The Celebrator Silver Polka

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During last night’s Celebrator 25th Anniversary Party, Vic Kralj, from the Bistro, wrote a spoof of “Roll Out the Barrel” for our silver anniversary, entitled the Celebrator Silver Polka. Then he rehearsed it with regulars and friends from his beer bar, unveiling it as a special surprise for Tom Dalldorf during the party. Below is a video the evening’s performance.

And here’s the sheet music, if you want to sing along.
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Afterwards, Tom was presented with a framed copy of the song.

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And later he and Arlene posed with some of the culprits who perpetrated his surprise.

The Band Is Back For Strong Beer Month

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It’s February, and that means it’s time for the 11th annual Strong Beer Month, once again with six new extreme beers each at 21st Amendment and Magnolia throughout the month. Try them all, and you get to keep the commemorative logo glass. Just collect all 12 punches in your Strong Beer Month ticket before the beer’s all gone.

Here’s the beer for this year:

Side M: Magnolia:

  1. Promised Land Imperial I.P.A.: 10.5% abv
  2. McLean’s Wee Heavy: 8.4% abv
  3. Delilah Jones Rye: 9.6% abv
  4. Quadlibet for Tenderfeet: 9.4% abv
  5. Old Thunderpussy Barleywine: 10.6% abv
  6. Smokestack Lightning Imperial Stout: 9.8% abv

Side Two: 21st Amendment:

  1. Lord & Master Strong English Blonde: 8.2% abv
  2. Dub Step Imperial I.P.A.: 10.2% abv
  3. Nelson, Jade, and Helga Imperial I.P.A.: 10.5% abv
  4. Red Giant Imperial Red Alek: 11%
  5. Two-Lane Blacktop Imperial Black I.P.A.: 10% abv
  6. Hendrick’s Imperial Stout: 8.6% abv

This year’s theme is the 1969 album “The Band” featuring Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, John Simon, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel, and while I know the names, I couldn’t pick most of them out in a line-up, so I’m not sure who’s playing who this year.

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And here’s the back cover, too:

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Happy Burns Night

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Tonight, many fans of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, will celebrate Burns Night with a meal of Haggis, Scotch Whisky and a night of poetry reading. Though Burns was apparently a whisky drinker, I feel confident saying he probably also drank beer and there are plenty of ways you could incorporate beer and whisky into your evening. I nominate for your poetry recitation, Burns’ version of the popular folksong John Barleycorn, which is believed to have originated sometime in the 16th century. Burns wrote his in 1782, and because of his fame, is one the most oft quoted versions. Here’s how I summarized it in a post about John Barleycorn a few years ago:

Primarily an allegorical story of death, resurrection and drinking, the main character—the eponymous John Barleycorn—is the personification of barley who is attacked and made to suffer indignities and eventually death. These correspond roughly to the stages of barley growing and cultivation, like reaping and malting. Some scholars see the story as pagan, representing the ideology of the cycles of nature, spirits and the pagan harvest, and possibly even human sacrifice. After John Barleycorn’s death, he is resurrected as beer, bread and whisky. Some have also compared it to the Christian transubstantiation, since his body is eaten as bread and drank as beer.

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John Barleycorn

There were three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
An’ they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and ploughed him down,
Put clods upon his head;
An’ they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerfu’ spring came kindly on,
And show’rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surprised them all.

The sultry suns of summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel armed wi’ pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober autumn entered mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Showed he began to fail.

His colour sickened more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They’ve ta’en a weapon long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgelled him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o’er and o’er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe,
And still, as signs of life appeared,
They tossed him to and fro.

They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller used him worst of all,
For he crushed him ‘tween two stones.

And they hae ta’en his very heart’s blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise;

‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy:
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!

Here’s an analysis of the poem, and below is a video of the Scottish St. Andrews Society of Greater St. Louis‘ Burns Night in 2011 and the recitation of John Barleycorn by an Allan Stewart.

And although it has little to do with Burns Night, I still love the version sung by the band Traffic, with frontman Steve Winwood, which appeared on their 1970 album John Barleycorn Must Die.

Under the Anheuser Bush

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Another historical oddity, Under the Anheuser Bush, was a song written around 1903, with words by Andrew B. Sterling and music by Harry Von Tilzer. This version is sung by Billy Murray and is a 1903 Old Edison Recording.

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Here’s the lyrics:

Talk about the shade of the sheltering palms
Praise the bamboo tree and it’s wide spreading charms
There’s a little bush that grows right here in town
You know it’s name it has won such renown
Often with my sweetheart just after the play
To this little place then my footsteps will stray
If she hesitates when she looks at the sign
Softly I whisper, “Now Sue, don’t decline….”

Rave about the place where you swells go to dine
Picture you and me with our sandwich and stein
Underneath the bush where the good fellows meet
Life seems worth living, our joy is complete
If you’re sad at heart take a trip there tonight
You’ll forget your woe and your eyes will grow bright.
There you’ll surely find me with my sweetheart, Sue.
Come down this evening, I’ll introduce you.

Come, come, come and make eyes with me
Under the Anheuser Bush
Come come drink some Budwise with me
Under the Anheuser Bush
Hear the old German Band
Just let me hold your hand YAH!
Do, do come and have a stein or two
Under the Anheuser Bush!

