Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Free show: Cabin at the Amphitheater, this Friday night.

New Albanian Brewing Company beers will be on tap. While you're downtown, visit one or more of the many dining and drinking establishments, before or after the show.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Working on the patio at BSB.

The bars around the perimeter are to "raise" the walls when the patio wrap is not pulled down.

There now is a door on the front entrance.

And there's another door on the side.

With doors on the front and side, and with the stand-up bar repositioned as a separation in front of the bar ...

We hope to get permission to use the taps (obscured by the sign) during specially licensed parking lot events, like Fringe Fest this October.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

C-J's Dale Moss: "A place to eat as well as to live."

Dale could write precisely the same column, substituting "beer" for "food" at every juncture. Fine piece from a real area pro.

Southern Indiana: A place to eat as well as to live, by Dale Moss (Courier-Journal)

I need, too, to be more adventuresome with restaurants, like with colors of socks or TV shows. Marty Rosen tells me Southern Indiana offers its share of good food, a larger share than usual or ever before. He urges me – and I pass along the challenge – to take a chance on our increasing choices. We need to believe in, to take pride in, the cuisine of our own communities.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Invest in Kolsch stocks, because Kim is on the loose in Cologne.

There's so much great looking food that I cannot see the Kolsch glasses, but I know they're there. Earlier today, my pal and spiritual mentor Big Kim reported from Lommerzheim, one of his favored spots in Cologne, prior to setting off for Paffgen, where a few of us enjoyed an epic session in 2008.

I'm jealous!

Friday, August 27, 2010

When the Anstich kegs arrive, Sandkerwa can begin.

According to Matt Dinges of Shelton Brothers, the anticipated shipment of rare Franconian Anstich kegs has arrived on the East Coast. As I write, wheels are turning to get these gems from port to Public House.

Anstich kegs are 20-liter, gravity-feed kegs with no CO2 used to push the beer. We'll set them on the counter behind the bar, punch a hole in the top, and use the rubber mallet to insert a tap.

As I learned last Christmas while in Bamberg, the procedure is this: Shelton Brothers conceives of a brewery wish list, and the importer’s contact on the ground, Urban Winkler of the Weissenohe brewery, attempts to source the Anstich kegs. I joined Urban and Dan Shelton at Spezial (and later Mahr’s) for beers, and got the complete lowdown on how it works.

Consequently, after learning that Shelton would be bringing another container of Anstich kegs into America in August 2010, I decided to change the way we do Sandkerwa NA. Originally, we tried to run Sandkerwa NA, a draft-only celebration of Franconian and Bavarian beer styles at the Public House, in late August to coincide with the fest’s run in Bamberg.

Henceforth, the annual arrival of the Anstich kegs will determine the dates.

I’m told that the target for delivery to Indianapolis is next week, which (with luck) will yield Anstich for us by the following weekend. Therefore, let’s hope that Sandkerwa begins on Thursday, September 9. This isn’t firm, and I’ll provide updates as necessary.

There’ll be a few kegs on normal CO2 pour, and there’ll be one Anstich keg tapped on Thursday, two on Friday and one on Saturday until they’re gone. This translates into 40 half-liter pours, each keg.

Of course, like cask-conditioned ale, they’re not meant for keeping overnight, and so the price point again will be held to the minimum. I’d like for it to be $5 per half-liter if at all possible, but I cannot say with certainty until the invoice comes through. For both Shelton and NABC, these Anstich kegs are labors of love, not engines for massive profit. Fresh Franconian lagers poured this way are revelatory, as many customers last year will attest.

Matt Dinges says that the only description he’s received to date of the Anstich styles is, “yeasty lager,” which I take to mean that the Anstichs were filled from the lagering cellars of participating breweries without any filtration that might normally occur prior to packaging, with final maturation in the keg as they’re shipped, which sounds marvelous to me. Here is the preliminary list of breweries. I will fill in the information blanks as we get closer.


Lowenbrau (Buttenheim?)
Weissenohe (two varieties … Annafest coming later in the fall on another shipment)


Monchshof Fest
Weissenohe Altfrankish
Weissenohe Monk’s Fest

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The NABC Pizzeria and Pub will be smoke-free as of January 1, 2011.

Good news for some, and bad news for others.

We decided earlier today after an ownership meeting to make the entire Pizzeria & Public House building at 3312 Plaza Drive … for old timers, Sportstime & Rich O’s … non-smoking, effective January 1, 2011.

