Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tonight: Pint Night at Boombozz Taphouse.

I'll let John and Scott do the talking. I was my aim to attend, but there's an NABC tasting in Prost on the schedule tonight. Pint Night at Boombozz Taphouse

Our inaugural pint night is being launched November 29 at 7pm at Boombozz Taphouse in the Highlands (1448 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 | Bardstown Rd. & Eastern Pkwy. | (502)458-8889). Come hang out with Beckmann and the crew and enjoy $1 off all local beers served in a pint glass that's yours to keep (limit one per customer, please). Tell your friends, grow your pint glass collection, make your mother proud!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paris Hilton doesn't care who makes your beer, which is why you should.

Julia Herz's piece is appended with a poll, and currently 94% of respondents agree that it's important to know who makes your beer.

Covering similar territory, Beer Pulse picked up a recent PC posting, prompting a richly amusing dialogue at Facebook. The Publican as Paris Hilton? Who'd have thunk it?

Who Makes Your Beer?, by Julia Herz (

... In a recent CNN Money article,"Big Beer dresses up in craft brewers' clothing," Greg Koch, CEO and co-founder of Stone Brewing Co., said: “Craft brewers are creative. We don't follow trends—we create them. We specifically went against the mass-homogenized, corporatized business model…. When that very empire, the multinational conglomerate, starts giving the impression to unsuspecting consumers that they're a part of our world, of course that's offensive.”

What Koch is referring to are recent changes from big brewers including the creation of separate divisions featuring fuller-flavored beers (e.g., Blue Moon Brewing Company, Tenth & Blake Beer Company, and Green Valley Brewery), and purchasing all or part of existing small breweries (e.g., Anheuser Busch’s recent purchase of Goose Island).

So what is a craft brewer anyway?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beer, food and art at Twenty Tap in Indianapolis.

Photo credit: Indy Star

Twenty Tap is my kind of place. It took too long for me to make my first appearance, but I'm hooked. In addition to having NABC on tap fairly often, Twenty Tap also has displayed a handful of Tony Beard's poster artworks. They're visible on the wall in the photo above.

On the Plate: Twenty Tap is catching on, by Jolene Ketzenberger (Indy Star)

... I like that sense of place. And I like that owner Kevin Matalucci was an owner of Northside News, the bookstore/cafe that used to occupy the Twenty Tap space. And maybe that's part of the hard-to- pin-down appeal.

Of course, there's also the beer.

Twenty Tap is up to 38 taps now, and Matalucci (a longtime brewer at Broad Ripple Brewpub) certainly knows his stuff.

And for many pub regulars, it's the main draw. It's definitely a craft beer crowd at Twenty Tap, though there's also wine by the glass and a very appealing pear cider on tap ...

... The food at Twenty Tap, while not consistently great, is firmly in the "good" category, and its gastropub fare (something better than typical pub grub) was needed in the neighborhood.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

NABC at Keg Liquors for yesterday's Jingle Walk.

Yesterday's weather in downtown New Albany was nippy, but the sun was shining, and by most measurements the Holiday Fest and Jingle Walk should be judged a success. I was joined at Keg Liquors by the inimitable Tony Beard (being interviewed by Amanda Arnold in the photo), otherwise known as NABC's graphics department, and we dispensed eleven growlers of three types of NABC samples, a couple ounces at a time, to the jingle walkers.

When the Jingle Walk finished, the Holly Jolly Beer Trolley began circulating downtown. The trolley vehicle itself is owned by the city of Jeffersonville, which evidently acquired two and maybe more of them in an abortive effort to shuttle people from the Indiana shore to Yum Center for ballgames. Matt McMahan, owner of Irish Exit, Warehouse and Dillinger's, did the trolley legwork, and the participating bars and restaurants pitched in on the cost. We're hoping to do it again soon.

Taken as a whole, Friday and Saturday were good days for downtown New Albany. Plaid Friday (which I personally favor) and Small Business Saturday (less to my taste, owing to the American Express connection) both provided excellent opportunities to educate consumers about the importance of independent small business, and our burgeoning Buy Local movement. Holiday Fest, Jungle Walk and the Holly Jolly Beer Trolley brought people downtown, and the pubs and eateries benefited.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Conceptual narcolepsy.

It never fails. I read these two seemingly harmless words, and there follows an immediate hair trigger inclination toward propulsive nausea.

Restaurant concept.

But didn't the very notion of "restaurant concept" put the soulless in exurbia? Tiki bars. Honky tonks. Olive Garden. Identical “neighborhood” bistros in 4,234 strip malls nationwide. Texas Roadhouse. Piano bars. The list goes on and on, past Papa John’s assembly line plasticized pizzas and over the horizon to the next PF Chang’s.

Somewhere amid Dante’s infernal rings, restaurant concept mongers occupy torture chambers lined with molten inauthentic intent, right alongside contract brewed Americana beer labels like Pabst.

Isn’t it time for a genuine Portuguese fado "restaurant concept" with port-infused Red Bull cocktails and 34 different bottomless tripe stew recipes? And imported Super Bock (it is neither, though passable ice cold) on tap? There might be deep-fried barnacles; you know, just throw the shells on the floor, and the minimum wage workers will sweep up.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that my Lisbon "restaurant concept" would work in America, unless we might wangle Jimmy Buffett to sing the haunting Fado in mock calypso, but – damn it all – he’s already licensed for the Cheesburger in Paradise concept and the Landshark Lager megabrewed contract pet shampoo.

Rant over. I'd say it's time for a bleedin' nightcap, but the concept of a nightcap is so very limited … except at our new "concept bar”: Nightcaps – Open all the time because you can’t drink all day and have a nightcap afterward unless you start drinking in the morning … aw, never mind.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Saturnalia MMXII starters and other petty details.

Saturnalia MMXII already has been previewed. This year's liquid paean to the holiday season's thoroughly pagan origins debuts on Plaid Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the NABC Pizzeria & Public House.

The quick link to the Saturnalia program in .pdf format is here, with two minor corrections: Both Anchor Christmas Ale and Struise Tsjeeses Reserva are the 2011 vintage, not 2012.

NABC's Eric Gray, who has done every bit of this heavy organizational lifting apart from my old-school Microsoft Publisher program composition, offers the starting lineup of draft beers. All of them will be on tap on Friday morning, except Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (already pouring) and NABC Naughty Claus, which begins its seasonal run today (November 21) at both NABC locations.

NABC Naughty Claus
Anchor Christmas 2011
Boulder Never Summer Ale
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout 2011
Corsendonk Christmas Ale
Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti
Great Divide Hibernation
N'Ice Chouffe
Sierra Nevada Celebration (already on tap)
Troubadour Magma
Two Brothers Hop Juice

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beer for Thanksgiving? Why, yes. Someone fetch my slippers and growlers, please.

Earlier this morning, I was chatting about Thanksgiving food and drink pairings with my friend and former beer student, the esteemed local free lance writer Steve Coomes. One thing led to another, and at Steve’s suggestion, I now provide a brief digression on a theme of “Beer for Thanksgiving, not wine?” I posted it at his facebook page, and provide it here, too. As a template, I used a six-year-old posting; to my delight, I discovered that after all those years, I now completely disagree with myself. Well, mostly. Here's what I came up with, bearing in mind my intentional vagueness in citing style, not brand. 


