Funky Fauna is Central Oregon’s first new brewery in YEARS (well, two)

Many months ago, someone mentioned hearing about a new brewery in the works. I had no details other than it would be opening in Sisters, about a half hour outside of Bend, and that it was from someone who’d briefly worked at Spider City Brewing, which does a good job of brewing beer styles from around the world. Except, from what I’ve seen, Belgian saisons. So imagine my delight, as a devout saison lover who has precious little in the way of locally brewed examples of the style to choose from, that Funky Fauna Artisan Ales would be a saison-centric brewery. Here’s my profile on ’em in Bend Source Weekly.

Welcome Mōr Mochi Donuts

Inspired by his South Korean roots, Tommy Chang wows all with mochi-based doughnuts. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

“Tommy” Chang was born and raised in Santa Barbara, but often visited his family in South Korea, where rice cakes are a traditional staple. Whether here or there, “with each visit and gathering, there would always be rice cakes and mochi for everyone to snack on,” explained Chang. “And during the holidays, my mom would typically make mochi squares laced with seasonal fruits and nuts.” Inspired by those experiences, Chang threw himself headlong into making his own mochi treats for the greater Santa Barbara community. His Mōr Donuts weren’t the first mochi doughnuts I’d had, but in short order they grew to be the best, though the name has since been changed to Kin Bakeshop.

Brewmaster Chuck Silva Returns to the Central Coast

Even in this era with thousands of breweries, hundreds of which have made a name for themselves based on brewing destination-worthy beer, surprisingly few brewmasters have the type of name recognition that Chuck Silva has earned. That’s due, in large part, to being a veteran of nearly a dozen years at San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing, where he garnered nearly a dozen GABF medals. This is the story of how he came home to Paso Robles where he and his wife Mary Jo to create Silva Brewing.

SB’s oldest brewery becomes its newest

Photo: Paul Wellman, SB Independent

In 1995 when Santa Barbara Brewing Company opened, the country was home to about 800 breweries. By January 2019, there were some 900 craft breweries in California alone (it hit 1,000 long before year’s end). Over the years, that made Brew Co., as it came to be widely known, a little less special — so much so that Brew Co. is now dead. But long live The Cruisery, which is taking over the iconic space.

Fritz Maytag, the godfather of craft

Before I’d ever interviewed a single brewer in person, I managed to schedule nearly a full day’s interview with the iconic Fritz Maytag. The man isn’t just responsible for the survival and success of Anchor Brewing, but, it can be argued (by me and many others), that he spurred the entire craft beer industry. Not a bad legacy. And a decade after my first interview with him, he kindly got on the horn to give me another for Draft Magazine to reflect on that legacy.


Unsung Brewers

Beer magazines are really good at making sure that they cover more than just beer; they shine a spotlight on the men and women who actually make it. Y’know, the hands in the whole “hand-crafted” thing. I got to do a li’l spotlighting of my own on Allagash’s Jason Perkins (who makes some of my favorite sour cherry beers) in Portland, ME, Duck Rabbit’s Paul Philippon (who keeps the light shining on dark beers) in Farmville, NC, & Carton’s Pete Dickson (who, sorry, prefers to be out of the spotlight) in Atlantic Highlands


Over a Pint with Drew Phillips of McMenamins Crystal

IMG_1088As a beer writer who really writes about people, the idea for this Over a Pint series (for me and all beer bloggers who’d like to join in on last Mondays) is to go out for some beers with a brewer and have a conversation beyond the parameters of what’s going on in the world of beer. Sort of in the vein of The Session but with just two instructions.

  1. Head out with someone who brews for a living and talk to them over a pint (or more) without recording it or taking any notes. Just chat. About stuff.
  2. Don’t do it at the brewery’s pub or tasting room.

Let’s begin.

