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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Review - The Mash Tun

2204 NE Alberta St.
Portland, OR 97211

Hours: Mon - Fri: 4pm - midnight, Sat - Sun: noon - midnight
Prices: 20 ounce English-style pints: $4.
Other info: Seasonal outdoor seating (with awning); kids and smoking allowed
Beers: A range of NW-style ales plus seasonals.

You can trace the evolution of brewpub fashion from the Barley Mill through the Mash Tun. Originally, they were converted bars and they looked a lot like: bars. Into the light they came, however, and in the next phase they had windows and transparent (that is, not cigarette-blue) air. Along about the time they became restaurantized, we saw the emergence of the chain brewpub--BJ's and Rock Bottom, not McMenamins which are uniquely unchainy--which took them yet a further step away from their saloony forebears. By my reckoning, we're right around 1997 as this all happens.

Came then the backlash--hipsters eschewed the brewpub scene and found little windowless haunts with blue smoke, pool tables, and Pabst (never Hamm's, alas, always Pabst). Fortunately, the Lucky Lab had opened already and offered the promise of grit and blue collars as well as the delight only 85 BUs of Chinook hops can deliver. The Lucky Lab, perhaps not singlehandedly--though this is a blog, so who's going to hold me accountable?--saved brewpubs from suburbanization.

Now their ethos defines the newer generation of brewpubs, the ones founded by those erstwhile mid-90s hipsters who went to the Lab and dreamed of owning their own pubs: Roots, Amnesia, and now the Mash Tun, which I visited for the first time this weekend. (Yes, that's an embarrassing admission, but it's the price I pay for being an introverted lair-dweller with a beer blog.)

Cast in the classic Lucky Lab industrial style, it has more than a little of the Alberta/Mississippi aesthetic to make it unique. The drinking/dining space wraps around a tiny brewery that's visible beyond the attractive bar. There's a patio out back (covered with a sheet of translucent corrugated plastic), with a big beer mural; the walls inside have local art dotting them. The space feels like it's been there forever--it is comfortable and inviting and has a lived-in quality. And, as if to highlight the ethos of the place, directly in front of the bar is a pool table; on the afternoon we visited, it attracted the kinds of kids Pabst had previously attracted. One for the good guys!

Beer
As with the Lucky Lab, beer isn't the overwhelming strength at the Mash Tun. I tried four of the five beers they had on tap (skipping, for obvious reasons, the Hunny Blonde), and one was good, two were so-so, and one was a failed experiment. None were bad, though, and they were certainly better than Pabst. It's worth noting that as a new brewpub, it could be things will improve. There are no off-flavors or anything, just recipes that don't quite rise to the highest echelon.

Most people will try the IPA first and stick with it, and they will therefore think the Mash Tun has great beer. Do that.
  • Alberta Pale - Nothing sings about this workman-like pale, but it's all right. It has a nice grapefruit nose and plenty of hop interest on the tongue, but it's a one-note beer in terms of hopping. It has a slightly grinding quality that may be from too much crystal malt. Whereas a good pale need not be a transcendently complex beer, the best are usually clean and direct. This one has a slightly muddled taste. Rating: C+
  • Mr. Rosewater Porter - This beer was being brewed at the moment the brewer heard about the death of Kurt Vonnegut. As an ode to the great author, he added rose hips to the boil and came up with a funny porter that I originally thought had an excess of fusel alcohol. Turns out it was the sharp notes from the rose hips. It also thinned out the body, making the beer disappear in the mouth. A good try and a nice ode, but not a great beer. Rating: C-
  • Portside IPA - The IPA is a mid-range variety--neither too strong nor too hoppy, which makes it a reasonable choice (you can have a couple without needing a Segway to get out the door). The balance between full, rich body and hop bitterness was perfect. The hops were unfamiliar to me; they had a soapy/lavender note and finished with a bit of black pepper. Rating: B
  • Inclusion Amber - This is an amber in the Full Sail style and not a bad way to go, either. It is also nicely in balance, with a strong caramel malt base and fresh, green hops. A good choice for a session beer. Rating: B-
Food
Give the Mash Tun credit for putting thought into the menu. It is expansive, with two pages of dishes: appetisers, soups, salads, and sandwiches, burgers, pita pizzas (?), wraps, and the usual pub standbyes. Where possible, they buy their food fresh, local, and organic, including local beef. They feature quite a large range of veggie options, too, including tempeh and tofu dishes. I had a brat (locally made) with McMenamins-style thin-cut fries and was pretty much perfectly satisfied. Sounds great, right? Read on.