This is our choice, and not one mandated by local government, although I concede it’s only a matter of time until the decree is issued. Although I smoke cigars, and not being able to smoke a cigar in my own bar will take some getting used to, it is my belief that the time has come to acquiesce to changing attitudes and societal norms. Spittoons were removed from most taverns long ago.

The argument from workplace safety is a compelling and well nigh irrefutable one. The case aesthetically is equally convincing. The simple fact of the matter from management’s perspective is that trying to balance smoking and non-smoking needs in the context of the configuration of an establishment like ours has become maddening. In practical, everyday ways, the tail is wagging the dog. We need a clean break, and a new approach.

Planning will begin now on configuring new outdoor areas, hopefully not only to offer smokers a place to go for a cigarette, but perhaps to create a patio/beer garden of substance. We’ll be working on it. As always, your suggestions are welcomed. Thanks for your patronage.

Wednesday Weekly: Weights, measures, short pours, long odds and Little Big Pints.

NABC’s Pizzeria & Public House was twice visited last week by New Albany’s recently installed local weights and measures inspector. His stated reason for knocking on our door was a complaint he had received to the effect that we were not offering full pours of beer.

Consequently, in order to comply with the letter of the law in a city that seldom enforces any law, we shall continue pouring draft beer as we always have, while recalibrating the way we’ve spoken about our draft business for 18 complaint-free years, as we learn new ways to describe with words what we’re pouring by speaking in vague shades of linguistic, liquid content.

Perhaps a bit of history is in order.

18 years ago, when Rich O’s Public House became the first-ever Floyd County bar business to boast of serving draft Guinness, we decided to make Imperial pints our default pour size, because they’re the proper glass to use for Guinness and other ales in the traditions of the British Isles.

We’ve purchased hundreds off cases of them since then. The glass itself contains approximately 20 ounces if it is filled all the way to the top. Some say it is closer to 19.2 ounces, reflecting differences in measurement between Queen and Colonies. Of course, we’ve seldom filled them all the way to the top, allowing for a proper head of foam.

Some years later, after numerous Gravity Head fests, the gradual expansion of the number of taps, a steady stockpiling of glasses and an evolution in our thinking, we added half-sized Imperials to the glassware mix. They hold approximately 10 ounces if filled all the way to the top.

Most of the signature German and Belgian glasses we use are designed to accommodate the head floating above an etched pour line, usually denoting a half-liter (16.9 oz) for German glasses, and roughly 10 ounces (circa 33 cl) for Belgians. We’ve often joked about how almost all German and Belgian pours end up over the line, thus providing the consumer with an ounce or two more beer.

Ironically, as I now understand it since the weights and measures pow wow, it is acceptable to over-pour, not under-pour, although I can envision the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission objecting to over-pouring as an invitation to inebriation, while the weights and measure department eyeballs us for deceptive under-pouring. I wonder which regulatory agency has primary jurisdiction with such matters – not that I really want to know.

Anyway, according to the weights and measures inspector, the issue is what we say we’re pouring, and what actually is poured. In the beginning, we billed our Imperial pints as … “Imperial pints”. Later, in an effort to be clear about the amount, we began describing them as “20-oz pints”. Still later, they became “20-oz pours”, as described in the menus and on the chalkboards.

The half-sized glasses are 10 ounces, and underwent a similar descriptive trajectory. In none of this did we ever seek to do more than provide approximate information to the consumer; the idea was to let people know that they’d be getting certain size glasses for certain beers. First and foremost, the important consideration to me is that regular customers are satisfied that they receive value for their pours, and are not being cheated (see “18 complaint-free years” above). My conscience is clean on this count.

However, as became evident last week, it seems that a few 8-ounce glasses sneaked into the glassware mix, and someone apparently objected. Was this really necessary? I think not. I haven’t regularly tended bar in quite some time, but surely nothing has changed since the days when I’d regularly offer patrons a top-off if the pour amount seemed too low, and so if the customer in question had inquired, I’m sure he or she would have received an ounce or two of beer as fair compensation.

Furthermore, it strikes me as profoundly strange that the complaint was directed not to the ATC, seemingly the first port of call for any tavern-related issue, but to an obscure inspector with the local weights and measures department, an office that few people even know exists.

So, what tasks does an Indiana weights and measures inspector normally performs? They come down to two primary functions in today’s world: Checking the accuracy of gasoline pumps, and seeing that scales in places like delicatessens and supermarkets are correct. An inspector can, indeed, measure virtually anything, although the law is purposefully vague about it.

