The consummately generic Oregon brewery Hop Valley was the latest to join MillerCoors’ growing portfolio. I swear to all that is holy that I’ll quit posting every time this happens, but in this case I’ll make an exception–since it’s a local brewery, I’ll tell you a bit about its reputation. It’s original location was in Springfield, which is fused St. Paul-style onto Eugene, two miles south of Portland. You can pop into the brewery in a strip mall just off I-5 if you’re headed south.
If that makes it sound like a bit of a generic place, you’re on the right track. They made one stand-out beer some time ago, Czech Your Head, a really credible Czechish lager. Mostly, though, they fall into that anonymous middle band of breweries you see at the grocery store but which fail to register. The beer is perfectly serviceable, but forgettable. I described it yesterday as the kind of brand, with the kind of name, you’d see as the supermarket brand for a chain like Safeway. Aside from a scandal about a beer named “Mouth Raper” a few years back, they have maintained a low profile in the state. Here in Oregon, no one is gnashing her teeth and lamenting the loss of a big of unique local culture.
If ever there was a brewery purpose-built to be acquired, Hop Valley is that brewery. You may safely ignore the sale and the brand henceforth.
By coincidence, I am headed down that way today, but I’ll be going to Agrarian Ales, which is as close to the perfect opposite of Hop Valley as you can find.