Monday, August 31, 2015

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 16 … Lizard King in the City of Light.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 16 … Lizard King in the City of Light.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

(Sixteenth in a series chronicling my travel year 1985)

The way from Le Havre’s rail terminus to the port city’s preposterously cluttered dockside was signposted, but only barely. Considering the impact of the fearsomely irksome French tongue on my fragile youthful psyche, the route might as well have been entirely unmarked.

Predictably, the tourist office was closed for a lengthy midday break, but I glanced at a city map someone had haphazardly Scotch-taped to the window, and made a few mental notes, plotting my own way to the sea by winding through the streets toward a jumble of cranes visible on the skyline.

Soon enough there was a larger thoroughfare, and then directions in English posted for the benefit of British lorry drivers. After that, it was easy.

All the while, another youthful backpacker seemed to be following me, always a half block behind, displaying the usual signs of confused timidity, trying his best to look oblivious by gazing first at his shoes, then toward the rooftops, and otherwise averting his eyes whenever I paused to study the streetscape.

It was comical, but seeing him fidget made me think: Two months into my first trip to Europe, could it be that I was already looking into the rear view mirror? It appeared he was just as uncertain of the route as me, but trusted that somehow, some way, I actually knew what I was doing, and where I was going.

A foolish American tourist … actually, two of them. But I was leading, and he was following. Earlier in the summer – for most of my life up to that point – it would have been the other way around. Processing this information would require more thinking, and more drinking.

Meanwhile, Le Havre was no garden spot. Rather, it was the required linking point to oceanic access, because after connecting all the land (and one river) transport dots on my itinerary map since Munich, I’d finally run out of continent on the pathway to Ireland, which was a very important goal for me in 1985.

---

When I joined the backpackers’ queue in Le Havre for the ferry ride to Rosslare, it had been only five days since the last night of relative revelry in Munich, where my cousin Don Barry had assisted in the enjoyment of fine continental summer days and nights amid beer, pork and pervasive Gemütlichkeit.

Staying at separate hotels, long before mobile devices and with no real interest in trying to learn how to use local phones, which cost money otherwise devoted to beer, we’d prearranged everything around periodic meetings at the Gleis 16 Imbiss in the Hauptbahnhof, where solid and liquid sustenance could be acquired at intervals between long Munich walks.

One afternoon was given over to the city’s art museums, and another for a hike to the Nymphenburg palace. Evenings were the domain of the Mathäser beer hall. I wouldn’t be seeing Don again on the trip, and since the next stage of the itinerary would take me back to Paris, and then on to Ireland – and since these places were particular passions of Don’s – Munich offered a final chance to pick his brain, which is a task always best pursued with Leberkäse & Lager. So we did.

From Munich, I caught a train to the city of Mainz and walked from the station to the bank of the Rhine River, where the boats awaited. The plan was to ride one of them to Koblenz, then debark and travel by rail to Kӧln. By this point, it would be late in the evening, and I’d hop an overnighter to Paris, arriving in the best possible position to cherry-pick from the cheap summertime hostels located in temporarily abandoned university dorms.

I’ll grant that it wasn’t a particularly novel idea to take a Rhine cruise, but the July weather was ideal and the scenery gorgeous. There was a succession of tidy, well-ordered towns, surrounded by vineyards perched on slopes, accented with church spires, with manicured castle ruins atop adjacent promontories.

At every bend came another postcard photo opportunity, and this posed the usual problem, because I’m one of the world’s worst photographers.

It would have been a better idea for me to buy the postcards and concentrate my precious, allocated film to taking informal pictures of actual people, but this somehow did not occur to me. At the moment, on the ground, all I could think about was how Europe looked, when the more important considerations were how it felt, and with whom I was sharing the feeling, whether a short-term travel companion or random passerby.

For use in Europe, I’d brought a trusty, manual transmission Pentax K-1000 and a lead-lined pouch filled with film enough to (hopefully) last the whole trip. The pouch was recommended as a precaution against intemperate x-ray machines at the airport, which may or may not have been necessary, but when it came to ineptly framed postcard views, I’m the sort who takes absolutely no chances.

In today’s profuse digital world, there exists no compelling reason to refrain from taking literally thousands of photos, as saved in a space the size of a newt’s eye. I’ve done it, then culled a few dozen to post on social media and forgotten the remainder.

However, in 1985 I returned from Europe with as many as 20 rolls of film, containing hundreds of photos, for which I spent hundreds more in dollars developing the film not into prints, which would have made a modicum of sense, but slides, because I refused to settle for photo albums filled with prints when I could stage evening-long lecture/projections over drinks and snacks.

This worked – for a very short while. Folks got wise, and the following trip came and went. Now the closet is filled with archaic remnants of a lost methodology.

Thirty years later, the 1960s-model slide projector is too balky to use, and even when it actually worked, the bulbs eventually became stupidly expensive to replace. I really need to do something about this, and get my ancient collection up to contemporary standards, although based on the pricing I’ve seen to convert slides to digital images, this project may need to await a lottery win.

On the other hand, if I were to see the photos again, it might contradict the narrative I’ve been writing. It’s a tough call.

---

There is a vague recollection of walking the streets in Koblenz for a few hours before boarding the train for Kӧln, where the platform was an insane mob scene reminiscent of the post-election ride to Athens in May following the Greek election. Had I not possessed a first-class railpass, my berth would have been a seat on the floor by the toilet, but I found an empty spot in a compartment with six seats, and managed to nap for a few hours.

Paris came early, and while the stay was instructive, my blasé overall reaction to the French capital puzzles me even now. There were no bad experiences of the sort that Americans constantly reference in their lists of grievances; rather, Paris struck me as self-absorbed and impersonal, much in the fashion of most big cities, though not somehow aimed at me.

I spoke no French, but learned the usual fawning basics: Please, thank you and “biere, un pression,” which just might imply a desire for draft beer. I smiled a lot, remained humble, and frequented ethnic shops, where English seemed to be spoken more readily. There were no notable problems.

There were no outstanding experiences, either – save for one, although first there was the required tourist’s checklist of “musts” for checking off: Notre Dame, the Louvre, the opera house, the Left Bank’s venerable Shakespeare & Co bookstore, the catacombs, the site of the Bastille, a day trip to Versailles, and obligatory nightly meals at the very same North African couscous restaurant that Don and I had visited on our whirlwind rail trip from Turin earlier that summer.