Sally's View
My lovely and talented spouse, who knows a lot more about food than I do, offered a few observations as I was taking notes, and it occurred to me that, in the interest of multiple perspectives, you might appreciate a differing view. Here's what she said (from my notes):

"It's nice they have veggie options, but what that means is you have tempeh and some veggie burgers, but everything is heavy and there are no fresh vegetables. Nor original salads, particularly--just the stuff you'd expect in a pub like Caesar salad. Everything comes with fries, no substitutions. It's very pubby--everything's breaded and fried."

So, take your pick: perfect and satisfying or heavy and caloric.

Final Analysis
The Mash Tun won't win any awards for its beers (yet), but it would be on a short-list of places I'd recommend for its very inviting ambiance and characteristically Alberta feel. The food, while heavy, continues the theme of place and locality. It's only been open a short while, but I think it is well on its way to being a classic Portland brewpub.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two Items About Barley

If I told you that you'd have to give up beer to save the planet, exactly how conflicted would you be? (Mighty, in my case.) It may come to that:
And that is exactly what is happening to Erdmann and other German brewers as farmers abandon barley — the raw material for the national beverage — to plant other, subsidized crops for sale as environmentally friendly biofuels.

"With the current spike in barley prices, we won't be able to avoid a price increase of our beer any longer," Erdmann said, stopping to sample his freshly brewed, golden product right from the steel fermentation kettle.

In the last two years, the price of barley has doubled to $271 per ton as farmers plant more crops such as rapeseed and corn that can be turned into ethanol or biodiesel, a fuel made from vegetable oil.

This is one of those good news/bad news things. Good news that America is currently pursuing ethanol via the extremely inefficent but politically-expedient process of converting corn, bad that we will continue to dump carbon into the atmosphere as a result. Good that we have beer, bad that it may be our last.

Onto happier news, John Foyston had a wonderful piece in the Food Day about locally-produced Scotch. No, you can't call it that, because it's made here in Portland, but that's the kind of whisky it is. I bring it to your attention on the very slim chance you don't regularly read Food Day.
Whiskeys start with a grain-based sort of beer, or wash. Medoff brews his wash of malted barley at Roots Organic Brewing, a few blocks up the street...

The wash -- or mash, or distiller's beer -- ferments to about 7 percent alcohol. In the still, alcohol boils off and condenses as a much stronger essence of 30 percent to 40 percent alcohol. Because House Spirits and most Scotch producers use less-efficient pot stills (because it makes more flavorful whiskey) they distill at least twice to reach barrel strength of around 70 percent (140 proof).

The whiskey then spends several years in oak. "Everything that comes out of a still is clear," Medoff said as he stood beside the distillery's antique-looking pot still -- its top looks like a copper onion crowned by a long pipe curving over to the condenser. "Spirits are so stable that they won't age in the bottle or the tank. The only thing that can give it some color and those vanilla flavors is time in wood. That's one thing about whiskey -- you've got to be patient...."

Changes in temperature and humidity cause the barrel to breathe, which it does vigorously enough that an appreciable percentage of the spirit evaporates before aging is complete. Charmingly enough, brewers call the missing booze the angels' share. They seem resigned to the fact that distilling is a lot of hard work and waiting that, when it's all over, yields a mere fraction of what you began with. Medoff figures that he'll brew 600 gallons of wash to fill one 53-gallon whiskey barrel.

Angels' share. Cool.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Brief History of Oregon and Washington Brewing

In Willamette Week's current Drink supplement about Portland bars and pubs, Ap Kryza presents a timeline of hooch and offers this "fact" about brewing:
1984
Widmer Brothers Brewing opens and lights a powder keg of drunken mania: the now infamous microbrewers movement. Widmer is a massive success. Soon after, Portland Brewing Co. and Bridgeport Ales follow suit, while dozens of smaller breweries start cooking.
Not quite. Microbrewing actually got started inPortland in 1980 when Chuck Coury opened Cartwright Brewing. Although the brewery didn't survive the suspect beers it produced, credit is due for starting first. The next extant brewery to start was BridgePort, which produced its first beer in 1984. The Widmer brothers may have gotten their company registered first, but they didn't get beer to the market until 1985. Credit BridgePort for being the oldest functioning brewery.

