Saturday, August 08, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Butterfly & blossom

Butterfly & blossom
Papilionoidea & calendula.
Pollinator & blossom.
Butterfly and marigold.

Several months ago, my telephoto zoom lens took a 'bath' in a local creek. Water leaked inside the housing and then, as it dried, spotted the lens. Those water-spots don't make for tack-sharp images but they do impart an ethereal, gauzy quality.

Such as a community garden in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 27 July 2020.


Saturday, August 01, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Radishes & rye

Radishes & rye

Moons of garden radishes.
Slices of hearty, 'buttered' rye bread. 
And, then, we feast.

Locally-grown organic radishes and locally-baked Estonian rye bread purchased at a local farmers' market, and plated (so fancy) for a backyard brunch.

28 June 2020.


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Synecdoche Steel

Steel, LLC

How much is a name worth?

A steel factory (and a railroad line) in Scottdale, Georgia, USA, on 12 July 2020.
Steel, LLC was founded in 1947. It is a steel fabricator providing structural steel, miscellaneous metals, ornamental metals, erection, and services for the construction of suburban mid-rise office buildings, corporate campuses, aviation/aerospace structures, and steel trusses.

And it has that synecdoche.


Saturday, July 18, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Decatur Self-Storage mural

Decatur Self-Storage mural

In 2000, Atlanta-based artist Angela Bond painted a mural of cats on the side facade of a self-storage business building in Scottdale, Georgia. I've driven by the artwork several times in the past few years. Last week, I finally decided to take its picture.

If not quite stopping to smell the roses, it was taking the time to appreciate what I had taken for granted. 12 July 2020.

Here's what Ms. Bond wrote about herself and her art:
I studied art and business at Georgia State University, but my unorthodox style has developed over many years with numerous influences. Early on, my painting style was influenced by working with mosaics. I use the background color as a negative to build up the foreground positively in order to create a three-dimensional form. As my graphic/ hard edge style has evolved, there has become a strong influence by Pop Art and Fauvism. The influence of Pop Art is seen instantly in my graphic style and my use of everyday, ordinary creatures. You can see Fauvism’s influence with the large plains of bold color that I use and the reduction of colors to a minimum. Also, I am drawn to various paintings by Matisse where he uses intricate patterns on rugs and background designs.

Clicking on the photo takes you to Flickr where you can see a larger image.. And, here's a tryptic also showing greater detail:


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: ESB in happier times

Beer on Small Brewery Sunday

On 1 December 2019, this was Origination ESB, on draught in the taproom at Lost Druid Brewery for Small Brewery Sunday, in the (small) city of Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA.

If this image looks familiar, it's because I originally posted it to YFGF's Facebook page that same day. It deserves an overdue elevation to Pic(k) of the Week status.

Considering the craft beer world's current state of affairs (let alone, the world), remembering Small Brewery Sunday on any day might not be a bad thing. In better times,
Every dollar a beer lover spent at a craft brewery fueled a small business that supports the economic health of its local community.
The 'craft' beer industry:
  • Contributed $79.1 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • Provided 559,545 total jobs.
  • Gave an estimated $92.6 million to charitable organizations.
—the [U.S.] Brewers Association's 2018 Economic Impact Report

And Origination, itself?
An autumnal interplay of malts and hops provides for exquisite balance in this English extra special bitter [ESB]. Light earthy, herbal hop character intermingles with bready, toffee-like malt notes to produce a highly sessionable ale for the fall season. 5.7 % abv [alcohol-by-volume].

Extra specially tasty, it was.


Saturday, July 04, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Red, white, and blue

Red, white, and blue

Red, white, and blue. Well, OK, almost blue.

Ipomoea purpurea (aka purple morning-glory) blooming wild in East Decatur Station, in Decatur, Georgia, USA.

A bit of floral vexillology for Independence Day, such as that is.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Look for the YFGF born-on date.

Firkin a go-go (01)

Want even fresher beer news?

