Tag Archives: 10 barrel

A Correction

Awhile ago I wrote a post about 10 Barrel’s sale to ABInBev, basically telling everyone to stop acting like the sky was falling.

And then AB bought Elysian. The ensuing public conversation brought to light a few things that has made me reconsider my stance.

First: the business practices of ABInBev are pretty shitty. This is probably true of most mega corporations and I think that knowing this can and should influence the purchasing decisions of the consumer, beyond ‘does this taste good’.

Second, and this is the big one: this generation of craft brewers doesn’t have an exit strategy. That is to say; the men and women who started up these new, awesome and eventually successful craft breweries haven’t figured out, and I don’t think have a narrative for, how to pass the brewery along to the next group in a way that holds true to the founding philosophies of the brewers.

Let’s face it: The brewery that made Loser with it’s “Corporate Beer Still Sucks” tagline is not going to have the same values as the one owned by the largest beverage conglomerate in the world. And while the day to day operations may be managed by the original owners of Elysian, eventually, they are going to rightfully retire and their successors won’t have the same values.

Which means that inevitably, the product will suffer. The beer just won’t be as good and risks will no longer be taken. It will be corporate, shiny and very, very safe.

And I think this is going to happen in part because the people who own those breweries a) don’t have a way to reasonably grow their business under the current model–something I think ABInBev wants to protect, because they profit under it, and b) don’t know or have a method to impart that business to the next generation of brewers who, rising up in the craft beer world, might hold to similar values and have a local stake in their communities.

What this means is; I was right about 10 Barrel’s sale- the beer likely won’t change at first- but also wrong, because it will, someday, and not because of the vision of people who love craft brewing, but because of corporate marketing strategies. That, to put it bluntly, fucking sucks.

It is the way of the world, I know, but it bums me out.

7pm Darkness

Neil Armstrong died on Saturday.

When I was a tiny, I desperately wanted to be an astronaut. I was unhappy and I’d seen Star Wars when I was five: outer space adventures seemed to be a fine solution to my problems of introversion, isolation and nobody in my peer group seeming to like me.

Why not go to outer space and reinvent yourself?

I remember finding out that I would have to join the military to be an astronaut (or so some ‘grownup’ told me-likely correct at the time) and for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being my poor eyesight, that was not meant to be. A dream that died, because I didn’t know how to believe in that dream enough to hold fast.

Ah, the tragedies of childhood.

Still, the dream of being able to start over, be someone new: be someone I chose to be, instead of someone slotted into the social role I’d found myself in, this remained. The opportunity to just be awesome was out there, I hoped. A long time coming but I have found that yes, that chance has appeared in my life and I have tried to meet that challenge, whenever I could.

Nevertheless, I never stopped loving space, science, space exploration and the drive that brought us to those places. When Armstrong said “That’s one small step for man, one giant step for mankind,” I read in that a humble acknowledgement that his greatness–and let us never, ever forget that what was done is and should always be considered greatness–came standing on the shoulders of men and women who built up a culture and a technology and a species brilliant enough to allow someone to walk on the moon. It wasn’t just him. It was everyone who was amazing in that moment.

To give realization to a dream, vocalized by someone nearly a decade previously and one that recently was only barely kept alive by the Curiosity rover.

I am reminded of the Daily Show clip where John Oliver watches the final launch of the Space Shuttle. Just fast forward that clip to 3:45, and watch his reaction. It’s full of such pure joy–and yet he’s got it together enough to, with a comic’s rapier, stick it to us that we aren’t doing this again. We are choosing to not be amazing.

It is one of my lifetime regrets that I will probably not see a manned mission launch into space.

I miss dreaming and dreaming big. It is, I think, a keystone to America that only seems to survive on the smallest scale now as so many obsess about shit that does not matter. Angry over situations that appear to deprive us, instead of just fixing what’s broken, making things work and then taking the grandiose dreams of a person who sees a chance to make humanity something more, and getting it the fuck done.

