Yeah, I feel okay about culturally misappropriating a Twin Peaks line and meme. I earned it, bucko. I put in TIME with that series and have stayed hands off for decades.
But, TODAY, on the day in 2022(!) when I have to read that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe V Wade, I also get the word that…and I can hardly believe I’m typing this…STONE BREWING, of all the American breweries – hell, businesses! – that I could imagine reading this about, has been sold to a huge JAPANESE brewing conglomerate, Saporro Breweries, Ltd.
Sometime this summer…when our world is warm and sunny and optimism is easy and maybe even a little cheap, many of us who have reveled and participated in the American and Pacific Northwest craft beer cultures will experience a brief (well, we can hope it’s brief) cold front of the type that occurs inside us; the kind that blankets and heaters and long underwear cannot touch: the chill of Loss. Of the expected but still jarring departure of something, someone, in which we have invested heavily, emotionally, for what seems like a very long time but has been, in retrospect, far too short.
Sometime this summer, Hair of The Dog Brewing will close down and an Era, an epoch, will be only memories.
There has been a…uh…problem with Non-alcoholic beers…
Ever since the first fumbling attempts, back in the Buckler and Beck’s Blue and O-Doul’s and Kaliber days, the same problem afflicted every single beer made with no octane involved:
They all sucked.
Not that they were all undrinkable. I used to down a Buckler, once in a while, such as the two years in the mid-90s when I went dry, and I liked Buckler. But it was NOT, by any definition, beer. It didn’t taste much of anything like real beer unless you took a watery domestic Pilsner like Coors Light and cut it by half with club soda. But it was crisp and refreshing and you could taste some hops, if very little malt, and on a hot summer day, it would do. Unless you wanted a beer and then it would not.
Here’s a story about a man nam…No, no, no, nobody named Brady. Don’t panic. This is a beer tale. A rather twisted beer tale and I’m going to just skim it because it’s really none of my business but…I have a brewer pal named Mark Hood, up here in The Soggy Corner of America, specifically in the small but dynamic beer hotbed of Poulsbo, Washington, who founded and helped build the first Washington state brewery specializing in Belgian-style ales, Sound Brewery. In Sound’s too-short existence, Mark created several rather amazing ales, not all of them Belgian. After initially swearing that he would not just crank out IPA after IPA (in fact, he had originally planned to do NO IPAs), his customers’ repeated requests prompted him to make a few and they became classics of the style, here in the Nanny State. Humulo Nimbus, Humonkulous, Reluctant, and anniversary editions for Town & Country Markets and Seattle’s Chuck’s Hop Shop…all resonated strongly with our PNW HopHeads.
Over the past going-on fifteen years of The Pour Fool, there is one thing that has never varied, never really waxed or waned at all, and that is people emailing me with complaints, insults, and "corrections" of things I've written. They email me because I refuse to allow nonsense like "You suck! You now NOTHING about beer (wine)(whiskey)(whatever)!!" onto the site and nothing goes on the site unless I approve it. Many people, improbably, have wailed about "censorship!!", as though The Pour Fool is a public utility or the airwaves.
It's not. Continue reading "The Pour Fool: A Brief History of Flaming"
A brewery owner pal of mine in Michigan messaged me this morning, with a link to the page where this message from Larry Bell, founder of Kalamazoo, Michiganâ€™s iconic Bellâ€™s Brewery. You see one of these things and you an feel it coming: Larry Bell is selling his breweryâ€¦which many readers of this website take as a definite signal that itâ€™s time to watch Steve Body go ballistic.
People ask me at least two, three dozen times a month, â€œWhatâ€™s your favorite beer?â€œ
Iâ€™ve been tasting â€“ as in sip half an ounce, swirl in mouth, linger, and spit. NOBODY can do this job and drink a full beer each tasting. Youâ€™d have a liver the size of a Kia Sportage within months â€“ somewhere around 1,500 beers a year for almost fifteen years, now. Thatâ€™s in addition to the several thousand I drank back before I got full-time serious about doing a beverage blog. How in Godâ€™s Name can I possibly choose ONE beer, out of something over 25K, as my â€œfavoriteâ€
I have to confess that late Spring/Summer â€™21 has not been a great time for stuff that I have tasted. I got samples but the deal has always been the same: if I like it enough to rave about it, I write it up. If not, I just donâ€™t mention it because I donâ€™t â€“ EVER â€“ write negative reviews of any independent producer of adult beverages. Why, in this, the Gold Plated Age of Snark? Because A) I think itâ€™s tasteless and crass, B) I like small businesspeople and have no desire to take shots at â€™em, and C) I see no reason to even mention mediocrity. So, if I can assign 90 points or better, I write itâ€¦but not always. If I give it 90 and it should be higher, that stays out, too
Just about two years ago, Larry and Cam and the other Merry Cruxters at Bendâ€™s titanic Crux Fermentation Project set out to make a blonde ale â€“ that happiest, friendliest, and most approachable beer of summer â€“ but with a very edgy, Northwesty, slightly confrontational gilding of our regionâ€™s signature beer virtue and primary aesthetic: More Hops.
They wanted to inject this lovely, bright, slightly lemony, mellow, Cocker Spaniel of a beer style with some teeth: it should, as most Northwesty ales do, bite back a bit. But, for this style, love bites, nibbles, a friendly nip, with no real pain. It would be quite a balancing act; taking the most crowd pleasinâ€™ of ales and taking it Seriously. Not easy.