Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Indiana’s Smoke Free Air Law goes into effect on July 1, and here's how it affects us.

You're recall that the state's "revolutionary" 2012 smoking law is riddled with exceptions, exclusions and vivid testaments to endemic political cowardice, sad topics sufficient to provide hours of worthy discussion -- but the whole issue has come to bore me intensely. The long and the short of it remains: The legislature has decreed that some employees are more worthy of workplace safety than others. So be it.

As this new law pertains to NABC’s two on-premise locations, nothing much will change.

At the Pizzeria & Public House, we chose of our own volition to go smoke-free in January, 2011. It’s old news. About the only question raised by the new gobbledygook is the distance from the two entry doors to the benches outside where smoking is permitted, but although my raging disinterest precludes taking the time to actually measure, my guess is they’re a safe eight feet away.

At Bank Street Brewhouse, it’s a bit more complicated, even though it shouldn’t be, and none of the complications are related to the new law. Rather, they have to do with shaky communication and a dollop of jurisdictional confusion among competing bureaucracies.

From BSB’s inception in 2009, we chose to be smoke-free at the bar and in the dining room, and also at the front outdoor patio area facing Bank Street. Many times since, I have been asked: Why the front patio area? It’s because when the garage doors are open, smoke comes straight into the dining room, defeating the purpose.

When the side patio on BSB’s north side was added later in 2009, we allowed smoking there because it was open to the elements, and a wall and two doors separated it from the dining room.

However, in order to make this patio suitable for altered alcoholic beverage licensing (primarily, being given permission to serve beer from taps protruding from the walk-in cooler), it had to cease being a patio, and start being a building. Having been rendered a building, the way was clear to begin the clearing of the parking lot and the build-out of a new patio.

(At this juncture, note that the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, the Floyd County Health Department, the New Albany Building Commissioner and even the local fire department have differing definitions of many of the words I’m using here. What is a patio, a building, a wall or a door? Verily, it depends on which bureaucrat you ask.)

Q. What happens when those definitions differ?

A. That’s a very good question. We find out, some times on a weekly basis.

In effect, BSB’s side patio ceased to exist when it was enclosed and weatherproofed in early winter, and it now must be treated as an indoor dining room. Accordingly, before the statewide smoking “fudge” was even enacted, we declared the former patio to be a non-smoking area, in keeping with our own previous smoking policy as well as balancing as many competing bureaucratic definitions of reality as possible. In this sense, the state’s new smoking rules merely added another thin layer of existential juggling to the morass already in place.

For several months, our “no smoking on the former patio” policy has confused some patrons and angered others. Of course, I always regret misunderstandings, but as of July 1, it is rendered moot, because the area falls under the parameters of the new state law. There can be no smoking there, irrespective of the garage doors, which some might say should allow flexibility. Very gently, allow me to say: Perhaps in the ideal world, but when four separate bureaucratic regulators cannot agree on the definition of exactly what constitutes a door, it’s best for all of us (myself included; I’m a cigar smoker) to get over ourselves and just move on.

It was our original plan to put a covered (not all-weatherized) smoking area in the square nook where the bicycle rack previously stood, but the eight-feet-from-the-entry rule precludes this. So, as we proceed with building out the future garden in the current parking area, we’ll do what we can with the walk-in’s outdoor north face and provide a place there. The future garden itself, which I’m not calling a beer garden because according to the ATC, it will be licensed as a patio (see?), will smooth over some of these rough spots. There’ll be places to smoke, places for dogs, and places to lounge in the sun with a beer in hand.

And, finally, the future outdoor area likely will be referred to as Lloyd’s Garden, in honor of the late Lloyd Wimp. We hope to begin soon.

Aroused by legalese? Read the smoking law in its thrilling entirety.

Dr. Tom, who seeks to "reduce some of the drama generated by the uninformed,"   provides the Floyd County Health Department's point of view.

Bomber bottle pricing at Bank Street Brewhouse and the Pizzeria & Public House.

(An internal memo about an on-premise NABC bomber pricing change)


Memo: Bomber bottle pricing at Bank Street Brewhouse and the Pizzeria & Public House

Effective immediately ... Wednesday, May 30

NABC’s bomber bottles need to be stocked chilled, as part of the regular bill of fare at both NABC locations. We realize that most customers will opt for draft, but during times of brand outage or just because they prefer bottles, having them available should become the norm.

There will be one low price, the same price for SINGLE bottle on-premise consumption, or for carry-out. There will be a percentage discount for bulk purchases, i.e., 3 or 6 or 12 bottles.

3-5 bottles ... minus 10%
6-11 bottles ... minus 15%
12 or more bottles ... minus 20%

The pricing tiers are as follows (before tax pricing).
*** available now

***Black & Blue Grass
Hoosier Daddy

Bonfire of the Valkyries
Naughty Girl (available on June 7)
Tunnel Vision

***Elsa Von Horizon


Market pricing

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

From Huntingburg to Clarksville: NABC on the Road, May 30 - June 5.

The old timers weren't joking when they said that summer begins after Memorial Day weekend, although I think they meant it was vacation time. It isn't so in the craft beer business. Every year is the same, and I feel it again: Knees and feet ache, I neglect to rehydrate with non-alcoholic water, and pretty soon it's October again.

Following are five places NABC will be in the next eight days.


Date: Beginning Wednesday, May 30
Event: Dubois County Bombers home games at League Park in Huntingburg, Indiana (through July)
Staff: Local crew. NABC staff will attend games when possible.
Beers: One tap rotating Beak’s Best/Tafel, and the new Bomber Blonde (available only at the ballpark) on the second tap.

