Beer Birthday: Fergus Carey

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Today is the 50th birthday of Fergus Carey, better known simply as Fergie. Fergie owns Fergie’s Pub in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is co-owner of Monk’s Cafe with Tom Peters and is also a partner in Nodding Head Brewery. Fergie’s always a fun person to have around and he’s as kind as soul as ever I’ve met in the beer world. Join me in wishing Fergie a very happy birthday.

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Fergie huddling up with Tom Dalldorf and his Monk’s Cafe partner Tom Peters at 2st Amendment in San Francisco.

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Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie and Armand Debelder at a Lambic Beer Dinner last month at Mon’s Cafe during Philly Beer Week.

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Outside Monk’s cafe: Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters, after the Canned Beer Dinner in 2007.

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).

Three Logicians Walk Into A Bar …

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While I had a logic class in college, and dabbled in debate, I’ve probably forgotten more than I ever learned. But I still love the notion of breaking down the thought process. My son, who’s 11 and autistic, often has trouble understanding humor. As a result, I increasingly find myself trying to explain the punchline of a joke — why it’s funny — and I’ll break it down for him. What invariably happens, of course, is that in that process, the joke is stripped of its humor and is no longer funny. For some reason, that never deters me. I’ve always had a thing for jokes and thinking about why they’re funny. If I wasn’t so damn shy I would have loved to have tried my hand at stand-up comedy back when I was a younger man. I think that’s why I loved The Aristocrats so much. Ninety minutes breaking down and re-telling one joke. What’s not to love?

So check out the comic strip below. It’s mildly amusing, at least to me. You most likely won’t laugh out loud, but you may smile, at least. But from the point of view of logic, it’s also quite correct, and instructional. It was originally posted by Spiked Math Comics, who admits he doesn’t know the strip’s original creator.

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But here’s where it veers headlong into geekdom. It was picked up by a Danish University linguistics student, Emil Kirkegaard, who posted Three Logicians Walk Into a Bar: A Formal Explanation, a breakdown and analysis of the joke, complete with formulas, and explanation of the logic principles behind it.

Here’s one expressing the root problem: E↔(Wa∧Wb∧Wc)

The whole explanation is just as funny as the original strip, to me at least, in its own right and certainly does explain the joke, although if you didn’t think it was funny to begin with, this probably isn’t going to help. But us geeks have to stick together, no matter what geekworld we belong to.

Belgian Beer Guide Flowchart

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Here’s a fun little “decision chart” from Faultline helping you figure out which type of Belgian beer to choose, and what to eat with your beer. The info on the chart was put together by Ryan Sweeny from Little Bear, a Belgian beer cafe in Los Angeles. Apart from the chart butchering the spelling of Tripel, it’s a fun, simple, potentially useful chart for the uninitiated looking to enjoy some belgian beer.

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To see the chart full size, click on this link.

What Are You Eating?

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How Much Are You Drinking?

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Cornelius Caton, Of The White Lion Richmond

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Here’s an interesting historical piece, from 1819-20. It was a four-volume set of books known as “Remarkable Persons,” though its full title was “Portraits, Memoirs, and Characters of Remarkable Persons From the Revolution in 1688 to the End of the Reign of King George II” and was subtitled “Collected from the most authentic accounts extant.” The full collection is available digitally at the Villanova University’s Farley Memorial Library, who describes the work as follows:

This collection contains the four volumes of: Portaits, memoirs, and characters, of remarkable persons: from the revolution in 1688 to the end of the reign of George II collected from the most authentic accounts extant by James Caulfield. “Caulfield’s ‘remarkable characters’ are persons famous for their eccentricity, immorality, dishonesty, and so forth.” — Dict. nat. biog. This work contains 155 engraved plates including work by engravers: George Cruikshank, W. Maddocks, Henry B. Cook, Robert Graves, and Gerard van der Gucht.

Another sources claims that it was a “collection of portraits and stories about the eccentrics of Britain in the 18th century by James Caulfield was issued by subscription in 1819 and 1820 to great success. It promised to satisfy the public fascination with ‘true stories’ about exceptional feats, physical peculiarities and notorious acts. The extent to which it actually contained ‘true stories’ is a matter for conjecture.” The one that caught my eye was a 19th century publican.

Cornelius Caton (Of the White Lion, Richmond) - Villanova U - McGarrity Collection

Plate 19 in Volume 3 depicts “Cornelius Caton, (Of the White Lion Richmond),” followed by his story on pages 173 through 175. Here’s his colorful story:

This little whimsical publican, having passed through the several gradations of pot-boy, , helper in the stables, and other menial offices attached to a public inn, at length rose to the important place of principal waiter: being of a complaisant temper, and possessing a species of low wit and pleasantry, he rendered himself so acceptable to the humour of the different guests which frequented the house, as to derive considerable perquisites from his ready desire to serve and accomodate the various description of persons whom business or pleasure drew to the place.

Caton carefully treasured up the money he obtained from time to time; until he had saved a sufficient sum to enable him to take the White-Lion public-house, at Richmond, in Surrey. The drollery of the landlord brought him considerable custom, which his attention to business so far improved as to make his house the most frequented of any in Richmond; and he became a general favourite with most of the inhabitants.

