Wednesday, October 31, 2012

These are the people who own Goose Island. Are you disgusted yet? What does it take, anyway?

This story has been linked far and wide, but if you haven't yet seen it, learn exactly why "there has never been a beer company like AB InBev," and how the reasons bode ill for anyone interested in beer, as opposed to ways of making money.

The Plot to Destroy America's Beer, by Devin Leonard (Bloomberg Business Week)

... The man in charge of AB InBev is 52-year-old Carlos Brito. The Brazilian-born chief executive is a millionaire many times over. He speaks English fluently and dresses like the manager of a local hardware store. At the Manhattan headquarters, he wears jeans to work and tucks in his shirts. He keeps his company identification badge clipped to his waist where everybody can see it, even though everyone knows who he is. To the rest of the world, he keeps a low profile. He does not, for example, accept interview requests from Bloomberg Businessweek. That might be his character, and it might be calculated. The Busch family is a legendary American dynasty. Many people in the U.S. aren’t thrilled that a foreign company now owns Budweiser, America’s beer.

This is not to say that Brito lacks American admirers. Many can be found on Wall Street, where investors care less about where beers are brewed than about how profitable they are. This is where Brito shines. After InBev bought Anheuser-Busch, he slashed costs at the combined company by $1.1 billion in a single year. AB InBev’s margins widened substantially, and its share price has nearly quadrupled since the takeover. In 2011, Brito made Fortune magazine’s Fantasy Sports Executive League Dream Team as a designated hitter ...

As I've noted elsewhere, Brito actually has a point. If the goal is to make mass market swill with little differentiation between numerous wretched brands, then why bother spending money on quality ingredients?

Goose Island, anyone?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BSB review at indianabeergirl's blog.

Many thanks to indianabeergirl for visiting Bank Street Brewhouse, and for posting this fine review. She mentions Twenty Tap (now with 38 taps), which is a must-visit when in Indianapolis.

indianabeergirl's posterous: New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse

Our local school switched to a balanced calendar this year, so for fall break we had two weeks off instead of two days. During the second week we decided to explore the fall beauty in southern Indiana. Since we were going to be so close to New Albany I insisted that we check out New Albanian Brewery. I've gotten to enjoy their Black and Bluegrass Saisson at Twenty Tap here in Indy (crisp, spicy, slight hop bite, fresh), so I was excited to check out their brewery and more of their beers. We stopped by the Bank Street Brewhouse on our way from Madison to Corydon. If you haven't been to New Albany lately they have a wonderful downtown that appears to be on an upswing with interesting looking shops and restaurants, along with all of the beautiful river town homes. I would love to have more time there to expore the town.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chimay tasting event at Caffe Classico on Tuesday, November 6.

From Tommie Mudd, longtime proprietor of Caffe Classico, as posted at the Louisville Restaurants Forum. I'd love to attend, but we have NABC election night parties to tend to.

Caffe Classico is excited to announce that we are hosting a Chimay beer tasting event at Classico on Tuesday, November 6th. It will be from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The details are as follows:

$40.00 per person tasting of 3 types of Chimay beers. There will be a Chimay cheese table with 3 chimay cheeses, bread, olives, salami, grapes and figs to accompany the beer. Each guest will receive a Chimay goodie bag which will include a t-shirt, Chimay glass, bottle opener, lapel pin and coasters. There will also be some Chimay giveaways that we will draw for during the night as well as live classical music in the background.

All of the information is posted on the Caffe Classico website, We will only sell 55 to 60 tickets. The Chimay sales representative from Indianapolis will be there to discuss and answer questions. It will be a fun and interesting night and a real bargain for beer lovers.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Anstich tappings tonight and tomorrow: Fresh Franconian lagers from the countertop.

Logistically, our annual Sandkerwa celebration proved impossible to stage this year, but tonight and tomorrow, Anstich kegs filled with delightful Franconian lagers are slated for tapping at the Pizzeria & Public House.

