middle brow citizen how

in the human.

polly's grandma polly. (i should say: one of polly's grandma polly's. both of her grandma's are named polly. ain't that the most adorable fucking thing ever? ... one of them i never had the pleasure of knowing. as she's been peacefully resting in michigan for quite a bit. but whoa did she seem cool. more on that someday. for now, i'll just discuss polly nevins. not my wife polly nevins. but my grandmother-in-law polly nevins.)

anyway: in addition to being a dancer, polly nevins was a schoolteacher. (so was polly mcgurrin, in fact.) she taught children. and so, naturally, she has a schoolteacher's perspective on many things. and a couple christmases ago, she was trying to get into lyft. but it wasn't coming so easily to her. she'd rather dance to an ear-blistering waltz in her foyer than spend time on trivial things such as summoning drivers. though, she will say, that she had the most *lovely* time in a lyft from her home to the eye doctor last week. with the most *lovely*  man as her driver. and anyway she values her independence. she only recently stopped driving. at 90. she's a special woman with an incredible energy and subaru. but lyft is now her vehicle (!) for expending that energy. 

but back to lyft: she was having a hard time cracking the code. so i volunteered to teach it to her. and wrote it all down. in steps. on an index card that she'd keep in her clutch. ... about halfway through the lesson, she grabbed my arm, looked at me briefly and seriously. and then turned to polly to say "this man must be a teacher. he just keeps repeating himself over and over again." and it was funny. but also true! sorta. ... i could never claim to do the hard work that schoolteachers all over the world do. day in and day out. their job is so much more complex and difficult than simply "teaching" is. but i had been teaching, in the definitional sense of the word, for about 13 years. ... for money after college, and in law school, and even sometimes as a lawyer, and then most certainly while trying to get middle brow off the ground, i taught LSAT prep. (don't worry! i only raised ethical law students!) 

so: teaching LSAT prep is tough: there aren't grades. there isn't homework. the material is extremely demanding. and voluminous. and classes were 4 hours. twice a week. from 6-10p. after most students had spent the day in school or at work or otherwise tiring out their brains... and so after the first 30 minutes, it was hard for students to pay attention. and i quickly learned something important about humans: they *never* absorb everything you tell them the first time. they probably only absorb 5% of what you're saying. so if you repeat yourself several times, they start to absorb more and more. eventually, though, you gotta move on. but it's crucial that when you return to a topic that you've already addressed, you don't presume that anyone knows what you're talking about. and you repeat yourself yet again. and then 3 or 4 more times before moving on again. several days of this, over the course of several weeks, and you've got a student who knows what you're talking about.

that taught me something critical about management at the brewery. and in the front-of-house and back-of-house: to be generous with my fellow humans. to understand their humanity. that breweries and kitchens and floors are busy, overwhelming places. and brains get very quickly get very tired by all the activity. and the context in which we're *teaching*, in a sense, our staff to do things the way we need them to be done, is not very conducive to them learning with any sort of speed. we need to repeat ourselves over and over and over. and after a few weeks, we should expect to see changes. *not*, it's important to note, after a single lesson. or even after a single day or two. the timeline for effective and full absorption is measured in weeks. it's inhumane to expect anything sooner.

i reckon all good teachers know this. and are thus, by nature or experience, patient-as-fuck people. but non-teachers should know it too! it makes for good managing. it makes for good parenting. it makes for good friending, even! and so i thought i'd share my experience. with all of you dear readers. 


one other thing i learned in teaching cocky college kids: verbal direction is totally ineffective. in teaching, and in developing good relationships. if you want your students to learn "right", or your staff to work "right", you have to *do* the thing you want them to do. with them by your side. over and over and over again. tell a student to do a problem alone, and they'll do it fully and correctly about 10% of the time. it's not because they're lazy or bad students or disrespectful. it's because they're human. better put: they're tired humans. and new motions are hard. and decision-making is tiring. and synapses form during sleep anyway. so it tends to take time before the thing is done "right". ... but ask them to help you do the thing that they were supposed to do alone, or simply do it for them and tell them you did it, and how and why you did it, and they'll think a bit harder about it next time. 

this applies fully to restaurant management: if you want your staff consistently to sweep up all the semolina that spills onto the floor during an intense pizza shift, start by doing it yourself! several times. and then start doing it halfway, and asking them to finish up so you can go tend to another task. and slowly but surely they'll develop the muscle memory and eye memory for the task. and do it long before even you see that it needs to be done.

of course: you have to be careful. that they don't just depend on you always to do the thing. but that just takes a particular, thoughtful tack and focus and persistence by the manager. or the teacher. or the parent.

anyway, this rant ain't that ranty. or preachy. or political. or beer-focused. but hopefully it makes you think about humans a bit differently. hopefully it makes you a bit more generous with friends and family. and patient with co-workers. and strangers. 

after all, just like you, the rest of us are merely human. with more sames than differences.

middle brow missions

humboldt park cleanup!

illinois craft beer week tends to make most of our brewery friends groan: it's just a week of working a long brewing day, and then working events all night. most of which are poorly attended. cuz there's a million events. ... well, every year we try to fight that. and we fail. cuz we end up hosting a bunch of events ourselves. and creating other events at bars. and etc. etc. etc. 

but..... we *DO* succeed in fighting it in one small sense. every year. on the day after craft beer week ends. we organize an event whose entire focus is our city. our community. this year: we're hosting a humboldt park cleanup. we've noticed piles and piles of litter. collecting everywhere in our neighborhood. and litter contributes to lack of care in other ways. so we want to remove it. and we've got the power to do so! cuz we can pick up anything off the street! at any old time! sometimes that's where we get our mushrooms and greens from! bon appetit!

anyhow. come to bungalow tomorrow. anytime twixt 10a and 3p. and grab a big old garbage bag. and we'll give you a city block. and send you off. and then go be free! and pick up all the garbage you can! and come back with your bag of good garbage. and we'll buy it from you for a beer token. which you can set down on our bar any time you're thirsty.