Name: Lloyd “Drew” Phillips

Brewery: McMenamins Crystal Brewery

Professional brewing experience: None prior to McMenamins

I spied the following tweet from @TheMetalBrewer:

I knew I’d found my next subject for “Over a Pint.” It’s not for me to say the Tugboat is “the coolest” brewery in town, it is PDX’s most mysterious, misunderstood, and maligned. Perhaps you’ve never been. It’s directly across the alley from somewhere all local beer geeks go, Bailey’s Taproom, home of, as the Tug’s owner Megan McEnroe-Nelson calls their clientele, “the beer sniffers” for the way they fuss over chalices. The Tugboat isn’t necessarily a beer Mecca but it does offer the warmest, most inviting atmosphere, which is why @TheMetalBrewer suggests patrons prostrate themselves. (No, not examine their own inner sphincters but essentially genuflect at their Altar of Ambiance.)

It’d be more fitting to call this month’s feature “Over a Half Pint,” at least on my behalf. That’s because the Tug’s best beer is Chernobyl Double Imperial Stout, a 13.5% beast that belies its ABV, that the beertenders are instructed to only sling by the half pint. Over the course of the night, I enjoyed four such halves. The Metal Brewer is Lloyd “Drew” Phillips, a member of McMenamins’ stable of brewers since 2012 who, in company fashion, worked his way up from non-brewing gigs at pubs such as Kennedy School and East Vancouver. He does love metal. But, a perk of brewing at the Crystal is that he gets to attend any of their shows like the recent triumphant return of Sleater Kinney. For his part, Drew drank exclusively Black Sheep Ale, a British import pale ale.

It’s a fitting brand for him. But from what I’ve gathered about Drew, he hasn’t been branded a black sheep but relishes standing out from the herd. As a brief set-up, I arrived at the Tug before he did and, in true Tug fashion, struck up a conversation with a guy named Troy who I sat next to. (OK, it’s “whom,” but I hate that word.) Troy, a homebrewer, was in town on business from Nashville. Drew lived in Nashville and spent a decade in Tennessee though he’s originally from Charlotte, NC. Anywhom, Drew and Troy then engage in a conversation, mostly about brewing for McMenamins, and he uttered this great quote that I’ve possibly mixed up by a word or two. “I’m in Italy, but I’m like the Vatican.” It was a dictum on his and all McMenamin brewers’ autonomy to brew whatever they like save for those famous beers such as Ruby and Hammerhead. But is that so different than any other brewer with big-selling brands that are equally treated as sacred cows?

Drew is one of the company’s most creative brewers. He wrote the recipe for Lord of Misrule, the rum-aged Mexican Mocha Imperial Stout that had many local beer tastemakers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) scratching their heads that easily one of the best beers at last year’s Holiday Ale Fest came from McMenamins. I also recall that he co-created the “Cerberus” program—a series of wild ales now being made at Edgefield—that underscores the unique barrels McMenamins’ brewers have access to since they also operate two distilleries. Incidentally, Cerberus was the name of the family dog in my 7th grade Latin book–yes, I studied Latin in junior high–that perished with the family at the end when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. Only later would I learn how great the name was, akin to the claymation pooch in that innocuously Christian kids show Davey & Goliath, since Cerberus is the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades in the underworld in Greek mythology. I vowed to one day name a dog Cerby (“Kirby”), which I did, but it turned out that the rescued pitbull was, sadly, too aggressive and I had to give him back. That’s what I get for naming him after a hell-beast I guess.

As if to hammerhead the final nail in the coffin, Drew is scheming a new beer event that I’m confident will become one of the best in Beervana, or at least one of the most talked about, or at the very least one that will be deserving of those banners. We talked about it quite a bit at the bar, but we talked about a great many other things like music and Tugboat itself and how he just figured the “McEnroe Smoked Pale” that was one of only three house beers on tap was named for the tennis great who was both pale and renowned for his ranting that’d lead to figurative smoke coming out of his ears when really it’s named for Megan’s family although, I did find out that her father’s name is actually John McEnroe. As a side note, one of my favorite beertenders in town, the Tug’s very own Linsel Greene (whose father, David, earned the Emmy award that now adorns the pub’s mantel) wasn’t on duty but Megan’s…sibling…or in-law is the barback and the beertender of the night just so happened to have worked at the Crystal Ballroom. Like all Tug staff, she’s pretty cool and kindly poured me a sample of the smoked pale ale which I didn’t order for obvious reasons but I did start off with a pint of the IPA just to try something different. So, that, coupled with those Chernobyls, is why I didn’t recall details of Drew’s festival-in-the-works and now rely on some cheat notes he emailed me at my request.

