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33 Books Co. Blog

"Mommy, Where Do Tasting Journals Come From?" June 17 2024

At an event a few weeks ago, I realized I have never really answered the question of where this crazy little company came from on this web site!

Like most great stories, the 33 Books Co. origin story begins with a beer.

Actually, it was more like 2,000 beers.

In October 2009, I attended the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) for the first time. Here's a photo with me and "beer Elvis," aka Charlie Papazian, the founder of the American Homebrewer's Association, which is credited with the resurgence of the craft beer business. I am sometimes credited with more than my fair share of sales in the craft beer business.

33 Books Co. Founder Dave Selden and AHA Founder Charlie Papazian, 2008

Even accounting for the presence of beer celebrities and the disorientingly-yellow sodium lights employed by the Denver Convention Center, I was overwhelmed by the number of craft beers available at this, the world's largest beer festival. There was just no way I could taste them all (or recall them later). In a moment of clarity, I decided I needed a way to remember them next time, but I wasn’t going to be that guy with the foldout spreadsheet, either.

When I returned home and sobered up, I designed a pocket-sized beer tasting notebook that let me quickly record beer notes so I could get back to tasting — and enjoying beers.

But of course, you can't print just one book, so in 2010, I returned to GABF with a few friends, a very crude display and an idea to sell some of the 1000 or so books I'd had printed. They sold like slightly above room temperature cakes, but I knew I was on to something. Or perhaps that was the greenish-hued cookie someone traded me for a book in the final moments of the last session.

Team 33 Books Co. at GABF 2010

33 Beers was my first book, and the only one I thought I'd ever make. But as soon as I had a beer journal, people started asking for a wine journal. And a cheese journal. And a ... well, you get the idea.

Fast-forward nearly 15 years, and the 33” family includes 33 different tasting journals (and counting). I’ve also created some unique tasting maps and letterpress art prints that let you show off your good taste.

It’s been quite a great journey so far, and I would like to sincerely thank you for being a part of it.

Revisiting my Whisk(e)y Kit February 29 2024

I launched my original Whisk(e)y Tasting Set way back in 2014. It was a big deal for me at the time - receiving a pallet of my favorite Glencairn whisky glasses all the way from Scotland. I think the freight driver was a little surprised when I met him at the end of my residential driveway with a pallet jack, the goods destined for my near-bursting two-car garage.

Original Whiskey Tasting Set

Above: My original Whisk(e)y Tasting set. Blank boxes with custom laser-cut inserts, all hand-printed by yours truly.

At the time, I'd just figured out that I could silkscreen blank boxes, and then laser-cut flat sheets of cardboard to make a custom insert. I could silkscreen the inserts, too! I designed the box to resemble a bourbon barrel (used for aging Scotch, too): woodgrain pattern on the outside of the box, and a charred pattern on the inside of the box.

Hand-printed Boxes

Well, it didn't take me too many hundreds of hand-printed (in my home office) boxes to figure out that I needed to find a way to scale this kit up. My friend Tim (aka Captain Corrugated) helped me out with a professionally-printed corrugated box that added two more pallets to my storage woes: one for the box itself, and another for the inserts. It was a huge investment for me; the print plates and cutting dies set me back thousands of dollars, but it also required me to start moving 33 Books Co. out of my house. And that was a good thing!

The ActiveSpace that was my business' first home outside my home.

Above: The ActiveSpace that was my business' first home outside my home. I was there for about a year before I moved into my first "real" studio.

It was an investment in the business' success, and one that did pay off. The more polished kits found their way into some major retailers, and under the Christmas trees of thousands of whisk(e)y lovers.

Pallets of Whisk(e)y Tasting Sets Ready for Pickup ... in my home's driveway!

Above: Pallets of Whisk(e)y Tasting Sets Ready for Pickup ... in my home's driveway!