*May 4th, 2019*

what's a kvass? ... *MAY 4th 2019* is a kvass.

i don't know. what's a russian? what's russia? what sense are borders at all? just a way to organize teams. to create thems. to create reason for protection. ... i mean, lots of folks will tell you that borders give a country integrity. what's a country without a certain kind of cultural integrity? but really, though. what is a *country*? why is it valuable? why must borders be erected around people with shared language and history and cuisine and art?

it seems to me that the only answer is: for fighting. humans are the same. humans are different. simultaneously, it's true. our differences, though, scare the shit out of us. the ugly side of our human nature wants everyone in the world to be just like us, or else they're some kind of asshole. see dat 4-week old letter of mine re *why aren't you me?*. and we tend not to have too much hesitation fighting assholes. ... so countries help us get our fighting rocks off. fighting neighbor assholes is hard cuz what happens when the paper comes the next morning? but fighting far away assholes ain't so hard. and we get to fight!!

and i suppose that's why i don't care much for borders. or *russia* or *slavic* as concepts. they're certainly fun and neat to think about. i love history. but i'm definitely one of those border-hating liberals your aunt talks about. i think humans have more sames than they do differences. i think free trade and the internet have shown that. we love each others cuisines. rene redzepi brings japanese cooking techniques to copenhagen, posts an instagram story about it, and a brewery in chicago is fermenting something special. russia manipulates american democracy via twitter. the us manipulates venezuelan democracy via money. we're all the same!!

so let's keep stealing each other's beers. kvass! how do you say that word? kə'vaas. emphasis on the bold. but say it however you want! really! we'll get it. ... and why should you order it? well, to start, it's a beer made with bread! better still: it's a beer made with *our house-made bread*. if you haven't heard, we make delicious bread in house. we have a sort of micro-bakery. buzzing and alive and well at 6a daily. well, we'd been trying to make a kvass with publican for years. but the timing never worked out. and then we rolled out of bed one day and we owned a bakery in addition to our brewery! whoa! we can make kvass any time we want! ... and so now we do. we're collecting stale and day-old bread all the time for them. we've got the next one in the hopper now, in fact. cuz the first one was so delicious.

back to this one, though: it's called *MAY 4TH 2019*. it's tart. sour, even. but lightly so. it tastes like bread, sure. but only tertiarily. primarily, you get brightness from the acidity. secondarily, whoa! stewed berries and apricot marmalade and all sorts of jam all over this sucker! and yes indeed: you do get some bread on the palate. mostly, for us, on the back end. after a handful of sips. 

we tend not to be surprised by beers anymore. we search and search and search for a new brewery to love. (mostly, it's just hype-y nonsense.) or for a new style, or a new take on an old style. but excitement is hard to drum up when you surround yourself with a think everyday for 8 years. not so with kvass. this style is wild! so stokin'! super sharp and flip worthy! the complexity is special. to lightness. the tartness. the fruit. the whoa. 

come in and have a hundred. less 98. or whatever number gets you down to a total that leaves you simply warm and happy and not slow-blinkin'.

get your kvass at bungalow by middle brow. and nowhere else in chicago. at least for now.

new beer notice


ever been to a mexican grocery store? if you live in logan square and you haven't been, then you live in lincoln park.

anyway. if you haven't been you should go. if you have, then you know about the juice box aisle. i don't mean capri suns and shit. even though we here love capri suns. especially as post-game snax. ... i'm talking about jumex. i'm talking about goya. big boxes of fruit juice. for kids, sure. but for adults too.

we made a beer that, it turns out, smells and tastes just like a big box of jumex guava juice. it's a session ipa called *CAPE TOWN CRUSH*. cape town cuz them guava-driving hops come from south africa. and cape town is a wonderful geological and biological story. under constant threat of drought and plant-species endangerment.

and the hometown of one of our best friends, tor.

fresh fridays! at bungalow by middle brow!

it's orange-hued and hazy. but not "hazy"

it's orange-hued and hazy. but not "hazy"

a modest week

a photo by michael albert

a photo by michael albert

sometimes i say i'm sending a short email. but this weak it's really true! you'll see! ... illinois craft beer week ends tonight. and we had an event nearly every single day! from BUG to *breakfast beers* to our bike drive with working bikes (which is still happening, by the way. bring your old bike over and we'll get it in good hands!) to *QUEERS IN BEER* to *friends of foeder crafters*. hence event soup. ... but this email is about new beers. and our final community-improvement event of the week. with some bits about human nature thrown in. but anyway go forth and stay focused! on supporting local craft beer! this next year among all years!

middle brow \ citizen how /

our cordless telephone has been nothing but a hassle. not cuz it lacks a cord and we can't ever find it. that's no problem at all. it's a perfectly worthy sacrifice to make for the convenience of being able to wander the joint with a phone on our ear when we have to. we love our brewpub. and we love the way it feels home-y to people. and that's likely cuz it's more our home than our home is. polly and i are there constantly. paying personal bills. trying on our new shoes or flightsuits after the amazon guy leaves. kicking around a soccer ball in the lot. etc. bungalow is our bungalow! and so when we're trying to fix a foam issue on tap 4 with a cordless phone tight 'twixt our shoulder and our ear, talking to a woman about how we don't take reservations and we can't make exceptions for her party of 4 but we promise we'll make her comfortable and happy if there's a short wait, we're usually all on-cloudy and happy.

but then there's the spam shit-calls. and i guess our place is a little like your 80s home was when those came in, too. at least, if your ma did the old "we don't want any" and abruptly hung up on courtesy callers. ... you'd never believe how intense and manipulative the sales calls are for new businesses. a ComEd scammer calls and freaks out our host with "we're gonna shut off your power in 15 minutes if you don't pay us $900", and he scrambles to find polly who then asks me why the hell i didn't pay our power bill. but it's all fraud! we paid! this guy ain't part of ComEd.

or else, the chicago bears and bulls and hawks and white sox and cubs all want to sell us space in their catalog this upcoming season. and the dude asks for "his old friend pete. who's expecting my call." and of course i don't know him and had to look up the main chicago sports teams just a second ago to make sure i listed them all. so we have no interest in that. 

and the private equity guy who wants to give us money! whoa! what honor!

but the most frustrating of all is the sexist-as-fuck yelp fraudster. this guy has called us time after time after time after time. always ruining those cute 90s moments we try to have with the cordless phone. and they want our money. they want it mainly to prevent bad yelp reviews. and we learned from harrison ford never to negotiate with terrorists. so we tell them to fuck off. and a couple days later it happens again. and so on and so on.

and one day a couple weeks back, this yelp affiliate called. and polly answered. and he asked to speak to the owner. and she told him she was the owner. and he explained that he had tried to get through to the owner several times and he hadn't had any luck. and that he had special power to stop a company called HD Scores from posting our negative health department report on yelp. if we paid him a sum of money. and she told him we weren't interested. and he pressed on, saying that it was about the go live. and she pushed back, saying that we weren't interested. and hung up the phone.

he immediately called back. and polly answered. and he said "sorry we were just accidentally disconnected. is the owner available?" and she said "i am the owner, and we weren't accidentally disconnected." and he then pressed again, about how this bad review was about to go live. and she said "no thanks dude". and he said "ma'am, please put the owner on the phone." and this infuriated her. this wimp of a man. whose work is ethically bankrupt. simply could not believe that someone with polly's.... pitch? was the owner of our business. let's just say it: he didn't think a woman could possibly own our business. any business? who knows. he's clearly a misogynistic fuckface, so probably. ... in any event, she hung up the phone. and he called back. and i answered this time. and he played the "accidentally disconnected" game. and i said "no no. it wasn't an accident. she hung up on you. and i don't know why you're having such a hard time understanding that she's our owner. and if you call again i'm gonna reach through this phone line and tickle a little bit under your chin before i maul your whingy face with my teeth." because we want it to feel like home in the 90s here at bungalow!!! and because i have less class and patience than polly. (also i was way less measured and way more stuttery-angry than that.) just like your dad and mom.

