Beer Birthday: Tom Peters

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My good friend Tom Peters, one of the owners of Monk’s Cafe and Belgian Beer Emporium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, turns 60 today. His enthusiasm for and promotion of Belgian beer has few equals. And he throws perhaps the best late night parties of anyone I’ve ever known. Join me in wishing Tom a very happy birthday.

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Tom Peters with Dave Keene, owners of the best two Belgian beer bars on both coasts.

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Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie Carey, co-owner of Monk’s, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters.

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Tom Peters, with Rob Tod from Allagash in Portland, Maine, at GABF.

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Me and Tom after the Great Lambic Summit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology & Anthropology during last year’s Philly Beer Week.

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In Belgium, with a perfectly poured Orval, with Daniel Neuner, William Reed and Justin Low.

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Also in Belgium, with a Fanta and Frites sandwich.

Good Hop Grand Opening This Saturday

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I’m thrilled to announce that Melissa Myers’ new beer bar in Oakland, The Good Hop, will have its grand opening this Saturday, July 12, with the doors opening at the mercifully not-to-early time of 3:00 PM. The Good Hop is located at 2421 Telegraph Avenue in West Oakland, near the intersection of 24th Street, just around the corner from the New Parkway Theater. I won’t even try to be impartial here, Melissa Myers is a longtime friend of mine, and I’m excited for her to finally realize a dream of opening her own place. She’s been a brewer for many years, from Denver to Philadelphia and in the Bay Area brewed at Magnolia, Pyramid and the old Ross Brewery (which is now Iron Springs) but now turns her attention to choosing and serving great beer. Eventually, The Good Hop may serve Melissa’s own beer (fingers crossed), but for now they’ll be featuring a nicely curated tap list of 16 taps, with 2 dedicated sour beer lines, plus 450+ bottled beers. At the grand opening, they plan to have a number of rare and hard-to-find beers available, as well as some special surprises.

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Here’s more information, from the press release:

The Good Hop Bottle Shop and Tasting Room (TGH) is pleased to announce it is opening its doors to the public on July 12, 2014. The 1,900-square-foot shop, at 2421 Telegraph Avenue Suite 102, is a specialty beer bottle shop and tasting room offering 450+ bottled and canned beers that can be purchased for take-away or can be opened and consumed on site in the spacious and comfortable bar. Their ever-rotating 16 taps will serve up California and West Coast craft beers with 2 designated sour beer lines at all times.

TGH will have an enormous beer selection in bottles, cans, and on tap that would please any aficionado; though, Melissa Myers, The Good Hop’s owner and proprietor, wants to draw in the less familiar to beer client as well. “I love beer and I love making people fall in love with beer. Part of my mission in opening this shop is to serve the customer who walks in and says ‘Well, I don’t know that much about beer, so I’m not sure what I should order…’ That’s where it gets fun for us. I love asking them questions and, based on their answers, figuring what they’ll fall in love with!”

TGH will host a number of events for both beginners and experts alike. The shop will host beer style tastings, vertical brewery tastings, meet-the-brewer nights, cheese-and-beer pairing events, chocolate-and-beer pairing events, and a number of other activities that feature beer as the centerpiece. The TGH website, www.thegoodhop.com, will have a calendar of events posted. Its twitter feed will have daily listings of what 16 beers are on tap for the day. TGH’s Facebook page contains additional information.

Myers is excited about the neighborhood: “We chose this spot because it’s right in the heart of what’s happening in Oakland right now,” says Myers. “We love the KONO [Koreatown-Northgate] neighborhood and we’re thrilled to be part of Art Murmur, First Fridays, and the vibrancy of this area. So much is happening here right now, and we’re really excited to be in the middle of it.”

The regular hours of the Good Hop will be from 3-10 PM Wednesday through Monday of each week, closed only on Tuesdays. Bar snacks are currently available while the local menu is being finalized, and then they’ll be serving heartier fare along with the snacks. They’ll be working with “Off the Grid and other pop-up food vendors to offer a variety of beer-friendly food. Food trucks are also being lined up to serve up beer-friendly bites.”

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Beer Glassware Catalog 1892

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Here’s an interesting historical artifact. It’s a trade catalog for bars and restaurants from a company in New York, the L & M Goldsticker company, which published an “illustrated catalogue” of “bar room glassware and bottlers supplies” in 1892.

Here’s the cover of the 80-page catalog:

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And the back cover shows the brick and mortar store on Fulton Street in New York City.

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They carried a surprising array of beer glasses for the discerning bar, including some for specific types of beer, along with a number of other accessories and equipment. You can see the entire catalogue online at the Hagley Digital Archives. Below is a majority of the pages with beer glasses on them.

