Beer and Pavement

The Most Oregon Thing Ever

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Life by SM on January 23, 2012

I’ve never been to Oregon, but I feel as though I have. There was the time I spent a summer in the Puget Sound right after college. The scenery in that region wasn’t far off from what I know about Oregon. My record and beer collections are loaded with representatives from Oregon. I even own the first season of Portlandia. I’ve never been, but I think I know Oregon a little.

The following video popped up on Stan’s blog[1] Monday that may very well be the most Oregon thing I’ve ever seen…

First and foremost, it’s a great piece of film-making. It’s a simple road trip story featuring a young couple. There’s plenty of story there even without any dialogue. The boy tries to entice the girl into his van with his banjo. She’s pissed at him for some reason but eventually relents. Obviously, she’s cool with it. She’s just not quite sure where it’s all going.

Eventually, inspiration hits and the couple maps out a trip that will allow them to see all the landmarks featured on Deschutes labels. What results is a trip where they learn more than the value of craft beer. No, the beer epiphany isn’t the only discovery for the couple.

The story is sweet even with the not-so-subtle inclusion of the Deschutes labels and corresponding landmarks. Craft beer is bigger than beer or the beer industry. There are the aforementioned epiphanies, but more importantly there is craft beer’s relationship to life and living. The time and expertise that went into brewing the beers the couple drink in the short are greater than the effects of throwing back a few cold ones. This is something handmade yet magical that becomes a part of their story.

Anything artisanal has this advantage over anything corporate or industrial. Where the makers of industrial, rice-adjunct lagers have done all they can to strip personality from their products, breweries like Deschutes have multiplied and exploited it in order to keep that human element in beer alive. Beer is a living, breathing thing that enriches our lives with pleasure in the form of aroma, flavor, mouthfeel…and a little booze doesn’t hurt either. The personality and humanity in every bottle is a part of those moments and experiences that shape. Why fill that time with watery domestics?

The film says all this to me. Of course, I’m a bit more attuned to such things as these are my obsessions, but filmmaker Chris Hornbecker has a knack for finding the magical in images of humanity. This sweet love story/beer ad isn’t the only example of his craft. Check the Wolf Parade (RIP) video for “Yulia” as evidence that he is not a one-hit wonder. From what I’ve found using my expert Google search skills, he’s a photographer whose eye is incredibly adept at capture just those perfect moments you’ll never see in a Budweiser commercial.

The music didn’t escape me either. I knew the band, but I didn’t know the band. Turns out that it’s a song, “Beach House”, by a Seattle band called The Cave Singers. Born out of the ashes of the now-defunct-yet-beautifully-named Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Cave Singers combine authenticity with expert storytelling to make “Landmarks” a truly compelling and universal story. You know, that moment in a young relationship when neither person is sure what’s happening or where it’s all going… Then, there’s that moment when one or both take a chance. Discoveries are made and love flourishes.

The music beautifully captures the sense of discover Hornbecker is trying to convey. That kind of discovery is rarely associated with keggers of industrial lagers. It’s never at the bottom of that can of Natty Light. This kind of humanity and relationship fits better with something that takes as much care as the artists who wrote, directed, shot, and performed such a lovely piece.

I don’t know that Deschutes’ arrival in my state two weeks ago could cause this same sort of discovery. Aside from the things I experience raising my daughter, a lot of discovery is starting to escape my grasp. That’s where the soulfulness of things like craft beer and indie rock enrich my life a bit.

Deschutes’ beers are full of soul. I could be a sucker for marketing, but every beer of theirs I’ve had has not disappointed. The ephemeral quality of a Deschutes beer, whether that be the roastiness of Black Butte or the crisp, floral aromas of Hop Henge, they always deliver a sense you’re tasting something memorable, something real.

The cynics among you will point out that I’m going over the top with this Deschutes video thing, but I’d argue that you’re not allowing yourself to enjoy these moments. I’m talking about the moment a song hits you in a way that you just want to play it over and over. Or that time a truly great craft beer fist reached your palate. What about that moment you smiled uncontrollably at the moment a film took you back to a time when you truly fell in love?

Maybe this describes Oregon. It more than likely does not. Still, it’s nice to think that there’s an Oregon like this out there. Thanks Deschutes for making some pretty great beer and thanks for commissioning this short film. You made my week.

1I love Stan’s blog and he’s one of the most thoughtful and generous beer bloggers there is. However, I can’t help but be a little disappointed at the comments celebrating the fraction of a second the female character’s breasts are exposed. It was a lovely moment that was completely lost by a couple of his commenters. That’s fine if they got their rocks off on a little nudity, but I suspect they’d miss the importance of that same moment if it happened right in front of them. This kind of shit makes me loath the boy-dominated beer scene and worry for my daughter… Then, I have a beer and I don’t care anymore. It won’t ruin my enjoyment of this nice piece of art.

27 Responses

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  1. beerbecue said, on January 24, 2012 at 8:50 am

    While I lived in Montana, I went to Oregon a couple times. That video seemed pretty damn Oregon to me…except for the fact that they didn’t get a speeding ticket. Nice post.

    • Zac said, on January 24, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Well, as you could see, they were in no hurry. Thanks.

