Thursday, March 29, 2007

Social Networking, old school

Tonight, I'll be at Draws for Paws at the Town Tavern. $15 at the door goes to an excellent, furry cause, and gets you 2 beers and pizza. Dude. I am so there.

Tomorrow I have been invited to attend the American Copywriter KC ad blogger people meeting coffee thingy. (Because the regulars, like Jeremy & Celeste, were asked to bring new people.) At 7:30. AM. Those that know me are laughing out loud. This is probably not going to happen. Do you know that we only have one shower in our house? One shower. Two people that work in advertising. One shower. And are not morning people. At all. We shall see. I know that I can make it somewhere early, but I am not pleasant. Which means maybe it is best if I do not make it anyway. Hmmm. Debating.

What are YOU doing next Friday?! You should be at the Ad2 Battle of the Bands, PART DUH! It's at the Brick, April 6th, doors at 9:30 pm, battle at 10:30, and it will be a blast! The bands rock, the DJ between sets is awesome, and all the cool kids will be there. Click on the pic for more details:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Miller should call me

Can you say ouch? The poor CMO at Miller. That's cold.

When Crispin Porter & Bogusky President Jeff Hicks called Miller's CMO Randy Ransom to quit the brewer's advertising account last week, a surprised Mr. Ransom tried to talk the agency president out of resigning. "Is there anything we can do to stop this?" he asked. Mr. Hicks replied that he'd already issued a press release.

And now the marketing dept of SABMiller has to face distributors in Vegas without an agency, an ad strategy, or clever TV creative to get them excited about the brand, headed into peak beer sales season. I don't envy that.

They should give BARKLEY a call. That would be the coolest.

Monday, March 26, 2007

When I grow up...

This story hit my radar today. Now I know what I want to be when I grow up. Whenever that happens...

Four Points by Sheraton announced the winner of their search for a Chief Beer Officer today, kicking off the week by ringing the bell at the NYSE. The hotel chain started it's search in November 2006, and expected to have someone in place by mid-January. As it goes with these sorts of things, it is late March, but hey, at least they have someone!

Scott Kerkmans, the "Beer Director" of Draft Magazine, will act as an independent, part-time consultant for the hotel chain’s newly launched program, Best Brews. In this role, the CBO will be responsible for sharing his in-depth knowledge of the wide world of beer on a monthly blog and help cultivate, curate and promote Best Brews’ offerings at brewery tours, beer festivals, and on bar stools across the country.

Over 7,500 aspiring CBOs applied for the position - predictably enough came from beer capitals like St. Louis, Milwaukee and Boston, but also South Korea, Dubai, and the Maldives. In all, citizens of all fifty states and 31 different countries on six continents applied for the CBO spot, which in the view of the folks at Four Points by Sheraton reflects the unifying love of lagers and the passions unleashed by pilsners.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Maybe the buzziest isn't the best

Ad peeps already know this, but my beer peeps might not. The agency (Crispin, Porter & Bogusky) that has handled Miller Brewing's account for the past year or so, handling all of the Miller Lite and High Life work, quit. My summary is that basically the agency got sick of their creative being watered down by too many "approval processes" (and I am completely conjecturing here) and having all the teeth pulled out of a monster idea by a committee of brand people over at Miller. The problem is that while Man Laws were great fun, but didn't sell the beer. (Kind of a key issue in any advertising relationship.) The spots we've been seeing during the NCAA games, the ones that compare Miller Lite to the competitors, were actually made by Miller themselves. The High Life ads, with the gruff talking delivery truck driver revoking High Life privileges from places that charge $11.50 for a hamburger, are Crispin work, and unfortunately will die with this "F that account," announcement.

Ad people admire and want to be CP+B, for lots of reasons. They're creative, they're kooky, they get tons and tons of press, and they only have to exhale differently to set everyone to chattering about their model-breaking business. Today it is because most of us don't have the ability, the financial security, the chutzpah or the balls to tell a difficult client to shove off. (Assuming that Miller is actually a difficult client.) Ahh, to be an industry darling. Call it paranoia, but when someone is on top, the only long term direction I can see them heading in is down.

