Ugh. I hate it when I make stupid mistakes like this. If you read my earlier post about a small business seminar Thursday at the Silly Goose, cancel that. What happened was, I took a blue notepad with me to C-Y Beerfest yesterday. This morning I saw a blue notepad with that note on the front page – but it was a different blue notepad, with a note I took over a year ago. I just found the notepad I took with my yesterday in my pants pocket. Sorry for the confusion. Glad I caught that before I went out for the day.

Sun update: Candlebox @ New Daisy, new Blind Bear brunch menu, Beale Street, St. Jude

Live music alert: Candlebox plays the New Daisy on Beale tonight. Show starts at 7 PM. Open Air Stereo is the opening band.

Chef David Scott Walker is rolling out the new brunch menu at Blind Bear this weekend. Selections include pancake breakfast tacos, a reuben Benedict, the Big Bear Breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes), fried chicken and a waffle, biscuits and sausage gravy, and a BELT sandwich. On the side you can get smoked juniper bacon, buttermilk biscuits, smoked breakfast sausage, hand-cut fries, and breakfast potatoes. The bar has $3 mimosas, moonshine (apple pie, blackberry, or peach), and Fireball during brunch. They also have a bottle of Yellow Tail sparkling with orange juice for $15 or Sofia blanc with orange juice for $30. Other drink specials include a breakfast shot and The Flapper (Three Olives Mango). The Bear opens at noon Saturdays and Sundays. Brunch runs until 6 PM and they have NFL RedZone so you can keep up with all the games.

By the way, I’m going to start carrying a notebook again. I gave it up when I started using Evernote. However, there is no way I could have typed the info above into my phone after a day at Beerfest. Having the notebook as a backup will ensure that I don’t miss anything.

St.Jude will not be hit with fines due to the Affordable Care Act. Many hospitals that provide free care to the poor will be fined. St.Jude, however, will be exempt, although it will have to file paperwork every three years to prove that the exemption is deserved. Families never receive a bill for treatment received at the children’s hospital.

Several fights broke out on Beale Street Friday after Memphis Madness. It’s a shame that we have such a fantastic event Downtown in support of our Tigers and yet people can’t behave themselves. However, security has been beefed up on Beale Street. Although they don’t do checkpoints at the entrances on weekends during the cold winter months, there are 55 cameras watching the street and the alleys to the north and south.

Finally, I’m done posting for the day. I’ll lead off at the Blind Bear at noon, where I may have to give that reuben Benedict a try.

Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest 2013

Another successful Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest is in the books, and this year’s was bigger and better than ever.

Although it was a little bit chilly, the weather once again cooperated. Showers moved out about 10 AM, and it was 50 degrees going to a high in the low 60s with northwest wind. That sounded like a perfect forecast to bring out my PBR hoodie for the first time of the season, which I paired with shorts and sandals. The festival was set to begin at 1. Normally I start the day at Bardog at 11 AM, but I decided the probability of getting talked into Fireball shots was too high for that to be a viable starting point. I chose the Flying Saucer instead, where I ordered two pretzels with cream cheese and queso for dipping. Those gave me a good base for the day.

About 12:45 I walked up to the Peabody and found five cabs waiting for fares. Here’s a tip for anyone in the Downtown core: Don’t even bother calling a cab. Just walk to the Peabody and find one. It’s much quicker and easier that way. The cab had me there at 1:02, perfect timing. There was a long line but it moved very quickly. “Oh Paul,” said Sydney as she scanned my ticket, “you wore a PBR shirt to a craft beer festival? Really?” I tried to explain that PBR is the Cadillac of beers, but she wasn’t having it.

I got my mug and saw my buddy Chad who I frequently hang out with at the Flying Saucer. We went to the breweries we had not heard of before, and tried their beers. Cooper-Young Beerfest is unique in that it is all regional craft breweries. The big corporate breweries, which have a presence at Memphis Brewfest and many of the other local beerfests, were not invited to this one. All of the invited breweries were within a one-day drive of Memphis, so if you want to go on a craft-brew road trip, you will know where to go. Although many of the beers sampled are not available in Memphis, you won’t have to go too far to find them.

