Posted by Gail Oberst
Lisa Morrison, AKA The Beer Goddess, occasionally becomes impatient with mere mortals, and for good reason. They need beer to function. Morrison just needs beer to make events come to life.
“It takes a lot of beer to tap a keg,” she sighed, resident dimples creasing her cherubic face. She pointed to the empty bottles lining the landing steps of the refrigerated truck trailers that housed the dozens of kegs and taps for the North American Organic Beer Festival, the event for which she was acting tour guide for a gaggle of goofy media types, like myself. Workers hammered and clanked in the background, fueled by whatever was in those bottle. We were all sampling the beer that had made it to the taps, not much minding that about half of the taps were not online until just minutes before the public hoards stormed the gates.
Having managed a few shows in my lifetime (I was the stage manager of my 5th-grade spring concert, handing out paper flowers to fellow performers), I imparted my wisdom: The audience won’t see the glitches in the show. They’ll all be drinking, I said. I wasn’t referring to my 5th grade audience, of course, whose members were super critical and the cause of several psychoses I maintain today, albeit, privately. I sort of wish that audience had been drinking a bit more.
But I digress.
NAOBF 2012 was fabulous and fun. No thanks to the media pre-event, which got me started on good beer very early in the day, by 3 p.m. I was laying rope lasso traps in the grass near my seat, trying to snag passersby, without much success. What’s really weird though is that several people sitting near me joined in the fun, baiting the trap with beer cups and drink tokens and urging people to step in the trap. Probably the highlight of that whole trapping business was that I actually caught Otis Heat, one of a line-up of great musicians at the NAOBF, but then had no idea what to do with him and in fact was totally surprised at his willingness to be caught. I needed time to think! Meanwhile, he wandered off in search of a guitar.
I was too easily distracted. So much to drink, taste and do!
I breezed through my 10 token tastes with the greatest of ease, and then dipped into my son’s and husband’s stash.
Alphabetically, the Oregon beers I loved included Alameda’s Yellow Wolves of Thailand, Captured by Porches Invasive Species, The Commons Haver Bier/Oat Saison Deschutes Green Lakes Amber, Fort George’s Spruce Budd Ale, Hopworks Rise-Up Red, Lompoc’s Cluster Fuggles, Laurelwood’s Deranger Red Ale, Logsdon’s Seizoen, McMenamins Oak Hills Altbier, Mt. Emily’s Heifer-Weizen and Red Ale, Natian’s AAA Amber Ale and Summer Ale, Oakshire’s Farmhouse Ale, Terminal Gravity’s Organic Rye, and Two Kilts Imperial IPA and maybe some others from Oregon and other states. No dogs in that list!
It was a good day, and one that ended with a designated driver dropping us off at a hotel where, eventually, the beautiful day became part of my dreams.
Meanwhile Lisa and the other staff and volunteers of the NAOBF including Chris Crabb and founder Craig Nicholls were doing the more serious work of exposing beer drinkers to sustainable practices in beer-production, forcing the eternal question: will my corn-based compostable cup dissolve if the IBUs are too high? Or better yet, is a beer with a 95-99 percent organic classification 50 percent more likely to taste awful? I know the answer to that: 100 percent NOT likely.
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