Coming to a City Near You: Not Catholic Beer Club

There has been a quite a stir around the nation with “Catholic Beer Club” taking root in many of America’s major cities. Bloggers for the CBC Times, such as Kyle Sellnow and Jacob Machado, believe that Catholic Beer Club has the potential to bring new people together and create foundations for strong friendships. See 4 Steps to Creating Community That Matters, 7 Ways to Start Having Conversations that Matter, Finding Community, or Building Community, and Love: The True Purpose of Community, amongst others. But many honestly believe that what the world really needs is Not Catholic Beer Club, otherwise known as NCBC. They think NCBC comes with more benefits and will more easily accomplish the goals of CBC.

When asked what sets Not Catholic Beer Club apart from CBC, Austin Martin, founder and president of NCBC, said “We feel like our club provides for a broader range of people, allowing for individuals from differing backgrounds to meet one another and build relationships.” He also expressed his desire to simply have a place where no one will ever ask hard questions or encourage anyone to become a better person.

NCBC’s vice secretary of social affairs, Victor Tracy, said that “setting up events takes almost no work due to the club pretty much having no motivations.” When asked about the club seeming to have negative vibes right in the name, Tracy responded, “Whatever negativity people might perceive in the name, they’re simply wrong. At NCBC, people have freedom to live by their own truths and think whatever they’d like about themselves and the world.” Tracy noted the great courage of one “fallen” brother who deeply believed he had wings and could fly off the rooftop patio bar. Reportedly, before he launched himself, the man proclaimed, “No one can tell me what to do with my own body.” The man is still in the hospital and now self-identifies as having a broken femur.

Shelby Womack and Ty Samson, two regulars at NCBC, both expressed how much fun they had at each of the events they’ve been to. Samson, who was believed to still be recovering from a hangover, said, “From what I can remember, it was a pretty good time.” Womack noted that NCBC is great because it provides opportunities for more than just beer. “President Martin believes that limiting people to only beer is not very inclusive,” she said. Martin confirmed this by telling us that “I believe that CBC is alcoholist. Not only are we not exclusive to only Catholics, we are not exclusive to beer.” Martin was emphatic that being alcoholist, the bigoted discrimination of certain kinds of alcohol, is extremely non-inclusive and prejudiced. “I’m definitely coming to this rather than CBC next month,” added newcomer Ryan O'Leary who hugely prefers whisky to beer. After getting in touch with club representatives, it turns out CBC does in fact welcome non-Catholics to their events. Though, as a beer club, they are still partial to beer.

While CBC has made quite a splash around the nation, President Martin thinks that within the next six months NCBC will be found in every major city in America and will most likely double CBC’s numbers. When asked about NCBC, president of Catholic Beer Club, Derek Roush said, “I don’t like it. It just does not seem like a sustainable model for a club. It is a club founded on absolutely nothing.”

Regardless, many people see Not Catholic Beer Club as a new and exciting way to meet a diverse range of people and to build and deepen friendships. So, if you are looking to make some new friends, look for the next Not Catholic Beer Club near you and check it out for yourself! NCBC will be meeting on exactly the same night as your local Catholic Beer Club events. You can find them at the bar directly across the street.


CBC Around the World: 5 Great Community Inspired Breweries to Visit in Vancouver, BC

If you plan on travelling to the Pacific Northwest anytime soon, and you should, there’s a city just a little further north that is worth checking out. Perhaps you’ve heard of Vancouver before, but what you may not have heard is all that it offers. Aside from containing hoards of friendly Canadians, Vancouver is a fantastic food and beverage destination much like its American contemporaries, Seattle and Portland. If you’re there for a night or couple days, Vancouver’s burgeoning craft beer scene is worth checking out. I thought that a quick guide to a few of our favourites would be a great way to introduce people to the scene, and send you straight to the local favorites..

Vancouver is home to a booming beer scene. Not only are the people of Vancouver embracing craft beer but the brewers who produce craft beer have been extremely creative, building a community of people inspired by one thing: beer. If you have the opportunity to visit Vancouver, I encourage you to check out these 5 community orientated breweries. You won’t be disappointed in the beer you’ll taste or people you’ll meet.

#1 33 Acres Brewery

Why I Love It: 33 Acres is one of the friendliest breweries in town with an extremely social tasting room. Featuring large communal tables, you’ll be sparking up conversation with a fellow beer lover in no time. Offering 5 or 6 different brews, they have something for everyone and the food truck parked out front changes daily. Join them on the weekend for brunch which is insanely good despite being limited in options.

My favorite beer: If you manage to stop in, give the 33 Acres of Ocean a try. It’s a west-coast pale and a real hit around the city. It’s a little bit hop forward but not overly bitter. It’s session-able enough at around 5-6% and was a real favorite of mine.

#2 Main Street Brewery

Why I love it: Main Street Brewery, much like 33 Acres, is in what is referred to by some locals as ‘beer town’. Main Street Brewery is perhaps on the edge of this ‘beer town’ and features a fairly small but extremely cozy tasting room. With a long bar at the front and communal tables scattered throughout, you’ll be met by a friendly bartender when you’re ready to order. Main Street is also known for its friendliness and is in the heart of the Mt. Pleasant community.

My favorite beer: They have a couple of rotating lines and then about 5 lines that remain fairly permanent. Perhaps most well known for the Westminster Brown Ale, it’s easy to know why as it’s malty and smooth flavor will have you coming back for more. You can also find this beer on tap at a few neighboring breweries including Craft Beer Market which is only a few blocks away, and offers 140 beers on tap.

