Category Archives: Beer in the News

Five Points, Columbia, South Carolina, 5:48 p.m. today

Five Points in Columbia, SC: 5:48 p.m., 9/9/2020

Five Points in Columbia, SC: 5:48 p.m., 9/9/2020

This seemed to provoke some interest on Twitter today, when I posted it a few minutes after it was taken, so I thought I’d share it here for my readers who don’t do the tweeting thing.

The picture above was taken at 5:48 p.m. today in Five Points.

As I explained on Twitter, the kids weren’t waiting to get into Subway. They were waiting to get into the bar next door. As I said, I don’t think Subway serves beer. Although why they don’t, I don’t know — look at the crowd they could gather!

No, they were going next door.

One friend who was recently in college herself expressed some surprise at that, saying “They don’t even have a great selection!”

Yeah, well. I don’t think think they were lined up for “selection.” Unless you mean “natural selection.”

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? They think they’re invulnerable. Using the term “think” loosely, of course.

The tweet drew reactions from Bryan Caskey, Doug Ross, Phillip Bush, and “Mayor Bob” Coble. But I think my favorite was this one:

About bars closing at 2 a.m. in Columbia

For my second post of the day based on Twitter, I’ll give you something I retweeted this morning:

Kevin Fisher

Kevin Fisher

First, let me tell you of a sorta kinda indirect conflict I have. Or at least, apparent conflict: Phill Blair, co-owner of The Whig, is one of my elder son’s oldest friends, and one of the leading opponents of an earlier closing time for bars in the city. (For that matter, Free Times has a much closer connection than that his partner Will Green, but no one makes a secret of that or anything.)

And their argument is this: Their bar, which benefits from staying open later, would be penalized when it isn’t one of the bars causing the problems the policy is designed to address — which is more of a Five Points thing. (Phill and Will, let me know if I didn’t state that clearly.)

Of course, that flies in the face of my Grownup Party instincts, which embraces such concepts as “Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.” So I tend to lean toward what Kevin is saying:

In case you didn’t know it, we are very much the outlier on this issue, with Charleston and Greenville both requiring bars to close at 2 a.m.

Yet somehow the hospitality industry in those cities has survived and thrived without serving alcohol past 2 a.m. That’s right, all the bar activity on the peninsula in Charleston and all the bar activity on Main Street in Greenville comes to an end at 2 a.m.

What do their City Councils know that ours doesn’t? Maybe how to run a city, for starters.

Kevin was as wrong as wrong can be in the column before this one. If there was a perfect example of an issue that should NOT be decided by referendum, it’s the Dominion-SCANA deal. But he’s on more solid ground this week.

It’s getting harder and harder to believe Trump doesn’t drink

The most powerful man in the world feels so picked on by these people that he lashes out like a middle-schooler writing in a slam book.

The most powerful man in the world feels so picked on by these people that he lashes out like a middle-schooler writing in a slam book.

A guy is up at 3 a.m. spewing out Tweets that are nearly or completely incoherent (covfefe!), filled with offensive vitriol, lashing out at everyone who has ever — in his surly, dim perception — done him wrong. Especially if they’re women. The next day, everyone who knows him is in an uproar. The whole world, including some of his friends, says this must stop! The next night, he does it again.

This is a classic pattern, right? So how is it possible that there’s not alcohol, or some other intoxicant, involved?

And yet, we are so often reassured, the man who Tweeted that gross effusion about Mika Brzezinski — just the latest in a sickening, unending series (it still blows my mind that a president of the United States finds time to tweet more than I do) — does not touch strong drink. There’s a compelling, tragic backstory to this — Trumps older brother, an alcoholic, died at 42.

And I continue to believe it.

But how, then, do we explain the Tweets? Or the rest of his behavior, for that matter? But the Tweets seem the perfect distillation of all this other unhinged behavior, set down in writing and shared with all…

What grown man who is sober would write about a woman, “She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” (Especially when there’s no truth in it.) A sober 12-year-old might. But not a sober grownup, under any circumstances.