Full AdAge article here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Phoenix rises

Thanks to Dustin for being quick on the email forwarding. There's an announcement for you all in KC. 75th Street Brewery is re-opening, post fire, tonight!

Ashes to Ashes?
Dust to Dust?
More like KEG to PINT!
Thanks to the patience and support of the community and a LOT of overtime by our crew...
The Brewery is bringing it all back to the neighborhood - amazing food & award-winning hand-crafted beer - TODAY!
So come by, we can't wait to see you either.

Cheers, beers & a few sentimental tears
Your family at 75th Brewery.

So last year I lamented the fact that my favorite little brewpub closed, and they were the only ones that I ever knew to brew actual Birch Beer. And in exploring the 75th Street's site, what do I see? Monarch Root Beer. "...handcrafted from birch bark, almond extract and brewer's malts. " I am almost afraid to ask if it is indeed BEER, or if it is just regular old Root Beer.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Like I could leave it at that?

No, can't leave the St. Pat's stuff alone. Not yet.
Planning on doing some partying this St. Patrick's Day? If you are, remember to take this number with you. The St.Joseph Medical Center
and Yellow Cab will provide cab rides in the St. Paddy's Wagon for those who've had too much to drink. They won't take you to another bar - these rides are only good for a "take me home," trip. The first $25 of the fare is on the house. Rides start at 3 p.m. Saturday and end at midnight. To catch a ride, call (816) 943-3949.
You don’t have to drink cheap beer with green food coloring tomorrow. It will make your tongue a really ugly color, never mind the taste. Of course you could go for a Boulevard's Irish Ale, which you already know I adore, or a Guinness, which has done an excellent job "owning" St. Patrick's Day. But there are other loverly Irish brews out there from which to choose. In case you weren’t aware, I’ll elaborate.

The top and/or most popular Irish pours (besides Guinness) are Beamish Stouts and Reds, Harp (a lager from Guinness), Murphy's Stouts and Reds (owned by Heineken) and Smithwick's, another red.

Guinness is DARK, like all stouts and has a thick mouthfeel. Surprisingly to some, stouts actually contain quite a bit less calories than their lighter looking cousins. Guinness tastes more like coffee and grains than the others, at least to me.

Beamish Stout is all about unsweetened chocolate and strong espresso. Same stout consistency overall, however. I’ve only had this a few times.

Murphy’s Stout is more roasted malts and a lighter mouthfeel, despite looking very thick and dark. It smells like coffee & chocolate as well, but somehow manages to go down in a way I can only call silky. I *heart* Murphy’s.

Harp is a lager, meaning it is lighter in color and mouthfeel. It is clear gold in color and tastes more ‘crisp’ and smooth than the others.

Beamish Red is red in color, duh, and focuses on malty, caramel flavors. Of the reds listed here, I think it is the mildest/sweetest. Second only to Boulevard’s version.

Murphy’s Red is similar, but with slightly stronger hoppiness. If you aren’t a huge hop fan, this might not be your favorite. I don’t consider this to have much of a kick, but I like Pale Ales and other high-hop beers, so take that with a grain of salt.

Smithwick’s is also an Irish Ale, but it is brown, not red in color. (Don’t pronounce the “w” in that when you order it. Say “smitticks,” or “smiddicks,” unless you want the smart ass 22 year old waitress to correct you. That won’t make you feel very beer snobbish.) This is balanced between malts & hops, but definitely the most bitter of the reds, in my opinion.

Don’t know what to have? Order a Black&Tan or Half&Half, with Harp & Guinness (or Guinness and Bass). You don’t have to struggle with a decision, it looks cool, and certainly makes you more sophisticated than your bar mate, who is chugging something indescribable with green foam on top. Blech.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I love this week!

It's March Madness, St. Pat's is on a Saturday, and today it was almost 80 degrees. Beers were drank on the rooftop deck of the office in the mid-afternoon. Ahhh. Springtime.

