Saturday, June 16, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Rowboat ruin

Row boat ruin (02)

Not all, but a vast majority of lakes in Georgia are not naturally formed, but man-made. *

One such of the latter is small Lake Erin, in Henderson Park, of suburban Tucker, Georgia. On 8 March 2016, I played photographer, there.


Saturday, June 09, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: And what is so rare as a day in June?

TKR Pilsner

And what is so rare as a day in June?

On 2 June 2018, a new production brewery opened its doors in Tucker, Georgia, a suburb city of Atlanta. Nice, but not necessarily rare. As of 1 January 2018, there were 6,372 breweries in the United States, according to the [U.S.] Brewers Association.

No, what was rare was an out-of-the-craft-beer-mainstream character to the event. The brewery, Tucker Brewing, was pouring only three beers: a bright zesty pilsner, an amber lager, and a hefeweizen. That was it.

TKR Pilsner (pictured above) specs:
  • 4.8% alcohol by volume (abv).
  • 25 International Bittering Units (IBUs).
  • Pilsner malt.
  • Hallertau Merkur, Hallertau Perle, and Hersbrucker hops.
  • Lager yeast.
The pils was not a 'great' beer, as in drop everything, run, don't walk. At least not yet. But it was not an IPA; it was not murky or sour or flavored with ephemera. It was a tasty beer —bright and zesty— right out of the starting gate, a difficult achievement. And it was a pilsner: ditto. The brewery promises more such German-inspired beers to come. (There's a Helles in the conditioning tank.) That is rare.

On the same weekend that Tucker Brewing opened its doors, another in the metropolitan Atlanta area closed its: Abbey of the Holy Goats, in Roswell, Georgia. That juxtaposition brings to mind the requisites of new brewery success. I believe that those are:
  • You need money: a brewery is a business.
  • You need expertise: a brewery is a factory.
  • You need 'it': an artist's soul helps.
  • You need a full pint of Gambrinus' luck.
I don't know if this Tucker Brewing is in possession of all of these. But there is one more thing needed for survival: chutzpah. And it does have that. And a spacious beer garden.


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

"Like mixing your beer with rainwater and sugar."

On 25 May 1944 —a fortnight before the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied Normandy, France— the Fredericksburg (Virginia) Free-Lance Star published a story by the overseas American war correspondent Hal Boyle. It was one of many for Boyle —who would later win the Pulitzer Prize for his wartime reporting— but this particular dispatch described the World War II condition of booze in London, England.

At his blog "Beer et. Seq.," Gary Gillman has summarized the account, in wry style. His story —"Blondes, Taxis, and the West End"— includes Boyle's description of what Boyle and the American GIs thought of British milds and bitters of the time.

Seeking to explain mild ale and bitter beer to Americans, Boyle said mild is like mixing your beer with rainwater and sugar. And bitter is like mixing it with rainwater and quinine. (Today he might say the IPA that is the rage around the world is like mixing Bud with vodka and grapefruit juice).

Given that American lager in this period was still fairly bitter, it shows that English beer – pale or bitter ale – easily outstripped it. Since no unusual bitterness was detected in mild ale, one can assume its bitterness was about equal to mid-century American lager.

Mild & bitter in 1944 London (as an American tasted them)

The weakness of British beer was remarked on, something I’ve discussed before as noticed by an Australian journalist. He stated the government must have pondered long and hard to get the stimulant/austerity balance exactly right. The American soldier’s reaction was typically popular and idiomatic: it’s like our beer if you drink it and get hit in the head with the bottle.


Saturday, June 02, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Still life (at the moment).

Still life (at the moment).

A past railroad depot, re-purposed: a scene I've wanted to photograph but never had. That is, until 30 May 2018, when I was in my car, with my camera, and the traffic signal held its red just long enough.

Modes of transportation,
Decatur, Georgia, on the tracks.
Still life (at the moment).


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Rocksteady Mild

Rocksteady Mild

For American Mild Month in May, I visited Good Word Brewing, a brewpub in downtown Duluth, Georgia (about twenty miles north of Atlanta). One of its draft mainstays is Rocksteady, which it describes as an
English Mild.
This English bad guy ale has hints of tobacco, toffee, and a touch of leather.

Co-owner Todd Dimattio told me that he rotates one of his yeast strains between this mild ale and another of his IPAs. "Is that to keep the mild ale yeast viable?" I asked. "No," Dimattio replied. Between in-house and off-the-premises sales, Rocksteady is one of his top sellers.

REquired for this day and age, the brewpub does indeed brew hoppy beers, high 'gravity' beers, and 'sours,' as well. In fact, a patron at the bar said that one of the sours on tap tasted like a fruity, puckering lemonade. But Rocksteady Mild —ruby red, not hazy, tasting like a suggestion of toasted bread with a schmear of Nutella, more-ish at only 3.4% alcohol-by-volume (abv)— was (is) a rare thing of 'sessionable' beauty.

Rock on, Mild!


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Bokeh rose

Bokeh rose

For one brief moment, the rosebush blooms splendidly in spring. Thereafter, only thorns.

Here, observing that with an inexpensive CCTV lens (created for small closed-circuit security cameras) but retrofitted with a C- mount adaptor to fit the (micro four thirds) camera.

Why do I mention that? Observe those bokeh balls to the upper left.
Bokeh (bō-kā):
the blurred quality or effect seen in the out-of-focus portion of a photograph taken with a narrow depth of field. Good bokeh is smooth and pleasing, whereas bad bokeh produces a jagged and discordant effect, largely dependent on the construction of the lens. From the Japanese, boke, for "blur, haziness."


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

These are the same beer!

These are the same beer!

These are photos of the same 'craft' beer. On the left, an IPA, on draft at a brewery. On the right, the same IPA, insouciantly poured on draft at a pub less than one mile away. Somewhere in Georgia, USA.

By the way: happy American Craft Beer Week, 14-20 May 2018!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Hydrangea blooms blue.

Hydrangea blooms blue

Hydrangea macrophylla —also called bigleaf hydrangeas and mophead hydrangeas and French hydrangeas— are a staple of the American South, such as this one in Atlanta, Georgia, the petals of its inflorescence only beginning to turn blue on 7 May 2018.


Saturday, May 05, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Sunday afternoon brewery patio-ing

Sunday afternoon brewery patio-ing (02)

They came to meet as far as Decatur, and the Three Taverns Craft Brewery, Decatur, Georgia.

Outside, on the brewery patio, on a Sunday afternoon, 8 April 2018.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Beer patio bijou

Beer patio bijou

On encountering a brewpub in Atlanta, Georgia, an Instagrammer, tagging a friend, commented, "this is the brewery I was talking about ... that also has food!" In this new generation of brewery taprooms, a brewpub had become a pleasant anomaly to her. Les temps ont changé!

Pictured above, this was not that brewpub, but another, elsewhere in the same city on the same day. On a spring afternoon, its intimate outdoor beer patio was a bijou.

