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  • Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    by John M. P. Knox

    "Definitely worth adding to your collection – it’s as good a visual record of the brewing process as I’ve ever seen." -Dave of


Two Worlds on the Mississippi

Most folks know New Orleans for the cocktails, rich food, partying, and history. But there are interesting things in the city that get less attention. All that fun happens just a short walk from the fourth longest river in the world, a beautiful place that feels continents away.

Storm on the Mississippi

Storms regularly roll off the Gulf of Mexico. The ferries and cargo ships keep moving, even as the rest of the city heads for shelter.


Local lore has it that even the strongest swimmers would drown in the Mississippi. They say that the unpredictable currents pull swimmers under as easily as a giant squid. If you're observant, the occasional strange wave pattern reminds you of the forces moving more than 200,000 cubic feet of water per second into the Gulf of Mexico. 

Turbulent Waters

I enjoy the peaceful ride on the ferry from Algiers Point. It's a magic place between banks where there is nothing to do but enjoy the river and get some relief from the stagnant air on the street.

New Orleans Ferry

There are many abandoned buildings in New Orleans. None are quite as large or prominent as The World Trade Center building. It lies dormant and crumbling on the bank of the Mississippi, just a few steps away from the Algiers ferry. If you peer through the glass doors, you can see how the lobby has probably looked for the past fifteen years.

Every so often, a plan is made to either demolish the building, or to renovate it for new business. So far they've all fallen through. It's a shame, because it's a unique building. I bet the view from the top floor is amazing.

World Trade Center Building

A tug pushes upstream as the sun sets behind St. Louis Cathedral. From the river, it can be difficult to remember all the tourists who fill the city. 

Tug on the Mississippi at Dusk


The Great American Beer Festival

If dehydration is our enemy, new experiences are our friend at the Great American Beer Festival. The halls of GABF, and even Denver itself are littered with tiny new breweries trying to stand out from the very competitive crowd. Last year, the 2013 GABF, thanks to the media bus, I was able to enjoy a few young breweries in their natural habitat.

Black Shirt Brewing was one notable stop, a family run brewery with a serious devotion to craftsmanship (and craftwomanship!). The owners designed and build just about every aspect of their tap room, from the bar, to their custom glassware, to the unique trays they use to deliver flights.

From BSB's name you might not expect that their beer is red. Every beer is red. Even their porter is red. Red beer is their speciality, a visible and drinkable expression of their devotion to doing one thing well.

As you can see below, their space and their beer reflect their design aesthetic. 

Black Shirt Brewing

Even BSB's bomber fridge looks like a photo from a fashion magazine.

BSB Bottles

Another stop on the GABF media bus was Our Mutual Friend brewery. They have a different take on the small brewery and tap room. OMF feels cozy and organic, with a bar meant for talking, piles of books, and a brew philosoply that focuses on small-batch experimentation.

Our Mutual Friend Brewery

If you're visiting GABF this year, don't forget to try new beers, and don't forget that you can visit a few of the amazing breweries you'll see on the floor.


Riding a Lamborghini Gallardo on the Circuit of the Americas

What is best in life? Well, I think there are a lot of "bests". But having a new experience often tops my lists. Having three new experiences simultaneously really makes my day. A few days ago I got to:

  1. Sit in a sexy Lamborghini Gallardo
  2. Pull Gs at high speed as a professional race coach drives
  3. Do all of that on the Circuit of the Americas

Rear Wheel Drive

It was an amazing day, and I bet I had a dumb smile on my face the whole time. I'm sure I looked like an idiot in the lets-get-shot-out-of-a-cannon helmet I was wearing. And that's fine because I had lots of fun.

A few seconds after I arrived in the garage, these two Lamborghinis flew past sounding like the space shuttle couldn't keep up. Even with those solid rocket boosters. And if you were close, like I was for these photos, you could smell tire rubber burning. I was standing there, and I couldn't believe it. The tires were nearly on fire!

Track Speed

The driver in the video was Les Betchner, and the Lamborghini was supplied by Lamborghini Dallas. And of course, the track was Circuit of the Americas. Thanks to COTA for inviting me, and thanks to Les and Lamborghini Dallas for one of the coolest SXSW events I've ever been to.



I was fortunate to have an opportunity to tour behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil's Varekai. I took photos during a rehearsal, and they also generously allowed me to take photos during Cedar Park's premier. I didn't take photos during the second half. We wouldn't want to spoil the ending!

It was a lot of fun to wear a media pass and capture a few fun moments while the performers warmed up and rehearsed. It was also a unique opportunity to see some of the behind-the-scenes folk at work: the coaches, the lightning people, and so on.

These folks are such hard working and talented artists and athletes. They looked so happy to be performing too. I felt so inspired getting to see their hard work before the show and then the amazing results in the real performance.

You can tell from the clothing where the rehearsal photos stop and the actual performance begins. Your challenge is recognizing the rehearsal performers in their elaborate costumes.

Coaching Practice Flight The Flourish Sharing a Laugh Talking Through the Scene The Faceoff Eruption He Came From Below Enter the Musicians Icarus Falls The Feather Trapeze in Motion Spinning


Sunday Drive

In case you thought the Gondola was an impractical tourist contrivance, observe these two gentlemen out for a peaceful Sunday paddle. 

Sunday Exercise

See? They're good for navigating the open water of the lagoon, not just bouncing tourists around a narrow canal. I wonder if they're on a grocery run, getting exercise, or if they are just taking a picnic to escape their claustrophobic city.

Past the marshes, you can see a few of the buildings typical of Venice. I wonder if all of the lagoon looked like these low, muddy marshes before the venetians began to build their elaborate cities. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for the first settelers to keep warm and dry?