These are 20-liter, gravity-feed kegs with no CO2 used to push the beer. Just as in Franconia, we set an Anstich keg on the counter behind the bar, punch a hole in the top, and use a rubber mallet to insert a tap at the bottom. Once tapped, the 40 half-liter glasses of beer therein must be consumed forthwith, or the remainder will go flat.

The Anstich kegs will be tapped at 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

*Friday, September 26*
Aufsesser Festbier (Märzen from the Brauerei Rothenbach)
Importer Dan Shelton's notes:

Founded in 1886; makes 15,000 hectoliters a year. Yet another family-owned brewpub, a picturesque place in the tiny town of Aufsess, in the Fränkische Schweiz -- the Franconian Switzerland. (There's nothing at all like the Alps here, so the name is a little over-blown.) We've never had the Märzen, which is highly recommended by our Franconian connection at the monastery brewery in Weissenohe.

Here are links to the Rothenbach web site (in German), and RateBeer's compendium of Rothenbach brands.

*Saturday, October 27*
Löwenbräu-Buttenheim Kellerbier (a.k.a. Ungespundetes Lagerbier)
To describe this type of beer as an unfiltered golden lager is inadequate. Buttenheim, a small town south of Bamberg with (as I recall) a fair number of farming implements, has a better known second brewer, St. Georgenbräu. Which Kellerbier is better? Who knows? I'm just glad I've had the chance to visit there and experience both of them.

Löwenbräu (Buttenheim) Ungespundetes Lagerbier (Kellerbier)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Today: NABC at Brews for Beargrass at Whole Foods Market in Louisville.

If you don't know Angela Rees, the beer buyer at Whole Foods Market on Shelbyville Road in Louisville, you should.

She presides over an excellent selection of beers, and she has put together today's fest in the parking lot. The lineup looks great. It is an outdoor event, and with temps in the mid-50s today (no rain is forecast), you may wish to grab a sweater. I'll be there for the first two hours, at least; David Pierce and Richard Atnip also will be on hand. NABC will have Elector and Solidarity (wine barrel aged version). See you there.

Join us for our first ever BeerFest! We will be raising money for Beargrass Creek Alliance with a party in the parking lot. Tickets are $30 advance, $35 at the door, and available for purchase at Whole Foods Market. Tickets in a beer menu, a tasting mug, and beer samples. It is a ticketless event so you must bring your photo id to enter. Also you must be 21 years of age to enter the event area. Also local food trucks will be rolling in with their tasty fares available for separate purchase.

Here is the list of breweries and importers that will be represented: Country Boy Brewing, Great Lakes, New Holland, Apocalypse, North Coast, Bluegrass Brewing Company (x2), Green Flash, Brooklyn Brewing, New Albanian, Merchant du Vin (Sam Smith, Trappist ales, Ayinger) Finch, West Sixth, Sierra Nevada, Three Floyds, Falls City, Glunz Imports (Steigl Radlers), Against the Grain, Bells, Alltech, Founders, Schlafly, Southern Tier, Shelton Brothers (Mikkeller, Jolly Pumpkin, Nogne-O), Sam Adams, Dogfish Head and Rogue.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Next week: Tafel begins pouring at Yellow Cactus in Floyds Knobs.

Billie Gray is NABC's do-it-all manager at the Pizzeria & Public House, and now she's making beer sales in her (somewhat limited) spare time.

Consequently, I'm pleased to announce that draft NABC Tafel Bier will be pouring at the Yellow Cactus American Steakhouse & Mexican Restaurant, beginning next week.

Yellow Cactus is located on Paoli Pike in Floyds Knobs, just a few minutes up the hill from New Albany or off Highway 150. To be perfectly honest, the Curmudgeons never had dined there until earlier this year, but we found it much to our liking, and have been back several times since. It's quite good on the Tex-Mex scale, and I recommend you check it out. Tafel is a bonus, and it should pair well with Yellow Cactus's menu.

Thanks to Billie and Yellow Cactus for making this happen. Floyds Knobs is under-served when it comes to craft beer, and this is an important step.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Now up at "Tastes Like Coffee, Just Different."

