Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tyler and Lori and the great places they've created.

I've said it before, and will repeat it now.

I live vicariously through what Lori Beck, Tyler Trotter and their staff have achieved at the Louisville Beer Store, Holy Grale, and the Gralehaus. They've painstakingly realized ideas that are great fun to conjecture over endless servings of ale, but far harder to actually achieve in the real world.

Trust me on this point.

They've implemented and refined these great ideas and brought them to fruition. They've earned the plaudits they receive now and in the future. Now, read this fine profile of Tyler, Lori and their world(s).

Hauses of the holy: How Tyler Trotter and Lori Beck amassed the beer trifecta — Louisville Beer Store, Holy Grale and Gralehaus, by Sarah Balliet (LEO Weekly)

Lori Beck and Tyler Trotter are the power couple behind the Louisville Beer Store, the Holy Grale bar and restaurant, and the new Gralehaus cafe. Bringing a taste of Europe to Louisvillians — who can be fiercely loyal to Kentucky bourbon and Southern culinary traditions — is, in a word, gutsy. And they’ve taken some heat for it. When they opened the Louisville Beer Store in 2009, reviews were peppered with words like “pretentious” and “hipster.” Their growing pains have most recently included a two-year legal battle with a distributor, which Beck and Trotter are slogging through to keep their doors open. (Since they are still under scrutiny, that story will unfold later this year).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bud and Miller hijack ALL beer cultural values, not just craft's.

Phony, ersatz and "craft" -- these words aptly summarize the situation. Kudos to Tom Philpott for a clear-headed analysis.

Big Beer has been, and shall remain, the oppressor. Being the oppressor is how it came to be Big Beer in the first place. That's what robber baron capitalism is all about, and if you doubt it, perhaps it's time to read a history book.

When you tithe for ersatz, whether it's Blue Moon or the 100%, fully-owned-by-the-oppressor Goose Island, you're providing the familiar oppressor with even more money to continue its oppressive tactics.

To oppress YOU.

Sorry if saying this aloud bugs you, but truth is truth ... and sometimes, truth hurts.

Bud and Miller Are Trying to Hijack Craft Beer—and It’s Totally Backfiring, by Tom Philpott (Mother Jones)

 ... For its part, Big Beer has responded to the declining popularity of its goods in two ways. The first is relentless cost cutting. When Belgian mega-brewer InBev bought US corporate beer giant Bud in 2008, it very quickly slashed 1,400 jobs, about 6 percent of its US workforce. And the laser-like focus on slashing costs has continued, as this aptly titled 2012 BusinessWeek piece, "The Plot to Destroy America's Beer," shows.

The second is to roll out phony craft beers—brands like Shock Top and Blue Moon—and buy up legit craft brewers like Chicago's Goose Island, which InBev did in 2011. Other ersatz "craft" beers include Leinenkugel, Killian's, Batch 19, and Third Shift. The strategy has been successful, to a point. Bloomberg reports that InBev has seen its Goose Island and Shock Top sales surge.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brewing company needed in Eyota, Minnesota.

It's an informal tally, but so far in 2014, I've received a half-dozen contacts, either by e-mail or phone, from economic development officials in Indiana towns and cities. Some have been general inquiries, perhaps owing to my presence on the board of the Brewers of Indiana Guild. Some have been quite specific: Come here to my city/town/hamlet and open a brewery, and we'll incentivize you.

It isn't clear whether my own city has yet fathomed such conclusions, although neighboring Jeffersonville has. This is another story for another day.

Meanwhile, thanks to Ray L. for this link.

Eyota needs beer, by Mark Reilly (Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal)

Craft beer, that is. Officials in the southeastern Minnesota city have eased up on alcohol laws and added development incentives, hoping to entice a brewing company to the neighborhood.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The PC: Well, ya gotta start somewhere, part four, with a boomerang.

The PC: Well, ya gotta start somewhere, part four, with a boomerang.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

My last three curmudgeonly columns have been devoted to a personal beer history of sorts. Their basic framework was borrowed from an essay I wrote roughly twenty years ago, in which my consciousness at the time was harnessed, perhaps inexpertly, to explain why I no longer cared to drink mundane, pedestrian, mass-market (read: the usual shitty) beer.

I disavow none of it, though not unexpectedly, the intervening two decades have taken me to a different place. It is a transition in progress. While my aversion to the ordinary remains as strong as ever, and there exists no urge to return to the days of bottle-baby, longneck coddling, minimum-alcohol-delivery devices, I find the current state of “craft” beer appreciation to be the cause of a profound disillusionment.

Insofar as I possess a soul, it is in a relative state of annoyance, if not outright torment.


Interestingly, on one occasion in 2008, I dipped into the cross-disciplinary stream in search of explanations for my long, gradual detachment from mass-market swill, not to mention the formative period of my “career in beer” spent assisting other beer drinkers to overcome their attachment to the BudMillerCoors hegemony.

At the time, it occurred to me that something similar to the "Five Stages of Grief" was appropriate. Take it away, Wiki:

The Kübler-Ross model describes, in five discrete stages, the process by which people deal with grief and tragedy, especially when diagnosed with a terminal illness. The model was introduced by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying". The stages have become well-known as the "Five Stages of Grief".

I modified the five stages of grief to pertain to the tragedy of swill consumption.

Denial: "It just can’t be happening that my ice-cold Bud Light no longer lights my fire."

Anger: "Why me? It’s not fair that Roger made me drink that good, expensive beer … and now my Silver Bullet tastes awful!"

Bargaining: "Just let me enjoy one more evening at (insert name of preferred dive bar, meat market or sporting venue) so I can give my Miller Lite a proper, respectful goodbye."

Depression: "I’m so sad, why bother drinking beer at all, good or bad?"

Acceptance: "It’s going to be all right, and swill is no longer a part of my life. Thank you, Roger."

What prompted this 2008 rendering of the five stages of grief was an experience in a local eatery. I was seated at the bar, and looked to my right. There sat a man I knew. For a great many years, he’d been coming into the Public House, loudly praising the beers, and drinking as many as one per sitting.

However, on the evening in question, he was hoisting a bottle of Miller Lite, and doing so in much the same fashion as the actors in the brand’s television commercials of the same period, in which the manufacturer of this eternally insipid, vaguely beer-like liquid encouraged Lite’s many “fans” to adopt a Mussolini-era fascist salute to celebrate the many medals the brand recently won in an international beer competition, wherein the corporate entity’s longtime sponsorship of the contest in question had led to the creation of category guidelines precisely describing the negation of anything approximating beer flavor – this being the exact “style” best assuring Lite’s many medals.

