Saturday, May 13, 2017

Headlines from April 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.

Previously, I explained several reasons why this blog has gone on hiatus, and explained that my thoughts about beer will be posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential.

You'll find them there via the all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- probably monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are April's ruminations, with the oldest listed first. Some are more topical than others, and I'm past the point of caring about it.

Having noted this, I found that writing about my favorite pubs made me feel good. There may be more of it.


THE BEER BEAT: Indie, not craft, because "There is absolutely NOTHING 'independent' about AB/InBev."

I haven't gone cold turkey on the "craft" descriptor, and find myself using the word here and there (usually in quotation marks, as intended to emphasis the escalating irony), but zero tolerance is a worthy goal to which we might aspire.


THE BEER BEAT: Retro and dive, tavern and free house. Stages of development. A rumination.

We’re approaching an important local anniversary in the saga of better beer, because at some point in the late summer of 1992, the first keg of Guinness was tapped at the Public House formerly known as Rich O’s.


THE BEER BEAT: The Hibernian (Hi-B) Bar, one of my favorite pubs in the world.

It's been 30 years since I climbed the stairs to the first floor (in Europe, that's how they're numbered) and beheld the cramped majesty of the Hi-B. Somewhere up or down another set of stairs was the loo. The publican Brian O'Donnell was a legend even then, and as I write, it is my earnest hope that he's still alive and scowling.


THE BEER BEAT: The Dolphin, one of my favorite pubs in the world.

Few such pubs can boast a semi-official house artist. The late Beryl Cook was a painter who moved to Plymouth after the retirement of her husband. They opened a guest house nearby, and gradually Cook gained fame as an artist. Because The Dolphin was her local, several of her paintings chronicle pub life.


THE BEER BEAT: BrewDog's private equity $$$ bonanza: "Not bad for ten years of being rude about the rest of the UK brewing industry."

BrewDog's antics have entertained me for a long time. The company's success reminds us that while P.T. Barnum may have been an American, hucksterism never has been confined to just one country. I hope the founders of BrewDog make a mint, whether in dollars, Euros or pounds sterling. I'll be at a local establishment somewhere, drinking myself to sleep.


THE BEER BEAT: Jim Koch ponders whether it's "Last Call for Craft Beer."

Just my two cents. It's hard feeling sorry for Jim Koch, though in some ways I do. Samuel Adams Boston Lager is one of the most important beers in American brewing history, whether "craft" or macro. It helped pioneer a whole segment, and it's still really good for what it is.


THE BEER BEAT: St. Radegund Free House, one of my favorite pubs in the world.

Regrettably, my paean to St. Radegund Free House in Cambridge, England must begin with the sadly belated report that former landlord Terry "Bunter" Kavanagh died five years ago at the age of 75.


THE BEER BEAT: A neighborhood dive bar for the post-craft beer world?

It's feeling like a lab rat, as though you're part of an ongoing experiment in anxiety escalation -- like an arms race, always hoppier, sourer, stronger and plain weirder; the wheel constantly is revolving, and there's nothing upon which to hang one's metaphorical chapeau for longer than one keg (a sixth barrel), lest another begin pouring the diametrical opposite.


THE BEER BEAT: Sometimes compliance takes a labyrinth.

Attention, oppressed Indian(a) ATC permit holders.


THE BEER BEAT: Valley Malt. Pioneer Valley. It all comes back to me now.

And, during two recent trips to Western Massachusetts, it never once occurred to me that Valley Malt might be located nearby, as in fact it is -- in Hadley, just a few miles from Diana's niece's family in South Hadley. We almost certainly were within minutes of the malting, and may well have passed it a half-dozen while driving back and forth.