The event, Sabertooth (#SabertoothPDX) is actually the 2nd annual and will “pay homage to Crystal Ball era,” said Drew, and keep in mind it’s where the Grateful Dead played even before the McMenamin brothers—who were and are huge Deadheads—bought it. If you didn’t hear about it last year, that’s because tickets are super limited, maybe as many as 300 this year. He continued, “The point of ‘psychedelia’ was then and is now to expand the mind, often pushing yourself into uncomfortable places to do so…We’re trying to create an interactive atmosphere that speaks to all the senses and hopefully expands some minds.” Beer-wise, attendees can expect anything but normal. No flagships. No IPAs or even accepted beer styles. “The more the beer violates or confounds BJCP standards, the better.” But it’s as much about the experience as it is the beer. “Small groups will be led through the 1st Temple of Blasphemous Sacc-rifices (working title) and will be further ‘initiated’ with some sort of fermentation-based activity at each sample station.”

For as “weird” as we pretend we keep this place, there’s a lot of homogeneity. Through Drew’s brews and more, he’s doing his part to alter that.

Over a Pint with Bolt Minister of 54-40 Brewing

As a beer writer who really writes about people, the idea for this Over a Pint series (for me and all beer bloggers who’d like to join in on last Mondays) is to go out for some beers with a brewer and have a conversation beyond the parameters of what’s going on in the world of beer. Sort of in the vein of The Session but with just two instructions.

  1. Head out with someone who brews for a living and talk to them over a pint (or more) without recording it or taking any notes. Just chat. About stuff.
  2. Don’t do it at the brewery’s pub or tasting room.

Let’s begin.

Name: Bolt Minister

Brewery: 54-40 Brewing coming soon to Washougal, WA

Professional brewing experience: Philadelphia’s, Pyramid, Astoria Brewing, Rock Bottom-Portland, Walking Man, Old Town.

Follow Bolt at @vivalagoldens. He just like Golden Retrievers.

Follow Bolt at @vivalagoldens. He just like Golden Retrievers.

In deciding where to go with Bolt, he expressed an interest in several new-ish places because he wanted to get a feel for how Portland-proper watering holes do what they do considering he needed pointers on how to design his own forthcoming tasting room. The Clark County, Washington native is finally going, or rather, staying home. The last nine years have taken Bolton on a brewer’s odyssey, beginning at Philadelphia’s. Not in Philly, but the neglected Philadelphia’s Cheesesteaks brewpub in Sellwood (that just expanded and rebranded as 13 Virtues). Oh wait, did I just sneak in Bolt’s full name? Yep, he’s descended from a line of Bolton Ministers.

Moving on, he later brewed at three other Portland breweries not to mention Astoria Brewing, a.k.a. the Wet Dog Saloon, which is naturally in Astoria. The dude commuted to that beautiful northwest corner of the state every day (sometimes only six days a week). Around two hours each way. He kindly invited me to do a pro-am beer with him for the WW Pro/Am Beer Fest called IPYae. (It was, naturally, an IPA, named for my son Izzy, and featured a double hop addition of Zeus in the middle and an OG of 1.0612 since his b-day is Jan. 6, 2012).

That was the day I first gleaned he was conspiring to bring it all home. It didn’t hurt that he’d first bring hom some serious hardware in the form of two GABF medals (fresh hop gold for his pale ale in ’13 and then silver for his Kolsch in ’14 plus a pair of World Beer Cup medals that year including the Kolsch again.) But now he is striking out on his own to open 54°40′ Brewing in Washougal, Wash. His wife Amy, and son Fletcher—quite the little pistol—will be happy to have Daddy the journeyman return home.