From the top, it’s important to remember that classic beer style interpretations no longer are the exclusive province of faraway beer lands. Local and regional breweries are doing great things, and taking America as a whole, we’re the best and most diverse brewing nation in the world. Check your locals, and see what they have available in growlers, bottles or sometimes cans.

Considering the Norman Rockwell-issue Thanksgiving meal, I used to favor the full-flavored stylistic approach, one resembling the “big red” strategy of the wine lover.

There are obvious Belgian Strong Dark Ale parallels with cherry, cranberry and spice notes, so long as you remember that Stella Artois, while mass-manufactured in Belgium, is an insipid yellow abomination more suitable for use as pet shampoo than comparisons with the better ales of the genre. But why torture your mutt?

These days, it strikes me that medium-bodied, dry and spicy Belgian-style Saisons of numerous stripes are the sort of style, able to match turkey and dressing rather than overpower it. They’re simply versatile, adaptive food beers, as is the French style known as Biere de Garde.

From the German perspective, a fat mug of Doppelbock would hit the mark, but Marzen/Oktoberfest (amber lager) is less sweet, and perhaps a better meal-long quaffing choice. If you’re going solidly dark, Robust Porter’s your choice, because what could be better conceptually than the roasty, red-tinged black ale brewed by our Colonial-era forefathers like Washington and Jefferson?

For dessert? Perhaps an oversized Imperial Stout, designed to take the place of coffee, cream and pie, though not the after dinner cigar. You’ll probably be chased to the porch for that one.

As a final note: My annoyances are many and well-documented, but foremost among them is the recent trend to release craft-brewed Pumpkin Ales in mid-August, well before the mercury drops anywhere close to suitability for an autumnal libation, and months shy of their ideal application at the Thanksgiving dinner table. If you don’t think ahead to save a few, it might be hard finding them on store shelves now. The theory and practice of Pumpkin Ale are varied, and a little of it goes a long way, but as with Porter, their quintessential Americana-ish appeal should be self-evident.

I hope you all have a great day. Those of a counter-cultural bent should know that in early afternoon on Thursday, I’ll accompany my wife and a few close friends to Vietnam Kitchen for OUR traditional Thanksgiving meal. If you go there and spot me, say hello. I’ll be the one with his face in a bowl of K8.

Queenan: "Lately I seem incapable of escaping from the kraftbierkulturkampf."

First reaction: If I appreciated miserable teetotalers telling me how to live, I'd have voted for Mitt Romney.

Foaming at the Mouth About Craft Beer, by Joe Queenan (Wall Street Journal)

... Meanwhile, I sit there, meekly sipping my Diet Coke. I am an outcast at life's rich fest.

I used to be able to hold up my end in barroom conversations, because I knew a lot about sports. "What'd you think of the Cowboys running a double reverse on fourth and one Sunday?" I would ask. "Did you know that Barry Bonds has a career on-base percentage of .444?" "OK, which brothers hold the record for most career home runs? If you said 'the DiMaggios,' you guessed wrong." But that was back in the day when people in bars talked about sports. Now they talk about beer. Craft beer.

Lately I seem incapable of escaping from the kraftbierkulturkampf.

Wait: It's the Wall Street Journal, a Romneyite rag if ever there was (formerly) one.

But seriously: Queenan's a humorist of sorts, so I suppose he gets a pass. It's far better than that humorless guy from Pittsburgh a few years back.

Final thought: Humorous or serious, Queenan's point is well taken. It just can't come from a teetotaler. It ain't his gig, folks. Now, coming from someone like me -- an insider, not an outlier -- no, never mind. The use of Bud Light apart from pet shampoo simply isn't possible.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shane Campbell reviews the Huber Winery/Bank Street Brewhouse dinner on November 13.

I arrived at Bank Street Brewhouse with barely five minutes to spare. The lighting seemed dim and it appeared the small dining area still was less than half full. No one greeted me at the door, so focusing straight ahead, I walked to the unoccupied bar and claimed a seat. Sarah, a mainstay at both NABC locations spotted me and came over.

“I hear you're dining with Roger and Diana tonight.”

I nodded, but before I could say anything, she already had whirled away.

I put my jacket on the chair and turned around to see who was there. Roger and Diana were talking to people they obviously were well acquainted with. I didn't know them. Then I spotted Dana and Ted Huber, owners and ambassadors of the featured winery, and ... no one else I knew. Okay, I'd probably just hang at the bar then. Angie came over and handed me a glass of white wine. I must have looked like I needed it.

“Which is this?” I asked, then immediately felt silly at the superfluous question in light of my lack of wine acumen. “It's the Pinot Gris,” she said. “You are here for the wine dinner, right?” Sure am. I turned back and noticed Chef Matt talking to someone I didn't know. I realized later it was his wife, Kristin. I didn't get to speak with her during the evening (my loss). More guests arrived and the tables started to fill up.

When Roger collected me from the bar to join his table, I felt the interloper. He and Diana had been talking to friends when I came in and I hated to intrude on that. He assured me it was fine. As I followed him to the table he casually asked, “You know the Schads?”

Umm what? As in famous goat cheese, Capriole Farms, known coast to coast, and a prominent attorney who owns the very large building I could see looming across the parking lot with SCHAD written on it? Oh sure, they were over to the house just the other day to deliver a recipe for curried goat and show me an old subpoena with an ink stain that looks like Jesus!

I drained my wine glass. No oddly, can't say that I do know them.

Oh hell … suddenly I would be thrust into interacting with personages of note, and me with credentials currently lacking a restaurant, famous farm, or even a law firm of my own. Well, I could always play the “I'm a veteran” card. People seem to trade on that coin frequently these days. Not likely; the closest I got to combat was a Molotov cocktail tossed into the night club I was in one night in Manama! Considering the music they were playing at the time, the extremists did us a favor. Hotel California sung with an Asian accent is its own kind of terrorism. That lonely seat at the bar suddenly looked reassuringly safe about now!

You can probably guess how this turned out. Larry and Judy Schad were fabulous dinner companions. I sat next to Judy, who entertained our end of the table all evening with her views on current events and life in general, expressed in the most delightfully vivid language. Several times I imagined how shocked some of the foodie community might be to hear her views. I won't be specific or even paraphrase “Dame Judy,” as I now think of her. If you've seen Judi Dench's role as “M” in the Bond pics, you're not far off the mark.

She's seen it all, packs a wry sense of humor, and has a formidable sweet tooth. I would not want to be on her wrong side. Too bad really, as she shared some surprising news with us, but I'm sure it will come out soon enough. Judy and Roger engaged in spirited banter all evening. They tried to include me when possible, but I was just happy to be there, really.

I was terrified that Judy would ask me something and I would stammer stupidly until she had to turn away in disgust. And then she did! Judy and Roger were discussing the localism phenomenon when suddenly Judy turned to me and asked, “When you think of goat cheese, what is the most obvious word that comes to mind?”

