Friday, December 30, 2011

The next Office Hours with the Publican is Monday, January 9.

The next scheduled Office Hours with the Publican is in the Prost Room (Pizzeria & Public House) at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 9.

Office Hours is an informal tasting that occurs on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month.

On the 9th, we will be sampling the back catalog of the Public House's ciders, mostly French (sorry, no Woodmuck), to determine quite frankly whether they're still drinkable.

NABC Smoked Abzug ... later in 2012.

One of the major themes of my year in beer was a growing preference for session-strength pints.

"Session" is a topic that has been discussed here many times in the past, and I always like to follow the trail backwards in time to Lew Bryson's pioneering advocacy: The Session Beer Project.

Hence, the gorgeous specimen pictured above: NABC Smoked Abzug. I hasten to add that currently, the only place on the planet where this beer is on tap is the keg box in my home garage, so don't get any ideas.

Former NABC brewer Jared Williamson originally formulated Abzug as a low-gravity lager (California Common yeast) with a short maturation curve; it was our first attempt to produce a session-strength golden lager for serving at our two on-premise locations. We've since started using Bavarian yeast to brew Bat Out of Helles, which will be the inheritor of the Abzug notion.

Later, Jared came up with the idea of lightly "smoking" his Abzug, thereby creating a lower gravity version of something resembling Bamberg's Spezial. The last keg of it is in the garage, and with around nine months of down time, the liquid is now a brilliant "bright" amber, and as MASH's late and lamented Colonel Potter might have said, there aren't enough O's in smOOth to describe it. The Weyermann smoked malt is beginning to fade in intensity, but it's still present. The flavor is clean and delicious, and at less than 4% abv, you can have a few without hitting the floor.

Look for the next batch of Smoked Abzug in October of 2012. It will be available on draft at the Pizzeria & Public House, Bank Street Brewhouse, my garage, and selected Cavalier Distributing accounts in Indiana that opt for NABC's forthcoming "session tap" program. As always, stay tuned.

The patio build-out continues at Bank Street Brewhouse.

We're expecting the garage doors on the 4th or 5th of January. After they're installed, the main work will be finished. All we'll have to do then is furnish the new room.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New NABC beers for 22-oz bomber bottling in 2012.

As a preface, permit me to note that these beers are as yet on the drawing board. Labels must be created and approved, and the beers brewed, but we've no reason to believe these bomber releases will not occur as scheduled.

Hoosier Daddy (March release)
The most heroic word in all languages is revolution
Cream and crimson? Hoosier daddy? Is it Eugene Debs, or Bob Knight? David Letterman, or John Mellencamp? NABC unambiguously salutes all Hoosier daddies, wherever they are, whatever they do, and whomsoever they do it for, or to.
7% abv

Black & Blue Grass Saison (April release)
You can’t drink Black Grass in striped pants
Wallonian-style farmhouse ale, brewed with lemongrass and black pepper.
Circa 6% abv, perhaps higher as reformulated

Le Diable Blonde (May release)
Here comes the woman with the look in her eye
Patience is the key and virtue is the lesson from this malt bomb devil of a Belgian-style Tripel.
10.7% abv

Naughty Claus (November/Thanksgiving release)
Santa needs daze off, too
A rich, full-bodied holiday spiced ale. Unveiled for Saturnalia, NABC’s annual observance of Christmas’s pagan roots. We’ll be sticking to the 2011 formula in years to come.
7.5% abv

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bourbondaddy, Stumble Bus and Turbo Hog.

Earlier, I announced NABC's release schedule for 2012, and among other projects, we'll be resurrecting three beers from the Michael Borchers era as part of a 10th anniversary series. Similarly, the primitive artwork derives from the pre-Tony (Beard) era, as conceived by the Publican (me) and actualized with stunted graphics capabilities. David Pierce, NABC's director of brewing operations, has spent the past few days poring over wrinkled old legal pads and labored scrawlings on the back of Kroger receipts, attempting to crack the seemingly forgotten codes so he can formulate these revivals. This will be fun. There'll be better art in the end, too.