Probably the best beer I tried was a vanilla cream ale from Exit 6 Brewery in Cottleville, Missouri. They also had an oatmeal beer that was really good. Another delicious one was the Winged Nut from Urban Chestnut based in St.Louis. The Mississippi Fire Ant imperial red ale from Hattiesburg-based Southern Prohibition was another winner according to my taste buds and nose. The local breweries were also there, and I tried the saisons from High Cotton and Memphis Made back-to-back. I had a slight preference for one over the other, but I will say that both are in the top 10% of beers I have tried in the past 365 days. Which one do I recommend YOU try? Well, it will have to be the Memphis Made, because the guys at High Cotton told me they were on the last saison keg of the year.

One stupid. stupid. STUPID mistake I made was not paying attention to the Beer Tent Revival schedule. That is the education tent, where the brewers talk about the beers and what it’s like to be a small business in the craft brewery market. I missed the presentation by “Yazoo Cellarman” Ivan Chester, who is one of the very best presenters. Making this even more inexcusable is that I had the beerfest’s Guidebook app on my phone, with a complete schedule and the ability to create “My Schedule.” By the time I got to the Beer Tent Revival, Ivan’s talk was long over but a poster he had put up remained:


Most interesting here is the “Completely Fake Breweries” category in the far right column. When you drink Shock Top or Third Shift you are not drinking craft beer at all. You are drinking beer brought to you by the same folks who make swill like Coors Light and Michelob Ultra. The big breweries are losing market share to small craft breweries, and these new brands are the big guys’ feeble attempt to catch up. When you drink craft beer you’re helping to put someone’s kids through college. When you drink Shock Top you’re helping to pad a CEO’s salary.

I did manage to catch the Beer Tent Revival presentation by Drew Barton of Memphis Made.


Memphis Made’s two beers, a pale ale and a saison, are not yet available in stores. They are at capacity right now managing six bar accounts, which are the Downtown and Cordova Flying Saucers, Bardog Tavern, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Slider Inn, and Young Avenue Deli. After a brief talk, Drew opened it up for questions. Someone asked if other styles of beers were in the works. Drew responded that if people continue to drink Memphis Made dry – which seems to be happening at the rate their beer is being consumed – the brewery will try other, random styles.

I asked if the government shutdown had affected Memphis Made. Drew said no. I was surprised because I had read that the federal government has an agency that approves beer recipes and labeling. However, Memphis Made does not have to deal with that agency because they do not ship any beer across state lines. Therefore, the brewery is free to whip up any recipe the owners want to do.

After Drew’s talk, I walked over to the Memphis Made booth. The other owner, Andy, was there, and completely disagreed with his wife Sydney’s assessment of my attire. He thought a PBR hoodie was a great choice for a beer festival. They were selling T-shirts, and I had been wanting one for a while.

2013-10-20 07.38.15

“When You’re Bad, You Get Put in the Corner” – and that’s where Memphis got put, in the corner of Tennessee. The Memphis Made logo is on the back of the shirt.

I went back to the Beer Revival Tent for the final presentation of the day, by the folks at Wiseacre Brewery, located on Broad Avenue.


They decided to do things a bit differently for their presentation, and did “beer trivia.” Each correct answer won a Wiseacre sticker. I ended up with two stickers, for answering “what’s another name for smoke beer?” (Rauchbier) and “what are the four essential ingredients in beer?” (barley, malt, yeast, and hops) The education portion of the talk came as they explained the trivia answers. They pointed at my PBR hoodie as they explained adjuncts in beer. In the place of malted barley, grains such as rice, corn, rye, and wheat are used. “So, when you drink that beer, you’re drinking corn,” they told me. Whatever, PBR is still the Cadillac of beers. Seriously, though, Wiseacre’s products are good stuff, and I like the Tiny Bomb especially. Their taproom, the first of its kind in the city, on Broad Avenue is open 4 to 8 PM Thursday-Saturday.

