Beer for a Day: Living the Good Life in Salzburg

It’s been awhile. Blame Vienna. It’s not the first time I’ve done so over the course of the past eighteen months. Rather than sit here and tell you about all the cool stuff I’ve got in the works, I thought I’d dash off a quick post about my recent visit to Salzburg en route to the mountains around Zell am See. I’ll save Salzburg’s rich history for another day and head straight for the Wirtshäuser (taverns) and beer gardens.

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Beer for a Day: Living the Good Life in Salzburg

It’s been awhile. Blame Vienna. It’s not the first time I’ve done so over the course of the past eighteen months. Rather than sit here and tell you about all the cool stuff I’ve got in the works, I thought I’d dash off a quick post about my recent visit to Salzburg en route to the mountains around Zell am See. I’ll save Salzburg’s rich history for another day and head straight for the Wirtshäuser (taverns) and beer gardens.

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HERE

“INDIE BEER”: Change is the Best Weapon

I’ll probably take some static about this…and I deserve to…

From this day forth, what we now call “craft brewing” and “craft beer” will no longer be referred to by that label, here. For a couple of years, now, I’ve been regularly harangued by people who claimed that “craft” is dead, as though that sort of thing happens summarily and closes the subject. It does neither. Millions of people call it “craft brewing” and will go on doing that. And I don’t care if random groups of trendies or even old farts like me decide “craft” is passé. I’m not calling it that anymore and it was not because somebody(s) argued me off it.

In fact, I was spooked off it…in the most direct possible way.
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Best of The Northwest 2016: The NEW Non-List List

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Since I started The Pour Fool, back in late 2008, Best of The Northwest has been arguably the most popular feature of every calendar year. People love lists and I’m not even going to try to be modest: when I do a list, I work, like a freakin’ Trojan, to make sure it’s complete and fair and intelligent. Not everybody will agree with what’s in it, of course, but I have never once looked back and thought, “Damn, son, ya really half-assed it that time.”

BUT…over the past five years or so, I’ve argued the point that lists are inherently irrelevant; that crowd-sourced lists are suspect because the acumen of each rater is unknowable. That panels of experts are subject to peer pressure and personal prejudices and the insidious group-think that’s rife in almost every enclosed culture. That, worst of all, MOST lists labeled “Best Of” are, in fact, compiled by just whomever was around that day, whether they have any more qualifications than, “Uh, yeah, I visit breweries, occasionally.

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TPF

Deschutes “Swivelhead” India Red Ale: Aesthetic Whiplash

Swivelhead12ozOkay, so you have these two beer styles, one of which has been tweaked and yanked and messed with and grafted upon more than Dr. Frankenstein’s patchwork freakzazoid and you feel that there’s nothing at all that anybody could do to either one that would surprise you. The Red/Amber ale has been notable for all the multitude of things that have NOT been done to it, flopping out of breweries everywhere as almost an afterthought, give or take gems like Troeg’s Nugget Nectar and Bear Republic Rocket Red and Cigar City Tocobaga. It’s safe and predictable and a crowd-pleaser and, apart from a Mac & Jack’s African Amber and those previously mentioned…kinda, uh, b-o-r-i-n-g…

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Silver Moon Brewing: The New Moon Emerges

 

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TPFWhen Tyler Reichert originally started Bend’s Silver Moon Brewing, he bit off far more than a lot of young entrepreneurs would be willing to chew; a huge and focus-pulling mouthful of Iconic Brewery, just across the pond and up the hill, where Deschutes Brewery hunkers down, there on the corner of Simpson and Colorado, in picture-postcard Bend, Oregon. They’re only two-three blocks from Deschutes’ landmark Bond Street Pub and taproom, which, predictably, ate up a lot of SM’s potential customer base. Tyler embraced this struggle and, when I wandered into Silver Moon for the first time, on a sunny, frigid afternoon in November of 2009, I was slapped sideways by what was issuing from their tanks and taps.

