Saturday, June 12, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: 'Old-Fashioned' tacos

Old-Fashioned tacos

Cocktails and tacos!

Pop-up kitchen Mascogo Tacos 1 was cooking up their fare on 4 June 2021, outdoors on the 'whiskey patio,' at small Independent Distilling Company, in Decatur, Georgia, USA.

We were there; we ate; we drank. Pictured clockwise from top:
  • Old Fashioned cocktail 2
    Independent Distilling Hellbender Bourbon, demerara syrup, aromatic bitters, Regan's Orange Bitters, twists of lemon and orange.

  • Barbacoa taco
    Braised brisket cooked in smoked chilis, with spices, onions, cilantro.

  • Pollo con Chili Verde taco
    Hatch-chili-verde-stewed chicken breast, onions, cilantro, Cotija. 3

  • Los Cactus taco (partially obscured)
    marinated grilled cactus, onions, cilantro, charred tomato salsa, with/without Cotija.
"What's the cactus in the taco?" I asked Mascogo Tacos' chef, Craig L. Headspeth, "It's tasty." "There's only one edible cactus," he replied. "Prickly pear." 4 "Ah!"

I thanked him; the other half complimented him on the two meatier tacos. Thanks were also proffered to Independent's 'mixologist' Corey for the cocktail and to Michael Anderson, Independent's owner/distiller, for the Hellbender Bourbon, the first bourbon distilled in the Atlanta area since before Prohibition. That's one hundred-one years ago, in 1920(!), in case you're counting.

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Saturday, June 05, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Rapeseed stalk

Rapeseed stalk

A stalk of rapeseed (Brassica napus) blooms in Decatur’s Kitchen Garden —an immigrant-operated community garden— in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 16 April 2021.

In the cabbage family, rapeseed is the plant from which the vegetable cooking-oil, canola (an adman's portmanteau of 'Canada' and 'ola', the latter itself meaning 'oil, low acid'), is extracted. * The re-name may have seemed more, err, palatable.

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Little Cottage Brewery (and pale ale)

Little Cottage Brewery (and pale ale)

On a delightful spring afternoon, Hymn Songs of an Alternate Universe —a 6.1% alcohol pale ale— was on draught, alfresco on the patio, at Little Cottage Brewery, in Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA. 29 May 2021.

Little Cottage —a production brewery— first opened on 15 May 2021. Its brewer/owner is Jon Shari, a successful Atlanta, Georgia-area homebrewer. The facilities, especially considering the light-industrial confines, are quite pleasant.

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Saturday, May 22, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: The creek at the end of the pond

The creek at the end of the pond

It looks as if it were a beaver dam...that is, if beavers could move rocks.

Cecilia Creek flows from the southeastern end of Postal Pond, in Legacy Park of Decatur, Georgia, USA. 22 April 2021.

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Sunday, May 09, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Tiny wood sorrel on the Greenway

Tiny wood sorrel on the Greenway

April showers bring May flowers. Like these.

Tiny violet wood sorrel flowers blossom on the East Decatur Greenway, in DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 2 May 2021.
Violet wood-sorrel (Oxalis violacea) is a native plant in much of the United States, from the Rocky Mountains east to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico coasts, and through Eastern Canada. It has a tendency to cluster in open places in damp woods and on stream banks, and in moist prairies.
Wikipedia.

By the way, this is a closeup. The wood sorrel appears much larger in the image than it did in 'real' life.

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Saturday, May 01, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Bullfrog in pond

Bullfrog in pond

The bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) have begun bellowing. It's mating season, in among the water clover, of Postal Pond, in Legacy Park of Decatur, Georgia, USA, on 27 April 2021.

I could hear this loud fellow well before I could see him, well camouflaged as he was. That is, until I used my camera's telephoto lens as a monocular to spot him.

Legacy Park is an in-the-city park. But at 77 acres, it can have an in-the-country feel. Just ignore the occasional bleat of a car horn in the distance.

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  • On 29 April 2021, Flickr's editors chose this image as one for inclusion in their Flickr Explore feature.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of images posted on Saturdays, and occasionally, but not always (as is the case today), with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • Photo 18 of 52, for year 2021. See it on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 II.
    • Lens: Olympus M.40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R
    • Settings: 150 mm | 1/160 | ISO 200 | f/5.6
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Let us pray

Let us pray

During a tour of Independent Distilling Company and a tasting of the company's spirits, owner/distiller Michael Anderson paused (as if in prayerful thanks).

