Monday, September 25, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 35/36, 2017.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 35/36
27 August - 9 September 2017

    Roger Protz
  • 9 September 2017
    Roger Protz, the long-time editor of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, retires at 78.
    He edited the [Campaign for Real Ale] annual guide from 1978 to 1983 and from 2000 to 2018. And he has traveled the world writing about beer. But his proudest achievement is helping to save traditional British beers from extinction. [...] Roger says nothing beats a pint of cask ale, which he calls “the champagne of the beer world.”
    —Via Daily Mirror.

  • 7 September 2017
    It was a bad day for four hundred of Anheuser-Busch InBev's American employees who sell its "High End" products (formerly independent 'craft' breweries Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Four Peaks, Breckenridge, Devils Backbone, Karbach, and Wicked Weed). The world's lagest international beverage conglomerate fired them.
    —Via Brewbound.

  • 7 September 2017
    If one ignores the sales slumps of the top two 'faux-craft' brands —Blue Moon (Molson Coors) and Shock Top (Anheuser-Busch InBev)— and of the top two 'craft' breweries (as defined by the [U.S.] Brewers Association) —Boston Beer/Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada— the year-to-date dollar sales for 'craft' beer have actually jumped from a growth of 5.5% last year to 11.3% this year (rather than the reported 6%). That might be having fun with statistics, but, then again, those four brands do comprise roughly a quarter of all 'craft' dollars, "which tells us that nearly three-quarters of the craft segment is still collectively displaying double-digit growth."
    —Via Bump Williams in Beer Business Daily, as quoted by YFGF (on Facebook).

  • 5 September 2017
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions says Justice Department will begin deportation of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) so-called "Dreamers" —nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children— in six months. Anyone who has a DACA permit expiring between now and 5 March 2018 has until 5 October 2017 to apply for a two-year renewal.
    —Via The Atlantic.

  • Craft brewing produced 128,768 jobs in 2016
  • 4 September 2017
    Cheers to hard-working brewers on Labor Day.
    “I often comment that there's a lot of money in beer, and there is ... for some owners. The folks who actually work in the breweries--not so much. Brewing is having its moment as a high-status job, but the work itself is blue-collar, lift-and-sweat labor. Even at small breweries, where new-recipe creation happens each week (the glamorous part), for the people who must put water to malt and make those beers, the days are long and hard.”
    —Jeff Alworth, Beervana

    “Labor issues are the Achilles heel of the craft beer movement. We need to become an industry that provides our brewers with career-satisfying wages, or craft beer businesses won’t be sustainable.”
    —Ben Edmunds, Breakside Brewing
    —Via Beervana.

  • 4 September 2017
    On Labor Day, looking back on Curt Flood: How one man changed Major League baseball, affording players contract rights held by most other American workers, and, in the process, ruined his career.
    —Via SB Nation.

  • 3 September 2017
    [Louis] Pasteur was already a scientific icon when he decided to work on brewer's yeast [in the 1870s]. He had done revolutionary work on wine-making, dairy production, silkworms, and important theoretical work in chemistry and biology. His reason for taking up work on beer was rather surprising: he wanted national revenge over Germany. Germany attacked France in July 1870, causing his only son to enlist and interrupting construction of Pasteur's laboratory. [From that starting point, Pasteur identified yeast as the agent of fermentation and demonstrated how brewers] could use the tools and methods of microbiologists to get better control over and understanding of their own brewing.
    —Via Larsblog.

  • Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947 [by photographer William P. Gottlieb]
  • 1 September 2017
    Ugly Beauty. Son of jazz giant Thelonious Monk sues craft brewery North Coast (in Fort Bragg, California) for exploiting his father’s name. http://bit.ly/2xF6AlD
    —Via The Drinks Business.

  • 1 September 2017
    How 'craft' breweries in Texas fared during Hurricane Harvey; how they and other 'craft' breweries asssisted victims of the Category 5 hurricane.
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • Georgia Brewery Liberation Day
  • 1 September 2017
    Beginning September 1, 2017, Georgia breweries will be granted the ability to sell their product directly to their customers. This comes after a long and collaborative effort by Georgia’s breweries and distributors creating and recreating proposals for the state in the form of State Bills to be approved by the state’s House and Senate and eventually signed into law by the Governor.
    —Via Porch Drinking.

  • 30 August 2017
    The great beer writer Michael Jackson (1942-2007) —the Beer Hunter— died ten years ago today. British-born, world-beloved, Jackson was the prime promulgator, in several books, of the concept of beer 'type' or 'beer style,' based on geography and tradition, but also ingredient and process. A novel idea in 1977, 'beer style' is now well-established, if often twisted beyond Jackson's original premise. Earlier this year, British beer writers Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey looked at his legacy:
    The Beer Hunter was a persona. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, was a complex person, with all of his faults, foibles, and doubts in tow.
    —Via Beer Advocate.

  • 28 September 2017
    The Anheuser-Busch InBev brewing plant in Cartersville, Georgia sends more than 500,000 cans of water to Harvey victims in Texas.
    —Via WSB-TV (Atlanta).

  • Malt in beer
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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 37/38, 2017.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 37/38
10 - 23 September 2017


  • 23 September 2017
    There's good off-the-premises sales news for 'craft' beer, as compiled by IRI (which tracks beer sales at supermarkets, chain stores, and convenience-store chains):
    Craft has come on strong lately. In the latest IRI, to September 10, the segment's dollars are up 5.9% and volume up 4% YTD in the multi-outlet and convenience channel. Those trends improved in the latest 12-week period with dollars up 6.9% and volume up 5.1%. And things got even better in the latest four weeks, with dollars up 8.3% and volume up 6.2%. That's among its best showing of the year.
    —Via Craft Business Daily, at YFGF (at Facebook).

