Thursday, May 05, 2011

Wednesday Weekly: At long last, the millstone is reformed.

(Apologies; I've been too damned busy to write Wednesday Weekly, but the election's over, I lost, and it's time to get back to it)

I’ll confess to having written next to nothing about our momentous reform of the guest bottle list at the Pizzeria & Public House since January at the most recent.

There has been a very good reason for my silence, primarily that the list itself has not been ready for prime time. There’s been nothing to write, but now it is finished.

As with most such ideas, this one has been far easier in the conceptualization phase than when it comes to actualizing in the real world.

Back around December and January, I made an effort to preview the new list here at the blog, and even this had to be suspended owing to the number of times we made changes. In turn, the changes were necessitated by the dizzying speed with which beers have been coming and going, into Indiana and then back out.

Recall that for a beer brewed out of state to be legally available through Indiana wholesaling channels, there must be a distribution agreement in place. If you’ve been reading the headlines, you already know that the pace of change has been frenetic, as some craft brewers contract while others expand.

(Indiana brewers are permitted to self-distribute, which is why you’re seeing Sun King cans on the new list … but I digress)

To illustrate, let’s review. The reform was explained here: Wednesday Weekly: The milestone of reforming a millstone.

To reiterate, the main bottled beer list must be a consistent, readily obtainable, everyday guide to the panoply of world beer styles as defined by the BJCP.

That’s Beer Judge Certification Program, by the way.

It has been a herculean task to sort through available beers, first to find ones that fit the BJCP’s style categories and sub-categories (we’re trying to teach, after all), and then to keep our choices fixed as availability waxed and waned, but I’m pleased to announce that whenever the physical, paper lists arrive from the printer, hopefully tomorrow, we’re finished.

The Pizzeria & Public House bottle list now will include roughly 125 beers (presumably) available on an everyday basis. We’ve tried to skew the list toward American craft beer where possible, because that’s the idea. However, plenty of good European choices remain.

These will be augmented by a rotating list of seasonals and specials comprising perhaps 20 more. At the beginning, there’ll still be previous stocks of beers destined for selling through, and some good deals therein. Look for these on the blackboards.

Next, we get to work on Cider, Meads and Lambic. The selections of Cider and Mead will be consistent and uniform.

Lambic is a different story, as most of the ones I like come from Shelton Brothers, which still is not distributing in Indiana. A certain number of vintage dated Lambic brands will be offered until they’re gone. By then, maybe reason will have prevailed.

The one thing I said we’d do that isn’t coming down immediately is this: Style Council. It is slated to be a “drink all the selections on the list, get your name on the wall of foam” type of promotion, and it still is scheduled to occur, except that first, we want staff to be comfortable with the new arrangement, and have a chance to cull and update the reformed bottle list, since change is the only constant. Style Council is likely to begin by summer.

Thanks for your patience, and once we get underway, please give me your feedback. I’m considering periodic public meetings along the lines of Office Hours, at which we’ll entertain suggestions for changes and improvements, and (of course) drink the available options.


David said...

My suggestion is to bring Marzen back to the bottle list.

The New Albanian said...

Contact me privately. We have spoken about doing just that (Marzen) but there are circumstances to discuss.