Welcome to the Curator’s Space

Although the Libertarian Labyrinth archive has always been a fundamentally personal project, I’ve generally let the person behind it—or the monster in the maze, depending on who you ask—remain largely in the background. But there is more to life—even to my life—than radical history and theory. There’s good beer, subtitled crime drama, other varieties of history and theory, news of this and other projects, the occasional observation about current events, etc., and, going forward, that’s what you’ll find here.

To explore the Libertarian Labyrinth Archive, check the pull-down menus above or visit LIBERTARIAN-LABYRINTH.ORG.

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Crime and Subtitles — I

Not even this man lives by anarchist history and theory alone, however close a thing it may sometimes be. There are the necessary distractions, useful for resting certain parts of the apparatus and exercising others, like good beer, a bit of cooking and foreign television shows. The growing importance of the last of those to my routine has been something of a surprise, since I went a couple of decades without a television. But I’ve always had an interest in popular genre entertainment, making it the focus of my graduate work for a while in the 90s, and much of the most interesting material there has arguably moved from print to the small screen.

The thought of subtitled television may strike some as a bit too much work for the idle hours, and sometimes it is, but in other instances tracking subtitles is a very small price to pay for superb entertainment. To kick off this new phase of the blog, I wanted to go back through the material I’ve watched in my exploration of subtitled crime series and suggest some that I think are either essential or at least well worth the effort. I’ve come up with a list of 15 shows, the first five of which are, in my opinion, of the must-see variety.


1. Forbrydelsen (The Killing, Danish) — 3 series, 2007-2012: I’m starting with Forbrydelsen because it really marks the beginning of subtitled crime drama and the “Nordic noir” genre as a presence on English-language television stations. There’s no substitute for following Sofie Gråbøl’s Detective Inspector Sarah Lund through all three series, each of which addresses a single crime, if you want to understand where the mold for so much current crime drama was really set. And Forbrydelsen is rich in fine performances and interesting situations. But it is very far from perfectly executed story-telling. Lund is an example of the now-familiar damaged detective type, who struggles in her relations with others in her personal and professional lives. In each of the series she is in a position where her involvement with the case is supposed to be temporary or limited, and her considerable investigative skills are constantly undercut by circumstances. At the same time, she is just one player in a world where virtually everyone involved in the various communities portrayed (police, politicians, victims and their families) has reasons why solving the case may actually be the last thing they are prepared to concentrate on. Everyone tends to be pitted against everyone else at one time or another, when they are not strangely allied. Through it all, we’re left wondering just how different Lund really is from those around her and just exactly what it is about her that keeps her on the case.

Viewers may know much of the story of Forbrydelsen from the American adaptation, The Killing, the first two seasons of which reproduced many of the events of the first series, while changing key elements and adding quite a few more. Critics have naturally been riled by some of the liberties taken in the American series, but my own sense is that it solved many of the problems of pacing and continuity that plagued the original. They are ultimately rather different series, despite the shared elements.

Unfortunately, Forbrydelsen is less accessible than pretty much anything else on my list, but copies of the episodes do surface various places. It’s certainly worth seeking them out

2. Bron/Broen (The Bridge, Swedish/Danish) — 3 series, 2011-present: Bron/Broen is my pick for the absolute must-see series in this group. It has a number of similar elements, including a female lead detective, Saga Norén, who makes Sarah Lund seem positively well-adjusted. But it is also a product of international cooperation in its original form, with Danish and Swedish elements in conflict throughout. The series opens with a corpse discovered at the national boundary on the the Øresund Bridge, connecting Copenhagen and Malmö, and the usual jurisdictional clashes are heightened by the very different personalities of the detectives from the two countries. Everything here is a bit more focused than in Forbrydelsen, although the questions raised are often very similar. In terms of character development, the more extreme character of Saga’s flaws, and the fact that we are given some fairly clear origin for them, place fewer strains on the story. And the stories themselves have been generally well-crafted.

Perhaps the clearest tribute to the strengths of the series is that at least two of the adaptations, The Bridge (US/Mexico) and The Tunnel (UK/France), have managed to be quite entertaining, despite very literal translation of events in some cases.

