Oregon Brewers Fest By the Numbers (2017)
Brewing Pliny the Elder
There it is on the calendar, a holiday as sturdy and reliable as Thanksgiving or New Year's, and one as given to celebration--the Oregon Brewers Festival. This is the 30th running of the beers in Waterfront Park, and I offer a tradition now entering its second decade, the annual OBF by the numbers.
Gentleman Brewing in California
The American Homebrewers Association launched an interesting project yesterday. They selected one beer from one brewery in each state and did a Secrets of Master Brewers thing: a full recipe and formulation. Where possible, the AHA has tried to track down a classic beer.
Three descendants of famous corporate families decided the world needed another brewery. This is their powerful story.
Memories of Shakeouts Past
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.
Brewers Reflect on the "Independence Seal"
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.
The Role of Luck in Success [Plus a Podcast Update]
I was interested in two very basic questions: 1) Did breweries believe it was important for consumers to know about breweries' independence?, and 2) were they planning to use the seal? I canvassed a half dozen breweries of different sizes from different parts of the country and got responses from four--Ninkasi (OR) and Harpoon (MA), large craft breweries, Port City (VA), a medium-sized brewery, and Gigantic (OR), a small brewery.
The Pleasures of Pommeau
We all know that hard work, careful planning, quality, and consistency are important antecedents to brewery success. But if you start looking at the biggest breweries, it's hard not to see the hand of fate intervening.
Exposing Bad Beer
Twenty years is a very long time to wait on a brandy, so French farmers invented another way to preserve their apples by using young Calvados, typically just a year an a half old. They add it to freshly-pressed, unfermented juice, at a ratio of between two-to-one or three-to-one, creating a mixture of 15 to 18% alcohol.
A Most Curious Mix Pack
Why don't more people write about bad beer? This is a question posed by Boak and Bailey in their excellent consideration of Michael Jackson over at BeerAdvocate. As they evaluated his work and legacy, they noted that his writing was nearly uniformly celebratory.
How Portland Became Beervana
A couple of weeks ago, I received an unusual package from Widmer Brothers. It contained six beers (not unusual), including one from Widmer (also not unusual) and five from other breweries (highly unusual).
Happy Independents Day
There were several cities that led the new-brewery renaissance in the 1980s--Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver-- but they all had a different flavor. One of the key features of Portland's quick adoption of good beer happened in the pubs. I don't think any city in America is more firmly rooted in the brewpub tradition than Portland.
AB InBev's Surprising, Defensive Response Video
An independently-owned brewery is no more likely to make a tasty pint than a multinational conglomerate. And yet there are differences. Big companies play in the shallow waters of the mass market, where oddity must be kept in check. The independents, who can afford to select their (niche) audiences, are keepers of the weird and wonderful.
Beer Sherpa Recommends: Deschutes Cultivateur
So what on earth is this defensive, disingenuous, petty, and off-putting video supposed to accomplish? What's the target audience? I have spent a lot of years in and out of politics, and the optics of this video, which has an overtly political valence, are terrible. Anyone with even a dodgy BS-detector is going to sniff this one out.
The Brewers Association Gets Serious
Is summertime saison time? That's what both Goose Island and Deschutes seem to think, and I'm starting to think they're onto something. Both have released sunshiny blond saisons, delicate and warming as a June day.
Add "Lachancea thermotolerans" to Your Wild Yeast Checklist
Yesterday, the Brewers Association announced a logo--or "seal" in their jargon--certifying a brewery's independence. It demonstrates the Brewers Association has narrowed its focus to what is truly important to members and is preparing to move to the offense. This is a smart initiative.
A Worrisome Beer?
Scientific American has a fascinating article about a new yeast strain pulled from a bumblebee with the capacity to ferment beer. It's an interesting strain, with the capacity to do both lactic and alcohol fermentation.
Book Excerpt: Brewing a Světlé Pivo
It's a remarkable beer. I mean really remarkable. I was hanging out with friends who were helping me work through some of that backlog, and it stopped two or three people in their tracks.
The Forty-Dollar Test Batch
As the last post in Homebrew Week, I offer you a complete chapter from The Secrets of Master Brewers. Whether you want to brew this beer or not, it will give you the sense of this book and what you'll find inside. It's great for homebrewers or people just interested in fully understanding beer styles.
The Realm Where IPA is Not the Only Coin
The following few paragraphs will take you through the process of making all-grain beer, from mashing through bottling. Just one session of brewing will illuminate more about the process—the chemistry, the variables, and the ingredients—than the most elegant description. When you’re done, you’ll have eight 500 ml swing-top bottles (or ten regular bottles) full of a classic American pale ale.
Rodney Kibzey, a local homebrewer, got things started by pouring us his excellent grodziskie. I moved to a pre-prohibition lager, had a dalliance with cider makers, located some great farmhouse ales, moved on to the meads and then ... wait a second, is something missing?