Monday, January 25, 2016


Foam, sweet foam...
Living in Portland, the best damn beer city in the whole damn world, has spoiled me. I'm not a particularly persnickety individual, but I do have certain expectations when it comes to beer experiences in this burg. Okay, very high expectations, but I'm not alone. Even Portland's lowliest dive bars have fine, delicious, AWESOME, local craft beer on tap; and PDX beer consumers are generally quite serious about getting the best brew for their beer dollars.

With more than 50 breweries in Portland proper--and myriad top tier pubs and taprooms--I have many, many choices. There's a lot of competition for those greenbacks in my wallet, I'll tell you what. Real estate may be a seller's market in Stumptown right now, but when it comes to beer, the buyer is still king. I expect top quality because that's what I usually get. Like I said, I'm spoiled.

I visited a large, very popular brewpub in The Pearl District on Saturday. I have to admit that it was my second choice. The vibe is kind of corporate; kind of chain-y. The house beer isn't stellar, but they typically have an eclectic selection of guest taps to choose from. I ordered a pale ale and my friend got himself an IPA.

I was disappointed when the beers were presented to us. Both glasses were filled to the rim and completely devoid of any head whatsoever. Now, any craft beer aficionado will tell you that the head on a glass of beer is VERY important. A proper head is necessary not only for attractive presentation but for appropriate release of a beer's aromatic properties. I glanced around the bar and the dining room and was shocked to see that NO beer in the entire place had foam. A waitress walked by me with a tray full of suds-less beer. My outrage started to grow.

Actually, my companion was the one who complained to the waitress. She wandered away and a few minutes later came back to advise us that the manager was checking the tap lines. She never came back with a status report. She never offered to give us new pours. We sipped our headless brewskis and I vowed never to return.

I will absolutely NEVER recommend that particular brewpub to ANYONE. In fact, if anyone ever asks for my opinion about the place, it's not going to be a good one. (See above.) I do believe that Portland has just about reached the saturation point when it comes to brewery capacity. We'll probably see a few close their doors in the near future. Those that do not exhibit proper respect for the beer they pour will likely be the first to go. I'm just sayin'.

If you are a brewery owner or publican, please take heed. Make sure your taps are pristine and that your employees know how to pour a beer. Properly maintain, wash and rinse your glassware. If you need assistance in that area, I'm more than happy to oblige. Well, not in the actual glass washing--I'm thinking more of a "quality control", tasting role. In the meantime, here's a cane shake for all those past, present and future headless beers...

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