Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two most recent "Mug Shots" in LEO: A Louisville area year in review.

For those just tuning in, the Curmudgeon writes 700-word beer colums every two weeks for the Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO). If memory serves, the column originated in 2007, beginning with 300 words, and later being upped to 700. Then, as now, these alternate with Sara Havens' "The Bar Belle."

The final two contributions from 2009 are below. They survey the Louisville beer scene as we head into what I'm sure will be a another remarkable year in beer.

December 23: Mug Shots: The most divine of 2009

December 9: Mug Shots: Year of the good beer

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rep. Baron Hill joins the Small Brewers Caucus.

A couple months ago, I took my cue from the Brewers Association and asked my 9th District Congressman to join the Small Brewers Caucus. Here's Rep. Baron Hill's positive response.


December 17, 2009

Dear Mr. Baylor,

Thank you for contacting me about the Small Brewers Caucus. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter.

I'm happy to report that I have recently joined the ranks of the Small Brewers Caucus. I appreciate that small brewers often drive innovation by experimenting with new and creative products. As a former small businessman, I understand the unique challenges that different business models face. With several breweries in my district, I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about the variety of issues facing small brewers. I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind as issues that relate to small brewers come before Congress.

Thank you again for contacting me about the Small Brewers Caucus. Please feel free to call me at 202.225.5315 if you have any further questions or comments. If you would like to receive a copy of my periodic email updates on my Congressional activities, please visit my
web site.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anstich today, tomorrow and next Wednesday. Previews here and now.

Apologies for being busy on Thursday and unable to preview the Anstich keg from Lang-Bräu. It turned out to be another inexplicable fill – not Märzen at all, but soft and golden, with enough hop to suggest Pils, not enough to conjure Keller, and in the end, likely a Vollbier/Helles from the countryside.

Today it’s Günther-Bräu, and tomorrow, Weissenohe Monk’s Fest.

The final Anstich keg from the current shipment will pour next week on Wednesday, December 23. It’s Weissenohe Monk’s Christmas beer (see links below).

To briefly recap, Franconian gravity pour (Anstich) mania grips the Public House each time Mike and Jared tap one of these special 20-liter beauties. That means 40 half-liter pours and out, at the fair price of $5 each. The present allotment was intended to be composed of Märzens, and mostly has been. All so far have been superbly conditioned and delicious, with my pick for best being last Friday’s Rothenbach.

Brewery website
Dan Shelton's note: "In little Burgkunstadt, just outside of Kulmbach, in Upper Franconia, this is one of three small family-owned brewpubs in a town of a few hundred people. Makes only 6000 hectoliters a year. Founded in 1840."

Klosterbrauerei Weißenohe
Brewery website
From the Shelton Brothers site: "Due to a severe and chronic monk shortage, and the steady advance of secularization all over Europe, most monasteries in Germany have been given over to private families. It happened at Weissenohe in 1803. The Winkler family that assumed the monastery and the grounds at Weissenohe has maintained the chapel and the brewery (and added a typical guesthouse eatery). Today, there are still services in the chapel, and Urban Winkler, who represents the youngest generation in a line of family brewers, still makes beer in the traditional way."

Saturday, December 19: Weißenoher Monk’s Fest
Wednesday, December 23: Weißenoher Monk’s Christmas

Weissenohe Monk’s Fest

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NABC Solidarity with meat-laden pizza, tonight at BoomBozz.

NABC Solidarity will be tapped at BoomBozz Taphouse tonight (Wednesday, December 16), and my thoughts have turned to pizza options to accompany my jar.

Currently personal tastes are running toward garlic cream sauce, bacon, anchovies and prosciutto. That's because Baltic Porters typically like meat, and the more strongly flavored flesh, the better. If BoomBozz had duck or venison on the menu, I'd try them. However, it's a gourmet pizza menu, which does just fine by me, and choices need not be restricted to meat.

I believe that our Solidarity can be taught to co-exist quite well with garlic, so I may add fresh garlic to the pie, too.

Cabbage roll pizza, anyone?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Not AGAIN: Yes, this year's gathering of the Pants Down Potluck Port Drinkers Circle will be Monday, December 28.

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

As before, the port tasters will be imbibing in the Prost banquet and special events wing of Rich O's Public House/NABC. Starting time is 7:00 p.m.

Last year's gathering was especially memorable, wasn't it? Come to think of it, I can't remember. I feel cheated somehow, even deprived, but it will be an even less memorable port tasting for me in 2009, because I will not be in attendance. This necessary absence owes to vacation. Sorry, I'll have to make do with beer in Bamberg.

Your genial host in 2009 will be my usual co-conspirator, Tim Eads, who missed the 2008 gathering. Funny how this seems to be working out, isn't it?

The plan this year is to have a server on duty in Prost to handle needs not related to the port and snacks brought by participants, including serving food and other beverages, and helping with the clean-up afterwards. For those planning on dining at the Public House prior to the port tasting's commencement, we'll try to have our server ready at 6:00 p.m., and you can set up camp in Prost at that time.

Your only requirement as a group is to ensure a proper gratuity. Tim will be reminding you of this.

As always, the 2009 tasting is open to all comers, with no cover or minimum, but with the only firm requirement being that participants bring a bottle of Port and a snack (cheese, salami, olives or other munchables) to the gathering. Since I will not be present this year, the "fine cigar for the hosting Publican" option is not available. Recall also that Prost is smoke-free, and you'll be forced to retreat to the bar for the consolations of tobacco.

Coverage from stellar events the last four years can be viewed here:

2008: Reminder: Pants Down Potluck Port Drinkers Circle, tonight.

2007: This year's gathering of the Pants Down Potluck Port Drinkers Circle will be Thursday, December 27.

2006: Pants Down Port Drinkers on December 28: A recap.

2005: Port wine is a holiday tradition.

Briefly googling in preparation, we find:

Into Wine: Enjoying Port
The Vintage Port Site (operated by the Symington Family Port Companies)

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

There's a newer edition available, and I've spotted it recently at Destinations Booksellers in New Albany.

Here's a capsule description:

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

Public House: Anstich keg schedule for this week and next.

Here's the schedule for the final four Anstich kegs from the current batch. There's be more information later in the week; for now, know that they're usually tapped around lunchtime, and often depleted by early evening, so plan accordingly if you want to be sure of getting a taste.

Lang-Bräu on Thur., Dec. 17
Günther-Bräu on Fri., Dec. 18
Weissenohe Monk’s Fest on Sat., Dec. 19
Weissenohe Christmas on Wed., Dec. 23

NABC Solidarity will be tapped at BoomBozz Taphouse on Wednesday, December 16.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today's Anstich keg at the Public House: Hartmann Märzen ... plus, today's NABC events.

Friday's Anstich (gravity pour) keg of Rothenbach Märzen made the game worth the flame, because it was wonderful. Firmly amber in hue, verging on brown, with rich, old-fashioned malt character verging on nutty; the palate was clean, with just a bit of the expected "noble" German hop character, and overall, balanced and poundable.

Very impressive, and the crowd agreed: 40 half-liters were gone at 4:37 p.m., a new record.

Today (Saturday) the last of the week's three Anstich kegs goes on tap around lunchtime at the Public House: Hartmann Märzen. Here are brewery notes from the importer, Dan Shelton:

A small inn and brewpub, founded in 1550, right on the narrow winding highway that runs parallel to the new A70, about 20 kilometers out of Bamberg, Upper Franconia. They make 15,000 hectoliters, all consumed locally, in the Franconian way. They have a wide range. For what it's worth, this is 3 Fonteinen brewer Armand Debelder's favorite place when he visits from Belgium, and its beers are the main inspiration for his Beersel Lager.

Hartmann's web site is in English, and RateBeer offers its usual compendium of information.

On Thursday and Friday, I whetted my appetite for fresh Franconian lager by bicycling to the Public House, but not today. I'll be at Liquor Barn Springhurst from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to conduct a seminar on "Porters: A History of the Style," followed by a fine cigar and NABC draft beer at Youngstown Cigar Shop at its Holiday Open House: Not two, but five NABC beers on tap at today's Youngstown Cigar Shop open house!

If there's any Anstich remaining after 6:00 p.m., I'll be at the Public House to sample. If you get to it first ... let us know about it!

