Thursday, November 27, 2014

Clydesdales out, children in, same crap beer every time.

I can only hope they choke on it. Thanks to RC for the link.

Bud Crowded Out by Craft Beer Craze; Faded Beer Brand Unhitches Clydesdales in Favor of Fresher Pitches to Young People, by Tripp Mickle (Wall Street Journal)

... The company has decided that persuading 21- to 27-year-olds to grab a Bud is the best chance to stop the free-fall. After years of developing advertising and marketing that appeals to all ages, AB InBev plans to concentrate future Budweiser promotions exclusively on that age bracket. That means it won’t trot out the traditional Budweiser Clydesdales for this year’s holiday advertising. It means February’s Super Bowl ads will feature something more current than last year’s Fleetwood Mac. It means less baseball and more raves with DJ group Cash Cash.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Czech president says "American beer is just filthy water."

Back in the mid-1990’s, when Anheuser-Busch resolved to violently poach Budweiser Budvar from the citizenry of the Czech Republic as a means of “resolving” the century-old trademark dispute between the American industrial alcopop monolith and the traditional Czech craft beer maker, several enterprising journalists traveled into Bohemia with units of American Budweiser in tow.

Impromptu taste tests were organized with local beer drinkers, and unsurprisingly, the verdict was rather abysmal for the brewing philistines from St. Louis. I’ll always remember one man’s response when asked to pass judgment on Budweiser:

Not fit for humans to drink, but ideal as pet shampoo.

Given Milos Zeman's recent record of public buffoonery, it isn't clear whether the Czech president is a reliable commentator on anything, much less beer. "Craft" beer definitely exists in his country, and traditional lager makers also clearly excel. What he actually knows about beer isn't clear, and doesn't matter.

But the funniest aspect of all this is that Zeman made his comments to Nursultan Nazarbaev, who became Communist party leader in Kazakhstan before the Berlin Wall even came down. My guess is they weren't drinking beer while chatting.

Thanks to DW for the link.

‘American beer is just filthy water’ - Czech President (RT)

The Czech president Milos Zeman eulogized his country’s trademark beverage, while insulting US beer as “filthy water” during a presidential business summit in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan.

Asked about which beer is the best in the world, by the longtime Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Zeman did not hesitate.

“We have built several breweries here already. We might make good planes, cars or other products, but most importantly, never forget - Czech beer is the best in the world,” said the 70-year-old.

“No American company that offers some filthy water instead of beer, can compete with us.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Package store owners want to keep the cork in Sunday sales in Indiana."

Clever, these headline conjurers.

I've no official position on the matter; it doesn't affect me. However, it's always seemed only a matter of time until the money finally managed to talk. What makes it interesting is the conflict within Indiana's dominant Republican Party as it pertains to alcohol sales and other aspects of "sin." On one side's the big money; on the other, more than a little lingering Puritan instinct. You can see the little figures perched on each shoulder, whispering into their ears.

Maybe this time ... or not.

Package store owners want to keep the cork in Sunday sales in Indiana, by Maureen Hayden (News and Tribune)

... The General Assembly appears ready to resume the fight over carryout alcohol sales on Sundays — an effort that’s started and stalled for nearly a decade as Indiana has slowly chipped away at its restrictive liquor laws.

Earlier this week, the influential Indiana Chamber of Commerce came out in support of allowing liquor stores, grocers and convenience stores that now sell alcohol six days a week to sell it on Sunday, too.

At a legislative preview event, chamber president Kevin Brineger let slip that the powerful gatekeeper of alcohol bills, House Public Policy Chairman Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, might author a Sunday sales bill — giving it legs it never had previously.

Dermody has been uncommitted publicly. But he spent the summer meeting with supporters and opponents of a measure that’s been stymied in past years by his predecessor, retired Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portlabd, a teetotaler who fervently opposed Sunday alcohol sales.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The PC: Local remedies are a fine palliative for RateAdvocate.

The PC: Local remedies are a fine palliative for RateAdvocate.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

There was an edifying on-line conversation under way about “craft” beer cultural values, and in the middle of it, a questioner asked whether I was aware of the RateAdvocate scores for my own brewing company’s beers.

Now, the most obvious way to answer a question like this is with a simple “yes” or “no,” but in life, almost nothing good comes easy. As a philosophy major, serial contrarian and periodic ass, cooperation generally strikes me as the most problematic reaction, although I’ll accede to it in times of extreme duress.

To me, it’s always better to peel back a layer and ask an immediate follow-up question: Exactly what does my ownership of a brewery have to do with my ability to think rationally and independently about “craft” beer cultural values … or their absence?

Which is to say: The original question directed to me is not particularly relevant, but for the record, just because I’m coming off a wonderful weekend filled with local beer, food, people and good times: No, I’m not aware of my own brewery’s ratings at RateAdvocate – nor at Yelp, Urban Spoon or any other aggregator of uninformed opinion, one advancing the theory that subjectivity becomes increasingly virtuous so long as the sample size of ignorance continues to grow.

Speaking only for myself, I’d rather read actual books than endure reviews like this, and while I’m no fan of authors like Ayn Rand, those having read The Fountainhead may recall the famous exchange between Ellsworth Toohey and Howard Roark, as paraphrased.

Toohey: What do you think about RateAdvocate?

Roark: I don’t think about RateAdvocate.


So, why do I find the question irrelevant?

It presupposes that my current position as brewery owner colors my objectivity as it pertains to larger matters in the world of beer and brewing, and more cleverly, it insinuates bias, whether intentional or inadvertent, in the sense that if our beers are dismissed by a ratings aggregator, I’d be inclined to attack whomever I held responsible for the slight.

To be sure, maintaining one’s objectivity can be an exacting challenge in a society that urges consumers to thump their chests and scream louder than the next adjacent product line, then rinse and repeat. Consequently, the method I deploy to keep myself as honest as humanly possible is a constant process of questioning and self-examination:

Is what I’m saying and writing true?

Am I being fair?

Would I still say and write these things if I weren’t a brewery owner, but a typical “craft” beer consumer?

Lest I lapse inadvertently into the hoary "Four Way Test" of the Rotarians, this is a good place to stop. Of course, perfection is impossible, but consistency needn’t be implausible. RateAdvocate doesn’t scratch my itch because to me, better beer isn’t about collecting scalps. It’s about collecting experiences, and we do that in places, with people – not by attempting to numerically quantify bliss.


