Friday, September 30, 2011

Tonight: Lompoc Monster Mash Release Party

[Editor's Note:  Meet It's Pub Night's newest guest bloggers, Brian and Sharon!  I've been begging them for weeks to write something for the blog, and here they are.  You may have already met them at Portland beer events, and in addition to being great people, Brian is a local Beer Advocate linchpin (msubulldog25), a relentless festival volunteer, and BA's BeerFly Guide for Oregon.  They attended a preview of Lompoc's Monster Mash Release Party this week, and submitted this post about the beers that will be available there.  The Monster Mash Release Party is tonight, Friday Sept. 30, 2011, 4 - 11 PM at the Lompoc 5th Quadrant Sidebar.]

When we were first invited to this event, we thought “Lompoc is solid… sure, why not.” Then we saw the line up: their beloved Monster Mash Imperial Porter, a Condor Pale fermented in bourbon barrels with sour cherries, a 2008 Belgian-style Golden?!... Say no more, count us in! Considering our palates are often polar opposites, we decided to taste these independently and compare notes after the fact. Let’s see how they stack up, in the order they were tasted:

Flamingo – Condor Pale Ale fermented in bourbon barrels with 35 lbs. of sour cherries. (5.2%):

Brian: (one I rarely order…). Brewed with cherries and aged in bourbon barrels, the result is a reasonable tartness, a hazy rosy appearance and surprisingly sweet and rather light-bodied beer. Easy to drink.

Sharon: Big bourbon at the front. The carbonation reminded me of a dry, Belgian champagne style. Slightly sour, not overwhelming. Without knowing the details, its darker color led me to expect something heavy and syrupy like a quad, but it was light and refreshing.

Monster Mash – Imperial Porter (8.1%): an annual hodgepodge of leftover ingredients which was described by the brewers as ‘great’ some years, and somewhat ‘undrinkable’ in others. Not a glowing endorsement by a brewer, but refreshingly honest.

Brian: Poured into a large teardrop. Big and darkly roasted , fudgy chocolate and dark coffee. A tiny bit hot, sweetness without a great deal of complexity – but that’s not bad, as it helps with drinkability. Hardly seems 8+%, extremely smooth.

Sharon: Goes down easy for a big beer, almost too easy. Strong malty flavor, but tasted more like coffee than chocolate for me. For a second, I thought I was drinking a stout. Regardless, MMmmmmmm, pass me another.

Bourbon barreled Monster Mash – Barrel aged for 1 year in 2009, bottled since Aug 2010.

Brian: Mellow, with a latent boozy warmth, vanilla and sweet wood. Looks still, feels silky.

Sharon: Wow, of the two, I prefer this. The big bourbon flavor really brought out the chocolate. This would be my perfect after-dinner winter beer.

Mon Cheri – Belgian-style golden ale brewed in Jan 2008 (6.4%)

Brian: I don’t recall there being any fruit added, but the end result was mildly citrusy and berry-sweetened with a heavy ‘cereal’ graininess. Not bad, but seemed past its prime. Fun to try, though maybe not a keg that benefitted from the extra cellar time.

Sharon: Je t’aime! The Belgian Golden is currently my favorite style and this was truly my darling of the evening. A little tart, it was sweet but not syrupy and, for me, had a floral nose. For a beer that was aged 3 years, it was incredibly complex yet balanced.

Bierz Brown – Dark brown ale (5.3%): an ‘unfinished’ creation by newest brewer, Irena Bierzynski. To be bottled this Friday.

Brian: A sessionable and rather tasty brown, full of cocoa and roasted nutshells and an ever-so-slight tartness. Only distributed at Lompoc pubs.

Sharon: While still a bit young, this malty, session beer went down easy and I could see it pairing well with food, especially in the Fall. Speaking of young, this is a first time brew by Lompoc’s newest addition, Irena “Brew Ha Ha” Bierzynski. She’s a recent Lewis & Clark grad/chemistry major and after hearing how she came to be at Lompoc, it’s clear she’s passionate about brewing and this is just the start to a bright future for her.

Steaming California – Steam beer brewed with an American Pils yeast strain fermented at ale temps. (5%)

Brian: Steam beers aren’t a style I’m all that familiar with. Since we were trying these out of order and were growing more sociable by this time, this final beer was deemed ‘spicy… a little dry… crisp and fruity’ according to my notes. That’s all I’ve got.