Oh, and by the way — I cited above the pattern of middle-of-the-night Tweets. This wasn’t even that. The two Tweets leading to the latest uproar went out at 8:52 a.m. and six minutes later. You know, at a time you’d expect a POTUS to be getting his morning intelligence briefing, or making calls to Congress to try to pass his agenda, or meeting with foreign dignitaries, or something other than watching a TV show and obsessing about how much he hates the hosts, and publishing rude, crude comments about them — the sort of childish, mindless insults that kids wrote in “slam books” when I was in middle school.

If Trump were a guy who started drinking at breakfast, like Winston Churchill, this would make some kind of sense.

But once you take alcohol out of the mix, how do you explain it?

Too many microbrews are just TOO MUCH


On the whole, I like the idea of microbrew beer. Anything that helps America break the hegemony of Bud Light seems to me a good thing in general.

But I have a complaint. Something crystallized for me last night. I was at an event at which several microbreweries were sharing their wares. And I started thinking a thought that had not fully formed for me before…

Whatever they call their specialized brews, and however they describe their qualities, these uberserious brewers tend to have one thing in common: The taste is just TOO MUCH. There’s a complete lack of nuance, subtlety or restraint.

They’re all so concerned with differentiating themselves from the popular American mass-produced beers, so worried about not being tasteless dishwater, that they go overboard with the flavoring. Too much hops. Too much maltiness. Too much everything. It’s as though a cook dumped every spice in his cabinet into a stew to keep it from being bland, and the result was disastrous.

The taste tends to stick with you the rest of the evening, whatever else you eat or drink.

I tasted a stout last night, grimaced and told the guy from the microbrewery that it tasted like an IPA. And by that I meant an American IPA, which is to say something overpowering. An India Pale Ale, properly understood, should be <em>refreshing</em>, like the Fuller’s Bengal Lancer IPA I had in England, inspired by the ales formulated in the 19th century specifically to refresh the troops in India. And it got the job done, going by my experience with it.

Last night, I tried a porter from the same brewery, and it tasted like the stout, which as I said tasted like an American IPA — a truckload of hops dumped in with other overbearing flavors. I put the small glass down as soon as I had walked out of sight.

Occasionally I really like something from a microbrewery, such as an ESB I had not long ago at Hunter-Gatherer. But too often they’re trying too hard to impress, and it’s just too much

A cautionary tale as we head into the holidays…


I have no idea what I was searching for the other day when I ran across this page, but I found it interesting.

There’s no text with it to explain what’s going on, beyond this:

Portraits after 1, 2 & 3 glasses of wine

And I suppose that’s sufficient.

In any case, the results were fairly predictable. People seemed slightly more apt to smile after one glass, then got really friendly-looking after two. Especially the ladies, thanks to their lesser mass. And, since the photographer chose only attractive young women, some came across as very, um, sexy at that point. Rather come-hither, or at least indiscriminately friendly. One senses the approach of an indiscretion. But that might be a perception bias on my part.

Then they had the third glass, and it was just… too much. As seen in the above example. This one, too. Obviously a bad idea. Should have stopped at two, or maybe one, since two seems liable to get people in trouble.

Some of the males got almost as goofy as the women, while others, such as the extreme example below, held rigidly to the traditional maxim that a man must be seen to hold his liquor.

But you know what? He may look sober, but I worry about him getting behind the wheel of a car.

A cautionary tale, as we head into the holidays…


How can a man with no gray in his beard be interesting?

'Stay thirsty, my friends!" An official portrait of the Most Interesting Man in My House.

‘Stay thirsty, my friends!” An official portrait of the Most Interesting Man in My House.

In a profile last year, NPR told us some interesting things about Jonathan Goldsmith — the actor who had for years portrayed Dos Equis beer’s “Most Interesting Man In the World.”

Here’s how he got the job of doing those ads:

He arrived at the audition and, to his surprise, was surrounded by hundreds of young, Latino actors.jonathangoldsmith-042714-038rt-8456a1b9f98cd0b98234ac641be288e6a29eeb67-s1500-c85

“The line is out into the street. And I said, ‘Oh boy,’ ” Goldsmith says. “If they’re looking at these Latino guys, I better put on an accent.”

