I have to confess that late Spring/Summer ’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 don’t mention it because I don’t – EVER – write negative reviews of any independent producer of adult beverages. Why, in this, the Gold Plated Age of Snark? Because A) I think it’s tasteless and crass, B) I like small businesspeople and have no desire to take shots at ’em, and C) I see no reason to even mention mediocrity. So, if I can assign 90 points or better, I write it…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 Bend’s titanic Crux Fermentation Project set out to make a blonde ale – that happiest, friendliest, and most approachable beer of summer – but with a very edgy, Northwesty, slightly confrontational gilding of our region’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 pleasin’ of ales and taking it Seriously. Not easy.
But, second, you might just be a total, hard-core, born ‘n’ bred Stout Freak. And if so, you probably have a fair number of private, mental categorizations that you use to sort out the roiling tsunami of today’s dark beers in general and American-style Stouts, in particular.
Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!
Crux Fermentation Project…Mouthful, right? And that’s just the name, which is why everybody just calls ’em Crux.
I call ’em “one of America’s Best breweries” and I have seen nothing to alter that judgment a millimeter since they opened, back in the summer of 2012. Led by the lone remaining original partner, former Deschutes brewmaster Larry Sidor, they have followed a measured, steady, unfailing curve to what can now only be called greatness and, during my self-imposed health/home hiatus, I abused their generosity and kindness greatly. They kept sending me beers I kept not writing.
Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!
This is a story happening right down the road from where I live…and that is not a figure of speech. The road is Washington Route 16, connecting the South Puget Sound with the Kitsap Peninsula, and the drive is 21.7 miles, door to door. The destination takes some searching or a good GPS, because the name of the destination is not in a lot of less comprehensive GPS databases…yet. That, I predict, is about to change.
I’m an inaugural season ticket holder of our new team. It’s exciting and has started with the greatest momentum of any sports franchise – let alone hockey franchise – in the past twenty years and maybe ever. So, I’m asking – as someone with skin in the game – and SUGGESTING that the Kraken do BETTER than all those teams and facilities that don’t have their support base or their cultural setting.
FACT: Washington is one of the four largest beer producing states in the US. California is #1 and 2, 3, and 4 rotate between Oregon, Colorado, and WA state. We have one of the most robust beer economies in the nation, based almost solely upon many hundreds of small breweries. We don’t have a mega-brewery here, churning out pallid domestic lagers in vast quantities brewed in 20,000 gallon tanks. We are a state which, for the first twenty years of our brewing community, didn’t even package 98% of all our native beers because we drank them all. We were VERY late to bottling and canning beer and even when we did, it wasn’t distributed to much more than this corner of America.
I’ve had this belief, for a long time, that it is just as possible to “know” a person from their social media posts, their work ethic, their stances on social and environmental and human rights issues, and their SENSE OF HUMOR and humility and decency, as it is to know someone we’ve met face-to-face. What we respond to, unless we’re hopelessly shallow, in those we choose to call friends, is their character, their intelligence, their humor, and their values. Maybe social media friendship is even more possible, since the first way involves a distilled version of their character, minus all the self-conscious glad-handing of most in-person interaction. In writing this, I’m testing that theory…but also saying something I really believe.
In the comments to section of a Facebook page for my friend, Sue Kidd, former food reviewer for our local Tacoma News Tribune, she covered the closure of a Seattle brewery which opened a pub in a ritzy (well, ritzy for Tacoma, anyway) new shopping and retail center on the Commencement Bay waterfront. The center is called Point Ruston and at least aspires to be an upscale location with more in common with our neighboring Seattle than sweet ol’ blue-collar Tacoma. The brewery occupied a large retail space there which had previously been the pub for another out-of-town brewery. The new closure was significant. People noticed…and came to a Conclusion.
Hundreds of Tacomans started to call this space “cursed”.
There is nothing at all “cursed” about the location. As someone who has been actively involved in the beverage trade for 37 years, I saw what was happening with those breweries going into Point Ruston and told my wife I gave them both less than six months…and that is because of ambition exceeding their realities.
Okay, when I called this “Brining Back the Gut”, I was not talking about my waistline after the Holiday carb orgy…although I’ma TRY not to do that, this year, though self-deception gets harder every day.
No, this “gut” is the German form, pronounced “Goot”, which translates as “good”, as in the official slogan – Schmecht Gut (“Make it Good”) – of the brilliant Cedar Springs Brewing, of…you guessed it, Cedar Springs. Which is in Kentucky, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas, not to mention the Cedar Springs Historic District, in South Carolina, composed of three buildings: the Stagecoach Inn, The Frazier-Pressley House, and The Cedar Springs ARP Church. God Bless Wikipedia.
I’m going to tell you about what is certainly one of my two or three favorite bottles of beer I’ve tasted in my insanely long career as a wine and beer buyer and the literal thousand or so beers I sample, every year. (not “drink”, “sample”; a sip or two and mostly spit. Nobody can drink that much beer and not have a liver the size of a Kia Sportage) All you folks who are headed out to the grocery store or booze shop to pick up your usual knee-jerk Chardonnay (God Save Us) or six pack o’ precocious Pilsner – even a craft one – or that one-size-fits-all Pinot Noir, just listen the hell up for a moment, okay? I’ma do you a solid, here.
I grant you we are really only one, one and a half generations away from being an entire nation of Bud-swillin’ dunderheads, so no one needs to feel too terrible about opting for their comfort zone in holiday imbibing. BUT we CAN, mercifully be past all that, if we choose. And that is what this post is all about…