Black is Beautiful

Craft Beer in the Revolution. Black is Beautiful.

Videos of George Floyd’s horrific murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sparked calls for police reform and support for black lives across the world.  Many businesses offered their support through large donations and statements of solidarity, including the craft beer industry.  Craft beer has created a community that has used its platform to support many movements in environmentalism and community activism.  At this moment where the nation is coming together to protect black lives, the movement in craft beer is being spearheaded by Marcus Baskerville of Weathered Souls Brewery, an independent brewery in San Antonio, TX and the Black is Beautiful Campaign.

Earlier in 2020, Craft Beer came together with the All Together Campaign, which offered support to folks in the hospitality industry during this time of COVID-19.  Likewise, Black is Beautiful is a collaborative effort that invites breweries to produce the recipe and donate all proceeds to local funds that are committed to criminal justice reform and the defense of black lives.  The recipe is published on the Black is Beautiful website, and logos and marketing materials are readily available as well.  

Black is Beautiful is a far-reaching collaboration.  As of July 1, 2020, breweries in all 50 states and 17 countries have committed to producing Black is Beautiful.  30 of those breweries are in my home state of Oregon.  Homebrewers can join in on the movement, as the recipe was also published for a 5-gallon system here and my take is here.  If you do opt to homebrew it, please also consider donating your time and money to appropriate causes and organizations.

Breweries coming together to support the Black is Beautiful cause is significant, since craft beer is a white-dominated industry. The lack of diversity in craft beer reflects economic barriers against BIPOC in our country, employment discrimination, disinterest in brewing craft beer for hotter climates and regions with higher black populations, hangovers from Prohibition, leading to a long and unfortunate history of racism in craft beer and brewing.

The widespread reception of Black is Beautiful may be a sign that craft beer, like the rest of white society, is slowly opening up to anti-racism, as long as we all remain committed to doing the work of anti-racism for many years to come.

The beer will be an imperial stout, clocking in at 10% ABV.  The recipe calls for flaked oats and all shades of dark malts.  The result should have a creamy mouthfeel, substantial roasted coffee and chocolate notes, and a nice boozy kick typical of a high alcohol beer.  I am looking forward to trying a few versions of the recipe, knowing that all proceeds will be supporting racial justice and continued work toward equality.

Jenna wants to call out that 32 breweries in Oregon are participating:

10 BARREL BREWING

Portland/Bend, OR, USA

2 TOWN’S CIDERHOUSE

Corvallis, OR, USA

BDSM BREWING COMPANY LLC

Hillsboro, OR, USA

BINARY BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

BLOCK 15 BREWING CO.

EUGENE, OR, USA

BONEYARD BEER

Bend, OR, USA

BREAKSIDE BREWERY

Portland, OR, USA

BUOY BEER COMPANY

Astoria, OR, USA

CASCADE BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

CLAIM 52 BREWING

Eugene, OR, USA

CRUX FERMENTATION PROJECT

Bend, OR, USA

ECLIPTIC BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

FERMENT BREWING COMPANY

Hood River, OR, USA

FORT GEORGE BREWERY

Astoria, OR, USA

GIGANTIC BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

GREAT NOTION BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

HOP VALLEY BREWING

Eugene, OR, USA

LEIKAM BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

LEVEL BEER

Portland, OR, USA

LITTLE BEAST BREWING

Clackamas, OR, USA

MIGRATION BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

MOONSHRIMP BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

PELICAN BREWING COMPANY

Pacific City, OR, USA

ROGUE ALES & SPIRITS

Newport, OR, USA

SASQUATCH BREWING CO.

Portland, OR, USA

SKY HIGH BREWING

Corvallis, OR, USA

STORMBREAKER BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

THE ALE APOTHECARY

Bend, OR, USA

THREE MUGS BREWING CO.

Hillsboro, OR, USA

UNICORN BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

VON EBERT BREWING

Portland, OR, USA

WORTHY BREWING

Bend, OR, USA

COVID Brewery Happy Hour: Von Ebert Brewing Company

Quarantine has been wearing on for over a month now.  I haven’t been to a brewery since early March when I attended a Schitt’s Creek trivia at Von Ebert.  Despite being an introvert, enjoying a nice meal and beer out on the town is definitely something I am missing.  Fortunately for me, several breweries around Portland are offering next day delivery, and those that serve food will offer pick-up or delivery.  What a great way to support your local breweries while still sheltering in place!  So, it took a little bit of pre-planning and acceptance that any socializing would happen remotely, but I decided to put together a Von Ebert At Home Happy Hour.

I chose Von Ebert, because I am obsessed with their chicken wings, and their beer is also top-notch.  Von Ebert is an independent craft brewery with locations in the Pearl District and Northeast Portland.  They make award-winning IPAs, German styles, and farmhouse styles.  No matter what the palate, you’ll be able to find something enjoyable at Von Ebert.  Before my at-home happy hour, I knew that their Volatile Substance IPA was among my favorite beers in town.  Their food menu is also outstanding, hence my obsession with the chicken wings.

I ordered two four-packs of beers from Von Ebert on Tuesday afternoon, so I could have two of every style.  I ordered their New American Pils, a Black Pils, the Volatile Substance IPA, and the Sabrage dry IPA.  I was like a kid at Christmas waiting for my beer delivery.  I put off my morning workout and shower for fear that I’d miss my delivery because I was in the shower!  My delivery driver was masked, he checked my ID, thanked me for supporting them, and placed the beer on the ground for me to collect at a safe distance.  I appreciated the extra safety efforts.

