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.