Why not Hop-O when it’s City-Wide?


It’s all about downtown New Albany tomorrow, with seemingly a hundred arts events all happening at once, combining walks, murals, shops and music with eateries and pubs. It’s looking like warm and clear weather, ideal for rambling and occcasional watering stops.

Saturday (July 9th), come downtown for the City Wide arts celebrations.

Given that I’ll be joining artist Leticia Bajuyo at Bank Street Brewhouse from 5:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. for a reprise of our 2010 presentation of her “All Bottled Up” installation for the New Albany Bicentennial Art Project, it seemed appropriate for us to make the day’s beer special Hop-O, at $3 per pint until the keg blows.

What better than historic Hop-O to recall the city’s creative past?

Jared Williamson, who recently departed NABC for a job at Schlafly in St. Louis, formulated this fourth in NABC’s rotating seasonal series of historical “Revive-Ales” in 2010.

The others are Old Lightning Rod (Colonial Ale with molasses), Kaiser 2nd Reising (pre-Prohibition Pilsner) and Phoenix Kentucky Komon (Louisville-style, sour mash Common). Ironically, one of Jared’s last official acts before packing was to brew this year’s Phoenix.

Hop-O has a shady past. As required by law, it was a cereal beverage of less than 1% abv, produced by the Southern Indiana Brewing Company during the early years of Prohibition. However, the brewery subsequently was raided, shut down and the owner arrested in 1921 after federal agents determined the alcohol content to be well above 3%, nearer to the 3.5% determined by Jared as appropriate for today.

Fudging the numbers in New Albany?

Say it ain’t so, Guido.

Deploying NABC’s California Comon lager yeast, Jared brewed Hop-O to be top-heavy in cereal adjuncts (oats, wheat, rye, corn syrup or maize, and a splash of honey malt), and used whole leaf hops for moderate bitterness and ample aromatics. The result for 2011 is a tasty, balanced “Southern Indiana Common,” with the word “common” in these usages always implying an easy drinking, everyday beer of moderate strength.

Chefs Matt and Bernie report that on Saturday, the Bank Street kitchen will honor the spirit of a busy day by offering its new, expanded menu all day long without the customary afternoon break (12:00 Noon until 10:00 p.m.)

Also, cellarman deluxe Josh Hill will have Rosa L. Stumblebus, NABC’s beer truck, at Schmitt “75 Years Young” Furniture (starting at 5:00 p.m.) to dispense Beak’s and Tafel for the mural and music fete occurring there.

It’s going to be a long and fun day, and we hope to see many readers downtown, ruminating happily about how none of this would have been possible just a few years ago.