What’s your first memory of beer? Growing up during the microbrew revolution here in Cascadia I remember getting sips of my parents beers, from the intensely hoppy ruby-hued Rogue Old Crustacean, to malty Scottish ales such as Bert Grant’s Celtic Copper and a Granville Island limited release made for the Celtica music festival in 1990. When I left Cascadia for college in Minnesota I loved Summit Pale Ale, but missing the big malty, hoppy beers of my native Oregon was one of the reasons I took up the mash paddle as a 17-year old. By 19, I’d won my first medal for a homebrew, and gotten a copy of Michael Jackson’s Pocket Guide to beer, which was a great inspiration when I became a regular at Rumplestiltskins in Cork City and began to discover German and Belgian beers. Joining the Oregon Brew Crew in 1999 when I moved back to Oregon at age 21 was instrumental to launching my career in beer and cider, joining Willamette Week as a beer writer in 2000.
To toast the OBC’s 40th birthday I teamed up with the Green Dragon Brewers to recreate a 2009 Cascadian Dark Ale recipe with the same hop bill, now using Mecca Grade Malt from Eastern Oregon. The focus is on a hint of roast character and layers of resinous Northwest hops. I’ve loved CDAs since I first tasted Phillips Black Toque in 2003, and became obsessed with the style, organizing a Symposium on CDAs at Belmont Station in January 2010. I hope you’ll join me in raising a toast to the Oregon Brew Crew and the rich history of brewing in Cascadia.