Not two, but five NABC beers on tap at today's Youngstown Cigar Shop open house!

Previously I gave you the scoop on today's event at Youngstown Cigar Shop: Smoke 'em if you've got 'em: NABC on tap at Youngstown Cigar Shop's cafe.

There's a new twist for the Holiday Open House, which runs today from noon to 6:00 p.m. at Mike Stephens' establishment. In addition to the planned kegs of Elector and Hoptimus, there also will be a bracing trio of NABC seasonals: ConeSmoker, Naughty Claus and Solidarity.

As Webmaster Michael reminds us: "Representatives of the NABC will be dropping in throughout the afternoon to show their support, sample the merchandise and enjoy a little cigar and beer talk."

John Campbell and I should be there around 4:30 p.m., following the conclusion of our gig in Louisville: "Porters: A History of the Style," with the Publican at Liquor Barn Springhurst, Saturday, December 12.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Today's Anstich keg at the Public House: Rothenbach Märzen.

It proved to be somewhat of a surprise yesterday when Jeremy, our day man at the Public House, leaned over and began pouring a glass of Ahornberger from the Anstich keg.

It had been billed as a Märzen, and described as "malty, hoppy, and dark." One out of three isn't bad; the liquid filling my glass was straw golden in color and not at all overtly hoppy. It was soft and malty, and given the Bavarian habit in recent years to brew ever less colorful Märzens, perhaps still somewhere in that category, albeit tenuously.

However, as good as it tasted -- fresh, perfectly conditioned and perfect for kocking back a few if there'd been time -- it was not what we'd been led to believe. Later in the evening, Matt Dinges of Shelton Brothers confirmed that he'd received a similar comment from another account, and would look into it.

Reading between the lines, it would appear that the Shelton shipments of Anstich kegs are being sourced in the Franconian field, as it were, by Herr Winkler of the Weissenohe brewery. The batch we're pouring now was sent with only numbers on the kegs, a (hopefully) matching list, and brief descriptions of "amber" or "dark." There certainly is room for discrepancies in the system, and I'm sure Shelton will rectify any that appear ... like yesterday's golden dark beer.

Meanwhile, it's another day, and time for the next Anstich: Rothenbach Märzen. Here are the importer Dan Shelton's notes:

Founded in 1886; makes 15,000 hectoliters a year. Yet another family-owned brewpub, a picturesque place in the tiny town of Aufsess, in the Fränkische Schweiz -- the Franconian Switzerland. (There's nothing at all like the Alps here, so the name is a little over-blown.) We've never had the Märzen, which is highly recommended by our Franconian connection at the monastery brewery in Weissenohe.

Here are links to the Rothenbach web site (in German), and RateBeer's compendium of Rothenbach brands.

I'm biking to the Public House now for a quick quality control sample, and will revise this post if new information surfaces.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today: Franconian Anstich (gravity pour) mania returns to the Public House.

Franconian Anstich (gravity pour) mania returns to the Public House this afternoon with Märzen from Ahornberger. That means 40 half-liter pours and out, at the fair price of $5 each. Märzens from Rothenbach and Hartmann will be tapped tomorrow and Saturday, respectively.

Anstich kegs are back! Six more Franconians are making their way to the Public House.

Yesterday, while at the Cavalier warehouse in Indianapolis, we determined that actually there will be seven gravity-pour Anstich kegs, not six, during the current round. The seventh turns out to be Klosterbrauerei Weissenohe's Christmas lager. There will be time to revise the tapping schedule for next week, but since this week's selections already have been delivered, we'll stick with the Ahornberger today.

Dan Shelton describes it like this:

They do a bunch of seasonal variations on their basic Landbier ('country beer'), including the Märzen, which is described as malty, hoppy, and dark.

Here are links to the Ahornberger Landbrauerei web site (in German), and RateBeer's compendium of Ahornberger brands. I'm headed to the Public House now for a quick quality control sample.

Wednesday's Hoptimus tapping at Barley Island's new Broad Ripple taproom.

As many of you already know, John Campbell, Josh Hill and the Publican ventured to Indianapolis for an NABC sales day on Wednesday, December 9, leading up to the unveiling of Hoptimus at Barley Island Broad Ripple at 6:00 p.m.

A long day spent with Mat Gerdenich and the Cavalier crew had me losing my voice (and much of my liver) even before the headline event began, but that's show biz.

After a caffeine-fueled morning tour of the Cavalier warehouse, culminating in Mark Kocher and I transcribing a shipment of Anstich kegs, John and Josh departed with Cavalier's Greg Blackman. Mat and I started our day at Spencer's Stadium Tavern, where we were shown an incredible collection of antique cans, many unopened, in the cellar.

We then lunched at Dick's Bodacious BBQ downtown, and I confirmed that 15-B Porter and pulled pork work very well together.

Next, there was a stop at the new Sun King brewery and taproom (also downtown) to chat with Indy brewing stalwarts Dave Colt and (briefly) Clay Robinson. Look for Sun King to randomly pour at the Public House early in 2010, and for their Imperial Cream Ale to appear at Gravity Head.

After a pause for breath, a drive to Zionsville followed, and I enjoyed a fun conversation with Patrick of Patrick's Kitchen & Drinks, where Elector is on tap. I've not met Patrick, but we go way back, because during a stint as general manager at the Bloomington Brewing Company, he observed the villainy of NABC's ouster by the monopolistic fascists at the Big Red Liquors festival on April 10, 2003.

After that, Mat navigated the icy squalls to Broad Ripple, and we embarked upon a visit to the Corner Wine Bar/Wellington's (Beak's Best soon will be on tap in the cozy confines of the latter), and rejoined the joint sales team at Chumley's Beer House, where many excellent beers currently are on tap, displacing the golden lagers that once were the norm.

Finally, it was a short stumble to Barley Island Broad Ripple, and a shiny Hoptimus pressed into my hand before I had the chance to shed my jacket.

That's efficient service in my book, and you'd forget your hop additions, too, if you'd been through my various opening acts (and pints) that I did.

We appreciate Jeff Eaton and the BIBR team's efforts, and it was wonderful to see Tom, Veronica, Joe, Rita, the Involuntary's, and the entire Indianapolis craft beer community, from which so many braved the elements to absorb hops intravenously.

Straight from the Hoosier Beer Geek crew, who were out in force, photos of the evening can be viewed here.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Beer Event Watch: "Porters: A History of the Style," with the Publican at Liquor Barn Springhurst, Saturday, December 12.

From Drew Johnson, beer manager for Louisville's Liquor Barn. Apologies to those who went to the Irish Rover last night expecting to see me; something about well-laid plans going awry. I'll definitely be teaching the class described below.


This Saturday, December 12th, from 2-4pm at Liquor Barn Springhurst we are
having Roger Baylor, owner of the New Albanian Brewing Company, here to do
a special tasting for you, our customers.

Roger will be teaching a class on: "Porters: A History of the Style." We will be sampling the New Albanian Old 15-B Porter as well as their new seasonal Solidarity.

Solidarity is a small batch Baltic Porter (8.5% abv). Liquor Barn was lucky enough to receive only one of five kegs distributed to Louisville. Once it is gone it will not be available until next fall!

In addition to the two NABC Porters, Roger has hand selected several other Porters to fit in with our category discussion. We will be tasting the following Porters in this progression:

Fuller's London Porter
New Albanian 15-B Porter
New Albanian Solidarity
Stone Smoked Porter
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter

Liquor Barn will be charging $5 for this class. Each cutomer will receive a 4oz sample of each beer as well as several cheese samples to cleanse your palate and some local Blue Dog Bread.

This tasting will take place in our educational center located in the front of the store. Space is limited, so do not miss out on this great opportunity. If you wish to pre-pay for your ticket please ask for a manager or a member of the beer department to ring you up. Hold on to your receipt, as it is your ticket to the tasting.

We will also have some New Albanian 1/2 gallon growlers on hand for people who wish to purchase any of the NABC beers on-tap. There will be a special discount for customers who attend the class.


Drew Johnson
Louisville Beer Manager
Liquor Barn

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Anstich kegs are back! Six more Franconians are making their way to the Public House.