anyway, a couple days later bryan opened his yelp app (which, why does bryan have the yelp app? and, even more importantly, why did bryan open his yelp app?). and what he found *shocked* him when he searched for bungalow by middle brow: a bad *Health Score Alert*, right there at the top of our yelp page. due to "11 violations". then, very oddly, some grey preview text. reading: insects, rodents and animals not present. food and non-food contact services cleanable, properly designed, constructed and used..." and on and on. this *Health Score Alert*, it tells us, is "Powered by HDScores". the same misogynist company that called us incessantly, demanding money lest they publish a bad health score (with the oddly harmless verbiage under it). well: they followed through on their threat. ...

anyway, we opened the health score. and found 12 violations actually listed. because why would a computer know how to count? and those "violations" were *actually* just 4 of the exact same violations listed 3 times each. now... let me explain our violations: when the health department comes for an inspection, they give you a list of your violations, which fall into three categories—normal, bad and very bad. we had four violations before we opened, which showed up on each of our three license applications (liquor, food and packaged goods). without further ado, the four... the top of our garage door showed some light pouring through: first violation. our floor sink seams weren't caulked to the floor: second violation. the wood fence around our tank farm didn't have a sufficient number of coats of paint on it: third violation. and we had no sneeze-guard between customers and our open pizza kitchen: fourth, and most serious, violation. as this last one was the only one that prevented us from opening, we addressed it right away. and built our lovely sneeze-guard. our health inspector passed us two days later and we opened for biz several weeks thereafter. we've since fixed all the other violations. and are healthy as could be! and our food is as pretty from a bacterial perspective as it is on your plate! we promise! come eat it and you'll see that you don't get sick! (best review yet.)

so all of this is to say: hdscores and yelp have tried to take advantage of us. the only way for us to remove the negative health score is to pay yelp for a formal business account, and to formally contest the score. that's also true of any other negative reviews, by the way: a business can't respond to a totally ridiculous, negative review without paying yelp. we didn't even start a yelp page! it was started for us by yelp. and we naturally got (a very small number of) negative reviews. and then yelp came calling. demanding money to fight those reviews. 

great business model, san francisco.

now look: we've met some very cool, genuine yelpers. and we particularly love the guy who says "They really deserve their Michelin Stars!!!!!!" and "Middle Brow Bungalow is the best restaurant in my life." but the people running and affiliated with this platform are pure evil. like, donald trump evil. and consider also that humans are boundedly rational. and their capacity for honest reviews is very limited. take anchoring: people rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered. like, if they see a bunch of 5-star reviews, they're more likely to give a 4- to 5-star review. if they see a bunch of 1-star reviews, they'll give the same. this phenomenon alone makes yelp pretty well useless. to say nothing of all the dishonesty and misogyny flying around.

so do your part: stop referencing yelp. ever. use your local weekly mag to find new restaurants.


the saddest, wisest call. in the kingdom.

we're still listening to music here at bungalow. sometimes it's madonna. sometimes it's the cure radio. sometimes it's ethiopiques. sometimes it's belle and sebastian or hot chip. sometimes it's nico. or scott walker. or helado negro. or yo la tengo or bunny wailer. but it's never boring. unless it's real estate. then it's way boring. but intentionally so, you know? boring is the best way to let the breeze and light talk to you.

here's a link to our may playlist. listen along. work while we work. sing while we sing. sleep while we don't.

you'll hear the wisdom of the whale in song one. https://spoti.fi/2IVmMrX

green city market

a city in green!

i know. it's been raining non-stop. and 40s cold. and it has us sorta sad too. these 60s and sunny teases have taken their toll, another year. but we truck on! we love the rain for it's life-giving side. we fight through it! we go drink and eat and socialize no matter! we wake up early on the first may saturday of the year and go to green city market to soak and smell up the locally-grown fruit and herbs and flowers and toast. 

wait... toast?!?!?!?!?!?! did you just open up your fingers and type out toast?! since when can you get big, beautiful hunks of toast at green city market?! slathered in buttermilk or cherry preserves or goat cheese and spreadable meat?!

since tomorrow, actually. as bungalow by middle brow will have a booth every saturday at green city market. from now until at least the end of the season. selling toast. and loaves of our freshly-baked sourdough bread. and giving away smiles and warmth for free. especially in the early morning. our favorite time to be alive. foggy. forgetful. a little odd-of-smell. bed-head. goo-eyed. hyperactive.

come look ugly with us! every saturday morning from now til november! in the park by the lake. named for abe. 

urbs in horto.

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new beer notice


we once aged our milk stout in koval oat whiskey barrels. for about 2.5 years. nothing we had ever tasted before. nothing we had made. it had taken on a life of its own. it was so good that we had to get some other liquid into that barrel stat. and so we filled it up with our salted caramel scotch ale, ad astra. and let that sit for about a year. and tapped it last night. and it's all cherry. and prune. and wood-nilla. and caramel. and chocolate. and smoke. and salt. and crush one with a cookie.  

but this is an old beer. made new again. but *may* have a new beer for you this weekend too. a new new beer. our kvass. that beer we brewed last week. with all the house-made and house-staled bread in it. we'll just have to see how it tastes today.

but stay tuned for our instagram. if you were hoping to be first in line for the kvass.

fresh fridays! at bungalow by middle brow!

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so way back when. when socialists and communists were less hip. when they were maybe more common but on the down swing in popularity in american politics. as opposed to now where they're somehow on the upswing. and there's some good and bad in that. if only everyone discussing such were well caught up on their terms and their history and such. but i digress...

way back when, the haymarket affair went down. right here in chicago!!! and it's an ugly story of bombs and death and such. but it all started with a peaceful gathering in support of the labor movement's fight for an eight-hour workday. just the day before, 8 of such group were murdered by police during a strike. and anyway it was all labor! and all socialism! and all fuck the police! and all worker spies! and eugene debs! and workers of the world, unite! for a few days here in chicago. and, really, for much much longer than that.

and we're seeing a nice bit of that attitude return of late. and we here at bungalow are super proud of chicago's labor history. and the efforts of smart, hard working men and women to balance out their lot with the rich and lucky-born's lot. and we do our best to contribute. with free breakfasts. and with the slow but certain implementation of our work training program.

but in the meantime... we're honoring may day. international workers day. worldwide labor day. with a beer special for union card holders. on this coming weds. may 1. bring in your union card between 3 and 6p. for $2 beers. that's two (2) dollars!!!!! for a craft beer!!!! anything you want. teachers. nurses. stagehands. pilots. plumbers. masons. laborers. mailwomen. ... whoever. 

thanks for your proud work. please come have a way-affordable cup and rip of ours.