It isn’t that I don’t consult reference materials when choosing beers, especially when traveling near and far.

NABC is a member of New Albany First (NA 1st) and the Louisville Independent Business Alliance – LIBA, which encourages you to Keep Louisville Weird. These two Independent Business Associations (IBAs) encourage support for independently owned, small local businesses, and it always pleases me to see breweries on their membership lists, and those of IBAs in other cities.

IBAs have three primary focus areas:

1. Public education about the greater overall value local independents often can provide, 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 comrades in “craft” brewing sink or swim as locally-oriented independents, and consequently, many of us pledge support via these IBAs. Happily, the approaching holiday season provides a perfect opportunity to put worthwhile principles into real-world, grassroots action.

We all know about so-called “Black Friday” (November 28), which is the biggest sales day of the year for big boxes and multinational chain stores -- the ones where the money promptly 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) 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: Give shift a chance … and shift happens.

You're not being asked to go cold turkey, except for those post-Thanksgiving sandwiches, which I find pair quite well with growlers of session-strength bitter. Rather, merely allocating a percentage of trade to independent local businesses is a readily achievable objective.

Yes, it’s true: I’m touting my independent local business brethren, but what’s being written here is true and fair, and it still would be my position even if I did not count myself among the ranks of small biz owners

Meanwhile, while priestly castes can have their uses, empowering them is a far less urgent goal than building a well-informed base aware of the “craft” beer gospel as stated in the vernacular. Now more than ever, it’s a great time to think globally and drink locally, if for no other compelling reason than the more localism, the less importance attached to the likes of RateAdvocate.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pride bar + lounge adds an Indiana Statutory Compliance Restaurant Menu, and it looks familiar.

Matt, the owner of Pride bar + lounge, messaged me to report that the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission (ATC) recently busted his bar for not having the requisite food requirement stashed in the freezer. Seems the bartender on duty said the "kitchen" was closed, and out came the citation.

Matt and I chatted about what is sufficient to please the state, and he jokingly observed that it would be easier of he might just use the legendary Bank Street Brewhouse Indiana Statutory Compliance Restaurant Menu.

Be my guest, I replied -- with attribution, all is possible.

So, slightly modified for adaptive reuse, here is Pride's new state-mandated food menu.

Seriously, Bank Street Brewhouse is hosting a pop-up Taco Punk kitchen visit this weekend, and maybe some day soon, we can dispense with the freezer pretense. It wouldn't make the state's laws any more rationale, but our drinkers would enjoy the meals. Stay tuned.

Flat12 Bierwerks taproom location in Jeffersonville: "Soft" opening on Nov. 22, grand opening on Dec. 6, brewing to follow.

It's a good idea getting in ahead of the toll bridges, and an even better notion to be as local as humanly possible.

Being situated adjacent to the Big Four pedestrian bridge is excellent, too.

Flat 12 Bierwerks eyes Dec. 6 opening in Jeffersonville, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

... As for exactly which beers will be brewed in Jeffersonville versus Indy, and the exact setup of the brewery, Finch said that’s still being worked out.

“What I do know for sure,” he said, “is that we’re going to brew some beer here that we’ll sell exclusively here. That’s the only way to make the local connection work.”

And part of Flat 12’s plan is to become as local as possible by hosting events, getting involved in community happenings, collaborating with Louisville-area breweries and generally being a local presence rather than an annex of the Indianapolis brewery.

Here is the official press release.


Flat12 Bierwerks has been hitting taps and shelves all over the Louisville area, and the fast-growing, Indianapolis-based craft brewery is set to open their second location November 22 in downtown Jeffersonville. The soft opening will be followed by the official Grand Opening Celebration set for December 6.

The December 6th Grand Opening Celebration held at the new riverside venue will include live music, selections from local food vendors, samples from the new Flat12 menu, and of course, pints of the new lineup of core beers plus an array of specialty beers. The event is 21+, open to the public, and FREE. Pints, growler fills, and food will be available for purchase.

About The Jeffersonville Flat12 Taproom
Situated in scenic downtown Jeffersonville just blocks away from the Big Four Bridge, the rustic, yet polished taproom features a bar with 32 taps, ample table seating, large-screen televisions for sporting events, and a spacious deck overlooking the Ohio River, outfitted with heaters and sidewalls for year-round use. With up-cycled keg pendant lights and reclaimed wooden walls offering a warm rustic feel, and contemporary touches giving it an industrial edge, the overall atmosphere is laid-back and inviting! “We saw the excitement building in Jeffersonville and we’re happy to be the newest member of the growing Kentuckiana community,” said Sean O’Connor, co-founder and president of Flat12. 

The house beer list will feature current Flat12 favorites, unique brews such as Spirit Mover Saison, Joe Brahma Coffee Brown Ale, Kattenstoet Belgian Pale, as well as taproom-only offerings. "We wanted to make the Jeffersonville location truly unique by offering an exclusive lineup of beers. Look for a host of one-off beers on the rotating taps that will only be available at the Jeff taproom," said Rob Caputo, Director of Brewery Operations at Flat12. 

About Flat12 Bierwerks
Established in 2010, Flat12 Bierwerks is a regional brewer of uncommonly distinct craft beer and an active participant in supporting community organizations that foster their shared values. The brewery distributes across Indiana, the Greater Cincinnati area, Louisville, and eastern and central Tennessee. The Jeffersonville taproom will be the second location for the brewery.

The regular taproom hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Press photos here. More on Flat12 at . If you would like more information, please call Sean O’Connor at (317) 340-0365 or email

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Uh huh: "Are we seeing the end of real craft brewing?"

When an entire generation of beer enthusiasts looks at the demonic visage of AB InBev and sees not the face of pure and unmitigated evil, but a benign grandfatherly figure who provides them barrel-aged stouts brewed in zombie fashion by Trojan Goose ... then yes, it's all over.

The fat lady may now sing.

The only authenticity likely to matter during the years to come will be derived primarily from stubbornly independent on-premise brewing operations possessing genuine principles. So it goes, but no, it isn't going to be the same. That stale smell of money? It's the same great buzzkill, every single time.

Are we seeing the end of real craft brewing?, by Joe Sixpack (Don Russell at

LOOKING BACK on the takeover of a tiny Oregon brewery last week by Anheuser-Busch InBev, some years from now we may remember it as a turning point.

