I’m getting on a plane for Philadelphia today, so let’s trot through these points briskly.
Southern Oregon Shooting
As everyone in ear- or eye-shot of electronic media knows, there was another mass-shooting in Roseburg yesterday. Discussion of things like beer are highlighted by this event for their triviality, and everyone in Oregon is a bit shaken this morning. Not surprised–good Lord, no–but disturbed. Our thoughts are with everyone at Umpqua Community College.
In one of the more bizarre coincidences, yesterday also marked formal cannabis legalization in Oregon. Anyone 21 years or older can now walk into one of the scores of dispensaries across the state and buy up to a quarter ounce of Purple Haze. It’s clear we’ve passed into a new era, because not only did the day pass without attracting much media attention, but dispensaries reported fairly normal (if busy) days–no lines around the block. No worries, though, beer fans, this development isn’t likely to blunt* the growth of your fave beverage.
How wild is your beer?
In a rare Oregon-focused post on All About Beer, I travel to Parkdale and talk to Solera’s Jason Kahler about the wildest of wild ales–those that are made through natural fermentation.
If you wanted to boil the whole of modern brewing to a single goal, it’s trying to gain as much control over the biochemistry of the brewing process—starting with keeping wild yeast out of the brewery. This approach seems fundamentally contrary to brewing wild, which requires the embrace of randomness. When I visited Cantillon back in 2011, Jean Van Roy—who is equal parts poet, philosopher, and brewer—put it this way. “It’s never the same. Never. You never know what you will discover. That’s why lambic is so fun. In French we have a sentence. We say, tout est dans tout. If I translate it: everything is in everything. In this brewery, everything is playing a role in the final product. Everything.”
This is not the approach of the modern brewer; it’s something closer to an alchemist—which Kahler acknowledged. “It’s kind of magical in my head. There’s obviously hard science behind it, but I don’t understand all that science, and I don’t think you have to understand that science.”
Beervana Podcast: An Econ-focused Look at Buyouts and Mergers
When Patrick and I conceived of the podcast, we thought it would be cool to incorporate his expertise–economics–into our analysis. Beer isn’t a platonic ideal–it’s a product, bought and sold on the open market. So too are breweries, which lately have been selling a lot more than some people would like. We tap Patrick’s wealth of knowledge to discover whether this is anything fans of good beer should be worrying about. (Plus a fun blind-tasting of some of the, err, finer products of these large breweries that are doing all the buying.) I’ll like the Soundcloud feed below, but you can also get the podcast on iTunes.