Saturday, December 26, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Happy Celebration 2020.

Happy Celebration 2020

I began this damnable year with a beer. Let me end it likewise but with a celebration for a better year, next.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Chico, California / Mills River, North Carolina.

The brewery released the beer in mid-October 2020 for the winter season. My particular bottle —which I purchased and sampled (uhh, drank) on Christmas Eve, 24 December 2020— the brewery had packaged on 16 October.

From the bottle's label:
Fresh hop 1 IPA.
6.8% alcohol-by-volume.
We first brewed Celebration IPA in the winter of 1981. Each year, we use only the first fresh hops of the growing season to create this complex and robust ale. Layered pine and citrus hop aromas balance delicately against rich malt sweetness to shape this bold, wintertime classic.

From me:

Bright hops, citrusy and piney, chased by an off-dry biscuity middle and a white pepper finish. Two months after bottling, the hop aroma might have been a bit diminished but not the overall hop presence and not the firm malt backbone. Indeed a holiday celebration.

And, so, to all my readers: Linksmų Kalėdų tau ir tavo! (On the off chance you're not fluent in Lithuanian, that's "Happy Christmas to you and yours!") 2


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: The fisherman

The fisherman

The sights of the city cannot be seen, and
Its sounds only faint, as
The fisherman wades.

A great blue heron, shallow in Postal Pond, deep in the woods of Legacy Park, in the city of Decatur, Georgia, USA, on 15 December 2020.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Poetry, in repose

Poetry, in repose

The gardens of our lives
Were our Family and the Arts.
We live on -
While our precious legacies
Continue to bloom and flourish.

This small bronze sculpture —of a young girl reading a book— sits atop a small stone pedestal in Cator Woolford Gardens, just east of Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

The poem above is carved into the open pages of the book. The sculpture itself is named Poetry. A plaque below reads: "Dedicated on June 12, 2002, in loving memory of [sisters] Isabelle Woolford Kennedy and Charlotte Woolford Crawley." The artist is Teena Marie Stern (of whom I've found little information).

A peaceful moment. 10 December 2020.


Saturday, December 05, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Delirium trashed!

Delirium trashed!

Just as Pabst Brewing continues to milk a blue ribbon it once received for its beer at a long-ago competition, the Huyge Brewery —located near Ghent, Belgium— touts its Delirium Tremens as the "best beer in the world" for one accolade it received in one competition in 2008.

The beer, named for symptoms brought on by alcohol withdrawal, is, fittingly, a strong beer, containing 9% alcohol. More importantly, how does the beer taste?

In his 2005 book, The Great Beers of Belgium, the late, great beer sage Michael Jackson described Delerium Tremens as:
Very bright [golden]. It has a dense head; a very fruity (greengage? gooseberry?) bouquet; a sweetish palate; and a lot of warming alcohol in an abrupt finish.

I didn't pose that empty beer can, by the way. It was already there, emptied of its contents, sitting on the picnic table, as I and the dog walked by on our morning constitutional. There must have been quite the beer party the day before.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Cannons on Tunnel Hill

Cannons on Tunnel Hill

On November 25, 1863, more than 50,000 Union soldiers stormed the Confederate defenses along Missionary Ridge east of Chattanooga. The attack stretched from the Rossville Gap at the Georgia border all the way up to Tunnel Hill at the northern end of Missionary Ridge. By the end of the day the Confederate Army of Tennessee was retreating towards Dalton, Georgia, and Chattanooga was firmly in Union hands. It was, as one Confederate officer later described it, 'The death knell of the Confederacy.'
National Park Service.

Three decades later, in 1890, the Federal government 'reserved' the battle site of the Battle of Missionary Ridge as the nation's first national battlefield park (along with the Battle of Chickamauga, also in Tennessee). It named the Tunnel Hill site the Sherman Reservation Civil War National Military Park after William Tecumseh Sherman, the victorious Union general.

A century and a half later, at sunset, Confederate cannons, now quiescent and inert, still face west, down Tunnel Hill, aimed at downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.