3. Engrenages (Spiral, French) — 5 series, 2005-present: A NYT review claimed that “‘Spiral’ is ‘Law & Order’ as seen by Stendhal.” And that at least points in some of the right directions. Engrenages is indeed built on a familiar cops-and-lawyers formula, but with each series built around a small number of cases and with considerable focus on the lives of the various characters. It would perhaps not be fair to call this a “procedural,” but primarily because the fine cast primarily portrays characters without a great deal of use for procedure, hemmed in by a system that is not particularly strong on integrity. Predictably, things spiral, and much of the pleasure of the series is watching everyone attempt to deal with the consequences of their actions, whether principled or unprincipled (and most often occupying some gray area in between.)

Under the title “Spiral,” Engrenages is available on a number of streaming services.

4. Flics (Elite Squad, French) — 2 series, 2008-2011: My top five couldn’t be complete without one show from Olivier Marchal, creator of a number of French cop shows likely to remind US viewers of series like The Shield. The choice could just as easily have been Braquo, which follows a quarter of Paris cops who “cross the line” to clear the name of a colleague and commit themselves to lives in which they are constantly under threat from all sides. But Flics captures both the elegance of Marchal’s approach and the ambiguities of the longer series in two four-episode seasons. For some, I’m sure this will be more than enough, while those who find themselves wanting more can track down Braquo and then perhaps follow the various creators involved to other projects, such as Section Zéro and En immersion (aka Deep.)

Flics is currently streaming on Walter Presents under the rather unfortunate title “Elite Squad.”

5. Cromo (Argentine) — 1 series, 2015: My fifth pick is a bit of a dark horse, an Argentine series revolving around murder and environmental catastrophe in the province of Corrientes, based in part on actual events. The fact is that the international success of series like Forbrydelsen have resulted in a proliferation of shows sharing many of the same elements, but transferred to new locations and incorporating local material. It has quite quickly become difficult to choose just a short list of favorites from among the international offerings now available in subtitled versions. But, as with most forms of genre entertainment, there are a variety of ways to stand out in the crowd. There are series that treat the familiar elements from the pioneering “Scandi-noir” shows precisely as elements of a formula, and then deliver satisfying opportunities to enjoy a new version of a familiar experience. And there are others that, despite incorporating many familiar elements and displaying a similar worldview, would almost certainly stand on their own. Cromo stands out for me as an entry in the latter category. I was struck, watching it, by how much the world it presented resembled that of Forbrydelsen, where truth and justice—solving and avenging crime—were simply at odds with the normal flow of interests and events. But it is also just a fine example of the sort of slightly over-stuffed plot that now seems to be the norm in so much crime drama being executed within a bare minimum of moments that seem contrived. And, visually, it is as pretty as almost anything out there.


It seems to me that exposure to these five series provides a sort of basic literacy in what is obviously a diverse and growing genre, including a knowledge of some of the shows most likely to be referenced in the description of new shows, as well as a relatively painless introduction to the experience of subtitled television. But there are certainly lots of important shows, and indeed whole subgenres of shows, that are not represented here. In another post, I want to spread the net a little wider and explore some series not so closely tied to the modern noir genre.

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Ricardo Mella, “Leoncio” (1888) (ES)

LEONCIO

No es lo que suele llamarse un carácter excepcional. Es un tipo casi vulgar, pues que abunda en las sociedades modernas.

Los datos mismos proceden de la vida real. No es, pues, una fantasía de la imaginación, y corro, por tanto, el riesgo de ofrecer como objeto de estudio lo baladí, lo insignificante, haciendo bostezar á mis lectores.

Y en efecto: nada hallarán grandilocuente, noble, sublime, en este artículo; nada que se parezca á un gran carácter ó á un genio particular, extraordinario. La observación es mi único elemento, y esa buena señora raras veces tropieza con lo excepcional, mucho menos si el observador es de tan cortos alcances como el que esto escribe.

Por esto llamo en mi auxilio la autoridad de cierto adagio, y me lanzo, marino temerario, al furor de las olas en la destartalada barca de mis misérrimas observaciones.

