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Tomorrow is the start of Oregon Craft Beer Month! I know for some (I’m looking at you, soulful-eyed beer hounds) this information is completely exciting. However, if you’ve been reading my blog posts you know chief among my many flaws is a lack of proper zeal for beer.

Generally when I’m out for some alcohol-based recreation, the only beer that hits my table is the one accompanying my whiskey. When I do spring for a pint, it’s some fashion of cheap American lager. Then, to completely emasculate the beer experience, I drop a lime into the glass.

I’m not a bad man. I know that I’m lucky to live in a region that is blessed with fantastic hops varieties, amazing water, fine grains, and brewers creative enough to turn these things into a seemingly endless array of beers. I’ve also loved many a craft beer. The problem is I’m stymied by a mild case of brew ignorance.

I’ve been to enough tastings and breweries to have a fairly good working knowledge of the brewing process (shit, if it weren’t for beer, there would be no whiskey), and if someone put a gun to my head I could probably tell a firkin from a standard keg. Still, much of the lingo is lost to me. It’s become very clear, while trying to navigate this suds filled ocean, that tasting craft beer is every bit as complex as, if less snooty than, tasting wine. There are so many varieties, and riffs on flavors and styles, that it’s difficult to try and track down what I like; to find what moves me. Or to understand why.

I trust my palate (that’s a necessity in this gig), but when I’m at say, a beer festival, I often feel like I’ve been tossed into the deep end of the pool, and that pool is filled with beer, and I’ve been asked to identify by taste how it was made before they release the sharks… the deadly beer sharks. Plus, I’m drunk, which complicates things.

Therefore, I’m announcing today that for the month of July, the only alcoholic beverage that will pass my lips will be Oregon craft beers. Yes, while others in the food community will be going vegan for the summer, I’m going “beer hound”. I will have at least one new pint every day (there must be at least 31 unique Oregon craft brews, right?). I’ll be seeking out local beer experts to aid me in my education. I’ll be attending beer events and opening my mind to the craft beer experience as if it were a clean, unused, imperial pint glass. I will not let a single distilled spirit sully my liver. My body will be a temple… Filled with Oregon beer.

However, dear Blogtownies, I need a little help from my friends in the form of a drinking list. What are your Oregon craft beer essentials? I’ll start there, because for some reason I trust you. Would you like to aid in my education? E-mail me and we'll go drinking.

Now, to celebrate my last day of cocktails until August...

The Oregon Brewer’s Guild kicks off Oregon Craft Beer Month at the Horse Brass [4534 SE Belmont] tomorrow night at 5pm. A whole passel of breweries from around the state will be represented and t-shirts and pint glasses will be raffled off. Check the OBG blog for more details and a schedule of Oregon Craft Beer Month events.