Shit! (No, that's not it). I desperately tried to think what she wanted from me. Just as she was about turn away, I said “Chevre?” She looked at me with exasperation. Damn, I never know how to pronounce French words.

“No, no,'” she said, “I mean, who do you think of when you think goat cheese? And I don't mean me.” Nothing came to mind, so I said nothing. “Humbolt Fog obviously!” she said, and proceeded to talk about moldy cheese like she was narrating the Science Channel. I'm sure people would pay to hear Judy talk about cheese or anything else, for that matter. But I wasn't paying to listen to Judy, and I was reminded of that when Dana Huber got up and welcomed us to the event.

Ok, how do I say this? I know dick about wine. I can tell red from white at a single glance, assuming it's already in the glass. However, I'm not unaware of what others think and say about the local wines. I've met a few people with their own wine cellars, and I recently chatted with a small wine shop owner about this subject. I've noticed that local wineries aren't regularly featured at dinners in Louisville's higher end establishments.

All right, I'll just stop beating around the bush and say that my impression coming into this event was that Huber's makes sweet wine for the masses and are good at it. My own friends love Huber's, which tends to reinforce that impression, as my friends generally have poor taste. Hello? They are MY friends!

I was sure I wouldn’t notice the wine at this event, and was prepared to be okay with that. But I was wrong. While I'm not about to attempt tasting notes (see my qualifications, above), I can say we had three whites, including the Pinot Gris, Traminette, and Seyval Blanc, and two reds: Cabernet Sauvignon and a blend called Heritage. Ted Huber and his assistant, Jason Heiligenberg, spoke about the grapes, soil, and history of the wines, and I found it quite interesting. I remember some of the more obvious things, although relaying them here with any confidence is impossible. I found all the wines went very well with the dishes, preferring the whites, of which the Seyval Blanc was my favorite. The next time I go to Huber's I will order it and make my friends feel sooo inadequate for drinking the Kool-Aid (effing snob that I am).

This leaves only the food – “deconstructed” – to address. At one point I asked Roger if anyone was taking pictures of the plates. I wish I had, because this account is all from my wine soaked memory.

The very first dish confirmed my anticipated fears. Green Bean Casserole? REALLY? Calm down, it's deconstructed remember! (I'm saying this in my head, and smiling like “this is so what I hoped for”). It looked like that crispy stuff pooled at the bottom of the oven when the “green bean casserole” gets too hot and runs over. Peel a palm-size portion up and mash some waffle marks into it. That was the base of the dish. A small medallion of (cheese?) spread sat in the center of the waffle and two small green beans leaned together like two tiny sticks of firewood. I looked at this spread dubiously, as I didn't seem to have a utensil (knife, fork, spoon -- check) adequate for such a food item. I turned to see what Judy was doing, but hers was already down the hatch and she was watching me!

So, I slipped the edge of the waffle between two tines of my fork and use my knife to hold the rest down while I broke off a piece. That worked. When I tried to convey the piece to my mouth it promptly fell out back onto the plate. I looked over at Judy. She raised her brows and said, “Just looked like finger food to me.” I knifed and forked every bit of it. It took a while, but damn it, veterans must exhibit fortitude under extreme circumstances! It really did taste like the concentrated flavors of a green been casserole. I hoped all the portions weren't going to be so small, though, or I'd be stopping at DQ for chicken strips and gravy on the way home.

Next came the eggs bedeviled. There is a picture of this on the BSB Facebook page, so I'll not go into too much detail. The egg filling portion sat on top of two short thick slices of the best bacon I've ever eaten. With the mouth delighted and the way properly prepared by the hors d'oeuvres, it was on to more substantial fare.

Rounds two and three were Sweet Potato and Carrot with Peas, respectively. The sweet potato was a double spoonful mashed (like a casserole) and topped with a couple of sprigs of fennel with pistachio praline on the side. Judy gushed over the praline, and I gave her mine when it appeared again on a later plate.

The most substantial bit of the Carrot with Peas dish was a delicious granola substance. There were only a few pieces of carrot and a handful of peas. Perhaps “deconstructed” really means what is leftover after someone who was really hungry already demolished the dish. At this point, I was pretty sure there would be a drive-through window in my near future.

I was wrong (again). The Venison Loin with potato was substantial and amazing. I was raised in the country with a bunch of uncles who liked nothing better than to show up at Mamaw’s on Thanksgiving with a freshly gutted dear carcass in the back of their pick-up. A short time later, I would be forced to visit said uncle to partake of the mighty hunter's bounty. My recollection is that venison sucked serious ass! Of course, even then I would smile like, “This is so what I hoped for.” At the wine dinner, this actually was SO WHAT I HOPED FOR! The venison was medium-rare, succulent, and tender. A generous pool of mashed potatoes rounded out my favorite dish of the evening.

I recall that I liked the Turkey & Stuffing, but not really the particulars. It came with a translucent roe-like substance scattered on top (cranberries – deconstructed?). Anyway, whether owing to the fog of wine, war, or possibly distraction caused by something shiny, most details of this course elude me.

The Apple Pie was really, really tasty! Of course it was deconstructed, so it wasn't pie at all. The apple portion was ample (no DQ!) and had the spongy consistency of canned pears. I don't really remember how the caramel powder was implemented; maybe I was experiencing sensory overload. I do remember that Dana Huber came over and sat in the empty chair next to me at this point, so perhaps my distraction was justified. This course was served with the applejack brandy cocktail, which I thought was quite nice.

When the last dish was deconstructed and the plates cleared, chef came out and said a few words. Bravo chef! Aside from being a supremely talented chef, Matt Weirich is one of the nicest people I've ever met and I was happy for him. Yes, the dishes he sent out were artsy to my eye, yet they combined to make up one of the most interesting and satisfying culinary experiences ever for me.

Chef ended up at our table as did a substantial bowl of the pistachio pralines. Roger capped off his evening with a glass of Huber's Knobstone Reserve Port, and Angie brought me my favorite Willet's Vintage bourbon straight up. Judy and I shared the Vintage and the pralines as we peppered Matt with questions about the dishes. This all was so much more than I'd hoped for, and now I know that the Huber winery crafts wines far better than I can truly appreciate. I also know that no matter what you call it, dinner provided by a chef of Matt's quality is a wondrous thing.

Thank you, Roger and Diana, for taking pity on me and sharing your table and friends. Cheers!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holly Jolly Beer Trolley after Jingle Walk, and a Naughty Claus correction.

It's self-explanatory, and will be running through downtown New Albany following the Jingle Walk on Saturday, November 24.

In a related note, permit me to offer this correction. Previously, I'd previewed the plan for next week and observed that NABC's Naughty Claus is coming to New Albany on Thanksgiving week.

However, earlier today, I noticed the cat was out of the bag, and Naughty Claus is pouring at Feast BBQ, so if you'd like to beat the Thanksgiving rush, just visit Ryan and the crew at Feast.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Goose Island, Zombie Craft Beer and other Tales of the Unexpectorated.

It starts here.

My column at Food and Dining: "Localism + Beer."