And so there I was, at the bar of the local eatery, with my lapsed customer seated less than ten feet away, spiraling downward like a victim of Baron von Richthofen's triplane. It might have been an awkward moment, except that he steadfastly looked away every time I tried to make eye contact and say hello.

Knowing that the key to most successful conversions is to hate the sin and love the sinner, I wasn’t offended at all. Rather, it was flattering, but not without a pang of weird conscience that maybe, only now, is coming back to roost.


I’ll never stop feeling amusement when confronted with predictable spectacles initiated by the unbeerable lightness of American bearing, as when the Harley rider in full leather costume regalia entered the Public House, asked for an Alpha King, and refused to listen to my well-intentioned explanation that he might not like such assertiveness. The motorcyclist was back within moments, demanding a Spaten Lager.

Only at closing did I discover the nearly full pint of Alpha King, hidden in a corner behind a lamp.

At the same time, while loving better beer as much as ever, I can neither comprehend nor stomach today’s chest-thumping, trend-chasing, pretentiousness-sans-principle brand of beer enthusiasm. It is two miles wide and a centimeter deep, generally practiced in a narcissistic vacuum, and has quite effectively rendered the very term “craft” superfluous. What was formerly known as “craft” beer is in a non-intellectual, pack-think stage of development. It makes me crazed and sad.

But this isn’t the most depressing part of it.

That distinction is reserved for the knowledge that I must claim a measure of personal responsibility for the formless, disconnected beer snobbery that now has me running for an unoccupied commode.

Exactly how and why my beer narrative became sidetracked remains to be considered. Perhaps I mistakenly believed my own press clippings. It’s also true that beer fashions change, and so have I. All revolutions mutate and evolve. Pendulums swing back and forth. Sit out a few dances, and the band may eventually play a song more to my liking.

One thing’s for sure.

While recapturing youthful glory isn’t a very good bet, the cessation of food service at Bank Street Brewhouse leaves me with a clean slate of sorts. BSB is a lump of clay. It needs remolding, and so do I. BSB is now free to be a place to talk with people about beer, to educate, to learn, and to find a few of these errant threads. NABC’s second location may have not succeeded as an eatery, but it may yet find its niche.

Doing so just might require me finding mine.

Finally, the path forward is becoming clearer.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"From Gin Lane to the height of sophistication," now with interaction.

Thanks to B for this link.

When gin was full of sulphuric acid and turpentine, by Finlo Rohrer (BBC News Magazine)

It's 250 years since the death of William Hogarth. His famous work Gin Lane still informs the way people think about the drink.

It's arguably the most potent anti-drug poster ever conceived. A woman, her clothes in disarray, her head thrown back in intoxicated oblivion, allows her baby to slip from her grasp, surely to its death in a stairwell below.

She's the centrepiece in an eye-wateringly grim urban melee - full of death, misery, starvation and fighting.

The year was 1751. The drug in question was gin. And the engraving was a conscious effort by William Hogarth, along with his friend novelist Henry Fielding, to force the government to do something about a drink that was threatening to tear apart the social fabric of England.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tipping abolition explained.

It's hard to argue with the reasoning. Last year I covered this topic at my other blog.

A growing number of restaurateurs want tipping abolished; you should, too, by Steve Coomes (Insider Louisville)

Last week, Amanda Cohen, chef-owner of Dirt Candy, a celebrated restaurant in Manhattan, penned a column for titled, “Why Tipping Is a Devil’s Bargain.” Overall it’s an argument to end the questionable practice of tipping because it’s not fair …

To kitchen workers who work hard and earn disproportionately less

To guests who don’t always relish the responsibility of figuring out their server’s reward

To service employees who are at the mercy of so many things out of their control that ultimately affect their tips.

Cohen takes a lashing from numerous commenters on the piece who say she’s naïve, that her suggestions for correcting the problem are mathematically inept, that she’s back-of-the-house biased, plus other names not worth repeating. Regardless of whether the criticism is fair, she deserves big props for her willingness to say out loud that tipping is one hell of a screwed up way to pay a staff.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Where and why we need a monument to victory over the prohibitionists.

Over at my civic affairs blog, I have a fairly good idea. I think it's one of the best ideas I've had in a while. Here's the link:

ON THE AVENUES: Ice Cold WCTU (A Modest Proposal).

... The grand opening can be preceded by a community-wide art contest, in which local artists riff on a theme of fundamentalist zealotry. For the occasion, we might clear the former dining room of furniture and display the art there. Behind the art, through the window, lies the brewery, and if those machines kill fascists, surely they eradicate prohibitionists as well.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Diary: Affirmative beer action in taxpayer-funded venues.

What was that?

Some random thoughts on how local government can be helpful when it comes to having better beer choices?

Of course, as it pertains to the majority of local businesses participating in what sometimes resembles a free market, government can't do a lot. However, there hasn't ever been much of a free market at taxpayer-funded ballparks and entertainment venues, where the fix tend to be "in" with concessionaires.

In this context, I believe that landlords have sizeable bully pulpits, but they must elect to use them. The mere mention of quota reviews should do the trick. Here is my recommendation to Metro Louisville government.


It is widely understood and accepted that Metro Louisville government is an equal opportunity employer, one that seeks to utilize minority, female and handicapped employees, whether when hired directly, or indirectly through contractors, suppliers and vendors. The importance of these precepts extends far beyond beer and brewing, to government’s fundamental aim of providing conditions for the improvement of daily life.

In like fashion, metro Louisville government understands the critical importance of the local economy in a sustainable future, as well as the key position that locally generated food and drink businesses occupy in the city’s outreach, whether within the community itself, or directed toward visitors from elsewhere. Alongside urban bourbon heritage and an explosion in innovative dining, Louisville’s breweries serve as exemplars of this new economy.

Aspects of pre-existing “older” economic systems sometimes must be modified to fit new and evolving realities. As an example, it has remained the case that customary concessions practices in venues for sports and music have evolved from the three-tier alcoholic beverage distribution system at state and federal levels, and to a certain degree, reflect private commercial matters between concessionaires and wholesalers.

