Monday, August 07, 2006

Bones and Brew 2006


Stopped by the Bones & Brew festival near the Rogue pub on Sunday. Had a few good beers and some tasty, tasty ribs, including the ones pictured above (from Sellwood Public House).

I don't want to be negative here, but I have to say the event as a whole was, um, not of the top rank. It's not the organizers' fault it was so hot and windy yesterday, but they could've provided more seating, and a tent for a little shade, and they didn't, and they're lucky there wasn't much of a crowd. There were a lot of empty spaces where vendors ought to have been, and the whole thing had a sort of empty, forlorn feel (which made the lack of seating all the more weird.) There was musical entertainment by a cover band playing classic rock hits of the 70's, 80's and 90's, far too loud, almost drowning out the roar of the I-405 freeway right next door. My senses of taste and smell had a grand old time, but the other three were under serious assault. I stayed just long enough to have my fill of bones and brewskis, and then headed off to seek air conditioning.

On the other hand, any day that includes ribs is a good day. Yesterday I discovered that a day is also a good day if it includes the IPA from the new Ninkasi brewery in Eugene. Mmmm, hoppy...

Here are a couple of posts about last year's Bones & Brew, one at Metroblogging Portland and a very negative one at ExtraMSG. The latter is a local "foodie" blog, and the writer focuses exclusively on the food and doesn't mention the beer at all, which just isn't right. It's fair to say that Portland is not, and never will be, a center of the BBQ arts. The conditions aren't right for it. I could go off on a rant and try to explain why it's impossible, but instead I'll just give one example. Some of the best barbecue I've ever had was in Columbia, SC, at a local institution called Maurice's. If you peek at the website, you'll quickly realize that Maurice is a deeply opinionated man, and about as politically incorrect as you can possibly imagine. Here he'd cause angry letters to the editor, and attract protesters, and eventually be run out of town on a rail, because people here are not about to overlook such things in the name of a good meal. That's just not our way. A genuine BBQ joint with an uncontroversial owner wouldn't fare much better. Chances are it wouldn't be located in a trendy upscale shopping area, and therefore would be widely ignored by nearly everyone who (supposedly) matters in the local food scene, other than our fairly small corps of diehard BBQ junkies. Then one day the neighborhood will become trendy overnight, and the restaurant will be run out of town by the forces of gentrification, to make way for yet another doggie day spa.

But hey, no city can, or should, be tops in every last category. We can specialize in tasty beer, and Memphis can specialize in tasty pig meat, and it's all good. That's what tourism's for.

Anyway, all of this is making me really hungry. I think I need to go find me some more ribs.

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