Friday, July 29, 2011

Bob Ostrander, his book & a pub quiz at the Public House on Wed., Aug. 31.

Check out the retro Public House signage!

On Wednesday, August 31, Bob Ostrander will be in New Albany to discuss his new book. Stay tuned for further details, and get the scoop on Bob's book.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Glimpsing men at work.

I took the camera with me to yesterday's meeting at NABC's original Grant Line Road location, and snapped a few images of Sam Cruz and Ben Minton hard at work in the heat and humidity of the R & D Brewery. The photos are at Facebook.

One Fine Day at NABC's R & D Brewery

We remain very appreciative to Sam for the brief months we'll have him on duty. Soon, he'll be productively engaged at Against the Grain, For now, Sam's the professional bridge to Jared's permanent replacement, and it's been a pure pleasure working with him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Saturday: The Undertow Art Show "Against the Current," in support of Planned Parenthood.

It's coming this Saturday (July 30), it's on Facebook, and it's a LEO staff pick:

Saturday, July 30

The Undertow Art Show

The Art Store

205 E. Market St., New Albany, IN

Free; 2-11 p.m.

The intent of this, the latest in a thankfully never-ending stream of art/bands/beer events, is to support Planned Parenthood of Indiana. If this doesn’t speak to your interests, move on, it’s a free country. The organizers state, “The goal of this group exhibit is to showcase artists with a message.” Such artists have been invited to participate by expressing their take on pressing issues of the day (just like the hippies did!), such as the economy, the wars and other “natural” disasters. “From the creation of art, we can open conversation and reach new depths of communication,” they pledge. And did I mention the beer? New Albanian Brewing Company will be selling their drinkable art, and bands like Shawn Sleeps Naked and Bunny Day and the Mercy Buckets will provide the aural art. — Peter Berkowitz

People's Brewing Company Day at the Public House, with numerous other Indiana-brewed beers also on tap.

Chris Johnson, owner and brewer at People's Brewing Company, will be at the Public House tonight to help us celebrate the simultaneous tapping of six of his beers. Of course, the beers pictured below will be poured for consumption at the Pizzeria throughout the day, and the Public House opens at 5:00 p.m.

In addition, as the guest draft list shows, seven other Indiana-brewed beers (from Flat 12, Oaken Barrel, Sun King, Three Floyds and Upland) bring the total of Hoosier guest taps to 13.

But that's not counting NABC's own drafts: 15 of them, currently on tap. That's 28 Indiana beers in all, on tap at the Public House, right now.

Ideas for Strassenfest? It's coming to NA's Riverfront Amphitheater on Saturday, Sept. 17.

This much is clear: New Albany’s second annual Strassenfest will be held on Saturday, September 17 at the Riverfront Amphitheater. Once again, admission is free.

New Albanian Brewing Company (NABC) is coordinating beverage catering for this date, and we’re going to be doing something we haven’t done before: Using genuine Bavarian yeast from Kloster Andechs to make Helles and Marzen (Oktoberfest) lagers. As with last year’s Strassenfest, there’ll be a tie-in with Louisville Craft Beer Week. There’ll also be wine, and perhaps an inaugural tasting of German schnapps. Other components of the day, including music and food, are still in the planning stages.

It is instructive to note that while many Americans instinctively associate the concept of Oktoberfest with the Bavarian style of its celebration, other locales in Germany are less bound to the template. An autumnal harvest fete can take numerous forms, and with Bavarian-style beers providing the consistent thread, there’s plenty of room for us to improvise in New Albany, especially seeing we have no German heritage organization in Southern Indiana the equivalent of the Celts on the River group.

What can be done to expand New Albany’s embryonic Strassenfest beyond the stereotypical Oktoberfest party, while retaining sufficient German themes to make the day worthy of the name? Even I’m not sure, but the possibilities intrigue me, and ideas are welcomed.

If we could just get Kraftwerk to headline … at any rate, as you brainstorm, here’s a September/October calendar check:

September 11
Sandkerwa NA begins at NABC’s Pizzeria & Public House. It is our annual draft-only homage to German beer styles, including American craft brewery interpretations.

September 16 – 24
Louisville Craft Beer Week, with events throughout Metro Louisville

September 17
Strassenfest at New Albany’s Riverfront Amphitheater

October 1
Harvest Homecoming Parade in New Albany

October 6 – 9
Harvest Homecoming Booth Days (and NABC’s 4th Annual Fringe Fest at Bank Street Brewhouse)

October 28
Reverse Recycling & Decommissioning Party at NABC Bank Street Brewhouse. Leticia Bajuyo will be dismantling her temporary Bicentennial Art Project sculpture, “All Bottled Up,” and recycling components

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Be careful out there.

My friend JC made this report on my Facebook page.

I went to New Albany Country Club (NACC Grille) for dinner. Food was excellent two consecutive days. Of course, the usual happened after making a stop in New Albany, got stopped by a State Trooper! This crap has got to stop!