And yet, there is nothing fundamentally ‘Louisville” about concessions choices emanating solely from contractual arrangements that the general public never sees. For native and tourist alike, viewing a baseball game at a venue such as Louisville Slugger Field should present the opportunity to inform and offer choices that pertain to the community which laid for the venue’s construction – that speak to Louisville itself.

Reflecting the reality that private for-profit businesses entities and drinks vendors utilize publicly financed venues and facilities, Metro Louisville government seeks to be a positive force in encouraging these entities and vendors to provide equal opportunities for local brewers, precisely because public financing of these venues implies acceptance of the merits of equal opportunity, as well as providing the ideal forum to educate attendees as to the merits of local, sustainable economies.

Metro Louisville government supports the creation of branded, destination concessions areas unique to the venues its taxpayers have financed. It works to educate concessionaires as to the benefits of a contemporary local economy as it pertains to beer and brewing, safe in the knowledge that profit margins for handcrafted beers can be equal to or greater than those for products supplied by multinational breweries.

In short, Metro Louisville government enthusiastically greets the chance to expand local brewing consciousness by use of the landlord’s bully pulpit in venues/events that include, but are not limited to, Slugger Field; Waterfront Wednesday; Iroquois Amphitheater; YUM! Center and Hike, Bike and Paddle.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The PC: Well, ya gotta start somewhere, part three, in which a shaky maturity is attained.

The PC: Well, ya gotta start somewhere, part three, in which a shaky maturity is attained. 

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of “dark” beer during my formative years. After all, who are you going to believe, Gussie Busch or your own eyes? Wasn’t beer supposed to be yellow, and if it wasn’t yellow, what exactly did that mean?

Very, very interesting.

My first close encounter with Guinness was not of the draft kind, which didn’t reach Louisville until later in the 1980s. Rather, it was Extra Stout from the bottle. Fireworks went off, and bells could be heard chiming deep in my throat.

But dark beers were not entirely new to me, although I hadn’t the first idea why they were dark, or how they were made, or how they differed from the massive blackness of Guinness, which cut an olfactory swath through my soul.

Early on, in 1978 or thereabouts, there had been a dark beer from a long-defunct Chicago brewery called Peter Hand (it also made an extra light beer of some sort), and it was followed onto Cut Rate Liquors’s shelves by Augsburger Dark. Occasionally we purchased the contract-brewed American version of Lowenbrau Dark, having accepted without question Miller Brewing’s television advertising strategy of "tonight, let it be Lowenbrau," and saving it for special times.

There had been other American Dark Lager sightings. Don Da Leon’s, a deli and imported foods store located in the shabby old Quadrangle in Jeffersonville, was far ahead of its time, and put Schlitz Dark on draft around 1981. Even before that, Mario’s Pizza on Charlestown Road in New Albany (Mandarin Café is located there now) had a dark beer on tap for a few months. It came from the Budweiser wholesaler, and must have been a short-lived Bud house brand experiment.

Just after having Guinness for the first time, I saw a six-pack of Stroh’s Bock and tried it. What was bock, anyway? According to an old man at Steinert’s, who spoke in stately and authoritative confidence, and probably hadn’t traveled any further afield than Cincinnati in his entire life, bock was brewed from the leftovers at the bottom of the vats after spring brewery cleaning each year.

As for himself, he wouldn’t touch the dark stuff for fear of its crippling 20% alcohol content and molasses-like consistency. It wasn’t long until I learned that those tales of spring scrubbing and heightened potency were utter nonsense. At first I suffered from embarrassment for having been so stupid, but later realized that listening to old men perched on bar stools telling stories was the important part, and truthfulness a subsidiary consideration.


At first, Guinness Extra Stout was a multicultural shock, and the impact was softened by mixing it with flavorless golden lager beers. To be perfectly honest, on more than one occasion we brought a six-pack into the K & H Cafe in Lanesville and amused the owners by making “black and tans” using draft Budweiser. I must have been living right, because the beer gods saw fit not to punish me for this transgression, and anyway, the percentage of the “cut” became more and more lopsided until we graduated permanently to unalloyed stout.

Whether “black and tan” or “half and half,” I’ve had little use for the idea of training wheels since discarding them. As my friend Mark once noted, the perfect “black and tan” isn’t halves of stout and pale ale or golden lager mixed in a glass. It’s a pint of each, mixed in your stomach.


Of course, merely being introduced to better beers like Guinness and Pilsner Urquell did not imply automatically enshrinement into a state of pure bliss and enlightenment. Many years of practice and refinement were yet to come, in part because youth is wasted on the young. When there is a surfeit of hormonal adrenalin and a paucity of discretionary cash, progress in any area can be painstaking and incremental. Old familiar temptations and new, unexplored domains vied for hegemony over mind, palate and wallet.

Gradually it became clear that if beer’s sole purpose was to serve as an odorless, flavorless alcohol delivery device, then it held little ultimate interest for me. A bottle of cheap vodka and a few drops of Rose’s Lime Juice provided a much speedier and efficient means of intoxication.

It was left to Michael Jackson’s original “World Guide to Beer,” as culled from the remainder table at a mall bookshop, to become the cosmic text that wove all the threads into a coherent whole.
Jackson offered the saga of beer as a long and fascinating one, ranging across all aspects of the human experience.

Beer is about science and art, farms and cities, social history, local culture and geography. It's about the places you've gone, and the ones you'd like to go. It's about different textures and flavors to match your mood, the time of day, the season, and the task at hand.

To this very day, my relationship with better beer continues to be defined by what the academicians would call a cross-disciplinary approach. In its absence, my interest flags, because when better beer is removed from its context as a unifier of human experience, to be isolated and objectified as a status-affirming Soma for beer porn narcissists, it’s just another fad.

I might as well be a wine geek – and that’s a fate worse than death.


By 1983, I was working part-time at the old Scoreboard Liquors in New Albany and seeking to stock one door of the walk-in cooler with imports (remember, American-made “craft” beers were as yet several years away). On and off, I continued at this job right up until 1992, when I went into the business at the pub formerly known as Rich O’s.

Starting in 1984 or thereabouts, I no longer drank light, low-calorie beer under any circumstance. In 1985, I traveled to Europe for the first time, a voyage of exuberant discovery that has been repeated dozens of times since. In those early days, after each trip, it became harder and harder to return to old haunts and to stomach cans of Stroh’s or High Life, although until 1992, it continued to happen.

