This is now the beer column of punk rock’s past. I have to expel a few ghosts. If you came here strictly for beer news, prepare for bemusement.
My son Henry is 11 and he is old school. Last Christmas he could have asked for an Xbox, but he didn’t want one. He wanted a Game Cube. It doesn’t work right on the flat-screen TV so he has to play it out in the garage on the tube TV.
Two years ago his gymnastics coach said that he was able to bond with Henry because “He’s into the old school Pokémon from when I was a kid!” He said that Henry had memorized the first 150 characters along with knowing all of their powers. That surprised me. Later on I asked him if he had really memorized the first 150 Pokémon characters. He said, “No, I didn’t memorize them. I just know all of them from playing the game.”
That made sense to me. 20 years ago I could name over 150 record labels and tell you which bands were on each one. That was just part of my world at the time.
These days I can easily name over 150 breweries and tell you what beers they brew, where they are located, if they have a taproom and whether or not they are kid friendly. It’s just something I’ve been into.
Thankfully the wife also enjoys breweries however she does not share my mission in seeking them out. I had to harangue her into taking a half-day off work so we could have time to check out some new breweries before we went to the expensive old guy punk rock show in the big city.
New School Brewz
First we went to Cellarmaker (already featured in an earlier post) just because I wanted to make sure that we started things off right, then we stocked up on beer around the corner at the City Beer Store. Close by is another new brewery next to the Giants baseball stadium simply called the Local Brewing Company. I liked this place right away, partly because it was nearly empty, but also because Neutral Milk Hotel was playing as we walked in. It was a nice mellow scene at 3pm. The place looks like a hole in the wall from outside but there is a
lot of space inside with 14 of their beers on tap.
The show was at the Regency Ballroom and, of course, there is a new brewery less than a mile walk away called Bartlett Hall. This place seemed to have no business being a fully functioning brewery. It’s a darkened restaurant that sells $17 hamburgers because they are in the middle of the city. However, fuck it, it’s a real brewery, I must go. We were already tanked by the time we got there but I’m sure the beer was spectacular.
Screeching Weasel, The Mr. T. Experience and The Queers
The Regency Hall was selling beer in a plastic cup for $12. For that very reason many people missed the best band because they were next door at the 101 getting a cheap infusion of alcohol before they came in. The Queers opening set was a quick slap in the face. If you came late, you missed it.
I remember reading that the people who attend sporting events where they get charged high prices for alcohol actually consume more alcohol because they binge drink before coming in. I’m sure the same thing is true for punk rock. Part of the reason that I planned to spend half the day drinking before this show is because I anticipated the aggressive drinking prices at the show. Not to mention the aggressive pat down everyone got before going in. They weren’t checking for weapons, they were checking for vodka.
My memory of The Queers is bittersweet as they were one of the first well-known touring bands to play the old Haps Bar ($1 pints by the way) and it was fantastic. Then they played my first all ages show and that didn’t go as well for reasons I won’t get into. However, I never had a chance to make it up to them because the week that they were coming back for the 4th time the building was sold and Donna lost the bar. The new owner cancelled my shows and turned the place into an upscale steak house.
In 20-year-old craft beer news, I was the one responsible for getting Donna to add a Sierra Nevada tap to Hap’s bar, before that they only sold Bud. She explained to me that it cost her 35cents to fill a red solo cup with Bud, but it cost 65cents to fill it with Sierra Nevada so she charged $2 instead of $1. On one busy night she ran out of Bud. She announced over the PA that since they were out of Bud she would be selling the Sierra Nevada for $1. The roar from the crowd was deafening, and hilarious.
Unless you count Jaz and the Helper Monkeys I don’t have any history at all with MTX but Ted the guitar player is a key member of the current day Brewz Newz brewery clan. Plus Keri has read Dr. Frank’s books so we were down for the Mr. T Experience.
When Screeching Weasel came out on stage … but I’ll leave the show here for now. I’ve done enough show reviews in my life. Instead I will save my Ben Weasel /Probe Records swan song bit for my next old guy school of punk rock beer – whatever this is I need to keep these posts short or you fine people will stop clicking on the link.
The search for acoustic music is still ongoing. Which brings me to the youtube music clip for this post. Because I had stopped paying attention to new music for several years, when I joined instagram last year I just thought Pipsqueak was Jerome’s instagram name.
Then I saw a photo of the Pipsqueak LP, put two and two together, and ended up buying it on bandcamp. Not only is it acoustic but there are violins, a really great fucking record. A big switch from the 3-minute punk rock he was doing with Snuggle. I found one of the songs on youtube…