Date: Friday, June 1
Event: Live @ 5, opener for the city of New Albany's weekly Friday evening street parties
Equipment: Rosa L. Stumblebus draft truck
Staff: Richard Atnip, Roger Baylor, Tony Beard
Beers: Black & Blue Grass, Naughty Girl 2012, Propagator Dopplebock, Yakima Rye IPA

Date: Saturday, June 2
Event: 7th Annual Keg Liquors Fest of Ale in Clarksville IN
Equipment: Rosa L. Stumblebus draft truck
Staff: Josh Hill and David Pierce
Beers: Black & Blue Grass, Naughty Girl 2012, Oaktimus, Propagator Dopplebock (Yakima Rye IPA in the Hop Tent)

Date: Saturday, June 2 and Sunday June 3
Event: Art on the Parish Green in New Albany; perhaps the only event you'll see in 2012 sponsored by NABC, Rep. Ed Clere and Develop New Albany ... see, ecumenical thinking is alive and well
Beers: The fest is vending pours of Tafel and Elector (tentative)

Date: Tuesday, June 5
Event: DNA First Tuesday at Sweet Stuff Bakery and the Vintage Fire Museum in New Albany
Beers: To be determined; Roger will be offering samples

Monday, May 28, 2012

NABC Bomber Blonde -- a League Stadium exclusive.

Previously: Craft beer at the ballpark in 2012: Dubois County Bombers and NABC.

Tony Beard used NABC's familiar 15-B Vargas Girl and dressed her in a slightly more family-friendly way for use as the mascot of Bomber Blonde. The ale (BJCP category 6B) is intended to offer a small-batch, craft-brewed alternative to mainstream lagers, and it will be available only at League Stadium for Bombers home games: May 30 through playoffs in early August. Bomber Blonde is a fun experiment for us, and we think beer-drinking Bombers fans will like it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's that time again: The 7th Annual Keg Liquors Fest of Ale is Saturday, June 2.

I haven't taken time to tout Fest of Ale simply because it is unlikely that any beer lover within a hundred mile radius doesn't already know about metro Louisville's finest annual beer fest.

The seventh edition is Saturday, June 2. It seems like only yesterday that I was hanging on for dear life to the tent in hopes we wouldn’t be staging a beer-soaked revival of the Wizard of Oz. With all due respect to Todd, the St. Anthony's location is aesthetically superior to the parking lot on Lewis & Clark. The church basement might come in handy, although this year, the weather forecast is looking good.

NABC will be there with Rosa, our draft truck, dispensing these beers: Black & Blue Grass, Naughty Girl 2012, Oaktimus, Propagator Dopplebock and Yakima Rye IPA (in the Hop Tent).

Here's the rundown.


7th Annual Keg Liquors Fest of Ale
June 2nd, 3 - 7 PM

What is the Fest of Ale? It is a charity beer festival to help raise funds for the WHAS Crusade for Children.

The 7th annual Fest rolls around on Saturday, June 2, from 3-7 p.m. For the fourth year, it's on tap for St. Anthony's Catholic Church, 320 N. Sherwood Ave., Clarksville, Ind.

More than 40 breweries and four craft brew distributors will serve samples of more than 150 craft and import beers, and six fine wine distributors will serve wine samples. The St. Anthony's Men's Club will cook up hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and the like.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the event. They're available now at Keg Liquors, 617 E. Lewis & Clark Pkwy., Clarksville; or their New Albany location at 302 Pearl St, New Albany; or online at

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Louisville Bats hypocrisy symbolized by a "can of corn."

Have I told you lately about my vision of a great fan experience ...

Talking Baseball at Breakfast, by Rick Redding (

 ... The other panelist, Bats president Gary Ulmer, said the team is always looking for ways to improve its product, and in its 13th year at Slugger Field is looking at a potentail makeover in a few years. Without the ability to market individual players, since the good ones always get called up to the Reds, he said the team’s personnel focus on creating a great fan experience.

... and how unlikely such an experience remains, for so long as AB Inbev calls the advertising shots at Slugger Field, and Ulmer's minions at Centerplate implement them?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Craft beer at the ballpark in 2012: Dubois County Bombers and NABC.

“There is only one game at the heart of America and that is baseball, and only one beverage to be found sloshing at the depths of our national soul and that is beer … beer needs baseball, and baseball needs beer - it has always been thus.”
-- Peter Richmond, author and journalist

Growing up in Southern Indiana, one quickly comes to associate two of life’s most important pastimes with Dubois County: Baseball and beer.

Indiana’s Baseball Hall of Fame is in Jasper, and major leaguer Scott Rolen of the Cincinnati Reds starred at Jasper High School. Amazingly, at least four former major league players from olden times were born in the small town of Huntingburg: Bob Coleman, Ray Blemker, Alex Graman and Mitch Stetter.

As for beer, need I do more to document Dubois County‘s fermentable predilections than note its heavily German heritage? Although as yet there are no craft breweries in the county, Jasper is home to the regionally famous Schnitzelbank Restaurant, since 1961 a popular destination for its German cuisine and solid beer list.

Verily, it’s only a matter of time before an enterprising craft brewer sets up shop in Dubois County and brings beer tradition back to its local, independent roots.

That’s why, for a second year, the New Albanian Brewing Company is excited to be partnering with the Dubois County Bombers to bring craft beer to League Stadium in Huntingburg for Bombers home games this summer.

The Dubois County Bombers play in the Prospect League, a collegiate summer baseball league with teams located all the way from Missouri to West Virginia. Players with remaining NCAA eligibility compete with wooden bats, and live with host families during the season.

Huntingburg’s League Stadium is a retro jewel, reconstructed from an existing grandstand to serve as the 1940’s-era home for the Rockford Peaches during location shooting of the film, “League of Their Own” (1992), starring Geena Davis, Madonna and Tom Hanks.

Again in 2012, NABC is delighted to bring fresh, local craft beer to Dubois County for Bombers games. I can't say enough for Bombers management, because they "get it." Unlike other baseball clubs nearby, which have been slow to grasp the evolution of consumer beer preference, Bombers management sees the natural alliance of local baseball and local beer as one perfectly placed to give fans more of what they want when attending games.