It took only 15 months for me to make up my mind about a title for my twice monthly column at, and when I did, it proved to be the same as it ever was: The Potable Curmudgeon. A nice, familiar ring. The festival in Cannelton, Indiana, described here was the symbolic end of event season, 2012. Lessons learned from the many place I visited this year are many, indeed, and I hope to begin describing them -- given the time. Always that.

Tastes Like Coffee, Just Different

(Note: Roger has decided to keep his moniker from his other blog. So from now on “Baylor on Beer”  will be known as “The Potable Curmudgeon”. Take it away, Roger…)
Earlier this year, I was contacted by a civic-minded resident of Cannelton, Indiana, which is situated amid verdant hills on the Ohio River, a few big navigational loops downstream from Louisville. If you’re not traveling by boat, Cannelton is about an hour and a half away. My contact, Rob, wanted to know if NABC would pour craft beers at an important annual municipal function in October: Cannelton’s Heritage Festival, which in 2012 was slated for double duty as the city’s 175th birthday celebration.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Naughty Claus is coming to New Albany on Thanksgiving week.

The label and poster for NABC's Naughty Claus are finished. For the first time this year, we'll be releasing Naughty Claus in 22-oz bomber bottles. According to the strange strategy behind seasonal beer releases these days (pumpkin ales began appearing in early August), we're told by wholesalers that it's a rather late release. But to me, it fits the calendar and weather here in New Albany, and this is more important.

Consequently, NABC's Naughty Claus 2012 local release weekend will be November 21 – 24.

Wednesday, November 21
Naughty Claus draft and bomber release, both at the Pizzeria & Public House and Bank Street Brewhouse.

Plaid Friday, November 23
Saturnalia MMXII begins at the Pizzeria & Public House, with Naughty Claus and a full roster of festive seasonal beers. For those just tuning in, Each year NABC pays tribute to the ancient pagan origins of the holiday season with Saturnalia, a collection of themed seasonals on draft at the Pizzeria & Public House.

Saturday, November 24
It's the Jingle Walk in downtown New Albany. There'll be a Naughty Claus sample station (and bomber sales) at Keg Liquors on Pearl Street, and a special day’s program at Bank Street Brewhouse (TBA).

There's a dedicated Facebook page, too: Naughty Claus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pabst: How can that much beer come pouring out of an empty suit?

So, in a category created for beers like Pabst, Pabst gets a medal for best shitty beer in America. Hate's not the word, boys. Irrelevance is. Thanks to Beer Pulse for picking this one up.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Big Woods Brewing Company in Nashville, Indiana.

On September 21st, when Graham's truck was the chosen vehicle for a beer-buying road trip through Southern Indiana, our second stop was Big Woods Brewing Company in Nashville, Indiana. From Needmore, there is no direct route to Nashville; rather, looking out from the back porch at Salt Creek Brewery, one sees only the woods and hills comprising the combined acreage of Hoosier National Forest, Lake Monroe and Brown County State Park. We drove north to Bloomington, skirted the city on the southeast, and headed for Nashville, arriving in time for lunch. Above is the tiny original brewhouse. A larger one now operates across the alley from the original building, and the hand-filling of bottles was underway as we examined the layout.

Nashville itself is like a pocket Gatlinburg, and very much the arts, crafts and resort-type community. There was excellent food, beer and hospitality behind this chalet-style entrance to the Big Woods restaurant and taproom. I had a nitro stout ideal for the cool day, and the brewery's signature beer, Busted Knuckle, was my choice for the showcase. It's a 7.2% "light" Porter or Brown (according to the brewery) and reminiscent of certain Scottish-style ales (according to me).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bank Street Brewhouse menu today, with two more special beers.

The siege lifts later today, and I have a brief note about the Sunday program at Bank Street Brewhouse: Instead of the usual brunch as previously announced, we'll continue with the limited Fringe Fest menu.

BSB's build-your-own Bloody Mary Bar will continue as always.

Note also that two special beers are pouring in addition to the Fringe Fest list: Bourbondaddy (Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout, Angel's Envy bourbon barrel aged) and Devil's Hopyard, the latter a collaboration with Muse Brewing (7.8% abv, 140 IBUs).

The regular food menu and terms of engagement return on Tuesday.

