Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Get Off of My Cloud

This past weekend I was all set to be a part of Artenbru. I brewed a delicious beer to serve to complete strangers, as did 9 other local homebrewers, out of the kindness of our hearts. Mine was a brown ale. Things were set to be a nice and mellow collaboration between homebrewers and the local artists we were paired with. It was basically a one-of-a-kind event in which we brewed a specific batch for the night, and our artist-partners imagined a design, poster, or piece of art to represent the beer. Art and brews, what could be better?  

Well in all its bureuacratic glory, the city of St Paul decided to shut down the free-beer portion of Artenbru. Clearly I was planning to poison loads of unsuspecting event-goers, or even worse, not pay tax on the 2 ounce samples of beer that were available. It was an extremely disappointing call by the city, but honestly, not a surprising one. The alcohol laws here are downright embarrassing. I like to think of St Paul as being a reasonable place that appreciates its culture of food, art, and beer, but apparently those things are incidental, not intentional.

The night of the event I decided to make my way down to hang out with and support my artist-collaborator on the project (you should check out his website; it's really great stuff) as we had both put our own time and money into it, he even more than I. After an irritating bus ride to the Black Dog cafe, I was surprised to be met by a line extending out the door. Despite the city's bogus politics and terrible timing, almost all the brewers and artists showed up to talk about what they had made and what had happened to the event and, all in all, it ended up being a great time. Seeing the enthusiasm and support of the crowd was made up for much of the disappointment and I think most everyone still had a good time.

At the end of the night, we bundled up and headed home. The city tried to shut us down, the wind was biting and cold, and Lowertown St Paul was characteristically deserted, but it was a good night after all. I headed home and drank a pint of brown ale in solitude.

After all, I had an entire keg that hadn't been touched.
One pint down, which means 39 more of these bad boys

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