Monday, December 31, 2018

A good fermentable is the only fermentable to have, when you're having more than one.

In 1972, John Scarne (SKAR nee) —recognized by many as one of the greatest card magicians ever— appeared in a Schaefer beer television ad.
Shaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one.
Shaefer's pleasure doesn't fade even when your thirst is done.
The most rewarding flavor in this man's world,
For people who are having fun,
Shaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one. *

Not speaking of magic (although, around that same time, a certain Thomas the Marvelous was known to practice the art) but speaking of beer: a good fermentable is the only fermentable to have, when you're having more than one —safely. If not Schaefer (in this man's world), that is.

So, from YFGF to all of you: Happy New Year in 2019.

Yours for good fermentables,
Thomas 'Tom' Cizauskas (chiz OW skuss)


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Midtown crepuscule

Midtown crepuscule

After sunset on 22 December 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia, looking west toward Midtown from the city's Poncey-Highland neighborhood.

The Full Cold Moon had just begun its rise when I snapped this photo, but further to the southeast (out-of-frame, to the left). An hour later, I would see the moon in its full glory.

Full Cold Moon 2018

The day before this, the 2018 winter solstice had occurred. This rare, proximate syzygy (solstice plus full moon) will not be seen again until the winter of 2029.


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Šventų Kalėdų

Ornamental shrubbery

Šventų Kalėdų!


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Lullwater weir

Lullwater weir (02)

An overtopped weir on rain-swollen Lullwater Creek in Fernbank Forest, a 65-acre mature mixed forest on the grounds of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia, and one of the only remnants of original forest vegetation in the Georgia Piedmont.

7 December 2018.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Beer is deep and wide and tall.

Garrett Oliver - Beer Expert

The Conde Nast-owned website Epicurious has been posting a series of videos in which it challenges a food or beverage 'expert' to correctly identify the more expensive of two choices (implying that choice to be of higher quality) in blind taste-tests.

A recent episode was a beer challenge given to the brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery. Gently entertaining; gently educational.
  • "I'm Garrett Oliver and I'm a beer expert," he said, as he tasted two unidentified samples each of Pilsner, Belgian White, IPA, Munich Dark Lager, Barrel-Aged Beer, and Fruit Sour.

  • "Boom!" "Zap!" Mr. Oliver exclaimed, like the Batman of Beer.

  • Delivering a history mini-lecture, Mr. Oliver said: "Now, when brewers mention barrel-aged beers, a lot of people will say to us, 'Oh, you've gotten some wonderful ideas from the wine people.' Well, actually, we've putting beer in barrels for about two thousand years now. The stainless steel keg only showed up in the 50s or 60s. But until then, it was wood."

  • "Beer is deep and wide and tall," Mr. Oliver summarized.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Bird on a rail

Bird on a rail
In 2018, we mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate the “Year of the Bird” and commit to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years.
National Geographic.

On 7 December 2018, a wee fellow found temporary purchase on the grounds of Fernbank Museum of Natural History, in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. Would the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher be heading further south for the winter?


Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018's best cookbook, "with beer."

Melissa Cole's Malt Loaf
I love malt loaf [made with dried fruits, wholemeal flour, mild ale, and malt extract, among other ingredients]. It's something that was a feature of my childhood because either my Mum had made it or because my friends' Mums had or it was from a yellow packet — whichever way it came, it was always handed to me toasted and with lashings of salted butter on it. ¶ My heart doesn't want to give you a beer pairing for this, because I think it should be enjoyed for the innocent treat it is so, just like fish and chips, Grandad Biscuits, and any form of breakfast. I'm not going to directly suggest a pairing, I'm just going to mention that the mild [ale] you cooked it with wouldn't be terrible on the side.
Magnificent Malt Loaf, p. 126.