The afternoon was spent researching the latest shipment of Anstich kegs from Shelton Brothers, which Cavalier Distributing in Indianapolis will be conveying to the Public House in time for pouring on Thursday, December 10.

If you’re just joining us, we had riotous fun in September and October during NABC’s Sandkerwa NA, an annual celebration of the Franconian brewing ethos. Our homage was immeasurably enhanced by the Shelton Brothers importing company, which has begun importing rare Franconian lagers in 20-liter, "Anstich" kegs. One after the other, the kegs comprising the first batch were drained, and we simply had a marvelous time drinking them.

These are gravity-feed kegs with no CO2 used to push the beer. Just as in Franconia, we set an Anstich keg on the counter behind the bar, punch a hole in the top, and use a rubber mallet to insert a tap at the bottom. Once tapped, the 40 half-liter glasses of beer therein must be consumed forthwith, or the remainder will go flat. Because of this, we'll again be selling these special beers at a special price: $5.00 per half liter.

Each of the six Anstich kegs we’re purchasing is described as Märzen, so I’ve included only the brewery’s name in the tentative schedule that follows (except for Weissenohe Monk’s Fest, which we had previously on CO2 pour).

Following the tapping schedule are excerpts from the importer Dan Shelton’s notes on the beers, which provide basic information on the breweries and their beers. I now understand that Shelton works with Urban Winkler of the Weissenohe brewery to source these great beers, and my thanks go to him, Dan Shelton, Matt Dinges and everyone else who are making these shipments possible. It's been my favorite new development in a year packed with them.

Ahornberger on Thur., Dec. 10
Rothenbach on Fri., Dec. 11
Hartmann on Sat., Dec. 12

Then, later:

Lang-Bräu on Fri., Dec. 18
Günther-Bräu on Sat., Dec. 19
Weissenohe on Wed., Dec. 23

Brauerei Strössner, founded in 1739 in Ahornberg, is a good-sized family-owned brewery making 80,000 hectoliters a year. It is located in the far north of Franconia, north and east of Kulmbach. They do a bunch of seasonal variations on their basic Landbier ('country beer'), including the Märzen, which is described as malty, hoppy, and dark.

Founded in 1886; makes 15,000 hectoliters a year. Yet another family-owned brewpub, a picturesque place in the tiny town of Aufsess, in the Fränkische Schweiz -- the Franconian Switzerland. (There's nothing at all like the Alps here, so the name is a little over-blown.) The beers tend to be very solid, if perhaps uninspired here, but we've never had the Märzen, which is highly recommended by our Franconian connection at the monastery brewery in Weissenohe.

A small inn and brewpub, founded in 1550, right on the narrow winding highway that runs parallel to the new A70, about 20 kilometers out of Bamberg, Upper Franconia. They make 15,000 hectoliters, all consumed locally, in the Franconian way. They have a wide range. For what it's worth, this is 3 Fonteinen brewer Armand Debelder's favorite place when he visits from Belgium, and its beers are the main inspiration for his Beersel Lager.

In little Burgkunstadt, just outside of Kulmbach, in Upper Franconia, this is one of three small family-owned brewpubs in a town of a few hundred people. Makes only 6000 hectoliters a year. Founded in 1840.

A small but ambitious brewpub in a very tiny village in the far east of Upper Franconia, founded in 1853. Makes 15,000 hectoliters a year. For better or worse, they make a very big range. They seem to crave attention, and get it with some gimmicky things like Erotik Bier, with a label that stops just short of being pornographic, and another beer named for the latest Pope, Benediktus XVI. For some reason, they also put the labels on their dark and light wheat beers on upside down. The Märzen label is properly staid.

Weissenohe Monk’s Fest

Rosa is making the rounds.

A quick random note: John's taking Rosa L. Stumblebus, NABC's draft truck, around to several accounts in Louisville. She was parked in front of the Mid City Mall last Saturday for the Valumarket beer fest, and will be in front of the Irish Rover tonight as we conduct Community Dark/Mild Class.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Rover & Mild, tomorrow night.

I'll be at the Irish Rover (2319 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville) on Tuesday night, December 8, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Scotch eggs may be consumed, but the real reason I'm going is to celebrate the presence of NABC's Community Dark on the Rover draft lineup. We're calling the occasion, "Community Dark: A History of Mild," and in addition to our version of dark-colored, light-bodied session ale, John Campbell with have growlers of Bob's Old 15-B and WeeFoot Stout as evidence of the range of other, similarly dark English- and Irish-influenced libations.

Come out to the Rover tomorrow night for a few jars and some beer talk.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Saturnalia MMIX, Day 2: Surveying the weekend's scene.

Saturnalia MMIX got under way yesterday at the Pizzeria & Public House, and I tried to take a nip of most contestants before enjoying a massively fat stogie.

Mike had cellared a keg each of 2008 releases of Three Floyds Alpha Klaus and Delirium Noel, and they are absolutely prime. With both, it seems that a slight oxidization has brought out complex malt flavors reminiscent of brown (or perhaps candi) sugar. Enjoy them before the arc shifts downward. Another favorite Saturnalia tipple of mine is the lone French cider currently on tap: Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut, with an ideal balance of sweetness and dryness.

All opening selections are in good condition, with the starting lineup being one for the lovers of malt among you.

Hopheads note: Sierra Celebration is as good as always, and more Saturnalia-listed hops are on the way in the days to come. Note also that WinterCoat Oatmeal Stout is a regular keg, not a firkin, meaning that there's room for a handpull. We'll check into our stock on Monday and see what's there.

Good news: The latest allotment of Franconian "Anstich" kegs is in Indianapolis, and you'll begin seeing them next Thursday, December 10. As before, we'll probably tap one on Thursday, two on Friday, and one on Saturday.

Bad news: As many as six of the pre-ordered Saturnalia from Shelton Brothers did not arrive, and probably will not. When I receive confirmation from the company, I'll let you know. Numerous other imported Saturnalia beers are scheduled to arrive from B. United International, and as soon as I receive word, it will passed along.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

NABC now on tap at 50 establishments in Indiana and Kentucky.

Earlier this week, and if memory serves, River City Distributing reported that NABC has beer on tap at 31 Louisville establishments (45 taps in all, counting multiple taps in the same place). I count 29 in the list below, but that's close enough.



New Albany and Southern Indiana

I'm showing these locations for NABC draft (13 establishments):

Calumet Club, Connor's Place, Wick's and Windsor (New Albany)

Buckhead Mountain Grill, Come Back Inn, Levee, Rocky's Sub Pub, Youngstown Cigar Shop, Zahn's Pizza (Jeffersonville)

Beef O'Brady's (Floyds Knobs)

Fireside (Sellersburg)

Charlestown Pizza Company (Charlestown)

Remainder of Indiana

I don't have an accurate count from Cavalier Distributing, but we know of two pubs in Muncie and six in and around Indianapolis, so I'll fix this number at 8 draft locations.

Total: 50

Here are the starters for Saturnalia MMIX, with many more to come.

Mike and I have selected the starters for Saturnalia MMIX, which kicks off on Friday, December 4 at 11:00 a.m. at the Pizzeria & Public House.

Download the complete program

Dozens of beers are yet to come, and they'll appear as the first wave recedes. Roughly two-thirds of the imports are in transit, and we'll just have to wait and see. Higher gravity latecomers might be shifted to Gravity Head duty. All in all, Saturnalia beers will be occupying guest tap space until January, so you have plenty of time to peruse and enjoy them.

American Saturnalia
Alpha Klaus 2008
Atwater Voodoo Vator Bock
Clipper City Yule Tide
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
NABC Solidarity
Pyramid Snow Cap
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale

European Saturnalia
Delirium Noel 08
Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux
Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut
WinterCoat Oatmeal (firkin)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"The Beer Issue" in Velocity.

Local craft beer love, courtesy of "The Beer Issue" in this week's Velocity, which for non-Louisvillians is Gannett's weekly "alternative" spin-off from the Courier-Journal, probably soon to be absorbed into the Metromix:

High hops (by Andrew Adler) ... Tyler's and Lori's red hot Louisville Beer Store.

Passion in a Pint Glass (by Erin Keane) ... My Old Kentucky Homebrew supply shop.