Then it goes here.

Brewers: Can you "justify calling beer local"? Are you being hypocritical when you do so?

Here's another comment posted to the original piece.

HB said...
Buying local just for the sake of it makes no sense if the quality isn't there. And now that the number of new small breweries is growing, it is inevitable that there will be plenty of 'weeds in the crop'. The concept of 'local' beer is nice, but only if the 'local' beer is good. The problem is that often it is not very good at all; and sometimes it is even shockingly overpriced to boot for what you're getting.

So I don't care how big Goose Island (or any brewery) gets or who owns it...if they (or any brewery) continue to make a good beer, it stays on my list. Growing numbers of 'good beer' lovers are beginning to feel the same way.

Following is my reply, which I've refashioned a bit in light of subsequent events.To begin, a quote from my piece:

"If my shift to locally brewed beer implied being compelled to drink an inferior product, obviously I would think differently."

That's fairly clear, isn't it? We do not disagree, and no one is asking you to drink local beer that tastes like ass. You appear to be taking issue with the next sentence I wrote:

"Fortunately, it does not."

So, we do not disagree that quality is paramount. Local beer quality seldom is an issue where I live (metro Louisville), and in fact, I'm hard-pressed to recall the last time I experienced an undrinkable beer hereabouts. But I have no idea where you live, and perhaps it's a different situation there.

Moreover, your opening swipe implying an ideological compulsion to buy local "for the sake of it" plainly is gratuitous. It also is unmerited by my Food and Dining argument, which explains (in admittedly cursory fashion; that annoying word count thing) the economic aspects of localism that might matter to craft drinkers, too. Of course, these aspects extend beyond craft beer. They do not exempt them. Both principles and palates have their places.

I understand the panicked, ongoing rush to defend Goose Island, which in fact is dead. Yesterday, it became even more dead, if that's possible: Goose Island CEO, John Hall, stepping down, A-B InBev exec taking over. Hall now "will be part of a newly-formed 'craft advisory board' at A-B InBev," meaning that he'll be the rough equivalent of an affirmative action appointment to an entity which is the GREATEST ENEMY OF CRAFT BEER IN THE HISTORY OF THIS PLANET.

Now more than ever, Goose Island no longer exists in any relevant fashion compared to what brought craft beer to where it is today, or to what craft beer stands for. I lament the loss, because Goose Island was the first American brewpub I ever visited back in 1992,  but nowadays there's good beer everywhere, and it isn't necessary for us to directly subsidize A-B InBev to produce a GOOSE ISLAND ZOMBIE CRAFT BEER UNIT that means absolutely nothing to A-B InBev save for its unquestioned utility as a tactical chess piece to keep genuine craft beers off store shelves and draft lines.

Finally, I think your conclusion is utterly mistaken. Growing numbers of beer lovers are coming to our segment with a keen local orientation, looking to learn exactly how what we do (and who we are) jibes with their expanded consciousness in other areas of human experience. They're interested in community connections, because it seems to them that craft beer is a neighborhood not unlike the places they're examining closely before living there. They're connecting dots, collecting information, and then deciding for themselves. I intend to help them do so, whether they drink my beer or not.

I'll stop here. Thanks for your comment.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coming this Saturday (November 17): OG APA Brew Day.

This Saturday, NABC's David Pierce joins Jeremy Hunt at Bluegrass Brewing Company's original Shelbyville Road location to brew BBC American Pale Ale (APA), but with a twist.

(We're) brewing a throw-back batch of BBC APA ... dialing back the formula to 1995. Brewery tours and autographs will be available during our brew session. We will mash-in circa 07:00 a.m. and be complete by early afternoon.

Of course, David opened BBC in 1993 and brewed dozens of BBC beers over a period of 16 years. Of course, you needn't be a beer aficionado to spot the obvious question:

If you're dialing back the recipe, does this mean it changed in the interim?

David Pierce
"To the best of my knowledge the production formula is the same/unchanged from my original from the Pub. The Pub formula has changed, but I'm not sure how. Maybe Jeremy can tell us."

Dylan Greenwood (BBC brewery staff)
"From my experience at the brewpub the formula has somehow morphed, multiple times across multiple brewers. ... when Jerry was there the recipe called for a lot of c-120 but he told me that was the recipe that was given to him. I don't know if Cameron changed it or what. To my knowledge the APA from the production side is to the og recipe but they use special b instead of 120, also san diego super yeast."

Jeremy Hunt
"I arrived here in Louisville a year and twelve days ago. The recipe, aside from some aroma hops, has been unchanged in that time here at the St. Matthews pub. That said, I wanted to brew with David and had heard that the current recipe was different from the original APA. So... I asked David, poked around the brewery and found the OG APA Brewsheet. Then, I begged David to bring his 'OG-ness' to help us bring it back. Now.. We're getting it done, son!"

We'll find out the details soon enough. I'm going to try to be there for a while on Saturday morning.


Way back in 2005, I contributed a column to Food and Dining magazine, in which I described "five great beers," the only other criteria beyond my personal opinion being their consistent availability in the Louisville market

Here, alphabetically presented, are five great beers. All are personal favorites, and while they don’t begin to tell the full story of beer’s stylistic diversity, they can be found locally.

Number one on the list? BBC APA, but with a caveat. It had to be APA as brewed at the production facility. I can't remember whether this reflects a perceived change at the time, but I'm guessing it did.

BBC APA (American Pale Ale), (Louisville, Kentucky)

The best microbrewed beer brewed in Louisville is BBC APA, as crafted by its original brewer, David Pierce, at the BBC Brewing Company downtown on the corner of Main & Clay.

Dave’s signature APA originally was formulated along the lines of an English-style pale ale, but with American hops and yeast. He says, “Eventually Centennial hops became available, and I stayed with them because they give a more crisp bite.”

Fusing elements of different brewing traditions into a delicious and innovative hybrid is the defining glory of contemporary American microbrewing. APA’s medium body is malty and slightly toasty, as with English ales, but the hop kick is all-American, with some citrus notes and a long, satisfying bitterness at the end.

BBC APA holds its own with spicy ethnic food, and is my all-time favorite with chicken wings.

At the same time, I also remember enjoying APA at the BBC in St. Matthews, even during those times when it seemed to me to be different.

The moral of this story: I may well have consumed too many beers over the years.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saturnalia Winter Solstice MMXII at the Pizzeria & Public House begins on Friday, November 23.

It’s almost time for Saturnalia Winter Solstice MMXII, which kicks off on Plaid Friday, November 23, at NABC’s Pizzeria & Public House. This is the ninth edition of Saturnalia, which first took place in 2004.

Saturnalia is my personal favorite of the draft festivals we persist in staging (if a bit less grandly than in the past), although this might yet change if we’re able to resume the Sandkerwa showcase the way I’d most like to do it. By late summer of 2013, it might be possible, but more on that another time.

The primary reason why I enjoy Saturnalia has nothing whatever to do with approaching weeks being the “most wonderful time of the year.” Rather, it’s the freedom and fun afforded by the fest’s concept, enabling us to assemble a special short-term draft list unbound to a specific style territory, i.e., all hoppy, as with Lupulin Land, and all more highly alcoholic during Gravity Head.

