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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Four Interesting Things

Stephen Colbert, Powell's, and Amazon
I have occasionally launched sorties of barbed adverbs at the large online bookseller to the north (see here and here), much to everyone's disinterest.  And yet, my warnings were prescient!  Amazon is so big (41% of the dead tree copies, two-thirds of digital)  that it exercises enormous control over what gets published and what price it sells for.  And because of this might, they can punish unfavored publishers, as they have done with Hachette, one of the big five.  (Backstory here in a quick recap.)  Hachette's crime is negotiating with Apple's e-book service.  Amazon is essentially saying: "be a damn shame if someone came in here and took away your Kindle titles" while smacking a thin, nerdy fist into an open palm.

The authors, of course, are getting screwed and hate this, but most authors are voiceless bit players in a grand epic.  But not all of them:

In case you didn't press "play," the upshot is this: Colbert, a Hachette author, is sending his readers to Powell's.  A heartwarming story that might benefit a local retailer--happy Thursday one and all.

How Expensive is Too Expensive?
I, like the next man, enjoy a night on the town with rich food and beer, served to me by the people who made same.  Brewers dinners are fun, indulgent, and occasionally revealing.  So I was intrigued when this landed in the inbox:
As many of you know we will be launching Beer Camp Across America this Summer.  This unprecedented celebration of our collective spirit: 12 different collaboration beers brewed alongside 12 exceptional brewery partners, showcasing the sense of pride and passion shared by craft brewers nationwide. Portland will be lucky enough to get a sneak peak of all these collaborations at a special Beer Dinner at the Woodsman Tavern featuring  Ken Grossman owner/founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Jamie Floyd owner/founder of Ninkasi Brewing. The dinner will include six different courses and all 12 Beer Camp America collaboration beers on DRAFT!
Interesting! (And, good god, 12 beers--indulgent.)  But then came the hammer:
The dinner will run $120 per person. 
That's a lot of Hallertauer.  Possibly it's worth it--entrees at the Woodsman run around thirty bucks, and an evening with Ken and Jamie is bound to be entertaining.  But $120?  I'm feeling we're edging toward 1% territory here.

Fruit Beer Fest - This Fri-Sun
I have no information except that it's happening and has, the past two years, had exceptional beers.  Based on the beer list (cool layout on the website, too), it looks to continue the winning streak.

701 E Burnside
Full details here.

Beers Made By Walking
Eric Steen has been doing a cool thing that I've been negligent in discussing.  The notion is this: "Beers Made By Walking is a program that invites brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes and urban walks. Each walk is different, each beer is a portrait of that landscape. The program happens in multiple cities each year.  "  This summer and fall, the program explores Portland's Forest Park with six breweries (Sasquatch, Hopwork, Breakside, Coalition, Harvester, and Laurelwood).  To quote Eric, "Led by Forest Park Conservancy's Matt Wagoner and local brewers, these hikes will focus on edible and medicinal plants and inspire a series of beers that will serve as drinkable, landscape portraits of Forest Park and the surrounding area."

You can join the walks for free, but you have to register here first.  Go to the website for times and dates.


  1. I like the idea of "Hallertauer" as a slang term for money.
    "My series of beer dinners are gonna make me a fortune. We're talkin' serious Hallertauer here, y'know what I'm sayin'?"

    Also: "disinterest"?

  2. That's about the going rate of good fixed course dining. Beast will set you back ~$125 for 5 courses with pairings. Holdfast dining is a pretty good deal at $90 for 9 courses with pairings. The Le Pigeon/HotD beer dinner was $125. Special event beer dinners at Higgins are typically $100.

  3. You should take a cue from Sierra Nevada and see if any local governments will give you a tax break for going to the Beer Camp dinner.

  4. I'm not sure who goes to these beer dinners. I've been to a couple and I don't think the value is there. They are horrendously overpriced, even if they can be claimed as business expense.

    With respect to Amazon and publishing, no one should buy from these predators. They are an evil empire. I gladly send folks to Powell's, which admittedly has its own problems, whenever possible.

  5. Beer Nut: excellent--a slang term is born. ("Disinterest" because the Google told me no one read those pieces.)

    KeAloha: well, there you go--I'm out of the loop, as usual. But it's on the order of twice as expensive as most beer dinners, right?

    Pete: I like some beer dinners. I should post soon on a MINOR COMPLAINT of mine, though: that beer dinners are always keyed to a brewery. I'd much rather a chef select the beers by choosing from thousands than the two-dozen any one brewery has.

  6. Jeff: There are cheaper dinners out there, but it really depends on where the dinner is at, and if it's special or regular beers. A beer pairing dinner at Laurelwood is going to much cheaper than one at Le Pigeon. But, if I'm going to attend one, I'm doing it more for the food(a really good menu that just so happens to come with good beer), so it drives me toward the higher priced ones.

  7. Oh! It would appear that "disinterest" also means "lack of interest", as well as "impartiality". That makes sense. As you were.

  8. I attended a couple fantastic six-course beer dinners in 2012 at the recently closed Wildwood. The food and pairings were excellent and for only $75 per including gratuity! Of course, the operative phrase there may be "recently closed".