We have a friend who is devoted to blues—music, that is. For years he has been talking about traveling to Memphis and then heading south into the Mississippi Delta for a tour deluxe, visiting historic spots and listening to the blues in steamy juke joints.
The longer you wait to visit watering holes and breweries that sound appealing, the better the chance they won't be there when you get around to it.
One of his favorite movies is “Deep Blues,” a 1993 journey through the Delta by noted blues historian Robert Palmer. Palmer is dead now, as are about half the musicians featured in the documentary. Several of the juke joints are also gone.
When we prod our friend to make plans for this trip, we point out that with the passing of each summer the chances increase that instead of listening to favorite musicians, he’ll be visiting their graves.
His missed opportunities came to mind in December when we heard first that Sherlock’s Home, a brewpub in Minnetonka, MN, was closing, then that Larry Erenburg was leaving the Country Inn in Krumville, NY.
We wrote about Sherlock’s Home in this space in 1995, and we talked to Erenburg on more than one occasion. If you made a note to try “real ale” from wooden firkins in Minnesota or stop by and have a conversation with a guy who has been pouring beer since before the American beer renaissance began, well, you had your chance.
Then There’s Good News
Like our blues-loving friend, the longer you wait to visit watering holes and breweries that sound appealing, the better the chance they won’t be there when you get around to it.
Nothing is permanent. For instance, who would have thought that the “World’s Largest Six-Pack” of Old Style beer in LaCrosse, WI, would disappear? It didn’t exactly disappear, but when Pabst Brewing bought the Stroh Brewery and got rid of the former Heileman brewery, the six large holding tanks once decorated like beer cans were painted white.
These “cans” held 22,200 barrels of beer, or 688,200 gallons. That’s enough beer to fill more than 7.3 million cans, and placed end to end, those cans would extend for 565 miles. It would have taken a single person consuming one regular-sized six-pack per day 3,351 years to finish all that beer.
A bit of good news is that City Brewery acquired the plant from Pabst and has kept the hulking regional brewery—a fast-disappearing breed—alive.
Likewise, the Country Inn will continue. Peter Rinaudo has bought it from Erenburg. “My terms were reasonable,” Erenburg said. “No tablecloths, no TVs, and absolutely no ferns. Peter accepted them enthusiastically. He’s the right person.”