Published in October, The Beer Kitchen: The Art & Science of Cooking & Pairing, with Beer, by U.K. beer author Melissa Cole, lives up to its subtitle. The chapters:
  • Why Beer & Food
  • How to Assess a Beer
  • How to Pair to Perfection
  • Store-cupboard & Fridge Staples
  • Most-used Bits of Kit
  • So simple [recipes]
  • Some Effort [Ibid.]
  • Show Off! [Ibid.]
  • Sya Cheese! [Ibid.]
  • About the Author
As to the science, or the application thereof, Ms. Cole expounds gently. Take, for example, these two salient points:
Don't deglaze your pan with beer — all this does is burn the sugars in the beer, which creates bitter compounds, concentrates hop bitterness, and drives off all the aroma compounds. ¶ Don't just think about adding beer, think about how it will enhance the flavours — what does it actually add to the dish should always be your first question. If it's basically nothing, then save it for your mouth, not the pot.

Vegetarianism being a subplot of this blog, I should note that the book is far from a vegetarian cookbook. (It wasn't written to be one, although several recipes are vegetarian.) Who's perfect? But there is that Magnificent Malt Loaf (pictured above).

And, of course, there's cheese. (Beer-baked Cheese!)
Cheese and beer are the most perfest of partners. It may sound odd, as we are always told about cheese and wine but, trust me, try it, and you'll never look back.

My snapshot review of The Beer Kitchen? For the home-cook, it's the best cookbook of 2018, "with beer."

The Beer Kitchen


Saturday, December 08, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Krampus Christmas trees?

Krampus Christmas trees?

Would you take the risk?

As seen (or barely seen) from the Trolley Trail, through deep fog, in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, on the morning of 5 November 2018.


Sunday, December 02, 2018

A warming St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

A warming St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
Brouwerij St. Bernardus (Watou, Belgium)

Not Trappist, but derived from that ecclesiastical pedigree.

On draught, at My Parents' Basement, a pub (and comic book shop) in Avondale Estates, Georgia, 30 November 2018.

Dark brown/red, tinged with purple. Scant head, but lasting carbonation. Tasting of (but not derived from) raisins, peaches, apples, anise, cinnamon, circus peanuts, marzipan, malt syrup. At 10% alcohol-by-volume (abv), you know it's strong, but, by Yule, it's smoothly sweet, finishing only just off-dry. Delicious.

Fire extinguished; beer not char-boiled; drinker warmed.

Drinking, Again!
A series of occasional reviews of beers (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Mist on the Fen.

Mist on the fen

A veil draped on the fen.
Familiar became wunderlich.
The quiet ... loud.

And it was 'chilled.'

At seven, Sunday morning, 25 November 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia's Gilliam Park.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Pink Grass

Pink grass (02)

It's pink; it's prolific; it's native to the southeastern U.S. It's pink muhly grass.

Scientifically Muhlenbergia capillaris and also called hair-awn muhly or pink hairgrass ...
this southeastern native grass is found in both the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain regions but in different environments. According to the Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States (May 2015), in the Piedmont it is found “primarily in clayey or thin rocky soils (especially in areas which formerly burned and were prairie-like) and in open woodlands.” In the Coastal Plain, the habitat description is “in savannas, dry woodlands, and coastal grasslands (where sometimes in close proximity with M. sericea), in the Mountains around calcareous rock outcrops.”
Using Georgia Native Plants

In the photo above, pink muhly grass is extensively planted about a two-acre pond in Atlanta, Georgia's Historic Fourth Ward Park where (until 2011) ...
stood little more than cracked asphalt and trash-strewn fields [but that now] provides not only an arresting visual and natural gathering place, but also serves in a functional capacity as a stormwater detention basin. In this role, the lake increases the sewer capacity, reduces the burden on aging city infrastructure, and minimizes downstream flooding and property damage. The use of native plants helps reduce the cost of maintaining the 17-acre park, and organic land-care with dynamic soil biology helps reduce the need for irrigation, minimize storm water runoff, and curtail the likelihood of disease.
Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy

Pond at Historic Fourth Ward Park (02)

Top photo: 18 November 2018. Bottom photo: 31 October 2018.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Laiminga Padėkos Diena!

Beer for Thanksgiving? Yes!

But as to what beer to drink with which dish, let the curators drink alone. There are no rules, but only enthusiastic suggestions.

