Monday, May 21, 2018

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Still on the "beer beat," but with a new identity and a renewed consultancy.

"Beer with a Socialist" is what happens when the Potable Curmudgeon momentarily mistakes the word "scientist" for "socialist," and after a good laugh, decides it's kismet.

A long time ago, while still a part-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Company (Bank Street Brewhouse had yet to be born), I started a company called Potable Curmudgeon Inc., which was to have been devoted to travel and tourism. For various reasons, this idea never came together; the last motor coach trip was 2004, and on bikes, 2008.

It's never too late to start all over again, and 2018 looks like the year for it. Over at Facebook, I've deleted the moribund Potable Curmudgeon Inc. page, in effect combining it with Roger's Simple Beer Pleasures, which has been renamed Roger Baylor's "Beer with a Socialist" -- as has this periodic blog feature.

Beer musings will remain here at NA Confidential, rather than resume at the Potable Curmudgeon blogspace, primarily because NAC has a regular and reliable readership base. This also owes to my determination that beer not be viewed in a stand-alone vacuum. Beer is part of everything, and it should be considered alongside everything.

During the past few months, I've become convinced that beer consultancy might become a viable pastime. It's never been about the money for me, and I've already been free-lancing for a while as a writer. If I can add to writing a couple more small revenue streams, it will be enough to get by. Perhaps Patreon is in my future.

There are several "beer education" and "beer entertainment" ideas I've been wanting to test for many years, and now seems like a good time to devote attention to them, because happily, my sabbatical since departing NABC has reaffirmed that beer is a place I want to be, personally and professionally. I just needed some time away to take care of other things.

As an aside, finally getting my departure resolved in February this year seems to have had a salutary effect on everyone involved. The past three years have been weird, enlightening, depressing and joyous. They're a springboard to what comes next.

Beer has been my life’s work. Beer has served as governing principle for a variety of personal interests, ranging from history to geography, through politics, and including food, travel and recreation. Beer has connected them in a way that iced tea simply can't manage, and frankly, then as now, iced tea consistently annoys the very hell right out of me.

I've come to viscerally dislike iced tea, by the way.

Do I have what it takes to be a beer consultant? Even I can't be sure, but I'm intent on hanging out a shingle. Today's world of beer appreciation, whether on the part of industry folks or paying customers, displays beer knowledge a mile wide and a millimeter deep. With a few good stories and a bit of soft shoe, I think there's a niche for infotainment.

As many readers already know, my primary interest these days is Classic Beer -- the greatest beer hits from the 1300s through the 1900s. It's what the program at Pints & Union will emphasize (mid-June is the target date).

There are times when beer hunting involves looking past the chaotic cornucopia of the present and rediscovering what always was there, patiently waiting, in plain sight. Of course, new classics are being created every day. Making sense of it all is becoming harder and harder, and maybe I can help with this.

In the months to come, we’ll see where this goes, so thanks for reading.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Headlines from April 2018 on THE BEER BEAT.

This blog has gone on hiatus, probably permanently, and primarily because these days my thoughts about beer are being posted alongside my utterances about everything else, over yonder at NA Confidential. You'll find them there in reverse chronological order via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat.

However, at the end of each month I'll collect the links right here. Following are April's (2018) ruminations, with the oldest listed first. Some of these posts are more topical than others. On occasion, there'll be references to beer in posts using "The Beer Beat" as a label, though not a title. I hope this isn't overly confusing.

Thanks for reading, if belatedly.


THE BEER BEAT: "Bock brings the Germans rushing to the beer garden."

Doppelbock is the perfect example of a seasonal beer style redolent of history and faraway places, and yet deemed insufficiently sexy for narcissistic, hop-laden, shoe-gazing geeks.

No bitterness in this soul, mind you.


THE BEER BEAT: Mad Paddle Brewery is coming to Madison, and there's a New Albany connection.

Having tickled the taste buds, let's have a glance to the northeast. If you ask me, Madison has always deserved a good brewery.