middle brow missions

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but wait! i gotta write about something! right?! we're major missionaries this week. like, the kind who believes deeply in what they believe. in what they're doing. in the fun of it. the good of it. the why of it, really. cuz the what always comes back to widgets, right? it's the why of it that matters. and this week we got three big why stories to tell. count 'em three.

first. and most importantly i must say. remember when you were a kiddo? (remember when? remember when? it's like the start of every beer review i write. and every rant i write. and every EP i record. and college the virtues of which i extol. (not my own mater, sadly.)) but remember that? remember when you'd come in from playing outside. you'd been fucking running around for like 4 hours. your little legs. running everywhere. never walking. and it was cold as hell but you didn't know temperatures or comfort or care about sound design or lighting levels or "can i please have a blanket?" or "this steering wheel is really cold i need gloves". the short of it: you didn't fucking complain about your conditions. 

but then you'd go in for dinner. and you'd be a dick to your little sister for some reason. maybe she was washing her hands and singing out of tune and that pissed you off so you hip-checked her into the toilet and started washing your own hands and hobbes felt vindicated in his grave and then your parents heard her wails and punished you by sending to your room without a single morsel. and at first you didn't care cuz you had all your baseball cards in there. and your train set. but after awhile. your stomach started to growl. and your family was cackling about something. and you were lonely, yeah. but you were also fucking hungry. i mean, you started to feel those fake hunger pains that we americans have learned to immediately gratify just like the way we put on three cute blankets on at the slightest chill. but then you got the courage to peak your head out of your room and our ma saw you and asked what you needed and you asked if you could come eat dinner and she asked why you were in your room in the first place and you shrugged and she said then go back to your room and then you admitted that you hip checked gretchen because she was done washing her hands she was just standing there singing poorly and refused to move when you asked her nicely and your ma told you to go back to your room and then you admitted that you really just did it cuz gretchen is tone deaf and your ma asked you if that was appropriate and you shook your head and hobbes was defeated because his philosophy is almost too silly even to read and consider other than to prove its lack of depth or to place in in history somehow.

YOU WERE SO FUCKING LUCKY. because your family ate dinner every night. and your belly was so damn full that your hunger pains were fake news. and your ma was confident enough to send you to bed without dinner cuz you were so damn well-fed all the damn time! and most of you readers probably can relate. to the story above. but there's gobs and gobs of kids who can't. whose parents would never punish them that way because they barely get more than one meal a weekend anyway. sometimes because there's another bill due. sometimes because the parents are working three jobs and they cross wires and the dad thinks the mom fed the kids and vice versa until it's 11p and a kid walks out of a bedroom and begs for food and the dad feeds the kid and then cries his eyes out. or sometimes, sadly, the parents are into drugs. or one of them is in jail and the other is just trying to make it moment to moment.

and thank the prince-gods and cool-humans for things like "free or reduced lunch" at CPS! some kids get 2-3 meals a day at various CPS schools. that's amazing! but kids don't go to school on the weekends. not ever. and so what happens to those less lucky kiddos on the weekends? lots of them just stay hungry. and can't wait for monday to come. not cuz they love fractions. like we future spreadsheet lovers. cuz they're fucking hungry! and then we wonder why their SAT scores are lower. 

but wait! again wait! not everyone who comes to our *FREE BREAKFASTS* is a hungry kid. we'll admit it. maybe some are. maybe some aren't. but there's another contour to the story here. some of the kids and families who come in, surprise surprise, are super close-knit with strong mothers or fathers. parents who make damn sure they instill their kids w the right ethics. who always prioritize feeding their kids. who always find ways to take care of them. and so they ain't joining us on some saturdays out of desperation. but instead want to show their kids something new. they want their kids to see the breadth of interests and creativity in the world. and so they come to *FREE BREAKFAST* for that.

anyway. gentrification is a bitch. and we're gentrifying the shit out of our neighborhood. we can't help it. so the least we can do is attempt to feed some of the kids and families around us who might want to hang out together in a *different* place. on a weekend morning. or who might be starving. whichever.

come partake. or support. we'll take care of you the same either way. you beautiful, multitudinous human.

...and then a bus came by.

and the folks from virtue cider got off. with two apple saplings!! in what's honest to god one of the best marketing events i've ever come across, virtue cider is planting apple trees around the city. this saturday. in honor of arbor day. and we're lucky enough to get two of them! and they're gonna be so damn adorable!

anyhow, we're tapping a keg of their rosé cider on saturday after free breakfast. and will have it on until it kicks. and we're stoked'r than ever about what's to come on our patio! thanks to sara and her team.

*DEEP BREAKFAST*   and then there's *DEEP BREAKFAST*. i know what you're thinking.... another breakfast?!?!?! but yes! breakfast is that meal! that meal that only important people eat. right?  so wrong! everyone loves breakfast. and so when my cool cuz michael hilger was fryin' up some eggs one morning. listening to ray lynch's  deep breakfast . he thought, "i should host a deep breakfast event". and so it was born. our chef mickey neely (who, of course, we met through cousin michael) jumped on board. and they threw their first event. and it worked! anyhow, late last year, it became a series. held the last sunday of the month at  sleeping village .   but this month they're traveling! they're on a field trip! to bungalow! we'll be hosting our very first *DEEP BREAKFAST* this sunday. and, just like always, it'll involve breakfast and ambient music. mickey will cook up a dutch baby pancake. jess is offering some killer raisin spice toast with a coconut jam. and michael will play ambient music with macie stewart from the band  ohmme . and we'll have our regular beers on tap. and our regular breakfast dranks. and it'll be a trip!   as cousin michael always says: bring your babies. your dogs (except don't bring them. just bring thoughts of them. cuz they can't come inside. and it'll be chilly sunday.). ... bring your humanity. relax. eat breakfast. talk a little bit. and listen a lot. (ok. he says most of that most of the time. i just talk two words for everyone else's one word usually.)  


and then there's *DEEP BREAKFAST*. i know what you're thinking.... another breakfast?!?!?! but yes! breakfast is that meal! that meal that only important people eat. right?

so wrong! everyone loves breakfast. and so when my cool cuz michael hilger was fryin' up some eggs one morning. listening to ray lynch's deep breakfast. he thought, "i should host a deep breakfast event". and so it was born. our chef mickey neely (who, of course, we met through cousin michael) jumped on board. and they threw their first event. and it worked! anyhow, late last year, it became a series. held the last sunday of the month at sleeping village

but this month they're traveling! they're on a field trip! to bungalow! we'll be hosting our very first *DEEP BREAKFAST* this sunday. and, just like always, it'll involve breakfast and ambient music. mickey will cook up a dutch baby pancake. jess is offering some killer raisin spice toast with a coconut jam. and michael will play ambient music with macie stewart from the band ohmme. and we'll have our regular beers on tap. and our regular breakfast dranks. and it'll be a trip! 

as cousin michael always says: bring your babies. your dogs (except don't bring them. just bring thoughts of them. cuz they can't come inside. and it'll be chilly sunday.). ... bring your humanity. relax. eat breakfast. talk a little bit. and listen a lot. (ok. he says most of that most of the time. i just talk two words for everyone else's one word usually.)

