“The Beer Hotline!"
On June 20, 1963, as a result of the Cuban
Missile Crisis, the Washington-Moscow “hot
line” was inaugurated. This famous red phone
enabled President Kennedy to immediately
reach Premier Khrushchev and vice-versa with
the express purpose of averting a nuclear
holocaust. I don’t know if the system was ever
deployed or even if it still exists, but I can
definitely report that another “hotline” is
currently active and frequently in use.
I refer to “The Beer Hotline” between Myself
and Draught Board 15 CiC Vince Capano, made
possible by the fact that today almost the
entire population carries a cell phone. While not
red and not directly connected to any particular
cell phone, the handiness of these pocket sized
instruments and ease of frequent contact
dialing enable us to instantaneously report on
our latest experiences in the beer world:
advising of the availability of newly discovered
outstanding brew and alerting each other to
avoid a particularly bad one.
The inaugural hotline call was made about a
year ago when I stopped for a quick one at
Newark’s Port 44 Brewpub and discovered what
I considered to be one of the best beers I’d had
in months, and which tasted so good that I had
to share the moment with someone. So it was
that right from my barstool I rang up Vince with
the inane greeting “ This is the beer hotline
reporting in from Downtown Newark with a fast
breaking story on the memorable Newark Bay
IPA (love that name) here at Port 44
Brewpub….. highly recommended and given
three stars by your colleague in brew and beer
correspondent, Dan Hodge. Get some before it’
s gone. This is the Beer Hotline signing off
from Downtown Newark."
Urine-soaked phone booths (which have
mercifully been relegated to the scrap heap of
telecommunication history) and their
replacements, the open air phones which never
work, would have prevented that important call
and Vince might not have had the opportunity
to sample a fresh Newark Bay IPA.
The hotline idea apparently caught on because
several weeks later I received an incoming call
from Vince reporting on a great beer available
on a one time only basis at the Somerset Hills
Hotel’s Tap Room. Unfortunately, I was in the
middle of a parade when the call came in and
so only had Vince’s recorded voice mail.
I have subsequently received hotline calls while
attending bagpipe practice, ball games, while
mowing the lawn and once immediately upon
exiting church after Sunday morning mass. On
the other hand, my on the spot reports, while
admittedly originating from a barstool,
generally reach Vince while he is also seated on
one. Finding Vince somewhere other than a pub
is like trying to survive a trip to Washington,
DC aboard a Chinatown tour bus…virtually
Occasionally multiple calls from the same
venue are received in steadily less coherent
speech as in Vince calling me from the
Washington's Crossing Delaware River Brewfest
or me reporting in from a pub crawl in Nashville.
Sometimes in such circumstances the last
hotline call sounds something like “Thish ish
the beer hot line reporting on …(to a drinking
companion) what ish thish stuff we’re having?...
I forget…but its good. I think its aged in old
pickle barrels and its 14.7% ABV. Thish ish the
beer hot line shining off”
The hot line recently warned Vince of the
horrors of a vanilla porter brewed by a local
brewpub which shall go unnamed. Hopefully,
the voice mail message was received and
noted, making the hotline invaluable for saving
one’s money and palate.
I don’t know how to text message, tweet ,
twitter or anything else that replaces the
human voice, so the hotline has not been
expanded to include these types of
communication. But even if I could or would
text or tweet, the hotline would lie dormant
during my frequent European journeys in search
of great brew, since cell phones don’t span the
ocean unless I pay a premium for the privilege,
so Vince cannot receive spontaneous reports
from English pubs or German beer gardens. But
cell phones DO take pictures no matter where
they are so I now proudly take this opportunity
to announce to Vince that the hotline will soon
have visual as well as audio!! Pictures of a
masskrug of Augustiner helles or stein of
Staropramen pils can be snapped and instantly
sent via the hotline as soon as US airspace is
reentered. Certainly more interesting than
electronic photos of Anthony Weiner’s weiner!
I have to stop now. My cell phone is ringing
and it might well be the beer hotline with hot
scoop on a new quintuple IPA aged in old Ford
tractor crankcases on tap at Somerset Hills.
From the editor: This is one great idea. How about letting all
the BeerNexus readers in on it Dan? I think we should start the
ONLINE HOT LINE!
I'll kick things off.... The is the ONLINE HOT LINE reporting in
for the first time. The BA Massive at Gaslight Brewery (NJ)
should be a first ballot selectee for the Beer Hall of Fame.
Also just had a bottle of Old Engine Oil - great! And no, it's
not from the Ford crankcase.... as far as I know.
So BeerNexus readers join in, just send me your "Online Hot
Line" reports and we'll take Dan's idea to the cyber-world!!
has to say
and it could
Click on pictures to enlarge
Beer My Way.........
Beernexus.com proudly presents....DAN HODGE, beer reviewer, historian and raconteur
anything and everything about beer
by Dan Hodge