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Mendocino Brewing Company's master brewer, Don Barkley, whipped up a batch of New Albion Ale (you remember, the country's first microbrew?) to commemorate its 20th anniversary at a tasting at the legendary Brickskeller in Washington, D.C. in October. Barkley and Mendocino's marketing manager, Michael Lovett, both worked at New Albion with founder Jack McAuliffe, and took the defunct brewery's brewing equipment and its yeast with them to Hopland, CA, when they opened Mendocino Brewing Co. in 1983. Lovett recalled the press proclaiming New Albion a boutique brewery and said, "We weren't no boutique anything." The Brick's Bob Tupper has already extracted a promise to bring New Albion back to the Brick for the 25th anniversary in 2002. Seems to me like this "boutique" beer industry is here to stay, eh?

Ellen is out of the closet — can gay beer jokes be far behind? Enter the "comfortable with his masculinity" dude next-door who sez, "Here's an interesting brew — Fire Island Lager! There's two men kissing on the label!" The portly friend replies, "Peter sent me to a gay-owned microbrewery -- had to go through a pretty rough part of West Hollywood to get it!" Ellen chirps, "Gay beer? I didn't know they had gay beer! Oh look, there's a recipe on the back... for beer-basted salmon kabobs and a tangy Cilantro sauce!" "This is not half bad, and I'm secure in my manhood to say that!" said the guy secure in his manhood. Portly guy then observes, "You know what would go really good with this? Gay beer nuts!" Oh boy... I guess the Hollywood writers haven't heard of Pink Triangle beer.

What's up with North Carolina? According to Newsweek, the judiciary has recently ruled it's OK to moon someone in public (show your butt to strangers!), but it's illegal for a stadium vendor in Charlotte to yell "beer!" Should make for some interesting football games...

A Panamanian brewing company in Jamaica had to remove its logo from a mural of reggae legend Bob Marley — he of the Rastafarian belief. Rastas don't indulge in alcohol but make up for it with a "higher" authority. Be sure to keep YOUR priorities straight...

San Francisco's latest brewing star, Steelhead Brewing at the Wharf, got off to a great start with a medal at the GABF and hosting the SF International Accordion Festival! Tummy organ squeeze box virtuosos of the stomach Steinway filled the air with blues, pop, boogie woogie, cowboy, Tex-Mex, classical (Lady of Spain?), Zydeco and Cajun tunes, thrilling the wharf area tourists and frightening the sea lions for six hours! There's only one thing left for Steelhead to tackle... the bagpipes!

Also freshly open in Old SF is Magnolia's Pub & Brewery in the legendary Haight Ashbury district — ground zero for the Summer of Love (that phrase now sadly Trade Marked by the Bill Graham folx!). The historic location was called Magnolia Thunderpussy, namesake of the crusty owner and mother figure to the "flower children" of the era. She was famous for her inspired erotic desserts that were highly sought after by the rock groups playing in The City. Naturally, the new owners (who are dedicated to English-style ales and true "cask-conditioned" beers) will have a Barleywine this winter. Be sure to look for Old Thunderpussy at the Tornado's fabled Barleywine Festival!

Pittsburgh's Francis Glancy doesn't have a driver's license, he only rides a bike. So when he was busted recently for drunk bike riding, the Judge required him to get a driver's license... and then revoked it! That should teach him...

This could make Anheuser-Busch MAD! The November 1997 issue of MAD magazine had an Initial Distractions Dept. featuring Product Acronyms You Never Knew Existed. Their acronym for Red Wolf: "Ridiculously Expensive Domestic With Outrageously Lousy Flavor!" Hey, them's fightin' woids!

Tears all around at the news that the Strohs/Heileman brewery has discontinued making Knickerbocker beer? That's the word from central Massachusetts. Old tyme beer geeks are bummed. No longer will they be able to say, "I dropped my knickers for a Knickerbocker!" In one era and out the 'tother...

Lots of prohibitionists like to claim Biblical authority for their intolerance of other people's pleasures. Tom Schlafly (from St. Louis' second-largest brewery) writes a great column in his newsletter, The Schlafly Growler. Recently he offered the following quotes worth repeating: "According to the Oxford Companion To The Bible, the Hebrew word 'sekar' probably referred to beer made from barley or other grains. It is sometimes translated as 'strong drink.'" Tom further notes that "according to Michael Jackson, there is a widely held tradition that King David was a brewer. Did David call his beer "IsraeLite... more taste, less Philistine?"...

Speaking of ancient history, it was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the father of the bride would supply his new son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we know today as the "honeymoon." Awwwww...

Old Hop is recovering from a bout of what turned out to be diverticulitis. The worst part of the experience was no beer while taking the prescribed medication. If the above seems uninspired, you know the reason — NO BEER! What is "Driver Dick, Unite Us?" It is a plain old pain in the, er, lower colon. Consequently, I'm hard at work on my autobiography (shouldn't take too long), which I'm thinking of calling, "Mine enemy, My ass!" Meanstwhile, look for my new bumpersnicker: Have You Hugged Your Colon Today?




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