  • 23 September 2017
    Anheuser-Busch InBev goes down under to expand its hegemony, buys 4 Pines Brewery, a 'craft' brewery in New South Wales, Australia.
    —Via MillerCoors Behind the Beer.

  • 22 September 2017
    We’re going to get into this category and we’re going to kill it.
    Two past employees of Anheuser-Busch reveal how the company regarded 'craft' beer in the mid-1990s (when A-B was still American-owned) and how it reacted toward it. The murderous comment above was one reaction of several.
    —Via Jeff Alworth at Beervana.

  • 21 September 2017
    National Cask Ale Week is an eleven-day week "only in Britain, only in pubs. Celebrating Britain's national drink." Organized by Cask Marque (a real ale pub accreditation service), the celebration runs 21 September through 1 October in the U.K.
    Cask Ale Week's main objective is to get more people trying real ale and encourage more pubs to organise real ale events throughout the week.
    • Encourage non-real ale drinkers to try real ale for the first time.
    • Encourage experienced real ale drinkers to visit real ale pubs throughout the week.
    • Encourage non-real ale pubs to stock real ale for the first time.
    • Encourage pubs to organise a number of real ale events to increase trial and improve their trade.
    —Via Cask Marque.

  • 20 September 2017
    A direct hit by Hurricane Maria leaves Puerto Rico an "island destroyed." It was the first Category 4 storm to strike the island directly since 1932.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 19 September 2017
    An archaeological team from the Universidad Catolica de Temuco in Chile has found traces of S. eubayanus —the cold-resistant parent of lager yeast parents (the other being Saccharomyces cerevisiae, ale yeast)— in 1,000-year-old ceramic pottery at Lake Melinquina in Argentina (near the Chilean border).
    Perez’s find suggests that the group who made the ceramic vessels were probably using them to make a fermented drink from plant products, similar to the 'chicha' or 'mudai' beverage drunk in the region today. That might mean they were doing so using the yeast S. eubayanus to make alcohol more than 200 years before lager production began in Bavaria in the 1400s.
    —Via NBC News.

  • 17 September 2017
    Bourbon, rye, and gin: different daughters of the same mother? The lineage tree of genever, gin, bourbon, and rye in America.
    —Via Gary Gillman, at Beer et seq..

  • 16 September 2017
    What's new is old. In 1679, English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke was categorizing English beer (what we now would beer styles): home-made, for sale, and compound.
    —Via Alan McLeod at A Good Beer Blog.

  • 15 September 2017
    After five years of consistent growth (driven primarily by 'craft' beer), the active number of individual beer items sold at U.S. retailers is in decline. The number of SKUs — an acronym for stock-keeping unit, a measure used to track unique items available for sale — available on retailers’ shelves stood at 12,786 on the end of August 2017, down 3.4 percent at the end of 2016, according to a report from Brett Cooper at Consumer Edge Research. While that is nearly double the 6,388 active SKUs at the beginning of 2011, the retreat this year shows the craft segment may be in a period of "rationalization." 'Craft' beer SKUs dropped to 9,021, down 5.7 percent.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 15 September 2017
    Harry Dean Stanton, the veteran American actor who "ballasted generations of independent and cult films," such as Paris, Texas, Alien, Repo Man and The Straight Story, has died aged 91.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 15 September 2017
    Harry Dean Stanton, the veteran American actor who "ballasted generations of independent and cult films," such as Paris, Texas, Alien, Repo Man and The Straight Story, has died aged 91.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 14 September 2017
    A New Jersey man was severely gastrointestinally burned when a bar in Atlantic City served him a draft beer tainted with caustic that had been used to clean the beer lines, but not rinsed.
    —Via WPIX-TV (New York).

  • 14 September 2017
    Craft brewery pioneer Widmer Brothers now generates 100% of the carbon dioxide it needs to carbonte its beer by capturing it during fermentation, cleaning it, and re-using it. (As of a decade ago, the [U.S.] Brewers Association no longer considers Widmer to be a craft brewery.)
    —Via Craft Brweing Business.

  • 12 September 2017
    The seven essential cocktails every drinker should know how to make: Daiquiri, Gin and Tonic, Manhattan, Margarita, Martini, Negroni, and Old-Fashioned.
    —Via M. Carrie Allan, at The Washington Post.

  • 10 September 2017
    Hurricane Irma was the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage, particularly in parts of the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys.
    —Via Wikipedia.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Pumpkins on a sill

Pumpkins on a sill (02)

Cook 'em and serve 'em with a beer. Just don't put 'em in a beer. Thank you.

A gorgeous cornucopia of gourds sits on a bench, in a pub, at the end of summer, on 20 September 2017, in the Little 5 Points neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Wistful, like summer departed.

Summer dies today. A monody for the occasion:

And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart.
High up in the sky, the little stars climb,
Always reminding me that we're apart.

You wander down the lane and far away,
Leaving me a song that will not die.
Love is now the stardust of yesterday,
The music of the years gone by.

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song.
The melody haunts my reverie,
And I am once again with you,
When our love was new,
And each kiss an inspiration.
But that was long ago.
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song.

Beside a garden wall,
When stars are bright,
You are in my arms.
The nightingale tells his fairy tale,
A paradise where roses bloom.
Though I dream in vain,
In my heart, it will remain,
My stardust melody,
The memory of love's refrain.

—"Stardust" was composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael; two years later, Mitchell Parish added lyrics. In 2004, Carmichael's original recording of the song was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.



The great Lester Young on tenor saxophone, in 1954 —with Oscar Peterson, piano; Barney Kessel, guitar; Ray Brown, bass; J. C. Heard, drums.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Drinking, again! San Diego comes to Atlanta.