Wrecking Bar Brewpub, in Atlanta (Little 5 Points), Georgia, on 27 April 2018.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Close encounter of the leonine kind.

Close encounter of the leonine kind

An intimate view of the incisors of a young (sub-Saharan) male African lion. Despite appearances, the big cat was merely yawning. Any closer approach was impeded by reinforced acrylic.

At Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta (Grant Park), Georgia, on 13 April 2018.


Endangered species protection endangered

In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed the African lion (Panthera leo) under the protection of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The nearly extinct lions of western and central Africa—a subspecies now called P. l. leo—will be listed as endangered. Only about 1,400 of these lions remain scattered across more than a dozen countries, including the critically endangered Asiatic lions of India (the cats on the two continents were not previously considered the same subspecies). Another lion subspecies—P. p. melanochaita of east and southern Africa—will be listed as threatened. There are about 17,000 to 19,000 lions left in this subspecies, most of which live in protected but restricted habitats.
Scientific American.

That turns out ohave been fortuitous timing for African lions. Earlier this month, Donald Trump's Department of the Interior indicated its intention to eliminate all future protections for threatened species, effectively gutting the 1973 Endangered Species Act.
Under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, the FWS created regulations in 1978 which granted threatened species, or those approaching endangerment, the same blanket protections granted to endangered species. Broadly, these regulations prevent “take” of protected species—death, harm, or harassment from human activity, such as hunting, capturing, and, in some cases, destroying their habitat through development, logging, or other means. “If you’re a threatened species and you don’t have ‘take’ protections, you don’t really have any protections at all,” Noah Greenwald, the endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, tells Mother Jones. The change could be disastrous for species like the North American wolverine, the gopher tortoise, and the Sierra Nevada red fox, which are proposed for listing, or are being considered for, threatened status in the future.
Mother Jones.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Spooky levitation

Spooky levitation

Not quite black and white, but a hallway silhouette. 31 March 2018.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

De gustibus non est disputandum.

A few days ago, Jaime Jurado —who, among many beer business accomplishments, was the recent Head of Brewing Operations at Abita Brewing Company, in Louisiana— posted, to his personal Facebook page, a link to an article written by Bryce Eddings 1, at a site called The Spruce, entitled, "A Working Definition of Craft Beer. The attempt to define 'craft' beer is not as easy as you think."

As you might think, there was a large thread of responses. Mine covered one aspect of the question: the elusive definition of 'craft.' Given that this is my blog, I've expanded upon my response and unraveled it here.

The [U.S.] Brewers Association 2 does NOT define what a 'craft' beer is. And, fortunately, it does not define 'craftsmanship,' either. It does, however, define what so-called 'craft' breweries are: its dues-paying members. It's a distinction often disregarded. The BA promulgated its newest 'definition' in 2014: "An American craft brewer[y] 3 is small, independent, and traditional."
  • Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
  • Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
  • Traditional: A brewer[y] that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.
Compare that to the BA's older, pre-2014, definition in which corn and rice had been deemed 'evil':
Traditional: A brewer[y] who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.

Four years before that, in 2010, the BA also changed its definition of a small brewery, making it a lot less small. It tripled the size limit for breweries from annual production of two million barrels or less ... to six million barrels. In other words, as the BA put it, it stopped penalizing member success. Or, in other words, it ended its worry about losing the advocacy and financial support of its largest member, the Boston Beer Company, who, at that point, was right at the two-million-barrel threshold. of course, now both Yuengling (allowed in, in 2014) and Boston Beer are closing in on the newer limit. Will what 'craft' is change again?


New definitions

A 'craft' brewer(y) is a brewer(y) that pays dues to the [U.S.] Brewers Association. And a 'craft' beer? That's:
1) a beer that tastes good, and/or
2) a beer made with craftmanship, and/or
3) a beer made with chemical-laden breakfast cereals, and/or
4) De gustibus non est disputandum 4.
Or, in other words, cocoa-puffs, chemicals, and artificial ingredients in your beer are okay and big non-beer venture capitalists owning your brewery are also okay. Just not big breweries.


Monday, April 09, 2018

Drinking in the Culture: A checklist for Beer Gardens in Europe. (Beer Blogging Friday)

The Session: Beer Blogging Friday is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin. On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session, choosing a specific, beer-related topic, inviting all bloggers to write on it, and posting a roundup of all the responses received.

For The Session #134, Friday, 6 April 2018, I was that pre-determined host and my topic was ... Beer Gardens.

Beer writers/raconteurs/travellers/tickers Bob and Ellie Tupper sent in a checklist for European beer gardens — a checklist that could be referenced universally (or, for now, globally). I've posted it here, today —Monday, 9 April— because, in the beer world and especially in a beer garden, it's always Friday in spirit. Allons-y, Alonzo!


Drinking in the Culture

The calendar, if not the thermometer, says it’s springtime, so it’s time to leave the romantic tasting rooms with crackling fires and start searching for places to drink beer in the great outdoors. The explosion of farm breweries may soon make beer gardens more numerous and exciting in the U.S. than in the Old Country, but, for now, we still look forward to returning to our favorites in Germany and Austria.

When we wrote Drinking In the Culture: Tuppers’ Guide to Exploring Great Beers in Europe [in 2015], we tried to identify the six best places in each of the twenty-four featured cities to experience the local beer culture. We succeeded in over twenty cities, but failed miserably in Munich: there were just too many. We finally compromised on the six best establishments in each of four different categories, only one of which was "beer garden." It came down to six criteria that lifted those six winners to the top of a crowded Munich field.

Here are those criteria, with a favorite or two in Germany and Austria for each of them.
  • Accessibility
    We only included places accessible by public transportation. German DUI laws are even stricter than in the U.S. We found a lovely, historic beer garden near Freising last year, but the round-trip cab ride came to over $70. The Augustiner Keller in Munich is two blocks from a tram stop and the S Bahn subway.

  • Prices
    The price of a German Mass (short-filled liter) can vary from 6 to 9 Euros. In general, the closer to the center of the city, the more you’ll pay. The price of a liter at the Kloster Mülln garden in Salzburg is still just above the 6 Euro level.

  • Size
    Intimate gardens can be attractive, but we love a really enormous one. The clanking of steins and rumble of 200-liter barrels, overlaid with hundreds of conversations, could be cacophonic, but to us, it’s a symphony. On a beautiful weekend night, the Munich Hirschgarten comes close to filling their 8,000 seats, and the hum is like a contented beehive you can hear for blocks.

  • Setting
    Traditional German beer gardens evolved in the 19th century as brewers discovered that if you spread white gravel on the hilltop above the underground cellars where you kept the beer, then further shaded the white stone with leafy chestnut trees, it kept the cellars cooler. An unintended benefit was that this shady hilltop was a perfect place to drink that lovely beer. Some gardens have particularly good vistas: you can spot an Alp from Kloster Mülln, gaze at the massive Dom across the Danube from the Spital Brauerei garden in Regensburg, or feed the deer that mooch along the fence next to your table at the Hirschgarten.

