Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gilgamesh Looks to Overtake Ninkasi, Pours at Applebee's; Bitches Brew at Venti's

In a sure sign of the Apocalypse, Applebees is pouring Gilgamesh.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday at 8:30pm, at the South Salem Applebees on Commercial and Kuebler, the Radtkes will hold a "meet the brewer" event. Other September events from their calendar:
September 3: Labor Day Growler Weekend (Fri)
Gilgamesh Brewing (Turner)

September 18: Septoberfest (Sat)
Seven Brides Tap Room (Silverton)

September 25: Salem’s Beer & Cider Festival (Sat)

October 16: Brewers Bash (Sat)
Brown’s Towne Lounge (Salem)
It's great to see the locals get after it! And very nice that they would get a tap handle in a chain environment. This is unexpected. But we never go to Applebee's. Maybe they've always supported local beer?

Meanwhile, Venti's is going all Miles Davis, playing and pouring Bitches Brew tonight at 8pm.

The beer culture is starting to froth!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beer Poetry for the Turning Season

Over at DSS, Emily's got news of a sweet new writer's series at Willamette.

This got us thinking about poetry, and between the crickets and a turn in the weather, we are feeling summer's end.

This poem is set in the wrong season, but the mood of change seems right. It's an equinoctial pivot. Recently we had our first fall ale, a brown seasonal, and it was tasty. We're craving heavier, richer flavors.

The electrification imagery also appeals to our historical interests! Electricity, too, is current*: The Boardman coal plant is in the news again, and electric vehicle changing stations are popping up. So it resonates on multiple levels.
by Geoffrey Nutter

Children picking through the rocks
beside the river on a spring day.
What are they looking for? Old green
net tangled on broken pilings; a couple
embracing on the tumbledown esplanade.
Some fishermen drinking beer from tall brown bottles.
Broken shells, tire treads, rusted aluminum pull-tabs—
downriver, near the sun, the great echoes
and the embers of the bridge; and upriver,
far away, the echoing spools and dynamos
of the dam, its forces crackling outward
like the giant snow crab's jointed legs,
like a web in sunlight, a net, a chorus
of embers, like a plan the river is planning,
abstract, afire and electric, glowing
in the levitating rubric, invisible,
visible to children, undiscovered:
Brace yourselves—electricity
is coming to us.
*har, har!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Preserve America" Fail: The Kiss of Death

Just noticed this the other day since the Blind School has been in the news.

Maybe folks need to be more careful about sign placement? Is there a curse? What lovely building is next?!

(Here's Preserve America on Salem.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gilgamesh and Bugs & Birds - Two Upcoming Beer Events

Couple-a interesting beer events on tap in the next few days!

Return of the Mamba

Gilgamesh Brewing will be at Venti's from 6pm to 9pm on Thursday, the 26th for a meet the brewer event!

Birds, Bugs, and Brews

On Saturday, September 4th, Jen Turner from Thompson's will have some special brews for the Birds, Bugs, and Brews benefit at Brown's Towne Lounge.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bernard Knox, Soldier and Scholar

We're moving out of Iraq. That's good news.

Restrepo is playing at Salem Cinema. That's local news.

Bernard Knox has died. That's sad news.

Whenever we think about war, we need a stiff drink. 'Cuz it's all sad news.

You know the meme for Platonic dinner parties, the ideal guest list for your perfect night of conversation? We mark the passing of one we wish we got to sit next to. (Illustration: David Levine, New York Review of Books)
Bernard Knox led a life as richly textured as the classics he interpreted for modern readers. After studying classics at Cambridge, he fought with the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. While serving in the United States Army during World War II, he parachuted into France to work with the resistance and went on to join the partisans in Italy. Returning to the United States with a Bronze Star and the Croix de Guerre, he resumed his study of the classics.
Knox wrote first on Sophocles and then ranged across other writers from classical Greece and Rome.

About the Iliad he wrote:
The Iliad accepts violence as a permanent factor in human life and accepts it without sentimentality, for it is just as sentimental to pretend that war does not have its monstrous ugliness as well as to deny that it has its own strange and fatal beauty, a power, which can call out in men resources of endurance, courage, and self-sacrifice that peacetime, to our sorrow and loss, can rarely command. Three thousand years have not changed the human condition in this respect; we are still lovers and victims of the will to violence, and so long as we are, Homer will be read as its truest interpreter.