And I’m sorry to say, but the Vancouver area needs him. I haven’t had every beer from Washington’s slice of Portland Metro, but I’m confident his brewery will raise the bar. Which brings me to the bar we went out for beers at. We hit Oregon Public House to see how a serious public house can also be kid-friendly without feeling like a slice of Chuck E. Cheese.

In Bolt’s honor, I drank all Washington all night. I started with the Loowit Exbeerestrial ESB (a solid British bitter), then moved on to Everybody’s Sprinkle American Sour (a quite respectable, lactic, hibiscus-accented ale), and finished with a dry cider from Tieton Cider Works. Great, I’ve forgotten what Bolt had, but I know the ESB was in there. As evidenced by his dual wins for his Kolsch, he’s super into easy-drinking beers, adhering to the motto, “Brew what you like and like what you brew.”

His approach to brewing is both visceral and cerebral. He said once he fires up his brand new brew kettles, patrons generally won’t find beers over 5.5% ABV. And no, that’s not his ISA; that’s gonna be his IPA. He talked about stuff even the beer nerds will geek out over. Y’know, like a Dortmunder. I’m not entirely sure he and I know the same beer nerds.

Having said that, he has a wild hair to create some flashy stuff for festivals and the like. And this is where I’m sure he’ll consistently draw Portlanders to venture north of the river. But out of self-interest, I’m going to start with a story from the first time I met up with Bolt at Old Town Brewing. A host or someone mentioned to me that Bolt was organizing a tribute fest to Tom Jones since the legendary singer had just died. SAY WHAT!?! If Tom Jones had died, I’d have heard about it. But the guy was adamant: Tom Jones died and Old Town was putting on a beer fest as a sort of wake.

Old Town Brewing poster

Old Town Brewing poster

As country music fans and anyone who watches The Voice UK knows, it was the Possum, George Jones who passed on and the Voice himself, Sir Tom Jones, remains very much awesome and kicking. The George Jones Tribute Beer Fest itself was a kick, presented as sort of a wake to one of Bolt’s favorite musicians. Bolt loves country. Real country; not this pap they do in Nashville and Hollywood today. He also digs on the ToJo. We are going to organize a Tom Jones Living Tribute Beer Fest sooner than later. I’ve seen TJ roughly a dozen times in concert. Bolt has seen him once, but has an infinitely better story than any of mine.

Vegas. Circa turn of the 21st century. Bolt and his then-ladyfriend are in line to see him at the MGM Grand where he does these two-week-long runs. A frequent opener is the comedian Max Alexander, who Bolt recognizes on his way into the theater. Max is so pleased, he arranges front row seats. Next to Craig Ferguson. After the show, alongside Max, he and his gal got to meet Sir ToJo who went to shake Bolt’s hand (so I’ve now shaken the hand of the hand that shook Tom Jones’s hand), but TJ shook it off quickly to give Bolt’s more attractive companion a smooch. No. By my earlier transitive properties I saw no reason to try and give Bolt a peck. That evening, some 15 or so years ago, turned into a great night of hanging out with Tom, his band, and an unsated desire Tom expressed to hear some live jazz.

We have another fest idea we’ll pull together even sooner. Given our love of the Dukes of Hazzard (and Bolt is a fan of Waylon Jennings, the country singer who performs the theme song), 54°40′ will host the inaugural Duke the Halls, a holidays in Hazzard County themed beer fest! Although Roscoe’s would be a good venue for obvious reasons. Bolt has other ideas, I’ll just say this for now—Nick Cage themed beers—but we are family men and our night at the Oregon Public House had to come to a close so we could help get our sons ready early the next morning. When 54°40′ Brewing with his new partner, Charlie Hutchins, who was also his brewing partner back at Rock Bottom, opens, luckily he’ll still be able to spend more time with his family since he finally won’t have far to commute.