The voice of the late Argentine-born actor, Fernando Lamas, instantly popped into his head. The two were sailing buddies and good friends, and Goldsmith had perfected an impression of him.

“So I thought about him and how funny he was and how charming and a great raconteur, so I put on my best Fernando imitation,” Goldsmith says. “And they started laughing.”

Barbara received a call from Joe Blake, the casting director. He told Barbara that they loved Goldsmith’s performance, but they felt like they had to go younger.

“And in her infinite wisdom, she took a long pause and she said, ‘Joe, how can the most interesting man in the world be young?’ ” Goldsmith says. “He said, ‘I’ll get back to you.’ “

Exactly! How can some young punk be the world’s most interesting man — someone who is not worldly, who has not been there and done that many times? (Imagine that in a Fernando Lamas accent.) The answer is easy! He can’t be!

And yet, mere months after that story was told celebrating Goldsmith’s success, Dos Equis retired him — sending him, not merely out to pasture, but on a one-way trip to Mars!

And replaced him with the tenderfoot shown below! A mere puppy! There’s no gray in his beard! There’s no way sharks would have a week dedicated to him!

On behalf of all men old enough to be interesting (whether we are or not), I’m taking this personally…




America, America, I chug a can of thee…


Have you seen this?

American currency has long held claim to being the only thing found in bars that boasts the phrase “E Pluribus Unum.”  This summer, Budweiser wants to change that by rebranding itself as “America” and peppering its packaging with that very phrase, alongside some others like “Liberty and Justice for All” and “Indivisible Since 1776.”

That’s right. The company wants to replace “Budweiser,” the name of the beer, with the word “America,” the name of our country, for the summer. According to AdAge, Anheuser-Busch InBev has filed the above label for approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

In addition to the aforementioned phrases, the word-heavy label would include, in all capital letters, the following: “Land of the Free,” “Home of the Brave” and “From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters this land was made for you and me.”…

Wow. Just wow.

I suppose, in making this decision, they rejected these other possibilities:

  1. Mom.
  2. Apple Pie.
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roll.
  4. John Wayne.
  5. God.

Nothing like subtlety. That is, this is definitely nothing like subtlety…

Burl posts picture that says ‘eat your hearts out!’


Burl Burlingame posted today on Facebook a better shot of a sunset from Schooners, the restaurant right on Pearl Harbor where he took us to dinner after giving us the tour of Ford Island. In this shot, Ford Island (where Burl “works”) is between us and the sun going down behind the Waianae mountains. Off to the left is the causeway out to the island. To the right is McGrew Point Navy officer housing, where my family lived briefly just before I left for college.


He said he was there celebrating National Beer Day. Probably with a Newcastle, I’m guessing.

My second greatest regret from our time on the island (the greatest being that we couldn’t stay longer) is that I didn’t get a Primo. I had never had Primo. During my very brief time as a legal drinker in the islands (that week or so I was there over Christmas vacation, 1971), I never had a Primo. It was considered cooler to drink Olympia, so I did. Nor did I ever eat poi, strangely enough.

I rectified that, at least. The last thing we did before heading to the airport to leave was to have lunch at Ono Hawaiian Foods, a wonderfully downhome, unpretentious, authentic eatery. We had da kine pig and poi, and it was great. Pictures of the food and the place are below.

No, not as beautiful as what Burl posted, but it was good. We ordered and shared the Combination Plate — kalua pig and laulau, pipikaula, lomi salmon, haupia, and poi. (The poi is the purplish-gray stuff in the blue bowl.}



Regarding Scotland, I add my cheers to Friedman’s

Friday night, I ran into our own Phillip Bush at the Greek Festival. He had a pint of beer in hand, which he had obtained at the craft beer stand next to the main tent, where Greek-flavored music was being performed. I asked if he would recommend one of the beers. He said that, Anglophile that I am, I should get a Skunk Cabbage ESB, to celebrate the Scots’ rejection of separatism.

Which I did. And I congratulate the local brewers — I liked it better than the legendary Fuller’s ESB.

