Why Ron Doesn’t Like Boats (or Be­ing Stuck on Is­lands)

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Pick Six -

“Dur­ing the Cul­mi­na­tion Fes­ti­val (An­chor­age, Alaska) last year, Henry [Nguyen] from Monk­ish and a few of the other brew­ers got into town a lit­tle bit be­fore me. Gabe [Fletcher], who owns An­chor­age Brew­ing, and I have this thing where he loves go­ing out on his boat, and he al­ways wants me to go out on his boat. My re­sponse has al­ways been, ‘I grew up with boats; Lau­rie [Ron’s wife] grew up with boats. Boats break. I’m not go­ing out on your boat. I re­spect you, but I’m not.’

“Gabe’s re­sponse has al­ways been, ‘My boat doesn’t break.’ I be­lieve Gabe—he’s a very tal­ented man. So they all get into town a few days be­fore I do, then I get into town and they’re go­ing to go out on the boat the next morn­ing. Henry says, ‘You have to come out on the boat with us.’ I told him that I was just go­ing to kick around town and maybe get some falafel, but I was not go­ing out on a boat.

“So they all go out on the boat, and what hap­pens? Sixty miles out in the ocean, the boat breaks. And they’re kind of screwed, but Gabe has a ra­dio, so one of his friends—i think it was Crazy Ray, but I’m not sure—hap­pened to be in the area and towed their boat to a lit­tle is­land way out in the ocean that hap­pened to have a lodge and hap­pened to have rooms avail­able. All the brew­ers drank all the beer on the boat and then pro­ceeded to drink all the beer at the lodge, which hap­pened to be some hip­ster beer like Pabst. They all went to bed, then Gabe got up the next morn­ing re­ally early along with a cou­ple of the brew­ers—i think it was Chase Healey [Amer­i­can Sol­era] and Jean and Julie from Tired Hands—and they were go­ing to head back to port to get a part to fix Gabe’s boat. They took Crazy Ray’s boat back to the port, and Henry and a cou­ple other brew­ers were stranded on this is­land with no beer for at least a day if not two. They had cell ser­vice, so Henry was tex­ting me a lot. I was em­pa­thetic but had to say, ‘I can’t air­lift you out of there. I can’t send you beer, but I can tell you that I told you so.’ ’’

“That didn’t make it any bet­ter for him, but I’m go­ing to pass on the deserted is­land thing.” IPA.’ Those beers are so ab­so­lutely de­li­cious that I don’t think I could live with­out them any­more. We did one to­gether called ‘Di­verted Dreams,’ and the one he re­leased re­cently called ‘Heart Turns Cold.’ He has a lot of cre­ative names, and th­ese beers are ab­so­lutely de­li­cious. I have a name for the next one that we brewed to­gether—i’m not go­ing to say it be­cause I want it to be a sur­prise for him.”

Blind Pig

Rus­sian River Brew­ing, Santa Rosa, Cal­i­for­nia

“Vin­nie and Natalie [Cil­urzo] are so nice, and I love Blind Pig. It’s a phe­nom­e­nal beer. When I go to a place that’s sup­posed to have Pliny, and they have Blind Pig in­stead, and they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry; all we have is Blind Pig,’ I’m like, ‘Fuck yeah, I like Blind Pig—not to be blas­phe­mous, but I like it more than Pliny.’ ”

Stone IPA

Stone Brew­ing, Es­con­dido, Cal­i­for­nia “Stone IPA is an iconic beer, like Sierra Ne­vada is an iconic beer. I’ve been drink­ing Sierra Ne­vada Pale Ale, shoot, since the eight­ies when it came to Michi­gan? Ken Gross­man and his tech­ni­cal ap­proach make sure the beer is con­sis­tent and great. But we’re not talking about Sierra Ne­vada Pale Ale; we’re talking about Stone IPA. Equally iconic, equally great. It hap­pens to be my wife’s fa­vorite IPA, and so it makes the list be­cause I like it and she loves it. I’m hop­ing, if I’m not on this so-called deserted is­land, she’s go­ing to be with me.”

