Beer and Pavement

200

Posted in Milestones, Uncategorized by Zac on November 8, 2011

I’ve been at this…rather, we’ve been at this now for 200 posts. Thanks to those who followed me from the last place or clicked my name after I left too many comments some other place. The next 200 should come quicker if I’m able to keep up this one-a-day pace. Cheers.

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Pavement - Øyafestivalen 2010

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Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement is not easy

Posted in Intersections, Manifesto by Zac on October 26, 2011

Sorry about not posting on Monday. It seems I’ve had a combination of no time, little sleep, a hangover, and no inspiration to write. It doesn’t mean I’ve quit writing posts, but I will miss a day occasionally. See Monday’s post.

It should be known that this is not an easy gig. I purposely started this blog to write regular commentary on my two favorite things (that are not people). Additionally, I wanted to do more than the paragraph with a link kinds of posts I see on so many blogs. I want my posts to be rich and complex or at least something that takes you more than a couple of minutes to skim. For the most part, I feel I’ve been successful with this goal.

I’ve also made a concerted effort to post three times a week. Since I do write longer posts than the average blogger, 5-7 posts a week is too much. Three feels about right. Still, even three has been a challenge. The Monday top-5 lists seem to be sputtering. It will be back, however, next week and it will be better than ever.

As the title of this post suggest, building international coalitions through beer and Pavement is not easy. It’s a stretch as – let’s be honest. Beer and indie rock don’t really matter that much. Also, I’m working really hard to get beer nerds to understand indie rockers and vice versa. This is harder than expected as I know a lot of beer enthusiasts who like indie rock and even a few indie rockers who will put down their PBR in favor of a Stone IPA now and again. Still, beer enthusiasts just don’t get my record collection or why I would spend time in a place called “The Hairhole” with a bunch of underage kids with a load BYOB. Conversely, it’s hard to convince indie fans that spending $10 on a bomber is a good investment.

I think I understand the beer nerd’s hesitation to get indie rock. Beer nerds tend to be somewhat mainstream. They have 9-5 jobs, a mortgage, and a family. The time and resources needed to keep up with music is exhausting. Indie rock is especially grueling as there are so many bands out there with new releases coming out weekly. Mainstream music is easier as you can hear it on the radio or only have to buy a CD every other month. Drinking a beer takes no time and can relieve the stresses of mainstream life without waking the kids.

The indie geek is more difficult to understand as his disposable income is similar to that of the craft beer drinker. However, the bars the indie fan frequents tend to serve shitty beer. They get used to the stuff and enjoy the fact that they can still fit into their skinny jeans. It’s way cooler to throw back 5-10 Buds at a Guided By Voices show than to sip from a snifter as rowdy concert-goers ram into you.

I know both of these perspectives. Of course, some may argue I’m only a gentleman dabbler and they would be correct. However, I have a pretty long history following indie rock. Although my craft beer obsession has been around for a shorter time, I’ve always preferred more unique beers and now have the resources to satisfy that interest. So, I get the hesitation on both sides. I also get how these are two great tastes that taste great together.

So, I will continue to build coalitions. Someday, the worlds of craft beer and indie rock will merge to become one unstoppable force. Until that day, I will be a lone soldier in this battle to Build International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement.

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Top 5 for October 10, 2011 in pictures

Posted in Beer, Life, Live, Top 5 by Zac on October 10, 2011

1.20111010-010527.jpg
Like 15 years ago, my then-girlfriend and I traded some CD’s for new music at Used Kids in Columbus, OH. One of the records I traded for was a vinyl copy of Orange. We broke up later that year. She took my record. Late last week, a reprinted replacement finally arrived. I think I may have to write more about this.

2.

20111010-011035.jpg
My second (successful) go at Simcoe-dependency, a single-hopped IPA, is now bottled and should be ready for consumption in ten days. This beer is pretty dry in order to showcase the cattiness of the Simcoe. It also weighs in at 7.1% ABV, higher than anticipated.

