Beers I Have Known — Foothills Brewing Hoppyum IPA

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

hoppyum

This has been a long, rough day of travel. But at least my unwanted diversion put me in the range of one of my favorite breweries, which now typically resides well outside my geographic reach. This drink may be a consolation prize, but it’s still a prize.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.

Beers I Have Known — Odell Brewing Company 90 Shilling Ale

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

90

If I was going to be many miles away from America’s Dairyland when I endured the heartbreak of watching the Milwaukee Brewers lose a postseason Game Seven, at least I had the kindness of a fine beer.

Thank, Colorado, I had a swell time amidst your mountains.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.

Beers I Have Known — Zero Gravity Craft Brewery Keller Dry-Hopped Lager

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

keller
If only I had that many! (Source)

I am a mediocre beer hunter. Much as I value expertly brewed concoctions, I am highly limited in my ability to keep all the revered and coveted craft beer offerings in my head so I can make expert selections at remote liquor stores. Confronted by walls of strangers, I grab with almost random recklessness, stocking up with no assurance that I’m doing so wisely. At any given point, I’m likely to pass up a true wonder while acquiring stock for the garage fridge that will be enjoyed but forgotten. But sometimes I get lucky.

I secured a few cans of Zero Gravity Craft Brewery’s Keller Dry-Hopped Lager on a road trip to New York earlier this year. I like dry-hopped beers, I like lagers, and a member of my household has caused me to be quite fond of the name Keller. And I was further enticed by the relatively frill-free packaging. While the theory doesn’t always hold, I’ve often found that the breweries that aren’t preoccupied with busy labels or given to elaborate, pun-peppered names are instead focused on making fine beer. In this instance, the guideline worked marvelous.

Tonight, I drank my last can, imbibing over the grill in what could very well be the last throes of warmer weather. It was like a summer romance coming to an end, inspiring instant nostalgia. My, it was nice.

 

From the Archive — George Carlin arrested at Milwaukee’s Summerfest

carlinbody4

It’s been ten years since George Carlin died, depriving the world of one of our most combative, stealthily insightful voices. And it was forty-six years ago on the day I post this — or re-post it, really — reflection on his notorious arrest at Milwaukee’s annual multi-day festival. When the offending performance occurred, Summerfest was early in its existence, and the delicate Midwestern sensibilities evidently weren’t quite ready for such vigorous profanity. I wrote this as part of the “Flashback Fridays” exercise I cooked up at my formal online home.

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits. These seven words were identified by George Carlin as the ones that could never be said on television. There was no official edict from the Federal Communications Commission that Carlin drew upon to compile his list, nor any guiding memo from a network’s Standards and Practices department. Carlin made up the list himself, basing it on his own informed knowledge of what language set censors aquiver, which words never got an airing on broadcast stations.

That routine was part of Carlin’s set when he was booked as a performer at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, a lakefront showcase for bands and other performers then in its fifth year. These days, the comedians are given their own venue on the Summerfest grounds, but in 1972 Carlin was there to open for Arlo Guthrie. By most accounts, things already weren’t going that well by the time he reached his bit about the “bad words,” including extended explication of each member of the salty septet. Complaints were registered with the police officers patrolling the grounds, the preciousness of the previously unsullied ears of children evoked (even in 1972, several of those children undoubtedly had heard longer, harsher litanies of profane language whenever the Packers were losing). Carlin was arrested for disorderly conduct. Luckily for him, he’d gotten wind of it before it happened and ditched a stockpile of drugs in his possession before the officers came around with the cuffs. According to at least one individual offering some firsthand reporting, it was a busy night for Milwaukee’s finest (as opposed to Milwaukee’s Best) as they also hauled in several disgruntled Doors fans on the verge of riot when the the band’s set was cut short.

The arrest helped make “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” arguably Carlin’s most famous routine. It was the final track on his album Class Clown, which came out that fall, and immediately elevated his status as a burgeoning counter-culture icon. The incident was emblematic of the era as the authorities, previously dumbfounded by the surging claims on freedom and self-expression by the youth, decided that the best tactic was to push back hard. The fall would bring the reelection of the president as the silent majority made the nation’s transformation into Nixonland complete.

Carlin’s list of words would eventually find its way into the public record. His next record, 1973’s Operation: Foole, included a follow-up routine called “Filthy Words” which expanded upon the “Seven Words” bit. This was the track played on radio station WBAI resulting in the court case Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica, which led to the Supreme Court’s defining assertion that First Amendment rights don’t really apply to broadcasters. Carlin took pride in that, becoming, as he put it, “a kind of footnote in legal history.” The great observer of American culture wound up having a deep influence on it in a tricky, intricate, deeply embedded way. Or, again in his words, “It’s nice, because I’ve insinuated myself into the furniture of this culture, and I kind of like that.”

Beers I Have Known — Bad Weather Brewing Company Munich Helles

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

bad weather

I’ve previously acknowledged the unique prominence of Minnesota’s Bad Weather Brewing Company in my personal collection of favored purveyors of brewed beverages. Tonight, I was lucky enough to sample a wide array of their offerings, including the exemplary Munich Helles lager, all accompanied by a V.I.P. treatment that left me feeling honored and joyful. Truthfully, I can’t elaborate much further without lapsing into overly rhapsodic sentimentality, so I’ll essentially leave it at that, adding only that I’m proud as can be to officially and unreservedly list the brewery among my absolute favorites.

 

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.

Beers I Have Known — Brewery Ommegang Neon Rainbows

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

neon

I stood outside Brewery Ommegang in a steady rain and it was perfect. I’ve mostly outgrown the college bar table game of authoritatively rattling off the list of artists that I long to witness in a live performance, constantly curating a concert wish list. Even so, there are unseen acts that tug at me, often because of parallel lines of earnest fandom and missed opportunities. So it was of some personal import when I joined countless others braving a chilly, wet night to convene in a craft brewery’s vast field — growing muddier by the second — and watch Jack White put on a show.

Truthfully, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for this long-awaited show. The vast outdoors of the countryside was the only environment large enough to safely accommodate the booming majesty of White and his band, and even the precipitation felt just right, creating one more sheen of texture against the flashing blue lights favorited by White on this tour. And the brewery’s official address in Cooperstown, New York — best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame — fed right into White’s romanticism for a bygone brand of Americana. At the end of the show, fireworks burst across the sky.

As our arrival at Brewery Ommegang neared, I realized that I couldn’t name a favorite beer they offered. I’ve liked Ommegang for quite some time, but nothing quite locked in as the one I’d eagerly order up if I saw it on a draft list. (The situation is complicated and compounded the exhausting number of beers themed to Game of Thrones that the brewer has offered over the years, which eventually caused me to instinctively tune them out because it all exceeded my ability to keep proper track.) That dilemma has now been erased.

Neon Rainbows, a delectable New England IPA, was in my hands as White’s first guitar chords rattled the darkening night. As I noted, everything was perfect.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.