I responded: "Not sure how that might be done. How does one acquire proof of intent to harass?" Obviously, this has been an on-going issue, and for more than a little while. I persist in avoiding battles that cannot be won, because this is one of them.

JC also offered this witticism. Perhaps sarcasm really is the best weapon?

Found this on their web site! Well, sort of ...

Indiana State Police Mission Statement

The Indiana State Police shall provide the most professional, effective and courteous police service possible at all times and with every endeavor.

The protection of life and property will be our primary focus, after we close all night life businesses in downtown New Albany.

We will uphold and defend federal and Indiana state constitutions and enforce all laws, after we close all night life businesses in downtown New Albany.

We will address crimes and offenders with diligent, conscientious and proactive initiatives, as patrons leave downtown New Albany night life businesses.

We will ensure public safety on our roadways with vigorous and directed traffic enforcement, after closing up downtown New Albany.

We will assist the public and all police agencies at any time and in any manner possible, especially the New Albany Police Department.

Anticipation builds as Browning's site yields to Against the Grain.

Mrs. Curmudgeon accompanied me to the Louisville Bats game Tuesday night, with prime front row seats on the third base side of home plate courtesy of my friend Brent (we thank you again). The beer situation inside the turnstiles is the same: Cumberland Red and BBC APA at the peanut stand by Section 115.

But the overall beer outlook is about to become appreciably better, thanks to the commencement of renovations at the former Browning's, soon to become Against the Grain Brewing. It is an understatement of epic dimension to note the Louisville beer community's excitement at the advent of ATG.

You can observe their progress at Facebook.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bob Ostrander's new book is called, "Hoosier Beer."

Our old friend Bob Ostrander's new book is called Hoosier Beer: Tapping into Indiana Brewing History (the co-author is Derrick Morris), and here's the introduction.

Indiana became a state in 1816 and in that year our first two commercial breweries opened. Since then over 350 licensed breweries have offered cool, refreshing beer to Hoosiers, made by Hoosiers. 200 years of history.

Hoosier Beer chronicles, city by city, the rise from small family backyard breweries, breweries at religious orders, large factory breweries, two prohibition periods, massive mega-conglomerates, brewpubs, and back to small family-owned breweries that offer a wide variety of beers directly to customers fresh at the brewery.

Bob will be appearing at the Public House soon to plug the book and conduct a fun and educational pub quiz. Stay tuned for the date and time; our people are talking to his people as I write ... well, maybe.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stop "reaching out" before I tear your arm off.

I receive solicitations on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Almost all of them are for a worthy cause, and I generally respond by donating one of my personal, guided tasting certificates, which do well in silent auction formats. Admittedly, I'm finding it a bit tedious to be asked to donate multiple kegs of beer for your fundraisers, but that's a different topic.

Today I received this e-mail; names and organizations have been removed to protect those about to be berated.

My name is ( ... ) and I am emailing you on behalf of ( ... ). I wanted to reach out and give you an opportunity to participate in our first annual Oktoberfest fundraiser to be held ...

Pay attention, world, and observe these words carefully:

I wanted to reach out ...


You can request, ask, demand, beg, implore or connive, and there's a good chance I will finish reading your words or listening to you speak. But, henceforth, any solicitation I receive that bears any trace of this lingustic "reach out" repugnance will be unceremoniously trashed.

You have been warned. Carry on.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A private party closes Bank Street Brewhouse for the day this Thursday, July 21.

This Thursday (July 21), Bank Street Brewhouse will be closed to the public all day for a large private party. We hope this does not inconvenience any of you, and remind you that the original Pizzeria & Public House will be open as usual to serve your craft beer and pizza needs.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Judges and stewards needed for the Kentucky State Fair Homebrew Beer Competition on Sunday, August 14.

From Tom Person, Vice President of Louisville Area Grain and Extract Research Society (LAGERS). Regrettably for me, the judging always takes place the same weekend as Great Taste of the Midwest.

Fellow BJCP judges and appreciators of fine homebrew:

The Kentucky State Fair Homebrew competition is coming up soon. It will be held Sunday, August 14th ... starting at 10:00 a.m. sharp. We are anticipating up to 500 entries this year, so your exhaustive beer knowledge and superb sensory and judging skills are sorely needed and will be greatly appreciated. Judge registration will be from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., with a light breakfast available (so come early!)

We are planning on two judging sessions: an a.m. session (10:00 – 12:00), and a p.m. session (1:00 – 3:00) ... with a lunch provided between sessions. The p.m. session will be followed by a Best of Show judging, and after wards we are planning an awards ceremony to announce the winners.

Use the link below to register to be a judge or steward at this competition:

Here are the steps once you get to this site:

1. Under the Judge and Steward section ... If it is your first time to this site, then click on the “please register” link. Note: If you have already entered beers with the 2011 Kentucky State Fair competition this year, then you already have an ID. Just click the “log in” link.

2. The first page is where you create your account with an e-mail address, a password for this site, and a security question.

