Wisconsin: Moon Man Pale Ale, New Glarus

It’s Memorial Day weekend in the USA and I am celebrating. Mainly because I’ve been sick since the middle of last weekend’s Victoria Day long weekend up here. Being in a border town it’s not a great stretch even if I can’t get over to witness one of the glories of the western world, a small town US parade. Eat a hot dog this weekend, woudja?

This beer was launched just a few weeks ago and arrived in a mixed 12 pack care of my Wisconsin mule – oddly by way of a village in north western Quebec. It gives off the aroma of peaches and apricots at an alarming level. It pours light burnished gold with an actively sustain pure white foam. On the swallow, theres a wall of pale malt sweet graininess with black tea hop with a weedy floral overlay. The finish is a bit tea, a bit bitter green with a squirt of juicy malt right at then end. Yum.

Structurally, it’s quite singular – a overly perfumed kolsch? And at 5% its a reasonably sessionable beer but I bet it could be rolled back to 4.4% with reasonable integrity. BAers got the love thang.

You Were My First Blog… But I Forgot You…

It’s not like I’ve had unkind thoughts about you, Gen X at 40, but with the busy beer blog, Twitter and Facebook I hardly have any time left. Heck, I haven’t even checked my email accounts this morning. Plus I get up too late. You understand. Right? And it’s not like I am all that clever before the caffeine kicks in. You should be happy for the break once in a while. It’s the pros. That’s what it boils down to. The invasion of the pros. It happened to amateur political rant blogs back around 2007 and now it’s even happened to beer blogs. Even the aggregators are going. Remember them? The places that were supposed to kill blogs are being killed off themselves. No one even spams the comments anymore.

Sorry about yesterday, my oldest blog, but these things happen.

My Computer Screen Is Dying And I Don’t Mind

I am actually sympathetic as my back is still stiff and wonky, having good days and bad. The screen narrows, flickers, gets wavy and even reboots of its own accord. Once upon a time, this would have been a source of anxiety. How would I pay for the replacement? How will I get along without checking in. But there are other surplussed screens around the basement as well as that laptop I picked up at Best Buy on sale. I have a better screen sitting on the 1995 Pentium 75 “Asteroids server” right now. There is other equipment floating around going back fifteen years and I consider myself a latecomer to these things. My computer screen can die without me noticing that much.

My computer screen is a lot like a fork to me now.

We Played Base Ball… And We Won

I didn’t get the great shot like with other games. No photo of the instant before a ball is hit. No photo of hands outstretched. Thought I did get the actual money shot, above. Maybe it’s because we actually won and I spent my time screaming at the team to cover the gaps, not drift off the line and
rush around the bases. Turns out we don’t need to suck every game as the Kingston St. Lawrence Vintage Base Ball Club (“the Brown Stockings”) beat Royal Military College (“the Royals”) 41-3. That’s a lot. It was quite the thing. Took four seasons but a win… they can’t take that away. Sackets is doomed in July.

Politics, Pubs, Leadership and Density

Interesting observation in the Montreal Gazette today about why it is that the two-dimensional Pub Minister and other cynical forms of political band wagoning over the pub trade has gotten such attention in the UK election:

Few commentators question the need to help out a sector of the economy made up of 52,000 pubs – the majority owned by large pub companies or breweries – in a country of 61 million. By comparison, there are just 6,100 drinking establishments in Canada – including pubs, bars and night clubs – to service a population of just under 34 million, according to Statistics Canada.

Well, that would do it. We have only one tavern or bar for every 5,500 Canucks while Brits have five times as many per person. Sure, there are hot houses of pub life in Canada like old colonial east coast towns Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John’s Newfoundland. Heck, good old Pembroke in the Ottawa Valley had at least 15 bars for 15,000 people when I lived there in the mid-90s. A whole country of that? Of course pubs are an election issue.