This was recognized by Simone Weil in an essay written long before she left her native France for wartime London, where she filled her brilliant notebooks with reflections on Greek literature and philosophy in the short time left to her to live. This classic (and prophetic) statement - L'Iliade ou le Poeme de la Force - presented her vision of Homer's poem as an image of the modern world.
The true hero, the true subject, the center of the Iliad, is force. Force as man's instrument, force as man's master, force before which human flesh shrinks back. The human soul, in this poem, is shown always in relation to force: swept away, blinded by the force it thinks it can direct, bent under the pressure of the force to which it is subjected. Those who dreamed that force, thanks to progress, now belonged to the past, have seen the poem as a historic document; those who can see that force, today as in the past, is at the center of all human history, find in the Iliad its most beautiful, its purest mirror.
She goes on to define what she means by force: "force is what makes the person subjected to it into a thing." She wrote these words in 1939: the article was scheduled for publication in the Nouvelle Revue Francaise, but before it could be printed Paris was in the hand of the Nazis and her compatriots, like all Europe, were subjected to force and turned into things - corpses or slaves.
A tip of the pint to a great scholar.

(If this isn't beery enough, go read about dwarf hops and changing relations between brewers and growers over at Beervana. Jeff took a hopyard tour with a bunch of commercial brewers and the Oregon Hop Commission, and his notes are very interesting! Image: Near Independence, circa 1935, Oregon State University.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seven Brides Lils Pils

It's time to revisit Lils Pils, one of the Seven Brides brews.

Early this spring over at the apparently now dormant Weekly Brew, Jared had reviewed it and was a bit baffled by it. Stylistically it was nothing like a Pils, and was heading off towards a slightly sweet Hefe-weizen. Banana, clove, and slightly muddy seemed to be the consensus.

Now at mid-Summer, a bottle came into CT's possession, and it seemed like a good time to revisit the beer.

Well, nothing's changed. The label says "Pils," the beer is anything but. Ok, fine.

Let's talk about the label instead!

We love the old historic photo! And indeed we wish it could be highlighted even more - let the branding go more to the background!

Here's a slightly larger version of the background image. You can see a few more images of old Silverton here.

We don't know exactly where this is - but we're gonna see if we can find out! Any readers know?

On the other half of the label is what appears to be railroad map of the Willamette Valley. The line that passes through Woodburn, Silverton, Pratum, Macleay, Shaw, and Aumsville is still running! Now it handles freight only, but in the last century it would have been a passenger interurban, as well.

You might recall this detail map from our note about Falls City and the 4th. It's similar to the one on the label.

We'd like to see more Silverton history on each label - maybe do a different historical label for each brew! Give Homer D. his own label and beer!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Whinging over Trader Joe's, Praising Bad Beer

Over at Eat Salem, Salem Man has us scratching our heads. He writes about a beer so dull it couldn't even measure up to PBR and yet says that "it will be very popular in Salem."

Talk about damning with faint praise!

Is this the perfect metaphor for "So-Lame" or what?

In an earlier post Salem Man suggested that Salem's demographics should not be a barrier to Trader Joe's, and wondered why Corvallis might get one before Salem.

But no one offered any demographic arguments. How does Salem-area poverty stand up to Corvallis poverty? On the flip side, what's the density of higher-incomes in Salem and Corvallis? We know OSU is bigger than CCC and WU combined, so how does that affect the city...And so on...

If Salem partisans for a Trader Joe's can't assemble the data and argument for one, maybe that's why Trader Joe's doesn't come here?

In any event, it's interesting that so much energy should be devoted to an opportunity for shopping and buying. Consumption and the brands with which we associate ourselves, the way our shopping choices and displays act to define our identities, strikes us as a poor index of civic pride.

We like Clockworks and Gilgamesh Brewing and the DIY spirit they exemplify. It is about creating rather than consuming - with a frosty cold one when you're done! Isn't this creativity a far better index of civic pride and energy?

So stop whinging about Trader Joe's and continue the creative work instead! You know, instead of buying something, make it better!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sierra Nevada works with Trappists on Abbey Ales, Zombie Monastery

This is nuts. But it's also really cool.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced a partnership with the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux to create the only authentic Trappist-style Abbey ales in America....In 2011, Sierra Nevada and the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux are working to bring this centuries-old tradition to America with Ovila—the nation’s only authentic Trappist-style Abbey Ale.
There will be a Dubbel, Saison, and Quadrupel. The beer proceeds will benefit a new Xanadu!...

Wait. Wrong film. We mean, a new Chapter House! The monks are rebuilding
an architectural marvel—a 12th century, early-gothic Cistercian chapter house—on their grounds in Vina, California a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico. The medieval chapterhouse—Santa Maria de Ovila—was begun in 1190, near the village of Trillo, Spain.
Cistercian monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years. In 1931, California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the Trappist-Cistercian monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, gained possession of the ruins, and began the painstaking stone-by-stone reconstruction of the historic abbey.