3. Second page is where you put in your name, address, etc.

4. Third page is where you put in your judge info ... BJCP number, rank, beer preferences and dislikes, etc. Under the beer preferences and dislikes, just select any one of the sub-categories that you like or dislike. We will consider your choice to be for all beers in that class. Example: I want to judge Stouts, so I check 13A – Dry Stout. (you don’t have to check all 6 stout categories)

When you have completed your judge registration, there will be a summary page, and you will also see a link to print your Judge Waiver sheet. Please use this link to view and print your judge registration sheet, sign and date it, and then bring it with you to the competition. (If you don’t print it at home, don’t worry ... you’ll just have to sit there the morning of the competition, blurry-eyed, and fill out one of these forms while every one else is drinking coffee and eating donuts!)

Thank you for your help in judging the 2011 Kentucky State Fair Homebrew Competition.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Women's World Cup Final = Bank Street Brewhouse beer specials.

We're doing Japanese-American beer specials tomorrow at Bank Street Brewhouse as the USA meets Japan in the Women's World Cup Final.

Beak's Best
American Bitter & Soul Liniment
Extra Special Bitter brewed with English malts and American hops, named in honor of globetrotting historian and educator Don "Beak" Barry.
35 IBU … 5.3% ABV

Not at all lost in translation
Japanese-American Common: Tokyo meets San Francisco, with rye, rice and Japanese-bred Sorachi Ace Hops.
40 IBU … 5.5% ABV

The price is $3.25 for Imperial pints of either one, all day long. Of course, there's the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, steak and eggs, and the usual Sunday drill.

And, speaking on behalf of myself: Kudos to our Sunday regulars for making Bank Street Brewhouse their weekly Sunday destination. I always knew there could be a Sunday go-to spot in downtown New Albany; now there are several, and I told the naysayers so, each and every one of them.

Friday, July 15, 2011

People's Brewing coming to NABC's Public House on Wednesday, July 27.

NABC's guest beer program coordinator Eric Gray has been hard at work negotiating a Southern Indiana appearance by our friends at People's Brewing Company (Lafayette, IN), and we now have a firm booking: Wednesday, July 27 at the Public House.

I first met Chris Johnson in 2003, when he was employed as brewer at Lafayette Brewing Company, and it has been a pleasure to watch from afar as his brewing dream has unfolded with People's Brewing, which I consider among my top tier of favorite Indiana breweries.

Put simply, I like everything about it. There is an overall attitude of principled brewing and respect for beer, and this is reflected in Chris's beers, of which at least six will be on tap all at once at the Public House on July 27:

Amazon Princess
Mound Builder IPA
Aberrant Amber
Farmer's Daughter Wheat
Mr Brown
People's Pilsner

Eric's still intent to score another keg or two, and perhaps a firkin, so stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A "Big Three" Beer Dinner to remember at Binkley's.

I've been to more than a few beer dinners, and yet the Binkley's "Indiana Beer Week" multi-course fest on Wednesday stands out in recent memory for quality, eagerness to please and very low price point for the quality of the fare.

It was a damned fine show, with Indiana foodstuffs, three of the state's best breweries, and enthusiastic staff. Well done, guys. See more photos here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kickstart LouBrew at BoomBozz.

Jeremy Rathfon wants to be a nanobrewer. In his own words (copied from Kickstart), here's the plan:

LouBrew will be a local “nanobrewery”, brewing up concoctions on a single barrel system (that’s 31 gallons or two kegs! truly nano!), where we will maintain ideals of superior hand-crafted ales and lagers. Our mission is to provide a complete rotating variety of specialty and seasonal beers with a local flavor to the Louisville area. Ideally we will be located in the Germantown area of Louisville in the heart of an ever expanding neighborhood that prides great beer and good eats.

LouBrew will be the smallest brewery in Louisville upon startup allowing us the freedom to explore many interesting and unique styles of brew.

LouBrew will create a taproom onsite at our brewery, where beer lovers will be able to come in, taste our great beer, and take a gander at where and how we create our delicious brews. If our space allows we will love to have an outdoor patio for outdoor seating, an occasional grill-out, and a fire pit to warm-up by. We will be holding regular polls and surveys where our beer fans can vote on what brews we’ll cook up next. We also plan to attend all of the great beer festivals around town, including Brew at the Zoo, Louisville Craft Beer Week, and Oktoberfest. You can always expect from us twists on classic styles, extreme flavors, seasonal favorites, and innovative recipes brewed with a hand-crafted single barrel spirit.

An important element of all our beers will be the use of the highest quality ingredients sourced as much as possible from surrounding regional growers and suppliers. Examples of locally sourced ingredients include KY Hosey’s Honey, KY winery pinot noir barrels, KY bourbon oak barrels, and KY grown organic hops.