_____

Below is a brief timeline of key events in Northwest Brewing. Washington breweries are listed in gray text.
1856 - Henry Weinhard founds his brewery
1883 - Andrew Hemrich and John Kopp begin selling "Rainier" beer at their Bay View Brewery
1896 - Leopold Schmidt founds Olympia Brewing (originally "Capital Brewing")
1928 - Arnold Blitz's Portland Brewing Company merges with Henry Weinhard
1974 - Blitz-Weinhard introduces "Private Reserve"
1980 - Chuck Coury founds Cartwright Brewing
1982 - Paul Shipman founds Redhook.
1982 - Bert Grant opens America's first brewpub in Yakima
1983 - Mike Hale founds Hale's in Spokane
1984 - Dick Ponzi founds BridgePort Brewing--now Oregon's oldest brewery
1984 - Pyramid ("Hart") begins in Kalama
1985 - Widmer, Portland Brewing founded; McMenamins begins brewing

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Oregon Trail Bourbon Porter

Oregon Trail is a funny brewery. I don't know what it's profile in Corvallis is, but in Portland, it floats in and out of our consciousness, never really finding solid purchase. What beers do they brew again? Where's it from? (And most dangerously), is it still in business? Even the website doesn't resolve these questions. It looks like it was built in 1992, and the "brewery/history" page features an 11-year-old reprinted article. I still am a little unclear about the beers they brew, but based on the bottle of Bourbon Porter I bought three weeks ago, I'm going out on a limb to declare that the brewery is still in business.

(Better evidence: Tim Akimoff at Will Blog For Beer posted a video tour of the brewery, which suggests a tangibility beyond the product.)

Tasting Notes
At some point in the past decade or more, breweries realized that they could get a hold of used bourbon barrels, opening a new vista of possibilities. After all, what goes better with beer than bourbon? You could sell boilermakers in a bottle or subtly flavor your imperial stout with the essence of whiskey. I have tasted some magnificent bourbon-barreled beer (an early offering by Widmer stands out in my memory). Alas, I've now tasted a mediocre one.

The first mistake was using a mildish brown porter, which is no match for the burly liquor with which it commingled. Stouts have a long, sweet, alcoholic middle note, and bourbon nestles right in next to it in fine harmony. Porters, on the other hand, are quaffing beers. Their middles tend to be much thinner and sweeter--no match for anything as strong as bourbon. In fact, what results is more a beer-flavored whiskey cocktail--and not a very good one.

The liquor and malt give it a cloying sweetness, but there's a strong, grating metalic quality to the bourbon, which muscles the beer out of the way. I'm going out on a limb here, but it also seemed like the bourbon was pretty cheap. That seems counterintuitive, given that cheap bourbon probably doesn't make it into barrels (or does it?), but I knows what I tastes.

Oregon Trail may be a robust little brewery that makes wonderful beers. My sample size is too small to comment. But if so, this is an anamoly: call it a gentleman's C.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ban Smoking in Oregon Bars?

Oregon has taken the first of three steps toward an outright ban of cigarettes in indoor spaces -- including pubs and taverns. Senate Bill 571 passed the state senate and will go to the House and governor (bill's text is here).

BlueOregon has a post urging people to contact their state reps and push for the bill's passage:
Time to call your State Representatives. You know they will be hearing from loads of tavern owners, and the cigarette industry will definitely pull out all the stops lobbying against this bill. Our Legislators shouldn't give another inch to restaurant and bar owners. They already get one of the sweetest and most ridiculous state subsidies ever devised (about 25% of the gambling profits from every machine), and frankly, the case that a smoking ban will actually lower their profits is flimsy.
I'm generally ambivalent about smoking bans. I have a pretty strong libertarian streak, and I don't believe in legislating behavior codes. In America, you don't have a right not to be offended. There is one issue that stands out, though, and a few minutes ago, Kari Chisholm posted a second (somewhat more nuanced) opinion that cuts directly to this point:

But for high-school dropouts, especially middle-aged women with minimal skills, there are very few jobs out there that pay a living wage. One of the few is serving food and drinks, a job that combines the minimum wage with tips.

Many under-educated older women have very few occupational options -- and working in smoky bars pays comparatively well. Right now, we're asking them to trade their health for a living wage.