Or maybe we won't remember it at all.

But right now, it feels like the Day the Music Died - the day when craft brewing took the inevitable step from the adolescent innocence of selfless idealism to the maturity of just another bottom-line business ...

 ... For when we think of craft beer as just another business, it's not the aroma of malt and hops we're savoring. That's the stale smell of money.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vintage Fire Museum offers "Chili, Brats, and (NABC) Brew," this Saturday.

Saturday, November 22 (11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) is the occasion of "Chili, Brats, and Brew", a fundraiser for the Vintage Fire Museum and Safety Education Center (723 Spring Street, Jeffersonville). NABC will be on hand with a cash beer bar.

The museum is a nationally known collection of restored fire engines (hand pumpers, chemical engines, horse-drawn steamers and early motorized engines) and other equipment dating back to 1756. It's a worthy cause, so if you're in the neighborhood, check out the collection and enjoy a Progressive Pint.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The PC: Brawling and crawling in the virtual barroom.

The PC: Brawling and crawling in the virtual barroom.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

I've got my clipboard, text books, lead me to the station
Yeah, I'm off to the civil war
I've got my kit bag, my heavy boots, I'm runnin' in the rain
Gonna run till my feet are raw
--Pete Townshend, “Slip Kid” lyrics

Once upon a time at our pizzeria, two male customers came bouncing inside, displaying the obvious symptoms of delirious pre-intoxication. Whether their addled condition owed to liquid or herbal sources could not be clearly determined.

They ordered pizza … and soft drinks. Even they understood there was little hope of being served beer in such a condition.

Staff assumed the best until provided with evidence to the contrary, and sure enough, soon the duo began verbally harassing other patrons. Our man on point called the police, and two officers quickly arrived, spotlessly removing the offenders from the dining area and shifting them outside into the parking lot.

There by the curb, the tragicomic dullards put up a mild, slapstick resistance to arrest. I earnestly hoped the officers would deploy nightsticks, flashlights and perhaps even cattle prods, but they were impeccably restrained in the face of provocation.

Astutely observing the condition of the unruly future drunk tank denizens, the policemen merely shrugged and maintained a loosely demarcated cordon, permitting the Two Stooges to smash into one another like semi-erect, soggy egg noodles. It wasn’t long before they both plummeted onto the unyielding pavement in a tangle of sodden, swill-fueled ineptitude.

One of them promptly began moaning in the fashion of a starving, flea-bitten, matted-wet cur, barred from the soothing warmth of house and hearth:

“We jess cayme ta eeeet peeezza! Whar’s mah peeezza?”

It was as pathetic a performance as I’ve witnessed during a quarter-century in business, and a sad commentary, too, because try as one might as an owner to maintain order and an ambience of non-threatening good times in your place, there is a certain percentage of the human race unable to follow the handy directions on the teleprompter.

While most consumers remain perfectly capable of responsible social drinking, some simply do not possess this gene. Unfortunately, those eagerly digressing into incarceration like the two bedraggled pizza cravers seem to be forever determined to pull others down into their own morass of dysfunction.

There’s no larger point to relating this memory from so very long ago, apart from the uncanny way it mirrors my current state of jaundice, which in turn is a reflection of the dysfunction seemingly characterizing so many facets of the world around me.

However, the lessons of history provide as many reasons to be sanguine as depressed. Life, work and beer are cyclical, and the pendulum forever swings out and back. One merely needs to be patient, and wait for the next bus to stop.


The pizza drunkards episode provides a final, useful reminder: The virtual barroom on contemporary social media doesn’t differ substantively from the tactile venue in real-life, except that it’s immediately viewable by a greater number of jaded voyeurs.

Whether transmitted electronically or seeping from an adjoining barstool, they’re the very same peccadillos and predilections: The snobbish beer narcissist, the inveterate jokester, the big brother who has everyone’s back, the egalitarian beer geek, the political know-it-all, the lady slayer, the heartbreaker, the matron of honor, the gullible, the sandbagger and the stray couple still in love after all these years.

My least favorite archetype from bartending daze of yore was the perfectly sober fellow who’d arrive around 8 p.m. as the dinner crowd was receding, proceed to have a couple of pints while conversing entertainingly with the assembled regulars, order his third beer at some point around ten, and then promptly descend from the charming normality of Dr. Jekyll to the obtrusive mania of Mr. Hyde, all in the span of minutes, and at times seconds.

He would shakily stand, suddenly emboldened and ready to fight all and sundry over this perceived slight or that deeply ingrained wound from remote childhood -- and my use of the pronoun “he” is purely intentional, because how many times have you ever seen a female acting this way?

Most of the time it would come to nothing. Beer would be spilled, a chair knocked sideways, and a patient, saintly barroom figure would come forward, willing to devote the next hour or two of his or her precious recreational drinking time to soothe the inflamed beast, coax him down from the ledge he loved so well, and in short, provide the sort of amateur counseling he so desperately and obviously needed from a professional, trained headshrinker.

The fundamental things apply, as time goes by. Alcoholic beverages are to dissociative identity disorder what an H.L. Mencken essay is to my attempted rhetorical flourishes. Add the pervasiveness of social media into the mix, and the result can be amplified thousands-fold, and that’s sad, because back in Luddite times, at least we could contain the collateral damage within the physical barroom itself.

These days, from Birdseye to Bangkok, it comes directly to futon and hammock.


Last week, I had a few difficulties of my own with social media. The Floyd County Democratic Party blocked me from following it on Twitter, and withdrew posting and commenting privileges on Facebook. As a left-leaner who has been denouncing fascists since before the current party chairman was born, I find this intemperate muzzling almost as delicious as one’s first glass of cool, elegant Spezial Rauchbier after four years away from Bamberg.

I’m undeterred by the pettiness. Whether seated at the Stammtisch or pontificating on social media, I derive value from an embrace of knowledge and the primacy of ideas. Because my place of birth attaches a pathetically low value to educational attainment, these areas always have been seriously undervalued hereabouts.

Consequently, to me there have been two choices: Either attempt a measure of self-growth and comprehension by playing the role of contrarian gadfly in the midst of localized incomprehension, or risk the relative happiness of placidity in another locale, where most other people (might) view life in the same way.

