Colin's Coffee Nominated for Upper Arlington Business of the Year

Colin’s Coffee Nominated for UA Business of the Year

Not trying to jinx it or get a big head, but I thought folks might be interested to learn that Colin’s Coffee has been nominated for the 2018 business of the year by the city of Upper Arlington. The winner will be announced at the State of the City address on Monday January 28th. I’m unsure how this works or who else is nominated, but a quick google search reveals Ohio Health took home the trophy last year, so it looks like we might be in for some stiff competition.

In all seriousness, no matter how it turns out,  we are flattered just to be nominated and appreciate the city of UA acknowledging a business as small as ours. It’s a team effort down here at the Golden Bear Center, with our amazing customers and staff leading the way. They really deserve the credit for what gives the coffee shop its special vibe.

Anyway, I will report back on the Colin’s Coffee Facebook page to share the results after the meeting on January 28th. Stay warm. - Colin

FYI - This amazing Colin’s Coffee painting was done by UA Freshman student Ava Taylor. Follow @ Instagram avatays_art


Restaurant coffee in the 1960's tasted like swill - by David Martin

What was on the mind of the writers and editors of the San Francisco Chronicle in 1963? The shitty coffee being served in the city's restaurants.

Chronicle culture writer Peter Hartlaub today marked the 50th anniversary of the paper's war on dismal coffee. The three-part (!) series featured the magical headline "A Great City's People Forced to Drink Swill."

Sample passage:


San Francisco restaurants buy more than three million pounds of coffee every year from processors who profess to instruct them meticulously in its proper preparation.

Yet for all the money the restaurants spend, and for all the effort the coffee companies put forth to make their product palatable, most of it tastes as though it came from some vast common reservoir up behind Twin Peaks in which it had been brewed by the three scrofulous witches in Macbeth.

Now that's public journalism!

Hartlaub's story reminded me of a passage from David Owen's profile of George Meyer, one of the driving forces behind The Simpsons. In the piece, Owen explains that Meyer was hired to work on show largely on the strength of a small humor magazine he published called Army Man.

Despite its modest appearance, Army Man attracted a surprisingly broad and loyal following. It made Rolling Stone's Hot List in 1989, and for years it circulated in samizdat on college campuses. "The only rule was that the stuff had to be funny and pretty short," Meyer told me. "To me, the quintessential Army Man joke was one of John Swartzwelder's: 'They can kill the Kennedys. Why can't they make a cup of coffee that tastes good?' It's a horrifying idea juxtaposed with something really banal — and yet there's a kind of logic to it. It's illuminating because it's kind of how Americans see things: Life's a big jumble, but somehow it leads to something I can consume. I love that."

By the way, the guy who took the pictures for the Chronicle's series on coffee is the same guy who took the picture of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.

Dan Cochran Celebrates the Release of Hilltop Lager by Playing Bass

Four String Brewing Company founder Dan Cochran is no poser. His beer isn't some brand whipped up in an ad agency conference room in Zurich. It was whipped up in his head while playing bass for bands such as Big Back 40, The Lonely Bones and Why Isn't Cheap Trick in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Put simply, the dude brews killer beer. And he also plays bass. On Friday May 12th, Dan will be introducing his latest creation - Hilltop Lager - with an International Can release party at both of his Columbus Four String locations. (click here for more details)

As the party winds down at the taprooms, Dan will be lugging his rig over to Woodland's Tavern to play bass with the semi-legendary bar band League Bowlers. Seems like a very long day for the father of two with another on the horizon. Dan would have it no other way. "Hilltop Lager is a beer for the working man and The League Bowlers are a working man's band. It's a perfect fit. I'm excited to share this new beer with the world and then play some lager fueled rock n roll. I'd have it no other way. Hope everybody can join us at one venue or both."

The Four String Taprooms will be open 4pm until late. The League Bowlers will be onstage at Woodland's Tavern 9:30-11 pm. Admission is FREE to all events

Related reading: English Pub Rock and The League Bowlers.  Dan Cochran Talks about playing in Why Isn't Cheap Trick in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? . The Real Story Behind Four String Brew. .



Browns Kickoff Party at Four String Brew with The League Bowlers

The Cleveland Browns will be kicking off the season at 1 pm on Sunday September 11th  against the Philadelphia Eagles. To celebrate the occasion, Pencilstorm Browns bloggers The North Coast Posse will be converging on the Four String Brew Taproom (985 W. 6th) at noon to begin their annual tradition of heavy self-medication to survive another Browns campaign. Four String Brew will be the NCP home of the Browns for the 2016 season.

