Archive for April, 2009

Mr. Koch, Please Shut UP

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

There are two famous Koch’s in the brewing world, neither related, and both are the most whiny jerk offs in the brewing industry. Today’s post is dedicated to just one of the though, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing. He has annoyed me to the point that I’m writing this open letter that I will never send.

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Dear Mr. Greg “it’s Bud’s fault” Koch

Over the last couple months your name has been pinging all over the radar, and I think it’s gone to your head. You seem to be espousing this view that craft brewers are the schiz, and anyone who doesn’t think so has obviously had a lobotomy. I find this view offensive, silly, and just plain high school cliquish. Please allow me to explain.

Prior to the expansion of your head I only knew you as the CEO of Stone. A brewery that made good beer, but thought much more of itself then most people I know thought of them. Then shortly before Beer Wars was released your name started popping up everywhere, and it was no longer attached to Stone all the time. You were your own person, Greg Koch and not Greg Koch of Stone Brewing. This was no big deal to me as you were an important member of the panel who was there to give a poorly made Micheal Moore style documentary some street cred. But anyone with even a peanut size brain could see that the only thing that movie was made to do was trash everyone except micro brewers, and talk about how great people like you are.

My opinion of you didn’t drop after the movie since that was obviously the direction it was headed. I would have prefered if you tried to bring some level headed discussion to the panel, but I can’t get everything. Then you gave your speech at the Craft Brewers Conference in Boston and shot yourself in the foot. You characterized the people who drink BMC as “dispassionate consumers”, “Wusses”, and said that people who enjoy “fizzy yellow beer” are the kind of people who like mozzarella sticks, white bread, instant coffee, and Kenny G. Really Greg? Do you really think less of someone because they don’t eat gourmet food, drink craft beer, patronize Starbucks, or listen to Count Basie. It takes either a brave man, or a small man to judge a person based on their tastes and habits of consumption.

Let me characterize someone for you. Picture a person sitting in a local cafe. They have a Mac Book in front of them, an iPod on the table, and designer clothes. This person likes to view themselves as a foodie and only eats at the trendy spots in town. They spend their free time listening to local indie music simply because it’s local, and therefore better then anything else. Is this the kind of passionate person that you want drinking craft beer? If so then that’s interesting because the person I described drinks Miller High Life. They won’t touch white bread, instant coffee or listen to Kenny G. But what does what they drink, wear, or eat have to do with what kind of person they are? Why should a pub owner aim for what you call the “passionate consumers” that fit your mold and not be welcoming of all good people?

I’m tired of pubs that cater to your mold. I wish someday to see more pubs with the same diversity you see at the local bar. The way you guys have marketed yourselves is hurting the craft beer industry, but you like the trendy people with money to burn on $5 pints and $3 dollar bombers. Why should someone as passionate as Greg Koch market his beer towards Joe Schmoe? No wonder many blue collar people view craft beer as a white collar drink and prefer to stick to BMC. The big brands are all to happy to tell them we like you the way you are, why should you have to change.

Hopefully brewers like you will wake up one day and realize that not everyone who doesn’t fit your mold is a stupid person unworthy of your time. Hopefully one day you guys will let the consumer decide what they want to drink without getting on your soapbox to tell them they are wrong. Hopefully one day you really will make beer simply because it’s your passion like you say, and not because you have to stick it to the man and those dispassionate consumers. I dare you to walk into a pub and buy a round of Bud for all those “fizzy yellow beer drinkers”.

And The Winner Of The Homebrewers Classic Is…..

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

blueribbonI just recieved an email with the results of the Oregon Homebrewers Classic, and the winner is…. Not me. Well, kinda not me. Best in show went to Dick Blankenship and his Imperial Pilsner, but I did win 1st in the Spice/Herb/Vegetable category. That’s gotta count for somethin right? Actually it counts for a bit more then somethin in my opinion… I still can’t believe my Rose Red placed first in its category….

Well, I’d like to thank the Acadamy…

If you want to see the complete list of winners download here.

May Beer Events 2009 Edition

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

liftarn_large_barrelBeen looking around quite a bit lately for festivals in May. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been to two festivals this month, but none of these get me goin. This means I’ll probably take a break from the festivals this month, but you shouldn’t. Get out there and try some beer!

May 1-2 Portland’s Cheers To Belgian Beers

May 9 Fred Fest – This is an event to attend, but tickets are limited. The website does an awesome job of describing it, so I won’t add my 2 cents.