“Go forth and proceed”
Haggisdaddy, as aged in Woodford Reserve barrels in 2003 and 2004. At the time, we said that, “Batches (are) released periodically so we can gauge the progress of the experiment.”
6.5% abv

Stumble Bus
Along with Bourbondaddy, surely the most fondly remembered ale by NABC’s founding brewer, Michael Borchers. Was it Imperial IPA, or was it Barleywine? Brewed with English malt, and hopped with Galena, Cascade, East Kent Golding, Amarillo and Hallertau hops. Stumble Bus was dry-hopped with East Kent Golding and Cascade. 1056 (Chico) American yeast was used (OG 1.100).
10% abv

Turbo Hog
The finest malt liquor yet devised by man
Bush Hog’s logical culmination, sans paper bags. Augmented with corn, boosted in strength, and refashioned as a malt liquor, it was a briefly invigorating experiment. There was Bush Hog, then Turbo Hog. Boss Hog was planned, but never brewed.
9.2% abv

NABC’s 2012 Core Beer Portfolio.

For 2012, NABC’s full-time core portfolio will comprise those beers we're seeking to have on draft at the Pizzeria & Public House and Bank Street Brewhouse. Because there are fewer draft lines at Bank Street Brewhouse, and a narrower range of potential solutions, it may be the case than not all core portfolio beers pour there every day. Stay tuned; we may get creative as patio build-out work continues.

Go here for NABC’s 2012 Beer Release Schedule.
Go here for NABC’s 2012 Beer Release Highlights.

* Serving tank beers at the Pizzeria & Public House; will be served at Bank Street Brewhouse as often as possible.

+ Also available in 22-oz bombers for outside distribution

# Also available on draft for outside distribution

*Bat Out of Helles
#Beak’s Best
#Bob’s Old 15-B
#Community Dark
*Pickman’s Pale
*QuakerFoot and WeeFoot (rotating during cool and warm months)
#Tafel Bier
+#Tunnel Vision

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NABC's 2012 Beer Release Schedule.

The 2012 monthly NABC beer release schedule is ready. Note that when 22-oz bomber bottle seasonals are released, they will be available on draft at both NABC locations. This is not to be considered an exhaustive listing, just what we know and can plan.

Go here for NABC’s 2012 Beer Release Highlights.
Go here for NABC’s 2012 Core Beer Portfolio.

22-oz bottles: Bonfire of the Valkyries
Draft only: Old Lightning Rod, Munich Dunkel

22-oz bottles: Elsa von Horizon
Draft only: ConeSmoker

22-oz bottles: Hoosier Daddy
Draft only: Hard Core Gore, Doppelbock, (10th Anniv) Stumblebus

22-oz bottles: Black Grass Saison
Draft only: Ordinary Bitter, Wheat Helles Bock

22-oz bottles: Le Diable Blonde
Draft only: Kaiser, Wheat Doppelbock

22-oz bottles:
Draft only: Haggis Laddie, (10th Anniv) Turbo Hog

Draft only: Mt. Lee

Draft only: Phoenix

22-oz bottles: Jaxon
Draft only: Strassenbräu , (10th Anniv) Bourbondaddy

22-oz bottles: ThunderFoot
Draft only: Wet Knobs, Smoked Abzug

22-oz bottles: Naughty Claus
Draft only: ClovenFoot, Abbey’s Dubbel

22-oz bottles: Solidarity
Draft only: (10th Anniv) Scotch de Ainslie

Boxing Day at the Irish Rover, 10:30 a.m. view.

It's a grand Louisville tradition for the day following Christmas Day, and the Rover always does it right.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Highlights of NABC's 2012 Beer Release Schedule.

It isn’t that NABC never had a beer release schedule, it’s just that we’ve never gone to the trouble to organize it for public consumption … until now.

Go here for NABC’s 2012 Beer Release Schedule.
Go here for NABC’s 2012 Core Beer Portfolio.

Following are some 2012 talking points.


In 2012, we’re adding four seasonal beers to the 22-oz bomber bottle program, as brewed at Bank Street Brewhouse:

Hoosier Daddy
Black & Blue Grass
Le Diable
Naughty Claus

In observance of the brewery’s 10th anniversary in 2012, we’ll be brewing three “retro” beers from the past:

Turbo Hog

Another 10th anniversary beer, this one new formulated, is a Belgian-style Wee Heavy called Scotch de Ainslie. It honors Hew Ainslie (1792-1878), New Albany’s first-known commercial brewer. Scotch de Ainslie will appear in December, 2012, as a natural segue into New Albany’s bicentennial year of 2013. The Steamboat Common brewed in 2011 will reappear in 2013 as NABC’s official New Albany bicentennial ale.