NABC's beers will be available on draft from the beer trailer parked down the third base line. There is a roofed picnic area just in front of the taps, and the main concessions area, the NABC Craft Beer Bullpen, is adjacent. Perennial NABC favorites Beak’s Best and Tafel will rotate on one of the draft lines. The other tap will pour something entirely new: Bomber Blonde, brewed solely for sale at League Stadium. It is a by-the-book Blonde Ale (BJCP category 6B).

Looking ahead: There'll be a bus trip to a Bombers home game, like the one we booked last year; stay tuned for details.


Dubois County Bombers:

Bombers 2012 schedule:

Prospect League:

A League of Their Own:

Dubois County:

Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame:

Schnitzelbank Restaurant:

NABC home page:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Second Bloomington Craft Beer Festival coming on Saturday, June 9.

The second Bloomington Craft Beer Festival takes place on Saturday, June 9 at the Woolery Mill in Bloomington. Last year's first-ever event was fun, but lightly attended. The Brewers of Indiana Guild hopes that we do better with the festival in 2012, and happily, there's no conflict with Fest of Ale this year.

Ben Minton, Richard Atnip and the Publican (that's me) will be working the NABC booth, and here's what we're bringing: Black & Blue Grass, Naughty Girl 2012, Oaktimus, Yakima Rye IPA and assorted time-release growlers (to be determined).

For ticket information, visit the BIG site. A recap of 2011 was published here at the blog: Yesterday's inaugural Bloomington Craft Beer Festival.

Monday, May 21, 2012

NABC's Memorial Day weekend hours.

At 3312 Plaza Drive (Pizzeria & Public House):

Pizzeria open at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 26; Public House opens at 5:00 p.m.
Pizzeria & Public House closed on Sunday the 27th and Monday the 28th.

At 415 Bank Street (Bank Street Brewhouse):

Regular hours on Saturday and Sunday; closed as usual on Monday.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Kudos to Don Clapham and Nick Ellis, organizers of the RiverRoots craft beer component."

(I have submitted the following letter to the editor of the Madison Courier)

For the seventh straight year, the New Albanian Brewing Company (my company) was delighted to serve beer at the RiverRoots folk music and culture festival in Madison.

Kudos to Don Clapham and Nick Ellis, organizers of the RiverRoots craft beer component. They went the extra mile to assemble a beer lineup second to none at any regional music festival of which I’m aware.

Again this year, NABC was joined by our friends at Upland Brewing Company (Bloomington) and Great Crescent Brewery (Aurora). Making their RiverRoots festival debut this year were Sun King from Indianapolis, and Madison’s own Mobreki.

Indiana now is home to more than forty craft breweries, which in addition to revitalizing the art of brewing, also promote localism, provide jobs and help revitalize communities.

Breweries like these are American-owned and operated. Conversely, it may surprise readers to learn that the largest American-owned brewery is no longer Anheuser-Busch, Miller or Coors, but Yuengling. Sam Adams is in second place.

Primarily through the efforts of Don and Nick, RiverRoots has had the intuition to put its finger on the pulse of what is happening in modern beer, as well as modern music. It’s a wonderful combination, and we appreciate it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: The German Cafe (Paoli, Indiana).

In the following review, Shane Campbell recounts his wonderful experience at The German Cafe in Paoli, Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Curmudgeon visited a week later, and fully endorse Shane's fine review. Previously, Shane reviewed the Louis Le Français/Starlight Dist/NABC beer dinner on March 1 and the Eight Beer Fantasy at Majid's.


One Sunday afternoon recently, sitting at the bar in Bank Street Brewhouse, I overheard a couple of regulars talking about setting up a meet at a German restaurant in Paoli.

Say what? I must have misunderstood.

I've been in Paoli many, many times, and while I know a few places that one can find decent food there – okay, one really: the golf club -- I recalled no German restaurants in this tiny burg. I was told it was called The German Cafe, and it was getting big love from another regular (not present that Sunday), whose opinion about German food was respected. A trip to the German Cafe was in the offing. I wanted in.

As you know, coordinating a time when everyone is available is about as easy as training beagle puppies to herd grasshoppers. After exchanging several e-mails and waiting two more Sundays, it seemed likely that this rendezvous would not happen soon. At first, it was Thunder, then Derby. Next it would be Mother's Day. So to assuage my kraut craving, I coordinated my own trip with my best girl Friday (Donna) and on Saturday we drove an easy thirty miles northwest to Paoli.

The German Cafe is a small cottage painted light blue and white with a tidy deck out front. It sits up on the hillside just east of town on State Rd 37 across from the Wal-Mart. I mention this because if you ask for directions in this bucolic county, the Wal-Mart is the landmark of choice.

It was late morning as we stepped out from under a sun-drenched Saturday sky and into the cafe to the jaunty sound of jingling bells tied to the door. As we removed our sunglasses we were met by a bit of old world charm. The restaurant is a collection of small rooms decorated in lace and white table linens. We found out later it can seat forty-four inside. The front room is the largest and can seat as many as twenty. The first thing that caught my eye was a shelf with beer just opposite the door. We stood conspicuously at the entry for a moment wondering whether this was a “seat yourselves” situation or “wait to be seated” scenario. There was a young couple already seated to our left in the main room and the sound of quiet conversation told us that there were other diners in the room, farther back to the left of the beer shelf.

For me, the beer is always the landmark of choice.

A woman with sandy blonde hair wearing an apron bustled into the room from the kitchen. She was headed towards the back room with the quiet conversation but paused and threw us a friendly smile. I stepped away from the shelf, where I had been looking at the bottles of German beer. She said hello. I heard no accent and was mildly disappointed. The story was that the German Cafe was owned by a German couple. Maybe later we would meet an owner.