Be that as it may, maybe a non-dank pilsner, or a spicy, dry (that's the key) saison or dubbel, or, if you're so blessed, a cask-conditioned bitter: sip, pull, and repeat. (Or, okay, a dry IPA.) Beer drunk with cheese; with everything else, don't make beer the star, just the pal. Maybe with sweets, it should be sweeter. Over-hoppy-ed examples? They belong in long special-release queues; over-alcohol-ed, with postprandial digestive stupors.

Heck, maybe even a wine, like a cider. But, above all, this should be fun. It's all been done before.

To conclude, in Lithuanian *:

Laiminga Padėkos Diena!

Beer on bench (02)


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Camp Fire relief: Sierra Nevada's Resilience Butte County Proud IPA

Resilience Butte County Proud IPA
Many of you have asked if we will be brewing a fundraiser beer to support #CampFire relief efforts. The answer is a resounding “yes.”

We are proud to announce that we’ll be brewing Resilience Butte County Proud IPA and donating 100% of sales to Camp Fire relief.

In addition, we are also asking every brewery in America to brew Resilience and do the same. I’m sending a letter to brewers across the country, inviting them to join us in a collaboration brew day on Tuesday, November 27.

We are working with malt and hop suppliers to provide raw ingredient donations to all participating breweries and are asking those breweries to donate 100 percent of their sales, as well.

We know that the rebuilding process will take time, but we’re in this for the long haul. Our hope is to get Resilience IPA in taprooms all over the country to create a solid start for our community’s future.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your support. We're right here with you and we’ll get through this together.
— Ken Grossman
Sierra Nevada Brewing (Instagram)
17 November 2018.


Other ways to help

As of this morning (17 November 2018), the death toll has risen to 71 in California. The Camp Fire has consumed more than 140,000 acres and destroyed more than 12,000 houses and structures.

☞ List of participating breweries: here.
☞ How you can help Camp Fire victims:
Camp Fire approaches Sierra Nevada Brewing
Chico, California: 9 November 2018.
The fire approached (but did not damage) Sierra Nevada Brewing.


Pic(k) of the Week: When it's apple time, down south in Georgia.

When it's apple time, down south in Georgia

Literally and figuratively, it's a pick of the week today.
Billed as a better version of Honeycrisp, the CrimsonCrisp has roots in Golden Delicious, Red Rome, and Jonathan apples, among others. While Honeycrisp has a three-week picking window and is prone to falling off the tree, these deep red apples can be picked for five weeks, grow slowly with little need for pruning, and aren't prone to falling, according to the farmer. “This is more attractive, crisper, more high coloring, you can pick it over a longer time, it doesn't have a tendency to drop, it doesn’t bruise,” he says. “So everything about it is better.” And while Honeycrisp’s extreme juiciness makes it perfect for snacking, it’s not an ideal baking apple, but the CrimsonCrisp can be used for both.
Food & Wine

On 3 November 2018, Mercier Orchards (of Blue Ridge, Georgia) brought a bushel load to the Freedom Farmers Market, in Atlanta, Georgia (at the Carter Center).

In the photo, the CrimsonCrisp apples are second from the bottom. "Rich, sweet-tart flavor; extremely crisp." was the orchard's description. I concur.

But can't something be done to excise that damnable punctuation-challenged marketers' spelling?


Friday, November 16, 2018

The beer blog is dead. Long live the beer blog.

The Session: Beer Blogging Friday

Earlier this month, within one day of each other:

  • Jay Brooks announced the impending demise, after 11 years, of the monthly communal beer bloggers' jam session, "The Session: Beer Blogging Friday."

  • Jonathan Surratt announced the creation of ReadBeer, an aggregator of beer blogs (in non-jargon parlance: a list that updates the latest posts of beer blogs).

Jay Brooks is a beer author and the amazingly prolific publisher of the beer blog, the Brookston Beer Bulletin. He posts daily about beer birthdays (historical and current), historic beer ads, beer art, and current beer-related topics. And, of course, he co-founded "The Session" (with fellow beer writer, Stan Hieronymous).

