All of us at the Civil Life were deeply saddened to learn recently that one of our beloved regulars had died. Many of you will have seen John sitting at the bar reading a book. He came to the Civil Life about three times each week, always with a book in hand. Each of us enjoyed conversations with this excellent human being. Our lives were all enriched by having known him.
John was a voracious reader whose interests were incredibly varied. We discussed books every time he was in, and I personally shared a passion for many of the same books John loved. But there is one book that came up frequently that I have not yet read. John’s favorite book was Terra Nostra by Carlos Fuentes.
I have decided that in 2019 the Civil Life Reading Group will honor the memory of this most civil of readers by meeting three times to discuss this long, complicated, difficult novel as we work through it together.
The central event of Terra Nostra is Spain’s Philip the Second’s construction of El Escorial, the royal palace and monastery near Madrid. But the book is much more:
"Terra Nostra" is a colossal 350,000-word opus, a kind of panoramic Hispano-American creation myth, spanning 20 centuries (more, if you count the Greek and Egyptian mythologies that help to feed it) and embracing virtually the whole of European and American (especially Mexican) culture and civilization.
(Please read Coover’s excellent review of Terra Nostra in the New York Times
I look forward to the chance to study a work that meant so much to a fellow reader and friend. My only regret is that I will never have the chance to discuss the book with John.
If there is a Valhalla for readers (a great celestial library that happens to serve drinks), John is there now. He lived a very civil life and we are grateful to have known him. Please raise a glass to his memory the next time you are in.
P.S. Dates and details to be announced.
UPDATE: We are having a celebration of John's life at the Civil Life on Saturday 2/16. I'll post more details here as they become available.
Happy New Beer!
The Civil Life is entering 2019 poised for growth and change, but also more of what you know and love. Several stages of our much-anticipated expansion should begin over the course of the coming year. Stay tuned for updates.
In the meantime, we have some new beers coming soon. Over the weeks to come our UK IPA will return as well as some favorite styles originating in Scotland.
Our UK IPA starts with a very lightly kilned base malt and some English specialty malts, as well as dark brown cane sugar. We add some torrified wheat for body and head retention. The finished product is dry-hopped with three English hop varieties: Progress, Challenger, and East Kent Goldings.
The final product is light colored and crisp with a hint of caramel sweetness. Look for floral, woodsy, and slightly fruity (think stone fruit, rather than citrus) hop character. At just over 6% alcohol and a modest 48 IBUs, the beer is well-balanced and elegant.
Our original Scottish Ale is returning after a long absence. You might think of it as a 90 Shilling. This hybrid marries Scottish tradition with American spirit. It’s dark and malty but hopped a bit more than the style generally is. It comes in at 5.7% alcohol and 44 IBUs. The base malt is Golden Promise, a traditional Scottish-grown spring barley. We hop it with good old American Cascade hops, which show subtly on the finish. The beer is a deep reddish mahogany color with loads of caramel malt notes and a little spice. Despite the big malt presence, it doesn’t finish cloyingly, as some Scottish ales do.
“Wee Bit Heavy Ale” is also poised to return. Wee Heavies are Scottish strong ales. Heavy refers to the full body. Such beers, being higher in alcohol, were originally served in a “wee” glass. The Wee Bit Heavy is deep copper to brown in color with a rich, layered malt character. It’s complex with huge caramelized malt notes, nice spice, and a little sweetness. Don’t miss it.
We still have some of our classic holiday beer, Burton on Holt, available, but when it’s gone, the wee heavy will satisfy its loyal fans. Come down soon for new beers and to celebrate the new year. Thanks again for your continued support. Cheers!
It is with great happiness I report the results of our Holiday Do Gooder Pie sale to support and raise awareness for Laughing Bear Bakery We sold 87 pies in December. Which means St. Patrick Center will be getting a total of 87 pies! (We already sent 50 pies over to cover them for the holiday week!) A huge thanks to all of you that bought pies and to Civil Design Inc. for splitting the cost on an additional pie to be donated. 100% of the proceeds from all sales were used to buy more pies!