Thank goodness that Von Ebert is selling those award-winning smoked wings to go!  Wednesday was two for one, even!  But there’s only one of me, so I just bought one for one and a side salad.

So I had my beer and I’d ordered my food to be delivered by Postmates.  The first pour was the New American Pils.  As I’ve come to expect from Von Ebert, this beer really embodied the European Pils style, but with a slightly hoppy American twist.  The flavor was bready and malt-forward and the hope profile was light, so it definitely was not an American Pale Ale masquerading as a Pils.  As I nursed that first pint, I caught up with my sister.  It was nice to have a beer and conversation, even though I was in my pajama pants and sitting on the floor of my living room.

My food arrived right before I finished the pint.  I said goodbye to my sister since I require two hands to eat Von Ebert’s wings.  I went for the Sabrage dry IPA.  I could not have asked for a better beer to drink with those smoky, spicy wings.  The beer was definitely dry with a plethora of hop flavors.  The chicken wings were served hot with spicy barbecue sauce.  They did require two hands to dig in.  I savored the meal while watching TV.

I will look forward to going out for a beer and a good meal in the future, but in the meantime, I am grateful for at-home delivery.  I am also happy to support some of my favorite local businesses, and I encourage you to do the same if you are able.

Until we meet again, cheers.

Meet Alyssa

Hi! I’m Alyssa! I grew up in Montana, home of Big Sky Brewing, Bayern, and 60 other excellent breweries worth the road trip.  I came to Portland for college, studied (officially) fine art, and (unofficially) beer in Austria.


I am a music lover, a cat mom, and an obsessive homebrewer.  I was lucky enough to meet Jenna in 2017 and brew an explosive batch of raspberry wheat together.

My favorite beer bar at the moment is Roscoe’s in Montavilla. They have an awesome and varied tap list, and you can choose between Roscoe’s menu of soul food goodness or sushi from Miyamoto. Sushi and beer? Yes please!! There’s also pool and a few arcade games.

I’m on the constant lookout for delicious and well-balanced IPAs.  Some of my favorite breweries are Fort George, Breakside, Ex Novo, and my little home brewery–HouseCat HomeBrews.

Note from Jenna: I’ve been so blessed to call Alyssa my friend for the last three years. I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow from a home brewer to an AWARD winning home brewer! I can’t wait to see what she ends up writing about here on BiteSize Brews!

SheBrew

Women have been brewing beer as long as humans have been drinking the stuff, and women have been active participants in the recent Craft Beer Renaissance as beer drinkers and brewers.  If the evolution of SheBrew in Portland Oregon is any indication, they are not going anywhere any time soon.


How did SheBrew come about?

This year’s festival will feature thirty professional female-identified brewers and cider makers, and ten female-identified homebrewers.  However, the festival did not start at that scale.  The first festival came about as the brainchild of Stef-Anie Wells Koty with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and her wife Jamie Koty, who was the festival coordinator of the Oregon Brew Crew (OBC) at the time.  HRC was looking for an innovative fundraising idea, and the idea of a female-centric beer festival took shape.  The first festival was held at the Q Center on North Mississippi Ave. in Portland Oregon, and it featured home brewers and a people’s choice award, as well as about ten professional brewers.

SheBrew
SheBrew Swag

2020 will be the sixth year for the SheBrew festival, and the fourth year for the competition.  This year will feature nearly thirty brewers and cider makers, all female-identifying.  The number of featured brewers gets larger every year as more women are entering the brewing industry as brewers and cider makers.  Additionally, the competition has grown into one of the largest and most profitable brewing competitions that OBC sponsors.  Brews from as far away as Rhode Island, Alabama, and the *other* Portland make their way to FH Steinbart’s in Portland, Oregon for judging.


What makes it stand out as a competition and a festival?

A few things that make the SheBrew festival stand out.  Competition Coordinator Jenn McPoland what makes SheBrew say, “Female brewers, I find are more creative.  They are willing to take more risks like a homebrewer would, and they just come up with more interesting things.  That’s not to say you’re not going to find pale ales, and you’re not going to find a great ESB…but to have a lime pastry beer and a gluten-free glitter Belgian.”


Additionally, where most festivals in the area support any number of non-profit organizations, 100 percent of SheBrew’s proceeds go toward non-profit organizations.  The festival supports the HRC, and the competition supports the OBC and its mission of educating beer lovers and homebrewers.


Any tips fo competitors?

When asked if she had any tips for competitors, McPoland says, “Do it!”  Last year, the festival received about 200 entries, and they are all judged by BJCP certified judges, and there is always at least one woman judging each category.  The feedback is great, and the Best of Show is judged by a Master BJCP judge or a professional brewer.  Winner of Best in Show will have the opportunity to brew in collaboration with Natalie Baldwin at Breakside Brewing Company.


The SheBrew Competition is accepting registrations until February 21, 2020. 

Please drop off or ship all entries to FH Steinbarts, 234 SE 12th Ave, Portland OR  97214.  The entry fee is $8, and all proceeds go to supporting the Oregon Brew Crew.  Visit shebrew.oregonbrewcrew.org for more information.

The SheBrew Festival will be held on Sunday, March 8, 2020, from 12 pm-8 pm at Castaway, 1900 NW 18th Ave, Portland OR  97209.  

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.  Visit shebrew.beer for more.