Brews Cruise (Erin Keane) ... Five new good beer destinations to add to a previous list in the publication, including Sergio's, Derby City Espresso and NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Looks like they brewed some beer in St. Louis.

Update: Coverage and photos at the STL Hops blog.

Photos of the first Schlafly/O'Fallon's/NABC collaboration are up at Scott Shreffler's Facebook page. I borrowed one of them, and will let you know more once Jared reports back to home base.

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em: NABC on tap at Youngstown Cigar Shop's cafe.

Situated behind Mai's Thai and Regions Bank on East 10th Street in Jeffersonville is one of two Southern Indiana go-to locations for good cigars, pipes, pipe tobacco, lighters, humidors, and accessories: Youngstown Cigar Shop.

Proprietor Mike Stephens has an advantage over the other fine area tobacco emporium, Kaiser (on Pearl Street in downtown New Albany), in that a couple of years back, he expanded into an adjacent space, remodeled and opened a cafe with a beer permit.

Now, at a time when indoor pub smoking is becoming scarce hereabouts, there's still a place where cigar lovers like me can light one up, kick back into an easy chair, and accompany my Dominican with a craft-brewed beer.

But wait: There's more, and it gets even better.

Mike has space for three 1/6 barrel kegs, and currently, two of them are being devoted to NABC's Elector and Bob's Old 15-B.

He's planning on making it three soon, in part because starting at 12:00 noon on Saturday, December 12, he'll be staging Youngstown's annual pre-Christmas cigar event. I don't yet know the specifics, but it's certain that NABC will be on hand to take part. The show will last until 6:00 p.m., and you can expect to see me toward the end, as I've been double-booked for another spectacle across the river.

By that time, in the winter gloaming, one of Mike's cigars and an NABC ale are going to provide a fitting, relaxing close to a busy day.

"5th Annual Holiday Insanity Beer Tasting" at Keg Liquors on December 3.

Todd Antz's annual holiday beer tasting falls on the night before Saturnalia begins at the Public House. I've placed an asterisk by the bottled selections below to indicate the ones that will be coming on draft during NABC's fest. Sample them at the Keg, then have a pint when they come on line. I will.


Keg Liquors
5th Annual Holiday Insanity Beer Tasting
Thursday, December 3
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Another of our great traditions. We conclude the year’s beer tasting schedule with a bang, featuring Holiday and Seasonal beers from around the world. Here is the lineup for this year's tasting:

Stegmaier - Holiday Warmer
Berghoff - Winter Ale
*Breckenridge - Christmas Ale
*Boulder - Never Summer Ale
*Great Divide - Hibernation Ale
Affligem - Noël (Christmas Ale)
Corsendonk - Christmas Ale
*Bell's - Christmas Ale
Bell's - Winter White
*Schlafly - Christmas Ale
Schlafly - Winter ESB
Samuel Smith - Winter Welcome
Anchor Brewing - Our Special Beer 2009
*Three Floyds - Alpha Klaus Porter
Sam Adams - Winter Lager
*New Belgium - 2 Below
Magic Hat - Winter Howl
*Pyramid - Snow Cap
*Clipper City - Winter Storm
Hoppin Frog - Frosted Frog Christmas Ale
Boulevard - Nutcracker
Leinenkugel - Fireside Nut Brown

This event is free and open to the public (21 and older of course!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pannepot (by Struise) evokes the best of Belgian brewing.

Back during the 1980’s, very few Belgian-brewed ales made it into the Louisville metropolitan area. Early on, there was Merchant du Vin’s portfolio, including Lindemans, Orval, what was then labeled St. Sixtus (now St. Bernardus), and from other importers … maybe Duvel?

Maybe. Memory doesn’t entirely serve me, but I know that compared with German and Anglo-Irish imports, Belgium wasn’t as well represented on our store shelves. However, Michael Jackson’s pioneering books certainly whetted my appetite for greater tasting opportunities. Eventually, they came to pass.

It had become the 1990’s, and my trips abroad grew more frequent although less lengthy. Diving foursquare into both beer appreciation and pub ownership, I found my attentions diverted toward the classic beer-making areas in Northern Europe. A decade earlier would have been better, but various factors came together to make it a good time to delve into Belgium, albeit a transitional one.

The old local school Belgian brewers referenced by Jackson (and later, Tim Webb) were slowly dying out and yielding to the predictable disturbances of modernity. From one trip to the next, there’d be serious doubt as to whether a glorious artisanal ale sampled previously still would be available.

Fortunately, as became increasingly evident, Belgium was experiencing its own craft brewing revolution. Youth and innovation were stepping into the breach, and the results were (and are) exciting.

It’s now 2009, and the transition continues. Brewers like De Dolle, Achouffe and Fantome were young when my European travels began, and now they’re venerable. Still older family brewing companies like Huyghe, Anker and Van Honsebrouck have entirely reinvented their approaches. A fresh generation of ambitious operators like Alvinne, La Rulles and Struise are keeping the heritage alive. It remains an inspiration to watch, but it’s more inspiring to drink.

Last night I drank a 2007 vintage of Struis Pannepot (Old Fisherman’s Ale). It’s grist for another essay on crumbling international boundaries that Struise credits Pannepot’s name as a tribute to the brewery’s Danish supporters.

More than any single Belgian ale I’ve had lately, Pannepot transports me back to those heady early days of roaming Belgium in search of any label I’d not seen before. While referred to as “spiced,” I find the spice presence very subtle and complimentary to rich malts and dark-colored fruits like dates and raisins. It’s expressive yet balanced, warming and contemplative, and a real treat that reflects the Belgian brewing ethos.

Photo credit: RateBeer

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Schlafly, O'Fallon Brewery and NABC collaboration brew to be created on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, December 1, NABC's Jared Williamson will be in St. Louis at the Schlafly Taproom. The occasion? It's a brewday, and the advent of a three-way collaboration between Schlafly, O'Fallon Brewery and NABC.

Jared writes:

We're calling it the C-Series for short so this is C-1. It will be a Oak Aged Dry Hopped Smoked Rye Pale Ale, 6.5% and 35 IBU.

I just saw on Facebook that Scott Shreffler, Schlafly's rep in the Louisville metropolitan area, is going to be in St. Louis, too. He's promising coverage, so when the photos appear, I'll link you to them.

Is there any business as fun as this one?

Wineries expressly permitted, breweries expressly prohibited. What gives?

In effect, the state of Indiana allows wineries to use regulatory logic one way, and denies breweries the opportunity to use it in the same manner. It's bogus, and it's bull. Is there an Indiana legislator alive who can explain why?

(crickets chirping, pins dropping)

Indiana microbrewers want to sell beer on Sundays, by Bill Ruthhart (Indy Star).

When visitors tour Indiana wineries on a Sunday afternoon, not only can they sample the wine, they can take some home.

Now, Indiana's microbreweries say it's time their visitors were given the same opportunity.

Friday, November 27, 2009

NABC seasonal brews: Bonfire of the Valkyries, Naughty Claus & Solidarity.

Each year during Saturnalia, which is NABC’s draft beer festival and a leering bow to the pagan roots of the holidays, we release two of our own creations: Bonfire of the Valkyries (Smoked Black Lager) and Naughty Claus (Spiced Ale). This year, there’s a bonus selection made possible by the additional brewing capacity downtown: Solidarity (Baltic Porter).

Saturnalia begins on Friday, December 4, so here’s an update on NABC’s listed contributions.

Solidarity, which might be considered a Saturnalia pre-release, is on tap now. It was ready to drink, and we saw no sense in holding it.

Bonfire will be ready for pouring in about three weeks, just before Christmas. Naughty Claus has undergone its yearly recipe modification (see below), and will be released around the 10th of December.

The 2009 batches of Bonfire and Naughty Claus were brewed by Jared Williamson at the Garage Brewery (Pizzeria & Public House).

Meanwhile, David Pierce honed the original Michael Borchers formulation of Solidarity, which also was previously brewed by Jared and Jesse Williams, and he joined with Jesse in putting a batch through the new Bank Street system.

I sampled Solidarity last week as accompaniment to Chef Josh Lehman’s Pastrami sandwich, and the combo is dynamite.

