Letters to the Portland editor, August 22, 2008

Rogue Dead Guy Ale is not an IPA

Pricing the revolution
We wanted to respond to the article “Strange Brews” by Brian Duff in the August 15 edition of the Portland Phoenix.

We appreciate the good things said in the article, but are getting tired of the reputation of being expensive. Beer is not just beer, just as a car is not just a car. It’s unfair to say that car dealer A is really expensive compared to car dealer B, when dealer B sells Fords and dealer A sells Ferraris.

Out of about 250 bottled selections, 112 of them are over $10. However, out of those 112, 50 of them are less than $20 for a 750 ml bottle, which is essentially two beers. So in reality, on a per-beer basis, we have 62 beers over $10. That means roughly 25 percent of our bottled selections are over $10, hardly “most.” Our 25 draughts, which are not mentioned in the article, are all currently under $8. The only time we had a draught that cost $10 was for the grand opening, and as a limited keg (one of few in the US), the cost to us was extremely high. Our staff will always gladly give you a sample of any of our draughts, and often freely offer one without the customer even asking. Comparing apples to apples, our beers are moderately priced for what they are. Sure we could serve the same lower-quality products that the other bars in town offer for under $5, but when you really want a nice steak dinner you’re not going to McDonald’s and you’re going to pay a little more for it.

As for our food being an afterthought, as Duff noted we do “a better job with less.” We put a lot of thought into our small menu, and purposely have a small menu. We are not a restaurant, we are a pub. We offer drinks, not dinner.

We don’t expect every customer to love our establishment. That’s the great thing about variety: we are offering something different, another choice. Love it or hate it, at least get the facts straight before you print and distribute to thousands of readers. Also, Rogue Dead Guy Ale is not an IPA.

Eric and Julie Michaud
Novare Res Bier Café

Time for housecleaning
In Augusta some years ago to testify against capital punishment, I heard Corrections Commissioner Martin Magnusson testify that he would resign if Maine reinstituted the death penalty. I was proud to be a Maine citizen.

But dozens of Lance Tapley’s Phoenix articles, a recent talk, and the testimony offered by Rhonda Dawson, George Mele, Peter Lehman, and Michael Parker in Tapley’s July 25th article (see "Time For A Clean Sweep?") force the conclusion that the culture of abuse and hostility to humane treatment and rehabilitation at the Maine State Prison is beyond repair by present leadership and prison personnel.

A full housecleaning is in order and all self-respecting citizens should join in demanding it from Governor John Baldacci and the Legislature. Otherwise, we become equally culpable, as all who tolerate Bush’s panoply of serious violations of the Constitution he is sworn to uphold take his guilt upon themselves.

The Warren supermax is, I appreciate, a job opportunity for many in that area. But the bullying abuses of power, racism, and indifference or hostility to rehabilitation of the great majority of guards have forfeited their claim to employment in service of the citizenry of Maine. Every human being merits respect, and it is altogether in our interest as well as those imprisoned to assist in their rehabilitation rather than continue to be victimized by their further crimes and the extravagant expense of their further incarceration.

Baldacci evinced indifference and irresponsibility in referring Ms. Dawson to the object of her criticism. If he will not discharge his responsibility for those we have imprisoned, we should call on our legislators to meet their responsibility to impeach him.

Tapley observed that the 15 or 20 in the audience for the talk I attended could, if they would, change the Maine Prison System situation. For my part, I will be asking fellow Pax Christi Maine members at our October retreat, which will focus on restorative justice, to join in a campaign calling on Maine’s Christian community to join in effecting this desperately needed reform.

William H. Slavick

  Topics: Letters , Criminal Sentencing and Punishment, Social Issues, Capital Punishment,  More more >
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