Parducci: A Mendocino Reinvention

When makers of beer and wine manage to stick around for decades and remain curious and self-critical and keep trying…they get better – sometimes a LOT better.

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More and more, lately, I seem to be faced with reminding people of producers whose names have become submerged a bit in that vast sea of the New and Buzz-worthy – those breweries and wineries that you probably liked at one time but trampled a bit in your understandable rush to try and explore new things. That’s not a criticism. I do it, too. Everybody does it. What’s new is always more interesting than what’s been done, seen, tasted, experienced before. That’s human nature but human nature also dictates, as time passes, that we read a name online or in a magazine or on TV that prompts a little spark to crackle inside our synapses, causing us to mutter, “Oh, yeah…”

TPF

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Full Sail @ Full Throttle: Spring Forward

Seven years ago, I would have taken a Full Sail beer if one was handed to me but the name was not at all in the front of my mind. I had tasted everything and it was all enjoyable but none of it – except for that majestic barrel-aged Imperial Stout – moved my meter much at all.

Funny how times change.

Let’s just get this out there: Full Sail Brewing, of Hood River, Oregon IS…KILLIN’…IT.

And they’re not just doing it once in a while. They send me a box of beers to review and I have to bust out my aluminum yardstick to measure just exactly how far my jaw drops with each beer. Lots of people here in the PNW felt like I did and many of them still do. They THINK they’ve seen and tasted it all from Full Sail and, in fact, I get emails from saying things like, “Full Sail? REALLY? You havin’ a slow month or what?” That used to irritate me…

Now, I just feel sorry for them.

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RateBeer Joins the Borg Collective: AB Harpoons Another One

AB has sunk its tentacles into yet another property designed to do absolutely NOTHING but gain them cred that they cannot earn for themselves and which they will now use to weaked and erode the solidarity and spirit of the American Indie Brewing community.


I posted this comment on Joe Tucker’s own post – the founder and owner of the seminal beer rating website, RateBeer.com – so I’m not going behind his back. This is what I wrote on the partnering of RateBeer with a division of Anheuser Busch…and this was me showing every bit of the restraint that I have in me…

“Joe, let me blunt, here: There is NO POSSIBLE WAY that you’re going to be able to rationalize this out and make it palatable for MOST of your users. You have just struck a deal with the Devil and NO amount of slick explanation is going to invalidate or blunt the simple FACT that you are now beholden to the very company that is making the most concerted effort – in fact, pretty much the ONLY concerted effort – to hamstring or destroy altogether this culture that has spawned your own personal success, that of the 5000 small, independent breweries that make up the Indie/Craft community, and the happiness and enjoyment we all have lived out for the past 25 years, in watching our beer horizons open wide and carry us up and out of the century+ morass of sameness and forced homogeneity of beer.”

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Pub Grub: How Alehouses, Taproom Pubs, and Beer Halls are Becoming McDonalds

I like beer too much and respect too much the amount of effort, creativity, and skill that goes into making American craft beers to continue to settle for the same tired old crap as an accompaniment.

(This post originally appeared in the seattlepi.com version of The Pour Fool, back in 2014. It was requested by about a dozen readers who had read my bio and saw that I used to be a chef for about three decades…which was far longer than that little tangent should have gone on. It was also prompted by two separate requests from young entrepreneurs in Denver, about eight weeks before this appeared, who were thinking of opening one sports bar and one alehouse. I was asked, in both cases, to give them a menu that would avoid – or at least tweak severely – the usual pub grub clichés.

Today, I’m delighted to say, this universal sameness HAS changed – a bit. But, still, in maybe 85% of all American pubs, the menus read just as I have described here. The restaurants which ARE working with Indie Beer offerings and THINKING about their food are doing tremendous things, these days…which results in me, turning over $$$ more and more often. Special Mention must go to 7 Seas Brewing, right here in my own ‘hood, Tacoma, Washington, in which JamieKey Jones and her food staff have installed 3UILT, a truly exceptional pub food eatery that does almost everything right and avoids clichés as though they had fangs and a rattle. Any pub menu on which you can find a jackfruit(!) sandwich that’s actually good AND popular…well, that’s slam-damn truly Outside The Box.)

