Admission to Statehood: May 29, 1848
Population: ~5.7M
Capital: Madison
Largest City: Milwaukee
State Dance: POLKA!

Well Known For: Dairy, cheese, those cheese wedge hats, cheese curds, Oscar Mayer, Happy Days, and beer drinking

Brewery Representative: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co Miller Brewing Company (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

USBP Score: 221

Established: 1855
Flagship Beer: Miller Lite
Comments: NEWSFLASH: Miller Brewing Company is the The Ferm's USBP State Representative for Wisconsin! Shocked? Awed? Shockawed? Here is the deal, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company actually scored higher using my formula, but after creating the requisite graphics and preparing this write-up, I noticed that Leinenkugel's was purchased by Miller Brewing Company in 1988. While Leinies are a somewhat respectable macrobrew, common sense suggests to award Wisconsin to Miller -- who finished 3rd in USBP scoring on its own.

"Sorry, Leinenkugel, but [Miller is] arguably Wisconsin's biggest invention to date." - Shilcutt

What more should I offer on Miller? You probably know Miller Brewing Company is owned by the UK based SABMiller. However, did you know Miller had been owned by Philip Morris, had been seen an attempt of purchase from PepsiCo, and that the so-called Plank-Road Brewery was real and actually where Frederick Miller founded the brewery in 1855? If I told you that the original brewery included man made caves where Miller's beer was stored before the advent of commercially viable mechanical refrigeration, would that be something you would be interested in?

I know, these days it is all about the marketing. Miller and Wisconsin. Riding in to the USBP Capitol on the Common Sense ticket:

Runner Up: Stevens Point Brewery (220)

California - United States of Beer Project

Posted by SirRon | Monday, March 19, 2012

EDITOR'S NOTE: Alas, our dead readers, you are reading the last of the USBP retreads. California. Wisconsin is in the queue. I literally may or may not have an ironic selection for The Badger State.

Admission to Statehood: September 9, 1850
Population: ~37.3M
Capital: Sacramento
Largest City: Los Angeles
State Dance: "West Coast Swing" (AND Square Dance)

Well Known For: Gold, mountain ranges, wine, freeway traffic, poplocking, Ronald Reagan, and Dr. Dre.

Brewery Representative: Anchor Brewing Company (San Francisco, California)

USBP Score: 232

Established: 1896
Flagship Beer: Anchor Steam
Comments: Anchor Steam was part of the foundation of my craft beer education. Prior to discovering it on my grocery shelf, I had probably been no more adventurous than Guinness, Corona, and Shiner Bock.

Anchor Brewing has survived earthquakes, fires, Prohibition, and the post-Prohibition wasteland ruled by light lagers from megabreweries. In 1965, Frederick Louis Maytag III (“Fritz”) bought the struggling brewery for a few thousand dollars. During the process of cleaning up, making improvements, and learning the brewing process himself, Fritz created an original American beer style, the modern California Common Beer. Fritz’s beer was a version of the historic “steam beers,” which are beers brewed with lager yeasts at warm temperatures (normally lager yeast is fermented between 48-55F).

Fritz Maytag -- also a viticulturist (York Creek Vineyards), Director of the Brewers Association, and Chairman of the Board of the Maytag Dairy Farms (Maytag Blue Cheese) -- is considered by most to be the father of modern microbreweries. The state of California is rich with worthy candidates for state brewery representative. I believe the USBP formula got it right here. While Fritz recently sold Anchor, the brewery still stands as not only an inspiration for many California brewing entrepreneurs, but also a landmark to brewers and beer drinkers across America.

Runner Up: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (202)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Another day, another recycled post. If you missed yesterday's update, I have been rebuilding the USBP rankings after I lost them after my computer drank a martini. Just as when a spouse dies and the other tends to die sooner than she would otherwise, my portable hard drive died less than a week later. I've moved and given the series its own page. You can easily access it now using the tabs at the top of the site.

I almost feel obligated to tell you what I'm eating or drinking in order to give this post a new car smell or something.

This beer pours a vivid golden blonde with a soft, pillowy head. Sexy lacing. Remarkable spicy aroma with maybe just a little old newsprint and pine detected. Excellent boozy palate, with a hint of baking soda and circus peanut. Creamy mouthfeel and bone dry finish. Score: 3.89/5.