Obviously there are a ton of options for celebrating on Saturday. Come to the Parade. You don't have to skip school or work for the first time in years, and it just happens to be one of the largest in the US. I'll be marching in it. Or possibly being dragged thru it by a large ballon. We'll see. Heh. If you're up for it, come to Lew's in Waldo on Friday, to get in the spirit of the holiday. There will be live music & tomfoolery. And me. Plus, it is a fundraiser for the KC St Patrick's Day Parade and Old St Patrick Cathedral. And my last bit of "do as I do," directives, let me add this...GET A CAB! I don't care if you've only had one. GET A CAB. Off my soapbox now.


I also wanted to plug something else here, post St. Pat's. You can make it, it is more than a week after whatever craziness ensues on your St. Pat's adventures. A friend & co-worker of mine is a total dog dude. Pitpull advocate, to be more specific. I'm on his side, for the record. And he's part of this KC Dog Advocates Group , that happens to be hosting their first ever fundraiser in 2 weeks. He posted this on his blog:

Tower Tavern, a newcomer to Martini Corner in Kansas City -- and a rival to Waldo Pizza and Minsky's for the best pie in KC, is hosting the event for them. If you can make the time for Happy Hour, stop in on March 29th. It'll be a great time, great food, great beer, and the money will go to a great cause. The best deal is to let them know in advance that you're coming.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I feel like I should apologize to someone over at Boulevard Brewing. Jeremy, perhaps? I stole the #1 search result on Google for "Lunar Ale." And BeerAdvocate owns the #1 listing on Yahoo! for "Lunar Ale Boulevard." Not that this SECOND post here on the topic is going to help much. So sorry guys. If you'd like me to post anything specific about your new brew, I'd do so gladly.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Today there will be a Lunar Eclipse

And last night I tried Boulevard's new beer, Lunar Ale, a Dark American Wheat. It won't be widely released until April, so it was kind of a sneak peek. The guys down at Rimann Liquor had already tried it & gave me the run-down, though, so don't think that I am too special. And no pictures, b/c my ancient blackberry has no camera phone technology. Sorry! Here's what I posted over at BeerAdvocate:

The Boulevard Brewery hosted a happy hour for the local KC chapters of the AdClub and PRSA, and opened up the Boulevard bar at their new event space above the brewery. (Very cool space, btw. If I wasn't already married, I totally would have held a wedding reception there!) I had one pint glass of Lunar before drinking anything else, but I didn't take notes. This is from memory. Such that it is.

The glass was handed to me with a light head of cream-colored, fat-bubbled froth that dispersed quickly. The beer was murky, and in color and consistency, reminded me of unfiltered cider. It smelled strongly of malt, and the first sip had a definite bite to it, with light carbonation, followed by a sweet tang. I couldn't place the flavors at all, and somehow it seemed an unexpected combo. The tanginess could have been like cilantro, or maybe cloves, and the sweet seemed a bit fruity. A friend insisted that there was a banana flavor underneath it all, but I can't agree. She also insisted that the beer was called Lunar because it is, "out of this world." Complete with just-Jack-style jazz hands. That's talent, right there, all while holding a beer.

I am a huge fan of browns, and Boulevard, but this seemed a strange combination. It may be a good summer beer, when served ice cold, but it wasn't what I expected. (Probably because someone had told me a rumor that the new beer was going to be some sort of Belgian. Which is not really like a Dunkel.) I guess I'll stick to stockpiling the Irish Ale while it is available, to enjoy beyond March.

****edited to add****
The Lunar Ale is a version of an American Dark Wheat Ale, which is an Americanized version of a Dunkel Weizen. Per BeerAdvocate, hop characters will be low to high with some fruitiness from ale fermentation, though most examples use of a fairly neutral ale yeast, resulting in a clean fermentation with little to no diacetyl. Flavors of caramel and toasted malts might be present. German Weizen flavors and aromas of banana esters and clove-like phenols will not be found.

The aroma of banana esters should not be found in an American, but they are expected in a German beer. So perhaps they were there afterall.