In this edition of Publicanista!:
Tomorrow: Saturnalia MMV starting lineup to feature 19 festive beers.
First come, first served: Tim Webb's "Good Beer Guide to Belgium" book.
Sorry, no Butt-Head Bass Quartet again this year.
Massive sigh of relief as the NABC brew crew resumes brewing.
Cask-conditioned English firkins still coming this way, apparently on Conestoga wagons.
Random reading at the Potable Curmudgeon's beer blog.
Current draft beer lineup.
Rich O's rotating bottle list selections.
Hours, events and esoterica ... Smoking policy change at Rich O's.
I. PUTTING THE PAGAN BACK INTO CHRISTMAS WITH SATURNALIA MMV, BEGINNING AT 1:00 P.M. ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16.
In pre-Christian Rome, Saturnalia was the annual winter solstice celebration that originally coincided with the feast days for Saturn (god of sowing and the harvest), Consus (god of the storage bin) and Opa (goddess of plenty).
Many of our contemporary winter holiday traditions derive from Saturnalia’s pagan roots, including the hanging of wreaths and garlands, donations to the needy, prayers for peace on earth, time away from work to be enjoyed with family, and of course eating, drinking and merriment.
NABC, Rich O’s Public House and Sportstime Pizza pay tribute to these ancient pagan origins with the kick-off of Saturnalia, a draft beer festival expected to last past Christmas and New Year’s into January of 2006.
For our second Saturnalia celebration, I’ve gathered 31 special kegs of beer – some rare, some seasonal and others just innately festive – from America and around the world. Some of these hard-to-find beers will be appearing in draft form for the first time ever in metropolitan Louisville.
When the doors open at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, the first 19 sacrificial Saturnalia selections for MMV will be revealed, tapped in a ritualistic manner … and the hedonistic pleasure will begin. The 12 remaining kegs will be tapped as needed when the first wave depletes.
There will be Saturnalia shirts: Sand-colored, long-sleeved, bearing the image below, the listed drafts and the official slogan: "We're putting the Pagan back into Christmas ... one pint at a time."
SATURNALIA MMV STARTING LINEUP.
Pricing and portion sizes vary according to alcohol content and style. Selections marked with an asterisk * are appearing on draft for the first time at Rich O’s Public House and Sportstime Pizza. There will be 31 draft beers in all, with 19 to be tapped on December 16, and the remaining 12 following in due course as openings occur. This will take several weeks.
For complete beer information, go to the Saturnalia MMV press release, with beer descriptions.
Corsendonk Christmas Ale
*De Dolle Special Extra Export Stout
De Dolle Stille Nacht
De Ranke Pere Noel
St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel
Mahr’s Christmas Bock
Gale’s Christmas Ale 2003 (cask-conditioned)
*Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf
Ridgeway Santa’s Butt
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Anchor Christmas Ale (“Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”)
Arrogant (Oaked) Bastard
Great Lakes Christmas Ale
*Oaken Barrel Epiphany
Rogue HazelNut Brown Nectar
Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve
*Schmaltz He’Brew Jewbelation 5766
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas Porter
RESTED AND READY TO STEP INTO THE BREACH WHEN CALLED UPON TO GIVE THEIR ALL (11).
Avery Old Jubilation USA
*Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout USA
JW Lees Moonraker UK
Kiuchi Hitachino Nest New Year Celebration Ale 2005 Japan
*La Rulles Cuvee Meilleurs Veoux “Best Holiday Wishes” Belgium
Left Hand Milk Stout USA
New Holland Phi USA
Rogue Chocolate Stout USA
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale USA
*Summit Winter Ale USA
Upland Winter Warmer USA
Young's Winter Warmer UK
II. THREE COPIES OF GOOD BEER GUIDE TO BELGIUM FOR SALE AT RICH O'S.
We have three mint copies of Tim Webb's essential Good Beer Guide to Belgium (updated 2005 edition) for sale at Rich O's Public House. It is a must-have for any lover of Belgian beer and brewing -- period. The books cost $35 each, which is just a few bucks more than the standard Internet price through the author's website. E-mail me (first come, first served) to reserve your copy.
III. A SECOND YEAR WITHOUT THE BUTT-HEADS.
From 1994 to 2003, Sidney King's Butt-Head Bass Quartet always played a pre-Christmas gig at Rich O's Public House. As the years went by, it became more and more difficult for Sid to organize the players for the event, and after the 2003 show, he announced that the group was no more.
As in 2004, there'll be no double bass chaos at Rich O's, but it's worth remembering that Sid has not ruled out a comeback/reunion tour at some point in the future.
IV. NABC BREWERY NEWS: BREWERY SET TO RESUME.
Brewing resumed on Monday, December 12, with brewers Jesse Williams and Jared Wiliamson kicking off a new era with the Poor Richard's Ale recipe. It will be served beginning on January 17, 2006, as part of the nationwide Brewers Association promotion celebrating Benjamin Franklin's tercentenary.
Founding brewer Michael Borchers visited last week and expressed satisfaction with the expansion project, noting that in the end, it took a bit less time than he'd imagined to complete the work from delivery to operation.
As stated previously, NABC will simplify its core portfolio during the remainder of 2005 and the first part of 2006 as we work toward restoring a semblance of routine. In effect, the core portfolio of familiar styles will be repackaged and presented anew, with fresh logos that I can't wait to unleash on the drinking public. There'll be more on that in future issues of Publicanista!
