he'd prefer the rump) goes to Bluegrass Brewing Company's brewer of record at the original Shelbyville Road location.

Jerry Gnagy scored a gold medal at the recently concluded Great American Beer Festival for his Kick in the Baltic Porter, which last appeared at the Public House during the 2008 edition of Gravity Head and was tippled by the Publican on more than one occasion during its run.

It remains a favored beer style of mine, and Jerry's success has me thinking about reviving the NABC version, called Solidarity, which was last brewed too long ago. If we started lagering a batch soon, it'd be perfect for GH '09 (The Liver Olympics).

Here's a piece I wrote from a couple years back that goes into greater depth. When reading, be aware that several of the listed beers no longer are available through legal distribution channels in Indiana. They come, they go.

Baltic, Russian and Ukrainian bottled beer blast: Porter and more.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shocker: Browning’s Restaurant and Brewery is gone.

First, the good news.

Saturday night was the finale of NABC’s first ever Fringe Fest. Our banner facing Spring Street told the story: Live Music, Craft Beer, No Cover!

Close to 20 kegs of beer were vended on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and by the time Sativa Gumbo finished its set early Sunday morning, only Kaiser 2nd Reising remained on tap. Everything else was gone.

However, there was much sadness. My giddiness over Fringe Fest’s success was radically tempered early in the evening as reports continued to come in to the effect that Browning’s Brewery would unexpectedly be closing as of Saturday night.

So it has, according to this somewhat surreal press release, which strangely mixes past and present tenses, and claims victory after acknowledging defeat. What comes next? I'll try to let you know after I learn more this week.

Park Place and Browning's Restaurant to Close This Weekend

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 11, 2008) - - Park Place Restaurant and Browning's Restaurant and Brewery will officially close their doors this Saturday, Oct. 11 after dinner service.

"We have had many years of success," said Susan Friedrich, general manager for both restaurants. "Although we have seen a steady increase in business, we feel the current state of our national economy will prove to prohibit the sustainability of our success. We are extremely grateful to all of our supporters and will miss them at our tables."

Park Place Restaurant received rave reviews after opening in 2004. This fine dining restaurant established itself as one of the city's top tables with farm fresh local ingredients and inventive dishes. Park Place has enjoyed many accolades including awards from AAA, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast.

Browning's Restaurant and Brewery is an upscale gastropub with a similar philosophy of using fresh local ingredients. The brewing facility, housed within the restaurant, produces several brews including She Devil IPA and Bourbon Barrel Stout.

Park Place on Main and Browning's are located at 401 E. Main Street.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fringe Fest and Harvest Homecoming views from Friday.

We're trying to have things rolling by 12 Noon today. To be honest, I've not had time to organize the cheese tasting, so Sam -- if you're reading this -- it may be the two of us having a nice lunch.




Not to forget the other venues around downtown ... the Windsor's nice patio bar, pork chops, and the reopening of Connor's Place.




Thanks again to all the visitors the past two nights, especially those who've said to me, "Finally, a reason to hang out at Harvest Homecoming." That means a lot to all of us at NABC.

Friday, October 10, 2008

NABC Fringe Fest underway ... prime time today and tomorrow.

NABC's first ever Fringe Fest got underway Thursday afternoon, and we're quite happy with the turnout on opening night. Given the perfect weather, all of New Albany's annual Harvest Homecoming celebration seemed to be thriving on what normally would be a slower day.

Local readers should note that Dave Himmel's bar, Connor's Place, has reopened on Market Street opposite his Fish House. I'll try to swing by and snap a few digitals later today. The Windsor also has a nice set-up both inside the courtyard and outside in a tent. I wasn't able to make it past Studio's yesterday, but I'm sure Trish has something special happening during Harvest Homecoming. And, on State Street, the Speakeasy is open during the fest, too.





Thanks to everyone who came out last evening. We're back in action today at 1:00 p.m.

See this posting at NAC for the topic of the day: A year later ...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

In LEO this week: "Bar Belle vs. Mr. Mug Shots" (an NABC Fringe Fest preview).

After following the link and reading my sassy answers to Sara's sassy questions about Fringe Fest (starts this afternoon!), check out the Louisville Eccentric Observer's (LEO) updated web site.