Follow @northcoastposse (The NCP were named a Top Five follow by the actual Cleveland Browns)

As if watching two of the NFL's worst teams play while day drinking wasn't enough, The League Bowlers (featuring Four String Owner Dan Cochran on the 4 string bass, duh) will be performing a set of rock n roll at noon. The event is FREE. See you there!



Four String Brew's Dan Cochran Talks About Playing in Why Isn't Cheap Trick in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

Why Isn't Cheap Trick  in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? is playing Ace of Cups Friday, April 8th. Click here for details

- What is is about Cheap Trick that motivated you to join this band?
Dan - I’ve been a Cheap Trick fan for years now.  They have such a great catalog of tunes, and most of it is underrated.  In addition to that, they have toured forever.  It’s great for fans, because they come through most American cities every year.  They headline their own shows, open for obscure bands, play corporate gigs, and come through on festival dates.  If you pay attention, you can see them a couple times of year without having to travel very far.
 - Tom Petersson and his 12-string bass have a very distinctive sound, how has your rig evolved over the years trying to simulate it?
Dan - When we started this thing four years ago, I really had no idea what I was getting into.  The first few years, I used one of my Fender basses and my regular rig.  I’ve always played with my fingers and continued to do so on the Cheap Trick tunes.  In the end, it didn’t feel right and it didn’t sound right.  What a lot of people don’t understand is that Petersson’s sound is most of what you hear in the Cheap Trick sound.  His bass covers a giant frequency range, and the way he plays holds down the bottom end while creating melody and full harmonic range at the same time is truly distinctive.  

Once I really started listening to the Budokan record, I realized that he was playing most of the parts.  What I thought was guitarist Rick Nielsen in so many places was actually Petersson.  Nielsen really just paints on top of everything with tasty leads (and writes nearly all of the tunes).  Even Robin Zander plays more guitar live than people think…..and not like a pussy either (Bono).  So, I realized last year that I needed to take the plunge and get the 12-string bass sound going.  For those who don’t know, Tom Petersson literally invented the 12-string bass.  His basses have multiple outputs and he splits his signal in many ways.  Nobody knows for sure exactly how he is crossing the frequencies. He also changes his amplifiers on a regular basis.  For me, part of the fun of going to see CT is to stand stage left in front of Petersson and look at what amps he brought out.  It’s different every time, and always totally bad-ass.  

Dan Working on Gonna Raise Hell at his Brewery. Photo by Chris Casella. Bass Tuning by Oscar.

Dan Working on Gonna Raise Hell at his Brewery. Photo by Chris Casella. Bass Tuning by Oscar.

I decided against buying a 12-string bass.  What I would want is ridiculously expensive and I’m still not convinced it would sound right.  So, the challenge is to get a distorted 12-string bass sound from a 4-string bass.  With some help from bandmate Rick Kinsinger, I started building the rig.  I have played with bass distortion for many years, and there is a major problem with it.  No matter what pedal you use, the low end goes away when the distortion is engaged.  So, the answer is to split the signal.  I use my regular rig for a clean low end.  It’s a Traynor 200 watt bass head on an Ampeg SVT ported 4x10.  For the high end, I’m basically putting a guitar half-stack on top of my other amp. This year I’m using a Sovtek 50 watt head on a vintage Music Man folded cabinet.   The high end signal is run through distortion and a pitch fork pedal.  The pitch fork gives me the octaves for the 12-string sound.  Together, it sounds killer!  

The other issue is what bass to use.  When I plug a Fender bass through it, it sounds great, but not like Petersson.  Last year I used a vintage Gibson Thunderbird.  It was perfect!  Everything I wanted.  Lately, Petersson has been playing a semi-hollow body Gretsch 12-string.  I recently found a 4-string version of the bass that is really cool.  That’s what I’m using for the show this year.  The hollow body gets a great low end tone and tons of feedback!  It’s basically a giant guitar envy setup, which has been a lot of fun. 

