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Squibs 4

!) I said this would be sporadic.  I did not lie.

1) Well, the “OMG That Was A Big Freakin Deal” conference that hit ol’ Buffalo last month is really over and done now, though the chatter and back-patting continues.  I mean, I am talking about it, right? I got to play tour guide for a few hours and explain what happened in the Perot Malt House down Concrete Atlantis way.  Friend of CBW Brian Castner wrote an interesting piece over at, essentially asking “Hey! Did you know Buffalo is staking it’s future on architectural preservation instead of, say, BioMedical Research or Higher Education?”  I’m not sure sure “we” “did,” but even if we did, I am absolutely sure that prioritizing one thing doesn’t mean other things are off the table.  Let’s talk Embeering and Architecture for about a paragraph.

"The Mona Lisa"

Form AND Function, Mr. Sullivan.

Community Beer Works is located in an historic building–part of the Meyer Malting Company complex–which we are adapting (to meet our needs) and re-using (vs., I suppose, tearing it down).   There was a great article about Meyer in that Beer Issue of The Buffalo Spree earlier this year, by the way.  Now, in locating in this building, I wouldn’t put us on a par with, say, McMenamin’s, but we’re in the same vein.  We searched high and low for a good spot and this location combines everything we love: adaptive reuse, space for the present & the future, adjacency to a neighborhood & our target demographic, and of course, proximity to inexpensive but deliciously filling pasta fasool.  But you wanna see what an old brewery could be?  See that photo?  Just click here, here and here.  Indeed, that very project was given a Board of Advisors’ Award during the conference in Buffalo.  Just imagine if Buffalo’s old Lang brewery had not been razed… and half a dozen other great old local breweries, for that matter.

Now of course, we could build a brewery just anywhere, or go into any ol’ space what was available and met our need.  The modern brewery is far more likely to look like this than like the aforementioned Lang brewery did, no question.  Cheaper, I’m sure, and depite it’s banal exterior, Lagunitas makes impressively awesome beer.  But we’re contributing not just beer, but also to neighborhood revitalization here, and it is thus more broadly consistent with our philosophy and ethos.  If we were in a quonset hut, we’d make the same amazing beers we aim to make on Lafayette, but I hazard to say our Embeering would be less-than-complete.  But hey, that’s us.  What other up-and-coming brewey startups in the area do is up to them, and we support them regardless.  Still, can you imagine if beer was rolling out of the old Simon Pure building again some day?  Don’t laugh: I’ll give you double nickles on the dime that it does one day, not too distant even.

"the mona lisa"

jammed econo

2) Stanford MBAs + beer + The Economist = this.  Course, I don’t have to tell anyone reading this blog that drinking goes well with endeavors actuarial & fiduciary.  And that, my friends, is the kind of vocabulary to you can have if you read The Economist regularly.  Other cool features this week?  America could use a political middle right about now (er, ok; I’d settle for a middle class, thanks); Qaddafi–like Osama and Sadam before him–gets an obituary (I know it’s from 22nd October, but hey, I’m catching up on back issues here, mm’k?); What’s happening in Greece, explained; So how did those Vikings navigate, anyway?  I know: I just didn’t talk about beer for a second there- hold on, it’s coming.

3) Did you catch all the furor, the rending of clothes, the nail-biting and vehemence that accompanied the release of the Oxford Companion To Beer?  No?  Oh.  Well… all those links will certainly get you up to speed- don’t skip the comments, they are where all the fun is really at, I would say.  <sigh.>  Now, I do spend a lot of time thinking about, reading about, drinking about beer- so I feel I’m as far down the rabbit hole as anyone else, frankly.  But some of commentary takes things a bit too far, at least in terms of making it personal.  Sorry, you seem to be right when you say the book is imperfect… though it is hardly shocking that a book with 1100 entries would have errors. You might still be right to say that some of the myths it purpetuates about the history of beer would not have taken much energy to correct.  You can even be right that, of all imprints, the Oxford University Press really ought to have done a better job, being the voice of authority that it is.  I don’t diasgree with any of that.

Who's Your Daddy?

But the tone of some of the detractors, to me, is impertinent, unnecessary, uncivil, and makes me want to say: Relax, folks, and have a beer.  I am sure further editions will be better, and in the meanwhile A Good Beer Blog‘s Alan McLeod has set up an excellent wiki, so you can feel free to read an entry in the Companion, and double-chceck to see if anyone’s called it out yet, and if so, their references and authority in so doing.  I will bet double nickles on the dime (damn Minutemen reference again!) you’ll find very few corrections on the technical entries. As for the history… it can (like all things historical) take its sweet time coming unto perfection, if indeed perfection is possible.  Yes, it’s scholarship, and yes, scholars get snippy… but this is beer scholarship.  Let’s keep it classy and casual, as we like our pubs.

4) What happened to Squibs 3?  Wouldn’t you like to know!

5) The 5th and obligatory Squib sometimes is an obscure reference, a link to a strange YouTube video search (like ‘beer metal‘), or other minutae… but y’know, we do have our Kickstarter on, and so it seems like somewhere in public–and in bold italics!–we ought to give thanks and praise to Marc Odien of for helping us with the oh-so-clever-and-meta-video we’re using to convince folks we’re for real.  So: hey! Marc! THANKS!  Now remember, Tuesday is election day, so get on out there and vote for something, k?  If any kind of beer-maker were running, we’d endorse them, but since none are (locally anyway, we do support Paul Dyster For Mayor in Niagara Falls) we simply endorse taking the time to have a beer after the heavy lifting that is your civil responsibility.  Cheers!

4 comments on “Squibs 4

  1. Brian Castner on

    Hey, thanks for the reference. So not to quibble, but I don’t think I ever said, quite, that… How about, the community is buying into historic preservation in a way “College Town” and “Med Research Capital” hasn’t quite taken off. That buy in is a result of conscious choices, activities, and work. And, most importantly, McMenamins is awesome – more of that here please.

  2. Ethan on

    OK, that’s a much better point then, I think. But I do recall, at least when we were talking about it, some further implication you were making about spending… no?

  3. Brian Castner on

    Well, the further implication is that with limited resources, doing one well makes it harder to do others. But that comment string got so convoluted I don’t even know which side I’m on anymore.

  4. Ethan on

    Be on my side; it’s a safe bet it’s the right side!

    I think the characterization of preservation & reuse as being ‘more concerned with the building than its contents’ flies in the face of how preservation actually happens. In reality, until one–a developer, for example–can find a use for the inside, it is very difficult to restore a building, or even to preserve a building for later restoration & use. So really, the two go hand in hand.

Comments are closed.