My book is out today!

Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon - coverI am thrilled and proud to announce that my first book, Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon, is officially released today! (I say officially though I know it has already been available for pre-order online—and had already shipped a few out.) Published by the History Press, it covers the history of Bend and Central Oregon from a beer-spective from the frontier era of the 1880 and ’90s through today. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

With more breweries per capita than any other Oregon city, Bend is a beer mecca. Prior to Prohibition, the state had a burgeoning brewing industry and plenty of saloons to cater to the needs of the hardy frontiersmen who settled Central Oregon. The teetotaling ’20s brought all that to a screeching halt. Fifty years later, the arrival of pioneers like Deschutes Brewery and Bend Brewing Company breathed new life into Bend’s beer and brought about the booming industry for which the area is known today. Author and “The Brew Site” creator Jon Abernathy traces Bend and Central Oregon’s hoppy history from early settlement to the present day, sharing the stories behind its most famous breweries and the communities that have fostered the industry.

It was a terrific experience writing this book (and I’ve already got ideas for “second edition”) and I hope it’s as fun and informative to read. I tried to blend the region’s overall history with its beer culture and history to appeal to a broad audience.

Interested in buying the book? You should be able to find it person at the following locations:

  • Barnes & Noble (Bend)
  • Costco (Bend)
  • Deschutes Brewery – tasting room and downtown pub
  • McMenamins Old St. Francis School
  • Visit Bend (Bend Visitor Center, downtown Bend)
  • Des Chutes Historical Museum (Bend)
  • The Brew Shop (Bend)
  • Powell’s Books (Portland)
  • Central Oregon Locavore (Bend)

And there will be more locations coming soon. If you’re interested in purchasing online, there are a number of options as well:

There are also signing and meet the author events lining up, all of which you can find on the book site as well as the Facebook page.

And if you’d like to find out a little bit more about me and my own beer background, including some background on the book itself, Michael over at #pdxbeergeeks has a “Meet the Geek” interview up with me today.


Elysian Great Pumpkin Roadshow

For the last several years Elysian Brewing has been following up their Great Pumpkin Beer Fest with a smaller-scale, traveling version: their Pumpkin Roadshow which is landing in Eugene tomorrow and running through the rest of the month. Here’s the press release:

Couldn’t make it up to Seattle for Elysian’s Great Pumpkin Beer Fest this year?

Good news!! Elysian is taking their Great Pumpkin Beer Fest on the road via their GREAT PUMPKIN ROADSHOWS!!

Known for being the nation’s most pumpkin obsessed Brewery, Elysian just held their 10th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival in Seattle, where they featured over 80 pumpkin beers and tapped several 1000 pound pumpkins full of beer for a sold out crowd!

For the Elysian Great Pumpkin Roadshow’s, one location per city is chosen to host the pumpkin party and feature Elysian’s super limited pumpkin beers on tap. Here is a list of places you’ll find the Roadshows this month in Oregon, plus a heads up on their new Belmont Beer Crawl:

October 17th – EUGENE – The Bier Stein
October 18th – PORTLAND – The Killer Pumpkin Fest at the Green Dragon
October 23rd – BEND – The Platypus Pub
October 29th – SALEM – Venti’s Taphouse & Cafe
October 30th – PORTLAND – The Great Pumpkin Belmont Beer Crawl – Circa 33, Belmont Inn, Side Street, Barebones, Triple Nickel

Orange attire and costumes encouraged!!

Great Pumpkin beers

Of course, I’m excited to see it come to Bend this year (next Thursday the 23rd), and have some details about what’s coming up at the Platypus Pub next week: it runs from 6 to 8pm and will be featuring 11 of Elysisian’s pumpkin beers on tap, and four others. Check out this list:

  • Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
  • Dark O’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout
  • Great Pumpkin Imperial
  • Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale
  • Lost Abbey Collaboration Sardonic Dark Pumpkin Wit
  • Gourdfather Pumpkin Barleywine
  • Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner
  • Orange Is The New Black Chocolate & Orange Pumpkin Stout
  • Mr. Yuck Pumpkin Sour
  • P. Smoov Nitro Pumpkin Cream Ale
  • Gourdgia on mind Pecan Peach Pumpkin Amber

Those are just the Elysian beers, and while you might have had the first four (which are in bottles this year), the only other place to have tried the other seven before this would have been at the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest. (I don’t know for sure what the four others will be.)

This will be a great series of events and these are all great pumpkin beers, so don’t miss out! I would love to see a big turnout for Bend especially so Elysian will bring it back here again next year, but even if you can’t make it on the 23rd be sure to hit up one of the other stops. You won’t regret it! (Unless you hate pumpkin beers or something crazy like that.)