La Folie

New Bel­gium Brew­ing, Fort Collins, Colorado “I put La Folie on the list be­cause when I was go­ing over this list ear­lier to­day with Lau­ren [Salazar, of New Bel­gium Brew­ing], she said, ‘This is ba­si­cally just a list of your friends.’ Yeah, all th­ese brew­ers are my friends. So I sort of hemmed and hawed, and she said, ‘You don’t have to put one of my beers on your list,’ so I said, ‘Well, you just said this was about my friends, and we’ve been friends for a while.’ I have some great memories of La Folie and Le Ter­roir when she was de­vel­op­ing them, and they were coming out in cham­pagne bot­tles. The fun and the joy we had drink­ing them means it has to be on the list. She didn’t ar­gue.

“The first time I tasted La Folie was when we were start­ing Jolly Pump­kin, and it was so great to see some­body else who found such joy in fla­vors and blend­ing. I knew Lau­ren be­fore I knew Vin­nie, be­fore I met Tomme Arthur, or Andy [Parker] from Avery. Lau­ren was the first other sour-beer maker that I got to know. It was re­ally ex­cit­ing to find an­other per­son who was as ex­cited as we were about that kind of thing—mixed-cul­ture stuff.”


Jester King Brew­ery, Austin, Texas

“An­other per­son who’s just as ex­cited about mixed-cul­ture beers is Jef­frey Stuff­ings. Spon is the best Jester King beer I’ve ever had. I’ve had a lot of dif­fer­ent ver­sions of it—fruits that they’ve done— and Jef­frey and his team have re­ally nailed the art of spon­ta­neous fer­men­ta­tion. Spon is their cool­ship beer, and every sin­gle bot­tle I’ve had has been so in­cred­i­bly awe­some. All the fla­vors are bal­anced and just per­fect. I’m a pes­simistic op­ti­mist, and I re­ally think that every bot­tle prob­a­bly isn’t per­fect, but every bot­tle of Spon I’ve had has just been phe­nom­e­nal. I like the straight-up Spon just a bit more than the [fruit vari­a­tions]. When I was down there in April, Jef­frey was re­ally gen­er­ous and pulled out a whole lot of ver­sions that I hadn’t tried be­fore, and I was blown away by every sin­gle one. We took a short video, but I don’t know if it was posted on­line. We were tast­ing all the Spon, and there was a shot of all the bot­tles, and I said, ‘Jef­frey, thank you so much for invit­ing me down here. It’s been a phe­nom­e­nal time brew­ing with you, but I just have to ask—what do you do in your spare time?’ And Jef­frey said, ‘In my spare time, I just like to lis­ten to gangsta rap.’ So we have that in com­mon, too.”


Jolly Pump­kin Brew­ing, Dex­ter, Michi­gan

“This last one is a sur­prise, and it’s a beer I brew called “Libida.” Libida Im­pro­vi­sa­tion­alle is a beer I brew for my wife. It’s a tes­ta­ment to our will­ing­ness to live an im­prov life and deal with life’s chal­lenges to­gether as they come up. It’s some­thing that’s re­ally spe­cial to me—our re­la­tion­ship and that beer that I brewed to cel­e­brate that re­la­tion­ship. It’s a hops-for­ward sai­son that’s mod­er­ate in ABV. I’ve done two dif­fer­ent ver­sions of it so far, and be­cause it’s about im­pro­vi­sa­tion, every batch is dif­fer­ent. The one we just re­leased is su­per Amar­illo-heavy.

It’s been re­ally fun for me, now that the rest of the world is find­ing out about whirlpool and late-ad­di­tion hops, to be able to do some­thing like that and bring out those huge trop­i­cal fruit notes from the Amar­illo hops—the apri­cot and peach. It’s an ever-chang­ing sai­son and a tes­ta­ment to our re­la­tion­ship and our life to­gether.” “Those are my six (or seven) beers that I would not drink on a deserted is­land be­cause I do not want to be stuck on an is­land. I would def­i­nitely be happy to sim­ply have all six of those in my re­frig­er­a­tor.”

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