We both said hi, and Donna said we were the only two. The woman glanced around at the nearly empty room and asked us to please sit anywhere we liked. I could see into at least two other smaller rooms. The brightly lit front room where we stood appeared comfortable and at first glance seemed to have many things to look at, including the beer shelf. We chose to sit in the corner of the main room across from the other couple.

We had no sooner taken our seats than the woman hurried back in. She invited us to look at the laminated lunch menus laid out at each place setting and asked if we would like to hear the specials. I told her we were not local but were very excited to try the restaurant, of which we had only recently heard. She smiled as if slightly embarrassed and said, yes a German restaurant in Paoli was unexpected, and yet she had not chosen this spot at random. She said this while making a gesture akin to throwing a dart at a board. I was too surprised by her admission that she was the owner to follow up on this right away.

As she described the specials, speaking the German words, it became obvious that she is German. Her English is so good, and with nearly perfect American phrasing, that I thought she must have lived in this country for decades. Her name is Ramona Muenzer, and on the day of our visit, her waitress had not shown up for work. Frau Muenzer wore a happy face, but we could tell she was not best pleased.

The specials were a Schnitzel Normandy (covered with mixed vegetables) with a salad, and a wurst plate with three different sausages and a choice of two sides. There was a third special, available only on selected weekends: Nuernberger sausages, served with two sides. These she described as six finger-length links, sweet and slightly spicy like small bratwursts. Her enthusiasm for this infrequent special won me over immediately, and I let her suggest my sides of kraut and potato salad.

Then she asked if I was interested in the beer options. I was. I had already looked over the shelf containing eight different bottled beers. Five were Weihenstephaner (Hefe & Kristal Weissbier, Doppel Bock, Pilsner and Original Premium). The others were Erdinger Dark Wheat, Hofbrau Dunkel, and Jever Pilsner. As she brought a copy of the beer menu, the young man at the table next to us said that the Doppel Bock was excellent -- if I liked a dark beer.

I had already dismissed the Doppel Bock, as I knew it would be stronger than I wanted. I intended to drink two or three bottles and selecting the Doppel would cut that down to two for sure. However, before I could say this aloud Ramona praised the selection and placed the menu in front of me. I glanced at it and saw the Doppel was the strongest of the beers at 7.5%.

The young man offered that the beer, while dark, was not heavy at all, a sentiment Ramona echoed. I was pleased that the young man was recommending a beer to me, but still I hesitated. Just as I started to explain that it was the alcohol content that I objected to, not the taste or heaviness, the young man said I could have a taste of his if I wasn't sure.

Oh, hell; I laughed and said to Ramona that I would have a whole bottle to taste. Donna volunteered to drive if necessary, and we were all in happy accord that I would be drinking the Doppel Bock. Chad and Katey told us that they also were not local. They had just noticed the restaurant as they were driving by.

In fact, they are from Illinois and had spent the previous night in Indianapolis. I asked where they were heading and they smiled at each other and admitted that they didn't know, having just started a seven day driving trip in an open-top Jeep with their only agenda being to find wineries and interesting historical sites along their journey. They both had notebooks open next to them, and said they were writing a travel blog ( detailing the trip. Damn they were cute! Chad is a coal miner from the Illinois sticks and Katey is from the Chicago suburbs, just finishing a degree in music therapy. They were both twenty-fourish. Oh, to be young again!

We were discussing possible options when their food arrived. Katey had already received her salad, and it looked like she had chosen the sausage plate entree. Chad had the schnitzel with vegetables and a large bowl of flat noodles with mushroom gravy. Ramona arrived with my beer and a glass, and I asked if she could sit with us when she had time as both couples wanted to hear her story. She again mentioned that her waitress had not shown up, but with only a few other diners to assist, she would be happy to come and sit when she could.

Our food soon came. Donna had ordered the schnitzel “Wiener Art” sandwich without sides, and its monstrous size made her glad she had not ordered sides. To be truthful, there were very few German sides she would eat anyway. My sausages had a delicate flavor that became truly fantastic when covered with the spicy brown mustard. The kraut and the potato salad both were the best I've ever had.

I've eaten at Erika's and the Gasthaus in Louisville. I've sought out German restaurants in areas with large German communities in Wisconsin, Texas, and even Jasper, Indiana. I've even had a few meals in Germany. While I can't ever remember having any bad meals at a German restaurant, I certainly know that I've never had a better one than I had in the German Cafe in Paoli that Saturday.

While we were eating, Ramona came back, sat down and began to tell us her story. This is what she said.

Ramona, her husband Bernd and their two children lived near Wurzburg, Germany, until about three years ago. She worked for the US Department of Defense for a long time, explaining her exceptional English. She mentioned working in the hotel trade, which I took to mean that she was employed by the billeting facilities at a large Army base located near there. Bernd worked in assisted care for the elderly, and also had owned a couple of small pubs in the past. As the era of US Army bases in Germany drew down, Ramona was faced with losing her DOD job unless she moved to another base in the far south of the country.

Ramona said she and Bernd had become acquainted with a woman who visited Germany often, and who also happened to live in the West Baden/French Lick area. This woman, a small business owner, often complained of the lack of German restaurants in the area. Ramona and her husband were convinced to come over for a visit; she joked that their American acquaintance only drove them as far as Paoli, Bedford, and West Baden, and they never really knew how close they were to larger centers of population. I got the impression that in retrospect, she might have considered locating closer to Louisville, Bloomington, Jasper, or even Indianapolis had she been more familiar with the area.

She said their restaurant had been open for about two years now and that they had been making slow but steady improvements all along. She talked about Indiana laws prohibiting a beer garden, although the new deck area served well. We discussed her beer selection and she said they chose the beer because it was what she and Bernd liked to drink in Germany. They were thinking of expanding the beer selection, but were unsure the locals would drink other styles.