A beery aside

Beginning soon after the cessation of hostilities of the Civil War in 1865, and accelerating apace during the latter 19th-century, re-industrialization of the re-united nation would be fueled and refreshed (pun intended), in no small measure, by the development of large-scale breweries (particularly of lager beer). Many of these had begun as small-scale provisioners to the armies. Industrial innovation, including refrigeration, would both spur the growth of the breweries and result from it. But that's another story.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Sibley's Ferst Fountain

Sibley's Ferst Fountain

Into each life, a little whimsy must fall.
A ceramic mural by Atlanta, Georgia artist Christine Sibley (1948-1999) adorns the Ferst Fountain [at the Atlanta Botanical Garden]. Water naiads are represented in bas relief peering out from behind the waterfall. This fountain, donated in honor of [past trustee?] Helen Montag Ferst, was built of gunite in 1985. Sibley obtained financing and added the ceramic facade in 1990. In 2012, the fountain received much-needed repair.

I snapped this image at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 8 November 2020.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Autumn farrago

Autumn farrago

Charlie the dog and I were walking through the wood. We paused to admire this view of an autumn thicket, chaotic yet calm. Well, I did, anyway.

Seminary Wood, in Legacy Park, in the city of Decatur, Georgia, USA: 14 November 2020.


Saturday, November 07, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Beau Geste

Beau Geste

A mug of Geste, in the beer garden, at Elsewhere Brewing, in Atlanta (Grant Park), Georgia, USA. 31 October 2020.

Brewery description:
Dark Czech [style] Lager
ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 18
A tale of adventure! Stories from Prague praise a dark lager that delights the palate year-round. [Tastes of] rye bread, dried dates, and chocolate.

In style, Geste might be this new brewery's nod to a Czech-style tmavé pivo. Now, I don't know whether or not Elsewhere decocts Geste, as would be de regueur for tmavé pivo brewed in the Czech Republic. Nonetheless, the lager pours with a long-lived, creamy off-white head (via a side-pull tap); spicy hop and, yes, toasted rye-bread aromas; an off-dry body, alchemically full in such a small beer; flavors of toasted rye bread, chocolate, licorice, and dried dark fruit; and a spicy, Czech-style hop finish.

Elswhere pronounces Geste as "jest." I've added the adjective beau to my caption. The phrase "beau geste" is from the French, meaning "a graceful or magnanimous gesture." Fitting.

The brewpub is new. Its grand opening occurred over the previous weekend, on 24 October. That its brewer Josh Watterson has already produced such a sublime beer is tasty testament and auspicious augur.

Elsewhere Brewing


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Mist over fen

Mist over fen

Almost painterly...

An autumnal tree, in morning mist, on the boggy, boggy banks of Postal Pond.

In Legacy Park, a 77-acre city property in Decatur, Georgia, USA.

Captured on 28 October 2020: a peaceful morning, twenty-four hours before Zeta's local blast.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Mauve mob (and kismet)

Mauve mob

Back in May, I noticed these tiny (~4-cm) mauve wood-sorrel wildflowers blooming in a field just beyond the perimeter of Seminary Wood, in Legacy Park, in the city of Decatur Georgia, USA.

Then, kismet.

A few days ago, a pianist noticed the photo on Flickr and offered this response:
With Claude Debussy's Rêverie, performed by me, I comment on your excellent image. Emotions between reality and dream.

Ain't the world weird and wonderful, sometimes?


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Pond reeds at sunset

Pond reeds at sunset

Reeds at sunset, on the banks of Postal Pond, in...

Legacy Park, Decatur, Georgia, USA. 14 October 2020.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Life, what is it but a dream?

Ocoee River (at Big Creek) 02
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die;

Ever drifting down the stream
Lingering in the golden gleam
Life, what is it but a dream?

Lewis Carroll

Pictured: raft put-in on the Ocoee River near Archville, Tennessee, USA, in the Cherokee National Forest.

Photo taken 8 September 2018.
Poem excerpt from 1871.


Saturday, October 03, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Wisps


Meadow white.
Autumn field.

Reeds appearing as if in the 'wild,' but within the city limits of Decatur, Georgia, USA, in the 77-acre Legacy Park. 23 September 2020.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Autumn's Bench

Autumn's bench

Nearly obscured by growth, a weathered bench sits among grasses and reeds.

The dog and I have often passed it —and ignored it— on our constitutionals. On this morning, however —the second full day of autumn— we took notice.

