Archive for September, 2012

Forget it Jake – it’s Alabama.

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The whole awful story is here – http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/09/abc_agents_raid_birmingham_bee.html.

It’s a story about a fella who – like us – has fallen in love with real beer. Not the pasteurized micturations of multinational mindlessness that’s advertised on our talking furniture with jiggly girls and talking reptiles, no, not that. Real beer. Real barley. Real dried blossoms from a weed. Real people who you know, people who live down the street, who keep the fermenters clean and the equipment running while the yeast – the real hero in our story – turns sugar water into ambrosia, water into gold, zymurgy, alchemy, bliss.

A lot of people who meet real beer fall in love. Some of them wind up running breweries. Some of them wind up running homebrew supply shops. Some of them open stores that sell real beer, while other folks write and blog about real beer, and some people just drink the stuff. This poor guy in Alabama with $7K in merchandise he may never see again is one of those folks – loves beer, sells beer, helps people make beer. An apostle, and, now, thanks to the State of Alabama, a martyr.

Nobody who encounters real beer and falls in love with it really goes back to factory beer. Pasteurized beer isn’t as good, and the big boys have too much money in advertising and do-nothing executives golfing alla time to afford to make real beer. If I was a big boy and saw all this real beer stuff going on, I’d do something about it.

Homebrewing is an integral part of the real beer experience. If you haven’t made your own beer, chances are you know somebody who does – heck, you know us, so there’s that. The batches people make in their kitchens – from ambrosia to somewhere north of malt yogurt – teach us about exactly what beer is. It’s a beautiful thing.

Jimmy Carter – bless his heart – legalized home beer and wine making when he was President. It seems like a pretty American thing to do: Personal freedom and all. Several states, including Alabama, promptly passed laws prohibiting homebrewing. Today, it’s still illegal to brew your own beer and wine in Mississippi and Alabama.

Now, as Southerners, we count among our acquaintances a good number of bluenoses. You know, folks who are extremely conservative about the behavior of people they’ll never see in their lives. So, for us Southerners, the prohibition of this or that behavior often wears a religious conservative face. But in Alabama and Mississippi, it’s big-brand beer distributors lobbying the committees that make the laws. It’s strictly business, the “denigrate, regulate, replicate” strategy Big Pasteurized Beer Product has adopted to fight real beer.

They’ve got their laws and their faux craft brands. We’ve got love for the products we make, the products our friends in the industry make, and the products you make in your kitchen.

We’re winning.

-A.D.

Q: Who has 22 Thumbs and 7 Beers on Tap?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

A: The guys and gals of the French Broad Brewery and Tasting Room, that’s who!

Q: Who has 22 thumbs and a brand new Brewgrass 2011 People’s Choice Award trophy?

A: That’s us again!

Q: Who has $8 growler refills all the week long and $7 refills on Wednesdays–oh, and 22 thumbs?

A: Must be the French Broad Brewery and Tasting Room!

Q: Isn’t it true that the trophy is a repurposed softball trophy with a 13 Rebels tap handle kind of wonkily affixed to the top?

A: Are we picking nits? We are not.

Q: Do you believe the IRS should levy a small tax on purchases of stock that are sold within a fixed time frame so as to encourage longer term investments and disincentivize speculation ?

A: Personally? Yes, I do. But I’m just “A”, and speak for no one else.

Q: Just A? C’mon, man. Don’t sell yourself short. You start, like, the entire alphabet. Even the word “alphabet” starts with you!

A: Hey, thanks. That really means a lot, coming from Q.

Q: (Pause) What are you doing later tonight?A: Are you kidding? It’s Tuesday and Arielle’s working the Tasting Room.

Q: Buy you a pint?

A: Not if I buy you one first!

Q: But how will we choose with so many options?

A: Who cares! They’re all so freaking good!

Q: You  insouciant thing, you!

A: Would you have me any other way?

-D.W.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest, it Might Be Drunk

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Ha ha! Just kidding, you guys! A tree, drunk? What are you, crazy? Even sugar maples glued to the brim with sap are pillars of rectitude and sobriety. If they acted like people, we’d have to worry about them making houses out of us, chopping us down at the feet and rendering us slab by slab into more of their planet-befouling society. Instead they remain reliably trees: beautiful, generous, shademaking, numinous with symbolic meaning, unable to escape.

I mention all this 1) because I feel there’s real meme potential with the tree falls in the forest thing and 2) because it occurred to me that it’s been about a year since I last spilled into this etheric domain news of Great Zepptemberfest’s Return, and in that entry, along with a slew of faux historical drivel, was something to do with the climbing of trees. In unrelated news, I have lately been preoccupied with fantasies of tree houses.

Well, Great Zepptemberfest Rides Again, Mein Volk! Upon its head a pointy Prussian pith helmet; between its knees a withered chestnut mare; reins in one hand, and in the other a long and slender sword, its tip pointed at you, Asheville, in whose direction it charges apace. By tomorrow afternoon, you’ll have either submitted to Great Zepptemberfest, been absolutely vanquished by it, or perhaps you’ll not have heard the news yet, and will wander the streets of the abandoned town sort of like that fellow in the old Arby’s commercial who doesn’t know where everyone’s gone. “WHERE IS EVERYBODY?” you’ll ask. And a lone, distant voice will respond: “…French Broad Brewery Tasting Room!”

Let me tell you something, the first batch of this stuff came and went whiplash-fast. I think we had it in the Tasting Room for about seventeen minutes. Then, like how Kevin Spacey represents Kaizer Soze’s capacity for vanishing (pairing it with the devil’s feat of convincing the world he didn’t exist) by blowing his fist apart with an atomizing puff: poof, Great Zepptemberfest was gone. So when I suggest you wend your way to the French Broad Brewery this weekend to quaff a pint of fine oktobery ale, I’m not being casual. I’m not just, like, throwing it out there to, uh, kinda like see, or whatever, if you’re interested, and stuff. No.

I’m leveling you with a bullcrapless expression. I’m quieting my voice to an attention-demanding size nine font. I’m shaking my head slowly, almost imperceptibly, left and right, as if to convey a measured perplexity, as if an event of soulshaping magnitude has near flattened me. I hold the trembling cup of the future in my voice, and I tell you:

Great Zepptemberfest Rides Again.

-D.W.