The results of the Beer City USA poll are out, and it has been declared a tie between Portland, OR and Asheville, NC. I think it’s pretty cool that a small, southern town has such a passionate beer community that it can compete with an entrenched stalwart such as Portland. Asheville actually led going into the final days. I guess Oregonians are big procrastinators. :P
I had the opportunity to visit Portland in the fall of 2007, and I must say that I was totally impressed with the people and the beer. There is so much competition and the bar has been set so high, it’s virtually impossible for a sub-par craft brewery to exist for long. You’ve got to bring the thunder to stick around.
At the same time, it’s exciting to see a new pocket of craft beer excellence is growing up just down the road from me. It is a rare time in our lives when we are at the cusp of something great, and we are aware of it while it’s happening. Look at Google, it toiled in obscurity for over 3 years before it exploded and took over the world. Who would have seen that coming in 1999? Not me. I was there, I remember. If I had, I would be a lot richer than I am today.
So congrats to Asheville and Portland. Both great beer towns that represent each coast well.