Stories of American Breweries and People
When Abram Goldman-Armstrong founded his cidery, Cider Riot!, he thought he’d be attending to fermentations and crop reports. After an attack on patrons at his pubs by right-wing extremists, he’s had to think about bear spray and gas masks.
There is a place you can go see monks making and serving beer in the shadow of their hilltop abbey, all while gazing at hop fields from a sun-washed tasting room. And it’s right here in Oregon.
At first glance, Michael Kora’s vision to make his brewery the mainstay of an outer eastside neighborhood doesn’t seem very ambitious. A second look tells a different story.
The small town of Bend, Oregon produces about a third of all the beer made in the state and has a remarkable two dozen breweries. But there’s more to assessing a town’s heft than counting mash tuns. Bend is one of the few places that has developed a unique culture and is a fascinating case study.
One of the newer breweries in Portland features accomplished, balanced, and delicious barrel-aged saisons and fruited ales. But while the brewery may be new, co-founder Chuck Porter is an old hand with these beers, and it shows.
McSorley’s Old Ale House has aged so little in its 165 years that it functions as a time machine for New Yorkers. And those who stop in for a visit.
When breweries take up cider, they often make a hash of the new craft, treating it as a feat of engineering in order to produce something sweet and fizzy. One brewery in Hood River is taking cider seriously, And the early results are most promising.
Earlier this year, Higgins Restaurant turned 25. Owner Greg Higgins is widely credited with ushering in Oregon’s farm-to-table movement and turning Portland into an A-list destination. But Higgins gets less credit for his other transformation: establishing beer’s credibility as a gastronomic equal to wine on the city’s finest tables.
Maine Beer Company’s most exotic beer style is a coffee stout, and it is not regularly considered among the fraternity of white-hot New England breweries. It has nevertheless quietly built a reputation for making some of the best beer in the region.
Bill Coors was an important and unusually successful corporate titan; he was also a plutocrat who sought absolute control over his workers and whose toxic racial politics sparked decades-long boycotts.
When it was founded back in 1997, Ommegang was one of the most unusual breweries in America. In some ways, it is today even more unusual. In a hop-crazy country, Ommegang favors yeast character; in a time when hyper-local is hot, the brewery looks to Belgium. Let us consider its unusual ways.
In the final installment on my report about Guinness’s new $80 million Baltimore brewery, I look at the brewers and their approach in creating “American Guinness”—and how reproducing the way beer used to be made at St. James Gate might point one path to the future.
Five years ago, Bellingham, Washington was a decided laggard among impressive beer cities. Ten new breweries have opened since then, and several are quite impressive. If you find yourself in town, here are three you can’t miss.
Kona Beer is a brand in a larger company's portfolio, and is brewed in large quantities at the Widmer Brewery. The beer consumed on the island is brewed there, at the original 25-barrel brewpub in Kona, though, and it turns out that brewing beer in a state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 2,500 miles from the nearest hop field, is a fascinating challenge.
Tom Cook has ended the franchise he had with Fat Head's Brewery so that his brewpub in the Pearl can be reborn as Von Ebert. But it's not just a simple reboot; Cook has very aggressive plans to make it an "all-around, world-class brewery." Can such a thing be engineered?
Late last year, Pabst Brewing, which owns the Ballantine brand, decided to do another recreation--this time of what we might call the original whale, Ballantine Burton Ale. It follows the brewery's recreation of Ballantine IPA and, like that beer, is a careful evocation of one of America's legendary beers.
A report on day two and breweries 5-8 in our lightning tour of Seattle breweries. Reuben's was the day's focal point, but we also popped into Old Stove and an Elysian outpost. My report, plus a comment on where Seattle stands now.
on November 11th, volunteers and monks of Mt Angel Abbey helped erect a timber frame building that will house the new monastic brewery. Monks have overseen this project, led the development of the beers, and will be the ones brewing the beer when the brewhouse goes online in early 2018.
"Gluten-free" brewing is a niche in the brewing world that our modern minds place into a special, denigrated category: beer with some essential part of the beer removed. But this really is a modern view. By sixteenth-century standards, these ingredients would have been entirely normal.
Local, artisanal ciders are doing very well. There's not a clear definition of "craft cider," but by one measure these cideries were up 40% last year. In key regions like the Pacific Northwest, Upper Midwest, and New England, they have taken root and seem to have emerged as a permanent player.
Last week, I carved out time to visit the old city brewery down on the harborside where, as founder Dan Kenary joked, "Whitey Bulger used to dump bodies." And by city brewery I mean, of course, Harpoon--not that other one that has "Boston" in the title but which has never been brewed in Red Sox nation.
Thirty years is not a terribly long time, really. But in the life of beer, this interval marks a period of radical change. Tomorrow the Oregon Brewers Fest (OBF) will open its doors for the thirtieth time, and looking back allows us to see the distance we’ve come, and remember why the fest has always had a special place in Beervana.
That spirit animates the new building, which draws throngs of young pubgoers. Sound and light bounce off hard surfaces and ricochet around, creating a sense of vibrancy. The little nooks and pockets offer different types of seating for groups of varied sizes and purposes--there are even couches and coffee tables. Even in this enormous space, you can find places for more intimate groups.
The case in point is Portland Brewing, which became an unexpected focal point for how quickly breweries can collapse. The brewery still exists, but is a living tar pit containing the bones of two deceased breweries, and the struggling, trapped bodies of a couple more.
If you can't call to mind a Mexican craft brewery, don't feel too bad. It's a surprisingly recent phenomenon, dating back a little more than a decade. The first significant craft brewery was Minerva, from Jalisco, launched in 2003. That somewhat overstates things, however. One of the people most able to see the scope of the market is Tero Moliis, who founded an ambitious ratings app called Maltapp. "Two years ago--well, in 2014, let's say, there were fifty or as many as 75 breweries," he told me. "Today there are over 600." Over the past year, they've been opening at a rate of more than one a day.