On the perimeter of Legacy Park, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 24 September 2020.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2020, 'pro se'

Oktoberfest 2020
Since 1810, when Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I organized the first Oktoberfest in Munich —to celebrate his nuptials with Princess Therese— there only have been twenty-five occasions on which the festival has not been held. And that includes this year.

In April, Markus Söder (Minister-President of Bavaria, Germany) and Dieter Reiter (mayor of Munich) jointly, sadly, announced the official cancellation of the 2020 Oktoberfest, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: “The risks are simply too high.” The last time Oktoberfest was canceled was seventy-two years ago, in 1948, due to post-war deprivation (temporarily replaced by a small-scale, small-beer celebration). And disease itself has canceled Oktoberfest twice before this year: in 1854 and 1874, in both years because of European cholera epidemics.

If the festival had occurred this year, it would have begun today, Saturday, 19 September, and concluded in sixteen days, on Sunday 4, October.


Meanwhile, 5,700 miles west of Munich...

In 'normal' years, Sierra Nevada Brewing of Chico, California, USA (and Mills River, North Carolina) has partnered with a different German brewery each year to produce its seasonal Oktoberfest. But, in 2020, as with the Bavarian celebration, such a collaboration has proven pandemically unfeasible.

So, this year, Sierra Nevada brewed pro se.
Our Festbier is a refreshing ode to beer’s biggest party. Toasty malts and German hops yield notes of fresh bread and floral, fruity character for a balanced, crisp lager that makes any moment festive.
  • Malts: Two-row Pale, Munich, Vienna
  • Hops: Spalter, Spalter Select
  • Yeast: Lager Yeast
  • Original gravity: 13.9 °P
  • Alcohol-by-volume (abv): 6%
  • Bittering Units (IBU): 28
My impression?

Deep golden hue with a white head and good bead. Aromas of toasted malt, gently pungent flowers, and circus-peanut candy. Off-dry interior of sweet malt and light caramel. Spicy/medium-dry finish. Straightforward...and recommended. Going solo didn't hurt much.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2020
Note: I purchased my tasting 'samples' in Atlanta, Georgia, on 4 September. Per a bottle imprint, Sierra Nevada had packaged the beer on 23 July, but whether that had occurred at the California or North Carolina plant was not indicated.


More Oktoberfests

Mr. Alistair Reece is a Scot ex-pat who makes his home in central Virginia, USA (arriving there after a detour to Prague, Czech Republic). And he loves his Oktoberfests. For the past several years, around this time of year, he has courageously consumed dozens of Oktoberfests, Fest-styles, Märzens, and American 'craft' interpretations in order to rank them by style fealty and quality, tangible and ineffable. This year, his top ten list goes thus:
  1. 1. New Realm (Georgia/Virginia, USA) - Bavarian Prince
  2. 2/3. (tie) Great Lakes (Ohio, USA) - Oktoberfest
  3. 2/3. (tie) Sierra Nevada - Oktoberfest
  4. 4/5/6. (tie) Left Hand (Colorado, USA) - Oktoberfest
  5. 4/5/6. (tie) Von Trapp (Vermont, USA) - Oktoberfest
  6. 4/5/6. (tie) Benediktiner (Bavaria, Germany) - Festbier
  7. 7/8. (tie) Ayinger (Bavaria, Germany) - Oktober Fest-Märzen
  8. 7/8. (tie) Samuel Adams (Massachusetts, USA, etc.) - Octoberfest
  9. 9/10. (tie) Devils Backbone (Virginia, USA) - O'Fest
  10. 9/10. (tie) Warsteiner (North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany) - Oktoberfest
Caveat: Your mileage may differ. Mr. Reece tasted/judged only those beers available in his neck of the central Virginia woods. For his full list, his scoring and criteria, and his tasting notes, go to his website, Fuggled (the name of which reveals his additional affinity for British-style bitters and milds).


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Hornswoggling hornworm

Hornswoggling hornworm

A tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) munches on a tomato plant, in a garden, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 5 September 2020.
The tomato hornworm is a green caterpillar that is the larva (reaching a length of up to 4 inches) of the hawk moth. Found across North America and Australia, it commonly feeds on tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes. It gets its name from a dark projection on its posterior end and its use of tomatoes as host plants.


