By Chris Jennings
You have fine-tuned your favorite recipe. Won multiple competitions with it and of course bragged to all of you friends and relatives about how accomplished a home brewer you are. Now your uncle in Tennessee wants to try some of this award winning beer, as do your in-laws in Pennsylvania that you visit once a year. Getting beer to your friends and colleagues is as easy as filling a growler or a couple of bottles, but sending them to your family and friends across great distances is no short order.
What to send?
Your uncle, wherever he lives, may be a macro brew man but that doesn’t mean that he won’t appreciate and enjoy your tasty homebrew. Sending a small sampler pack of some of the beers you have right now with maybe three varieties would be the best way to convey how much you have learned. However not all beers travel well and if you are going to be shipping in the summer months, including ice packs to keep the bottles chilled may be a prudent measure. Instead of sending the bottle you have laying around, bottle fresh beer and use an oxygen absorbing cap, this will increase your chances the beer would get too oxidized. If you bottle-condition, wait until the beer is carbonated to ship it, you don’t want your uncle to receive flat beer. Most styles of beers travel just fine. Aside from the heat and risk of oxidation, the only other change that may affect your brew is the hop flavor. Hop flavor can drop out drastically if the bottle is handled too violently.
Sharing beer with people that live near you doesn’t usually require any special treatment. The experience of drinking your beer and talking with you, the brewer, about it should be enough. When you ship beer, unfortunately you do not get that same personal interaction, so adding a few bells and whistles to your bottle can make the experience that much more enjoyable for your uncle. Most local home brew shops carry bottle labels of some kind. This can be a fun way to personalize your tasty brew. Besides a logo and a beer name, you could put vital statistics about the beer itself, maybe even what competitions it has won or how many batches you have brewed. Of course as far as the content of the label goes you have no limits because its homebrew! You can also improve the bottle itself to make it something more than the run of the mill 12-ouncer. There are an endless variety of bottle styles. Picking the perfect one can make the experience that much better.
When packaging the bottles you want to ensure that they are not in direct contact with each other or the walls of the box. First, bubble wrap the bottles, then place them in resealable bag. The bubble wrap is the last line of defense. In case a bottle breaks the bag will ensure that your box doesn’t start leaking beer. If that happens you will lose the entire shipment even if it is just one bottle. Layer the box with packing peanuts or some kind of soft packing material on the bottom to keep the bottle elevated. Add the bottle to the box as to not let them touch the walls; try not to pack them in to tight. Once you have added the bottle, fill up the box with the same soft material ensuring that you get every little nook. Once you seal up the box, make sure to place some fragile stickers on it in hopes that the shipping company pays attention. You can send the beer through any package service except the US Postal Service. It is illegal to ship beer using the postal service.
Sending beer for the holidays is not only a fun way to get your beer out and tasted by more people, but it can also be a rewarding experience for those who get the privilege. It is also a much cheaper way to spread some holiday joy.
By Gail Oberst
Women in pink boots naturally attract attention, but in September, the video cameras were rolling, and not because of footwear.
The all-woman traveling video crew from Heartfelt Productions’ Empowerment Project showed up last month to interview and film the work of the women brewers and beer industry representatives of the Pink Boots Society. The society’s members staged a collaboration brew day at McMinnville’s Heater Allen brewery.
Sarah Moshman and Ashley Hammen said their small production company is touring the nation in search of inspirational women to feature in their video production. Teri Fahrendorf, one of Oregon’s first women brewers and one of the founders of the Pink Boots Society, invited the company to the Pacific Northwest Chapter’s event hosted by Lisa Allen, assistant brewer at Heater Allen. The group of nearly 20 women used Heater Allen equipment to brew a Sticke Altbier, a dark, strong, malty and roasty beer. Fahrendorf’s employer, Country Malt, donated ingredients.
"Sticke means secret in German, and the first Sticke was a mistake but the beer was so popular it became a traditional style of altbier,” said Lisa Allen. “It is fermented cool and maintains a bit of fruitiness on the nose. It is a special beer that is only released twice a year, including each November. Since we are brewing this for our Nov/Dec fundraiser Party, and Sticke is a rare style among craft beers, I thought it would be a great style for the gals to brew together."
The public will get a chance to taste and purchase the beer during a public holiday fundraiser to generate money for the Pink Boots Society Scholarship Fund. The Pink Boots Society is throwing a public holiday fundraiser party with a goal to raise $3,000 for the society’s education fund. The fundraiser is in December. In addition to selling the Sticke Alt the women brewed in September, there will be food and a raffle with lots of prizes, according to Emily Engdahl, Pacific NW Regional Meeting Co-Coordinator.
The Pink Boots Society is an international nonprofit charity that aims to empower women beer professionals. More than 900 people now belong to the group.
For more information about Pink Boots, visit the website, www.pinkbootssociety.org.
For more information about the Empowerment project, visit the website, http://heartfelt-productions.com.
By Gail Oberst
Portland’s Lone Fir Cemetery at dusk: Shadows fall in the west end, where ancient headstones dot the landscape and in the foreground, a crumbling tomb sits – the tomb of George F. Bottler, one of Oregon’s first brewers. If ghosts rest uneasy in battered tombs, Bottler is agitated. His tomb, one of the oldest in the cemetery, is in bad shape.
Don’t be afraid. The Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery and Lone Fir Cemetery Foundation are among the groups hoping to remodel Bottler’s final resting place. Recently, the brewing community joined the effort.
