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Monday, April 08, 2013

Next Stop St Louis

It is exactly 24 days until the manuscript for the Beer Bible is due (current length, 211k words), which means blogging is going to get extremely bad for a period closely corresponding to that period.  Yes, yes, I know: how will you be able to tell?  Badda boom! 

If there is any blogging to be done, it might relate to a trip I'm taking on Thursday and Friday to tour the mothership in St Louis.  I should also get a chance to try some beers by local craft breweries (Perennial, Urban Chestnut, Schlafly's).  On the other hand, it's a blitzkrieg trip and I will be either busy or wrecked most of the time, so you never know.

Credit: Dave Ibison
I leave you with some final thoughts I had in an email exchange with Dave McLean at Magnolia Pub and Brewery this weekend.  Magnolia, for those of you who aren't familiar with your Haight Street breweries, is a place for session ales on cask.  Magnolia has multiple bitters (the biggest clocks in at less than 5%) and two milds.  I have not had a chance to visit Magnolia, but I've weirdly been lucky enough to try the milds, which is what we were discussing.  I wondered how he could sell these little lovelies when here in Oregon our sessions start at 5%.  He said:
I guess the short explanation has something to do with the if you build it they will come notion. These kinds of beers have been some of my earliest inspirations as a brewer and from day one at Magnolia, I set out to brew them, turn people onto them, and educate about them. I think we make it such a focal point of what we do and train our staff to spread the good word about them, too, that in the end, we've managed to somehow convert a lot of people and become known for these styles of beer more than any other.
That's hopeful--now I just need to con a brewery to follow Dave's lead or con Ted to open a Brewers Union in Portland.   But he also said this, and I'm wondering what you think:
I agree that it is a little like swimming upstream against a massive current of hops and high abv's but it's working for us and I think maybe we're poised to take advantage of the second look session beers are starting to get
Sessions rising?  Is this true?  Wishful thinking?   Consider it an invitation to opine.


Anonymous said...

More sessions beers NOW please!

David said...

St. Louis has a great session-focused brewpub - The Civil Life

Well worth checking out if you're able. Of course, Perennial, 4 Hands, Urban Chestnut, and Schlafly are all excellent as well.

Patrick Emerson said...

I had secretly hoped that the Raven & Rose in the Ladd Carriage House might just become Portland's Magnolia - a place for English style cask ales - but alas no. It isn't even a proper pub after all. What a shame.

Doug Sottoway said...

Yes, it is a shame we have no proper pub for English cask ales. Am I missing something? Even more so I find myself having trouble avoiding the ABV bombs because they are so pervasive (my liver does not like this).

Jonathan Aichele said...

There's a vicious circle at work here. Not enough people know about these smaller beers because there aren't enough good examples of them. Also, most people aren't aware of how much flavor actually can be delivered with sub 4% beers. Fyne Ales Avalanche, Deuchars IPA, even Greene King IPA were big eye openers for me.

Scott Cohen said...

Perhaps Deschutes stepping into the market with a really nice offering (River Ale, abv 4.0%) will open the door a little wider for everyone else, especially if it's a successful style for them.

Foggy Noggin said...

Foggy Noggin Brewing (Bothell, WA) has been brewing traditional English session ales for 3+ years. English Bitter (3.4% ABV), English Mild (3.5% ABV), Scottish Ale (3.5% ABV). Most beers are in the 4-5% ABV range. Following English tradition, balanced lower ABV beers can be very enjoyable, flavorful and satisfying.

Jason C said...

@Foggy Noggin- I had a chance to try some of your beers when you were pouring in Vancouver several years ago. The bitter I had was wonderful.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Where (as I quaff a proper pint of 3.4% Dark Mild from the pumps at 52 of Herr Fahrenheit's colorful degrees) would be a good neighborhood for a Brewers Union pub up there in Stumptucky? I've been eyeing it of late.

Jeff Alworth said...

I would say the area within, say, ten blocks of 24th and Ash would be idea. And that's completely unbiased, professional opinion.

(Seriously, though: really?? You want to be interior, I think, downtown or east side. You might also find some luck in St Johns, where they have a good sense of localness.)

Jeff Alworth said...

"ideal" not idea, but you get the id--oh, never mind.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

St. Johns has been scoped. So has McMinnville.

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