When not otherwise provided by law, the county or city inspector of weights and measures shall have the power within the county or city to inspect, test, try and ascertain if they are correct, all weights, scales, beams, measures of every kind, instruments or mechanical devices for measurement and the tools, appliances or accessories, connected with any or all such instruments or measurements used or employed within the county or city by any proprietor, agent, lessee or employee in determining the size, quantity, extent or measurement of quantities, things, produce, articles for distribution or consumption offered or submitted by such person or persons for sale, for hire or award.

Beware, coal and ice dealers – don’t think you can slide past!

The division of weights and measures, the division's agents, deputies, or inspectors, and the county and city inspectors of weights and measures may go into or upon without formal warrant any stand, place, building or premises, or may stop any vender, peddler, junk dealer, coal wagon, ice wagon, or any dealer, for the purpose of making the proper test and for the purpose of ascertaining the proper weights and measures of all commodities found therein or thereon.

Our weights and measures inspector, seemingly a nice man, confided that his predecessor evidently had not set foot in a bar or restaurant for 23 years, a precedent now shattered, as I believe he’ll want to visit all such establishments to avoid giving the impression that we’re being singled out for scrutiny.

Be that as it may, the verdict was delivered: We must not try to offer approximate consumer information, only scientifically precise consumer information. In the absence of exact certainty, we must resort to the shifting sand of semantics. If we cannot pour exactly 20 ounces of liquid, we cannot make reference to it being a 20-ounce glass, or an Imperial pint, which implies a 20-ounce glass.

However, we can continue to pour the same amount of beer into the same glassware, referring to the larger one as “large,” “big,” “grande,” or simply pint. Why pint? As the inspector explained, “pint” in America is understood to mean a 16-ounce measure, and because we’d be using larger Imperial glasses, and pouring the same way as we always have, there’d always be a bit more than 16 ounces. The same reasoning goes for “small,” “little,” “pequeño,” or simply “half-pint.” It’s okay to pour more – not less.

Somewhere, another Publican shrugs.

Note that in all of this, we are being offered the admittedly attractive option of continuing to pour beers exactly as we have for the past 18 complaint-free years, only with the slightly unattractive caveat of adjusting the language used to describe the glassware so that it is less descriptive than before. In other words, our rebuke at the hands of the weights and measures inspector has the result of compelling us to offer less accurate consumer information, rather than more.

If that’s the government’s goal, I surrender. Cue the full-throated chorus of the entire population of New Albany, and hear this rousing response: “WHATEVER.”

If the government wishes us to be creative with words, we’ll happily be creative with words. It’s really fine by me, because I’m a big advocate of words in their infinite varieties. Employee re-education surely can be transformed into an entertaining and expansive experience, in that how many different languages (and alphabets!) can we find words for “large” and “small”?

If we post these mandated words in Russian, Japanese or Chinese, we’ll be complying with the law, as there is no mention in the Indiana statute of the default language used to signify these particular content concepts. We might elect to use pictograms. Would Braille suffice for non-visually impaired patrons?

Move to the metric system?

Consult the Klingon dictionary?

Send comments and tips to me at the usual location. If I am to be annoyed and harassed by such occurrences, I intend to get a hearty laugh out of it.

And I am. I'll still be laughing when the next bureaucrat comes to visit.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Brew at the Zoo is this Saturday, August 28. I'll be there.

Aaron Bacon, the Louisville Craft Beer Examiner, offers a brief preview and links for this Saturday's Brew at the (Louisville) Zoo.

I really appreciate the work done by this year's Brew at the Zoo committee in reaffirming its commitment to the local orientation of the fest. It's fun being on the same page.

I'll be there on Saturday. Still waiting to know why LEO gave me the bum's rush? My favorite beer? What's annoying me these days (daze)? Ask me at the Zoo, and I'll dispense truth, justice and the occasional self-aggrandizing factoid.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Craft beer's creativity: "To sustain and destabilize?"

I always read the book review section in the Sunday New York Times, and spotted this one yesterday:

Book Review - Warning Shadows - Home Alone With Classic Cinema, by Gary Giddins, reviewed by Dave Kehr.

In this consideration of a collection of columns by jazz and film writer Gary Giddins, reviewer Kehr offers an insight that looms large in considerations of craft beer in America, circa 2010.