***

Madrid, la gran fábrica de sabios, de estadistas, de literatos; el inmenso bazar de las medianías y de las nulidades, la ciudad de las ambiciones y de las concupiscencias, la villa de la cortesanía y de las vanidades: hé ahí el laboratorio de mis experimentos y el campo de operaciones del tipo casi vulgar, objeto de este artículo.

El y yo nos encontramos al azar en este formidable estómago de la nacionalidad española. Somos dos infusorios perdidos en las inmensas cavernas de sus tragaderas

El es joven. Acaba de hacerse bachiller al estilo de la mayoría de nuestros estudiantes, y tiene, por tanto, el primer elemento que necesita para acreditar su talento: un título.

Su cabeza grande, que bien pudiera pasar por gran cabeza, responde del porvenir brillante que le aguarda. Y como muestra evidente de que no lo duda, inscribe su nombre en las listas de matrícula de la universidad central. El derecho es el objeto de sus nuevos estudios y afanes. Se hará doctor: es indudable.

Sus veinte años no son los del joven casquivano y bullicioso. Son veinte años graves, que maduran sus actos, que piensan parsimoniosamente, que elaboran planes serios para el porvenir. Hacerse abogado y ganar la representación de su pueblo en cortes: hé ahí la ecuación de sus aspiraciones.

Empieza por donde otros acaban y duran acabar todos, aunque acerca de esto haya diversas opiniones.

***

No fía el triunfo de sus propósitos á la suerte. Ya sabe bastante para no ignorar que la fortuna sólo favorece á los que son bastante audaces para conquistarla.

Su primer cuidado consiste en rodearse de un grupo de amigos propicios á convertirse en admiradores.

Pero esto no basta. Le es necesario crear cierta atmósfera á su derredor, y funda una sociedad á que da el modesto nombre de Ateneo de Amigos. Desde luego, la presidencia de este círculo, asociación ó lo que sea, se le confiere por unanimidad.

Esta sociedad sirve de inofensiva distracción y de provechosa enseñanza á un grupo de jóvenes. No faltan, pues, los plácemes de los papás y de los amigos graves.

Leoncio, que así llamaremos á nuestro hombre por llamarle de algún modo, entra por tal modo en campaña.

No obstante, todavía puede juzgarse al Ateneo de Amigos como á un grupo de niños que juegan á los hombres de la misma manera que pudieran jugar á los soldados con figurillas de plomo.

Reuniones, polémicas, veladas, toda la serie rutinaria á que suelen entregarse también los hombres serios, ocupaban día y noche á los precoces ateneístas. Tras esto venía el lógico desenlace de escisiones, disgustos, imposiciones despóticas del presidente, protestas de los revoltosos, etc., etc. Pero Leoncio triunfaba siempre. También entraban en sus planes esos inconvenientes societarios y sabía vencerlos en el momento oportuno.

Mas era necesario ya que los niños se convirtieran en hombres.

Leoncio lo creía indispensable.

***

Entonces concibió el pensamiento de celebrar una velada magna, verdadero puente por donde se proponía pasar al otro lado del aplauso amistoso. Era preciso que asistiera mucha gente, que el acto revistiese todo el aparato de un verda- 1 dero acontecimiento.

Leoncio era la enciclopedia del Ateneo: arte, literatura, filosofía política, todo lo abarcaba con su potente imaginación. Ahora, por el contrario, se proponía cultivar la oratoria exclusivamente. A sus luminosas memorias sobre todas las ramas del saber humano, sustituiría la elocuencia de su palabra. Iba á presentarse ante un público numeroso y escogido, y se proponía conquistarlo deslumbrándolo con su fácil palabra.

Los papás y los amigos deliraban ante la soberbia audacia de Leoncio.

Se dispuso amenizar la fiesta con un ligero 1 lunch. La música, la poesía, la literatura en general, necesitaban este auxilio gastronómico para que el éxito fuera completo.

Se preparó, pero esto en secreto, una sorpresa agradable. Era preciso encontrar un publicista de fama que presidiese el gran festival, y se encontró. Publicista de fama, sí, para el vulgo indocto; medianía ilustre para el ilustrado vulgo; uno de tantos sabios de relumbrón para el que serenamente juzga de los hombres y de las cosas.

