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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beer City USA? Let's Sit This One Out

Last year, Charlie Papazian hosted an online poll to crown "BeerCity USA." The poll was almost as silly as cramming together the words "beer" and "city," but we Portland bloggers gamely played along. (With one prescient, notable exception.) In the end, Portland won, but Papazian violated his own rules and declared us joint winners with Asheville, North Carolina.

Charlie's doing it again this year (though mercifully, the poll is only open a week, not months like last year). And again the only two cities who are competing are Portland and Asheville. Personally, I find the whole business unseemly. I say let Asheville (where the poll has made the local news) run away with it. Who cares? Better yet, vote for a different city altogether, one deserving of the attention. This year I voted for San Francisco, mainly because Jay Brooks seems genuinely disappointed that no one there is voting for his fair city. Lord knows it's a better choice than Asheville.

Portlanders, let's be dignified this year. We can watch it with amusement from one of our 33 breweries. Sit it out. And go San Fran!


  1. Per your suggestion, I just cast my vote for San Fran (I voted for Portland last year). Asheville seems to have a sizable lead though. Ahh well. I live in Texas, which wouldn't even make a long list of beer states. *sigh*

  2. I was disappointed that Sacramento wasn't on the list; we might not be up there with Portland or SF, but we've got a solid portfolio of good beers.

  3. I know, I read this the other day and just shrugged. I have far too many beer related events going on to sit in front of a computer refreshing and voting on a ridiculous poll.

  4. Wow, talk about some west coast bias. I don't know why you're hating on Asheville. It is a fantastic beer city, well deserving of the title of the best beer city in the country. Have you ever been to Asheville? Have you been a part of the beer culture there? Have you been to the breweries? The idea of anointing the title of "Beer City USA" may be silly, but why the hate towards Asheville? Sounds like sour grapes to me.

  5. Jared, I believe you've made a far greater comment about your own bias than mine. Where's the "hate?"

  6. Oh, I am definitely biased. I love the town of Asheville and make a trip there whenever I can. However, I don't begrudge the city of Portland the fact that it's a fantastic beer city as well.

    This comment seems to suggest you have some issues with Asheville - "Lord knows it's a better choice than Asheville."

    This ending statement is a tad bit smug as well don't you think? "We can watch it with amusement from one of our 33 breweries."

    I can see saying that the poll is silly since there is no objective way to reach the conclusion of the best beer city in the US. That's no reason to look down on other cities and the passion people have for their beer there.

    As an aside, the "news" you mentioned about in Asheville is actually a column written by the guy who writes about beer related things in the food section of the Asheville paper. Seems appropriate for him to mention the poll, same as your blog.

  7. Jared, I would love to see Asheville emerge as a major center of brewing. The South is trailing the rest of the country in terms of developing beer culture, and Asheville's example is heartening to all of us. And actually, Ashville winning the poll would be great--anything to boost an up-and-comer.

    My post is mainly a wish not to be caught up in the drama again this year (a score on which, clearly, I've already failed). Portland doesn't need the recognition, and since Asheville and Portland tied last year, I was encouraging folks to vote a different city.

    Looks like Asheville will win it outright this year, so possibly that will settle matters.

  8. Maybe Asheville and Portland can create an exchange program. Portland can invite 5-10 Asheville Beer Lovers to Oregon and show them the Portland Beer scene. Asheville can host the same exchange. Sounds like a learning experience for both sides.

  9. Thanks for recognizing San Francisco as the rightful owner of the BeerCity crown... ;)