Bar Belle vs. Mr. Mug Shots

The New Albanian Brewing Co. is hosting the Fringe Fest this weekend (Oct. 9-11) at the new Bank Street Brewhouse in New Albany. Mr. Mug Shots Roger Baylor agreed to answer a few questions.

Meanwhile, everything's shaping up for Fringe Fest. We've had the expected musical cancellation or two -- Roz Tate (death in the family) and Social Ties Denied (unexpected defection in the band family) are the two that spring to mind. We'll all be thinking of you, Roz.

Entrance to Fringe Fest is gratis, but remember that it's 21 and over only. We open the gates whenever the beer trailer comes on Thursday, then circa 1 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the music starts around 5 p.m., although earlier on Friday. It's Harvest Homecoming, so parking's always a full-contact sport ... beware of restrictions that may be posted in pencil on cardboard and duct-taped to a utility pole.

Here's the updated scoop on NABC's Fringe Fest ... beer, music, film, art and “Harvest Culture on the Skids.”

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

October FOSSILS meeting preview: Brew-in and officer elections on October 18.

The FOSSILS homebrewing and beer appreciation club has moved its next meeting to Saturday, October 18. Here is information on the meeting, brew-in and election of officers on the 18th at Riley Ridge.

----

I just wanted to remind you to mark your calendars for the brew-in. We will have signs for where to park. John will make an Oktoberfest beer for the class demonstration, and there will be a 10% discount on all beer kits for this day only.

Come meet the FOSSILS group and other all-grain brewers. There will be snacks and food, so come enjoy the day. The brew-in and class starts at 10 a.m., with the FOSSILS meeting from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to cast your vote for new officers. Feel free to come and go as you please.

Enjoy the fall weather and happy brewing!

Becky Riley
Riley Ridge Supplies LLC
6335 Riley Ridge Road
Lanesville, Indiana, 47136

Phone: 812-952-2121

Driving directions to 6335 Riley Ridge Rd, Lanesville, IN 47136, from Interstate 265:

11.7 mi – about 20 mins … New Albany, IN 47150

1. Head west on I-265 to I-64
2. Take exit to I-64 W toward St Louis 0.5 mi
3. Merge onto I-64 W 3.2 mi
4. Take Georgetown exit 118 0.3 mi
5. Continue straight 36 ft (funny one Google!)
6. Turn left at IN-64/State Rd 62
7. Continue on IN-62 1.4 mi
8. Bear to left onto IN-11 1.5 mi
9. Turn left at Riley Ridge Rd 0.5 mi
Destination will be on the right

6335 Riley Ridge Rd., Lanesville, IN 47136

Monday, October 06, 2008

The October calendar groans with NABC beer events.

My vacation ended on October 2, and following the requisite period of mourning, I began calculating the extent of the work to come this month. Here’s an update.

First, one that already has passed. The annual Curmudgeon household party on the occasion of New Albany’s Harvest Homecoming parade (October 4) was a success, albeit scaled down from previous years. There’ll be more grandiosity next year, although it can never be a bad thing when your guests consume 30 liters of Monk’s CafĂ© Sour Flemish Red Ale and barely touch the accompanying draft choices, Pilsner Urquell and Sierra Nevada Wet Hop Harvest Ale. Thanks to Kevin for the White Castle breakfast buffet, Buddy for the fried chicken and fixings, Lloyd for the scrumptious deviled eggs and everyone else who came, contributed and drank good beer on a gorgeous Indian Summer’s day.

On Tuesday, October 7, our neighbor (Ricke & Associates) adjacent to the future Bank Street Brewhouse site is hosting Develop New Albany’s monthly First Tuesday meet ‘n’ greet networking event, and since we’re already erecting a tent and facilities for the Fringe Fest (below), I offered Larry their use for the occasion. For the uninitiated, Develop New Albany is our non-profit Main Street organization dedicated to projects assisting downtown revitalization.

NABC’s first ever Fringe Fest begins on Thursday, October 9. For a variety of reasons, chief among them the finalizing of financing details in an uncertain economic period, progress on the Bank Street Brewhouse has slowed somewhat, but we’re pressing forward, and in the interim we have the use of the parking lot for staging what we hope is a viable popular complement to the traditional Harvest Homecoming proceedings that draw several hundred thousand people to downtown New Albany’s autumn festival. A complete overview is to be found here: Here's the updated scoop on NABC's Fringe Fest ... beer, music, film, art and “Harvest Culture on the Skids.”

