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Joe's Rants and Raves

  • Mar 03 - 08:40 PM: Pricy British Session Ales Losing Favor? : Joe McBane

    It seems to me that British session ales have lost a lot of popularity based on where they were just a few years ago. When I say this I am not refering to beers such as Boddingtons, Newcastle, Bass etc. I am speaking of rare boutique examples that come with a high price tag. By pricy I mean $6 a pint and upwards. I think that when people decide to spend that kind of cash they have come to look for a bigger bang for their buck in terms of both flavor and ABV. I also think that the average craft drinker has come to the realization that they just love a big hop presence in their pale ales that simply don't show up in British beers.

    It is something I have observed through my day to day work. I have also noticed less availability on a whole sale level so I would assume that is a reflection of the current market demand.

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  • Feb 28 - 04:59 PM: American Men's Bathroom Etiquette from an English Point of View : Joe McBane

    As with anyone who enjoys the pursuit of drinking good beer, I make regular trips to empty my bladder. I have noticed over the years that the typical American male adheres to a number of unwritten, but carefully followed rules when using the public facilities.

    1. As with all Americans when going to use the facilities, they commonly refer to them as the bathroom or restroom. I have yet to see a bath or Lazy Boy recliner in one of these rooms, and find the toilet to be a much more reflective term to describe the goings on.

    2. Avoid eye contact at all times. This includes entering and exiting. In the event that inadvertent contact is made, simply brush it off with a 'hey' and keep focused on the task in hand. I find this rule to be particularly strange, as it is still true when the person you have bumped into is someone who you know well, and frequently converse with.

    3. The next rule comes with options. If all of the available facilities are occupied upon entry you have two choices. Many simply leave only to return with hope of greater success next time around. If they are clever, they have taken a quick head count and are able to stake it out from a safe distance before returning. For the brave ones who do wait, they must retreat to the maximum possible distance and proceed forward only when there is a direct and clear path.

    4. When at the urinal you must look down and forward at all times. Although we all have the same equipment, peeking is strictly forbidden. This is the biggest (excuse the pun) rule of them all. Some men suffer from such stage fright in these vulnerable situations, that it all becomes too much and they head straight for the closed stall.

    5. Once finished with the business in hand (pun apologies again) it is polite to wash those hands as quickly as possible in order to allow for a speedy exit for the next guy up.

    So there we have it. That is what I noticed after 8 years of research on American soil. A counter culture social study of sorts. Back in England things are a wee (sorry) bit different. First of all, interaction is positively encouraged at all times. No one seems particularly shy. This is demonstrated in the style of urinal that is popular. Wall mounted troughs. If there is a gap in the action, you better squeeze in and go for it because if you don't the next person will. In fact the English are so brazen with the pursuit of reliving themselves, that the biggest problem is stopping people from peeing in the sink. Clearly this would be viewed as a depraved Medieval type behavior over here, that would cause many red blooded Americans to literally retreat.

    Anyway there isn't really any point to all this other than put down some rather amusing observations that I have noticed over the years.

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  • Feb 27 - 02:48 PM: Social Networking : Joe McBane

    We have joined the modern age. We now have a Facebook page and post on Twitter. Check out the links.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rochester-NY/Tap-and-Mallet/53522401957

    http://twitter.com/TapandMallet

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