If you think Portlanders are protective of their beer, just head 45 minutes south and try to critique Salem on its growing brew scene.
Alternative news weekly Willamette Week published a Salem brewery tour review earlier this month, after writer Martin Cizmar sampled all 54 beers from Oregon’s capital city in an afternoon.
“Everyone was really nice, but I would not do this again, nor would I recommend it to others when the charms of Corvallis lie a mere 45 minutes away,” wrote Cizmar before diving into the good and bad beers of each location. Ouch.
The post has gained dozens of comments, many in support of the Salem’s breweries.
It also didn’t sit well with Statesman Journal’s food, wine and beer columnist Victor Panichkul, who joined the commenters with a 1,000-word rebuttal in defense of the Salem scene: “(Willamette Week) painted a pretty nasty picture of our brew culture.”
Panichkul said that Salem is a different market than Portland. Many of the brewers are focusing on production instead of fancy taprooms. He closed by saying he’s actually OK with Cizmar steering WWeek readers from trying out Salem breweries for themselves.
“The hipsters can stay in Portland for all I care,” wrote Panichkul. “All of our local brewers are doing great.”
In comparison to Salem’s five, Portland has 84 breweries, according to Oregon Craft Beer, some of which carry Salem brewed beer.