I mentioned that her approval rating was an impressive 95% on Urbanspoon and she assured me that it was in fact 97%, as one of her regular customers had just told her. I mentioned that the Mayor of Jasper had been seen eating here, and she replied that even more impressively, the German Club of Jasper had recently dined with her, and the owners of the famous Schitzelbank restaurant in Jasper had been coming to The German Cafe in Paoli to eat regularly.

As we were talking, the tardy waitress came in. Ramona congratulated her for finally showing up, and the young woman tried to put a glad face on it by saying better late than never. Ramona's smile in return appeared to take quite a lot of effort, and she told the girl there was a lot of work to do. This interplay was close up and quite amusing. I had to turn away to keep from laughing. I imagined the waitress would be receiving the sharp end of Ramona's tongue soon after we departed. I suspect there are many things Ramona has had to become accustomed to since moving to Paoli.

We’re thrilled that she did, and we’ll be returning soon to try out the dinner menu. Ramona says that the goulash and the red cabbage are widely acknowledged as the most authentic to be had locally by her German customers. I don't intend to take her word for it.

Our lunch came to $25. I was too full to try any dessert and Donna took half her schnitzel sandwich home with her. The true measure of how much I enjoyed my meal was the fact that I realized I had not even considered ordering another beer. The Doppel Bock I had was quite tasty, but the food was so good that I didn’t need another. I plan to have the hoppy Pils next time. Besides, I need to practice my German: Ein Bier, Bitte!

The charming Chad and Katey were great company. I'm sure they had a great adventure. I intend to follow their journey on their blog spot.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's time once again for a ride on the Stumblebus.

2012 is NABC's 25th, 20th and 10th anniversaries, for the Pizzeria, Public House and brewing operation, respectively, and they'll all come together as one when we celebrate on Sunday, July 22, at New Albany's Riverfront Amphitheater.

But for now, let's take a ride on the Stumblebus. After all, it hasn't stopped here since the first "W" administration.

Stumblebus is one of three retired, “retro” beers from NABC's past that we're reviving this anniversary year as the 10th Anniversary Bygoner Series. The other two classics we're revisiting are Bourbondaddy and Turbo Hog. A final 10th anniversary beer, this one newly formulated, is a Belgian-style Wee Heavy called Scotch de Ainslie. It honors Hew Ainslie (1792-1878), New Albany’s first-known commercial brewer.

Stumblebus was created by NABC’s founding brewer, Michael Borchers. Was it Imperial IPA, or was it Barleywine? We were never entirely sure. David Pierce and Ben Minton hit the NABC archives, the the result will be pouring at both NABC locations at opening on Friday, May 18.

Stumblebus (Redux)

Malts: Rahr Pale, Weyermann Vienna, Simpson Medium Crystal, Light Malt extract

Hops: A delicate mix of Galena, Cascade and Golding

Yeast: Super San Diego Ale

OG: 25 Plato
IBU: 126
ABV: 11.2% (yes, the placard can be adjusted)
Color: 13.4 SRM

RiverRoots, a music festival with a great craft beer lineup.

New name, same great weekend in Madison, Indiana: RiverRoots festival runs May 18-20, with Indiana craft beer.

As best I can determine, here's the draft beer list for the craft beer tent at RiverRoots this coming weekend. How many regional music festivals can boast a lineup like this one?


Great Crescent Brewery
Aurora, Indiana

Cherry Ale
A lightly hopped, all-malt ale that receives a load of tart cherries in the secondary fermentation, producing a flavorful beer, balanced and not overpowering with fruit. The cherries are from orchards of the American Midwest, and are along the same variety as cherries used for Belgian Kriekbiers.
ABV:  5.7%
IBU:   18

Coconut Porter
A distinctive American interpretation of classic English Style Porter, with coconut added during the boil to give this beer a unique, nutty flavor that blends perfectly with the style.
ABV:  5.6%
IBU:   32.9

Refreshingly crisp, wheat-based ale with a slightly dry, tart finish. It has moderate sweetness with spicy aromas and a hint of coriander and citrus. This beer is very light in color with a dense, white head and some cloudiness from a special yeast strain.  
ABV:  5.1%
IBU:   14


New Albanian Brewing Company
New Albany, Indiana

Black & Blue Grass
The great Bill Monroe described his bluegrass music as "Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'. It’s Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound." Belgian yeast from De Struise, and stateside Saison spicing: Black pepper and blue agave and lemongrass.
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 18

Community Dark
Inspired by traditional English Mild, the style that fueled the workers who made the Industrial Revolution, Community Dark is revolutionary in its own way: Dark-colored but light-bodied, and a classic session ale.
ABV: 3.7%
IBU: 13

Yakima Rye IPA
NABC’s hophead Brewmaster says, “Yakima is simple in design: This beer is for me, here in the land of no coast. After many years of liquid research, the time came to satisfy my inner desire to craft a Rye IPA so immaculate that it would ‘up’ our revolution even further. Mission accomplished.”
ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 130 


Sun King Brewery
Indianapolis, Indiana

Osiris Pale Ale
An assertively hopped West Coast style of Pale Ale. Every aspect of this beer is designed to showcase the hops without overpowering your taste buds.
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 50

Sunlight Cream Ale
Our most approachable beer. A smooth malt profile and a crisp, clean finish.
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: 20

Wee Mac
This Scottish-style Brown Ale has a nice hazelnut character with rich toffee undertones
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: 23

Mobreki Brewery
Madison, Indiana
(Beers to be determined)

Upland Brewing Company
Bloomington, Indiana

Preservation Pilsner
Preservation Pilsner is brewed in the traditional Bohemian style, originally created in the town of Pilsen in 1842, and offers a crisp, light taste without sacrificing its signature all-malt, mellow flavor. We age our Pilsner for an entire month.
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 36

Schwarz Black Lager
Schwarzbier (black beer) originated in medieval Germany, and our take on this ancient lager delivers hints of chocolate and coffee, courtesy of its dark malts, with a strong nose and a clean finish, striking the right balance of robust and crisp, with enough bitterness to accentuate but not overpower.
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: 25

Wheat Ale
A classic rendition of the Belgian Witbier (white beer), brewed with organic coriander, chamomile, and orange peel to be light on the tongue and refreshingly tart. In the tradition of the Belgian Wit style, it is unfiltered, allowing suspended yeast to create a cloudy, golden appearance.
ABV: 4.5%
IBU: 12

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My column at "Permanent Olfactory Revolution."

