The genesis of the blind beer tasting was a simple force of circumstance. One evening, restless and trapped at the house due to adverse weather conditions, the decision was made to walk to the local convenience store for beer. In the absence of a decent beer selection, an idea was born: to have a blind beer tasting of cheap domestic lagers and find out once and for all which was the best and which was the worst. The tasting was hasty and ill conceived, however. And more importantly, one of the judges had already gone to bed by the time it got started. Still, it yielded some interesting results. So one year later the decision was made to repeat the tasting, but to do it right this time. Hence, the Blind Bad Beer Tasting of 2010 was born–bigger, badder, blinder and much better (and yet so much worse) than before.
One of the finest and most exclusive patios in downtown Asheville has always been at 130 College Street. A large, brick-floored area with a sweeping view of nearby Town Mountain, the patio is surrounded by wrought iron fencing, which helps maintain a feeling of exclusivity and security for its patrons. This patio alone has been a staple for summer bar-hoppers for a number of years already, since the Joli Rouge, a pirate-themed private club with alternative looks and an exotic draw, had occupied the location previously. Though the building had remained vacant for the better part of three years since Joli Rouge closed, the property’s new owners have decided to save that great patio for last; after all, the buzz they’re generating has more to do with what’s kept inside.
The new Asheville Arcade at 130 College Street, according to owners Josh Aaron and Leonard Poe, was built on a simple premise: they wanted “a cool place that people would want to go to.” Combining vintage arcade consoles and a bar area outfitted original NES game systems, the Arcade has quickly launched itself as one of the most popular spots in town, despite having only been in business since New Year’s Eve. Promoting their operation with Facebook, Twitter and good old-fashioned word of mouth, a loyal group of followers had already begun to emerge prior to their grand opening. Poe and Aaron, along with bar manager James Browne, were stammered when a line had formed by early evening on December 31; the building remained at-capacity for the rest of the night as the trio brought in the New Year with their new friends.
We at Culture of Spirits brought in the New Year in a variety of different ways, with Micah up in a remote mountain village, and myself spending a quiet night alone, lost in thought and a bottle of rum. Despite my love of Champagne, my drink of choice was the Cuba Libre, which was actually quite appropriate, because I spent a bit of time earlier in the day playing the latest Call of Duty video game, which allowed me to take part in the Bay of Pigs invasion. I started my evening at around 8pm, and finished it at 5am, when sleep finally overtook me. There are many things to be reflective about for 2010, from the alcohol world to every other facet. My own personal reflections, without getting too personal, are usually worth jotting down, or at the very least remembering them, as they transpire throughout the year. Of course, some things are taken for granted when they happen, and their significance does not become evident until a later time. When that occurs, one can only hope that all the memories are correct, and haven’t gone fuzzy. From growing a new business, to camping under the stars, 2010 was full of adventures, people, places, and things. (more…)
The bludgeoning She-Beast herself, Carrie A. Nation. Poster child of the Temperance Movement and Anti-Saloon League.
The biggest argument against public drinking is that it leads to mayhem, violence, and eventually death. It is upon this idea that almost every state in America has laws against open containers of alcohol in public. There are eight states that do not have open container laws, but within those states, there are only a few select communities that have not passed local ordinances that prohibit public drinking. The historic district of Savannah, Georgia is one of them, as well as Butte, Montana; the Las Vegas Strip; Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee; The Power and Light District in Kansas City, Missouri, and New Orleans.
In a sort of mind numbing paradox, there are several states (Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Connecticut, Delaware) that allow open containers of alcohol to be in a moving motor vehicle, but do not allow open containers in public. Furthering the incredulous nature of this paradox, Mississippi even allows drivers to drink while operating their vehicle, as long as they remain below the legal limit of .08 BAC. Despite allowing people to drink while driving, it is illegal to drink on a sidewalk in Mississippi, and despite allowing open containers of alcohol in a moving vehicle, the other states also prohibit it.
The laws don’t make much sense, but then again, they oftentimes don’t. Take these gems for example: Up until 2004, it was illegal in North Carolina to practice palmistry or fortune telling unless in a school or church; It is illegal in Virginia to engage in pre-marital sex, under a law titled “Fornication”; in Tennessee carrying skunks into the state is outlawed, and in New Jersey it is illegal to wear a bulletproof vest while committing murder.