Decatur (East Decatur Station), Georgia, USA. 26 March 2021.

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Et seq.

When Georgia repealed  Prohibition in the state in 1935, it forbade distilleries (and breweries) from selling their own products on-site. It wouldn't be until 1 September 2015 that Georgia’s distilleries (and breweries) were permitted to sell their products directly to consumer from their tasting rooms. But...

The law limited distilleries to offering only three, half-ounce samples of their spirits per person. And if a visitor wished to purchase a bottle of spirits, hey/she first had to pay for and attend a tour of the distillery (of course, equal to the retail cost of that bottle). Providing distillery guests with cocktails, however, remained strictly verboten. But...

Two years later, on 1 September 2017, Georgia removed blue law pretense. Now, distilleries can sell consumers up to three 750 ml bottles directly on its premises. Additionally, they can sell cocktails (of only their own house-produced liquor) and unlimited full-ounce samples to vistors to their facilities, without the pretense of a tour ticket. Topping it off, any distillery can sell up to five hundred 53-gallon barrels of its liquor per year on-site. That's 133,754 bottles of bourbon (or whatever the spirit may be)!

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Ergo

In the photo above, Mr. Anderson may have been ruminating upon all that. That weekend, his small distillery was celebrating its 7th anniversary. But...

Even during a celebratory tour, his work was not done. Fermentum nunquam dormit! *

Stirring the wash


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  • * Translated, from the Latin, as "yeast never sleeps." Amusingly, an alternate meaning of the word "fermentum" is "trouble." Thus, with poetic license, the phrase could be translated as "trouble is always brewing." Seems apt.

  • 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 17 of 52, for year 2021. See it on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 II.
    • Lens: Olympus M.40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R
    • Settings: 123 mm | 1/250 | ISO 200 | f/5.3
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Avonator Doppelbock

Avonator Doppelbock

Small beer?

USA Today recently selected the small city of Avondale Estates, Georgia, as comprising “the nation's best small-town beer scene for 2021” (the nation being the USA). The town (population: est. 3,093) defeated nineteen others for the honor.
The charming town of Avondale Estates, just east of Decatur, Georgia, has a small downtown area packed with unique food and beverage offerings. For beer lovers, there’s Wild Heaven Beer (brewery), The Lost Druid Brewery, The Beer Growler & Pint Haus, and (soon) Little Cottage Brewery. *
USA Today 10 Best
26 March 2021

Pictured above is a beer enjoyed at one of those emporia in that winning beer scene: to wit, Avonator Doppelbock, on draught, in the beer-garden at Lost Druid Brewery, on 9 April 2021.


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But how did the beer taste?

Bock is a traditional, strong, malty Bavarian lager. ... Dopplebock is a strong [bock] beer with a typical alcohol content beyond 7% ABV. The style originated in the Bavarian capital of Munich, Germany, and was for a fairly long time synonymous with the Salvator beer brewed by Paulaner. Other breweries indicate the style by amending “-ator” to the beer's name. While they can be brewed to any color and made by different methods, doppelbocks are usually reddish-brown bottom-fermented lagers, and generally show a toffee-like, bready aroma and rich malty palate with notable residual sweetness. Hops are usually robust enough to offer some balance, but rarely about 25 IBU.
The Oxford Companion to Beer (Oxford University Press, 2012).

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Yes, but how did the beer taste?

Nose of plum, dark bread, and black olives. Flavor follows suit. Medium-sweet body and medium-full mouthfeel; off-dry finish. Tasty and sipping strong. (The brewery provides little online description although the label on a take-out can certified alcohol by volume to be 9.6%.)

Many latter day American 'craft' breweries tend to eschew 'traditional' European beer-styles (although there may be a guerilla return). So, it was refreshing (pun intended) to find one and enjoy it, close to home and, indeed, during bock season.

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

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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: This way, in red.

This way, in red

In 1869, the Stone Mountain Granite Company built a railroad spur to serve granite and quartz quarries at the foot of monadnock Stone Mountain, thirteen miles east of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Now, still in operation but as a tourist attraction, the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad extends 3.88 miles (of standard gauge of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 inches), encircling the base of the mountain.