The re-cap of our November/December Do Gooder Pie sale shows we will end up purchasing over 410 pies during this holiday season from Laughing Bear. They put ex-offenders back to work making tasty pies. Please, please look for their baked goods when you are out and about. It also meant you, our incredible customers, the Civil Life and Civil Design ended up being responsible for 115 pies donated to Peter & Paul Community Services and 87 to St. Patrick Center. Both of those organizations do good work providing programs for our areas homeless.
This is a huge bright spot in what turned out to be a below average sales year for the Civil Life. However, it reminded me, all of our staff here and all of our incredible customers that together we can do a lot of good and that it takes all of us working together to make this crazy world a better place. Thank you for being our customer. Thank you for believing in the Civil Life.
We wish you the best in 2019! Stay tuned to the Civil Life. 2019 will be our best year yet!
Another Holiday Reminder from Your Friends at the Civil Life
Dear friends and regulars, we hope to see you all with your friends, family, and visitors over the holiday season. Please note that Christmas Eve falls on a Monday. Though the pub is normally closed Mondays, we WILL be open this coming Monday 24 December from Noon until four pm.
Stop in for canned beer and growler fills. In cans, we have our classic English-style ESB and Northern English Brown Ale as well as very limited quantities of our favorite American Brown Ale.
Rest assured, we also have Brown on draft to fill growlers. Burton on Holt is on draft now as well. This classic Burton Ale is malt rich, like a liquid Heath Bar, perfect for celebrating winter holidays.
And don’t worry about last minute shopping. We have plenty of gear, including T-shirts, hoodies, rugby shirts, yard signs, tin signs, pint glasses, and more. A long, warm, Civil Life soccer scarf might be just the thing. Or a hat. Wear your Civil gear with pride. Don’t forget Be Civil stickers to adorn any holiday gifts you are wrapping.
Please stop in for a pint Christmas Eve! We’d love to see you. We will be glad to help you stock up on Civil Brew. Make sure to get enough for Tuesday, as we will be closed Christmas Day.
Also consider Do-Gooder pies, a tasty way to donate desert to the homeless this holiday, as well as supporting Laughing Bear Bakery. They provide good jobs to ex-offenders, giving them a better chance at success and stability. See Jake’s posts about this great cause.
Amidst holiday shopping and donations, it’s O.K. to think about yourself, too. You deserve a reward. A pint of Civil Life Beer is calling your name.
In case you were wondering how to close out your holiday drinking season, we will be open NYE from 2 to 10 pm!
See you soon and Happy Holidays!
WOW!!! We did it! The final numbers are still being tallied but we sold a ton of pies and best yet we put people to work making pies. As of Friday, we had also set aside over 80 pies for Peter and Paul Community Services. Ray from CDI (Pie Headquarters), is doing the final tally today but I will let you know shortly the overall number.
IF YOU STILL want to get in on this shoot me an email at Pie@thecivillife.com If we have any room to squeeze in a few more before the big holiday we will. We also will be having a pie pick-up party on November 19th from 5 to 8 pm with Laughing Bear at the Civil Life. More details coming soon on that day as well!
Our brewer Troy Bedik will get to throw a pie in my face since we literally toppled our goal of 150 pies. This is good for employees everywhere.
I can't thank all of you enough for getting behind this promotion. We did a lot of good and we couldn't do it without you. We have a lot in store for all of you (the best customers in the world!) and we'll continue doing good and bringing awareness to some of the great things that are happening in our city.
Cheers and thanks from all of us at Civil Life, Civil Design and Laughing Bear!!!!
The Return of the ESB Yeast Strain Signals a Cornucopia of Fall Beers
We have the much-loved Fullers ESB yeast strain back in house and the brewers are hard at work making some of your favorite beers. They will be coming on line over the next several weeks. Here’s a peek at what to expect.