  • Food
    Almost every garden will have roast chicken and bratwurst, but the biggest and best of them go much farther. Fresh fish roasted over live coals, spare ribs, enormous spiral-sliced white radishes, massive roasted pork knuckles, and a wide array of salads and sweets almost always taste as good as they look. Food vendors indoors and out in the garden at Kloster Mülln offer a variety that gives this one an edge over the others. Or copy the locals and bring in your own picnic; almost all gardens allow it as long as you’re drinking their beer.

  • Beer
    As important as this criterion would seem, it probably influences us the least. Almost every brewery with a good garden brews a fine helles lager. But, as Orwell noted, some are more equal than others. Munich’s Augustiner is sweet, but achingly clean, and somehow leaves you with no ache at all the next morning. Salzburg’s Augustiner brewery looms above the Kloster Mülln garden; being able to sit within meters of where the beer is born seems to make it taste even better.

  • Gemütlichkeit
    Gemütlichkeit, or friendliness, is hard to judge on a limited number of visits. You’ll almost always sit at communal tables, so conversation is optional but usually available. On almost every one of our dozen visits to Kloster Mülln, spanning decades, we’ve made new best friends, only some of whom could speak more than a few words of English.

— "We're Bob and Ellie Tupper, “DC’s original beer geeks” (Washington City Paper). We spent 35 years seeking beers all over Europe, amassing a database with over 32,000 entries, before writing Drinking In the Culture. In it, we describe the best places in Europe to visit in order to “drink in” the rich connections between beers and the societies that brew them.

We're currently working on
Brews & Snooze, a guide to breweries and B&Bs of the Mid-Atlantic region, featuring places where you can visit a brewery and walk, not drive, back to where you're spending the night. In some cases, the journey back to your room involves only walking up a couple of flights of stairs. We hope to have the book in print by the end of the year."

The Tuppers maintain their own website and blog, called, punningly enough, CultureAle. The essay above —but illustrated with photographs— they'll be posting there soon. Until then, of course, you could read their book.

Bob & Ellie Tupper: "Drinking in the Culture" (01)


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Beer and the Great Outdoors. A Match Made in Heaven. (Beer Blogging Friday)

The Session: Beer Blogging Friday is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin. On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session, choosing a specific, beer-related topic, inviting all bloggers to write on it, and posting a roundup of all the responses received.

For The Session #134, Friday, 6 April 2018, I was that pre-determined host and my topic was ... Beer Gardens.

Dave Gott —Vice President of Legend Brewing Company, in Richmond, Virginia— kindly sent in an essay on beer gardens in general and his beer garden in particular. He stated that he is "not a writer." I disagree.


Beer and the Great Outdoors. A Match Made in Heaven.

I guess I don’t have to start this saying “I like beer”. The mere fact that I am taking the time to write about it is proof enough. I am a beer drinker, not a writer. However when asked to write about my two favorite pastimes; drinking good beer and being outside, I put my two index fingers to work and in the old cop at the typewriter style and started banging away.

I have been in the beer business for 27 years and the question I get the most is “what is the best beer”? My pat answer has always been “a free one” but I have begun to reconsider that answer and hone in on to a little more detail. A free one consumed on a nice sunny day when a warm breeze is blowing and you see the world as the glorious wonder that it is. Especially when there is no yard work to do.

Whether it is a deck, a porch, a true beer garden or just sitting in the grass, there is something special about that first beer outside in the spring. Hell, the Norwegians even have a special word for it. Utepils meaning outdoor lager.

The current craze of outdoor seating in our breweries and restaurants today is an expression of a much older tradition. In the German Biergarten, dating from the 19th century, beer, food, and music were enjoyed in an atmosphere the Germans called Gemütlichkeit. A word used to convey a state or feeling of warmth, friendliness, and good cheer. Drink a few steins and say that five times really fast.

Downtown Richmond, across the James

At our Pub in Richmond, Virginia —Legend Brewing Company— we have a deck that seats 200 and has a spectacular view of the James River and the city skyline. We also have a beer garden that seats 80 at the front of our Pub. Let’s face it, you can’t have too much of a good thing. Our Portsmouth location has a beer garden overlooking the Elizabeth River with a view of the big navy vessels in dry dock. These are places where people sit, talk, trade ideas and get to know each other all under the big blue sky with a nice cold one in hand. The troubles of life fade away on that aforementioned warm breeze and all the world is at peace.

Hop bines at sunset (04)

So what makes a good beer garden? My friends, the answer is simple. You do. It is neither the wood deck, slate patio, or spectacular view. It is the coming together —the community, and camaraderie— we share over our favorite beverage. Gemütlichkeit.

So, I bid you cheers and goodwill. The warm weather is coming and outside we will go! With beer in hand, of course.

— Dave added that he has been in the beer business since 1991 and with Legend since 1996. He attended Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia, where he received a degree in Earth Science and Philosophy, and drank a lot of beer. After college, he worked and traveled extensively overseas and drank a lot of beer. The rest is history.

I would add that Legend is celebrating its 24th anniversary. Opened in 1994, it is, by far, Virginia's oldest operating 'craft' brewery. (The only Virginia brewery older is Anheuser-Busch's Williamsburg plant, which began operations in 1972.)


Saturday, April 07, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Oldest (continuously operating) franchise in baseball!

Oldest (continuously operating) franchise on baseball!

At the outset of the 2018 baseball season, the light poles at SunTrust Park displayed the championship and pennant flags for the Atlanta Braves.

Formed as the Boston Red Stockings/Red Caps in 1871, the team won its first championship in 1872. It is the longest continuously operating franchise in all of American professional sports. (The Chicago Cubs also were founded in 1871 but did not play for the two years following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.) According to Wikipedia, the team adopted the nickname "Braves" in 1912. James Gaffney, owner of the team, was a member of New York City's political machine, Tammany Hall, which used an Indian chief as their symbol.

The Braves and the Chicago Cubs are the National League's two remaining charter franchises, debuting in the National League in 1876. The Red Stockings/Braves have won seventeen divisional titles, seventeen National League pennants, and three World Series championships —in 1914 as the Boston Braves, in 1957 as the Milwaukee Braves, and in 1995, in Atlanta— the only Major League Baseball franchise to have won the World Series in three different home cities.


That was then. Now...

Where much of American professional sports is moving back to American cities' inner cores, embracing local, that's not the direction of the (Atlanta) Braves. After the conclusion of the 2016 season, the Braves moved from Turner Field, their downtown Atlanta ballpark, to SunTrust Park, in suburban Cobb County, a dozen miles northeast of the city. The new facility, unlike Turner Field, lacks serious public transportation; woe be to you if you lack a traffic app on your cell phone! It reeks of unfinished roads and interstate highway infrastructure. It excludes any street merchant presence. The whole thing has an anemic, un-baseball feel.

And, the concessions serve no 'craft' beer.