In 2012, four beers (to be named) from the German stylebook will be brewed at the Pizzeria & Public House’s R & D Brewery:

Munich Dunkel (brewed already)
Wheat Helles Bock
Wheat Doppelbock

Thursday, December 22, 2011

NABC's brewing calendar for 2012 is taking shape.

Within the next few days, NABC will have a beer release schedule for 2012. Longtime observers will notice that this represents somewhat of a departure; obviously, we've always had a rough idea of what we'd be brewing, but it wasn't something I previously saw any urgency in reporting. For reasons great and small, I've changed my mind.

The schedule at Bank Street Brewhouse, the larger of our two breweries, is largely set for the coming year. At BSB, it's all about the bottles, so stay tuned.

At the R & D Brewery, which will be celebrating 10 years of brewing in 2012, we have several ideas up our sleeves. It will be necessary to slightly alter our usual routine during the coming year. For the moment, readers are asked to help me with a smidgen of non-binding research as to consumer preferences.

Rest assured, this is a controlled experiment. Of the following, which two do you prefer?

Abbey’s Dubbel
Kaiser 2nd Reising
Mt. Lee
Phoenix Komon
Pickman’s Pale Ale

Thanks. Comment here, or write me: roger(at)newalbanian(dot)com

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NABC tonight at Westport Whiskey & Wine.

Westport Whiskey & Wine in Westport Village (1115 Herr Lane in Louisville) is hosting a New Albanian tasting tonight from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. There'll be six NABC beers available in a sampling format for $5 per person, including the newly released Solidarity Baltic Porter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This week at NABC’s Bank Street Brewhouse.

  • Patio conversion is under way
  • Gumbo trial tonight
  • “Soft” 11 am – 5 pm hours on Christmas Eve
  • Solidarity Baltic Porter is being bottled today
  • Holiday hours for both NABC locations
Our friends at Resch Construction have started on Bank Street Brewhouse's long-anticipated patio build-out, and to say that we’re both excited and grateful is a profound understatement. Thanks again, Steve.

Bank Street Brewhouse will remain open throughout the process of converting our current patio area into an all-weather facility with garage doors opening into what will become a beer garden in time. Much of the work will be completed within a couple of weeks, but the new roof will have to wait for installation during warmer weather.

The wall stones were being stacked on pallets yesterday, to be put into storage and returned when the future beer garden is landscaped next spring/summer. Since the outdoor area isn’t being used very much during cold weather, this patio work will have the minor effect of causing a bit of a mess, but it will not stand in the way of doing business in the customary way.

Tonight (Tuesday the 20th) will be the first sighting of gumbo on the BSB menu. We’re thinking about making this a regular Tuesday food special, along with the reduced price session ales. Wednesday remains growler discount day. Remember that Bank Street Brewhouse now opens for lunch at 11:00 a.m. from Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday Brunch begins at 10:00 a.m., but because of this year’s dates for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, the next brunch date is January 8.

We're bottling Solidarity today, and it will be heading to the wholesalers tomorrow.

Following are the holiday hours of operation for Bank Street Brewhouse and the Pizzeria & Public House. Note that both locations will be open (reduced schedule) on Christmas and New Year's Eves.

Christmas Eve
Saturday, December 24
Pizzeria & Public House will be open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (pizzeria side only; normal menu)
Bank Street Brewhouse will be open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., with Progressive Pints, growlers and light snacks (not the everyday menu)

Christmas Day
Sunday, December 25
Both NABC locations will be closed

Boxing Day
Monday, December 26
Pizzeria & Public House will be open for normal hours (both sides)
Bank Street Brewhouse will be closed (as always on Monday)

Tuesday, December 27
In the Prost room ... contact Roger immediately if you’re interested in joining the annual Port tasting

New Year’s Eve
Saturday, December 31
Pizzeria & Public House will be open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (pizzeria side only; normal menu)
Bank Street Brewhouse will be open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., with Progressive Pints, growlers and light snacks (not the everyday menu)

New Year’s Day
Sunday, January 1 (2012)
Both NABC locations will be closed

Monday, January 2
Pizzeria & Public House will be open or normal hours (both sides)
Bank Street Brewhouse will be closed (as always on Monday)

Against The Grain/Mikkeller announce a collaboration.

Good stuff from Against the Grain.

Against The Grain Brewery, located in Louisville KY, and Danish brewer Mikkeller will collaborate on a experimental beer, emphasizing the brewers' love of brewing innovative and unique beers.