The penultimate Session, the 141st overall, he titled: "Second-To-Last Session: The Future Of Beer Blogging" and wrote:
Fast forward a decade and there are many more ways that people interact online, and blogs, I think, lost their vaunted place in the discussion. Now there’s also Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other ways to communicate online. This has meant blogging, I believe, has lost its place at the top, or in the middle, or wherever it was. That’s how it feels to me, at least. I think one incident that confirmed this for me is that recently the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference changed its name to the "Beer Now Conference," a seeming acknowledgment that the landscape has changed.


Jonathan Surratt, among several beery things, is the web guru for the Cicerone Certification Program. Way back in 2005, he launched the (still viable) crowd-sourced brewery/beer store locator, the Beer Mapping Project.

A few days after ReadBeer went live, Suratt tweeted:
We just hit 988 posts in less than a week. That's from 63 different beer news/blog sources. Since we launched (last Friday), we've sent more than 4,500 clicks outgoing to these sources.

The beer blog is dead. Long live the beer blog. Or, at least, long live the beer journal, public or private, online or pen-and-paper.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

100 years later: peace on Earth, goodwill toward mankind?

Armistice Day, Paris, 11 November 1918.

Ten million soldiers dead.

One-hundred years ago, today, at the 11th hour (Paris, France time) of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice went into effect and World War I —the "War to End All Wars"— ended. War, not.

One year later, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first observance of Armistice Day (which, in years to come, in the U.S. would be honored as Veterans Day).
A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.

With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.

Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.

To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

The photo, from the British Imperial War Museum depicts an American sailor, an American Red Cross Nurse, and two British soldiers, standing near the Paris Gate at Vincennes, Paris, all celebrating the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918. It may not be a beer photo, but —in memory of those who fought and died, and in the ever hope of real peace on Earth, goodwill toward mankind— it marks an occasion that is, at the very least, more than worthy of a toast with a good beer.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Fallen allée

Fallen allée

It was only an afterthought.

Mucked from rains the day before, the unfinished Peavine Creek trail was a side-creek of mud. I climbed from the narrow woodland to a neighborhood street in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. I turned around and saw the scene: an allée of trees and fallen aureate leaves waiting to be framed.

What I snapped then was, by far, my best shot of that hike. Sometimes, I think I'm getting a bit closer to getting it — the photography thing, that is. I have my older brother —a real photographer— to thank for that.

Slow down for the trees.

Photo: City of Atlanta (Druid Hills), Georgia. 7 November 2018.


Friday, November 09, 2018

The first autobiography in English was written by a brewster.

14th century brewer Margery Kempe: the English language's first autobiographer

On this day (9 November) the Anglican Community honors Margery Kempe (c. 1373 – 1438): a brewster *, grain-miller, Christian mystic, and the English language's first autobiographer.

Kempe wrote the "The Book of Margery Kempe," chronicling her domestic tribulations, her extensive pilgrimages to holy sites in Europe and the Holy Land, and her mystical conversations with God. The book is generally considered to be the first autobiography written in the English language.

Although the Church of England honors Margery Kempe today, the U.S. Episcopal Church does so earlier in the year, on 28 September. And the Catholic Church has never designated her a saint.


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Beer! Reason enough for all craft beer brewsters, brewers, and drinkers to vote, today.

Today, November 6, 2018, for one short minute
— you, 'craft' beer brewster, brewer, or drinker —
you can be the most powerful person in the nation.


Think issues don’t impact you? You’d be shocked to know the number of people I encounter who think beer and politics don’t intersect. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, alcohol and beer are overwhelmingly political. How many other industries have not just one, but two amendments to the U.S. Constitution? The 18th and 21st amendments are specifically about alcohol. From the taverns of the 1700s to the tasting rooms of today, our country has a long and complicated history with booze, and it is very much intertwined with politics.

Need a Reason to Vote?

