The Widmer Way Launches
In five days my fifth book, The Widmer Way, will be available. In the unlikely event that you haven’t heard me discuss it, a little background:
Three years ago, the Widmer Brothers arm of Craft Brew Alliance approached me about writing a biography of Rob and Kurt Widmer. In an unusal arrangement, they paid me to write the book and after I completed the manuscript, Portland State University’s Ooligan Press stepped in to publish it. The book itself attempts to contextualize the two brothers and their brewery within the small-brewery renaissance that started in the late 1970s/early 80s in the United States.
Kurt and Rob are unique figures in the industry: quiet, reserved men who set out to found an altbier brewery based on connections made through family in Düsseldorf. Looking to Europe was characteristic of the early breweries, but their journey almost immediately took an unexpected turn. Much of the story of the Widmers both charts the course of American craft brewing, which makes it instructive (up to and including the incursion of big beer). But it also tells a peculiarly Portland story, and those quiet men at the center do a great job acting as personifications for the understated yet ambitious nature of the city’s burgeoning brewery scene. I’m biased, but it’s quite a tale.
The good folks at Widmer and Ooligan are enthusiastic about this book (not always the case!) and there are a number of events accompanying its release. If you’re at all interested in the way beer developed in America or in these wonderful figures, I hope you join us for one of them. Below is a list of events. Consider yourself warmly invited to attend.
Official Launch, April 2nd, 5pm
Widmer Brothers Brewery, 929 N. Russell
I’ll do an introduction, possibly a short reading, and then we’ll bring out Kurt for a conversation. (Rob is apparently hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which is perfectly appropriate. These guys have never been into self-celebration.) I’m really hoping there will be some Altbier on tap as well. This will be the beeriest of the events, and the only one you’ll be able to hear from a Widmer.
Friday, April 5, 7:30 p.m. Powell's City of Books
1005 W Burnside, just steps from the old Weinhard brewery
This is my big debut at the downtown Powell’s (I did the westside location for The Beer Bible), and I am super excited. I’ll do a reading, a Q&A, and we can talk beer, Portland, the Widmers—anything you wish. Of course I’ll sign any and all books you bring along, including those I didn’t write. Especially happy to sign books by John Holl and Stan Hieronymus.
There will be further readings and signings in the Portland area, and I’m hoping to do a Seattle stop as well. If you can’t make one of the first two, see if any of these times works:
Thursday, April 11, 7 p.m. Annie Bloom's Books
Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m. Broadway Books
Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m. Chaparral Books
Thursday, April 25, 7 p.m. Mother Foucault's Bookshop
Thursday, May 2, 7 p.m. Another Read Through
Hope to see you at an event, and I really hope you enjoy the book.