As the column explains, my annoyance with Hefe-Weizen stems from my years as Publican, tending bar, and viewing the carnage it unleashes on fledglings. If left unchecked, Hefe-Weizen quickly attacks aspiring palates, stunting their evolution and deferring proper revolution. But please, read the whole article.

Permanent Olfactory Revolution

Near the end of April, NABC’s team gathered to brew our first-ever two batches of German-style wheat ale, and I’m happy to report that neither of them is representative of the standard, everyday Hefe-Weizen formulation.
If so, I’d have to shoot myself.
One is a Heller Weizen Maibock called HellBock, and the other a Weizen Doppelbock consciously mimicking a familiar commercial example: Knobentinus.
Mere Hefe-Weizen they’re not, but this disclosure of relative wheatiness still will come as a profound shock to numerous of my compatriots, who’ve been compelled for many years to listen to my choleric denunciations of the genre. It isn’t so much that I have a personal aversion to the style, which suits me in seasonal and situational senses, as when I’m actually in Bavaria, rehydrating after a recreational bicycle ride.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Recap of the 2012 Taste of Derby fest at Slugger Field, April 25.

Once again this year, NABC participated in the Taste of Derby Festival, which was held on Wednesday, April 25th at Louisville Slugger Field. This year's award winners and photos can be found here. NABC's Director of Brewing Operations, David Pierce, tells about it:

Josh Hill and Jeremy Kenedy set up, manned and tore-down the beer side of the event. We served Black and Blue Grass, Hoptimus, Beak's Best and Bob's Old 15B. The crowd loved our TV set taps, and we blew both Black and Blue Grass and Hoptimus completely, as well as most of the Beak's and 15B. It was a great, sold-out crowd. We were stationed inside this year which made for a steamy event.

Chef Matt, Mark, Tonya and Mrs. Chef ran the BSB food venue. They blew through the whole batch of 15B Chocolate Mousse before the half-way point. BSB's second d
ish was BBQ served on crustinis. All in all, between 400 and 500 guests were served.

BSB's Chef Matt revealed Tongue-in-Cheek Tacos for LVAA Bacon Ball 2012.

The Louisville Visual Art Association's Bacon Ball 2012 was held on Friday, April 30.

Bank Street Brewhouse's Executive Chef, Matt Weirich, reports on the entrants in the field, and reveals his culinary contribution.

The competition in addition to Bank Street Brewhouse was Proof on Main, Hammerheads, Eiderdown, The Silver Dollar, Feast BBQ, Zanzabar, Whole Foods, and The Blind Pig. It is a great group to be associated with. Approximately 1,200 people showed, and we ended up making at least 800 of our Tongue-in-Cheek Tacos. People were continuously coming back for repeats.

Tongue-in-Cheek Tacos:
House Made Jowl Bacon Jam
Braised Pork
Sous-Vide Pork Tongue
Pickled Red Onions
Micro Cilantro

Photos are up at LVAA's FB page: Herehere and here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Six headlines in one day.

Powered by solar panels and the combined efforts of three highly accomplished homebrewers, Apocalypse Brew Works opens on Friday, May 11.

Meanwhile, largely ignored, a familiar chain brewpub is slated to open downtown -- and yes, they'll actually be brewing some of their beers there: Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant to open May 21 in Louisville’s Fourth Street Live! (Steve Coomes; Insider Louisville)

Other prime Louisville locations for better beer appreciation get a look-see at Hoosier Beer Geek in "The Louisville Beer Trail," with proper emphasis on the role of localism hereabouts.

Are you "Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement?" If so, I was happy to be interviewed there, and the results are here: Indie-Craft Interview #8: New Albanian’s Roger Baylor.

From humble beginnings as an offshoot of Alltech, the Lexington (KY) Brewing and Distilling Company sees its Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale going national, international and even lunar.

Last, perhaps the clearest explication ever of the reason why macro vs. craft is in fact an evolutionary/revolutionary struggle, one that demands we espouse principled positions and just plain take sides, is offered by the author David Sirota. Unfortunately, some beer geeks are choosing to focus on Sirota's simplified  descriptions of flavor components rather than accepting the veracity of the larger argument. It's the forest, guys -- not the trees.

Can beer save America? The redemption of the economy may start with the type of brew you keep in your fridge, by David Sirota (Salon)

 ... Nowhere, though, is the battle between the low-price/quantity business model and the higher-price/quality business model more clear than in the world of beer. In the fevered battle between the macrobrew behemoths and the craftbrew insurgents, both sides are digging in for an epic confrontation ...

... A Macrobrew Economy — a high-volume, low-price model — asks us to compete with other such economies throughout the world, and the problem is that countries like China will always have lower-priced labor, more lax environmental regulations and lower production standards to win a battle that rewards more and cheaper for more’s and cheaper’s sake. By contrast, a Craft Brew Economy — a high-quality, lower-volume model — is a different proposition. It follows the German model, which, as Time magazine notes, is all about being “committed to making the sort of high-quality, high-performance, innovative products for which the world will pay extra.”

Monday, May 07, 2012

Indiana breweries, bars, wineries and package stores are open on Election Day.

The law was changed two years ago, and so no longer must we delay pouring until the polls close. On Tuesday, May 8, it's a primary election -- and business as usual for us.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

AB-InBev guilty of exploiting Native Americans AND Bud Light Lime-A-Rita.

