Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Excuses, excuses - update - and good news!

I've been on the road for work far too much lately and I've missed you, dear Internet.

I have an update on Highway Treadmill Guy.

Highway Treadmill Guy is the owner of the health food store. He'd been working so hard with the store that he'd let himself get out of shape. The store wasn't doing that well. Heck, I drove by it every day and didn't even know it was there until I saw him on the side of the highway. He decided to combine exercise and advertising. It worked. I don't usually watch the local news but several tv and radio stations came out and interviewed him. Some folks pulled into the parking lot to ask him what he was doing. Business has really picked up for him, he lost 15 pounds, and now runs nearly every day.

In other news, fans of good beer have achieved a major victory in Alabama. Up until a few weeks ago, The Code of Alabama, in §28-3-1(3), addressing the regulation of alcoholic beverages, restricted ABV to 6%. It stated:

"BEER, or MALT OR BREWED BEVERAGES. Any beer, lager beer, ale, porter, malt or brewed beverage, or similar fermented malt liquor containing one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by volume and not in excess of five percent alcohol by weight and six percent by volume, by whatever name the same may be called."

That meant that while wine could have an ABV of up to 24% and was not regulated to certain bottle/container sizes, many craft and gourmet beers were not legal in Alabama. That sucked.

A lovely organization and movement called Free the Hops got busy. They were (finally) successful. On May 22, 2009, the Gourmet Beer Bill (HB373) was signed into law by Governor Riley!

Alabama beer laws are still somewhat restrictive but this is a HUGE step forward. Free the Hops is still working to, erm, free the hops in Alabama. It's a rather slow process for the distributors to get the now-legal beers into local shops, bars, and restaurants but the good stuff is beginning to trickle in - even in North Alabama. There are still restrictions on container size, home brewers, competitions, etc. so Free The Hops still has a mission and I plan to support that mission as much as possible.

A local brewery, Olde Towne Brewing Company, has released a beer in honor of this auspicious occasion. Emancipation Double IPA is available in a few choice locations.

I realize there are several non-local readers who are probably a little bored by this part of the post but won't you raise a pint in celebration with us? You've had great beer available to you while we've made do.

I'll close this post with some Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy: "Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed - Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, 'It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.'"