Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beer Poetry - Someone Else Does it Better - and a Poet Laureate

We haven't been doing as much beer poetry this month as we expected. Correspondent RC tipped us off to somebody who's done more and done it better!

Over at the Brookston Beer Bulletin, Bay Area beer writer and blogger Jay Brooks has collected a bunch of beer poems! Head on over to read the good stuff.

One of the highlights is
Doh, Re, Me, by Homer Simpson

Dough, the stuff that buys me beer.
Ray, the guy who brings me beer.
Me, the guy who drinks the beer.
Far, a long way to get beer.
So, I’ll have another beer.
La, I’ll have another beer.
Tea, no thanks I’m having beer.
That will bring us back to…
(reaching the crescendo of his toast,
Homer looks into his beer mug,
which is empty) …DOH!!!

More seriously, Paulann Petersen was named Oregon's Poet Laureate. Here's one of her poems. It's not about beer, but in spirit it's close enough. Prost!

Pale gold and crumbling with crust
mottled dark, almost bronze,
pieces of honeycomb lie on a plate.
Flecked with the pale paper
of hive, their hexagonal cells
leak into the deepening pool
of amber. On your lips,
against palate, tooth and tongue,
the viscous sugar squeezes
from its chambers, sears sweetness
into your throat until you chew
pulp and wax from a blue city
of bees. Between your teeth
is the blown flower and the flower's
seed. Passport pages stamped
and turning. Death's officious hum.
Both the candle and its anther
of flame. Your own yellow hunger.
Never say you can't take
this world into your mouth.
(From the July 2001 Issue of Poetry)

New Belgian Ranger in Town; Anchor & Gilgamesh News

Fat Tire isn't a very exciting beer - but you have to love New Belgium's marketing. The only thing is, I'm not sure I'd be rockin' the Boy Scout/Ranger image too much just now...Still, it's kinda funny, and the retro look is pretty grand.

Anyway, we are talking about an adult beverage.

Tomorrow at Venti's, New Belgium reps will be tasting and distributing swag! Strangely, word's not on the Ventiblog yet. Maybe this is a ruse!
Venti's Cafe Basement Bar
Meet The Brewer - New Belgium Brewing
Small Batch Experience
6 - 9p; 29 April 2010

featuring New Belgium Beer Ranger Matt Robertson
merch * beer tasting * info

Anchor News

While we're on the topic of retro, the beeriverse is all a twitter with news a couple days ago that Fritz Maytag had sold Anchor Brewing. Beervana's got a nice reflection and links to other stories.

If the buyers weren't vodka peddlers, there would be less head-scratching. The whiffs of douchebaggery and brand despoiling are stronger than one would like; venerable brands and institutions want caretakers and custodians, you know?

Finally, congratulations to Gilgamesh for winning at the Oregon Garden!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oregon Garden Cagematch: Tea vs. Chili at Brewfest!

The Oregon Garden Brewfest is this weekend. And the biggest question is whether veteran Calapooia's Chili Beer or upstart Gilgamesh's "Black Mamba" will take home the prize!

Check out the list of breweries here. (They don't appear to have a separate list of beers.)

Update: Over at the Ventiblog, Jack's listed all of them as well as indicated which Venti's has poured recently! Nice work. This year's offerings look more interesting than last year's.

(Here's info on last year's Brewfest.)

Gilgamesh and Block 15 win at Spring Beer Fest

Earlier this month Beervana and Vegan's Nightmare had the news on the Spring Beer Fest People's Choice Winners:
The 2010 Peoples Choice for beers goes to Gilgamesh Brewing in Salem with "Black Mamba", upsetting Bitter Bitch, which came in second after a long run at the top. Block 15 placed third with Pappy's Dark.

Thanks to all who voted for their favorite beer and the 12,000 attendees that made the festival a success!
(Beervana has notes on Gilgamesh and Block 15 here.)

Oh yeah, forgot about Jared's Gilgamesh serendipity and tasting!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ex-Hold Steady-ite, Franz Nicolay at Cherry City Music Festival

You know, the mustachioed one!

Franz Nicolay will play Mission Mill at 10pm on Saturday. For the entire Thursday, Friday, and Saturday deal, see the complete schedule here.

The line-up's not quite as great as last year, but it's still pretty grand to see over 100 bands play Salem. Word is there's still volunteer opportunities.

Support music in Salem!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Morning - No Beer, but Great Wallace Stevens

It occurred to CT on this Easter morning, that one of our favorite poems, "Sunday Morning," by Wallace Stevens would be a fine thing.

Stevens has never struck us as a beer guy. Indeed, a cheezy google search of his letters returns two banal mentions of "beer" and 13 more interesting ones of "wine." We haven't yet found a mention of "beer" in his poetry.

Originally published in 1915 as a 5 stanza poem, "Sunday Morning" was beefed up later into the 8 stanza version most of us know. Connoisseurs and scholars will have to comment on which is better! Here's the first and last stanza of the later version.

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound.
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.


She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, "The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay."
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
(read all 8 stanzas here)

We've never been sure if Stevens actually makes sense, but we are sure he delights in language and creates something beautiful.

Here's a biography of Stevens and perhaps more interestingly a podcast with the great Helen Vendler on Stevens, including comments on "Sunday Morning."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Salem Beer for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate it, Capital Taps will have a few more installments of beer poetry. Some of it will be good, some of it bad!

In the years before Prohibition, the Salem Brewery Association advertised with acrostic poems, in which the first letter of each line spells out a word or phrase.

Here's one from May, 1911.
Sure to please the lovers of a wholesome beverage,
Always an invigorating, pure and delightful drink.
Lends strength to the weak and wearied physique,
Effects a soothing cure for the nervous ills of life,
Makes life more pleasant and cheers the heavy heart.
Brings good fellowship to all who partake in moderation,
Enlivens the spirit of the downcast and disheartened,
Endows existence with hopes and aspirations,
Restores man to fulness of strength and activity.

At this time several communities had invoked the "local option" to go dry, and some of the rhetoric around beer sought to differentiate it from other forms of beverage alcohol as more nourishing or wholesome. The language occasionally borrowed from medicine or medical texts. Here it draws especially on notions around neurasthenia, which was often linked to the incipient industrial capitalism of the gilded age. In Before Freud: Neurasthenia and the American medical community, 1870-1910, Francis George Gosling writes that
Physicians frequently used metaphors of "nervous bankruptcy" to explain the limitations of psychological strength: such figurative language...equated the disease with the spirit of American capitalism, which was thought to have contributed to its prevalence. In an address on neurasthenia in 1883, J.S. Greene...[said that] individuals who consistently "overdrew on their savings" risked nervous bankruptcy.
Commerce and nervousness danced a tense tango, and advertisers worked the seam between underscoring anxiety and promising solutions for it.