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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.

  • I took this photo at the Navy Yard Gordon Biersch in Washington, D.C. during its March, 2013 grand opening. Unfortunately, it closed for business in early March 2020, before the full impact of coronavirus was felt in the U.S.
  • I may have had the temerity to compare my photo to a Bruegel painting —even if tongue-in-cheek (or would that be brush-on-easel?)— because beer-writer/blogger/historian/curmudgeon Alan McLeod once said of another photo of mine, "It's like a Vermeer," but with which he then followed, "Quite certain Tom thought none of that." My 1/2 second of fame.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of images posted on Saturdays, and occasionally —as is the case today— with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • Photo 13 of 52, for year 2020. See it on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
    • Lens: Lumix G Vario 45-200/F4.0-5.6.
    • Settings: 61 mm | 1/40 | ISO 1600 | f/4.1
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

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.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

And so it has come to this.

In this supermarket, cases of hard seltzer dominate the floor of its refrigerated beer aisle. In just a few years, seltzer has come to dominate beer and 'craft' business to a significant extent.

Hard seltzer for the win


And so it has come to this.

  • Hard seltzer is taking the US by storm. Sales of the canned fizzy beverages from brands like Whiteclaw, Truly, and Bon & Viv have boomed over the last year. The category, currently worth $550 million, could grow to reach $2.5 billion by 2021, said Sean King, an analyst at UBS. That implies an annual growth rate of 66% and a jump in consumption from 14 million cases in 2018 to 72 million cases in 2021.
    Markets Insider (30 July 2019)
  • Hard seltzer is what it sounds like, a seltzer spiked with alcohol. At their most basic, hard seltzers have three ingredients: carbonated water, alcohol, and flavoring. Many brands infuse their seltzers with alcohol from fermented cane sugar. Some also use malted barley, like the throwback spiked seltzer-like beverage, Zima, which was created in 1993 by Coors. As non-alcoholic seltzer has risen in sales year after year, hard seltzer has skyrocketed in tandem. By 2021, some analysts predict hard seltzer could be a $2.5 billion industry. It’s experienced market growth of 200% so far this year alone.
    Wine Enthusiast (20 September 2019)

  • Hard seltzers have positioned themselves at the nexus of convenience and health. These carbonated water-based ready-to-drink [RTD] cocktails, which are made either from malted barley or fermented sugar, typically clock in at 100 calories or less per serving, compared with heavier beers, wines, or cocktails that have from 100 to 400 calories per serving. They’re low in alcohol as well, ranging from 4.5% to 6% ABV. They’re also gluten-free [...] besides offering the convenience of a shatterproof portable can. [...] Pricing varies, but hard seltzers are usually cheaper than craft beer and definitely less expensive than a mid-range bottle of wine or spirits.
    SevenFifty Daily (12 April 2019)

  • Typical of the bunch is Truly Hard Seltzer in blueberry and açaí flavor, which comes in 12-ounce slim cans, each with 100 calories, 5% alcohol, and two grams of carbs—gluten-free, of course. Truly is made by Boston Beer, whose name belies its recent focus. Beer, including Samuel Adams, makes up just under one-third of estimated company volumes. The rest comes from hard cider, tea, and seltzer. Boston is No. 2 in hard seltzer, with 26% of the market, behind privately held Mark Anthony Brands and its White Claw line, with 59%.
    Barron's (12 February 2020)

  • Sales of hard seltzer have now exceeded $585 million for the 52-week period that ended on March 23, 2019, according to Nielsen. This represents approximately 1.4 percent of the total beer/flavored malt beverage/cider market. In dollar sales, the category grew 185 percent, compared to a year ago, while unit sales grew 196 percent. While seltzer continues to grow its market share aggressively across Nielsen’s measured off-premise outlets, other segments of the market are flattening. During the 52-week period that ended on February 23, 2019, beer/flavored malt beverage/cider sales grew 0.9 percent, according to Nielsen, while wine sales expanded 2.4 percent and spirits sales increased 3.8 percent in the same period.
    SevenFifty Daily (12 April 2019)

As Alan McLeod (of A Better Blog) commented (not so) tongue-in-cheek:
The BA [U.S. Beer Association] just needs to adjust the definition of craft beer to solve this.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Bye, bye, MoMo

Deluxe flying car

That, in November 2019, became this, in December 2019.

Bye, bye MoMo

From sold to razed in three weeks, a long-time, one-stop combo junkyard, used car dealer, auto repair shop, tax preparer, and money services firm —in English y en Español—is no more. Bye, bye, MoMo.

Urban displacement in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA.