But, thinking about it, I really have no idea who is going to win this great British contest we are all watching so eagerly. Who’s going to win? In the end, it’ll depend on who comes forward to stand up for what is good and right. Yet, unlike tomorrow’s election, we may never know who has been more boorish: Pete or Protz and the CAMRA lads. Unless, of course, someone who was also the table comes forward to place that “X” next to a name.

News About Meat (AKA Meat In The News)

Is there any better word than “meat”? Sure “pie” has a claim but you can’t eat meat every day. But you can eat meat. So, happy I was to read an interview / review of the author of Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef in the Globe this morning:

His search for a sublime piece of meat starts in Texas (disappointment and despair, and a lungful of fecal dust from the state’s endless feedlots). He makes his way to France (where he visits the cave drawings at Lascaux – “pictures of steak” – and feasts on ersatz aurochs, a Nazi-inspired reintroduction of cattle first domesticated 10,000 years ago); to Scotland (terrifying details about scrotums and artificial insemination, and inspiring grass-fed Highland cattle steaks); to Italy (yum), Japan (double yum) and Argentina (an education in open-fire grilling); and then back, by way of Fleurance (whom he raises with the help of chef Michael Stadtlander, on grass north of Toronto, finishing her with lots of apples, acorns, Persian walnuts, and carrots, to name just a few of Fleurance’s excellent taste notes). Finally, he lands in Idaho, at the Alderspring Ranch of Glenn Elzinga, with whom he ate the steak that finally transported him to heaven.

The article is written by Ian Brown whose contributions to culture include an article a few years ago about fried clams – good Lord, it was 2004 – and also wobbily leaning to his right a lot when he talks on the TV. He is very clever and describes food well. Consider this line: “the Wagyu smells darker and richer, like a sexy girl at a dangerous party.” Food TV has almost destroyed the description of food through its use of cheap pornographic techniques, slow music and low cut shirts. Go read Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” and the breakfast of coffee and tinned apricots – that’s food writing.

Anyway, now I want meat. The statement I can make 24 hours a day. Now I want meat.

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Where Else Hides The Culture of Entitlement?

Pete Brown’s piece this morning about, according to my finger count, seven members of CAMRA and two incidents entitled “CAMRA’s Noxious Culture of Entitlement” got me wondering. Craft beer is funny stuff as any fan-based hobby is. People lose perspective. So, somewhat related to the Hedonist Beer Jive‘s 5 Most Boring Topic in Beer Journalism, are there five most tedious or obnoxious themes in craft beer appreciation? Do these compare?

  • The brewery that considers itself outside proper business regulation because they make, you know, craft beer;
  • The organization or artist that can tell you what you should think of the beers or brewers they support because they are speaking for “the community”;
  • The advocate who claims others have a conflict or some other ethical fault never mentioning that they do consulting on the side;
  • Anyone who bristles at “it’s just beer” more than they would “it’s just cheese”;
  • Lobbyists who disconnect craft beer obsession from health and legal downsides like obesity and drunk driving.

Are those fair? Are they even in the same ball park? I have no idea. The CAMRA men (all Pete’s examples were male, right?) trigger feelings of that sort of bile raising obnoxiousness even to those just experiencing the events second hand. But there seems to be acceptance of plenty of similar things without a boo. Is that fair? I don’t know.

Surprising Protzian Update: Amazingly, there is actually a retort from Mr. Protz who was apparently one of Pete’s boorish company. I leave it to you to enjoy the fireworks but would point out that I found Mr. Protz’s description of what makes for good fun coarse and exceedingly discomforting in the past. Entitlement indeed.

Pants on Fire Update: Clearly Pete Brown and Roger Protz are both big fat liars as each has described the same incident giving utterly different takes on the same few facts. Interesting to note the fact arose in the context of unmoderated alcohol consumption. Surely nothing like this has ever happened before. Why can’t UK beer writers control themselves or their consumption of beer when presented to them at no expense? Who else was at this table of vipers at the free dinner in the National Brewery Centre last week? Confess!