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Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Outsource Blogging

First, close to home, Ezra surveys the growler landscape.  You may be surprised to learn that growlers are the subject of HEATED CONTROVERSY.  Go see why.

Second, Boak and/or Bailey visited a BrewDog pub in Bristol.  I want to quote from their visit to this "shiny, new, and in the ‘organic corporate’ style pioneered by sandwich-chain Pret a Manger" which they say "certainly isn’t a pub."  Already you can see how things differ in the US and UK: that sounds exactly like a US pub.  Now consider what they found on their visit:
Beer was priced as we expected, with our favourite Punk IPA at (if we remember rightly) £4.20 for two halves, and tasted just as delicious as it does from the bottle....

Around us were students who’d ordered ‘whatever lager you have’, drawn, we guess, by the coolness of the bar rather than the beer; middle-aged men who wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Wenlock Arms; and parties of thirtysomethings not yet especially into beer apparently there for an experience. In case you were wondering, they’re the people who buy the super-strong beers in spirit measures at £6 a pop. From where we were sitting, they got their money’s worth, talking animatedly, swapping glasses, and finding much to marvel at: ‘It tastes just like sherry — I wouldn’t think it was beer if I didn’t know.’
See if you can spot the differences to your average pub-going experience in Portland.

Finally, I take you to the story of how Portland Center Stage, owing to reviews the found insufficiently sycophantic, have cut off the Portland Mercury.  Alison Hallett comments:
I can't say I'm hugely surprised by this—I'm often very critical of PCS' shows and of artistic director Chris Coleman, and it has long seemed a strange aspect of my job that I'm basically invited into peoples' homes in order to criticize the decor. Theater reviews potentially benefit companies in two ways: Publicity and promotional materials. PCS is presumably confident enough in their publicity apparatus at this point that they no longer feel they need the boost that coverage and listings in the Mercury provides, and there are enough websites these days that'll write glowing reviews in exchange for free tickets that sifting through my reviews to find the one sentence they can put on a flyer probably just doesn't make sense. The era of newspaper critics leveraging influence for access is over—companies no longer need to rely on a cranky critic to mediate their relationship with the public. At this point we're just very opinionated vestigial limbs.
(Wee backgrounder: Portland Center Stage is the big dog of theater in Portland, but has a the reputation of putting onartistically cautious, middlebrow productions.)   This is just a momentary reminder of the appropriately distant role journalists should have with the subjects they cover.  It obviously applies to beer, too.  The situation is a quarter-turn different when people covering beer don't also receive money from the breweries, but the dynamic is similar.  I will say that no brewery has ever behaved this badly to me for unfavorable reviews (which I do hand out from time to time, or did, when I was reliably doing reviews).

Good for the Merc.  They are consistently the most transparent and reliable news source in the city.


  1. How does the brewdog experience differ from the average experience in Portland?

  2. Brilliant list, has made sourcing good content for reading and blogging much better, also some great inspiration in there.