Extra Special Bitter (ESB) is a traditional English style at the top of the English Pale Ale (Bitter) family of beers. This classic malt-forward take on a much-loved English style is medium bodied with caramel richness and a subtle woodsy hop note. This deep amber-colored ale celebrates traditional English malts and classic Fuggles hops.
Our one-of-a-kind Angel & the Sword returns! This Civil Life original is an ale crafted from some of our favorite malts. We describe it as a malty amber ale or lightly hopped ESB. This reddish amber ale has lots of biscuity malt character with notes of toast and caramel. It’s named for a statue in Toledo Spain depicting an angel holding a sword aloft in supplication as a symbol of peace and harmony.
A long-time favorite of all of our staff, Porter should be back on tap by late November. Will we have some on cask? Stop in the pub and find out. This classic robust Porter is dark, full-bodied, and rich, with layers of roast malt character, including cocoa, coffee, and caramel. English Northdown hops impart subtle floral, fruity, and spicy notes.
Northern English Brown is one of several great brown ales we brew. This all-English brown ale is lighter and drier than our American Brown. Its softer roast character features delightfully earthy, nutty notes. The grain bill comprises classic English malt varieties and the hops are Northdown, which have subtle floral and fruit notes. Look for it in cans again this fall!
Our Oatmeal Brown Ale was a real hit when we introduced it last year. It’s coming back to satisfy those thirsty fans. Our newest brown ale is rich and full-bodied with a silky mouth feel. Complex layers of toasty malt are balanced by an earthy hop note and subtle fruit notes. Somewhere between brown ale and oatmeal stout, this beer is extremely drinkable despite its richness.
One of the first beers we brewed, British Bitter was on tap the day we opened. It has been on hiatus since we introduced Civil Pale, but it is returning this fall. One of the most popular beer styles in England, Bitter is another term for Pale Ale. Our drinkable, refreshing version is golden colored with biscuity malt and a pleasant hop character with notes of spice and lemon tea.
Stay tuned for other classic returning styles (like UK IPA!) The fall is the ideal time to sip pints in a wood-lined pub. We can’t wait to see you!
We’re celebrating seven years of civility in south city this Sunday, September 30th. Please join us between noon and six pm for beer, food, music, news, fun, and the company of the best regulars anywhere.
At noon the festivities begin, with beer in the pub and at convenient outdoor locations as well. The forecast looks great so show up in time for a prime spot in our beer garden. Tony, Dave and Mike will be outside cooking up mountains of bratwursts, hotdogs, tacos, and nachos.
Nothing goes with these culinary favorites like a cold Civil Life Beer. Plenty will be on hand, poured at various locations to maximize your hydration. The weather will be perfect for Oktoberfest, but plenty of other options will be available. Look for surprises at outdoor pouring stations where old Civil favorites may appear for the day.
Don’t miss the (in)famous “State of the Beer Union Address.” Many are saying last year’s speech will be hard to top, but our Barley Ship Captain has been working tirelessly on his annual message. The address starts at two pm sharp––don’t miss it!
Enjoy music performed by Jon Bonham and friends from 2:30 until 5:30. The weather should be ideal for good music and good beer in the garden.
You’ll be sure to see many familiar faces, with all Civil Life employees on hand, as well as many long-time volunteers. Friends, regulars, and neighbors will all be on hand to celebrate, not just the good refreshments, but the community we’ve all built together. We come together to celebrate the Civil Life in every sense of the term.
Thank you all for seven years of loyal support. We can’t wait to see you this Sunday!
Two German-Style Favorites Returning Soon
Everyone has been enjoying round two of our lager yeast strain this year with Civil Common and seasonal favorite Oktoberfest (also available in cans). Two longtime favorites are also returning to the taps soon.
Black Lager is a supremely satisfying beer that remains crisp and refreshing despite dark color and earthy roast notes that are never sharp. It’s less hoppy than a pilsner and less roasty than a porter but marries the best qualities of light and dark. A dry finish balances the roast malt characteristics of this beer and will have you reaching for another one.
