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Monday, November 14, 2011


John Herreid

Good beer is something worth celebrating. I'm much more likely to spend 5 or 6 dollars on a 22 oz bottle of a delicious stout or porter than to shell out 12 bucks on a bottle of mediocre wine.

Do we have any homebrewers in the readership here? I've been brewing for a couple of years. Another comparison to wine here: I've never had a good homebrewed wine, but I've had plenty of excellent homebrewed beer. Wine must have a special skill set.

Right now I have a Scotch Ale in bottles and plan to do a coffee porter sometime soon. In the past I've made quite good Belgian Tripel, Porter, Nut Brown Ale, and citrus infused pale ale. Not bad as a hobby!

Here in San Francisco we have the Anchor Brewing company, which as the article Carl linked above states, was the leader in bringing quality beer back to the US. They brewed the first IPA in the US (Liberty Ale) and reintroduced the porter back in the 1970's when no other US brewery was doing so.

My old home state of Vermont also has a number of good breweries, (Long Trail, Magic Hat) though it's not often I see any of their beer on the shelves out here on the west coast.


I home-brewed for several years, even carbonating with sugar at bottling (leaves a slight sediment, watch when pouring!). My favorite was a dark, using dark malt and my own hop mix, but I found that stuff stimulated my appetite and I gained a lot of weight. Now I just sip a commercial light lager once in awhile having slowed my beer consumption almost to nothing. I still like it.

It was a lot fun. I once had a lager kit that got stalled and wouldn't clear. I almost emptied the whole carboy out, but I happened to spot a pint of molasses on sale in a small local store (old stock I think, by the dust on the bottle). So I threw that in and another pack of yeast. The brew reactivated and finally cleared. I ended up with molasses lager. Not bad actually, it tasted better than you might think.

First time I ever made wine I had no clue what I was doing. I used a grape concentrate and followed instructions in a little wine book. Turned out better than anything I've made since, except for another sale. I spotted some pure apple juice on sale in a grocery store, really cheap, about 50 cents a can I think, the large cans before they downsized. The manager said I could have as much as I wanted, so a bought about 5 gallons, put it in a carboy with some wine yeast, some corn sugar and an airlock and I ended up with an apple wine that tasted a lot like the white wine. Fooled a lot of people.

Carl E. Olson

John has already seen my list, but for anyone else interested, here are some of my favorite Oregon beers:

• Rogue Double Mocha Porter and Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout: Rogue Brewery (located in Newport, Oregon) produces some internationally recognized beers. These two are amazing. A bit spendy, but marvelous.
• Ninkasi Oatis Oatmeal Stout and Believer Double Red Ale (Eugene): Founded a few years ago, but quickly establishing itself as a premier brewery. The Red is delicious.
• Laurelwood Organic Portland Roast Espresso Stout (Portland): Might be hard to find, but a really great beer. Very rich.
• Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout: A small brewery in Eugene that has a small but excellent cast of characters.
• Deschutes Black Butte Porter (Bend): A really sturdy, dependable porter, and quite affordable.

As you can see, I have a weakness for coffee-meets-beer. Here's a good list of top Oregon breweries.

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