May 19, 2012

Freelance update, spring 2012

Most writers, beer writers and otherwise, are really good at keeping their websites and blogs up to date on their published stories. Not me. So while I've done this a couple times before here and here, here's the latest:

Starting with All About Beer, one of my favorite stories I've written to date was on hop breeders, the people responsible for creating tomorrow's hops today. When you think about how much research goes into a story and that only the tip of the iceberg makes its way into print, I loved learning all this stuff myself. And, living in Portland, rather than call these botanists and farmers on the phone, I visited several of them in Washington's Yakima Valley and Oregon's Willamette Valley, sometimes in or next to the test fields. It also marks one of the rare times that a title I came up with was actually used. "Hop Forward." Get it? (Yeah, I know, of course you did.) There's also the book review for my BFF (Beer Friend Forever) Lisa Morrison's Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest. It's not online yet, but I review the new book from Stone Brew'ers in the current issue, and am working on a brand new one for a future issue that's deliciously entertaining.

For the Beer Traveler column, recent themes have included Burger'n'Beer towns (ie: LA and KC), River Rafting destinations (Bozeman, MT; Santa Fe, NM, and the Chatooga River between Athens, GA & Greenville, SC), beer-proximate National Parks (FL's Biscayne Bay, KY's Mammoth Cave, and OR's Crater Lake), and island hopping or, rather, hoppy islands (US Virgin Islands; Sydney, Aus; Victoria, BC).

I said it before and it warrants repeating, but for AAB's website blog Beer Soup (where I've been joined, delightedly, by Win Bassett) far from being a Beer Soup Nazi, I'd like to think of myself as a Beer Soup Fuzzy Squirrel, offering adorable little nuts and nuggets of my quantum thoughts about anything beery. I'm generally good about FB-sharing & Twitter RT'ing them. Some favorites since last update include a snarky look at #IPA Day & hop-induced brewer's droop, what it'd be like to have a keg on my coffin, wondering how much more black beer can get, and most recently, perhaps a glimpse at the next quasi-healthy beer trend: low-purine beer.

Back to beer traveling, how much fun did I have "researching" this story on the Bend Ale Trail for Real Food Traveler? Four days and we didn't even get to every brewery in the area! We did, however, find ourselves looking at the calendar to figure out how soon we can go back to Bend.

The story I did for Beer West also wound up as the cover. Beer in La-La Land was a rare personal story (in part). I don't hide my love-hate relationship with my birthplace of LA. As far as being a "beer town," let's just say it'll never be in danger of winning Papazian's Beer Town USA poll. Having said that, next time I'm down, I have more to look forward to visiting than just my nieces.

In the pages of DRAFT, I reported on what, or really who, is driving the Danish craft beer scene. My favorite thing about this piece? I get to see for myself, seeing as there'll be a Yaeger family trip to Scandinavia this summer. First stop: Copenhagen.

There's a new drinks-oriented magazine called Sip Northwest and I wrote a couple stories, neither of which seem to be online. For one of them, they sent me and my buddy The Greek to Victoria, BC for the Great Canadian Beer Fest and a dude's beercation where we hit something like 6 breweries (all by foot). I also spotlighted several of the PacNW's nanobreweries.

Speaking of nanobreweries, that was the subject for Drink Me's "craft" issue. For the "legal" issue, I wrote about strong beer (I'm guessing they pirated the accompanying image, just like I'm doing.) I'm blanking, but I think it was the "elements" issue for which I observed that, "The human body is almost 62% water, and we can all agree that people are pretty important. The Earth’s surface is 75% water, and clearly, the planet is very important. Beer is roughly 93% water, so clearly it must be the most important thing in the world." (Oh, and I was asked to do something on cans.)

Finally, for Willamette Week, I contribute the Oregon Beer News online column (I give up on trying to break stories when there are more top-notch beer bloggers here than you can shake a Stickebier at. I also get to do the errant beer review, like this one on my new style obsession: ISA (India Session Ales, which are low-alcohol IPAs for lightweights like myself).

May 14, 2012

Glutards on parade

It's not as bad as being blind or deaf, but I think having Celiacs Disease or in any way allergic to gluten would suck. Because beer is glutenous.

One in 133 Americans are in some way gluten-intolerant. Drink normal beer and they will surely get sick. As such, there is a growing market for gluten-free beers. Instead of traditional cereals like barley, they’re generally made from sorghum and/or buckwheat. Tragically for the glutarded, most are unpalatable. I've tried several styles of GF beer on tap at the Deschutes pub, and I wouldn't offer a pint to my worst enemy.

So naturally, I balked when I just got a press release from Craft Brew Alliance (the umbrella under which Widmer Bros. falls, at which the Omission brand of GF beers is brewed), announcing:
Mayor Sam Adams will declare May 16 to be Gluten-Free Beer Day in Portland, Ore. The official ceremony will be held at City Hall, and we invite you to witness Adams deliver the proclamation to supporters of gluten-free beer, including the latest addition to Portland’s established gluten-free beer scene, Omission Beer.
Now, Portland’s first and only entirely gluten-free brewery, Harvester, adds chestnut flour and tons of hops to make their GF beers genuinely tasty. The just-launched Omission brand of authentic flavored beers (they're made from real barley malt but filtered to the point it features less than 20 parts per million making it as gluten-free as N/A beers that are 0.5% ABV or less) are also entirely quaffable. But do we really need a Gluten-Free Beer Day?? I always say that PDX has 53 beer festivals, meaning you're sure to find some c-ale-abration more than once a week. But GFBD? C'mon, Sam Adams, hasn't that already been lampooned by Portlandia?