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Dispatches

Spanning 75 years with the Golden Gate Bridge; female mountain guides climb the ranks in Nepal; L.A. drivers debut a symphony for horns; getting a kick out of three-sided soccer in Bilbao

AUSTIN, TEXAS

STOCK PREMISE
A Texas bar leaves beer prices to the forces of supply and demand

It’s Thursday, and all the bars lining Austin’s famed Sixth Street are packed with people dancing and chattering over loud music and myriad bar sounds. All except one, that is: At the opening night of Brew Exchange, barhoppers clad in skirts and suits wait silently, eyes upturned, hands poised to shoot into the air. Then the bell rings, and the room erupts.

At Brew Exchange, Texas’ only stock market-themed bar, the prices on 72 draft beers rise and fall throughout the night according to demand. Watching the 62-foot-long ticker that wraps around the bar, thirsty patrons time their order for when their favorite beer is down by a few bucks. Unpredictable “market crashes” (read: drink specials) and owner-regulated price increases give the market a realistic level of volatility and encourage investors to, well, diversify their portfolios.

“If you like a certain type of IPA and you see the price go up, it’s an incentive to try something else,” says co-owner Nick Adams.

Adams hopes that “something else” means one of the regional beers that make up about a third of the drafts here. Unlike other bars that have incorporated the stock market theme—including Le Footsie in Paris and Exchange in New York—Brew Exchange keeps big-name domestic brews like Budweiser and Miller at fixed prices, and stacks its menu with local beers in an effort to help stimulate the Texas economy.

Of course, there’s the occasional case of buyer’s remorse. When a coffee porter by Real Ale Brewing Co. in nearby Blanco drops by a dollar, one patron curses himself for having already ordered a pricier beer. “Sometimes you win,” he shrugs, “sometimes you lose.” —CHRISTINA COUCH

 

CULTURAL VOCABULARY
A guide to curious words and gestures from around the globe

CHILE
You can signal that someone isn’t so bright by spreading the fingers of your upturned palm.
manita de gato: Literally translated as “cat’s hand,” this Spanish phrase also describes the action of touching up makeup.

KUWAIT
If you’re asked to do a favor, touching the side of your nose means you’re happy to oblige.
ilich: If your tour guide calls you this, maybe you should give him some breathing room—it means you’re being clingy.

JAPAN
To poke fun at excessive flattery, grind your fist into your upturned palm, mortar-and-pestle style.
kyoiku mama: Japanese mothers who push their kids toward academic success earn this nickname.

GREECE
When someone taps his lower lips with his index finger, it means he has something to tell you.
fas petra: If you want to shush a loudmouth, this phrase does the trick. Literally, it means “eat rocks.”

One Response to “Dispatches”

  1. Allyson Johnson Says:
    May 2nd, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    3 sisters adventure trekking led our party of three on the annapurna circuit last fall – When fog closed the airport at our trek’s endpoint we traveled by jeep until where the road was washed out, hiked across the torrent and two hours further to the next town, caught a local bus to the next large twon, where the 3 sisters’ SUV retrieved us and took us back to start. Our guide was never at a loss. Thanks, Bena!

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