Here are the specs:

Bonfire of the Valkyries 09
Burning away the hours 'til Ragnarok
Although it’s probably there somewhere in the German brewing playbook, we couldn’t find the rule prohibiting the crossing of Black Lager with Smoked Lager, so we brew Bonfire each year in autumn and let it age until release during Saturnalia, just before Christmas.

Malts: Weyermann Rauch Malz, Simpsons Black, Castle Aromatic, Castle Special B

Hops: Magnum (Bitter, Flavor, Aroma)

Yeast: Garage Brewery Frisco Lager

ABV: 7.2%

IBU: 10


Naughty Claus 09
Santa needs daze off, too
A rich, full-bodied holiday spiced seasonal that changes wardrobe a bit each year as we experiment with festive additives.

Malts: Simpsons Golden Promise, Rahr 2-row, Weyermanns Vienna, Castle, Biscuit, Castle Aromatic

Adjuncts: Belgian Candi Sugar (Dark), Molasses

Hops: Summit

Spices: Fresh Ginger Root, Cinnamon Sticks, Rose Hips

Yeast: Bank Street London

OG: 1074

ABV: 7%

IBU: 9


Solidarity or Death
In the 1080’s, the Solidarity trade union movement in Poland sought and achieved an end to the official Communist Party’s hegemony over the workers’ movement. We tip our hats to the activists with Solidarity, a robust reminder of Baltic foresight in activism and strong beer.

Malts: Simpson Golden Promise, Special Pale, Simpson Aromatic, CaraPils, Simpson Dark Crystal, Simpson Chocolate, Simpson Black

Hops: German Perle, two additions (one at each end of the boil)

Yeast: Garage Brewery Frisco Lager

Color: 26 degree SRM (or, almost black)

ABV: 8.5%

IBU: 18

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Unofficially Thanksgiving at the Public House.

Neither NABC location is OFFICIALLY open on Thanksgiving, but at the Public House (formerly Rich O's), our beer manager Mike will be UNOFFICIALLY open at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The pizza oven WILL BE OFF, so no food as usual, but Mike (assisted by Joy) is making a batch of Bison & Elk Chili, and he encourages you to bring leftovers and have a pint or two. The Curmudgeons might even drop by after we've finished our usual Vietnam Kitchen feast and a movie.

On Friday, the Pizzeria & Public House begins operations at 11:00 a.m., and Bank Street Brewhouse will be open at 2:00 p.m.

NABC & The Involuntary's, at Third Street Dive this Friday night (November 27).

Third Street Dive web site
The Involuntary's web site

"Mug Shots" today in LEO: "Thanks for craft on draft."

Just saying ... and with a nod to the Rud.

Mug Shots: Thanks for craft on draft

With the hectic holiday season about to break loose, every amateur economics geek is sifting through retail sales figures in an effort to fathom the direction of a recession-scarred economy. Beer business analysts are surveying the same cratered terrain, and their findings to date are mixed. Not unexpectedly, some parts of the beer biz are doing well, and others are not. But the specifics might surprise you.

Premium-priced brands and many imports are flat-lining at best, and often plummeting, while “popularly priced” budget choices and America’s craft beer segment are headed up, up, up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NABC WeeFoot is now on tap at Grant Line and Bank Street locations.

Brewer Jared Williamson, head of NABC garage brewery at the Pizzeria & Public House, reports on the debut of his WeeFoot. I sampled this today, and it's an enjoyably medium-bodied, dry session stout as billed. WeeFoot isn't one for laying down, so enjoy it while it's here, and someone please buy a growler and tell me how WeeFoot works with the Thanksgiving meal


WeeFoot, the second release in NABC’s Foot Stout Series (ThunderFoot being the first), is now on tap both at the Pizzeria & Public House and Bank Street Brewhouse.

WeeFoot is a dry session-style stout: Big robust malt body; plenty of balancing hop bitterness; clean and dry on the finish.

Others in the Foot Stout Series scheduled to be released in early 2010 include:

ClovenFoot: Belgian Strong Stout. David Pierce’s recipe, based on Black Sunshine from BBC days of old.

ThunderFoot '09: Oak Aged Dried Cherry Imperial Stout. Jesse Williams' recipe, as brewed at the garage brewery in early 2009.

Here are the WeeFoot specs:

Malts: Simpsons Golden Promise, Simpsons Roasted Barley, Simpsons Chocolate, Flaked Oats

Hops: Summit (one bittering addition)

Yeast: Bank Street London

OG: 1055

ABV: 5%

IBU: 48

If it's good, you needn't give me the glass to persuade me to drink it.

The current vogue in the Louisville metropolitan area is to stage "pint nights" wherein supposed craft beer fans are attracted to an on-premise establishment to buy craft beers, usually special releases, and "keep the glass" as part of the price.

That's all well and good with me, and I'm sure that NABC will indulge in the same on scattered occasions, but this is beginning to sound like a broken record. Is this sort of thing really good for the segment?

I'm not directing this at anyone or any place in particular, just idly wondering if there is any conceivable, creative, different way that an establishment might choose to promote the wonders of craft beer without, in effect, openly bribing potential customers with free glassware?

Is the formula "freebies = promotion" being deployed solely because of the sluggish economy, or out of marketing laziness and an absence of ingenuity?

Is there a suggestion here that craft beer releases nowadays are no longer truly special, or sufficiently unique to merit perhaps a fair opening night price for a signature pint glass, with the bar or restaurant keeping the glass so that when one purchases the beer subsequently, it will come in the correct signature glass?

When did the imperative become bribery?

I believe this "free glassware" trend is cheapening the craft beer product by implicitly suggesting that it isn't good enough absent a giveaway to stand on its own, and that bothers me.

Anyone care to talk me down from this ledge?

Monday, November 23, 2009

NABC wants you to know who is where, downtown.

I've said it before, and I'll repeat: If for any reason you venture into downtown New Albany and find NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse either closed or not to your liking, it is our wish that you remain downtown and visit other establishments nearby. They are not competitors. They are shareholders in the food and dining experience downtown, and our collective success (or failure) will be measured by how we unite to bring people into the historic core and provide them with reason to return.

Verily, we thank you for supporting local businesses. The sign above is the updated version of the one that's been posted to the left of our entrance since March. It seeks to provide an overview of options within the limits of the riverfront development area.

Did we miss you? If so, let me know and I'll have Tony design an addendum.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saturnalia MMIX update, and an Anstich surprise.

The provisional Saturnalia list has been updated, so go here and scroll down.

There's more, because earlier today I was delighted to have the opportunity to order another batch of Anstich (gravity pour) kegs from Franconia. It looks like one each (2o liter) of a half-dozen or so, and I'm pumped. When there's time, I'll assemble a list.

Saturnalia starts on Friday, December 4. I'm not going to add the Anstich kegs to the official listings, but assuming deliveries are made on schedule, they'll be pouring throughout.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Devine Rebel, from Mikkeller and BrewDog.

The label asserts that the pairing of Mikkeller (Denmark and the known world at large) and Brew Dog (bricks and mortar in Scotland, thank you much) is tantamount to two rock stars coming together.

I'm for it, but wary. Pop and rock is littered with the corpses of ill-conceived super groups and one-off video abominations like Mick Jagger and David Bowie imagining they might improve on the divinely rebellious sass of Martha and the Vandellas. They didn't.

Providentially, Devine Rebel avoids this jinx, sticks to the strengths of its collaborators, and offers an excellent libation best sampled at room temp on a chilly night. This one's a finisher.

The liquid is brewed to post-Barley Wine strength (circa 12% abv), and pours mildly carbonated, a bit on the murky side of amber/brown, and with a nose that promises the contemplative.

Devine Rebel was brewed at Brew Dog, partially aged in Speyside Scotch barrels and blended into final form, and indeed, there is a sufficient whisky component fighting for a peek above the glass’s rim with the fully expected Mikkeller hop backbone.

Though not a spirits aficionado, it’s a trend of which I’ve approved for longer than you might imagine.

When I was a freshman in high school, I aspired to be as cool as the upper classmen. In practice, this meant finding a way to artfully pilfer liquor from my father’s bar to lubricate shadowy sessions in the gloaming prior to football games.

One time, I judged it unsafe to bleed off any more bourbon from a fast depleting bottle that the old man seldom touched, anyway, and I turned instead to a quart of Scotch. Later, in our usual hiding place, I proffered my take to my co-conspirators and was surprised to find the reaction universally negative.