A sensitive critic of jazz needs both a familiarity with basic forms and genres and a special responsiveness to the often minute changes worked on that primary material by the individual artist. Similar skills are needed to decode the genre-based films of high Hollywood …

Kehr focuses on Westerns in this context of genre-based film and contrasts the approach of directors John Ford and Anthony Mann before arriving at the point that strikes me:

“The 1950s were arguably the greatest years of the western,” Giddins writes in his Mann essay, “the period in which generic formulas were at once sustained and destabilized through psychology, revisionism, high style and the kind of grandeur that follows when the most durable clichés are reframed against classical paradigms.”

To sustain and destabilize — that’s as good a definition of the Hollywood filmmaker’s function as it is of the jazz musician’s …

And, I’d add, of today’s craft brewers, who pick apart conventional viewpoints even as they perpetuate the art and science of brewing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My cousin Denny is retiring ...

... and he'll try something different and drink beer on the 31st in the Prost room at the Public House.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Weekly: Keeping the golden age golden.

Alan McLeod turned a great, succinct phrase in a recent blog review of “Great American Craft Beer,” a new book by Andy Crouch, and having just returned from another glorious Great Taste of the Midwest, it bears repeating here:

“This is a golden era and this book captures it.”

The Great Taste also captured this golden era. As always, the experience was uniformly excellent, and I’ve long since passed the point of a rather joyful alcoholic paralysis when it comes to intelligent decision-making at such an event. One can work very hard to isolate and exploit the suspected high points, or merely permit the wave to carry you along. You simply cannot go wrong.

Even refraining from the Dark Lord queue and similar, numerous special tappings, and selecting those beers offered at navigable lines, the creativity on display is staggering, and the diversity is overwhelming. If that sensation is true for someone like me, who knows enough by now to cherry pick, imagine the rush of information to the fragile brain of the casual observer.

It’s beer porn. How many unopened Christmas presents can one man fathom?

The flip side is this: If permitted necessary pondering space, the cynic in me begins to speculate as to history’s lesson when it comes to golden eras, which is to say that they usually end – at times giving way to bigger and better things, but more often crashing badly.

At the risk of glib over-simplification, one such “golden era” ended in 1914, when decades of peace in Western Europe gave way to the catastrophe of the First World War. Accounts from the period uniformly mention the sheer magnificence of the summer preceding the Archduke’s assassination. The hangover that followed was deadly, indeed.

It isn’t my aim to read too much into any of this. What we do as craft brewers is an art, but it’s also very much a business (how I wish this weren’t so true), and any business in America that grows the way ours has grown, and during the rough times during which it has grown, retains much legitimacy and insulation against ill winds.

There is a palpably expanding level of acceptance, both among those inclined to join our ranks, and those who are fair-minded and open about life in general.

But success also emboldens the legions of do-gooders, health fascists and kill-joys that inhabit the corridors of our nation’s legislative bunkers. During the past year, we have witnessed ham-fisted state regulatory pressure in Pennsylvania and California, and initiatives to enforce archaic laws against homebrewers in places like Oregon, where there also has been a major controversy over increasing excise taxes.

Here in New Albany, grubby local political wars have spilled into NABC’s realm. Militant and youthful state gendarmes prone to mistaking SWAT team fraternity culture for community policing have poached selected downtown food and drink businesses to pile up drunk driving arrest statistics, and just this week, I had the pleasure of being debriefed by the previously somnolent weights and measures department inspector (“true, my predecessor didn’t set foot in a bar or restaurant in 23 years’) about short pours, and what an American thinks when he hears the word pint, as opposed to an Englishman – and where we live, compared to there, and how I must not sell an Imperial Pint because it implies a specific pour in ounces ... and whatever.

We in the craft beer business cannot assume that the numerous virtues of our work are enough to ward off idiocy, because in spite of the platitudes, America is not always a fair-minded kind of place; it were so, there’d have been no Prohibition in the first place, and to entrust our future prosperity to the good faith of the populace at large, or the fact that we’re growing in a country that worships money, quite frankly makes me ill at ease. Be an up-and-comer, or get uppity, and there are those waiting to chop you down, because that's what they do. Some times, the already on top take down the up-and-comers, although you won't read that in LEO.

This uneasiness tells me two things. First, we as brewers need to take our trade organizations seriously and bring ourselves up to date on regulatory matters. There are few available seconds in a week; nonetheless, we need to get involved, to know the politicians, and to reconnoiter the landscape for trends. No one is going to do it for us.

