Friday, August 04, 2017

Headlines from July 2017 on THE BEER BEAT.

1987 vintage.

Previously, I've explained several reasons why this blog has gone on hiatus, adding 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 helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, whenever the urge strikes -- I seem to have settled on monthly -- I'll collect a few of these links right here. Following are July'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.

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THE BEER BEAT: Are barstools even necessary? There ARE alternatives, you know.


As David Wondrich explains, more templates of barroom design than we ever realize actually derive from top-down bureaucratic standards inherited in the aftermath of Prohibition, at times abetted with Hollywood's regimented narrative.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Changing an empty keg the Soviet way.


Here is one of the very first sights I saw in Leningrad on the morning of July 2, 1987.

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THE BEER BEAT: Dan Canon and the welcome return of progressive thinking at NABC.


Most importantly of all, welcome back to the real participatory local world, NABC. I missed your political consciousness these past two years. It was something I'd taken for granted. Maybe it will survive without me, after all.

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THE BEER BEAT: Dollars and cents remain the most rational arguments against AB InBev.


There'll always be exceptions, but life is about the everyday. In the main, as a consumer, I'd like to know exactly where my money is going. Whenever possible, I'd like to see my money directed to indies.

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THE BEER BEAT: "Why Brexit could mean a pricier pint of Guinness."


It's worth remembering that the distance from Dublin to Belfast is a scant hundred miles, less than the drive from New Albany to Indianapolis.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: The finest restorative Pilsner Urquell ever, upon arrival in Prague.


I limped to the long, imposing counter where a brawny, mustachioed man stood next to a pair of matching taps, both pouring the exact same nectar, and with a wheeled cart filled with clean mugs. Mustering my courage, I flashed four fingers and muttered, “Pivo, prosim,” having miraculously recalled the proper words without stealing a glance at the guidebook buried somewhere in my day pack.

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30 years today on THE BEER BEAT: The Automat Koruna, one of my favorite pubs (?) in the world.


You told the cashier what you wanted and paid, to be given a receipt, then waited in a customarily long line, handing the receipt to one of the white-smocked beer pourers. The reward was a cool half-liter (or more) of golden, pilsner-style Pražan beer, brewed a few miles away in Holešovice district of Prague.

You consumed your Pražan and also ate while standing at a stainless steel table. There may have been chairs at the Automat Koruna, but if so, I can’t remember them, at any rate, I didn’t ever sit. Crowds were a constant, and stand-up space sometimes at a premium.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Worshipful pilgrimage to the Pilsner Urquell birthplace shrine.


We caught a train from Prague to Plzeň, got there well before noon, and reconnoitered. From the station, the Pilsner Urquell brewery was easy to see and smell, although we knew to inquire at the official state-run Čedok travel agency (actually established in 1920, prior to communism), which surely would be located somewhere in the center of the city.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Meeting the gang at the legendary Imbiss by Gleis 16 at the Hauptbahnhof in Munich.


July 16, 17 and 18 are holy days in the pantheon of my beer travels, for it was on those three days in 1987 that four good friends from Hoosierland came together in Munich. I was joined by Bob Gunn, Barrie Ottersbach and my cousin Don Barry for three nights of Bavarian bacchanalia.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Munich's incredible Mathäser Bierstadt, symbol of a lost era.


For example, “beer halls” in the sense of the Hofbräuhaus generally do not exist in matching scale outside the city of Munich. Moreover, in 1987 a beer hall even larger than the Hofbräuhaus was our home away from home for two glorious evenings: Mathäser Bierstadt, which was tied to Löwenbräu.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Friday nights and Saturday mornings, Munich-style.


It was Don who famously rose, grinned broadly, and disappeared. Later when asked, he insisted that his parting had been effusive and memorable, a valedictory oration surely among the most eloquent ever uttered in such an honorable establishment.

I'm here to tell you that he never said a word.

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THE BEER BEAT: I guess if NABC isn't celebrating its 30th birthday, then I will, with a look back at the 25th.


Yesterday (July 22) was the 5th anniversary of the New Albanian Brewing Company's 25th anniversary, which means the business entity variously known as Sportstime Pizza, Rich O’s Public House, the New Albanian Brewing Company (later, adding Bank Street Brewhouse, now dubbed NABC Cafe & Brewhouse) has celebrated its 30th birthday.

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: A ferry ride from France to Ireland, with the help of Super Valstar and Guinness.


The magic moment possibly occurred at lunch in Versailles while Bob was still traveling with us, or somewhere amid the Ottersbach/Baylor excursion to Pointe du Hoc on Saturday, but I'm thinking it likely came in Cherbourg on Sunday afternoon. Of course, I'm referring to the time we drank deeply of the Super Valstar, or as it read on the label, "the big blonde."

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30 years ago today on THE BEER BEAT: Stouts galore in Cork, Kinsale and the Hibernian Bar, but in Ballinspittle, not so much.


The great thing about Cork is that it had not one, but two of its own classic Irish Dry Stouts: Murphy's and Beamish. Sadly, they've long since ceased to be independent, but add the ubiquity of draft Guinness, and the city was a stout-lover's dream.

One bar we found had all three on tap at once. By contrast, there may have been two Guinness taps in all of Louisville at the time.

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