The Eiffel Tower? It was out of my budgetary league, and there’s that pesky, usually latent fear of heights. The money saved was a bottle of inexpensive wine earned.

In all honesty, the only Parisian shrine with true resonance for me was one having least to do with the city, and where a bottle of wine proved handy: Jim Morrison’s grave, located in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, and tucked away behind mausoleums and chapels.

Naturally, the remainder of the cemetery has quite a lot to do with French (and European) history. Among the interred are Proust, Chopin, Molière, Piaf, Delacroix and Oscar Wilde. The Communards’ Wall, where 147 revolutionaries were executed in 1871, is a must visit for anyone fascinated by the history of rebellion.

However, it was the Morrison’s legacy that drew me to Pere Lachaise to pay my respects. The lead singer of The Doors died of a heroin overdose in Paris in 1971, when I was eleven years old. Much of it was lost on me until Danny Sugarman’s book “No One Here Gets Out Alive” was published in 1980. Only then did the long-defunct band and its resident poet/shaman/singer begin to appeal to me.

(Did you know that the late Sugarman married Fawn Hall, who as Oliver North’s document shredder of a secretary became involved in the Iran-Contra scandal?)

You might say I was going through a phase, to the point of Mute Nostril Agony (pulled from a Morrison lyric) serving as one of my college intramural basketball team’s names. Consequently, when I learned that his grave was a place of pilgrimage, international rock music solidarity and drinking, it was clear I’d have to go there.

To find my way to the grave site, I merely followed the “Jim lives” and “break on through” graffiti scrawled everywhere until voices and music could be heard. The immediate scene has changed since then, but at the time, there was open space around the grave, with room for a couple dozen people to congregate.

A bust of Morrison donated by a Croatian sculptor had been placed atop the block-like marker a few years prior to my visit. It was frequently painted and repainted, stolen and replaced, and later permanently removed. It was a messy area filled daily with Doors parishioners partying, much to the annoyance of local officialdom. Candles, cigarette butts, food wrappers and empty wine bottles were all around.

One of my fellow mourners offered me a puff from his pipe. I politely declined. Strange days had found me, and it was okay, even if my shirt smelled of ganja the rest of the day.

Speaking of music, there is a final omen to record before leaving Paris for the coast. At the university housing block, I noticed a British rock and roll magazine parked atop the breakfast table. It was trumpeting something called Live Aid, Bob Geldof’s benefit concert for Ethiopian famine relief, as scheduled for worldwide transmission by satellite on July 13, 1985.

The Wembley concert venue was close, though out of the question, as I’d made no plans to visit the UK, but when the concert aired on television, I’d be in Ireland somewhere. A mental note was made, and the train for Le Havre boarded. Roughly a month remained, and the home stretch was about to begin.

---

Previously:

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 15 … The traveler at 55, and a strange interlude.

The PC: We pause Euro '85 to remember the Mathäser Bierstadt in Munich.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 14 … Beers and breakfast in Munich.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 13 … Tears of overdue joy at Salzburg's Augustiner.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 12 … Stefan Zweig and his world of yesterday.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 11: My Franz Ferdinand obsession takes root.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 10: Habsburgs, history and sausages in Vienna.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 9 … Milan, Venice and a farewell to Northern Italy.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 8 … Pecetto idyll, with a Parisian chaser.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 7 … An eventful detour to Pecetto.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 6 … When in Rome, critical mass.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 5 … From Istanbul to Rome, with Greece in between.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 4 … With Hassan in Pithion.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 3 … Growing up in Greece.

The PC: Euro '85, Part 2 ... Hitting the ground crawling in Luxembourg.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 1 … Where it all began.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

FOSSILS 25th anniversary party camp-out RSVP are needed.

I have almost no time to devote to the run-up, but I'm happy someone does. I'd promise to post some archival materials, except it isn't likely there'll be time.

Expect to see me on Saturday. Need to get my RSVP in ...

OUR SPECIAL DAY IS COMING SOON! MAKE YOUR RSVP NOW!

FOSSILS 25TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY AND CAMPOUT

WHEN: FRIDAY, SEP. 11TH, 7:30 PM TO SUNDAY, SEP. 13TH, 12 PM
WHERE: 7720 CORYDON RIDGE ROAD, LANESVILLE

September marks the 25th year of existence for FOSSILS. We intend to celebrate our Quarter Century in epic fashion with a weekend long party and camp-out. The Capshew's are graciously hosting our Club at their home/compound. We will be starting Friday evening with dinner and ending Sunday with Bloody Mary's and breakfast. In between will be lots of delicious homebrew and great food. Family's are WELCOME. Kids under 21 will eat for FREE. Please fill out the RSVP link above.

We will have a raffle Saturday night, don't forget to bring cash and an item to contribute. If you know of someone that used to be involved in FOSSILS, especially the early years and has drifted away - reach out to them and invite them to attend!

EVERYONE over 21 will receive a FOSSILS 25 Anniversary Commemorative Pint Glass with your RSVP.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Rob Caputo will serve as interim executive director of the Brewers of Indiana Guild after Lee Smith steps down.

There never was much of a public explanation as to why my friend Rob Caputo left Flat12 Bierwerks earlier this year, and it's not my objective here to speculate, but when he exited Flat12, he also left the board of the Brewers of Indiana Guild.

Now another friend, Lee Smith, is leaving her position as executive director of the guild, and Rob's filling in on an interim basis, pending the usual hiring process.

And: I'm gradually negotiating the sale of my share of NABC to my partners. When that's finished, I'll resign from the guild's board. Until it is, well, I'm not dead yet.

All the best to Lee headed one direction, and Rob another. Good people all around. At some point, when it's really necessary, I'll allow myself to think about how much I'll miss the many good folks in the brewing business -- and there are many.

Not yet, though. There's too much to do.

A Note from the President

As most of you are aware, the Guild's Executive Director, Lee Smith, will be stepping down at the end of the month.

Lee was this organization’s first Executive Director and helped us position ourselves as one of the nation’s best guilds. We wouldn’t be where we are today without her contribution. We thank her for her years of service and wish her the very best of luck in her future pursuits. Cheers, Lee!