My tendency has been to choose Door Number One, because hard-wired somewhere deep within my psyche is the conviction that it’s better to stay put and confront complacency and apathy at home – to be a royal pain in the posterior and a performance artist for my vision of truth whenever and wherever possible in an effort to illustrate the simple fact that it’s okay to be different – than to cut and run.

My preference may or may not be noble. It would be foolish of me to deny my fair share of character flaws, or to defend inconvenient exceptions to my philosophical precepts. It's just me.

The party chairman isn’t the only New Albanian who’d like to vote me off the island, and he has been joined in recent years by various apologists, hoarders and solipsists in the emerging beer appreciation doltocracy, who would be first in line to proffer the hemlock to Socrates if it meant not having to suffer actual thoughts before downing an ice-cold, barrel-aged Trojan Goose.

I have only this to add: Think globally, drink locally, and woe to the functionary with the white-out fetish.

Why wait until the beers of evening to throw a few polemical punches when morning coffee works just as well?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pop-Up Taco Punk at Bank Street Brewhouse, Nov. 21 & 22 (6 p.m. - close).

Since May, when we suspended kitchen service at Bank Street Brewhouse, we’ve done our level best to provide creative alternatives to a full-time food menu, from the active encouragement of carry-in and delivery from downtown New Albany’s many fine restaurants, to Eh Cumpari’s mobile wood-fired pizza oven and our own Stephen J. Powell’s Pigs and Cows.

(There also was this, which inspired our friends to the north to follow suit)

In addition, there have been two “pop-up” dinner evenings with Chef Dan Thomas, both of which were culinary and critical successes. He’ll be returning soon for more one-off meals.

In the meantime, there’s another pop-up weekend on the way, this time with Chef Gabe Sowder and his gourmet tacos. Metro Louisville knows Gabe, a native of Jeffersonville, for his bricks ‘n’ mortar shop in NuLu, called Taco Punk.

Unfortunately, Taco Punk’s NuLu shop closed early last month, but Gabe’s still got the goods, and he’s agreed to set up the tortilla press at Bank Street Brewhouse on the weekend of November 21 & 22 (Friday and Saturday). Gabe will be serving from 6:00 p.m. to closing.

During these "pop-up" hours on the 21st and 22nd, just “pop in” and buy Taco Punk tacos. NABC's Progressive Points are the ideal accompaniment, but there'll be soft drinks, too, and all ages are welcome.

We think the combination of Taco Punk and NABC is a good one. If the pop-up goes well ... who knows?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The story of Pappy Van Winkle Jell-O shots lances the boil of libations snobbery.

I wouldn't waste Pappy Van Winkle on Jell-O shots. However, I absolutely WOULD use it as a marinade for frozen weenies.

Steve Coomes picks up the story at Insider Louisville.

Meta gains national news attention, praise and threats over Pappy Jell-O shots

I had to go, and I had to know.

To Meta to taste a Pappy Van Winkle Jell-O shot last Friday and learn how this brilliant and borderline scandalous — for Bourbon Country anyway — promotion turned out for Jeremy Johnson, co-owner of the craft cocktail bar.

Johnson grabbed headlines on Thursday after informing Insider Louisville he was taking a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15-year-old bourbon and a bottle of 12-year-old and turning those sought-after sippers into Jell-O shots.

Sales were brisk ... and snobs were outraged.

For the most part, Johnson said the Pappy shots were praised by people who “got what we were doing, tasted them and really liked them.” But some regarded using such rare whiskey as blasphemy and were downright vicious in their commentary.

Johnson received an email death threat (Hey, smart guy, you can trace those things) and another threat to burn the bar down. A thread on contains a litany of splenetic remarks toward Johnson, his bar and the commonwealth — all because he turned bourbon into a Jell-O shot.

Could it be that Jell-O shots are the egalitarian answer to the question, "Whither bourbon snobbery?"

“People are missing one big point: We took a bottle of Pappy and (150) people got to try it rather than two or three. I think that’s pretty cool.”

Johnson offers a cross-disciplinary conclusion, one that I wish could be applied to beer, too.

Overall, Johnson thinks the whole buy-at-all-costs bourbon craze is way out of hand, and he recalled a story of a Napa Valley winemaker who treated several peers to a dinner at which he served them popsicles made from Château d’Yquem, a pricey French wine known for its complexity and sweetness.

“They freaked out, they couldn’t believe he did that,” Johnson said. “He told them that at the end of the day, it’s just grape juice, and if they started believing their own hype, then they’re really screwed.”

My friend Tony S. took this ball and promptly ran with it.

Better yet, how about a whole Pappy dinner? Cocktail weenie appetizer, salad with pappy vinaigrette, pork loin with Pappy bourbon mustard sauce, bread pudding with Pappy bourbon sauce.

Boom! I replied that the only form of Pappy to be made unavailable at the dinner was "by the glass," but Tony already was one step ahead of me.

Of course, any bourbon event such as this needs a signature cocktail, I suggest:

86 proof Yellowstone (of a dusty bottle--complete with a faded and broken tax seal--discovered in a basement cabinet of a bungalow owned by someone's old maid aunt who purchased the fifth at Taylor Drugs sometime between Sputnik and the Beatles' "Ed Sullivan Show" appearance for her brother (who visited every Sunday afternoon and dutifully cut her lawn and--in spite of their parents' leadership in the Temperance movement back after the War to End All Wars--acquired a taste for the demon liquor hanging out with those fish-eating, papists at the tavern after returning from THE War.)

While only aged in new charred white oak barrels for four to six years, surely the 50 year bottle-conditioning ought to make it delightful.

Served either neat (for the Foodies), with a splash of water (for the intelligentsia), or with your choice of Big K Cola or the ever-popular "Orange Drink" (for the hipster).

Dude. I have a couple bottles of Dark Lord hidden away. Beef stew?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Diary: A really stupid review of Mahr's Christmas Bock reminds me why I avoid ratings sites.

Pretty soon Saturnalia will be here.

That's when NABC's Pizzeria & Public House taps a variety of guest beers loosely connected by seasonal, holiday themes. The point of the exercise is to survey the many different ways that a beer can be seasonal.

One of them is Mahr's Christmas Bock, brewed in Bamberg, Germany.

While I'm no longer the guest beer buyer, I always enjoy researching the choices Eric Gray makes for such events. As such, here's a recent RateBeer review of Mahr's Christmas Bock.