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middle brow citizen how.

jesus of nazareth? that world-historical figure? eat your heart out.


i have a bit of writers' block this morning. and i think i just discovered why: because i've set out to write about such a monumental, important topic. the most important of all, really. and my friday rants might hem or haw at the start to suggest i'm a little bit stuffed up in the fingers but no. ... not so. the truth is that each rant starts off as small. just a miser's point. insignificant. and then as i start typing i realize how much more there is. always more. so much more. and i just start banging the keys and it comes out in one fell swoop with virtually no time between thoughts and keystrokes. 

but this time i know what i want to write about. and it's a topic too big to capture in a single rant. or in forty consecutive rants: polly. 

have you met her? she's my wife. yeah. and my partner in the business. sure. but that's not really what she is. i couldn't go another modest letter without writing about her. about her vision. and about its impact on everything we do at middle brow. polly's got a beautiful, special way. and that way has defined her for, i do reckon, her whole damn life.

 ... we walk to work. we live just 2 blocks down. it's pretty critical to be so close when you've got a newborn business. you gotta be there all the time. making sure the dishes are run the way you know they need to be run. and beers are dumped or touched up when you know they need to be so. and pizzas are sent to the back when you know they need to be "sent to the back" (and the staff cheers! free pizza!). it's the little things that matter. remember that.

anyhow, we tend not to walk to work together. one of us gets up for the early shift and watches jess and @pilarvon and @michaelsbread on the camera or writes emails or modestly. and the other goes in. but this past sunday. that crazy april snow day. we slept in an extra hour, did some work at home, and then walked in together. and the whole way i just talked *at* polly. i was hyperfocused on fixing a problem that we have at the brewpub. and i was talking through unrealistic solution after unrealistic solution, as i tend to do. and polly was nodding along. occasionally humming in agreement. just to humor me. but really knowing the answer all along. and we had arrived at bungalow, and turned left around the corner of the building, and i said "oh! marjie shoveled the entrance! nice work!" to no one.

i had lost polly. 

i turned around, and she was still on the armitage sidewalk. assessing the snow coverage all the way to mozart street. and back over in front of the dodd camera storefront. and down the driveway. and we caught back up to each other. and before i could go on finishing whatever unrealistic, ludicrous thought i was having, she said: i'm gonna grab the shovel. and i finally saw it. 
this is a small story. yeah. sure. and of course it ends with me running to grab the shovel before she could. because i felt insecure about not noticing the other shoveling that needed to be done to make life easier for customers. but there's like two dozen of these stories every damn day. and here's the point: i thought my eyes were open. to a problem. and to all manner of solutions. but i couldn't see what was right in front of me. polly, though. she sees the whole thing. the big business problem; the most likely solution; and the small snow right in front of us. she sees the forest. and the trees. down to the last fucking pine needle. and the sandy soil through which the roots grow and grow. and every last bird who might take quick refuge on whatever branch. oh and she sees two forests over, too.

we've crossed paths with thousands of people since we opened. we've been busy, thank goddess. and every last one of them, down to one or two precocious 8 year olds, have remarked on how beautiful and lovely the space is. how warm. how comforting. last night, we got the compliment of a lifetime when rene (the owner of beauty bar in ukranian village) said it felt like an *alternative space*. with a DIY feeling. ... something accidental, not meant for any one particular purpose. but a whole host of purposes. ... he was speaking our language. i was blushing.

and we take pride in our beer. always have. (thanks bryan!!) and the word-of-mouth buzz for our bread and pizza has eclipsed anything i could have hoped for. (thanks jess and mickey!!) but i can't tell you how important the intangible *feelings* are to the survival of a business like ours. and when tangible products are in the mix, it's easy to forget that. the importance of the intangible feeling likely surpasses that of the tangible products one sells. natch: ideas are a dime a dozen. and holy shit do we have a pile of "ideas" in our battery; ideas are getting old and exhausting at this point. ... but execution is a dollar. no: it's a hundred million thousand dollars. ... i often refer to it as *delight*: we have to delight the customer at every turn. and not one of us who's in the building day-in and day-out knows how to do that like polly does. from the moment someone walks in with a blank stare on their face. until the moment they walk out. the stare converted to a serene smile. ... the way she affirms their entrance. "you're in the right place; come with me!" the way she spots the potential for a wobbly table and avoids it. the way she notices their toddler and tells them that we'll get a kids pizza started for them right away. the way she does the same with beers for the parents. how she knows next to grab the crayons, and in passing tells me that "table 203 needs to be adjusted". ... and all the while, the family's clueless as to how well she's taking care of them. she's predicting their pains before they know they have them. ... instead, they're enchanted by all the *other* things polly's touched in the space. the arrangement of the hutch near the door, with to-go beers and breads and blankets on it. the beautiful water carafe with the water glass resting on top. the plants placed just-so near the french doors. the green table. the yellow table. the white table. the throw pillows on the bench. the candle holders on the old piano. the artwork in the dining room. the bowl of pomelos in the center of the farm table. (what the fuck is a pomelo? doesn't matter. jess had some out and polly turned them into a centerpiece with an old wooden bowl she tracked down off some midwestern byway. and they transformed an entire room.) she takes customers out of their reality. gives them a brief break from it. makes it hard for them ever to leave. because she let's them be themselves in a new reality. an easier, pleasant'r reality. and all because she has a vision that's unmatched. often un-even-known. (it's like a grapefruit.)

"pete, could you comp this cookie? i can't find polly." ... "uhh. sure. but why aren't we charging for it?" ... "polly overheard that the woman just got her first job out of college and wanted to say congratulations with a cookie." 

"here's my new pizza! do you like it?! can we add it to the menu?!" ... "i love it!" . "holy f this tastes so good it's making my ears dumber. i seriously can't hear" . "yep! it's delicious. nice work!" ... (polly): "hmm. i love the chili oil so much. and the fat of the cheese *and* the egg. but i think the customer might appreciate a contrasting texture in this one? what do you guys think?"

and the examples abound. she's taught me so much. about being a good host. a good server. a good conversationalist. a good bartender and manager. a good judge of a new menu item. how to name a beer. how to label a beer. which customers deserve that special touch of attention. how to know when it's time to switch out a decorative branch or flower. or to balance a room by switching some chairs out with a bench. about being ourselves. about focusing on what's in front of me. about calling my mom. about organizing invoices. about growing sustainably. about the right kind and amount of generosity. about conserving water. but also drinking it. about washing and reusing ziplock baggies. (ok. that was maybe her anarchist brother. thanks willy!) how to sell more beer without overwhelming one's palate. everything i do is merely putting action to polly's principles. everything i know about beer and hospitality, she's taught me. all without knowing it. just by acting on her big-ass vision, over and over and over again. right in front of me. and, no matter how hard i try, i just can't keep up. nobody can. or, at least, nobody can who i've come across quite yet. (and i'm telling you! we have an absolutely extraordinary staff!) she's got more vision and empathy in her tiny earlobe than the next best *industry* folk has in their entire past, present and future combined. (that word. blech.)