Finally, to complete the first half of October, the seventh edition of Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming rolls out on Friday, October 17. Lupulin Land is our annual paean to the magic cone, and a local holiday of sorts for hop lovers. The international contingent is down this year, but the American craft beer side of the ledger looks strong. There’ll be kegs, firkins, an appearance by Randall the Enamel Animal, and enough IBUs to last a couple of weeks. Check out the evolving lineup here: Updated Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming beer list.

There are many more beery events coming later this fall:

October 25 (Friday):
NABC beer bash at the Monkey Wrench in Louisville

October 29 (Tuesday):
Chimay 25th Anniversary (since importing to America began) tasting at the Public House

November 4 (Tuesday):
Election/Elector Day NABC logo glass giveaway after the polls close

November 14 (Friday):
Dogfish Head Hootenany at the Public House

December 12 (Friday):
Saturnalia Winter Solstice draft festival begins at the Public House

Stay tuned for details, and cue the paper hanger jokes. I'm tired already, and my liver is currently unavailable for comment.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Updated Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming beer list.

Updated on Wednesday, October 15

The Lupulin Land Harvest Hopcoming beer list continues to evolve. Here's an accounting as of Sunday, October 5. Bear in mind that there will be representation from stalwarts like Dogfish Head, Stone and Victory; the nets are still out, and we'll see what comes in.

Accordingly, this link will be updated periodically as we approach opening night on Friday, October 17.

A * indicates that according to my shaky memory, we haven't had it on tap previously.

American Craft Microbrews
*Allagash Hugh Malone Ale 1/6 barrel
BBC (Main & Clay) Dank IPA (firkin)
Boulder Mojo IPA 1/2 barrel
Breckenridge 471 Double IPA 2 x 1/6 barrel
*Browning’s Brewery Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
Browning’s Brewery She-Devil 1/2 barrel
Clipper City Heavy Seas Hop 3 (firkin)
Crooked Tree Double Crooked Tree IPA 1/6 barrel
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA 1/2 barrel
Founders Centennial IPA 2 x 1/2 barrel
*Founders Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
Founders Red’s Rye 1/2 barrel
Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale
*Left Hand Chainsaw 1/6 barrel
NABC Fifth Anniversary (V) ½ barrel
NABC Oaked Croupier ¼ barrel
NABC Oaktimus 2 x ½ barrel
*New Holland Existential - Ale 1/6 barrel
Oaken Barrel Superfly IPA 1/2 barrel
Rogue “John’s Locker Stock” Double Dead Guy 1/2 barrel
Rogue “John’s Locker Stock” Glen 2 x ½ barrels
*Schlafly Hop Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
*Schlafly India Brown Ale ½ barrel
Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale 2 x ½ barrels
*Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale 1/2 barrels
Sierra Nevada Harvest Wet Hop Ale 2 x ½ barrels
*Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale 1/2 barrel
Stone Ruination IPA 1/2 barrel
*Three Floyds Alpha Naught ½ barrel
Two Brothers Heavy Handed 1/6 barrel
*Victory Hop Wallop 1/2 barrel

Imports (all from Belgium)
*Alvinne Extra 1/6 barrel
De Ranke XX Bitter 30 L
*Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor 2 x 1/6 barrels
Houblon Chouffe 2 x 20 L

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Here's the updated scoop on NABC's Fringe Fest ... beer, music, film, art and “Harvest Culture on the Skids.”


NABC Fringe Fest 2008
“Harvest Culture on the Skids”
Beer, Music, Film, Art
October 9, 10, 11

The New Albanian Brewing Company offers an alternative perspective on the general theme of “harvest homecoming” with its first annual Fringe Fest, which will take place from October 9th through October 11th under the big top (well, a tent, at least) in the parking lot adjacent to the future Bank Street Brewhouse at 415 Bank Street in downtown New Albany. Work on the Brewhouse proceeds, with projected opening during the winter of 2008/09.

This year’s Fringe Fest theme is “Harvest Culture on the Skids”, and will feature NABC craft beer, a myriad of musical performances, a selection of films, local art, and various other attractions and frivolity.

