(Posted by Chris Devlin)
Last week, Washington Beer Blog had an interesting piece on drinking local. With breweries like Double Mountain (OR) and Green Flash (CA) recently hitting the market, should we feel guilty for not drinking more local beers? In my opinion, the choice comes down to what tastes better and often those are going to be Oregon or California beers.
I never feel guilty about choosing an out-of-state beer over a local one. I drink plenty of solid Washington beers and I want to be a stronger advocate of them, but sometimes it’s difficult. Unlike many locals I couldn’t say that Washington brewers make some of the best beer on the West Coast, let alone the world. Oregon and California are producing tastier, more exciting beers and I keep waiting for our state to catch up.
Perfect example: If I want an IPA, I’ll choose Firestone Walker Union Jack, Russian River Blind Pig, Double Mountain Hop Lava, Green Flash West Coast IPA or Hopworks IPA every time over local IPAs. That’s not to say that the WA beers are bad (during the past year I loved Chuckanut’s Rauchbier and Black Raven’s Wisdom Seeker Double IPA), just that the ones from Oregon and California are better. I find myself wondering how it is that a Washington brewery doesn’t make an IPA that would crack my top five IPA list. That bothers me.
I’m sure plenty of people will take issue with my criticism of our beer, but let me put a positive spin on it. Out-of-town beer is obviously good for the beer drinker: it gives us more options. But it could also be good for Washington brewers. Instead of seeing these out-of-town beers as a threat, they could see them as a challenge–a challenge to make better, more exciting beer. They’re already making good beer, but this new competition could push them to make great beer.
I want to love our beer. I look forward to the day I can tell my friends in California and Oregon that I’m drinking a local beer that’s better than anything they have down there. I hope that day comes…soon.
(The author of this post would like to thank Mr. Geoff Kaiser for the opportunity to contribute to Seattle Beer News. Also, the opinions contained herein do not reflect the views of Mr. Kaiser or anyone else at Seattle Beer News).