Sharon: solid, but the strong flavors of the other beers overpowered it, leaving it forgettable.

C-Note – Brewed with 7 “C” hops: Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus, and Challenger. Clocks in at 100 IBUs. (6.9%)

Brian: Prior to pouring, brewers Jerry Fechter and Dave Fleming tossed around the story of C-Note’s origins. Apparently the first version, crafted in 1991 – for the Horse Brass Pub’s 25th Anniversary, was a result of brewers aiming to outdo each other; the final product was an ‘all C hops’ beer that was pretty much unheard of at the time. That C-Note recipe is now the winter favorite, C-Sons Greetings. This ain’t too shabby – no notes, just a lovely hop-intense mouthful.

Sharon: “How big is yours?” In PDX, IPA’s = Dick wars. Originally a huge IPA now called C-sons Greetings, C-Note was retooled to be a smaller, more lunchtime friendly brew. Seeing as I’m not a hophead, it helped that I had a few beers to warm me up and dull my taste buds – 100 IBUs is no joke. That said, it was quite tasty. I ended on this and yes, 6.9% is just big enough for this girl.

Many thanks to Lompoc for showing us a good time! It was a fun way to spend a Tuesday night, hanging out with other beer geeks and hearing the brewers talk firsthand about how their beers were created. We’re definitely looking forward to the Crystal Missile at the Hops Fest this weekend.

Further reading about tonight's Monster Mash party:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fresh Hop 2011 Progress Report

The 2011 Hood River Hops Festival is Saturday (October 1), and I'm going to make it over there for the first time. Maybe the hops are always greener on the other side of Gresham, but it always seemed to me like the beer list was a little nicer for the Hood River festival than for the followup fresh-hop festival in Portland (this year's is at Oaks Park again, on next Saturday, October 8). Ezra published the Hood River taplist yesterday -- it looks pretty good.

Meanwhile, I've been on my yearly quest to try a new fresh-hop beer every day.  I missed Monday, which would have been the 15th day in a row, because foolish overindulgence Sunday left me with no appetite for beer that day.  Maybe I'll cut myself some slack and count one of the earlier days when I tried two new fresh-hop beers as a reasonable substitute for Monday.

Since the festivals are cranking up, I'll give you my progress report on the beers I've tried so far this season.  I'll put them into four categories:  fresh-hop beers you must try; beers that show off fresh hops well enough; beers that are really good but where I didn't really notice much fresh hop flavor; finally, beers to avoid.  The ones that will be available at Hood River this weekend are marked with "(HR)".  [Update 2011/10/03: I've added in the beers I tried Saturday at Hood River, marked with italicized "(HR)".]

  • Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond (HR)
  • Deschutes Fresh Hop Twilight Ale
  • Full Sail Lupulin (with Tettnanger hops) (HR?)
  • Breakside Fresh Hop IPA (HR)
  • Big Horse Vernon the Rabbit Slayer (HR)
  • Elysian Kama Citra (HR)
  • Logsdon Fresh Hop Sezoen (HR)
  • Double Mountain Killer Red (HR)
  • Bridgeport Hop Harvest (HR)
  • Laurelwood Laurelfest Vienna Lager (HR)
  • Deschutes Hop Trip (HR)
  • MacTarnahan's Fresh Hop Mac's Amber (HR)
  • Ft. George CoHoporative Ale (HR)
Good fresh hop beers:
  • Rogue Chatoe Wet Hop (HR)
  • Ninkasi Tricerarillo (HR)
  • Hopworks Fest of Fury (HR)
  • Widmer Liberty Fresh Hop Lager (HR)
  • Deschutes Fresh Hop Inversion IPA
  • Migration Fresh Hop Pale Ale
  • Oakshire Triune Wet Hop Pale Ale (HR)
  • Everybody's Brewing Head Stash Pale Ale (HR)
  • Rock Bottom Hop Harvest (HR)
  • McMenamin's Thundercone (HR)
Tasty beers, not much fresh-hop flavor:
  • Full Sail Lupulin (with Centennial hops) (HR?)
  • Breakside Fresh Hop CDA (HR)
  • Double Mountain Killer Green (HR) 
  • Hopworks Give me Liberty... (HR)
  • Lompoc Crystal Missile (HR)
  • Ninkasi Total Crystallization (HR)
  • Big Horse Red Fang (HR) 
  • Seven Brides Fresh Hop Emily's Ember
  • Ft. George Fresh Hop Vortex IPA (HR)
  • Deschutes Fresh Hop Chainbreaker White IPA
  • Lucky Lab Reaperweizen (HR)
These are just my opinions; feel free to comment if you disagree.  Leave it to Deschutes to take first, second, and last place in the pageant -- they're all over this fresh hop thing.  Likewise, John Harris' experiments with various hop varieties in Full Sail Lupulin keeps pushing the boundaries:  I thought the Centennial was a miss, but the Tettnanger was as good as the mind-blowing batch of Amarillo Lupulin that started the dynasty in 2007.  Anyone know which Lupulin will be on hand in Hood River?  There are some big gaps in my list -- some from breweries that haven't put out the green stuff yet, others that I just haven't gotten to yet.  I'll fill the list in with more beers as I try them.