- Do you feel like Tom gets enough credit strictly as a bass player? 
Dan - No, I don’t think he does. I think it’s linear with Cheap Trick as a band.  They are one of the great bands in rock & roll, and most people don’t realize it.  Petersson is the same way.  If you ask bass players who their favorite players are, his name doesn’t usually come up.  It’s probably because of his crazy tone and 12-string basses.  What CT fans need to know is that his sound IS Cheap Trick.  His sound covers the entire stage.  He’s more than a bass player.  There aren’t many other examples of this.  John Entwistle from The Who is one.  I remember reading an interview with Pete Townsend talking about the reunion tour The Who did back in the late 80’s.  They decided that because of hearing damage, the stage volume would have to stay below 90 db.  The problem was that when The Ox wasn’t able to turn the full rig on, they had to hire strings, keys, and horns to sonically fill things out.  Petersson does the same thing.
 - What are your favorite Cheap Trick songs to perform live?
Dan -  I really like the heavy stuff….Auf Wiedersehen, He’s a Whore, On Top of the World, etc.
- Who are some of your other favorite bass players?
Dan -  There are so many: James Jamerson, Donald “Duck” Dunn, John Paul Jones and Paul McCartney are a few.
 - Four String Brewing is going through a major expansion and you have two young ones at home, how do you find the time to squeeze in a project like this?
Dan - That’s a great question.  My time has gotten really tight in the last year or two.  We just built a new production facility on the West side, expanded the Grandview taproom, and opened distribution in the rest of the state.  I decided a few months ago to promote my two year old son, Oscar.  He’s basically running the show these days: running the brewery, booking gigs, and working as my bass tech.  He gets a little whiny sometimes, but I don’t have to pay him.  It’s a good deal.  The brewers get a little pissed off that they have to report to a two year old, but whatever.
- If I stopped by the Four String Taproom and I hear some Cheap Trick playing, what beer would go best with that?
Dan - Definitely a Brass Knuckle Pale Ale!
 - Any chance of a special edition 12 String Brew in honor of Tom Petersson making the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?
Dan - I think we would have to brew (3) Four String beers for the math to work.

Dan Cochran is a founding member of the band Why Isn't Cheap Trick in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? and the Four String Brewing Company. He also plays bass in Colin Gawel and The Lonely Bones and toured the world and elsewhere with the band Big Back 40. Four String Brew is available everywhere so look for it on a tap or in a store.

Tom Petersson Hoisting a Four String Brew to Honor Dan.

Pencilstorm Hall of Fame Nominee: Reds Opening Day at The Library Bar - by Colin G.

The latest class of the Pencilstorm Hall of Fame will announced Thursday April 14th at the CD1025 Big Room Bar. Doors at 6pm Willie Phoenix and The Soul Underground play a set of rock n roll at 8 pm. FREE!! Click here for full list of nominations.


I'm a pretty big fan of Major League Baseball in general and the Cincinnati Reds in particular. But you know something, I've never gone to a Reds opening day. I probably would have, except for me, if I can get the time free, the best place to spend opening day is at The Library Bar.

Cricket, the owner and a serious Reds fan himself, is behind the bar pouring drinks and encouraging everybody to grab a free hot dog off the grill. Some years the weather is nice and the front door is open. Other times flurries fall from the gray skies. Sometimes the Reds win, sometimes they lose, and once in a while the home plate umpire drops dead right before the first pitch and the game is cancelled. Oh well, bottoms up.

Cricket recently celebrated his 30th anniversary of owning The Library. Think about that. With all the changes that have hit campus, ONE MAN, has owned and worked at ONE BAR for THIRTY YEARS!! How about that for a small business success story.

Back in my younger years, The Library was my main hangout. I mean, don't get me wrong, I hit lots of bars, but The Library was home. When bands would come to Columbus, Watershed would always invite them to come and hang out at the Library Bar. It wasn't stuffy and it wasn't cheesy. It wasn't trying to be something it's not. It was just a bar in the Midwest with the owner behind the bar. That vibe resonated with my circle of friends.

It is still the stuff of legend the night all four members of Cheap Trick showed up and closed down the place. And just slightly less impressive, The League Bowlers played their first show there, too. Many of the old haunts are extinct. Bernie's is gone. AC/DC Cult Night is no more. And poor Larry's had it worst of all, it became The Sloppy Donkey and poetry night was never the same. I hear even Rocket From the Crypt stopped hanging out there. Ouch.

Long Live MLB Opening Day and The Library Bar. I will be there at 4 pm Monday April 4th. Please join me. I urge my committee members to approve of it's nomination to the Pencilstorm Hall of Fame. Go Reds (gulp). - Colin G.