Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oregon Garden Brewfest

The Oregon Garden Brewfest is this weekend. It looks better this year! Unfortunately the website is not better; indeed, the website is pretty poor, and they only recently posted the list of breweries. (We looked for it earlier this week!) A list of the beers is not obviously posted, however. In years past brewers have offered core brews rather than specials or one-offs.

Admission is $15 per person, and includes admission to the Garden, a commemorative glass beer mug, and five tasting tickets. They don't say the cost of additional tastes. (See what we mean about the website?)

Opens at 4pm on Friday, noon on Saturday. Have a designated driver!

Alameda Brew House
Block 15 Brewing
10 Barrel Brewing Company
Bridgeport Brewing
Calapooia Brewing
Crispin Cider Co
Deschutes Brewery
Dunsmuir Brewery Works
Eel River
Firestone Walker
Full Sail Brewing
Gilgamesh Brewing
Hopworks Urban Brewing
Klamath Basin Brewing Company
Kona Brewing
Leavenworth Biers
Lost Coast Brewery
Mendocino Brewing Company
Nectar Ales
New Belgium
Ninkasi Brewing
North Coast
Oakshire brewing
Pale Horse
Pelican Pub & Brewery
Ram Restaurant & Brewery
Red Hook
Seven Brides
Sierra Nevada
Stone Brewing
Thompson Brewery
Uinta Brewing
Widmer Brothers

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Still Closeted? Lord and Schryver's Uncertain Legacy

A study published this month in the medical journal Pediatrics concluded that intolerant and unsupportive communities increased the risk for suicide among gay and lesbian youth.

Salem's still pretty closed down, and in an era when it remains an urgent matter to let kids know that "it gets better," are we doing them a disservice by continuing the silence on the professional and personal partnership of Elizabeth Lord (1887-1976) and Edith Schryver (1901-1984)?

Perhaps there's some uncertainty in the matter, but Virginia Green's Salem online history note seems fairly clear, if yet reticent: On an oceanic crossing Edith Schryver
met Elizabeth Lord who would become her lifetime companion and partner in one of the pioneer landscaping firms of the Northwest, Lord and Schryver....The friends traveled and studied together for several months in England and on the continent. At the end of their trip Lord brought Schryver to Salem, her hometown.
Though understated, this is the language of romance and domesticity, not of merely a professional partnership.

So it was strange to visit Bush Barn and the "Parks for People" show, and see their relationship passed over without comment. (The websites of Deepwood Estate and the Lord & Schryver Conservancy are similarly silent.) If you were predisposed to see them as romantically involved, it was possible to read between the lines, of course, but is such an encoded expression of the closet what they really deserve?

We thought, perhaps not exactly appropriately, of Wallace Stevens' line:
A more severe,
More harassing master would extemporize
Subtler, more urgent proof that the theory
Of poetry is the theory of life,

As it is, in the intricate evasions of as,
In things seen and unseen, created from nothingness,
The heavens, the hells, the worlds, the longed-for lands.
It seemed to us that any study of Lord & Schryver would wish to attend to the "intricate evasions" in their lives, some of their own, some of others. The ways, including an apparent discreet silence, that the Salem establishment, which we think of as essentially conservative, accommodated this couple - even, perhaps, "power couple." And what compromises did they themselves make, and at what cost, in order to live here quietly and successfully? How did they negotiate all this? (The sly joke on Salem constituted by their gardening in Salem parks?)

If there is scholarly uncertainty in the matter, shouldn't that also be an object of study? Because if they were a pioneering lesbian couple, wouldn't we want to celebrate that as part of their legacy?

And if they weren't, it still seems like they worked creatively around gendered norms, and all aspects of this non-conformity (not just that they had "their own practice without male partners or supervisors") would merit further examination and celebration. Even the ambiguity is noteworthy, and a likely source of creativity and some pain, beyond the more tangible artifacts of their gardens and landscapes.