This way, in red: a rail switch along the track. Photo taken 26 March 2017.

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Saturday, April 03, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Painting the Box

Painting the box (05)

Here is a photo I took, on 12 May 2016, before an Atlanta Braves baseball game at Turner Field, in Atlanta, Georgia. Ballpark employees were measuring and chalking the lines of the batters' boxes at home plate, and dusting and sweeping the clay surface clean and smooth.

According to MLB rules (Major League Baseball), there are two batter's boxes (right-handed and left), one on each side of home plate. Each is four feet wide and six feet long, centered lengthwise at the center of home plate, with the inside line of each set six inches from the near edge of home plate.

Baseball and COVID-19

In 2020, Major League Baseball dealt with the global coronavirus pandemic by shortening its 162-game season to 60 games, postponing its start until July (rather than its planned start at the end of March), adopting a few temporary rules changes, and prohibiting fan attendance (except during the Championship Series and World Series, in October). Fake crowd noise was added to game broadcasts. As a result, MLB, as a whole, lost more than six billion dollars in revenue, versus 2019.

This year, with U.S. partial vaccinations already having reached 38.1% of the eligible population, baseball fans could hope for a continuing return to near normality. The league reset to a full 162-game schedule, albeit with only a limited number of fans in the stands (the exact restrictions up to each individual ballpark).

Then COVID-19 struck: four positive tests and multiple exposures forced the cancellation of Opening Day at Nationals Ballpark in Washington, D.C. and the postponement of a three-game series between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets.

Not so for the Braves, who, unafflicted (so far) by the disease, played and lost their opener to the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Georgia, baseball, and the inalienable right of Americans to vote

This year, the Braves were also to have hosted baseball's All-Star Game. However, in response to the Georgia state government's recent adoption of draconian voting restrictions, MLB took that honor from the team.
Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.

Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.
Rob Manfred
Commissioner, MLB
2 April 2021.

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Beware the mercaptans!

Beware the mercaptans!

Alfresco may be beautiful but beware the mercaptans. Beer lovers don't allow their beers to get 'skunked.'

About beer, hops, sunlight, and mercaptans (aka thiols):
Certain compounds in hops are light-sensitive and when exposed to strong light a photo-oxidation reaction takes place, creating the intensely flavor-active compound 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (MBT), one of the most powerful flavor substances known to man. Commonly referred to as 'skunky,' the pungent odor resembles that of the famously malodorous defense spray deployed by skunks.
The Oxford Companion to Beer: Oxford University Press, 2012.

To ward off the stank, keep beer out of direct sunlight or fluorescent light. Cans (and kegs) are best for that and brown glass is ok. But green glass? In sunlight, it's nearly worthless (e.g., that 'Dutch' beer) and clear glass (or plastic) is merely a vessel for liquid skunk (e.g., almost every 'craft' beer patio). Yummy...not.

Light-struck vs. oxidized

PS. Light-struck 'skunkiness' is NOT the same off-flavor (or biochemical mechanism) as that in a beer left warm. Beer exposed to heat (and over time, such as an old beer) will oxidize. The beer will develop malodors such as cardboard (!) and sherry and quickly lose its hop aroma. This can happen to any beer left warm, whether in direct sunlight or not, whether in a can, in brown glass, or in a keg.

By the way, when a beer is pasteurized, it is deliberately exposed to high heat over a short period of time. Draw your own conclusion.

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

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Cecilia's wetlands

Cecilia's wetlands

Marshlands of Cecilia Creek (or more prosaically, East Fork Middle Branch Shoal Creek), in Seminary Wood.

Photo taken in Legacy Park, within the boundaries of the City of Decatur, in the state of Georgia, USA.


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Saturday, March 13, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Bird perched on branch over pond

Bird perched on branch in pond

She came.
She saw.
She flew 
Away. 

A North American tyrant flycatcher (tyrannidae) poses, perched on a branch jutting over Postal Pond, in Legacy Park, Decatur, Georgia, USA.

I took this photo on 31 October 2020, when this lady and many other birds were preparing to (or already) flying further south to winter. Five months later, many are returning (or flying through) in anticipation of the imminent return of Northern Hemisphere spring. (This year, the vernal equinox will occur on Saturday, 20 March 2021.)