Against The Grain (AtG), founded in Oct. 2011, is Louisville's newest brewery and maintains a diverse array of beers covering all of the major categories of beer flavor while generating an endless stream of innovative new brews. In short, everything is "specialty". AtG's brewers (formerly of Bluegrass Brewing) have a notable history with Mikkeller. Brewers Jerry Gnagy and Sam Cruz have sent a number of brands to the Mikkeller Bar during 2009-2010.

Mikkeller, known as the 'Gypsy Brewer' from Copenhagen Denmark, is noted for creating challenging beers that test the boundaries of beer and where quality always comes before quantity. In other words, uncompromising beer.

The Mikkeller brand, producing over one hundred different styles of beer, has grown into one of the most sought after in the world.
“Mikkeller has been very pleased to collaborate with brewers Sam Cruz and Jerry Gnagy during the time they were working for Bluegrass Brewing.

This cooperation builds on mutual respect, friendship and interest in beers of the highest possible quality.”

The collaboration brew... 'A Bloody Show' will be available in the first quarter of 2012. Stay tuned.

In addition to the release of the AtG/ Mikkeller collaboration brew, AtG will also contract brew a 'draft only' version Mikkeller's Invasion IPA for distribution in the U.S. Mikkeller Invasion will also be available in the first quarter of 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Me and Sierra.

Last week, I briefly found myself having a conversation with what seemed like half the country, by way of Twitter and It made my fingers tired.

Ostensibly, the chat had to do with the possibility that Sierra Nevada, which has been brewing in California for 31 years, might soon open a second brewery in the vicinity of Asheville, North Carolina.

The questions I was asking of Sierra Nevada last week had to do with ideas in the form of concepts of locality and appellations of origin, formal or implied. These might be summarized like this: If your metaphorical image has derived from one sense of place for three decades, does it remain the same image should production be conducted elsewhere? Are you still the same, or do you change?

A representative from Sierra Nevada joined the discussion, and it became obvious that the company had been thinking deeply about questions like mine for quite some time. I’d be very surprised if it hadn’t. Significantly, it was evident that I was speaking the same language as Sierra Nevada’s people; my questions were understood there, and their answers were understood here.

My eyebrow was raised by the language being spoken by other participants. I was disappointed by the aggressive tone of some remarks, but even more so by the credulity of others. One person held that businesses don’t ever revolutionize, they merely capitalize; this assertion undoubtedly would amuse Steve Jobs and probably Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman, too.

Another wrote that Grossman can do no wrong. Really? I submit that craft brewing surely is a revolution, and also that absolutely none of its standard-bearers is infallible, including me. I seriously doubt that Grossman, whom I have not met, fancies himself as perfect.

Of course, there was not a shred of hostility from this end, nor will there be. At the time of the talk, the NABC Public House & Pizzeria had these three Sierra Nevada beers on tap: Celebration Ale, Torpedo IPA and Ovila Quad. Not a bad lineup, is it? If I really had a grudge against Sierra Nevada, would I be pouring these?

Look, craft beer is growing up. There are many questions to be asked as it does, and in the course of answering these questions, there’ll be much to discuss (over beers, of course). What I learned last week should come as no surprise in "America the Polarized"; while some craft beer lovers feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to the plethora of choice in the marketplace, they have precious little notion of how that cornucopia came to be. 

Our Craft Nation, circa 2011, came to be because of a revolution, and that revolution had (and continues to have) certain precepts. These are mutable and subject to revision. Questions constitute an opportunity to educate, to learn, and to know. They are not threats. 

C'mon, people. Without better thinking, what possible usefulness can there be in better drinking? 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Upcoming weekend Anstich pouring schedule at the Public House.

Once again, permit me to thank Starlight Distributing for bringing the Shelton Brothers import portfolio back to Indiana. It's amazing; we order beers, and then almost all of them are delivered in a timely fashion. At any rate, the coming weekend will bring two more 20-liter, gravity-pour “Anstich” kegs from small family breweries in Franconia (Northern Bavaria).

Friday, December 16:
Zum Grunen Baum Landbier (Brauerei-Gasthof Zum Grunen Baum “Bayer” in Rauhenebrach-Theinheim) ... 5:00 p.m. tapping

Saturday, December 17:
Löwenbräu Buttenheim Ungespundetes Lagerbier (Kellerbier; Löwenbräu Buttenheim, Buttenheim) ... 3:00 p.m. tapping

At some point between now and the end of the month, we're still expecting selected CO2-dispense kegs of Franconian delights, including Spezial Rauchbier, Mahr’s Ungespundetes Lager and Mahr’s Christmas Bock. As always, stay tuned.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Asheville NC beers at Office Hours on Monday night.