For Saturnalia, we always try to find representative samples of winter and seasonal styles (themselves pleasingly varied, stylistically) and augment them with others that strike us as somehow festive in purely subjective ways.

Not only is it fun, but it’s also educational, providing me with frequent polemical opportunities to pontificate about the importance of unleashing our innermost pagans. Following is the boilerplate program information and beer descriptions in text format. You can view and print the program here.

NABC’s Saturnalia is our time to emphasize festive draft beers for the holidaze, featuring NABC’s winter seasonals: Naughty Claus, Solidarity and Bonfire of the Valkyries (the latter slated to appear early in 2013, shortly after Saturnalia’s conclusion).

In pre-Christian Rome, Saturnalia was the annual winter solstice celebration coinciding with the feast days for Saturn (the god of sowing and the harvest), Consus (god of the storage bin) and Opa (goddess of plenty).

Many of our contemporary winter holiday traditions derive from Saturnalia’s pagan roots, including the hanging of wreaths and garlands, donations to the needy, prayers for peace, time off work to be enjoyed with family, and of course eating, drinking and merriment.

NABC pays tribute to these ancient pagan origins with Saturnalia. Dozens of special kegs from the USA and around the world – some rare, some seasonal and others just plain festive – will be pouring at our Pizzeria & Public House at 3312 Plaza Drive.

When the doors open at 11:00 a.m. on our new Saturnalia kick-off day, Plaid Friday (November 23), the first wave of sacrificial MMXII Saturnalia selections will be tapped in the traditional, ritualistic manner, and the hedonistic pleasures will begin. The remaining kegs will be deployed as the days pass, and the revelry is expected to continue throughout the month of December.

Pricing and portion sizes vary according to alcohol content and style. During the festival’s run, information and updates will appear on our web site, and Facebook page. Always check the blackboards for the daily Saturnalia lineup.

NABC’s Naughty Claus 2012 will open Saturnalia MMXII in late November, and our Solidarity closes it after Christmas. All the rest of our house-brewed beers will continue to pour throughout. Saturnalia’s run.

Anchor Christmas Ale (“Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”), 2012 Vintage
This holiday ale’s recipe has differed a tad each year since inception in 1975, but the conceptual links with trees (on the bottle label) and the winter solstice have endured throughout. 5.5% abv.

Boulder Never Summer Ale
American seasonal ale brewed with 2-row barley and British dark caramel malt; Nugget, Willamette and Cascade hops; and a “top secret brewmaster’s spice,” all on behalf of “the drinking town with a skiing problem.” 5.94% abv.

Boulevard Saison-Brett
The base beer is Tank 7, Boulevard’s “farmhouse” ale. Saison-Brett takes Tank 7 an edgy step further; it is dry-hopped, introduced to wild Brettanomyces yeast, and aged a bit. We’ve aged it more.
8.5% abv.

Boulevard Nutcracker Ale
It’s a classic winter warmer, but with a distinctly American twist of freshly harvested Chinook hops, flown to the brewery from the Pac NW. 5.8% abv.

Breckenridge Christmas Ale
Dark mahogany in color (two row, caramel, chocolate, black malts) with Chinook and Mt. Hood for balance. Very Colorado, with a healthy 7.4% abv.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout 2011
Chocolate’s the point, although there’s none. Intensely roasted malts and skullduggery are the culprits. Probably better saved for Gravity Head, but the Publican loves Imperials. 10.1% abv.

Clipper City “Heavy Seas” Winter Storm
There is a presumption of “Imperial ESB” in this ale, with four malts and five hops (Magnum, Fuggles, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook). Dry hopped. 7.5% abv.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale
Among the more consistent of Abbey-style producers, Corsendonk’s annual Christmas Ale never ceases to be anticipated. Is that a hint of coriander amid the ruby-chestnut elegance? 8.5% abv.

Delirium Noël
Noël, from the venerable, family-run Huyghe brewery near Ghent, blends the cleanness of Delirium Tremens (golden) and Delirium Nocturnum (dark) into a unique third way, albeit a shade stronger, prompting the brewery to remind us that it “requires a responsible consumption.” 10% abv.

Great Divide Belgian-Style Yeti
Allegedly equal parts Rocky Mountain abominable snowman and wayward Belgian monk, with fruitiness and spiciness delightfully crossing over into Great Divide’s recipe for Imperial Stout. 9.5% abv.

Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti
The usual Yeti hopping is muted; cocoa nibs peek through, combining with vanilla from the oak chips and a hint of cayenne pepper. 9.5% abv.

Great Divide Hibernation Ale
It’s a winter ale, but one that is lagered for three months prior to release. Perhaps overshadowed by some of today’s extreme microbrews, but enduring, unique and worthy in its own right - deep, nutty and smooth. 8.1% abv.

Great Divide Wolfgang Doppelbock
Colder weather fairly begs for Doppelbock, and while this one is from Denver, it is brewed in the textbook Bavarian dark lager style. It’s worth remembering that in Franconia, both Doppelbock and Helles Bock are pre-Christmas specialties, not Lenten fast-beaters. 8% abv.

Handbryggeriet Nissefar
Translation: Magic Gnome Ale (Norway). This vivid testimonial to the power of creative malting is brewed only for Christmas, and like an Old Ale should, it exudes holiday “chocolate, caramel and raisins.” 7% abv.

Mikkeller Ris a la M'ale
Sources describe a dessert beer “modeled after a traditional Danish dessert called risalamande.” Accordingly, each dessert ingredient is used: Rice, salt, sugar, vanilla, milk, cream and almond and cherry extract.” We’re expecting sweet/tart and cherryish. 8% abv.

NABC Naughty Claus
Santa needs daze off, too
A rich, full-bodied holiday spiced seasonal, as designed by David Pierce, director of brewing operations at NABC. Malts include Pale, Belgian Aromatic and Simpsons Crystal Medium malts, with Hosey honey added. Hops are German Hallertauer and Magnum. Orange Peel, Sweet Ginger Root, Cinnamon and Nutmeg are the spices (with dry-gingering in the Brite tanks). NABC’s house Chouffe yeast completes the scene. 8% abv.

NABC Solidarity
Solidarity or Death
Baltic Porter is the best way to tip your hat to the activists in the Solidarity independent trade union, and a robust reminder of Baltic foresight in activism and strong beer. 8.5% abv.

New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale
The brewers looked to a massive snow storm for
inspiration: “This beer is the deep garnet of a roasted walnut and presents a creamy tan head, floating artfully atop.” Must be something about Colorado. 6.2% abv.

New Holland Dragon’s Milk
Aged in bourbon barrels for four months, with accompanying vanilla notes, and a name that derives from historical examples of English special strong ale reserved for the privileged. 10% abv.

N’Ice Chouffe
Thyme, vanilla, orange peel and candi sugar are among the spices used to accent a dark and brawny winter seasonal, brewed in the hills of the Ardennes. 10% abv.

