A friend in Portland sent me John Foyston’s piece in today’s Oregonian concerning what’s written in a visitor’s guide to Seattle. If you click on the link, dont panic, it’s the last item near the bottom entitled “Wrong on So Many Levels.” It’s a good thing I didn’t have any liquids in my mouth when I read it, because I would have spit them out across the room the way they do in cheesy sitcoms and movies. My first reaction after reading it was envisioning the spinning graphics when they cut to a new scene in the old ’60s Batman series and a costumed Adam West yelling “get me the Commissioner on the ‘Beer Phone'” to no one in particular, complete with cheeseball music that so perfectly complemented the action making it seem like things were moving fast. Perhaps a giant spotlight shining the image of a pint of beer into the night sky. I admit I should lay off the caffeine, but I have toddlers. I need caffeine.
But this is the sort of thing that cries out for some fast action. And the newly appointed Washington Beer Commisioners are just the folks to mete out some justice and get this thing changed. Okay, enough suspense. Here it is in a nutshell. The Summer/Fall 2006 edition of the Seattle Quick Guide, published by Guest Informant, says the following about Seattle’s beer scene, arguably one of the top two or three cities for beer in the country. Just be sure not to take a drink just before reading it. You have been warned.
“Beer Buzz: Beer may be the beverage of choice for sports addicts, couch potatoes and those with substantial midsections, but consumed in moderation it shares some of the healthful effects of red wine. A 12-ounce glass of beer has about half the alcohol of a glass of wine, which means you can drink more of it. Beer isn’t the ideal before-dinner drink due to the full feeling you get after quaffing a few cold ones, but that bloated sensation is a result of carbonation more than calories.”
“The microbrew craze peaked in the mid-’90s, when it seemed as if everyone and his mother was brewing up a batch of homemade lager in the basement and yuppifying it with exotic flavors in designer bottles. But classic imported beers have many characteristics of microbrews, so why mess with tradition?”
How could so few words manage to be so wrong? Is it possible it was written around 1996 when things were looking bleak for craft beer and they simply never updated it for ten years? But don’t they put out new editions of these hotel guides every year precisely to keep up with the changes in the cities in which they publish their guides? Even so, “designer bottles,” “exotic flavors,” “homemade lager in the basement?” What exactly are the folks at Guest Informant smoking?
It’s baffling. And it’s a grave injustice to the thousands of visitors Seattle gets every year who might believe what they read and assume craft beer is dead, ordering a Heineken instead. Not to mention all the great local beers and breweries that will be ignored. Wouldn’t they want to promote local “traditions” rather than imported ones? Again, whoever wrote this obviously didn’t do a great amount of — or let’s face it, any — research.
As my Oregonian friend (thanks Jim) so aptly wrote, “it is both sad and funny.”