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AB/InBev Rams 10 Barrel Down San Diego’s Throat: The Natural Acts of a Bully

YES, by God, I’m talkin’ Peer Pressure. Make 10 Barrel San Diego – I’m sorry, make that “Anheuser Busch San Diego” – the sole province of the Clueless and the Sleazy.
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TPFAs a continuation of what I wrote in the aftermath of Anheuser Busch/InBev’s purchase of North Carolina brewery, Wicker Weed, about AB’s strategy of buying themselves a presence in America’s largest Indie Beer markets, it seemed like a good idea to also point out Phase Two of AB’s shoddy little master plan to either destroy Indie Beer or control it…and, make no mistake about it, that is exactly what’s going on.

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Mexican Lagers: Indie Brewers Go Bi-Lingual

Let’s be real, for a moment…

Mexican lagers, in general, are crap beers. I hear people, fresh back from their trip to Cabo or Puerto Vallarta or Cozumel or one of the less-famous Mexican resort towns, seriously comparing the relative virtues of Modelo vs. Corona vs. Indio vs. Victoria vs. Pacifico and it just…makes me tired. I remember similar conversations I sat through, patiently, years ago in Greensboro, before there were Indie breweries, when friends of mine were debating Bud and Bud Light, Miller vs. Coors, Pabst and Keystone. I rarely said anything but I can vividly remember thinking, “This is like comparing Tap Waters of Many Places”, because whatever differences actually were present in those beers were usually the result of the person’s memories that attach to them, rather than anything significant in the bottle.

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Crux “In The Pocket”: In-The-Mouth Perfection

I’m just gonna put this here and you can call it whatever species of hyperbole you want but I wouldn’t say it if I wasn’t ready to own it…

Larry Sidor may just be the best brewer in the United States.  And I suspect he could probably whup Europe’s ass, too, if he wanted.

I hear the muttering already: “Well, this Fool person is obviously an idiot! Better than Vinnie Cilurzo? Tomme Arthur? Sam Calagione? Wayne Wambles? Anthony Bourdain!?!

(Oh, sorry…that last one isn’t a brewer, although, with all the declarative popping off about beer that he’s been doing for the past two years, you can understand how I’d get confused.)

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Another One Bites the Dust: Budweiser Finds Another Sell-Out

The ugly news broke, just this morning, of the impending sale of Asheville, North Carolina’s, Wicked Weed Brewing….to a company which doesn’t give two shits about WW’s beer, P&L sheet or anything else about it… except its LOCATION

OKAY…here’s a little primer, as we get all set to watch another fine American brewery lose its “Indie Beer” status for good…

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Murderer’s Row, 2017

Just a little less than two years ago, I posted a thing called “Murderer’s Row”, a list of breweries that was intended to let visitors to the Pacific Northwest find some truly great breweries to work into their itineraries. Happily, this did exactly what I hoped: it got a TON of people from the rest of America interested in NW breweries and those people asked questions…Boy, did they ask questions.

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RANT: “Best American Stouts Made In The USA”? Oy Vey….

TPFOkay, I’m calling BS on this asinine list.

I’m not even going to link to the post which spawned this (alleged) listlet. I don’t want to give them any more free clicks, since the list is obviously blatant bait for that species of scaly, slimy little internet reptile. But you go ahead and google the name shown in the next paragraph and you’ll find it. Not that anyone needs to see it. This is called “Top 10 American Stouts Brewed in the USA” – not “in 2016” or “This Year” but BEST, period…which is bullshit. Oh, it says in the copy underneath that the results come from 2016 and from their three sources but that is the very definition of click-bait: write a provocative headline that will get people to come to your site and then – back-peddle furiously, so you can’t be accused of click-baiting.

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