1. Will Ohio's Fat Head's Brewery Thrive in Portland?
|Does that Fat Head logo suggest a cultural|
misalignment to anyone but me?
Comment: This is endlessly fascinating. Portland has 978 breweries (estimated), and they're all "West Coast." Portland is legendarily provincial, a place where locals gleefully eschew anything non-Oregonian. (Forty years ago, a certain local brewery made some hay with that very concept.) Many Oregonians are erstwhile Midwesterners who left places like Ohio because they wanted to live in a weird un-Ohio town like Portlandia where, presumably, they weren't seeking Ohio beer. It seems like a steep and rugged climb. That said, the brewery says it intends to make Portland-only beer on site, and I'm sure the brewers will quickly integrate into the Portland brewing community. The Pearl is so expensive that there aren't many mid-range restaurants around, which will help get people in the door.
Will Fat Head's fly? I have no earthly idea.
2. Is Cheap Beer Good?
Writing in GQ, David Chang (a chef, Google informs this non-foodie) declares his love for mass market lager. "And there's no drink I love more. I love it more than any great white wine, more than any white Burgundy, which I love very, very much. In my fridge, the only beer—practically the only foodstuff I've ever purchased for home—is Bud Light bottles."
Comment: God bless him. I know this is total exhibitionist click-bait, but I'd like to use it as an opportunity to come out against beer-shaming. People like what they like. It's long past time we stopped trying to get them to drink what we like. Over the last ten years, I've found myself in countless versions of the same discussion with someone who'd become interested in exploring beer, but was worried s/he didn't like the "right" ones. There should be no shame in beer. You love Bud Light or Shock Top: good for you. If so, I might suggest Breakside Pilsner or Allagash White, but I'm not going to look at you with surprised derision and shake my head in sadness. And I think anyone who does has missed the whole point of "enjoying" beer.
Comment 2: For some reason chefs often like light lagers. I have formed theories that relate to their interest in not having strong liquid flavors compete with their subtle chewable ones, but haven't done a full double-blind study yet.
(Stan Hieronymus directs us today to a rebuttal by Garrett Oliver, which is not persuasive.)
3. Seawater Beer
Vice points us to Er Boqueron, a Spanish beer made with Mediterranean sea water. The writer is interested in a related study that shows that deep ocean water, partially desalinated, helps speed recovery time after exercise. Naturally--it is Vice--this leads the writer to believe that it might prevent hangovers.
Comment: Sea water? Based on reviews, it must be pretty heavily desalinated. But at the very least, the phenomenon shows you how far we've gotten into the exotic beer trend.
4. Beer in the Non-Beer Press
James Fallows is an old-school foreign-policy journalist writing for The Atlantic. He has developed a passion for craft beer and occasionally blogs about it. In the current edition of the magazine, he wrote an article about Jim Koch. I direct you to it because it's interesting to see non-beer people write about beer. Fallows did a follow-up piece on his blog, wherein he noted how, despite how superficially unimportant beer is, it has a serious impact. Fallows has been doing a project for the past year looking at the circumstances and problems confronting small American towns. Connecting his avocation and vocation, he writes: "I know this seems like a running gag, but quite seriously we've come to think that the locally based, strongly locally branded food-and-beverage outfits we've seen from Maine to Mississippi to South Dakota, are significant business operations and signs of civic health."
Comment: In the Koch piece, Fallows describes him as a billionaire. This goes back to a point I have been making for some time: beer is a lucrative business. The happy warrior Fallows describes is the public version, but Koch, like all billionaires, has managed to succeed through a combination of hard-nosed (and often controversial) business decisions, political acumen, aggressive competition, and periodic collaboration with some competitors. I don't fault Fallows for anything he wrote except the sepia-toned filter that colors the piece with a promotional gloss. It's a bit Pravda-esque.
5. 47,000 Articles About Pumpkin Beer
Comment: I hate pumpkin beer.