Patent No. 2631393A: Illuminated Tap

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Today in 1953, US Patent 2631393 A was issued, an invention of Lionel S Hetherington, for his “Illuminated Tap.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description it states that the “invention relates to illuminated taps and more particularly to an electrically illuminated tap adapted to be used as an advertising device..” In addition, “one object of this invention is to advertise the beverage available on draught at the tap” and “Another object is to visibly indicate the specific beverage to be drawn from a specific tap.”

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Beer Birthday: Jeff Bell

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Today is the 36th birthday of Jeff Bell, whose alter ego was, until a few years ago, Stonch, one of England’s best bloggers. He had retired from blogging to concentrate on his new job as landlord of a London pub, The Gunmakers, in Clerkenwell, a village in the heart of London. I stopped by to meet Jeff on my way back from a trip to Burton-on-Trent a few years ago. And four years back, I saw Jeff several times during GBBF week. But last fall, the blogging started up again, a year or so ago he moved on from that pub, and instead is now the landlord of the Finborough Arms in Earl’s Court, next to the Finborough Theatre. I hope I’ll get a chance to visit his new place on my next trip to London. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

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Jeff Bell, a.k.a. Stonch, at The Gunmakers Pub in central London.

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With a Gunmaker’s bartender at the British Beer Writers Guild event before the start of the Great British Beer Festival in 2009.

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In front of Gunmaker’s in the summer of 2009.

Beer Birthday: Chris Black

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Chris Black, who along with his brother, owns the Falling Rock, the best beer bar in Denver and HQ for beer people during GABF, turns 52 today. Chris is a great guy and one of a handful of early Publicans across the country doing things right when it came to beer, something that happily we’re seeing more of now. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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Chris and me toward the end of the night at GABF several years ago.

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Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing with Chris at the Celebrator’s 18th Anniversary Party.

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Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment), Judy Ashworth (Publican Emeritus) and Chris at Falling Rock during GABF in 2006.

Megan Flynn, of Beer NW & Chris Black, Owner of The Falling Rock
Megan Flynn, of the now-defunct Beer NW (later Beer West), with Chris at the end of GABF Week in 2009.

Patent No. 3933282A: Universal Tavern Unit For Keg Tapping Device

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Today in 1976, US Patent 3933282 A was issued, an invention of Frederick F. Stevens, Jr., and assigned to Hoff-Stevens, Inc., for his “Universal Tavern Unit for Keg Tapping Device.” Here’s the Abstract:

A universal tavern unit for a keg tapping device comprises a basic tavern unit for connection to a keg unit permanently or semi-permanently connected to a keg. The basic tavern unit is adapted to cooperate with the keg unit to provide inlet and outlet passageways which communicate with the interior of the keg for the introduction of gas under pressure into the keg and the discharge of beer or other liquid therefrom. The universal tavern unit further includes a pressure relief check valve adaptor assembly for connection to the basic tavern unit to adapt it to the requirements of an associated beer or liquid distribution system.

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Beer Birthday: Matt Bonney

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Today is the 41st birthday of Matt Bonney, formerly of Brouwer’s and Bottleworks, both in Seattle, Washington, and now proprietor of Toronado Seattle. Bonney’s one of my favorite people in the industry. You’d be hard-pressed to find a person more passionate about good beer. He also knows how to throw a party and is always a gracious host. He does still need some work on his Washoe playing, but I’ll let that slide. Join me in wishing Bonney a very happy birthday.

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Matt with Chris Black, from Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver, pouring hops to create Publication at Russian River Brewing in May of 2008.

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Matt (3rd from left) with the final judges at the 2009 Hard Liver Barleywine Festival at Brouwer’s.

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Matt with Dave Keene, from the Toronado, at the A Night of Ales beer dinner during SF Beer Week.

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Dr. Bill with Matt at Slow Food Nation 2008.

Rules For Christmastime Pub Goers

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The Stoke Inn, located in Plymouth, England, looks like a typical British pub.