Our Black Lager is the perfect seasonal segue, refreshing on hot days, but providing roast goodness to complement autumn’s changeable weather. Look for it on tap soon.
Also returning is our much-loved German Pilsner. The Pilsners of northern Germany are among the greatest beers in the world. Lighter in color and sharper than their Czech counterparts, these beers are always refreshing.
Our German Pilsner is pale golden with a snow-white head. Subtle bready malt is joined by noble hop spice and faint floral notes. The finish is pleasantly sharp.
Look for these two great beers soon. In the meantime, enjoy Civil Common, Cream Ale, and Oktoberfest. Keep drinking our one-of-a-kind Pink Boots Table Beer. Enjoy Circle 7 American Wheat and our new favorite Bee Civil Honey Wheat.
And remember, when the German Pilsner goes on, Mark will try to drink it all, with the help of his unpaid intern Michael. There is plenty for everyone! And there are always new Civil Brews coming to our list. Keep stopping in to enjoy new beers as soon as they are ready.
See you soon!
Save the Date … and Other News
Our anniversary is almost upon us once again. Our Grand Opening was September 24, 2011. Many of you were there with us as we marched from Tower Grove Park to our recently finished pub. The grueling one-mile trek was made considerably easier thanks to frequent refueling stops. Back then, Dylan’s rust-brown VW Vanagon was not a piece of postmodern sculpture on cinder blocks, but a dispenser of fine ales. With these refreshments in hand, our journey was a civil stroll.
That parade was preceded by a speech by Civil Barley Ship Captain Jake Hafner. It is therefore appropriate that the centerpiece of each anniversary celebration is a State of the Beer Union Address by the Captain himself. This much anticipated event is said to draw even more spectators than recent presidential inaugurations … and for good reason––within these words of wisdom (painstakingly written and rewritten over the course of the entire year) is a recounting of our efforts and triumphs as well as hints as to the future course of the Civil Barley Ship.
Mark the date Sunday, 30 September on your calendars (or portable telephonic devices). From noon until six we will celebrate another year in our struggle to spread civility and traditional ales and lagers that highlight malt and emphasize balance. The State of the Beer Union speech will begin promptly at 1 pm.
Besides outstanding food and drink, all Civil hands (as well as those of many volunteers) will be on deck. It is a great day of community, with many of our regulars coming together to commemorate what we have all built together.
And the famous Pete and Justine Hafner Memorial (Even though They’re Not Dead Yet) Customer of the Year Award will be bestowed once again. Michael, the current holder of the award chalice, shrilly vowed just this week “THEY’LL PRY IT FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!” We shall see.
This is a lot to look forward to and a day not to be missed. In the meantime, enjoy our usual offerings of fine food and exceptional beer, all offered at affordable prices as part of our belief that every American is entitled to great food and drink, and that these necessities must never be out of reach.
Why not have a five-dollar imperial pint of Oktoberfest, now on draft? This beautiful copper lager is a celebration in every sip. And it is now available in cans. German Wheat and American Brown are available in cans as well. At $9 a six pack and $32 a case, you can’t afford not to stock up.
We hope to see you September 30. Until then, Be Civil and Drink Civil.
Have you seen the new Civil Life Oktoberfest cans? What’s up with that blue and white checkered design, you ask? Well, that’s not a checker since it’s a diamond shape, technically called a lozenge in heraldry. When arranged in this specific pattern, it’s referred to as lozengy. Dating back to the Kingdom of Bavaria’s Otto II (12061353), it’s currently the official flag of The Free State of Bavaria, the huge southeastern part of modern Germany. We printed the Bavarian lozengy on our can because for many of us Americans, the only/favorite things we know about Bavaria are beer, beer, and lots more beer at their massive annual Oktoberfest in Munich. Eh, there are worse things to be known for.
Available at the pub: $9/six-pack or $32/case. Prost!
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.