Go to YFGF's Facebook page:

Or scroll down.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Silage-ing at Stillpoint

Silage-ing at Stillpoint

For alliterative fancy, I might say, "silage-ing at Stillpoint." For agricultural precision, I'll say, "baling hay."

Stillpoint Farm is a working farm in Mount Airy, Maryland, USA. It comprises horse stables, an apiary, a Leicester Longwool sheep ranch, a hopyard, and the first farm-brewery to open in the state of Maryland: Milkhouse Brewery.

Since 2012, Maryland has awarded Class 8 Manufacturing licenses to farm breweries, under provisions that some of the ingredients, used it its beer, be grown on the farm. The first to receive the license was Milkhouse Brewery, then, with an acre of hops under cultivation.

I took this photo back on 19 May 2012. Today —a blast-from-the-past and at the half-way point for the year 2020— it's the Pic(k) of the Week.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Ahhh!



An innocent time before coronavirus: no social-distancing, no masks. But cold beers on hot days.

And street festivals.

Photo taken during the East Atlanta Strut, in the East Atlanta Village neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 28 September 2019.

One doubts if the coronavirus will permit this year's festivities. One hopes, though.


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Turtle and amberwings, down by the lakeside

Turtle and amberwings

Two dragonflies flit dangerously close to a turtle...or, from the turtle's perspective, deliciously close. Down by Avondale Lake, in the (small) city of Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA, on 5 June 2020.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Georgia's open for (brewery) business

Brewery taprooms are once again open for business in the state of Georgia.

As of 1 June 2020, Georgia governor Brian Kemp has allowed bars and nightclubs, relaxing the coronavirus shutdown. In order to reopen, bars and nightclubs will need to meet 39 mandatory measures to "ensure patron well-being." Among those measures are
  • screenings for employees
  • limiting the number of people in the building (25 people or not more than 35% of total occupancy)
  • regular and thorough sanitizing
  • only serving drinks to seated patrons
  • limiting party sizes to six people
  • limiting the ability for congregating.
Pictured: "Patio, Pints & Food Truck," a signboard for Wild Heaven Beer, a 'craft' brewery in Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA.


Saturday, June 06, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Downtown Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta

An 'iconic' view of downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA: looking west from the Jackson Street Bridge. The cable-television series Walking Dead popularized this vista, if in a digitally altered form. Pandemically-reduced traffic during April and May of this year produced an eerily similar vista.

The local-traffic Jackson Street Bridge crosses over two large highways —the Downtown Connector (I-85/I-75) and Freedom Parkway. It reconnects two neighborhoods that had been sundered by the construction of the roads in the 1960s/70s.

Like most larger American cities, Atlanta (37th most populous, with 507,00 residents) has a skyscraped downtown cityscape.
  • The skyscraper at the far right (north) is SunTrust Plaza —28th-tallest in the world.
  • To its left is the Atlanta Marriott Marquis —aka the Pregnant Building.
  • In the middle, the column-shaped skyscraper (with an antenna) is the Westin Peachtree Plaza.
  • The 2nd skyscraper from the left is 191 Peachtree Tower.
  • The Georgia-Pacific Tower is to the far left.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Safe soft drink?

Safe soft drink?

Hazardous indolence in the time of coronavirus.

As seen on a sidewalk in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 22 May 2020.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Thank you, essential workers.

Thank you, essential workers

Thank you, nurses, doctors, first responders, utility workers, postal workers, farmhands, factory workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, sanitation workers —and, of course: brewers, winemakers, distillers— and many, many, many more.

Thank you, essential workers.

A sign seen in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 20 May 2020.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Great American Beer Festival 2020 canceled due to coronavirus concerns

There's some sad but expected (and prudent) news from the [U.S.] Brewers Association.

The association has announced that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the public portion of its 39th annual Great American Beer Festival —scheduled for 24-26 September 2020, in Denver Colorado— will not be held this year. In its place: an "online immersive experience," rescheduled for 16-17 October 2020.