San Diego comes to Atlanta

AleSmith (of San Diego, California) only recently began shipping its beers to Atlanta, Georgia. And, on 20 September 2017, the Porter Beer Bar (in Atlanta's Little 5 Points neighborhood) was pouring AleSmith's "IPA" on draught.
  • About the beer, the brewery says:
    Aromas of grapefruit and tangerine lead into an abundance of fresh pine and tropical fruit notes followed by a crisp, resinous bitterness. The complex hop profile is supported by a firm malt presence...
    • Alcohol-by-volume (ABV): 7.25%
    • Bitterness: 73 IBUs (International Bittering Units)
  • YFGF says:
    Compared to many latter-day IPAs, this one is positively restrained in its tropical fruit-candy hop essence. There's even some cracker malt evident. It all finishes with a bracing slug of piney, drying bitterness; there's no tug-of-war between sweet and dry. At that alcohol level, one pint is good 'n' plenty. Bonus points for the simple, non-fanciful name.

*******************
Drinking, again! is a series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits). No scores; only descriptions.


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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Oktoberfest stein

Today's Pick of the Week hits four bases: Oktoberfest, beer, 'throwback,' and 'selfie.'

Oktoberfest stein

That's me (ungrammatical but colloquial) enjoying a Maßkrug (High German for liter stein) of Legend's Oktoberfest lager (redundant but didactic) outdoors at Legend Brewing Company, at its brewery in Richmond, Virginia, seven years ago, on the 4th of September, 2010. A liter comprises 33.81 U.S. ounces or more than two U.S. pints; a Maßkrug weighs about 5.5 U.S. pounds full. Despite my sober demeanor: giddy me!

The 'official' —and original Oktoberfest— begins today in Munich, the capital of the state of Bavaria in Germany. The celebration traditionally runs for sixteen days counting backward from the first Sunday in October. Since the 1990s, however, if the sixteenth day falls before 3 October (which is German Unity Day), the festival continues until and including the 3rd. Thus, Oktoberfest this year —the festival's 184th iteration— comprises a full eighteen days: 16 September through 3 October.

Munich's name, by the way, is derived from the Old German term Munichen, meaning "by the monks," after Benedictine monks who founded a monastery in what would later become the city. Trappist monks —a later, stricter, offshoot of the Benedictine order— would become known in the 20th-century Belgium for their iconic eponymous ales.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 33/34, 2017.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 33/34
13 August - 26 August 2017


  • 25 September 2017
    Molson Coors has been accused of selling Carling Lager at 3.7% alcohol-by-volume as 4% for 5 years, reportedly in order to avoid a £50 million tax bill. The company says that the variance was within the allowable range, which, it says, exists to accommodate occasional fluctuations in fermentation, and was not to enable a 5 year long campaign of tax avoidance.
    —Via Daily Mail.

  • 25 August 2017
    Donald Trump pardons former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff whose aggressive efforts to hunt down and detain undocumented immigrants made him a national symbol of the divisive politics of immigration and who was convicted of contempt of court in July for defying a judge’s order to stop racially profiling Latinos.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 24 August 2017
    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announces plan to reduce size of national monuments Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Cascade-Siskiyou, and reviewing status of dozens of others protected by actions of several previous presidents.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 23 August 2017
    Yakima, Washington-based hop broker 47 Hops LLC —which purchases hops from growers and resells them to brewers— has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reporting liabilities of $7.4 million, unsecured claims of $2.9 million, and assets of $4.3 million. 47 Hops president Douglas MacKinnon said that
    Brewers, fueled by optimism, contracted for more hops than they now need,” while blaming declining demand for his hop supply on slowing craft sales. To make matters worse, several of 47 Hops’ brewery clients delayed payment and delivery of their hops during the last year, MacKinnon said. “Payments for some contracted hops are one year behind schedule. Some brewers have stopped responding to calls and emails altogether.”
    —Via Brewbound.

  • 23 August 2017
    Alaska's permafrost is no longer permanent, thawing as one result of climate change and one potential cause of future warming.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 22 August 2017
    John Abercrombie —influential jazz guitarist of 1970s fusion jazz (and more than that)— has died at 72.
    —Via Chicago Tribune.

  • Mercury appears during eclipse
  • 21 August 2017
    From Oregon on the west coast to South Carolina on the east, the "Great American Eclipse 2017" was the first total eclipse to traverse the entire continental United States since 1918. The wait for the next totally-American total eclipse won't be quite as long. It will darken the width of the continent twenty-eight years from now, on 12 August 2045.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 20 August 2017
    Jerry Lewis, the comedian, actor and filmmaker who was adored by many, disdained by others, but unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, died at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 19 August 2017
    Known as a comedian who broke racial barriers, served as a civil rights activist and advocated for a healthier lifestyle, Dick Gregory has died.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 16 August 2017
    In what may be a trend, 'craft' breweries, large and smaller, have been opening additional or satellite locations. For exampe, Green Flash —a San Diego, California-based brewery which only last year opened a second brewing location in Virginia Beach, Virginia— has announced plans to open a third brewery, this time with an attached restaurant, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
    —Via Porch Drinking.

  • 16 August 2017
    When a customer (nicely) asked a small 'craft' brewery about inconcistency in its beers, the brewery told him to f*** off. Opprobium for the brewery was widespread.
    —Via Paste.