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Full Sail’s Iconic (Canned!) Session Lager: The Craft Newbie’s Gateway Pour

TPFFirst, let’s stipulate that what you’re about to read comes from a very unapologetic Beer Snob. MAJOR beer snob. I’m not a snob about wine or Whiskey or Vodka or anything else I review and, even in beer, I’m a snob about ONE thing: cheaply made, cynically conceived, watery, insipid, mass-produced adjunct Pilsners like BudMillerCoorsPabst. That’s it. That and anything else made along those dumbed-down lines.

I’ve had people who took this to mean that I just don’t like Pilsners; some even extrapolated that to include all Lagers…which is crap. I adore a well-made Pilsner but, until the past eight or ten years, most Americans had never tasted a well-made Pils. My own fave is Pinkus Ur Pils but there is an ever-increasing number of American craft breweries that have taken to making Pilsners and the results have ranged from wretched to stunning – leaning strongly toward “stunning”

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A World of Stouts for Your Weekend

The Lucky Seven Selection

Blame Guinness for declaring St. Patrick’s Weekend. Not that I’m complaining. Stouts of all stripes are among my favourite beers, after all. Guinness has also given me an excuse to bundle my occasional Saturday Six-Pack Series together with the commemoration of a saint who drove snakes out of a country that has never seen a snake. IMG_6648We’ll leave that to naturalists and hagiographers to debate while we tuck into a few stout beers.

Stouts, though. Not exactly a clear-cut style. Case in point: the marked proliferation of sub-styles in the 2015 edition of the BJCP Style Guidelines compared with the 2008 edition –– proof positive that style categories are anything but static. And then we have all those legends worthy of St. Patrick, guaranteed to keep self-styled beer historians debating till the wee hours. Though I’m not (yet) what I’d call a historian of beer, I know enough about the shifting sands of beer styles to say that you’re not alone if you’ve ever confused a porter with a stout. And don’t even get started with Russian Stouts. Or do. Interesting stories of icy sea journeys and opulent courts abound, along with no shortage of confusion over nomenclature. For now, I’m content to let the legends be. If nothing else, the heated debates and sedulous myth-busting make for entertaining reading.

 

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Crux “PCT”: Evolving The Perfect Porter

Ah, the poor, sad Porter…

A little background: in England, truck drivers are called “porters” – and were even before there were trucks. They’re manly men, just like here, and – just like here – they don’t exactly scoff at a cold pint of something. But, in Britain, that “something” was usually a brawny Stout and often at lunchtime…which led to the too-frequent spectre of lorry (Brit for “truck”) drivers being peeled out of crumpled cabs, up against bridge supports, sometimes without a pulse. It was a problem even back when all the porters hauled their wares with horse and cart and Porters were born of necessity, somewhere in the 1722 to 1730 window, when a notable London brewer, Ralph Harwood, was experimenting with blending lots od beers that were lying about in his warehouse. Harwood came up with a lower-alcohol dark that he originally called “entire” or “entire butt” (butt was the old-timey term for “barrel”). and offered it to porters at a nearby produce wholesaler, who liked it so much that Harwood dubbed it “Porter”, in their honor. Drunken porters – believe it or not – was a serious problem and transport company owners, police departments, and Parliament all harrumphed around for years, issuing warnings and scolding drivers and generally being ineffectual…just like here. So when a viable alternative to Stout-driven road rage became available, most of England lapped it up immediately.

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Garrett Marrero owns Maui Brewing Company. Period, end of story.

This will be short and sweet because it’s very simple:

Garrett Marrero owns Maui Brewing Company.

Period, end of story.

He started Maui Brewing in 2005, after buying pioneering Hawaiian brewpub, Lahaina Fish & Game Brewery and Rotisserie. With partner, Melanie Oxley, Lahaina morphed into Maui Brewing, the success of which, spurred by some truly great beers, turned a local Maui brewpub into a modern state-of-the-art brewery, whose beers are now available in several states and even overseas.

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