Arming for Armageddon

Jupiter Ballistic Missile

As far back as I can possibly reach into my conscious memory, there has been some person in authority warning us of the impending possibility of our earthly expiration. From the preachers in the pulpit to the pols in the public square, there has been no shortage of voices giving us reason to cower under our actual or metaphorical desks. The latest message of an approaching Armageddon is being delivered by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker. And in a rare break with my usual inclination of wanting to shoot the messenger, at this particular crossroad–I actually share the concerns of the courier.

As the  President prepares for his trip to Asia next month, I question whether or not there is either the capacity or the judgement needed to bring about a peaceful curbing of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. But ever since the Second World War, we’ve spent trillions of dollars, risked armed conflict, and sacrificed thousands of American lives in order to put limitations on the firepower available to those nations and outside groups that were perceived as threats to our national security. While those policies of containment may have been a necessary evil, one might question why there is not the same resolve or expenditure of resources when it comes to protecting our citizens from those legitimate threats that exist within our own borders.

Why is it that our leader’s and legislator’s eagerness to regulate the killing potential of those seemingly unstable and unfriendly types that inhabit our planet tends to always stop at the water’s edge? Perhaps it’s because terrorists and rogue regimes may possess the firepower, but in most instances–they just haven’t yet acquired the lobbying power.

While I find the thought of ICBMs in Iran and Nukes in North Korea to be somewhat disheartening, that which brings the most discomfort to my domestic tranquility is the thought of bump stocks in the barnyard and that loose cannon in the West Wing!

Loose Cannon Hop 3

 

Personally, the only Loose Cannon that makes the cut in my life is that wonderful IPA from those exceptional brewers at Heavy Seas.

 

 

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

 

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Filling My 12 Ounce Bucket List

Ballantine IPA

A while back an older friend, who had just gone through some serious health problems and was having to face those inevitable questions that trouble all of us–inquired as to the contents of my bucket list. Other than my wish to have spent more time with loved ones that had already passed on, or my unrealistic hopes of getting the definitive photograph of the Loch Ness Monster, or having an actual encounters with alien beings, I realized that for the most part my bucket was empty.

But then I did recall that there was one experience (even though it seemed even less attainable than the alien or lake creature thing) that I had always told people that I wanted to repeat before permanently giving up my allotted space at the bar–and that was to enjoy at least one more encounter with my first true American ale infatuation–the Ballantine IPA!

During the past seven plus years of publishing American Public House Review, it seems that whenever beer was the topic of discussion my longings for that superlative pale ale would be exuberantly voiced, and on occasion, as noted below, those passions would find their way into the final draft of an article.

  • Here was a world-class recipe that rivaled my long lost and much lamented first true beer love – the Ballantine India Pale Ale. Since the 1983 demise of that well hopped heavyweight, (60 IBUs during its prime recipe years}), I’ve been on a personal quest for the next great IPA. Thankfully, we live in a time when so many American brewers are emulating the style and techniques of those early masters of the craft…     From a 2010 article about Wagner Valley Brewing in Lodi, New York
  • In the February-March 2000 edition of“Celebrator Beer News,” Fred Eckhardt wrote, “Ballantine IPA would be a good choice for the greatest and most enduring American brewing triumph of the early and mid-20th century.” From a more personal perspective, Ballantine IPA continues to this day to be the most memorable and pleasant beer drinking experience of my life.  From a 2008 article about the Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island

So it is with many a heartfelt thanks that I raise my glass to the memory of Peter Ballantine, and those very talented, present day brewers at Pabst whose efforts and expertise  have reshaped and resurrected this American classic. Because of you my bucket list is now full–and my recycling bin is overflowing!

Posted by: Chris Poh

Blue Tag

The Road to Damascus by Way of Easton, PA

 Easton, PA

It had been quite some time since David and I had the opportunity to pull off that lazy afternoon one-on-one brew and chat session. And we mutually agreed that Two Rivers Brewing Company in Easton, Pa would play host to our late summer tete-a-tete. By the time I embarked upon my second pint of  Rastafarye Ale from Blue Point, we had already cleared the small talk about family, friends and the circumstances of our personal being. So as it has been at other such encounters, we quickly moved the conversation into our version of progressive political and philosophical thought. Pint number three brought on the usual, easy to be heard from the other side of the room, bout of preachy pontifications. A well-mannered gentleman at the other end of the bar inquired if he might be allowed to join  the discussion.  

We welcomed Paul, whose accent and appearance suggested a Caribbean connection, into our friendly give-and-take.  After about an hour of  hashing out the current state of relations between humankind within our own borders and beyond, Paul interjected a bold pronouncement.