I'd add that working the late shift is good for moms who don't want to be away from their kids too long. So, on balance, I guess I'll back the legislation. Mostly I go to non-smoking bars, anyway.

______________________
PHOTO: JD Pooley [link]

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Tram

I promise not to get into the habit of posting a lot of random stuff unrelated to beer, but over the weekend, I took a trip on the new tram, so it can loosely be said to be a "Beervana-related" post. It is going to become a tourist attraction as much as a mode of transportation, and since it costs about the same price as a draft beer, I'll go ahead and recommend it as a tourist site.

To be clear, I really opposed this beast at the start. It connects a vastly wealthy community--the denizens of the future Waterfront district--to what I presume will be the workplace of many of them, the Oregon Health Sciences University. Four four bucks, they are saved the humiliation of riding with the rabble on my old bus, the 8. That's what we really needed, right? A $75 million dollar public transportation system to connect the rich to work and home.

Despite my unequivocal feelings on the matter in terms of public policy, I have to say that as a tourist attraction and theme park ride--well, it's actually pretty cool. You get an amazing view of the city--and probably Mount Hood on clear days. It is sleek and modern and industrial, and it has a little bit of the "Monorail!" quality from the Simpsons. Oooooh, futuristic.... (Groening would be proud.)

So anyway, here are a few crude phone cam pics. Enjoy!



The lower stanchion.


The Waterfront district, wherein the elite will reside.


Inside the silvery pod.


The silvery pod takes flight.


Flying over Beervana.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Still Busy

Just to let you know, I haven't suddenly lost interest in blogging. My time through this weekend is going to be almost nil, so I anticipate this being a bit of a down week. If some interesting news comes by, I'll pass it along. Otherwise, regular blogging to continue next week. (Mostly I haven't had a chance to drink much beer or visit any pubs lately, either, though I did try Oregon Trail's Bourbon Porter. In lieu of an actual review now, let me at least warn you off it. Thin and a bit harsh. Fuller review next week.)

Look in the right-hand column for other blogs--the beerosphere is growing and there's a lot of cool stuff out there.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Good Site of Note

I try to keep up on the beer blogosphere. Really, I do. But I missed Stan Hieronymus's somehow. Stan is His Appellation Beer site has been around since November 2005, but it took a post on my "Beer Cred" post to alert me. Stan, for those who don't know, is a long-time journalist most well-known for his beer writing; he's currently the editor at Realbeer.com. He recently published Brew Like a Monk, which has received 8 customer reviews on Amazon, six of them five-stars. Obviously good stuff.

His site is apparently the hippest digitial pub in the beerosphere, because Stephen Beaumont and Lew Bryson hang out there. Or anyway, visited long enough to excoriate me for being a pinhead about working-class beer. (Probably nice guys, and they know a lot about beer; but they were wrong on this one.)

So, go visit, and go visit Lew and Stephen while you're at it. Meanwhile, I'll link 'em up in the ol' blogroll.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Busy Week

Sorry, content has been spotty. And probably will remain so until the weekend.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Beer Cred

Beer is a working-class beverage. Drinking beer is a working-class activity. Oregon brewers, who until '99 had Henry's as an example, got that. In the 80s, as brewpubs started opening up, they had a gritty look. Breweries were located in Portland's industrial Northwest (part of which has been overtaken by the Pearl). Tap handles for good beer appeared in working-class bars. It is my suspicion that one of the reasons Oregonians took to microbrewed beer was because it retained it's blue collar ethos.

In other parts of the country, this wasn't the case. The 80s were a time when Boomers were rediscovering all things artisinal, abandoning the 70s facination with pre-packaged cardboard food. Out went the Velveeta, in came the goat cheese. Boomers adopted Chardonnay, sun-dried tomatoes, and sea salt. And by the late 80s, microbrews. In other states, where there wasn't a long brewing tradition (you know, places where rail cars bearing the title "corn syrup" didn't pull up in front of a large, brick city brewery) micros were part of a middle- and upper-class culture. In places like California and Colorado, "boutique breweries" appealed to this group (and again, I just play a cultural anthropologist online) , but the mass of drinkers were left cold.