I rather liked it. As I proceeded to learn, bourbon was sweeter and easier to swallow uncut, and of course when added to coke, became a taste sensation that approximated the sugar-laden dietary habits that would render future generations crazily obese.

Don’t even ask about the time I brought gin to the meeting.

Save Devine Rebel for a nightcap, and you’ll not be disappointed.

Photo/label credit

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bashah, from Stone and Brew Dog.

In the coming weeks, I intend to write about some of the beers that we're vending at NABC's Pizzeria and Public House. I asked Mike to pick a three-pack, and my intention is to drink (yes, it's necessary) one per day and report on my findings. First up: Bashah.


James Watt, a Scotsman, was an 18th-century pioneer of the steam engine, an invention that spurred the advent of the industrial revolution.

James Watt, the managing director of Brew Dog, a Scottish craft brewery, presumably is a Scotsman, too. There also was a James Watt who served as Interior Secretary in the first Reagan administration, but he doesn’t fit into my analogy, and his environmental record was completely atrocious.

I detect uplifting symmetry between the notion of steam power and the ensuing, volcanic change in the social order brought about by the industrial revolution, and now a youthful new brewery in the same country, one vigorously propelling the counter-revolution, in the sense of overturning the machine/fetish/aesthetic that gave us Bud Light and replacing it with brews like Bashah, brewed in Fraserburgh (on the Atlantic) in conjunction with the fine people of Stone from Escondido (on the Pacific).

Had I been handed a glass of Bashah, knowing only that it was brewed in Scotland, my first hunch would have been that it was Old Engine Oil. The appearance is similar. However, the nose alone puts paid to that idea. There’s plenty of hop, and further titillation from that g-spot sort of place where hop meets roast, and upon further reflection, just a wee bit of a fruity ester that might lead one to hazard a guess that there’s something Belgian to it.

In fact, Bashah is described as the world’s first commercially produced Black Belgian Style Double India Pale Ale. The Stone crew went to Scotland and made merry over seafood, whisky, castles and heaven knows what else. I’m glad they found time amid the merriment to actually brew the beer.

To my mind, it’s a Stone beer through and through. All the stylistic components suggested by the words Black Belgian Style Double India Pale Ale are there: Hops throughout, and a “black” malt character that approximates slightly lower gravity Imperial Stout. If anything, the Belgian aspect is muted, perhaps not sufficiently assertive to break through the other layers.

But make no mistake: A great beer, enjoyable to the very last drop, and hopefully not a one-off collaboration.

See: A Stone blog about Bashah, where the above photo was found.

Elector and a New Orleans medley at Selena's?

In today's LEO Weekly, reviewer Robin Garr visits Selena's, which is located in Louisville's East End on LaGrange Road, roughly equidistant between Lyndon and Anchorage. Owing to the menu's enticing "Cajun and Sicilian" theme, Robin (a noted wine writer, but a beer lover, too) eschewed the wine list and opted for a Dixie Lager.

But I'm thinking a refreshing NABC Elector might have provided more firm accompaniment to the meals described; after all, it's on tap at Selena's, and has been for a month. The establishment was one of NABC's first draft accounts in Louisville following our roll-out.

One thing's for sure: The only way for me to know how well Elector pairs with the food at Selena's is to go and conduct a scientific sampling. I'll try to schedule one very soon.

Selena’s brings comfort to Willow Lake

An old, popular East End country dive bar, closed for years, reopened about a year ago as Selena’s and has been drawing crowds ever since, owing its growing popularity to bountiful food, friendly service and a relaxing atmosphere.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The official Saturnalia MMIX logo.

Tony's done it again, and now the burden is on me to firm up the listings. Kickoff is December 4, and the basic information is here: Saturnalia approaches, and here's an advance look.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On site at BSB with Fox in the Morning.

It's early in the morning for a professional drinker to be taking photos, but that's why we're always prepared. The Fox team with Dave Pierce (above) and evidence of guerrilla activity in Indianapolis (below).

Bank Street Brewhouse wants you to be on television: Monday, November 16, 5 - 9 ... in the morning.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How I spent my Friday afternoon at the Statehouse.

Pictured are Indiana State Representative Ed Clere, the Publican and Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. The rationale behind the award is explained here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse wants you to be on television: Monday, November 16, 5 - 9 ... in the morning.

I've got a heavy day in Indy tomorrow, as John and I are heading north to sell NABC draft and to pause momentarily in the early afternoon to accept Indiana Main Street's award to Bank Street Brewhouse as business of the year in a statehouse rotunda photo op. Suit or "These Machines Kill Fascists" t-shirt? Is there any doubt which I'll choose?

Meanwhile, and far more importantly, Dave Pierce and Jesse Williams will be in the brewhouse planning the festivities for a television gig that materialized without warning earlier today.

This Monday, November 16, Bank Street Brewhouse will be the scene for "Fox in the Morning's" remote of Manufacturing Mondays, a new segment by Keith Kaiser. He'll be helping brew a batch of Community Dark. We'll be airing live at intervals between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. -- that's right, IN THE MORNING. Some readers will remember a similar feat for Gravity Head 2008 at the Public House, when Terry Meiners joined us.

Since I just finished writing about breakfast and beer for LEO, a scheme is being concocted for Jesse to invade Chef Josh's kitchen and prepare an exclusive beer breakfast in honor of the morning telecast. Details will follow as the "new" house chef releases his menu notes.

Here's the skinny: We need you to come be a part of another early morning spectacle. NABC will provide coffee, food, and beer once the clock strikes 7 a.m. Okay -- it's a work day. So what?

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saturnalia approaches, and here's an advance look.

(Updated on November 19)

It’s almost time for Saturnalia, my favorite annual draft beer festival of the year at the NABC Pizzeria & Public House (formerly Sportstime & Rich O’s). Saturnalia will kick off earlier this year: Friday, December 4.

The reason why I prefer Saturnalia has less to do with the most wonderful time of the year than the freedom afforded by the concept to assemble a special draft list unbound to a specific stylistic type, i.e., hoppy as with Lupulin Land and alcoholic like Gravity Head.

For Saturnalia, we try to find representative samples of winter and seasonal styles (themselves pleasingly varied stylistically) and augment them with others that strike us as somehow festive in purely subjective ways.

Not only is it fun, but it’s also educational, providing me with frequent polemical opportunities to pontificate about unleashing our inner pagans. Here is my yearly stump speech:

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

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

NABC pays tribute to these ancient pagan origins with Saturnalia, our holiday draft celebration. We’ve gathered dozens of special kegs of beer – some rare, some seasonal and others just festive – from the USA and around the world. Some of these beers will be appearing in draft form at Rich O’s and Sportstime Pizza for the first time in metropolitan Louisville.

When the doors open at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, the first wave of sacrificial MMIX Saturnalia selections will be revealed, tapped in the traditional, ritualistic manner … and the hedonistic pleasures will begin. The remaining kegs will be tapped as the days pass and the first wave is depleted, and the revelry is expected to continue well into January, 2010.

Here are the kegs currently in house or pre-ordered. There’ll be a few others by the time it’s done, and I’ll use this page until around Thanksgiving to update the listings, and then print the program. I’ll also provide more detailed information about a few of the selections as the research process continues, so stay tuned.

American Craft

Atwater Voodoo Vator Bock
Bell’s Christmas
Bell’s Java Stout
Bell’s Rye Stout
Boulder Looking Glass Never Summer
Breckenridge 471 Mighty Brown
Breckenridge Christmas Ale
Clipper City Winter Storm
Dogfish Head Punkin
Founders Breakfast Stout 08
Great Divide Hibernation Ale
Left Hand Fade to Black (rotating style; Export Stout in 09)
Left Hand St. Vrain Tripel
NABC Naughty Claus
NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries
NABC Solidarity
New Belgium 2° Below
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Stout
Pyramid Snow Cap
Rogue Yellow Snow
Schlafly Christmas Ale
Shmaltz He’Brew Origin Pomegranate
Shmaltz He’Brew Rejewvenator
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Porter
Two Brothers Heavier Handed


1809 Berliner Weisse
Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM) Biere Ambree au Tarry Suchong (firkin)
Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM) La Mandragore
Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM) La Meule (firkin)
Birra del Borgo My Antonia
De Dolle Stille Nacht
Delirium Noel 08
Delirium Noel 09
Dubuisson Scaldis Noel
Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeux
Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut
Kasteel Rouge
N’Ice Chouffe
Nogne O Winter Ale
Pietra Corsican Chestnut Ale
Ridgeway Pickled Santa
Ridgeway Reindeer Droppings
Schlenkerla Oak Smoke
Slaapmutske Kermutske
Weihenstephaner Korbinian
Weissenohe Monk's Christmas

"Mug Shots" today in LEO: "Beer for breakfast."