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Saturday, March 06, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: White Flags of Georgia's COVID-19 Devastation

White Flags of Covid-19: Georgia's Devastation

White Flags of Georgia's COVID-19 Devastation is a memorial installation illustrating the devastating human and economic cost of the pandemic —and the urgency for local and federal elected officials to act now to meet the real need in our state. These white flags represent the more than 15,000 Georgians who have already lost their lives to COVID-19. Every person we have lost was loved and needed. Please join us to honor those who have died. And take action to urge elected officials to take bold action today. No one should have to plant a single flag more.

The installation was inspired by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenburg and created by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action.
American Friends Service Committee.

First Christian Church of Decatur, City of Decatur, Georgia, USA. 28 February 2021.

The church displayed the flags for two weeks in February 2021. By the end of the month, Georgia's total COVID-19 death toll had risen from 15,000 to 17,376. Since the pandemic began a year ago in February 2020, 514,660 Americans have died nationwide; globally, more than 2.54 million human beings.

Placards displayed at memorial

  • 3.9 million Georgians experienced loss of a job or reduced hours last year.
  • Many Georgians face eviction and mortgage or rent failure due to pandemic-related economic deprivation.
  • 1.7 million public school children [in Georgia] have had their futures disrupted.
  • 60% of public school students in Georgia faced food insecurity even before the pandemic.
  • In Georgia prisons: 5,011 COVID-19 cases; 92 deaths (including incarcerated people and prison staff).
  • No Georgian should die because they don't have access to health care.
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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Rigging in a brewery vessel

Rigging in a brewery vessel

Riggers off-load a 150-barrel * fermentation tank and rig it, carefully, into Heavy Seas Beer.

I took this photo on 22 May 2013, at the brewery in Halethorpe, Maryland, USA. Nearly eight years later, it's today's Pic(k) of the Week.

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Note

By the way, this is what happens when you notice an image you took eight years earlier but now have the temerity to think you can improve upon it. So: straightened, cropped, 'structured,' and rendered in monochrome. See the original: here.

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Saturday, February 20, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Abstract Blue

Abstract blue

Patterns of ice
Tinted blue in shadow
Frozen evanescence.

Yes, Virginia! There is a winter season in the Deep South.

Legacy Park: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 17 February 2021.

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Saturday, February 13, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Suburban ruins

Suburban ruins

English ivy (Hedera helix) was invading the ruins of what may have been a small concrete-block house, in an unincorporated area of DeKalb County, Georgia, USA —a county in and around the city of Atlanta, Georgia, USA— on 5 February 2021.

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Saturday, February 06, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Harvest Ale Vintage 2000 (21 years later)

Havest Ale Vintage 2000

This happened.

On 29 January 2021, I tasted an aged bottle of J.W. Lees & Co. Harvest Ale (11.5% alcohol barleywine 1), that the Middleton, England-brewery had brewed and bottled twenty-one years earlier, in Y2K. And that had resided in my 'cellar' since.
Though J.W. Lees Brewery of Middleton, England, has been crafting quality beer since 1876, it wasn't until 1986 that it released its delectable sipper into the world. Brewed with the choicest [me: ugh] Maris Otter malt [me: sublime] and East Kent Goldings hops [Ibid.] , it has the legs to go the distance. The brewery uses a house-developed yeast strain to ferment the brew in original open copper-lined vessels.
Vintage Beer (Patrick Dawson): Storey Publishing, 2014.


"But," the old brewmaster asked, "How did the beer TASTE?"

Gently prying the crown cap, I heard a faint fizz. (Listen to your beer.) Considering the Harvest Ale's venerable age, its carbonic condition 2 and head retention were remarkably good. In fact, they were that of a 'fresh' beer. Likewise the clarity —just see-through deep garnet color— was good.

In the beer's aroma, I sniffed chocolate and dark berries. Taking a sip, I tasted the same but with secondary flavors of oloroso sherry and ruby port. Taking a gulp, I was drinking a semi-sweet beer with an unctuous finish (in a good way). Any burn from its alcoholic strength (11.5%) had been mellowed by two-decades-and-one-year of time.

I might have enjoyed a flourless chocolate dessert (or a fine Stilton cheese) as an accompaniment but, given such a divine taste of liquid history, I enjoyed it per ipsum. Alas, the bottle contained only 275 milliliters (9.3 U.S. fluid ounces) of beer. Waiting so long for pleasure so brief.