Below are some of the issues that your state and federal legislators and regulators have a say in that could impact small and independent breweries.
  • 1. Tasting Room Laws:
    • Not being able to sell beer to go.
    • Restrictive growler sales laws.
    • Limiting how much beer you can sell from your tasting room.
    • Not being able to host trivia, show football games, or have food trucks.
    • Not being allowed to have children in your brewery.

  • 2. When and Where Beer Can Be Sold:
    There are still states that impose restrictions on retail sales. *

  • 3. Blue Laws:
    There are many counties across the country where it is still illegal to sell alcohol.

  • 4. Federal and State Excise Taxes:
    • Federal excise taxes for breweries are currently lower, but only for a period from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019. Congress will decide whether to extend or make this legislation permanent.
    • State excise taxes fluctuate more often than federal excise taxes. Most recently, Delaware’s excise tax on beer increased by 2¢ per 12-ounce can.

  • 5. FDA, USDA, and TTB Regulations:
    From farm to table, everything about your beer is regulated. The administration and Congress have a say in a broad amount of regulations. Remember the spent grain debacle? Your legislators helped solve that.

  • 6. Tariffs and Trade:
    Tariffs on steel and aluminum, tariffs against products from China, and the new NAFTA all have the potential to impact breweries. Your elected officials are influential in some of these issues. Both the Farm Bill and the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreement still need to be voted on.

  • 7. Shipping Laws:
    While wineries are able to ship direct to consumers in most states, breweries are not. Homebrewers also face severe restrictions when shipping beer to competitions. These issues have both state and federal implications.

  • 8. New Members of Congress:
    In the 115th Congress, the House Small Brewers Caucus has 234 members, and the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act has 303 co-sponsors in the House and 55 in the Senate (more than half the U.S. Congress). Eighty members of this Congress are either retiring, have retired, are running for a different office, or have passed away. That doesn’t account for the members who will lose their re-elections. With 535 members, there is a chance that one-fifth of the U.S. Congress will be new members. We want to work with people who understand and support the needs of breweries.

    Voting Isn’t Just a Right, It’s a Responsibility

    People rely on our businesses to survive. There are close to 7,000 breweries in the United States, employing more than 135,000 people. Small and independent breweries in the U.S. are valued at $26 billion. We also support a multitude of industries including manufacturing, agriculture, and retail.

    Many breweries have already started to take responsibility. Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine; New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo.; and IMBIB Custom Brews in Reno, Nev. have joined with Patagonia, Walmart, and other companies on the non-partisan “Time to Vote” campaign, which aims to increase awareness about the steps employers can take to give their employees time to vote. They understand that an active and engaged electorate is good for the brewing industry. You can follow in their footsteps by voting and by giving your staff time to vote, too.

    Activism is just as important to the longevity of the brewing community as quality, safety, and authenticity. Please make sure to vote!
Katie Marisic
Federal affairs manager at the [U.S.] Brewers Association. Based in Washington, D.C. she plans and executes legislative, regulatory, and political strategies to drive the Association's federal affairs presence on Capitol Hill.


Saturday, November 03, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Bridge over Hardee Creek

Bridge over Hardee Creek

It's only a small pedestrian bridge over Hardee Creek in the Kirkwood Urban Forest Preserve, in Atlanta, Georgia, but walking over it, the (intrepid) explorer could (almost) forget she is within the city limits.

Perspective. It's how you look at it (excluding the quantum level, of course).

1 November 2018.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Hairy Potter

Hairy Potter

Canine cosplay!

It's Hairy Potter, a contestant at the 6th annual Dogtoberfest, in Atlanta, Georgia's East Atlanta Village neighborhood.

Begun in 2013 by a local business (dog biscuits!) owner, Dogtoberfest features a dog (and human) Halloween costume contest and parade.

21 October 2018.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Journal of the American Homebrewers Association, Volume 1, Number 1.

In December of this year, Zymurgy Magazine will celebrate its 40th anniversary.