Llegó el día y con él la noche prefijada. Leoncio esperó modestamente el momento oportuno de mostrarse en público.

La sala, lujosamente adornada, resplandeciente de luz y de alegría, llena de bellas señoritas (bellas por galantería las más), y de mamás graves, de sesudos homes y de jóvenes almibarados, ofrecía un golpe de vista magnífico. La mise en scène respondía, sin duda, al objeto de la magna velada.

Y así como llegó el día y con él la noche, llegó también el supremo momento.

RICARDO MELLA

(Se concluirá)


LEONCIO

(CONCLUSIÓN.)

Leoncio, revestido de toda su gravedad, sereno como quien no teme el resultado de una batalla, dueño de sí mismo, extiende el brazo arrogante y da comienzo al exordio de su oración.

Su discurso ¡discurso magistral! levanta una verdadera tempestad de aplausos. Allí, envueltas en magníficas combinaciones retóricas, hizo desfilar las artes, las ciencias, los progresos modernos, la libertad, la justicia; toda la serie, en fin, de la vana palabrería y fórmulas hueras de la oratoria. Desde el indivisible átomo de la materia hasta la gran mecánica del universo; desde la idea elemental, primitiva, de las matemáticas, hasta las sublimidades metafísicas de los infinitamente grandes y los infinitamente pequeños; desde el principio físico del paralelogramo de las fuerzas hasta las más complejas teorías de la luz, el calor y la fuerza obtenida por trasformaciones sucesivas de otros elementos; desde el más simple principio de política menuda hasta los más elevados y radicales conceptos de la sociología; todo, todo en rápida carrera salía de sus labios á torrentes, atropellándose, sucediéndose sin método ni fin ni concierto. Los nombres más ilustres: Hegel, Kant, Krausse, Proudhon, Bastiat, Spencer; Zola, Daudet, Galdós, Bismarck, Gladstone, Gambetta; pasaban uno tras otro ante el atónito auditorio, glorificados algunos, maltrechos no pocos.

Pero ¿dijo algo Leoncio?

¡Ah! En medio de aquel desordenado desfile, en medio de aquella grandiosidad retórica, en medio de aquella elocuencia arrebatadora; ni una sola idea, ni un solo propósito, nada concreto y profundo hubierais hallado.

¿Qué había dicho en resumen? Nada.

¿Qué se había propuesto decir? Menos aún.

Todo el secreto consistía precisamente en ese nada lujosamente ataviado, discretamente disfrazado.

La conquista, el deslumbramiento, se había consumado: hé ahí todo.

***

¿Qué decir de los que consciente ó inconscientemente ayudaron á Leoncio en su obra?

Unos, menos audaces que Leoncio, pero identificados con él en propósitos, lo emulaban, prestándose á trabajar por cuenta propia, mal encubierta la envidia por superarle. Otros, ajenos en absoluto á tales audacias y ambiciones tales, trabajaban arrastrados por la corriente, sin preocuparse gran cosa del éxito y del ruido. ¡Quizás entre éstos había verdaderos genios!

El festival nocturno terminó. Leoncio pudo dormir aquella noche con la seguridad de su triunfo. Tal vez soñando oyó las voces de sus admiradores. Quien aseguraba que era preciso reconocer en él un verdadero talento; quien que su elocuencia sólo era comparable á la de nuestros grandes oradores; quien le atribuía, además de todas estas cualidades, la de ser un gran artista, un gran genio del saber humano. Era una esperanza de la patria.

***

Leoncio no era uno de esos jóvenes que viven por el estudio y para el estudio; no tenía la ambición del saber, ¡santa ambición!; no buscaba un nombre conquistado por el talento y la instrucción. Nada de esto. Sí: Leoncio quería el brillo personal, el que se busca y se encuentra por caminos tortuosos, el que uno mismo se fabrica por el propio aplauso y el del amigo, el que se levanta efímero sobre la ignorancia de muchos y la estúpida admiración de no pocos. Leoncio quería exclusivamente esto, y sólo esto ambicionaba: ¡ambición mediocre!