No, not Minnesota's beer below... the one I'm drinking. At least that is something that I told you.

Admission to Statehood: May 11, 1858
Population: ~5.3M
Capital: Saint Paul
Largest City: Minneapolis
State Dance: "Square Dance" (yessssssss)

Well Known For: Little House on the Prairie, Land O’ Lakes butter, The artist formerly and currently known as Prince, The Golden Girls, gophers, groundhogs, ducks, geese, caribou, bison

Brewery Representative: August Schell Brewing Company (New Ulm, Minnesota)

USBP Score: 224

Established: 1860
Flagship Beer: Original
Comments: Like our Colorado USBP Brewery representative Coors, August Schell Brewing Company was founded in the 1800s (before Prohibition). Like Coors, its flagship beer is named "Original." Unlike Coors, the brewery is still family-owned. In fact among family-owned breweries, Schell's (1860) is second in age only to Yuengling & Son (1829)

August Schell Brewing Company is the largest and oldest brewery in the state of Minnesota. Despite their respectable line of craft beers and seasonals, the Schells does not fit the Brewer’s Association’s definition of craft brewer (have an "all malt flagship beer" or have "at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor").

With Minnesota's representative, we now have a pre-Prohibition, family owned brewery that makes both craft and traditional American lagers. Schell's holds the highest USBP score, making the brewery a very worthy candidate for President pro tempore.

Runner Up: Summit Brewing Company (182)

Oregon - United States of Beer Project

Posted by SirRon | Saturday, March 17, 2012

EDITOR'S NOTE: You may be aware that I lost my brewery ratings after losing my backup and primary hard drives within a week of each other. I went through all kinds of grief.

First I was in denial that they were gone. I took both drives apart, switched wires around, and hooked them up to other computers. Let me tell you, I learned a lot about hard drives and how fragile they are during this step. Ridiculously fragile.

But seriously, how can a man lose two hard drives in one week? It doesn't even make sense. What kind of moron breaks two hard drives! WHAT KIND OF MORON DOESN'T HAVE THREE HARD DRIVES!!

Desperate, I called a few super nerds I found on the Interwebs that were willing to charge me nearly $1000 to get my stuff back. One had a great Boston accent, but he sounded a little too "street" to trust with $1000 and my precious hard drives.

All of my documents, the documentation  of both my children's lives, and the USBP were not worth $1000. Were they? No. No they couldn't be. Everything is gone. I feel like a blinking cursor on a blank screen.

But I won't let that get me down. I must rebuild, and I've begun by recalibrating the old USBP model! I've also given the USBP its own page on the site and a link on the top tabs for the site. Since Oregon was a calibration state for my original model, I'm getting back into the swing by rehashing some material. Hopefully you aren't disappointed. But seriously, how could you be all that disappointed in me? We hardly know each other. AND, maybe you don't even remember reading it the first time. Maybe you haven't read it before, and therefore it's new to you. Either way, I've never claimed to be a credible writer, sooo...

Admission to Statehood: February 14, 1859
Population: ~3.8M
Capital: Salem
Largest City:
State Beverage: Milk
State Dance: Square Dance
Well Known For: Being that place you always died trying to get to during your Elementary computer lab, Nike, James Beard, Smart Growth, dungeness crabs, hippies.

Brewery Representative: Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon)

USBP Score: 187

Established: 1988
Flagship Beer: Dead Guy Ale
Comments: We've been offline for a while due to a catastrophic hard drive failure. Most of the USBP scoring and selections had to be rebuilt. However, I found the transcript below in the hard drive wreckage.

[sitting in the Widmer Brothers tasting room]

Abigail: Hey guys! Isn't this Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen delicious?
Issac: No diggity!
Gideon: But aren’t the Widmer Brothers are corporate sellouts? Seriously, do you really believe that there were *really* two Widmer Brothers? I’m just saying.
Abigail: Uuuhhh. Hefe. Yyyummm!
Gideon: Listen up friends. Try taking a journey by covered wagon PT Cruiser across 150 miles from this land of penultimate urban planning, through rivers and forests, to a new brewery at the forefront of the craft beer revolution.
Samuel: *burp*
Gideon: TRY!!!
Abigail: Do we have enough money for such a journey?
Gideon: You bet. Sam is a banker. He's loaded. [checks Sam's wallet]. He's got like sixteen hundred dollars in there.
Abigail: And speaking of loaded, I’ve got a gun in my purse.
Issac: What?
Samuel: Whoows drvving?
Gideon: Bobbi-Xtina! Close out, we are hitting the road!