Last year there were issues with brewers running out of their product before the festival’s end time of 5 PM. I am happy to report that has been corrected. In fact, after about 4:30 brewers were pouring full mugs of beer, rather than stopping at about the halfway point as they had been doing, to run their kegs out by closing time.

The festival had a partnership with Yellow Cab to make sure attendees didn’t have to drive home drunk. At 5 I wasn’t ready for a cab, though. As many of my readers know, I am a big fan of Aldo’s bars and restaurants, and visit Bardog Tavern and Aldo’s Pizza Pies often. However, I rarely get to his third business, Slider Inn, because I can’t walk there from home. With the festival in the parking lot of Midtown Auto Werks at 795 S. Cooper, though, I had a 5-minute walk to Slider. It had warmed up a good bit, and the sun felt nice and warm, yet the wind kept me from overheating in my hoodie as I walked there. Special thanks to the people walking a quarter block or so behind me, who noticed that I dropped my new Memphis Made shirt which I had slung over my shoulder. When I got to Slider, my “DAWG” John D was sitting at the bar. Although he has a breakfast named for him at a Downtown restaurant, the Majestic Grille, Slider Inn is more John’s native habitat. I drank a couple of PBRs and chatted with John. Service was excellent, as is typical for Aldo bars.

As I tabbed out, I asked the bartender to call me a cab. That’s another thing I’ve learned about cabs in Memphis, is that bartenders have better luck getting cabs to show up quickly than the average guy on the street. Michele at Max’s Sports Bar in particular has a talent for getting cabs there in under 3 minutes. When the cab arrived at Slider, I told the bartender, “73 Monroe.” You may notice that’s not my home address. There was still time in the day to stop at Bardog and see Panda, who I missed at my usual 11:00 time. Although I think the concept of “cheating on your regular bartender” is rather silly, and I may do a post about it soon, I wanted to at least spend some Saturday time at Panda’s bar. I hadn’t eaten since I had the pretzels, so after I drank a PBR I ordered spaghetti & meatballs to go. Ate dinner, took a quick nap.

Except, oops. I woke up from that quick nap at 12:24, according to my alarm clock. I set it 15 minutes ahead so I can get to work on time, so it was actually 12:09, but still, after midnight. I hadn’t planned to wake up that late. It was cold outside and I had missed half the night already. In addition, I could tell that I had not slept off the effects of all the beer I had in the afternoon. I decided to call it a night and live my Saturday night vicariously through my friends’ Facebook and Instagram accounts Sunday morning. Given the dream I had (see the previous post), I don’t mind my decision very much.

Not done yet. I still have to get a Sunday news post up, and I have at least two items and possibly more after I do a check of my RSS feeds and Twitter.


Ever had a dream that was so funny that you couldn’t get back to sleep? I had one of those this morning and it’s too good not to share. Don’t worry, I will have a recap of Cooper-Young Beerfest and whatever other news I can find to talk about posted before I go out this morning.

In the dream, I was at BBQ Fest. The next door team was sponsored by a company called The Little Toy Store. That may sound family-friendly, but the sponsor actually specialized in toys for adults (not sex toys – get your mind out of the gutter). Throughout the day, they were bringing out all kinds of interesting toys to play with. One in particular was a large, oversize foam replica of a toilet, colored Tiger blue (perhaps symbolic of Memphis Tigers football going down the crapper for yet another year). That’s right, here you are walking through BBQ Fest, and all of the sudden you turn the corner and see this huge blue fake toilet. People were having a blast sitting on the fake toilet in various poses – “The Thinker” was a common one – having pictures taken. The fun came to an end when some random drunk guy came by, mistook the toy for an actual, real toilet, and proceeded to pull down his pants and take a dump in it.