Now it is the year 2014. My last taste of Budweiser came in 2004, and before that, 1992.

Bud Light? Early 1980s.

I managed to swallow a Miller High Life in 2009, and perhaps consumed a new generation (read: impossibly vapid) Pabst at some point during the last five years. So it is that exceptions prove the rule, and the mass-produced liquid still preferred by my countrymen (and women) at a ratio of 9 to 1 is utterly alien to me. I can more easily imagine being beamed up to the Enterprise for afternoon tea than drinking a Coors Light.

And this is the source of enduring, abiding happiness for me.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Temporary beer activation of the space once intended to lead to Museum Plaza.

As usual, a wee bit of local history is in order.

In Louisville, there was to have been a game-changing, 62-story skyscraper. It was to be called the Museum Plaza.

It was not built, and the plan has been officially "dead" for three years.

In the run-up to Museum Plaza, several infrastructure improvement projects were completed by the city. One of them was on the 600 block of West Main Street, where four buildings were demolished, but their historic facades buttressed and kept intact. This was slated to be developed as the entrance to Museum Plaza from the Main Street corridor.

The space has remained vacant since 2007. The hollow cavity is shown here:

Now the city of Louisville is interested in using the space as a pop-up beer/food/fun garden during four autumn weekends -- and the beer would be entirely locally brewed. The plan was discussed during recent meetings of a committee to advise Mayor Greg Fisher on what the city might do with respect to supporting local breweries.

This could be interesting, so stay tuned.
Experimental ‘space activation’ to bring a pop-up lounge to former Museum Plaza site, by Melissa Chipman (Insider Louisville)

Remember Museum Plaza? Hard to forget the doomed 62-story project, isn’t it. What was supposed to be one of the most innovative spaces in the city is now a vacant lot across from 21c.

But for four weeks this fall it will once again be a space for innovation, culture and fun.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Pour Haus is open in Tell City.

My friend Mark, who hails from Tell City, has been updating me on the progress of the Pour Haus restaurant and brewery for quite some time. Indiana On Tap did an update in May, and now, like Point Blank (Corydon) and Red Yeti (Jeffersonville), the Pour Haus has commenced operations with its food service, but not yet with its own beers.

There's also the Tell City Beer Company, currently in development, which apparently will not have food.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Alstroms have a problem with session beer, and Lew Bryson begs to differ.

Note that these days, it is my custom to refer to RateBeer and BeerAdvocate collectively, as RateAdvocate. However, in this instance, I must defer to the correct usage, since the actual reference is to BeerAdvocate, the magazine.

Aww, what the hell.

It's been a while since I visited RateAdvocate, and I'm happy that Lew posted his thoughts on the session beer editorial. Admittedly, given the depth of my feeling in favor of session beer, I probably haven't done enough to educate local beer drinkers. I constantly vow to do more, and some day, there might actually be time. Until that day comes, it's honestly the case that most of the beers I drink fall into the session boundaries.

When I feel like something stronger, there's always Thomas Family Winery's Gale's Hard Cider or gin. Am I becoming a Session Snob? It's a badge I'd happily wear.

What's Your Problem?, by Lew Bryson (The Session Beer Project)

Jason and Todd Alstrom put an editorial in the latest issue of Beeradvocate magazine titled "The Problem with Session Beers in the US." They've had a passive-aggressive stance toward session beers from the early days, and this piece fits neatly into that. Because they have such a large bully-pulpit with the magazine, I felt I should at least respond. Because I only see ONE problem the way that they do; the rest of their problems are manufactured, questionable, or just plain wrong.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Loathing of prohibitionists comes first, and only then print magazine ads for booze.

I was under the impression that the real problem in our current electronic age was the abject refusal of Young America to pay the slightest bit of attention to magazines and print media of all types.

Not only that, but I was under the impression that this condition is why we must go to ridiculous lengths to appease prohibitionist fatwah issuers by requiring age verification on beer websites, which in a land brimming over with cowardice and stupidity might be the single dumbest bureaucratic requirement yet invented.

Now I'm told that not only does youth still voraciously consume print, but it is being unduly influenced by what it sees in the pages of magazines seldom opened.

Does the world of corporate alcohol vending seek to influence future choices of youth? Of course. Is this any different than it ever was? Of course not.

Tempest, meet teapot. I'm no friend of bloated multinational business, but one needs to maintain healthy priorities, among them a balanced hatred of prohibitionists.

Are America’s biggest alcohol brands targeting the country’s underage youth?, by Roberto A. Ferdman (Washington Post)

Underage drinkers — those between the ages of 18 and 20, most specifically — are more heavily exposed to printed alcohol advertisements than any other age group, according to a new study. And it's America's biggest booze companies that could be to blame. The makers of Bud Light, Smirnoff Vodka, Coors Light, Absolut Vodka and a number of other popular drinks were among those whose advertisements were most heavily exposed to the underage drinkers.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The PC: Well, ya gotta start somewhere, part two ... and the clouds begin to part.

The PC: Well, ya gotta start somewhere, part two ... and the clouds begin to part. 

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

(last week's first part)

Falls City, Fehr’s and Oertel’s 92 were Louisville beer brands that survived Prohibition, and remained shakily operational when I was born in 1960. They were about to be decimated by a combination of internal cluelessness, changing market tastes and incessant dirty tricks practiced by better-funded, expansionist mass-market breweries.

Fehr’s went out of business in 1964, so for obvious chronological reasons I have no clear memories of it. Oertel’s was next to expire in 1967. I can distinctly recall my father and his pals drinking Oertel’s from long neck bottles, offering occasional nips to the kids, and being scolded by their womenfolk.

Like the wasting victim of a terminal disease, the original incarnation of Falls City managed to last until 1978, the year I graduated from high school. Then an opportunistic carpetbagger from Wisconsin called G. Heileman bought the rights to Falls City’s identity, and the brand commenced a ghoulish low-budget afterlife, inexorably cheapened as its former regional target demographic inexorably shrank.

Through it all, in my unformed and youthful opinion, these post-Prohibition golden lager beers generally tasted foul. So did the bulk of the national brands following in their wake. Having already conceded that as a youngster, I didn’t much like the taste of beer, it is theoretically possible that these beers were not wretched at all. The eternal question is this:

Did I dislike the normal taste of beer as a universally quantifiable flavor, or was the liquid being handed down to us as beer as objectionable as I judged it to be?

