Question: What has bicycle wheels, pedals, a bar top and allows patrons to drink beer while on the go?
Answer: Cycle Pubs.
James Watts recently brought two Cycle Pubs to the streets of Bend, Ore., where riders can sip on a beer as they pedal around town. A driver in the front man’s the steering wheel as up to 12 passengers power the “bike.” Since passengers bring their own food and drink (no hard-alcohol allowed), the traveling pubs don’t require a permit from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and is therefore a “matter for local governments.” Hit the jump for the full story by Scott Hammers of The Bulletin. (more…)
Here’s a story from Anne Creighton of the News-Review in Roseberg, Ore., on Tom Johnson, head brewer at Roseburg Station Pub and Brewery, which is part of the McMenamins chain in Oregon and Washington. Johnson, who went to the University of Oregon to study finance in the ’80s, decided he needed to take a different career path so he followed his love of brewing. It’s always nice to someone who follows their passion and succeeds, especially when beer is involved. Enjoy.
ROSEBURG, Ore. – When Tom Johnson starting brewing beer on the kitchen stove at his Eugene home in the ’80s, the University of Oregon finance major never thought he would end up working for one of the top craft breweries in the United States.
“I was never really big on wearing a suit and tie to work,” Johnson said. “My first attempt at beer was good enough, so I decided to stick with it and try some different recipes.”
Johnson, 48, is now 10 years into his career as head brewer at Roseburg Station Pub and Brewery, one of nearly 60 McMenamins brew pubs in the Northwest. Along with making the chain’s standard ales, he also concocts his own specialty brews using ingredients such as locally grown Asian pears or McMenamins coffee, giving them names such as Spearhead Molly, Pull Up Your Shwartz and Arrogant Beaver.
“Sometimes a name will just pop into my head, and I think, ‘Oh, that’s a great name for a beer. I should try and make a beer to fit that name,’ ” he said.
Roseburg pub manager Lisa Brannon, who has worked for the company for five years, says she has tried beer from many of the other brew pubs, but their pints just don’t compare to Tom’s.
“I think brewing beer is an art form, like painting a picture,” Brannon said. “Two different artists can paint the same picture, but they perceive it completely different, and I think that’s what Tom does with beer. He just has something amazing.”
Johnson said his road to employment wasn’t an easy one. He spent six years trying to find steady work in the industry. After earning a master brewer’s certificate from the University of California at Davis in 1995, Johnson job shadowed several Eugene brewers, hoping he would stumble across a job.
He eventually got a one-day-a-week gig in Corvallis for Oregon Trail Brewery, but Johnson said the cost of commuting was more than his paycheck. “I was just about ready to give up and become a FedEx driver,” he said, laughing.
One of the contacts he had made during his job search called him one morning with an opportunity. “He told me the McMenamins in Roseburg might be looking for a brewer, so I gave it a shot,” he said, and “the rest is history.”
Over the years, Johnson has won several awards for his home-brews, including a blue ribbon at the Oregon State Fair for his blackberry porter and a Best In Show award at the Douglas County Fair for a steam beer, a highly effervescent ale.
Johnson said he sometimes thinks about starting his own brewery, but doesn’t know if it’s something he wants to tackle at this stage in his life.
“Maybe if I ever happened into a lot of money, but it’s an incredible undertaking, and I would be working seven days a week until it got off the ground.
“I enjoy working at a small pub where I can get to know all the people who come in, and I think I have pretty good job security here,” he said, knocking on the wood dining table.
Brannon attributes the pub’s loyal patronage to the beer that Johnson brews. “This McMenamins has had its ups and downs, but Tom’s beer is what has kept those people coming back,” she said.
Roseburg resident Matt Fortune said he has frequented the Roseburg McMenamins since it opened in 1999 and keeps coming back for the beer. “Tom’s beers are great,” he said, sipping a pint of the Arrogant Beaver. “It’s just good quality.“
Michael Widman of Glide, another 11-year patron, said he’s had several conversations with Tom throughout the years in the pub. “He’s the most humble person. He lets the beer speak for himself.”
- Matt Pritchard
Oregon’s homebrew community is in shock after the Oregon Liquor Control Commission resurrected an old law that forbids homebrewers from consuming their product anywhere other than where they brewed it. This has caused the closer of homebrew contests around the state and at various fairs.
It turns out that the issue may have come to light when Deschutes Brewing Company employees called the OLCC about the legality of a homebrew event on the brewery’s premise.
Here’s Deschutes Brewing Company owner Gary Fish’s explanation:
“The real story is that Deschutes Brewery contacted the OLCC to ensure that a homebrewers forum we were planning during American Craft Beer Week was legal. Given the rules we are bound to as licensee of the OLCC and as a responsible member of the brewing community, we always want to make sure that we understand the intricacies of the OLCC’s regulations. After a three-minute conversation with an OLCC representative, we were told that the agency would call us back with further information. This never happened, and the planned event was dropped as a result.