most of these may seem like little things. to the untrained eye, at least. to the eye that doesn't yet see the new economy. that doesn't understand what a "product" and "business" really is. but fine: i can bludgeon you too. since the day she quit lula cafe. on oct 31 or thereabouts. she's been next to me for virtually every waking minute. working from sometime in the 6s until i literally push her out the door around 1030. that's nearly 6 months. 17 hours a day. with 4 days off. (christmas eve, christmas day, march 19th, and this past tuesday.) (oh. and she went wedding dress shopping with her best friend on some saturday. but that's it.) and she hasn't complained a single second, apart from a comment or two about being a little tired. and she shouldn't! we're lucky! we can't believe how lucky we've been to be given the chance to spend our lives this way. but sadly that kind of stat is about all our capitalist brains can understand when it comes to assessing worth. 

polly is, in a sense, the epitome of a female community-historical figure. (to downright hell with that classic bro, hegel. get over your immortality, man.) the male psycho-sociopath might get attention. for trying to change the world. but he's really failing. or doing more damage than anything. meanwhile the person pulling the strings. setting the stage. making possible what good change there is to make. executing. fucking seeing everything. that's the female. the true community-historical figure. changing everything about your life without you even knowing it. affecting hospitality trends in a whole city. changing the way neighbors treat neighbors. being *nice* because she is. but also because it's community-changing to be so. and, in that, it's world-changing to be so. see my recent rant about each of us as a single raindrop.

ok. i'll stop. no more glowing about my spouse. i hope you got the point: bungalow wouldn't exist without polly. we'd just be middle brow still. stumbling from one beer to the next. trying to "make our schedule more efficient". and to *change* the way you see the little things in your day-to-day (see next week's screed about the true evils of yelp.) while she'd be accepting you for who you are, and *making* your day-to-day doubly better. adding a yet-to-be-known poe-wet-tree to it. and you'd be all sing-song the rest of the day. whistling like a weirdo. not knowing why. ... or maybe we'd have this space. sure. but it wouldn't make any of you *feel* anything. we'd get the big things right. but the little things would be off. wouldn't translate. and it wouldn't set the positive stage for the delicious beer you were about to drink. or the delicious bread and pizza you were about to eat. ... polly turns people happy from the moment they walk in the door. and every experience they have thereafter is better for it.

... well shit. those last two sentences sum up my personal life since 2014 pretty well. i'm gonna go wake her up with a superman-jump on the bed now. and she's gonna ask me if i came in bed "to sleep for another one half hour. cuz that's what i'm doing".

but we hope to see you at bungalow later tonight. on this windy, creepy good friday. or, better yet, on beautiful easter sunday! 70 and sunny! and dry! and we're open! to serve you pizza and beer after your boring easter brunch! with wide-open french doors!

thank you for caring.

truly. but...

we generally don't make typos. we purposefully spell every single word that we write. same like our hopping is light. and timed just so. and our beers generally play with yeast subtleties on purpose. and our pizza dough has whole grain in it. and cook times are a little longer for that extra carm-city. all of it very much on purpose. we aren't *attempting* anything. we're doing very particular things. intentionally.

new beer notice

look at those towers! of bubbles!

look at those towers! of bubbles!


does this beer taste like a flute? yes. 

i really shouldn't say anything else. 

a customer recently said, "i get the feeling that you're just fucking with people". and it's true. in a sense. but then not really: how many damn times can you hear a description about a beer that starts with "light notes of". makes me wanna hurl. and by the same token, i get all embarrassment-chilled when i read "we just want to let the beer speak for itself". no you don't. i mean, sure you do. we all do. but those people just don't feel like putting their thoughts on the beer into words. so they oughtn't be condescending to everyone who does feel like doing that.

so anyway, if you lick a flute................ jk jk jk. it doesn't taste like a flute tastes. it tastes like a flute sounds. it has a special talent at slow, deep tones. but it's equally good with volume and breath and pitch and speed. it's *FLUTES*. a *sparkling brett beer*. gluten-free, too! or at least gluten-scared. in that it contains no intentional gluten. but you know us. we brewers and bakers. we're covered in gluten. as is our facility. ... but anyway. this beer has a light tart note. and a simple wild note. and a light pineapple-leaf note. magenta. pulp-flesh. and i took a wine glass of one for a walk around the block last night. and maybe it was cuz i was walking through grass. but i got a light hint of grab-a-handful-of-bright-green-grass-and-smear-it-on-your-hand-and-wait-for-your-hand-to-dry-and-then-smell-your-hand to it too.

simple when you want it to be. complex when you need it to be. and effervescent as f when you're bored of the dinner conversation and you need to wake the f up. fruity. funky. flute-y. *FLUTES*. sharp. but not like a flute in that.

everything's an art.

until it's a science. ... i spent last night talking with a seminar from the university of chicago law school. i probably talked them all into a stupor of boredom. as you, dear readers, can imagine. but it got me thinking a lot about the art/science dichotomy. and how it isn't really dichotomous.

it started like this: one of the topics was the behavioral economics of building a brewpub. and a big point of discussion was the cognitive biases of architects and engineers and general contractors and subcontractors and owners (the persons or entities contracting said building of a space). and we talked ad nauseum on the incentive structure of each party. and discovered that there are loads of easily avoidable mistakes that cause unnecessary disappointment for one or all parties. and they're easily avoidable in that at least three of the parties involved design and build things over and over and over again. and in that repetition, a thing will transform from an art into a science.

it's like, first, melina ausikaitis draws a tiny unicorn. then she draws a tiny unicorn again. then 100 times. then 6,714 times, each one adjacent to the last. and at that point, she not only draws each unicorn with a very specific intention, but she could write a guidebook on creating a work of art consisting entirely of tiny unicorns. her art has become a science. there is a best way to do it. and she knows what it is.

same story for building. and brewing and on and on and on. the interesting wrinkle in the above case. that is, the reason mistakes are still so common in building. and it retains an artistic component. is because the decision-making almost always must account for one amateur artist (the owner who so rarely builds anything). and that ignorance, combined with the incentive structures and cognitive biases of all of the *scientific* parties (optimism bias, planning fallacy, low bidding, etc.) leads to misses. the engineers and architects and contractors and subs would all have to work hard-as-f against their own built-in cognitive biases in order to knock out the project exactly as predicted. and they, quite naturally, merely do an OK job at this. and change orders become commonplace no matter the efforts against causing them.