Regard today's piece as the first of many discussions to come. Credit goes to Beth H. for introducing the notion. Now we just need to do it: A breakfast food and beer pairing ... at breakfast.

Mug Shots: Beer for breakfast

You don’t need to climb to the top of the nearest mountain for a consultation with the resident guru to know that you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.

I’m not referring to hair of the dog (lowercase), although Hair of the Dog (uppercase) remains a respected small-batch, high-gravity Oregon brewer of beer that just might succeed in curing a hangover when judiciously consumed during the morning hours after a long evening’s debauchery.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Help Wanted: Experienced line cook need at NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse.

Blog readers may know of someone looking for work, and if so, please direct his or her attention accordingly.

Chef Josh Lehman is looking for an experienced line cook at the New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse in downtown New Albany. You may apply on line at NABC's web site.

Thanks, and pardon the interruption.

Monday, November 09, 2009

New releases from NABC's Grant Line brewery: Bretted Phoenix, Single Hop series, and Imperial Belgian IPA.

Jared Williamson provides this wonderful update of new NABC draft releases from his realm within the garage brewery at the Pizzeria & Public House.


“Bretted” Phoenix Kentucky Komon

The first beer, which is not a "new" release, was actually tapped on
Saturday (November 7) by Mike Bauman at the Public House and is now pouring on the hand pull. It is a firkin of Phoenix Kentucky Komon that has been aging for over 6 months with Brettanomyces lambicus. This is a wild yeast strain mostly used in Lambics and certain other Belgian styles. Given a proper period of aging, the result is a very complex sourness added to the base of Phoenix. There are two more firkins of this “Bretted” Phoenix, and at some point Bank Street Brewhouse also will have it on tap.

Opening tandem from the “Single Malt, Single Hop APA” series

The first two beers in the “Single Malt, Single Hop APA” series will go on tap at the Pizzeria & Public House on Wednesday, November 11. A firkin of each will go on the Bank Street Brewhouse handpulls for BSB's ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, November 18.

My idea with this series is simple: Brew two beers that use the same malt, have the same alcohol by volume and the same IBUs, but use a different hop for each. This will allow consumers to learn about individual hop flavor profiles and also allow us to audition new malts. NABC’s “Single Malt, Single Hop APA” series will loosely be run as a tournament, with the first of the paired APAs to deplete deemed as the winner and permitted to advance to the next round. There will be four (4) first rounds of eight beers, two (2) semifinals of four beers, and then the final two beers. During each of the first rounds, we will try out different hops and malt. I will keep track of the tournament and post a bracket.

The first two beers: Cascade vs. Nugget, both brewed with Rahr's North American Harrington 2-Row Barley. The beers clock in around 6% ABV and 60 IBU. See below for specs.

Debut of The Livery/NABC collaboration brew: "Le Douche Mental" Imperial Belgian IPA

The long awaited release of The Livery/NABC collaboration brew, an Imperial Belgian IPA, is slated for Friday, November 13. This is the first ever collaboration project for both breweries, and The Livery’s brewmaster, Steve Berthel, is returning to town to help celebrate. Not only that, but he’s also bringing two beers from his Benton Harbor, Michigan, brewery to share with us: A dry-hopped Imperial Dopplebock, and a American IPA. These two 1/6 barrel kegs will be tapped as soon as Steve gets to town on the 13th, and they won't last very long.

What Steve and I collaboratively brewed is Imperial Belgian IPA, dubbed "Le Douche Mental", and clocking in at 8.5% ABV and 75 IBU. This will be served as a 10oz pour, and is a very limited release. Most of the batch is being aged with oak for 2010 release(s). It was brewed using two Belgian malts, one English malt, and three American hops, with fresh “wet” Fuggles used in the mash. It has a strong bitterness, and the alcohol is very noticeable in the big malt body. This is a very uniquely flavored beer owing to the Belgian Saison yeast used.

Check out The Livery's web site for more information on the great work Steve is doing in Michigan.



Single Malt, Single Hop APA Series
Cascade vs. Nugget
Malt: Rahr North American 2-Row Barley
Hops: Cascade and Nugget, respectively
ABV: 6%
IBU: 60
Yeast: Bankstreet House Ale

The Livery/NABC Le Douche Mental Imperial Belgian IPA
Malts: Castle Pale (Belgian), Castle Biscuit (Belgian), Simpsons Medium Crystal (English)
Hops: Wet Fuggles in mash; Nugget, Fuggle, and Cascade
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 75
Yeast: Belgian Saison

IUS non-credit "Here's to Beer" course to be offered in February and April, 2010.

Through the kind offices of Indiana University’s Southeast’s Division of Continuing Studies, there’ll be two offerings of my non-credit beer education class during the spring semester of 2010.

The first time we held the class in the spring of 2009, I was inspired to write about it: Beer class tonight.

The 2010 listings aren’t yet posted at the web site, but here are the dates and a description. I forget the exact price, although it seems to have been in the $60 range, which includes my time and tales, the venue and numerous beer samples.
It’s called “Here's to Beer.”

Description: Once upon a time, beer was just beer. No longer. Beginning with an overview of the brewing process and the history of beer, learn how to distinguish Pale Ale from Imperial Stout through words and samples.

1st session: February: 3, 10, 17, and 24 (all Wednesdays)
2nd session: April 7, 14, 21, and 28 (all Wednesdays)

Times: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: NABC Pizzeria & Public House, 3312 Plaza Drive (just off Grant Line Road), New Albany 47150.

The last class session each time will be moved to Bank Street Brewhouse in downtown New Albany if agreed to by the group.

To register, inquire at the web site when the time's right. Questions about content can be referred to me at the address in my profile.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Is there someone or something we can sue for false advertising?

Cluelessness in plain sight? Thanks to Clay (via John) for this vision of conceptual futility, courtesy of the Buffalo Wild Wings branch by the Mall St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky.

"Anstich" of Hochzeitsbier Märzen von 1810 on tap at the Public House.

I'm heading to the Pizzeria & Pub to sample another "Anstich" keg: Hochzeitsbier Märzen von 1810, from the Brauerei Hofstetten in Austria, via the B. United importing house. It's described as a traditional Oktoberfest lager. Expect it to be on tap by mid-afternoon today, and drink accordingly. It's a thirty liter keg, which will (obviously) yield 60 halves.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse Grand Opening Week begins Tuesday, November 17.

Having "electored" to begin winter hours at the Bank Street Brewhouse, and feeling that after eight months of work, we're feeling great about what we've accomplished so far, it seemed a good time for a Grand Opening gala. Here's what I have so far. There'll probably be a few alterations, and I'll inform you of these.

Tuesday, November 17

It's Villiger 1888 Cigar Night on the patio. In conjunction with our friends at Kaiser’s Tobacco Store, where so much of Roger’s paycheck is deposited each week, we’ll host our first-ever cigar night with cigars, promos and giveaways. A representative of Villiger 1888 will be on hand. 1888 is a new hand-rolled premium cigar from the Dominican Republic by way of Switzerland’s 121-year-old Villiger tobacco firm. There will be a small fee (as yet undecided) for participation that will include ample cigar(s), beers and a chances to win door prizes. “Session Beer” pint specials at BSB all day long, and food specials to be announced.

Wednesday, November 18

Bank Street Brewhouse's Official Ribbon Cutting ceremony, and suitably propagandistic speeches, featuring representatives of city government, Develop New Albany, One Southern Indiana and the Pants Down Progressive local political insurgency. The show begins at 6:00 p.m. We’ve saved kegs from the batch of Elector that New Albany Mayor Doug England (with David Pierce, above) helped brew earlier this year, and the “mayor’s batch” will be pouring all day. Expect “Grant Line Garage Brewery” beer specials all day long, perhaps Jared's single hop series on the handpull, and food specials are to be announced.