Now, maybe that's a bit harsh, because it means that I'm adopting the [U.S.] Brewers Association's fungible definition of what craft is and, thus, excluding the good-tasting beer from Terrapin, a brewery in Athens, Georgia, but now majority-owned by Miller Coors. Terrapin beers indeed can be found at SunTrust, but in limited locations, in cans and at a few stands (and the Coors ChopHouse) on draught. But that's it (or all I saw). The majority of Georgia's bustling small-business beer appears to have been ignored.

And, then, on the day I visited, there was this.

Pay no attention to our menu!

Me: "May I have that pizza slice with mushrooms and olives?"
Concessionaire: Blank stare.
Me: "Mushrooms and olives like it says on the sign right above."
Concessionaire: "Oh, that's just marketing."


Friday, April 06, 2018

What is a DC beer garden? (Beer Blogging Friday)

The Session: Beer Blogging Friday is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin. On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session, choosing a specific, beer-related topic, inviting all bloggers to write on it, and posting a roundup of all the responses received.

For The Session #134, today, I am that pre-determined host and my topic is ... Beer Gardens.

Keith Chamberlin, a non-blogger in Washington, D.C., kindly sent in a report on beer gardens there. I've posted it here.


DC Beer Gardens

In pursuit of what is a DC beer garden, I checked out several places. Of course, the most obvious one is Biergarten Haus at 1355 H Street. The manager claims it to be a German beer bar with an American twist. They can handle up to 700 patrons, 500 being outside. They have TVs for sports in a covered outdoor area, a rooftop deck and only German beer, except during special occasions like Dyngus day. The beer selection has a good variety of German suds including Salvator dopplebock, Weihenstephaner hefeweizen and Kostritzer schwartzbier, among others utilizing 12 taps. The look of the front bar reminds me very much of a woody German beer hall and I have eaten in the beer garden in good weather and the food is authentic with the red cabbage being excellent. It is popular and a treat for DC beer goers.

A newcomer that has been around for about 1 year is the Midlands Beer Garden at 3333 Georgia Ave. Their claim is an American craft beer garden. The place looks inviting with roll-up doors with approximately half their occupancy indoors with picnic tables outside for a total of about 250 people. They have 7 static taps, 7 local rotating and 7 imports that rotate. The imports are mostly German and Belgian while the 7 locals are small local beers and are typically not the most common ones to find.

Garden District beer garden is a small patio beer garden that doesn't open during inclement weather as most of their seating is outside. There is a little inside but it is tight! They only have German beer and American craft beer, about 8 taps, and their food is focused on good bbq. The seating seems to be enough for 100-150 people and is a good location around other restaurants and bars as well as the Black Cat music venue.

Another DC beer garden that is not quite in DC is Denizen's Brewing Company. I include them because it is a brewery and a unique place. Close to the Silver Spring Metro they are open year round but the beer garden only in good weather. The beer garden also has beer service on the patio when busy as well as two indoor bars. The food is decent and has rotated with different vendors a couple times since opening. Inside there is an upstairs and downstairs bar with the brewery on the lower level. The outdoor seating with 24 large tables, each holding about 8 people and there is cornhole for adults and kids. They like to be called a local watering hole and their slogan is 'unified by beer', socially bringing people together.

DC and the surrounding metro area has many other rooftop beer patio and gardens that are worthy of a visit with the local craft beer scene being about as good as it ever has been. Come for a visit!

— Keith added that he is a DC homebrewer and beer advocate who's an engineer during the day.

Thank you, Keith!


A sad beer garden story (for Beer Blogging Friday).

We walked in one early Sunday afternoon, happily anxious to sit outside at this, a recently opened bar, with "Beer Garden" in its name.


A forlorn fable

There was no one in the bar except for two bartenders, talking to each other. We stood there for a minute, awkwardly unacknowledged. Eventually, we asked, "Hello. Where's the beer garden?"

Motioning with a thumb, one replied, "Out there," and returned to the conversation.

Beer garden parched

We walked out there, down some stairs to a crushed-stone patio, walled in with a high fence and the stone side of a propinquant business. The garden, as it was, comprised a few picnic tables (there was one with an umbrella), one unblooming Crepe Myrtle (strange, as the rest of the city was awash with the trees' glorious blossoms), and a few flower boxes attached to a wall, in which sat a few scraggly specimens. A water hose, lying nearby, was apparently unused.

Then we sat and sat, until we realized that we would not be served. Walking back inside, I saw the two still engaged in conversation, now standing at the opposite end of the bar to one additional customer.

"What beers do you have?" Again a gesture, this time toward a board above and behind the bar, listing several local draught options. "Do you have a printed list? I won't be able to remember all for my friend outside." "No," was the one-word answer.

I made a decision and carried my beers outside. We each drank our beer, and, when finished, returned our empty glasses to the bar, paid our tab (tipped?), and left...into the bright July sunshine, not to return.


Is that all there is?

To us, a beer garden has a mythical ethos, like a German outdoor sibling to the coziness of a British pub. But there, that day, the fable seemed extirpated, the expectation denied. Had we been so wrong? Is a beer garden simply a place for beer drinking minus any trappings except for an outdoor setting?

So, today, we're enlisting the aid of others. Help vivify our myth.


Beer Blogging Friday

Teh Session: Beer Blogging Friday is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin. On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session, choosing a specific, beer-related topic, inviting all bloggers to write on it, and posting a roundup of all the responses received.

Today, for The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #134, I am that pre-determined (read: volunteered) host. And I've determined that my topic is ... Beer Gardens. Today, I'm asking all beer bloggers to write on beer gardens. If you do, tell me about it by:

A better story

Not a blogger, but an active Twitter-er or Instagrammer? Just tag/hashmark as above. Or a beer writer without a blog? You can participate as well. Here's how.

Once the day is done, I'll post summaries and links in a roundup. But, please, today, tell me a good Beer Garden story, like the one pictured below. At least one better than my sad one.

Lake House in the biergarten


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Linksmų Velykų!

1990s Easter

Among her many 'superpowers,' Mom would set and serve a gorgeous table. On the table here, it's her ausukai (literally, little ears), Lithuanian fried cookies, as part of the family Easter brunch, circa 1990s.

Linksmų Velykų!
Happy Easter!


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." 10th Twitter-versary

My first tweet

With those oh,so profound words, I tweeted my first tweet on 28 March 2008. In the ten years subsequent, I've tweeted 19,532 times, which works out to about 5.4 tweets per day.

Follow Cizauskas on Twitter

For me, Twitter has been an e-bookmark for interesting stories, a news chyron, a beer travelogue, a stealthy, 'overheard' gossip, a blog teaser, a flame chamber, more recently a Trump taser, never an "I got up this morning and brushed my teeth mini-diary," but always an addictive 140/280-character waste of time. As Ollie said to Stan, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into."

It was way cool in 2008; now, much more fuddy-duddy. But it's #MyTwitterAnniversary and I'll cry if I want to.

Yours for good fermentables,
Thomas Cizauskas
28 March 2018

PS. Here I go again. Since 12 April 2012, I've been 'on' Instagram (@TCizauskas), posting 362 images during that time. Only 19,170 to go. Maybe it's time for a beer. (I don't have a count on those.)


