On one slow evening at the store where I worked in Portland, I was working the cash registers when a boozed-up gentlemen in his mid-20's with a backward baseball cap stormed in.
"WHERE'S YOUR BEER?!" he shouted. I squinted derisively and pointed toward the back. Moments later, he waddled back with a case of Coors Light.
"YOU GUYS DON'T HAVE ANY KEYSTONE!" he shouted into my face. "ALL YOU GOT IS A BUNCH OF (HOMOSEXUAL) BEER!!!"
"Yeah," I muttered back. "We have one of the best beer selections around."
What I didn't say is nearly all of those "effeminate" beers had at least double the alcohol content and hundreds of times the flavor of his selection. Pearls before swine, I guess.
If The New Yorker's excellent article (sent to me by my old friend Kristy) on the rise of craft brewing is any indication, my backwards-capped nemesis will learn the truth soon enough. The article focuses on Dogfish Head Brewery and their founder, the charismatic Sam Calagione. While the essay doesn't stray far enough west, I'm happy it sheds light on how craft brewing is shifting to the mainstream.
Dogfish Head, located in Milton, Delaware, is fighting the battle against bad beer on the East Coast. I've long held a West Coast-based bias against Dogfish Head, snootily accusing them of gimmickry. But the truth is, I can be a pretentious idiot. Dogfish Head experiment with the best of them, tossing in everything from raspberries to spirulina to stuff you've never heard of. One of their most notable beers is their 120 Minute IPA, a brew so hoppy it's nearly syrup, and almost satirical of the West Coast trends. It's also nearly undrinkable, but that's neither here nor there. Dogfish Head loves to innovate. And if we've learned anything from American automakers, it's that we could use more innovation in this country.