all this said, there are certainly instances where building is more a science than an art. where a developer links up with a group of the same contractors over and over again to build something fairly cookie-cutter. think starbucks. or shell. in those cases, the party with the money has nearly as much information as the contractors. and so the incentive structure favors of maximum efficiency and transparency.

but then, the other side of that coin: after building dozens of the same thing, such owners and designers and builders would tend to get complacent. and inefficiencies would tend to arise. and then something fairly scientific would be rendered once again into an art.

right under all our noses. 

it all reminds me, in a small way, of the purchasing behaviors of beer fans. the understanding of which follows quite closely the pendulum swinging 'twixt art and science.

ain't it funny how humans behave. and how groups think. and how memory works.

art by michael hilger.

art by michael hilger.

middle brow missions

sheets and shapes and on and on.

melina! ausikaitis! d'you know her?! you should. she's been mobbin' round this town for years. hanging at handlebar lots. and rainbo club. and making art. and being really nice to people. and supporting other artists. and sining with joan of arc. and the depth of her deeds and duties in this city continues to surprise polly and i. as we learn more and more about her. this super cool woman. this inspiring doer. ... we first met her while polly was managing over at lula cafe. (our fav damn spot in the city.) she curates the art that hangs on the walls there. (go see it now, by the way. the wonderfully weird and cool @morsims has a bunch of work up. neons. sharpie drawings of dogs on t-shirts. etc.)

we saw some of her art on a visit to her house up north of us. earlier this year. as we were casting about for the right way to dress our walls. and when we saw her fabrics-in-dried-glue worx, we were blown away. we loved them. so we hung them from our ceilings. but we couldn't leave without asking after the unicorns. the thousands of tiny unicorns. drawn over and over again. on a 3' x 6' sheet of yellow paper. a work of art that should permanently reside at intuit or some other cool museum-gallery.

we wished we could leave with more. with some of her clothes, perhaps? to wear around? the brewery? as living, walking pieces? ... but we couldn't quite. but no big!!! cuz you'll see.

this coming sunday night. from 6-9p. we'll be celebrating the shit out of her. with a DJ set by her old pals good f*ck. and a bunch of letherbee's besk. in radler form. and a bunch of living, walking melina ausikaitis pieces!

come through for an early dinner. and stay for the chance that it gets a little weird!

why aren't you me? middle brow's 8 year struggle with itself.

middle brow started in a small fit of self-loathing. nick and i were both working corporate jobs. spending about every cent we made on fun beers and fake-fancy dinners on long weekend outings with our hip xennial friends. and short weekend nights getting long-buzzed at the map room with our troll childhood friends. whichever. ... and every damn time we left an overpriced beer bar or hype restaurant, we'd feel terrible about ourselves. there was a shitty imbalance that we desperately wanted to correct: we could spend gobs of money on a basic necessity, thereby transforming it into a luxury. three square luxury meals a day. ... but there were people in our city who couldn't afford even one. and there were kids whose dads were in jail due to gun violence. or who died by ricocheted bullet.
anyway, nick's idea was to start a brewery that donated half the profits to social justice orgs in the city. and so that's what we've been doing. but back to the super fun topic of self-loathing!!!

the name middle brow was born out of massive disappointment in the high brow people we sometimes encountered in all this breezy pleasure seeking. or, at least, the *pretend* high brow people. ... but we were in that clique. that high brow food and wine clique. and we were drinking beer. and we knew it was just as important as the food and wine the folks around us were consuming, but it wasn't packaged all that way. and so we started wearing it as a badge of honor. we were middle brow. we weren't high brow, and we didn't want to be.

now, what is high brow, really? high brow, as far as we're concerned, represents super smart consumption. note: high brow has nothing to do with *production*; just consumption. virginia woolf was a straight-up *bad person* for calling out middle class people the way she did. (coining the term middlebrow to apply to middle class folks who tried to gain status through cultural consumption.) because high brow people *have always* gained status through consumption. not through doing anything productive. and so high brow people consume things like free jazz and classical music and fancy trad wines and liquors and opera and theatre and susan sontag essays and documentaries and foreign films and art films and trendy art. and in consuming all the formers and latters, rich people set themselves apart from other classes. 

but fuck that!!!! why do they want to separate themselves from less wealthy jacks and jills? what terrible living! what horrible humans!

well, we were thankful for two things: first, beer had come along. and it was immediately accessible to all classes. and it was well-made: the producers were their friends and neighbors. often their smart, hard-working friends and neighbors. and so this painstaking production represented something special that the rich couldn't get because they didn't want it. and second, high brow consumption was becoming more democratic. to wit: netflix is loaded with documentaries, and they're popular as f with our middle class friends and family. susan sontag essays are online for everyone to read; you don't need to go to a university or highfalutin bookstore to read them. (though are they really all that special? methinks not, in the main.) and my uncle, who's a union painter, listens to classical music while he's painting. because he simply likes music. and super narrow faux-wood floorboards are cheaper than ever! high brow people can no longer set themselves apart through their consumption. 

in any event, we had been in the clique. and had seen that the chef and the somm had had no clothes. and we were happy to wear our background on our sleeves. and to celebrate the middle. but then we were suddenly on the other side of that clique. on the production side. and whoa... we felt the joy of the pleased and the wrath of the displeased. very immediately. 

my good pal joe tweeted something in the last year or two. just a phrase that he'd clearly come up with himself. but that i can't help thinking about all the time. *why aren't you me?* 

in our increasingly stratified social environment, that question always seems to be on everyone's mind. we felt it early in beer, when we'd get a comment about how one of our saisons "isn't a saison". or hmmm. "not enough oats in your witbier". or that our hazy ipa was "a decent attempt at the style". and it blew us away. in what world could someone think that they knew more about how our beer should taste? the presumption, clearly, is that anyone making anything that didn't taste exactly how the taster wanted it to taste was clearly an amateur. and looking for advice on how to improve said thing. "why aren't you me?!?!?!"

and it happens all the time at bungalow. mostly, people are very happy at our new brewpub. if you haven't been in to try our new row of beers. or our happy-ass pizzas or our delightful bread, get here soon! you're wasting time! ... but occasionally we'll get a comment that there's "too much wheat" in our crust. which always makes me think, "we put it there!!! it wasn't an accident!!!!" so much thought has gone into every last detail in the space. every drop of beer. ever bit of pizza or bread or salad. every customer interaction. if there's wheat and acidity in our pizza crust, we obviously don't think it's too much. we're totally on board with you not loving our pizza as neapolitan pizza. but unless you hate wheat and light acidity, you'll enjoy our pizza. and then, if you hate wheat and light acidity, you most definitely should not eat our pizza! there's tons of other places to find pizza crust that's blander and more of a vehicle for the ingredients. and we *love* those pizza places too, when we're looking for that kind of pie. "why aren't you me?!?!"

and the same phrase sort of imbues our politics these days, doesn't it? it's the echo chambers we live in. where 90% of our day is spent consuming information that confirms our underlying ethics and beliefs and opinions about how the world is and should be. and then when we encounter someone outside that echo chamber, we're sort of shocked they exist. and we ask them snarky questions. (or listen to a clever NPR or fox news reporter do so.) in fact, this is the context in which joe d first uttered the phrase "why aren't you me?!?!"

nobody on either side of the political line is willing to consider for a second that the other side ain't, somehow, dumb. there's that terrible no-good wird. stupid republicans are religious and allow their religious beliefs to influence who they vote for???!?!?!?! idiots. don't they know there's no god? ... stupid liberals spend all their time worrying about the earth. humans are small. i'm gonna water my lawn *twice* as hard. and don't they know money-in-the-moment is more important anyway? idiots.