There’ll be two special NABC ales for the occasion: The resurrection of Tunnel Vision, co-owner Amy Baylor’s original homebrew recipe as formulated by NABC’s brewer, Jesse Williams, and also the new Wet Knob Hop Harvest Ale, brewed in part with fresh hops from Floyds Knobs. Other NABC beers slated for inclusion are Kaiser 2nd Reising, Community Dark, and Bob’s Old 15-B, with others appearing periodically depending on our cellar’s yield.

Please note that while the NABC Fringe Fest is running concurrently with New Albany’s annual Harvest Homecoming event, and “Harvest Culture On the Skids” might aptly be described as an “autumnal inspiration”, our festival is neither a “sponsored” nor a “hosted” Harvest Homecoming function, which are detailed at the Harvest Homecoming web site: http://www.harvesthomecoming.com/

See below for the complete Fringe Fest schedule and entertainment listings, and don’t forget that NABC Fringe Fest is a 21-years-and-over celebration. You must be able to prove your age to enter and partake of the fun. Keep it clean, and have a designated driver. See you there!

***THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9***

5:00-9:00 pm … Music
Rebecca Williams
Old Man
The Fervor

9:00-11:00 pm … Louisville Film Society
16mm shorts, independent films and other oddities

***FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10 ***

5:00-1:00 pm … Music
Ben Traughber
River Rat String Band
Social Ties Denied (from Indianapolis)
National Hotel

Also Flaming Hula Hoop Performances after dark, between sets.

***SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11: ***

1:00-1:00 … Music
Interstates
Venus Trap
Luke Asher
J.Glenn
Yuki (from Indianapolis)
Sativa Gumbo (NABC brewer Jared Williamson's band)

Also Flaming Hula Hoop Performances after dark, between sets.

2:00 pm
Beer 101 with Roger Baylor, followed by a Capriole Goat Cheeses
and NABC beer pairing. Ticket details coming soon.

2:00-9:00 pm
The Derby City Roller Girls will perform between sets and canvass Harvest Homecoming with signs and a bullhorn in their inimitable style.

***OTHER STUFF: ***

There’ll be an Art Show in the future Bank Street Brewhouse taproom from 5-10 pm Thursday and Friday, and noon-10 pm Saturday, and a Free Store in the future kitchen area.

Our friend Bob Capshew's sweet cider will be available as a fresh, local non-alcoholic alternative beverage. The sweet cider is unpasteurized, unfiltered and made from local (Clark, Floyd, Harrison and Washington counties) apples and pears. It is truly a genuine "slow food."

Our friend Pete Lyons of Digital Resource in downtown New Albany will be cooking burgers (both meat and tofu) and brats all three days.

The Louisville Photographic Booth Company will have its booth set up for free photos Thursday and Friday from 5-10 pm.

Inevitably, there will be more, so stay tuned.

Friday, October 03, 2008

4th annual PC HH parade party is tomorrow.

Tomorrow (Saturday, October 4) is the annual Harvest Homecoming parade, and accordingly, tomorrow is the annual parade viewing party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Curmudgeon.

As noted earlier this week, there’ll be craft beer and a place to watch the parade, which will include NABC representation for the very first time in the form of the fire truck we used for the St. Paddy’s Day parade in Louisville last spring. I won’t have time to cook this year, so bring beer snacks and we’ll improvise. Someone should warn Hing Wang (or La Rosita's) to stock up.

If readers are in the neighborhood before (11:00 am) during and after the parade (until circa 7:00 pm), feel free to drop in, say hello and have a beer. On the draft lineup is Pilsner Urquell, Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red, and Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale.

Hope to see some of you tomorrow.

The new, expanded Keg Liquors is coming this Monday, October 6.

Shamelessly cribbed from owner Todd Antz's MySpace blog. Suffice to say, we've all been looking forward to this one.




I am proud to announce the informal opening of the new Keg Liquors on October 6th. Same address, new building. For the past 5 months, we have been working on our new facility, a brand spanking new building on our existing property in Clarksville.

There is something to be said about having two buildings on a lot that really only fits one. Along the way we have managed to tear up a parking lot, hold our annual beer festival, answer untold questions as to what was going on in our parking lot (I could probably come up with a top 25 list of the best comments/questions asked over this time period, as well as my personal top 25 responses) and maintaining our business.