Along that vein, we are proud to announce that Rob Caputo, former board member and Vice President, has accepted the role as Interim Executive Director through the end of the year. We look forward to utilizing Rob’s experience and organizational skills to lead us into the future. Welcome back to the team, Rob!

We will also be forming a hiring committee to begin the interview process for a long term replacement for the position. That process is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Thanks to all for your support of Brewers of Indiana Guild!

Greg Emig
President
Brewers of Indiana Guild

Monday, August 24, 2015

David Pierce has returned to BBC St. Matthews, and Josh Hill is now head brewer at Bank Street Brewhouse.

The transitions continue at NABC with David Pierce's departure, completing the circle back to Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville (St. Matthews). David opened the BBC brewery in 1993.

Josh Hill becomes the brewer of record at Bank Street Brewhouse, while Ben Minton continues to man the mash paddle at the Pizzeria & Public House. They both know what they're doing, having learned from the best.

Roger (that's me) is running for mayor of New Albany and trying to finish his latest Food & Dining column submission for Mr. White. As for these changes of late, baseball aficionados will understand: I'm an Oakland A's fan, and In Beane We Trust. Personnel moves are part of the business.

As for me, I could write a book. Maybe I will. The past two weeks have been crazily cosmic: Kate's and Amy's family business is going back to being just that. Josh has returned to NABC, and David to BBC. Meanwhile, I'm up on the heath with Lear, studying a soaked road map. An election in November will help determine my destiny. Not to mention our former longtime bartender Stephen Powell, who has reinvented street food in downtown New Albany.

The weird thing about it is this: If you don't know me personally, you probably think I'm a pessimist, solely because I'm better at channeling bile than defining affection. But a cynic is a closet optimist, and I think it's all going to turn out well for everyone involved, and for the company itself.

Renewal fever: Catch it!

Stephen "Taco Steve" Powell, his taco cart, and downtown New Albany.

Meet Taco Steve of Powell's Pigs & Cows.


You may know him as Stephen Powell, formerly of NABC, and now a taco entrepreneur in downtown New Albany.


This is Stephen's Taco Cart, which he's setting up on the corner by Hugh E. Bir's on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 6 p.m., past midnight -- or until he runs out of food.


Stephen gets his smoked pork and chicken from Shawn Pitts, operator of Shawn's Southern BBQ on State Street.


The tacos look like this ...


 ... and Ed Needham is a satisfied customer.


On Mondays and Tuesdays through the favorable weather season, Stephen will be setting up by Comfy Cow on Market Street between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Credit and debit cards are accepted, and he's been known to produce vegetarian black bean tacos.

Most of you know Stephen from his decades of bar service, so now you can visit him for all your taco needs.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Louisville: From Beer Engine to Monnik to your glass, quite soon.

These are two fine fellows with great ideas and a stellar location. All I can say is I'm pulling them to get up and going, and you should, too

Monnik Beer Co. hopes for long-awaited soft opening in September, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

... After nearly two-and-a-half years of planning, problems and hours upon hours of hard work, Monnik Beer Co. is actually just a few weeks away from opening.

And then the real work begins.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ancient Rage returns to the Bank Street Brewhouse draft lineup.


The way it ought to be: A Friday in August cool enough to open the garage doors at BSB, and for me to wear a black t-shirt with no fear of sweating straight through it ... the Panama hat that Larry Schad gave me, now the official campaign hat ... Ancient Rage (barrel-aged IPA) back on tap, and me perfectly willing to have one with lunch in spite of my session proclivities because Josh Hill is back, and willing to serve me one.

Friday, August 21, 2015

More yawns as "New Albanian beer co-founder to depart."

"But Roger -- you, using religion as an analogy?"

It's been a strange past couple of days, so why not? I may be stepping away, but until all the documents are signed (which might take months), I'm not going anywhere, and so it's a bit weird to be eulogized before I'm dead.

Though flattering, too.

An ex-brewery owner? A future mayor? 30 years later, there's another fork in the road, and I'm pumped.

If I'm not elected mayor of New Albany, then I'll need to get a job doing something. Free-lance punditry doesn't pay well, although it suits my temperament. We'll have to wait and see.
New Albanian beer co-founder to depart, by Bailey Loosemore (Courier-Journal)

"Good beer's a religion. The business part just gets in the way."

The statement is a shot of criticism at the current state of the craft beer industry by longtime supporter and New Albany brewery co-owner Roger Baylor, who said it can seem nowadays to be more about looks than taste.

It's also Baylor's parting words as he permanently steps away from the New Albanian Brewing Company.

This week, Baylor announced he is in negotiations to sell his portion of the company to his New Albanian partners — ex-wife Amy Baylor and her sister, Katie Lewison — who started operating the business together at the former Rich O's Public House in 1992 ...

Thursday, August 20, 2015

An ex-brewery owner? A future mayor? 30 years later, there's another fork in the road, and I'm pumped.

Thirty years ago, I closed my eyes wide shut and jumped -- not so sure where or even if I'd land, but firm in the realization that I needed to do something to change my life.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 15 … The traveler at 55, and a strange interlude.

I packed a gym bag, converted my life's savings into traveler's checks, bought a plane ticket and a rail pass, and went to Europe for three months.

It doesn't sound like much, and in the cosmic scheme of things, it wasn't. Millions of human beings have done the same, in different ways in different times. I'm just a speck, but it's the only speck I have, and I needed to relaunch the whole process of figuring out exactly who I was, because back then, the mechanism had stalled.

I was fortunate, and the plan worked. Europe made me what I am today, or more accurately, my stubborn determination that Europe would make me what I became actually bore fruit. It has been one hell of a ride, with only a handful of mostly negligible regrets.

Three decades later, it's time for another jump, and another relaunch. It's been time for quite a while. The public end of this process began yesterday morning with the publication of an article by Kevin Gibson at Insider Louisville: After a quarter century, Roger Baylor will move on from New Albanian Brewing Company. 

As usual, Kevin got it right.

... Roger Baylor, well known for his long career in beer and brewing, is now running for mayor of New Albany. If he wins, that will be his new focus. If not, well, he’ll look for another path to follow. Either way, his position as the public face of New Albanian has come to an end. He already had announced he would step away if he won the election — instead, he’s moving on ahead of the decision. It was simply time, he says.

