While Seated, Date Descending 
A month or more of bits too big to tweet, too small to post. (In other words, blogging like it’s 17 years ago…)
20160110 — Three surprises at The Porter last night, which seem to herald a change I felt sure was out there, but hadn’t experienced yet; soft, minerally, super-subtle & quietly flavorful ales from England (of all places!). Two standouts from Buxton Brewery: Sky Mountain Sour, and Far Skyline. Also, Silk Road from Fyne Ales in Scotland didn’t sniff its own “mango lassi” description, but was a very fine glass on its own, free from text.
All three were refreshingly anti-American in intent & execution: quiet & understated, low-ABV & hops, intriguing & beguiling — easy to unlock, but difficult to decipher.
It’s instructive to see how each American craft beer boom has its antecedents in 70s wine. California was only given proper respect through achieving acclaimed vintages of world-class Cabernets, a grape that yields the biggest, boldest flavors. Americans like it loud, and when it isn’t loud we TURN IT UP.
Correspondingly, American brewers have been chasing their tails down the IPA trail (to all of our benefit) because hops deliver flavor fireworks in a way nothing else can. It’s a popular palette, if you can secure the contracts.
But as with anything, real artistry can be found at the stinking fringes — in “unpopular” breweries, far from the mainstream, producing less than 5,000 barrels a year, like Jester King. These could be a bunch of sentences about why I think so highly of them, but, yeah, another time.
Can’t wait to see what plays out for the more artisan-oriented breweries, who eschew regional, national — and yeah, global $ucce$$ in favor of creating quiet, subtle deliciousness, free from industry bombast and hype, with the goal of making sustainable companies that can provide a great career & lifestyle to 1–50 employees, on a manageable, local scale.
It’s the exact opposite of what equity investors are looking for, in both St. Louis & Sand Hill Road. “A lifestyle business” might be a money-man’s nightmare, but it has the chance to provide a local economy its best success; and by honestly connecting with community at a local, even neighborhood level, you just might insulate a beer-bound business from The Carnage of the Coming Craft Backlash.
20151231 — Movie slaying, every December. In order: Making A Murderer > The Big Short > Spotlight > The Revenant > Concussion > Sicario > Star Wars: The Force Awakens > Anomalisa > Hateful Eight > Steve Jobs > The Martian > Bridge of Spies > Tangerine
20151220 — Finn and Rey will have children who will save the universe.
The audio piece, culled from archive.org’s TV news archive (a brilliant resource for all kinds of projects) is stellar (embedded below), as is “CNN Names With Descriptions”.
Sometimes your favorite art is the kind of stuff you wish you made yourself, which is how I feel about Joel’s work. Awesome.
20151216 — Last weekend I wrestled a tripod and we went out and took an out-of-focus family photo and were interviewed for Beyond Black & White’s new Kids site.
20151215 — Surveying your email list to find out if they like grapefruit IPAs is the move Sweetwater makes when their private equity is searching for the path Ballast Point took to a billion dollars. #notcraft
Fortunately, on flip side, there’s Garrett Oliver, who after all these years, still gets it.
20151214 — An anecdote. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to play a round of golf with a Pro who’s currently ranked around 400 in the world. He plays some PGA Tour events, and has status on the Web.com tour. He talked about his friendship with Donald Trump, and how he’s often included in Trump’s regular foursome.
I asked him two questions about Trump; if, after spending the afternoon playing golf with the Don, when the Pro gets home, turns on the TV and sees Trump bloviating about something or the other — I asked if the guy on TV resembles the guy he plays golf with, and the Pro said, “he’s the exact same guy.”
I also asked how good a player he was (Trump often trumpets the “umpteen” club championships he’s won on his own courses) and if the cheating rumors were true. He said that Trump plays with a very professional forecaddie, who efforts to earn the biggest tip possible, and if that includes a foot-wedge from the rough to the fairway, it’s probably happening — but if Trump’s walking (or riding) up from the tee, The Don maintains plausible deniability.
So yeah, he cheats, but he has someone else do the dirty work.
20151212 — Unbelievable sequence of flavors from the best this country has to offer at “a bottle share” in our living room. Never imagined American breweries would become this inventive, bold, daring & badass than the six represented here. Holy smokes.
- Alter Ego — Tree House Brewing
- Heady Topper — The Alchemist
- Good Morning — Tree House Brewing
- Becoming — The Rare Barrel
- Temptation — Russian River
20151209 — The moment when you’re getting into your car, while the phone in your pocket is playing the latest episode of “Note to Self”, about Marina Abramovic’s new piece, comprised (in part) of a live performance of Goldberg Variations (by Igor Levit), and when you turn the key in the ignition, the car radio begins playing Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould.
Goldberg by Levit by way of Abramovic vs. Goldberg by Gould by way of car radio.
20151207 — If you’re twisted-up about Obama’s use of drones, especially in “signature killings” via the CIA, it may provide small comfort that our current President is an avid golfer. If there’s any past-time that demands you take a minute to think about life (whether you want to or not) and the chance to consider (or reconsider) the choices you’ve made, it’s golf.
While comforts of the moneyed classes include cocktails & camaraderie of the country club, there is a lesser kind of “enhanced interrogation” that occurs between you and the ball when you’re trying to hit it 190 yards over water to a tucked-pin. Good luck.
20151202 — Is there a better example of a company whose business is unrelated to podcasting, creating a more entertaining, electrified podcast than what Slack has done with Variety Pack?
20151201 — The degree to which General Electric has purchased advertising across the podcast spectrum is astounding and a little bit frightening. Their play, to advertise with popular podcasts the fact that GE’s launched their own podcast (via Slate’s Panoply) feels cannibalistic; it’s fascinating to hear how many podcasts have accepted their $pots.
It feels akin to how Anheuser-Busch InBev bought Goose Island, enabling widespread distribution of one of America’s most well-loved barrel-aged beers, Bourbon County Brand Stout. Sure, another “great thing” has been created (if GE’s podcast is as good as people claim; I’m not a listener) but all the money is flowing back to a huge multi-national corporation and their shareholders, rather than to a locally-based, independent, small business.
20151130 — Our three-year-old daughter loves Casey Neistat’s daily vlog. I’m not sure if this makes me a bad parent; it’s an affliction we share. I’m fascinated by the effort behind Casey’s daily output, and appreciate the “morning ritual” of his 8am uploads.
I’m not sure what Alex gets out of it. Neistat lives in Manhattan, where her Aunt lives, so there’s that. Maybe she just has a built-in fondness for time-lapses, first-person narrative, plane travel (we live beneath the flight plan of the world’s biggest airport) and zooming through traffic on a boosted board.
The odd part is that she has her own nickname for Neistat. She calls him “Little Guy”. As in, “daddy, can we watch Little Guy before pre-school?”
I’m sure Neistat would understand.