Encerradle en un gabinete de estudio, y romperá sus paredes ó morirá de rabia. Condenadle á la oscuridad hasta que acredite su saber, y preferirá que le condenéis á muerte. Quiere deslumbrar desde luego, se siente ya capaz de todas las osadías y temeridades, y no retrocederá ante ningún obstáculo.

¡Por qué no ha de ser él como tantos otros!

***

Leoncio será pronto doctor. El término de sus primeros proyectos se acerca y no lo olvida.

No basta ya el círculo de los amigos y los amigos de los amigos, de los conocidos y los conocidos de los conocidos, permítaseme esta licencia. Es necesario que su nombre ruede de periódico en periódico para que la fama sea universal.

Su primer artículo, La revolución se acerca, apareció en cierto periódico de su pueblo, un pueblo de Andalucía, y fué denunciado. Escribe su segundo artículo, más fuerte aún que el anterior, y sufre igual suerte. Todo marcha bien. El primer deber es hablar con claridad al pueblo, conquistarlo, prepararlo en provecho propio. Si es necesario el martirio, hasta él irá.

El nombre de Leoncio corre ya de boca en boca, y su fama pasea por España en triunfo.

Ya era hora de concluir. Una docena de periódicos, ejerciendo de incensarios, se hacían lenguas del joven doctor, publicista insigne y valiente, orador temible, gloria de las letras y de la patria.

Su pueblo natal le aclama diputado, le honra con demostraciones entusiásticas y brillantes festejos, que enloquecen y acaban con la escasa reflexión de Leoncio.

¡El éxito! ¡El éxito! Es la única idea que bullía en su gran cabeza, ya que no cabeza grande.

***

Leoncio sigue brillando cuanto quiere y como quiere.

El político ramplón se pregunta envidioso: «¿Quién es? ¿De dónde viene? ¿A dónde va?»

El industrial, el comerciante, se dicen: ¿«Qué pretende? ¿Qué busca? ¿A qué tanto ruido?»

El obrero oye y calla pacientemente y tal vez duda.

El sabio, el hombre que después de muchos años de estudio no ha visto su nombre en la prensa más que por tibias referencias, tal vez se cala los lentes y observa asombrado esta nueva especie de bimanos excepcionales. ¡Qué revolución se verifica probablemente en su cerebro!

Pero Leoncio ha roto ya la helada superficie de la vulgaridad.

¿Creéis que será ministro, papa, rey, etc.?

Será cuanto quiera y cuanto pueda. Será, si se lo propone, centro y foco principal de un nuevo sistema planetario.

Pero también será siempre la nulidad endiosada, la vanidad santificada, el orgullo idolatrado, la ignorancia entronizada.

Hombre de talento ¿lo será alguna vez? Sí, mas de relumbrón.

RICARDO MELLA


La Ilustración ibérica 6 no. 296 (September 1, 1888): 558; 6 no. 297 (September 8, 1888): 571, 574.

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Gaston Leval (Pierre Robert Piller) (1895-1975)

  • L’Enfance en croix, éd. de la Nouvelle Revue, Bruxelles, 1944, 198 p.
  • “L’Anarchisme et l’abondancisme,” (1946?) [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • L’Indispensable Révolution. L’émancipation de l’homme par le socialisme libertaire, éd. du Libertaire, Paris, 1948, 286 p.
  • Le Communisme. L’Etat contre le communisme, éd. du Libertaire, Paris, s.d. [ca. 1950], 71 p.
  • Le Fait russe et l’Etat marxiste, éd. Contre-Courant, s.l. [Paris], s.d. [1953], 8 p.
  • “Bakounine et la science,” Témoins n° 6 (été 1954) [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • “Bakounine et l’Etat marxiste,” Les Cahiers de Contre-Courant, Paris, 1955, 24 p. [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • “Socialiste libertaire ! Pourquoi ?” CONTRE- COURANT de novembre 1956
  • “Libertarian Socialist! Why?” [Contr’un]
  • Le chemin du socialisme (1958) [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • Pratique du socialisme libertaire (1959) [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • Libertarian Socialism: A Practical Outline [Anarchist Library]
  • “Kropotkine et Malatesta,” Les Cahiers de Contre-courant N° 61, 1960 [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • Eléments d’éthique moderne, Gr. socialiste libertaire, La Ruche ouvrière, Paris, 1961, 108 p.
  • L’Humanisme libertaire (1967) [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • “La crise permanente de l’anarchisme” (1967) [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • Espagne libertaire, 1936-1939. L’œuvre constructive de la Révolution espagnole, éd. du Cercle-La Tête de feuilles, Paris, 1971, 402 p.
  • Bakounine, fondateur du syndicalisme révolutionnaire [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • Rus et torrents, illustrations de Luis Brander, chez l’auteur, imp. La Ruche ouvrière, 1975, 124 p.
  • “Bakounine, constructeur de l’avenir,” l’Europe en formation (n° 198/199 — septembre-octobre 1976) [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • La Pensée constructive de Bakounine, Spartacus, Paris, 1976, 270 p.
  • L’Etat dans l’histoire (manuscrit inachevé), introduction de F. Iglesias, éd. du Monde libertaire, Bibliothèque anarchiste, n° 6, s.d. [ca. 1983], Paris, 299 p.
  • L’Individualiste et l’anarchie, imp. Le Chat noir, Bègles, 1987, 22 p. [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • “L’Évolution du socialisme” [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • Conceptions constructives du socialisme libertaire [Monde-nouveau.net]
  • La démocratie libertaire [Monde-nouveau.net]