We just can't escape Hearst, can we now?

(Great for Sierra Nevada for helping to underwrite crazy-ass visionary ventures. Love the Optima in the logotype, too. Totally works as a gothic-modern bridge!)

h/t Beervana

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Homer Davenport's Bad Date at a Hop Dance

Homer Davenport is Silverton's beloved son. He drew cartoons for the Oregonian, for newspapers in San Francisco, and finally worked for William Randolph Hearst and the New York Evening Journal. At his most popular, he might have been America's most famous and influential political cartoonist. (Walt Curtis on Davenport is also worth reading.)

The Homer Davenport Days are this weekend, of course, and in his 1910 book of nostalgia, The Country Boy, Davenport writes about Silverton society, dating out of his league and "mittens," and a hop dance.
Silverton was a queer place socially; while the townspeople were all of one set and there was little of any class hatred, the rich seldom ever lined up against the poor. Still if a very beautiful girl came to town all of us boys sort of took it for granted that she would turn us down if we did attempt to take her any place, so no one ever gave her the opportunity. We admired her and talked of her at the swimming holes and in fact everywhere we met, but no one ever had the nerve to approach her with a proposal of a "Let's go to the dance, or the party or the entertainment."....

One day a beauty came to town to live with some relatives of hers and she pined some time before she was taken out. I had been out with a threshing crew and we moved on Saturday to a field near Silverton. The grain wasn't quite ripe enough, so we laid off until Monday, —an awful thing to do in that country, giving us all a chance to go into town and get shaved up and a clean shirt.

When I got to town there was a lot of talk on the streets of a dance to be given that night at Egan's Hop House out in the Waldo Hills. After my shave and hair cut it seemed a shame to waste it; that I'd better go to the dance. My financial condition wasn't what you'd call very steady. It rose and fell so that I couldn't hardly count on one girl regularly. But I started in where the most affection lay and met a rather sad refusal. She said she would rather have gone with me, but I hadn't asked her since early spring, so she was engaged to go with Harvey Allen, the leader of the Trombone Band. I went down the line and got eleven "mittens," as we called them. Then I even asked one young girl that had never been to a dance alone, and her mother refused, although the girl was willing, so I called it off and went up home and helped around the barn.

I waved my hat to the girls I had asked as they drove by in livery rigs with other fellows, and after they had all gotten out of town I went down to the post-office to get the Silverton Appeal, when who should I meet but the belle of the village, as we all called her among ourselves. She smiled and I smiled, and she asked why I wasn't at the dance. "What dance?" said I. "At Egan's Hop H o u s e," she replied. "Everybody in town has gone but us." When she said the word "us" I saw a new world....
Father had compelled me some weeks before to clip my game chickens' wings so they couldn't roost on the back of the buggy seat. In my joy at leaving the barn I had forgotten that my chickens did roost on the hind axle of the buggy, and as we drove out we took the hen roost also, so that naturally when we went over a rock or rough place with the hind wheel, we dislodged all or most of the chickens and they would catch by their necks and flutter back on the axle; thus they frightened the horse that never even shied before at anything; so when I said to the handsomest girl in Silverton, "It's chickens roosting on the hind axle," she exclaimed, "No wonder; I never saw you before to-night without a chicken, and there they are really here with us now." I thought we had lost some, as there were some missing. I didn't know what to do as the dance would soon be over. We couldn't leave them beside the road for fear of skunks or minks. She thought we ought to leave the chickens, but I didn't, as one of our best old hens was in the party and it seemed a crime to expose them to next to certain death.

If it had been daylight and I could have seen the beautiful girl perhaps I would have done differently, but we turned around and started back home slowly, as the tired hens breathed heavily on the back axle. We were still sitting as far apart as the buggy seat would let us; had no outward signs of getting closer, in fact we were getting farther apart. She thought young men shouldn't think so much of chickens, while I thought they were next to human. We planned another ride without chickens, but it was the passing of my short reign and I didn't know it until it was too late. That opportunity that the late John J. Ingalls wrote of was there, but not to wait; and when it went it came no more. We got home, but I had hurt her feelings for chickens, and we parted without much friction. I stayed up until the other folks got home from the dance. They were all more or less happy, especially those on the back seats. I told them I had been riding around all night with the belle of Silverton, but all they did was to laugh and especially the girls that had given me the mitten.