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Shiny Objects -- No. 3

Here's some of the things that have distracted me over the last week:

1. Barrelhouse Brewing

I've written previously about Barrelhouse Brewing, a Paso Robles-based brewery that in its short life -- it's not yet 2 years old -- has shaken up the regional beer scene long dominated by Firestone Walker. I first tasted Barrelhouse at the Bakersfield Beer Festival and have enjoyed it in bottles since. But I visited the brewery -- not too far from Firestone -- for the first time Friday and was blown away by the excellence of its beers across the board. 

My four-beer sampler -- Blonde, Rye IPA, IPA and Stout -- was as consistently good as any brewery I can recall. My wife proclaimed the IPA and Stout the best beers she's ever tasted, and I'll admit they're at or near the top of my lists. We bought bottles of the IPA and Stout -- we had to chase the Stout down at Albertson's because Barrelhouse was sold out -- and are already planning a return visit. 

Take my word -- plan a visit of your own so you can later brag you knew about them before they got big.


2. Why Apple Pay may be DOA

 I’m thinking Ben Thompson has quickly become the most brilliant strategist in tech.

Click to read more ...


Shiny Objects -- No. 2

Here are a few of the more interesting things that have distracted me this past week:

1. Buzz-Fueled Media Startups

Wired has an illuminating article on how digital news startups like Buzzfeed is reshaping how we deliver and consume news, moving from the concept of a traditional destination-centric news site to organic vehicles that use everyday people to deliver the content for them. Here’s a key graf:

"But the thing is, the media isn’t just competing with your little sister—it’s co-opting her, using her as a vector to spread its content. She is the new delivery mechanism. We don’t learn about the world from The New York Times, we learn about it from the Times stories that our family and friends share or that show up as push notifications four minutes before one from The Guardian does. Thirty percent of American adults get news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center, and more than half of Americans got news from a smartphone within the past week, according to the American Press Institute. And these metrics are just going up, up, up. The question for news publishers is no longer how to draw an audience to their sites, it’s how to implant themselves into their audience’s lives."

2. Pitch podcast: “The Clearmountain Pause”

Click to read more ...


Shiny Objects -- No. 1

Here are a few of the more interesting things that have distracted me this past week: 

1. “Where They Raced: Speed Demons in the City of Angels”: This fun documentary of SoCal race tracks over the past century is currently streaming for free on Hulu. It’s remarkable how many classic tracks peppered the Los Angeles area over the years, only to be overrun by developers.   

Here’s a trailer for the film:

2. The Best American Infographics 2014: I’ve long believed in the power of great infographics and this terrific collection captures the depth and breadth of prime visual storytelling from around the world. I was given this book for Christmas and am finding it ideal for browsing for a few minutes here, a few minutes there. 

For more on the book and background on infographics, here's Leo LaPorte interviewing editor Gareth Cook on a recent episode of “Triangulation”: 

Click to read more ...


WSJ Plus and the power of community 

This is long delayed but will post anyway because 1) the warm feeling still is with me more than two months later and 2) I haven’t had made the time time to post until now. 

On Oct. 16, I attended a special event for Wall Street Journal subscribers at The Petersen automotive museum in Los Angeles titled “Visions of Glamour, Automotive Design and Style.” This three-hour “WSJ Plus” event was part of the Journal’s new “membership” rewards program and featured: 

  1. An hourlong roundtable with WSJ auto columnist Dan Neil (who is so good he earned a Pulitzer Prize for his work); Ian Callum, chief stylist for Jaguar; and Stuart Reed, chair of the transportation design department at the Art Center College of Design. 

Click to read more ...


Creating my own barrel-aged Smoked Manhattans

My finished Smoked ManhattansWhether you call them barrel-aged cocktails, casked cocktails or something else, they’re a tasty reward for drinkers looking for a bit of adventure. 

In my case, I created what I call Smoked Manhattans, a blend of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. What surprised me was not that my end product was tasty -- it is -- but that its three ingredients took new directions inside a charred cask. Granted I’m a novice at barrel aging liquor, so expectations at the start of this process were cloudy to say the least. But even if my next batch is a mess, I’m loving the adventure. 

Click to read more ...