Couldn’t find anything special about this beer. It’s a middle of the road Bock. The aroma and the taste made me believe that this beer was just a little off. It was not as dark as I’m used to from a bock and had a giant head that took forever to go down. It might have went bad sitting on the shelf. There wasn’t really any of the spices pr flavors that I associate with most Christmas beers in the states. But that may just be because it’s not a beer brewed in the states.

Mind you, I haven't tasted this beer for a while. But here's what I know.

  • If it's a Heller Bock, it isn't supposed to be altogether as dark as (for instance) a Doppelbock. That's because the word "Heller" means ... pale.
  • A giant head is a hallmark of German lager beer.
  • The reason Mahr's Christmas Bock is not redolent of spices has nothing to do with where it is brewed, but owes to the simple fact that a Bock is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SPICED in the first place.

There you have it. Complete and comprehensive dumbassery, contributing to a "score" from which newbies will draw a conclusion, probably mistaken, as to the quality of a beer.

And this is why I should never read beer reviews.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The PC: This week in solipsistic beer narcissism.

The PC: This week in solipsistic beer narcissism.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Are you fed up with words you don’t understand?

Tired of scrolling down to your favorite contrarian beer columnist, then coming to a screeching halt when he uses words like “local multiplier effect” and “egalitarianism” in the very same sentence?

Hi, Roger A. Baylor here with an amazing new product – you’ve got to see it to believe it – called the Dictionary, and it’s a do-it-yourself confusion remover with professional results … guaranteed!

Just pick the word you want to define, match it to the alphabetical listing in the Dictionary, and read the answer.

It’s that easy.

And, because it’s wireless, there are no plugs, cords, batteries, tools or wiring to worry about.

With the amazing Dictionary, you can even learn how to pronounce the word!

The Dictionary contains all the words that you’ll ever encounter in this or any other column, and yet it’s small enough to put one in every room where you might find yourself reading the newspaper. Place one next to the toilet so you don’t have to go back downstairs to the den. Keep another on the porch for smoke breaks. The amazing dictionary fits in the glove box, in your purse or on top of the coffee table.

The Dictionary’s powerful information technology lets you define old words and learn new ones. It cuts through those multi-syllable, compound nightmares with ease, and talk about shock-absorbency … Watch while I shield my head with the Dictionary as my assistant attempts to beat my brain senseless with a RateAdvocate beer review.

See? Even after continuous pounding, my synapses are still transmitting neuron signals … and my session ale remains delicious.

That’s the power and protection of the Dictionary, folks.

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Yes, you’ll get the Dictionary, the Sticky Notepad and the Self-Sharpening Pencil, all for only $19.99. But if you call right now, I’ll double this entire offer. Just pay shipping, and you’ll get two Dictionaries, two Sticky Notepads and two Self-Sharpening Pencils. But you can only get this special two-for-one offer by calling now …


Way back in 2010, when 10 Barrel Brewing was but a gleam in Carlos Brito’s numbers-crunching testes, President Barack Obama returned to a theme often broached during his historic campaign for the White House. It happened during the 2010 State of the Union address.

“The best anti-poverty program around is a world class education.”

No, not the Indiana wholesaler.

Naturally, the precise components of a “world class education” are open to interpretation, discussion and debate between open-minded citizens, assuming you can find any of them in these idiotically polarized times, but the overall sentiment that education is a corrective to impoverishment has been proven to be truthful again and again.

I submit that the word “impoverishment” has more than one meaning as used in this context. We’d be correct in the assumption that there are clear and compelling correlations between education and the eradication of material impoverishment.

However, we might also consider impoverishment in creative, artistic and cultural contexts, and how one’s attitude toward the general topic of knowledge, pertaining to its veracity as an end onto itself as well as the tangible benefits gained from expansive education as opposed to a confining illiteracy, shapes what we know and the uses to which we put our knowledge.

According to the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who drank wine: “With regard to excellence, it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it."

What I think he meant is that possessing something of supposed value for the sole purpose of the object’s ability to reflect its “value” back on the holder somewhat misses the point. The true value is derived from the object being used wisely, and a well-rounded education supplies the means to make this determination.

Given the perpetual linkages between education and personal advancement, why is it that people choose to devalue the notion of education, eschewing the why, how and wherefore, and substituting in their place a solipsistic, narcissism-driven, knee-jerk, me-first hedonism?

Perhaps it’s the logical outcome of our American strains of materialism and consumerism. When it comes to pulse-quickening snobbery, exclusionary avarice and frenzied hoarding, the very last thought surfacing in one’s fevered, acquisitive brain is the possibility that all is not what it seems.

Do you still desire the object once it is revealed that the profit chain leads straight into the Texas-sized mass of plastic in the Pacific Ocean, or to the owners of factory-farmed chickens wallowing in their own feces, or to that bastard Obama’s pocket … or, into the very coffers of ISIS (read: AB-InBev).

Except you really want it, don’t you? You want it right now – and by “it” I refer not to a mass-produced Trojan Goose barrel-aged ale, but to a blissfully unexamined version of capitalist doltishness, wherein there are no reasons whatever for diagnosing the nature of the itch, only interminable scratching.

The writer Aldous Huxley called this phenomenon soma. If you don’t know the source of this reference, perhaps it’s time to read a book.

But I’m nothing if not stubborn. Ideas matter, and yet at present, both the country at large and my own beer and brewing milieu are dismally stupid and mercilessly tacky places. These daily tsunamis of crass materialism and consumerist greed have come to define the American experience, and even when the topic is “craft” beer – perhaps modern America’s signature accomplishment – we have digressed just as quickly into 24-7, must-have shopping zombies, pausing occasionally to thank Jesus for the blessed privilege of possessing our baubles, and ignoring what’s happening in our own back yards because there’s not enough status in mere localism.

It’s the old Chinese proverb – yes, you guessed it, the one printed on plasticized card stock suitable for framing, and available not from the heirs to Billy Mays, but from Wal-Mart via Guangdong Province:

"It’s all about me."

Yes, it is.

And that’s also why you don’t interest ME any longer.


What would happen if you combined classic sacred choral music with a thesaurus? You’d have a synonym for a seminal hymnal!

Hi, Roger Baylor here for the Sing ‘o’ Saurus. It’s no ordinary reference book.

