Jen Peck, Beer Lover
Allow me to introduce myself as a new member of the portlandbeer.org team. I’m Jen. My relationship with beer has been a long one.
My grandfather was a foreman for Olympia Beer in Tumwater. There was always Olympia Beer in his fridge. A LOT of it. There was also company swag everywhere in the house: Olympia Beer keg cups, Olympia Beer aprons, Olympia Beer ashtrays and mirrors and serving trays. By the time I was five, my curiosity over the aluminum cans with the gold horseshoe logo got the best of me and I asked if I could try some. Grandpa said “Sure. Just keep it our little secret.” Wowzers! This was WAY better than Shasta Cola!!! For the next seven years or so I took to sneaking sips out of other people’s beers at family barbeques, holidays, etc. That said, my exposure to beer was limited to macrobrews such as Budweiser, Heineken, Rainier and, of course, Olympia.
Once I left home and got to college I discovered Henry Weinhart’s Private Reserve and Widmer Heffeweizen. The summer I lived on a sailboat in the San Juan Islands, I discovered Grolsch. None of these are magic, but I was headed in the right direction.
Post graduation I moved to Seattle and discovered the $3 happy hour Guinness at McCormick & Schmick’s. Little did I know then that Guinness was just the tip of the iceberg and I would come to love many stouts with many different properties and them move onto the complex nature of porters.
A few years later vacationed in the strange kitschy little town of Leavenworth, a makeshift Bavarian village in north central Washington. Funny thing is, the beer is Bavarian and Belgian and delicious. Even the local breweries keep things in the Bavarian or Belgian styles. Here I discovered yeasty, sweet, entirely too easily drinkable beer, both dangerous and beautiful.
By the time life brought me to Portland nearly a decade post college, I was convinced I knew everything I ever needed to know about beer. Then I set foot in the door at Cascade Barrel House and learned how very, very wrong I had been. The shame was relentless. But so was the excitement. The complex pucker offered by their sours was a revelation!
As I explore the different Portland Breweries and seek out craft beer wherever my travels take me, I am constantly reminded that this is something I will likely never master. For that, I am thankful: I’m going to have a whole lot of fun trying.
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