Beer cocktails for Oregon Craft Beer Month


A while back Ezra from the New School blog and I started talking about writing a post about beer cocktails. Then the drinks sounded so good that we decided they deserved more than a blog post, they needed a whole event! So in collaboration with Yetta Vorobik of the Hop and Vine we’re “Brewing Up Cocktails” to celebrate Oregon Craft Beer Month, creating drinks featuring some fantastic beers. Mark your calendars for July 17 and head over to The New School for all the details.


Seriously, privatize the OLCC

Though the previous post mentions one relic of Prohibition falling away in Oregon, plenty of others live on. Here’s the latest asinine ruling from the Oregon DOJ and OLCC:

Law enforcement officials are putting a stop to the home-brew and home-wine-making competitions at this year’s Oregon State Fair.

KATU reported on the glitch in state law that at the time put the home-brewing competition in jeopardy. Late Friday, Oregon State Fair Manager Connie Bradley learned from the Department of Justice that the law requires both its beer and wine competitions to be shut down.

“The issue has to do with the judging,” Bradley said Monday. “Judges are considered the public, and we cannot have the public tasting amateur wine or beer.”

The competitions have been going on for 30 years under existing law. The agencies have just now decided to interpret the rule to mean that allowing judges to taste homemade beers and wine counts as serving to the public.

People actually get paid with tax dollars to enforce these stupid rules. With the state budget in a mess and OLCC privatization an issue in upcoming elections, hopefully this will be one more nail in the coffin of one of our least useful agencies.

[Via Beervana.]


Finally, Martinis for Monmouth

One more relic of Prohibition fell away in Oregon last month as our state’s last remaining dry town served its first shot of liquor since 1859:

It was just after quitting time on June 18, and many of the people who had crowded around the bar inside Rookies Sports Pub had a shot of whiskey, tequila or cocktail staring back at them.

But they held off downing them — some needing more restraint than others — until about 5:15 p.m., as Trina Trevino rang the bell hanging above the back bar.

At that moment, business owner and husband, Alex, poured himself a drink, thanked his patrons and called out “cheers.”

“Here’s the pour heard around Polk County,” he hollered, followed quickly by, “The bar is open!”

Monmouth’s nearly 150-year prohibition on hard alcohol sales officially ended on June 17, exactly 30 days after residents voted down the law during the May primary election.

The law in Monmouth passed eight years after campaigners brought beer and wine to the formerly dry area:

The first mixed drink went to Salem attorney David Sherman, who lives in rural Monmouth. Sherman helped Koontz in architecting the campaign. He was also on board eight years earlier when current Mayor John Oberst spirited a campaign to get beer and wine into Monmouth.

“Did you ever think you would see this?” Oberst posed, sharing a scotch and a smile. “We knew if we went for the whole hog back then it would have been voted down. It took people a little while to see that the whole town is not going to fall apart if we allow the sale of alcohol.”

[Via Blue Oregon.]


Notes from NAOBF

Today I was invited to a media preview of the North American Organic Brewers Festival. This is a fun festival to kick off the summer drinking good beer in Portland’s Overlook Park. If you’re heading there this weekend, here are my picks from the 18 beers I sampled:

Ambacht Golden Rye Ale — Though located nearby in Hillsboro, Ambacht is a new brewery for me. I liked both of their ales, with this rye standing out for its unique, dry taste.

Bison Belgian-style Scotch Ale — A Scotch ale brewed with Belgian yeasts. Malty with strong roast notes.

Elliot Bay Vanilla Bean Organic Stout — Big vanillla flavor and aroma, yet very well balanced. One of my favorite beers of the day.

Fort George Spruce Ale — Huge spruce nose and taste. Not for everyone, but very interesting beer. I really liked it.

Laurelwood Organic Green Elephant IPA– I thought the name derived from its green aroma, but the true story is more colorful than that. Big, citrusy hops, but very drinkable balanced with sweetness from the malt.

MateVeza Yerba Mate Black Lager — This beer’s many competing flavors didn’t quite come together for me, but it was the most unique beer I tried today. Notes of coffee, not too bitter, with a green taste from the yerba mate.

Santa Cruz People’s Porter — A good coffee porter flavored with Guatemalan coffee.

Uncommon Brewers Bacon Brown Ale — Yes, bacon ale. Surprisingly good, with the bacon coming through as a smokiness on the finish. It reminds me of a good bacon-washed bourbon.

Upright Rose City Seven — Someday Upright will release a beer I don’t like. Today is not that day. This is a limited edition of their Seven aged in Pinot Noir Barrels and flavored with hibiscus, rose hips, and rose petals. Fans of sour ales will enjoy this.

Food Cart Bonus — I finally tried Violetta. Their Oregon corn dog with sweet potato fries were just what I needed after a couple hours imbibing.


Links for 6/25/10

“In New York City, the government will be making more than 20 times as much on each pack of cigarettes as the tobacco companies do”

Why should the NYT op/ed page pay writers?

“One should never ever, ever, ever imbibe in the presence of a reporter during the course of a profile!”

Kombucha producers, beware the TTB!

How to eat well in Berlin

Cartoons rejected by The New Yorker

Vid: Clint Webb for Senate


Good Old Tom

An interesting bit of history from Houston bartender Bobby Heugel’s weekly drink column, this week about the Tom Collins:

The era’s infatuation with Old Tom Gin today seems most analogous to our society’s accessibility to and reliance upon Starbucks. Among various other alcoholic habits, Tom Gin fanatics would approach neighborhood bars that had wooden cat silhouettes hanging on the walls — hence the second origin story, that the drink is named after a bar cat. They would then deposit a coin in the cat’s eye, alerting the bartender inside to pour a shot into a tube that extended out from the cats paws. The person would place their mouth on the tube and drink the flowing gin. Now, that’s drive-thru service!

I’m generally optimistic about social progress, but on the availability of Old Tom gin we are clearly backsliding!


The economics of playing cards

I’ve written a couple times about how changes in the design of currency impose costs on magicians by making it harder to use gaffs and putting existing gaffs out of date. There’s a similar dynamic at work with playing cards. Without getting into specifics, it’s no secret that trick cards exist. If a magician wants to incorporate gaffed cards into his act he’s going to want to buy them with a consistent design. For example, I decided many years ago to purchase red-backed gaffs whenever possible. If I want to be able to use them during a performance it’s best to have them all be one color; switching from a red deck to a blue deck and back again would arouse suspicion.

Similarly, all magicians benefit from defaulting to a common back design. If there were multiple, equally popular designs, different gaffs would be sold with different backs, making them incompatible with each other. We’re better off sticking with one design as the default. It’s a classic network externality: the more magicians who use a single design, the higher the value of that design to all of them. It’s even better if the design is also popular with laymen. That way the cards appear innocent and ungaffed decks can be purchased easily and cheaply.

Up until recently that was exactly how the magic card market worked. Due to some changes in the industry things are shifting a little. It will be interesting to watch how it plays out.

Trips and Squeezers


A smoky homebrew

This weekend I became a little more native Portland with my first experience brewing beer. Courtesy of my friend Paul, we set aside a few hours to try our hands at making rauchbier, beer brewed with smoked malts. In true locavore tradition we took advantage of his abundant backyard rosemary to smoke the grains:


Rosemary smoke is delightful. The smokiness carried over into the wort nicely pre-hopping. We’ll find out soon how it ends up in the finished product.