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The tribute beer we need in 2013

My, time flies, and faster the older you get. Back in 1997, my wife, Daria Labinsky, and I wrote a story that appeared in All About Beer magazine in the early days of 1998. It was called “The Class of ’88” and examined several brewpubs that opened ten years before and their influence.

Now Deschutes Brewery, one of those featured in 1998, has announced it will collaborate with four other breweries that opened in 1988 to create commemorative beers to celebrate their shared 25th anniversary.

So it’s been 15 years since we wrote that story about places that were 10 years old. (That’s what I mean about time.) It may be a little dated, but I added it to the archives here. And not only because it provides an excuse to repeat a great quote from the late Greg Noonan:

“When the homebrewers stop entering the profession, and the backyard breweries are squeezed out, then it will become stagnant. You gotta keep getting the guys who say, ‘Cool, I can sell the beer I make. I can do it.’ ”

You may not know you miss Greg Noonan, but you do.

Anyway, the skinny for the Deschutes press release:

Brewery Partners: North Coast Brewing Company (Ft. Bragg, CA) & Rogue Ales (Newport, OR)
Beer Style: Barley Wine
Planned Release Date: March 2013

Story: In the same year these breweries were born, renowned beer connoisseur Fred Eckhardt published The Essentials of Beer Style which included a barley wine style guideline which will provide the basis for this collaboration. All three versions of the barley wines that will result from this unique collaboration will be packaged in 22-ounce and 750 ml bottles, plus draft.

Brewery Partner: Great Lakes Brewing Company (Cleveland, OH)
Beer Style: Smoked Imperial Porter
Planned Release Date: May 2013

Story: Building on a history of great porters – Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Edmund Fitzgerald and Deschutes Brewery’s Black Butte Porter – this Smoked Imperial Porter promises to be exceptional. Both beer versions will be available for a limited time in 22-ounce bottles and draft.

Brewery Partner: Goose Island Beer Company (Chicago, IL)
Beer Style: Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale
Planned Release Date: Q4 2013

Story: Brewers and owners are still working out the details on this beer, which they plan to brew with Riesling juice and Pinot Noir grapes. It will be aged in barrels that previously held Muscat wine in them for 10 years. Again, each brewery will produce its own version of the brew in bottles and draft.

I’ll buy those beers.

But — attn. anybody at Wynkoop Brewing (Marty Jones, Andy Brown, and even Colorado governor John Hickenlooper) or Vermont Pub & Brewery (and that could include you, John Kimmich or Peter Egleston) — the commemorative 25th anniversary beer I want to drink in 2013 is the one that Russell Schehrer and Greg Noonan could have, should have, would have brewed together.

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9 Responses to The tribute beer we need in 2013

  1. Craig December 11, 2012 at 6:32 am #


    Sorry, I got caught up in the nostalgia.

  2. Marty December 11, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    It should be a Black IPA, right?

  3. SteveH December 11, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    Noonan’s quote calls to mind the 2 newest (opened within the last year) tasting rooms in my neighborhood — both opened by avid home-brewers, both making some pretty decent beers for such small enterprises. No stagnancy on the horizon yet.

    • Stan Hieronymus December 11, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Marty – I probably should explain to those who don’t know that there’s a sort of West Coast/East Coast debate about almost everything “Black IPA” – from what to call it to who brewed the first. Those in the Northeast make a convincing argument it was Greg Noonan.

      I’ve since talked to Marty Jones at Wynkoop and they have all sorts of things planned for the 25th anniversary. Honoring Russell will be a big part of that. What’s cool, of course, is that Wynkoop still has Russell’s original recipe logs. A lot of fun to be had there.

      Now something that honors both these guys could be part of the mix. If you read the whole “Class of ’88? story Greg talks about Russell as “a crazy homebrewer.” He meant that in the most flattering way.

      For those who don’t know, the Brewers Association hands out an award each year for “innovation in craft brewing” and it is named after Russell. Not surprisingly, Greg received the award in 2005.

  4. Jeff Alworth December 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Another fun connection. The current head brewer at Goose Island is Brett Porter, an Oregonian who got his start at MacTarnahan’s and in between that stop and GI worked at … Deschutes.

  5. Chris S December 12, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing Stan. Can’t tell you how valuable all this is for a young’in like me, just starting to track and trace lines thru this crazy beer world. Cheers!

  6. Barm December 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    This is very tangential, but the first para of the press release caught my eye. Sometimes I kind of wish the style guidelines for barley wine would go as far as specifying: “Must be packaged in bottles holding a maximum of 10oz”. Who wants a wine bottle of 11% beer?

    It’s most absurd of course when you find a 75cl bottle calling itself a “wee heavy”.

    • Stan Hieronymus December 22, 2012 at 6:50 am #

      Barm – The best thing about 12-ounce bottles is that when we open one my wife and I end up with 6 ounces each. A snifter friendly size.


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