Later in the dream I was walking around, looking at the other booths. I noticed that there was a church inside a tent at BBQ Fest. Some religious organization had sponsored it, and it was complete with an altar and white pews. Although I’m not a church-goer in real life, I was intrigued enough by a church service at a BBQ festival to go in and take a seat. I did not feel the need to discard my beer before entering the tent church, because PBR is proof that God loves us. The service started, and the preacher started referring to quotes and passages from “the book.” “I don’t go to church a lot,” I thought, “but these don’t seem like any Bible quotes I’ve ever heard.” Then I saw a copy of “the book” on the back of the pew in front of me, and realized it was not the Bible, but Reader’s Digest.

A little bit later, I concocted the plan of stealing a copy of the Reader’s Digest from the tent church, and posing with it on the big blue fake toilet. But then I remembered that the drunk guy had crapped that up (literally) for everyone.

Around that time I woke up, and as my conscious mind started processing how funny that dream sequence was, I knew I had no hope of going back to sleep.

Just had to share that. Cooper-Young Beerfest review coming next.

Sat update: Beerfest app, tattoo convention, E&H, Mongo to give away castle, Alannah’s Groupon and more

Been a while since my last post… I’ve been heavily involved in training and have just put everything else aside for the past couple of days. If you contacted me asking for advice on things to do Downtown this weekend or other questions, I apologize for ignoring you, but I really had to shut everything else and stay focused for a little while.

The Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest is today from 1 to 5 at 795 S. Cooper, and I will be there. It’s sold out. If you’re going, there’s a Guidebook app you can download to your phone to help you get the most out of the beerfest.

The Memphis Tattoo Arts Convention is ongoing at the Cook Convention Center this weekend.

Also from WMC: Rumors quashed about Earnestine & Hazel’s future. Plans are to keep the dive bar open and running the same way it ran when owner Russell George was alive.

Prince Mongo wants to give away his castle, Ashlar Hall at 1397 Central.

There’s a Groupon for Alannah’s Breakfast Kafe that is going on right now. The cafe is at Main and Adams, in the ground floor of the Claridge House.

First day of the season where it’s cold enough to wear the PBR hoodie, and there’s a beer festival? That will work nicely, yes. Normally I lead off at Panda’s bar at Bardog on Saturday, but that’s not an appropriate place to pre-game for a beer fest – I’ll be drunk before I even get in the cab! So, Flying Saucer will be my lead-off today. I’ll get there around 11:30, and then about 12:30 I’ll wander to the Peabody or Beale and locate a taxi. If anyone is Downtown and wants to split the cost of the ride to Cooper-Young, come on down. The festival ends at 5, and once I get back Downtown I’ll find a spot to subject myself to the torture of watching Arkansas play Alabama. The Hogs won’t win, let’s be realistic, but if we can put points on the board against Bama (something Ole Miss couldn’t do) I’ll be happy. That’s all for now. Ready to get out to Midtown and enjoy the best beer festival of the year!

Wed update: South Main Haunts, how to find tickets to sold-out beerfest, Oakland’s Downtown development idea, archer>malmo to present at SXSW, Grizzlies Tip-Off Luncheon

There will be a family-friendly event called South Main Haunts this Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. The neighborhood will bring back some of the more colorful characters from times long ago. It will be a self-guided walking tour full of folks from Memphis’ past, with ghoulish tales and artists showing their wares. Event is free to attend and will be on South Main between Huling and G.E. Patterson.

Need tickets to the sold-out Cooper Young Beerfest this Saturday? Have tickets that you can’t use? Make connections on the festival’s Facebook page to buy and sell.

Oakland wants its Downtown to be Brooklyn to San Francisco’s Manhattan. The problem is, not enough people are living there. The city is trying an unusual strategy to fix that: Free rent.

Staff at Downtown firm archer > malmo are going to South by Southwest in 2014 to present “The Only Five Reasons to Ever Use Web Animations.” Sounds like a great talk, and I agree with them that too many wannabe web designers use “because we can” as a reason to include gaudy, awful animations. Info here.