Both of the brewing Bottler brothers were named George, which causes some historical confusion, according to Peri Muhich, volunteer genealogist for the Friends of the Lone Fir Cemetery. George Michael Bottler was the 1857 founder of the City Brewery in Portland, later to become Henry Weinhard’s brewery. George Michael Bottler was visiting relatives in Germany when his brother, George Frederick Bottler, died in 1865. George Frederick had started a brewery in The Dalles, but when he died without his brother nearby, his fellow brewers – including Weinhard – made arrangements for George Frederick to be buried in the Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland. When George Michael Bottler returned from Germany, he built a tomb over his brother’s grave and purchased two other plots nearby to house his own remains.
But George Michael Bottler died later in Germany, and is buried in his Bavarian hometown, Schillingsfurst, not in the tomb in Portland that now houses his brother’s uneasy remains.
The Bottler tomb is cause for some activity today, 128 years later. The tomb’s disrepair inspired Art Larrance to commit $10,000 from his Oregon Brewers Festival proceeds to a fund that will help restore the tomb to its past glory.
According to Lone Fir Cemetery officials, it will cost up to $80,000 to do the meticulous work of restoration, and they are working now to raise the rest of the money.
“This is a great project for the Foundation to support,” said Mary Faulkner of the Lone Fir Cemetery Foundation, which formed in 2011 to assist the Friends in fundraising efforts such as that for the Bottler tomb.
McMenamins’ Mission Theater in Portland staged a well-attended fundraiser in July for the tomb, according to McMenamins historian, Tim Hills. The event was part of the kick-off activities for Oregon’s Craft Beer Month. Former Gov. Barbara Roberts spoke at the event, urging those present to help with the effort to restore Bottler’s tomb.
Although Weinhard bought the City Brewery from the estate of the Bottlers, the brothers’ cousin, Michael Bottler, remained in the Portland area where, unlike his brewer cousins, he married and raised a family. Michael Bottler’s descendants still live in Portland and are assisting with renovations. One relative, Tim Bottler, is a contractor who is donating his time to plan the restoration and gather materials in hopes that the tomb work can begin next year, said Muhich.
The cemetery is the oldest and largest of the 14 historic cemeteries managed by Portland Metro.
George Bottler’s ghost may not be the only one unrested at the Lone Fir Cemetery. With burials that date back to 1846, the cemetery is one of Portland’s oldest, located between southeast Morrison and Stark streets, and 20th and 26th streets. Lone Fir has more than 25,000 burials in its 30 acres – 10,000 of which are unknown. The cemetery is home to the bones of governors, legislators and dozens of other Portland glitterati, not to mention the Chinese workers who were often buried without markers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Those unmarked Chinese burials at the cemetery brought it to the foreground in recent years, after the discovery that government buildings may have been built atop graves.
The cemetery was privately owned until 1928, when it was sold to Multnomah County. Metro took control of the cemetery in 1994, expanding to include the unmarked burial grounds in 2007. That year, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
To donate to the Bottler Tomb restoration, send a check to the Friends of the Lone Fir Cemetery, P.O. Box 14214, Portland, 97212, with a “Bottler’s Tomb” note on the check. For more information on the Friends group and its activities, visit www.friendsoflonefircemetery.org.
By Brian Yaeger
The Rogue and Umpqua Valleys are proving that the operative word in Southern Oregon is “Oregon.” A recent spate of brewery openings has literally doubled the number of breweries from ten to twenty in the last two years. Ashland is set to welcome its third brewery, Swing Tree, where owner/brewer Brandon Overstreet and his wife Tanya have lofty plans for spontaneous fermented beers but will debut with the likes of Obligatory IPA. Up in Medford, Apocalypse packs its warehouse space and the newer Portal provides a cozy pub atmosphere. On the northern end of Southern Oregon in Roseburg, Old 99 is brewing clean, top-notch beers and you’ll be stoked to make the acquaintance of Billy (last name: Bad Ass, who’s a Double IPA). Nearby, Two Shy is open for growler fills and is building out its tasting room to enjoy pints of their DIPA, Ignition. And coming soon is Dogbarrel, currently operating as a homebrew supply store but the 1.5 barrel system is already in the back awaiting operation. Way up in White City amid rural ranches there’s Fire Cirkl, a braggot brewery featured elsewhere in these pages. Last but not least, right in the middle, Grants Pass is experiencing a relative boom with three new breweries. There’s the forthcoming Griess Family in brewer Trevor Griess’s backyard called JD’s Sports Pub that added a brewery that makes shockingly decent beers like their pale ale, and, a veritable beer geek destination that you sadly can’t visit, Conner Fields.
Jon Conner moved to Southern Oregon with his buddy Josh Fields to start this 1.5-barrel brewery. Josh has departed, but the name sticks, and sensibly so, since it’s situated in fields of grapes, quite literally on the Conner Family Vinery, or what you and I might call a vineyard. Jon would love to add a hop yard, but first thing’s first. His stable of quality saisons and farmhouse beers are sold primarily at the Grants Pass farmers market in pre-filled growlers and one of the best is the Zin Saison made with Zinfandel grapes hand-plucked right outside the barn that houses the brewery. The farmers market attracts a few thousand people, and to sate their disparate thirsts, Conner Fields offers around fifteen different beers, though none as a year-round flaghship. One beer that’s garnering a fan base is Robot Small, a Japanese-esque beer in that 30 percent of the grain bill is comprised of rice and its abundance of Sorachi hops, lending the lemony high notes to this already light, top-heavy beer.
Born to be a maker—he was a sculptor back in New York with a homebrewing hobby who now makes beer but is always sculpting his brewing equipment—he’s looking forward to putting some of the empty wine barrels that surround him to good use. “I have Tempranillo barrels, port, Zin, Sherry...I will be barrel aging, but no Brett or I’ll be kicked out by all the winemakers.”
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.