“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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Anheuser-Busch InBev Acquires Northern Brewer & Midwest Supplies

AB inbev purchases northern brewer and midwest supplies

The rumors started days ago have ended in the last 48 hours with confirmation direct from Northern Brewer and Midwest Supplies today that indeed, they were acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the multi-national super conglomerate that owns Budweiser and Miller. More precise the deal was announced as being completed by ‘ZX Ventures’, the disruptive growth unit of AB InBev. Anheuser-Busch InBev now has market share of 70% of beer sales in the United States after getting Justice Department approval of a merger.

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Best of The Northwest 2016: The NEW Non-List List


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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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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Northeast IPAs from Upstate to take home (Beer Review)

Northeast IPAs from Upstate NY

Time for a history lesson: The India pale ale was invented in the 1870s as England’s means of providing beer to its citizens living abroad in India. It was too hot in India to brew beer, so heavily-hopped strong ales were made in Britain and aged aboard ships making the six-month journey.

It was not until the 1970s that beers with huge hop profiles became popular stateside. Anchor Brewing’s Liberty Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale are considered the first modern American pale ales and their aggressive hop use place them at the forefront of the American IPA movement.

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Why Sam Adams Utopias Costs $200

Beer is arguably one of the most democratic drinks in the world. Yes, beer uber-nerds have their white whales to chase, but the rest of us can enjoy world class beers like St. Bernardus Abt 12, Ballast Point Sculpin, and Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout with a little patience and leg work. And not only are life-changing beers available coast to coast, they almost always run less than $20 per bottle. Hell, sometimes that’ll buy you a six-pack. So then what do you make of Boston Beer’s Sam Adams Utopias release that hits shelves (usually) every other year with a sticker price of $200 for a 24-ounce bottle?


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Silver Moon Brewing: The New Moon Emerges





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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Beer Profile: Cranker’s Brewing’s Aphrodisiac Chocolate Pomegranate Imperial Stout

Profiled by Ken Carman

While the chocolate was muted, it provided a delightful dark chocolate-like chewiness. It’s as if they used a dark chocolate sauce to give it more mouthfeel, minus what would be an inappropriate “sauce” sense. I’ve had that before when judging. I swear one brewer use a straight sriracha sauce and carbonated it. Great score? No, not really.

The pomegranate is subtle, but stands out enough to take the deep dark maltiness for a gentle ride

Nose is roasted malt and hint of fruit. Not much hops in aroma or on the palate: not needed.

You would never know this is 9%. That takes talent.

Black as all hell. Tan head, pillow. Some rising legs in solution: hard to see, though it does pour like a Guinness with that brooding cloud of bubbles that finally consolidates into a big head.

It’s a dark, complex malty, fruity, party, and you’re invited. 3.9 BA, 3.7 Rate Beer.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


___________________________________________Beer HERE


kYes, to the left is Ken Carman. Obviously Ken is a mere cartoon character who reviews beer. A magical nymph turns the beer into something a cartoon character can drink.

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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