Also in Jeremy's own words, here's what BoomBozz is doing to help:

Boombozz Highlands Taphouse will be hosting a benefit for LouBrew next Thursday, July 21st, 5:00 p.m. to close. $1 of every local pour goes to LouBrew's Kickstarter! Help Kickstart a new Louisville brewery! If you can't make it, would like more info, or would like to pledge before the event, check out our Kickstarter, every $1 helps!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NABC's lineup for the Indiana Microbrewers Festival on Saturday, July 16.

Following is the material we submitted to the Hoosier Beer Geeks for inclusion in the program for Saturday's Indiana Microbrewers Festival. At this precise moment, we're not planning any surprise releases, but this may change depending on whether any space remains in the van.

New Albanian Brewing Company
Bank Street Brewhouse, 415 Bank Street, New Albany, IN 47150 &
NABC Pizzeria & Public House, 3312 Plaza Drive, New Albany, IN 47150

Director of Brewing Operations: David R. Pierce
Brewers: David Pierce, Josh Hill, Jared Williamson (emeritus; now brewing at Schlafly)

Brewing Ahead of the Curve: When brewing first began at the New Albanian Brewing Company in October, 2002, we already enjoyed renown as a multi-tap and beer bar. Because the best available beers from America and the world were pouring in the same building, NABC’s brewers were challenged from the very start to relate, innovate and extrapolate.

They’ve admirably responded to the competition, and the dialectic continues at the original Research & Development Brewery, as well as the Bank Street Brewhouse in downtown New Albany, where NABC is instrumental in downtown revitalization -- but is it any wonder that creativity can change municipalities as well as brewing cultures, if only the stodgy elites would just get out of the way?

NABC looks forward to continuing its tradition of principled leadership as the craft beer revolution prepares to sweep Indiana from its Liteweight doldrums. Enjoy today’s festival, and Drink Indiana!


Ackerman’s Double Imperial Stout (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Imperial Stout
ABV: 8%
IBU: 35-40
OG: 20
On Tap
This Imperial Double Stout, an iconic product once brewed by New Albany’s long defunct Ackerman’s Brewery, was recreated and brought to the 2011 BIG Winterfest as NABC’s ReplicAle. This particular portion has been aged in a Willett bourbon barrel for 6 months. In its brief 1930’s heyday, Ackerman’s Imperial Double Stout was brewed only once each year, at Easter, as an early springtime treat for the brewery’s loyal customers. It was meant as a substitute for Doppelbock, a German style traditionally served during Lenten fasts.

Malts: Rahr 2-row, Briess Aromatic Malt, Briess Dark Chocolate Malt, Briess Roast Barley, Briess 80-degree Caramel Malt, Briess Cherry Smoked Malt


B’Urban Trotter
Imperial India Pale Ale
ABV: 9.2%
IBU: 208
OG: 21 degrees Plato
On Tap
If the Kentucky Derby is the greatest two minutes in sports, then B’Urban Trotter is the finest few moments of sipping, because what better place for a brewer/ostrich rancher from Flanders to seek inspiration than Louisville’s annual Run for the Roses? With collaborative assistance from NABC and Louisville Beer Store, De Struise’s Urbain Coutteau created this “Derbied” Double India Pale Ale to be dry-hopped and bourbon/oak aged, with a suggestion of mint for the home stretch.

Malts: Rahr 2-Row, Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner, Castle Biscuit, Simpsons Medium Crystal

Hops: Cascade (mash, dry), Summit (first wort), Summit (bittering), Chinook (bittering, flavor, dry), Northern Brewer (flavor), Simcoe (dry)

Yeast: American (Chico) Ale

Special additions: Vanilla beans and honey were added during the whirlpool.


Beak’s Best
American ESB
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: 35
OG: 1.059 or 14.75 degree Plato
On Tap
Beak’s is American Ale & Soul Liniment, with a twist: Brewed with English malts and American hops, and named in honor of globetrotting historian and educator Don "Beak" Barry. You really need to meet Beak, and his ale.

Malts: Simpsons Golden Promise, Simpsons Medium Crystal, Castle (Belgian) Aromatic and Special B

Hops: Triple hopped with Cascade pellets

Yeast: House English


Imperial Red
ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 62
OG: 1.074 or 18.5 degree Plato
On Tap
Richly malty and excessively hopped, Elector was first brewed on Election Day, taking its name from the Electoral College. In like fashion, Elector’s unique character makes democracy utterly pointless. It severs party affiliations, crosses the aisle, and commands you to drink early and vote often. That’s because whenever Elector is on the ballot, there’s only one real choice.

Malts: Rahr Pale and Simpsons Medium Crystal

Hops: Nugget and Cascade

Yeast: House London


Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.7%
IBU: 100
OG: 22.6
On Tap
Living vicariously through others is a sad compromise meant only for rank amateurs and subpar international lagers. Rather, we all might profit from the example of the sterner stuff of Hoptimus, which lives vivaciously, audaciously and capriciously through itself. With a snarky hop character that is blatantly unrepentant, Hoptimus ensures that meek palates surely will not inherit the earth.

