Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Men do in Bars

At one time women were not permitted in most bars unless they worked in one and even that was far and few. It wasn't against the law, but neither was women voting, but I digress. One reason women did not frequent bars is that they were unwelcoming. The men were not always acting as gentlemen and women in bars were often of a particular professional occupation, if you know what I mean. Another reason women stayed away is that the place may have had an unpleasant aroma coming form men peeing at the bar. Yes, at one time men would recycle beer at the bar.

Many bars in Pittsburgh built during the 1800's and early 1900's had built in troughs at the bar. Men would stand and drink at the bar but in lieu of a foot rail there was the conduit at his feet. In semi-privacy they would "give back" what they drank that evening. The conduit would lead to a nearby wall where it would run to the outside and to the gutter. Hopefully this was to a rear ally but people lived there as well so they had to endure this.

We complain when the government imposes regulations on us but I think we can agree that sometime we welcome some of them. I am glad that bars today do not have such amenities. This would have kept the college girls away as well as the pretty bartenders. And doesn't it make the bar so much nicer of a place to enjoy a brew? Three cheers for indoor plumbing.

During this time breweries sold directly to bars and some owned the bars in their area. Beer was always in casks. Breweries also made home deliveries as in the case of Nusser of the South Side. Nusser had a large brewery at the top of South 12th Street. The location was 12th and Manor Street, which now contains railroad tracks. The brewery sat adjacent to the now gone Knoxville Incline. Before that however he had a tavern on 12th Street at Bedford Square. Although the tavern is long gone is continues as a tavern known today as Club CafĂ©. Nussser started brewing in the tavern and would make home deliveries to the lady of the house. A proper housewife would never enter a bar to buy beer so he would satisfy the ladies while their husbands drank in his tavern. Well, something like that.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Craft" Beer Bars - What are they?

I was asked to define what a craft beer bar was and frankly I am at a loss for words. It is difficult for me to use the word craft in a sentence that contains beer, bar, brewery or brewer. I am an old wood worker but never called myself a craftsman. There are real craftsmen out there but they do not make craft wood. They do make well-made products with their skills. England is having a row over this with real ale. The beer campaign CAMRA defines real ale that is made the traditional way without adjuncts and served without forced carbon dioxide gas. Does that make other beers bad or not made by craftsmen? No.

All beer is made in a brewery by a brewer. That’s it. No other words need be added. All beer on the market right now is beer. What you like or don’t like applies to everyone. My beer is not your beer. The price of the beer in a bar is irrelevant as is the color, taste, alcohol content or materials used to make it. Beer is beer.

I asked twitter followers to update me with craft beer bars so I can add them to my website, I used the word craft, as that seems to be in use to day to eliminate “certain types” of beer. So what am I asking?  I am looking for bars and restaurants that are clean and safe. Places that you could take your wife or mother. They should have food that is not out of a bag. The beer (here it comes) should be served through clean lines if on draft. The beers themselves should have been made without off flavors or aromas, although this is not the bars fault but if made known to them should remove it for sale. The number of taps does not make a craft bar. Smoking bars can be on the list.

The question of what makes a good bar is: did you enjoy your stay and what you had and would you come back.

When taking to others I often hear, “I don’t like their beer”. I always retort, no their beers are well made, you just don’t like the styles they make. This is true. If you are not a hop head they you will not enjoy some of the world’s finest hoppy beers.

I rest my rant.