He declared that he would gladly give up all of his civil rights in exchange for true equality, justice and brotherhood. Once again a man of some insight had come to the conclusion that our most complex of problems would be better served if we adopted and adhered to those simpler virtues.

In that world, there would be no reason to remember December 7th and September 11th. In that world, there would be no call to take the high ground at Gettysburg and Normandy. In that world, there would be no reason to march on Washington or Tiananmen. And in that world, the road to Damascus would not be feeling the pain of the fallen, and those fleeing the ruthlessness–but only the gentle footsteps of fellow pilgrims seeking a better way to treat all of humanity.

he Bar at Two Rivers Brewing Company

Until such time, we can at least work out our differences and misperceptions over a few lazy afternoon pints!

Posted by: Chris Poh

Blue Tag

Chasing the Green Dragon

Paul Revere's Ride

Other than my regional attachment and loyalty to those gentlemen from the South Bronx that don the pinstripes, I’ve always held the city of Boston and its feisty spirited citizens in the highest regard. The town that is the very embodiment of our founding cause also played an important role in my own personal quest for identity and independence. During my formative years, the ultimate extension of the boundaries of that restless suburban teenage rebel was a road trip to Beantown. Once I got over the elation of having put over two-hundred miles between myself and my parents point of view about proper public behavior, I would on most occasions give into that more circumspect side of my personality.

So following a few much appreciated pints of Watney’s Red Barrel at the now defunct Pooh’s Pub over on Kenmore Square, I would let my legs carry me across town and down those same cobble stoned streets and alleyways that wore away the  boot heels of British Regulars, local militia and Continental soldiers alike. After enduring some rather chilling blows off the Charles River in the course of my fall and winter perambulations, I was grateful that Henry Knox’s  artillery perched on the Dorchester Heights had not permanently removed all traces of English culture from the city after the strategic departure of William Howe’s troops in March of 1776. Nearly 200 years after the end of the siege of Boston, and long before there was a Harpoon IPA or a Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig, at a time when most future New England craft brewers were still pilfering an occasional Narragansett from their father’s basement reserves, it was an English ale that fortified my constitution as I chased history’s ghosts down the path of partisans and patriots.

During my last visit to Boston, myself and David McBride, a fellow student of America’s falling out with King George the Third, decided to indulge our love of colonial history by taking some pre-Christmas cheer at the Green Dragon Tavern. What could provide a more authentic setting to ponder the merits of  rebellion than an old brick pub with a sign outside the door that read, “Headquarters of the Revolution 1773 – 1776.” Unfortunately, this was not the same public house where the likes of Hancock, Adams, Warren, Revere and other prominent Bostonian Freemasons and the Sons of Liberty conspired against the Crown. That particular tavern, located on another site, ceased to provide comfort and safe haven to its enlightened clientele in 1854. And while the current Green Dragon is an absolutely eye-catching pub that always offers its patrons a  friendly and inviting atmosphere, it was not quite the eighteenth century touchstone that we had envisioned, so we instead focused our journalistic attentions on the Warren Tavern in nearby Charlestown. That particular trip was over two years ago, but the current tragedy and needless bloodshed that has befallen the people of Boston as a result of the Marathon Bombings led me to reconsider some our own past cause oriented actions.

When we think about the American Revolution, we tend not to recount the carnage and immense suffering of those who fought, and those who were the unintended victims of the conflict. The telling of that glorified story has always tended to skip over the gruesome and less than honorable aspects of our nation’s founding. And until the advent of modern photography, no one other than the direct participants and witnesses could fully grasp the realities of war. That is why an Alexander Gardner photograph from Antietam is much more likely to present an honest unsanitized accounting of events as opposed to artist John Trumbull’s depiction of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The camera seldom lies–but the artist’s brush is always subject to a desired effect or particular point of view.

Then there are of course the points of view of those on either side of the struggle  to consider. British authorities and loyalists referred to the Sons of liberty as  the “Sons of Iniquity.” Even Benjamin Franklin was uncomfortable with  the more extreme behaviors of  some of his compatriots. Throughout human history, the cruel and sadistic  have justified their atrocities by echoing the words of some greater cause–God, freedom, liberty and justice. And while I suspect that I would have been among those plotting the uprising at the Green Dragon had my soul’s time and space been eighteenth century Boston, I would have stood in forceful opposition against any individual that tortured and murdered those whose loyalties simply remained rooted on the other side of the Atlantic. All too often, one man’s celebrated dissident has become another man’s terrorist.