Monday, September 07, 2020

Thank you.

McSorley's Bar 1912 John Sloan

To all those who make our beer, who bring us our beer, who serve us our beer: thank you.

Happy Labor Day.


Saturday, September 05, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Full Barley Moon

Full Barley Moon

They call it the Full Corn Moon because it marks the days when corn is harvested. Less commonly, it's called the Barley Moon (for the identical reason). For sentimental reasons, I prefer the latter.

Here: at 99.9% full, as seen rising at 9:33 pm EDT, on 1 September 2020, in the east-south-east over Vista Grove, Georgia, USA.

Actual full fullness (when the ecliptic longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by exactly 180°) occurred four hours later at 1:22 am EDT, 2 September. I didn't stay up.

According to the Farmer's Almanac, the full moon that occurs the closest to the Autumnal Equinox (this year: 22 September) is called the Harvest Moon. Usually, that's the full moon in September.

This year, however, October's full moon falls on 1 October, only 9 days after the equinox, while September's full moon is 20 days before the equinox. Thus, September's full moon becomes the Corn —or Barley Moon— while October's full moon is christened the Harvest Moon.

Got it?


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Inland Sea Oats

Inland Sea Oats

End-of-the-summer fecundity.

Inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium): not cereal grains but perennial grasses; ground cover for eroded shaded areas.

As seen at the Trailhead Community Park of the East Decatur Greenway, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 27 August 2020.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Beer education?

Beer education?

Beer (education?), alfresco, on the patio, at ...

As seen at brewery Wild Heaven Beer, in Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA, on 16 August 2020.


Saturday, August 15, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Mysterious Traveller

Weather Report: Mysterious Traveller (front)

First thing first. The artwork is an illustraion Helmut Wimmer created for the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.
Helmut Karl Wimmer (1925-2006) was the Art Supervisor of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium. His works appeared in many planetariums, museums, and scores of publications. Wimmer was born in Munich, Germany, in 1925, and was apprenticed at the age of fourteen to train as a sculptor and architectural model maker. At eighteen he was in the army and served with the Alpine troops. At the end of World War II, Wimmer was captured by Czech partisans and turned over to the Russians as a prisoner of war. In 1949, Wimmer was released and returned to Munich where he found work as a sculptor. In 1954, he decided to emigrate to the United States. Once in New York, a chance recommendation led him to an opening in the Art Department of the Hayden Planetarium.

In 1974, the jazz-fusion group, Weather Report, used the artwork (with permission) as the cover for its fourth album, Mysterious Traveller.

All About Jazz wrote of the group and album:
In 1974, three years after the band's inception, Weather Report became one of the world's most popular jazz groups due to their uncompromising originality and musicianship. This was the year that founding member Miroslav Vitous was replaced by Alphonso Johnson, who became a critical asset as both a fluid, creative bassist and a composer. Drummer Ishmael Wilburn and Brazilian percussionist Dom Um Romao, with a shifting cast of supporting players, laid the foundation for the band's most exciting incarnation yet. The overdue reissue of Mysterious Traveller is a welcome acknowledgement of this mid-period lineup's importance in the evolution of fusion. [...]

Zawinul's motto for the group was "We always solo, we never solo." The special combination of freedom and composition that Weather Report consistently achieved on record amply testifies to that philosophy, and Mysterious Traveller is a quintessential piece of evidence.

To me, 1974's Mysterious Traveller marked Weather Report's transition from the improvisational sound of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, in its first albums, to the more composed-through funk/rock vamping of its later efforts. It's also my personal favorite of Weather Report's pre-Jaco Pastorius oeuvre, and, in particular, these cuts: Blackthorn Rose, a beautiful soprano sax/piano duet between Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, respectively; the miniature electronica of American Tango; the ethereal (and mysterious) title track, Mysterious Traveller; and the funky workout on Cucumber Slumber.

Weather Report: Mysterious Traveller (LP)

The disc was a wonderful find in an Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA, thrift shop —in good condition— on 13 August 2020. The bad news was that it was there because a local used-record shop —just across the street— had shut down due to the pandemic, disposing of its unsold stock.


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

Synecdoche Steel

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!