Regarding his growing involvement in local politics over the last few years, Baylor tells Insider, “It seems to be what I’ve been interested in for a while now and seems to be what I spend a lot of time on. That might actually tell me something about where my head is.”

And while he still enjoys beer and brewing, it’s become more of a hobby-level interest, in part because of the popularity of what is now termed “craft beer.”

This is why folks should always spend months, and perhaps even years, reading between the lines to decipher cryptic hints. The private side of this evolving decision has been cogitating for a very long period. True, the devil's always in the details, timetables are inexact, and numerous stories might yet be written about how we got here, but there are three main bullet points that matter to me right now:

I want to be mayor of  New Albany, because this city desperately needs challenging from someone like me, and it's our time.

If not mayor, then I'm looking forward to a "solo" career as yet uncharted; NABC has been and will continue to be, so don't worry.

I am quite serene about these and other developments.

Thanks to everyone expressing support yesterday, today and in the weeks to come. If not for that first leap back in 1985, I'd have gotten to know precious few of you, and be all the poorer for the omission.

The following was published last week at Potable Curmudgeon. I may even have intended it as prelude. The 1985 travel series will continue in fits and starts, as I have the opportunity to write.

Stay tuned, because I didn't say anything about not writing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Session consciousness: Welcome to the British alcohol unit.

Lew Bryson pointed to this article, and I cannot praise it enough, even though it is filled with mathematics.

I'm not a math guy, but I'm a Session Head.

Read it.

Why you still get drunk drinking “session” beers: The difference between a 4% and a 5% beer is much wider than we assume, by Joe Stange (Draft)

 ... Unfortunately—perhaps dangerously—American breweries have abused the word, even as their marketing folks have seen that session, like sex, sells. Or maybe we’re seeing a general misunderstanding of what a session ought to be, based on how our bodies process alcohol. Inevitably this leads to wider misunderstanding among drinkers—though ultimately the responsibility for smart choices rests with us and us alone.

So let’s clear this up, and maybe we can all make better choices.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Kentucky State Fair homebrewing competition winners for 2015.

Henry Hunt speaks with Tim Rosenberger, coordinator of the annual Kentucky State Fair homebrewing competition, and provides a complete 2015 winner’s list.


State Fair Hardware, by Henry Hunt (Louisville Beer Dot Com)

The Kentucky State Fair opens in Louisville this week with all the rides, exhibits, animals and fan fare. Homebrewers competed for state bragging rights this weekend. Local, Regional and National judges selected winners in each of the 28 beer categories, as well as overall winners in Best of Show and the Brewer of the Year.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Flashback to 1996, and a day at homebrewing booth at the Kentucky State Fair.

The Kentucky State Fair begins on August 20. Since the early 1990s, the Louisville Area Grain and Extract Research Society (LAGERS) home brewing club has run the fair’s home brew competition (2015 results here), and it also sponsors the home brewing information booth open during the fair. The Fermenters of Special Southern Indiana Libations Society (FOSSILS) club typically helps staff the booth.

The original essay here was written in 1996, and the last blog reprint was in 2006 or thereabouts. I might have waited until next year for maximum symmetry.

It's interesting for me to read between these lines.

1996, I was still a full-time bartender at the Pubic House, and NABC's brewery was still six years away. There hadn't yet been a Gravity Head. I was dropped off at the Fairgrounds by my first wife, and my father was alive. The Courier-Journal actually mattered. It was still possible to sit at the bar at BBC St. Matthews (and at the Public House) and smoke a cigar. Had Buddy needed to call me at BBC, I'd have been paged by a worker holding a land line, since I didn't have a mobile device ... and so on.

And now, a vignette from another life.

---

A Day at the Fair.

On the morning of the gorgeous summer Wednesday I'd had chosen to man the LAGERS information booth at the Kentucky State Fair, I awoke to that irritable feeling of discomfort that many people describe as a hangover.

I was shocked and appalled. As a trained, professional drinker of fine ales, I have "hangovers" about as often as I find Beluga caviar next to the Star-Kist tuna at the Dairy Mart down the street.

Anyway, what had I done the previous evening to even merit the mention of a hangover? I’d only had one Old Rasputin Imperial Stout ... followed by an abbey dubbel ... and a couple of Sierra Nevada drafts to ease my aching feet ... and a nightcap of Old Foghorn to chase down an evening meal of one and a half cold breadsticks and thoroughly coagulated garlic butter.

It must have been some kinda allergy, ‘coz it simply couldn’t have been a hangover.

To prepare for the rigors of the day, I ate two doughnuts and drained three cups of black coffee. Thus fortified with sugar and caffeine, I was off to greet the fair-going public.

I was driven to the fairgrounds and deposited at the first Crittenden Drive gate near the I-65 exit ramp. I stepped from the gasping car into a cloud of sweat-laden dust raised by the University of Louisville football players who were practicing nearby in the shadow of the former Mt. Schnellenberger, which has been reduced to the status of mere knob in the collective memory of University of Louisville football fans. It was a little after 10:00 a.m. when I paid the admission fee at one of the auto booths, and then produced my ticket for the next bored employee a few yards further on, who looked at me incredulously and said, "a walk-in?"

I headed for the third base side of Cardinal Stadium, took advantage of the pedestrian crosswalk through the horse promenade, joyously filled my lungs with the accompanying Bluegrass ambiance, navigated the east concourse of Freedom Hall, and emerged on the South Lawn, to be greeted by Freddy Farm Bureau. Freddy was too busy ogling the scantily clad young schoolgirls to bother with me, but I had spotted a Courier Journal booth and decided to ask if I could buy a newspaper to keep me company.

"No, we don’t have any newspapers," yawned the woman on duty, turning grudgingly away from her telephone conversation about the dating habits of fellow office inhabitants. "But there’s plenty of free maps of the fair! You want one of those?"

Sure. It had a nice recipe for pie, and a reminder that our one metropolitan newspaper is always there when it’s needed.

I turned toward my destination, only to be jarringly confronted by a beer tent that trumpeted the availability of Budweiser beers, those fine premium products from the House of Busch -- in this case, the Outhouse of Busch, where carbonated urine enriches the Busch family as it impoverishes the collective palate of the nation, which in turn worships the swill barons like medieval peasants groveling in the presence of the local nobility.

