Written by Roger Baylor
Pint/CounterPint was created when Adam Watson (Against the Grain Brewery) wrote a loving response to the first Baylor on Beer article, Know your Enemy, written by Roger Baylor (New Albanian Brewing Company). At first we laughed whole-heartedly and admired the conviction and stance of both parties, and then we thought, “Hey, wait a minute… remember that old 60 Minutes segment called Point/Counterpoint?”
For those of you that don’t, Point/Counterpoint was a segment of the CBS Television News Magazine, 60 Minutes. Point/Counterpoint was a debate between spokespeople for the political right and left, respectively. This segment pioneered a format that would later be adapted by CNN for its Crossfire show. LouisvilleBeer.com adopted the format for an online debate between Adam and Roger. Welcome to Round 6. DING!
Should [City] Craft Beer Week be the Same Week as American Craft Beer Week? - YES
By: Roger Baylor, New Albanian Brewing Company
For the first time in living memory, we’ve been deemed a grave threat to the health of the Louisville economy, and accordingly, the Metro Council has leveled the playing field – not by luring a call center, assembly line, strip mine or NBA team to the area, but allowing selected Louisville eateries to serve alcoholic beverages earlier in the morning on Sunday.
It’s the Bloody Brunch Law, and the ripple effects have been chillingly immediate. In fact, my esteemed “Pint Counter Pint” colleague Adam’s own Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse has been admirably quick to adjust to these intriguing new realities, and now AtG offers an innovative Sunday Brunch with a Bloody Mary Bar. It’s a fresh and novel idea hailed by Mayor Greg Fischer (with U of L’s permission, naturally) for creating countless jobs while yielding critical tax revenues needed to underwrite the bankrupt Yum Brands Arena.
Which reminds me, because I forgot to ask previously: Which one of Chicago’s trendy gastropubs will be hosting Against the Grain’s Bloody Sunday Brunch? I mean, it’s a bit of a commute up there, but totally worth it to find Bo & Luke in its most favored, natural and readily available habitat.
But enough of brunch equalization; AtG’s doing a great job, and let’s hope that some sweet day, drinkers everywhere will no longer be bound by archaic blue laws. Let’s move on to another pending piece of legislation: The Omnibus Beer Week Reform Act of 2013, as introduced by the Plenum of People’s Deputies of the Supreme Chamber of Craft Beer – in short, moi.
Good times, bad times; you know I’ve had my share, and among the best were those instructive months spent wandering the railways and byways of the old Eastern Bloc.
C’mon, trust a graybeard: Those monolithic and conspiratorial Cold War-era socialists in places like Poland, Romania and Berkeley really knew how to throw a no-holds-barred street party.
Each year on the first of May – known internationally as May Day, except in the United States, even though the concept originated in Chicago following a riot (is the Haymarket situated anywhere near Local Option?) – Commies in all fraternally allied nations would prop their catatonic leaders atop a convenient mausoleum, balcony or handy melon wagon and have a dandy parade in honor of the workers.
For these workers, who according to prevailing mythology were the chief beneficiaries of international socialism, May Day’s single biggest selling point was being able to avoid the drudgery of their factories for a few precious hours. They’d rather have been on the beach at a posh Black Sea resort in Bulgaria, but what could a poor Goy do?
On May Day, he could forget about the dystopian Five Year Plan by hopping the subway from his cookie-cutter, high-rise suburb to the historic center of the city, queuing with fellow vodka-bearers, plodding behind the massive missiles through cobblestoned streets, and then finally passing the reviewing stand for a fleeting glimpse of the jowly old men in furry hats, grimacing arthritically as they waved vacantly into space.
Of course, the parade was a choreographed set piece, one fraught with symbolic properties, both for natives seeking clues to the direction of their country apart from the stultifying daily propaganda, and for observers elsewhere.
It helps to remember that these were monolithic one-party states. Opposition was not tolerated. People were forcibly united, marching in lock step toward a bright future. They obeyed the directives, and they refrained from silly outbursts of individualism that might compromise the common front. After all, the good of the many outweighed the good of the few, or the one.
I believe Commissar Chekhov said that once.
At any rate, back here in L’America, we’d watch the grainy black & white film, get frightened, and believe they actually meant business, when in fact most of the marchers were hammered, if not sickled; the missiles on the trucks were made of Papier-mâché; and the streetscape was a Potemkin village composed of false facades worthy of a Hollywood film set.