Now, 10 years and as many new kits later, a reprint of the boxes offered me a chance to revisit the kit. Its price point is a big part of its success, so I couldn't add too much to the box, but I do have a new whisk(e)y book that I thought would be a nice addition.

Today's Whiskey Tasting Set

The updated kit includes not one, not two, but THREE journals. One for Scotch, one for Bourbon, and my original journal, 33 Glasses of Whiskey, which works for everything else (even Canadian). The same tried and tested Glencairn glass, and a slightly upgraded, but still made in the USA, bespoke click pen. All for $25. It's a great value, and a great gift that I hope will be here for another 10 years.

2023 Holiday Roadshow November 15 2023

It's time for holiday gift shows! I'll be selling my tools for considered consumption at a few events in and around Portland and Seattle, and I'd love to see you your shining face. The shows are generally free or very low cost to attend, but do sometimes require a ticket ... check the web sites below for more info!

Dave at Gift Show

Gobble Up Portland
Saturday, November 11, 10-5 PM
Alder Block (Night Market)
100 SE Alder  Portland  97214

Gobble Up Seattle
Saturday, November 18, 10-5 PM
Hangar 30
Magnusson Park
7400 Sand Point Way NE  Seattle  98115

Urban Craft Uprising Winter Show
Friday, December 1, 5 - 9 PM
Saturday, Dec 2, 10 - 6 PM
Sunday, Dec 3, 10 - 5 PM
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
301 Mercer Street, Seattle  98109

Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association Winter Festival and Crafts Fair
Saturday, Dec 2, 10 - 5 PM
Sunday, Dec 3, 10 - 5 PM 
Phinney Center
6532 Phinney Ave N. Seattle  98103

South Lake Union Winter Market
Thursday, Dec 7, 10 - 5 PM
Van Vorst Plaza
410 Terry Avenue North, Seattle 98109

Crafty Wonderland
Friday, December 8, 5 - 9 PM
Saturday, Dec 9, 10 - 6 PM
Sunday, Dec 10, 10 - 6 PM
Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Portland  97232

Stumptown Downtown Pop-Up
Friday, December 15, 11 AM - 3 PM
128 SW 3rd Ave Portland, Or 97204

Gigantic Brewing Last-Minute Gift Sale
Saturday, December 16, 12 - 6 PM
5224 SE 26th Ave  Portland  97202

33 Books Co. Studio Sale & Open House
Sunday, December 17, 1 - 4 PM
31925 E. Historic Columbia River Highway  Troutdale, OR  97060

Yes, I Make Custom Books! November 06 2023

I’m delighted when people want to align their brand with my pocket tasting notebooks. Over the years, I've produced books for brands big and small. Most of the time, I work with them to add their branding to my books.

Sometimes, that can be as simple as adding a logo to the front of an existing book, in a process called imprinting. This is a good choice if you need just a few dozen books, as the process is both cost effective and quick. Some logos work well on the front of the book, as in the whiskey journal I did for FTW, and others seem to work better on the back, as with the CiderCon book on the right, both below.

Logo Imprinted Books from 33 Books Co.

For larger quantities (and bigger budgets), I offer more customization. Some companies want their branding to take center stage, and I'm glad to oblige (there's still a credit to 33 Books Co. on the back, of course). These are custom-printed books. I help with design, but this batch of books is for you and you alone. This custom salumi journal I created for Creminelli has a bespoke cover, but also includes some product info on the center spread of the book. These books are used in helping to sell Creminelli's line of cured meats (which hardly need selling - they are tasty), and are used in demos and education. The remainder of the book is my standard 33 Salumi pages, so the students can record their impressions of Creminelli's product line in class and afterwards.

Creminelli Salumi Journal

If you'd like to work together, drop me a line. I'm always up for interesting collaborations. 

Amaro 101 August 01 2023

If the word "Amaro" isn't part of your drinking vocabulary, you're excused. Sometimes this Italian liqueur is called "the bartender's secret handshake," known to be delicious, and obscure.* You're in the club. Wink, wink. But it just might be your new favorite summer sipper.

