R.I.P. Widmer Brothers Brewery, Portland, OR, 1984-2013

I don’t say this lightly, but Widmer has gone T.U. Pull out the tubes, no more with the paddles, disconnect the machine.

Ever since my post-college days, the best wheat beer in the Pacific Northwest has been Widmer Hefeweisen. A rich yeasty dust-cutter with some sediment to roll around in the bottle first, there was nothing nicer on a hot day than a frosty mug with Widmer Hefe and a squirt of lemon.

The time before last that I bought some, I was surprised at the somewhat watery but at least vaguely Hefeweizeny taste. Hoping I’d just gotten a bad batch, I didn’t try it again for a while. Last night, the chickens came home to roost, as I bought some and served it to a guest (which was putting myself on the line). I poured mine, took a drink and waited for the Widmer Hefe flavor.

I had a mouth full of Michelob.

Stunned, I examined my senses, took another drink. This swig also had that sour, mass-markety crappiness associated with Michelob. I exclaimed in disgust (and in apology to my guest). Deb: “I used to be a big Michelob drinker. I love that stuff. Let me try it.” I did. “Yep. Tastes exactly like Michelob. Pretty good!”

This is like finding out that your favorite local cafe has been feeding you horse and dog meat lately to save money. I no longer want to drink anything from this company, or whatever parent company bought it out and told it to start pouring goddamn Michelob in bottles that used to stand for quality and value.

Farewell, Widmer Brothers. I don’t know why you ruined it, but we’re done now.

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