There's a lot more here than just the gardens, a lot of interesting social history, and we hope that future shows and essays will examine it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Venti's Rocks Belgian Style at Dinner May 22nd

The Salem Beeriverse will go have another big bang with a Belgian Beer dinner on Sunday, May 22nd at 2pm. 40 seats will be available and are $45 each. Don't wait!

The supper will have a different beer paired with each of the five courses. Most of the beers with be from New Belgium.

From the blurb:
Commentary on Belgian style beer and cuisine by Venti's Beer Czar-Matthew Killikelly

Special Guest: New Belgium Beer Ranger-Matt Robertson will be discussing New Belgium Brewing
Hopefully the weather's great enough that Matt can rock the Ranger gear and ride the Ranger-mobile! In any case there are prizes and bonus beers.
New Belgium Raffle: Every guest will get a gift courtesy of New Belgium Brewing to be drawn during the event

Special Tappings: In addition to the beers listed below we will also be tapping several other rare treats, which will be available for sale at the bar for the first time during the pairing supper including: Elysian/New Belgium collaboration Trip VIII-Imperial IPA, and the newest offering from New Belgium's Lips of Faith Series Le Terrior-Dry Hopped American Wild Ale. Plus other Belgian and Belgian inspired rarities.

Salad - Belgian Chevre Endive Salad -Fresh Endives with mixed mesclun greens, herbed Chevre goat cheese, Granny Smith Apples, chopped Hazelnuts drizzled with a honey balsamic reduction. Pairing: New Belgium Mothership Wit
Soup - Flemish Waterzooi Soup- Classic creamy fish soup made with Shrimp, Monkfish, purple Potatoes and carrots in a tarragon and fennel infused broth.
Pairing: New Belgium Tripel

Appetizer - Moules Marinaire-Mussels in white wine and garlic steamed in a broth of white wine, butter, shallots and garlic.
Pairing: Boon-Geuze

Entrée - Vlaamase Stoofkarbonaden-Tender beef shoulder, poached in New Belgium-1554 black ale, with vegetables and finished with a raspberry champagne sauce and served with Belgian style pomme frites and a thyme, parsley mayonnaise side.
Pairings: New Belgium Abbey Ale

Dessert - Belgian Chocolate mousse with Waffle- Belgian dark chocolate mousse served with hot, crispy waffles with a Northwest cherry glaze.
Pairing: Choice of New Belgium/Boon Kriek (Cherry) Lambic or Ommegang Double Chocolate Indulgence Belgian stout
Vegetarians will need to consult elsewhere to learn their choices. Looks scrumptious!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Try a Tripel Karmeliet

Sometimes you don't want complicated - you just want yummy! Here's a beer that says "yes" to sun but will also keep at bay the cool breezes of early spring.

If you follow the taplist at Venti's, you'll know they've been pouring a lot of Belgian ales lately. La Chouffe, Delirium Tremens, Chimay, and more recently a saison, a farmhouse style.

Belgian ale is terrific, but sometimes it's a little different or complicated. Maybe you want to taste first, dip your toes a little.

But if you wanted to dive in, to enjoy one that offers straight-up, sheer, uncomplicated pleasure, Venti's tapped the one the other day.

Tripel Karmeliet. It's got a substantial amount of oats in the grain bill, along with barley and wheat, and it's got that grainy, oatmeal sweetness, along with some citrus and holiday spice. It's perfect for the sunny, transitional weather. It's just yummy.

Since it's not often on tap hereabouts, do yourself a favor. Have a beer!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sacrifice in So-Lame: Librarians, Doom, and the Anodyne of Record Store Day

#Salemia and So-Lame wouldn't exist as tropes (or should we say "memes") if they didn't say something real. For every bit of terrific news like Venti's expansion, there's a greater measure of soul-sucking nonsense.

The latest? You've all probably read about librarians being on the chopping block. We don't have anything much to add, but perhaps to recall Hypatia and the Library of Alexandria. Whacking school librarians isn't the same league, of course, but it sure feels like there's a certain, if non-fatal, philistine impulse behind the cuts.

We're in a dark mood.