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But pub landlord Steve Bowen may be my new favorite bartender.

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Apparently in Great Britain it’s a common occurrence for people who don’t regularly drink in pubs to visit them over the holidays. I suspect it’s much like every Irish-themed pub fills up each St. Patrick’s Day here in America, or is similar to people who attend church only twice a year, on Easter and Christmas. Essentially, such people are not regulars and often are unaware of the proper protocols or etiquette that more seasoned pub-goers follow. Five years ago, I did a similar list about my Top 10 Festival Pet Peeves about the same phenomenon at beer festivals.

Earlier this month, Bowen posted his tongue-in-cheek “Rules” for proper pub behavior over the holidays. It’s hilarious. Perhaps even funnier is how many people missed the point and complained about the list, meaning they’re most likely the people he was talking about, so definitely take a look at the comments, too. Below is his rules for the seasonal drinker. Enjoy.


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XMAS AT THE STOKE INN, PLYMOUTH

It’s that festive time of year when decent, honest boozers are plagued by non-drinkers. And not real non-drinkers, not people who don’t ever drink, they’re fine. We’re talking about people who don’t go near a pub for 11 months out of the year, the kind of awful human beings who buy their beer from supermarkets with the weekly shop, people who consume such a laughable quantity of alcohol that they can only be designated as “non-drinkers”.

Whether it’s the Christmas Work’s Do or a Festive Drink With Friends, you are ruining pubs for the rest of us. Everyone hates you. Every actual drinker in the pub hates you and all the serving staff hate you. You’re awful. Here’s a guide on how to not be quite so awful

DO NOT APPROACH THE BAR UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

• The bar is an intricate machine full of separate-yet-interconnecting cogs. It is NOT the place to think or choose or decide. The engine only works if everyone knows their place and performs their function. Do you hear that collective groan as you ask the Bartender if they’ve got Cranberry Juice? Or as you turn around to ask Barbara what she wants to drink? That groan is you single-handedly sucking life away from your fellow drinkers. Make a decision first, then go to the bar and order what you’ve selected. Just like ANY OTHER FORM OF COMMERCE!

DON’T START DRINKING AT 4PM

• You’re NOT a drinker. We haven’t seen you all year. You’re an amateur, so don’t start out with a Marathon. You can’t just rock up to the Premier League one day saying “I’m Match Fit, lads!” This is why you’re puking and crying before nine o’clock at night.

YOU ARE IN A ROUND

• I don’t care who you’re with, how many of you there are or how well you know them. You are in a Round with all the people you came in with. That’s how it works. You see those twenty-five loud, burly, drunken Rugby Players on the other side of the pub? They are a pleasure to serve compared to you. They order eight pints of lager, eight pints of Guiness, six pints of bitter and three Jack Daniels, then they pay the bill in one fell swoop. Your group orders ten drinks one-at-a-time and then pays for them all one-at-a-time as the rest of pub creeps closer to Death’s eternal grasp waiting for you to finish, despite the fact nine of you are drinking the same fucking drink and the last person, THE LAST PERSON, wants a Guiness putting on. Every single person waiting to get served wants your group to die in a complicated house fire.

KNOW WHERE YOU ARE

• Look around you. What kind of drinking establishment are you in? Is it a pub or a bar? If there’s 85 lads watching football on the telly, stop trying to be a drunk, flirty attention-whore because it won’t work. If the walls are cluttered with offers of 6 Shots Of Neon Sourz For A Fiver, don’t try asking for that Single Malt whiskey you memorized from Mad Men. Equally, if it’s a pub adorned with wood furnishings and hand-pulls, stop trying to get the Landlord to make that shitty cocktail you saw on Sex And The City

HOT GIRLS GET SERVED FIRST

• Welcome to Western Civilization.

iPHONE ETTIQUETTE

• Okay, the music isn’t great. It’s nothing to write home about. But it’s been specifically selected to offend the least amount of people. It’s background music. If you want anything else, then you want to be at a club or a gig. If, however, you’ve decided to“do the pub a favour” by blaring out a playlist from your iPhone, then you are a twat. A prize, prize twat. Other expletives come to mind. Likewise don’t get offended if the barman politely gives you a pound and rejects all six Abba songs you paid for.

