Yesterday I was surprised and delighted to receive a telephone call from Charles Porter, who used to brew both at Bloomington (Indiana) Brewing Company and Upland Brewing Company before moving west. Currently he’s part of the team at Full Sail Brewing Company.
In the previously unreleased Gravity Head 1999 photo at right, Charles is laughing at the antics of BBC's David Pierce and then-Bloomington Brewing Co. brewer Joe Brower, Jr.
You may recall Charles graciously sitting in as guest host at the Horse Brass Pub when Graham and I visited Portland last April. Phil “Biscuit” Timperman was unable to keep his date, so Charles joined me at the bar for a lengthy session of quality pints and beer chat.
He phoned yesterday in search of vintage 3 Fonteinen lambic for sampling at an annual “sour beer” fest he hosts at his home. Unfortunately, my stocks of the ’99 Gueuze are depleted, and I couldn’t offer assistance. Speaking personally, Charles’s description of his barrel-aged homebrew batches made me want to fly out for the party.
Charles reports that he continues to devise a business plan for a small scale brewing entity that would specialize in purely hands-on, artisanal renderings such as those inspiring his “sour beer” gathering, perhaps with small batch cheeses and breads, all in a rural farmhouse setting.
Noting the vastly expanded size of Full Sail as compared with its humble beginnings, Charles expressed a desire to create beer at its original, small-scale human level. We agreed that this is difficult to do considering the profit and growth imperative that Americans seemingly are born to possess, but that there’s no reason it couldn’t work, given a good plan, a good product, and a measure of good old fashioned beer-as-craft discipline.
I thought back to my visits to Vapeur, and Jean-Louis’s ale, cheese and bread. Take my word for it: You won’t want to go back home.
Why can’t we do it here, and with beer? Wineries understand the formula. Is it the marketplace, or is it us?