The association does say, however, that it still plans to conduct its annual national competition of beers over multiple categories, but as to exactly how the judging of beer will occur —whether in person, virtually, where, etc.— it has not yet offered details.

UPDATE: In response to a tweeted query, the BA wrote: 
"The final plan is still under development but will include strict schedules and directional traffic patterns, personal protective equipment, temperature checks, continuous cleaning and sanitation, etc."

Boulder, Colo. • May 21, 2020 — The Great American Beer Festival® (GABF), the country’s preeminent beer festival and competition, will pivot its 2020 event, originally scheduled for September 24-26 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, to an immersive online experience October 16-17.

The 39th Great American Beer Festival may look different, but beer lovers from around the country will have the opportunity to come together in new ways to celebrate the nation’s craft beer community. The spirit of the festival will live on through live and virtual experiences with beer lovers and breweries nationwide on October 16-17, 2020. The event is still in planning, but experiences will likely include beer tastings, conversations with brewers, local brewery activations, and at-home beer and food pairing deliveries.

The festival’s renowned professional beer competition will take place in 2020. A panel of more than 100 professional judges will assess the more than 7,000 expected entries to identify the three beers that best represent each style category. The GABF gold, silver, and bronze medals are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence. Brewery registration opens on June 9. More information on the competition, style guidelines, and awards ceremony here.

More information about the 2020 GABF logistics, schedule, and ticket options will be released in the coming months.


Earlier this year, the association also canceled its annual Craft Brewers Conference (and its biannual World Beer Cup) both of which had been scheduled to occur in San Antonio, Texas, in April.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Vesti diem!

Vesti diem!

Wash the rainbow. 
Paint the breeze. 
Clothe the day. 

Colorful wash pinned to a clothesline and left to dry, old-school-style.

As seen in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 9 May 2020.


Saturday, May 09, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Zwickel-Teasing

Mad Mild (03)

Zwickel is the German word for a type of stainless steel valve designed for taking samples [from] enclosed containers, possibly under pressure. [...] The Zwickel cock is built with a highly sanitary design and is generally found on bright beer tanks and uni-vessels.
The Encyclopedia of Beer (1995)

'Zwickel-teasing' is a euphemism for taking a sample large enough for, uh, quaffing.

In the photo, a brewer was zwickel-teasing a 'Mild Ale' from a fermenting/conditioning vessel. He offered me the 'sample' to taste. I accepted.

May is American Mild Month, the sixth such iteration of this nationwide celebration. I've written about that: here.


Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Cinco de Mild!

It may be Cinco de Mayo —if one less beery and margarita-y than in years past— but it's also día cinco of American Mild Month —if less mildly than in years past.

American Mild Month

Today's tender sensibilities should favor a style called mild, and perhaps they will. the designation refers to mildness of hop character. A mild is gentle, sweetish, certainly not bitter. Some milds are pale in color, but more are tawny or dark.

Mild is an ale intended to be consumed in quantity, more as a restorative than a refresher. It was once a harvest-time drink, a reward for farmworkers.

The style was also popular in areas of thirst-making industry, and [has] retained its strongest loyalties in West Midlands towns.

Mild came to be seen as an old-fashioned style, with a 'cloth cap' image. The darker examples also suffered from the mistaken belief that brews with a full color are necessarily heavier in body or stronger in alcohol. Only when the style had become almost forgotten could a new generation of drinkers rediscover it.
— Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson's Beer Companion

Before the 20th century (and even into it), Mild Ale, in Britain, referred to a non-aged ale, often quite alcoholically strong. But, then, the privations (and the tax privations) of World War I —and the decades thereafter— stood Mild on its head. They transmogrified it into a low alcohol, not bitter, often darker ale...but still a fresh, non-aged one. The decades of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s did further injustice to the drink. Sales and production plummeted. To give it a kick in the pints, the UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) began a "Mild May" campaign which continues to this day.