  • 15 August 2017
    Jack Daniel's Distillery has revised its official company history to acknowledge Nearest (Nathan) Green, born an African-American slave, as its original master distiller. In the photo, Jack Daniel, on the right with a mustache and wearing a white hat, is shown at his distillery in Tennessee in the later 1800s. Nearest Green [or one of Green’s sons] is believed to be the man pictured on the left.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 15 August 2017
    Over the 52-week period ending in June 2017, on-the-premises beer sales decreased 2% over the same period the year before, whereas wine sales were up 1.5% and spirits up 1.6%. Off-the-premises beer sales did increase but by only 0.1%, whereas wine increased 1.4% and spirits, 2.2%.
    —Via Brewbound (quoting Nielsen).

  • 13 August 2017
    More than nine billion tons of plastic has been produced since 1950, and the vast majority of it is still around, with literally one ton of plastic garbage for every human on Earth.
    —Via Washington Post.

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: One Blue Pussy

One Blue Pussy

A blue-shirt and blue-jeans clad museum-goer examines Andy Warhol's "One Blue Pussy" at an exhibition of the artist's work at the High Museum, in Atlanta, Georgia, on 1 September 2017.
In the 1950s, Andy Warhol worked as a freelance children's-book illustrator while sharing a Lexington Avenue apartment with his mother and 25 cats. He apparently never intended to host an entire cat colony in his apartment, but the head count continued to grow after he decided to find a companion for his first cat, Hester.

Warhol created colorful lithographs of the felines in his spare time. In 1954, the artist released the drawings, accompanied by his mother’s calligraphy, in the limited-edition book 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy. Untrue to its grammatically flawed title, 25 Cats features prints of only 16 different cats. Except for the cat named Blue Pussy, each one is named Sam, after the first cat Warhol bought to keep Hester company. Original copies of the book are hard to come by — Christie’s once estimated one copy at $40,000 to $60,000.

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Friday, September 08, 2017

Building an Emergency Kit

Because sometimes it's not just about the beer (even though a six-pack or two of canned beer might just come in handy) ...

FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the Department of Homeland Security) recommends that all Americans should have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days in case of an emergency. Stay safe.

Here is FEMA's checklist for Building an Emergency Kit:

Basic Emergency Kit (01)

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
  • Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
    To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
    • Water
      One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
    • Food
      At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
    • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
    • Flashlight.
    • First aid kit.
    • Extra batteries.
    • Whistle to signal for help.
    • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
    • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
    • Manual can opener for food.
    • Local maps.
    • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.
    • Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF).

  • Additional Emergency Supplies
    Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:
    • Prescription medications.
    • Non-prescription medications
      Such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives.
    • Glasses and contact lens solution.
    • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream.
    • Pet food and extra water for your pet.
    • Cash or traveler's checks.
    • Important family documents
      Such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container.
    • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
    • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes.
    • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water.
    • Fire extinguisher.
    • Matches in a waterproof container.
    • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
    • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils.
    • Paper and pencil.
    • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

  • Maintaining Your Kit
    After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:
    • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
    • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
    • Replace expired items as needed.
    • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

  • Kit Storage Locations
    Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.
    • Home
      Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
    • Work
      Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
    • Vehicle
      In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

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Monday, September 04, 2017

Happy Labor Day!

The U.S. beer industry provides jobs to nearly 2.23 million Americans, contributes over $350 billion to America’s economy, and pays $63.5 billion in annual taxes.

  • Brewers and importers directly employ 64,745 Americans.
  • Suppliers to the brewing industry employ more than 491,800 Americans.
  • Beer wholesalers directly employ more than 134,240 Americans.
  • Beer retailers employ 915,700 Americans.

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And 'craft' beer?

Craft brewing produced 128,768 jobs in 2016


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Labor Day

Of the Super Bowl, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Christmas, Memorial Day, and Labor Day ... more beer is sold in the United States for Labor Day libations (off-the-premises, more than sixty million cases) than for any other holiday.

Yeast never sleeps. Your local brewster is probably hard at work today, doing her part. Support the American worker. Do your part. Drink a beer (or two). Honor Labor Day.

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Roots

Roots (02)

Ent-like, the twisted roots of a tree —limned in late afternoon sun and shadow— guard the steps at the entrance to Walker Park, in Atlanta (Edgewood), Georgia, on 28 August 2017.

A Chihuahua photo-bombed the photo. Had she espied something sinister within the roots?

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Friday, September 01, 2017

Happy Georgia Brewery Liberation Day!

It's the first of September 2017, which means that, as of today, Georgia has joined with the rest of the Union. Breweries in the state of Georgia can now sell THEIR own beers in THEIR own taprooms to THEIR own customers.

Georgia has become the 51st (that is, the last) of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to permit this. (The penultimate laggard, Mississippi, enabled its permission on 1 July.) Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed bill SB-85 on 8 May; it took effect today.

Better late than never, no?

Duck the tour guide

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Michael Jackson vs. Conan O'Brien.

Michael Jackson, 28 March 1995.
People say if you don't drink you live longer.
That's not true. It just seems longer.

Michael Jackson —the ungloved one, the one who didn't drink Pepsi, but the one who drank beer and wrote about it, the Beer Hunter— was an erudite Yorkshire, England, newspaper reporter who was the prime promulgator, in several wonderful books, of the concept of 'beer type' or 'beer style,' a nomenclature based on geography and tradition, and ingredient and process.

Jackson was a man who wrote as well as he drank, who demonstrated that beer —and whisk(e)y— was easily wine's equal (or was that vice-versa?). His concept of 'beer style' —a novel idea in the 1970s when he wrote his first books— is now well-established canon, if twisted well beyond Jackson's original premise.

Michael Jackson appeared twice on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien": first in December 1998 and again, a decade later, in April of 2006. The first was funnier; the second snarkier and more mean-spirited toward Jackson.

