You may have noticed that Mr. Mug Shots took a week off to make way for LEO’s Fake Issue (June 24). Although sorely disappointed at not having the chance to extol the virtues of mega-brew, I used my time on the sidelines to plan the summer beer-drinking calendar.
For those who want it all — quality baseball and genuine, unadulterated craft beer at Louisville Slugger Field — be aware that plenty of it is flowing, albeit just outside the turnstiles at a revived and reconstituted Browning’s Brewery & Restaurant.
Inside the ballpark, the Louisville Bats and Centerplate have kept their promise and have one Browning’s beer on tap. Unfortunately, little effort is being expended toward the proper presentation of this concessionaire’s concession to local taste in beer, although I suppose we should be grateful given the abject absences of the past.
During two recent visits, I found the Browning’s tap along the main concourse near section 115. A small, computer-generated graphic misspells the name of Gullotine ESB [sic], and last time out, it wasn’t ESB. Maibock, maybe? Whichever, you’ll get roughly 16 ounces in a white plastic Budweiser cup for $4.75, and chances are the people working the tap won’t have any idea it was brewed 50 yards away.
Why should they? Management generally hasn’t.
Saluting the French
Speaking of guillotines, which are a remarkably effective way of dealing with Philistines, resident Francophiles know that July is a great month for all things French, with the Tour de France under way and Bastille Day occurring on the 14th.
A third celebration takes place from July 6-14 just south of the French border, across the Pyrenees in Spain: The Festival of San Fermin, or as Americans refer to it, the running of the bulls. Plenty of French citizens make the trip for one of Europe’s most delirious weeks, and hundreds of thousands of gallons of uninspiring Spanish lager are consumed. I’d recommend Pacheran, a regional wine-based liqueur, as you peruse YouTube videos of clueless tourists being gored.
Both times I witnessed the Tour de France in person, the cyclists were racing on Belgian soil, not French, as the race customarily dips into neighboring countries as a gesture of goodwill and enhanced marketing opportunities. Consequently, I forever associate Belgian-style ales with the act of remaining almost completely motionless while watching finely tuned athletes expend their considerable energies.
Watching the Tour here in the States poses certain challenges owing to the time difference. If your favorite craft beer dispensary is not open in the morning, you may have to purchase a selection of Trappist ales at a bottle shop, polish a suitable glass, call in sick, crank up the air conditioning, and ogle vicariously at the exhausting mountain stages as breakfast drains joyfully away.
Indy Microbrewers Fest
Closer to home, the 14th annual Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG) Microbrewers Festival will be held on Saturday, July 18, at Opti Park in Broad Ripple Village in Indianapolis. Roughly 4,000 enthusiasts are expected to be there, sampling beers brewed by Indiana’s 28 microbreweries. Twice as many out-of-state breweries will have beers on site, courtesy of Indiana’s craft wholesale houses. Tickets are available at both New Albany locations of the New Albanian Brewing Company.
Note that the BIG festival offers an ideal opportunity to have someone else do the driving, and accordingly, Jeff and Rick Tours is taking a motor coach to Indianapolis. The cost is $85 per person and includes transportation (with restrooms), your ticket to the festival, a BBQ tailgate lunch and refreshments. Call 807-7531 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
But there’s more!
For the second year, a VIP Brewmaster’s Dinner will be held at Opti Park on Friday, before Saturday’s main BIG event.
Five Indianapolis-area chefs will utilize Hoosier-grown foodstuffs to create five courses, to be paired with a suitable Indiana beer. Copious portions of these and other draft beers are included in the price, and numerous brewers and brewery owners will be in attendance, drinking and talking craft beer. I’ll be there, and I recommend it.
Tickets for Friday’s event can only be purchased in Indianapolis at Brugge Brasserie and the Broad Ripple Brewpub. Go to www.brewersofindianaguild.com for details.
Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany. Visit potablecurmudgeon.blogspot.com for more beer.