Hampden Mild Ale


American Mild Ale

Alistair Reece is an ex-pat Scotsman and past Prague resident, who lives in Virginia in the U.S., where he blogs at Fuggled. Why, Reece thought, do we not celebrate mild in the U.S.? And so, American Mild Month was born in May 2015.

But, what is an American Mild Ale?

Start with the concept of 'session' beer. Lew Bryson, a long-time fighter for 'session' beer, defines American Session Ale as:
  • 4.5% alcohol by volume or less
  • flavorful enough to be interesting
  • balanced enough for multiple pints
  • conducive to conversation
  • reasonably priced

Now mix in Mild. British beer historians Jessica Bloak and Ray Bailey describe modern British Mild as:
First, it has to put sweet malt and flavours from sugar at the forefront, but that doesn’t have to mean that it has to be sickly or lacking in character. Bitterness can work, but excessive perfume just seems wrong. Roastiness also jars, suggesting that some brewers remain in thrall to out-of-date history that declares mild to be a degeneration of porter, which it isn’t.

And finish it off with an American twist. Mr. Reece limns American Mild as:
A restrained, darkish ale, with gentle hopping and brewed with a clean American yeast strain so that the malt and what American hops are present shine through in the finish, without fruity flavors.
  • Alcohol-content-by-volume (abv) between 3.5% and 4.5%.
  • Color greater than 17 SRM (i.e., darker than a golden ale).
  • Bitterness level of 30 International Bittering Units (IBU) or fewer. Thus, more bitter than an English Mild, but less hoppy than an American pale ale.
  • Neutral American ale yeast strain.

A null definition might help. What American Mild Ale is NOT is a 'session' IPA: it is NOT a hoppy ale. What it is NOT is a beer of greater than 4.5% alcohol. Doing either of those things, and you're playing with 'session' semantics.

But do things right, and Mild Ale — 'more-ish' in flavor while eminently 'drinkable'— becomes a quintessential 'session' beer. Again, Mr. Jackson:
Milds are not bitter beers, but can nevertheless be full of flavor...They are generally low in alcohol...and make good lunchtime drinks. Perhaps this explains their new-found popularity?

Yes, please!

Covidentially, American Mild Month might be more wistfully aspirational this May, rather than actually sloshing in our pints. Nonetheless, it's still 'strongly' Mild Ale. Look for it; plan for it; drink it! And, brew it when you can.

Dark Mild for the win

  • American Mild Month webpage.
  • American Mild Ale defined.
  • Twitter: @MildMonthUS (Use hashtag: #MildMonthUS.)
  • Facebook: AmericanMildMonth.

  • An in-depth examination of modern British Mild Ale, from Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey, at All About Beer: here.
  • Irony notwithstanding, these are the specifications for English Mild Ale, as defined by the [U.S.] Brewers Association.
    A. Subcategory: English-Style Pale Mild Ale
    English Pale Milds are light amber to medium amber. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Fruity-ester aroma is very low to medium-low. Hop aroma is very low or low. Malt flavor dominates the flavor profile. Hop flavor is very low to low. Hop bitterness is very low to low. Very low diacetyl flavors may be appropriate in this low-alcohol beer. Fruity-ester flavor is very low to medium-low. Body is low to low-medium.
    • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.036 (7.6-9.0 °Plato)
    • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1.0-2.1 °Plato)
    • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.7%-3.4% (3.4%-4.4%)
    • Bitterness (IBU) 10-20
    • Color SRM 6-9 (12-18 EBC)

    B. Subcategory: English-Style Dark Mild Ale
    English Dark Milds are reddish-brown to very dark. Fruity-ester aroma is very low to medium-low. Malt and caramel are part of the aroma while licorice and roast malt tones may sometimes contribute to aroma profile. Hop aroma is very low. Malt flavor and caramel are part of the flavor profile while licorice and roast malt tones may also contribute. Hop flavor is very low. Hop bitterness is very low to low. Very low diacetyl flavors may be appropriate in this low-alcohol beer. Fruity-ester flavor is very low to medium-low. Body is low-medium to medium.
    • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.036 (7.6-9.0 °Plato)
    • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1.0-2.1 °Plato)
    • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.7%-3.4% (3.4%-4.4%)
    • Bitterness (IBU) 10-24
    • Color SRM 17-34 (34-68 EBC)

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Peekaboo



Like a curtain pulled open, a section of a corrugated metal wall has been twisted apart, revealing the Hulsey Yard beyond.  The railroad behemoth CSX shut down this 70-acre rail-yard in 2019 but has yet to sell it. Redevelopment plans abound.