Jackson, so public in his advocacy for good beer, long waged a private battle against Parkinson's Disease, its progressively deteriorating symptoms observable as slurred speech, rigidity, and herky-jerky movements. Even at that earlier point in 1998, Jackson was already suffering from Parkinson's effects, although subtly. By the second appearance, very noticeably.

Jackson had plans of writing a memoir of his battle with the disease that he would impishly entitle, "I Am Not Drunk." Not to be. He died on 30 August 2007, at the age of sixty-five.

You can help find a cure for Parkinson's. You can link your home computer into a worldwide distributed computing effort —Folding at Home —run by researchers at Stanford University to better understand protein folding errors, believed to be a cause of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative diseases. I have done so, in honor of Mr. Jackson and of my father —who also died of Parkinson's, five years earlier— in the hope that, someday soon, no one will any longer need to suffer from that scourge. Please consider doing so yourself. There is no cost.

From that evening in 1998, here's another exchange Jackson had with O'Brien. The latter was no match.
Jackson: "This beer was made with hot rocks. [...] Didn't you get hot rocks when you tasted it?"

O'Brien: "No. I don't have a sophisticated palate. I'm like a Pabst Blue Ribbon guy."

Jackson: "You get hot rocks when you wear short shorts. I think that's what you need to do."



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Monday, August 28, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 31/32, 2017.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 31/32
30 July - 12 August 2017


  • 12 August 2017
    Man charged after white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, ends in deadly violence. Trump finds fault with both anti-white-nationalist protestors and KKK/neo-Nazi marchers.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 12 August 2017
    Glen Campbell, the sweet-voiced, guitar-picking son of a sharecropper who became a recording, television, and movie star in the 1960s and ’70s, whose hit songs bridged country and pop, and who waged a publicized battle with alcohol and drugs and who gave his last performances while in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, died in Nashville, at 81.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 8 August 2017
    Despite the eschatological presence of "fine English wines" served for the first time at the Great British Beer Festival, Goats Milk, a 3.8% (!) alcohol-by-volume bitter (cask-conditioned, of course) brewed by was produced by the Church End Brewery in Warwickshire, England, has won Champion Beer of Britain at the competition, celebrating its 40th anniversary.
    —More, via Roger Protz on Beer.

  • Beer is Best
  • 10 August 2017
    The demise and rebirth of the ten-sided pint beer mug ("lantern tankard" or "Queen's Choice"): the "iconic symbol of all that is great about British beer."
    —Via Martyn Cornell, at Zythophile.

  • 10 August 2017
    Constellation Brands (producer of wines, spirits, and the beers Corona and past 'craft' brewery Ballast Point) has purchased Funky Buddha Brewery of Florida because, the press release says,
    Constellation [a $7.33 BILLION-dollar company] and Funky Buddha [a small brewery capable of 45,000 barrels-per-year production] share a lot of the same ideals and passion for philanthropy, entrepreneurship and the art of craft beer. At the end of the day, we just really like the people we have met within the organization, each of whom share [sic] our dedication to making outstanding beer.
    Ha, ha! The purchase price was not revealed, but it most probably will not be one billion dollars —the amount that Constellation overpaid for San Diego 'craft' brewery, Ballast Point in November 2015.
    —Via All About Beer.

  • 8 August 2017
    The U.S. Agriculture Department is forbidding its civil servants from using the terms: “climate change” and “reduce greenhouse gases,” substituting for the latter with “increase nutrient use efficiency”.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 8 August 2017
    New research —published in 2016 in Cell— has determined that nearly all modern beer yeasts are descended from merely two strains in the 1600s. The publication describes the assembly of four hundred fifty yeast strains into one family tree.
    A very large proportion of [modern] brewing yeasts in [Germany, the U.K., and the U.S.] descends from a single strain. Breweries somewhere in Europe must have, somehow, gotten hold of a strain that was then shared throughout four different countries, and that was also taken across the Atlantic to the US. You really have to wonder how and why that happened.
    —Via LarsBlog.

  • 8 August 2017
    A goddess has left this mortal coil. Barbara Cook, luminous singer of Broadway stage, has died at 89. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Cook was an American singer and actress who first came to prominence in the 1950s as the lead in Broadway musicals such as The Music Man (1957) for which she won a Tony Award. Cook was lauded for her excellent lyric coloratura soprano range, vocal agility, wide range, warm sound, and emotive interpretations. She continued performing mostly in theatre until the mid-1970s, when she began a second career as a cabaret and concert singer.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 8 August 2017
    The Beer Institute has come out in favor of the proposed U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) rules on Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments, arguing that
    consumers should be provided with the highest standard of information for alcohol beverages on menus for chain restaurants and other similar dining establishments.
    The Beer Institute, while representing all U.S. breweries, comprises Anheuser-Busch InBev, Constellation Brands, Heineken USA, MillerCoors, and a few others which together produce more than 81% of the volume of beer sold in the United States.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 7 August 2017
    Current climate change is real, potentially dangerous, and man-made, says legally-mandated Climate Science Special Report produced by thirteen Federal agencies. Trump is considering his response.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • Judith Jones with Julia Child (c. 1959)
  • 2 August 2017
    Judith Jones, the legendary editor who rescued Anne Frank’s "The Diary of a Young Girl" from a publisher’s reject pile and later introduced readers to the likes of Julia Child (when books on French cooking for Americans were virtually non-existent) and a host of other influential cookbook authors, has died in Walden, Vermont, at 93, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
    —Via Joe Yonan at Washington Post.

  • 2 August 2017
    For the first time ever, scientists have genetically modified a human embryo. The details are reported in a study in the journal Nature.
    In their new paper, a consortium of scientists in California, Oregon and Asia detailed using the genome-editing technique CRISPR to repair DNA that causes a common genetic heart disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is only the fourth published study involving editing human embryos; the other three all took place in China.
    —Via MSN.