One thing that makes me very happy is that I don't have to chastise anyone around Portland this year for using 0% undried hops in their "fresh hop" beers.  Remember, no one expects 100% fresh hops in these beers -- although at Breakside Ben Edmunds went the extra mile with his fresh Simcoe IPA and used no dried hops whatsoever -- they just expect brewers to make an effort to get that green flavor with some amount of fresh hops.

Don't forget to consult this year's Portland Fresh Hop Map when looking for that fresh flavor around town.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Portland Beer Price Index: Autumn 2011

The days have been growing rapidly shorter, and here we are at the autumn equinox. Time for the 2011 third quarter Portland Beer Price Index:

  • 6-packs: $9.04, up 1 cent
  • 22-ounce bombers: $4.94, down 14 cents
  • 6-packs (sale price): $8.74, up 5 cents
  • 22-ounce bombers (sale price): $4.78, down 12 cents
  • 16 oz. draft: $4.33, unchanged
  • 16 oz. draft (happy hour): $3.57, unchanged

Six-pack prices continue their upward trend, but the regular bomber price of $4.94 is the lowest (adjusted) price I've recorded in the two-plus years of the index. The huge drops in the bomber numbers are all attributable to lower prices on the high-end bombers: Pelican, Rogue, and Beer Valley. Pelican IPA continues to give me trouble. I only found it at two stores in my survey this time, though both of them had it at the entirely reasonable price of $5.

Remember, this is not a complaint about beer prices, it's an exercise in tracking price trends over time. Click here for an explanation of how the PBPI numbers are gathered. Join me at the winter solstice for the fourth quarter PBPI.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hopworks BikeToBeerFest 2011

I had a nice time Saturday at Hopworks Urban Brewery's bike-in version of Oktoberfest, the BikeToBeerFest  -- the third annual.  They always roll out some special beers for the festival, and this year was no exception, with two fresh hop beers, several barrel-aged monsters, and a few other rarities pouring alongside the brewery's standards.  The gigantic glass that Hopworks founder Christian Ettinger is drinking from contains a special pale ale called Lover Brau, an homage to head brewer Ben Love, who is leaving HUB to help found Gigantic Brewing.  To keep it a surprise, Lover Brau was actually brewed at Golden Valley in McMinnville.

Last year I made a big stink about Hopworks labeling beers "fresh hop" when they contained only dried hops.  This year I'm told that the fresh hop beers really do have some "wet hops" (I hate that silly term) in them.  Perhaps my whining paid off -- I just hope that one day it will be heard in Chico, California.  I thought the true fresh hops really made this year's Fest of Fury Märzen the best batch I can remember.  The Give Me Liberty fresh-hop Pale Ale was also very hoppy and bitter, very good stuff though I didn't pick up much of the fresh-hop flavor.  Hats off to Hopworks for going fresh this year.

At the 2010 festival, the most noteworthy big beer was Piledriver -- Hopworks' dubbel, barrel-aged with cherries and brettanomyces.  It was back again this year, and people were saying it was the same batch, though that seemed strange to me since it didn't look nearly as dark as I remember it -- look at these pictures of it last year over on the New School.  Whichever batch it was, it was at least as good as before -- nice cherries and a little drying funk on top of what was already a nice beer.  I also liked the bourbon barrel-aged Ace of Spades, though several people told me it was too over-the-top for them.  And Kronan the Bourbarian was another fine use of bourbon barrels -- adding a little extra kick to HUB's already potent Baltic Porter.