Malt: Special Pale

Hops: Four additions of high alpha Nugget, one late addition of Cascade, dry-hopped with whole cone Cascades


Naughty Girl
Belgian India Blonde Ale
ABV: 6%
IBU: 69
OG: 14.4
On Tap
It all began as a Belgo-American ménage a trois, but then the brewers arrived and transformed the trans-oceanic affair into a beer love pentangle. The collaborative minds at Louisville Beer Store, De Struise Brouwers and New Albanian Brewing Company offer this, a willfully disobedient India Blonde Ale with a hop on her shoulder. She’s naturally naughty -- by nurture.

Malts: Rahr 2-row, Rahr Premium Pils, Castle (Belgian) Aromatic, CaraPils

Hops: Cascade, Galena, Golding, Cascade for warm dry-hopping

Yeast: De Struise House Ale


Summerfest ReplicAle
Single Hop APA (Palisades)


Tafel Bier
Belgian-style “Table” Beer
ABV: 4%
IBU: 15
OG: 1.040, or 10 degrees Plato
On Tap
It’s better dancing on the table than sleeping on the floor. Tafel Bier is the Flemish language term for “table beer,” denoting a flavorful session strength accompaniment to the wonders of Belgian cuisine … or burgers and wings, too. What do you think filled those earthenware jugs in the Brueghel painting? It wasn’t Bud Light Lime, was it?

Malts: Belgian Pale, Aromatic, Biscuit, CaraPils

Hops: German Tettnanger, Select

Yeast: House Ardennes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Community Dark and Bob's Old 15-B take Brewers' Cup medals at the Indiana State Fair.

NABC took home two medals at the 2011 Indiana State Fair Brewers' Cup Competition. The winners were announced in Indianapolis on Saturday, July 9.

NABC Community Dark, our English-style Dark Mild, received a Gold medal for Category 11 (English Brown Ale), while Bob's Old 15-B scored a Bronze in Category 12 (Porter).

Seeing as we entered only four beers, a 50% success rate seems reasonable enough. A complete list of the categories and winners can be found here.

It is instructive to note that in 2010, we entered a completely different lineup into the competition, selecting heavier hitters like Elector, Solidarity and Hoptimus, with barren results. This year, we decided to flip the wisdom, and chose the ones (for us, the few) beers corresponding to style definitions. Arguably, Community Dark and Bob's Old 15-B are the two most center-of-the-target beers we do, which would seem to be certified by the results on Saturday.

To me, this means (a) the judges were spot on, and (b) I still prefer we not brew with an eye toward winning medals, even if both our winning beers are quite good. What good's a rule unless you can break it with impunity?

Read my essay about the new, launching on August 1.

My friend John Campbell, whose local career in good beer has included stints at Falls City, NABC, BBC and Schlafly, has teamed up with John Wurth, principal at Hatch Creative LLC, to launch on August 1, 2011.

Currently, there’s a place-setter page featuring the testimonial I happily wrote for them, which should explain everything about what they seek to do. Since postcards were being handed out during LIBA’s Louisville Brewfest, I trust there’s nothing wrong with me repeating the essay here. I intend to reintroduce my former LEO column at this new location, although Mug Shots as a title is retired along with the position.

Can anyone think of something else?


Some time around 1996, Rich O’s Public House was on sufficiently firm ground after four years of ceaseless nurturing that I finally could afford the luxury of a weekly day off.

Surrounded on a daily basis by beer, beer and even more beer – back then, most of it imported, but with what eventually would be termed “craft” beers gradually seeping in from the coasts, Colorado and Michigan – one might be forgiven for seeking work-free recreation in some completely different field, perhaps fishing or bicycling, maybe doing odd jobs around the house.

Not me. What I wanted most of all was to find some other establishment in the metro Louisville area that also served good beer, to go there, relax, and enjoy a busman’s holiday.

Where to go? For a brief time, I made an effort to collate the available information and to provide an Internet listing of the like-minded for viewing at the FOSSILS homebrew club web site. With a degree of grandiosity in retrospect, I called it, “The Good Beer Guide to Louisville,” after the Campaign for Real Ale’s listings of pubs in the UK serving real ale.

The local brewery choices were limited. The forerunning Silo Brewpub was around for a while, and BBC was a keeper. Oldenberg Grille and Hops! were short-lived, as was Pipkin Brewing. Certain other pubs, beer bars and free houses on my weekly rotation survived, and thrive to this very day: Baxter Station, Rocky’s, O’Sheas’s and Irish Rover spring immediately to mind. I patronized them whenever possible then, and still do now.

A bit further along, breweries began making up ground. By 2000, Cumberland Brews had arrived, and shortly thereafter, Browning’s, located in Louisville Slugger Field. BBC split into two, NABC began brewing, and in shortly thereafter in America there was a shot heard around the world: Craft beer, an inspiring, non-violent velvet revolution of sorts, and just the sort of innovative phenomenon that we all can be patriotic about and celebrate on a 4th of July weekend.