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Stone Mountain lake?

Stone Mountain lake?

The previous night's rainstorm left small pools of water at the summit of the monadnock ...

at Stone Mountain, Georgia. 26 March 2017.

Similar to a butte, a monadnock is a mountain that rises from an area of relatively flat and/or lower terrain. The term is derived from two Native American Abenaki language terms: menonadenak (smooth mountain) or menadena (isolated mountain). Outside the U.S., the term most often used is inselberg.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sing Joy Spring

hosta 11 April (01)

Spring arrives today, Tuesday, 20 March 2018, at 12:15 p.m., east coast daylight time. The vernal equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere.

We sing a spring
Sing joy spring.
A rare and most mysterious spring,
This most occult thing
Is buried deep in the soul.
Its story never has been told.

The joy spring, the fountain of pleasure,
Is deep inside you whether you're diggin' it or not.
Once you're aware of this spring,
You'll know that it's the greatest
Treasure you've got.

And furthermore:
The joy spring, the bounteous treasure,
Cannot be bartered away and never can be sold.
Nothing can take it from you.
It's yours and yours alone to have and to hold.

And something more:
It never is lost to fire or theft.
It's always around. When trouble is gone,
The pleasure is left.
I've always found
It's burglar-proof same as the treasure
Man lays up in heaven, worth a
Price no one can measure.
That says a lot.

So joy spring,
this fountain of pleasure,
That's deep inside you, let me inform you in all truth,
Ponce de Leon sought this
When he was searchin'
For the fountain of youth.
I say in truth, he
Sought a magical thing,
For he was searchin'
For the joy spring.

Music: Clifford Brown
Lyrics: Jon Hendricks
Performance: Manhattan Transfer


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Proper topper on St. Patrick's Day

Proper topper on St. Patrick's Day

He sports a proper topper for the day.

As seen at Friday Jazz at the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta, Georgia, on 17 March 2017.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

#VeggieDag Thursday: Pan-Fried Tofu Strips

VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and on environmental and ecological issues.

Because there hasn't been a recipe posted here for a while ...

... here, from the entertaining Chris Cooney of Cooking with the Vegan Zombie (with a few minor adaptations from YFGF), it's ...

Pan-Fried Tofu Strips

Tofu strips (03)

Yield: 12-16 strips
Time: 20 minutes (or overnight)
1) Slice a 14 ounce slab of extra-firm tofu horizontally into four thinner cutlets. (No need to press the tofu first.)

2) Grease a skillet with refined coconut oil (not unrefined: the smoking point is too low and the taste is, well, coconuty).

3) Turn stove to medium heat.

4) Place tofu cutlets on the skillet (one at a time, if small pan). Top with a pinch each of Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and smoked paprika.

5) Fry for 8-10 minutes. Don't burn!

6) Gently flip the tofu. Now, gently press down on the cutlets several times with a metal spatula to squeeze out excess water.
7) Top with a pinch each of cumin, chili powder, and dried basil. Optional: Add a doodle of red chile sauce, (e.g. Sriracha).

8) Reduce heat to just below medium heat. Fry for an additional 3-5 minutes. Don't burn!

9) Gently flip the cutlets over again and turn off the skillet. Allow the cutlets to sit several minutes until cool to the touch.

10) To firm the texture, cover and refrigerate the tofu cutets for several hours or overnight. Slice into into 4-5 strips per cutlet. Tasty as is, for snacking. Tasty as the 'meat' filling for a vegetarian Bánh mì.


Quick links

  • 14 March 2018:
    Scientists studying a remote and icy stretch of the North Atlantic have found new evidence that fresh water, likely melted from Greenland or Arctic sea ice, has weakened the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation —a key process that helps drives the global circulation of the oceans— by 15% since 2008.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 13 March 2018:
    The State Department represents the United States at international climate talks. Mike Pompeo, nominated by Trump to head the State Department, is a skeptic of data showing human-caused climate change.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 26 February 2018:
    Researchers at the University of California at Irvine reported that during February, the average temperature in the Arctic was greater than 36 °F above normal, the highest level ever recorded during the month of February. At the North Pole itself, the temperature reached 35 °F, more than 50 °F above normal.
    —Via Capital Weather Gang.

  • 16 February 2018:
    Trump signed legislation that repealed an Obama-era rule that had blocked coal operations from dumping mining waste into nearby waterways.
    —Via Snopes.

  • 12 February 2018:
    The Trump budget slashes funding for the bipartisan cleanup program of the Great Lakes region —source of 84% of North America's surface fresh water— by 90% from $300 million to $30 million.
    —Via Detroit News.

  • 15 June 2017:
    In 2015, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) —a division of the UN’s World Health Organization— declared glyphosate —the active ingredient in Monsanto's popular herbicide RoundUp— a probable carcinogen, Aaron Blair —the scientist who led the IARC’s review panel on glyphosate— had access to data from a large study in which he had participated that strongly suggested that Roundup did not, in fact, cause cancer. Yet, Blair withheld that data from the RoundUp review panel.
    —Via Mother Jones.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What (and where) is a Beer Garden? Announcement for The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #134.

The Session: Beer Blogging Friday is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session, choosing a specific, beer-related topic, inviting all bloggers to write on it, and posting a roundup of all the responses received.

For The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #134, on 6 April 2018, I am that pre-determined host. And I've determined that my topic is ...

Beer Gardens

"A Beer Garden" (Jean Pagès, 1933)

What is a beer garden? Or what isn't a beer garden? Or what should a beer garden be? Or where is a beer garden?

Is a beer garden a place of foliage and shrubberies? Or is it a plot of concrete with umbrellas? Is a beer garden an outdoor bar? Or an outdoor Biergarten pavilion with Gemütlichkeit und Bier? Or is a beer garden to be found at a brewery with a hop trellis de rigueur?

Hop-pickers' lunch

Is a beer garden to be found outdoors, or can it be, alternatively, an interior third place, an arboretum with beer? Is a beer garden a real thing or is it a Platonic ideal, an imagined gueuzic nostalgia? Or is it a place indeed, once or often visited, not Bill Bryson in the woods, but Lew Bryson in a beer garden? If so, where is it? Tell us (with or without Lew).

According to the Beer Bloggers Conference, there are over 1,000 active "Citizen Beer Blogs" in North America, over 500 "Citizen Beer Blogs" throughout the rest of the world, and another couple hundred industry beer blogs. So, jump in folk. Please contribute!

How to play

On Friday, 6 April, post an essay on beer gardens to your blog. Then let me give you credit. Provide a link to the story by:

How to contribute WITHOUT a blog!

A blog itself isn't even necessary to contribute.

f you don't have a blog
  • Compose a 280-character tweet and then link to me and/oror hashtag with #BeerBloggingFriday.
  • On Instagram, post a beer-gardenesque pic and then tag me and/or hashtag with #BeerBloggingFriday.
  • On Facebook, write a comment about beer gardens and tag me (YoursForGoodFermentables) or post a comment at my page.
  • Or, if so inspired, you could write an essay (300-500 words are ideal and 1,200 would be the most you'd want for a blog post, short-attention-span and all that) and send it to me bye the 6th. Use this form.