To conquer swill, you only have to think ...

The LAGERS booth was right where it was supposed to be. I assembled the free handouts (LAGERS, FOSSILS, BBC, Silo, Tucker Brewing, Nuts ‘n’ Stuff, Winemakers Supply) on the long table, surveying the sparse crowd wandering through the exhibits in the South Hall. It occurred to me to keep a log of sorts. Here are a few hours of it.

10:30 First of the very accurately billed "heartburn" specials -- loaded Chicago-style hot dogs from the stand out front of Freedom Hall on the South Lawn.

10:35 First "hey, you givin’ out samples?" question from a passer by.

10:47 First "I remember my dad’s/granddad’s/uncle’s bottles of homebrew blowing up" story, this one from a woman who now lives in Pittsburgh.

10:53 I quit trying to count the number of Kentucky Wildcats ball caps bobbing past.

11:45 Sincere man about my age (36) asks me "do you think there are any places at the Fair where I can get a specialty beer to drink?" My answer: "Do you think Auggie Busch drinks his own swill?"

12:00 (noon) Lengthy country music cerebral torture begins emanating from a stage somewhere in the distance. One Patsy Cline number was tolerable, but the remainder utterly inane.

12:05 Ball cap on ambling, tank-topped redneck reads "tell me now before I spend $20.00 on drinks."

12:10 Pleasant older gentleman asks me if I know the best way to filter red wine vinegar.

12:15 Sudden burst of energy has me out of the chair, trying to work the crowd.

12:20 Energy subsides.

12:30 First hot fudge sundae at booth on the South Lawn.

12:40 "My granny used to make it. My daddy used to make it. We’d just sit on the front porch and listen to it explode."

12:50 A teenager asks me a question. His country accent is so thick that I’m unable to understand him. I tell him I’m sorry, but I just moved here from France and I haven’t picked up the language yet.

13:15 An older man tells me stories about his late father, a rural physician in a dry county, who’d send him out for soft drink bottles to use for the homebrew, which "he’d make out of anything he could."

13:35 Mark, one of the owners of the Liquor Barn in Lexington, stops by to chat.

13:55 Idle speculation: Why do old men dress the way they do -- dress shoes and socks, knee-length shorts, golf and polo shirts? It’s like some sort of AARP-mandated public uniform, which I presume they can purchase at a discount at Wal-Mart.

14:00 Wanderlust. Off in search of TARC schedules, having concluded that I could take a bus to get to Bluegrass Brewing Company after my shift, and meet my friend Buddy Sandbach there.

14:15 First ostrich burger.

14:26 Back to work.

14:35 First gyro from booth on the South Lawn.

14:51 Fifteenth request for samples. Make that sixteen.

14:53 Seventeen.

15:10 The band in the South Hall lobby tears into an inspired rendition of the theme from "The Brady Bunch." People actually sing along. Women with babies in strollers go past me again. A cooking demonstration gets under way. Men in town for the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention wear political buttons, some Gore/Clinton, many more Dole/Kemp. I find that I’m very thirsty, but although there are leftover homebrew entries hiding in the back of the booth, one wrong move could yield a smoked spruce. So I wait.

At some point before 17:00 (notice how fond I am of the 24-hour clock?), FOSSILS Supreme Brewmaster Dennis Barry arrived to commence the night shift. I headed off in the direction of Crittenden Drive with the aim of finding the bus stop, but there was a taxi stand by the side of the Redbirds (remember, that’s the local baseball club that lied to the world about its intention to have good beer at ball games -- you don’t think the Curmudgeon would forget such a slight, do you Dale Owens?) ticket office. What the hell, I thought. I’m thirsty.

The efficient, professional cabby regaled me with stories of convention traffic, noting that religious conventions are particularly good for business, with numerous fares requesting to be picked up a block or two away from the convention hall, to be taken to "whiskey stores and tittie bars." The best of all, according to my driver, were the visitors to the annual farm implement show.

"Man, those farmers raise hell!" he exclaimed.

As we pulled into the BBC lot, I was telling my driver about ways of hailing cabs in the old Soviet Union, when you could stand on the street corner and hold up a pack of western smokes or toothpaste, and then watch the competition for your patronage. He was extremely amused by these anecdotes, and he vowed to tell his fellow drivers.

I slipped him a twenty, went inside, ordered a Dark Star Porter, clipped the end off a Punch Diademas, and relaxed, finally among my own.

Friday, August 14, 2015

My column in the latest Food & Dining Magazine is about Gordon Biersch.


The current issue of Food & Dining Magazine (Louisville Edition) has hit the streets, and is available at hundreds of locations throughout metropolitan Louisville. It's the Fall 2015 issue (Vol. 49; August/September/October).

Food & Dining is a Louisville-based lifestyle publication focused on food & cooking, the enjoyment of wine & spirits, and the experience of dining out in one of the nation’s top restaurant cities.

We have all the sensibilities of a local magazine, but with the design and photography of a national magazine.

We pack the magazine and with gorgeous photography, engaging feature stories, entertaining articles, unique recipes and a restaurant guide that details over 1,000 restaurants.

For the current edition, my "Hip Hops" column is about the Louisville branch of Gordon Biersch, where I spent some time with Nicholas Landers and Jason Smith. Nick brews all the GB beers right here in Louisville, and while he is excited about doing a few American-style ales, I focused on the lager side of the Biersch portfolio.

You can read it here: Gordon Biersch: Still Leading with Lager.

“We’re holding to tradition with our lagers, but being able to do India Pale Ales now is awesome,’’ Landers says, noting that in addition to his house lagers and certain contrarian German ales (Hefeweizen and Kölsch), he’s also been crafting limited editions of Porter, Stout and even a few Belgian styles.

You can read the whole issue here: Fall 2015 (Vol 49). In November, it's the 50th issue of Food & Dining. Even I'm not exact about when I started writing for the magazine, although it was at least a year into the run.

Where were you in 2003, and what sorts of beer were you drinking? Let me know.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Brewery badass Josh Hill returns to NABC.

He said so on Facebook.


Reading between lines, it appears Josh will be in sales. I've been on leave of absence to campaign for mayor of New Albany as an independent candidate, and as the good Sgt. Schultz would say, "I know nothing."

