Atlas Obscura is an interesting book compiled more than written. Its subtitle best describes its contents and purpose: "An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders". I first discovered the book after reading Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer, one of it the AO authors. While the book is confined to its publication date and contributors it still highlights over 700 obscure places, while the Atlas Obscura website is free to continue to expand in all of these dimensions.
What is Atlas Obscura?
Atlas — think globe, places, and travel.
Obscura — while many sources have their definition of obscure, for you our purposes here, the best that I could find came from the Oxford Living Dictionary — “not discovered or known about or not clearly expressed or easily understood.” In more common terminology, cool places with an interesting twist that you've probably not heard about.
As you can imagine, choose a topic and there will be odd and interesting places, events and stories to be told. Outliers, obscure. Here are a few from the Atlas Obscura website for one of our favorite topics — beer.
Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
What began as an April Fools' Day prank ended in a testicle-spiked beer.
Comment: Let this sink in for a moment and then think about drinking this. I once had the chance to try rocky mountain oysters while on a trip to Wyoming. I passed — but was told they were tasty — so I'm certainly will not to be seeking out this beer. Don't worry, it’s me, not you. Read the piece
Remembering When London’s Pubs Were Full at 7 a.m.
Drinking eight pints of beer a day was once routine. Read the piece
Comment: If you’re gonna drink all day you gotta start early.
Why All Beer Once Tasted Like Smoke
Those were the days. Read the piece
Comment: It’s an acquired taste and I’ll take mine with just a hint of oak smoke, please.
The Horse You Came In On Saloon
A 200-year-old bar with a cheeky name claims to have served Edgar Allan Poe his final drink. Read the piece
Comment: If in Baltimore and have time for a pint, the Horse is a great place to be. You have to make you way to the back yard. You will understand why Poe choose this place.
Vote Against Prohibition Sign
A faded sign from the 1920s remembers Baltimore's resistance toward banning alcohol. Read the piece
Comment: Prohibition enforcement was left to the states and Maryland simply wasn’t that interested.
Brooklyn Brewery Barrel Room
2,000 barrels of aging beer hidden in a warehouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Read the piece
Comment: Hey buddy, can you spare a barrel?
The Weird and Very Long History of State Liquor Laws
It’s about control. Congressional debate on alcohol always made one thing clear: as long as it was legal, it would be left up to state control. Read the piece
Comment: Control, isn’t it always?
Other Beer Obscura
Here are a few other Atlas Obscura beer related writings you may find interesting. Of course, if you get started reading these stories, you may find yourself down the rabbit’s hole only to emerge hours later.
A 5,000-Year-Old Beer Recipe from China Has Just Been Unveiled
The “Indiana Jones” of beer says it’s legit. Read the piece
Undone by Prohibition, this abandoned brewery-turned-flour mill is now ready for its third act.
Read the piece
Starkenberger Beer Pools
Where beer lovers can literally immerse themselves in beer. Read the piece
Drink Up at the Home-Museum Displaying Over 10,000 Beer Steins
“The more I learned, the more I got hooked,” Adams confesses. Soon, his collection had grown into the hundreds and filled multiple rooms. Read the piece
A historic German ale gets a neon makeover. Read the piece