“The bottom line is that we were attempting to create an event celebrating homebrewing, and our roots in this culture. We were never contacted by any media outlets to clarify this story and the reasons for our inquiry. We hope that these OLCC laws will change in the near future, as recent coverage has suggested, and that homebrewers can continue to share their creations with the world.” – Gary Fish
Here is what I think. These ridiculous laws need to come to light. Without being aware of the laws, no one has any idea of how to work with the law or how to figure out how to change the law. The folks from Deschutes were covering their collective butts, which is a good thing. That it led to restrictions on homebrewers is unfortunate. However, now the lawmakers in Oregon that are promising change can focus in on these hangers on and change them.
Lesson for Montana: Well, this is where it gets sticky. Do you just not call for fear of awakening law enforcement, or do we explore the full Montana beer law to see if we can modernize it? I tend to lean toward the second. Let’s explore the full beer law and lobby for change instead of waiting around to see if someone will find that obscure law that could shut us down.
I don’t know if it’s like a prayer, but Russian River’s Supplication could be a religious experience
I love wild, sour ales. I can’t stress that enough. I’ve been holding onto bottle of Russian River Brewing Company’s Supplication since Christmas, waiting for the right opportunity to sip on it with a good friend. That day arrived when some dear friends stopped over on their way moving from Madison, Wisconsin, to Tacoma, Washington. After a hot afternoon of walking around Missoula, we retired to the dining room, each with a glass of Supplication to discuss work, family, the future and beer, among other topics.
Classed as an American wild ale, Supplication is a brown ale aged in French oak Pinot Noir barrels with three strains of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus as well as sour cherries. Picking flavors out of this mix is almost overwhelming, but the big sour at the center of this beer is a good place to start. The nose is actually fairly light and fruity with an almost delicate effervescence. Some hints of Jolly Rancher fruit candy are evident, while a hint of something like rain forest vegetation is evident just under the pink fruitiness. It’s not quite dank like mushrooms, but it has a rain-smothered vegetation quality to it.
The taste is almost overwhelmingly sour at first, but it gives way to something bright and complex. I’d be inclined to attribute this to the Pinot Noir barrel aging, but I don’t have any way to quantify how much of that comes through.
My drinking companion commented that the beer was actually light and refreshing for a warm day. I had to agree, but part of me thinks we may have enjoyed the beer a little colder than it should’ve been served. Waiting for my beer to warm up a bit took some patience, but that was when I was able to discern the more complex elements of the beer. The wood didn’t come through as much as I would’ve thought, but some of that structure and complexity must surely come from the wood.
When warmed, the brown ale comes through more, and I have to say this is one of the more enjoyable Belgian styles that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve not always been a big fan of brown ales, Belgian or otherwise, but this seems to hold the fruit so well.
If not a prayer itself, I’ll likely practice a little supplication in hopes of finding another bottle of this soon. I purchased this one at John’s Market in Portland, Oregon.
Here are the official results of the BeerCity USA 2010 Poll along with Charlie Papazian’s article on the subject. I just want to thank all 515 people who took the time to vote for Missoula. You can see where it got us on the poll next to all the other great beer towns. Next year we’re cleaning house and taking it from the good folks in Asheville.
Top Ten BeerCities USA 2010
City Total Votes Pecentage Votes
1. Asheville, NC 7389 38.8%
2. Portland, OR 6565 34.5%
3. San Diego, CA 884 4.6%
4. Philadelphia, PA600 3.2%
5. Missoula, MT 515 2.7%
6. St. Louis, MO 421 2.2%
7. Seattle, WA 362 1.9%
8. Denver, CO 234 1.2%
9. Milwaukee, WI 227 1.2%
Fort Collins, CO 210 1.1%
A couple of really cool beer pictures for your Wednesday. These are from Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene, Oregon. Love their art work here.
Oh, it makes me thirsty just looking at it!
Widmer Brother’s Reserve Cherry Oak Doppelbock gives way to Prickly Pear Braggot, a beer and mead combo
I remember when I stopped drinking Widmer Brother’s Brewing beers. I was on a high road to beer snobbery, and I felt that the brewery had sold out by selling out to a larger brewing conglomerate. Years later, when I came back to their beers because of a number of good experiences with their winter seasonals, I remember lamenting my decision to stop drinking their beers.
This illustrates two things. One, that brewers must produce seasonals and specialty beers in order to keep current customers coming back looking for new and exciting experiences based on the brewery’s reputation. And two, that customers need to realize that just because a brewery might be sold to a larger conglomerate doesn’t mean their quality or reputation should suffer.
OK, lesson learned.
Here’s my latest regret. Last week I was at John’s Market in Portland, Oregon. I saw this beautifully labeled box of beer from Widmer. It advertised a Cherry Oak Doppelobock as part of their Brother’s Reserve Series, a selection of one offs that are hard to find and of really high reputation. I should have bought one, but I was looking for other brands and breweries that I wanted try instead, so I bypassed it. I shouldn’t have. Here’s the description from the Widmer site:
Cherry Oak Doppelbock is a high gravity ale co-fermented with Dark Sweet and Red Tart cherries. After primary fermentation the beer is allowed to condition with and ferment the cherries, and then later conditioned w/ new toasted American oak. The result is a dark ruddy beer with up front malty sweet and cherry fruit notes overlaid on and completed by undertones of caramel malt, dark chocolate, and oak. Cherry Oak Doppelbock is cold fermented with an American Ale yeast.