May 11-17 Craft Beer Week

May 15-17   Brewers Memorial Ale FestThis festival is put on by Rogue Brewery in honor of  John Maier’s dog Brewer who used to wonder their brewery. People are encouraged to bring their own dogs to this festival. Admission is $10 and includes three tasting tickets plus activities geared more towards the four legged.

May 16 Oregon Homebrew Festival  Calapooia Brewery keeps coming up in my posts these last few days. Might be coincidence. They are hosting this years events which include a competition, equipment swap, and Raffle

May 29 Zoo Brew – No list for May would be complete without Zoo Brew.

Discovering Albany

Monday, April 27th, 2009
picture of albany from http://www.cityofalbany.net

picture of albany from http://www.cityofalbany.net

This is part two of a post about the events on the 24th that started at Brewfest, one of the best nights I had this month. Part one is here

I’ve spent a good part of my life in the Willamette Valley and never had a high opinion of Albany. Not that there was ever anything wrong with the city, just never was a place I enjoyed spending my time. After all for a teenager who had all his friends and fun things to do with them in Salem, Albany seemed small. In fact we had a little joke back then about Albany. My friends and I had no doubt that Albany had a meth problem. The joke went you could always tell someone from Albany because they had too much free time, and no eyebrows from cooking meth. The joke doesn’t seem so funny now… Anyway, why go on about Albany? Well Calapooia Brewery is in Albany.

After we’d finished up at the Brewfest we started on the drive home. Those that know me know that I’m a flake. A big flake in fact. Kaylie and I had got to talkin and I got to not lookin out for where we were going. Next thing we knew we were almost to Woodburn. What a horrible co-pilot am I.

Once we’d gotten on the right track though things went smoothly. We came down through Brooks, and were just coming up on the Chemawa while talking about what we wanted to do with the evening. The significance of Chemawa is it was the point where we had to officially decide if we wanted the evening to continue, or call it good. This is where Kaylies spontaneity came in. And trust me, she has spontaneity to spare.

I’m not sure what exactly was said that triggered the idea, but next thing I knew Kaylie suggested we head down to Albany and visit Calapooia brewery. Calapooia are the people who brew that amazing Chili Beer we’d had at the festival. Before I get into the adventure of getting to the brewery I just want to describe the Chili Beer. There’s not alot of malt flavor, nor bitterness. In fact there’s not alot of beer flavor at all except at the front. The thing that makes this beer awesome is that at the back is a strong taste of chili peppers and a good warming sensation accompanied by a mild burn. If you like the taste of chili’s then you’ll love it, but even if your not the biggest fan the warmth this beer has to it is just awesome.

Ok, back on topic. Neither Kaylie nor I were familiar with Albany and had called Calapooia ahead of time to get some directions. Problem was multiple phone calls went unanswered and the directions weren’t much help to us out of towners. After driving further then we thought we stopped at a Carl’s Jr for directions. This resulted in an Oh Crap! moment. Even the local couldn’t tell us where the brewery was located. They could however tell us where Hill St was, and that happened to be the street we were looking for. Once we were on Hill St we were lost again. Turning right onto Hill lead to a dead end, and left had street addresses that were to high, and just kept going up. At the top of the hill we stopped, and once again the guy (I’m so proud of myself :P) asked for directions, and once again none of the locals knew they had a brewery. Ok, I take that back, one local knew. The problem was he gave us directions you would give to a local, not the idiot directions I needed. After we’d turned around and found our way to the brewery we parked in a lot full of gravel piles.

The brewery was pretty tight, it had the look of a trendy kinda pub like Boons, but was filled with a wide assortment of locals. In fact there weren’t many people as young as us. Perhaps most entertaining though wasn’t the assortment of people, but the band. There was a person in the band from every decade. There was an older bluegrass looking guy on harmonica, a soul sista on lead vocals, a hippie on base, and Joan Jett on drums.. Or at least her look alike.

Joan Jett

Joan Jett

The beer was awesome, the atmosphere was great, and the people where the kind of fun welcoming crowd you’d find at a local watering hole kinda bar. This place has to be one of the best brewpubs I’ve come across. I’ll see if Kaylie wants to write her take on it. Oh yeah, it turned out that after all that work trying to find the brewery we discovered one of Calapoola’s coasters we got from Brewfest. There was a map on the back…

calapoola

Because I’m Lazy, That’s Why

Monday, April 27th, 2009

I know I said I’d post the rest of the story from the festival yesterday, but as you can see it didn’t happen. Most of my day was divided between a meeting, and corralling about 20+ three year olds. This means I didn’t write diddly yesterday. You’d think that would mean I’d hammer out the rest of the story last night and post it today, Well you’d be wrong. I spent last night bottling my Bombay CPB Porter (I can change it from stout to porter if I like).