But my well-intentioned efforts to maintain a “Good Beer Guide” ended long before the surge. There wasn’t enough time for someone drinking beer professionally and growing his own business to keep up, and while I judged this fact a fine problem to have, indeed, it did little to quench my thirst for information.

In 2011, there are many more of us than before, and now more than ever, we need such a comprehensive source, especially with new metro area breweries on the horizon.

In 1995, when it came to finding good beer in metro Louisville, the number of primary options was restricted to the fingers of one hand. In 2011, ten digits won’t get you past the epicenter of Baxter Avenue.

In 1995, I’d settle for a tattered, mimeographed sheet of paper with penciled-in street directions. In 2011, I need a comprehensive web site, a one-stop shop – a place where updates are timely and information is fresh. Coincidentally, this brings me to, which intends to be precisely the kind of joint we need, and a guide to all things craft beer in Louisville.

Features will include news, videos, podcasts and a bi-weekly column by me, Roger A. Baylor. There’ll be maps and reviews of local brewpubs, beer bars, and retail stores. Handy local brewery information, including directions, hours of operation, specials and seasonal releases, are a staple, along with a local and regional beer event calendar.

Stay tuned for more. Speaking personally, I’m delighted to have another chance to inflict my beer opinions on the Louisville area drinking public. I’d tell you more, except that somewhere, it’s already happy hour.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Binkley's "Big Three" Beer Dinner this Wednesday, July 13: NABC's A-Team is attending.

I've already told you how appetizing this menu looks: Eyes bulging as I examine the menu for the beer dinner at Binkley's in Indianapolis.

Verily, this simply isn't an ordinary beer dinner. It's a power trio beer dinner with NABC/Sun King/Three Floyds beers and some fine looking food courses, all of it taking place at Binkley's Kitchen & Bar in Indianapolis on Wednesday, July 13, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

NABC's sales department (Richard Atnip and yours truly) and Director of Brewing Operations David Pierce will be joyfully in attendance at Binkley's for this event. This may or may not be an enticement to attend, but if you do, we look forward to meeting you.

The beer dinner is an Indiana Craft Beer Week prelude to the 16th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival on July 16, and as previously noted, Rick and Jeff Tours can do the driving from the Louisville metro to Indy and back on that day.

The history of Malt Liquor. Really.

Readers with long memories will recall that for a brief period during Michael Borchers's original brewhouse incumbency, circa 2004, NABC made a beer called Turbo Hog. Just for the sake of being contrarian, we styled it as Malt Liquor, even though the brewing process was "normal" by craft beer standards.

It was the logical descendent of Bush Hog, itself an effort to redefine the "lawnmower beer" concept by boosting the alcohol content into the sixes, perhaps nearer seven, and hopping it to the point of comparison to IPAs. Both of them were graced with pre-Tony Beard graphics, courtesy of the Publican, who obviously never studied graphic design.

When the Public House hosted last week's Bell's Brewery event, I was chatting with Veronica, and somehow the topic of Malt Liquor came up. Perhaps someone mentioned Dogfish Head's willfully tacky Liquor de Malt, which I described way back in 2005: Dogfish Head's handcrafted Liquor de Malt is good beer, bad marketing.

Veronica recommended an article about the history of Amerian Malt Liquor, and as it turns out, Kihm Winship's fine piece also was written in 2005. It's hard for me to imagine a more comprehensive effort, even if it's dated a few years, and consequently misses out on the explosion of "malternative" beverages in the marketplace -- which may have stolen some of Malt Liquor's "corrupts every time" aura.

A Story without Heroes: The Cautionary Tale of Malt Liquor

I'm sure there has been much written about Malt Liquor since then, but the only mass-market version I've personally lifted to my lips was the Colt '45 we tried at an Office Hours session this spring while surveying Category 23, although something tells me the departing crazies at BBC's St. Matthews location also brewed Malt Liquor.

I could look somewhere and see if anyone else has "crafted" a Malt Liquor, but my verdict for now remains the same: Given all that I've consumed since those far-off Mickey's wide-mouths, Colt '45 didn't taste very good to me. Still, perhaps it never was intended to be about the flavor.

Price points aside, these days there are hundreds of ways to consume highly alcoholic beers, the majority of which comprise recognized styles, traditions and antcedents. However, as Winship's research reveals, Malt Liquor in the United States has its own history, reaching back to the post-Prohibition 1930's.

Who else besides Dogfish has sought to reclaim Malt Liquor for craft beer? Can it even be reclaimed? Should we?

I'm surely breaking no new ground here, but I concede to being fascinated by the possibilities ... assuming they exist. Thanks to Veronica for tripping the brain.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Columnist: "Designate PI law for repeal."

“Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another.”
-- Lysander Spooner, quoted by Debbie Harbeson

Enjoy this must-read column by my former local newspaper column colleague. She's still aboard, but I was dropped when the New Albany and Jeffersonville editions were merged.