Thursday, November 19

NABC encourages its friends and customers to attend the Conway Fire Equipment Museum Pledge Night, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Grand Convention Center, where NABC’s Community Dark will be on tap at the cash bar. Before, during and after the event, there’ll be food and beer (Beak’s Best, Bob’s Old 15-B) specials at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Friday, November 20

There is a possibility of musical entertainment in the evening. More on that later. Food and beer specials will last all day long (specifics to be announced).

Saturday, November 21

Singer, songwriter, poet and author Misha Feigin offers dinnertime musical entertainment inside the Bank Street Brewhouse from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with food and beer specials to be announced.

Sunday, November 22

Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar from Noon to 3:00 p.m.

I'm sometimes asked: Why the Bloody Mary?

Because it is a traditional match with beer and beer-based cuisine, and as such, the natural extension of Chef Josh’s kitchen … especially the way NABC does it. In the few short months since its inception, our Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar has been acclaimed as a downtown New Albany institution. Select the spices and ingredients that you'd like, watch as it is served over ice in a 20-ounce NABC pint glass rimmed with your choice of Celery Salt or Smoked Sea Salt, and then finish it off with a skewer of unique garnishes.

Thanks for your support, and we're looking forward to a fine, progressive winter season in New Albany.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Winter Hours begin at Bank Street Brewhouse today.

During the winter months, BSB will be opening at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Weekend hours and schedules remain the same as before. We're also working on winterizing the Taxpayer Memorial Patio, and next week there'll be a full list of festivities for the delayed Grand Opening, with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday. More on that tomorrow.

Here is the BSB winter plan of operation for 2009/10, effective today, and note that we're still closed on Mondays.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
BSB hours: 2:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

From 2:00 p.m., “Brotzeit” (cheese plate, charcuterie, snacks, frites, mussels, etc.) It’s a Bavarian term that denotes appetizers for the times when the kitchen isn’t preparing full meals.

Kitchen hours: 5:30 – 9:00 p.m., featuring some of Josh Lehman’s and Andrew Gunn’s traditional menu favorites as well as new “Chefs’ Choice” fixed price menus -- three courses for $16 (not including sales tax and service), only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Friday and Saturday
BSB hours: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

From 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., our customary lunch menu. From 2:00 p.m., afternoon “Brotzeit” snacks.

Kitchen hours: 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. for traditional menu favorites and nightly “Chefs’ Choice” specials.

BSB Hours: 12:00 Noon – 8:00 p.m.

12:00 noon – 3:00 p.m., NABC’s Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar, featuring craft-distilled Hangar One Vodka and your choice of herbs, spices, garnishes and hot sauces in what might be termed “brunch in a glass.”

Kitchen hours: Noon – 7:00 p.m., with “Brotzeit” and “Chefs’ Choice” menu selections.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Going Local: Were we in downtown New Albany Saturday night, and did we really do all that?

(expanded version of previously published text)

Times may be changing in New Albany, but days like Saturday still strike me as somewhat surreal when viewed from the sobriety of a mellow morning after.

Perhaps some day this will change -- not the sobering up, which is a required feature of the professional drinker's life, but the surrealism of change in New Albany.

We began with late afternoon, craft-roasted coffee at Dueling Grounds, browsing the Destinations Booksellers racks as we sipped (I need a fresh copy of Garrett Oliver's book in the worst way), and then adjourning to the Bank Street Brewhouse for frites and a beer for each of us. Mine was Elector, because I felt a curious premonition.

Next stop was Wick’s on State for dinner with our friends, the Gillenwaters. Upon entering, I heard a familiar voice: Hugh E. Bir, covering Conway Twitty’s “Tight Fitting Jeans” from a stool in the crowded barroom. Not only is Hugh a performer, but he also owns the Louisville area's last authentic honky tonk, just up the street on Market. We really need to have Abzug pouring in there.

Mike "The Big Wick" Wyckliffe didn’t even wait for me to ask, and within minutes, I was ushered behind the bar, changing the tap handles as Elector supplanted Amber Bock on tap. They're long draw draft lines, and it took a few tastes to get the A-B liquid washed away.

This brief effort led to progressive pints to accompany our pizza and salad, and sated, the four of us proceeded to the Horseshoe Casino for the local leg of The Who singer Roger Daltrey’s “Use It or Lose It” tour in the Showroom. To my considerable surprise, the Horseshoe’s main barroom had BBC Bourbon Barrel Stout on tap, and it proved a worthy libation for sipping as I caught up with Mo, arguably the area’s biggest fan of The Who, after a chance meeting with him along the concourse.

This isn’t intended as a concert review. At the same time, Daltrey was spry and in as good a voice as one might imagine at the age of 65. The set list was predictably filled with Who songs, but to Daltrey’s credit, some of these are seldom played live by anyone, including the group itself ("Tattoo" and "Pictures of Lily" spring to mind). A wildly energetic version of “Going Mobile” was sung by Daltrey’s band mate, Simon Townshend (yes, the younger brother of Peter), and will stand as my top concert moment of the year so far.

When it was over, we returned home to reset clocks and contemplate the evening’s central theme: Most of the action took place within New Albany, and all of it within 10 miles of home, without crossing the river to Louisville.

Let’s all pat ourselves on the back … and return to work, because the trick now is to keep the momentum going.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse's winter hours and special beer days begin Tuesday, November 3.

As previously noted, we're mixing things up a bit at Bank Street Brewhouse beginning on Tuesday, November 3. Since opening in March, we've been amassing and collating information, and as with any business, there are certain trends that have come to stand out. The aim now is to deploy our brewing and culinary resources during those times when they're best calculated to succeed.

Those NABC beers considered part of the regular rotation are being brewed at Bank Street Brewhouse, and a full roster of seasonals and specialties are being crafted at Grant Line. Chef Josh Lehman and his kitchen crew have drawn rave reviews from the start. Now's the time to extend the perimeter and fulfill our mandate of pairing beer and food in a way that no brewpub near New Albany is even attempting -- hence, the revisions and points of emphasis outlined below. We'll be able to offer evening beer dinners and expanded pairing/educational opportunities, so look for forthcoming announcements on these.

See the program and schedule below, and as always, thanks for your support.



Effective November 3, 2009

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

BSB hours: 2:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

From 2:00 p.m., “Brotzeit” (cheese plate, charcuterie, snacks, frites, mussels, etc.) It’s a Bavarian term that denotes appetizers for the times when the kitchen isn’t preparing full meals.

Kitchen hours: 5:30 – 9:00 p.m., featuring some of Josh Lehman’s and Andrew Gunn’s traditional menu favorites as well as new “Chefs’ Choice” fixed price menus -- three courses for $16 (not including sales tax and service), only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.


Friday and Saturday

BSB hours: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

From 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., our customary lunch menu. Following lunch, afternoon “Brotzeit” beer snacks.

Kitchen hours: 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. for traditional menu favorites and nightly “Chefs’ Choice” specials.



12:00 Noon – 8:00 p.m.

Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar, 12:00 noon – 3:00 p.m., featuring craft-distilled Hangar One Vodka and your choice of herbs, spices, garnishes and hot sauces in what amounts to a “brunch in a glass”.
Kitchen hours: Noon – 7:00 p.m., “Brotzeit” and “Chefs’ Choice” menu selections.


Closed on Monday



NABC Session Tuesday
Celebrating the joys of session-strength beers with 20-oz pints of Abzug, Community Dark and Tafel Bier for $3.00, all day.

NABC Garage Brewery Wednesday

At our original “garage brewery” at the Pizzeria & Public House on New Albany’s north side, Jared Williamson holds the brief for brewing specialties, seasonals and numerous creative experiments. When they’re finished and pouring at Bank Street, we will select one or two to offer at a reduced price each Wednesday, all day.

B & B Thursday

20 oz. pints of Beak’s Best (American Bitter) and Bob’s Old 15-B (Porter) are the emphasis, both standing alone at a special price all day, and as the subject of special pairings with Thursday’s fixed price menu.