In December 1978, the American Homebrewers Association —led by Charlie Papazian, Daniel Bradford, Charlie Matzen, et al.— launched the magazine (then a pamphlet), only two months after brewing at home had been delisted as a federal crime.
'Zymurgy' is the seventh-to-last entry in our Unabridged Dictionary. It is defined as 'a branch of applied chemistry that deals with fermentation processes (as in winemaking or brewing),' and is used as a fancy word for the profession, hobby, or fellowship of brewing beer.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Autumn magenta.

Autumn magenta

Even as its leaves wither, a morning-glory still preens, in royal purple, untended and wild along the side of a city street. Life lesson.

As seen (in the morning of) 19 October 2018, in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Whole Note

Whole Note

The The Big 9 was once the prime African-American enterprise and entertainment district in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And the Whole Note Restaurant and Lounge was once one of that neighborhood's premier African-American music clubs.

Now renamed the Martin Luther King District, the area shows signs of revitalization. In what form remains to be seen.

In the photo, taken 6 October 2018, a man walks in front of the now-abandoned club.


Saturday, October 06, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Dahlia in black & white.

Dahlia in black & white

Hello, Dahlia!

Up close and personal, like an anemone on dry land. 30 September 2018.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Pub prisms

Pub prisms

The colors of beer, or, at least, of a pub in the afternoon sun.

In Decatur, Georgia, on 22 September 2018 ... in the late afternoon.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Clouds on the hills

Clouds on the hills (02)

Autumn begins today in the Northern Hemisphere. On the U.S. East Coast, that'll be at 9:54 tonight.
The autumnal equinox—also called the September or fall equinox—is the astronomical start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

Why is it called an equinox? The word comes from the Latin aequus, meaning “equal” and nox, meaning “night.”

During the equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator.” Imagine a line that marks the equator on Earth extending up into the sky above the equator from north to south. Earth’s two hemispheres receive the Sun’s rays about equally. The Sun is overhead at noon as seen from the equator, so at this point, the amount of nighttime and daytime (sunlight) are roughly equal to each other.
The Old Farmer's Almanac

As to the photo: late summer clouds were feeling the changing season, hanging low over the hills in Blue Ridge, Georgia, on 8 September 2018. I took the photo. panning from a moving car...but from the passenger side.

Summer ends; autumn begins; winter looms.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Two draught beers diverged in a pub; and the GABF.

Which one did I choose?
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two draught beers diverged in a pub, and I—
I took the one less commonly favored,
And that has made all the difference.

With apologies to Robert Frost, but which one did I choose? Either way, on to the news.


Great American Beer Festival

The Great American Beer Festival officially begins tomorrow (Thursday, 20 September 2018) in Denver, Colorado, and continues through Saturday (22 September). The GABF is both a festival and a competition, the latter in which judges putatively select the best beers in America in 102 (!?) 'style' categories. First held in 1982, this is the 37th annual GABF. Murk will be a big winner.

Not there this week? You can follow vicariously at: -----more-----

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Summer vegetable grilling.

Summer vegetable grilling

Vegan grilling ... that is, grilling FOR (not OF) vegans. And some beer cookery.
For this Labor Day 2018 grill, there were also veggie frankfurters (Field Roast) and veggie burgers (Beyond Meat), both soy-free. Other folk brought fried chicken. Can't win 'em all.


Hurricane Florence

Wishing good fortune to all in Hurricane Florence's path. For the rest of us, here are some ways in which we can help.


Saturday, September 08, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Maggie reclines.

Maggie reclines

Not mine, but Maggie agreed to pose for a portrait, nonetheless. Was she, however, delivering an apophasistic gesture with her left paw?

31 August 2018.


Monday, September 03, 2018

Today, don't forget to thank your local brewster!

Pulling the mash

Today, don't forget to thank your local brewster or brewer.
☞ According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 59,000 people work in breweries across the United States.

☞ The [U.S.] Brewers Association —using different methodology— finds 135,072 brewsters and brewers (and brewery and brewpub employees) working at the 6,372 "small and independent" breweries across the country.

☞ And, according to the Beer Institute —compiling data that include everyone associated with the U.S. brewing industry, directly and indirectly— the beer industry employs nearly 2.23 million Americans ...
... many of whom are working today, Labor Day, to provide your daily beer. Yeast never sleeps.


