Beer and Pavement


Posted in Challenge by SM on December 1, 2010

As suggested by Steve, I’m posting the beginnings of several posts I’ve started over the past couple of weeks but never finished. There were more, but I deleted them. Honestly, most of this is shite (as Steve might say) and I haven’t read it since first typing it just to get something down. The only one I may still finish is the last one.

Ridicule me as usual…

I don’t tend to write much about TV since I don’t watch much TV. Aside from a small handful of shows and some sporting events, I find TV to be pretty detestable. So, when it was announced that Dogfish Head’s own Sam Calagione would be hosting a show on Discovery, I took notice.

The show premiered a week ago and people had various takes on the program. The beer nerds in my circle mostly hated it, but I think they just wanted a show for them and not the typical Discovery Channel viewer. Twitter was mostly aflutter with glowing praise, but what else can you say in 140 characters about a TV show without coming off as a punk-ass Farker? And the blogospere was primarily taking bets on how long the show will last.

What’s missing is whether or not this show will prove to be good for craft beer. Like when indie kids lamented Nirvana breaking on MTV, beer nerds everywhere are worried their obsession will become no better than the watered-down, rice adjunct-ed swill they’ve rejected for so long. However, like the grunge kids, beer nerds need to relax. Brew Masters will not ruin craft beer. If anything, it should do the industry and community some good. Nirvana breaking big sure produced a lot of copycats for major labels with which to pollute the airwaves, but it also made a much wider range of music available to the average listener. There are still crappy bands, but we would have never heard so many great bands without Nirvana’s breakthrough. Brew Masters is craft beer’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or something like that.

Brew Masters is not made for beer nerds. Beer is but a medium for Discovery to tell a story. Sam Calagione is their protagonist, a compelling one at that. The show will spend an inordinate amount of time on the marketing of beers, trips to find new recipes and ingredients, and basically all the extraneous details that will go into brewing Dogfish Head beer. In other words, the show really isn’t about the beer. It isn’t a demonstration of advanced brewing methods for us to geek out on. The show probably won’t tell us anything we all didn’t already learn about Dogfish Head that we didn’t already know. I mean, craft beer is 5% of the beer market. I suspect homebrewers even make up a smaller percentage of the beer-consuming community than that. If Discovery were making this show for us, they…

This will possibly be the most overused Thanksgiving meme/theme of the day, but I don’t care. I’ve had trouble coming up with blogable topics and thought this might be an easy way to get going. Besides, there is really so much that I’m thankful for this year. Here are just a few of those things…

Waffle House – It is a Thanksgiving tradition for us to go to the Waffle House for breakfast before we get our cook on. Sure, the food is only moderately good, but we are all entitled this one indulgence. Besides, most decent breakfast joints are closed on Thanksgiving and we need to load up since we won’t eat until 5 or 6. The Waffle House fills those needs and provides a base for all the beer I’ll drink.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 – Typically, a nice Saison would ideally pair well with Thanksgiving turkey, but we smoke our bird. A Saison won’t stand up to the charred smokiness of our turkey. So, I turn the notch up and pour this perfectly balanced Belgian dark abbey ale to counter the strength of our main dish. Sure, there will be DIPA’s and imperial stouts poured before and after dinner, but St. Bernardus is our patron saint of the smoked turkey.

iPod Mixes – Every year, I attempt to mix some songs or simply throw albums-worth of music into a playlist that lend itself to the brisk autumn weather and a harvest time feast. In the past, Nick Drake, Feist, and José González among others have dominated the soundtrack. This year, it’s looking as if Sufjan Stevens and The Walkmen will be joining the fun. Plus, I may have to play a whole heaping serving of Pavement as this is likely the end of the road for my favorite band. At least I saw them two more times this year…

Buckeyes – All kinds of Buckeyes make me thankful this year. The horse chestnuts have brought me luck – I just haven’t been able to figure out what that luck has been. I’m making my own version of the candy sort, using high-end chocolate (without paraffin), natural peanut butter, and fleur de sel. It should be a good topper to Thanksgiving dinner or something good to munch on while I cheer the third sort of Buckeyes as they play their greatest rival this Saturday. I hate that team up north, I won’t even dare to mention their names on this blog. Just know that my Bucks are looking for their sixth straight conference championship, sixth straight win over their rivals (nine out of ten), and a shot at another BCS bowl with a win Saturday.

There are moments in life that define who we are. Hopefully, those moments are mostly positive, but some can be negative as well. These moments in our lives help define who we are, what we’ll become, and how we’ll be remembered.

For me, I can think of a few such moments. None were earth-shattering for anyone who’s not me, but they have defined who I am. There was the basketball game in 8th grade where I nailed the winning free throws on the same week I learned a new technique for shooting from the charity stripe. There was the night I was recognized for my service to a YMCA camp, earning an award that had only been given to one other individual in the camp’s 80-year history. There was the birth of my daughter.

All of these moments shaped me in one way or another. It was all mostly good.

Sometimes, these moments happen to one person who shines and defines his/her legacy. My Ohio State Buckeyes experienced one of those moments this weekend, specifically their über-hyped quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor seemed to be melting down as usual against a tough opponent. His third-quarter interception set up the Iowa Hawkeyes for the go-ahead touchdown.

This one’s been on my back burner for a while. It seems every time I turn around, another alt/indie band from my (post)youth is reuniting for a tour or single show at some festival. I guess it means a couple of things: 1) I’m getting old and 2) indie rock really is successful.

One band that is regularly absent from the list of upcoming tours and re-issues is Archers of Loaf. They often come up in pieces where bands list their favorite bands or are included in cover opportunities on influential websites. They were all the rage for anyone in the mid-nineties between Pavement and Superchunk releases. Their live shows were proof that punk was not yet dead. They were fucking Archers of Loaf.

It all started for Loaf in 1990, but their first album didn’t come out until 1993. The hugely influential Icky Mettle had to have been one of the three most dubbed-to-cassette-tape albums of the 90’s. I had Icky Mettle and AoL’s follow-up Vee Vee on opposite sides of a tape that I wore completely out. I acquired my copies of their first two albums around the same time I saw the band for the first time. An Archers of Loaf live show was a thing of…

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3 Responses

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  1. partoftheprecipitate said, on December 1, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Post published.

  2. Steve said, on December 3, 2010 at 3:23 am

    I love the format! It’s like peeking into your brain for a little bit. Glad you published these thoughts.

    I’ve seen a few of Dogfish Head’s beers over here in the UK – are they worth a try? Any recommendations?

  3. […] of Loaf Reunite As I once proposed, it’s time for Archers of Loaf to get back together. Well, they did, but there’s no […]

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