Arts Devo

Droppin’ beer knowledge with Brookston Beer Bulletin

Get that man a Ballantine Ale.

Get that man a Ballantine Ale.

Beer knowledge No matter how much you know about beer, I’d bet a bottle of oud brun that you don’t know as much as Jay R. Brooks. When Arts DEVO wants to take a break from the beer geeks and lumberjack beards, he visits Brooks’ highly enjoyable—and seriously educational—blog, the Brookston Beer Bulletin (

It’s a little hard to wrap your arms around the site. There’s some basic beer-industry news, plus reports from the field and the breweries and beer events Brooks attends. But the bulk of the posts are on a range of beer-related ephemera and history. Recurring features include the recognition of birthdays of historical (as well as current) players in the world of beer (Oct. 3 marked the birth of German immigrant and early American brewer Fred Horix—1843-1929); beer-industry patents (Patent No. 568133A: Apparatus for Barreling and Bunging Beer); and best of all, “Art and Beer,” featuring images from old beer advertisements.

A recent ad series Brooks has been highlighting is a 1952-53 campaign by Ballentine Beer that asked famous writers: “How would you put a glass of Ballantine Ale into words?” Here’s an excerpt from Ernest Hemingway’s contribution:

You have to work hard to deserve to drink it. But I would rather have a bottle of Ballantine Ale than any other drink after fighting a really big fish.

We keep it iced in the bait box with chunks of ice packed around it. And you ought to taste it on a hot day when you have worked a big marlin fast because there were sharks after him.

You are tired all the way through. The fish is landed untouched by sharks and you have a bottle of Ballantine cold in your hand and drink it cool, light, and full-bodied, so it tastes good long after you have swallowed it.

Between beers As enjoyable as it is to have the town collectively focused on something as fun as beer, there is, of course, more going on in Chico this week. Here are a few items worth checking out along the way to or from your Beer Week adventures:

• Lush de Luxe: Saturday, Oct. 8, noon-5 p.m., at The Bookstore: It’s a pop-up fundraiser for the Chico Bicycle Music Festival, and it will have just about everything a discerning townie could desire. There will be handmade clothing, jewelry, art, food, etc., from local purveyors—Chikoko, Sadiedeluxe, Turkey Tail Farm, Everything Herbal, Telos, Henna Trails—music by DJ Mojohito, Caribbean Dance Radio and more, plus games for the kids and Sierra Nevada brews for the adults.

• Garden Art Show: Saturday, Oct. 8, 4-8 p.m., Magnolia Gift & Garden: Local artists will show and sell their garden art in the lush environs of Magnolia, plus beer and wine will be for sale. Sounds like a garden party!

• Coming Out for Art reception: Saturday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m., Habitat Lab: National Coming Out Day is Oct. 11, and the Habitat Lab is hosting a group show (Oct. 8-15) that kicks off with this party featuring visual art, interactive installations, poetry, film, live music and performances by the LGBTQ community and its allies. There also will be appetizers and a no-host bar, and the evening is a benefit for Stonewall Alliance

• Pull-string duo: Sunday, Oct. 9, 2 p.m., Zingg Recital Hall: Chico State music professor David Dvorin performs his original composition Dust Bowl Mix with his duo. The work combines guitar, violin and electronics in a way that “tunes into California’s migratory past while reflecting on the environmental present.” And it’s free! A great opportunity to hear something different as well as check out the new performance hall.