Watch this!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

My review of Kevin Gibson's Louisville Beer book, in the Winter edition of Food & Dining magazine.

My Hip Hops beer column still runs quarterly in Food & Dining magazine, the current issue of which is available throughout Louisville and Southern Indiana.

Via issuu Clip, you can read the full column here: Winter 2014 (Volume 46). It's a book review of Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft, by Kevin Gibson.

Here's a tease.

Louisville Beer Now and Then

... Louisville Beer is especially useful in providing descriptive attention to the two decades elapsing since brewing’s return. What’s more, this section of Gibson’s narrative offers context, and the inescapable conclusion is that the present-day craft constitutes a revolution all its own, rather than a restoration of past glories.

The late Tony Judt had this to say about the historian’s purpose: “You cannot invent or exploit the past for present purposes.” In this sense, although previous epochs of Louisville beer share similarities, they were very different from what craft beer has become.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

These requests from abroad, volume five: "I collect souvenirs from various beer companies and brands."

If you own a brewery or work for one, you've probably fielded e-mail inquiries from overseas asking for beer labels, crown caps and the like, as destined to become cherished keepsakes of private collectors who've heard of your beer, even in far-off Albania or Singapore.

To me, there is something compelling and yet haunting about these foreign requests, which tend to come from Central/Eastern European locales, places of longtime personal interest to me historically and geographically. They speak to my inner melancholic. Lately, I've been pasting their addresses into Google Map and seeing what their places of residence look like.

We begin today in Italy, a booming "craft" beer producer in its own right.

Granted, the northern Italian city of Bologna is not so well known for beer. Rather, it is famed for its mortadella.

Confused? Don't be. It's all a bunch of bologna.


You may have seen it at the supermarket, packed in individual slices next to the other pre-packaged baloney products. Sadly this is what most Americans think of when they hear the word mortadella. However real Italian mortadella, the pride of the city of Bologna is more than just fatty baloney. Either served in a sandwich, as an appetizer or part of the main course Mortadella di Bologna is yet another delicacy coming from the bountiful region of Emilia-Romagna.

Mortadella hails from the food rich town of Bologna, aptly nicknamed "la grassa," meaning fat.

Bologna also is the home of Germano, who lives in the house I want, and gets it.

I would like to enlarge my collection. Would it be possible for you to send me by post some labels and mats or caps of your beers? If you agree I can send you a self addressed envelope with prepaid postage. Please inform me by return E-Mail.

This I will do, and look forward to filling his order.

From sunny Italy, we shift far to the north, from Romance to Slavic. Yekaterinburg is a thousand miles to the east of Moscow, and is the fourth-largest city in Russia, now boasting 1.3 million inhabitants and a skyscraper-filled city center. You may remember Yekaterinburg as the place where the Romanov dynasty came to a barbaric close.

Oleg lives in one of the classic "rabbit hutch" blocks of flats constructed during Soviet times.

I collect souvenirs from various beer companies and brands. I'd love to get some items from you, if it is possible. I am interested in labels, stickers, crown caps, beer mats, openers, lanyards and other branded items.

Ironically, given that I only recently name-dropped Klement Gottwald (the first Czechoslovak Communist kingpin), Oleg lives on Gotvalda Street.

Is there a Tsar Nicholas II Street in Yekaterinburg?

Friday, November 07, 2014

It does not get more "WORD" than this: "The Short Life and Ugly Death of 10 Barrel Brewing."

We can join The Pour Fool in recalling what it means to stand up for matters of principle, and to remember how we got to where we are today.

Or, we can sing along with Ray Stevens, and circle jerk some narcissism.

As for me, this probably is the best piece of beer writing I'll read this year. Kudos. My effort pales by comparison: Diary: On the Gooseislandization of 10 Barrel Brewing by the aesthetic assassins at AB-InBev.

The Short Life and Ugly Death of 10 Barrel Brewing

... I cannot and will NOT – EVER – enable and validate the ongoing attempt by the world’s largest and most soulless “brewery” to buy what they already KNOW they can never earn on their own merits: credibility within the rapidly-expanding world of American craft brewing. No matter how wonderful and popular 10 Barrel may become in the future, the whole enterprise is now tainted. I’m not planning to even taste their beers, ever again, even if Tonya and Jimmy keep their jobs. The simple fact is that Anheuser Busch and now AB/InBev has a long and sordid history of crushing all competition, manipulating markets and distribution arrangements, and even resorting to outright bribery – the infamous “Tied Houses” of the early 20th Century – to achieve the supremacy they enjoy in the world’s beer markets. It was never about the beer, which its founder, Adolphus Busch, flatly refused to drink, calling it “that slop”. Anheuser Busch is and always has been about marketing, promotions, omnipresence in the marketplace and throwing money at every problem because that was the one and only resource they had in greater supply than any other brewery on the planet.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Diary: On the Gooseislandization of 10 Barrel Brewing by the aesthetic assassins at AB-InBev.

Who gives a flying fuck?

10 Barrel's dead as Monty Python's parrot. Find a cheap preacher, pay your respects and bring flowers. Then move on.

10 Barrel's just Zombie "Craft" now.

It's Trojan Ten Barrel.

Don't confuse me with someone who gives a fuck.

You see, back before the beer narcissists were born, we had a revolution to take beer back from the grimy corporatist likes of AB-InBev, which has been, and always will be, the foremost enemy of better beer in this world, as we know it.

Obviously, AB-InBev has the ample resources to buy its way to alleged respectability. Just as obviously, this is the fundamental problem, because money cannot buy authenticity. Even more obviously, drinkers of better beer have hundreds -- nay, thousands -- of legitimate small breweries to choose from, ones that have not been irrevocably bastardized by association (and ownership) with a company that's the closest thing to a Great Beer Satan as we're likely to see in this world ... as we know it.

If you doubt it, do some cursory research on AB-InBev's repellant company history as a symbol of everything wrong with beer and capitalism. It ain't pretty, and I'm sorry if it steps all over your sense of entitlement. Appeasing it does not change the paradigm.

You see, selling one's soul isn't about gray areas. When you sell your soul, you sell your soul. That's what this is about, and whenever possible, in a probably doomed effort to hold onto what tiny bits of soul I may as yet possess, I try not to hand my money over to those who've sold theirs. It's as simple as that. Better beer owes its existence to pride, ideas and principles .. to its very soul.

