Monday, June 19, 2017

Headlines from May 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.

Okay, okay -- I'm two weeks late.

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 May's ruminations, with the oldest listed first. Some are more topical than others, and I'm past the point of caring about it.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.


THE BEER BEAT: Schaller’s Pump has closed, but why was Chicago's oldest bar called a "Pump," anyway?

The demise of any 136-year-old bar is both newsworthy and regrettable. What strikes me about Schaller's Pump is the name itself. Nowadays, you simply don't see too many bars referring to themselves as "pumps," although there are a few newer establishments around the country that have borrowed the rare old-school usage.


THE BEER BEAT: The Pour Fool nails it yet again, as "Budweiser Finds Another Sell-Out" -- this time, Wicked Weed.

Like others before it, Wicked Weed Brewing has died. That's unfortunate, indeed, but from the moment the ownership of Wicked Weed passed to AB InBev, this previously independent brewery was transformed into something else. Now it's Wicked Trojan Zombie Afterlife Weed. We'll always have our memories.

Speaking only for myself, I wouldn't drink a WTZAW beer with Donald Trump's lips.


THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever: "Tastes of paradise can shatter mirrors" (2014).

Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants and Intoxicants (is) by the wonderfully named Wolfgang Schivelbusch. He is not a Groucho Marx character from Duck Soup, but a German-born cultural historian operating from a decidedly (Karl) Marxist perspective.


THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever: "This week in solipsistic beer narcissism" (2014).

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?


THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever: "Let's explore anti-local craft beer unconsciousness" (2013).

We don't need Bourbon County Stout when other versions of wood-aged stouts (and other styles) produced by genuine indies are in the same league.

We don't need whatever sour specialty used to be brewed by Wicked Weed before its untimely demise.

Instead, we need to log off Untappd, hide the phone, find a local brewery and enjoy a fresh beer with living, breathing humans.


THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever: "Localism + Beer" (2012).

It makes no sense to labor over writing a fresh new essay when we've all been here before, and whether or not the "keep politics out of my narcissism" caste
realizes it, we've been here ever since Goose Island died.


THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed -- Whatever. Localism is the salve for your cognitive dissonance.

There are plenty of laws that might be enacted to put AB InBev in its place, but these are unlikely to be written, because who benefits the most from robber baron multinationals if not the politicians accepting their campaign contributions?

Accordingly, if vile politicians give money to AB InBev with the aim of preserving monopolies and suppressing choice, why would you even consider doing the same -- even if it's your precious Bourbon County Stout?


THE BEER BEAT: It has been three years since BSB's original kitchen closed, so let's return to "Ice Cold WCTU (A Modest Proposal)."

By January of 2015, I'd decided to run for mayor and take a leave of absence, which turned permanent shortly thereafter -- and no, they haven't paid me a dime yet. Perhaps it's time to make an attorney rich.

All in all, it's been a charmed life, and I have few regrets. One of them is that it wasn't possible to follow through on what undoubtedly was my greatest idea: Ice Cold WCTU, a museum and conceptual memorial to the victims of Prohibition, doubling as the unique shtick to draw customers to the brewery.


THE BEER BEAT: Moss the Boss and his L’ Eblouissant (The Dazzling), one of my favorite pubs in the world.

Even then, we almost missed The Dazzling. There was no sign apart from a back-lit Murphy’s Stout oval, adorning an accurate facsimile of an Irish pub front. We stepped inside, only to find the pub officially closed to make room for at least two dozen Namur locals gathered there to celebrate their recent return from a tour of Sri Lanka.

At this juncture, our first acquaintance was made with the Belgo-Irish force of nature known as Alain Mossiat, to be forever known as “Moss the Boss.” Moss welcomed us, albeit a bit warily at first. His resistance began to crumble when it became evident that our beer pilgrim credentials were exemplary, and so an impromptu compromise was reached.


THE BEER BEAT: Starlight Distribution's entire inventory was destroyed by Friday's flooding.

Condolences to Starlight Distribution and solidarity with the recovery. The same goes for all the folks north of us who suffered damage from yesterday's flooding.


THE BEER BEAT: It should be in a museum, but the original Public House keg box has a new, loving home.

It was dubbed the Jouett Meekin Memorial Keg Box. For a while, I kept beer tapped to drink at home, and used the keg box for Harvest Homecoming Parade parties and occasional social gatherings. I’m quite attached to this hunk of metal and draft lines, but the time has come to find her a better home.


THE BEER BEAT: Odds and ends from the month of May. I can't remember anything before that.

It's good by me. Any effective strategy for dealing with sexism in "craft" beer is likely to be incremental. We're talking attitudes, and these take time. Speaking of time, I'm a history nut, and "extinct" styles fascinate me.


THE BEER BEAT: Fest of Ale is almost here, though New Albany Craft Beer Week wasn't.

In 2016, I took a stab at organizing a New Albany Craft Beer Week to precede Fest of Ale, and to culminate with it. It's a common promotional device, and one exercised widely. It didn't happen in New Albany this year.