Pages 6 and 7:
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Page 12:
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Pages 14 and 15:
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Pages 16 and 17:
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Pages 22 and 23:
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The Science Of Being Served

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There was an interesting little item in this month’s issue of Playboy, in the Raw Data section, that mentioned a “study of behaviors that get you served first in a crowded bar.” They found “that people standing square to the bar were served within 35 seconds 95% of the time.” Anyone have a read on how accurate that is, or whether you’ve noticed that it works? They also claimed that “eye contact was essential 86% of the time,” which makes some intuitive sense, at least.

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Sierra Nevada’s Berkeley “Torpedo Room” To Open In November

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Sierra Nevada earlier this year announced they’d be opening in taproom in Berkeley. The new taproom, to be called “The Torpedo Room,” is apparently on track to open this November.

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From the press release:

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is targeting early November to open its Berkeley, Calif., space, coined the Torpedo Room. The intimate venue—whose name is inspired by the brewery’s innovative dry-hopping device, the Hop Torpedo—fits into a mixed-use building on Fourth Street between University Avenue and Addison Street. The Torpedo Room can host approximately 45 craft beer drinkers for educational tastings of unique and limited Sierra Nevada beers, as well as the occasional craft-centric event dedicated to beer science.

“Our brewers develop creative, flavorful beers at an impressive pace,” said Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder. “They’re usually small batches, and it’s those beers folks will find in the Torpedo Room. We think it’s exciting—using rare offerings to showcase who we are and to talk about the science behind our beers. We really hope visitors take part in the dialogue.”

The Torpedo Room will feature 16 taps, and draught beer will be served in taster flights. Guests will also have the option of filling growlers to go, as well as purchasing six-packs, cases and individual specialty bottles. Light snacks will accompany beer flights, but there is not a full menu.

“West Berkeley fosters a great, progressive culture,” Grossman said, “and that includes a lot of ambitious food and drink. We’re eager to be part of the Bay Area craft scene while still staying close to our home base in Chico.”

Here’s what the building looks like now.

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And these are artist’s renderings of what it will look like when the build-out is complete, from the outside.

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And here’s what the interior is expected to look like.

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Great American Beer Bar Favorites Chosen

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CraftBeer.com, the consumer website for the Brewers Association released today the results of an online poll that took place in the last half of August. Here’s how they arrived at the 2013 Great American Beer Bar Selected by CraftBeer.com Readers. “CraftBeer.com asked readers to nominate their favorite craft beer bars in the country, and received over 5,000 nominations, a 117 percent increase from last year. The choices were then narrowed down to the 10 most nominated bars in each of the five regions of the country. Over 37,000 votes were cast in total, a 23 percent increase from last year, resulting in the top three overall and regional winners. Voting was conducted from August 19 until August 30.” I’ve never been to any of the top three, so I guess I’ve got some travel plans to make.

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The overall winners were roughly on the eastern half of the country.

  1. Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA
  2. HopCat, Grand Rapids, MI
  3. Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell, NJ

The Pacific (west coast) winners are as follows:

  1. The Bier Stein, Eugene, OR
  2. Toronado, San Francisco, CA
  3. Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse, Denali National Park, AK

Great to see the Toronado making the list.

Beer Menus Infographic

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Today’s infographic is the result of an interesting survey asking people about their preferences on Beer Menus. It was created by the North Carolina beer blog Wort & Yeast in early 2012. It may not be entirely scientific, but the results are interesting nonetheless. The majority of people taking the survey prefer their beer menu on paper and organized by style, and the most common complaint is that they’re too often out-of-date.

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Click here to see the infographic full size.

The Beer Belly Of America, Part 3

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Today’s infographic is part three of three, created by Floating Sheep in 2010, using data collected in 2008. It’s from a post entitled the Beer Belly of America. The third map shows a more normalized version of yesterday’s map, showing the “relative mentions of bars in the Google Maps directory,” which was accomplished using the average number of bar mentions.

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Click here to see the map full size.

The Beer Belly Of America, Part 2

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Today’s infographic is part two of three, created by Floating Sheep in 2010, using data collected in 2008. It’s from a post entitled the Beer Belly of America. The second map shows the “absolute mentions of bars in Google Maps directory.” Essentially it shows the location of every bar in America, and where the concentration of them is throughout the country.

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Click here to see the map full size.

The Geography Of Bars

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Today’s infographic comes from an Atlantic article on The Geography of Bars and Restaurants. The map uses data from the 2012 census and county business patterns. According to their data, New Orleans has the most bars per households, and San Francisco ranked 8th, with 6 bars for every 10,000 people. It’s also hard to see because the map is relatively small, but there’s a high-density bar area in Northern California in what I believe is Mendocino County.

And while I was mostly interested in the bars, the restaurant data is quite interesting, as well. San Francisco ranked #1 for restaurants per household, with 39.3 per 10,000 residents. That’s roughly one restaurant for every 255 persons.

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Click here to see the map full size (and sorry that’s as big as it gets).