Second, and not as easily explained, I believe we need to hatch some sort of initiative with respect to community education, one aimed at explaining who we are and why it matters, but also one enabling us to grow our segment more quickly. We need to go where we haven’t gone before, we meet people we haven’t met before, and share with them beers they haven’t had before.

I’m not pretending there’s a point to this. Perhaps as the weeks go past and I have a bit more time to write, it will begin to make sense. The fundamental consideration to me is to get the market share bigger, faster, as protection against the ugly side of our national character.

I want to be 75 years old and attending the 50th Great Taste.

NABC Bob's Old 15-B Porter at Ribberfest in Madison, this weekend.

I'm told that again this year, there'll be NABC on tap for Ribberfest in Madison, Indiana. Ribberfest, a celebration of BBQ, blues and balloons, runs Friday and Saturday, August 20 and 21.

On Friday, Richard will be delivering kegs of Bob's Old 15-B, and while a medium-bodied Porter might strike some as a tad much for summertime, it speaks to two important considerations.

First, for as long as we've been taking beer to Madison for special events like Ribberfest, Bob's Old 15-B always has been a steady seller irrespective of the weather. Craft aficionados in Madison enjoy a rich, solid dark ale.

Second, Porter is a fine match with barbecue, so long as the beer has the brawn to stand up to the meat and sauce. My favorite taste sensation in this vein comes when smoked pork (sans sauce) and a robust (unsmoked) Porter meet. The Porter becomes smoked, and the meat becomes sauced. A deep concept, but enjoyable for gluttons like me.

As always, we thank the folks in Madison and are delighted to provide beer for the weekend.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MillerCoors: Insulting the nation's intelligence as journalists masturbate.

Someone please tell Miller, Coors, Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, this business-oriented newspaper, the man in the moon pie, and anyone else interested in reality, as opposed to hype, that one cannot merely snap corporate fingers and decree mass-market as “craft.”

MillerCoors launches craft and import beer business

As with the famous definition of obscenity, we need not launch into a lengthy explanation of the meaning of craft to grasp that MillerCoors calling Blue Moon “craft” is like calling a shit sandwich a Philly Cheese Steak.

The Business "Press Release as News" Courier's typically unquestioning attitude toward publishing pure propaganda provides insight into the overall decline of journalism in America.

Give me a break, you shameless assholes. And I do mean all of you, too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Weekly: Off again to the gentle embrace of a bluer state.

I’ve updated this previously published essay from 2009 to incorporate recent events. Otherwise, what was true last year remains valid this year, and the Great Taste beckons.


We’re packing tonight for the annual NABC company jaunt to Madison, Wisconsin, and another educational and entertaining immersion in the city’s unequaled craft beer celebration, the Great Taste of the Midwest.

As oft times before, the Great Taste takes place on a single Saturday afternoon at a pleasant wooded park alongside Lake Olin, affording a gorgeous view of downtown Madison in what I fervently hope will be reduced humidity, compared to this dastardly Louisville summer of 2010.

There is no equal to the Great Taste, at least in our region. It is a savory, savvy, well behaved, open air forum for enjoying the liquid benefits of America’s craft beer revolution. Each year, hundreds of ales and lagers are available for sampling, many rarely seen, because for the Great Taste, participating breweries bring their “A” teams. Few seasonal beer festivals inspire such good-natured competition among breweries. Lucky ticketholders cherish the liquid rewards.

And “lucky” these ticketholders surely are, because if they’re inside the fence, they’ve beaten the odds. The Great Taste sells out months in advance, and last-minute road trips are discouraged unless you have an “in.” One possibility for those without advance ducats is a thriving “resale” market near the entrance, because what better way to espouse good ol’ capitalistic values than negotiating with a scalper, who probably voted for Glenn Beck’s favorite backdoor socialist, Barack Obama?


That’s right: There’s a leftist tinge to Madison. Apart from the wonders of its one-day craft beer fete, the city’s fair-minded, intrinsic liberalism never fails to impress this unrepentant Social Democrat.

When one considers the strong likelihood that frothy right-wing politicians like Kentucky’s mercifully departing Jim Bunning habitually refer to Wisconsin’s state capital as “The People’s Republic of Madison”, it’s a reminder for people of my persuasion to go there whenever possible, investing early and often in the local beer-making economy, and recalling that in political terms, Kentucky remains apparently forever (and lamentably) “in the Red.”