  • 2 August 2017
    Ara Parseghian —an American football coach who guided the University of Notre Dame to national championships in 1966 and 1973, noted for bringing Notre Dame's "Fighting Irish" football program from years of futility back into a national contender in 1964 and is widely regarded alongside Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy as a part of the 'Holy Trinity' of Notre Dame head coaches— has died at 94.
    —Via ESPN.

  • 1 August 2017
    The [U.S.] Brewers Association reported, that, as of June 30, there were 5,562 breweries in the U.S. (increased by 906 from a year ago) and 2,739 more breweries in planning. Craft beer sales volume increased 5% during the first half of 2017 [a slowdown from craft beer's double-digit growth rates of the past few years].
    The growth pace for small and independent brewers has stabilized at a rate that still reflects progress but in a more mature market. Although more difficult to realize, growth still exists
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 1 August 2017
    Another pioneering 'craft' brewery (in fact, the original pioneer) has been purchased by a foreign entity.
    In a statement released today, Japanese beer-maker Sapporo Holdings Limited announced it would acquire San Francisco, California-based Anchor Brewing, revered as a pioneer of American craft beer. The transaction is expected to close on August 31 will cost $85 million, according to a tweet from Bloomberg News’ Tokyo bureau chief Gearoid Reidy.

    Anchor was founded in 1896, though it entered its modern phase in 1965 when Fritz Maytag purchased a majority stake in the struggling brewery. Since then, the brewery’s iconic Anchor Steam and Liberty Ale have become ubiquitous and are credited by many with sparking the American craft revival. Anchor was the 22nd-largest brewery in the U.S. by volume in 2016, according to data compiled by the Brewers Association. It has been owned since 2010 by The Griffin Group, an investment and consulting company focused on alcoholic beverage brands.
    —Via DRAFT.

  • 1 August 2017
    Today, in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln enacted the first-ever American federal excise tax on "beer, lager beer, ale, porter": $1 per barrel. Enacted to fund the military actions of the U.S. Civil War, the tax has never been repealed, but increased. The Civil War ended in 1865.
    —Via Tom Acitelli, at All About Beer.

  • 28 July 2017
    People who drink three to four times a week are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who never drink, according to a new study conducted by the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark.
    The researchers concluded that drinking moderately three to four times a week reduced a woman's risk of diabetes by 32% while it lowered a man's by 27%, compared with people drinking on less than one day a week.
    • Wine appeared to be particularly beneficial, because polyphenols, particularly in red wine, play a role in helping to manage blood sugar. Red wine is thought to help with the management of blood sugar.
    • When it came to drinking beer, men having one to six beers a week lowered their risk of diabetes by 21%, compared to men who drank less than one beer a week - but there was no impact on women's risk.
    • Meanwhile, a high intake of spirits among women seemed to significantly increase their risk of diabetes - but there was no effect in men.
    —Via BBC.

  • 27 July 2017
    Sam Shepard, film and stage actor, author of forty-four plays, several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs, and Pulitzer Prize winner (in 1979 for his play Buried Child) has died of complications associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Geherig's Disease), at age 73. Shepard's
    hallucinatory plays redefined the landscape of the American West and its inhabitants
    —Via New York Times.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: how to help its victims.


Hurricane Harvey continues to pummel Texas during the early hours of Sunday morning, dropping 20 inches of rain on Houston and causing dire, and deadly, flash floods. Forecasters expect 15 to 30 inches of rain in many areas, with as much as 40 inches in isolated regions, according to the National Weather Service.

The Weather Channel has posted links to a few organizations to which you can donate to help victims. That list and the need will grow.
Red Cross

The Red Cross is mobilizing trained Red Cross disaster relief workers to support this response effort, and has more than shelters ready to open and support thousands of people if needed. Trailers full of shelter and relief supplies have been pre-positioned including cots, blankets, comfort and cleaning supplies. Donate: Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has already begun collecting funds to help those affected by the storm. Though most people think of donating clothing or household items first, spokesperson Alvin Migues said physical donations can be a challenge during a disaster. “Then you have to spend manpower to deal with sorting and other things as they come into the warehouses instead of having those folks out in the field doing the work," he said. "So, we always asked people to send a cash donation instead,” he said.

Donate: You can donate cash online at disaster.salvationarmyusa.org or by phone at 1-800-725-2769.


South Texas Blood and Tissue Center

The STBTC is in dire need of blood donations to prepare South Texas Hospitals for Hurricane Harvey. The center says although O negative and O positive blood is at critically low levels, all blood type donations are welcome. The center says less than a day's supply is available. The center is asking the public in the San Antonio and New Braunfels areas to donate right now.

Donate: Visit southtexasblood.org or call 210-731-5590 to schedule an appointment to donate blood.


Texas Diaper Bank

"Diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies," the TDB posted on Facebook Friday. To alleviate that need, the TDB is requesting donations of cash and diapers to provide emergency diaper kits for families that are being displaced due to Hurricane Harvey.

Donate: Visit the donation page at texasdiaperbank.org and designate your donation for Disaster Relief.


More

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Totality -minus 5 minutes.

Totality -minus 5 minutes

An eerie pall, then, almost instantly, darkness. Majestic, mysterious, and awful (in its deific sense) beauty.

Along the shores of Lake Hartwell, at the conjunction of northeastern Georgia and South Carolina, the Great American Eclipse 2017 began on the afternoon of Monday, 21 August, at 1:05 pm and ended nearly three hours later at 4:01 pm. Totality —complete eclipse— was briefer, beginning at 2:35:46 and ending at 2:38:21.

