Friday Four Pack: The Only Band that Ever Mattered

Editor’s Note: Gone but not forgotten, the Collective returns. We’re in the process of sorting out a new schedule and direction for the blog, but in the meantime enjoy some killer tunes.

The Clash—in many respects—are the only band that ever mattered. Thoughtful (“I wasn’t born/so much as I fell out”), political (“Ain’t no asylum here/ King Solomon he never lived round here”) and just plain cool (“I’m so bored with the U.S.A.”), the Clash drifted high above the creative annals of their contemporaries like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. With the swan song of Cut the Crap, alternative culture had to confront a painful question: where does punk rock go next?

Fortunately, punk is bigger than the Clash. Many suitors popped up from lesser-known contemporaries like the Buzzcocks and the Stiff Little Fingers through 90’s mainstays like Superchunk, the idea and aesthetic never really went away. [1] It’s been a while since we did this, so let’s start with a bang, eh?

Not quite anarchy in the UK:

– “Whatever Happened To…?,” The Buzzcocks, Another Music in a Different Kitchen

– “Wasted Life,” Stiff Little Fingers, Inflammable Material

– “Detroit Has a Skyline Too,” Superchunk, Here’s Where the Strings Come In (sorry for the live version, I couldn’t find a suitable recorded version. Plus this is at the Metro, so that’s awesome)

– “Stay Useless,” Cloud Nothings, Attack on Memory

[1] In Lester Bang’s expose of the Clash he talks about Teds (Beatniks) and their growing irrelevance in British culture. Thankfully, the punks never faced all that much cultural blowback unless you count the Faint’s flaccid and outdated “Drop Kick the Punks,” and have contributed a significant amount of creative GDP for Europe.


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Suds: August 6

Curiosity. It’s the fuel that propelled us into space in the first place and will fling us headlong into the future of our understanding of the universe.

If this photo isn’t a good enough reason to fund NASA, than there is none.

– Let’s start with some great news. Here are the mid-year volume numbers from the Brewers Association.

MPLS release at Town Hall Brewery tomorrow in Mpls. Oh wait, I see what they did there…

– Congrats to Sprecher Brewing for winning six medals at the US Open Beer Championship.

– Michigan’s UP Fall Beer Festival has tickets still available. Check it out here.

New Glarus’ lambic beers are as good as gold and this article proves it!

Big Dawg Brewhaus wins in Indiana.

– Let them drink beer: Alabama lifted its ban on Dirty Bastard.

If you’ve got a telescope, I’ve got some beer. Let’s look for Curiosity!

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Suds: July 30

Editor’s Note: These are my opinions so don’t get all worked up at the blog over them.

Let me start by saying the whole Chic-fil-a debate is much more nuanced than anyone wants to give it credit for, diving into black and white arguments that devolve into hatred and name calling. As a blog, we here at MwBC DO NOT and WILL NOT under any circumstances condone bigotry toward any group of human beings. Life is a marathon and we’re all in it together and sometimes it’s awful and sometimes it’s great, but we really don’t need to go out of our way to make it any more miserable for anyone else. That being said, we’re all missing the point: a bunch of Chicagoans are arguing about a plain chicken sandwich. Don’t like Chic-fil-a’s policies? No big deal. Go eat a hot dog! Eat literally anything else. People come to Chicago from all over the world just to eat the food. Why should anyone care about a chicken sandwich chain? I do not want my food to be tied to any political stance because it’s food and I need to eat it. I will take my money elsewhere and be equally satisfied (probably more so).

I’d rather eat at the Bad Apple anyway.

Along with our stance on equality, as a beer blog, we’re devoted exclusively to regional cuisines. I wrote about it before and I’ll write about it again. Chic-fil-a presents more of an issue because it homogenizes a culinary landscape. Chicago already has great chicken places with a rich history! They have even more history as the Carl Sandburg’s “hog butcher for the world.” I do not stand for imperialism of any kind, particularly when it comes to food (bigoted food in particular).

Phew, I’ve calmed down now. Have yourself a Chicago-style hot dog, drag that thing through the garden, grab some Old Style and let’s get to Suds.

-Beer Here: Radio Free IBA from Lake Louie.

-I have missed the Tour de Fat every year since I turned 21. Articles like this make incredibly sad

A rooftop pig roast? Sounds perfect.

Neat stuff on Dry Hop Brewery in Chicago.

-Good luck getting reservations for these City Provisions dinners

-I love Wisconsin for plenty of reasons, but mainly for places like this: Eddie’s Ale House.

-Sad to have missed reporting on Summer Brew. I guess we can start getting ready for Winter Brew?

-I don’t know what to think about a black saison, but I guess I have to try it…

-Finally, to fit with the season I typed “olympics” and “beer” into Google and found this article about how many calories some olympic athletes consume. Sorry, no science here, but imagine how much food these people would have to eat if they wanted to gain weight. I just don’t think it’s possible.

Have beer opinions? Tell us about them on Facebook, Twitter (@midwestbeer) or email us at

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Suds: July 25

Running behind today, so you’ll just have to enjoy this photo:

Seriously, don’t lose that number. Or that pretzel.

That’s the album cover of Steely Dan’s Pretzel Logic. Follow this link to the exact spot in NYC (isn’t everything in NYC?). Stick tap to my roommate for alerting me to this blog, Quipsologies (great fonts). They linked to PopSpots today and that brings me to where I am right now.

Who needs a beer? How about a Schlitz and let’s get to Suds.

-We don’t give nearly enough due to St. Louis, so please take the time to check out all the awesomeness happening at St. Louis Craft Beer Week.

