Pub(lishers) Crawl

Right now, through the 29th, the Wonder of Words Festival here in Des Moines is going on. This festival includes writers’ forums, lectures and readings by prominent authors, the presentation of plays and other events designed to help the people of Des Moines embrace the deep publishing and literary tradition to be found in our fair city. We thought that this was a very cool idea, and very much wanted to be a part of it. Thus, we at el Bait Shop, (along with our sister bars the High Life Lounge, the University Library Cafe, and the Royal Mile) are proud to bring you the Pub(lishers) Crawl.

Each of our bars will host a different speaker whose work we felt was most appropriate for each place. Each presentation will involve a reading and/or lecture, followed by a question period. Each author will also have some of their work available to buy.

First, and obviously most importantly, our author is Maureen Ogle. Maureen is an esteemed historian and the author (among other respected publications) of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer. She will discuss the history of craft beer in America. I had a look at her blog as I was writing this, and I’d recommend checking it out. She’s a fascinating and opinionated person, but she’s always got the facts to back up her position. Good stuff. Her presentation begins at 4:30 PM.

Unfortunately, you’ll have a choice to make at this point. At the same time as Maureen Ogle’s presentation here, our friend Bart will be speaking over at the Library Cafe. Bart Schmidt is the Digital Projects Librarian with the Cowles Library at Drake. He’s going to talk about what a modern librarian does, exactly. He’ll also tell us how libraries continue to be important in the modern world, and how they’ve been affected by the digital age.

At 6, the High Life Lounge will play host to Eric Hall West, author of TRUCK: A Quarter Life Crisis Handled Poorly. After college, and a year overseas, Eric came home and began to settle into real life. One day, he came to the realization that he wasn’t headed where he wanted to go, or at least, wasn’t on the road he wanted to take. He felt that he needed to take a leap of faith in order to live the kind of life he wanted. So, he leapt. He quit his job, and enrolled in truck driving school. TRUCK is the story of his journey across America’s highways, and of the people he met along the way.

Lastly, at 7:30 the Royal Mile plays host to J. Wilson, award wining BJCP Certified beer judge, blogger (at and author of Diary of a Part Time Monk. During Lent of 2011, Wilson, in an attempt to learn the truth behind the legend that claims that the doppelbock style was created to sustain monks during their liquid fasts, subsisted on nothing but water and his own Illuminator Doppelbock (Brewed with our friend Eric Sorenson from Rock Bottom in West Des Moines) for 46 days. I had actually read this one before this event was announced, (he did a signing here when the book was initially released) and I had followed along with his blog while the experiment was going on. It’s fascinating stuff. Certianly, the beer end of things is great, but I found the personal exploration and the testing of his willpower to be the most interesting part.

Is this a little high brow for us? Heck no, we’re classy as all get out. Seriously, though, each of these authors has an interesting story to share, and we wanted you to have the opportunity to hear it. And, you know, why not? It’s free. So come on down and have a listen. We’ll see you then.


About Sean

Sean Courtney (manager/bartender) has been with El Bait Shop for more than four years. He's been a part of the Central Iowa restaurant scene for longer than he cares to admit. He enjoys Pale Ales, Stouts, holding hands, long walks on the beach, growing facial hair, run on sentences, and sarcasm.

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