But I congratulate the Scots even more heartily. And I share this Tom Friedman column, which Samuel Tenenbaum brings to my attention:

Three Cheers for Pluralism Over Separatism

MADRID — THIS was an interesting week to visit Britain and Spain — first to watch the Scottish separatists push for independence and then to watch Basque and Catalan separatists watching (with disappointment) the outcome of the vote. One reaction: I’m glad a majority of Scots rejected independence. Had they not, it would have clipped the wing of America’s most important wingman in the world: Britain. Another reaction: God bless America. We have many sources of strength, but today our greatest asset is our pluralism — our “E pluribus unum” — that out of many we’ve made one nation, with all the benefits that come from mixing cultures and all the strengths that come from being able to act together.

As I’ve asked before: Who else has twice elected a black man as president, whose middle name is Hussein, whose grandfather was a Muslim, who first defeated a woman and later defeated a Mormon? I’m pretty sure that I will not live long enough to see an ethnic Pakistani become prime minister of Britain or a Moroccan immigrant president of France. Yes, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., reminds us that we’re still a work in progress in the pluralism department. But work on it we do, and I’ll take the hard work of pluralism over the illusions of separatism any day….

This just in: Craft beer bill on fast track



This came in a little while ago from Wesley Donehue over at Push Digital:

ICYMI: Craft Beer Law Change on Fast Track

Columbia, SC-May 16, 2014:  “South Carolina is on the verge of passing the most progressive craft beer production laws in the country”,  from the Greenville News (5/15/14).

It’s hard to believe that just three weeks ago the possibility of passing the Stone Bill was nearly impossible, but thanks to grassroots efforts and a lot of emails to the SC General Assembly we made magic happen.

Why is the Stone Bill so important?

1. It will loosen antiquated beer laws in efforts to attract California-based company, Stone Brewing , who is planning a $31 million eastward expansion, to South Carolina.

2. It will create more than 250 jobs.

3. South Carolina breweries will finally have the chance to be competitive with the booming craft beer industry taking off around the country.

To pass a bill this fast in South Carolina is practically unheard of and with the potential of a $31 million investment and hundreds of new jobs it would be a mistake for the General Assembly not to pass the Stone Bill.

For more information visit, or contact Wesley Donehue at 843.460.7990



But — and here’s what I’m unclear on — are we still in the running for Stone, or is this aimed at other, similar opportunities?

Open Thread for Thursday, April 24, 2014

Since I’ve been traveling all day today, and will be traveling all day tomorrow, here are some items for y’all to gnaw on…

Or whatever y’all want to talk about. That’s what “Open Thread” means…

‘I’m not just drinking beer; I’m making us more energy-independent’

Just had to share this, courtesy of the Daily Mail:

Mobile phone owners could soon be able to give their batteries a boost with their own urine.

British scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory have developed a way of using urine as a power source to generate electricity and claim to have created the world’s first microbial fuel cells (MFC) powered mobile phone.

While many people might turn their noses up at the energy source, the researchers said that it is the ‘ultimate waste product’ and does not rely on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun….

You have to wonder — is this for real, or is the Mail taking the p___ out of us?

Images from 2013 St. Patrick’s Day fest in Five Points


With the Yesterday’s float gang, just before we set out. (Photo by Keely Saye)

Running a bit behind with this, but it was a busy weekend.

As you can see, a good time was had. Particularly by me, what with the honor of riding on the official Yesterday’s float. My first time on an actual float in an actual parade.

They issued me a green cowboy hat, but it was too small, and I was already wearing a hat, so I used it to wave with.

Turns out that early is the time to go. It wasn’t as hot as later, and you miss a lot of the crowd. I was a bit concerned at what I perceived as low turnout, but Scotty at Yesterday’s said, wait until about 2. I left a little before that, and the mob waiting to get in was impressive. The crowd was later estimated at 40,000.

Among all of them, I only ran into one person who I actually knew was Irish, as in personally from Ireland — Jerry Hackett, who teaches philosophy at USC. He and Bud Ferillo were sitting out in front of Starbucks. I joined them for a bit and we talked about the new Pope, which seemed the thing to do while celebrating a saint’s day.