I mention all of this because a week or two ago I referenced the Rock Bottom Brewpub in a positive light. Although no one commented, behind the scenes, I took some heat. I get it; Rock Bottom is the opposite of gritty. It is chain-restaurant smooth, all the rough edges of personality and locality worn off by corporate flacks. It also carries with it the Colorado aesthetic, which embraces the homogenized and slightly upscale and eschews the funky and original.

All of these things are true, and I don't like to go to Rock Bottom. After getting taken to task, I did revisit the place, just to clarify. The food was tasty, if a bit overpriced, but the ambiance was still deadening. Except for reproductions of historic logging photos on the wall, we might have been anywhere in the country. The clientele tended toward a population I imagine don't spend much time thinking about beer.

But the proof's in the pint glass, and Van Havig's beers were excellent. We tried a porter, and excellent IPA, and a beer that was designed to suggest a hefeweizen (familiar to the clientele unfamiliar with good beer), but which was actually closer to a Belgian wit, with coriander and ginger. Stealth education, that.

I feel for Van, though; in terms of street cred, he suffers being at Rock Bottom. Partly because his beers will remain a mystery to a lot of folks that would otherwise love them if they were being served across the river at Lucky Lab, say. But even more because his beers are served at Rock Bottom, and it is and will remain such an un-Portland place.

(Yes, that was a random posting.)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Holy Blogging, Batman

All of a sudden, there's scads of beer-related blogging going on. The main culprit is John Foyston, who is apparently a binge-blogger. (Axiom: blogging is like drinking; you gotta pace yourself. A word to the wise, John.) In the past four days, he's posted nine items, and most are pretty long and detailed. Of note:

The beer collectors are coming, the beer collectors are coming.
You probably know already that old beer memorabilia ---- breweriana --- is a big hobby for some collectors. What you maybe didn't know is that the American Breweriana Association Annual Meeting happens in Portland this year: June 12-16 at The Airport Holiday Inn on Columbia Blvd.
A buncha beer writers go to Hood River; this is what they find.

John goes to the Raccoon Lodge, and Ron Gansberg is who he finds:
Gansberg's brewing career began about the same time as Oregon craft brewing, because he worked for pioneers such as BridgePort and Portland Brewing before leaving to become brewmaster (and construction boss for the first year) at Art Larrance's Raccoon Lodge. Since then, Gansberg has become one of the state's most respected and original brewers. He's definitely not the the stereotyped hop-mad Northwest brewer and is the first to admit it. In fact, he's working hard to nerve himself to make an over-the-top hoppy Northwest IPA, but his innate desire for a balanced beer makes it hard for him to twist the flavor dial all the way to the left to "ultra-hoppy."
Which reminds me that Angelo De Ieso has been busy adding to his growing list of brewer interviews. Today he's posted an interview with Pyramid's Tom Bleigh, and last week, he posted an interview with Christian Ettinger, founding brewer of Laurelwood, who is just weeks away from opening his new place, HUB (aka Hopworks Urban Brewpub).

Fortunately, I've got the quasi-poetic review niche locked down, so my raison d'etre remains undisturbed.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ode to Blue Dot

It might be an interesting experiment: the metaphor beers. Take an abstraction and brew the beer to suit it. For example, Earth Day. Lesser innovators might offer a uninspired metaphor, digging through existing styles for one that is most (pick one: green, earthy, natural). Thus might you end up with an organic lambic, say (spontaneously fermented from natural, wild yeasts!).

Hair of the Dog did far better. The brewery's take on Earth Day is Blue Dot, so named for the wee speck of azure floating in Alpha Centauri's sky. But HotD pretty much exists in the realm of stylistic abstraction (contasted to German precision), unable to brew a beer to style if their lives depended on it, so this was perhaps not the most challenging task.

Blue Dot, of which I managed to taste about four ounces before all extant bottles vanished from the face of the earth, debuted last year to the usual commercial pandemonium. This year, brewer Alan Sprints offered up more of the precious liquid bullion at a dock sail, and I think he was getting six hundred dollars a case. (Kidding.) I managed to score a few precious bottles from Belmont Station, though I have no confidence they have any left. You could stop by and have a look--who knows? It might be interesting just to see what they would charge you.

I cracked my first bottle last night (the other two will remain, probably forever, since I lack the will to crack aged beer, in the larder) and was stunned by what poured out. It was not a beer so much as a liquid paean to life, saturated with glorious, resinous flavor, metaphor for wild vitality. I can't review it, so I'll do the next best thing. If you chance upon a bottle, buy it and damn the price.