The beer price scheme has changed every year of BikeToBeerFest.  This year's was the most sensible system yet, so I hope it sticks.  Normal-strength pints were $4, or $2 for a half pour.  Strong beers were $3 for a half pour.  If you remember last year, the choices were either a full pint for $4 or $6, or a four-ounce pour for $1 (even for the $6 bruisers).  The half-pint option this year is a much better option all around.  Also this year there was no charge to get in to the festival, just the cost of a glass and your tickets.

Attendance seemed to be down from 2010.  Just a week ago, we were talking about how the hot weather might have kept people away from the Beermongers 2nd Anniversary Brewfest; Saturday the intermittent rain might have similarly dampened the BikeToBeerFest crowds.  Can we blame the weather, or are we really starting to have beer event fatigue in Portland?  Whatever it was, the bike racks in the lower parking lot were mostly empty during the time I was there, and there was never much of a line for any beer -- not that I'm complaining about that.  Maybe there was more of a crowd after I left.

Bikes and beer -- a great Portland combination, and a great thing to make a tradition of.

Sanjay has a post about the event, including some nice video, over on the Not So Professional Beer Blog.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2011 Portland Fresh Hop Map

Last year I made a map of places around town that had Fresh Hop beers on tap. The 2010 Fresh Hop Map got surprisingly full; I think the trend is only increasing, and I expect this year's map to get even more crowded.

View 2011 Portland Fresh Hop Beers in a larger map

Luckily, I got a couple of volunteers this year to help with the upkeep:  Charles from An Ear for Beer, and my twitter/neighborhood friend Tracy.  If you see a fresh hop beer on tap that isn't on the map let us know the following information:
  • The brewery
  • The name of the fresh-hop beer
  • The establishment serving it
  • The date it went on tap (approximately)
  • How well you liked it
  • Any trivia you know about it (e.g. hop variety)
You can supply the information in a comment on this post, but if you're on the twitters, a tweet might get our attention faster: @itspubnight (me), @HumuloneRed (Charles), or @TracyTThomas (Tracy).

We're only mapping Portland, so please don't report locations in Hood River, Astoria, Denver, or even Vancouver. If that rankles you, feel free to maintain your own map and I will publicize yours right here.

As I write this, there are only four entries, but trust me, it's going to go crazy very soon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beermongers 2nd Anniversary Fest

There were lots of good beers pouring at the Beermongers 2nd Anniversary Brewfest this weekend, and lots of space to drink them in, at least during the few hours I was there on Sunday.  Everyone had a great time, but it was a little surprising how sparse the attendance was.  I was musing about it with festival organizer Josh Grgas yesterday, so before I go on to talk about the beer, let me ask your opinion on why there weren't more people at the festival.  Was it:
  • Unseasonably hot weather?
  • Not enough publicity?
  • Beer event fatigue?
  • Competing events?
  • No minors allowed?
  • Car parking issues?
  • Something else?
It did get pretty darn hot outside on Sunday.  I was pouring beer under the tent in the parking lot from noon to 4 PM, and there were not many people out there braving the heat.  Most people stayed inside the shop, where there was more room than at previous Beermongers events because they rearranged the floorplan recently to make better use of the space.  I understand that attendance was bigger on Saturday, the first day of the festival.

I didn't try everything at the festival, but some highlights for me were:
  • Boneyard Hop Venom: very fresh-tasting, floral Double IPA in the Pliny branch of the family tree
  • Upright Gunslinger: a Helles lager using Upright's hand-smoked malt
  • Beetje En Vat: light Belgian ale aged in wine barrels
  • Astoria Solar Dog: a tongue-scraping IPA that was all hops, in a good way
  • Stone Belgo Guardian: barleywine brewed with Belgian yeast
Keep an eye on Upright's lagers.  They don't get as much play as the farmhouse lineup, but they fill a gap in town for crisp but tasty German-style lagers.  The smoked ones have the typical off-the-wall Upright creativity -- they smoke the malt themselves.  Alex told me yesterday that the malt for Gunslinger was smoked over maple and fir, and some of the maple was from leftovers from construction of the bar at his joint venture Grain and Gristle.  That would be cool, to sit at the bar and drink the wood from it at the same time.

