At first I was inclined to not post this In Memoriam I penned following the loss of craft brewing industry pioneer Jack Joyce. He co-founded one of Oregon’s oldest and largest breweries in Rogue. Then I figured that A) I’m honored to be able to continue to pay respects to him and B) I write about all facets of the brewing world, namely the people who populate it, and death is a fact of life that, as the industry and its pioneers age, will become more of an issue. It’s even possible in the future that beer publications will have to start an obit section seeing how many thousands of people are employed by the industry.
Bonus hyperlink alert: One little-known fact about me is that the first brewer-related story I ever had published was an obituary for Karl Strauss, the legendary Pabst brewmaster and namesake of San Diego’s first microbrewery. It appeared in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
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.