Portland Wins yet another Beer Game

I almost titled this “Portland Ruins yet another Mid-Western Beer Drinker.” And I very well could have because that’s what it did. The greatest city in the Northwest ruined me. And I'm here tell about it. It’s a tragic tale. It really is.

I recently moved from Portland back home to Missouri. A drastic and brave move if you ask me. This place is a real bore sometimes. Not much is shaking in the Midwest. Portland looms large in my heart. But this is home and I’ll embrace it nonetheless (at least for a few more weeks…I’m leaving for China very soon if all the paper work goes through). But this place is special to me. It holds all the familiar quirks and smells that I’m used to. I can’t abandon it just yet.

Out on the town I leaned in and asked the hearty blonde haired waitress with exaggerated curls and spritz perfume what she had on her beer menu and she replied most mysteriously, “Bud Light, Budweiser, Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Miller Genuine Draft, Busch, Busch Light, Coors, Coors Light, Pabst etc… I scratched my head and asked, “Corona?” She shook her head and said, “No.”

I don’t remember what I drank that night, and no not because I drank too much, but because it was awful. I am baffled. I really am. How did frat-boy light-beer win the Midwest beer game? I don't like it.

I am beginning to understand why most Christians in the Midwest demonize beer. Chalk it up, it's a taboo 'round them here parts. But it can't be because beer is evil. No, that’s foolishness. Drunkenness is evil. I believe we've ostracized beer in the Midwest because the only names that are known around here sound so much like Bud Light and Coors Light. If this is the case then I don’t blame you (Midwest) for your beer hating. I mean, you don’t know the other names. The better names. Here are a few . . . take notes: Deschutes, Widmer’s, BridgePort, McMenamins, Rogue, Full Sail, Henry Weinhard's.

And I haven’t even scratched the surface. I told you I wasn’t a snob. Somebody else please fill-in the blanks. But I promise you won’t hate beer anymore. Or at least you’ll hate the right beer for the right reasons. Proper hate is good. I'll let you hate Busch Light if you like Deschutes Black Butte Porter.

I cannot go back. I can’t possibly nurse a Miller Lite. And like that . . . Portland wins again.


  1. I agree with the thoughts on the Midwest and beer, but there are of few bright spots. Here in Lexington (KY) for example there is a brewery that makes a bourbon barrel ale (that's right, beer aged in bourbon barrels). Granted this is a college town and the frat beers still rule, but there is some hope.

  2. This brought a proud tear to my eye.

  3. Watch for Kansas City's Boulevard. I was in frat town Manhattan, KS for a reunion, and Boulevard saved the day with good choices at the bar. (My brother and I went to exorcise the demons of growing up demonizing alcohol.)

    I like your premise of why we demonized beer growing up in the Midwest.

  4. I feel your pain. I moved from Colorado to Milwaukee a couple of years ago. I remember the day we were moving in it was 85 and humid and a neighbor offered my friends and I some Miller Lites. We sat and drank them in the empty moving truck. It was probably one of the best beers I've had because we just moved a truckload of furniture and whatnot and it was free. But from that point on it was all downhill beer-wise.

    There is some progress though. Wisconsin just got New Belgium out here and there are some promising microbreweries, but lite beers on tap and PBR cans still dominate most bars in Milwaukee.

  5. I grew up in Lexington and they do a good job with microbreweries. And if you want to become a real alcohol snob, spend some time in the Bluegrass You'll start mocking people who drink mixed drinks or even Jack Daniels. You might even smack them if they call it bourbon.

    Now about that Portland Beer:

    Someone needs to have a world with the folks who run an establishment in Portland named Kell's. I visited on a Thursday night and the place was packed. They had good beers on tap, but they also had their own in-house brew which was worse than warm Schaeffer's in a can. But Jordan gave me some advice and I ended up at Deschutes I got a sampler and their IPA. It was all great. One of the holiday ales actually increased my testosterone level.

  6. John: Boulevard is a bright spot for me. I really like it.

    Steve: Yeah, I have some friends from KY and they tell me there's no such thing as Bourbon outside of Bourbon County, Kentucky. And Jack Daniels is usually the butt of their jokes.

    If you're still downtown Portland and want an Irish pub that's better than Kell's I whole heartily recommend Paddy's located on first street. They have a towering wall of liquor. The Whiskey selection alone will blow your mind. http://paddys.com/

  7. !
    Indeed. I live on "frat row" at the University of Minnesota.
    Light beer is everywhere. But I suppose it is more about a "means to an end" than an enjoyable drink for 19-year olds.

  8. I'm pretty sure Missouri has Leinenkugel's.

  9. Laura, Wiki read that Leinenkugel's is in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. But I'm thirsty so I'll keep my eyes open. I've never had Leinenkugel's before.

  10. It's brewed in Chippewa Falls (I've been on the tour, it's true), but they distribute all over -- even a couple varieties (although not the best ones) in Oregon. According to their website, there's a distributer in Joplin. I checked.

  11. Tonight at a friends birthday I actually had one. It was on tap at a Buffalo Wild Wings. I guess I hadn't ever looked before. It was a Sunrise Wheat and it had an orange in it so it was a little fruity but it was better than a Bud Light. It was a good summer beer. Thanks for the suggestion.