As seen on Beltline Eastside, in the Reynoldstown neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 27 February 2018.


Friday, May 01, 2020

Utepils for Frühjahrswanderung

Word of the day: “Utepils.”

Norwegian for “a beer that is enjoyed outside...particularly on the first hot day of the year.
— “The Positive Lexicography Project
(a catalog of foreign terms for happiness that have no direct English translation).

Used in a sentence:
An utepils would be a salubrious refreshment after a Frühjahrswanderung today.
— “Frühjahrswanderung”: German for “spring hike,”if not quite as mellifluous a locution as “utepils.”

Happy May Day!


Monday, April 27, 2020

6 x 10∧6

From the FWIW department...

Six million hits

For what it's worth, as of the morning of 26 April 2020, the 55,373 photos and images that I have posted to Flickr since 2006 have been viewed six million times.

And the pace of views is quickening. I passed five million views six months ago, on 27 October 2019. I hit four million views fifteen months before that, on 1 July 2018, and the three million mark, nearly two years earlier, on 16 June 2016.

I have used six different cameras (excluding cell phones and Palm PDAs) since 2006. In order, from most recent to oldest: Originally, most of what I was uploaded was beer-centric. In the past 4 years or so, however, my emphasis has shifted more toward 'artsy,' playing at being a photographer, if you will, if not always so successfully. The beer pics remain a-coming, just not as often.

Thank you to all who have viewed my images and to all of you who have 'favorited' and/or commented on them.

Yours for good fermentables,
Thomas Cizauskas
26 April 2020.

Are you our mummy?


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Purple wildflower in field

Purple wildflower in field

Wildflowers have begun to bloom at the end of the trail (or is it the beginning?).

At the Trailhead Community Park of the East Decatur Greenway, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 22 April 2020.

The shot is a closeup — getting in close at a wide angle— so the purple blossom appears larger in the image than it does in 'real' life (~ 1-inch or 2.5-centimeters).


Thursday, April 23, 2020

A virtual Craft Brewers Conference

Floor of BrewExpo America®

The [U.S.] Brewers Association —the national non-profit association on behalf of small and independent (and 'traditional') U.S. breweries— had originally scheduled its annual Craft Brewers Conference for this week in San Antonio, Texas. Then, there was this thing called a pandemic and the confab was scrubbed.

So, in lieu of an actual conference, the BA has been live-streaming seminars this week and will continue to so through 15 May.

There are almost 70 webinars in total. Topics include such as:
  • Chemical Safety in Brewing: Do You Really Know What You're Doing?
  • State of the Craft Brewing Industry
  • Draught Beer Quality Workshop: Addressing Draught Beer Dispense Issues
  • Don’t Get Gotcha’d: Regulatory and Compliance Best Practices for Growing Craft Breweries.
Downloadable pdfs and audio links are provided afterward for perusal. The full schedule: here.

More Brewers Association links:


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Outta beer; outta here.

Outta beer; outta here

Festooned with street art like this, a blocks-long metal wall separates the Atlanta BeltLine from the former CSX railroad Hulsey Yard, in the Reynoldstown district of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 

I snapped a photo of this mural on 27 February 2018; now, its sentiment seems so appropriate. I haven't checked to see if it's still there. 

The Beltline is a not-yet-completed rails-to-trail pedestrian/biker/skater/runner circumnavigation of the city of Atlanta. A big sidewalk with a deficit of social-distancing but a surfeit of huffing-&-puffing, the BeltLine is something I'm avoiding these days.