I recall a minor episode in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," wherein the mob mistakes a poet named Cinna for a conspirator of the same name.

Cinna the Poet. Truly, my name is Cinna.

First Citizen. Tear him to pieces; he's a conspirator.

Cinna the Poet. I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet.

Fourth Citizen. Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses.

In like fashion, there's no need to tear Anheuser-Busch InBev (let's not omit the multinational connection, Nicholas) to pieces solely on one persuasive count of exploiting Native Americans. Just tear AB-InBev over its bad beer.

A Battle With the Brewers, by Nicholas D. Kristof (New York Times)

After seeing Anheuser-Busch’s devastating exploitation of American Indians, I’m done with its beer.

The human toll is evident here in Whiteclay: men and women staggering on the street, or passed out, whispers of girls traded for alcohol. The town has a population of about 10 people, but it sells more than four million cans of beer and malt liquor annually — because it is the main channel through which alcohol illegally enters the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation a few steps away ...

... For now, Pine Ridge’s alcohol problem is matched only by Anheuser-Busch’s greed problem. Brewers market beers with bucolic country scenes, but the image I now associate with Budweiser is of a child with fetal alcohol syndrome.

That’s why I’ll pass on a Bud, and I hope you’ll join me.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

NABC at the Buy Local 1st Fair at the Water Tower on Sunday, May 20.

Completing NABC's trifecta of events on the third weekend in May, 2012, is the fourth edition of the Buy Local First Fair, a celebration of local artisans and businesses, on Sunday, May 20.

Kentuckiana craft brewers will be on hand, although at this precise moment, I'm unsure which ones will be pouring apart from NABC. Here's the lowdown.

Buy Local First Fair

Sponsors: Louisville Independent Business Alliance, Grasshoppers Distributing and the Louisville Visual Art Association

When: Sunday, May 20, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Where: The Water Tower, 3005 River Road in Louisville KY

More information: rebecca(at)keeplouisvilleweird(dot)com

Description: The Buy Local First Fair, a celebration of locally owned/operated boutiques/shops, galleries, restaurants, breweries and much more. There will be farmers market booths, local art, handmade treasures, a variety of delicious food, live music, "Top Chef" competition, a kids area, craft beer and raffle. Please note: Pets are not allowed at the event.

Friday, May 04, 2012

New name, same great weekend in Madison, Indiana: RiverRoots festival runs May-18-20, with Indiana craft beer.

For the seventh year in a row, NABC is delighted to occupy the beer vending stations at the RiverRoots Music and Folk Arts Festival in Madison, Indiana, formerly known as the Ohio River Valley Folk Festival.

The festival kicks off on Friday, May 18, at 5: 00 p.m., resumes on Saturday the 19th at 11:00 a.m., and concludes with a Sunday (May 20) session that begins at 12:30 p.m.

Musical headliners this year include The Band of Heathens (Friday), Hayes Carll (Saturday) and The Black Lillies (Sunday). Over the Rhine also will perform on Saturday night. Complete listings are at the web site, with more information available at the RiverRoots page at Facebook.

As we have since the festival's inception, NABC will share beer vending duties with our friends from Upland Brewing Company (Bloomington IN). There'll also be draft beer from Great Crescent Brewing in Aurora and Madison's own Mobreki Brewing, as well as the first-ever appearance by Sun King out of Indianapolis. Currently we're all huddling to formulate a beer lineup, which I will post when decided.

There's also a first annual "RiverRoots Brew-Off" homebrewing competition on Sunday afternoon. It's open to all home-brewers, and the deadline for entries is May 14, so you are sitting on some IPA (the featured style), you still have time to be a part of it. Complete competition information is here.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Music, Food, Beer, and Justice: Louisville Loves Mountains returns on Friday, May 18


At last year's Louisville Loves Mountains event, Wendell Berry gave a stirring talk.

Louisville Loves Mountains returns on Friday evening, May 18. A block-long stretch of Longest Avenue will be cordoned off from where it meets Bardstown Road, in front of Carmichael's Bookstore and Heine Brothers' Coffee. Craft beer will be provided by Against the Grain, BBC and NABC. Here's the rest of the story from the Louisville Loves Mountains event page at Facebook.


A popular community festival by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Heine Brothers' Coffee, and Carmichael's Bookstore to raise awareness about mountain top removal mining..


4:00: Festival Start
4:30: Americana Community Center Drum & Dance Crew
5:00: Potluck Ramblers
5:45: Our Earth Now: Connect the Dots Presentation
6:00: KEYNOTE: Erik Reece, author of Lost Mountain
6:15: Bopper Minton from The Amazing Race (Current Season)
6:25: River City Drum Corps
6:40: Sugar Tree
7:15: Appalatin
8:00: Joan Shelley and the June Brides
9:00: The 23 String Band
10:00 Festival End

BEER BY New Albanian Brewing Company, Against The Grain, and Bluegrass Brewing Company (cash beer bar)

FOOD BY Ramsi's Cafe, Grind Gourmet Burgers, and Morel's

A percentage of sales from beer and food will go to support KFTC's work.

LIVE BLOGGING by Laura Marie Read

In the event of rain the festival will move to THE MONKEY WRENCH

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Ruminations, Part 2.

I’ve neglected this blog over a period of years roughly commensurate with the planning and realization of NABC’s Bank Street Brewhouse, which opened in 2009.

Those with the grace and patience to continue reading will recall that there was a gradual transition, from a preponderance of musings on the world of better beer in general versus a small number of considerations about NABC’s business, to the other way around. I started seeing invoices with an unaccustomed string of numbers in front of the comma, and bank statements with too few of them, and found myself shilling.