HARBESON: Designate PI law for repeal, by Debbie Harbeson (News and Tribune)

Let’s say you — or someone you care about — had a few drinks one night and, knowing it would not be a good idea to drive, decided to let a sober person take the wheel.

Did you realize you can still be charged with a criminal offense? It’s true. The Indiana Supreme Court just affirmed this in Moore v. State.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Hop-O and expanded kitchen hours tomorrow (Sat., July 9) at Bank Street Brewhouse.

We're expecting sunny weather tomorrow: Saturday (July 9th), come downtown for the City Wide arts celebrations, with shops, drinks, food and music.

For the city-wide arts walk, mural day and assorted downtown events, there'll be an encore appearance of NABC's Hop-O at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Jared's 2011 version, brewed with our house California Common yeast, is intended as a blast from New Albany’s illicit past; this Prohibition-era "cereal" beer was supposed to have been non-alcoholic, but the brewery got busted for an alcoholic content well into the three percentile range. This most infamous New Albany beverage is now revived, rejigged and notorious for entirely different reasons; it's session strength for a hot day at 3.5% abv.

Also, the Bank Street kitchen reports that it will be offering the new, expanded menu all day long without an afternoon break, from 12:00 Noon until 10:00 p.m.

I'll be at BSB with Leticia Bajuyo from 5:00 p.m. to discuss beer and brewing in New Albany, and her "All Bottled Up" installation. Josh Hill will have Rosa at Schmitt Furniture (also 5:00 p.m.) to dispense beer for the mural and music fete. It's going to be a long and fun day, and we hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Saturday, come downtown for the City Wide arts celebrations, with shops, drinks, food and music.

If I were to expend the time and effort required to explain to you which entity was sponsoring a particular arts event in downtown New Albany this coming Saturday, there’d be no time left to drink beer as the day unfolds.

I merely thank all the folks making it possible, and leave it at that. Readers, park somewhere and aimlessly wander. With a handful of exceptions (look for the Arts Council pamphlets), most of the city-wide events are taking place in a relatively small area, bounded by Main Street (South), Vincennes Street (East), Spring St (North) and State Street (West).

All this was unthinkable just a few years ago. Unified press releases still are.

Saturday’s downtown festivities are not entirely confined to the arts. Yes, last year’s bicentennial art walk now is concurrent with this year’s bicentennial mural project (and other Arts Council offerings), but all of it is being packaged as the New Albany City Wide Celebration, with shops offerings specials and on-premise establishments encouraged to join in the merriment.

By any title, it will be a busy and artistic day, as evidenced by these links. Seriously, I've done my best to provide an overview.

Farmers Market
If you have not visited New Albany’s Farmers Market (corner of Bank and Market) in a while, consider doing so. While not yet in the class of the one operating for so long on Bardstown Road in Louisville, the organizers have labored mightily over a period of years to make improvements, and the fruition of their efforts truly has become evident in 2011. It's simply a great community vibe.

Bicentennial Public Art Project & Walk
Last year's temporary installations are still in place (they'll rotate out soon), and three new ones add to the total for this year's stroll. Leticia Bajuyo's All Bottled Up remains outside Bank Street Brewhouse, where we had one fine night with the Bicentennial Art walk last year.

Arts Council of Southern Indiana's two receptions
The first Arts Council reception is from noon to 5:00 p.m. at its Market Street headquarters: Beyond Borders, which focuses on butterflies and their meaning in art and writing. From 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the action moves to the newly renovated United Gas and Electric Building at 138 E. Spring, also home of the Colokial shop (just around the corner from Bank Street Brewhouse).

The new venue there is being called the Resch Gallery, and there'll be two exhibits: Arts WORK, and “By the River’s Edge”, the latter featuring "local and state steamboat artifacts (as) part of the Rivers Institute at Hanover College’s celebration of the 200th anniversary of the first steamboat trip through the Ohio and Mississippi rivers."

Schmitt Furniture Community Mural Fellowship
In essence, Schmitt Furniture is marking its 75th anniversary by teaming with the Arts Council to place a large mural on its building (corner of State and Main). The mural, to be painted by the legendary Dave Thrasher, will be on the alley side, next to a parking lot that will serve as the site of Saturday's celebration. The intrepid Josh Hill will have NABC's Rosa L. Stumblebus beer truck on hand for the party, which will have live music and run from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Apologies for any omissions. As I said, just come downtown for the city-wide show, park, walk and enjoy.

Medical expenses benefit for Jeff "Professor" Gesser, at BBC St. Matthews all weekend.

Even those readers who are only loosely associated with the Louisville beer and brewing community know Jeff "Professor" Gesser, who has tended bar at Bluegrass Brewing Company St. Matthews for many years, and as a sidelight, organizes amazing beer & bus trips to sporting events and festivals through Rick & Jeff Tours.