So why not write it today and toss it up? Well today looks busy too. I have several friends currently attending Corban College, and their time there is almost up. This means we will celebrate the coming of summer with a day of cards, Frisbee, and soda (dry campus). So today I’m posting a video that somebody showed me. Personally I think it’s rubbish. Then again the video didn’t go the way I expected and I now am in a blood feud with it. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.


I Am A Craft Brewer from I Am A Craft Brewer on Vimeo.

What An Adventure!

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

logo-brewfestsml1Yesterday was the Oregon Gardens Brewfest, and while that was fun it was just the tip of a fun evening. But to tell the story I have to start back in March. At the time I was making plans to go to the Spring Beer and Wine festival up in Portland. Whenever I plan to do a beer thing my first inclination is to invite Kaylie because there’s no one I enjoy having a beer with more. So I told Kaylie about the festival and she mentioned that she thought her meetup group was going. I’d never heard of meetup.com, but within a few minutes I had signed up for the Salem Beer and Wine group. Turns out the group was going to Brewfest, not Spring Beer and Wine. Well due to miscommunication on my part Kaylie ended up not coming along for the Spring one, we did plan on going to brewfest with the meetup group though. So now we come back to the 24th.

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Shwag from the fest. I wish I could say they gave me the hat and beer as part of the entrance fee

The meetup group was supposed to be up there at 5:30, but between my flat tire and Kaylie getting off work at 5 we didn’t show up until well after that time. The festival itself was pretty awesome. We walked around the place first, looking around for what beers we wanted to use our seven tickets on, then got to sampling. Most of the beers were just ok, but a handful really stood out, but I want to gripe about something first.

Close up of the Chili beer from Calapoola

Close up of the Chili beer from Calapooia

One thing I don’t like about beer festivals is that they aren’t really about the brewers, and that annoys me. Rather then having brewers showcase their talents by bringing in something new for the public to try breweries tend to send a flagship and a seasonal/limited release. The reason this irritates me is that this is a perfect opportunity for breweries to show their skill and craft off, but instead they use it as a forum to pimp beer that in many cases I’ve tried already. Gripe number two is that volunteers aren’t properly educated and don’t receive sufficient material on the beers they are serving, or the breweries that make them. Every time I had a question about a beer the answer I received was the description that was printed in the tasters guide. No one could tell me about the differences between the stouts a company made, the availability, or the process or ingredients for the beer. In fact many volunteers couldn’t even tell you where some of these breweries were located. Gripe three is that as craft beer becomes bigger these festivals seem to become geared towards people that aren’t really into the craft, and rather just enjoy the beer. This means that while I’m asking about types of hops and hoping schedules Im getting answers about how hops work and why the hops their brewery is using are so much better then the other guys. Beer festivals should be about celebrating beer first, and about marketing for your brewery second.

I really like schwag

I really like schwag

Okay now that I’m done complaining it’s back to the story. The beers I enjoyed most were the scotish ale from Belfast, and the Chili Beer from Calapooia bewery. In fact we both liked that Chili Beer alot, and it factored into the evening later. After we’d finished our tasting and eating we wandered for a short bit then decided to head back. One thing about beer festivals is that when your done tasting there isn’t a ton else to do.

After we left is when the fun started. I’ll get the rest typed out and up tomorrow.

The Coolest Beer Related Email

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Yesterday morning I awoke to both the most exciting, and the most  annoying beer related email I’ve received.

OREGON GARDENS 2009 HOMEBREWERS CLASSIC‏
From:  Richard Blankenship
Sent: Thu 4/23/09 8:53 AM
 
Congratulations on placing in the 2009 Oregon Gardens Homebrewers Classic. 
 
The awards ceremony will take place this Saturday, April 25th at 1:00 P.M.  We hope you can attend.
 
Slainte’
Dick Blankenship
Capitol Brewers
Entry Coordinator

Oregon Gardens Brewfest

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

logo-brewfestsmlWell tomorrow is the first day of the Oregon Gardens Brewfest. If you have time of Friday or Saturday you should swing by. It opens at 4pm on Friday and 12 on Saturday with an admission cost of $15. If anyone is going to be there Saturday around 1 can you let me know? I work Saturday at 1 and it’s when their announcing the home brew contest winners.