(Except that I'm a tremendous fan of Josh Hill, and delighted to see him back on duty.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

R.I.P. Fred Eckhardt.

I'm very fortunate to have met Fred Eckhardt, if only briefly. It would have been during my first of three visits to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, circa 1995.

Someone was sponsoring a vintage Alaskan Smoked Porter tasting, and I got through the door -- how isn't clear at this late date -- and there were brewers, beer peeps, writers and just plain folks in attendance. Eckhardt was one of them, and somehow I was seated with him at a table.

Mercifully, it was the pre-smart-phone era, and with no pressing need to photograph every sampled pour from bottles that for the most part looked exactly alike, most of my time was spent listening in the hope of learning something.

Eckhardt was in full educational mode, involving total strangers in the give and take, and when it was over, I asked his opinion: What's the most influential beer you've had at the GABFs you've attended?

His answer: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

R.I.P. Fred Eckhardt 1926-2015 (Brookston Beer Bulletin)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Louisville's Mayor Fischer and "Lou's Brew": Some good, some bad, and some corporate.

Louisville's mayor is Greg Fischer, and following some wobbling and waffling early on, I'm the first to admit that he's taken positive steps with respect to the city being aware of the brewing industry, and promoting it.

Mayor Fischer, CVB introduce “Lou’s Brew” — a guide highlighting local breweries

Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau today introduced “Lou’s Brew” — a guide that highlights local breweries for locals and tourists.

The idea for “Lou’s Brew” resulted from the Beer Work Group created by Fischer in 2014 to grow the brewing industry — and create more jobs as part of the city’s effort to become a global food and spirits capital.

See the on-line guide here.

Following is a sampling of posts, the gist of which is to explain how Fischer's bourbon-centric misstep led to a good recovery, and the formation of a beer and brewing study group on which I served.

Oct. 13, 2014: THE PC: I'd like my world of beer to be special every day.

Oct.12, 2014: "Mayor Fischer to announce initiative to promote Louisville beer at press conference Monday."


Sept. 8, 2014: The PC: The steamy sweetness of watery boats.


Dec. 10, 2013: The PC: Bourbon, bone marrow, Greg Fischer … and Stella Artois?


But ... (there's always a "but," isn't there?)

While Mayor Fischer has done these nice things with beer, for which I'm appreciative, it is my view that he's been on the wrong side of numerous other issues pertaining to economic development, historical preservation and Louisville's social milieu. In short, he's the new model of Democrat, beholden just as solidly to corporate welfare and "trickle down"economics as Reaganites, and consequently, it just isn't possible for me to give him a free pass.

Greg Fischer announces major brewery deal for Louisville and is praised as visionary by Jeff Gahan.

Satire, yes ... but not far-fetched.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 15 … The traveler at 55, and a strange interlude.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 15 … The traveler at 55, and a strange interlude.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

(Fifteenth in a series chronicling my travel year 1985)

In 1985, I wasn’t a very good flier.

Given my lack of experience in the air – in life itself – perhaps this is understandable. Up until then, I’d made only two round-trip flights ever, and the first one was when I was a small child. It was a prop plane, and the destination was Detroit. We taxied forever.

That’s all I’ve got.

The second was in 1978, to San Francisco and back, and it was unpleasant in the extreme. I probably required sedation. My problem wasn’t an aversion to enclosed spaces, or to the Hare Krishna devotees still roaming airports back then, but a fear of heights, which plagues me to this very day, even if I’ve gotten better managing it.

Consequently, the prospect of leaving on a jet plane instigated a fair share of anxiety. Everything about it made me nervous, and to make matters worse, I’d gotten absolutely hammered in Chicago the night before the flight.

Boarding Icelandair for Luxembourg via Reykjavik, and the long-awaited adventure of a lifetime, I was in the throes of a brutal hangover, immune to hair of the dog, constitutionally and existentially challenged, and with certain doom lurking just around the corner.

Was it too late to call the whole thing off?

At least there was a bright side. I wasn’t in the smoking section, which in those days still existed in the back of the plane. Strange, isn’t it? Using the toilet meant cutting through a wall of cigarette smoke, and of course, one couldn’t just step outside for a breath of fresh air.

Later I realized that for a nicotine addict, being deprived of cigarettes stood to greatly compound the sort of fears gripping me, and in physically wrenching ways I’d mercifully never understand because I didn’t smoke.

However, the Rubicon was ripe for crossing. After the usual pleasantries, instructions and delays, we took off and soon reached cruising altitude. The trip was inexorable and irreversible. Europe finally was coming, and I could feel the level of stress slowly ebbing.

Then there was a random act of turbulence, and the plane abruptly took a big, swooping roller coaster dip.

WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

Pulse skyrocketing, my heart pushed into my throat, and with a panic attack about to ensue, at least I had the presence of mind to look around the cabin, where dozens of fellow passengers were snacking, reading, talking and napping, utterly serene and oblivious to the commonplace.

Relief yielded to chagrin as I worried whether anyone else had seen me lose my composure.

In short, it was my life of naïve underachievement in a nutshell, but a good lesson for a hick from somewhere near French Lick: Fake it until you can make it. Just stop, look, listen and imitate. I tried mightily to apply it once on the ground, and for the thirty years since, with only varying degrees of success.

Eventually I became a better flier, although it didn’t happen overnight. By the 1990s, I actually began looking forward to transatlantic flights as the only time I could untether, relax and not be bothered. Nowadays, these commuting hours are sacred times for decompression and meditation. I’ve come a long way in this regard.

---

As noted previously, one of the factors most influencing my decision to spend three months in Europe in 1985 was an absolutely debilitating level of self-doubt. It’s nice knowing you’re capable of connecting with reality just enough to get by, but sheer hell being bright enough to realize you’re doing nothing and going nowhere.

Would I return to university and get my public school teaching credits? What about law school? I’d done relatively well on the LSAT. Maybe get a real job at last, instead of stringing together part-time gigs?

In fact, I was damned fortunate to have the space for dawdling rumination. There were no wars to be drafted into fighting, no nearby mines with coal for extracting, and no babies with mouths to feed. I worked, ate, drank and slept alone, because it hadn’t yet occurred to me that the opposite sex’s interest in knowing me just might be enhanced by me knowing something about myself.

