This April marks the one year anniversary of When we opened the proverbial doors a year ago, we began with the bar set so low that failure was not an option. At our core, we are a drinking related blog. However, if you are looking for savvy wine reviews (then you probably won't ever find your way to this post) you'll probably need a subscription to some premium content site. If you want expert beer reviews, go to Beer Advocate or Rate Beer. (Seriously people, 95% of all beer blogs are just regurgitated versions of what already exists in one of these awesome online resources. And if you were offended by the previous statement, then you are probably one of the 5%. Look, I subscribe and read beer bloggers that give reviews; I just don't write beer reviews… much. OK, enough parenthetical text.)

We are who we are, and I am who we be… or something. While I am but one of the motley crew of professionals interloping in the online writing world, if there was one thing I'd like improve in Year Two (no, not avoiding the occasional and inadvertent ticking off of Cathy Matusow), it would be writing some shorter posts. "Tasting Flight" is my first attempt at this resolution.

The idea behind the posts will be to present a few random notes about things I've seen, read, or tasted recently. I'll keep it semi-brief and just make a few comments before presenting you with links to other people's work. Think of it as a scratch and sniff version of stuff on my brain at the moment.

  1. Beer Taxes
    Taxes on beer have been a hot topic over the past year in several states. On the national scene, Charlie Papazian and the Brewers Association have been supporting H.R. 4278, which would half the excise tax for small brewers from $7.00 to $3.50 per barrel for the first 60K barrels and from $18.00 to $16.00 on barrel 60,001 to 2,000,000. More recently, I've been reading about states also scrounging for more things to tax to cover budget deficits. While cigarettes and gasoline are easy, but already heavily taxed items, fat taxes are picking up momentum with lawmakers. A recent proposal in the state of Washington to add a huge tax on mass-market beers is getting a lot of attention. Is taxing Bud-Miller-Coors beers (~$0.43 more per 6-pack) the magic bullet for states scrambling for cash? Does it surprise you that it is Democrats, who win elections by representing the little guy, are the party behind the beer tax?

  2. The Wine Purse
    Let's face it, box wine will never be fashionable because it has the word "box" in it. But a wine purse… this could catch on. If that spigot pops off for travel, this thing would be great for sporting events! Especially filled with bourbon.

  3. "Home" Brewing
    Ronald Walcher and wife Jackie Jenkins are small brewery owners in Arlington, WA who have run into a small problem lately: They are too popular. Skookum Brewery, which the two run out of their home on a small 10 barrel system, opens their tasting room Friday from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM and Saturday from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Their neighbors (at least 47 of them) have asked the County for help to force Skookum to move its tasting room because of the traffic it brings to the neighborhood. But if you guys are picturing a neighborhood getting slammed by hundreds of beer drinkers, think again. This is a farm town. Neighbor please! Cheers Skookum.

  4. Hot, Hot, Hot!
    I've read about two universities planning breweries in the last few weeks. Where was this idea when I was in school? In March, the LSU chancellor announced the intentions to open a microbrewery on campus. Appalachian State University has also given the go-ahead to faculty to start a microbrewery. According to the article, The University of California at Davis and the University of Denver are also leading this trend of educational breweries. My only suggestion for the App State brewery is that they somehow incorporate their promotional song in the tasting area. Hot.

  5. 140 Character ReviewReal Ale Devil's Backbone
    (because I drink and have thoughts on beer, but I'd rather write about App State's promotional video)
    Real Ale Devil's Backbone. 1st time in bottles this yr. Belgian tripel w/ in-house candy sugar. 8.1%ABV. Fruity&Strong. Love it. #craftbeer

  6. Dr. Analytics, Web M.D. – "centennial hops odor pee cat"
    (helping the lost Googlers who mistakenly land on our site)
    I'm going to assume this Googler was drinking a Stone Ruination IPA with his friend and this conversation happened:
    Dude 1 – Wow! The hops in this beer coat your entire throat. It practically ruins your taste buds. Says here it is loaded with centennial hops.
    Dude 2 - *cough* This is going to take me a while to drink.
    Lady Friend – Greg Koch is like soooo dreamy.
    Dude 2 – This beer smells like cat pee. Didn't a Golden Girl or Designing Woman pass away today? I might have to pour some or all of this out for my homegirl.
    Dude 1 – Cat pee!? Are you high? And how do you know what cat pee smells like anyway?
    Dude 2 – Dude. Cat pee city up in this.
    Dude 1 – I'm Googling Centennial hops from my Andriod phone right now.
    Dude 2 – And… what is taking so long
    Dude 1 – I found this great blog called The Ferm. Who wants kolaches?
    Lady Friend – Me!
    aaaaannnnnd scene…

    For what it is worth, in my experience cat pee is an aroma I've seen in a few white wine reviews (and it is a good thing, not a bad thing). I suppose some citrusy hops, such as centennial, may have the essence of feline urine, but I wouldn't know… mostly because I'm not a litter box connoisseur.

  7. BONUS TASTE: A Horrible Turn
    Some of you may have read my homage to the amazing online musical Horrible Turn, which is a prequel to Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog that starred Neil Patrick Harris. Chance McLain's movie was recently nominated for a Streamy Award (the Academy Awards for web television) and Chance wrote a great post recapping the whole experience. I highly recommend you check it out.

OK Stop. Before you guys say anything, I just want to remind you that Rome was *not* built in a day. Maybe next Tasting Flight post will be shorter.

  1. J.R. Ewing April 13, 2010 at 7:05 PM  

    The savvy space travel fan picks up that your "Failure was Not an Option" title is related to Apollo 13 (what with the tank explosion being 40 years to the day).