On a warm summer evening, I love to watch the light filter through the leaves of the dogwood and viburnum, with a beer in hand salad on the table, listening to the conversation of friends. "Why is it," I wonder, "that food and beer taste so much better together when we're in the beer garden.
Dinner in the Beer Garden, by Lucy Saunders.

The topic is beer gardens: whatever they may be, wherever they may be. And even your backyard, Olmsted-esque or humble, might be a Moon Over Beer garden. On Friday, 6 April, tell the world about it. I'll round up all the contributions, whether they're blogged, emailed, tweeted, or 'grammed.'

Thanking you in advance,
Yours for good fermentables,
Thomas 'Tom' Cizauskas


Monday, March 12, 2018

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 6/7/8, 2018.

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

Weeks 6/7/8
4 February - 24 February 2018

    Catching up on overdue Clamps & Gaskets!

  • 24 February 2018
    Garrett Oliver, author and brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewing, in a comment to "Some Important Musings on the Nature of Craft Beer":
    A few years ago, everyone from BeerAdvocate to All About Beer declared craft dead. Which was the ABI [Anheuser-Busch InBev] plan all along – first break your terminology, then break and infiltrate your culture, then subsume you. All with your approval. I have to hand it to them – they’ve done a great job. I’ve heard British craft brewers talking about “Fuller’s isn’t craft” and “Sierra Nevada isn’t craft”. These people are out of their minds. American craft beer culture is BASED on what we went and saw in the UK, Germany and Belgium. Everyone on earth copied everything from Fuller’s ESB to Duvel, and then have the gall to say that these breweries aren’t craft breweries?

    If you want to know what craft beer is, this is your lucky day. I’m going to tell you. Craft beer is beer made according to an individual vision. If almost no one in the company knows who the head brewer is, it’s not a craft brewery. You can be one million barrels and a craft brewery and you can be 5,000 barrels and have sold out on your first day. I’ve seen both. So yeah, actually it did matter, at least in the United States. And it could matter again, under the “craft” name or another. Nomenclature matters. And when you give that up, both your power and your culture go out the window. Ask any French chef.
    — Via Pete Brown.

  • 23 February 2018
    Possibly because craft beer continues to position itself as fighting some kind of moral crusade against corporate interests, the whole issue of affordability touches a raw nerve. But wouldn’t it be better all round if the “craft beer movement” could accept that it was just another somewhat pricey niche middle-class enthusiasm and stop pretending it's trying to change the world?
    — Via The Pub Curmudgeon.

  • 23 February 2018
    Prior to its scheduled move to smaller headquarters in 2020, Radio-Canada (the French-language arm of the Canada’s public broadcasting system) to digitize its collection of more than 200,000 CDs and then destroy it. Not known is what will happen to its library of over 200,000 vinyl LP records, 70,000 78rpm discs, and a multitude of rare, and extremely rare, musical scores and books.
    — Via Radio Canada International.

  • In Manassas, Virginia, American brewing history is for sale.
  • 22 February 2018
    It was the first private home in the United States to have air-conditioning. Annaburg, the Manassas, Virginia, summer estate of Alexandria, Virginia, brewer Robert Portner —owner of the Robert Portner Brewing Company, the southeast's largest brewery before Prohibition— built for his family in 1892 is for sale and is at risk.
    — Via Prince William Times.

  • 22 February 2018
    The Beer Institute decries Trump's proposed "draconian" tariffs on aluminum and steel as endangering the jobs of American brewers and brewery workers.
    Aluminum used to make beer cans is not a national security threat.Aluminum is critical to the well-being of America’s beer industry as more than half of the beer produced annually is packed in aluminum cans or aluminum bottles.
    — Via Beer Pulse.

  • 20 February 2018
    When it comes to living into one's 90s, drinking two glasses of beer or wine daily acts as a better palliative against premature death than exercise, by 18% vs. 11%, a new study at the University of California found. And a bit of overweightedness diminishes the odds of an early death by 3%.
    — Via Baltimore Sun.

  • 21 February 2018
    Although 'craft' breweries, such as North Coast, picked up on the goodness of Centennial hops in the mid-1980s (saving the variety from discontinuation) ...
    As recently as 2005, hop growers still planted little more than 100 acres of Centennial. In 2017, they harvested more than 5,200 acres.
    — Via Jeff Alworth (and Stan Hieronymus), at Beervana.

  • 19 February 2018
    Julie Verratti —co-founder of Denizens Brewing, a 'craft' brewery in Silver Spring, Maryland— has been tapped to run for Maryland lieutenant governor with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross.
    — Via Naptown Pint.

  • 16 February 2018
    The U.S. Justice Department indicts thirteen Russians and three Russian companies with a long-running scheme to criminally interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • Laiminga Lietuvos valstybės atkūrimo diena!
  • 16 February 2018
    Lithuania —YFGF's ancestral home— celebrated the centenary observance since the restoration of its independence, on 16 February 1918. Lietuvos valstybės atkūrimo diena.
    — Via Agence France-Presse.

  • 16 February 2018
    African-American involvement in 'craft' beer, both as producers as consumers. is small but growing. In 2016, African Americans made up 12% of weekly 'craft' beer drinkers, up from 10% the year before. Kevin Blodger —brewmaster and co-owner of Union Brewing, in Baltimore, Maryland...
    'hasn't seen any intentional exclusion of minorities.' Rather, with craft beer, 'there’s not much advertising budget. It's a word of mouth thing, and if you look at the people that were originally involved in craft beer, it was white men. And we tend to associate with people that look like us.' That's changing. 'As more black, Hispanic and Asian people get involved in craft beer, they are going to bring more of their friends in,' Blodger said.”
    — Via Mike Snider, at USA Today.

  • 14 February 2018
    Stung by a reputation as gentrification’s outriders, craft beer breweries [in London] are trying to bring in more women, working-class people, and people with disabilities to both drink beers – and make them.
    — Via Will Hawkes, at The Guardian.

  • 14 February 2018
    Seventeen people were killed and seventeen more were wounded during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, making it one of the world's deadliest school massacres.The suspected perpetrator, 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz, was identified by witnesses and arrested shortly afterward.
    — Via The Guardian.

  • 12 February 2018
    Long thought extinct, Hill Rice —a rice variety with which enslaved Africans in the American South once cooked and a variety not needed to be planted in watery fields, thus not a vector for malaria— has been 'rediscovered' in Trinidad.
    — Via New York Times.

  • 12 February 2018
    The Trump administration plans to cut funding for the bipartisan cleanup program of the Great Lakes region —source of 84% of North America's surface fresh water— by 90% next year, from $300 million to $30 million.
    — Via Detroit News.