Saturday, February 08, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Third Man postern

Third Man postern

The side stairs, gate, and door to Third Man Records, in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo taken 2 February 2018.

The southern digs of Detroit-based musician Jack White (of the White Stripes), Third Man Records serves as a
record store, novelties lounge, photo studio, live venue with direct-to-acetate recording capabilities, label offices, and distribution center.

...with quite the cool postern.

"I'm gonna fight 'em off.
A seven nation army couldn't hold me back.
They're gonna rip it off,
Taking their time right behind my back.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Beer-Cheese Dip

Beer-Cheese Dip

There's something to celebrate — beer isn't just "beer' anymore; it; a delightful beverage to share with family and friends who appreciate quality ingredients in cooking and a new experience in American cuisine. There is nothing "common" about beer anymore.

Written in 1989 by Jack Erickson, Great Cooking! With Beer is a snapshot of American beer 'culture' in the 1980s, when 'craft' beers were called "microbrews" and beer 'culture' was a nascent thing to be coddled. 1 Of course, it was also a cookbook: a useful beginning point for learning about beer IN food. And it remains so today (though sadly out-of-print).2

Mr. Erickson lived in the northern Virginia area through the early 1990s, where he evangelized on the goodness of the new-fangled microbrews. I met him there on a few occasions. I never gathered up the nerve to make his recipe for "Beer Syrup" for pancakes (for which he admonished me), but I have prepared (and enjoyed) other of his recipes, including Beer-Cheese Dip.

Today, the Sunday of Super Bowl LIV, it might be a good day to post about that. So, here's the recipe, but with some personal adaptions. 3



  • 2 cups (6-8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1 tsp (vegan) Worcestershire sauce 4
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) light lager (e.g., PBR: Pabst Blue Ribbon)
  • 1 dash smoked Spanish paprika
  • scant handful spring onions, chopped
  1. Combine cheddar, cream cheese, mustard, pepper, turmeric, onion powder, cumin, garlic, vinegar, cayenne, and Worcestershire in a food processor or blender. (No salt needed; the cheese will be salty enough!) 
  2. Process/blend 30 seconds to blend. 
  3. With processor/blender running, add the beer gradually, blending until the mixture is 'peanut-butter' smooth, not runny. Add more, only if necessary. 
  4. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors blend. 
  5. Before serving, bring to room temperature. Garnish with chopped spring onions and a dash of paprika. Serve with raw vegetables. 

Great Cooking! With Beer

Great Cooking! With Beer
  • Author: Jack Erickson
  • Paperback, hardcover: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Redbrick Press (February 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941397017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941397018
  • 1 American beer writer Vince Cottone is credited with first using the term "craft brewery" in print in 1986, although it didn't enter the common usage until more than a decade later.
  • 2 Erickson also wrote several beer travelogues, themselves snapshots of 'microbreweries' of the 1980s and early 1990s. These are also out-of-print, but you cna find them if you search for second-hand sources.
  • 3 See Erickson's original recipe: here.
  • 4 Worcestershire sauce, although fermented from barley malt, also contains anchovies. There are non-fish, vegan/vegetarian alternatives.
  • Vegan? Try this 21st-century recipe for a Beer-Cheese Dip, with no actual cheese, from blogger Rabbit and Wolves. Almond milk and nutritional yeast supply the 'cheesiness.' It's tasty.

  • For more from YFGF:

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Cask ale in light and shadow

Merriam-Webster defines the word eventide as "the time of evening." The first recorded use of the word was nine centuries ago, in the 1100s. These days, eventide is in the lower 40% percentile of words looked up. That's a shame. It adds an ineffable character to mere evening.

And, it seems a good word for this scene.

Winter Storm 'Category 5' cask ale

In evening eventide, a pour of a fresh, cask-conditioned ale sat on a bartop. In light and shadow, people were gathered around. Did the beer belong to the woman or to the owner of the hands grasping the bar edge or to the person whose jacket is seen to the right?

And what was that beer which was holding their interest?

No answer as to ownership but as to brewery-ship, it was "Winter Storm Category 5 Ale," a brewery-styled 'Imperial ESB' of 7.5% alcohol-by-volume (abv), brewed and conditioned by Heavy Seas Beer, a large 'craft, brewery in Halethorpe, Maryland. More than that, the ale was served cask-conditioned, fresh from a firkin (10.8-US gallon cask).

Why the 'eventide' reference?

With a capital 'E," that is the name of the Arlington, Virginia restaurant and wine bar that was serving this real ale, rather than offering an afterthought beer, say, Miller Lite or such.

A wintry beer blast-from-the-past, the photograph was taken in 2010. Alas, the restaurant is no more (not, I believe, from serving good beer). The brewery, Heavy Seas, remains in operation today.

