20.11.08

Beer...TO THE EXTREME!!!

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.

7 comments:

  1. I once got into a debate with a guy in Oklahoma about why I prefer Micro Brews. He kept telling me about how all micro brews were horrible and tasted bad.

    I had to keep telling him that there was more than one microbrewery and that each one made more than one beer...that wasn't enough.

    Finally, he conceded that if he was going to drink micro brewed beer that he preferred the East Coast ones to those brewed west of the Mississippi.

    I asked the simple question, "Then what pray tell is your favorite East Coast micro brewed beer?"

    The answer: Amstel Light

    Ugh...

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  2. I wonder if the guy knew that Keystone is brewed by Coors Brewing Company. Hmmm...

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  3. Jordan, when are you going to start brewing your own beer? There's little in the world of beer less rewarding than working the raw ingredients through your fingers, watching the yeast do it's work over time, and then being able to say, "I made this."

    Of course, that doesn't stop you from enjoying all the other great beers of the world, it just increases the appreciation of them.

    (FYI: I do not recommend some "easy" kit like a Mr. Beer. If you're going to do it, do it right.)

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  4. I might consider that, Bryan. But I've never been one to take immense satisfaction in making my own of something. When my mom stopped making me sandwiches and I had to do it for myself, she said "Now doesn't that taste better?"

    But it didn't. Her sandwiches were WAY better.

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  5. As a New Jersey resident, I am surrounded by a world of excellent micro-breweries. Back here near New York City we get some Stone Brewing and lots of Rogue, but not much else.
    I have no idea what they have below the Mason-Dixon line, but from my humble place in the Mid-Atlantic I can recommend:

    Victory Brewing--try any brew and it will be good.

    Peak Organic Brewing---the only organic beer that tastes good.

    Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout---tastes like heaven when its below freezing outside.

    Flying Fish Brewery---a NJ micro-brewery: try the Belgian Abbey Dubbel.

    And as for the Dogfish Head, I enjoy their Raison D'etre.

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  6. well, that's what i look for in a good beer;
    un-drinkability. Take that Bud Light.

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  7. Jordan, I would have to agree with Bryan on the matter of brewing your own stuff. I have been a homebrewer for two years, not a day goes by I don't love that fact. My inlaws don't like it at all, but everytime they come over and complain, I crack open my fresh, yummy, brew with a smile. That ofcourse, may not be helping the matter. As for still enjoying the other amazing beers out there, look at it this way, you need to stock up on popstop bottles to reuse anyway, so why not drink the beer instead of buying new bottles.

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