San Diego is the Greatest Beer City. San Diego is Not the Greatest Beer City.

I might have been inclined to call pitting San Diego against Portland a fool’s errand, since both of them are clearly so awesome. But my editor Ezra Johnson-Greenough gave me explicit instructions: “don’t pull your punches (and) at least take off your gloves and slap someone with them.” Hence the above-linked blog from March 2014 in The New School.

So as a solid to him, rather than bring up, and then put on par, places like Boulder/Denver/Ft. Collins, the Bay Area, Asheville, Grand Rapids, Philly, Austin, Vermont, and others that all make reasonable claims, I will do what Portlanders are too polite (or dismissive) to do during Charlie Papazian’s annual BeerTown USA poll. Bottom line: in terms of volume and global awe and respect, it comes down to Portland, Oregon, and San Diego, California. And as everyone who’s seen The Highlander knows, there can be only one!

It’s a debate I didn’t start. And one I didn’t finish. It’s blazing ever brighter today. A half pint for your thoughts on the matter in the comments.

Modern Cider

AAB 33.3

AAB 33.3

Modern Cider is the cover story of AAB Vol. 33, Iss. 3, 2012. It’s, as their title puts it, “Not your father’s hard cider” (for the record, don’t call it hard cider to folks in the industry; it’s cider–that “soft” stuff is juice since you don’t call grape juice wine.). Today it gets barrel-aged, Brett-o-mized and sake’d out.

Beer in La La Land

imgresBeer West (nee Beer Northwest) had a short but sweet life as a regional beer magazine for which I contributed just a few stories. One of the first was this cover story on the LA beer scene, warts and all. Somewhere online there’s a fantastically long response it got from an area brewer who wasn’t a fan of the reporting. And somewhere else is my fantastically longer rebuttal.

Beer Traveler: the Road Less Traveled

The Beer Road Less Traveled (Vol. 32, Iss. 2, 2011) wanders down the less trodden paths toward towns that–who knew?–have their own nice beergardens growing, such as Highway 1 along California’s Redwood Coast and Hwy 264 running through North Carolina’s Outer Banks.