Beer Birthday: Bob Townsend

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Today is also the birthday of Atlanta Journal-Constitution beer columnist Bob Townsend. Although he wouldn’t tell me how old he is when I met him in Boston a few years ago, I suspect it’s because he’s even older than me. Regardless, we hit it off immediately; kindred souls, to be sure. Join me in wishing Bob a very happy birthday.

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Judging the finals of the Longshot homebrew competition in 2009, with Tony Forder on the left, Bob in the middle and me at the far end.

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After judging the finals for the Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason Alstrom (from Beer Advocate), Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob, Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly, Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Todd Alstrom (also from Beer Advocate).

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Derek Buono (from Beer: The Magazine) and Bob during a press junket in Belgium last year.

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At Bosteels during the same Belgian trip. Bob is in the back mid-way on the right.

Beer Birthday: Harry Schuhmacher

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Today is Harry Schuhmacher’s 45th birthday. Harry covers the business side of beer news at his wonderful Beer Business Daily. Our paths cross only occasionally, but I had the pleasure of getting to know Harry better during a press junket to Bavaria a few years ago, and he’s one of the warmest, thoughtful and funniest people I’ve met. And he’s a beertard, too. You can also read his occasional personal ramblings at Thanks For Drinking Beer. Join me in wishing Harry a very happy birthday.

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With fellow beer writer Horst Dornbusch in Bamberg.

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Harry and me enjoying a meal in the Hallertau region of Bavaria.

Beer Birthday: John Pinkerton

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Today is also the 44th birthday of John Pinkerton, founder and brewmaster of Moon River Brewing in Savannah, Georgia. John is also involved in Beer America TV. He also brews some terrific beers and is great fun to drink a beer or three with. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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At All About Beer’s “World Beer Festival” in Durham, North Carolina in 2008.

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John getting showered with hops at the “Me So Hoppy Lupulin Slam” at the Falling Rock during GABF in 2005.

Beer Birthday: Chuck Skypeck

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Today is Chuck Skypeck’s 59th birthday. Chuck is a founder of Bosco’s, a brewpub which has three locations in Tennessee and Arkansas, and also more recently Ghost River Brewing. I met Chuck at BA functions several years ago and he’s always been one of the warmest, most genuine people I know. Join me in wishing Chuck a happy birthday.

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Chuck and me at the Craft Brewers Conference in Seattle in 2006.

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From a 2011 interview in Memphis’ Commercial Review (Photo by Mike Brown).

Texas Considering Lowering Drunk Driving Standard To One Beer

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According to Fox TV Channel 14 in El Paso, Texas is reporting that the Texas state legislature is considering a law which could make it legal to arrest people who’ve had as little as one beer or a glass of wine.

According to Fox News:

The proposed law doesn’t saying people are drunk at that level, but it does say that drivers are “buzzed” at that point. The law targets drivers with a blood alcohol level between .05 and .07. It’s called the DWAI law, or driving while ability impaired.

I know I’ll take heat for saying this, but it seems to presuppose that any person whose BAC is below .08% is “impaired” to the extent that they’re a danger to themselves or others by driving. But that’s exactly the presumption we already made when we lowered the BAC standard from .1% to .08%. Even though it’s suggested that the penalties for driving “impaired” will be less than driving “drunk,” it will still have a chilling effect on businesses that serve alcohol and even further criminalizes legal behavior.

I’m not in favor of people driving drunk, but continually lowering the standard by which we measure that does nothing to actually stop the real problem drunk drivers. It’s not the solution, but it appears to be the extent of lawmakers and neo-prohibitionists’ creativity.

Fox News concludes with the time table for the new law. “The Texas Senate will discuss the proposed law and possibly pass it in January.”

North Carolina To Grow Hops

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The Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer has an interesting article, Brewers Have High Hopes For N.C. Hops, about farmers in the state, centered in the mountains around Asheville, experimenting with planting hops.

Hoping to build on the craft-brewing and local food movements, N.C. State University researchers in Raleigh and a handful of farmers in the mountains are growing experimental plots of hops, the cone-shaped flower clusters that brewers add to beer for bitterness and aroma and as a natural preservative.

Rob Austin, Deanna Osmond, and Jeanine Davis at NCSU got a $28,000, one-year grant this year from the Golden LEAF Foundation to investigate the commercial viability of growing hops here. In March, a couple of volunteers from a soon-to-open Durham brewery called Fullsteam came to help researchers plant a small plot of about 200 plants at a university field laboratory near Lake Wheeler south of Raleigh.

With tobacco demand presumably in steady decline, it would certainly be interesting to see the south rise again with farmers turning to hops.

Fullsteam’s Brewery Porn From Space

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Regular Bulletin readers already know I have an unnatural, some might say unhealthy, love of brewing equipment — a.k.a. brewery porn — so I was thrilled to see Fullsteam Brewery’s new brewhouse from space. I especially love the artists rendering of where his brewhouse might have ended up had it not been for the hand of fate stepping in and cutting NASA’s budget.

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Recently, the reworked-for-full-gravity brewhouse was “docked” at the Fullsteam space in Durham, North Carolina.

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To see more of it, check out the original post or the Flickr gallery.

Beer In Ads #45: Dorothy Dandridge For Jax

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It’s not just any Tuesday, but Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday — Mardi Gras — so today’s ad is for a New Orleans beer, Jax. It’s a celebrity ad, with actress Dorothy Dandridge hawking Jax Beer. Dandridge was the first African-American woman nominated for an Academy Award and Halle Berry played her in the award winning HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Using the tagline “Get the Light Idea!” That’s followed by “Drink Mellow Jax Beer.” You rarely see mellow used as a positive attribute these days, which is a shame, I think. I’m not sure when this ad is from, though Dandridge passed away in 1965, so it’s most likely it was before then. It was brewed by Jax Brewing Co. until 1956, when the New Orleans’ Jackson Brewing Co. bought the brand and brewed it there (the old brewery is now a shopping mall) until 1974, when Pearl Brewery bought them out. Since 1985, Pabst has owned the brand, but as far as I now, is not brewing it anywhere. Happy Mardi Gras.

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Beer In Art #65: Mike Massengale’s Beer Thirty

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After nine days of eating and drinking through SF Beer Week, I feel like a vacation on a tropical isle would do me a world of good, but with one more day to go, today’s works of art will have to go tropical for me. Its title is Beer Thirty and is by South Carolina artist Mike Massengale.

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Here’s a short biography of Massengale from Absolute Arts:

Mike Massengale is a professional artist from Greenville, SC. His artistic skills sets have been learned and developed over twenty-five years of on the job experience. His advertising clients have been AT&T, Universal Studio’s and Disney just to name a few. He has also attained many awards from print designs to animation. His skill sets include, but not limited to: multimedia, animation, video production, creative design, illustration and painting. He is also very proud that of his latest accomplishment, which is completion of a MFA degree from the University of Hartford.

You can read a longer biography at the Fine Art America website.

You can also see more of his work at Fine Art America, and all of the art there is available as prints on canvas or paper, framed or unframed or even as a greeting card. You can but the Beer 30 painting, too.