Miles traveled: 0.5 miles

[Not one minute into the journey]
Samuel needs to stop and make water.

Gideon: Doggoneit Sam. We'll stop up here at Matt's General Store. Anybody need anything?

Gideon filled the car up with gas.
Bobbi-Xtina got a few packs of Blue Ox Jerky, Airheads, Pizza flavored Combos, and several Code Red Mountain Dews.
Samuel picked up a "Keep Portland Beered" shirt.
Abigail came from the woods carrying a rabbit and a squirrel carcass.

Some Hippie: What is the gas mileage of that Cruiser, man?
Samuel: Whthh that trribal titoo mean, man?
Some Hippie: That grass is inadequate, man.

The group gets in the wagon.

Miles traveled: .07 miles

[Before crossing Willamette River]
Bobbi-Xtina gets a stomach ache.

Miles traveled: 10 miles

The PT Cruiser hits something.

Gideon: Everyone OK?
Samuel: Thereth two of evvything.

Miles traveled: 20 miles

Abigail: What are the symptoms of cholera?

[from Bobbi-Xtina’s Droid phone]
The primary symptoms of cholera are profuse painless diarrhea and vomiting of clear fluid. These symptoms usually start suddenly, one to five days after ingestion of the bacteria. The diarrhea is frequently described as "rice water" in nature and may have a fishy odor. An untreated person with cholera may produce 10-20 liters of diarrhea a day with fatal results. For every symptomatic person there are 3 to 100 people who get the infection but remain asymptomatic.

Abigail may have cholera.

The group stops at the nearest rest station in Idiotville.

[Seriously, there is an Idiotville, OR.]

The group takes a 30 minute break.

Sensing that the Issac was opening up a big can of quit, Gideon insists everyone get back in the Cruiser and continue the journey. Abigail comes out of the woods after a bathroom break with a deer carcass.

The weather is warm, the group has plenty of food, and no one is dead yet.

Miles traveled: 60 miles

Gideon gets a speeding ticket.

Officer Louie: Be careful not to hit that Cruiser's pedal too hard! You can keep moving on your way, but set your cruise control at a fair pace. Do I smell alcohol? If you keep driving too fast you'll all end up spending a night in the drink tank.

Samuel: Lame.
Bobbi-Xtina: Oooh, look. A roadside gravestone!
Gideon: Don’t get out of the... ugh. Alright.
Gravestone: "Here lies andy. peperony and chease"
Gideon: What the? Seriously, get back in the Cruiser."

Miles traveled: 86 miles

Samuel: Oooo, llllook! Werrrr closse to Tillamahoo, Tillmooo, Tilllllaamahooo...
Gideon: Tillamook. They make the best cheddar. I want to make a bed out of that stuff and sleep on it.

Bobbi-Xtina buys 186 lbs of cheese, but can only carry 100lbs back to the car.

Creepy Scout in the Tillamook parking lot: The game is still plentiful along here, but gettin' harder to find. With so many overlanders, I don't expect it to last more'n a few years. Folks shoot the game for sport, take a small piece, and let the rest rot in the sun."
Gideon: Ooooh-kay.
[The group rushes back to the Cruiser.]

Abigail: Where are my rabbits?
Gideon: Drat! Someone stole half our stuff! And our spare tire. What is wrong with people?!
Abigail: I thought we left the crazies back in Portland?
Gideon: It's kind of hot.

Gideon may have cholera.

Miles traveled: 114 miles

The PT Cruiser gets a flat tire.

Gideon: What are the chances someone would steal our spare tire and then we’d get a flat tire?
Bobbi-Xtina: ...and that there would be an abandoned PT Cruiser right over there?

Abigail gets a spare tire, a gas can, and some buffalo chips from the abandoned Cruiser.

Abigail: What are buffalo chips?

Bobbi-Xtina finds some wild fruit.

Abigail: Want to see a dead bear?
Gideon: I seriously hope that is a metaphor.
Samuel: I'm thirsty.

Miles traveled: 115 miles

The group stops at The Pelican Pub and Brewery and gets a round of India Pelican Ale.