2009 was my visit Madison since the Hoosier state finally turned a pale shade of blue, albeit it tenuously, thanks to Obama’s ascent to the White House. In the tumultuous months following my most recent trip north, Southern Indiana has seemed possessed by a steady crescendo of loony tea baggers, unapologetic Nativists, freaky fundamentalists and intolerant cretins of all shapes and sizes – unhappy with their own irrelevance, and determined to make someone pay.

It's the sort of phenomenon that makes me scoff, and also thirsty.


I recall the time when a Bank Street Brewhouse customer asked one of our servers to explain my political beliefs in light of the red stars on the shiny new brewing equipment.

Our man on the floor made a game effort to interpret these complex threads of geopolitics, economics and the art of brewing, and to phrase them in a snappy sentence that is reproducible on a bumper sticker for a Lexus, and yet the customer remained unimpressed, writing this on his charge card receipt:

“Tell your Commie boss to share the wealth.”

Harrumph! I share the wealth of beer knowledge every day, and just in case this man wasn’t joking (right wingers are so lacking in a sense of humor that Vulcans seem positively Bavarian by comparison), I circulated this memorandum to staff on the topic of what to say when someone asks such a question.

The proper answer is: “We don’t care what sort of ‘ist’ he is, just as long as he keeps signing the paychecks.”

As always, I’ll drink a beer for everyone while in Wisconsin. Readers, don’t forget to support your local breweries. Their machines kill fascists, and they’re your chief bulwark against creeping swillism.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Inspirational Czech beer video.

There are times when it isn't all about diversity in terms of beer style and available choices, even if nowadays in the Czech Republic, there are many microbreweries producing a broader range of styles than before. A ginger-spiced beer I drank outside Prague in 2006 was perhaps the best such creation I've ever tasted.

The Czech lands remain a place to go and drink golden lagers, many of them sufficiently worthy to be included in the same breath as Budvar and Urquell, and some better. In the 1980's, I could have joyfully consumed these beers on a daily basis for the remainder of my life. In 2010, it gets boring, and fast, but the key to it all -- and why this video made me ache -- is the Czech Republic itself, its people and architecture and landscapes. I have so many warm memories of being there, enough to last forever.

Enjoy the video (in English). Thanks to Joe for the link.

Češi: Národ pivařů

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Special beers for Cumberland Brews' 10 year anniversary.

Lifted lock, stock and hop bill from the Louisville Restaurants Forum. I can't make it, but the idea of naming beers for staff is a great one.


Cumberland Brews celebrates its 10th birthday today, Aug. 8, from 1 p.m. until midnight, with a roster of special brews on draft named after, and in honor of, the brewpub's servers.

"It's hard to believe it's been 10 years," said Cumberland's Mark Allgeier, and I agree. Cumberland Brew has earned its place on the Louisville area's honorable roster of brewpubs and microbreweries.

Here's the list:

- Leslee -
Belgian IPA
Featuring Belgian Yeast and American Hops
ABV - 7.9%
IBU - 64.5
Brewed: 1/15/10

- Claire -
Single Hop Variety IPA
Featuring Marris Otter Malt, and Simcoe Hops
ABV - 6.8%
IBU - 71
Brewed: 3/3/10

- Mary Stewart -
Malt Variety IPA
Featuring Golden Promise Malt and American Hops
ABV - 6.5%
IBU - 80
Brewed: 3/24/10

- Mandy -
Nitro IPA
Pushed through a Nitro tap to release the hop aroma
ABV - 6.7%
IBU - 75
Brewed: 4/8/10

- Casey -
Brewed with 34% Rye and Marris Otter Malt
ABV - 5.5%
IBU - 55
Brewed: 5/4/10

- Crystal -
Single Hop Variety
Featuring Amarillo hops and Halcyon Malt
ABV - 7.5
IBU - 54.6
Brewed: 6/22/10

- Naomi -
Single Hop Variety IPA
Featuring Cascade Hops and Optic Malt
ABV - 6.8%
IBU - 50.4
Brewed: 6/24/10

- Megan -
Black IPA
Brewed with additional Caramel Malts to darken the color
ABV - 7.3%
IBU - 68
Brewed: 7/6/10

- Jennifer -
Japanese influenced IPA
Brewed with Japanese Rice and Sorachi Ace hops
ABV - 6.6%
IBU - 58
Brewed: 7/27/10

- Molly -
Imperial IPA
Brewed to Celebrate our Anniversary
Half Pints only
ABV - 10%
IBU - 102
Brewed: 7/20/10

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Here's the poster: Hoosier Hops & Harvest in Story, Indiana on September 12.

