A Podcast & A Beer – Gene and Roger

It is true that I watched a lot of Siskel & Ebert growing up and that the famous duo and their thumbs are now the subjects of a “look back” at podcast, which is another stark reminder of my age and how things have changed in the movies and in movie reviewing.

Gene and Roger the podcast is bundled inside The Ringer’s The Big Picture overall podcast and it is a fascinating eight part journey from the origins of the show to the deaths of the main pair and to the death of TV criticism with it. The host, Brian Raftery, keeps it moving along while adding in asides and personal connections and each thirty minute plus episode just whizzes by which is a strong plus in my book.

Now if there was a brewery in Hollywood, I would say that would be the perfect choice, or if there was a readily available, not owned by a huge conglomerate brewery from Chicago, that would be good too.

Instead, let’s take a different direction. See how hard it would be to sum up your next beer in under two minutes and then, give that beer a thumbs up or down, even if that beer is in the middle.

A Book & A Beer – Tell the Machine Goodnight

I chose this book because NPR recommended it, read HERE. And this slightly in the future sci-fi novel from Katie Williams really works well in spots. The lead character, as it were, shifts every one or two chapters to show a broader portrait of the group of people being focused on and the happiness machine, Apricity, that brings them together.

Apricity is owned by what appears to be a better run morally tech company. You swab your cheek, place the saliva into the machine and it will spit out three suggested actions that you should do to achieve happiness. Simple as “get more sleep”, “get a dog” and others much harder and scarier.

But this book isn’t about the dark edges so much. It is more involved with Pearl, the Apricity tech, her ex, her son and a celebrity Calla Pax. Those chapters are the weakest.

There is life at stake but nothing huge like life v death. Even the corporate espionage was soft pedaled. Everyone is mostly nice if odd. The conceit and the machine are the best part of this tale.

Humans and Americans in particular tend to not do what is in their best interest. I would love to see the results of a beer Apricity on me. Would it go way off in one direction, would it tell me to drink an old favorite long forgotten or would it shield me from hops that I do not like. Interesting thought experiment for sure.

Cool Beers and/or Labels for September 2021

You do not see the Grissette style often, and this subtle and light colored label from Mumford really matches the style. I really like that it is not too busy with lots of light green space.

You could say the beer should be named “It’s Beer a Year” +. I am super critical of beer names but this one is really cool and perfect for an anniversary beer. Kudos to Whittier Brewing.

The Firkin for August 2021

The return of beer festivals is again and maddeningly in another limbo pause courtesy of the duo of unvaccinated and Delta but that provides an opportunity to make some tweaks to them.

One addition that I would like to see is raising awareness of women being subjected to all levels of crap behavior by men. Ranging from being man-splained about beer to unwanted sexual advances.

My idea is that those pouring beers and those volunteering would wear festival branded t-shirts with statements on the front such as “No I do not want your number.” or questions like “Have you ever felt unsafe at a festival?”

The back would say, “If you need help, ask us.”

I am sure that female craft beer fans would be able to come up with many, many, many more examples for the front of the shirt.

If enough of these shirts were at festivals, I think that those who felt they had license to behave badly might not see your festival as looking the other way. Maybe even staging an impromptu scene where volunteers act out how to use the help and the consequences might make even the most cavalier of men take notice.

A Book & A Beer – Rachel Cusk Triology

Rarely do I talk shit about a book. I know that, at best, I could maybe muster a passable short story so I tread lightly when it comes to my views in the monthly book post.

But despite the positive reviews from the NY Times, I am flummoxed by the praise for this trilogy by Rachel Cusk.

All three books follow our protagonist, a writer, as she travels to various points of the globe talking with, well, mostly just listening to the uninteresting stories of others. She does interviews about her books that seem fake because no real questions are asked. She talks with a contractor about a house. She chats with other writers. But it is all so passive. Nothing happens. No epiphanies small or large.

I kept reading thinking that a payoff was coming. A rant from the writer, something explosive all waiting in the third book. Alas, not to be. It just ends with a whimper.

That leads me to the beer to pair with it. Since the trilogy is missing fireworks, this is where the beer comes in. Find something with Chai or jalapenos or a bracing jolt of lemon to add anything to the experience. Or maybe grab your favorite coffee beer to keep yourself awake.

A Podcast & A Beer – Dolly Parton’s America

There are a few things in life that are universally loved. The recently returned for season 2 Ted Lasso and Dolly Parton. As we learn in episode one, Dolly’s Q Rating is through the roof but the more interesting note is that she gets virtually zero negative comments.

How she can do that while singing about topics like suicide and being pro-vaccine is the through line for the 2019 podcast series, Dolly Parton’s America.

What beers have that everyone admires it quality. Guinness and Orval and Saison Dupont are consistently well thought of but for Dolly, I think we need to find something closer to home. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is an iconic American craft beer but bitter is not Dolly so instead lets find some Kentucky Common styled beers or barring that find another classic like Yuengling or Shiner Bock.

1st Visit – Far Field Beer Co.

Far Field Beer Co. opened on Saturday after months of doing to-go only and here is my report on the beers and the taproom…

Feller Hoppy Pilsner – very toasty and malt forward.  Not much in the way of hoppiniess though. if sold as lager would work better for me.

Home Range IPA – quite dank. heavy bitterness. pine first and foremost. a little one note. many people ordered it but it lacked depth.

All Terrain Cream Ale – my favorite of the three. no head to it at all though. other than that it has a nice taste to it. a little refining and a little more body and it will be solid.

The taproom is a lovely little spot in the middle of a fast moving Rosecrans Avenue.  It is tucked in between auto shops, thankfully they have a nice big sign to guide you in.  big roll up doors to a small outdoor patio.  long reverse shaped L bar with comfy wooden stools.  7 beers on tap on opening day with 3 IPAs, a hoppy pilsner, a cream ale, a California Common and a Berliner Weisse. 10 barrels tucked into the corner might already be in use though I saw no stouts on the menu. Nice metalwork touches on the upstairs that match the design of the logo and merch. Though the second floor seemed empty at present.

Cool Beers and Labels for August 2021

It is hard to keep up with all the new beer releases. Sometimes you just have to filter to style or hop or…

…the color green. It is my wife’s favorite color so it now catches my eye as well and these two LA breweries are using it very well. Crac Brewery has a dramatic two tone look for a Tequila barrel-aged Gose with a clever name. Has a blade like look down the middle which accentuates the font.

Brouwerij West has taken their Popfuji pilsner and brand extended it for the Nelson hop. Replacing the Pop yellow with, again, two-tone green. The slight name change with the color swap is a nice way to create a beer series.

Needed or Not? – Heineken B.O.T.

Summer is prime time for this feature of the blog. Every week seems to bring some wacky new beer idea. Heineken is next with their B.O.T.

The Beer Outdoor Transporter. Obviously the B.O.T. was thought of first. Basically a tiny cooler on wheels that follows you to your party like the Mars Rover.

Now there are plain, old, boring coolers that you have to lift with your actual arms and there are wheeled versions that you have to drag or push but who wants to work.

Verdict – Not Needed. It’s 2021, I want a combination jet pack and cooler.

2021 Mid-Year Stats

Time to look back at the first six months of the drinking year and tease out sone fun statistics about what I have been drinking.

16 breweries were brand new to me.

I still drank more West Coast IPA’s than Hazies 69 to 43

Smog City was the most drunk from brewery with 19 followed closely by Firestone Walker with 17

Firestone Walker leads with best beers of the week with 3. Lagunitas and Radiant each have 2.

Of 327 total beers – 156 were IPA, 24 Pilsner/Lager, 23 Barrel-Aged and 11 Sour