Bar Person: Be warned, stranger. Don't drink the water! Drink only beer. As *burp* strong as the beer is -- it's better than the cholera! We buried my mate last week. Could use some help with this harness, if you can space the time.

Gideon: Guys! Cruiser! Now!
Samuel: Thrrthty

Bobbi-Xtina finds some wild fruit.

Bobbi-Xtina gets typhoid.

[from Bobbi-Xtina’s Droid phone]
Typhoid fever is characterized by a slowly progressive fever as high as 104°F, profuse sweating and gastroenteritis. Less commonly, a rash of flat, rose-colored spots may appear.

Bobbi-Xtina: Check that, I just need to roll down a window and lay off this wild fruit.

Bobbi-Xtina may have dysentery.

Gideon: When is the last time anyone saw Issac?

[Issac drowned in the Willamette River, but the team never noticed]

Miles traveled: 140 miles

Gideon: We have to be getting close. Right guys?

Gideon: Guys?

Runner Up: Deschutes Brewery (183)

I'm literally writing this with tears in my eye. I came down here to Portland, OR, USA for a short beercation and now I'm in a lot of trouble. I am so freaked out at the moment and need to get things sorted out ASAP so I can get out of here. If someone could help me out with a quick loan of approximately $2371.54 to sort out some bills I promise I'll refund it once I get home.

OMG, do you doubt me? What have I done to not deserve your assistance? I'm telling you I'm freaking out. Look, I've been to the cops and the embassy, but neither would help with my issues. I just need a quick loan, because this bar manager won't let me leave until I settle this bill. Western Union is probably the best way for us to do this transaction. Just give them the money and hit me back with that ID and when I can pick it up.

I checked my local Dub-U and there weren't any transactions for me. Don't forget that MTCN confirmation number. And I'm in Portland, OR.

And it's around $2371.54 that I need. 

And I'm freaked.

New update:
I don't know why you haven't wired me this money. We both know it would save me from a lot of embarrassment and possibly save my life. I've also got a flight to catch. I promise to refund the money to you the next time we meet. 

Maybe you need some back story before you help me out. Here we go.

I started at Henry's 12th Street Tavern. This place has like 100 beers on tap!! They were also open at noon. Score-and-a-half! Check out the frozen lane that goes around the bar.

I had four or so pints here. I believe in laying down a good foundation before a big day. Next I headed out to find a Whole Foods Market. Portland is so hip, and I needed a visit to this earth-and-body-friendly, organic foods paradise to give my hipsterism a bump before night fell. 

En route I found Rogue Ale Public House, so I did that instead. The bartender there was so cool. Rogue's bar has a lot of windows, so this guy wore sunglasses inside. If memory serves, I think his name was Seabiscuit. My man hooked me up with enough samples to call it a day. I ordered a pint anyway just to return the favor, since I don't know what the proper tipping percentage is on free samples. This barkeep was really rad and definitely deserved a tip. 

From across the room I heard, "Anybody want a distillery tour?" I scanned the room to see if there was any takers, but it was two in the afternoon, and I happened to be the only person in the bar area. "Uhhh, this guy," I replied pointing both thumbs at my shoulders. Seabiscuit spit back, "W-W-W dot fingerpoint dot snap dash wink dot com." Hashtag awesome! I was so glad I didn't go to Whole Foods.

Affected picture of Seabiscuit

I don't know if my experience was unique, but the solo Rogue distillery tour consisted of talking about liquor and taking shots with the tour lady in the upstairs bar. If there was more to the tour, then I don't recall. I did learn that you cannot touch the still. Hashtag now I have a burn mark on arm.

Don't Touch That
Looking to soak in some additional Portland flavor, I hit up Seabiscuit for a recco. He informed me that Portland was home to the number one Irish establishment in America. Hashtag Seabiscuit 4 Prez. 

Have you guys noticed that Portland has a lot of street folk – uh, homeless-ish looking people (I don't judge). No, not as many as New Haven, Connecticut though. Am I right, friend?

A block from the pub, with my brain composing a mad fiddle tune, I ran into a guy passing out flyers. I have a personal policy about not taking flyers on the sidewalk. "No, you throw it away." I always say that joke. I can't even remember who I stole it from, but it's kind of sneaky mean, and I like it. The street flyer guy didn't understand my sarcasm and somehow tricked me into grabbing the flyer. But I was glad he did.

