I did my once-weekly run through the posts on Instagram, which I seldom use and haven’t posted in for maybe 2 1/2 years, and ran across a note from my old friend, Jeremy Hubbell, owner of Geaux Brewing, late of Bellevue, Washington, now of Auburn, Washington. No, wait…”late” of Auburn, too.
I have written a couple of times, in the going-on fifteen years The Pour Fool has existed, About Geaux. I used to live in Bellevue – or, as I always call it, “Bellevoid” – which was to the Northwest Craft Beer Boom what the Sahara is to ice-skating rinks. There was ONE brewery in Bellevoid, an outpost of the highly-questionable Rock Bottom Brewing which, in that yuppified location near the Microsoft Sprawl of downtown, became basically a happy hour meat market that happened to make a few listless, predictable beers as a sort of moist courtesy to its customers, many of whom use brewer visits as lifestyle cred. In the mid 00s, Rock Bottom was joined by a second brewery, run by an enormous, self-aggrandizing fathead who was convinced that hiring a certain brewer would put them firmly into the beer stratosphere. (It didn’t) That was that for a relatively short time. Then, a youngish New Orleanian named Jeremy Hubbell, a technical and design consultant whose LinkedIn profile reads like this: “Specialties: New business development, product marketing, product management, product design, international business.” He had a successful business doing all this, in a large space in a small urban light-industrial/retail development, tucked away in a secluded side-street just outside of downtown Bellevoid.
This is an unabashed revision of a post that first appeared back in February of 2017, in response to a list written by a young writer for Paste Magazine and I thought it deserved an update, as the Pacific Northwest beer landscape, battered by Covid and its attendant economic upheaval, has changed radically.
Jim Vorel is a beer writer from Atlanta; a guy who – despite what he probably thinks – I actually like but have frequently gone after like a dog on a hamburger for some of his apparently uninformed lists, many of which read as though he had simply scanned RateBeer and BeerAdvocate and then compiled them. He has also done several lists which I thought were dead-on. I know he has the capability of doing them well and, in fact, five years later, he IS doing them fairly well, with only occasional lapses. But I go after him because I’m hoping he’ll devote the same care to all of them that he does to that occasional gem.
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€