Now that some time has passed, it’s easier to look back on all this and realize that in spite of all the planning and preparation, the advent of Bank Street produced warm fuzzies for only a week or so, and then devolved into trench warfare over a period of years. The sheer number of miscalculations and mistakes we made over a far longer period than I ever expected, coupled with something akin to shell shock, produced a considerable degree of self-centeredness.

This fact alone won’t shock too many readers, but maybe it would help to know that the experience of starting a brewery from scratch using a bank’s big wad of money, and doing it fast, without the long, steady period of evolution that guided my first 17 years “in business,” caused me to stop, look in the nearest available reflective device, and aim knitting needles straight for my eyes.

Holy shit: It’s a business, after all.

Now, I’ve never considered myself a capitalist, and apart from the Red Room at the Public House and all the other little symbols I cherish as helpful tools to make non-thinking, habitual folks uncomfortable, I’m not a socialist, either. What I am is someone who always, at some point, finds himself utterly alarmed at being the member of the majority in any endeavor, and is prone to fearsome bouts of doubt and questioning.

But that’s the way it should be. It’s just that for me, blind and unthinking allegiance to any system of thought and preference is to be questioned, and perhaps avoided entirely. To claim allegiance to a system should be to have the ability to chart the loyalty, explain it rationally and defend it with reason, not emotion. The Dionysian side of beer drinking is gratifying, indeed; in many respects, I’ve devoted my life to it, but I cannot merely be a hedonist even if it’s something I’ve loved so well. The embrace of beer or anything else as a doctrine must come with sense and sensibility, or else fail to pass the acid test.

Which is what? The best I can do is say it’s a sense of placemaking, reverting to the old notion that the best beer in the world is the one you’re drinking now, and the best spot to do it is where you’re seated. Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” Isn’t all beer drinking, too? Give me honest pints, good people, and a quality venue. What else is there?

Back to the business end: Perhaps I’m finally coming to understand that while I’ve always humored myself with the notion that craft beer in general, and NABC’s food and beer business in particular, both constitute a bold, innovative refutation of workaday American capitalism-as-usual, it really isn’t the case at all, especially since Bank Street Brewhouse came about and demanded the fluffing of bankers and bean counters in ways great and small.

Label me naïve (and I plain don’t care), but by extension, I’ve always looked upon the entirety of the craft beer revolution as something blissfully transcending the exploitative grubbiness of commerce – still do, in fact, although it gets more difficult with each passing day to comprehend why my chosen field of endeavor, craft/good/better beer, seems so intent on forgetting the tenets that brought it to this wonderful place in a mad scramble to become just like every other business before it.

After three decades spent explaining why and how what we do is different from the industrial brewers (and furthermore, is better), now we’re intent on mimicking them: Accumulating capital, then deploying the capital accumulation to control marketplaces in the time-honored sense. For me to awaken and see that in spite of all our grand words to the contrary, the ideology of the cancer cell (growth for the sake of growth) applies to us, too, is depressing.

What’s more, we seem determined to become entirely Orwellian about it, changing definitions (how many million barrels constitutes “craft” these days?) to calculate a market share, so as to expand to such a point of return-on-investment that we can insist on one hand that the freshest beer you’ll ever drink is made right here – and by the way, you can now buy our beer in a city 1,000 miles away … and if they continue to love it there, by golly, we’ll just start brewing it there, so it can be local, too, everywhere in the United States, albeit devoid of whatever imagery that ever made it local in the first place.

Yep, just like those “regional” Budweiser breweries scattered over half the planet, but of course, craft remains somehow different from what came before, except that if we know nothing about what came before, how do we judge?

Don’t worry: I’m guilty of it, too. NABC bought into capitalism just like all the rest, and that’s what makes it so damned galling.

Hectoliter conversion for the numbers-dazed Publican.

Okay, folks, I'm anything but a mathematical wizard, so here's the official conversion for world beer measurement norms to the decidedly weird ones that we embraced in the States:

1 hectoliter = 0.852167911 of a US beer barrel

How many hectoliters in 1 barrels? The answer is 1.173477658.

Yes, I know it's obvious to many. I place the conversion here so that I can find it next time it is needed, nothing more.

It would be helpful to GO TO EUROPE AND PRACTICE THE CALCULATION, as in days of old, but we're not quite there yet.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Local beers at selected Heine Brothers locations.

All I can say is thanks for having us on tap, guys. After those hundreds of espressos for the past decade, I'll be able to have a beer at Heine Brothers, and a local beer at that.

Although I'll be in Madison, Indiana to man the taps at RiverRoots, NABC is looking forward to working with Against the Grain (and perhaps Bluegrass Brewing Company?) and Heine Brothers again this year at Louisville Loves Mountains on May 18, an event in support of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. As before, Longest Avenue will be closed at its intersection with Bardstown Road, and a very good cause will be served along with beer and food.

Local Beer and Organic, Biodynamic Wine available at select Heine Bros locations

For years we have had customers request that we add beer and wine to our menu – saying that they love the atmosphere at Heine Brothers, and would love a reason to come in during the evening to meet with friends and unwind (without caffeine). We’ve thought about it over and over again, and due to our lack of experience with alcoholic beverages, never took the first step. Lucky for us, through our merger with the locally-owned VINT Coffee, we now have people with the experience to make it happen!

A new column at "The devil’s in the Wien tale."

I really wouldn't mind being back there right about now.

The devil’s in the Wien tale

When it comes to preaching the gospel of real beer, the truth can be revealed to you in the unlikeliest of places … and by the least expected of messengers.
Back in 2006, my hardy band of beer cyclists gathered our spare tubes, route maps and brewery addresses in preparation for an epic assault on Central Europe. Once on continental ground, our strenuous two-wheeled rides were strategically interspersed with drinking bouts and hangover-day rail transfers as we moved steadily east from Bamberg to Prague, where on the south side of the city, a 170-mile sign-posted Greenway path to Vienna originates. Indeed, the Austrian capital was our ultimate goal.