Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An invitation to Nathan Berrong

Yesterday, Nathan Berrong of CNN posted an article where he extolled the virtues of West Coast beer.  It's caused a bit of a stir in the blogosphere because he states 'there's no debating that the best region for beer in the United States is the Pacific or West Coast region.'

No debating, huh?  Well, if that's the case, he clearly sparked some kind of non-debating argumentative social discourse, because there are currently 618 comments (and counting) on the article, many of which express very sharp disagreement with Mr. Berrong's bold assertion.  

I think that he's rather missing the point of craft beer - in his opening paragraphs he only mentions the hop-heavy IPA and Pale Ale styles as if they're the epitome of beercraft.  Not so, say I!  Bucketloads of hops do not a Great Beer make.  Here in Upstate alone, we've got awesome breweries making fantastic examples of a broad range of styles, some of them aggressively hopped (like CB's Caged Alpha Monkey, or the IPAs made by the lads at Three Heads Brewing), others not so much, because they realise how to use them appropriately!  The base ingredient of beer, believe it or not, isn't hops, it's malted barley; hops are added to balance the sweetness of the base malts.

So, Mr. Berrong, I'd like to issue you an invitation: come to Upstate New York, and I'll personally guide you on a tour of the fabulous breweries and brewpubs we have here.  I'll show you how our moderate, mid-European climate creates a fantastic environment for growing hops, barley and adjunct grains.  Please, see how it compares to the West Coast, and I think you'll find that Upstate Brews are some of the finest you'll find in the country.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi, just stumbled upon this. Thanks for reading and I'd love to come up there sometime and visit. Couple of things about my article:

    1. The blog post was centered around west coast style beers, as I had just taken a beer trip out there. As I'm sure you're aware, the staple "west coast style beer" is the IPA or anything hop-heavy, which is why I (primarily) showcased that style in the post.

    2. It was my opinion that the west coast brews the best beer, not necessarily a dogmatic statement, as some took it. I have an editor, and let's just say my original was a little more subjective. However, I was pleased with the outcome. The "controversy" created lots of web traffic, so it was a blessing in disguise, ha.

    3. Although it's my opinion that the west coast brews the best beer, I think the hard facts back it up: The craft beer movement/explosion started out west, west coast breweries consistently win the most medals at beer festivals/competitions, and all the "best of" beer lists have more west coast beers than any others.

    4. That's not to say that incredible beer isn't brewed in every region of the country or the world, b/c it is. Some of my favorite beers are brewed out here on the east coast. But in terms of consistency, I think the west is leading the way.

    Thanks again for reading. Whenever I make my way up north I'll give you a shout.