Last year, fellow Culture of Spirits writer Micah A. Hanks wrote an articleabout Japanese brewing company Sapporo’s efforts to produce beer from space-grown ingredients. The rising popularity of the notion of future space tourism will indicate, for some, the next gold mine in fields that are wishing to prosper… beer should be included among these, also. After all, who would want to take a trip to space without the ability to enjoy a cold one along the way?
Space.comreported Monday that the Australian non-profit space organization Astronauts4Hire will perform a series of tests on a beer developed and brewed by Sydney’s 4 Pines Brewing and Saber Astronautics Australia. The goal of the research is to test the sustainability and drinkability of the beer in space, and the tests being done by Astronauts4Hire will include taste tests as well as the physiological affects that come from drinking it in a zero-gravity environment.
Don’t let the rather suggestive name fool you: when it comes to getting “high,” Jeremiah Weed Kentucky bourbon literally means high in the sky.
Jeremiah Weed provides a 100 proof bourbon, as well as its own variations on the popular pre-mixed sweet tea vodka and vodka-lemonade. As reported recently at the Buzztab website, according to distribution company Diageo the liquor is sold close to many military bases; hence it also happens to have become a favorite among men in service. Though its proximity to military installations might have something to do with the affinity that has developed, probing a bit deeper leads us to another notion as to the origins of this love affair with the innocuous bottled spirit.
The results are in from the 2010 “Beer City USA” poll with Asheville, North Carolina, emerging the victor in a close battle with Portland, Oregon, with whom they tied in last year’s voting. According to official results, Asheville won with 39.9 percent of votes; 34.1 percent were attributed to Portland.
The Asheville-based Citizen Times reported that the title is one celebrated by the area, whose beer community in Buncombe County consists of nine breweries. Only weeks away in June, the city will celebrate its first first “Beer City Festival” in downtown Asheville.
In total, close to 19,000 votes were cast. Among the US cities that also placed in the ranking were Denver, CO, and Milwaukee, WI. In 2009, Asheville also tied with Portland, leading some to consider this a “second victory” for the rustic Western NC city.
Recently, I had a chance to catch up with my good friend Lesley Groetsch, owner of one of the nicest new bars to hit Asheville North Carolina in recent years: The Asheville Sazerac.
As stated at their website, much of the location’s inspiration is drawn from old New Orleans, though the Sazerac “is a uniquely Asheville restaurant and cocktail lounge.” Asheville may be “Beer City East,” but there is no doubt still quite a cocktail culture here as well; The Asheville Sazerac helps affirm this in the minds of Southern cocktailians everywhere.
“Classic and contemporary cocktails, a full menu of sumptuous small plates, lounge seating and rooftop dining have all made Sazerac an instant favorite. Whether you are a seasoned local or a sophisticated tourist, put Sazerac on your must-visit list today.” Indeed, to draw so well from the spicy flavors and culture of the Big Easy, The Asheville Sazerac speaks to the heart of its hometown. In future posts here at the site, we’ll be sure and get more information from Lesley about her fine new venture she and her husband, Jack, have brought to the table. In the meantime, if you’re planning on visiting Asheville soon (or better yet, you’re already a local), you can learn more about the Sazerac by following the link below:
It has been long lamented that overseas in countries like Germany you can order a beer with your Big Mac at McDonalds. However, soon one of the restaurant’s leading competitors, Burger King, will be making this a reality to US diners as well.
Investors.com reported today that the franchise plans to open a 24-hour “Whopper Bar South Beach,” that serves alcohol along with the chain’s popular burgers. This, in an effort to make certain Burger King locations appeal to the “sit down” crowd, will mark the first instance where alcohol has been sold in one of its US locations.
The L.A. Times reports on alcohol crackdowns in Baghdad.
With Saddam Hussein removed as the Dictator in charge of Iraq, hope was sprung for millions of people to enjoy freedoms that were unimaginable up to that point. People cheered, and savvy businessmen opened clubs and bars all around the downtown district of Baghdad. Alcohol flowed freely, and the people of Iraq had a real taste of the west. Unfortunately, militia activity began rising and pushing against alcohol, and many places stopped carrying it for fear of invoking the wrath of the Islamic extremists. Still, many brave business owners continued with the practice of selling alcoholic beverages to their patrons, and they seemed to endure through the hardships of insurgent violence, but even having succeeded in that environment, they are finding an even tougher challenge ahead.