Being otherwise aimless and college bound, it seemed appropriate to devote a few years of diligent “study” to this vexing problem.


I may have been getting older, but I wasn’t looking any older. This was an issue, given that many of my friends already had the appearance of lumberjacks, and a miracle was needed. It came in for form of a fake ID, which bought me two years of early entry just when I needed it most.

After all, how can one turn pro if he can’t get served?

According to self-annotated legend, it was the autumn of 1979 when I renounced my amateur drinking status and joined the professional beer drinking ranks. The impetus was stereotypically familiar: The messy dissolution of a romance, and rampant ensuing depression. One morning during the worst of it, my car suddenly veered away from the university’s parking lot in the direction of a nearby package store. Breakfast was two quart bottles of Colt ’45; the next day, a six-pack of Wiedemann did the trick.

Worry not: I had a Styrofoam cooler to keep these beers cold, because as before, the major impediment to becoming a professional beer drinker was how disappointing beer inevitably tasted. The flavor of beer as we knew it somehow had to be evaded. The less of it, the better, and ice deadened one’s tongue.

But what if beer could be flavorless and odorless by design, as with the advent of light, low-calorie American lager?

When my fake ID first began easing passage into bars, most of the older male regulars were drinking traditional macho “real man” beers like Pabst, Sterling, Stroh’s and Miller High Life. By the early 1980s, it seemed that they’d all switched to Lite, Budweiser Light (as it was called in the beginning) and even Old Milwaukee Light.

Price wasn’t the issue. If anything, they’d traded up from “popular price” and were paying 25% more to cover the cost of Big Beer’s ubiquitous television ads … not to mention the fact that “less filling” actually was veiled code for “drink more of it.”

My conclusion, then as now: Their lifetimes spent suckling Sterling finally had gotten to them, and when they grasped that the new wave of flavorless light beer had become socially acceptable to their peers, they fled traditional brands as fast as their terminally impaired taste buds would carry them. Better the nothingness of wet air than what passed for “full flavor.” You could hear palpable sighs of relief at air-conditioned taverns, softball fields and church picnics all across the nation.

Light beer may have been the castrato of the beer world of beer, but its flavorlessness had a similar effect on me, at least initially. In the absence of any standard for comparison, light beer became a sort of step-ladder for me. I was able to drink enough of it, and sufficiently often, to finally develop a taste for the generic “beer flavor” that defined American mass market beer of the time, which light beers possess, albeit it in substantially diluted form.

It didn’t suit me for long. Like my fake ID, light beer simply bought necessary time. Light beer wasn’t drinking; it was swallowing. Not unlike masturbation, light beer promised temporary release. Light beer was affordable, and a purely utilitarian means to an end, but to me it never once became the end itself.


For one thing, regular examinations of the wares at Cut Rate Liquors in Jeffersonville revealed the existence of exotic, unexplored modes of thinking and drinking. Cut Rate stocked imported beers – mostly international golden lagers, but also dark lagers, British ales and even a few Belgians. What we now categorize as craft barely existed, even in California.

Money was tight, and sampling meant splurging. There was no source of information, apart from bottle labels and six-pack cartons. Still, every now and then I took the risk and tried a new beer. The flavors were different, and hinted at broader horizons.

In 1982, two good friends intervened with essential personal testimony. Both of them had gone away to college, to reside in places less parochial than Floyd County. One of them returned to the fold singing the praises of Guinness Extra Stout, and the other introduced me to Pilsner Urquell, then sold in four-pack cartons for a lofty $3.99 plus sales tax.

I was intrigued. I’d had Molson, Labatts and Beck’s, but what was the spicy flavor in the Pilsner Urquell, that piquant bitterness cutting through creamy grain flavor? It was something I hadn’t experienced in Blatz. My friend wasn’t sure, but he thought it had something to do with hops. Guinness was black like coffee. It was dry, roasty and daunting in a way that defied categorization, and completely unlike any "dark" beer I’d had before.

You mean there were different sorts of dark beers, too? These always had intrigued me, along with pumpernickel, rye and other departures from the Wonder Bread norm. Finally, liberated from the longnecks of our fathers, the notion of beer was starting to make better sense.

All I needed was a lot more money and a plane ticket.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Why do we covet what we don’t have?"

It's rare to find a conscientious, balanced self-examination -- from anyone, anywhere, and not just from a better beer fancier. Humans don't do introspection particularly well. Having offered this disclaimer, it strikes me that Cresant Smith's essay at is worth noting.

Beer Chasing

 ... The “hunt” switch was on and humming in my head. I had to find the best beers out there. Find the good stuff I couldn’t get at home.

Cresant's thoughts are worth reading in their entirety, so please do. Her words caused me to think back on my own introduction to beer. Without going into great detail, it was different, and it probably can be explained as a generational thing. Coming to better beer during a time of relative paucity, both of available choices and information about the wider world of brewing, was different for me than for those of any age who are coming to beer now, and are comparatively inundated with options.

I definitely was in favor of traveling to find better beer, and did. However, apart from isolated exceptions, it never occurred to me to become involved in a trading culture -- at least as a civilian. I suppose there's a strong case to be made that I did take part in such a culture, just via my original pub business and normal wholesaling channels. Where did my private interest end, and my mercantile instincts begin?

These days I read about intriguing beers and ponder how I may obtain them. I am not alone in this obsession. But Why? Why do we covet what we don’t have? Why do I, and so many others quest for the uncommon beers? Maybe it is the desire to be one of the cool kids, just like back in the day when you wanted the trendy toys? Do we need to prove that we can hang with the “big boys”? Are we trying to impress our friends with the most “ticks”, is it to show-off, the variety, the novelty? Do we want the validation of just consuming that hard to come by beer?

For me maybe it is a little bit of all of those.

And then there's this.

Generally, I just want to try something that sounds good and that I haven’t tried before. Although there are many satisfying beers that are readily available in KY, I am not satisfied with only drinking those. I crave variety and I suppose I like the challenge.

It's funny. I crave variety, too, and find plenty of it locally and regionally. I find more than I can drink, given how much I drink these days. But the challenge means almost nothing to me now. Perhaps we can conclude that for at least some enthusiasts, it's more about the challenge than the beer?

Kudos to Cresant for her writing.

Friday, July 11, 2014

"Week of events focused on Indiana beer concludes with state’s largest beer festival."

