This is an episode of the Living Proof Brew Cast.
We opened chatting a bit about recent experiences at our common employer, a bit of foreshadowing of the main topic of this show. We were very fortunate to bring our respective experiences from the combined years we’ve been podcasting to a new space. In that spirit of parallels to our main topic, I mentioned that we will both be bring our love of beer and of podcasting to Balticon.
I opened the Great Divide Claymore, a beer I’ve been looking for since Nathan Lowell mentioned it. John opened a Posca Rustica, a beer about which he was a bit nervous for being a style neither of us usually enjoys. Thankfully, the beer was as wonderful as the story behind it.
The larger bottle beer, the latest in a series John has been drinking on the show including Lips of Faith and Southampton made me think of a couple of things. First instead of running the risk of having to pour out too old beers in my cellar, I have decided to rotate some big bottles into the small ones I’ve been enjoying as part of my ongoing brew diet. Second is a particular big bottle that I didn’t think I would find. The beer that haunted me after enjoying it at Moeder Lambic during my first trip to Brussels was not one I thought I’d be able to find, the Val Dieu Grand Cru. I was thrilled to see it on a random visit to Gillys. I compared it to other grand crus I’ve recently enjoyed.
Talking about larger beers to share in turn reminded John of Pappy van Warhammer, another hint of our main discussion. John was able to purchase one of only a very few growler fills of this beer. He will be bring that to Balticon to share even more widely. He also just recently bottled his vanilla porter, Jinx Proof, and will be bring a growler of that to our BYOBS as well. I added I still had our grand cru which I’ll happily bring along with some of my latest iteration of my oatmeal stout and some of the 2nd batch of my dubbel which I’ll be making soon. If you are coming to Balticon, bring as beer you made or one that has special meaning for you along with a story about your beer.
We then turned to our main topic. The main collision John had in mind when the topic occurred to him was an event, Tinkering with the Tomorrow, put on by an awesome program, Future Tense, at our employer. An earlier event, Here Be Dragons, figures in the story of how I changed careers, of John’s first introduction to New America, and my meeting of one of my heroes.
One of our coworkers organizing this DIY event as part of the collaboration with ASU and Slate wanted to include beer. One of the invited keynote speakers, Dale Dougherty, is known by us to be a home brewer. He is a friend in common with Carl Malamud, the man responsible for our open source fellowship. Dale is one of the folks who offered to brew a version of the recipe we developed for that, Our Nation’s Attic. Dale’s interest in home brewing is clearly part of a larger overlap, as evinced by a Make TV episode John recalled where the hosts did a quick and dirty brew demo. John explained too how hackers have reverse engineered and created interesting other brewed drinks, like Club Mate.
Unfortunately, neither of us had a beer we could donate and there was not time to make something new. John had the presence of mind to reach out to our good friends, Bret and Eric, at Growlers to invite them. They very graciously turned down participating at another beer event, a larger one at RFD, to be the only brewer at our event. The reception at the end of the day to their beers was overwhelming, I think affirming they made the right choice. My boss in particular was asking questions about Growlers’ ability to host events and of me about how we could get members of our program out to suburban Maryland. I suspect Bret’s and Eric’s participation may yield some new customers, ones who will no doubt love the brewpub as much as John and I do, for the beer and the food both.
Overall the event want fantastically well, thanks to the speakers our colleagues invited and the small contribution I was able to make in connecting them with other people I know in the hacker, maker and DIY spaces. In particular I was thrilled to get Tiffany Rad involved who related how much she dearly wants to come back for a future event. John explained very well both how gracious a speaker she was as well as how amazingly fascinating her talk was. Tiffany typifies the idea John had in mind with this topic, as an iconoclast, as someone reaching beyond obstacles and arbitrary roles, barriers and compartments.
Chooch interrupted us to explain how to give cheers in Germany.
We continued our discussion of inviting the amazing things that can happen when bringing disparate parts of your world together. John expanded on that idea so well and I tried to give a shorter summation to keep that larger explanation at top of mind more easily. I also related these wild juxtapositions to beer, how it makes so many ideas and relationships so much more accessible than those sorts of things might be on their own. I dug a bit more into the social context beer can provide, the brew pub I mentioned in Columbus that did this at Ohio Linux was Barley’s.
For our final thoughts, John brought up the Sunoco beer exchange. We were surprised at first but anything that helps improve access to different beers is definitely a good thing. A large fuel company no doubt has the kind of clout to push through the necessary legislative changes to allow this model. This is a welcome potential expansion in the face of other areas restricting beer again, like the ban of filling growlers outside of a brewery or brew on premises restaurant like in DC. I noted how it resonates with the idea of a CSA as the time for us to start picking up my household’s share draws near.
The more I thought about this, the more it made me think about stories and culture of the road, especially trickster on the road from Trickster Makes This World. For John, Cory Doctorow’s Liberation Spectrum came to mind, in particular how it depicts truck stop culture. In talking about it, John reminded me the of the different perceptions on time and distant between the US and Europe. I speculated about the differences in car and rail culture between the two, as well.
We finished up by returning to our beers, sharing our thoughts on them as they warmed and we drank off the last of the dregs. My thoughts were turning towards the cycle of the seasons with Spring approaching. John was thinking it was about time to read Wild Fermentation given how pleasantly surprised he was by this beer and what it perhaps says about the expansion of his palate.
You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.
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