You see friend, Portland has these Underground Tours that literally take you on a "journey into the bowels of the city." Apparently many of the buildings are connected underground, and were once used for illicit "medicine" trade, Prohibition-era saloons, white slavery, and some other cool stuff. Portland's version of the emerald isle could wait. 

The Underground Tour started at the daftly named Shanghai Tunnel pub. Our guide began the experience by asking the group what kind of tour they wanted: 1.) The white slavery tour or 2.) The ghost tour. White slavery sounds pretty awesome. In spite of this fact, everyone in the entire room raised their hands for the ghost tour, presumably because ghosts are cooler than slavery. Ugh.

We headed underground, and I kid you not, the flyer-passer-out guy was down there. Creep city. Seriously, I think I've seen this guy in an old Scooby Doo cartoon. By the end of the tour, we all agreed that there were definitely ghosts living in Portland. "You believe in ghosts," you are probably asking. I agreed ghosts were real as a precaution, because if ghosts do exist, then there is less of a chance of them getting mad and then haunting me if I am a believer. If there aren't really ghosts, then I'm also in the clear, because – you see – they don't exist. The logic is sound. Plus, the creepy flyer-passer-out tour-assistant guy stopped staring at me when I declared my belief. That guy is like part Craigslist – part bottom of the tongue – part stray cat. 

We weren't allowed bar drinks on the tour, so it was definitely time to test the taps at the best Irish establishment in America, the place blessed by my new super cool bartender friend from Rogue. At least I thought Seabiscuit was my friend. Wow, how can I express it best? Let me just say that it looked like it was Ed Hardy's birthday (observed) up in there. 


Coming down hard off my midday craft beverage bender, I decided to suck it up, intermingle with the pretentious sugar-coated meat heads, and make my way to the bar.

And here, friend, is where the story goes off course. 

When I reached for my wallet to pay for my Honest Pint® of Guinness……… NOW DOES MY EARLIER PLEA MAKE SENSE TO YOU!?

My heart started racing. I had everything in that wallet: All my credit cards, my ID, my American Homebrewers Association member card, a lotto ticket, my Social Security Card, a bunch of walking around cash, and a receipt of a time when I epically out-Whataburgered my wife. I started sweating. I couldn't breathe. Everything was spinning. I really wanted that beer. 

I ran out of Kells (In order to avoid libel and stuff, let's say the place rhymes with…) "Hellz" to get back to the Shanghai tours. The last time I pulled my wallet out was when I bought that ghost tour ticket. I was disoriented, and must have run around the same block two or three times before finding a hostess at the bar. Gasping for air and a clear thought, I explained to the hostess that I had lost my wallet on an earlier tour. My spastic demeanor must have frightened her a bit, because she just turned around, called someone on the phone, and directed me to the bar next door. However, no one but a bartender was at that bar next door. I sure could have used a beer to calm the nerves, but instead I frantically explained to him my predicament. The bartender assured me they could help, and he led me to the back of the bar.

I awoke in some dreadful chamber underground. I checked my pocket and damn – no wallet. I had no idea where I had been taken or how I got there, but when I saw him, I figured it out. 

Curse all those fools for voting for the ghost tour!! I knew zero point zero about Shanghaiing. But, I was about to find out.

Did you ever pith a frog in science class? I'm just saying that it was the creepy flyer tour guy down there with me. He explained my two options: 1.) Work the Portland bar scene for no pay, cleaning up in the early mornings to get the establishments ready for the next day, or 2.) Pay $2,250 for my freedom. 

He further explained that Portland had been using this shocking practice of kidnapping able-bodied men and women since the 1800s. A little Shanghaiing is apparently how Portland continues to be so great, and it really makes sense the way he explained it. I had sensed something a little strange about the city. Plus, it is kind of cool to be called "able-bodied."

But friend, I'm no good at cleaning. I haven't even made my bed since middle school. Please, please help me out. I'll be honest, I was just kidding about the embassy thing in the earlier update. I thought that would get your attention, but now I know I was wrong. The Western Union details at the top of the post are totally real though. I need that $2,250 for my freedom, $86.54 for the ecoShuttle to PDX, and I seriously need a beer or two and a pizza. 

I will never drink a bunch of beer before liquor and then take flyers and go on tours ever again. I promise. I'll just wait here for your response. 

With this guy.