Saturday, September 01, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Stone bridge 'keyhole'

Stone bridge 'keyhole'

Photo of a 'keyhole' —in a short-span stone bridge built over a usually-dry storm-runoff culvert— in Grant Park, Atlanta, Georgia, taken on 29 August 2018.


Grant Park

Grant Park —Atlanta, Georgia's first city-owned public park— was named, not for nemesis Ulysses S. Grant, but Lemuel P. Grant (no relation), an Atlanta businessman who donated over 100 acres of his personal property to Atlanta in 1883. Grant was a railroad engineer who designed the fortifications for Atlanta during the Civil War.

In 1903, the Olmsted Brothers (sons of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who planned New York City's Central Park) were hired to design the park. It included Lake Abana, large enough for boating, since paved over as a parking lot for Zoo Atlanta within the park.

The surrounding, eponymous neighborhood had also comprised Grant's estate. His three-story mansion, now headquarters for the Atlanta Preservation Center, is one of only four extant antebellum houses in Atlanta.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

“Therein lies the joy.” Michael Jackson and the pub.

Michael Jackson
(27 March 1942 - 30 August 2007)

The pub is the place that children's fathers get shouted at by children's others for having dallied in. The pub is a landmark in conversation: something happened outside the Rose and Crown; turn left at the King Charles; park your car 100 yards past the Star and Garter. Pub is a three-letter word serves so many purposes. The pub is the place where there is a wooden trapdoor in the pavement. Sometimes, especially in the mornings, the trapdoor is opened, to receive casks, rolling down the ramp. On such occasions, the pub is a parking-place for boldly-painted trucks, and sometimes, horses pulling drays. (The London brewery of Young's is just one which has retained horse-power.*) The pub is the place where lights shine through translucent glass in the evenings, the doors swing open to exhale noisy conversation and beery smells. the pub is the place where stubble-chinned schoolboys sneak in plain clothes to prove their manliness; anyone can fool around with girls, but only real men drink in pubs.
— Michael Jackson. The English Pub: A unique social phenomenon.
London: Wm Collins & Sons, 1976.

For more than thirty years, British journalist Michael Jackson —affectionately known as The Beer Hunter— was a prolific author of influential books on beer (and whiskey), in which he firmly established the concept of beer type and beer style.

It has been eleven years since Mr. Jackson died and four decades since he published The English Pub, his first book. Pubs have changed; the beer industry has changed; beer historiography has changed; mores have changed. But the Beer Hunter's writing abides.
Those who love the institution will continue to investigate it. Because no two pubs are the same (despite the worst efforts of the big brewers), the search can never reach a conclusion. Therein lies the joy.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: The ArtLot arrow

The ArtLot arrow
The Avondale Arts Alliance in collaboration with the city of Avondale Estates and the Downtown Development Authority has developed and built a temporary Art Park. Built on a blighted lot by community volunteers and owned by the City of Avondale Estates, the ArtLot aims to revitalize the downtown area, draw visitors to the downtown district, encourage walkability, and serves as a gathering place for visitors to explore creative experiences. We invite all forms of creative expression at the ArtLot.

The photo was taken 21 August 2018. The ArtLot is in Avondale Estates, a propinquitous suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.


Friday, August 24, 2018

Drinking, again! Sierra Nevada / Weihenstephan Oktoberfest 2018 (a review)

Sierra Nevada / Weihenstephan Oktoberfest 2018

Sierra Nevada Brewing's Oktoberfest 2018 is a collaboration with Weihenstephan in Freising, Germany, brewed in the U.S. by Sierra Nevada.
We’ve partnered with Bavaria’s Weihenstephan, the world’s oldest brewery for this American take on the classic German Oktoberfest. A malt backbone is balanced by subtle hop character in this crisp, clean, and drinkable crowd-pleaser. Nothing captures the spirit of celebration like a beer among friends.
Sierra Nevada Brewing