I think that’s something we’re missing: when we dreamt big as a nation, we locked into something truly amazing. I’m not trying to say things have or were ever perfect. I’m saying that the strides and actualization of a truly great dream has been, over and over, the hallmark of a great nation and a benchmark for what human beings could achieve.

Moylan's StoutAn achievement that we don’t seem quite as bent on surpassing. And that is what has me slumping my shoulders as I sit at Bailey’s sipping on my Moylan’s Dragoon’s Dry Irish Stout.

It is not space-black, this stout but it’s damn dark and very, very good. It is the kind of beer you raise in toast to a man who accomplished jaw-dropping things and shared the credit, not just with America but with the world. He (and all of those astronauts) showed the best is in us all by sharing it with us all.

Godspeed, astronauts, every one of us.

I’m done writing when Bill walks in to join me for a beer. He’s barely into his beer when a man named Kai sits down next to us. He’s visiting from St. Louis and has a little under 24 hours to tour Portland. Do we live here? What should he do?

Oh man.

We cheerfully give him as many options as we can think of, from Higgins to Roscoe’s, the Gasthaus to Deschutes’ brewpub; walk across bridges, go visit parks, anything that comes to mind and is cheap, we throw on the pile.

Kai works at a  non-profit and has taken his trip in a spur of the moment way, first visiting Seattle, then arranging for some time in Portland before he heads home. Says this is one of the best trips he’s ever taken.

It’s funny how no plan can work out.

Kai heads out for dinner and Bill and I split a 10 Barrel ISA: all that advisin’ is thirsty work. We talk shop, making something out of the small dreams we’ve put into action in our lives. The beer is good: too hoppy for a pale, more robust than a lager, it’s made me realize I should have more 10 Barrel in my life.

It’s good to remember that the small dreams still matter. How else can you get to the big ones?

The Local: The Tanker

Tanker barDear Tanker:

I want to come to the bar more often. There is always a solid selection of beers on tap. Few in number, the quality of brews makes up for it and there are usually daily specials, like the 10 Barrel Pray for Snow pint I got for three bucks. Music selections include the Ramones, Motorhead, Rocket from the Crypt, Pelican and get more obscure from there. It’s easy to get here if it’s raining like hell or the city has been snowed in. The food is tasty. In short, you’re pretty damn close to a bar I’d make if I made bars.

However, there are five televisions in a space that is a little over twice the size of the living room of a house. This is a problem. Those televisions compete so very hard for people’s attention and I get it when there’s a sporting event on but when there isn’t…it’s just too much.

There’s a Wii. Let people have at it. My best memories come from times when people were doing anything but watching sports here; chatting up, enjoying their drinks and the company. Hell, I was in here once when the satellite went out-everyone was having a great time while two hapless bartenders tried to get it going again. Nobody cared; it was Friday night and we were too busy having fun.

Right now, there’s people chatting and good music but I’ve had to strategically seat myself so one TV is blocked. A second is off. I can still see two without effort. That’s just too much if I want to interact with another human being. Even writing is difficult-but let’s face it, I’m a Professional. Do not try this at home.

Less TV. More music. Let it be more like it is tonight and I’ll be happy. Turn the lights up more so I can play cards here and I’ll come regularly.

The 10 Barrel I’m happy to say is delish. It tastes like a brown ale and has the creamy smoothness of one, with a little heat and sweetness at the end hinting at a slightly higher alcohol percentage and a Belgian yeast. But there’s as hint of pine in the nose that throws me off. Not in a bad way; the beer is really good but it throws the kind of curveball that maybe I ought to expect in Portland but am still surprised about.

I stick my head up to try and catch what I’m listening to. It takes two verses before I realize that it’s a crusty punk version of “You Shook Me All Night Long.” This is what I want to go to bars for.  Gimme more of that, less Family Guy. Please?