Sons of Liberty at the Green Dragon - Artist Unknown

Sons of Liberty at the Green Dragon – Artist Unknown

Thankfully, on American soil, the vast majority of  our  insurrectionists and iconoclasts have exercised a fair degree of restraint when voicing their displeasure with the status quo. For the most part, the rule of law, ethical standards, and our governing principles have prevailed, thus sparing the general population from the terror and senseless loss of life that is all too common on so many parts of the globe. But there have been those periods throughout our own history when some of our more self-serving malcontents have inflicted undue amounts of harm and hardships on our fellow citizens. Among those singled out in these campaigns of targeted terror were women, Blacks, Native Americans and homosexuals. And all too often, these extremists and assassins operated with impunity because the institutions of government, law enforcement and religion turned a blind eye–in effect providing cause and cover to this brutal criminality. It was only after those institutions were pressured to assert their legal and moral authority to prosecute and marginalize those guilty of such heinous illegality, that these waves of domestic terrorism finally subsided.

While we may never fully understand the motives of  Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,  it is important that those that may have influenced their ideology clearly stand in condemnation or be held accountable for their culpability. For it is only the unified voices of moral clarity that will make possible the peaceful pursuit of life, liberty and happiness as envisioned by those that raised their tankards and consciousness at that ever elusive Green Dragon.

Sign at the Green Dragon Tavern - Boston,MA

Posted by: Chris Poh

Blue Tag

Is Your Beer Too Cold?

We have all seen the commercials for Coors Light. When the illustration of mountains on the label turns blue, your beer is cold enough to drink.

Image

Perhaps it’s desirable for that particular brew. There is very little richness or complexity to the flavor of light beer. The temperature might be the only noticeable characteristic about it. A refreshment after a five-mile run in the sun? I can see that; or maybe a deep draught of cooling tonic after a mouthful of three alarm chili, sure. But if you, at the moment, are craving a savory sip of delightful, hoppy bitterness balanced with the fresh, baked bread finish of malted barley, Coors Light might not be the elixir you’re seeking, so cold it’s almost frozen . . . or otherwise.

No, we beer aficionados are all about sippin’ and not slammin’. We marvel at the cascade of effervescence as it’s poured into the glass. We praise the creamy, white head of microscopic bubbles which crests into a convex, foamy meniscus above the rim. We lose ourselves in the deep ambers, golds and browns of the liquid and we transcend into a nirvana where live the spirits of grain as we trickle the magic potion across our taste buds. And if the beer is too cold, the whole experience is ruined.

Enter Weyerbacher Brewery

Image

 They have come up with a brilliant reverse take on modern graphics technology. Well not really reverse, but the effect is designed to be the opposite of Coors. The labels on Weyerbacher craft beer bottles now inform as to when the concoction within is too cold for maximum enjoyment. Beer right out of the fridge or cooler needs a warm up period for the deliciousness to develop. And tell your bartender to keep the frosted glass and give you one from the shelf.

Check out the video as Weyerbacher Cellarman Colin Presby demonstrates their new label.

 And check out American Public House Review as well, the online journal of everything to do with pub culture and enjoyment.

http://www.americanpublichouse.com/ 

Cheers,

Edward F. Petersen, Creative Director, American Public House Review

Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Countdown to St. Patty’s Day; The Guinness Storehouse

Let’s be honest, when people on this side of the pond think of Ireland, many of them conjure up images in their mind of green rolling hills, ancient castles, and pint glasses slowly filling with that delicious black nectar we call Guinness.  So while we anxiously look forward to the holiday season of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s hard not to pine a bit for a toast of that legendary stout.

Take my word for it, for whatever reason the Guinness is better in Ireland.  I have heard many many theories as to why this is, but all I know for certain is that it is true.  And it is even better yet at the Guinness Storehouse itself, which is not surprisingly Ireland’s number one tourist attraction.

If you have never been to the Guinness Storehouse, prepare yourself to read an article on the American Public House Review that is certain to fill you with not only a longing to head to this epicenter of brewing history and culture, but also a little jealousy and maybe the spirit of the holiday as well.  A couple of years ago, Madeleine Best Henn sent APHR a story from her pilgrimage to Dublin and for everyone who dreams of going there, it provides all the motivation you will need to hop the pond.

by Dave McBride

Published in: on March 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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NASA to Consider Lifting the Ban on Romulan Ale

In a surprise move today, officials at NASA announced that they were considering lifting the centuries old ban on the importation and consumption of Romulan Ale in our solar system. Speculation is that the development of a beer that can be safely consumed during spaceflights, by 4 Pines Brewing of  Australia, may have prompted the possible shift in policy.  