From the brewery, here are the zymurgical specifications:
  • Malts: Two-row Pale, Steffi, Pilsner, Munich.
  • Hops (bittering): Sterling.
  • Hops (flavor and aroma): Sterling, Spalter, Record.
  • Yeast: lager (strain not specified)
  • ABV (alcohol-by-volume): 6%.
  • IBUs (international bittering units): 20.
From me, here are my reactions. I tasted Oktoberfest, poured from a bottle, in Atlanta, Georgia, on 23 August 2018. I'm not certain if Sierra Nevada is brewing the lager exclusively at its original plant in Chico, California, or also at its newer brewery in Mills River, North Carolina, but the sample I tasted was brewed at the former.
  • Appearance: Like a shiny, new penny
  • Conditioning: Fine bead, lasting carbonation; long-lived, lightly moussey head.
  • Aroma: Toasted marshmallows in an alfalfa field.
  • Taste: Sweet start with a dry finish. Lightly toasted bread; a good depth of malt. Even a soupçon of 'Meillardy' dark-meat poultry (in a good way).
And, here's a kicker. As a neurogastronomical experiment, leave a bit of the beer unfinished in your glass, overnight (if you can). In the morning, smell. Those noble-heritage hops linger on. Glorious!

Munich, Germany, begins its Oktoberfest celebrations on Saturday, 22 September, continuing for sixteen days through Sunday, 7 October. I began early.

Drinking, Again!
A series of occasional reviews of beers (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Sunrise at St. Augustine Beach

Sunrise at St. Augustine Beach (03)

It's reassuring to observe that, despite all, the sun yet does 'rise' in the east in the morning.

Documenting the sunrise at St. Augustine Beach, looking east over the Atlantic Ocean, on 5 August 2018, at 6:50 in the morning, Eastern Daylight Time.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: IPA at the beach

IPA at the beach

Sometimes, it's not so much what beer you're drinking, but where you're drinking it.

Here: A draft IPA served on the patio of a pub at the beach (and the Atlantic Ocean), in St. Augustine Beach, Florida, on 3 August 2018.

Summertime, and the drinking was easy.


Saturday, August 04, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Full moon; Mars perihelion opposition

Full moon; Mars perihelion opposition

It was a Full Buck Moon on Friday night/Saturday morning, 28/29 July 2018.
July is the month of the Full Buck Moon. At this time, a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. This Full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.
The Old Farmers' Almanac.

In much of the world, that July full moon was also a "blood moon": a total lunar eclipse. At one hour, forty-three minutes, it was the longest total lunar eclipse, so far, of the 21st century. Alas, here in the Northern Hemisphere, the eclipse was not to be seen.

But not to worry. A very visible Mars also rose in the sky that night, in the full glory of a perihelion opposition —that is, completely opposite the Sun in the sky— thus, lit up bright and reddish orange.

Mars' actual perihelion —its closest approach to the Earth— wouldn't occur until a few days later, on Tuesday, 31 July 2018, when it would be 'only' 35,784,481 miles from Earth, something much rarer: its closest embrace of us since 2003. Contrast that with Mars' average distance of four times that, 140 million miles.

As a terrestrially photographic point, I liked the otherwise interceding power line in the shot. It acted as a diagonal divider, if not planned that way. Viewed over Atlanta, Georgia, at one in the morning, on 29 July 2018.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Dog koozie

"Where's the beer?" they've asked of recent Pic(k)s of the Week. Here it is.

Dog koozie

It's amusing what you can find in a thrift store. It's even more amusing when you actually purchase it: a Labrador Retriever beer koozie ... on a pedestal.

At the Red Nose Tavern, somewhere in Atlanta, Georgia, on 26 July 2018.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: YFGF's evolution of photography

In 2009, this was the state of the photography, here, at YFGF: a Canon PowerShot SD400 point-and-shoot held together with —if not spit and baling wire— band-aids and duct tape.

Official camera of YFGF

In 2018, this: a seven-year-old Olympus Pen E-PL1 with a thirty-seven-year-old lens.

Canon legacy lens on Olympus Pen

The gear has changed. But the technique?