The Grizzlies are hosting their 12th annual Tip-Off Luncheon October 28 at the FedExForum. Dine with Z-bo, Marc, Tony, Mike, the other Mike, and the rest of the team. Tickets are $60 for a single or $500 for a table of 10. There’s also a $2000 option for a table of 8 with a Grizzlies player and/or management.

Starting to get a list of Halloween parties together. So far I have Blind Bear and Paula & Raiford’s Disco on the 26th, Flying Saucer and Bardog Tavern on the 31st. I will try to get more info on all of those as well as other Downtown parties. Right now, though, back to work. Halfway through a week in training.

Tue update: Pera-Jordan challenge, busy night Downtown tonight, CY Beerfest sold out, free shredding, ballet Groupon, Bardog hearse giveaway

Grizzlies owner Robert Pera has challenged Michael Jordan to a game of one-on-one for $1 million going to charity. No word on if Jordan has accepted.

The Grizzlies play a home pre-season game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at 7. It’s also the first night of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story at the Orpheum (runs through Sunday), so traffic will be heavy Downtown this evening.

Tickets for the 4th annual Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest have sold out. Not surprised since it’s such a great festival. Glad I bought my ticket last week. See you Saturday!

Once a year, there is free shredding in the parking lot of the Commercial Appeal at 495 Union, and Saturday is the day. From noon to 5 PM you can bring up to five boxes or bags of documents to be shredded, and you don’t even have to leave your car. Info here.

There ‘s a Groupon for Moscow Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at the Cannon Center Friday, November 22. Get tickets for 50% off. There are three seating options.

I got by Bardog last night and took photos of the hearse to be given away at 11:59 PM October 31, and details of what you have to do for a chance to win.

Photo Oct 14, 5 31 36 PM

Photo Oct 14, 5 37 25 PM

While at Bardog last night, my friends and I managed to run the place completely out of PBR. Not sure if they re-stocked this morning.

That’s the news for now. Back to training. I’ll be out at the usual spots after work.

Mon update 2: South Main movie night review, Dishcrawl slider crawl, eighty3, party to help a St.Jude Hero

Yeah I know today’s morning post had no title. I was getting some kind of database error so I just went with it.

The Ten Feet off Beale blog has a good review of the South Main outdoor movie nights. Next movie is Ghostbusters on Thursday.

Dishcrawl is holding a slider crawl on November 6. Four Downtown chefs will serve their best sliders. They keep the name of the restaurants secret until almost the time of the event, but you can follow them on Twitter at @DishcrawlMem to be the first to know. Sign up now, because there are a very limited number of spots. These crawls sell out VERY quickly.

eighty3 restaurant in the Madison Hotel is asking people to vote for possible Downtown Dining Week offerings on its Facebook page. People can vote through Wednesday on which two dishes they would like to try. The top two vote-getters will be selected.

Want to help a St.Jude Hero who is running in the December marathon? One of my neighbors will be having a public party on our rooftop of Number 10 Main (10 S. Main) on Saturday, October 19 from 8 to 10 PM. A live band, 3artists1yard, will be playing and there will be some sweets and drinks but you can bring your own. A bouncer will be at the front door for everyone’s safety, and there will be a sign out front so you don’t miss the building as you walk down Main. In case of rain the party will be relocated to the building’s lobby.

Heading out to Bardog for happy hour. Back tomorrow with more stuff.

Quick update before I head to work…

If you like beer and I haven’t convinced you to go to Cooper-Young Beer Fest this Saturday, read what Holly from the I Love Memphis Blog has to say. She listed six reasons why you should go to Cooper-Young Regional Beer Fest. Great article – she pretty much nailed it.