In person, he was one of the most grotesque appearance; and might have gained a livelihood bu exhibiting himself as a dwarf; this, joined with a certain oddity of manner, rendered him so conspicuous a character, as to bring him into great notice; and Cornelius Caton, and his house, found visitors from most parts of the adjacent villages in the neighbourhood.

He was well known to many persons in London; and, among others, George Bickham, the engraver, who deemed him of sufficient importance to speculate on engraving and publishing his portrait. This did not tend to diminish the number of Caton’s friends: and many have made a journey from town to Richmond, merely from curiosity of seeing the landlord of the White Lion.

A few years since, an equally singular personage, named Davis, a true son of Sir John Barleycorn, kept the Load-of-Hay public-house, on Haverstock-hill, near Hampstead; the eccentricity of whose personal appearance brought a considerable number of persons, particularly on a Sunday afternoon, and made the house a place of great trade.

Cornelius Caton was living at the time of his present majesty’s ascension to the throne, but the print of him was engraved in the reign of King George the Second.

You can see the original pages at Villanova digitalLibrary. Click on Volume 3 and scroll down to just before page 173, which is Plate 19.

The Formula For The Perfect Pint

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I can only assume that the UK pub chain Taylor Walker is, in the appropriate British parlance, taking the piss, with their commissioning of Mindlab to discover the formula for “the perfect pint.” Though there is a Mind Lab at the University of Sussex, this bit of news is not listed in their news or press section. At any rate, they claim to have “used complex mathematical modelling techniques to discover what conditions are required to enjoy the perfect pint.”
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So what is the formula for a perfect pint?

Here goes: E = -(0.62T2 + 39.2W2 + 62.4P2) + (21.8T + 184.4W + 395.4P + 94.5M – 90.25V) + 50(S + F + 6.4)

  • E is a factor describing overall enjoyment.
  • T is the ambient temperature in degrees Celsius.
  • W is the number of days until you are required back at work.
  • P is the number of people with whom you are drinking.
  • M is related to your mood whilst drinking the pint.
  • V is related to the volume of the music being played.
  • S and F are related to the availability of snacks and food.

Without the number variants, so slightly simpler, it’s E = -(T2+W2+P2) + (T+W+P+M-V) + 50(S+F+6.4), though it’s hardly E = MC2. Below a presumed “scientist” — he is after all, wearing a lab coat and surrounded by books and beakers — explains it all:

Bistro 18th Anniversary Tomorrow

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The Bistro, in Hayward, California, has been an institution for … well, eighteen years. They put on four niche festivals each year — Double IPA, IPA, Wet Hop and Wood Aged — plus a hops rhizome event. Tomorrow they’re celebrating their 18th anniversary, not with a whimper, but a bang.

On tap, they’ll have some classic beers, such as Anchor Christmas Ale 1999 and in bottles, such rarities as a vertical tasting of North Coast Old Stock from 2000 until the present vintage, Unibroue’s anniversary ale, from 2004 to 2007. They’ll also have bottles of Russian River Brewing’s first bottling of batch 23 — circa 2007 — and Avery The Beast 2008 to name just a few.

There will be live music at the pub, beginning at 4:30, with The Hipbones, who first played here in 1997, The Travis Larson Band, along with special guest from Canada, Dave Martone.

The festivities start when they open at 10:30. Should be a great time. Happy 18th Vic and Cynthia!

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Bistro owners Cynthia and Vic Kralj announcing the winners of the 2009 Double IPA Festival.

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!

Go It Alone For The Next Session

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For our 65th Session, our host, Nate Southwood writes about more than just beer at his Booze, Beats & Bites. In addition to music and food, his triple crown includes beer, of course, and the topic he’s chosen is “So Lonely,” meaning going to the pub to have a beer alone. Here’s how he describes what he means:

Speaking of fun, going to the pub with a bunch of mates is great… you have a few beers and a laugh, generally a fun time and all.

I love going to the pub with mates but sometimes I go to a pub alone and I enjoy it.

Other people say I’m weird for this as there seems to be a stigma attached to being in the pub alone — alcoholism.

There are many reasons why I go to the pub alone.

  • Sometimes I just want to spend some quality time alone that isn’t at home.
  • Sometimes I’m walking home and fancy a pit-stop.
  • Sometimes my mates are all busy with their girlfriends/wives/children and I want a pint.
  • Sometimes I just fancy going to the pub and observing the bizarre people around me.
  • Sometimes I want to sit down and write blogs on my tableaux while having a pint.
  • Sometimes I just want to play angry birds while having a pint.
  • Sometimes I just want to prop myself at the bar and discuss beer with the bartender.
  • Sometimes I want to explore pubs that I’ve never been to before but my mates don’t want to.
  • Sometimes I’m just a miserable bastard and don’t want to socialise but want a nice pint.

The way I see it is that I love beer and pubs and I don’t see why I should only go to the pub when I’m with other people.

Am I weird for going to the pub alone?

How do you feel about going to the pub alone? Do you feel it’s necessary to be around friends to spend time in a pub?

So that’s “So Lonely.” It’s funny that given the obvious connection to the Police song So Lonely, both Stan and I both instead thought of George Thorogood’s I Drink Alone and its quintessential philosophy “You know when I drink alone, I prefer to be by myself.”

So that sounds like an interesting, albeit lonely, task. Besides, given that it’s two days after July 4, you’ll probably be craving some “alone time.” Just remember not to drunk type your blog post on July 6 when you share your isolated drinking experiences.