We'll have a special offering of beers from breweries in Asheville NC for tasting tomorrow night in Prost, beginning at 6:30 p.m. These were brought to us by one of my IUS non-credit course students who used to work part-time in the profuse Asheville brewing scene. I will augment these with weather-appropriate samples, perhaps from Saturnalia drafts.

In growlers:

In a bomber:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Picture this: Bank Street Brewhouse's patio build-out.

Imagine the BSB north patio "finished," with real walls and access doors, and also garage doors for opening in nice weather just like the ones already facing Bank Street.

The plan is in place, and (re)construction will begin within the next two weeks. Our landlord Steve Resch and his construction company is doing the work; they're keeping busy on Main Street, too, with the Feast BBQ project across the street from the YMCA. The BSB plan will be completed in two stages, with the walls and doors going up first, and then the roof being replaced when the weather gets warmer.

We'll be able to use the year-round space for big parties, music and events, and by making the patio into an extension of the building, the state-mandated floor plan rules will permit the use of the taps attached to the big brewery walk-in, and the current parking area to be converted into a landscaped patio. Think in terms of a beer garden, with the garage doors opening into it from the former patio.

I want to give a huge public thanks to Steve Resch and the people who usually help him at places like PC Building and Sprigler Door. This "finishing" has been a long time coming, and will leave us with a one-time brewery expansion option, to be exercised at some point in the future, before BSB becomes the way we first envisioned it -- without the green rooftop, to be sure, but who knows?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Is anyone ready for a Blank Slate?

Nathan's been working on this project for a while, and it's heartening to see his group gaining some traction. There is little reason why, in the coming years, any town in the state the size of Corydon couldn't have its own locally-oriented small brewery.

Brew pub may be on tap in downtown Corydon; Group eyes downtown historical property for microbrewery, by Grace Schneider (Courier-Journal)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

NABC at the CLEAN FOSSILS collaborative exhibition on Saturday, December 3.

Last Saturday (December 3), Josh and Megan served NABC beers and Turtle Run wines at CLEAN FOSSILS, a collaborative exhibition featuring the artwork of the 2011-2012 senior IU Southeast BFA artists. The exhibit was held at 501 Pearl Street, an historic building in the midst of refurbishment located just around the corner from Bank Street Brewhouse. This is precisely the sort of event we enjoy doing downtown because of the good vibe it brings to a revitalizing neighborhood. For views of the art, follow these links:

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Finally, enlightenment: Economic development via craft beer in Wildomar, California.

This is more like it: Economic development via craft beer. Whether it ever might play in New Albany, a place where the 20th-century barely was noticed, is another question entirely. Adam Nason of Beer News Dot Org provides the lead:

You’re a city manager with a need to build your local economy and a penchant for #craftbeer. What to do? Start a campaign.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Readers in Indianapolis, take note of NABC at the Sinking Ship on the 14th.

The Sinking Ship in Indianapolis is having a special Brewery Night with New Albanian Brewing Company on Wednesday, December 14, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., so if you're in the neighborhood (4923 N. College Ave.), drop by and choose from Beak's Best, Elector, Bob's Old 15-B, Hoptimus and a mystery keg TBA.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

NABC this weekend.

Tomorrow morning at Bank Street Brewhouse, brunch begins at 10.

Also, tonight is the CLEAN FOSSILS collaborative exhibition at 501 Pearl Street. There'll be NABC beer. The other half of the NABC crew will be in Louisville at the Mid City Mall for the 3rd Annual Highlands Beer Festival, sponsored by ValuMarket.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Link to the Baylor On Beer archive at Louisville Beer Dot Com.

My eighth Baylor On Beer column is up at Louisville Beer Dot Com, and I'm very pleased thus far with the web site's progress. Following are the two most recently published columns, and the link to the archive where all of them are located.

How To Have A Clue ... Once upon a time – actually, just the other day – a good friend of mine triumphantly announced that he’d finally landed the job of his dreams, working for one of the area’s preeminent package stores.

They’re Legislators, Not Logicians ... Last week I shuffled down to the drug store to buy a tube of toothpaste, and while waiting at the corner to cross the street, a Wal-Mart semi-trailer truck came barreling toward the intersection. There wasn’t enough room for him to make the turn, and I had to scurry for cover as those big wheels popped up on the sidewalk.