Portland Beer Talk & Walk

My boss and workplace are hosting this year’s conference for the Consortium of College and University Media Centers, and he’s asked me to give a lunch-time talk and evening tour of Portland’s beer scene. Originally I’d shared my streetcar map with him for the website, but he got this crazy idea that maybe I could actually lead a tour. Then a lunch talk idea came up before the tour. I agreed to do it, though the though of talking in front of 200+ strangers now seems absurd. If this was any other city, I’d have my work cut out for me. As it is, this could be a blast.

Now – I just have to do some … um … fieldwork.

South Salt Lake bans home brewing

This is dumb. The mayor of South Salt Lake City is going to ban home brewing in his city. Why?

“I don’t care what people do in their own homes as long as it doesn’t spill out into the public,” Mayor Wes Losser said. “But if there were problems related to home-brewing, such as people going blind or a small riot breaking out, we have to think in extremes to cover all the bases.”

It isn’t home brew that causes blindness – it’s when you try to distill at home and can’t separate the methanol from the ethanol. The methanol is what make you go blind, or retarded, or dead.

This is one of those cases where someone has a misguided agenda based on some really crappy (and wrong) reasons. If the mayor is going to outlaw home brewing, don’t hide behind the “what you do in your own homes” pretense – just say it – you’re ignorant and want to further control the people in your city.

Fred likes my map

I got an e-mail from Beer Notable Fred Eckhardt complimenting me on the brewpub via streetcar map. He’d given a couple to some friends from out of town who thought it was a blast. I was pleased that people were using it – but to get a compliment from Fred about it was completely unexpected and charming.

No more PBR

Michelle pointed out a teaser on the front page of the Oregonian yesterday for a story about Pabst Blue Ribbon’s popularity in Portland. I’m fed up with PBR, and I think this article catches some of the reasons why people drink it and why it’s obscenely popular in Portland:

  • It’s cheap
  • Street cred
  • hipster-lemmings
  • It’s blue collar
  • It’s like beer, but without all the flavor

Now I don’t mind the stuff – it has absolutely no offensive flavors, and you can drink a sixer and still ride a wheelie for a block, but the popularity has really started annoy me. Here’s why:

  • Pabst the company sucks – they left Milwaukee to avoid union dues, then the gave up brewing all together and are now just a beer marketing company. Have you seen their lineup of beers? Notice a common theme among their beers?
  • Cheap? A $2 pint for PBR is not a good deal. Considering that among the many excellent establishments in Portland you can routinely find specials for $2.50 for an Imperial Pint of a local brew, the PBR pales in comparison – not only in price, but also in quality, karma, coolness.
  • It’s brewed in Texas, likely using a different recipe. I’m not sure how you can get street cred or hipster satisfaction if you’re not supporting your local. Apparently I don’t get it, but neither does Full Sail, whose Session lager, a perfect product to replace the foreign beverage, is charging way to much for the stubbies. Hell, even I go to the store and see a half-rack of Pabst 12oz cans for less than $6 next to the Session 11oz stubbies for $12 and know it’s not going to work.
  • The article mentions one of the attractive facets of PBR is it’s blue collar ties. It’s a working man’s beer made by other hard working folks. Shit – you think all beer isn’t made by hard working people? And what makes it a working-man’s beer? Porter’s are a real working-man’s beers and this is about as far from a porter as you can get. And serving it at art galleries. Who are you trying to kid with this yuppie camouflage. Even died-in-the-wool PBR drinkers seem to be fed up with the facade.
  • Lastly, you live in fucking Portland, Oregon – Beer-fucking-vana. You wouldn’t go to Tuscany and order a hamburger, or Coney Island and order a baguette, so why live in a city with the best variety and quality of beers in the country and drink some swill sold by a company that doesn’t even make the beer? Unless…

    it couldn’t be…

    but maybe…
    you… don’t… like… beer?

All that being said, I don’t hate Pabst as much as Coors.