Despite having done what I thought to be due diligence, I, a piker, failed to fully comprehend the great degree of difficulty I would have, while wearing darkened eclipse glasses, to actually find and frame the sun via my camera's LCD screen. 

That being so, I dud manage to snap a few photos of the gathering eclipse (such as above, at 2:30 pm, five minutes before totality), a handful of my fellow eclipse-watchers, and a few shaky shots of the sun when totality struck.

This was the first total eclipse to traverse the entire continental United States since 1918. The wait for the next totally-American total eclipse won't be quite as long. It will darken the width of the continent twenty-eight years from now, on 12 August 2045. *

I'll be ready.

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  • * The next total solar eclipse to be visible over North America (but not exclusive to the U.S.) will be even sooner yet: 8 April 2024.
  • More of my eclipse photos, as they were: here.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos taken (or noted) by me, posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always (as is the case today), with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • See the photo on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Grow up!


The ugly, distasteful, entitled (dare I say, Millenial?), ultimately self-defeating attitude of some of 'craft' brewing.
This is a small batch brewery. The amount of time a beer spends in a tank, sometimes due to limited human resources, variances in ingredients, and other shit like this affects the beer. We do not have hops contracts this year. We are small so we get the shittiest pick of hops. Grain does not all come from the same field.

We tinker with all inputs to work to improve the beer. This is part of what makes small batch brewing and craft brewing what it is. I know there are a lot of experts out there, so to you, if you want to get schooled on this, drop by and speak to Travis or one of our other biologist [sic].

On the other hand, if you want more consistency, you can find plenty [sic] brands that never try to improve. Brands that have the money and access to gigantic tanks that they can blend into to make more consistent beer. We will gladly give you some recommendations.

BTW, other craft breweries have these issues. Exploding cans, srm/color variances, haze variances…give them a break. Don’t think this is professional, well that’s good cause I am not a professional, I am a fucking scofflaw. #webrewbeerforgeorgia
Scofflaw Brewing (Atlanta, Georgia)
as posted to Facebook (15 August 2017).


**********************

YFGF responds

I now reside in Georgia and, no, you do not brew for me: not with that condescension, not with that sheeple 'craft-oblige.'

Ask me to give you my good money for your defective product? No. Ask that I accept your sanctimonious pontification that poor brewing and risk of consumer injury is what 'craft' is? No, I won't. That is not 'craft.' It's crap (and, in the case of the latter, it's a large bowel movement: a potentially brewery-shuttering lawsuit).

It doesn't matter if I or any of your potential consumers am/are or were brewers or not (and, in fact, I was a brewer when you were in diapers and possibly even before then). Packaging a beer in a can or bottle or keg (and don't get me started on casks) requires a whole new set of understanding, technology, and yes, funding. If you can't do it right, don't do it. Or at least don't get upset when consumers aren't pleased with sub par results. It's their cash, your problem. You operate a factory. Learn how it works.

Beer Packaging

In the 2014 edition of their book, Beer Packaging, Ray Klimovitz and Karl Ockert wrote:
Packaging is the most expensive aspect of brewing, representing up to two-thirds of the cost of beer production. It is also one of the least forgiving steps in the brewing process.

Maybe, you might read their book, first. (I could loan you my copy.)

You say that your 'birdie-fingers-in-the-air' photo was a joke. Maybe, but childish. But when you accompany it with a pathetic 'poor-poor-pitiful-me' routine [as above], it appears to be not a joke but an obnoxious whine.

On your Facebook page, you say to a customer: "skip ours and buy something else." Agreed. There are thousands of other 'craft' breweries who give a damn. To be fair to you, they too may occasionally suffer similar brewing and packaging follies, but a difference between you and them is that they 'own' their errors and correct them. Too bad for you.

Put on your big boy pants. Grow up.

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  • I attended a Scofflaw pre-opening release-ceremony, in August 2016, pleased, then, to sample the wares of a new brewery. Such a consequent social media stance is ill-advised.
  • My usual modus operandi is to mention when praising, keep obscured when castigating. The idea of the thing is often the thing, rather than the thing itself. In this case, however, the sheer gall of this social-media posting required application of caustic in bright light, even if the brewery's' puerile behavior might be rewarded with clicks and views as the result.
  • This post was originally published, in slightly different form,  at YFGF's Facebook page: here.
  • Read Paste Magazine's coverage: here. (It was their story that alerted me to the situation.)
  • Read Scofflaw's post at its Facebook page: 15 August 2017.

  • For more from YFGF:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets was eclipsed.

Due to foreseen circumstances, Clamps & Gaskets —a bi-weekly news roundup of beer and other things— did not make its regularly scheduled appearance yesterday. It will return next Monday, 28 August 2017 (and, to catch up, again, on the following Monday, Labor Day).

Totality, now (that is, yesterday)!

Eclipse viewers

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Drink beer. Win acclaim!

Beer ye, beer ye! Do you write, blog, or podcast about beer?

If yes, you have until this Friday, 25 August, to enter the 2017 North American Guild of Beer Writers competition. The NAGBW has announced its 5th annual Beer Writer Awards. Or more accurately, its 5th annual awards for beer writers and bloggers and broadcasters, and, yes, authors.

North American Guild of Beer Writers
Through this annual writing competition, the Guild aims to broaden the conversation about beer and brewing, raise the standards of writing, and provide leadership and continuing education for practitioners of our profession, while also encouraging and supporting more participation throughout all media channels.

