Draft: Craft Lightens Up

Funny where inspiration will hit. For me, it was at a G. Love concert at a music venue that serves beer from such dirty tap lines I’d vowed never to drink there again. Until I made a valuable discovery. Actually, it was a $2 discovery.

For an industry defined by its antithesis to cheap, macro light lagers, does its growth hinge on emulating that model?

Shakes’Beer (How did Ashland not think of this first?)

ShakesSBeer Poster (1)
All the world’s a beerfest, and all the men and women merely hustlers.

Well, not all the men and women, just primarily four. Zachary Rosen is a Certified Ciccerone—the beer industry equivalent of a Sommelier—and on September 18 he’s going to pair Santa Barbara area beers with the Bard of Avon. David Holmes is a theatrical director. Cecily Stewart is a professional ballet teacher. And Matt Turner is the co-founder of the Santa Barbara Hustlers for Peace and Prosperity, an approved project of the Share The Wealth Foundation that provides volunteering opportunities for those interested in becoming more engaged with their local community.
Shakes’Beer, a one-night event hosted at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, seems more befitting of Ashland, home of nearly-yearlong Oregon Shakespeare Festival as well as breweries Caldera, Standing Stone, and Swing Tree.

The fundraiser is billed as “Shakespeare in the Park meets a beer festival pairing beers with different Shakespearean characters and themes.” With Holmes directing scenes and monologues and Stewart directing “interpretive ballet and an Elizabethan dance session,” Rosen directs the theatre-in-the-round of beers. He styles himself as a specialist in abstract beer pairing events, often combining beer with music and art. He got eight local breweries to design ten unique beers for the event, each one reflecting a different character. For example, Romeo will be liquidly portrayed by brewLAB’s Red Purl Saison (brewed with Perle hops, wormwood, orange peel, and licorice root) opposite Ricon Brewery’s Juliet played by a comely Belgian IPA adorned with hibiscus, vanilla, and orange peel. A beer like Telegraph Brewing’s ode to (Gingered) Julia from Two Gentlemen of Verona and (Bonny) Kate from Taming of the Shrew would certainly break a leg seeing as it’s a Witbier with fresh ginger, pineapple, and Scotch Bonnet peppers.

Even if there are other “Shakesbeer” events such as the Shakesbeer Fest in Stratford upon Connecticut benefitting the American Shakespeare Theatre and another held at The Discovery Center of Murfeesboro, TN, if the SB Hustlers really want to make the world a better place through altruism, they can volunteer to bring their Shakes’Beer at least 650 miles north up to Oregon. I nominate StormBreaker to brew a Trinculo from The Tempest and Baerlic to make Iambic Lambic.

Willamette Week “Drank” reviews

Wherein I review the following new releases on shelves or on tap:

Flat Tail: Cider Wit (Jan. ’12)

Philadelphia’s: Barrel-aged Betsy Ross Golden Ale (Feb. ’12)

Everybody’s Brewing: Little Sister ISA (Mar. ’12)

Lompoc: Batch 69 Baltic Porter (Apr. ’12)

Fort George: Roses on Roses (May ’12)

Hopworks Urban Brewery: Abbey Ale (June ’12)

Double Mountain: Devil’s Kriek (July ’12)

Base Camp: In Tents IPL (Nov. ’12)

Salmon Creek: Märzen (Dec. ’12)

Caldera: Mogli Bourbon-oaked Imp. Chocolate Porter (Jan. ’13)

Agrarian: Espelette chili beer (Apr. ’13)

Flat Tail: Lemon Diesel (Aug. ’13)

Lucky Labrador: Black Sheep bourbon-aged CDA (Sep. ’13)

Finally, well, most recently, this review of Rogue’s Brutal IPA…per the editor’s request to review it particularly as it tastes having traveled to Amsterdam. (Jan. ’14)

Caldera Big Island Red Sea

The Big Island Brewhaus, tucked into previously-existing Tako Taco Taqueria, has a lineup of beers that’s amazing, and I was surprised to discover a beer called Red Sea — brewed in collaboration with none other than Caldera Brewing from Ashland in Southern Oregon.

On top of a delectable imperial red ale — think hoppy IPA but with red-hued caramel malts for added body — chocolate, molasses, pink peppercorns and Himalayan pink salt were added for richness and spice. The end flavor is not unlike a sweet-and-savory molé