And now, I’m seeing that Widmer is marketing the latest in their series, which has a description like this:
Reserve release #2, our Prickly Pear Braggot, is now out in full force. Braggot is a style that is a combination of mead and beer. Remember those picture of our brewers dumping the honey in the kettle? Mmmmmm…you’ll love this.
If you happen to run into one of the Brother’s Reserve Series, pick one or two up.
Oregon might be discovering something Montana has known for quite a while. Mainly that there are a lot of West Coast IPAs out there, and finding your place in the mix means being just a little different.
Bridgeport Brewing Company’s Hop Czar Imperial IPA impressed me for it’s rich and deep malt backbone, which provided a really nice ladder on which to stack the copious amounts of chinook, nugget, cascade and centennial hops. In a way, it has a more British feel to it than a lot of the overly hop balanced West Coasters.
But malt comes with a price. The hop profiles don’t sing quite as much, and the beer definitely has a heavier feel to it. You don’t get that oily, hop resin presence you get with West Coasters, and which can actually make a big IPA feel a little lighter than it is.
But I know that this style of beer does appeal to a lot of people who don’t go for the ginormously hopped West Coast IPAs.
The only thing I really don’t like about this beer is the designation as an Imperial IPA. At 7.5 percent abv, it doesn’t ring in with an Imperial feel, and I don’t like when beer companies used terms like Imperial as marketing gimmicks.
Who knows, Bridgeport may feel that this qualifies as an Imperial, what with it’s big, rocking malt body and triple-hopped status, and that fact that it’s brewed from their original IPA recipe, but the term used loosely in marketing still bothers me.
I enjoyed this beer immensely, because I love that it represents the ever-changing whims of brewers who are trying to gauge the differing tastes of the beer-loving public every day. To that end, I thought the plan of going to a much bigger malt backbone really paid off. This beer is a nicely balanced IPA that might appeal to people who don’t mind big beers but who’d rather not have something dripping with hop bitterness in every taste. It is a much more balanced beer in some ways.
And yet you still get the beautiful citrus and fruitiness from those now famous Northwest hops.
And Bridgeport earns even more points for their bottle conditioning. They put a lot of effort into packaging, and I tend to notice their standout bottles in the beer aisles.
You can find Bridgeport Brewing Company’s Hop Czar at Worden’s Market.
While on an epic Easter vacation trip this last week, I convinced my wife to let me stop by John’s Marketplace in Southwest Portland, Oregon. I probably shouldn’t have. John’s Market is the kind of place that someone like me turns into a quivering gelatinous substance completely incapable of rational thought or decision making. Luckily, I sent her in search of beers I needed, while I slithered from aisle to aisle drooling on the likes of Stone’s IPA/Belgique and Russian River Brewing Company’s Sanctification.
Here are a few pictures to give you just a little bit of an idea of the magnitude of visiting John’s Marketplace.
When the Replacements wrote “Beer for Breakfast,” I don’t think they had craft beer in mind. Judge for yourself:
All I wanna do is drink beer for breakfast
All I wanna eat is them BBQ chips
All I want is someone just to try to protect us
You can try but you’d never wanna try to defend us
But, the song does bring up a good point. What’s your motivation to have beer for breakfast? Last night a group of people gathered at a local St. Patrick’s Day party, (a few days late) discussed beer for breakfast. The majority of people had consume beer for breakfast, but it was mostly a common thread of after-party necessity, early morning fishing/camping/hunting trips or the ubiquitous Montana red beer.
No wonder there is such a stigma about having beer before noon. These experiences will definitely make you think twice before popping the top on a cheap canned beer with your Wheaties.
When I talk about breakfast beer, I mean the thick, over-indulgent and decadent craft beers the world has to offer today. And by breakfast, I mean the I’m-going-to-sleep-late-and-make-chocolate-chip-pancakes-today kind of breakfast, not necessarily your oatmeal and coffee and run-out-the-door kind of breakfast.
Which brings me to today’s Saturday Breakfast Beer, Rogue Ale’s Chocolate Stout.
This rich, cocoa-tasting stout exudes breakfast in its silk, coffee-like blackness, cream-colored head and biscuity maltiness overlaid with dark notes of chocolate and burnt cream. Which makes it a perfect partner for chocolate chip pancakes, crepes drizzled with melted dark chocolate and even saltier fair like bacon and eggs with a chocolate scone.
The cascade hops give this beer a slight bitterness that blends perfectly with the darkest of chocolates that you dare to put in your morning foods.
Having come of age in Oregon, this was likely one of the first breakfast beers that I tried during an outing to our favorite towns along that rocky, surf-pounded coastline. And it’s been one of my favorites to return to over the years. I try to keep a couple bottles around for the impromptu chocolate pancake breakfast or the evening chocolate tastings that inevitably occur when I get a sweet tooth for that most decadent of foods.