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The new neighborhood

The Great Destroying and Rebuilding is well underway! The New Labyrinth is emerging!
Actually, I’m sure that the details of all of this are more more exciting for me that for anyone else, as I’m getting a chance to fix a bunch of problems and transform my archive into something that actually resembles an archive, but there should be plenty of benefits for everyone who uses any of the sites. In general, I have attempted to maintain specialized collections where there seems to be some purpose or demand, while making it much easier to navigate between them. So it’s time to shut the doors here and move on.
From now on, all of my sites can be reached from a single address:
That’s pretty much all you need to know. Once in the new network of sites, the navigation tabs are fairly standard:
  • LABYRINTH takes you to the center of things and the general history/announcements BLOG.
  • LIBRARY takes you to the Omeka catalog.
  • WIKI lets you view the recently relocated Libertarian Labyrinth wiki without leaving the WordPress interface, and WIKI (Direct) takes you straight to the wiki site.
  • TRANSLATIONS goes to the Index of Working Translations.
  • CONTR’UN leads to the new home of my anarchist theory blog.
  • PROUDHON will take you to the Proudhon Library site, where there’s a new blog for my most proudhonological efforts, plus a forum and access to the Proudhon Library wiki. Local navigation this is a little different, because of the forums and a separate PL WIKI, but all the familiar links ought to be there as well. Hint: some navigation menus pull down.
  • BAKUNIN, as you might guess, links to an improved Bakunin Library site.
  • ATERCRACY links to The Great Atercratic Revolution

A few tabs lead out of the network, to sites that will eventually be incorporated:

  • FRONDEUSE links the the La Frondeuse/Black and Red Feminist History site
  • BEER links to my neglected beer-review blog, Well-Aged & Slightly Bitter, with Just a Touch of Funk.
  • OSSAPY links to The High Hills of Ossapy, an even more neglected archive of material on the history of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
  • And something will possibly soon point at a new merger of material from Splendors of the Combined Order and Possible and Impossible Worlds. All of these Blogger collections will eventually find a home in the new configuration, but perhaps primarily as index pages or collection in the Library, with the posts appearing on the main Libertarian Labyrinth blog.

Meanwhile, back in the main network

  • ALL leads to an aggregator of posts, pages and files from all the site.
  • And LINKS brings up all of this information, plus more good places to visit.

However, since I hope that the new arrangement will be fairly intuitive, the main thing to remember is just one address:

Welcome aboard.

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Filed under duplicate posts

Benjamin R. Tucker’s “Liberty”

In the course of moving things around, I finally got a chance to load the archives of Benjamin R. Tucker’s Liberty into the Omeka library. Here is an updated list in issues.