  • Stone Brewing sues Miller Coors.
  • 12 February 2018
    Large 'craft' brewery Stone Brewing to sue conglomerate Miller Coors over its "very blatant use of 'Stone' in its Keystone branding."
    — Via Beervana.

  • 11 February 2018
    American pop crooner Vic Damone, known for his good looks and "creamy" baritone, has died at 89. His heyday were the two decades following World-War II.
    “If I had one wish,” Frank Sinatra was said to have remarked, “it would be for Vic Damone’s tonsils. Vic has the best pipes in the business.”
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 9 February 2018
    The Irish legislature, the Oireachtas, is considering adding a warning label about drinking and cancer to alcoholic beverages. Ireland would be the first country to have such a warning label. America has had labels that warn about drinking while pregnant and driving while intoxicated since 1988. Wine labels also inform the consumer that the bottle contains sulfites.
    — Via Amy Mittelman.

  • 9 February 2018
    Wesla Whitfield, an American opera singer who overcame partial paralysis, became a preeminent vocal stylist, winning acclaim for her interpretations of the Great American Songbook. She has died at 70.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 8 February 2018
    Jim Koch, owner of Boston Beer (maker of Sam Adams beer, on NEIPA:
    Instead of the piney, resiny, grapefruit part of the hops spectrum, New England IPA leans toward orange, fruit, peach, mango, guava…it’s almost juicy. There will be a lower RDF [real degree of fermentation] which gives you that drop of sweetness that brings the juiciness out. So, in some ways, it’s a kinder, gentler IPA.
    — Via John I. Haas.

  • 7 February 2018
    The “Tuesday Night Test” to tell if a restaurant is a true neighborhood joint:
    My wife and I worked. We don’t feel like cooking or doing dishes. It’s Tuesday night. Can we go out and each get a drink and food and not spend $200?
    — Via Washington City Paper.

  • A porter at the brewhouse
  • 5 February 2018
    "What do I see in a glass of porter?"
    A barista-influenced cream-flow foam, 2-cm high, undulating in its surface, collapsing slowly, like the Roman Empire, a province at a time.

    What else do I see, a dark, dark, dark blackness, a dark night of the soul, a night in which the old moon is dead and the new is waiting to be birthed, a darkness of invisible hands and beasties imagined and conjoined, the lacing of the foam as it subsides coating the glass like a congenial virus, a puzzle of foam, a query, a cantankerous head of foam refusing to vanish.

    So what does it taste like? Burnt toast with a thin layer of butter and marmalade that suggests acridity, fruitiness and sweetness and then within nanoseconds there is a dryness that crackles and cackles like a coven of witches rehearsing for Macbeth; there’s a chewiness, an appeal for mastication, as well as a creaminess suggestive of softness and childhood.

    And what does it taste like? A cover disturbed, aromatics of mocha, chocolate, toast and fruit (cheap marmalade if caught from the other end of the breakfast table).

    Someone, and I cannot recall who, suggested that this beer could be closer to porter’s original outlook on life. I’m not sure, I will leave that to the beer historians and their soaked volumes of statistics from a time that went long ago. Whatever, it’s a damn good beer, unflinching in its approach to acridity, and dense in its character on the palate."
    — Via Adrian Tierney-Jones, at Called to the Bar.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Pratt-Pullman Yard

Pullman Yard (from the Pullman Trail) 02

A view of the over-century-old Pratt-Pullman Yard in the Kirkwood district of Atlanta, Georgia, as seen from the Pullman Trail, on 6 March 2018.

These dilapidated, hulking buildings once housed plants for the production of chemicals, soft drink gases, military munitions, and railroad cars. Grafitti-festooned, they became backdrops for several films and cable productions. Now, they are slated to be redeveloped.



In 1904, the Pratt Engineering Company built a sugar and fertilizer processing plant on twenty-eight acres of farmland in Kirkwood, then an independent city east of the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Among other things, the company produced sulfuric acid (for which it held a patent) and liquid carbon dioxide for soda fountains. During World War I, Pratt temporarily converted the plant to manufacture munitions.

In 1924, the Pullman Passenger Rail Company —a leading manufacturer of railroad cars from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century— purchased the buildings and built a large railcar service and repair depot. At the time, Pullman exercised a near monopoly on rail passenger 'sleeping cars' throughout the United States. After a 1943 antitrust decree, the company began to downsize and, in 1954, closed the facility.

From then through the 1970s, both Georgia Power and Southern Iron and Equipment Company owned the yard at various times. Southern used it to manufacture and repair train locomotives and train parts. Georgia Power used the Yard to house and repair its fleet of 'Trackless Trolleys' —electric buses that drew power from overhead lines— with which it was replacing its fixed rail trolleys. In 1990, the Georgia Building Authority bought the property to house a dinner-train that ran between downtown Atlanta and Stone Mountain but shut it down in 1993. Semi-abandoned, Pratt-Pullman became a popular filming location.

As the buildings became dilapidated, efforts at preservation and environmental remediation by the city and local groups were rebuffed by the state of Georgia. In June 2017, the state sold the property, for $8 million, to Atomic Entertainment, which announced plans to 'renovate' the Pratt-Pullman Yard as an "arts-and-entertainment district."

Pratt-Pullman window fan (02)


Saturday, March 03, 2018

Pic(k) of the week: Krog Street swatch

Krog Street swatch

Festooned with street art and graffiti, the Krog Street Tunnel passes under Hulsey Yard —a major urban railyard for CSX in Atlanta, Georgia. Connecting the city's Cabbagetown neighborhood, on the south, and the Inman Park district, on the north, the tunnel was added to Atlanta's circumscribing park-trail, the BeltLine, in 2017.

In Atlanta, everybody and her sister seem to take photos and videos with the tunnel as backdrop: wannabe music videographers and models, promsters, and maybe even Donald Glover.

Who is YFGF to demur? So, today, here is my requisite photo of the Krog Street Tunnel —that I took in the tunnel— created with a time-lapse shot, on 27 February 2018.

  • The BeltLine is a former railway corridor around the core of Atlanta, Georgia, under development in stages as a multi-use trail. The plan for the BeltLine was developed in 1999 as a masters thesis by Ryan Gravel, a Georgia Tech student. In 2016, he resigned from the board of the project's developer, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, concerned by the dearth of equitable development and affordable housing around the trail, two of the original goals of the project.

  • 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:

Monday, February 26, 2018

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 3/4/5, 2018.

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

Weeks 3/4/5
14 January - 3 February 2018

    Catching up on (waaay) overdue Clamps & Gaskets!

  • 1 February 2018
    In a longterm severe drought, Capetown —South Africa's second most populous city, at 3.7 million people— to literally run out of water by the middle of April, a day dubbed Zero Day. The government has limited citizens to fifty liters of water per day (a bit more than 13 gallons).
    — Via MSN.

  • 1 February 2018
    Happy Brewsters' Day! The Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Brigid of Kildare (c. 451 – 525 AD) —one of three patron saints of Ireland (with Patrick and Columba)— on 1 February. A patron saint of brewers, Brigid herself was a brewer; one miracle attributed to her was turning water into beer.
    — Via Wikipedia.