Beetje turned in another simple but effective winner with En Vat.  It's recognizable to fans of farmhouse ales, but still approachable to novices.  The wine-barrel aging added a nice fruit touch to the palate.  And speaking of Belgian styles, the Stone Belgian Barleywine surprised me in the way it was able to combine the best flavors of the yeast with a muscular, hoppy barleywine.  I wasn't crazy about their Belgo Imperial Stout -- though I know a lot of people who loved it -- but the b-wine worked really well.

Angelo has some pictures up from Saturday at the Brewfest.

Kegs weren't emptying out much at the festival, so keep an eye on the Beermongers taplist for the next couple weeks.  A lot of impressive beer that was left waiting in the wings is sure to be showing up.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ebay vs. Beer

Yesterday on Beervana, Jeff commented on a Washington Post article about Ebay's black market for beers.  He really got it stirred up, 31 comments and counting.  Jeff thinks the brewers shouldn't be whining about the black market, they should raise their prices to eliminate it.

I'll go into why I disagree with Jeff below, but first some facts about beer sales on Ebay:
  1. Ebay doesn't allow the sale of alcoholic beverages.
  2. There is a loophole for collectible bottles, if the seller posts a disclaimer that it is the bottle that is valuable, not the beer inside.
  3. For rare beers of recent vintage, that disclaimer is obviously a lie.
  4. If the seller is willing to lie about the value of the beer to make a few dollars, how can you trust them to treat you honestly in the sale?
  5. If you don't like to see beer scalping on Ebay, you can report beer auctions by clicking on the "Report Item" link on the page.  They usually take reported auctions down.
  6. Just for fun, check out the time I auctioned an empty Abyss bottle on Ebay.
Occasionally I will report a beer auction on Ebay, just to strike a blow for honesty in the world.  I am not puritanically opposed to people doing what they want, but if you don't like Ebay's rules, you should find some other way to sell your beer.  Today Ebay took down a Dark Lord auction I reported, but it looks like they are going to leave up an auction by one of their "Top-Rated Sellers" of Stone's Framboise for the Cure, which was one of the scalped beers mentioned in the Washington Post article.

Part of the controversy would disappear if Ebay would simply drop their restriction on beer auctions.  Brewers couldn't complain about profiteering -- they would be free to participate in it if they wanted to make more money off of their products, or distribute to a wider audience.  It would also open the door for honest resellers to develop a reputation for properly handling a somewhat delicate product. Of course, Ebay doesn't drop their beer prohibition because they are constrained by a fractured regulatory system in the U.S., where every state has different restrictions on sale and delivery of alcohol.

Jeff's idea that raising prices will eliminate the black market is ridiculous.  This faith in a magical Market that can correctly determine the price of goods is part of the insanity of our times.  At best, it works in a circular definition sort of way:  the market determines the correct price at any given second because the correct price is what someone will pay.  But it doesn't work in any sort of predictive way:  based on this level of supply, and this level of demand, and this attribute of the product, the price will be such-and-such.  Since it can't predict anything, but can only rationalize what happened, this efficient-market model that modern Americans apply to everything has much more in common with religion than with science.

Given the fact that no one can predict ahead of time the market price of something traded in billions of units -- say, common stock of the Intel Corporation -- how is a small brewery supposed to calculate ahead of time the market price of a beer they made 5,000 bottles of?  Simply put, they can't calculate that.  So they set a reasonable price based on their costs, prices of similar products, and their past experience of what their customers will pay.  Of course they want to make a good profit, but there is also value to them in selling out fast -- they don't have to sit on an inventory, and they can devote more space in their operation to the next production run.

Further reading:
It's interesting how much more pro-Ebay the BAs have become in three years.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oregon IPA Blind Tasting

This is kind of a slow follow-through, but a couple of weekends ago I helped judge Blitz Ladd's blind tasting competition of Oregon IPAs.  Earlier in the year I went on a kick of blind-tasting Double IPAs three or four at a time with friends and neighbors, in March, April, and May.  The Blitz tasting was on a different level: the good news is that I was seated amongst far more experienced beer judges; the bad news is we had a roster of 13 IPAs to get through.