Last day for Studio's at its current location apparently will be August 21.

Here is breaking Facebook news from the FlatHead Screw band. I've heard that increased rent is a bit part of the problem. Join me in wishing Trish the best as she searches for a new venue.

For well over a year and a half, we have had a bunch of fun with all of you playing at Studio's Grill and Pub in New Albany. It was a perfect summer venue! Outdoors, great food, great drinks and great FUN! But on August 21st, it will all end as Trish has decided to close Studio's to pursue another venture. But, she is ...not going quietly! In fact, we are proud to be there one last time with the Studio's Last Stand "Screw It" Party. Come join us as we give the entire Studio's gang a big ole FlatHead Screw Send-off into their new future. Enjoy the same great food and atmosphere. But let's turn it up a notch to Eleven for one great big night of Studio's fun.This is also part of the New Albany Beer Walk! We are working on drink and other specials for you. lets pack the place one more time.We will start playing at 9PM and rock till Midnight, but come early for dinner too.. But if you guys are still rockin .... who knows what we will do! FlatHead Screw .... Longer, Harder, Faster as we say.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wednesday Weekly: The importance of being ancient.

I do this very seldom. This week's Wednesday Weekly doubles as my weekly column submission to the New Albany Tribune, and I've waited until it was published on-line to reprint below.

BAYLOR: The importance of being ancient ... "Did road rage exist in ancient times? Just ask Ben Hur."

Here's the full text.


To be ancient is to be venerable. Ancient items are very old ones. In historical terms, ancient refers to dates and times long passed. In short, there is nothing novel about being ancient.

However, when considering the very concept of ancient, there are aspects of relativity and nebulousness. In the current era, ancient history generally is taken as describing periods in human civilization prior to the fall of Rome. Will this assumption still be accepted a thousand years from now?

Precisely when will our here and now become the ancient epoch of tomorrow?

It remains that an original Model-T is an ancient automobile, "Justified & Ancient" was a song performed by a defunct band called The KLF, and Ancient Age© was and is a Kentucky bourbon whisky, so called because it supposedly spends more time aging in charred oak barrels than competing brands.

Long ago, during the remote, ancient history of my life, I was infatuated with Ancient Age©, although not the firewater itself. Back then, the merits of bourbon flavor mattered far less than the imperative of masking it with cola and quaffing huge quantities through the inevitable grimacing. In this manner, Ancient Age© somewhat ironically became a rite of youthful passage.

Actually, it was the name itself that always appealed to me. Ancient Age© implied experience, dignity and respectability, but eventually I matured just enough to realize that while the words captivated me, the experience of consuming whisky did not. It’s probably been thirty years since I tasted Ancient Age© -- although only thirty minutes since my last beer, which is where I stake my personal claim to knowledge.

In this quest for the higher ground, it’s time to revert to the lower case.

Only one additional letter is required to render ancient age into ancient sage, no longer a trademarked bourbon, and well beyond mere chronology, passing into the wider realm of pure wisdom: Sage as practitioner of sagacity, the quality possessed by the impossibly gnarly old man atop the high mountain, greeting exhausted searchers with impenetrable quasi-Delphic instructions for living, commandments regarded as all the more brilliant for being utterly incomprehensible.

One might turn the page, earn a wage or rattle a cage, but take away the “s” from sage and insert instead the consonant coming just before it in the alphabet, and the game changes dramatically, from ancient sage into ancient rage.

Did road rage exist in ancient times? Just ask Ben Hur.

As we commonly use it today, the word rage conjures images of furious anger, passionate intensity, and violent depth of emotional feeling. Rage comes from the same Latin root as rabies, not a condition to be confused with calm and deliberation. Whether enraged or outraged, we are primal.

Rage deriving from far-off places and times might legitimately be termed ancient rage, and for all the reasons listed here, brewer Jared Williamson of the New Albanian Brewing Company created a special edition beer for release on August 3, my 50th birthday: Ancient Rage, a Smoked Baltic Porter.

As a genial and trusting sort, I persist in believing that the half-century mark will prove to be a milestone more than a millstone. Just the same, there is the creeping perception of impending menace as calendar dates slip away and the actuarial tables inexorably turn against me … sadly, against us all.

At 40, there’s a plausible argument to be made that half your lifespan has yet to pass. At 50, that’s no longer the case. Throughout human history, life expectancy has been far shorter than today, and the age of 50 indeed has often qualified as ancient. Some days I feel that way myself, others not so much. Mostly, in a condition embracing both exhaustion and bemusement, I’d like to think of whatever length of time remains as a triumphant sprint to the finish, not a downward spiral.