We appreciate your patience as we work toward achieving our various goals, and promise much fun and experimentation in 2006, when we'll branch back out and resume production of the specialties.
V. UPDATED CASK REPORT: DUO ON THE HORIZON.
Confirmation finally has been received that the next wave of English and Scottish cask-conditioned ales are traveling in this direction.
J.W.Lees Manchester Star (firkin) looks more like January, 2006.
The firkin of Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Scotch barrel-aged) will be delayed until mid-January at the earliest. It might be held for use during Gravity Head 2006, depending on the final arrival date.
For more information on cask-conditioned ale:
Horse Brass Pub (where our friend Biscuit works)
Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)
Warm, Flat and Boring -- the Truth About Cask Ale, from www.RateBeer.com.
VI. RECENT NEWS AND ARTICLES AT THE POTABLE CURMUDGEON’S BEER BLOG.
Here are five recent articles posted at http://potablecurmudgeon.blogspot.com/:
VII. DRAFT BEERS: OUR LIQUID, DAILY BREAD, ON TAP AT RICH O’S AND SPORTSTIME.
Our NABC beers.
Brewed in New Albany by NABC’s Jesse Williams, with assistance from Jared Williamson.
Community Dark ... Dark colored, but light tasting. Our interpretation of the classic English Mild.
Guests from near and far.
Thursday (December15) is the transition day between to customary draft lineup and the Friday introduction of Saturnalia festival beers. Some beers not listed below will be on tap Thursday, while the "guest beers" listed below will remain on tap throughout the Saturnalia festival's run.Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sprecher Root Beer (non-alcoholic)
In the bullpen:
During the Saturnalia festival, back-up fest beers replace blown fest beers until all have been tapped. When vacant taps arise, "leftover" kegs from just before Saturnalia will be retapped.
VIII. NEW, AND IN SOME CASES RARE, ROTATING BOTTLED SELECTIONS.
Remember to check the chalkboard in the front room at Rich O’s for bottled specials and seasonals. These are the bottled beers not carried on the everyday bottled list, and represent a wide variety of flavors and textures for your tasting enjoyment.
Fantome Noel - 750 ml – Darker, stronger, spicier and displaying the funky house yeast character of Fantome. Only a dozen bottles; act quickly.
Fantome Saison – 750 ml – Eclectic Ardennes elixir, with a spicy fruitiness and an unmistakably wild, yeasty elegance.
Founders Breakfast Stout – 12 oz – Brewed with oats, chocolate and coffee, and every bit as nutritious and filling as the name conveys.
Zinnebir X-mas – 750 ml – Little is known about this tiny brewery, and its X-mas ale is the first Zinnebir product we’ve ever had, here or in Belgium. If you try one, please take notes and share with the Publican (who’ll get around to his bottle in time).
Previously posted, and still available in limited quantities:
De Dolle Special Extra Export Stout - 11.2 oz - Preview a Saturnalia draft selection and reflect on Kris's typically eccentric take on a rare (export stout) beer style.
Jolly Pumpkin Luciernaga "The Fire Fly" - 750 ml - Try this on for size ... an oak-barrel aged, bottle-conditioned "pale ale brewed in the Grand Cru tradition" with coriander and Grains of Paradise. Subtle and incredible.
Jopen Koyt - 750 ml - Dutch "gruit" (spiced) ale from Haarlem, near Amsterdam, home of my good friend Boris and the outstanding Cafe Briljant, where I wish I could be drinking Jopen ales right now.
N'Ice Chouffe - 750 ml - From those creative "gnomes" in the Ardennes comes a longtime favorite seasonal winter warmer (10% abv). Dark and deep, but deceptively drinkable.
Panil Barriquee - 750 ml - Flemish style sour red ale brewed in Italy (this is not a misprint) and aged in cognac barrels. A bona fide classic, and probably the best "new" bottled beer at Rich O's in 2005.
Previous guests/seasonal/rotating, and still available:
BBC Hell for Certain
IX. EVENTS, HOURS AND RELATED FACTS.
SMOKING POLICY CHANGE AT RICH O'S.
Effective on January 2, 2006, the front seating area at Rich O's (seven tables by the windows) will be added to the current non-smoking area. Smoking will continue to be allowed in the bar area and Red Room, and in the Sportstime Pizza dining area.
It's an issue that will be contentious for a long time to come, but when it comes to our decision to reconfigure the non-smoking area, rest assured that the rationale is purely market-driven. Numerous customers now request non-smoking seating beyond what is currently available, with the bottom-line-unfriendly result that the non-smoking area often if filled, while half the remaining room remains empty.
General business hours:
Sportstime Pizza opens at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Rich O’s opens at 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and at 1:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. We are not open on Sunday except during special events. The same food and beer is available at all times in both rooms, so you may have lunch and a beer in the Sportstime Pizza dining area during those hours when Rich O’s isn’t open. The brewery is available for a look-see if one of us is around and we’re not busy.
Begins Friday, December 16.
Gravity Head 2006 (Vol. 8)
Note a date change: Gravity Head 2006 has been moved forward two weeks, and will begin on Friday, February 24. I have every reason to believe this will occur this year only, and in 2007, the festival will revert to the second weekend in March.
Readers who aren’t as familiar with our business should go to http://www.newalbanian.com/ and http://www.richos.com/ for more information.
NABC is a member of the Brewers Association and Brewers of Indiana Guild.
Questions or comments about editorial content should be directed to Roger A. Baylor: firstname.lastname@example.org.