Jeff's business partner at Rick & Jeff Tours is Rick Southward, who sent this out today; here's the Facebook link,, and I'll reprint the text, too (below). In short, Jeff's doing fine, but he needs some help.

My thoughts: Jeff's been a stalwart of the local craft beer scene pretty much from the beginning, and I'm sure you'll agree with me that eating some barbecue and drinking a few beers is a great way for those who've enjoyed his companionship over the years to give a little back. I'm not sure when I'll be able to make it over, but I hope to see many of you there at some point this weekend.

A number of you know my friend and business partner, Jeff Gesser. Well, here is a little you may or may not know.

Thirteen months ago Jeff suffered a life threatening pulminary embolism. This event brought with it a number of life style changes, and a few lingering complications, to the tune of three additional surgeries.

The biggest, or smallest depending on perspective, change in my big buddy's life is that he is shrinking... before our eyes. At the last count I heard, he has lost 173 pounds.

BBC's benefit this weekend is a celebration of the changes Jeff has made. The money raised will help offset the hospital bills that have stacked up on him over the last year.

To do so, there will be bands and barbecue outside at the St. Matthews BBC. Friday barbecue will be Memphis style, with Texas style on Saturday and Owensboro style on Sunday. The bands are Dirty Church Revival on Friday, Red Shag Bula on Saturday and Slow Charleston on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tony's label and graphics for Yakima Rye India Pale Ale.

And all due thanks to Jared Williamson, who now walks to work at Schlafly, for developing Yakima. We have big plans for this one.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Eyes bulging as I examine the menu for the beer dinner at Binkley's in Indianapolis (Wed., July 13).

The 16th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival takes place on July 16, and as previously noted, Rick and Jeff Tours can take you to Indianapolis and back to the Louisville metro area if you so desire.

Leading up to the festival is Indiana Craft Beer Week (July 10-16), when numerous celebratory events take place statewide. Among them is a NABC/Sun King/Three Floyds beer dinner at Binkley's Kitchen & Bar in Indianapolis on Wednesday, July 13, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

This one may require an overnight stay, or if not, perhaps a few of us would like to band together and hire a designated driver?

Still unconvinced? Just take a look at the menu and pairings, and as you do, be aware that the price for this extravaganza is only $50 per person, including tax and tip. Okay, metro Louisvillians ... who's in? My hand is up ...


Reception Course:

Selection of Indiana Cheeses
Paired with: Sun King Sunlight Cream Ale

Course Two:
Trio of pulled pork bruschettas
​1.) Traditional with apricot BBQ

​2.) Chinese five spice rub with mirin and bean sprouts.
​3.) Adobe rubbed with lime and cocoa
Paired with: NABC Beak’s Best American Ale

Course Three:
Trout with a crawfish etouffe, corn milk reduction, black pepper crisped skin, fried green tomato relish
Paired with: Three Floyds Black Heart Imperial IPA

Course Four:
“Corn dog.” Thai spice and beer battered sausage, miso & blue cheese, curry, spiced greens
Paired with: NABC Elector Imperial Red

Course Five:
Pork ribs with (beer) sauce, corn fritters, mixed roast potatoes, faba beans
Paired with: Three Floyds Gumball Head American Wheat

Course Six:
Duck confit with cherries, peas, and feta
Paired with: Sun King "Mystery Brew"

Trio of Desserts
1.) Brown butter and bacon popcorn with chocolate drizzle
​Paired with: Sun King "Mystery Brew"

2.) Cherry pie with (beer) scented cream
​Paired with: NABC Solidarity Baltic Porter

​3.) ‘Pecan pie’ with toffee ice cream
​Paired with: Three Floyds Robert the Bruce

Monday, July 04, 2011

News agencies throw bar under the bus for "many fake IDs," as ATC tells violators to ride, not walk.

Obviously, the young woman's disappearance is far more grave than considerations of under-aged drinking; still, this article provides an interesting glimpse into ATC methodology when it comes to enforcing probably the single dumbest law in America.

Of particular interest to me: "“We have to see them get into that vehicle."

However, note that the citations being issued are for fake IDs, not drunkenness. Just as with the compulsive Prohibitionist's assumption that all drinkers under the age of 21 would drink uncontrollably if not barred from drinking, which leads to them drinking uncontrollably, anyway, and illegally (and dangerously) at that, now there's an injunction against walking home after a violation, even if home is right around the corner.

Huh? Is this a reporter error?

Bar that missing Indiana University student visited draws many fake IDs

... Travis Thickstun, spokesman for the state alcohol and tobacco commission, said patrolling excise officers focus their enforcement efforts on groups of young-looking people or in places where they have complaints. He said they don't target specific businesses ...

... Thickstun said excise police focus on places where underage drinkers are known to congregate.

He said tickets for fake IDs are issued mostly outside bars and that officers seize the ID. They also require those who receive tickets to get rides home from sober friends or call a cab.

“We have to see them get into that vehicle,” he said. “They cannot walk home, even if it's just a few blocks away, by themselves.”