Coin Toss Brewing: “Beer Geek” Talker Turns Brewer

unnamed-3Coin Toss Brewing Co. is a new brewery from homebrewer Tim Hohl, KPAM Radio’s news director, coming to the Portland suburb of Oregon City, with great assistance from veteran brewer Dave Fleming. That sentence is my attempt at SEO optimization. HT: Ezra Johson-Greenough of The New School.

We all know the proverb, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” but for KPAM radio news director Tim Hohl, host of the Thursday-ly “Beer Geek” segment, it’s never been about beating brewers but championing them. Since 2011, Hohl has interviewed plenty of brewers along with publicans, hop growers and, back in January, yours truly.

“The more time I’ve spent telling stories about the craft beer industry, the more I’ve wanted to be a part of it,” said Hohl. “The people, the creativity, and the collaborative spirit are an inspiration. Plus I love history and the idea of merging it with my love of craft beer.”

Hohl was kind enough to interview me for his show and I’m delighted to get to return the favor now that he has announced his new brewery venture, Coin Toss Brewing. Technically, the brewery’s grand opening is this summer, but I coin-cidentally sampled his first brew, George’s Honest Ale, at Growlers Hawthorne a couple weeks back.

The clever name is homage to pioneers Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove (y’know, the guys for whom those NW streets four blocks apart in Alphabet City are named after) who, instead of rochambeauing for the right to name our fair city after their own places of origin, decided to go best-out-of-three on a simple coin toss. Lovejoy, from Boston, lost. Pettygrove, from Maine, won. The infamous toss off, incidentally, occurred not in Portland proper but in Oregon City, which is where Coin Toss Brewing will open as a 10-barrel brewery in a 1,400 square foot space at 14210 Fir St, Suite H.

As for George’s Honest Ale, it’s part of Coin Toss’s “Heritage Series.” To learn more about it, I joined Tim and his “beer swami” (Hohl’s quote), Dave Fleming, one of Oregon’s most prolific brewers (whose c.v. includes the Lucky Lab, Lompoc, McMenamins Old St. Francis School (Bend), Three Creeks (Sisters), Coalition, Kells, and probably several more. I found them at Belmont Station enjoying some shift beers, having spent the day gypsy brewing at Coalition.

unnamed-2Brian: On your program, you asked me to prognosticate if brewers may return to “more traditional flavors.” I see you were asking out of self-interest!! What is the Heritage Series and what does returning to traditional flavors mean to you?

Tim: Simple has a lot to do with it. I’ve been a big believer in Simple since this project started. I want to take us back to where we started, see what others have done that was successful—even if that’s 200 years ago—and recreate it.”

Dave: ‘Where we started’ also means ‘We as craft brewers.’ (That’s) 1992 to me. Beer was simple and IPA wasn’t even a thing then. We made it at the Lab in ‘94/95. Didn’t have to put the UK designation on it. [Ed.’s note: here Fleming means that any truly-balanced, moderately-bitter IPA today gets ridiculed as a “UK-style IPA.”] That’s simple, too, but that’s just 20 years ago. Beer was much simpler. It wasn’t Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Hefeweisse.”

Tim: With our interpretation of the George Washington beer, you look at the ingredients, it’s so simple: molasses, one grain and yeast…(and) we showed the hops the beer basically. Our interpretation is based on his journal entry that leaves room for interpretation. He used ingredients available to them: 6-row barley indigenous to the colonies at that time. Cluster hops. And yeast.

Brian: If we’re talking simple, that was pre Louis Pasteur. Early 1800s versus late 1800s. (The implication being: Washington didn’t pitch yeast.)

Tim: It’s just about inspiration. I’m sure the beer that Henry Weinhard first brewed when he moved to Oregon was awful by today’s standards. So imagining what was beer like then. No specific goal in mind, just a love of history and beer.

Brian: A Rockwellian approach to brewing.

Dave: Exactly. And there were no light beers then. Pale malt wasn’t available at the time. All beers were dark.

