Rock Bottom's Brewer is ... Cool

When I wrote about beer professionally, there were two breweries with whom I had a rocky relationship. Widmer, which in the late 90s was suffering through a post-Hefeweizen hangover and making a lot of so-so beer, didn't groove to my tepid praise. And Rock Bottom, which made almost exclusively very bland chain beer, got no mention at all. The only brewery. (I followed that advice Moms are supposed to give: "If you ain't got nothin nice to say....")

Well, in case you're still living in the 90s, things have changed. Rock Bottom produces some of the better beer in Portland, and has ever since Van Havig arrived in 2000. He's the new president of the Oregon Brewers Guild, and the Belmont Station Beer Forum has a wonderful interview with him. It's long, but actually one of the finest interviews I've read. It ranged from his background in Minnesota and Maryland to the Guild to the beer tax (cause I know you want more on that subject) and Rock Bottom and more. Wonderful behind-the-scenes stuff and remarkably candid. Listen to him talk about how it feels to have his name on the growlers they sell at the brewpub:
It’s all embarrassing corporate crap to tell you the truth. Honestly, that’s all corporate mandated promotional BS. But I would say that it makes me feel good that the staff here is proud of the beer here.
Go read the interview. You'll like it. Seriously.