Outta beer; outta here. 

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of images posted on Saturdays, occasionally (as is the case today) with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • Photo 16 of 52, for year 2020. See it on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
    • Lens: Lumix G 20/F1.7 II.
    • Settings: 20 mm | 1/320 | ISO 200 | f/2.8
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Beer alfresco

Beer at Fells Point (02)

Reaching back into the archives for the Pic(k) of the Week.

Enjoying a beer, alfresco, on a sidewalk patio in November 2009...when social-distancing was not a thing. At Max's Taphouse, in Baltimore (Fell's Point), Maryland, USA. Then called "Max's on Broadway"...the Baltimore Broadway.

In the glass: a pour of (then) 11-year old Millenium Barleywine, brewed by the former Dominion Brewing (of Ashburn, Virginia). Warming, malty, and still in condition: even then, a rare treat indeed.


Sunday, April 05, 2020

Our lager which art in barrels.

"Dear friends, we are gathered here today
to celebrate the union of malt, hops, water, and yeast.
Let us pray." 

Considering the day, today, I thought a prayer might be in order.

Here, Hugh Sisson, founder/owner of Heavy Seas Beer (a 25-year-old 'craft' brewery in Halethorpe, Maryland) delivers an invocation before leading a group on a tour of his brewery (back when social-distancing did not preclude such communal carousing).
Our lager which art in barrels,
Thy will be drunk.
Give us this day our foamy heads,
As we forgive those who spill against us.
And lead us not into inebriation,
But deliver us from hangovers,
For thine is the beer, the bitter, and the lager,
Forever and ever,
[Edited for universality.]

Be safe; be well.


Saturday, April 04, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Garden Party

Garden party

The local shelter-at-home COVID-19 order permits me to take the dog out for short walks. I take my camera along.

On a recent walk, he and I saw this tea 'party' adjacent to the hiker/biker Stone Mountain Trail, in DeKalb County (Scottdale), Georgia, USA. 1 April 2020.

Was it a garden party or splendor in the grass? Cue Hugh Masakela (or Ricky Nelson, vice-versa).


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Bruegel in the brewpub

Brewpub mural (02)

Recently, while searching among older images, I discovered this photograph from a time not long ago (yet seeming far forgone) when social distancing was not a thing and when brewpubs were bustling agorae.

It's a portrait of a bustling brewpub, its patrons and servers all gesturing this way and that, all enjoying the moment —some perhaps already lubricated by the in-house-brewed libations— all watched over by a large mural of a tilting beer glass, and all washed with a warm indoor tint. If you can forgive me, I think it a bit 'Pieter Bruegel goes to the city.'

I took the photo in March 2013. [See that: here.] For today, I've done a bit of touch-up: straightening the mural, adjusting shadows and brights, and cropping extranea.

In this time of coronavirus, most breweries and brewpubs have been closed to drinking on-the-premises. Some face extinction. Some are hanging on, still brewing and selling via a stretched supply chain, some are offering packaged beer takeout on-site, and some even providing home delivery.

The point of today's post is not of any particular brewpub but of the mass of breweries and brewpubs nationwide...and of a photo expressing the experiential joy they brought us, now missing.

So, please! Buy their beer. Drink their beer (not much of a hardship, there). Support them now so that they may survive later: zymur-agents of our great good places.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Shut-Down Maintenance for Cask Ale.

If your pub serves cask ale via a draught dispense system (e.g, beer engine, dedicated cellar, cask lines, etc.), there are specific procedures you should follow when shutting down the system for an extended period of time (such as now, during the time of coronavirus).

Cask Marque, based in the U.K., offers these guidelines, more applicable to cask-predominant pubs, but useful for all.

