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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's Brewing for the DNC

I got to see an old friend at the Brewers Fest--David Zuckerman from Boulder Beer (long, long ago, he got his start in Portland at BridgePort). As it happens, I'll be blogging from the Democratic National Convention next month, and I have been anticipating the prospect of trying out a few beers. David mentioned that Denver's pub culture isn't very good, but did offer to show me around his brewery if I got the chance. I doubt I'll be able to resolve finally that Denver is Portland's inferior--not enough time for pub-hopping. But I do want to make a few inroads.

Per Charlie Papazian, it looks like Denver is getting ready for us:
While both Barrack Obama and John McCain jockey for positions just right and left of center, there’s nothing centrist about the beers being brewed up in Denver for conventioneers. Denver area brewers have been planning and preparing for the onslaught of thirsty beer drinkers seeking diversity, character, complexity and a flavor they can savor.
But are they really ready for the Oregon delegation? Early signs are not particularly hopeful.
  • Great Divide is making "liberally hopped American pale ale." I suspect, however, that the liberal in the title refers to the blue hue of the drinkers, not the actual octane of the brew (Great Divide's a good brewery, but no hop haven).
  • Wynkoop has a maibock called, stylishly, the Obamanator. But with the "-ator" suffix, shouldn't this be a doppel? Maybe they don't know better in Denver.
  • Rock Bottom has a very pale beer called "Political ale" about which no more is reported. (I observe parenthetically that it should have been called Politic Ale, though. Duh.)
  • Avery is making "Ale to the Chief"--again, a pun with no details.
Charlie concludes by citing Denver as the Napa of beer, a label that recently chafed folks on the Brew Crew listserv. Said one commenter: "Yeah, but we're the Portland of Beer." True that. And when we hit the Mile High city, we will bring our extremely sophisticated palates. I hope they've put as much thought into the beers as they have into the beers' names.

More to come--

[Note: I slightly expanded this post, realizing that the bit at the start about David Zuckerman omitted the reason I brought him up in the first place.]

[Update 2: See below. Heh.]


  1. While you're downtown, you might wander over to Coors Field and check out the Sandlot Brewery. They've won a ridiculous amount of GABF medals (home field advantage?), but style-wise I thought they had a decent selection. If you get a chance, check out their funky lil' brewhouse and cellar. Golden-size it is not, which made me happy to see.

  2. I want a shirt that says:

    Portland, Or: "The Portland of Beer"

    Priceless line...

  3. [rant]
    The Napa of Beer? So it's overpriced, overrun with snobs who wouldn't know a hop from a malt, and does its best to promote underage drinking by failing to provide ANY EVENT in the county that is not somehow tied in to alcohol?

    Don't believe me? I graduated from Vintage High School and cheered on our sports teams (Go Crushers!) in the Beringer Gym.

    Five generations my family's lived in Napa. We were cattle ranchers. I drove a pickup truck with a gun rack to high school. But no one believes that there are people living out there in the golden hills, so as they drive the picturesque mountain roads, they feel free to throw their trash off the cliff and down onto my family's ranch.

    And when they go careening drunkenly off the cliff, who's working the winch that pulls them out? Yeah, those of us who live down there in the valley.

    Every day I wake up and thank God Portland is not Napa.

  4. Mary Sue, I feel you pain. Unfortunately for hardy Napanians [?], you fair valley has become one of the most branded in the world. Places with outsized reputations almost always have a more earthy, working-class reality, but tourism boards downplay those aspects. BTW, my mom graduated from Napa High.

    Joe, the Portland of Beer thing was genius, wasn't it? Too bad I didn't coin it. But someone should start selling t-shirts. Hmmm, like me....

  5. Add another custom brew to that DNC list: Breckenridge Brewery is making a special ale just for the CNN crew at the Pepsi Center. It's called (simply enough) CNN Brew, a red ale. Look for that inside the Pepsi Center.