We are nearing the completion of a 5000 square foot building, an upgrade from our existing 2700 square foot, 40 year old building, so we are nearly doubling our space. What does this mean for our customers? As anyone who has done business with me over the past 4 years that I have been running the store, selection has been my hallmark. While I will carry the basics that any liquor store will need, my niche has always been those products that you will not find in most other retailers.

My passion is beer, specifically craft and import beers. I've been able to carve a nice niche and build a very respectable collection of beers, and to me the important part of this is also being able to pass the knowledge and love of these products along. My secondary passion is great wines. While I will confess that my beer knowledge is 100 times what my wine knowledge is, I have focused our wine selection on smaller boutique distributors that do not cater to grocery stores, chains, drug stores, ect. Quite like my stance on beer, you will find a few of the basics, but 90% of what I carry you will not find in most stores in the area.

This holds somewhat true for liquor as well, but honestly, there are not as many niche products in the liquor industry, but I think we have built a respectable bourbon category, as well as specialty liqueurs.

So back to my original question, what does this mean for our customers? Simply put, more. More selections, more space, more events like tastings, bottle signings, etc. Put what we have been doing into a new facility, and it changes the whole dynamic. Not so much of what we have been doing, but where we have been doing it. Better lighting, better atmosphere, more room, but the same quality, knowledge and customer service that you have received in the past.

We've added onto our walk in cooler space, increasing it from 12 doors to 22 doors dedicated to beer. We've increased our cold wine space to 6 doors. We added more square footage for wine, liquor and warm beer. We've added considerable space to hold our tastings and events.

While we are not 100% complete on Monday, we will be operational in the new building. Our plans are to clear out our old building and once that is done, we will level it and make that our new parking area. Once this is done, we plan on holding our true grand opening celebration to truly welcome everyone into our new store, and if nothing, help me get over the past 6 months of construction. After all, I'm just liquor store owner who moonlighted as a general contractor. Stop in and check us out.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wetting a line.

I must confess that I've been too busy and preoccupied this year to have sufficient time for composing the screeds that formerly defined my existence as a beer writer of sorts. This is a matter of regret, but sometimes life intrudes.

On a good day, I'm still capable of poking sticks though the bars of the American swill asylum, as with this week's Louisville Eccentric Observer column: Mug Shots: The Bud Isn't Your Buddy.

Yes, I realize that lobbing potshots at Budweiser is like shooting benumbed fish in a barrel, but the reason I persist in doing it is to watch the reaction ... and, inevitably, there is a reaction, although sometimes it takes a while. Usually the reaction resembles the same type of graceless, ham-fisted extortion that has played such an important part in the American icon's business model for the past century.

In a society that presumably values free expression, should A-B's unhappiness about words written in a newspaper column be conveyed in any way other than words of the company's own expressing a contrary point of view, with readers left to decide on their own?

I possess no information to suggest that anyone connected with A-B has ever read anything I've ever written or cares if they have. But for better or worse, I don't trust 'em. Consider yesterday's column a curmudgeon's fishing expedition. We'll see if there were any nibbles.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rich O's/NABC and the LEO Readers' Choice winners: Best Beer List, and ...

Look, we all know that reader polls are, shall we say, unscientific. They're fun, and also wonderfully stuffable, usually at the urging of the bartendress whose bra isn't. I don't take them too seriously apart from passing annoyance (can a brewpub with 10 taps ever have a better beer list than what I've offered for the past decade?), although at times they might prove useful while composing advertising copy ... which we tend not to purchase.

Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO), for whom I write twice monthly columns, released the results of its annual Readers' Choice poll while I was in Europe. This one is hard to fathom:

Best Restaurant Overall (S. Indiana)
1) Rocky’s
2) Rich O’s
3) La Rosita

This one is precisely as it should be, but occasionally has not been in recent years:

Best Beer List
1) Rich O’s
2) Flanagan’s Ale House
3) Old Chicago

One can at least make a case for all three of the "best beer list" finalists, especially Flanagan's. As for the "best restaurant" voting, while flattered at the inclusion, I don't think we're even the best in New Albany. Call it a beer list effect if you will. La Rosita's is a phenomenon of rare excellence, and Jeffersonville's Come Back Inn does better job than Rocky's, at least in my opinion, although the latter's post position on the Ohio may have influenced the voting.