Here's the official press release from the Brewers of Indiana Guild, on which I'm proud to serve as a director.


Week of events focused on Indiana beer concludes with state’s largest beer festival

19th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival takes place July 19 in Broad Ripple, benefits Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

INDIANAPOLIS (July 11, 2014) – A week of events celebrating the Indiana craft beer industry begins today in Indianapolis and concludes with the 19th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival on Saturday, July 19 at Opti-Park (820 E 66th St.) in Broad Ripple. The event, expected to sell out in advance and
organized by the Brewers of Indiana Guild, a not-for-profit trade association representing the 90 craft breweries and brewpubs in Indiana, is Indiana’s biggest beer event.


Today, July 11: The Indiana State Fair Brewers’ Cup Competition 
begins. The event is one of the country’s largest brewing competitions; home and professional brewers have entered more than 1,000 brews in a variety of styles to be judged by certified beer judges. It concludes with an awards reception tomorrow night.

Sunday, July 13: The Broad Ripple Brewpub 2014 Hoods & Hops 
antique, classic and custom car show takes place from noon - 5 p.m. in Opti-Park in Broad Ripple, site of the following Saturday’s Indiana Microbrewers Fest. Car registration is $5, general admission is free, and food and Indiana craft beer will be available for purchase.

Monday, July 14: Local podcast Indy Beer News hosts a live show focused on Indiana beer at Mass Ave Pub at 6:30 p.m. Mark Cady from Bloomington Brewing Company, Amanda Wishin of Girls’ Pint Out, and Hoosier Beer Geek Jim Dimitri will be guests.

Thursday, July 17: In addition to several other events this week, beer blog Hoosier Beer Geek 
celebrates new Hoosier breweries--including 18th Street, Outliers, Scarlet Lane, and Taxman--at Mass Ave Pub at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 19: The week culminates in the 19th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival. 6,000 people will enjoy more than 350 craft beers from 80-plus breweries, mostly from Indiana. The event, which sold out in advance last year, takes place from 3-7 p.m. on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Center. Tickets are available online at and at Big Red Liquors
stores. A portion of ticket sales benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The Indiana craft brewing industry is growing quickly. According to the national Brewers Association , 6,139 full-time employees contributed to an economic impact of $609,240,000 in the state in 2012 (the latest year for which numbers are available); these numbers will increase greatly as Indiana approaches 100 craft breweries and brewpubs in 2014.

About Brewers of Indiana Guild: The Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG) provides a unifying voice for the 90 craft breweries and brewpubs of Indiana. BIG promotes public awareness and appreciation for the quality and variety of beer produced in Indiana, advocates for favorable regulatory treatment from state and federal agencies, and provides support to brewers throughout the state. For more information, visit

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Smirking, the Louisville Bats add Sam Adams Rebel IPA to Slugger Field's paltry roster of good beer. Yawning, we stay home.

It's really hard to muster the enthusiasm necessary to care any longer about the willfully dismal record of the Louisville Bats when it comes to locally brewed beer ... about the team's perennial envelope-stuffed-with-cash Philistinism ... about management's proud ignorance.

In effect, every year begins with the management of the Bats looking me in the eye and saying, "We don't give a damn about you and your ilk. Enjoy the game."

I respond by showing up quite seldom, if at all. It's a shame, because the park is great. It's just that somewhere between 15 and 20 years of being insulted eventually add up to something that does not resemble an urge to support the team with my money.

Here's the occasional update on the situation at the one concession stand (hot roasted peanuts, main concourse, by section 115) that might periodically boast a locally-brewed beer, courtesy of Joel, who sounds fairly bored by the ordeal, too.

"My first Bats game in several weeks, and there was actually a bit of improvement at the 'craft' beer stand. Sam Adams' Rebel IPA had replaced the Redd's Apple Ale, joining Sam Adams' Boston Lager, BBC APA, and (still) the Leinenkugle Summer Shandy as tonight's selection."

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

"I would like to ask you to send me some beer items."

If you own a brewery or work for one, you probably know the drill. E-mails constantly arrive from overseas (oddly, with the exception of Nigeria), asking you to send beer labels, crown caps and the like to become the cherished keepsakes of private collectors who've heard of your beer, even in far-off Vladivostok or the Amazon Basin.

The return mailing's on your dime, of course. The cynical way to view these requests is to imagine that they're just a way for traders to build up swap stocks. I suppose many are. Apart from cynicism, and absent the money for postage, no one's getting a snail mail freebie; sorry. The images can be freely cribbed on-line, anyway.

Fewer Americans seeking labels go fishing on e-mail. They generally will send a stamped, self-addressed envelope via the US Mail. At NABC, we try to oblige them, irrespective of what they plan on doing with whatever items they're given.

But there's something that nags me about the foreign requests, which tend to come from Central/Eastern European locales, these being of longtime interest to me historically and geographically. Lately, I've been pasting the addresses into Google Map and seeing what their houses look like. For some reason, I find it a melancholy exercise, and I'm unsure why.

Transferral, perhaps?

The home of Tomas from Czech Republic is above. Katarzyna lives in Poland (below). Actually, Tomas's request was to publicize a beer app he'd created. 

These look like nice places to live, and I hope no protocols are being violated by my depicting their homes, seeing as there's a drone outside my front door as I type.

I just can't help wondering: What's the rest of the story?

Monday, July 07, 2014

The PC: Well, ya gotta start somewhere, with the party of the first part.

The PC: Well, ya gotta start somewhere, with the party of the first part.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Beer is my life, and yet amazingly, this hasn’t always been the case.

Then again, even LeBron James prepped in high school before being allowed to turn pro.

I’ve come a long way from humble origins, and it has been an arduous path to self-knowledge, a steady upward trudge from the degrading depths of Schaefer "Weekender" 30-packs, purchased with blackened spare change scraped out from the ash tray by my dashboard light, to the sublime stylistic cornucopia of the present day.

It all started a bit after I was born.

As a child, I was treated to wee nips taken straight from my father’s returnable bottles of Oertel’s 92. I wasn’t impressed because it didn’t taste like Coca-Cola. Now, at the age of 53, I haven’t touched a Coke for a decade or more, and I’d cut out my tongue rather than taste a Diet Coke.

My first solo "cold one" was consumed at a junior high school party. Actually, I wasn’t alone. Four of us split a single can of Budweiser while hiding in the woods, safe from the prying eyes of lurking parental units, ostensibly attaining instant credibility and cult status by boasting of beer on our breaths and mimicking the outward appearance of drunkenness.