Sacrifice the soul and you're handing over the revolution to the very same soulless vampires it was fought against in the first place.

It's as simple as that.

10 Barrel's unfortunate demise signals yet again AB-InBev's dull intent to buy what it cannot create. Fortunately, 3,000 other breweries remain that are small, local and real. Pick a few, enjoy their beers, and give your soul some nourishment. Be local. Case closed.

Rest in peace, 10 Barrel Brewing. I'm sure your beers were great, but you're dead now. Who gives a fuck? 

Let's have a better beer, shall we?

A coming proliferation of better beer in Indiana. We'd best lighten the immigration laws.

Earlier today, tweeted an auspicious number.

There are more than 50 new breweries in development around Indiana! Part 1 today, part 2 Fri.

Ted Miller (Brugge Brasserie, Outliers) replied.

In related and encouraging news, there are also 50 new craft beer drinkers. Wait.........oh shit.

I found encouragement, too.

And another 50 square feet of (retail) shelf space.

That's better than the fifty or so dollars I've made ... nah, never mind.

Seriously, while I remain bullish about better beer, someone needs to ask the question: Who's going to buy all this beer? I didn't take a close look at the list. I just hope these start-ups have strong on-premise business models.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Sun King borrows a page from NABC and mocks the Man.

I'm happy Sun King is selling pints. It's what I've wanted to drink when I'm there visiting.

I'm happy to be an expository trendsetter for statutory compliance menus, although we never chose to be viral with ours back in September.

I'm happy that there'll probably be a legislative initiative to dispense with this law, and I'll be even happier if it passes.

Sun King now serving pints ... and Hot Pockets?, by Amy Haneline (Indy Star)

 ... The brewery began selling pints and flights from its taproom at 135 N. College Ave. on Monday. The taproom was previously only used for tasting, growler fills and carry out. To meet the state requirements, Sun King developed a menu. Beth Belange, Sun King promotions, e-mailed me their standard "legally required food menu" that is available all day ...

 ... Sun King isn't the first to creatively meet the state's food requirement. New Albanian's Bank Street Brew House in New Albany launched a similar menu in September.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Donum Dei Brewery has a bouncing baby beer, and it's an IPA.

New Albany's first new brewery in 12 years has its first beer, and the birth is described at Donum Dei's page at Facebook.

The predicted opening date is "around Thanksgiving," and the location is the strip mall behind El Nopal, just off Grant Line Road (3211 Grant Line) on New Albany's north side -- a few hundred yards from NABC's original location.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The PC: A few beers at Vladimir’s local, June 1989.

The PC: A few beers at Vladimir’s local, June 1989.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

In the summer of 1989, the city of Ostrava was the old-school, coal-fueled Pittsburgh of Communist Czechoslovakia, and an extremely unlikely tourist destination. However, my Czech émigré friend George’s parents lived there, and they graciously hosted me for two weeks.

Their house was situated quite literally in the shadows of smokestacks rising from the Nové hutě Klementa Gottwalda, a sprawling postwar steel mill named for Czechoslovakia’s founding Communist luminary. The late Vladimir Motycka worked there as an engineer, and his wife nearby as a secretary.

George’s stepdad was a hearty, hard-working man. In addition to his responsibilities at Czechoslovakia’s largest steel mill, he maintained two cows, a copse of plum trees and a tidy vegetable garden on a miniscule plot of land behind his home. Vladimir’s typical day was a study in meticulously planned perpetual motion, punctuated by phrases in his native Czech, Slovak, Russian, Polish, German and the English he’d only started amassing when George went to the United States three years before.

My very first full day in Ostrava began with a rainy, sooty and bleak morning fully in keeping with the prevailing industrial landscape. Vladimir had a few hours off work, and so he took me aboard the tram. We rode into the city center.

The tram route took us past block after block of gritty factory grounds, culminating with the barracks-like campus of a technical school. Then came what might have been middle class suburbs during the interwar period of the 1930s, when Czechoslovakia was a prosperous country, prior to the ravages of WWII and the subsequent backsliding of the Communist era.

We disembarked at the shabby but representative central square. Vladimir was quite well aware of my fondness for beer, and consequently we drank lunch at a nearby pub, where my chaperone was hailed by a table of friends as we entered. Was everyone playing hooky from work that particular day?

Even before I’d finished mumbling garbled Czech pleasantries, a half-liter mug of local Ostravar beer was already waiting on the table in front of me.

The men were roughhewn, wearing simple work clothes and smoking acrid, unfiltered cigarettes, which I politely refused. Vladimir’s friends worked physical jobs and had a beaten down appearance, but to a man, displayed bright eyes and a jovial, genuine curiosity at the sheer novelty of an American in Ostrava. As we all cradled those big, fluted mugs of Ostravar, I searched for something meaningful to say.

Recalling the phrase that George’s uncle had taught me in Prague, I downed my beer and let it fly: “Chesko pivo je lepshi nez Americanitsky pivo.”

Frighteningly bad pronunciation notwithstanding, Vladimir’s friends roared with delight, because I’d just informed them in their own tongue that Czech beer was better than American beer. Not only was it a fine way of breaking the ice, but the words were by no means insincere.

In 1989, the American-made craft beer revolution was still a dream to a lad from Louisville, and the typically well-made Czech lagers never got old. In the days to follow, roaming and adventure kept me exploring. I bought a map of Ostrava, rode cheap public transportation and walked all across the city. Every now and then, I’d get a sausage and a bottle or two of beer, sit on a bench and watch the world pass by.


On Sunday morning, during a light breakfast of coffee, cold cuts, tomatoes and cucumbers, George’s mother informed me that later in the afternoon the Motyckas were slated for a social visit or three. I was more than welcome to join them as they made the rounds. Of course, I would.

As his wife left the kitchen, Vladimir leaned over conspiratorially, informing me that first, we had another important appointment to keep: “You must come to MY pub,” he said, taking pains to stress a regular customer’s sense of ownership.

Several minutes later, we began a vigorous 15-minute walk to his neighborhood watering hole. Several streets into the stroll, there came a shortcut across a vacant lot, following a well-worn footpath until it intersected with a rough concrete sidewalk. This led down a ramp into a urine-stained pedestrian passage underneath the railroad tracks facing a deserted suburban rail station, where we exited the tunnel. Unkempt weeds peeped through the crack in the platform by Track 1.