Brian: Good segue. Earlier you guys were brewing your planned flagship, Black Hole CDA. A decidedly modern/non-historic beer. How’d that come about?

Tim: I like hops. I like dark beer.

That simple. Here, Tim and Dave went back’n’forth trying to recall the specifics of how Black Hole came about, but the gist is that Tim first homebrewed it circa 2011 and late that year, after having Dave on his Beer Geek show.

Tim: I forced my homebrew on him. He was nice enough to try it.

Dave: It was good.

That led to an invitation to brew it as a pro-am collab at Lompoc early 2012. They take it as a given that the beer’s really named Black Hohl, but they’re hoping Soundgarden sues them for copyright infringement that’d make them famous. No. I just made that up.

Tim: I made it. Dave just over-hopped it.

Here Dave worked in an anecdote about making the first true Cascadian Dark Ale in 2006, inadvertently. He was supposed to be making an IPA at Three Creeks and simply blindly dumped a bag of grain in he thought was placed by the mash tun for him. That “mistake,” his words, turned into Three Creeks’ 8 Seconds India Black Ale.

Tim: That’s how it went from just being a hobby and interest and part of the radio show to thinking, ‘I’d really like to do this.’ Maybe it was a fantasy before then. But it’s more than just making the beer. It’s being part of the craft beer community. I love it and respect it so much. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experience in my competitive day job career. Cutthroat. In beer, it’s collaborative. It’s like Don Younger said, a rising tide raises all ships.

Brian: And you’ll continue to do the radio show?

Tim: “Beer Geek” has been on the air since 2011. I’ve been covering the beer industry for much longer than that but finally had my own weekly segment. As a reporter…it won’t change. There are still countless stories to tell. I like a good story.

And then I had to dart out of Belmont Station and pick up my kid. Tim’s a good guy and speaking of good stories, when we’d talked about the brick’n’mortar tasting room, he explained that he lives in West Linn but, perhaps channeling Sarah Palin, “I can see Oregon City from my house.” Coin Toss’s official launch will coincide with the Spring Beer & Wife Festival over Easter. Hohl expects to have the Coin Toss brewery and taproom open by July. By then, it might be home to five new breweries. Feckin’ and Oregon City Brewing are already open. Bent Shovel and Shattered Oak are also in the works. That got him fantasizing about a Clackamas County Brewers Fest including Fearless, Mt. Hood, Bunsenbrewer, and the forthcoming Drinking Horse. “It’s not Bend overnight,” Tim said, “but it could be a new craft beer destination.”

Over a Pint: Ian McGuinness of Natian Brewery

I interview brewers all the time and frequently socialize with them, too, but typically at some type of beerfest or event. Of my own work, I’ve frequently said I’m a beer writer who really writes about people. So here’s the idea, the goal, and not only am I going to keep this going, but I’m putting it out there that everyone with some type of beer blog should participate.

“Over a pint.” Sort of in the vein of The Session kicked off by Stan Hiernymous exactly 8 years ago in 2007 and still going strong. The Session entails a different blogger each month conceiving a disparate topic related to beer wherein everyone aims for that target and then said blogger hosts the discussion on his or her web-log. Since The Session claims First Friday of the month, how’s about Last Monday for Over a Pint?! I’ll link to everyone’s “OaP” left in the comments or tagged on Twitter. I’m envisioning just two instructions.

  1. Head out with someone who brews for a living and talk to them over a pint (or more) without recording it or taking any notes. Just chat. About stuff.
  2. Don’t do it at the brewery’s pub or tasting room.

This is what I did the other night. Here goes. Oh, and maybe each installment of Over a Pint can start with the most basic of templates like this:

I neglected to pull out my iPhone and take a pic so here's Ian's Facebook profile

I neglected to pull out my iPhone and take a pic so here’s Ian’s Facebook profile

Name: Ian McGuinness

Brewery: Natian

Professional brewing experience: Since 2009 (I’d list every brewery Ian has brewed at but it

At some point a few years ago, Ian and his then girlfriend Natalia suggested getting together for a beer at one of his favorite watering holes, Laurelthirst on NE Glisan. It’s not hip but it’s not a dive. It’s primarily a live music venue with two bands nightly and there’s tchotchkes everywhere like an old toboggan, a rocking chair, and I think a mandolin on the wall above the bar. I’d say there’s about 20 taps if that.