ATTRACTING ATTENTION

• Newsflash: You are NOT next. You might have been in the bar queue longer than anybody else, but that doesn’t mean you’re next. Do you know why? Because there are no “Official Rules Of Queueing At The Bar.” The Bartender is 100% in charge of who is next. So do not piss them off. Yes, they can see you. You do not need to bang your change on the top of the bar. You do not need to wave your money around in the air, as if you’re the only person in the room with a tenner (unless it’s a Strip Club). You especially do not need to click your fingers like a Parisian Cafe prick or whistle like a Shepherd herding his flock. These tactics will only achieve one outcome: no matter how long you’ve been waiting up until this point, you’ve just moved yourself to the back of the queue.

PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT

• If an old bloke sat at the bar gets served before you do, and the Bartender knows him by name and even seems to know what he’s drinking before he orders it, just shut the fuck up. That’s Bob. Bob drinks here all the time. Bob drinks here five times a week, every week. Bob’s custom pays the bills. Bob and the other Regulars keep the pub open eleven months of the year whilst you’re having dinner parties and bulk-buying booze from the supermarket. Yes, they get preferential treatment. Accept it and shut the fuck up.

TIME IS TIME (sometimes)

• Pubs don’t stop serving because they hate you (that’s a lie, sometimes they do) or because it’s funny or because they get bored of selling beer. It’s a legal requirement for them to stop serving at a designated time. Once Time is called, they are legally unable to sell anymore beer. You cannot cajole them into selling more, because it’s a legal requirement. You cannot bribe them into selling more, either with the promise of drinks or money, because it’s a legal requirement. You cannot reason or argue them into selling more, because it’s a legal fucking requirement. “Who’s gonna know? There’s nobody around, I won’t tell anyone.” THAT’S HOW THE HOLOCAUST STARTED!

See you in twelve months, you fucking pricks.

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I think the Stoke Inn is my new favorite pub. Happy Holidays.

Beer Birthday: Fergus Carey

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Today is the 51st 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.

Beer & Women By Anonymous

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Today is the birthday of the late Alan Eames, one of the first Americans who wrote extensively about beer, especially in a serious way, mining history and culture for his topics. I never met Alan, though I talked to him on the phone a few times. When he passed away a few years ago, my friend Pete Slosberg bought his library, and donated much of it to the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado, for their library. When Pete and his wife moved to San Francisco, he gave me several boxes from the library, mostly old newsletters, press releases and other miscellaneous stuff, including the poem below.

By coincidence, today is also the day when many people celebrate the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s birthday around 384 B.C.E. Nobody’s sure of the exact date that Aristotle was born, and I’m not even sure why today is used by so many sources, but it’s as good a day as any, I suppose. Anyway, I was browsing through boxes of Alan’s papers and found a Xeroxed copy of a 17th century poem from one of Eames’ books, “A Beer Drinker’s Companion,” from 1986, which also mentions Aristotle. The author is unknown, but it seemed appropriate because of the connection between Alan Eames and Aristotle and their mutual birthday today. Enjoy.

Beer and Women

While I’m at the tavern quaffing,
  Well disposed for t’other quart,
Come’s my wife to spoil my laughing,
  Telling me ’tis time to part:
Words I knew, were unavailing,
  Yet I sternly answered, No!
‘Till from motives more prevailing,
  Sitting down she treads my toe:
Such kind tokens to my thinking,
  Most emphatically prove
That the joys that flow from drinking,
  Are averse to those of love.
Farewell friends and t’other bottle,
  Since I can no longer stay,
Love more learn’d than Aristotle,
  Has, to move me, found the way.

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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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.