The day was fast becoming hot and muggy as we reached a hilly street proceeding dustily into the hazy distance. Vladimir abruptly halted and gestured at a small, nondescript building. I cannot recall signage or any indication of it being a pub (or “pivnice” in Czech), although there must have been. The door was open, and from our sidewalk vantage point, beers and their renters could be seen inside.

Square wooden tables were topped with clean, faded tablecloths. The room was small and spartan, and there was no bar as such, just a service counter in the Czech fashion of the day, extending outward on both sides of the draft beer dispensing station with a lone, solitary handle. There was no kitchen, although crunchy snack items were available. A dozen or so males were smoking and drinking beer, and many of them also had small tumblers of indeterminate liquid arranged in line with their mugs and ashtrays.

As I was about to discover, the liquid was none other than rum, albeit not to be confused with Caribbean rum as Americans know it, but rather the raucously rotgut Central European variant, a concoction tasting of alcohol, brown sugar and artificial tropical flavorings -- perhaps flavored somewhat like planter’s punch, without any of the positive qualities one might expect from a freshly mixed cocktail.

Consequently, the rum was extremely popular.

The brand of beer is lost to my memory, although it would have been one of three dominant regional brands: Ostravar, Zlatovar or Radegast, all familiarly styled lagers in the pilsner mode, and each with a devoted, clannish following among the workers and soccer fans of Ostrava. Probably it was Ostravar, and as such, perfectly acceptable as well as preferable to Pabst, Milwaukee’s Beast or the ghost of Iron City.


A work buddy of Vladimir’s was waiting for us. He had already gone through most of a pack of smokes, and the butts were threatening to spill over onto the tablecloth. They began to gossip about work, with an occasional pause to attempt an explanation of the topic in limited English. It was plenty enough to keep me entertained as the customers came, drank, and went, preparing for their own Sunday social engagements, errands and drunken naps.

Soon a bearded man in a tank top began glancing at us from an adjacent table. After eavesdropping for several minutes, he caught Vladimir’s attention and said a few words – maybe a joke, since the Czechs at my table were unable to contain their mirth at the stranger’s remark. As it turned out, he had politely observed that Vladimir was speaking very good Czech for an American, to which Vladimir replied that 50-odd years of Czech living surely had broadened his language skills, but the only American in the room was this guy from Indiana.

In fact, the bearded man was a Cuban guest worker in Ostrava, and the juxtaposition of imported North American “enemies” was too much for the locals to pass up. He was invited to join us.

The Cuban knew some English, and he had learned passable Czech. As it transpired, he had a wife and children to support back home and had married a Czech woman, as he could find no compelling reason not to maintain a second family during what was expected to be a lengthy stay abroad. The Cuban had been to Angola, Ethiopia and all around the East Bloc.

Vladimir’s friends and the Cuban got on well, but foreign guest workers tended to be the subject of disapproval in Ostrava. For one, they were a visible and irksome symbol of Czechoslovakia’s subservient status as Soviet pawn, but it also owed to what I interpreted as a thinly-veiled racism. Many of the guest workers were from Vietnam and Africa; they were “different,” and quite naturally kept to themselves, which was construed as threatening by natives already unwilling to accept their presence.

But it’s another story for another time, and a phenomenon by no means confined to Vladimir’s part of the world.

As one might imagine, the afternoon dissolved quickly into liquidity. Shots of rum and fresh beers came and went like the skewered, rapid fire images in a music video. Between gulps, we attempted to construct lists of words comprising all the languages present at a table that continued to attract newcomers as we drank. We’d count to twenty in Czech, English, Spanish, Russian, German and even French, then recite phrases (“I like to drink beer”) in each, ending inevitably by a collective and precipitous lapse into the slurred second language spoken by drinkers across the planet.

At some point, we trudged back home far later than originally anticipated. George’s mother awaited her husband and American guest at the door with frying pan in hand, which suggested a remarkably quick way of sobering up, but she was only washing the pan, nothing more. No injuries were suffered, at least until the following morning. Our social visits on Sunday evening were duly conducted in an atmosphere of dignified, exhausted silence.

When I think back to it these many years later, my Sunday afternoon at Vladimir’s neighborhood pub perfectly encapsulated the month in Czechoslovakia. The uncut weeds at the commuter train station, the dusty street, the threadbare yet functional pivnice and the Cuban guest worker combined to paint a picture of a nation caught in a time warp imposed on it from outside.

More importantly, the chatter and shop talk of Vladimir and his friends, my host’s exemplary work ethic and his well-organized days of achievement at home and at work, along with the multi-lingual conversations – simple yet comprehensible – revealed something about fundamental humanity, decency, and the similarities between the lives of people everywhere.

Six months after the sodden Sunday recounted here, the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia crumbled. Appropriately, the man who best symbolized the Velvet Revolution became the liberated nation’s president: Vaclav Havel, a beer drinker and former brewery worker (he wrote a bit, too). I persist in thinking that if Havel would have wandered into Vladimir’s pivnice on the day of my visit, he would have fit in quite nicely at our table.

Verily, to have the chance to learn so much in a single afternoon is a phenomenon to be cherished. To do so over mugs of fine local beer, shared with friendly people is much, much better.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

John Holl asks beer industry peeps for their reaction to the cover of The New Yorker.

When John Holl saw the cover of The New Yorker, he found himself thinking about a reference to "snob."

 ... It wraps up by saying: “It’s an unprecedentedly excellent time to drink beer in Brooklyn, as the cover suggests. Just don’t become a snob about it.”

In my opinion, “Brooklyn” could easily be replaced by “the United States” and this scene could happen in many places (maybe minus the neck tattoo).

Because of the strong reaction and celebration around the cover I (contacted) several folks in the beer industry and asked for their opinion on the cover (click on their names to see their responses).

One of them was me -- thanks, John. You can read all the answers here:

BEER INDUSTRY REACTS TO ‘THE NEW YORKER’ COVER, by John Holl (All About Beer Magazine)

Top Five posts at Potable Curmudgeon for October, 2014.

The Top Five is determined by numbers of unique hits, as reported by Blogger. The list begins with No. 5, and ends with No. 1. Thanks for reading.


The PC: Now that the Louisville Bats have a new majority owner, are the prospects for local beer in the ball yard any brighter?



105 (tie)

105 (tie)