THE BEER BEAT: Fest of Ale returns on June 2, so please allow me to revive an idea for pre-fest fun next year.

(New Albany Craft Beer Week) didn't come together in 2017 and probably won't in 2018, but if Andrew Nicholson and Kelly Winslow (especially these two) are reading ... there's always 2019. I'd be happy to give you both the rundown.

Meanwhile, 2018 will be the third year for Fest of Ale at the Riverfront Amphitheater. Gear up and get ready.


THE BEER BEAT: This just might be the Pour Fool's greatest rant: "Open Letter to The Bud Sell-Outs: Cowboy Up, Whiners."

"There is one old saw that the 'owners' of these former craft breweries should take to heart and if any of you have never heard it, allow me ... 'You Made Your Bed, Now Lie In It.' "

Ladies and gentleman, give it up for Steve Foolbody (The Pour Fool).

It's the best summary yet offered, as truthfully attesting to the phenomenon of Trojan Zombie Afterlife Breweries and their former owners. Here's a relevant non-brewing history lesson.


THE BEER BEAT: Pints for Parkinson's returns with Maibock, so let's have a look at Gordon Biersch, day drinking and TARC.

Spurred by the groundbreaking commuter research conducted by my friend Jeff, who works in downtown Louisville -- and with a wife who does, too -- I have belatedly grasped that the #71 bus eastbound from State and Elm in New Albany (a short walk from my house) travels all the way to Jeffersonville on roughly an hourly basis during the day, stopping a mere bloc


THE BEER BEAT: Everybody wants to rule the world -- maybe "craft" beer will, too.

This is exactly what the world of beer commentary is sorely lacking: Beer with a Socialist. I'm grateful to Jonathan for the idea, and will owe him a beer of three is this goes anyplace.

Now, give it up for Lew Bryson and another thought-provoking (and fun) column at The Daily Beast.


THE BEER BEAT: Photographing traditional Irish storefronts for posterity, like the Railway Bar.

The loss of storefronts in Ireland is a lamentable cultural atrocity. It isn't restricted to pubs, but of course I'm enraptured by one of the pubs pictured in the article.


THE BEER BEAT: This humble plinth could be the spot where we memorialize the myriad victims of Prohibition.

It is imperative for the future health and well-being of the municipality that we embrace historical consciousness, hence my contention that the victims of the savage and deranged social experiment known as Prohibition -- surely America's second-worst idea ever, albeit well behind human slavery in terms of ramifications -- be memorialized, preferably adjacent to a watering hole that reminds us of what the heinous teetotalers tried to take away.


THE BEER BEAT: Speakeasies here, speakeasies there, and not an original thought to be found anywhere.

It's far easier to be "magical" when your family has profited immensely from LEGAL liquor sales, the budget is unlimited, and you're not scraping for crumbs to implement good ideas -- but money can buy neither love nor an exemption from imminent prosecution for inexcusably pretentious word abuse.

The CJ's writer somehow keeps a straight face, this being a skill I never learned.


THE BEER BEAT: "Putting the taproom first and building the rest of your business around an own-premise model gives a brewery unprecedented control, insight, and flexibility."

History is endlessly fascinating for a variety of reasons, among them the uncanny way that what goes around, comes around. In today, out tomorrow -- and destined to return when conditions change and the dialectic of trendiness (or purely efficient reasoning) ordains.

This whole craft brewing revolution began very locally. You trundled down the street with a metaphorical pitcher, had it filled with beer, and hoped to make it back home without drinking it all -- or, the way it was done back in pre-Prohibition times.


LIVE TO EAT on THE BEER BEAT: A tribute to the late Rocky's Sub Pub and a question: What's happening at Jeffersonville's "restaurant row"?

It was announced today that Rocky's Sub Pub, on the riverfront in Jeffersonville, suddenly closed. Danielle Grady's newspaper coverage is linked below, but first, a short piece I wrote for LEO back in 2009, when Rocky's debuted its beefed-up tap system. Ironically, now both Rocky's and JeffBoat are gone.