The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 11 – The Brewery

We have finished our day in the town in this beautiful building, that has originally served as a firefighter’s armoury/base or whatever the proper English terminus technicus is. The building has been converted into a brewery and restaurant today, and one that probably has no problem getting enough customers. Luckily we were only two persons so we have managed to get places for dinner.

I am no beer connoisseur, but of course I could not miss this opportunity and I had to drink one here. It was good and refreshing, I would not mind drinking such beer more often.

The restaurant has two storeys and in the lower room is actually the brewery, just behind the counter. Very interesting arrangement that, one that must be very comfortable in the winter, but very uncomfortable in the summer. We were there during a hot spell in the spring and even with the door open wide, the room was very warm inside – the beer was just brewing.

The meal was also very good and if you per chance ever visit Idstein, I can recommend dining at this establishment. Highly recommend. I have eaten my fill and I was sorry that there is only so much one can eat in one go without bursting.



This concludes my irregular series about this beautiful town. As a final goodbye a picture of the same town square that started it, at night before I went to sleep.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Bad American Blood.

Hervé Garnier poses with a bottle of wine from Beaumont. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

Hervé Garnier poses with a bottle of wine from Beaumont. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

A story of an illicit wine, one with a history of a hysterical hunt to destroy these vines with bad blood in them. This wine is still illegal, and I have to say after reading the story, that I’d love to get my hands on a bottle, it sounds delicious.

“This cuvée hails from the tiny, remote village of Beaumont, where it’s been perfected by five generations of local winemakers,” whispers Borel. For the past 84 years, the French government and, most recently, the European Union, has sought to eradicate Beaumont’s grapevines due to their American “blood.” Although the vines are French-American hybrids, they are more than 140 years old. Beaumont’s Association Mémoire de la Vigne makes just 7,000 bottles a year.


“This wine should be celebrated as others are,” says Hervé Garnier, the 66-year-old Association Mémoire de la Vigne president and founder. Garnier loves Beaumont, which is situated in Cévennes National Park along France’s highest mountain range, and is home to groves of chestnut trees, wild boar, and high rocky cliffs. Its centuries-old stone buildings have terracotta roofs and rocky terraces, and are etched into the hillsides overlooking the Beaume River. Since its founding in the 11th century, sheepherders have practiced transhumance—moving herds to summer in alpine meadows—by way of traditional paths. They are some of the last in the world to do so.

“What wine do you think they carry when they go?” fumes Garnier. “For 150 years, the Cuvée des Vignes d’Antan is the taste of this land. And yet, a ridiculous archaic law tries to destroy it!”

Indeed. If it wasn’t for Garnier and a group of unruly older winemakers, Beaumont’s wine would be lost to history.

The village of Beaumont; it’s location in a national park makes its wine a nationally protected folkway. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

The village of Beaumont; it’s location in a national park makes its wine a nationally protected folkway. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

You can see and read much more at Atlas Obscura.


From Voyager & Jack, so very sweet of you! I was momentarily afraid Rick was going to just drink the maple syrup, then I tasted it…ohhhh. I’m gonna be wanting pancakes. And I just ran out of Burt’s Bees! I could never go wrong with Wonder Woman at my side, and my thanks for the tea! And all the rest – Rick gave me the raspberry & orange chocolates, and oh, I don’t even have words for how utterly om nom nom it is. Thank you so very much.

Seductive Sins: 100 Years of Ads.

In this catalog of twentieth-century advertisements, Taschen has drawn together examples of advertorial seduction that were employed by liquor and tobacco companies over the past 100 years.

This colorful tome showcases an undeniably vibrant chapter of advertising history: highlighting trends — from the kitsch to the cliché and the classy — in drinking and smoking in America. 20th Century Alcohol and Tobacco Ads is as much a lesson in popular culture and pseudo-science as it is in advertising: see the pages dedicated to doctors testifying that smoking soothes the throat and liquor bring social success! With contemporary legislation in many countries moving cigarettes to plain packaging and alcohol advertisements to after hours on TV, the images in this publication seem almost closer to caricature than they do to real life.

You can see several more ads at iGNANT, and buy the book here.

Killing ALL The Fun Of Christmas! Creepy as fuck.