Even going back to the early years of the Mercury and Gemini Programs, it was a popular belief that beer was not included as part of an astronaut’s regular ration because of the undue stress that would be placed on the fluid removal apparatus. Apparently though, the real problem was on the other end. Scientist now know that when a human burps while in zero-g not only will gases be released, but also the liquid content of the stomach will also be discharged. The high content of carbon dioxide in beer made it a dangerous candidate for space travel.  To overcome this obstacle, the brewers at 4 Pines developed a low carbonated version of their popular stout. Both scientists and astronauts alike are overjoyed at the prospect of having something else to drink other than Tang or Saurian Brandy.

In a statement released to the press, the junior assistant deputy director at NASA had this to say. “Today marks our greatest accomplishment since the Brits brewed an IPA that could stand up to the  rigors of long ocean voyages, thus allowing England to explore and expand its reach. Like their distant cousins, the Aussies have given us a brew that will allow us to further our exploration of space, and expand our own reach into the heavens. For wherever there is beer–there is man, a couch, and probably a television set.”

A Proper Toast with Romulan AleIn a  communique from the future, the Romulan ambassador said he would have prefered to have dealt with The United Federation of Planets, but was still pleased with NASA’s consideration to lift the ban on their ale. He went on to state that since their beer is cask-conditioned it never posed a threat to humans in the first place. He also added that Romulans never burp, and just because we might be drinking their beer, we shouldn’t expect to get the plans for the cloaking device anytime soon.

Posted by: Chris Poh



Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 1:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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Perhaps a better choice

Late last week, the committee that administers the sponsorships for the London 2010 Olympics announced that Heineken has been named the official beer of the games, which means they have exclusive “pouring rights” in and around the Olympic venues.  We here at Pub Talk would like to echo the disappointed cries of our fellow pub-fanatics on the other side of the pond who were hoping the London Olympics would choose an ale that represents the great culture of a great city.

Wenlock, mascot for the London 2010 Olympics

I agree with many people who have expressed opposition to this decision that the obvious choice here was Fuller’s London Pride, perhaps the most famous ale bearing the city’s name.  But I am sure there are other choices that could have been equally as fitting.  However, once again when it comes to professional sports money talks and everything else takes a backseat.

Finally, let me just mention that this posting is by no means meant to disparage Heineken.  It is only meant to point out a missed opportunity by the Olympics to recognize the cultural importance of London’s influence on the world, especially the world of great ales.

by Dave McBride

 

 


Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Of Super Bowl’s and Presidential Perks

This weekend is one of the great gathering days on the calendar in the United States.  Families and friends come together and congregate around the television to watch four-plus hours of advertisements, football and halftime shows.

Come Sunday the American public will fret over which number they have in the five-dollar-per-square house pool, how many cocktail franks to put in the oven, and which beer to stock the fridge with.  The very same thing is also happening over at the White House.  (Okay, maybe not the pool)  The guest list is set, the invites out, and even the beer is picked.

According to reports, the President has chosen a few cases of a Wisconsin beer.   Both the Pale Ale and Amber Ale from the Hinterland Brewery in Green Bay have been shipped from the brewhouse directly to the White House.  Let’s be honest, being able to have a “few cases” shipped straight from a brewery half-way across the nation to your Super Bowl Party must be high on the list of great presidential perks.

Just in case you care, and there is no reason you should, I am going with the President’s apparent pick and taking the Packers.  Enjoy the game!

By Dave McBride

 


Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 9:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Dark Day Indeed

In my Inbox this morning, i received my daily “This Day in History” message from the History Channel.  While normally these messages concern themselves with political and military milestones, today’s was about something much more dark and sinister…canned beer.

It seems that on this date in 1935, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered the first cans of beer to the consumer market, marking a seismic shift in the future of the  beer industry.  Storing beer in cans was easier and cheaper in almost every aspect of the beer industry.  Soon, the entire country was drinking from a can.

Now, I am aware that I have a tendency to voice some controversial opinions on this blog a bit too often for the likings of the editors at the American Public House Review.  However, despite those occupational hazards, I am here to declare that this is the anniversary of a very dark day in history.  A very dark day indeed.

Beer is an ancient wonder of human ingenuity.  It is a constant that has stood the test of time and has evolved over the centuries to meet the tastes of an ever changing human palate.  It is our job as stewards of this legendary necessity to work towards its perfection.  To craft it in a way that either tells our story to future generations or simply improves the enjoyment of our fellow man.

However, in the winter of 1935, someone, and I will not name names, decided to cheapen this noble art rather than better it.  Yes, I understand there is something to be said about making beer more affordable in times of need.  But there are just some things in life where quality is more of an imperative than quantity.  So tonight, let us lift a glass bottle together in an oath to do our part to never again allow ourselves to dishonor   this most solemn art again.

By Dave McBride

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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