To be eligible for consideration, entries must have been published between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017. But to be judged, entries must be submitted by this Friday, 25 August 2017. There are eleven categories in which to enter:
  • Best Beer Book
  • Best Beer Podcast
  • Best Beer Blog
  • Best Beer and Food Writing
  • Best Beer and Travel Writing
  • Best Local Reporting
  • Best National/ International Reporting
  • Best Short Form Writing (fewer than 600 words)
  • Best History Writing
  • Best Technical Writing
  • Best Beer Criticism or Commentary
It'll cost you $30 per entry. If you're a member of the NAGBW, however, that's only $15. Furthermore, there's only one article or item allowed per entry per category and only two entries are permitted per person.

Submissions will be judged by these criteria and to these weights:
  • Readability: 25%
  • Voice and style: 25%
  • Knowledge of subject/accuracy/factual content: 20%
  • Creativity/originality: 15%
  • Interest/newsworthiness: 15%
Finally, whether or not you submit, why not join the Guild? Membership is open to all writers and content producers who cover beer and brewing.
We are professional beer writers.

We make our living, or at least a substantial portion of it, writing about beer and brewing. We are authors, writers, publicists, bloggers, columnists, critics, cheerleaders and more. We tirelessly cover the brewing industry undefined and those who appreciate beer undefined across North America.

Many of us are self-employed or do this as a side "gig" in addition to our "real jobs." Some of us are employed by breweries, beer distributors, beer bars, stores and restaurants. Still others are publishers and event organizers, while some work for newspapers, websites, magazines and other media outlets.

We are an all-volunteer group dedicated to elevating the level of our craft as we cover the art of brewing. We are serious in our purpose, but strive to enjoy ourselves in doing our jobs.

Please consider joining with us to help shape our efforts to support and nurture better beer writing in North America.

Indeed and good luck.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: When the dew point tops 24 °C.

Draft Pilsner in Sam Adams glass

When the dew point tops 24 °C...

A beer not murky; not ugly; not fowled with chicken parts.

No.

A draught of pilsner-style lager.

Yes.

Dewdrops condensed. Such a lovely thing.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"And beer is all there is."



I don't know how many bottles of beer
I have consumed while waiting for things 
to get better
I dont know how much wine and whisky
and beer
mostly beer
I have consumed after 
splits with women-
waiting for the phone to ring
waiting for the sound of footsteps,
and the phone to ring
waiting for the sounds of footsteps,
and the phone never rings
until much later
and the footsteps never arrive
until much later
when my stomach is coming up
out of my mouth
they arrive as fresh as spring flowers:
"what the hell have you done to yourself?
it will be 3 days before you can fuck me!"

the female is durable
she lives seven and one half years longer
than the male, and she drinks very little beer
because she knows its bad for the figure.

while we are going mad
they are out
dancing and laughing
with horney cowboys.

well, there's beer
sacks and sacks of empty beer bottles
and when you pick one up
the bottle fall through the wet bottom
of the paper sack 
rolling
clanking
spilling gray wet ash
and stale beer,
or the sacks fall over at 4 a.m.
in the morning
making the only sound in your life.

beer
rivers and seas of beer
the radio singing love songs
as the phone remains silent
and the walls stand
straight up and down
and beer is all there is.

***************
Beer
Love is A Dog From Hell (published, 1977)

Charles Bukowski (16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
German-American poet and novelist

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Street scene al fresco

Street scene al fresco

A 'street photography' shot of the patio of a restaurant and the street beyond. No humans, but a high-contrast early-evening sky, bright primary colors, and phone-camera faux high-dynamic-range imaging.

And redundantly entitled.

In the East Lake neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, on 4 August 2017.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

In the real ale world, regular order is restored.

GBBF 2017

The Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) is Britain’s largest beer festival, with over 50,000 attendees. On the festival tasting floor, there are over 900 (cask-conditioned) real ales ranging from
microbreweries to the most well known British brands, and hundreds of bottled and foreign beers, and a selection of real ciders and perries.

It's also a competition among British brewers for national bragging-rights. Last year, Binghams Brewery's Vanilla Stout won the judging with a cask-ale pickled American-style with vanilla beans, cocoa, chocolate 'essence,' and 'natural' plum flavoring.

Upon hearing that, I bemoaned, "Oh the humanity." The beer reporter for the Washington Post took me to task for that, accusing me of demeaning the skills of the brewers and judges.


Stuff and nonsense, as if holding an opinion would be prima facie wrong, and expressing one, insulting. I don't much like extraneous nonsense tossed in a beer I drink. I do much enjoy the uber-freshness of an unadulterated cask ale. And I freely stipulate to that.

This year —despite the eschatological presence of "fine English wines," for the first time in the London beer festival's forty years— regular order has been restored. A 3.8% (!) alcohol-by-volume bitter (cask-conditioned, of course) has been crowned Champion Beer of Britain.
A bitter beer first brewed as a one-off for a pub in Lincolnshire has walked away with the prestigious Champion Beer of Britain award at the Great British Beer Festival at London Olympia. Goats Milk was produced by the Church End Brewery in Warwickshire for the Goat Pub in Market Deeping in Lincolnshire but proved so popular that it’s become a regular beer in the brewery’s range.

Head brewer Carl Graves says the 3.8% beer has a simple recipe of Maris Otter pale malt with a touch of crystal malt and malted wheat and is hopped with American Cascade and Chinook hops.

The judges on the final panel said the beer was the stand-out one among the six finalists and praised its fine balance of malt and hops and refreshing palate.

This year, like last, I was not fortunate to be there to taste the winner. But (risking re-opprobrium from the 'mainstream media') I'll still exult that an unpolluted bitter —a moreish session beer— has bested stronger zymur-sisters and brothers, resting victorious atop its stillage.

All is right with the world, at least for a moment.

Queue for American casks at Great BRITISH Beer Festival
Even so, a long line stood for a stand of
AMERICAN cask ales (exhibited but not judged).

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