Stone Brewing Imperial IPA

Stone 15: Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Just tried Stone’s latest Anniversary Ale, Escondidan Imperial Black IPA and it is amazing!

The ale also came with the following text on the bottle and landing page:

In the 15 years since we entered the craft brewing world, change has come not in a straight line, but as an exponential curve. The craft brewing movement has long been called a “revolution.” But today the air is so thick with revolution, it’s palpable. No longer is it only an awareness among the faithful; the unconverted are beginning to feel it as well. Denial and ignorance are disappearing in favor of opened eyes, curiosity and the sense that there’s something larger out there. For far too long we have been lied to. For far too long we have been oppressed by the notion that dumbed-down-lowest-common-denominator-mediocrity was all that we could, and should, expect. You might think we’re talking only about the world of brewing, but we’re not. There is a myriad of products out there masquerading as cheeses, coffee, chocolates, breads…hell, there is stuff pretending to be ‘food’ that our great grandmothers would not recognize as such. Yet the craft brewing movement, together with the artisanal food movement, is making much progress. Where the industrial companies can’t dismiss or bury us, they are attempting to copy us with cheap facsimiles. Yes, chances are if you are holding this bottle, you understand these things to be true about the world of brewing. You also likely understand the importance of our fight at Stone against accepted ‘norms’ over the last 15 years. We believed that America was ready to embrace things made with artistry and passion. You have spoken. Your response has been clear. We are not merely consumers to be spoon-fed whatever commodities need to be unloaded for a profit. We have only just begun to move the needle of this revolution, & mediocrity still reigns. Consider that when you reject dumbed down, industrialized food and drink, you also support craft brewing. The line is nearly seamless; we are fighting the same battle. We will not win in our lifetime, as the powers are too entrenched, and the masses too fooled. And shackled. However, this is a revolution of ideas and of taste, and we will win. How do you want to be viewed by your children, and your children’s children? As a hero, or as the oppressed? (Those that don’t think they have been oppressed are already lost.) Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. We hope you’ll stand with us. Strong and unyielding. You are needed. This bottle and its glorious contents are a celebration of you, brothers and sisters, and your importance in this fight. Cheers to all we’ve accomplished together in the past fifteen years, and cheers to the adventure ahead!

Stone, as a person who enjoys and appreciates quality and the time it takes to make something right, not just done, I applaud your efforts to produce a quality product.


Banjo Kitty!

Banjo Kitty!

We have had this cabinet card of a cat playing a banjo for years. Although some photographers used stuffed animals for genre images we feel that this kitty is alive if obviously annoyed at being posed with a banjo, top hat, and gloves. I believe the photographer may be Louis De Ribas, a Boston photographer who patented a drop shutter in 1887. The time, the place, and the name seem right.

I used a slide (*now replaced with a scan of the original) of it recently for a demonstration to a friend who is considering the purchase of a scanner. The scan was only going to be a demo and I didn’t even plan to save it. When we looked at an enlargement of the scan we saw faint writing on the image. That became a demonstration of contrast enhancement.

The only part we could read was “…. to Me Quickly My Darling” and “copyright …..” Was this the title of the song the cat was “playing”? A Google search brought us to “Come to Me Quickly My Darling” from the 1874 comic operetta Evangeline. It was loosely (very loosely it seems) based on the Longfellow poem Evangeline. It toured and was revived periodically for over 30 years. Its popularity seemed partly explained by the liberal use of ladies in tights but texts also mention a two-person dancing heifer and an amorous whale. Isn’t the internet amazing!