Edit: This story was awarded 3rd place in the “Best Humor/Editorial” category at the 2015 North American Guild of Beer Writers (NAGBW) awards. This same year my book, Oregon Breweries, also earned bronze in the travel writing category.)
Larger breweries get to experiment with new flavors in IPAs all the time in the form of testing new hop varietals, such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Harvest series, which recently featured wild hops from New Mexico and ones with good potential from Idaho. An experimental recipe designed to get consumers to try the beer once has done its job after one festival-sized sample. I think the mark of a successful recipe is one that gets consumers to crave the beer and quaff it by the glassful, repeatedly. Neither the brewers nor the consumers want to stop having fun.
This isn’t really a Portland Monthly story, but when I was contacted by the same publishing company to write a story about beer weddings, I had to accept if only to say I’ve been published in Portland Bride & Broom. It ended up being a fun story to think about and organize, even though I was given tons of direction on that end. What can I say? I love love. And beer.
CRAFT by UMH (Under My Host. Even I only slightly get the name) is a new digital magazine by a very enthusiastic publisher named Cori Paige. She’s got the kind of enthusiasm that when she reached out to me via the FB to ask if I might muse about beer for her new digimag, I’d have had to have been some kind of putz to say no.
Since I can’t find the link to the first story I did for Craft, which was a fun exercise in pairing songs about beer with a beer each, here’s the most recent one published online. And I somehow got to put my Religious Studies major (A: don’t ask. B: I double majored.) to work. For the “agrarian issue,” I wrote about the link between brewing and the development of human society through the lands, ages, and religions.
Equal parts spotlight on Oregon’s most remote breweries (and no, I don’t just mean distance from Portland) that I found myself slogging to on the open road while working on Oregon Breweries, as well as homage to the running gag about the Broadway show (or was it a Lifetime movie?), The Rural Juror, on 30-Rock, The New School was kind enough to start this series. Here are the ones I’ve profiled so far. I promise more to come. I mean, Burns, Ore?
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.
I’m not re-posting every single story I did for Willy Week’s blog in the Oregon Beer News column, but this one, in hindsight, is something of a gem. It talks about a PDX Beer Week event, “Billed as “Meet the new faces of 10 Barrel Brewing,” Apex hosts Bend’s 10 Barrel and all five of its brewers: Jimmy Seifrit, Tonya Cornett, Shawn Kelso, Bobby Jackson and Ben Shirley.” Then goes on to mention that, “Mellow Mushroom, the pizzeria chain headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, “officially” opened in the Pearl last week, although it has actually been operating for eight months. The Portland franchise has 51 taps—mostly brewed in the PacNW.”
The retroactive irony is that 10 Barrel Brewing would go onto make big “OBN” when it sold to AB-InBev (Bud) and that its once-long-awaited-now-meh impending Portland outcrop is going into the now-vacated Mellow Mushroom!