"[T]his is quite depressing. I'm still hoping this doesn't come to fruition, but if this holds up the East side just had a major setback."It wasn't unreasonable speculation--why would Rogue buy a financially-troubled pub and not turn it into a vehicle to sell its own beer? Why wouldn't the brewery re-brand it? Those of us who love tap diversity and will patronize a place with obscure foreign beers are still, even in Beervana, a distinct minority, so from a business perspective, one couldn't reasonably expect Rogue to continue to cater to us. And yet it appears that's exactly what they've done.__
"T]here’s a reason I haven’t been to the Public House in Portland for years. The food is pretty spendy for the average quality and the beer list certainly lacks diversity."__
"This will mean no more eclectic tap offerings outside of Rogue’s own brands and perhaps a limited guest taps at the location. What started out as one of the best beer bars in Portland will simply become another Rogue location."
In addition to preserving the broad tap selection, Rogue has effectively buried its ownership. You can see evidence of Rogue Nation if you speak the language: the table sets include six-pack containers with beer-bottle salt and pepper shakers. The menu is familiar. But they've done a lot to scrub their involvement--the sixer containers are from regional breweries. The taps are every bit as diverse as they ever were--and I've been there when not a single one was a Rogue beer. (Which, as a fan of Rogue, was actually disappointing. I might have gone for a Brutal Bitter had it been available.)
All of which leads me to the latest news: later this month, Rogue will be hosting a small-brewery beer fest.
"On August 29th from 11:00am to 9:00pm, the city of Portland will close down SE 9th Street between SE Belmont and SE Yamhill for the 1st Annual Oregon Indie Beer Fest. The event will feature 30+ small, independent Oregon-based brewers that brew no-more-than 1000 barrels per year, providing festival goers with exciting, hard-to-find beers. To prepare us for this unique gathering, Green Dragon will be tapping some of these independent brews each day of the week (August 24-28) leading up to the festival."Even by the high standards Rogue has maintained with the Green Dragon, this is exceptional. Not to put too fine a point on it, but they're hosting a brewers festival to highlight their competition. The press release doesn't say anything about Rogue's participation, but they certainly won't qualify in terms of barrelage restrictions. It would be all the more remarkable if Rogue hosts a beer festival for the competition in which they themselves can't participate.
This looks to be a very cool fest, and I'm looking forward to it. Nice work, Rogue!