My overall point is this: May Day celebrations were a remarkably effective way to kill a holiday while simultaneously striking fear into the hearts of the enemy, and the key to selling the idea to a global audience was to present the buffed and polished illusion, if not the concrete reality, of collective action.
Amid the current scattershot scrum of chest-thumping craft beer cacophony, just the barest sliver of shared rowing might possibly elevate the category even faster, and a wonderful place to start would be coordinating these counter-productive, disparate, formless “craft beer weeks” into one nationwide, week-long May Craft Beer Daze parade.
Picture a combined display of mechanized, lethal force, complete with fermenters, mash tuns and brew kettles stacked on their sides atop parade floats, pointed like intercontinental missiles at AB-InBev headquarters in Belgium (or Golden, Colorado … or wherever Magic Ass Hat is being brewed these days).
Maybe RateBeer, Beer Advocate and Untappd could just shut the fuck up for a change, dispense with all that senseless grassroots empowerment, and let our craft vanguard leaders finally do some good old-fashioned leading. How does Charlie Papazian at the Lincoln Memorial in a squirrel-hide cap appeal to you as a photo-op? It certainly works for me, and I guarantee it would make those megabrewery shareholders huddling in wine bars the world over start trembling in their three-piece suits.
Say what? Isn’t it the objective of craft beer, to kill fascists? That’s what I thought.
Hit it, Ringo.
Should [City] Craft Beer Week be the Same Week as American Craft Beer Week? - NO
By: Adam Watson, Against the Grain Brewery
After an extended (and much needed) hiatus, The Great Old One and I have decided to get back on the saddle and yell at each other some more. We were originally planning on something about NCAA-esque brackets pitting local beers against each other, but rather than bristle our backfuzz about something so egregiously out of date, we opted to duke it out over a topic only a bit behind us: American Craft Beer Week.
The question at hand is whether a city, county, or other similar locality should have its [placename] Craft Beer Week at the same time as the BA endorsed American Craft Beer Week. Having not read Old Neckbeard’s ramblings on the topic yet, I can imagine him sitting in his Luddite lair scrawling on birchbark some horsehockey about solidarity and the need for a unified front against the BudMillerCoors Overlords that get the other 51 weeks of the year as their Saturnalian pisswater cash orgy. I, on the other hand, firmly believe that having a Craft Beer Week at the same time as ACBW is a stupid idea, especially if there is another sizable city having a Craft Beer Week within a few hours’ drive of your place.
I know we all like a good week-long beer party, and I am not disparaging that idea. In fact, I am in great support of it. Let’s play a little game. Raise your hand if you have a birthday between December 20th and December 31st. Now keep your hand up if, as a child or as an adult, you always got a full complement of birthday presents and festivities as well as a full complement of Christmas presents and festivities. Now, if you still have your hand up, I want you to bring it downward swiftly and with great force into your crotch region because you, sir or madam, are a liar. If two great parties are too close in time to one another, both lose a little bit to the other. It is certainly better for the consumer to be able to attend a slew of [place]CBW events and then also a slew of ACBW events.
Separate CBW’s are also far better for the craft brewer. Most of us in the brew-slinging trade are not able to hire enough people to sufficiently staff too many events at the same time. Since I am in the business of providing the best possible product and service possible, I or one of my trusted business partners usually attends important events so we can share a good time and talk in detail with end-users about our beer and our brewery. If I have too many events at the same time, especially in geographically disparate markets, it becomes impossible for every event to get the attention it deserves. We have worthwhile fans in Louisville, Lexington, Indianapolis, Chicago, New York, across Europe, and a variety of other places. If all these places were to have their important beer events in the same week, most of them would never see us at events no matter how much they want us to be there. With temporally scattered CBW’s, however, we can make time to attend beer dinners and tap takeovers, meet the people who drink our beer, hang out in bars where our taps can be found, and generally participate in the festivities.
In short, two parties are better than one, and I hate ducking out of one party just as it is getting started just to wheel across town and show up at another one in time to see people pass out in the front yard. As Ron Swanson tells us, don’t half ass two things, whole ass one thing. And, if you can, do it a bunch of times each year.