3.20111010-011444.jpg
New Albanian Brewing Company is one brewery I have yet to try, but they make the most bad-ass brewing t-shirt ever! I wore it for a Sunday collaborative brew session. Several folks all added ingredients to one beer, an imperial brown something or other. I contributed molasses and brown sugar just to be redundant.

4. 20111010-012047.jpg
I went to one of those fancy prohibition-style drink places with my wife before a show. Their beer list was lame, so I ordered a gingery Tiki drink. This took me back to a place I used to frequent in college and drink Miserable Bastards until I was the miserable bastard. This story relates to item #1.

5. 20111010-012516.jpg
This is a shitty image of Beirut last night in St. Louis. They were good and all the band nerds in the audience gizzed themselves over the sousaphone solos.

Posted with my iPhone. RIP Steve Jobs.

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Happy Xmas

Posted in Life, Manifesto by Zac on December 24, 2010

Why is it orange? There's an app for that.

Happy Christmas, y’all. It’s nearly been a year on this “new” blog and it’s been fun. Many of my faithful readers from misery past have stayed with me as I attempt to build coalitions through beer and Pavement. And along the way, I’ve gained several new converts[1]. Overall, it’s been a good year.

There are no big announcements this year. I’ll attempt to post once a week as usual[2]. The posts will continue to be long and meandering with many self-gratifying footnotes[3], but I do that you for you, my faithful readers.

So, sit back with some “Gold Soundz” and yet another beer. This coalition is only getting started. We have a world to change, people.

Cheers!

Notes:
1I apologize if I did not link to your blog. I sort of got lost in coming up with links and forgot who’s been linked and who hasn’t. The oversight is just that and not a slight in the least. Of course, if you commented more and linked back to my blog more, I might not have made such an error.
2I fully recognize that I go weeks without posting, but I do have somewhere around 60 posts. That’s more than the 52 required to be a weekly thing.
3Did you really think I’d dump the footnotes?

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Collections

Posted in Intersections by Zac on April 7, 2010

No matter how many records I buy, I can’t fill this void.

When I was younger, I collected baseball cards. I bought some complete sets and some valuable rookie cards1. I kept my cards in plastic sheets, locked in binders. To an outsider, my collection was an obsession. To someone who obsessed over baseball cards, my collection was a nice, little hobby. I collected those cards to fill time, shoe boxes, and to connect me with a community of collectors. I suppose the hobby filled a void, a void only Eric Davis could fill.

The same can be said about my two current collections. I collect beers and music with the same tempered affection2 with which I collected baseball cards in order to fill some sort of void or need/want. Collections do not rule me or put me into great debt. They are hobbies that provide me some enjoyment and something about which to talk. If that so-called void is filled, that’s OK too.

The music collection has gone on for a while. I gathered cassette tapes and records in my early days throughout the eighties3. This eventually shifted to CD’s as labels switched formats. Aside from the random 7″ or LP, I gathered hundreds of CD’s4. I also collected concert experiences which included ticket stubs, t-shirts, or just memories. As the LP came back into fashion, I’ve come full circle in limiting my collection to just vinyl5.

The beer thing hasn’t been a hobby until the past couple of years. Sure, age and availability was a factor, but I didn’t really get into craft beer until I started trying more kinds of beer, spending a little more for something a lot better6. Now, I even have a beer cellar7 where some beers have sat for nearly two years. Some bottles contain beer that is actively evolving into a drinkable beverage8. And I collect through drinking9, not just holding. There are beer dinners and tastings. I break open something that’s been sitting around all the time. Beer is to be consumed not contained.

The key to collecting is the enjoyment. It’s not the conquest or filling an emptiness. It’s not compensation for something you’re lacking. A collection is only worthwhile if you can enjoy it.

That’s why I’ve taken more to the collecting of experiences rather than things. With music, I love the experience of placing the needle on the record only to get up twenty minutes later to flip the record and do it again. Although I love the ritual of playing an LP, nothing beats a great live show. Similarly, sampling a rare beer at a nice beer-centric bar with a buddy makes it all the more enjoyable. I also don’t believe in holding onto a beer too long just for the sake of the collection. If it’s been in the cellar for a couple of weeks10, it needs to be consumed.

