Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Craft Brew versus the (old) Home Brew: Local Beer Debates at the Maryland House

Schlafly or Anheuser-Busch? This is a question many people debate. They debate it on the holiest of all beer holidays (in my book), Memorial Day, when deciding what to buy and bring to their awesome friend's BBQ. (For the record, we always end up with way more Schlafly than AB.) People debate this, sometimes in a very aggressive manner, when they walk into your bar and you don't carry AB (the Royale, the Bleeding Deacon). And the debate continues as people drink.

For me, I'm not sure there's much left to say. The case was closed a long time ago, and the nails were slammed into the coffin when InBev bought AB. But if you're still unsure which side of the fence to get drunk on, then maybe you should step out to the Maryland House in the CWE tonight. As part of owner, Kevin Brennan's, crazy world order, the first Wednesday of each month is a verbal smackdown. Sometimes arguing the inane, and often cheering the local, these short debates go round and round with the audience deciding the winner. On tap tonight: Schlafly vs. AB.

There will be Schlafly samples outside in the CWE beginning at 7pm. It's rumoured that Tom Schlafly himself is showing up to do the honors of argument. One way or the other, whether you have a preference or just love beer, this is one not to miss. (And if you don't know the Maryland House, don't go looking for a sign. It's the red door just past Brennan's on Maryland in the CWE.)

Debate to kick off between 9-9:15. I'd suggest heading up there earlier. These things have a tendency to get crowded and more than a little rowdy. And hey, one way or the other, no matter what you like to drink, just make sure it's local as often as it's not. Keep the beer jobs here, St. Louis.

NO COVER-- Just buy a good beer.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Music, music, music: Morgan Ford in Motion, Big Muddy Records, and Maid Rite

Festival overload continues into October with a bevy of events rolling out this weekend. Just checking my inbox seems to ensure that there is a festival for every last person in the city this weekend. My bet, however, is the Morgan Ford in Motion festival. This baby's popping out on Saturday, October 3, with music beginning at Noon and going until 8:30 PM. (location: Morgan Ford and Juniata)

The Funky Butt Brass Band will be there, so will Steve Ewing and local favorite Javier Mendoza. And if you've never heard the Funky Butt Brass Band, go do it. They're on at 2:30, which is the perfect time. Fit in some lunch beforehand at Local Harvest, listen to some music, and then grab a beer at the Amsterdam.

Morgan Ford in Motion will have local artists and booths with local organizations. SCOSAG has some fun crafts and events for the family (or the budding artist contained within you). The entertainment's free, but there will be food and beer if you need more sustenance. (I heard no coolers allowed, so I'm passing that on.)

If you need more fun in your weekend and want something to do tonight (Friday), hit up the last of the Schlafly Cask IPA at the Good Pie (6pm) on Olive. Reportedly, it's pretty damn delicious. After some slices, head on over to the Jefferson Underground Rooftop Party (across from the Way Out) sponsored by local label Big Muddy Records. For $10 (BYOB), starting at 8 PM, you get to hear some great music from 6 bands, including 7 Shot Screamers, Pokey LaFarge, the Monads, and Alley Ghost. Or, if the chill outside isn't your thing, laze on over to the Tap Room to catch Maid Rite at 9 PM (FREE).

It's a good weekend to be in the 'Lou.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dear St. Louis, This Week Your Media Rocks!

Some times you just have to say thank you. In recent years, I have been a constant complainer about STL media and a big advocate of our smaller and more independent media channels. Today is no exception, and so I feel it necessary to give a shout out to a few of my favorites this week.

Matt Thenhaus' beer blog for the RFT

I am fortunate enough to know a lot of beer geeks, but none with the sheer depth of knowledge or charm of Matt Thenhaus... and the boy can write. I first met Matt years ago when he was my customer, and I learned then to always offer him a glass with his beer. Over the years, I have served Matt, worked with him, written with him, and I have certainly shared many beers with him. Beer is like pure joy for him, and he simply wants to share it. I've been wanting Matt to have a more public forum for his geekdom for the past several years. A talent like his can't be held down, but must be shared for the greater good. So, thank you RFT, for making that happen. Now, every Wednesday you can read Matt's beer column on the RFT Gut Check blog. He'll tell you about things he likes, things he doesn't, what you should know, and what you might like to drink. Undoubtedly, along the way you'll learn things you didn't know, get excited about beers you've never heard of, and re-think those you might have passed up. Matt is the quintessential professional and the go-to guy for a lot of this town's beer questions. Now you get to enjoy him too.

(Also check out his sometimes-updated beer musings here.)

I HEART Thomas Crone's Silver Tray on KDHX

Each week I find myself in the car around lunchtime on Friday, shuffling between two things, feeling rushed... and then I turn on the radio and Thomas Crone makes it all okay. I have been looking for a reason to gush about Silver Tray for the last few weeks (not that I need a reason, it just didn't fit into my other blog love letters). There's something about Thomas' radio show on KDHX that just makes me happy. It's like it's permanently 1992, and not in the Kurt Cobain-grunge-I-want-to-kill-myself way that I can't stand, but in a glorious way that's evocative of my youth. The music he plays (which is not all from 1992) makes me think of when I first discovered music on MTV's 120 Minutes or by listening to college radio stations when I was down in Denver. Back then (in 1992), I lived in the mountains, far from the maddening crowd, and record stores did not happen. I felt lucky to have radio. But I would write down the tunes I liked and my brother would come home from college and ferry me to the record store for my fix. Back then, music meant something to me. It was like fuel, helping me decide who I wanted to be, and often pushing me faster as I learned sick tricks and stunts on my snowboard. It was when Sonic Youth and the Pixies ruled my heart (and they kinda still do). But listening to Thomas' show is like that. It's like he plays whatever I need and my mood just melts into the song. It's my kind of show, and it makes me happy.

Congrats also to Cat Pick, whose KDHX show Emotional Rescue was just voted the Best Rock Radio show in STL by the RFT Reader's Choice. Check out Cat's show on Monday mornings on 88.1 FM or online at For Thomas, tune in on Fridays from Noon-2pm (and then stay for Bob's Scratchy Records right after). KDHX also streams all their shows for two full weeks after the original air date, so listen online.

And finally, thank you St. Louis American for writing about news that matters AND makes me happy.

I rolled onto the STL American website this morning to see what was happening in the world, and I was so happy to see this story about a local fourth grader publishing her third book. So often, we only see the failures of city schools and not the great things that also happen. A student at Oak Hill Elementary School on the south side, this girl learned to read early and then began writing. her quotes illustrate how intelligent and talented she is. Having taught in SLPS for many years, I love hearing about the kids who get it right, because so many of them do and are constantly overshadowed by the negative press the schools get. If you need a book for a child you love, check out what she's written. How much cooler to buy a book for a child that another local kid has written. And if you have a child, take a cue from this young girl and encourage your own kids to write their own books.

It's a good day in local media, and for that, I must give thanks.