|Artful shot of McMenamin's Ales|
My favorite is Ruby (center) served with an orange slice
(this gorgeous photo by Tom Watson)
I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to beer. While the rest of the US is left to drink Bud Light and celebrate Miller Time, I have come of age amongst the hop-laden greats of the Henry Weinhard, Rogue and Deschutes breweries. I've lived all over the US, all over the world really. I'm certainly biased, but I think Oregon beers are the best anywhere. Every year when I come home to Oregon to celebrate the holidays, I make concerted efforts to drink as much, and as many different beers as I can.
I'm not alone in my affinity for Oregon's craft brews, and there exist somewhat scientific reasoning behind the high quality produced within the region. Apparently, beer is good here in Oregon because it can be. Since the 1980s (when there were only 80 breweries in the whole country), the State of Oregon has passed legislation that makes it easier for craft breweries and brew pubs to emerge and succeed in the marketplace. Furthermore, Oregon and Washington produce the vast majority of the world's brewer's hops (Oregon is #2 behind Washington in the national count, and the US is #1 worldwide). Word on the street is that the hops produced here in the Willamette Valley are a more bitter, pungent hop than is produced elsewhere. Perhaps thanks to our super delicious hops, today there are more than 100 breweries just within the state of Oregon, all of which produce more than 1,000,000 barrels of craft beer per year (for more on craft beers in Oregon, visit the Oregon Brewers Guild).
I only have a few days left here in Oregon. I'll be going back to London New Year's Eve (I know, poor me). I'll miss my family. I'll miss my friends. I'll certainly miss the food. Also ranking up there is the beer. I will miss the beer, a lot. So, in honor of my beloved Portland, Oregon and Northwest breweries, I wanted to publish a post in praise of the craft beer. Here's a list of favorites among my family:
My 2010 Favorite: Bridgeport ESB
My standby: McMenamin's Ruby Ale, served with an orange slice
Mom and Dad's Fav: Deschutes Jubelale
When Si visited, he liked: Widmer Drifter