Cask Ale extended shut down maintenance


  • How to close down beer dispense systems for 1 week+
    Avani Solutions
  • Draught quality recommendations during extended bar/restaurant shutdown (pdf)
    — [U.S.] Brewers Association
  • Hibernating your draught beer system

What is Cask Marque

Since 1997 Cask Marque has been ensuring that the cask ale you drink in pubs in the UK is in perfect condition. Our 50 qualified assessors make over 20,000 visits to pubs each year in England, Scotland, Wales, Europe, and even America to check the temperature, appearance, aroma, and taste of Britain’s favourite drink. Visit a Cask Marque accredited pub and you are guaranteed to receive a great pint of cask ale.
Cask Marque.
  • Cask Marque accreditation (and training) has been available in the U.S. for a few years (Link: here.) That's something to consider for the coming time when COVID19 will be reined under control and pubs return to their perch as the good third place.
Casey pulls a pint (02)


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Moving Keys

Moving Keys (04)

The Moving Keys: when you really, really need some music!

Two gentlemen portage a piano through the courtyard outside of the High Museum, in midtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA on 1 September 2017.

Caption this photo.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Beer in the time of coronavirus: a staple foodstuff.

Beer in the time of coronavirus.

A Sweetwater Brewing van delivers beer to a Kroger supermarket in Decatur, Georgia: one of many vital supply-chain vehicles —and their drivers— out and about. Repeated daily, nationwide. [Insert your favorite brewery here.]

On the other hand, many breweries rely principally on their now-shuttered taprooms. Unfortunately, they are struggling to stay viable. Pay them a visit during their take-out-only days. A win-win.

Beer in the time of coronavirus: a staple foodstuff.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

What to do if your bar must shut down its tap system for an extended period of time.

Draught Beer Quality Manual 2019

If beer is left stagnant in draught lines for too long, 
the system will be at risk of 

As more and more jurisdictions order closures of meeting places, such as bars, restaurants, and brewery taprooms, as a defense against the spread of the coronavirus, Neil Witte —the [U.S.] Brewers Association Quality/Draught Quality Ambassador— has posted timely instructions on how a taproom/bar should properly care for its draught system if shut down for an extended period of time.
In the event of an extended shutdown of your brewery, it is important to take some steps to make sure your draught system stays healthy and you are not faced with an unexpected expense or quality concerns when starting it back up.

If beer is left stagnant in draught lines for too long, the system will be at risk of AN IRREVERSIBLE BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION [emphasis mine].

Taking the right steps can prevent you from having to deal with dangerous gas leak hazards, costly draught line contamination, or even more expensive draught line replacement.
[U.S.] Brewers Association

Quick tips

  • Disconnect draught lines from kegs/serving tanks.
  • Clean the lines.
  • Disassemble and clean faucets.
  • Do NOT leave lines filled with a chemical solution!
  • Any part/piece of your draught system that comes in contact with beer —that is not cleansed during a line cleaning— should be cleaned and sanitized separately.
Do NOT pack the lines with chlorinated water: they'll be permanently tainted with that fresh-from-the-swimming pool flavor and you'll need to replace them. And as to leaving beer in the lines, don't do it! Experts are predicting a possible shutdown of 8 weeks or more. At that point any beer in the lines, even if it has been kept at 38 °F, will not be tasting its best self. And, far worse than that, to repeat the warning above from the BA: "If beer is left stagnant in draught lines for too long, the system will be at risk of AN IRREVERSIBLE BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION."

Without a doubt, read and follow the entire list of procedures. Direct link to procedures (pdf): here.

Good luck and be safe. And we'll see you on the flip side with many a fresh draught pint.

Cleaning the tap


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

May he drive out the virus.

Cask pour of Peg Leg Stout

Not Guinness, but a stout. Not artificially nitrogenated but cask-conditioned (as Guinness once was).

Happy St. Patrick's Day. May he drive out the virus.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Yoga Central mural, in progress

I just had to stop my car, ask permission, and take the shot: the dappled morning light, throwing gold, was too good not to. A waning (near-full) moon was a bonus.

Yoga Central mural, in progress

As part of the OuterSpace Project, "figurative artist" Taylor White paints a mural on an outside side wall of Yoga Central, in Decatur (Oakhurst), Georgia, USA, on 17 October 2019.


