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Monday, December 20, 2010

Very Cool People

On Friday evening, I enjoyed a couple hours and a few beers at Beermongers with Joe Middleton and Jason Rizos of the Oregon Brew Crew (Joe's the tall one), where they presented me with the hardware that goes along with the Pulp Bung award. Before you leap to the conclusion that I'm on my second victory lap--gauche, at the very least--wait. I actually am remedying a mistake from that earlier post. The Brew Crew cited several people for awards, and I wanted to nod in their direction. Six people in all received bung awards, and two--Oliver Manuel (homebrewer, cited for contributions as a volunteer to the Brew Crew) and Randy Plew (of Plew's Brews, in St. Johns)--are unfamiliar to me. To them I nod with appreciative ignorance.

The three others, however, I do know and they are among the people I most admire in the Portland beer world. I consider it extremely good fortune to share this award in a year they were also honored. So, to these very cool people:
  • Chris Crabb ostensibly does PR. She has long worked with the Oregon Brewers Fest and Holiday Ale Fest, and lately with some local breweries, and possibly she does a lot more than that. But "PR" understates matters. Bad PR people send out press releases. Good PR people send out press releases and liaise between the media and clients. Exceptional PR people build long-term relationships with people, making the media feel like clients. Back in 2004, when I had long been out of writing about beer from anything looking remotely like real media, I contacted Chris and told here I'd be blogging about the OBF. For a political blog (post here). Cool, she said, and got me credentialed: classy. Over the years, every email I've sent with questions has been returned within hours with accurate info and a pleasant response. This year, unbidden, Chris sent me a spreadsheet of the beers at the Holiday Ale Fest, adding a note mentioning that she knew I liked this kind of data, so here it was. The award goes to her for her "efforts to promote or support the trade from a commercial perspective," but this also understates it. Someone said, "she's one of the good ones," which is better.
  • Alex Ganum won the Jim Kennedy Entrepreneurial Bung, and I'm not sure if it honors his work founding Upright Brewing, his joint project with Ben Meyer (Grain and Gristle), both, or something else. In any case, it's deserved. With Upright, Alex pushed the envelope on brewing in Portland--away from hops, and toward a brave new future. More than any brewer I know in Oregon, Alex is oriented toward the culinary possibilities in beer. When a I wrote a piece for Sunset last year, I asked him which cheeses his beers best suited. He wrote back at length with a variety of suggestions for pairings, including descriptions of the flavor notes and how they related to each other. In a city that takes food very seriously, Alex has created a series of that can match the culinary diversity. If Portland is going to continue to be on the leading edge of good beer, we need folks like Alex around.
  • Ron Gansberg received a special bung for achievements in sour ale brewing. I've written a lot about Ron in the past few years, so probably not a lot more needs to be said. I've raved about his beers and described him as everything from a mad scientist to Willy Wonka. I could add James Brown, because Ron's the hardest working man in brewing. In the past 18 months, he's come into his own and is now achieving the national reputation he richly deserves, and Oregon is getting some ink for beer that doesn't feature hops. With the debut of the Cascade Barrel House earlier this year, Ron's beer has begun to receive more attention in the hometown--also richly deserved. I have gone on and on about Ron in the past, so no need to do so here.
It's interesting that in the year I was selected, the two brewers who were also selected have won Satori Awards. I don't know if the Brew Crew planned it that way, but I thank them for it nevertheless.

Photos: Jay Brooks (Crabb) and Angelo De Ieso (Ganum)

1 comment:

  1. I'm just waiting for the the "very Cranky List."