Tallgrass (Manhattan, Kansas) is definitely in the running with this entry:
AB's Pricing Counteroffensive: The Sequel
5 hours ago
Adrian Grenier, star of HBO's "Entourage," has teamed up with a Portland designer and two local homebrewers to bring back a way of drinking beer not seen since the era depicted in another cable hit: "Mad Men."I fear this is a marketing idea in search of a beer. In an age of micro-computing and digital innovation, the young folks have fallen ever more nostalgic of a time of steel and factories. Breweries have used that nostalgia in an effort to sell regular, modern cans--which come on lines vastly cheaper than comparable bottling systems. I get that; you make a virtue out of necessity. But the cans sucked. They required you to use an opener, and this resulted in sharp edges and, if I understand history correctly, could contribute to a metallic taste. They were made of much heavier steel, which was a waste of resources (no idea how the current cans are made, but they are steel). There was a reason cans evolved: the new ones are better. It's like going back to old-school refrigerators because they looked cool.
Over dinner at downtown Portland's Clyde Common in 2010, Grenier and former Nike designer Justin Hawkins got to talking about flat top beer cans, the metal cans your dad would open by puncturing two holes in the top with a steel opener called a churchkey. Popular throughout the 1940s and 50s, the flat top disappeared in the 1960s with the invention of the pull-tab.
On Monday, Grenier and Hawkins' brewery, Churchkey Can Co., canned its first batch, a pilsner recipe developed by Portland homebrewers Lucas Jones and Sean Burke. Hawkins says Churchkey's beer will pop-up in Portland beer shops and bars -- including Southeast Grand Avenue's Dig A Pony -- by early April. A recyclable steel churchkey is included with each six pack.
This looks like yet another case of Sally's rule: beware a company selling packaging, not beer.
Craft brewers saw volume rise 13 percent, with a 15 percent increase in retail sales from 2010 to 2011, representing a total barrel increase of 1.3 million. In 2011, craft brewers represented 5.68 percent of volume of the U.S. beer market, up from 4.97 in 2010, with production reaching 11,468,152 barrels. With 250 brewery openings and only 37 closings, the BA also reported that 1,989 breweries were operating in the U.S. in 2011—an 11 percent increase from the previous year.A few things to add context:
Change is in the wind for Full Sail’s Portland-based brewmaster John Harris. Harris says on Monday, he told his Full Sail bosses, Irene Firmat and Jamie Emmerson — along with the other employee-owners of Full Sail — that he was leaving the brewing company to pursue his dream of opening his own brewpub in Portland. Harris says he will work at Full Sail through April.Harris is, of course, the brewer who started at McMenamins in their earliest years, was the founding brewmaster at Deschutes (Mirror Pond, Black Butte, Jubel), and then spent fifteen plus years at Full Sail.
Harris says he has raised “about half” of the money he feels he needs to set sail with his dream, already has found brewing equipment and is now looking for a space.
The building next door is 5,000 sf, and the plan we're working on calls for about 25% of it to be dedicated to extra taproom seating, along the windows on Fourth Street. We'll also convert our garage space into full-time taproom space, and expand our kitchen, too. The other 75% of the new building will be used for packaging and warehousing. We've put money down on a new 12-valve bottle filler from GAI that will be arriving from Italy in a month or two, and we're getting an automated keg line as well. Our goal is to have the expansion/remodel and new equipment installation completed by the beginning of the summer tourist season, with bottles to follow sometime later in the summer.Very good news indeed. Incidentally, the Double Mountain fifth anniversary bash is this Saturday at the brewery. They somehow scored the Meat Puppets as musical guests, which is an amazing blast from this geezer's past.
This is a bit last minute, but we're having an event to release our barrel-aged doppelbock this Saturday, for which we're also smoking a whole pig that was raised on our spent grains. We'll be pouring the barrel-aged Lucubrator and our regular beers. $15 bucks gets you a glass of the limited edition Doppelbock and a pork sandwich. 6635 N. Baltimore Ave., Portland, OR 97203. 1-6 pm.Finally, I alert you to an event you can't go to--unless you live in the Bay State or nearby. It's called "The Artisans" and the idea is to feature small breweries from around the world. Looks like the Portland/Seattle International Fests, but the selection is, top to bottom, really impressive. It's sort of the "beer geeks greatest hits" fest. Wish I could go.
The athletic apparel behemoth is releasing a new version of its SB Dunk Low, a popular casual shoe. It is black and tan-colored. And since we're getting close to Saint Paddy's Day, the shoe has a nickname that is apparently beer-inspired - the Black and Tan.The whole thing is wonderful and strange. First off, the idea of doing a beer-inspired athletic shoe is psychedelic. I have to think that the local beer culture seeped into the Nike campus and infected the minds of the shoe designers there. But that's not all: Nike has a version of the shoe with a tie-in to Guinness. It is, predictably, black, brown, and head-colored (what, beige?). The ultimate in cross-marketing, pulling in beer drinkers, sporty types, and holiday celebrants. Throw in March Madness and you've got the superfecta. I'm not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed. (Actually, I think they're pretty righteous sneaks. "Righteous sneaks"--is that what the kids still call them?)
Brian Boyd [of the Irish Times]: "It has certain historical associations. The Black and Tans were a ruthless auxiliary force of the British army before we became independent in the 1920s. They were responsible for wide-scale massacres, butchering of people. You would not - we don't even - for example, in the U.S. you may go into a bar and asked for a drink called a Black and Tan."
It's how the Americans view Saint Patrick's Day and view Irish culture and history. And it's the very fact that some people are saying that these are beer-themed sneakers, that the only way to celebrate a national holiday of a country with a very rich culture and a very rich history and literature, et cetera, is to pour massive amounts of alcohol down your body.Look, Americans are culpable for an almost infinite number of sins of ignorance against other countries. We regularly insult vast swathes of the globe and should be held to account. But we get to celebrate St. Patrick's Day however we wish. St. Patrick's Day is now, as celebrated in America, fully American. Every culture gets mangled when it comes into the American melting pot, but that is our culture--a hodgepodge of reinterpreted traditions from around the world. So no dice on the you're-doing-it-wrong argument.
One of the main reasons I don't like the idea of matching and pairing is that everything pretty goes with pretty much everything else in the right combination.This is less a declaration than a paradox: how can everything go with everything else in the right combination? They are interchangeable or they require the right combinations, seems like. But never mind. What's more interesting is the resulting discussion thread, which includes our own Ben Edmunds, and you should go have a look.
A new study by researchers at Penn State finds that when it comes to appreciating the subtleties of wine, experts can taste things many of us can't. "What we found is that the fundamental taste ability of an expert is different," says John Hayes of Penn State.(The good news: scientists think this is mostly a matter of training and experience, not a function of faulty taste buds or olfactory nerves.) That quote is from NPR, who had a piece on the new study this morning. As I was listening to it, I was reminded of what a huge advantage beer has over wine in terms of flavor articulation. The difference between a poor-quality wine and a good wine (let's leave price out of it) are a cluster of very similar qualities. The clarity and balance of a pinot noir grape makes a good wine, but you still have to contend with pinot noir grapes.