Other than hops, the brewery had added nothing else to the fermenting beer in the firkin, no willy-nilly frou-frou, not gratuitously flavored but beer-flavored. It was brewery-fresh ale, as if the brewery had brought a beer-full fermenter —albeit on magnitude tens of times smaller than in the brewery— to this restaurant.

Real ale.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Pay here?

Pay here?

There's a sculpture in Chattanooga, Tennessee, called "Casey Standing." It's a bronze, nude, slightly larger than life-size figure of a woman, installed outside, in the Southside district of the city, in 2013.

The sculptor is Alan Lequire, a Nashville, Tennessee, native, who "specializes in work of great scale, usually large public commissions."

I snapped the photo in the rain, on the afternoon of 18 January 2020. The juxtaposition of art and mundane commerce caught my attention. Pay here?


Monday, January 20, 2020

Centenarian brewery worker

Centenarian brewery worker

And now, this!

Happy 100th birthday to America's (and the world's?) oldest brewery employee: Henry 'Zadie' Benesch. A World War II veteran, Mr. Benesch works at Union Craft Brewing in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
On Jan. 19, 2020, Henry will celebrate his 100th birthday. He isn’t sure what’s kept him alive for a full century. 'I can’t answer that, but I say I drank from the fountain of youth when I was 17 and I smoked cigars when I was 22 and I’m still smoking cigars and drinking bourbon.' [...] “His badass-ness just rubs off on all of us,” said Union Craft Brewing co-founder Kevin Blodger.
Washington City Paper.

Blodger's fellow co-founder, Adam Benesch, is one of Henry Benesch's 16 grandchildren. On Saturday, he and the rest of Union Craft threw a 100th-birthday party for his grandfather.


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Ferns in monochrome

Ferns in monochrome

In the winter woodland, two things, in particular, catch my eye: American beech trees and ferns (tracheophytes), the latter evolutionarily unchanged for hundreds of millions of years.


Native ferns are in mortal combat with invasive English ivy. Dearborn Park, in the city if Decatur, Georgia, USA. 12 January 2020.


Friday, January 17, 2020

The shameful occurrence one hundred years ago today, 17 January 1920.

One hundred years ago, today, the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution took effect, on 17 January 1920.

Its issue, National Prohibition, would remain in effect for thirteen years. Beer, wine, and distilled spirits had become unconstitutional.

18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3.This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Prohibition actually had passed a year earlier, on 16 January 1919, when the Nebraska legislature became the 36th state to approve the amendment, satisfying the Constitution's 2/3-of-the-states requirement. The amendment's wording mandated a year's delay until implementation. Praise be to the enlightened citizens of Connecticut and Rhode Island: their states were the only to vote nay.

To this day, the 18th Amendment remains the only amendment to the Constitution that eliminates rights. It did not, however, prohibit the drinking of "intoxicating beverages," 'merely' their manufacture, inter-state distribution, and sale. In its collective wisdom, Congress, authorized by section 2, defined an intoxicating beverage as anything containing in excess of one half of one percent alcohol by volume. That was, of course, just enough.

Prohibition would not be repealed until 5 December 1933, with the adoption of the superseding 21st Amendment.

Who or what was responsible? Distilling an answer might be reductive sociology, but four movers stand above the others: the alcohol industry itself, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, The Anti-Saloon League, and the 16th Amendment.

About the last, first. Since the Civil War, the federal government had been growing hand-in-hand with a bourgeoning population. Revenue from excise taxes and other fees had become insufficient. The 16th Amendment, ratified in 1916, constitutionalized the income tax, which up to that time, the Supreme Court had repeatedly disallowed. Its passage made excise taxes less integral. (Were that viewpoint as sanguine today!)

The temperance movement had been growing in strength for a hundred years, especially so in the early 20th-century. Its proponents laid crime, health problems, spousal abuse, and other social ills at the feet of the alcohol industry, which —with such as 'gin joints'— was far from blameless. And the beer industry, seeing beer as indeed the beverage of temperance —that is, not of prohibition but of moderation— did little, and too late, to stem the tide.

But maybe the arch-villain of the story is Wayne Wheeler, president of the Anti-Saloon League. Single-minded in his crusade against alcoholic beverages, Wheeler became, at one point, powerful enough to influence national elections. He was to alcohol as the virulently racist Harry Anslinger later was to marijuana.