Memphis is known for BBQ, Philly is known for cheesesteaks… but what food is our neighbor to the west, Arkansas, known for? Cheese dip. The Huffington Post had a great article this weekend about cheese dip in Arkansas. Cheese dip was believed to have been invented in 1935 in Hot Springs at a restaurant called Little Mexico, which involved into Mexico Chiquito. There’s even a cheese dip trail.

The Daily News has a good article that foodies should read. It talks about the recent rise of food crawls in the Memphis area. It has coverage of the recent Battledish event and talks about the upcoming soul food crawl where participants will travel by bus to some of the city’s best soul food restaurants. It also has some coverage of Best Memphis Burger Fest.

If you can’t get enough of the fake @midtownkrogers account on Twitter, it’s on Instagram now too. I must say, they seem to be a big fan of hashtags at Kroger.

It looks like most of the Halloween celebrations at the bars Downtown are happening on the actual day, Thursday, October 31. That’s a good thing because it’ll give me an extra week to figure out a costume. Also, it allows RiverArtsFest to have the weekend of the 25th and 26th to itself. This week I’ll start compiling a list of Halloween parties open to the public.

Once again, a reminder that my daily update posts are more likely to happen before or after work than at lunchtime this week. I’ll be in training and I’m very excited about it. This may be the first time ever that I’ve wanted a weekend to hurry up and end so I can go to work on Monday. After work I’ll most likely start things off at happy hour with Melissa at Bardog, then head over to the Saucer about 7:30 after the crowd pre-gaming there for the Eagles leaves.

Sun update: Silly Goose Pink Party, Grizzlies play international team, Memphis Madness schedule

The Silly Goose is holding a Pink Party to raise money for the fight against breast cancer this Thursday, October 17, starting at 8 PM. Guests are encouraged to arrive all tricked out in pink. There will be music by DJ Cody. Your $10 ticket includes an entry into a raffle where you can win great prizes, including a Tito’s handmade guitar. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The Grizzlies host Israel’s Maccabi Haifa B.C. at the FedExForum tonight at 5 PM. I’ll say it again – arrive early, because the NBA has mandated hand-wanding for security at all its arenas for the preseason. Lines will be long.

The schedule for Memphis Madness has been released for Friday, October 18. You can view it here. This year it’s going to be one of the Madness events covered nationally on ESPN, with analyst Bruce “Douchebag” Pearl in town for coverage. Tickets will be available at Ashley Furniture HomeStore locations through the 16th, and at the FedExForum the 17th and 18th. PRO TIP: Sports writers I follow on Twitter believe all the tickets will be gone before the 17th, so best bet is to get out to Ashley ASAP. You know you’re in a basketball city when an open college team practice sells out an NBA arena.

If you’re looking for other college teams to pull for in addition to the Tigers, check out Kansas this year. I was listening to the Gary Parrish Show on the way home last week. Gary said that of all the bigs at Kansas, former Tiger Tarik Black is showing the most potential. I hope Tarik has a big year (although it’s OK if he has an off-night if Kansas and Memphis meet in the big dance) and makes it to the NBA.

Tomorrow is Columbus Day, so if you need to go to the bank or post office, you might as well forget it.

Fox News covered the monster owl that is terrorizing the High Point neighborhood this morning. The owl is said to weigh 20 pounds and have a 5-foot wingspan. This is probably the most credible news story Fox News will run all day. (Edited to add: Follow the owl on Twitter at @HighPointOwl.)

Programming note for this week: My update posts are more likely to go up before or after work than at lunchtime this week. I’m in training all week and I will probably be too sick of being in front of a computer to do much at lunchtime. The good news is that I’m getting the very best training on tools for the server-side and client-side programming languages I work with, and I have projects on the horizon to put those tools to good use. If I’m not a rockstar-level web developer by the end of 2014, it will be nobody’s fault but my own.

Oh and on a related note: I’m turning down all offers of Fireball shots until Friday. Sorry but I want to be at my mental best this week.

Sunday Fun Day will proceed as planned without the Fireball, though. I didn’t say I was giving up PBR. I’ll start it off at the Blind Bear at noon.