Looking back after three decades, it’s quite clear that once I’d made the decision to spend time in Europe, it was necessary to up the ante. To be sure, it was a legitimate fork in the road for me, but one I didn’t randomly encounter. It was self-engineered.

I’d never spent so much time working toward something tangible. Traveling simply had to be an act of self-redemption. There was no Plan B, apart from returning home and following meekly into the mundane world of home, car, job and IU basketball season tickets.

I had to jump, damn it, and trust the parachute would open.

Fortunately, it did.

---

Thirty years later, with the consummate luxury of perspective, there are times when I’d like nothing more than to return to the blissful, uncomplicated life of the 24-year-old me (who celebrated his 25th birthday in Leningrad), except I’d have to retain what I’ve learned since, and there’s the eternal rub.

No debt or encumbrances and dumb as a rock, or achieving periodic glimpses of wisdom amid being mortgaged to the hilt, both literally and figuratively.

I’ll settle for the latter, because in 2015 it comes equipped with my partner in life, without whom little of it would make much sense. Her presence does not prevent me from trying to imagine a simpler all-around life, one allowing for a return to those long-ago fundamentals – and that’s what they were, too: Fundamentals.

It was about fundamentals, basics, and growing into a conceptual framework for interpretation of much that followed 1985. Eventually I witnessed the collapse of the post-war European order, stumbled into a career in beer, experienced the transformational impact of the wider-wired world, raised my share of hell, learned, fought, loved, lost and even sometimes won, and now, 30 years on, it seems that I’ve arrived at another of those forks in the road.

Once again I’ve gamed it, because a change has to come, but this time there’s a twist.

The fundamentals that most interest me are currently are undervalued in my career in beer, but they’re sorely necessary in a broader sense in my city, New Albany.

That’s the first fork, and it’s irrevocable. I’m running for mayor, and soon, I intend to be an ex-brewery owner, although I know it will take time to complete the forms.

The next choice is just over the horizon, and depends on the whim of the electorate. Win or lose, it’s time again to jump, and trust the parachute will open.

I trust it will.

Next week: The route to Ireland.

---

Previously:

The PC: We pause Euro '85 to remember the Mathäser Bierstadt in Munich.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 14 … Beers and breakfast in Munich.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 13 … Tears of overdue joy at Salzburg's Augustiner.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 12 … Stefan Zweig and his world of yesterday.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 11: My Franz Ferdinand obsession takes root.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 10: Habsburgs, history and sausages in Vienna.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 9 … Milan, Venice and a farewell to Northern Italy.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 8 … Pecetto idyll, with a Parisian chaser.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 7 … An eventful detour to Pecetto.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 6 … When in Rome, critical mass.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 5 … From Istanbul to Rome, with Greece in between.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 4 … With Hassan in Pithion.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 3 … Growing up in Greece.

The PC: Euro '85, Part 2 ... Hitting the ground crawling in Luxembourg.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 1 … Where it all began.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Bloody well right: Four photos "Of Place," rescued from BSB and now placed in my house.

During the winter of 2013-14, there was a top-notch exhibit at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, which is located across the street from Bank Street Brewhouse.

Of Place at the Carnegie: An "antidote" to the tyranny of our white bread Bicentennial.

Reminder: "Of Place" at the Carnegie, through January 11, 2014.

Subsequently, I purchased four of the black and white photos being shown in the exhibit by David Modica, a photographer I first got to know 35 years ago playing pickup-basketball.

In August of 2014, I got around to mounting these classy silver gelatin photographs at BSB, where they looked just fine in the spaces between the garage doors. Alas, with the remodeling and conversion into a new FOH schemata, they were judged superfluous.

So I said you know what and brought them home.


We hung them earlier tonight in the stairway.


The three portrait-sized ones were grouped together, and the landscape was placed on the left. at the landing.


Little Chef at Night, For Edward Hopper ... 2009


Hugh Bir, Jr., Market Street ... 2013


Say Cheese! David Thrasher ... 2013


Primal Scream, Bank Street Brewhouse ... 2013

Of course, neither the wall nor my beard exists any longer.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

"Why I’m banning the C-word."

Lew Bryson passed this one along on Fb.

"This is a Brit talking about why 'craft beer' has become a largely useless term, but I wholeheartedly endorse it. Not saying I'm happy about that, but I think it's true."

I second (third?) this notion, although it won't stop me from chanting "Death to Chains," insisting on supporting independent local brewers whenever possible, and jabbing my fingers in the eyes of multinationals at every opportunity.

Ultimately, in this as in so many other discussions, it comes down to this: Information is good. The more one knows about beer, the better, and the judgment calls can be made with confidence and aplomb.

Read on ...

Why I’m banning the C-word, by Tony Leonard (The Publican's Morning Advertiser)

... Debates and definitions don't stand for much in English; it is everyday usage which creates our language. Some words change or even reverse meaning; a 'hussy’ transformed from ‘housewife’ to ‘a woman of easy virtue’ over centuries. Some words just get neutured by indiscriminate overwork ('awesome', I'm looking at you!) until they collapse in sheer exhaustion and come to mean absolutely nothing at all.

Such is the case with the C-word, which is why I’m banning it!

Friday, August 07, 2015

The famous true story about London drowning in Porter.

Well, a small part of London at least.

This story bears repeating every few years. It's about the Great Porter Flood of 1814, and it testifies to the scale of Porter's popularity at the time.

Too Much of a Good Thing, by Dan Piepenbring (The Paris Review)

 ... I guess I can tell you a little about it: how it began at the Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court Road, where an enormous vat ruptured, unleashing more than a hundred thousand imperial gallons of beer ...

Earlier tonight, I enjoyed a Bob's Old 15-B Porter from NABC, the first one I'd consumed in a while. It was delicious, and reminded me of how much I enjoy the style. 20 years ago, we drank plenty of Porter.

When Michael "Beer Hunter" Jackson came to the Public House in 1994, the only full pint he drank was one filled with Sierra Nevada Porter, which we cherished at the time.

I'm on a quest to return to basics, and rediscover fundamentals that while not entirely lost, surely are undervalued in today's beer market.

As the weather cools, I'll be drinking more Porter.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Malting barley and pelletizing hops right here in Indiana.

This is old news, but Brewers of Indiana Guild board meetings are a good way to be reminded of information worth repeating.