People's Batch 100 “Captain Black Strap Stout”
Our friends at the Lafayette, Indiana brewery speak: “It's an American Imperial Stout brewed with flaked oats, honey malt, chocolate malt, black malt, caramalt, smoked malt, and black strap molasses.” 86 IBUs and 9% abv.

Ridgeway Lump of Coal
Returning after a very long absence (2004 may well have been the last time for us) is Ridgeway’s atypical British holiday stout - dry, in the Foreign Extra Stout mold, and not just another Imperial Stout. 8% abv.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
It is indeed difficult to imagine another seasonal ale that symbolizes the holidays better than Celebration Ale. A recurring seasonal favorite, with generous doses of Chinook (for bittering), Cascades and Centennial hops, dry-hopped, but not neglecting delicious maltiness. 6.8% abv.

Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11
Stone’s tasting notes tell the tale: “Upfront the banana yeast-derived flavors are blended very nicely with toasted and toffee-like malt flavors, fruity esters, and balanced hints of cinnamon. Mid palate the Perle and Pacific Jade hops and the Hatch green chili flavors come through. The beer finishes dry, and bitter with just the tiniest hint of chili heat and a touch of alcohol.” 9.4% abv.

Struise Tsjeeses Reserva 2011
One thing’s for sure: The name means Jesus in Flemish, as in “Tsjeeses, what a beer!” Apart from this, Tsjeeses might be a Strong Belgian Pale, or a steroidal Tripel. When barrel-aged, it is known as “Reserva.” 10% abv.

Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter
Who else but Three Floyds Brewing Company would devise a porter with English chocolate and Mexican sugar (or vice versa, or both, depending on the source) that reeks of piney hop essence and is built on a malty foundation? No one. 7.5% abv.

Troubadour Imperial Stout
The Belgian brewery known as “The Musketeers” promises a bitter chocolate impression with a drier finish in an Imperial Stout with a “Belgian touch.”
9.2% abv.

Troubadour Magma
How might one describe a “Tripel IPA”? Here is how “The Musketeers” brewery does it: “The hop bitterness of an American IPA with the fruity characteristics of a Belgian triple.” A Zythos fest award winner. 9.3% abv.

Two Brothers Hop Juice
A case study in Double IPA: A big malt backbone and a marked citrusy, piney hop character (100.1 IBUs). Made in Chicagoland. 9.9% abv.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tuesday's Huber wine dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse will be our only dinner service for the evening.

Two things to know:

First, a reminder about Tuesday evening's Huber wine dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse, as described below. Seats remain, and while there'll be room for walk ups, it would be best to call and reserve.

Second, the special Huber wine dinner will be the only dinner service on Tuesday evening at Bank Street Brewhouse. Lunch hours on Tuesday are from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and the wine dinner seating begins at 6:00 p.m. 


And now for something completely different, at least by our standards: We're doing a first-ever wine dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse with our friends at Huber's Orchard, Winery, & Vineyards. Chef Matt and the kitchen crew will be "deconstructing" traditional Thanksgiving dishes and pairing them with Huber wines, which we stock every day at BSB.

It's good to mix things up, so check out the Facebook event page and consider dining and drinking with us on November 13th. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., and for reservations, you can call 812-725-9585. You can drink NABC beers before and after, if you like ... no rules, and all that.

Here's the menu card:

Five Course Dinner Paired With Huber's Wines ... $65, gratuity included

Amuse Bouche
“Green Bean Casserole” & “Deviled Eggs”
Applejack Cocktail

“Sweet Potato”
Sweet Potato, Fennel, Pistachio
2011 Traminette

“Carrot & Peas”
Carrot, Pea, Granola
2011 Seyval Blanc

Venison Loin, Celery Root, Potato
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

“Turkey & Stuffing”
Turkey Confit, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce
2008 Heritage HSR

“Apple Pie”
Apple & Caramel Powder
2011 Pinot Gris

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Brewers: Can you "justify calling beer local"? Are you being hypocritical when you do so?

On Friday, I presented a manifesto of sorts in this space, as recently published at Food and Dining magazine:

My column at Food and Dining: "Localism + Beer."

A reply I received (below) surely raises a few good points. Of course, the world is seldom black or white; it's mostly gray. And, the "localism" of which we speak in this context implies a large element of shift (in patronage, in spending, in procurement), and this is a concept that explicitly acknowledges an absence of perfection in choice.

In fact, I believe the reply is lucid, and merits further discussion. I'm not "calling out" the writer. Mostly, I'm curious. For those brewers and brewery owners reading ...

During the course of your daily routine, do you feel "hypocritical" when linking your work with emerging principles of localism? 

Is the localism in your lives something genuine, or are you merely "riding a tremendous propaganda marketing machine wave"? 

Do you agree, as the writer suggests, that truly local beer is impossible apart from a few scattered instances, i.e., Chatoe Rogue, or breweries operating in areas where both barley and hops are grown?

Let me know what you think, either here or privately. The full comment follows.



Let's say I owned a local restaurant based in New Albany. I pitch myself as being a "local" restaurant, and I want the patronage of local residents.

I make a big pot of vegetable beef stew each and every day.

My beef comes from New Zealand, my tomatoes come from Mexico, my beans come from California, the barley comes from North Dakota, and my black eyed peas come from a massive company with ties to Monsanto.

I have fooled the public into thinking they should support local just because I happen to own the restaurant, and they should "support local," but clearly I actually do not based on my ingredient list. Breweries are exactly the same way. They are riding a tremendous propaganda marketing machine wave.

How on earth do you justify calling beer local? It isn't feasible to make beer from only local sources. Ingredients come from all over the country and the world for that matter. It is hypocritical of all of these breweries asking us to support local. That money isn't staying locally. It is going to massive companies like Wayerman, Briess, Hopunion, Wyeast, and White Labs. Who is one of Briess's major suppliers? Monsanto!

I support New Albanian Brewing Company because you make a fantastic product. If you stop making a fantastic product I will stop supporting you. End of story.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Black Friday is out: Indie shopping is in, and Plaid Friday is November 23.

NABC is a founding member of New Albany First, which is our city’s independent business association (IBA). It is the New Albany version of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA), which encourages you to Keep Louisville Weird), and is dedicated to encouraging the public to support independently owned, small local businesses.

IBAs accomplish this through three primary focus areas:

1. Public education about the greater overall value local independents often can provide (even when they are not the cheapest) as well as the vital economic, social and cultural role independent businesses play in the community.

2. Facilitating cooperative promotion, advertising, purchasing, sharing of skills and resources and other activities to help local businesses gain economies of scale and compete more effectively.

3. Creating a strong and uncompromised voice to speak for local independents in the local government and media while engaging citizens in guiding the future of their community through democratic action.

NABC and our brethren sink or swim as locally oriented independents, and many of us have pledged support via New Albany First. Happily, the approaching holiday season provides a perfect opportunity to put principles into action.

We all know that “Black Friday” (November 23) is the biggest sales day of the year for big boxes and multinational chain stores -- the ones where the money flees town for corporate headquarters worldwide. In response to media hype and saturation advertising, which steer so much trade to the country's biggest, richest and largest companies on “Black Friday,” the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), of which New Albany First is a member, promotes Shift Your Shopping, of which Plaid (as opposed to Black) Friday is a component.