Received: McMenamins Black Widow Porter

McMenamins fall/Halloween seasonal beer, Black Widow Porter, is released tomorrow (the 15th), and the company sent me out a bottle that arrived today:

McMenamins Black Widow Porter

This is a tasty brew that’s 7.35% abv and will be available through Halloween. It’s brewed with licorice root and the company says:

Originally created at the Thompson Brewery 22 years ago on October 15, 1991 and made by all Thompson Brewers to come after, Black Widow has become an expected and welcome Halloween treat at the Thompson Public House in Salem. This year the Widow’s web will envelope the entire company once again, as every McMenamins brewery will be making a batch.

Until I get a chance to pop this one open, you can check out a previous review.

Great Pumpkin Beer Fest wrap-up and gallery

I’m only about a week behind on writing about last weekend’s Great Pumpkin Beer Fest at Elysian Brewing in Seattle (at their Georgetown brewery, really), but I have to say it was again an epic beer festival and reaffirms my notion last year that this is right at the top of my list of favorite fests. This year was the 10th annual iteration of Elysian’s fest and like last year, we got in with media credentials for free on Friday, and paid for additional tickets for Saturday. I would happily pay for both days though be warned—if you are looking to go next (or any) year, tickets sell out quickly so don’t hesitate when the time comes.

There’s not a lot to say that isn’t already covered in the gallery of photos attached, but I do have a few thoughts.

Continue reading “Great Pumpkin Beer Fest wrap-up and gallery” »

The Session #92: How Did Homebrewing Change Your View of Beer?

The SessionI wish I could say it was because I was at Elysian Brewing’s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival this past Friday that I missed posting for The Session, and that’s mostly true, but frankly I also just forgot the lead-up in time to get a post in the queue. But, since it was also the weekend of the Great American Beer Festival, I figure there was likely a fair chunk of folks who didn’t get to this month’s Session in a timely manner either, so it’s all good.

Something our host Jeremy Short over at Pintwell had even commented on, though wisely had his own Session post written early. And the topic for this month? Paraphrasing slightly, How Did Homebrewing Change Your View of Beer?

The idea of this session is how making something changes your relationship with it. For example, when I first started homebrewing I wasn’t a big fan of lagers. After learning to brew I realized how complex and particular lagers were and I came to love them because of that. Here are some ideas to get your writing juices flowing:

For the homebrewer:

– How did homebrewing change your view of beer? Do you like beers now that you didn’t before? Do you taste beer differently? Does homebrewing turn you into a pretentious asshole?

There were more examples, but you get the idea and this first option applies directly to myself as it is.

I got into homebrewing roughly concurrently to when I was getting into craft beer, back in the mid-1990s, so if anything I would say homebrewing was equally instrumental as craft and micros were in opening my eyes to the possibilities of beer beyond macro-brewed industrial lagers. I don’t know how common a path that might be for most people; I suspect that people are introduced to craft/import beer first and discover homebrewing later, if at all, and therefore might look at homebrewing in the same way as they might look at “real” brewing—difficult, technical, something only a few people can learn.

I don’t know. But for me, homebrewing was the great equalizer. Reading about different beer styles further made me want to seek out commercial examples, while at the same time trying a craft brewery’s beers made me want to figure out how to brew them myself. Realizing that knowing how to brew meant that potentially any style or beer, commercial, historic, foreign, what have you, could be duplicated at home—that’s powerful! Or to put it another way—

  • Don’t want to wait in line or pay big prices for that bottle of Dark Lord Imperial Stout or The Abyss? Brew your own!
  • Want to recreate a lost or historic style that nobody is brewing? Brew it yourself!
  • Have an idea for a beer with wonky ingredients that nobody has thought of before? Well, I’m sure somebody has, but what’s stopping you? Brew your own!

So homebrewing for me demystified beer even as it helped me learn about the possibilities of beer beyond those industrial lagers. But then again—those same industrial beers, knowing how to brew myself and knowing hard hard it actually is to brew pale, light, clean, consistent lagers—definitely gave me a new respect and appreciation for just what it does take to brew them. As a result, I’d like to think that instead of making me a pretentious asshole about beer, it did the opposite and made me appreciate well-brewed beer all that much more.

(I’m sure there was a period there that I was a pretentious asshole, but hopefully it was a short period. These days I’m pretty open to anything and try to simply celebrate the beer, regardless of style or brewer.)

(Of course, homebrewing has educated me about actual flaws in beer, so “not a pretentious asshole” doesn’t mean I don’t recognize a bad beer.)

In essence, I suppose homebrewing made beer more accessible to me, removed the mystery but increased the appreciation of beer. And at the same time, when I encounter a beer that is a mystery—a “how did they do that?” moment—I have a toolset for figuring that out. And that’s a big part of the fun.