Liberty, 1881-1908
  • Vol. 1, No. 1 — 1 — August 6, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 2 — 2 — August 20, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 3 — 3 — September 3, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 4 — 4 — September 17, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 5 — 5 — October 1, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 6 — 6 — October 15, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 7 — 7 — October 29, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 8 — 8 — November 12, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 9 — 9 — November 26, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 10 — 10 — December 10, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 11 — 11 — December 24, 1881
  • Vol. 1, No. 12 — 12 — January 7, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 13 — 13 — January 21, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 14 — 14 — February 4, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 15 — 15 — February 18, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 16 — 16 — March 4, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 17 — 17 — March 18, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 18 — 18 — April 1, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 19 — 19 — April 15, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 20 — 20 — May 13, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 21 — 21 — May 27, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 22 — 22 — June 10, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 23 — 23 — June 24, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 24 — 24 — July 22, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 25 — 25 — August 19, 1882
  • Vol. 1, No. 26 — 26 — September 16, 1882
  • Vol. 2, No. 1 — 27 — October 14, 1882
  • Vol. 2, No. 2 — 28 — October 28, 1882
  • Vol. 2, No. 3 — 29 — November 11, 1882
  • Vol. 2, No. 4 — 30 — November 25, 1882
  • Vol. 2, No. 5 — 31 — December 9, 1882
  • Vol. 2, No. 6 — 32 — January 20, 1883
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  • Vol. 3, No. 1 — 53 — October 25, 1884
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  • Vol. 5, No. 1 — 105 — August 13, 1887
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  • Vol. 7, No. 1 — 157 — April 19, 1890
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  • Vol. 17, No. 1 — 403 — April, 1908
Libertas (1888)
  • Vol. 1, No. 1 — 1 — 17 March 1888
  • Vol. 1, No. 2 — 2 — 7 April 1888
  • Vol. 1, No. 3 — 3 — 21 April 1888
  • Vol. 1, No. 4 — 4 — 5 May 1888
  • Vol. 1, No. 5 — 5 — 19 May 1888
  • Vol. 1, No. 6 — 6 — 2 June 1888
  • Vol. 1, No. 7 — 7 — 30 June 1888
  • Vol. 1, No. 8 — 8 — 8 September 1888

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Filed under bibliography, periodicals

Deschutes/Hair of the Dog “Collage”

The label said “Best after 4/30/2013.” It was still 2012 when I bought the bottle, plunking down more for 12 ounces than I often pay for 22 or 25. But a collaboration between Deschutes and Hair of the Dog was certainly an occasion, particularly when it involved a barrel-aged blend of four really fine brews. Early reviews were mixed, but they were also well before that “best after” date. Into the below-stairs “cellar” it went, and I’ve done my best to forget about it for a while.

But I just wrapped up the hard work on a translation project, and went to look and see what I might have cellared which was appropriately celebratory. I decided to give the 11.6% ABV “Collage” a try.

It pours dark brown, with some reddish highlights. The little bit of head disappears quickly. Both pinot and bourbon are there in the tart nose. The first sip is heavy on oak and alcohol. Another, bigger sip is even boozier, but more complex. With all of the aging components (“Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Sherry, Pinot Noir, Bourbon, new American Oak, and new Oregon Oak”), and the variety of base beers (The Dissident and The Stoic and Fred and Adam: Oud Bruin, Belgian quad, American strong ale, and old ale, respectively ), it’s hard to tell what’s what, but also not all that important. Everything is there, but the components come and go in waves. The sour in the base and the wine in the barrels lead on the palate, and might be strong, were the alcohol, whiskey and oak not even stronger. The quad seems to bridge things. The result is surprisingly drinkable.

This one started at cellar temp, and has slowly warmed. Perhaps it has smoothed a bit, or perhaps it is just the alcohol. But it has remained a very interesting, very complex drinking experience. It’s always tempting to wonder whether waiting a little longer with an “ager” would have been better. In this case, I think that the delay had been enough to let the various battling flavors reach something of a level, and the sharper edges that remain are both sufficiently representative of their styles and sufficiently transitory to be welcome. There might be an equally delicious state a few months down the line, but this was remarkable enough that I certainly don’t have any regrets about drinking it at this moment.