Here’s Verse 1:

And Verse 2:

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Below is yet another version, a little more scratchy than the other one, but is also sung by Billy Murray. It was recorded in Philadelphia on January 15, 1904 and is Take 4. I found it at the National Jukebox at the Library of Congress.

This one was recorded on vinyl by Monarch Records.

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Lines Written On The Barley Corn

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Here’s another interesting piece of history, an 1867 woodcut illustration of a farmer and a donkey carrying a bundle of barley corn, with a version of the John Barleycorn song engraved below. This one was printed in Dublin. There were countless versions of the English folksong, and its actual origin unknown. The version written by Scottish poet Robert Burns is probably the most well-known, though it was written around 1782, when it had been around for at least several centuries. It’s also been recorded by numerous bands, including a popular version by the English band Traffic. And finally, I wrote an overview of John Barleycorn a few years ago that includes the Burns poem.

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The Toronado Comes To Russian River

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Last night, in the continuing and ongoing celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Toronado, a bus left San Francisco from lower Haight carrying a majority of the pub’s employees (leaving behind only a skeleton crew) along with significant others and friends of the bar. After traffic slowed their progress, two hours later sixty people emerged from the bus — now 18 cases of beer lighter — in Santa Rosa for a Toronado Anniversary Party at Russian River Brewing.

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The dining section of the brewpub was set aside for the private party, while patrons could continue to sit at the bar and use the other sections of the brewery.

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I even got the missus to come out and play, seen here with Brian Hunt, from Moonlight Brewing.

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Toronado balloons hung throughout the place.

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There were many folks at the party who came into town from all over the place; from Philadelphia, Denver, Portland, Seattle, New York and even San Diego. For instance, Jeff Bagby, looking for a location for his new San Diego brewery, and Eric Rose, from Hollister Brewing.

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Our hosts Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo introduced the band, American Dog, who flew in from their native Ohio to play the party (they’re one of Toronado owner Dave Keene’s favorite bands). The last time they were here was five years ago for the Toronado’s 20th.

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Natalie air-guitaring with a giant bottle of Toronado 25th Anniversary.

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Raising a toast, Dave Keene (in the back) flanked by Ian Black (from the San Diego Toronado) and Jen Schwertman (from New York’s Blind Tiger).

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Dave Hopwood sporting his latest for-charity dyed beard. Click here to donate for Dave.

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American Dog played a great 21-song set and we said our good-byes (Mrs. J having a real job, had to get up early the next morning), leaving the assembled guests as they celebrated into the night. Thanks to Vinnie, Natalie and Dave for another wonderful evening of beer, music and camaraderie. Happy Anniversary Dave!

Mammoth Festival Of Beers & Bluesapalooza 2012

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This past weekend, in the middle of a road trip visiting breweries, I attended the 17th annual Mammoth Festival of Beers & Bluesapalooza. It was my second time at the music and beer festival, and it’s a really great event. It’s sponsored, in part, by local brewery Mammoth Brewing. The downside is, of course, that Mammoth Lakes, California is a remote and hard place to get to, but the upside is that it’s worth it once you’re there. The best way to go is to make a weekend, or more, out of it (and take the family) because there’s a lot to do there. It’s close to Yosemite, Mono Lake, hot springs and the Devils Postpile, and a whole lot more.

For the Bluesapalooza music festival, they get some great blues musicians and the setting is wonderful — literally in a wooded grove. There’s music Friday night, and all day Saturday and Sunday (plus a jam session Thursday night, too). The beer festival portion of the event, which is Saturday only, has also grown considerably since the last time I went, possibly doubling or more. There were 70 breweries pouring their beer this year. If you’re used to seeing a lot of the same Northern California breweries at festivals, Mammoth gets a lot of central and southern California breweries, which makes it a special treat, too.

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The beer festival is a major fund raiser for the California Craft Brewers Association, a very worthwhile organization that I support and volunteer with. This is me at the brewer’s reception the night before the festival with CCBA executive director Tom McCormick.

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The Bluesapalooza stage Saturday morning.

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Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment.

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The beer festival was in the back, behind the stage area, among the trees, and spread the entire length of Sam’s Wood Site.

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L.A.’s Golden Road brewer Jon Carpenter and social diva Cambria Griffith.

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It was also great seeing Travis Smith from Societe Brewing and getting a second chance to try his wonderful beers.

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As the festival beer sponsor, Mammoth Brewing had two booths, one with the tap trucks. Thanks to owner Sean Turner for putting on a great festival and being a gracious host.

Red Stripe Sound Sculpture

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This is kind of fun, and certainly an interesting way to reuse discarded beer cans. Red Stripe is apparently launching a marketing campaign under the banner “Make with a Red Stripe” and this is the first one. Below is the description from YouTube and the video itself is below here. And a hat tip to Adam for the link.

Make Something from Nothing, the first of a series of cultural projects called ‘Make with a Red Stripe’, features a unique sound sculpture created by sound artist Yuri Suzuki, in collaboration with DJ Al Fingers, singer/songwriter Gappy Ranks and designer Matthew Kneebone.

The 2.5 metre high, fully functioning sound sculpture is made using thousands of recycled Red Stripe beer cans partly collected at this year’s Notting Hill carnival. The project celebrates the DIY culture of the brand’s Jamaican roots, with Reggae, Dub and Jamaican music influences as well.

Make Something From Nothing debuts on 16th November with an exclusive launch party at Village Underground. Visit Facebook for more information.