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Monster of (de)construction

Monster of (de)construction

Jaundiced monster of (de)construction
Backhoe, at rest, atop its berm.
Gentrification, not so at rest.


I took this image in Decatur, Georgia, USA, on 27 November 2020. A few days later, on 1 December 2021, Flickr's editors chose it for their Flickr Explore site.

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: To fell a tree

To fell a tree

A tree-cutter in silhouette.

Decatur, Georgia, USA. 30 December 2020.

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Friday, January 22, 2021

Flix Pix Re-Mix of 2020

Elsewhere Brewing

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, which occasionally, but not always, have a good fermentable as subject.

Here's a retrospective of the fifty-two images I selected for 2020. Clicking on a thumbnail will take you to the full image.

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Flix Pix Re-Mix of 2020

January
Spotted Cow New Year's Eve Hut and fence in forest Ferns in monochrome Pay here?
February
Winter Storm 'Category 5' cask ale Third Man postern Bye, bye MoMo Froggy, froggy night (01) Which way is the wind blowing?
March
Elwyn John's lily-of-the-valley Yoga Central mural, in progress Moving Keys (04) Bruegel in the brewpub
April
Garden party Beer at Fells Point (02) Outta beer; outta here Purple wildflower in field
May
Peekaboo Zwickel Teasing Vesti diem! Thank you, essential workers. Safe soft drink?
June
Downtown Atlanta Turtle and amberwings Ahhh! Silage-ing at Stillpoint
July
Red, white, and blue Beer on Small Brewery Sunday Decatur Self-Storage mural Synecdoche Steel
August
Radishes & rye Butterfly & blossom Weather Report: Mysterious Traveller (front) Beer education? Inland Sea Oats
September
Full Barley Moon Hornswoggling hornworm Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2020 Autumn's bench
October
Wisps Ocoee River (at Big Creek) 02 Pond reeds at sunset Mauve mob Mist over fen
November
Beau Geste Autumn farrago Sibley's Ferst Fountain Cannons on Tunnel Hill
December
Delirium trashed! Poetry, in repose The fisherman Happy Celebration 2020

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What's up?

Picking 2014 as a baseline, my trend has moved from snapping images of fermentables to playing at 'photog.' For example, of my fifty-two selections in 2020:
  • 37 images, or 71%, were NOT of a fermentable, comestible, or related subject.
  • Thus, only 15 (29%) were.
  • 19 images (36%) were of 'nature.'
  • 17 (32%) were of structures or objects (not including breweries).
  • 6 (11%) were focused on people, primarily or tangentially.
  • 8 (15%) were of art in one form or another.
  • 3 images (5%) were in black-and-white (of which none were beer-related).

That compares to 2019, when:
  • 34, or 65%, were NOT of a fermentable, comestible, or related subject.
  • Thus, 18 (35%) were.
  • 24 (46%) were images of 'nature.'
  • 11 (21%) were of structures (not including breweries).
  • 11 (21%) were black-and-white images (of which 4 were beer-related).
  • 6 (11%) were focused on people.
  • 3 (2%) were of art.

The figures don't reflect a sum, as a category may be a subset of another.

Examining the images of the previous six years, 2014-2020, here are how my selections have changed, vis-a-vis fermentables:

20202019 2018201720162015
Beer 12 10 12283434
Brewery/Pub 8 12 581620
Cask ale 1 1 25010
Wine 0 1 0103
Whiskey/Liquor 0 0 1002
Food 1 2 3485

As above, the figures don't reflect a sum, as a category may be a subset of another: such as breweries also appearing under beer, food also under brewpub/brewery, etc. But the trend, again, in undeniable. The artsy-fartsy has grown at the expense of beer.

Many of the remainder of my 57,397 photographs and images can be seen at Flickr. Additionally, I have an Instagram account. There, I post with even less of a good-fermentable focus than here.

Finally, here are links to the image retrospectives for the years 2014 through 2019:

This year, for my inaugural Pic(k) of the Week, I posted —on Saturday, 2 January 2021— an image, not of a good fermentable, but of a good comestible. It was a bowl of spinach soup (vegetarian, of course; 'vegan,' if you must). Recipe included.

And, so, the cycle begins anew.

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