Sunday, June 10, 2018

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Headlines from May 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 still find them there in reverse chronological order via the helpful all-purpose tag, The Beer Beat, although I'm in the process of changing the column title to Beer with a Socialist. For the foreseeable future, I'll retain both labels for ease of searching.

At the end of each month I'll still collect the links right here.

Following are May (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.

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THE BEER BEAT: The path to 6,000, or one helluva big difference in 25 years.


Yesterday, amid 14 consecutive hours of joyous Kentucky Derby downpour, I started rummaging through my collection of posters, photos and bric-a-brac suitable for hanging.

This one, called "Brewpubs and Craft Breweries," is a poster that dates from 1992.

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THE BEER BEAT: Yuengling Golden Pilsner, or how I mourn the taste of corn in the morn (and afternoon).


Several of my friends beat me to tasting Pabst Pale Ale (I still haven't), but earlier today by sheer serendipity I walked into Keg Liquors (Clarksville) and became the first customer to buy a six-pack of Yuengling's ballyhooed Golden Pilsner.

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THE BEER BEAT: A brief Pints & Union beer list report (yay) and a Yuengling correction (shrug).


It's ironic, although not entirely unexpected, that the more beer I drink as part of a solemn imperative to research (alas, someone's got to do it), and the greater the amount of time translating this diligent research into a beer list for Pints & Union, the less opportunity to write idly about beer in general.

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THE BEER BEAT: U Fleků, home of "Bohemia’s definitive dark beer," really WAS founded in 1499.


I meant to attend U Fleků's 500th birthday party in 1999, but just couldn't pull it off. That's a big regret. Jeff Alworth is a great beer writer. In this brief essay, he takes us to Prague for one of those "Holy Grail" bucket list beers, originally described by the beer writer Michael Jackson, all of which packed off my butt to Europe so very long ago.

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THE BEER BEAT: R.I.P. Jerry "Turoni's" Turner. Also: New England IPA, Mile Wide, Goose's disgrace, George Washington, and weighing a keg of beer.


As I may have mentioned earlier, though probably forgot, the current issue of Food & Dining Magazine (it's out today) has two contributions from moi: a profile of bar Vetti (lower case "b" is intentional), and a beer column about New England IPA.

Research for the latter brought me to Mile Wide Beer Co. (636 Barret Avenue, Louisville) a few weeks back for their release of Nomah!, which I enjoyed very much. In some ways I'm surprised by this. Not long ago, I'd have dismissed NE IPA as a fad, but now it makes perfect sense to me. May the style live long and prosper.

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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.

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ON THE AVENUES: Long live Keg Liquors Fest of Ale, an indisputable annual beer institution.


The 13th edition of Keg Liquors Fest of Ale will take place at New Albany’s Riverfront Amphitheater on Saturday, June 2. Up to 2,500 area beer fans will be in attendance, which might sound like a crush of humanity, but it isn’t. The major regional stops on the beer festival tour host as many as 8,000 guests, with Port-A-Lets extending around the entire perimeter like Donald Trump’s walled-in America.

However, festival founder and package store owner Todd Antz has grown Fest of Ale slowly and organically, from the parking lot adjacent to his original Clarksville store to St. Anthony’s lawn, and now the banks of the Ohio. It’s an urban area, and yet still presents a pastoral scene of greenery, passing barges and the rising sun architectural imagery of the amphitheater itself.

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BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Vandals strike Asheville brewery: “No more breweries” and “**** Beer City.”


My initial thought upon reading about "anti-brewery vandalism" in Asheville was something on the order of: "Just their luck the Woman's Christian Temperance Union is still alive and kicking."

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ON THE AVENUES: Sadly, the Kentucky Derby no longer is decadent and depraved. It’s just another vacuous capitalist bait ‘n’ switch.


Let’s talk about beer. In 2018, for the first time in six years, the “official” beer of this signature institution known as Churchill Downs no longer is Stella Artois, the chosen import of AB-InBev’s payola empire.

Now it’s Corona, perhaps the most vile mainstream corn-choked Mexican lager atrocity known to man, reminding us that while the Kentucky Derby has developed intrinsic traditions since its inaugural run in 1875, locally brewed beer hasn’t always been prominent among these predispositions. After all, bourbon gets you there way faster.

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