Now that the ‘war on christmas’ has been won, the conservachristians have a new complaint. You just knew this was coming, right? Life is no fun for conservachristians unless they can gripe and whine. Fox News host and Trump cheerleader Laura Ingraham is concerned about women. She’s concerned that women, those awful killjoys, might suck all the fun out of christmas parties, because what else so typifies christmas as the drunken office party?

“Is the #MeToo movement becoming a spoiler for this season’s Christmas parties?” Ingraham asked Friday evening during a segment on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle.

Speaking with comedian Jimmy Failla, Ingraham said she was worried that women who feel empowered to report sexual misconduct might ruin the holiday season by making office Christmas parties less festive.

“I can see this year it might be — a little less festive, let’s say that. No alcohol and no fun and no lampshades and, I don’t know, maybe that’s better,” she said.

“Is this just killing all the fun of Christmas?” she wondered absurdly.

Maybe that’s better? Unbelievable, especially coming from the SHN (Sexual Harassment Network). If your party hits the lampshade point, you’ve gone too far. Seriously. The next day will be flashes of very embarrassing behaviour, always remembered by at least one person, who will spread it all over the place, massive headaches, and someone will get stuck cleaning up all the pools of vomit. If you want to do that sort of thing in your own house, go for it. When it comes to office parties, which many people feel obligated to attend, having a lower key affair will come as a relief to many a person.

As for killing the fun of christmas, gosh, I thought your celebration was supposed to be Christ centered, and you all should be getting pickled in Jesus juice.  Ah well, the truth always outs – christmas, it’s about being a drunken lout!

Failla and Ingraham then turned their attention to Vox, which they ridiculed for imposing a two-drink limit at this year’s office holiday party in an effort to keep things under control.

Limiting the alcohol limits the fun, Failla argued, offering an enthusiastic endorsement of drunkenness at office parties.

“I’m pro-holiday Christmas party,” he said. “I think it serves a purpose, which is to build camaraderie over someone getting trashed. You know, you get that one night a year to be like, ‘Simmons took his shirt off and jumped in the the water fountain.’”

The reason so many people get wasted at office parties is anxiety and nervousness. That kind of ‘camaraderie’ always comes at someone’s expense, so it shouldn’t be that gosh darn hard to dispense with it.

Via Share Blue.

The Anti-Trump Hotel.

Oh, this place sounds fabulous! From what I’ve read, I might want to live there. :D

The first thing you’ll see when you walk into Eaton Workshop, a hotel opening in late spring 2018 in Washington, is a custom-commissioned video art installation by AJ Schnack, shown on a series of vintage-style television screens. All day long, it’ll broadcast a montage of footage from the presidential elections of 2012 and 2016 that’s built around one pointed question: How did our country get where it is today?

It’s not a subtle statement, and it’s not meant to be.

In Trump’s Washington, Eaton is planting a clear flag as a haven for Democrats. It’s the world’s first politically motivated hotel, the flagship for a global brand that’s built around social activism and community engagement. And it comes with a pedigree: As the daughter of Ka Shui Lo, the creator and executive chairman of Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group Ltd., founder Katherine Lo knows a thing or two about luxury hotels and world-class service.

Lo firmly believes that hotels ought to be catalysts for good. In a world where we can be conscious consumers—of everything from clothing to food to baby products—she argues there’s a place for conscious hotels, too. This isn’t a revolutionary idea: Already, 1 Hotels has built a small collection of luxury properties entirely around the idea of sustainability, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts has made a significant, brand-wide commitment to bolster community programming for disadvantaged children in all of its destinations. It’s one of many five-star brands that have a conscious ethos but choose not to flaunt it.

Eaton Workshop is different. With a premise that’s built around liberal activism and civic engagement, the brand will weave a liberal philosophy into every aspect of the guest experience, some more obvious than others.


Among the Washington location’s programming signatures will be a sort of TED talk series driven by the liberal agenda, consisting of fireside chats and rooftop lectures that Lo hopes will be free, open to the public, and streamable as Eaton-branded podcasts. Then comes the art program, which—aside from the political statement piece at check-in—will include commissions from at least a half-dozen up-and-coming local artists and a street-facing exhibition window curated in partnership with local museums and institutions. A co-working space will prioritize memberships for progressive startups, activists, and artists, while a wellness program will offer “inner-health-focused treatments” such as Reiki and sound baths, rather than facials and massages. (Some of these features will roll out a few months after the hotel opens.)