BIG is continuing to work with Purdue University and Indiana state government on programs to link existing educational programs and create new ones at Purdue.

This effort is tapping into growing interest among farmers in Indiana, who want to grow barley and hops. The sticking point is obvious: There must be processing facilities if the market is to grow.

Boone County, located just northwest of Indianapolis on the way to Lafayette, is emerging as the go-to locale, albeit in embryonic form.

Boone County now has a malt house called Sugar Creek Malt Co.

Sugar Creek Hops isn't only growing hops, but working on a proprietary pelletizing process.

These are separate businesses, linked only by reference to Sugar Creek, a tributary of the Wabash River that is considered one of Indiana's most scenic waterways.

There's also a Indiana Hop Growers Association.

The guild has pledged a grant toward the further expansion of Purdue programs aimed at fermentation science and other areas of study that apply to beer and brewing. With more than 100 breweries operating in Indiana, it's time to know more and grow more.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Cousin Don praises the Weissbier at the 7 Stern Brau brewpub in Vienna.

I haven't had the pleasure of visiting Vienna's 7 Stern Brau brewery since 2006, and this needs to be rectified, although the sheer excellence of my last time there probably cannot be topped. It involved beer, spareribs, sauerkraut and camaraderie, each in huge portions.

My first experience at Sieben Stern probably was 1997, so I'm delighted they're still going strong after all these years. How do I know? Because my cousin Don recently wrote. He goes to Vienna each year in late July, meets a friend, and spends at least one evening at the brewpub.

For at least fifteen years, Randy and I have been in search of the world's best Weissebier. It is a quest more worthy and valuable than the discovery of the Holy Grail, which actually never existed at all.

Yesterday we might have found that Weissebier in Vienna. We decided to have an early dinner around 4 P.M. at the Seven Stars (Siebensterngasse) brew pub/restaurant. Their food is superb, and their beers are excellent, especially the Marzen and Rauchbier -- but they now brew an eighth draft beer, a wheat beer!

So of course, we had to try it.

The beer had a beautiful golden and opaque color, a robust and delicious flavor that included a distinct but not too strong hint of banana. Randy took a photo which he is sending to you.

Our quest for the world's finest wheat beer will continue for the remainder of our lives, but so far we have discovered the best wheat beer in Vienna. However, we will await your judgmental expertise.

I offered no such expertise in my reply.

I'm happy to hear this. There was a time when I'd turned against German-style wheat ales, primarily because I could not move customers past them. But everything's a pendulum, and I'm really into them now.

Don, the bicyclists and I found a good one in 2003 in Passau, which is a place worth visiting. Up on the hill, place called Anhofer or something like that. The house wheat ale is heavy on the clove, but still balanced.

I looked it up, and the name of the brewery in Passau actually is Weissbrau Andorfer. Passau is a wonderful place, and I regret only having been there once.

Overall, it's still hard for me to choose against Schneider Weisse, and I know better than to attempt selecting "the best" of anything.

As Don recognizes, it's not the kill that matters -- it's the thrill of the chase, and as it pertains to Europe, I just need to figure out a way to get back.

Maybe 2016.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

In which I took part in Louisville Beer Dot Com's 100th podcast.

I finally made it back to the Louisville Beer Dot Com podcast.

Diary: Trying to find a copy of the beer podcast, that time.


Deploying John Wurth's math, I appeared on the 12th episode, some time in late 2013. That sounds about right.

The podcast "studio" is the former BBC Main & Clay, now Goodwood taproom -- same location, but expanded a bit and now missing the previous breweriana decor. The conversion was a few months ago, but I don't get out as much these days. Goodwood's Louisville Lager remains excellent.

I'm genuinely appreciative for the opportunity to be a part of the century podcast. Follow the link to the web site, and there are directions for listening.

Episode 100: All-Stars

If a bomb went off during our podcast this week, the Louisville beer scene would be sorely lacking. This group of beer all-stars showed up for our epic 100th episode ...

Monday, August 03, 2015

Diary: Taking the day off for my birthday.

I'm filling this space after the fact for the sake of posterity.

There was no weekly column on Monday, August 3, 2015, because it was my 55th birthday, and I had a combination party and campaign fundraiser to consider.

It went well. I drank Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen all night, destroyed a medium deep-dish (roundhouse) herbivore pizza all by myself, and raised a few dollars to boot.

For the sake of my Euro '85 narrative, I can jump forward just a few weeks and note that for my 25th birthday on August 3, 1985, I was joined by an Australian named Mark at a restaurant in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

There was vodka, with predictable results.

It seems like a thousand years ago now.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

It's the "S" word again as Julia Herz weighs in on women in beer.

You might think I've been on a tangent this year.

You would be right. Here's a six-pack of my annoyance with sexism in beer.




Julia Herz has written a timely piece on the topic, one I suggest all brewing industry peeps read.

Julia Herz is the Craft Beer Program Director for the Brewers Association and co-author of the CraftBeer.com Beer & Food Course. Julia is a life-long homebrewer, BJCP beer judge and Certified Cicerone®. Despite her extensive experience, she will always consider herself a beer beginner on an unending journey to learn more about craft beer.

I especially like her conclusion.

Let’s challenge today’s generation of brewers and those to come: May we all be a part of setting new standards of marketing that broadens beer’s customer base.

As I've tried to mount an independent campaign for mayor of New Albany, it has become obvious that the notion of "challenging" anyone to learn or adapt is becoming increasingly archaic. In broad terms, America is far more about pandering than challenging. Improvement takes thought and hard work. Many breweries are putting in the legwork, but others aren't.

We can be better, people.

Weighing in on Women and Beer, by Julia Herz (Craft Beer Dot Com)

Craft Beer Doesn't Need Sexism--It Needs Women

It’s time to share some personal thoughts on a theme I seem to speak to on a weekly basis: women and beer. In light of the recent Bud Light #UpForWhatever campaign, which included the tagline, “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night,” the topic has surfaced once again—and the conversation is spilling over into the craft beer world.

Beyond the general topic of women and beer, the specific topic of sexism is a subject both in beer and beyond. As Bay Area writer and bartender Jen Muehlbauer told Slate.com recently, “I can cite examples of sexism both extreme and subtle in the beer industry, but so can any woman in any industry. I don’t think beer in particular has a woman problem so much as Planet Earth does.”