Oregon Brewers Fest By the Numbers (2017)

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.

Brewing Pliny the Elder

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.

Breakside Slabtown

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.

Memories of Shakeouts Past

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.

Brewers Reflect on the "Independence Seal"

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

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.

Jeff Alworth
Exposing Bad Beer

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.

Jeff Alworth8 Comments
A Most Curious Mix Pack

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).

How Portland Became Beervana

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.

Jeff Alworth1 Comment
Happy Independents Day

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.

AB InBev's Surprising, Defensive Response Video

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.

Jeff Alworth6 Comments
A Worrisome Beer?

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

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.