Just as important, partners and staff will be brought on board, both for their skills in the food and beverage worlds and their activist track records. For instance, Lo saw the cocktail director of the famed Columbia Room, Derek Brown, as a perfect fit to be the hotel’s beverage director—not just because he’s won such awards as Imbibe magazine’s Bartender of the Year but because he “cares deeply about social justice.” To wit, Brown actively champions policies that fight sexual harassment in the bartending industry and acts as chief spirit advisor for the National Archives.

Similarly, Lo says that the “amazing life story” of house chef Tim Ma “perfectly expresses our brand ethos.” The Chinese-American culinary up-and-comer was an engineer at the National Security Agency for years before discovering his true passion in food. At Eaton’s to-be-named restaurant, Ma is planning a menu with a heavy focus on vegetables from an on-site garden.

A guest who does nothing other than check in, sleep atop Eaton’s organic mattresses, and check out will still have a sense of the hotel’s mission, says Lo. “We plan to have new ideas in the minibar—an activist toolkit, for example, that includes sheets with information to help you call your congresspeople. And if we’d been open during this year’s Women’s March, I could have seen us putting poster boards and markers in the rooms!”

Political statements such as these will be tailored to each property. In Hong Kong, for instance, Lo says she’d like to replace Bibles in the nightstand drawers with copies of the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights.

Raw Story and Bloomberg have this story.  Eaton Workshop.

The Twelve Types of Drunkenness.

Oswald von Wolkenstein – Portrait from the Innsbrucker Handschrift, 1432.

In three sections of the poem “Und swig ich nu,” Oswald lets us read (or hear) just how much experience hanging around drunk people he has accumulated over the years.

Often a person believes himself to be so wise
and believes to gain highest fame thereby,
when the juice of the grapes has affected him negatively.
The next one believes that he is so rich
that even the emperor might not be an equal to him.
The third appears like an extremely hungry horse,
so no one can push enough of fresh or rotten food
into the ever open mouth.
The fourth one screams cries over his heavy sins,
and his heart is passionately in flames out of deep repentance
for strange reasons that no one can comprehend.

The fifth one desires to do unchaste actions,
to which he is dedicated day and night,
once he has become addicted to the power of wine.
The sixth has a miserable practice:
He condemns the soul through [false] oaths
so that she will be entirely exhausted when facing God.
The seventh is ready to fight, he growls like a dog
held by a chain and who barks all the time;
its round head is ready for a fight.
The eighth becomes so happy out of drunkenness
that he is ready to sell his honor, property, wife, and children;
the evilness of drunkenness shows in him.

The ninth helplessly becomes crazy,
everything what he knows, sees, or hears,
he presents openly to everyone.
The tenth fights against sleep.
The eleventh sings wild songs
and screams totally uninhibited both in the evening and in the morning.
The twelfth becomes so drunk from heavy drinking
that he feels the alcohol already at the top portion of his throat
and voluntarily pays a tribute to the innkeeper.

(trans. Albrecht Classen, The Poems of Oswald von Wolkenstein)

You can read more about Oswald von Wolkenstein here.

See also:

The Anatomy of Drunkenness, by Robert Macnish, fifth edition; 1834; W.R. M’Phun, Glasgow.

The expanded fifth edition of Robert Macnish’s The Anatomy of Drunkenness, a work by the Glaswegian surgeon, first published in 1827, and based on his doctoral thesis of a year two years earlier. The book examines inebriety from a wide range of angles: although that caused by alcohol is the main focus, he also explores use of opium (popular at the time), tobacco, nitrous oxide, and also other various poisons, such as hemlock, “bangue” (cannabis), foxglove and nightshade. Included in his examination are some wonderful descriptions of the different kinds of drunk according to alcohol type, methods for cutting drunkenness short, and an outlining of the seven different types of drunkard (Sanguineous, Melancholy, Surly, Phlegmatic, Nervous, Choleric and Periodical). The seventh chapter of the book examines the phenomenon of “spontaneous combustion” which apparently tends to strike drunkards in particular.

Beer Names: Enter the Neural Network.