Ode
Blue Dot is a tincture of hop, an alcohol solution of mild acidity saturated with the essence of green. It is vita, it is sustenence; distillate of joy. Soil terroir, root seed leaf, fresh stream water. Balance harmony cycle.

Drink, ye who love the jade wolf, and be restored.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

National Homebrewing Day

Everyone who's remotely interested in beer tasting should take up homebrewing. I don't know of any other effective way to learn the subtleties of flavor and aroma than to start brewing. How hops interact with beer depending on when they're added to the boil, what makes a beer "tannic" or gives it mouthfeel--I suppose you can learn these things over time by drinking beer, but brewing is a crash course.

This Saturday is National Homebrew Day, and Steinbart's will be doing a free brewing demo starting at 9 am. I exhort you--go learn to brew!
FH Steinbart
234 SE 12th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97214 USA
Also, in celebration of NHD, homebrewers across the globe will offer a simultaneous toast to homebrewing and beer. It happens a bit early Oregon time, but you could take heart knowing that it's a respectable time to be drinking beer somewhere:
At [10am Pacific] time (18:00 Greenwich Mean Time), homebrewers raise their glass of homebrewed ales or lagers for a simultaneous toast to homebrewing . Homebrewers from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia , South America, Antarctica and Australia are expected to participate.
Maybe it will encourage you to have a breakfast beer to know that this is the tenth anniversary of the toast.

Cheers!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Duin on the Beer Tax

Just when you thought I'd taken my tire-iron and walked away from the dead horse, here we go with another beer tax post! Well, blame Steve Duin, who today castigated the cheapskates in the brewing industry who won't pony up for all the devastation they cause to public health. (Steve's cool, if dyspeptic and occasionally off-base, so don't take the following commentary as general criticism.)

His arguments amount to the ill-considered following points:

1. The tax hasn't been raised for 30 years. Duin: "That piddling amount has been held sacred by Oregon legislators who gather in Maui every year on vacations paid for by Paul Romain, the beer-wine-and-boondoggle lobbyist."

2. Van Havig's prose is misleading, and plus, he works for a Colorado-based brewery.

3. Taxes don't actually threaten breweries, and plus, Havig says drug and alcohol programs would "rely" on the tax, when they are only one part of the income; and anyway, contributing to this fund is important because it's actually it's a punitive measure for breweries " to treat the alcoholics drowning in its product."

4. The tax is cheap. Duin: "Eight-tenths of a cent. Bear in mind that this is an industry that didn't hesitate last weekend at the third annual Oregon Craft Brewfest in Silverton to charge beer lovers $10 for a commemorative glass and four 'samples.'"

5. Taxes have nothing to do with the price of beer.

6. And anyway, mostly Bud will pick up the tab, so whatcha complaining about?

I don't mind someone supporting the beer tax as policy, but this editorial pretty much avoids the policy discussion in favor of cheap rhetorical potshots. Had Duin actually wrangled with the details, he'd have found that supporting the tax was less convenient than his article suggests. There are thorny issues here.

So, to rebut:

1. So what? It's a regressive, additional tax targeting a specific industry. Why should we naturally assume it will always rise? A better question is: should we be targeting the beer industry with an additional tax burden in the first place?

2. As opposed to Duin's prose, which is edifying. But wait, he works for Advance Publications, based in New York.

3. For a guy who massages facts and manipulates emotions to score rhetorical points, Duin is awfully touchy when Havig does it, too. As to the punitive intent, here's a question: if you're going to claim that the Oregon brewing industry is drowning alcoholics, shouldn't you--I don't know--prove it? A stat here or there, perhaps? Oregon breweries are really drowning alcoholics? Tough words....

4. The tax is not cheap to small brewers who find it hard to barely make ends meet. And if the issue is punishing people who make money off drowning alcoholics, why must brewers take all the heat, while bars and distributors get off Scot free?

5. It could be; after all, Iraq really had nothing to do with 9/11.

6. In one scenario, Bud would pick up most of the tab. Is that the one Duin supports? And what happens when Deschutes makes enough to qualify for the tax and has to take on millions in taxes. Will they be able to dismiss those expenses as easily as Steve?

Okay, enough on the rant. But that was a sloppy, lame editorial. I expect more.