Chef Matt Weirich's Fringe Fest Menu:

Duck Fat Frites
Chili (made with beef, chorizo and pork)
Pork BBQ
Chicken or Veggie Kebab (with rosemary marinade)
3D Valley Farms Angus Burgers

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Salt Creek Brewery in Needmore, Indiana.

On September 21st, I borrowed Graham and his truck for a round of beer buying in Southern Indiana. The kegs we purchased were served at the Southern Indiana Craft Showcase the following day, and now they're appearing one by one at the Pizzeria & Public House. First stop was Salt Creek Brewery in Needmore, a town north of Bedford. As you can see, the brewery is located in a converted filling station.

Specifically, the brewing system occupies the former grease pit, making it among the most unique set-ups I've ever witnessed. The beers are good, too; out choice for the showcase was Colonel Klink, an Altbier.

The bar area fronts Salt Creek's grease pit brewhouse. Note the old gas pump on the left. There is a kitchen and family seating to the right, and evening music is a staple.

The owner/brewer, Brad Hawkins, shows us how oil cans can be adaptively reused as beer pitchers. I met Brad for the first time in September at the Eikosi Festival in Salem, and his plan of operation in Needmore is just what Indiana beer is about. He's making mid-range styles, educating consumers, and slowly ramping up beer strengths and character. The atmosphere is eclectic, but community-oriented and efficient. Both Graham and I are quite eager to make it back to Needmore for pints, meals and an evening's entertainment. I'll tell you when, and maybe you can meet us there.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Elector drives the tap takeover at V the Market in Danville KY this Wednesday, October 10.

It's finally almost here: Danville, Kentucky's superlative V the Market is hosting an NABC tap takeover  on Wednesday, October 10 -- the day before the vice presidential debate at Centre College. Because an Elector makes democracy pointless, it's the takeover headliner. Also on the bill: Black & Blue Grass, Beak's Best and Hoptimus.

I'll have a few of the shirts pictured below (short-sleeve version), and some posters of the same image. Perhaps a creative way can be devised to give them away during the course of the evening.

We need to be more like Durango.

My, how times have changed -- and I'm not referring to the lament of the Amarillo tourist, but rather how I learned of it: From Charlie Papazian, via Twitter.

Durangoans rude to Texans – and no Bud!

Durango, you are in trouble. Tourism in Durango will decline in future years. My wife and I just got back from Durango, after not visiting in almost 12 years. The town has changed completely.

The wait staffs were rude all around town when we tried to go out and eat. You can’t find a cold Budweiser or Bud Light on draft anywhere. Heads up, Durango, not everyone likes that locally brewed beer. Sure, it may be local and fun to try once in awhile, but don’t forget that the people who spend the most money in your town are the tourists. Tourists will try the Durango beers once, but we want to go back to our old-fashioned Buds.

The list goes on and on about how bad our trip to Durango was this get-around. Hopefully, this beautiful town can grow some nice people again and learn to cater to tourists better.

Walter Cliff

Amarillo, Texas

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Fringe Fest 2012 overview, and what you should know about Open Door Youth Services.

Our fifth annual Fringe Fest opens on Thursday, October 11 at Bank Street Brewhouse. As in years past, we'll alter the normal working routine to harmonize with New Albany's civic celebration, Harvest Homecoming.

In practical terms, the recent conversion of BSB's parking lot into Lloyd's Landing means that previous legally mandated partitions and divisions no longer must be observed for the sake of a temporary permit. Rather, the food and drink and music can flow naturally from inside out and back, so long as beer in open containers stays inside the BSB perimeter and does not go out into the street.


I'm pleased to announce that from the proceeds of this year's Fringe Fest, a cash grant will be given to Open Door Youth Services: "Open Door Youth Services exists to respond to the needs and promote the healthy development of vulnerable children and youth."

Hope for good weather, and stop by while you're downtown during Harvest Homecoming.