"why aren't you me?!?!?!"

we make things that people have opinions about. that's great! we're lucky! really lucky! because people really really care about the things we make. enough to put effort into reviewing them. but everyone everywhere should take a more generous approach to the things about which they opine. 

there's a long tradition in restaurant work of complaining about customers. and i do my best to forbid it, or at least strongly discourage it. its ugly behavior. and it falls into the "why aren't you me?!" category. when someone tells you they're gluten free, don't roll your eyes that they came to a brewery. when someone asks for their pizza to be cooked a particular way, don't stomp your feet and huff and puff in the pizza kitchen. when someone brings all their mom friends into the joint with a bunch of strollers and unruly kids, find life in the moment! don't complain about how they're taking up too much space. or how they're super demanding on behalf of their *most important in the world* kids. ... there are lots of ways to be *good*. not everyone will be exactly your kind of *good* all the time. these are mostly good people with what servers might interpret as weird, annoying customer quirks. but only because they're behaving outside of server expectations. i try to tell them to have an open mind. and to stop wondering "why aren't you me?!?!?!"

and that's a good mentality to have generally speaking. because nobody's you. or, because nobody's anybody. including you.

starter home.

starter home.



staccato is probably an italian word. right? anyway, it's a musical phenomenon where each note is super sharply defined. but together, these apparently independent notes are super dependent upon one another. if you just played one sharply defined note, it'd be super intense but wanting for meaning. two intense notes played consecutively gets you a bit closer to having a thing. but a whole cluster of staccato and you have a pretty intense whole. beautiful, but intense. 

that's this song. it's also bungalow. when we're pumping out beers on the fly. and we're blindly stretching dough. and running drinks and bread plates and dodging the unawares. the blissfuls. we're seemingly independent parts. working very  much together. ensemble. to create something. 

and that's why we play it nearly every busy night. and it's why we do our best to quash any sense of entitlement by both our service team and our customers. we're all on the same level here in this building. in the radical middle class.

listen in to our work soundtrack at this link here: https://spoti.fi/2uLh0A1.

new beer notice

*PUB BEER* or the smell of slowly starting to cook.

so here we are. don't i say that all too much? something lame like that. to start out a rant. or a review of myself. or our beers. so... here we are. so.... whoa whoa. omg yo. have you heard? about our new way of hyping up a paragraph?! it's just like the old way. oh. hi there. it's us again. 

so. here we are. 4 years after first engaging foeder crafters. to reconfigure a couple puncheons we'd bought and busted up. and several years still after engaging them on proper foeders for our someday brewpub. and agreeing on an order and price and char and steam. and then 1.5 years after visiting st louis and staying in the beautiful soulard district and slapping the second shift crew on the back and watching a bunch of arkansan fan boys hassle corey king. and getting a bit tore up on side project beers with matt foeder (i assume that's his last name?). and then 7 months after veeerrrrrryyyyy carefully dropping them into place. with the inimitable larry of MRL Enterprises Inc. zen-like behind the wheel of his forklift. cigarette drooping from his lips just so. surly comeback at the ready. practiced. and then 4 months after knowingly and regrettably drying the shit out of them. and then 1 month after rehydrating them. just barely saving their lives. ... we've got our first foeder beer.

it's pretty common to age a beer in a foeder for a long, long time. and lots of breweries take their brand new foeders and ripp a boat of hot ass water through 'em to ease the overwhelming wood qualities. or else they blend their early foeder beers with other stainless beers. to keep them fresh new-wood notes mellower. but not us. we just hosed a cute little pub beer. modeled off an english mild ale. straight into the first foeder we cleaned and prepped. and tasted it twice a day. until juuuust the moment at which the wood started making its presents felt. (we're here! your aunt and uncle from out of town! you like model fire trucks, right?!)

*PUB BEER* is our foeder.... pub beer. we ain't calling it an english mild. cuz. uh. we don't want to? cuz who cares about style names? cuz you'll come in and read a slightly confusing description of it that'll give you juuuust the right sense of the beer. and you'll order it and like it and *PUB BEER* will just feel right. in that moment. there and then. we promise. ... anyway, there's always something in a beer that places you in a place. and times you out. ... is *PUB BEER* dripping with caramel? not exactly dripping. does *PUB BEER* taste like the way a fire smells??? no. does it beckon children's cereal?!?!?!?! no no. does it remind you of candy? absolutely not. but does *PUB BEER* sort of remind you of a memory of crossing a bridge in london despite never having been to london? yes. does *PUB BEER* taste the way a springtime morning or a girlfriend-cheek smells, fresh and lightly warm and sweet? yes. does *PUB BEER* remind you of that moment years ago, when you stacked a pile of new 2x4s in your lawn for your dad and he got home and scolded you cuz didn't you know that water warps wood and it's supposed to rain tonight and go get all those back in the garage stat? yes. does it remind you of yesterday, when you decided that all the hoppy and sour and clean beers were fine and great and all, but you wanted just the slightest taste of caramel and wood in your spring beer. you wanted to taste the memory of the previous year's sun hitting your white-ass skin and heating it up hot. that's what slightly toasty, caramel-colored beers taste like to you sometimes. the good ones, at least. 

they taste like the scent of the earth and all its things slowly starting to cook. to warm up. in spring time. they taste like the moment all the intelligent things start to look around for the source of the good-smell. cuz the earth is just one big pre-caramel.

and this wood! this foeder wood! all over the front and back of this beer. like a cradle for the mouth made by a baby-carpenter-prodigy. jesus's childhood friend-carpenter who was way better at woodworking so jesus had to start playing up that whole messiah thing to get attention. this carpenter gal had a baby who had a baby who had a baby who lived for a thousand-plus years and who then had baby matt foeder in st louis. who then made us a foeder of precious glam wood. which barely touched this beer. but which still filled up all its cracks with simple warming wood sounds.

the earth is slowly cooking up. finally. and humans are scurrying for sun. and light, warming beers. and we pulled such a caramel-y beer from a magic wooden beer cradle. and it's been fluffed-up by some carbon gas. and is being drawn frequently in our pub. today. ... come drink *PUB BEER*. and the smell of slowly starting to cook.

fresh fridays! at bungalow by middle brow!