Like Finch’s beer? Dislike cystic fibrosis? Then this event is for you! Somewhat related, MwBC is emphatically PRO Chicago’s new food truck laws.

One Barrel Brewing is predictably overwhelmed by demand. This guy is so awesome.

-It was inevitable: A meadery in Madison. And yes, that’s apparently how you spell that…

-Ambivalent about lambics, but always excited to hear from the brewers behind the beer themselves.

-I would lose in a staring contest with Robert Goulet. Those eyes!

-Not Havel, Hommel!

-Only Guys Drinking Beer could have the foresight to review a 2009 Dark Horse

-Finally, why do I have to be so defensive about the Rick Nash trade? At least some of the CBJ blogging community agrees with me. Someone had to score goals in Columbus, but they are definitely better off without him.

Need more hockey? So do we. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@midwestbeer) or send an email to

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Suds: July 23

Form. Function. Design. Bicycling is truly a thing of beauty. From retro-rebuilds to bamboo bikes, biking exemplifies an overall artistic experience. The other day I was at the Art Institute of Chicago (take some time and check out the Lichtenstein retrospective, will ya?) and I came across the book Velo: Bicycle Culture and Design.

While you’re admiring these wheels, why not consider commuting to work via bicycle? Or perhaps just to the grocery store? In honor, grab a Fixed Gear from Lakefront and let’s get to Suds.

Beer lunch? This is a novel concept to me that I can see myself really enjoying.

-Way too cool: Simple Earth Hops Harvest Brewfest.

Best tap handle ever? Best tap handle ever. I really love the bowling ball, really ties the whole thing together.

-I just love this picture: Abbey Brewing Project at Northern Brewer.

New Glarus production up 10 percent. I only see good things here.

Steer the course, Lagunitas, Chicago wants you to come home.

-Finally, we haven’t implored you to go to the Old Fashioned in a really long time. So go to the Old Fashioned and drink one of their 150 Wisconsin beers.

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Brew for Thought: Lake Superior Brewing Kayak Kolsch

Summers are hectic, possibly more than any other time of the year. Even though the warm weather conjures up visions of lying on the beach or going to the baseball game, in truth the weather is the perfect excuse to get all of those chores done that piled up during the winter. There is a place in Minnesota, though, where you can truly get away from the endless noise of engines drumming down the highway and the constant ringing of cell phones: the Boundary Waters.

In the northernmost reaches of the state lies a quiet sanctuary of lakes and islands, whose only visitors use a paddle rather than an engine. While the term pristine wilderness is an idealistic statement, spending a week in the BWCA is as close to unplugged as our society gets. There is something wonderful and a little terrifying to know you are relying on only the items you’ve packed in to your kayak or canoe: one misstep and you could be up a creek without a paddle, so to speak.

The solitude the Boundary Waters offers a person is unmatched by any convenient amenity we can buy in a store. Waking up the first morning in camp is uplifting, as though Emerson himself sloughed the knapsack of custom from your shoulders. The air is crisp and clean and it feels like the first time you’ve ever really taken a breath.

This place and mindset demand a quality beer free of gimmicks and heavy-handed witticisms in their names. It demands something light, crisp and refreshing as the morning air. In my mind, Lake Superior Brewing Kayak Kolsh is the perfect choice for a trip to the Boundary Waters, so grab a six-pack, (oh hell, grab two six-packs) and make a grand portage to a little peace of mind.

Best Enjoyed: Quietly, at a campsite on the lake.

Best Paired With: A shore lunch of freshly caught walleye.

Where to Find: Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin

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Suds: July 13

I guess I should mention something about Friday the 13th? Not sure it’s especially pertinent anymore. Besides, I’ve got science on the brain (or in the brain, around the brain, everywhere). In honor of the Higgs boson particle, today let’s take a look back at one of the biggest blunders in recent science history: NASA’s claims of arsenic-based life.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Way back in 2010, rumors started spreading about a species of bacteria could use arsenic as a substitute for phosphorus in DNA. NASA got behind the discovery in a big way, citing galactic implications for the generation of life [1]. After the honeymoon, everything just sort of fell apart. Hundreds of scientists disputed the claims and went so far as to accuse Felisa Wolfe-Simon—the leading researcher—of practicing bad scientific technique [2]. For more hard science, check out this paper effectively destroying any previously conceived notions about life-sustaining arsenic and this comic [3].

It’s Friday, so who needs a drink? Grab a Daisy Cutter from Half Acre and let’s get to Suds.

-I seriously love this series: Guys drinking beer try some New Glarus from 2009. Keep on abiding, my friends.

I would kill to be this cold right now.

More beer from Sweden with some glorious photos. Awesome stuff.

Founder’s is 15!

-Don’t know if I believe this at all, but apparently some statistics show beer sales are down? Not sure relying on taxes is the way to go for charting this, but hey, I’m just a pantsless blogger.

Small brewmasters of Missouri, unite!

-Finally, seriously, everyone must take a trip to the Mustard Museum. It’s glorious.

[1] This ties into the idea that life originated somewhere else and was carried here, not unlike Prometheus, but probably way less contrived and painful to watch with 3d glasses. Interesting aside, the reason arsenic is poisonous to mammalian cells comes from its chemical structure. Arsenic sits directly below Phosphorous in the periodic table, and so when arsenic is present cells will mistake it for phosphorous and try to construct DNA out of it. The structure falls apart and you can guess what happens after that…

[2] Gasp!

[3] Stick tap to J.J. Berg for alerting me to this entire story.

Huzzah! Friday! Science! Tweet (@midwestbeer)! Facebook! Email (!


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