Instead of Black Friday it’s PLAID FRIDAY! Shift Your Shopping and wear plaid as you shop on Friday to remind yourself and others to make the 10% Shift. The 10% Shift encourages you to shift 10% of your holiday purchases from non-local businesses to Local Independents (also called indies or locally owned and independent businesses). Making the shift to local independents is one way we can build sustainable economies and create jobs in our local community.

It’s simple. You're not being asked to go cold turkey -- just allocate a percentage to independent local businesses, and learn what they can do for you. New Albany First can help locate indies, and another good idea is to follow the "buy local" answer woman, Kate Caufield, whose blog is devoted precisely to this topic: New Albany 365. Local independent business thank you for your support.

Note: Plaid Friday is part of NABC's annual slate of activities around Thanksgiving. For more details, go here.

Friday, November 09, 2012

My column at Food and Dining: "Localism + Beer."

I usually get around to publishing the columns I've written for Food and Dining magazine, but I seldom think to do it until a few weeks (sometimes months) after the quarterly issues hit the street.

This time, I'll make an exception. Vol. 38 (Winter 2012) of Food and Dining has been released, and you can read the issue here. My column is called Hip Hops, and this quarter's piece is entitled "Localism + Beer."

For the near future, consider this as a blueprint for my advocacy. It's time to go to the mattresses and return to the grassroots, and it's going to be plain fun.



If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
--Henry David Thoreau

It always has been my aim to accurately describe various aspects of my beer-infused everyday world, but even as I’ve done so, my everyday world persists in evolving. Apart from necessarily using the word “beer,” I’m increasingly unsure how to view any of the rest of it.

Long ago, good beer was about imports exclusively, because there wasn’t very much good beer in America. Several thousand domestic brewery start-ups later, there’s plenty of good beer here, and these days, we refer to it collectively as “craft” beer. This term is fine by me, except that the definition of craft beer starts on a tiny end with the scant barrels produced by a nano-brewery, and ends voluminously with the nationwide airport lounge availability of Samuel Adams.

Semantics aside, the real point of this digression is to acknowledge that I’m changing, too. Back in 1982, St. Pauli Girl probably was the best beer we had during my first-ever gig as a liquor store clerk. Thirty years later, there are dozens – nay, hundreds – of far better beers available hereabouts, and while I’m entirely comfortable in making a “good, better, best” value judgment, it isn’t as simple as it used to be.

Amid the giddy, exploding exuberance, which I’ve long professed and will continue to advocate, it seems that something important is lost. There exists an understandable zeal to embrace the unprecedented availability of international craft beer, but I find myself thinking back to points of origin, and what has made so many of my beer travels memorable: Localism.

It’s drinking great beer at or near its birthplace, primarily because it never tastes fresher than by doing so, but also because the place itself matters. Beer and community reflect each other, and although we must continue to think globally, I’m sensing a new imperative to drink locally.

Home, Not Away

My professional reputation as a beer purveyor was established owing to a stubborn determination to stock the best legally obtainable (well, most of the time) beer, as brewed in locales across the planet. Nowadays, I’m far less inclined to look past my own geographical proximity. The Louisville metropolitan area has its own great beer, with plenty more quality beer being produced within a hundred mile radius.

I’ll never entirely dismiss Belgian Lambics, German Maibocks and Irish Stouts. There’ll forever be a spot for India Pale Ales from San Diego and New York-brewed Saisons, and yet they’re no longer essential to me; rather, they’re for special sampling occasions, as they were years ago when availability was limited. Inexorably, my beer drinking is shifting to local and regional sources, and for the best of all reasons: Drinking local makes me happy.

Places, Not Prizes

Shift happens. It is perhaps the single, fundamental tenet of emerging economic localism, and when it comes time to have a beer, the concept of shift means putting this principle into liquid practice.

Having acknowledged the efficacy of buying local, as measured by factual indices consistently recognizing that localism keeps more money in one’s community, my household is incrementally shifting toward local sources of goods and services, whenever practical. Shift is a process, not an all-or-nothing crusade. If my shift to locally brewed beer implied being compelled to drink an inferior product, obviously I would think differently. Fortunately, it does not.

Another contemporary societal trend to consider is the notion of placemaking, generally described as “a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces.” Placemaking is a grassroots, community-based phenomenon, in which those ordinary people using a public space help to determine how that space is used. Placemaking may help in part to explain my re-emerging interest in community-based beer consumption -- keeping the beer drinking venues local, listening to the local beer drinkers, and knowing who supplies the beer.

Eyes and Palates, Wide Open

Not so long ago, Goose Island Brewing Company was a proud independent, but now it is 100% owned by the multinational monolith called AB-Inbev, meaning that in cold, hard fact, Goose Island is no more independent than an Ignatius J. Reilly-themed weenie wagon on the streets of Pyongyang, North Korea. Honkers Ale remains certifiably better than Budweiser, but to me, it really matters where the money goes … and dollars paid for Honkers ultimately travel to corporate headquarters in Leuven, Belgium, not Chicago, Illinois.

Sorry, but Goose Island sold out. Craft beer drinkers need to examine their consciences lest they sell out, too.

Session, Not Sledgehammer

I’m in my sixth decade, and my body reacts differently these days to the excesses of my profession. American craft brewing has excelled in the creation of highly alcoholic genre classics, including Imperial India Pale Ale, Barley Wine and Quadrupel, and while I still adore these styles, increasingly my palate turns to an evening’s reasonable sustainability, in the form of session beers.

The Pennsylvania-based beer writer Lew Bryson is the founder of the Session Beer Project, and he provides these helpful parameters.

Session beers are:

► under 4.5% alcohol by volume
► flavorful enough to be interesting -- no light beers, please
► balanced enough for multiple pints
► conducive to conversation
► reasonably priced

In brief, low-alcohol, but not low-taste. It's deliberately vague. The great thing about session beers, especially the ones that come in under 3.5%, is that you can enjoy several beers, and still have a BAC of under 0.04.

Craft Beer Is A Journey

Maybe some day I’ll come full circle, and find myself craving bottles of Bud Light iced in a pickle bucket. Doubtful, but entirely possible, because beer is less a destination than a journey, and you make the road signs yourself. All I’m asking is that craft beer drinkers resolve to be unafraid of where thinking can lead drinking, especially when thoughts turn to local options.

Hoosier Daddy? Find out tonight at Bridge Liquors and Wick's Pizza.

There's a season opening basketball game in Bloomington tonight, so it's the perfect time to ask the question, Hoosier Daddy?

According to the Terre Haute-born labor union leader and presidential candidate Eugene Debs, "The most heroic word in all languages is revolution." Indiana has had numerous revolutionaries in fields ranging from basketball (John Wooden) to music (Hoagy Carmichael) to popcorn (Orville Redenbacher). Ever heard of James Dean, the actor? He was a Hoosier Daddy, too.

