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Oregon: the Birth of Brewers’ Nation

FORE — To brew the best beer in the country takes more than location, mountain water, and a climate conducive to growing hops and barley. It requires an attitude — a sense that hearty, tasty ales are an Oregonian birthright.

fore_mj13-235x300Oregon truly is the top of the hops when it comes to beer. The state has 136 brewing companies, operating 169 brewing facilities in 61 cities. Portland alone has more breweries than any city on the planet. It’s a lot of suds and a lot of dough too, adding $2.4 billion into the state’s economy.

However, one doesn’t have to be too old to remember the day when choices were few and far between. In 1980, the available exotic choices in taverns or supermarkets were limited primarily to Heineken or Beck’s. To find hearty ales or lagers with some bite, one had to go to a specialty store to find a bottle of Bass from England, or Spaten from Germany.

“In some parts of the country, people would say, ‘I’m not interested in trying anything new,’” said Kurt Widmer, head of Widmer Brewing. “One of the things I credit our success and the success of craft brewing in general is that Oregonians are adventurous by nature.”  READ MORE

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