With boys and men, the quantity is often the goal. We one-up each other all the time with the number of beers in our cellar or records on the shelf. Whole rooms are dedicated to collections. This, however, is not usually my goal. Sure, I am running out of room for records, CD’s, t-shirts11, etc. And there are more beers in my cellar than I can realistically consume on my own over the next several months. Any collection is about quantity, but the key is not to let that rule your life.

More importantly, a collection is about quality. I only buy the records I believe are good and that I actually want to hear12. I choose rock shows that I really want to see12. The beers I buy anymore are primarily because I know the style and/or brewery is good. I only want my collections to represent what I feel is the best. Quality also has its limits. I don’t own every record I want or think I should have13. There just isn’t room in my basement nor wallet to buy all those records. Same goes for the beer. Most of the beer I can’t have costs almost as much to ship as it does just to buy. So, I temper my beer mania and join a group order now and again or go without14.

If the size or character of a collection is too much, it ceases to be enjoyable. I’ve gone through periods where this was the case. Most of the credit card debt in my life is directly attributable to spending sprees at record stores, sometimes for a bunch of material I don’t even listen to anymore15. At times, my beer cellar is overflowing with beers of a shelf-life of six months or less. I’ve since learned to limit these sorts of brews as I stock up on beers that can stand to sit on a shelf for a year or two.

I could go on and on about the specifics of my collections. I could inventory my entire vinyl stockpile, but I won’t16. I could do as the guy below did and record my beer cellar7 for all to see, but I won’t do that either.

My collections pale in comparison to those mentioned above, but I’m OK with that. My music and beer collections are what I can handle. It’s all I need for enjoyment outside of my family and friends. There’s still that Flaming Lips t-shirt from 1995 to remind me of one of the two or three best shows I’ve ever seen. All of my Dogfish Head 120-minute IPA’s have been consumed and savored17. There are records still to play and some beers to drink in the near future. The enjoyment is not over.

Consume your collections. Don’t let them consume you. That’s what I’m trying to do anyway.

Notes:
1Eric Davis was my favorite. Too bad he was so injury-prone.
2I don’t love them any less than the next guy. I have just learned to control my obsessions.
3Of which I have almost none. Between selling them to used record shops and being redistributed to my family, I have very little to show for this period of my life.
4Which, oddly enough, are kept in binders much like those still holding my baseball cards.
5And the digital downloads which accompany the vinyl.
6This is the obstacle for everyone to get over when starting a hobby in craft beer. You will spend more than $4 for a sixer of a good beer. You may even spend $10 for a bomber which is the equivalent of two beers. Think about that for a moment, PBR drinker.
7Really, it’s just a closet under the stairs. Did I mention this before?
8Homebrewing represents something I was never able to do with music: create my own.
9as evidenced by my expanding belly.
10Or up to two years if the beer is cellar-able. This would primarily be anything imperial, stouts, barley wines, certain Belgian brews, Lambics, etc. Beers to drink ASAP, for me, are primarily low ABV and highly hopped. Hops lose their potency as a beer ages.
11I recently retired a pile of rock concert t’s to a bin for my daughter to have when she gets older. How cool will it be when Lucia shows up in art class with an Archers of Loaf t-shirt featuring the hockey player from Vs. the Greatest of All-Time EP? Actually, no one will get it. I better just hang on to that one.
12Although, this does not always work out.
13I really wanted that vinyl copy of Gentlemen I found on eBay last year.
14Or empty the local shelves.
15Shuffle reveals embarrassing material all the time.
16There is nothing wrong with Nardy’s list. I am amazed not at just the breadth of his collection, but the depth as well. He not only has one Marvin Gaye album, but three; Led Zeppelin occupies six spots; and the Beatles – yes, those Beatles – provide 12 LP’s. I’ve seen it in-person. It’s quite impressive.
17I’ll get more.

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