NABC's Hoosier Daddy (Crimson & Cream Ale) honors them all. Today there'll be a pre-game sampling of Hoosier Daddy bombers at Bridge Liquors in New Albany, followed by game time drafts at Wick's Pizza (downtown on State Street, also in New Albany). Hoosier Daddy has its own Facebook page, so tell us what you think and where you found it.

NABC Hoosier Daddy is available now through March, 2013, in 13.2 gallon kegs and 22-oz Bomber bottles. Here is more information.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

NABC's beer release schedule for 2013.

It's a game plan, not scripture, so you can expect there to be changes and revisions as we go along. For instance, Ben Minton will be slipping various specialties into the mix, as brewed at the R & D system at the Pizzeria & Public House.

Also: Yakima and Tunnel Vision remain active, but because they will be seen most often on draft, and their bottlings will be limited, both occupy a special category called "We Have Not Decided Quite Yet."

To me, the most important aspect of this release schedule is the composition of the Starting Lineup. We intend to narrow the focus and lavish what support we can on a revised core portfolio in the larger marketplace of Indiana and Kentucky. I suspect that those readers visiting the two on-premise NABC locations will notice no changes, but these days, we fight battles on multiple fronts.

Questions are welcomed, and we thank NABC fans for your support.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

In 2013: Looking forward to NABC's Session Series, Session Head, and Session Beer Day.

The photo was taken at the American Distilling Institute's conference in April, held at Huber's Orchard, Winery, Vineyards and Starlight Distillery in Starlight. We dispensed beer to thirsty participants, and because I knew Lew Bryson would be there, I wasn't about to miss a chance to have session-strength Community Dark (NABC has been making it for ten years, now) on hand. What you see in front is the cold plate cooler, and that's Lew to the right, moving toward the taps ... as is his habit in such situations.

Note that Session Beer Day is scheduled for Sunday, April 7, 2013. NABC will celebrate SBD at Bank Street Brewhouse with our own beers, and then on Monday, there'll be some of our beers as well as guests on tap at the Pizzeria & Public House for what we're calling Session Head, a "smaller" follow-up to the traditionally "big" Gravity Head ... which begins on Friday, February 22, and will be winding down by the first week of April. Mark your calendars now, and check back for updates next year.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Let's do an Elector Day recap, with Electimus and a requisite graphic Elector retrospective.

Let's do an Elector Day recap.

Since 2010, Indiana no longer labors under the restrictive "blue laws" that formerly forbade alcohol sales until the closing of the polls at 6:00 p.m. Kentucky has no such luck, and life there will be painfully dry until early this evening.

Over here on the Sunny Side, some taverns will open at 7:00 a.m., and package stores will be doing business as usual.

Both NABC locations will be open at 11:00 a.m., serving beers of proven merit. Our time-tested Elector Ale (for over a decade, it has made democracy pointless) will be on special all day at $3 for an imperial pint.

Also, there's a rare beery surprise: Electimus, which comes out of hiding only during presidential election years. It's a blend of 70% Elector and 30% Hoptimus, and there's only one keg of Electimus at each NABC location. That's it.

In 2008, there was no Bank Street Brewhouse, and so the tradition begins there tonight. I'll be there. The Pizzeria & Public House will be rocking, too, as has been the case since Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

Vote (and drink) early and often, people. Let's kill a few minutes with a visual history of Elector. First, the official Tony Beard "HOPS" poster for 2012.

The Elector Day 2008 poster was designed by John Campbell. The crazed John McCain image is a classic.

Just how far has Elector progressed since the first clip art cut 'n' paste from 2002? Here is what I cobbled together, pre-Tony.

By 2007, glimmers of a new Elector were to be seen. For a fairly succinct history of Elector, how it was first brewed and the way it came to be named, go here.

There was a retrofit in preparation for bottling, once Elector was being brewed downtown at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Which brings us to the present day -- Elector Day, 2012.

And a big round of applause for the inimitable Tony Beard. He thanks you, and we thank you.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The new outdoor garden/patio at Thomas Family Winery.

We drove up to Madison IN last week to buy cider, and for the first time got a close look at Thomas's recently completed outdoor area. Let's say merely that it provides several good ideas.

One giant leap.

It's our first-ever (in a quarter-century) "island" sign in front of the Pizzeria & Public House.

See, give us enough time, and we can do anything.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Next Tuesday is ELECTOR DAY. In Indiana, that means ALL DAY.

Just a reminder that since 2010, Indiana no longer labors under the restrictive blue laws that formerly forbade alcohol sales until the closing of the polls at 6:00 p.m.

This is good. We will be ready.

Both NABC locations will be open at 11:00 a.m. and serving beers of proven merit. Our time-tested Elector Ale (it makes democracy pointless) will be on special all day, and we may yet have a beery surprise or two -- like Electimus, which usually comes out of hiding only during presidential election years.

I likely will be at Bank Street Brewhouse for the duration. The Public House will be rocking, too. Vote (and drink) early and often.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Thanksgiving Deconstructed, a Huber wine dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse on Tuesday, November 13.

And now for something completely different, at least by our standards: We're doing a first-ever wine dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse with our friends at Huber's Orchard, Winery, & Vineyards. Chef Matt and the kitchen crew will be "deconstructing" traditional Thanksgiving dishes and pairing them with Huber wines, which we stock every day at BSB.

It's good to mix things up, so check out the Facebook event page and consider dining and drinking with us on November 13th. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., and for reservations, you can call 812-725-9585. You can drink NABC beers before and after, if you like ... no rules, and all that.

Here's the menu card:

Five Course Dinner Paired With Huber's Wines ... $65, gratuity included

Amuse Bouche
“Green Bean Casserole” & “Deviled Eggs”
Applejack Cocktail

“Sweet Potato”
Sweet Potato, Fennel, Pistachio
2011 Traminette

“Carrot & Peas”
Carrot, Pea, Granola
2011 Seyval Blanc

Venison Loin, Celery Root, Potato
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

“Turkey & Stuffing”
Turkey Confit, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce
2008 Heritage HSR

“Apple Pie”
Apple & Caramel Powder
2011 Pinot Gris

Thursday, November 01, 2012

My column at "Drink, Smoke and Enjoy."

I am referring specifically to New Albany, but don't forget Youngstown Cigar Shoppe and Riverside Cigar Shop, both in Jeffersonville.

Drink, Smoke and Enjoy

Tolerable front porch weather resumed in September this year, and temperate temps lasted well into October. Suddenly, as though gripped by an obscure internalized auto-pilot, I found myself queuing at various local cigar purveyors, and layering my humidor.
New Albany is fortunate in this regard. There’s Kaiser Tobacco, which has operated on Pearl Street for more than 175 years, and also Billow, celebrating a year in business on Market Street.
Billow’s strategic location is especially pleasing to the senses when those days when the planets are aligned. Just next to it is the Quills coffee shop, and across the street Habana Blues, a Cuban restaurant. Aromas of cigars, coffees, teas and spicy roasted meats can be pervasive in that area, reminding us of how very important our retained impressions of smell can be, combining with sights and sounds to conjure wonderful memories.
And then there’s beer.