Later, my gang climbed another rung when our first driver’s licenses were issued. Wheels meant easy access to the bountiful paradise of Louisville’s west end liquor stores, just down Vincennes Street and across the claustrophobic steel lanes of the K & I toll bridge. It was only then that the frustrating struggle to find a brand of beer that didn’t completely disgust me began in earnest.


Raging acne and social ineptitude generally precluded my being chosen as the one to go inside Liken’s or the Corner Store and try to get served, at least until we all had fake IDs. Consequently, I was at the mercy of my peers, and this proved problematic, because they preferred Sterling and Pabst. By any standard (wretched, in my estimation) these beers were full-flavored, and at my earliest stages of palate development, the "flavor" of beer was the single biggest impediment to ingesting its desired alcohol.

Since my buddies were doing the heavy lifting at the counter, I was in no position to argue, and so I learned to adapt by chilling – not my whiny attitude, but the beer itself.

That’s because it became clear that the colder the beer, the less “flavor” of any sort it had, and the more I could drink of it. Accordingly, my mission in life became Styrofoam cooler maintenance – to nurture it, to protect it from harm, and most importantly, to keep it filled with ice. If I could prevent the bottom from falling out and find a safe place to stash it, we could save a buck or two the following weekend – and of course, that meant more beer.

Still, in the dog days of summer the opened cans could get warm very quickly. Crammed into the back seat of a late model piece of junk, and pulling the tab on an ice-cold can, I’d manage to down the first frozen gulps before being overwhelmed by the dismaying recognition that in spite of all reasonable precautions, my Sterling or Pabst was warming faster than I could drink it.

Frankly, swallowing was hard enough, and chugging made me gag. What to do?

Often I’d fake it. A sufficient interval would pass, enough to encourage a carload’s presumption that the warm and thoroughly vile can in my hand had been emptied of beer, and then the magical time would arrive for throwing it out the window, to be caught in mid-air by roving bands of Boy Scouts recycling for merit badges.

This called for consummate skill. In the humid stillness of a hot summer’s evening, to misjudge the distance from the open window of our moving car to the muffled cushion of a grassy rural roadside was to invite disgrace if a loud "thump" echoed through the valley as the half-full can struck steamy pavement.

The verbal abuse to follow was not at all good-natured. After all, hadn’t we driven all the way to Louisville to spend every last dime we could scrape together on beer? How could I waste it?

It came to pass that in this manner, slumped shamefully in the back seat trying to choke down a warm Sterling, I resolved to become a better beer drinker than all of them.

Mission accomplished.


Granted, the precise meaning of “better” remained unclear back then, and it still does today. However, as the others began to plan their careers in physics, cosmetology, and insurance sales, I worked at developing a feel for the generic concept of mainstream American beer, which I came to understand as light-bodied and bastardized when compared to the golden continental lager that inspired it.

But we couldn’t afford Lowenbrau, so the only choice was to develop a taste for American mass-market beer’s so-called flavor, or at least those discernable qualities differentiating it from coffee and orange juice. Gradually, as my high school years wore on, things began to fall into place.

First, I found a beer that I really liked: Schlitz in the 16-oz "tall boy" cans, before the infamous and ill-advised recipe change. Next, there was a craze for Little Millers and Little Kings; at only 7 ounces each, these could be consumed before they got warm, and in multiple doses that gave good story: "Yeah, we each had 12 beers on the way over here."

Then I learned that malt liquor packed a wallop, especially when clad in those bright silvery blue cans born of the Bull.

Finally, America’s beer barons came through with the ultimate solution for the problem of teenage drinkers in the year 1977 who wanted to drink beer, but couldn’t cope with the cheapened pungency of the post-WWII era’s full-flavored beers: Light, low-calorie lagers, of which Miller Lite was the first widely distributed example, although there were others, from Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Light to the long-forgotten Peter Hand Extra Light.

The advent of light beer was a revolution, albeit a regressive one, and it’s almost impossible to remember the time before it became as much a part of the fabric of American life as that white sandwich bread baked from the paste that your elementary teacher used to warn you against eating.

What she didn’t tell you is that if you add water and ferment the paste, it becomes light beer, with all the character you would expect from such a concoction, which is none, and this was the point then, and remains the point now. It’s easy to see why light beer became such a phenomenon; it is a neutral, flavorless, alcohol-delivery device that requires not one iota of thought, and as such, it is quintessentially American.

For a little while, light beer even worked for me. You can think about that, and maybe I’ll tell the rest of the story another time.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The 19th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival takes place on July 19.

There is a new Communications Director for the Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG). Actually, Tristan Schmid is the first person to occupy this newly created position. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the most recent guild meeting. I'm now on the festival committee, and will be honing my contrarian opinions about such matters.

In the grand tradition of dropping multiple pins with one throw, here is Tristan's inaugural BIG press release, which previews the 19th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival.



INDIANAPOLIS (July 2, 2014) – Tickets are now available for the 19th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival, the largest beer festival in Indiana. The event takes place on Saturday, July 19, from 3-7 p.m. at Opti-Park, 780 East 66th Street, on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Center in Broad Ripple on Indy’s north side. A portion of ticket sales benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Craft beer fans can purchase general admission tickets--which include a commemorative tasting glass, unlimited beer samples, and 3 p.m. admission--for $40. Early Bird tickets, good for entry at 2 p.m., are available for $15 more. The event is expected to sell out all 6,000 tickets in advance.

All tickets are available at, and general admission tickets are for sale beginning today at Indianapolis-area Big Red Liquor stores.

$10 Designated Driver tickets, available online and at the gate the day of the event, are good for free unlimited soft drinks and coffee from Bee Coffee Roasters.

“This year’s event will be better than ever,” said Clay Robinson, President of the Brewers Guild of Indiana and Owner of Sun King Brewing. “80-plus breweries, most from Indiana, will bring more than 200 beers, giving craft beer fans plenty of their favorites and offering tastes of many new brews.”

The event will also feature local food vendors and musicians.

The Brewers of Indiana Guild is enlisting volunteers to help at the event; those interested in volunteering can email for more information.

