Oregon Beer News, 04/25/2016

Oregon BeerWelcome to the last Monday of April! This month is almost over, though the beer news rolls on. Here it is for Monday, April 25; as usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news as I find it, so check back often. If you have news to share, please let me know and I can get that updated as well.

Crux Fermentation Project (Bend): Tonight they are holding a Beer Seminar, the topic of which is Hop History. No details other that it is free, and limited to 35 guests, but if Larry Sidor is leading the seminar—not only an industry veteran but he also worked for Yakima hop dealer S.S. Steiner for seven years—I expect this is will be very interesting and informative. It starts at 6pm.

The Bier Stein (Eugene): Today they are celebrating King’s Day with La Trappe Trappist Ales starting at 5pm: “Join our Dutch cousins to celebrate the birthday [week] of their monarch… with beer! La Trappe is one of 11 breweries in the world to carry the Trappist moniker, and we’ll have five of them on tap for your enjoyment: Witte, Puur, Dubbel, Bock, and Quadrupel. The first 24 folks to purchase La Trappe on tap will get to keep the glassware! A representative of the brewery and Artisanal Imports will be here accepting praise and/or questions about the beers.”

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Oregon Beer News, 04/22/2016

Oregon BeerHappy Earth Day! Enjoy an organic beer today with your daily helping of Oregon beer news. Speaking of which, here it is for the weekend of April 22. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often. And if you have news to share, please let me know and I can get that updated as well.

Three Creeks Brewing (Sisters): Their annual IPApril begins this Friday and runs through the weekend: “It’s that time again. Eight fabulous Oregon IPAs on tap at Three Creeks for three fleeting days. Come in, order a taster tray and cast your vote for “Best in Show”. Don’t miss this never to be seen again line-up: Three Creeks – Raptor, Three Creeks – Crowdpleaser, Three Creeks – Hoodoo Voodoo, Bend Brewing Co.- Hophead IPA, Buoy IPA, Ecliptic – Orbiter IPA, Mazama – Mosaic Eruption, and Lompoc – Pamplemousse.”

And also on Friday, Three Creeks’ head brewer Zack Beckwith will be at McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop for a tasting and meet the brewer event from 5 to 8pm: “Meet Zach Beckwith, the head brewer of Three Creeks Brewing Co. from Sisters Oregon. We will be pouring samples of the Hoodoo Voodoo IPA, the Stonefly Rye IPA, the Crowdpleaser IPA, and the Stampede Strong Ale. We will also have the Rye Barrel Aged Stampede Ale on Draft.”

And on Saturday, Three Creeks‘ Beckwith will be at The BeerMongers for a tasting event starting at 5pm.

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Beware botulism in your prison hooch

By Provincial Archives of Alberta (Crates of potatoes) [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

I get a fair number of emails these days related to beer and alcohol, many of which are press releases of various types, but occasionally one arrives that’s offbeat and interesting. Case in point: a pointer to this article on Botulism from Drinking Pruno from the US National Library of Medicine. I found this fascinating particularly from an Apocalypse Beer standpoint.

Pruno, in case you didn’t know, is the name given to “prison wine” brewed illegally using whatever ingredients are on hand (typically fruits, ketchup, bread, and so on). It’s arguably nasty but not normally poisonous, but this article examines several cases from California from 2004 and 2005 where botulism did in fact sicken prison inmates. It details the making of pruno (in these cases) as well as more information than you probably realized on the types and sources of botulism out there.

Some quotes:

From information gathered, one of the hospitalized inmates began making the pruno on June 21 using “unpeeled potatoes smuggled from the kitchen, apples from lunches, one old peach, jelly, and ketchup.” On June 25, this inmate “heated water with an immersion heater and added it to the mixture.” Correctional officers estimated that ≈2 gallons of pruno were made. On June 27, each of the 4 inmates drank ≈16 ounces or more of the pruno, which they described later to a prison nurse as being “magenta in color” and “smelling like baby-poop.”

In May 2005, DCDC was notified of clinical botulism in another inmate of another California state prison in Monterey County. Upon further questioning, the patient admitted to making and drinking pruno in the prison; he had used potatoes in making the pruno. Pruno mash was found in his cell, and culture at MDL yielded C. botulinum that produced toxin type A.

In our investigations, the potatoes used in the pruno could have been the source of botulinum toxin. C.botulinum is commonly found in the soil, and its spores have been found on raw potatoes. Several outbreaks of botulism caused by eating potatoes have occurred in the United States, and laboratory studies have shown that C. botulinum spores on the surface of raw potatoes can survive baking and lead to production of botulinum toxin. The warm anaerobic fermentation process of making pruno probably predisposes toward production of botulinum toxin, particularly if any ingredient happens to be contaminated with C. botulinum or its spores, such as the potatoes used in these 2 instances.

Pruno is popular in prisons across the country, and it is somewhat surprising that botulism caused by pruno consumption has not been previously reported. This lack of reporting may be due to the fact that potatoes are not generally used in the making of pruno; recipes for making pruno and references to pruno found on the Internet do not mention potatoes as an ingredient.

Besides a fascinating look into the brewing of prison hooch, the takeaway here is, apparently raw or even baked potatoes can be a source of botulism (which is kind of concerning on a number of levels!) so if you’re going to brew with them make sure to treat them properly. (And don’t let them sit around in a warm, anaerobic environment.)

Bonus: This NPR story highlights more recent cases, also caused by potatoes.

Oregon Beer News, 04/21/2016

Oregon BeerHere is the news in beer from around Oregon for Thursday, the 21st of April. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.

Widmer Brothers Brewing (Portland): Beginning this Thursday the 21st, Widmer has a special Earth Day beer pouring all weekend: “Starting this Thursday through the weekend, we are offering a special Earth day beer called Brother Nature Wheat, with part of the proceeds going to the Oregon Brewshed Alliance and Greeley Forest Garden. Brother Nature Wheat will also be “water-neutral,” meaning that for each pint purchased, 3.5 pints of water are restored to the Middle Deschutes River.”

McMenamins Kennedy School (Portland) has their Extra Credit beer tasting today from 5 to 7pm, featuring Miss G’s Tart Cherry Sour Ale: “If you’ve met the resident cat then you know that Miss G. can be a real sourpuss. This is our attempt to win her favor. This beer started as a German Wheat Beer that we aged in a used Chardonnay Barrel. We added some Wild Yeast to give it a bit of sourness and we also added some Tart Cherries to the barrel to give a hint of fruit up front. Not too sour but definitely not sweet, this is a good beer to dabble in if you’re new to Sour Beers.”

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Received: Cans of Widmer Hefeweizen

Widmer Brothers Brewing has joined the canned beer movement, and today I received a tidy little package from them highlighting their toe into the canned waters: Hefeweizen in a can.

Received: Cans of Widmer Hefeweizen

In addition to the two cans of Hefe, you can see the package included a Yeti vacuum-insulated koozie (think “thermos” but in koozie form), a sticker, and a patch (for sewing onto fabric).

I’ve always liked Hefeweizen, and I think it’s the perfect Widmer offering to appear in cans; perhaps in this case I’ll test and write about how well this particular metallic koozie works for keeping the beer cold. We’ll see.