It makes us think a little of Ursula LeGuin's take on the scapegoat myth, "The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas." Note the anagram: Omelas = SalemO.
How can I tell you about the people of Omelas? They were not naive and happy children--though their children were, in fact, happy. They were mature, intelligent, passionate adults whose lives were not wretched. O miracle! but I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could convince you. Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time....the people of Omelas are happy people.
But the happiness comes at a cost and when they learn the cost, some leave:
These people go out into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking, and walk straight out of the city of Omelas, through the beautiful gates. They keep walking across the farmlands of Omelas. Each one goes alone, youth or girl, man or woman. Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.
Though Omelas has its own autonomous identity within the text, it is difficult not to read the story also as a comment on Salem.

Though the Cherry City Music Festival was this past weekend, and appeals to a springy optimism, a new record by Witch Mountain offers a doomy counterpoint - that is also a commentary on Salem. NPR even featured one of the songs.

About the map, drummer Nate Carson says:
The fact that Salem has this strong resonance with witch imagery because of the Salem witch trials and the fact that Slayer has the album South of Heaven just made South of Salem resonate with us profoundly.

I had this idea for a weathered map of Oregon — you know how you see a red star over the capital of a state on a map? I had this vision of a red pentagram over Salem, Oregon, with blood down the roads and rivers.
Whether you read it as Wiccan, neopagan, Satanic, or otherwise, the pentagram also visually puns on the star that often signifies a capital city on a map. Things are topsy-turvy here. We don't get a gold star, however golden is our pioneer. It's also a little over-the-top - perhaps even campy? (Your mileage may vary.)

Is there a beer connection? Not really, but the faux-antique map also plays on notions of history, and the reference to Slayer recalls Ninkasi's connection to metal, brewing Sleigh'r and Maiden the Shade. (Wait, there's that hint of camp again!)

Since music is top-of-mind, perhaps the best thing is to remember tomorrow is Record Store Day. Go get some music. Support KMUZ. Create your own Art.

Have a beer.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Two Beery Lectures: Science Pub and Archaeological Ale

Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote about the "klingendes glas," the ringing cup that shatters.*

He intuited, as only poets can, that at the origins of the universe, at that great moment of transformation, there was a vibrating pint, the big bang beer.

Beer was also at the center of civilization, crucially bound up in the development of agriculture and social transformation that led to the first cities.

So it's with great excitement that we note two lectures in April that talk history and beer! One treats beer on a cosmic scale, the other a human scale. Both taste great!

Last fall you may recall the Theobroma at Venti's.**

A modern recreation of an ancient beer, Theobroma from Dogfish Head is a gruit, a beer without hops. It's part of Dogfish's "Ancient Ales" series:
This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1200 BC. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head’s Theobroma (translated into 'food of the gods') is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).
At the time we were looking forward to the lecture, "Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer and Extreme Fermented Beverages."

It's here! On Thursday, April 7th Dr. Patrick E. McGovern, Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia will talk at Willamette. He will
illustrate the biomolecular archaeological approach by describing the discovery of the most ancient, chemically-attested alcoholic beverage in the world, dating back to about 7000 B.C. Based on the analyses of some of the world’s earliest pottery from Jiahu in the Yellow River valley of China, a mixed fermented beverage of rice, hawthorn fruit/grape, and honey was reconstructed. The laboratory’s most recent finding is a fermented beverage made from the fruit pod of the cacao tree, as based on analyses of ca. 1200 B.C. pottery sherds from the site of Puerto Escondido in Honduras.

On Tuesday, April 12th, Science Pub returns to Brown's Towne Lounge:
What does the Universe look like and what is our place in it? How is it evolving and what did it look like in the distant past? What will it be like in the future?

If you’ve pondered these questions, the April 12 Science Pub Salem is the place for you.

Join Willamette University physics chair and cosmologist Dr. Richard (Rick) Watkins in an exploration of the Universe and its evolution.

After Watkins’ presentation, “The Big Bang and Beyond: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe,” we’ll pass the microphone to you for your questions.
Grab a beer and ponder the imponderables!

* Hey, it's National Poetry Month!

** See the news at the VentiBlog and reaction at EatSalem.