We were surprisingly unanimous in choosing our top three:
  • Hopworks HUB IPA
  • Widmer Falconer IPA
  • Lucky Lab Super Dog IPA
Sometimes you forget how good old favorites can be -- well, four-year-old favorites anyway.  HUB IPA is the burly but drinkable IPA that launched Hopworks to nearly instant success, but I rarely seem to drink it these days.  When I'm at Hopworks, I usually geek out and try whatever seasonal beer they have; when I'm somewhere else I rarely go for the IPA.  I guess I'll have to rethink my strategy now. 

It also surprised me how much we liked the new Rotator from Widmer.  I had tasted it for the first time the day before, and liked it pretty well -- especially the long bitter finish -- but I wouldn't have thought it was one of my two favorites in town.  It's brewed with the Falconer's Flight hop blend from Hop Union that breweries are starting to experiment with.  Fans of Walking Man beers should pick up a six-pack of it: the recipe was devised by Jacob Leonard, who left his head brewer position at Walking Man earlier this year to join Widmer.  He's still new enough that he has to work the night shift, but his beer has already made it to a national audience.  Pretty cool.

The Blitz folks stressed to us over and over that these were not Double or Imperial IPAs, but I couldn't shake doubles out of my mind and I was sure I had several of the competitors pegged for this or that Double IPA -- even to the point of insisting aloud that #9 was Caldera's Hopportunity Knocks, Super Dog was Ninkasi's Tricerahops, and the Widmer was Hopworks' Ace of Spades.  Goofy.  I'm a little embarrassed to think of it now.  Well, it was a long weekend and I had been up late the night before sampling beers from around the country at the Beer Bloggers Conference.

I also thought I had Gilgamesh's IPA pegged for Bridgeport Hop Czar, another imperial.  I mean that in a good way: it would have been my choice for 4th place.  Except for the strange and wonderful tea-hopped Black Mamba, Gilgamesh's beers have left me cold, but this IPA had a very nice grapefruity hop profile, and I'll be keeping an eye out for it now.  Other pleasant surprises were McTarnahan's Grifter -- very nicely balanced -- and Vertigo's Friar Mike's IPA.  I've had both in the past, but wouldn't have expected them to surpass much more established IPAs.  That goes to show the power of blind tasting.

Speaking of blind tasting:  if you're not already reading the Southern Oregon-based blog Bottle Battle, add it to your list.  Each post is a blind tasting between two or more similar beers, a nice twist on beer reviews.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Governor of Beervana

The Lucky Lab Hop Harvest that happened Tuesday on the Lab's patio was another enjoyable time, just like every year.  If you ever get a chance to attend, it's a great experience that reminds you why we call this place Beervana.  Even Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber poked his head in on the operation, along with First Girlfriend Cynthia Hayes.

Yes, that's why we call this place Beervana, but the sleepyheads running the Oregonian's sad excuse for an editorial page evidently disagree.  This morning's O prepended "Governor of Beervana" to the headline of a George Will editorial about Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company brewpub in Denver.  I've come to expect more Portland bashing than boosterism from the Oregonian -- remember the idiotic non-foodie restaurant guide they put out last year? -- but conceding the label Beervana to another state is really over the top.  Not even the Denver Post added any beery honorifics to their headline for the same editorial.

Meanwhile, on Beervana, the Blog, Jeff Alworth goes on to critique the actual content of Will's editorial.  Hint: the editorial starts with a fictional quote from Benjamin Franklin, and doesn't stray too much closer to reality after that.

You can see from the photo above why Gov. Kitzhaber has a reputation for quiescence.  In my long-exposure photo, he is the only subject not blurred by motion -- and no one else is even moving!  I wish my good friend and noted hop connoisseur Marc Martin hadn't blocked the view of Ms. Hayes as he mesmerized the couple with an explanation of the humulone levels present in the fresh lupulin of various hop strains.  Despite my poor photography skills, I like it that I was able to squeeze Pub Night regular Lindsey into the frame, and I even see civic-minded beer man El Gordo hovering there in the background.

I asked the governor if he visited the Lucky Lab often, and he adroitly responded "Not often enough".  But Ms. Hayes covered for him and said that he does consume an adequate amount of beer at home.

John Foyston has some much better pictures in his report on the event.  He reports that a record 227 pounds of hops were picked this year.  Bravo!  And cheers to the real Governor of Beervana.