Anyway, it deffinatly will be worth going. Besides beer tasting there will be live music and awesome food. In fact some of the vendors are The Oregon Gardens, Rogue, and Mt Angel Sausage. That means no Gyros!!!!! As far as I’m concerned gyros are the nastiest thing now. One thing to know is that on both days on site parking after 4pm will cost you $5.

Here are some of the breweries participating

Belhaven Brewery, Scotland

Block 15

Blue Moon Brewing Company

Calapooia Brewing Co

Cascade Lakes Brewing Company

Deschutes Brewery

Eel River

Full Sail Brewing

Grand Teton Brewing

Hoegaarden Witbier

Kona Brewing Company

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Laughing Dog

Leffe Blonde

New Belgium Brewing

Ninkasi Brewing

North Coast Brewing

Oakshire Brewing

Pelican Pub and Brewery

Ram Restauant and Brewery

Redhook Brewing Co

Rogue Ale & Spirits

Roots Brewing Co

Seven Brides

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Widmer Bros

Young’s Brewing Company

Recycling Bottles

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

obi_023cIt’s Earth Day….. I know that gets some people excited, but to me it’s just another day. But in honor of this day I figured I might as well tie something beer related into helping the earth. After failed starts with another organic beer post, and other ideas I finally struck on one that might work. We all drink beer right? So we all have left over bottles that we recycle right? Well why not reuse your own bottles?

With the whole green movement going on many people are switching from aluminium to glass. Beer drinkers have been ahead of the curve though because most good craft beers come in glass bottles. The problem though is glass really isn’t as super friendly to the environment as people think. Pick up a glass bottle in one hand, and a soda can in the other. Which one is lighter? Which one takes up less space? When it comes to shipping aluminium has the edge. It’s light, compact, and more disposable, and therefore takes less fuel to move. The problem is aluminium can only be recycled a certain number of times. Glass can potentially be recycled till the end of time.

scapeglas1So let’s say you buy this whole glass is better thing, or not, and you dutiffuly recycle all your glass bottles. What happens to them now? Well after your glass is picked up it’s taken to a recycling center where it is crushed, cleaned, and sold. From there your glass ends up in all sorts of places. Ultimately the only way glass can be reused infinatly though is when making more glass. The problem is only recently have companys been using more recycled glass. If your glass bottle is destined end up in another container though it is melted and reformed into a new glass bottle. Gone are the days where bottlers washed and reused glass bottles just as they were.

36using20bottle20capper

Ok, now that I’ve been a negative Nelly let me give you some cool uses for those glass bottles. first off you’ll need either a bottle caper (these only work with pry off bottles), or a corker. These things are easy to find online, or at your local home brewing or wine supply shop. You’ll also need to pick up a bottle brush and caps or corks while your at it. When you get back it’s time to decide what you want to do with your bottles. Then you just have to clean out any material in them with the bottle brush (never reuse a bottle with scratches or damage to the inside), and sanitize. Here are some things to put in those bottles.

  • •Those fancy infused vinegars people make
  • •Bottle your own water
  • •Make some soda pop
  • •Make beer or wine
  • •Make your own cordials or liqueurs
  • •Buy liquids in bulk then break them down for storage
  • •If you live in an area of political unrest you could even make Molotov Cocktails (I don’t recommend this since it destroys the bottle and is usually illegal)

Mr Beer Give Away

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

84-lrg1The Mr Beer give away is still going. For those interested you can still enter by writing a relevant comment to any post on this blog. The great thing about this is that you can enter as many times as you like this way. For every relevant comment you will get one entry in the contest.

Starting today though there’s another way to enter. Send me an email at theweeklybrew@live.com letting me know your favorite beer related story. Granted you can only send one story, but if you want to get multiple entries using this method then get a friend to send one in, and have them mention that you told them about the contest, also make sure they put your name and email. If they just put Rick told me then that would create issues since I don’t know who Rick is nor how to contact him. If you get a friend to do this then you will both get an entry.

Please keep in mind that by sending me your story your giving me permission to post it on my blog. I may not use any of them, but if there are some great one I’ll post them, with full credit to the sender of course. This means you probably shouldn’t send me a story about the time you got drunk and did something illegal.