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union continues today, albeit in more quiescent form. The Anti-Saloon League also survives, but now known more politely as the American Council on Alcohol Problems. And income tax? Well, you know that story.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

2002 Old Foghorn (in 2020)

2002 Old Foghorn (in 2020)
San Francisco's celebrated Old Foghorn brand has been virtually handmade by the brewers of Anchor Steam Beer, in one of the world's smallest and most traditional breweries, since 1975. Our barleywine style ale, the first of its kind in modern times in the United States, has a luscious depth of flavor that makes it ideal for sipping after dinner. It is made with fermenting yeast, fresh, whole hops, and 'first wort,' the richest runnings of a thick, all-malt mash. Old Foghorn is 'dry hopped' in the classic ale tradition and aged in our cellars until it attains the perfect balance of malty sweetness, estery fruitiness, and exquisite hop character for which it is known throughout the world.
— neck label

Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale
(~ 8% alcohol-by-volume)
Anchor Brewing (San Francisco, California).
  • Brewed and bottled —in 'nip' bottles (7.1 fluid ounces = 210 ml)— in 2002.
  • Tasted on 15 January 2020.
Eighteen years on, this vintage Old Foghorn was as flat as a pancake but bright as a whistle. Deep auburn, almost brown, in hue. Dry but without bitterness or unctuousness. It was probably past its prime —hops absent and some wet cardboard flavor present— but not unenjoyable, with aromas and flavors of sherry, plums, and model airplane glue(!), along with some caramel, dark chocolate, and toffee.

Anchor Brewing brewed this bottle when the brewery was still the grandaddy of independents. (It's now owned by Japanese conglomerate, Sapporo.)

Drinking it was like drinking 'craft' beer history but with a buzz. All that was missing was a chunk of Maytag Blue cheese.

A series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Hut and fence in forest

Hut and fence in forest

Like a chaotic frame, branches and vines appear to curve around a hut and fence. 1 January 2019.

This 77-acre property —of which 22 acres is woodland and pond— lies on the grounds of the former United Methodist Children's Home. The city of Decatur, Georgia, purchased the property in 2017. As a condition of the sale, the woodlands —which some refer to as Seminary Wood— must remain undeveloped in perpetuity.

The fenced-in plot (to the left) is leased by Decatur’s Kitchen Garden, a community garden space for refugee and immigrant growers in the area.


Monday, January 06, 2020

2019's Pic(k) of the Week retrospective

Every Saturday since 29 August 2009, I have posted a Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos taken (or noted) by me, often, but not always, with a good fermentable as the subject.

These are those of 2019.

Broken windows As Cascade Falls Rust in the forest Hexopus
Farewell, hydrangea Dead end for tiny park Riparian tree in winter High ceilings at Bluejacket
Upcoming brewery 'Lion's tooth' parachute Tree at night in fog Sycamore Pink (02) Bridge over calm waters (02)
Friday afternoon Contrast Doggin' Dogwood Rose bush, refreshed Lauter tun (02)
Rosebud glory Garden vine blossoms Refreshed by jazz Ambush Owl
Shoal Creek shoals Mimosa stamens Geranium among the licorice How the beer snob rolls Hourglass Lithuanian Farmhouse Ale
Beer Independence Day Caladium, after rain The spigot is closed. Double Refreshment
Leopard Lily Avondale Stonehenge Red beach bicyclist Bar, just Bar
Forest allée (03) (Non) Beef Stew Pray for Zinfandel Still life with Oktoberfest, pretzels, & radishes Pub prisms
Maintaining his cool Half-hitch secure Two Calusians Old Stock Ale 2001...in 2019
Colors of autumn (04) S-curve pine Reeds at night Northside Tavern (03) Remains of New Manchester Manufacturing Co. (02)
Bend in the boardwalk (02) Misted field and pond Happy Hibernal Solstice Industrial relic
Clicking on a thumbnail will bring up the original image.


What's up?

Examining only the last five years, here are how my selections have changed:

2019 2018201720162015
Beer 10 12283434
Brewery/Pub 12 581620
Cask ale 1 25010
Wine 1 0103
Whiskey/Liquor 0 1002
Food 2 3485

The figures don't reflect a sum, as a category may be a subset of another: such as breweries also under beer, food also under brewpub/brewery, etc. But the trend has unmistakenly been from fermentables to 'artsy.'

In fact, of the fifty-two selections in 2019, thirty-four, or 65%, were NOT of a fermentable, comestible, or related subject. Twenty-four (46%) images were of 'nature'; eleven (21%) were of structures (not including breweries); eleven images (21%) were in black-and-white (of which only four were beer-related); and six (11%) were focused on people, primarily or tangentially.

For the inaugural Pic(k) of the Week of 2020, I posted —on Saturday, 4 January 2020— an image of...a beer! And the cycle began anew.