Kerouac Pub Crawl Set in Alabama

23 Jan

WP_20131011_020a photo of a bar in Lowell, MA, where there are also Kerouac pub crawls

Anyone up for a Kerouac-inspired road trip to Alabama?!

There’s an On the Road pub crawl in Gadsden, Alabama, on March 12 at 5pm. David Murdock, an English instructor at Gadsden State Community College, will be giving a lecture on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road at the Back Forty Beer Company and then the group will begin a pub crawl.

There will also be a poetry contest for “beat-style” poems “preferably in ‘stream-of-consciousness'” for those who have pre-registered. You can sign up for the event (seating is limited) with Carol York at

I’ll let anyone who wants to duke out what “beat-style” poetry means do so in the comments section. Here’s a hint: it does not mean saying “man” over and over again while you pound a bongo drum. Want another hint? The poets associated with the Beat Generation each had their own style and voice.

It is, apparently, Gadsden‘s longest running literary pub crawl series. Other authors highlighted in the past have included Hunter S. Thompson, John Milton, and Flannery O’Connor.

For more information on the On the Road pub crawl, visit

Oh, and if you’re into beer culture, the story of Back Forty Beer Company is worth checking out. Here’s just a snippet on their name:

Back Forty Beer Company’s name is inspired by an old agricultural term referring to the 40 acres of land situated furthest from the barn. The back 40 acres are historically the most challenging land to maintain and are often overlooked due to their remote location.

Likewise, Alabama is widely seen as the wasteland for craft beer in America. With mass produced light beer being the drink of choice for many Southerners, the craft beer market here has been largely ignored.

However, if you dig a little deeper into the story of the back 40 you will see that because the soil is rarely used, it’s very fertile and is actually capable of producing a tremendous yield.  And just like the farm, the Deep South’s craft beer culture is fertile and primed for harvest.

I visited Alabama once. I saw more Confederate flags and livestock than classic novels and craft beer. Obviously there are probably a lot of different opinions, but I’d be really interested to hear how Kerouac is generally perceived there.


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