A Salute to the Beers That Brung Us
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 18:55:00
Worthy is pleased to bring you the beers that brung us.
We’ve reserved a 10 barrel fermentation tank for the oldies but goodies – the lagers, pilsners, and for me, the wits. We’re calling this tank “R.G. Worthy’s Private Stash.” We’ll take those watered up, hopped down recipes and do our best to make ‘em worthy.
Back inda day, down in Texas, the only two ingredients that mattered for a good beer were temperature and price. We were always thirsty, so as long as it was ice cold and around a buck a six pack, it was good.
We’re talking way back: the late 1970’s. I spent three summers scraping about as a boilermaker helper at the Exxon Refinery in Houston. I’d build up a powerful thirst working on piping hot boilers all day under a hot stinky sun and at about quitting time my Mom would put two cans of Texas “craft” beer in the freezer.
We’re talking about homegrown champions like Texas Pride, Pearl, Lone Star and Shiner. I’d steam home and sprint to the fridge and before you can say “Shotgun Willie” I’d slam that cold, canned hopless beer down and eagerly pop the top on another. I didn’t even know what a hop was. Didn’t matter. It was cold and I was melting.
My “Private Stash” will showcase these easy to drink beers that delay the buzz as long as possible. We’ll juice up the flavor with the finest noble-ish aroma hops Oregon has to offer, but keep the alcohol down. Some of just feel better, and even think straighter, with a cold fizzy yellow beer in our hand.
As a tribute to another beer that brung me personally, we’ll also be brewing cloudy yellow wheat beers. Back in 1987, a cub lawyer buddy of mine, Andy Klein, went to Amsterdam and brought back two things: a beautiful wife and a recipe for this “new” white beer called “witbier.” He decided to quit lawyering and build up a brand called “Wit,” a beer he contracted brewed in Milwaukee and then trucked in kegs for sale in New York City.
Andy’s “Wit” beer tasted wonderful – a hint of coriander and lemon peel. He gave me a taste and I gave him a check as an investor. Wit did well but it might have been ahead of its time. After a series of financial issues, including a robbery at gunpoint in his small office in NYC, Andy move on. His peer at the time, another entrepreneur brewer up the road, Jim Koch, likes to say that if Andy had stayed with his “Wit” beer, today he’d “be bigger than Blue Moon.”
After working in the Texas refineries, and witnessing first hand corporate America’s reckless indifference toward blue collar workers, I became an asbestos lawyer. The first major set of labor unions who hired me had members blowing and going down at that shipyards in Portland, Oregon.
Starting in about 1989 I’d come up from Texas and after a day of depositions I’d kick back at this cool place downtown where they served up a delightfully crisp and refreshing hand-crafted hefeweizen. We all know that brewpub today as Widmer Brothers.
So that’s the story. R.G Worthy’s Private Stash will be reserved for the beers that brung us – the lagers—and brung me — the wits and hefes. Beers for those of us who love the repetitive biomechanical action of hoisting a crisp refreshing pint.
We’re dedicating the tank to all the great Americans who helped build this great country and win our wars but in so doing were poisoned by asbestos. It’s been a privilege to represent men and women in the metal, shipyard, construction and industrial trades afflicted with asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
It’s a personal triumph for me to be able to hire craftsman from many of these same trades to build Worthy Brewing.
R. G. Worthy