Short Hops – March 12, 2009

● This week’s Friday Night Flights at Party Town in Florence will feature a selection from the Stone Brewing Company including: Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Ruination I.P.A., Smoked Porter, Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Double Bastard Ale. As the guys at Party Town put it, “Stone is one of the most solid microbreweries on the scene, so don’t miss this one.”

● Are you a believer in better beer? Want to win prizes? Then, you want to be a Hoperative. Just drop an email message to with your name and location to join our ranks and get your roll call number. As soon as we get our first 50 Hoperatives, we’re doing a special drawing from just those fifty people for a Bockfest themed prize package. Those first 50 numbers are going fast!

● Did you know that Hoperatives is doing all kinds of social media now? Besides the blog and informational web site (where you are right now), you can follow us on Twitter ( ) or join our group on Facebook ( ). You can also check out our PhotoStream on Flickr ( ).

● Hoperative #36 John Graff sent in information on an organization that he’s involved with called ““. offers avid beer and food lovers the opportunity to discover the history and influences of the World’s Best Beer. On our tours we travel to fantastic destinations such as Belgium, Germany, Britain, France, Russia, Poland, the US, and the Czech Republic. Already so rich in culture, cuisine, history, architecture and natural beauty, these historic places are only made better when you add beer to the mix! Discover the role that beer and brewing plays in the history and culture of Europe and North America — and have a really good time, with great people, along the way. Our Prague, Bamberg, Munich’s Oktoberfest trip has been included in the National Geographic Society’s book: The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life! At Beer Trips, we create the ultimate scenarios for beer lovers, introducing you to the history, people, brewing methods, and beer culture of the places we visit. Drink your favorite beers at the breweries. Get behind the scenes and experience the world’s great beers at a local level. Discover and indulge in cuisine a la biere… and visit some of the world’s great cities.

Enjoying Oktoberfest
in the Schottenhamel tent
Enjoying Oktoberfest
in the Schottenhamel tent
Wreath of hops

worn at the Zatec(saaz) hop festival
Wreath of hops worn at the Zatec(saaz) hop festival
Brewery tour at Pilsner Urquell
Brewery tour at Pilsner Urquell

Digging Out, Looking Ahead

So Carla and I picked a heck of a week to leave town.

There was a time when I used to secretly regret missing big winter storms (hey, I grew up in Texas.  They didn’t happen that often).  Then a weird thing started happening.  As I moved around the country, I’d live through the local version of the “Storm of the Century” the first winter I lived there.  It happened three times.  The biggest was 1996 in Philadelphia.  27.6 inches in a 24-hour period.  After that, I didn’t feel so cheated if I missed the big snow.

So while the Ohio Valley was getting pounded with snow and ice, Carla and I were in Nassau, the Bahamas.  I’ll admit to giggling a little when I thought it was just snow.  Then we heard about the ice and it wasn’t a laughing matter anymore.  For what it’s worth, we were thinking of you.  Hope you got through it all safely.

I expect no sympathy for the fact that it was too cool in Nassau to swim the first couple of days we were there.

One of the things we decided for this trip is to go off the grid.  No laptops.  No wi-fi. We left the blog on auto-pilot. If you sent something in, we weren’t ignoring you!

And  now we’re back.  It’s good to be home.  Of course, we have to dig out, but luckily it’s more metaphorical than actual (though we can’t thank the folks at CVG FastPark enough for helping us dig out our car last night!)

The blog will be busy this week.  Hoperative #14 Jared Whalen has contributed a review and has made a fine suggestion regarding our grading scale that should make it easier for everyone to contribute reviews that have some internal consistancy.  Hoperative #13 John Lavelle let us know what was on tap at Dilly Deli, which we’ll update (but is likely already out of date.  Which means we just need another report!).  Carla and I sampled Bahamian beers, and came across a local stout that was out of this world.  And, finally, the Midwinter Beer Festival is almost upon us!  We’ll preview it.

Oh, and have a beer.  You deserve it after the week you’ve had.