Over the years, whenever I’d talk to Ian, the idea of going there would come up but it just never happened. So we made it happen. At this point, Natalia’s long out of the picture but I don’t feel badly bringing her up. She’s the first half of the brewery’s namesake. Oh yes. It was Nat and Ian’s one barrel nanobrewery. Nat + Ian. Natian (pronounced “Nation”). He’s now working on a 10-barrel system and the guy who I gather is Natian’s sole but lofty employee, Dave, also joined us. When I got there they’d grabbed a table because it fills up by 6 for the music and they were drinking pints of stout. He pleaded that I go get a pitcher of the stout and, not that I’m getting paid for this so no need for any “full disclosure” but he said to put it on his tab. I did. And I simply ordered “a pint of the stout” from the bartender. She came back with a pitcher of Pelican Tsunami Stout.

Neither Ian nor Dave noticed. Noticed what? That it was Pelican’s 7% export-style stout (winner of seven GABF medals since 1998) and not Natian McGuinness Imperial Milk Stout at over 9% ABV. Then again, the folks at Diageo haven’t noticed the McGuinness Stout either.

As the band kicked in, we naturally had to shout to try to hear each other. Being a regular, he pointed to a tall, lanky, middle-aged guy with a button down shirt tucked into his slacks and warned us that he’d soon start dancing like Elaine from that famous Seinfeld episode. He was dead right. The whole night.

I know Ian is from Pennsylvania and has lived in Austin, Texas—a state he’d previously sworn never to live in but really Austin’s Texas’s anti-matter—so I’m not really sure how the subject of Florida came up, but I know he lived there, too. It’s one of three states I’ve never visited and am afraid to ever go. The weirdest stuff happens there. But he was saying how his bosses at the company he worked for all really liked it (since their offices overlooked the beach). That company, I thought I heard him say, was Slim Jim. Loud music. Turned out to be Slim Fast, which is almost as bizarre, but for a good minute I had visions of Ian shoveling Godknowswhat animal parts and some cayenne pepper into a grinder.

Another topic of conversation was the breaking news of Portland’s latest next brewery, One Nation Brewing. They’re building out on SE Division, a direct 1.5 mile walk down from Natian Brewery. It’s fair to say Ian’s a bit perturbed especially since he contacted them and they confirmed they were aware of Natian. I highly doubt anyone would try to open a brewery by adding a number and changing one vowel to an ‘O.” One Widmor anyone? Funnily enough, there was a recent news story about a brewery set to open in Missoula, Montana called One Nation (but they’ve since opened as Imagine Nation.) Given the other –ation/-ition breweries in Portland—Migration, Coalition, and now Culmination, you’d think One Nation could’ve made a smarter naming decision. If they’re into the whole “Under God” thing from the Pledge of Allegiance,” might I suggest IntOneNation (like how we use our voice). Time will tell how this pans out, but I loved the idea that Dave chimed in with: calling Natian’s next beer “One Notion” since in some universe changing an ‘A’ to an ‘O’ or vice versa is sufficient differentiation.

It didn’t dominate the night’s conversation quite the way Mr. Dancing Pants did. Which got me thinking how it’s too bad Ian hadn’t been dating someone named Elaine (who preferably doesn’t dance like that iconic character). He could’ve called his brewery Elatian. Everyone wants to be elated as they drink beer. Then again, his new lady friend joined us by the time our second pitcher, this time a proper McGuinness Stout, and her name is Mary. If One Nation sues Ian after operating successfully for five years and wins, maybe he can check to see how John Harris over at the galactic-themed Ecliptic would feel if he changed the name to Martian.