Saison is a pale ale, usually cloudy gold in color, with fruity, spicy flavors. Adam Barhan/CC BY 2.0.

Naming beers is a tricky business in the age of the microbrew. America has well over 5,000 breweries, and almost every beer name imaginable seems to have been taken. Cities, trees, weather patterns, and critters alike have been thoroughly mined, and brewers are wringing their hands (or, sometimes, getting embroiled in legal battles) in the effort to come up with a novel name for a new recipe.

Enter the neural network. Following a Gizmodo article about the dearth of new beer names, scientist Janelle Shane decided to sic artificial intelligence on this all-important task. And now, Old National Brewing Company, based in Williamston, Michigan, has launched what’s almost certainly the first beer named by a neural network: The Fine Stranger, a New England Double Dry-Hopped Saison.


The network allowed Shane to dial up or down the creativity. At its lowest setting, the beers were very (appropriately) French:

Saison Du Bear
Saison Du Farmer
Saison De Man
Saison De Mountain
Saison Du Chard
Saison Du Pant
Saison De Life
Saison De La Mort


But as creativity was dialed up, “the good ones got better and the bad ones got a lot worse,” she wrote. Until, that is, she pushed it up to full-tilt creativity, and the neural network went bonkers. “I stopped,” she wrote. “Perhaps you can understand why.”

Funky Ever
Saison De Mage
Fleur Dull?
Beoobegie Nard
Stutty Rye
Plop Aged
The Sprong

The brewer eventually chose a name from one of the middle tiers, at the same creativity level as “Burcumber Jane Rad” and “Don’t The Mountain.” The Fine Stranger sounds convincingly like a saison—but great beer names for other styles are still up for grabs. Anyone for a tall, frosty Yampy?

Atlas Obscura has the full story. I think this is a fine idea, for jump-starting stalled imaginations. And ‘Don’t Tell The Mountain’ would be a good name.

Brewery Biosensors.

Just stay clear of their claws. Fredlyfish4/CC BY-SA 4.0.

There are an endless number of decisions that a brewer can make about a beer recipe, but one ingredient—water—seems like it should be an afterthought. But even for the most basic, cheap beers, brewers pay a lot of attention to water chemistry. If it’s too alkaline, or full of minerals and other contaminants, it will impact the flavor of the final product. So they carefully test their water sources to make sure they’re good enough—and now one brewery in the Czech Republic has hired some tiny new employees to take over this task. They’re paid in food. Because they’re crayfish.


At the Protivin Brewery—brewers of the Platan family of beersReuters reports, they can show whether water pumped from a local natural source is safe to use. Five of the clawed arthropods have infrared sensors mounted on their backs that monitor their heart rates and movement. A portion of the water headed for the brew kettle is diverted to their tank, and if three or more of the crayfish have elevated heart rates, or start moving around a lot, a computer will tell brewers within three minutes that there’s a problem.

The brewery is working with scientists from the University of South Bohemia to develop this biosensor system, which they plan to continue upgrading. Cameras that can monitor the crayfishes’ hearts are a planned addition. The system remains experimental, so brewers still have to monitor water quality in a lab.

Anything in the name of a good beer! Via Atlas Obscura.

Frank Buttolph’s Menu Obsession.

Photo of Frank E. Buttolph, c. 1917–21 New York Public Library.

Frank Buttolph collected menus. A lot of menus.

…Buttolph’s commitment to collecting menus came, she said, from her desire to preserve early 1900s culinary history for future scholars. Confirming this, The New York Times once wrote that “she does not care two pins for the food lists on her menus, but their historic interest means everything.”

She was a meticulous collector—not only in transcribing, dating, and organizing her menus with a detailed card catalog, but also about how they should be stored. When the director of the Astor Library tried to rubber-band menus together, she pushed back out of worry that it would leave marks.

Click for full size.

Oh gods. Now I want proper mac ‘n’ cheese, and peach fritters.

Atlas Obscura has a delightful article about Ms. Buttolph and her quest to preserve dining habits, and you can see pages and pages and pages and of her collection here. Gad, what a time sink! There’s an Astor menu printed on linen! The menus are not limited to the U.S. The artwork on many of them is fascinating, especially those for dinners being held by individuals. The Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen-Amerika has a menu with gorgeous artwork, and the menu itself is handwritten.