Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Weekly: "Going native at Gravity Head 2011."

A funny thing happened on the way to Gravity Head 2011, which begins at 7:00 a.m. on February 25, and which will be our 13th such celebration of creative brewing’s outermost extremities.

Appropriately, although with little conscious forethought, we’ve managed to pre-order very few imported beers for Gravity Head. Actually, so few imports have been pre-ordered that only three are in stock at present, with no plans to up the number.

Perhaps we’ll serve these three (see below) at Gravity Head, and perhaps we will not, as 50 is the overall keg limit we’ve agreed to enforce, and if procurements run past that number, there’ll be bumpings and reassignments.

In fact, there may well be an All-American Lucky 13 Gravity Head in 2011. Upon closer examination, this suits me just fine.

Lest casual readers conclude that I’ve viciously turned against those same world classic beers which first made the Public House’s fame 20 years ago, be emphatically reassured that this is not the case. It’s just that the terms of engagement are being rewritten on a daily basis.

If you are just now tuning in to my ongoing mash-up, “What I Finally Learned in 2010,” the biggest lesson is a recent convergence of numerous threads of thoughts and experiences, into an overarching epiphany, one having artistic, conceptual, educational and fiscal antecedents and consequences.

In short: NABC’s investment in its own brewing operation obviously must be seen as an investment in American-made craft beer as a whole, not further delving into world-sourced beers, even if the latter remains a personal olfactory joy, and a fetish that I’ve no intention of abandoning. A choice is being made, and I feel good about it.

In 2011, come what may, I’m putting my mouth where my money is, and we’re transitioning the beer program at the Pizzeria & Public House to reduce our carbon footprint, lessen our reliance on imported beers, upgrade style education via a pared-down bottled beer list, and increase availability of good draft beer brewed close to us, whether our own building, Louisville metro or Indiana at large. Preferably, all three -- and more.

Now back to Gravity Head 2011, and an unprecedented absence of imports.

In previous years, I always made the effort to score appropriate imported brands, a task particularly well suited to my procurement skills, and one typically not outsourced to my hardworking assistants. However, in 2010, at roughly the same time of year normally devoted to intensive foraging, I began to feel a sense of terminal disillusionment with the prospect of not being able to successfully get the imports I wanted, when I wanted them, owing to (shall we say with utmost diplomacy) a certain disconnect in the line of Indiana-centric supply between importer, wholesaler and retailer.

I’m not being catty, even as I confess to some lingering bitterness. My epiphany simply cannot be explained without referencing the annoying realization that constantly banging my head against the wall would do nothing to remedy the disconnected situation beyond inflicting a concussion on myself – and who wants that? It’s all over now, it helped me to see, and it doesn’t matter who or what is to blame.

The only important consideration to me during the last quarter of 2010 was this: My initial preference to go full-tilt for a carefully selected, just-in-time lineup of the best imports, thus retaining the traditional balance between imported and domestic beer goodness at the Public House, increasingly was proving to be impossible to achieve. I could not expect to buy what I wanted, when I wanted it.

When it belatedly occurred to me that (a) this sort of disconnect was becoming steadily less of an impediment as it pertains to American-made craft beers, and (b) American-made craft beer was the reason we spent all that money in the first place, all the other pieces of the reform package puzzle quickly dropped into place.

Hence, imports dropped off my radar screen; I eagerly turned to formulating the parameters of the new beer program, and nothing was purchased for Gravity Head except American-made craft beers, which my assistants have proven quite capable of doing without prompting fro me.

And so, here we are with the first Gravity Head lineup preview of the year. There’ll be more to come on specific happenings scheduled for the fest’s run.


We are committed to beginning Gravity Head 2011 with 50 listed beers. If we acquire more than that, some of these may be held until next year.

Vintage Dates: Only if we can verify that the beer in question is older than one year on February 25, 2011.

+ Brewers of Indiana Guild members
* Brewed in Kentuckiana
√ Imported

Provisional list:
√ Alvinne Podge Imperial Stout (firkin) 10.5%
*BBC (Main & Clay) Bearded Pat’s Barley Wine 2009 11%
*BBC (Shelbyville Road) Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy 9.8%
*BBC (Shelbyville Road) Sam’s 'n' Adam's Bustin’ Lager
Bell’s Batch 9000 12.5%

Bell’s HopSlam 10%
Boulder Killer Penguin Barleywine 10%
Brooklyn Black Chocolate 10.6%
+Brugge Brasserie Quadripple 12%
Brooklyn Cuvee Noire 8.7%

Brooklyn Monster Ale 10.8%
Clipper City Heavy Seas Prosit! (Imperial Oktoberfest) 9%
+Crown Brewing (TBD)
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA 2010 18%
Dogfish Head Burton Baton 2010 10%

Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout 2010 18%
Founders Backwoods Bastard 10.2%
Founders Black Biscuit 2010 10.5%
Founders Breakfast Stout 2009 8.3%
Founders Double Trouble 9.4%

Founders Devil Dancer 12%
Founders Imperial Stout 2009 10%
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout 2010 11.2%
Founders Nemesis 12%
+Great Crescent Bourbon’s Barrel Stout 8%

+Great Crescent Diabolicale 8%
Great Divide Espresso Oak-Aged Yeti 9.5%
Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti 9.5%
Great Divide Old Ruffian Barley Wine 10.2%
√ Kulmbacher Eisbock 2010 9.2%

Left Hand Imperial Stout 10.4%
Left Hand Oaked Widdershins Barley Wine 2009 8.8%
*NABC/O’Fallon/Schlafly C2 Collaboration Ale 10.5%
+*NABC Jaxon (Barleywine) Circa 10%
*NABC Le Diable Blonde 2010 10.7%

+*NABC Thunderfoot 2010 11%
Rogue XS Russian Imperial Stout
Rogue XS Old Crustacean 2009 11.3%
√ Schneider Aventinus Eisbock 2010? 12%
Shmaltz He’Brew Jewbelation 13 2010 13%

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2001 9.6%
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary “Our Brewers Reserve” 9.2%
Stone Double Bastard 2009 10.5%
Stone Old Guardian 2010 11.3%
Stone Russian Imperial Stout 2009 10.8%

Stone Vertical Epic 10/10/10 9.5%
+Sun King Dominator Doppelbock 8.1%
+Sun King Russian Imperial Stout (oak-aged, coffee-infused)
+Three Floyds (TBA … expect more than one)
Two Brothers 2009 Bare Tree 11%

+Upland Teddy Bear Kisses Imperial Stout 10.2%
+Upland The Ard Ri 9.25%
+Wilbur Brewing Country Mellow (Scotch Ale) 8%


johnking said...

I'm assuming Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot is supposed to be 2010, not 2001, but if it was 2001...that would be a site to see.

Very impressive list Roger, looking forward to it.

The New Albanian said...

It is 2001. We'll see ... that's a long time to have been kept.

johnking said...

I stand corrected. Wow. That takes a lot of self control.

The New Albanian said...

Not really. Most of that time, it was being cellared by Sierra Nevada. We snagged it about a year ago.

I used to be good at cellaring, then we held things too long a few times, and the burned child began shunning the fire. I hope the Bigfoot is good, but it may not be. Just one of those things.

Rick500 said...

Looking forward to tasting the Bigfoot.

These guys:
...gave it a pretty good rating as of July '07.

Rick500 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick500 said...

Damn iPhone won't paste the URL properly. Change the .h to .html

Richard said...

Can't wait! Which one are we pairing with the doughnuts?