Friday, March 13, 2020

Craft Brewers Conference 2020 canceled due to coronavirus concerns

Craft Brewers Conference 2020 canceled due to coronavirus concerns

The [U.S.] Brewers Association has been closely monitoring the situation around COVID-19 [coronavirus] as it relates to the Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®and World Beer Cup™. We have been following updates and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, as well as state and local governments.

Given the developments over the past 24 hours, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America and World Beer Cup [all three originally scheduled for 17-24 April 2020, in San Antonio, Texas].

The Brewers Association will provide full refunds of conference registration and booth fees, sponsor payments, and World Beer Cup competition entries.

We are grateful to all of you who made plans to attend this year’s events. It is heartbreaking to miss the annual gathering of our craft brewing community, but the safety and health of attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, staff, volunteers, and the craft brewing community at large [are] paramount to the Brewers Association. We look forward to seeing many of you September 24-26 at Great American Beer Festival® and again March 29-April 1, 2021 for the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego, Calif. Until then, we will continue to work diligently on your behalf to provide you with relevant and timely resources to help you advance your business goals.

— [U.S.] Brewers Association
12 March 2020.

Presented annually for the past three decades by the [U.S.] Brewers Association (BA) —and its predecessor, the Association of Brewers— the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) is the largest 'craft' brewing industry event in the U.S., serving breweries, brewpubs, and packaging breweries.
CBC joins brewers from across the country for seminars focusing on topics including sustainability, sales, packaging and export development, along with daily receptions, brewery tours, and hospitalities. The concurrent BrewExpo America is a trade show for brewers, with hundreds of vendors showcasing products and services.

The Brewers Association itself is a trade and lobbying organization for "small and independent" brewing companies in the United States and its territories. Among other things, the BA defines a 'craft' brewery as an American brewery producing fewer than six million barrels of beer per year.

Before canceling the April conference, the association had expected over 13,000 attendees. Breweries across the U.S. are canceling previously scheduled festivals and events. Some have begun to temporarily close their taprooms. Is there a 'craft' brewery viability crisis on the horizon? One hopes not.

Wild! Full room!


Saturday, March 07, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Elwyn John's lilies

Elwyn John's lily-of-the-valley

Lilies of the valley (Convallaria majalis var. montana) bloom in winter, in the riparian soil of the North Peachtree Creek watershed, in the Elwyn John Wildlife Sanctuary of DeKalb County, Georgia, USA.

Vernal oracles. 19 February 2020.


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Which way is the wind blowing?

Which way is the wind blowing?

Built from auto-parts, a homemade weather vane indicates a breeze blowing from the northeast.

As seen at an auto-body repair shop, in the Reynoldstown area of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 22 February 2020.

NB. A weather vane points in the direction that the wind is coming from.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Brumous night

Froggy, froggy night (01)

Brume: "fog, mist."

One of those wonderful borrowed words not used frequently in English nowadays. Merriam-Webster: "French, mist, winter, from Old Occitan bruma, from Latin, winter solstice, winter; akin to Latin brevis short."

In the city evening brume, on 8 February 2020, in Decatur, Georgia, USA.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Innovation in 'craft' brewing.

On 18 February 2020, beer writer Stan Hieronymus hosted the "Ask Me Anything" weekly one-hour broadcast at the Facebook group "Craft Beer Professionals." Technology misbehaved as it often does...with glitches. So, Mr. Hieronymus conducted things in writing rather than via Skype. Well, via Facebook posts, that is.

Early on, he was asked:
The past decade we have witnessed enormous growth in craft beer. What do you believe will be the guiding principle for the next 10 years? Great beer? Great business skills? Innovation?"

He answered:
...The growth in the number of breweries is larger than the growth in sales. Brewing very good, flaw-free beer gets you in the game. Writing a realistic business plan keeps you there. If by innovation you mean novelty, that is overrated. If by innovation you mean taking advantage of what technology has to over, then it is underrated."

Words to brew by.