What does ancient rage have to do with my 50th?

I concede to seldom being an exemplar of peace, love and understanding. Since childhood, prime motivators have been indignation, disgruntlement, exasperation and annoyance; it says something when one’s favorite writer is H. L. Mencken. I’m neither proud nor ashamed by this. It’s my psyche, nothing more, nothing less.

During hormonal days of youth, I often felt consumed by anger to the exclusion of placidity and thoughtfulness. These episodes never manifested in physical violence; rather, my verbal and written abilities evolved in accordance with a compelling need to express previously inexpressible rage.

These outbursts have been directed against stupidity and cupidity, naked power and destructive greed – against fascists and corporations, despoilers of the environment and enslavers of peasants, chain restaurants and nasty light beer, and the sadness, superstition and desperation in life itself – and maybe, on widely scattered occasions, against my own fear, impotence and inability to go a bit further than fulminate against injustice and actually offer something to the wider world in return.

Self-doubt and inner turmoil are pitiless taskmasters, and I suspect they’ll always be unwelcomed companions. Yet, there is considerable happiness in arriving at 50 in good health, working in a growing business, enjoying the company of my mother, friends and family, and eager to give profuse thanks to my wife, my partner in life, who has been both tenderly loving and unsparingly honest in helping propel me to a new place where the rage seemingly recedes.

The principles and motivation haven’t subsided, and will not. There’ll be lapses, but “mad as hell” is a poor recipe for living. I don’t look back in anger at my ancient rage. Today is the best day, and tomorrow better still.

Spread the word about Grasshoppers Distribution/CSA, Wednesdays at Bank Street Brewhouse, and sign up.

Lindsey Gibbs from Grasshoppers Distribution writes:

"We have the Community Supported Agriculture drop at Bank Street Brewhouse on Wednesday evenings. We are trying to increase the New Albany membership to 30 more members for the Harvest Season (August-November). I just wanted to touch base with you and see if you have any suggestions for spreading the word. Just curious if you have any input of things that have worked for you all in the past or have not. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for all that you do. Particularly giving me a place to buy beer on Sunday. (We just became New Albany residents.)"

We can thank the legislature for Sunday growlers. Here's the brochure.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Beak's and Elector at the Black Keys concert (Iroquois Amphitheater) on Wednesday, August 11.

We're only a week away.

On Friday last week, teams from NABC and River City Distributing (our Louisville wholesaler) met for lunch at the Blind Pig in Butchertown. Hoptimus was involved, but not so much that I couldn't navigate home on my bicycle.

I mention this because we now know that Beak's Best and Elector will be the NABC beers on tap for the Black Keys show at Iroquois Amphitheater on Wednesday, August 11. Thanks to River City for designating NABC as the "official" local craft beer sponsor for the evening.

The Black Keys are guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. The group's most recent album, Brothers, is its highest charting album to date, and it is scarcely an exaggeration to peg the band's summer tour one of the season's hottest tickets. I'm happy NABC will be on tap for the perfect send-off to our annual journey to Madison, Wisconsin, for the Great Taste of the Midwest (August 14).

Lousville Craft Beer Week's Strassenfest at the Riverfront Amphitheater will be September 25.

The first-ever Louisville Craft Beer Week will run from September 24 through October 2. LCBW is a cooperative venture organized by Louisville area brewers and purveyors of craft beer, designed to, "Educate ... Inspire ... Imbibe."

There'll be big beer events every night during the week, and numerous smaller happenings around the metro area staged and hosted by pubs, restaurants and package stores. The majority of American craft brewers with a presence in Louisville will be represented at some point during the week.

Facebook page with schedule
August 9 LCBW golf scramble details

Craft beer fans in New Albany should mark their calendars for Saturday, September 25, when the Strassenfest already scheduled for the Riverfront Amphitheater will partner with Louisville Craft Beer Week to produce an Oktoberfest-style party with German-themed draft beers from participating LCBW breweries, both local and regional, along with appropriate food and music.

NABC is happy to host this Sunnyside Strassenfest on behalf of the LCBW, and thanks go to the riverfront committee for so eagerly embracing the concept. It's a natural conclusion to the amphitheater's summer season and just as obvious segue into Harvest Homecoming (kickoff parade on Oct. 2).