Friday, October 05, 2012

2012 Live@5 recap and a worthy cause.

When the incoming administration of Mayor Jeff Gahan conceived of the Live@5 concert series, NABC agreed to obtain the necessary state permits and to vend craft beer at these Friday afternoon events. Other vendors, including Irish Exit, Wick's and River City Winery, participated at various times, offering a diversity of potables and involving others within the community.

There are as many points of view as attendees, but overall, the idea was a good one, perhaps in need of tweaking ... as are most first-time events.

From the start, it was my intention to devote a percentage of our beer sale proceeds to a worthy local cause: The soup kitchen at St. Mark's United Church of Christ, which is located just across Spring Street from Bank Street Brewhouse.

Accordingly, I'm pleased to divulge that the total, rounded up, came to $400, which I delivered to Pastor Manzo earlier in the week. Perhaps this will suffice for a week or two; it's a big undertaking, indeed, and one meriting your attention. Thanks to all Live@5 organizers and attendees, and to the NABC staff.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Fringe Fest 2012: The beer list.

Weather permitting, much of Fringe Fest 2012 will take place in and around Bank Street Brewhouse's "new" areas: The WCTU Reading Room (former patio, now an indoor room with garage doors) and Lloyd's Landing (the outdoor beer garden, which until recently was the parking lot). For the occasion, we'll be emphasizing these selections:

Black & Blue Grass ... spiced Belgian
Get Off My Lawn ... session IPA
Gold ... session Blonde
Hoosier Daddy ... Crimson & Cream Ale
Strassen Bräu ... Märzen/Oktoberfest
Wet Knob ... American Pale Ale with local hops

Another half-dozen favorites will be available at the main dining room bar. Fringe Fest runs concurrently with "booth days" of Harvest Homecoming from Thursday, October 11 through Saturday, October 13. On Sunday, October 14, we resume the normal routine with Brunch and the build-your-own Bloody Mary Bar.

Fringe Fest musical lineup
Chef Matt Weirich's fest food menu
Facebook page: NABC's Fringe Fest

Monday, October 01, 2012

Matt Gould, 1970- 2012: "The Last Round’s on Us."

Matt Gould's newspaper obituary is here. He'll be missed, and remembered.

The Last Round’s on Us

It is uncharacteristic of Matt Gould that his passing came just as Louisville Craft Beer Week hit critical mass.
That’s because Matt wouldn’t have wanted us to make a fuss. Quite a few local craft beer lifers didn’t even know he had been gravely ill, or for how long. He’d surely say the show could go on perfectly well without a dumb old brewer, and then he’d growl at us to get out there and drink some beer, damn it.
But here’s the conundrum: Matt’s lengthy career in beer helped make Louisville Craft Beer Week possible. It helped make Louisville beer possible, period. I’m sure he knew it, and I hope he was proud of it. He had a right to be.
As his colleague and friend Joel Halbleib put it: “Matt was a Louisville brewing legend.”
Matt’s work as a brewer spanned the modern-day history of brewing in Louisville. He assisted Eileen Martin at the Silo, worked with David Pierce at Bluegrass Brewing Company’s original St. Matthews location, opened Cumberland Brews and built the beer program there, and finally went to work for BBC again, this time at the production facility on the beer corner of Main & Clay. Ironically, in the very end, Eileen was a co-worker once more.

Parade Day is Gold Day at Bank Street Brewhouse.

This Saturday, October 6, is the annual Harvest Homecoming Parade in downtown New Albany. Pictured above is a scene from 2009. Note the absence of the steeple on St. Mary's; it was being restored and the church made ready for an exterior refitting when the parade passed it that year.

Because the parade's traditional final turn is from Spring Street onto Bank Street, you can see the whole show at Bank Street Brewhouse with a Progressive Pint in hand. BSB will open at 11:00 a.m., and while the parade begins at noon, it takes a while for it to reach our craft beer reviewing stand.

Although it has been on tap for a few weeks, NABC Gold’s official unveiling is on Saturday. To celebrate, there’ll be $3 pints of Gold all day long. NABC Gold is the latest addition to our Session Series (4.2%), and brewed in the style of American blonde ale.

Hoosier Daddy Crimson & Cream Ale will be on tap, too; in fact, we intend to continue brewing it through next spring.