Saturday, March 28, 2020

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

Bruegel in the brewpub

While recently searching among older images, I discovered this photograph from a time not long ago (yet seeming far gone) when social distancing was not a thing.

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 multitude of breweries and brewpubs nationwide...and 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.