The Brew Site

The Satori Award 2010 (Beervana)

The other day Jeff (of Beervana) selected the pick for his annual Satori Award, his own annual personal pick for Oregon beer of the year:

In Zen Buddhism, satori is the moment of sudden enlightenment when the mind realizes its own true nature. The Satori Award, now in its fifith year, honors the beer that in a single instant allows the drinker to realize brewing magnificence. It is that moment when the sheer force of tastiness produces a flash of insight into the nature of beer. I award it for the beer released in the previous year (roughly) by an Oregon brewery (roughly) for a regular or seasonal beer.

The Satori Award is one of my favorite awards to read about being, er, awarded a beer. Sure, getting the reveals from the likes of the Great American Beer Festival is always a big moment (though perhaps somewhat predictable) but when Jeff announces the Satori, that’s the one I really want to read about—and lend perhaps consider the most authoritative. Why?

This year’s Satori winner was a bit of a surprise to me (but a pleasant one): Bruce/Lee Porter from Prodigal Sun Brewing over in Pendleton, Oregon, a 7.5% Robust Porter.  What’s especially cool about this is that Prodigal Son has only been open since about March.

When I visited the brewery, all the beers were well-made, and with the exception of the hefeweizen—an offering to lite drinkers—each was well-executed, distinctive, and tasty. Among these was a porter that I didn’t realize until later was 7.5% because it was so balanced and approachable.

Sometimes I know the second I drink a beer that it’s special, and sometimes I know it because I keep wanting another one days after I tried it. I thought Bruce/Lee was special the first time I had it, but over time, as I pined for it, I knew how special it was. It’s a bit big to call a simple porter, but that’s how it tasted: nothing gaudy or ornamental about it, just pure pleasure. I expect to see good things from Prodigal Son over the years, and I’ll try to make it out there from time to time.

A new beer to try, and a new brewpub to visit, though I have no idea when I might find myself over near Pendleton. (Ironically enough, we passed through Pendleton just this summer on the way back from Walla Walla; it was straight through and we didn’t have time for stops.)