Speaking of philosophy, I heard a pearl or two from the mouth of Cedric the cowboy as I stood next to the bathtub from which he waved. For instance, as he looked out on the sea of green-clad folk, he wondered aloud, “How come on St. Patrick’s everybody wants to be Irish, but on Martin Luther King Day, nobody wants to be black?” I’m not sure what it meant, but that was the only thing I actually tweeted out from the float.

I got a bit sunburned and my famous gigantic hornrim glasses got broken. No, I didn’t get into a brawl. And I had not so much as touched a drop. It was right after the parade, as I was re-entering the festival area; I was trying to remove my green sweatshirt and my glasses flew off and hit the pavement, and I saw one lens go skittering off down the street. I sort of repaired them with some tape from behind the bar at Yesterday’s, but it might be time to invest in some new ones.

So when you next see me, I might look different…

‘Where is Matt Damon?’ Twitter as a narrative medium

This was brought to my attention by Slate, which Tweeted that it was “The best Twitter story you’ll read all day.”

The tale to which the message linked more than lived up to that modest standard. As Slate noted, “this shaggy dog story shows how hospitable the medium is to old-fashioned front-porch (or bar-room) storytelling.”

This is not literature, but it shows how someone can tell an engaging, amusing, fairly involved story in much the way one would just sitting around with friends, at less than 140 characters at a time.

The story is told by protagonist Erin Faulk (@erinscafe) of Glendale, CA. She is apparently telling it in a bar, between rounds of beer. You can read it in its entirety here, including Tweets interjected by her readers following the story — just as friends might do hearing the story told in person.

It’s a pretty good little shaggy dog story, which begins, “I will now tweet about the time I tried to find Matt Damon in Morocco.”

It takes her 55 more Tweets (or 56; I sort of lost count and I’m not going to start over) to get the job done. Toward the end, some readers were interjecting that they were up past their bedtimes, but had to see how it ended.

This mild picaresque tale will not rock your world or anything. But it’s interesting, as an example of something you might not have realized you could do with Twitter…

Cold turkey times three

If at any time this week I seem a bit out of it, it’s because I’m in withdrawal.

I woke up Monday morning with a feeling like my right ear was full of water. But it wasn’t. I felt pressure, and sound was distorted — loud and distorted. Through it all was a loud ringing/rushing sound. I had trouble making out what people were saying to me.

So Tuesday, I managed to get in to see an ear, nose and throat doc when he had a cancellation. I figured he’d put a tube in my ear, and that would relieve the pressure. I figured it was an infection. But my ear drum looked normal.

After a hearing test, it turns out I’ve lost some ability to detect high pitches in one ear, and low pitches in the other. The doctor ordered some tests to figure out why I would have such asymmetrical hearing loss, along with the other symptoms. This is what I may have.

I haven’t arranged for the tests yet. I need to get on that. But I’m having some trouble getting it together the last couple of days, because I’m following the doctor’s orders:

  1. No salt.
  2. No alcohol.
  3. No caffeine.

It has something to do with all of those things causing fluid retention. There may actually be a problem with fluid, but deep in the inner ear, where a tube would do nothing to drain it.

The first two, I can do standing on my head. The last one is tough. Really tough. One day, the usual three or four BIG cups. The next day, nothing. Makes a guy feel pretty weird. Although today has been a little easier than yesterday.

But I’m very spacey. The symptoms are not going away. In fact, when I slipped up and finished a bag of chips I’d left open on my desk from earlier in the week, the ringing got louder. So maybe there’s something to the salt connection, although perhaps it was just the chewing action.

I talked to someone this morning who also recently gave up caffeine. As confused as I was, I forgot to ask the burning question: How long does it take before you feel normal again?

At the 100th show of Pub Politics

In case you can't tell them apart, that's Republican (hence the white collar) Tom Davis on the left, and Democrat (hence the blue collar) Boyd Summers on the right. I hope the left-right part doesn't confuse you.