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Lagunitas – Brown Shugga

Lagunitas’ Brown Shugga is the first of their traditional winter releases, which a hitch in the expansion of the brewery forced off the schedule a couple of years back, a 9.9% ABV American strong ale, brewed with brown cane sugar. It pours a reddish caramel color which shifts significantly with the light, and has a lacy head that dies away pretty rapidly. The nose is mostly alcohol and yeast. Lagunitas seems to brew a lot of these not terribly well-defined strong ales, and you have to sort of feel your way with each of them, as there are not many criteria for American strong ales, except that they be strong. This one apparently originated a a failed batch of their barleywine, which gives an idea of the general character. It leads with hop bitterness and solid malts, which just begin to suggest caramel when the brown sugar cuts in. At almost 10%, it’s a sipper, and the various elements of the taste build up, sip by sip, but, at least for me, there is sort of a disappointing interval between sips, where there isn’t that much sustained flavor to enjoy, and what lingers on the tongue is primary the bitterness and the booze.
There is a lot that works here. It is pleasantly sweet, but not cloying, and the range of flavors present is broad. The alcohol is pretty well masked. In the end, it doesn’t quite come together for me, but that probable shouldn’t stop you from trying at least one.
For another review, which I suspect contains a reference to yours truly, check out this one at Ambrosial Brews.

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Petrus oak-aged pale

Petrus Aged Pale, from Brouwerij Bavik, is a 7.3 % ABV Belgian sour aged in oak casks. It pours on the orange side of straw, with a fizzy head which rapidly disappears. It resembles an Oud Bruin, but lighter, both in color and on the palate. It is indeed sour, but very pleasantly so, with a solid malt base that smooths things out. There are notes of apricot, and a very prominent, delicious oak finish. This came highly recommended, and it is certainly very drinkable, and would probably make a good introduction to sour brews.

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Starting again, on a sour note

It only makes sense, after so long a break, that there might be a few sour notes. Hopefully, this one won’t be too bad.
A couple of nights ago, I opened a bottle of Bridgeport’s 2013 “Stumptown Tart,” brewed this year with raspberries, blueberries & blackberries, and weighing in at 7.8% ABV. I usually pick up a bottle or two every year, if only to encourage my local supermarket to carry sours. It is always pleasant, as I expect from Bridgeport brews, and never exceptional. I find that as my taste for sour beers has developed, my appreciation of “Stumptown Tart” has remained roughly the same. The first year I tried it I was something of a sour novice, and was a bit surprised to find it a pleasant brew. As I’ve developed into a little bit of a sour snob, I’m still pleasantly surprised to find it well-brewed and tasty.
To be fair, “Stumptown Tart” is merely tart, and not at all in a pucker-inducing way. It has a restrained Belgian character, no doubt thanks to the yeast, and a revolving variety of delicious regional berries give it enough sweetness so that you’re sure you’re drinking a fruit beer, but overall it is perhaps a bit drier than you might expect. It is no substitute for a trip down to the Cascade Barrel House, but it is always a very pleasant addition to the selection in the supermarket coolers.
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Tonight’s treat is a bit more outspoken sour, The Common’s seasonal “Biere Royal,” a 5.5% ABV “sour ale with black currants,” which gets its bite from a combination of Lactobacillus for wild-ale magic and the currents adding their sugars to the fermentation. It’s light-to-medium bodied, and pours purplish-pink with a fizzy head which quickly disappears. The currents and yeast are strong in the nose. The taste is indeed sour, with the currents restrained enough so that at times this comes across more like a mystery-berry brew. But sour beers always play a sort of balancing act between the specific flavors and the sour, and this does not strike a bad balance. There are notes of lacto funk—think yogurt in your beer, because that’s the right yeast—and the brew seems to be gaining complexity as it warms. The malt base, which includes spelt, is of the sort that you know is good because you don’t have to think about it. The Saaz hops function in roughly the same way. Folks who like the Russian River wild ales might well enjoy this. There’s enough to it for a fall night, but it is not heavy. Honestly, when I go for a sour or wild ale, I usually go for something a little heavier, but I’m enjoying this quite a bit.
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The one real sour note of recent days was a bottle of Lost Coast’s “Raspberry Brown.” Their tangerine beer is one of my favorite of the readily accessible fruit beers, and I had high hopes, but this was quite simply not a very good beer.

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