#3 Four Winds Brewery

Why I love it: Four Winds is one of those breweries who relies on its community for inspiration into its brews. Not that the other breweries on this list don’t use local ingredients, Four Winds goes above and beyond sourcing nearly everything that goes into its beer from the local area. With a great tasting room, it’s no doubt why people go off the standard beer trail to visit Four Winds Brewery.

My favorite beer: For Four Winds, this is almost too difficult a choice. But perhaps my overall favorite was the Nectarous. A slightly sour beer, featuring heavy notes of nectarine, it’s gone from a seasonal to a mainstay throughout the city. Four Winds got so much flack when they announced that is was a seasonal they had to purchase additional kegerators just to keep it online.

#4 Red Truck Brewery

Why I love it: Red Truck is one of those breweries big enough that it doesn’t necessarily need to engage with its local community. But with a giant new brewery in the self-proclaimed ‘beer town,’ Red Truck has instead decided to completely ramp things up by offering all type of different events, including the outdoor concert series which they host in the parking lot of their brewery, with plenty of kegs mind you,  and is often times free! I was lucky enough to attend one of these parties and it felt more like being at a backyard BBQ as everyone had come together to celebrate great beer and great live music

My Favorite beer: I am a bit of a beer snob when it comes to IPA’s but I didn’t need to be snobby at all when I tasted the Red Truck IPA. Extremely well balanced, with a delicious hoppy flavor upfront, it had a smooth finish which allowed me to keep coming back to it throughout the night. A close second was the Red Truck Golden Ale which is a hoppy summer seasonal which is sure to impress as well.

#5 Big Rock Brewery

Why I love it: Another brewery, much like Red Truck, that embraces the surrounding community is Big Rock Brewery. The main brewery for Big Rock is a province over in Alberta but the Vancouver location has done some really cool things offering more of a brewpub setting as opposed to a tasting room. With live music weekly, the vibe on weekends is really fun and will likely have you dancing by the end of the night.

My favorite beer: By far the Big Rock Citradelic IPA. The name says it all as it features a citrus taste that can’t be beat (except by maybe Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed). Apparently there was a lot of worry that the Alberta based Big Rock Brewery was just going to be a figure piece, but they’ve done a nice job creating some locally inspired brews using local ingredients.

For those looking for a great time tasting new beers and meeting some pretty great people, I definitely recommend Vancouver, British Columbia. Home to a big CAMRA population as well, you’ll see quickly why the beer community of Canada is one of the friendliest in the world.


On Writing Implements and the Soul

If there has been any joy to this winter, it was the death of my laptop. It had been on its last leg for some time. I purchased it when my now-kindergartner was a newborn. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on it. I dropped it in a grocery store parking lot on my way home from my first post-school job. I have received news of loss and gain on it.

But if I might speak like a conspirator in these days of technodoulia (< techne “technology” + doulia “slavery”), the despot long was on its last battery and its reign was cold and cruel. The laptop is dead, may it remain so.

Since I make my living by word, spoken (classroom) and written (scholarship), I had to make an inventory, like Robinson Crusoe, of the resources after my shipwreck. I had two typewriters. A SmithCorona electric that allowed me to rapidly type but made an awful beep every time it came across what its internal computer deemed a spelling error. For someone who writes on literature in a foreign language, this is beyond bearing. Ave atque Vale, SmithCorona.

Some ten years ago I found a 1941 Royal Aristocrat in an antique store in South Jersey. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to order myself a carton of ribbons that have lasted me a decade of intermittent letter writing, amusing notes, and one abandoned dramatization of The Man Who Was Thursday. But, in addition to the necessity of hen-pecking its keys, only a stern finger will produce a clean stroke. In this way, I am as free as Thor with Mjolnir to leave the Aristocrat where I please. For none can get it to type save me, and even then anything more than 1,000 words will leave my fingers sore for two days.

Since I was not ready to renounce my new won freedom from the black mirror, I knew I must move further back in time. If I was willing to adopt the typewriter, where I knew that I must retype my work electronically for publication, I saw no reason why I should not return to the pen and pencil.

So like the American Revolutionary, I have adopted a mixed constitution with three branches: pen and pencil (legislative), typewriter (judicial), and computer (executive). We shall see if I can maintain the balance of powers.

But an even better analogy struck me and I should think it worth reflection. I have compiled here a list of equivalents between modes of composition and beers:


Windows Desktop = Budweiser. None can solve the mystery of how we all hate it and yet it is found everywhere.

MacBook Air = Heineken. Who are you trying to fool?

Linux Computers = Cheap local brew. Good or bad, you love it because it is yours.

Electronic Typewriter = Miller Lite. Your grandpa drank it so this makes it legit, but yea, it’s pretty bad.

Manual Typewriter = PBR. I bet you those Buddy Holly glasses don’t even have a prescription in them.

Gel Pen = Stout. Thick and messy. Done well, it works for the right task. But I am suspicious of every day use.

Ball Point Pen = Coors. It’s basically the Windows of the pen world.

Fountain Pen = Abbey Ale. It can be either pretentious and cloying...or a wonder from days past.

Mechanical Pencil = Pale Ale. You are not going out of your way to share it, but it has a work-a-day utility to it.

#2 Pencil = Schmirnoff Ice?! Who even invited you to this party?

There are many dreadful omissions and I look to you, the reader, to flesh out the analogy in the combox. And if we are seeking to amend our habits and lives this Lent, posting something joyful and productive in a combox is a good start.