Indianapolis-area Big Red Liquors stores selling general admission tickets:

  • 5510 N. Emerson Way, Indianapolis
  • 1111 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis
  • 5602 N. Georgetown Rd, Indianapolis
  • 5959 Crawfordsville Rd, Speedway
  • 9546 Allisonville Rd, Indianapolis
  • 8029 Pendleton Pike, Indianapolis
  • 9908 E. 79th Street, Indianapolis
  • 7015 Kentucky Ave, Indianapolis
  • 7930 S. Emerson, Indianapolis
  • 2230 Stafford Rd, Plainfield
  • 8607 N. Michigan Rd, Indianapolis
  • 4201 S.East Street, Indianapolis
  • 1067 Broad Ripple Ave, Indianapolis
  • 5301 W. 10th St, Indianapolis
  • 8975 E. Washington St, Indianapolis
  • 40 Northfield Dr, Brownsburg
  • 1447 E. Main St, Brownsburg
  • 3437 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis
  • 2290 E. 116th Street, Carmel
  • 9685 Olio Rd, Fishers
  • 9526 E. 126th Street, Fishers
  • 9777 E. 116th Street, Fishers
  • 8924 S. Meridian Street, Indianapolis
  • 5439 S. East Street, Indianapolis
  • 25 N. Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis

About Brewers of Indiana Guild: The Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG) provides a unifying voice for the 90 craft breweries and brewpubs of Indiana. BIG promotes public awareness and appreciation for the quality and variety of beer produced in Indiana, advocates for favorable regulatory treatment from state and federal agencies, and provides support to brewers throughout the state. For more information, visit

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Diary: “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."

It was a very strange dream. I’m beginning to think it’s time for me to take a long vacation, or maybe find another line of work. I'm not ruling out therapy.

In the dream, I was having a meeting with a beer wholesaler. My cooler was filled with bottles of NABC beer. We tasted all of them. I was talking about how we had beers of proven merit, with more than a decade in market. There was existing brand recognition, and a sales history. It’s a no-brainer, I said. You need to take us on.

Came the reply: “No. We have too many brands already, and we cannot give you the attention you deserve.”

It was fairly disappointing, but it wasn’t the first rejection ever, and so I started packing up my kit. Before I was finished, another brewery rep came into the room. He was very young.

Hi, he said. I represent a brewery that has no beer. In fact, as yet, we have no brewery. But once we actually start brewing, you won’t want to be without us, so can we just tie the knot right now?

Of course, replied the wholesaler. Come right in and join us.

Really? As Dino might have crooned, “Ain’t that a kick in the head.”

Given my reputation, which at widely scattered intervals is deserved, you might reasonably assume I’d be annoyed or angered by this turn of events. Perhaps in real life, this would have been the exact reaction. However, this was a dream, and dreams mean absolutely nothing, and so I pulled my cooler into the restroom to splash water onto my face.

It’s when I noticed my beard was white, and that’s really bizarre – because I no longer have a beard. I shaved it off, and everyone says I look younger.

I wonder what it all means?

Friday, July 04, 2014

NABC and Against the Grain frequently pinned, if not twinned.

It may have been 2011 or 2012 when I concluded that NABC needed to be on Pinterest, and so I registered. Then I reverted to my Luddite proclivities and forgot all about it, although fortunately others in the company didn't. And so we join Against the Grain as sole "top 150 most pinned" representatives from our respective states. I suppose this is good, so thanks to all those doing the actual pinning.

The 150 Most Popular U.S. Microbreweries on Pinterest, by Laura Vitto (Mashable)

America loves its beer, and for good reason. In cities across the country, independent breweries are crafting their own unique blends and serving it up to local customers.

With nearly 3,000 breweries in the U.S. total, craft breweries make up 98 percent of them. There were 2,768 craft breweries in the U.S. by the end of 2013. Pinterest celebrated the best with a list of the top-pinned microbreweries from across the country.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Diary: They've always been there, because unlike you, I'm not that stupid.

As many readers already know, at Bank Street Brewhouse, we no longer serve food.

You are encouraged to bring food or have it delivered, and we hope to stage events like last weekend's pop-up restaurant with Louvino's, but as for the kitchen is concerned, it remains health-bureaucrat-licensed and ready ... and also shuttered, at least for now. What the future brings is anyone's guess.

This being Indiana, an establishment cannot maintain its "adult beverages by the glass" license without adhering to a section of the statute stipulating that there must be present on site at all times these items: Sandwiches, soup, soft drinks, coffee and (drum roll please) milk.

Enough for 24 people. Why 24? Only long-dead legislators unfamiliar with lactose intolerance can answer that question. Was it a coin toss?

It's a wonder I know any of this, because having been involved all those years with a pizzeria, it never came up. Any drinks pourer with an in-house food service is given the benefit of the doubt by the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission (ATC).

Roughly six years ago, a bar called Connor's Place (since closed) had just reopened on Pearl Street after moving from its original location, where there had been a working kitchen. Coincidentally, it was Harvest Homecoming week, meaning that food was everywhere on the street outside, even if Dave, the owner, hadn't had the chance yet to reanimate his grill.

Naturally, he was cited by the ATC for not having the required bill of fare for 24 guests, as above, and he was told: Look, hotdogs and buns stored in the freezer and cans of soup count. Just have a microwave handy.

I knew, and as changes were being contemplated this spring, I understood that merely having once been a restaurant would not pass muster. Within a few days in May after ceasing to cook at BSB, we made sure compliance was in place. Since then, there have been 24 frozen hot dogs and buns, cans of soup totaling 24 servings, soft drinks (had 'em anyway) and instant coffee, the latter sufficing until I figure out a way to get better quality coffee service restored (Quills, I hope you're reading).

There's a microwave.

And yes, and powdered milk.

The reason I'm telling you this is that yesterday the ATC called. I'd already discussed it in May with the same phoning officer, who nonetheless had no choice to reconfirm with me yesterday because John Q. Public had called the ATC and complained that we were in violation of the rule.

A member of my fan club, no doubt, so kindly insert a raspberry here. If I find out who you are, I'll spit in your general direction.

As a side note, if we were to eschew our three-way permit and revert to a samples-only, growler-filling taproom without full pint pours, we'd be excused from the emergency menu requirement. But there'd be no fun in that.

Next I'm going to draw up a menu. Perhaps this 24-unit requirement is the germ of an idea, and there's a market for Oscar Meyer on white and a side of Cost Cutter Tomato Soup, with an after-dinner Sanka.

Pair with Hoptimus?