      • beerbecue said, on January 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm

        I couldn’t stop thinking about this video today. Then it dawned on me why, as I was daydreaming about something else: About 10 years ago I cajoled my wife, back when we were dating, into taking a road-trip in a borrowed 4-door ’76 Cadillac deVille (with plates that read “BART”) from Missoula to Seattle to Portland then along the Columbia River and back up to Missoula.

        If I remember correctly, the Haybag had an initial reaction similar to the girl in the video. In fact, she still rolls her eyes whenever I bring it up (usually when we see a huge Caddy rolling down the road). I would like to think that deep down she looks back on it favorably, and is just acting like that to make sure I don’t try to do it again.

        I love that video even more now. Thanks for the post!

      • Zac said, on January 25, 2012 at 9:59 am

        Yeah, the sense of nostalgia really carries this piece. I think we all have a story (maybe not as connected as yours) that relates to the narrative here. Road trips and the moments when love is realized are maybe the two things everyone should experience.

  2. Bill Farr said, on January 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Get off my lawn!

    I’m pretty sure that Andrew was being both tongue-in-cheek and appreciative in as wholesome a way as one can be with his comments. I know him, and know he’s a decent fellow. I think most of us were having fun teasing Stan for liking the thing w/o knowing why he did, and then hastening to reassure him most of us weren’t serious!

    • Zac said, on January 24, 2012 at 9:25 am

      I didn’t mean to make it personal. (I assume you’re talking about the “boobies” comments.) It’s just disappointing that this sort of thing has to appear in any forum involving men and beer. Probably if I were hanging out with anyone who made that comment, I would probably see that their stand-up guys. I don’t know Andrew and I didn’t want to make it about him. I wanted to address the lowest-common-denominator comments that exist in beer culture regardless of whether it’s BMC or craft beer. Again, it’s just disappointing.

  3. Mike said, on January 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Even before you posted this, I decided I want to take a trip to Portland sometime soon for a weeklong music bender. If I make it up that way, I’ll send a report on the Oregonness of the video you posted.

    For what it’s worth, Albuquerque had a light drizzle today, and everyone else in the office either called in sick or showed up four hours late. Except for the rain (a rarity around here), it’s in the running for the most New Mexico thing ever.

    • Zac said, on January 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Yeah, I suppose the aesthetic could describe a lot of places. However, the places depicted on the labels are pretty clearly all-Oregon.

      What’s interesting is that you didn’t comment on the amount of beer they consumed and you’re a non-drinker. Over at Stan’s blog, a bunch of commenters are going on and on about drunk driving and drunken premarital sex in the woods. Like the “boob” comments, I know it’s tongue-in-cheek, but there’s always a bit of what people really think in such comments. It really is the most bizarrely prudish conversation I’ve ever witnessed. Prudes on a thread about beer just doesn’t make sense to me.

      • Mike said, on January 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm

        I try to be hands-off about how much people consume. When I drank, I sometimes drank too much and when I don’t drink, I probably don’t drink enough, so I figure I’m not the best to judge how much is too much.

  4. KT said, on January 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    It’s very Portland, Oregon with Bend, Oregon scenery. People on the east side of the mountain are way less hipster.

    • Zac said, on January 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Yeah, it’s like that in Washington as well. It’s all hipster on the west (Seattle, Olympia), but head east and things change considerably. Still, we’ll eventually move past the whole hipster label thing we do and just watch something like this for the story it tells. I know I’ve started moving past hipster, but most of the beer world has yet to catch up.

  5. Daniel said, on January 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Man, that one dude on there is a whiny fuck.

    • Zac said, on January 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      On the thread over at Stan’s blog? Yeah, I know.

      • Daniel said, on January 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        I clicked through to that dude Alan’s blog and it seems he must have a pine cone up his ass or a sprained labia. What the fuck.

      • Zac said, on January 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm

        Well, he is from Canada.

      • Daniel said, on January 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm

        So It’s a maple log.

  6. Mike said, on January 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Remember that Bonnie Prince Billy movie, Old Joy?

    This short was just like that. Except no Yo La Tengo, and no Will Oldham.

    • The Dude said, on January 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      What an awesome film. Subtract Oldham and Yo La Tengo and you’re left with pretty ok. That’s what I get here.

      • Zac said, on January 25, 2012 at 10:03 am

        Agreed. Loved Old Joy and it had about as much dialogue as this Deschutes video.

  7. olllllo (@olllllo) said, on January 25, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name.

    It is indeed a Jeep Grill.

    • Zac said, on January 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Very nice. Thanks for stopping by, Rob.

  8. Alex said, on January 25, 2012 at 9:41 am

    So will they be showing this ad during the Super Bowl?

    I love it, and the video for “Yulia” is pretty awesome too. I’m a fan.

    • Zac said, on January 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

      I wish. Of course, I barely watch the Super Bowl anymore.

      Yeah, Wolf Parade will be/are missed.

  9. […] Some roll their eyes at sentimentality, especially when something’s for sale. Take that Deschutes video I shared a while back… […]

  10. […] keep going back to it, but the Deschutes promo from earlier this year has a similar effect on me. Sure, it’s advertising and marketing at […]

  11. Annete C. said, on April 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Beautiful scenery in that video .. being from the south west, all that natural (green) beauty looks like a paradise.

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