  • 1 February 2018
    U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam has rejected a request by North Coast —a northern California 'craft' brewery— to dismiss a lawsuit by the son of late jazz great Thelonious Monk, who claimed that the brewery ha exploited his father's name and image without permission to sell beer-themed merchandise, such as cups, hoodies, mouse pads, soap and other items, that might appear associated with the musician. Without ruling on the merits, the judge found that it was "more than plausible" that Thelonious Monk, Jr. had a right to control the commercial value of his father's persona.
    — Via Reuters.

  • 29 January 2018
    When 'selling out' isn't necessarily selling out. To meet demand, the seven-year-old ,craft' brewery Reaver Beach Brewing, husband-and-wife-owned in Virginia Beach, sells a majority stake to a private Texas investor ... who is a fan of the brewery's Hoptopus 'double' IPA.
    — Via The Virginia-Pilot.

  • 29 January 2018
    U.S. brewers shipped 3.8 million fewer barrels of beer in 2017 versus 2016, a 2.2 percent drop, the largest percentage decrease in sixty-three years, according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) unofficial estimate of domestic tax paid shipments.
    — Via Brewbound.

  • Georgia Brewery Growth 2015-2017

  • 29 January 2018
    2017 was a great year for Georgia beer, and 2018 looks to continue on that trend.

    • 75 breweries and brewpubs active in Georgia, as of 31 December 2017 (38.9% growth over 2016).
    • 54 breweries and brewpubs active in Georgia as of 31 December 2016 (22.7% growth over 2015).
    • 44 breweries and brewpubs active in 2015.
    • That works out to 70% growth since 2015.
    • On 1 September 2017, Georgia became the 51st (that is, the last) of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to permit its breweries to sell their own beers in their own taprooms to their own customers. (The penultimate laggard, Mississippi, enabled its permission on 1 July 2017.
    — More, via Beer Guys Radio.

  • 26 January 2018
    Between 2012 and 2017, U.S. hop acreage grew 95.8% to a record 53,200 acres. Now, there's a glut and (as some 'craft' breweries fail to honor their orders), some hop farmers and brokers are facing a crunch.
    — Via Tara Nurin, at Forbes.

  • 24 January 2018
    Willamette, Mt. Hood, Liberty, Sterling, Cluster, Cascades, and other hops, integral to U.S. 'craft' beer business: all of those are, to no small extent, the handiwork of one U.S. government hop breeder, Dr. Al Haunold.
    — His story, via Gary Gillman, at Beer et seq.

  • 24 January 2018
    The New Yorker laments the slow death of blogs. Beer writer Jeff Alworth disagrees, about blogs in general and beer blogs in particular:
    Years ago, when social media became ascendant, blogs did seem doomed. But then the limitations of social media presented themselves: conversations were siloed, information was lost after a few days, and longer, nuanced points were all but impossible. Blogs are faster and more interactive than magazines, but more thoughtful and permanent than social media. Beer blogs are far from dead; in fact, one could argue they’re more indispensable than ever.
    — Via Beervana.

  • Charlie Papazian meets fans
  • 23 January 2018
    The 'godfather' of American homebrewing and 'craft' beer, Charlie Papazian, announces his pending retirement from the [U.S.] Brewers Association, the organization he founded (along with American Homebrewers Association and Great American Beer Festival), effective January 2019.
    — Via American Homebrewers Association.

  • 23 January 2018
    Grazing with the greats. South African trumpeter, singer, and activist, Hugh Masekela, whose music became symbolic of that country’s anti-apartheid movement, has died at 78.
    — Via The Guardian.

  • Euphonia Pilsner @ New Realm & Beltline (01)
  • 21 January 2018
    A stunning opening shot: a lager from the man who wrote the book on IPA: Euphonia Pilsner, from Mitch Steele, at his not-yet-three-weeks-old New Realm Brewing.
    — Via YFGF.

  • 20 January 2018
    CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) is a U.K.-based consumer organization, with over 190,000 members, that promotes 'real ale,' 'real cider,' and 'traditional' British pubs. It has released its long-awaited "revitalisation" proposals:
    • CAMRA’s representation widens to include all pub goers and drinkers of quality beer
    • CAMRA’s scope widens to include quality beer of all types
    • CAMRA will campaign for and promote all on-trade venues where quality beer, cider and perry is sold, not just traditional pubs and clubs
    • CAMRA will not extend its current support of the off-trade.
    Quality beer is vaguely synonymous with craft beer and as good a term as any for this conversation. These proposals will now need to be accepted at the annual general meeting in April.
    — Via Boak & Bailey.

  • 18 January 2018
    Smuttynose Brewing Company, founded in New Hampshire in 1994, is seeking an immediate buyer prior to a planned March 9th auction of all of its assets. Smuttynose employs 68 people and generates $10 million dollars in annual revenue. Over the past year, the brewery has been operating at 50% of its 75,000 barrel a year capacity. Smuttynose owner Peter Egelston said:
    The company’s financial models were based on 20 years of consistent growth but the explosion of microbreweries has led to changing dynamics in the marketplace. This dramatic shift occurred just as Smuttynose committed to a major infrastructure investment with the construction of the new production facility. As the turmoil in the marketplace stabilizes, Smuttynose, a trusted brand with strong consumer loyalty, can regain its footing with a major infusion of capital.
    — Via Beer Street Journal.

  • 18 January 2018
    Incroyable! For the first time in 950 years, the Bayeux Tapestry —the 70 yard-long tapestry that tells in pictures the story of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a pivotal historical event for Britain —returns to Britain, on temporary loan from France.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 18 January 2018
    Beer rating social-media app UnTappd has released its list of the top ten 'checked-in' beers during 2017. Seven were IPAs, including the most 'checked-in,' All Day IPA, a so-called 'session IPA,' from Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In second was Bells Two-Hearted Ale, also an IPA.
    — Via Beer Street Journal.

  • 18 January 2018
    NASA data show that the years 2015, 2016, and 2017 were the three hottest years ever recorded. Furthermore, 17 of the 18 hottest years recorded since 1850 have occurred since 2000.
    — Via The Guardian.

  • 17 January 2018
    Nearly all the members of the National Park System Advisory Board —which designates national historic and natural landmarks— resign after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke refuses to convene the board's meetings.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 16 January 2018
    When a nuclear engineer's avocation becomes part of American history. The "charismatic" wooden spoon that Charlie Papazian —founder of the American Homebrewers Association (among many other 'craft' firsts)— has used to brew homebrew for more than forty years— is being displayed by the Smithsonian's American History Museum in its American Brewing History Initiative.
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 15 January 2018
    Green Flash Brewing (of San Diego and Virginia Beach) suddenly cuts its workforce by 15%; pulls distributon from thirty-three states (comprising 18% of its total sales). Is this yet another 'canary in a coal mine' warning for 'craft' beer? Is it a 1990s redux? Or is it merely solid business readjustment?
    — Via Craft Brewing Business.