Just a quick word about this.

Phil and Wesley shot the 100th show of “Pub Politics” last night, and it was a gala affair. Sponsor Franklin Jones bought free beer and boiled peanuts. All sorts showed up. And despite the small-town clannishness of SC politics, not all of them knew each other.

At one point I was chatting with Sen. Tom Davis, and he remarked, “That guy in the blue shirt over there looks just like me.” It was Boyd Summers, lately chairman of the Richland County Democrats. This matchup of political opposites was too much for me to resist, so I called Boyd over and got the above shot of the “twins.”

Rep. James Smith was there with a new band (as you’ll recall, James was once one of the legendary Root Doctors). And… just all sorts of people, Democratic and Republican.

I was not a scheduled guest on the show, but I didn’t let that stop me. I walked over in the middle of the show, leaned in and held up eight fingers and yelled, “Eight times! I’m the one and only eight-timer!” They were fairly nice about it.

And where would they be without ME, I’d like to know

Well, I was deeply shocked when I received this mere moments ago:

Members of the elite media establishment –

Next Wednesday, April 18, marks a big milestone for Pub Politics – Episode 100.

What started as just me, Phil, a few beers and a camera, has turned into a weekly must-attend event viewed by thousands online.

We’re going to throw down and we want you to be there to cover our big day.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 18, 6:00 pm

WHERE: Jake’s in 5 Points, Columbia, SC

WHO: Attorney General Alan Wilson with more guests to be named later this week. ‘The Project,’ a band led by State Representative James Smith, will perform.

I would really appreciate you coming out to celebrate with us.


Wesley Donehue

Can you imagine it? They’re having their big 100-show bash, and they haven’t asked me, their one-and-only seven-timer, to be a featured guest! Would they have come this far without me? Where would “Laugh-In” have been without Tiny Tim, or Charo? That’s what I’m on about. (“Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”)

Sure, they called me a member of the elite media establishment, but that’s old hat to me. I want to be treated like the star that I am.

Be sure to write to the network (after all, it worked so well in saving “Firefly”), or whomever, and express your shock and outrage.

All work and no play make Brad a dull boy. Which he is not, as amply demonstrated by Exhibit B

Here I am with the birthday girls in Hilton Head. Or is it “on” Hilton Head, or “at”? I don’t know. First time I’ve ever been here.

In any case, this is by way of full disclosure. It was not all work at the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Inititiative graduate weekend in that locale.

Here I am with Clare Folio Morris of the Clare Morris Agency and Susan DeVenny of First Steps. You see another picture of us on the previous post, with Clare and Susan looking deadly serious and me seeming to Tweet every word they’re saying. Well. Choosing photos for publication is an art, you know. You can show what you want.

Alert photographer Jim Hammond captured both moods well.

Here, I’m joining the ladies in celebrating their birthday this weekend. They’re both 30 or something.

This was at an awesome barbecue on Saturday night, with pulled pork from Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway and from Henry’s Smokehouse in Greenville as well, and lowcountry boil from Conroy’s, and oysters, and other good stuff. I think that’s a Palmetto Charleston Lager in my right hand.

The blog will now return to being serious…

Keep your cornucopias, I’ll take a full beer fridge

The turkey is roasting, filling the house with its smells, and I’m taking deep, traditional satisfaction from the fact that my hard work throughout the grown season has led to a full beer fridge.

I read up on the proper beers to drink with turkey — it was in The Wall Street Journal Saturday — and learned that Yuengling lager and Harpoon Winter Warmer are regarded as among the best by the experts.

So after Boyd and I got done ringing the bell, I stepped into Greene’s and stocked up on both, adding them to the Buds I already had (and, at the back, hidden where no one else is likely to run across it, one Fuller’s ESB).

As you know, man gave up being a hunter-gatherer and turned to agriculture in order that he might be able to brew beer. Woman may have done it for bread, but I know guys, and it’s hard to argue with 5,000-year-old beer recipes on clay tablets. It’s the, ahem, oldest recipe of any kind in the world. Or so say credible authorities.

So what could better express harvest plenty?