A Selection of Amari!

Amaro is a bittersweet Italian liqueur, commonly consumed after a meal as a digestif. Generally, the base is a neutral spirit, often distilled from grapes, and infused with a diverse range of herbs, spices, fruits and even vegetables. Nearly every town in Italy produces one, which makes for a wide world to explore!

  1. Drink it neat. Amaro tastes great on its own, and is the perfect finish to a hearty meal. Its bitterness is said to stimulate digestion.
  2. Drink it on ice. On a warm afternoon, there are few things better than amaro poured over a big ice cube and consumed in a lounge chair.
  3. Use it in a cocktail. If you've ever had a Negroni (my wife's fave) or a Paper Plane, you've had amaro (Campari and Nonino, respectively).

33 Glasses of Amaro is my newest journal, and I think you're going to like it. Embrace your inner Italian and go find some Amaro. You'll say "mille grazie" later.

Amaro Journal

* Of course, don't tell that to the nation of Italy, where it is an essential part of eating and drinking culture, and has been for hundreds of years!

The Cost of Convenience November 26 2022

As you do your shopping online, small companies like mine REALLY appreciate it when you buy directly from us ... or a local seller. Though Amazon and Etsy are very convenient (I'm a customer, too), they take what I consider an unfairly large piece of the pie when they sell goods.

To illustrate, here's an order I fulfilled for one of my coffee-roasting logbooks purchased on

The Cost of Convenience

From the original purchase price of $7.00, 33 Books gets just $2.87 from the transaction. This has to cover the cost of printing the books (paper, ink, labor, etc.), as well as all the related expenses of running a business (salary, rent, insurance, fuel, etc.). Is it worth it? Not really, if I'm honest!

I wouldn't be on Amazon at all but for the fact that unauthorized 33 Books Co. retailers were selling the books there for 2x or 3x MSRP, leaving end customers disappointed when they received their $7 book, for which they had paid $20! It hurts my brand for that to happen, and so I am there unwillingly. But that is a story for another day! 

Small companies appreciate every single order ... matter where it comes from. But if you're able to do so, please try to buy direct from the business, or even better, from a local shop in your community. I sell to hundreds of small bookshops, breweries, coffeeshops, etc. and they deserve your dollars way more than Mr. Bezos.

2022 Holiday Road Show November 10 2022

It's time for holiday gift shows! I'll be selling my tools for considered consumption at a few events in and around Portland and Seattle, and I'd love to see you your shining face. The shows are generally free or very low cost to attend, but do sometimes require a ticket ... check the web sites below for more info!

Dave at Gift Show

Gobble Up Portland
Saturday, November 12, 10-5 PM
Alder Block (Night Market)
100 SE Alder  Portland  97214

Gobble Up Seattle
Saturday, November 19, 10-5 PM
Hangar 30
Magnusson Park
7400 Sand Point Way NE  Seattle  98115

Urban Craft Uprising Winter Show
Friday, December 2, 5 - 9 PM
Saturday, Dec 3, 10 - 6 PM
Sunday, Dec 4, 10 - 5 PM
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
301 Mercer Street, Seattle  98109

Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association Winter Festival and Crafts Fair
Saturday, Dec 3, 10 - 5 PM
Sunday, Dec 4, 10 - 5 PM 
Phinney Center
6532 Phinney Ave N. Seattle  98103

Crafty Wonderland
Friday, December 9, 5 - 9 PM
Saturday, Dec 10, 10 - 6 PM
Sunday, Dec 11, 10 - 6 PM
Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Portland  97232

Gigantic Brewing Last-Minute Gift Sale
Sunday, December 18, 12 - 6 PM
5224 SE 26th Ave  Portland  97202

The Special Sauce October 10 2022

It takes some doing to make something simple. The process for 33 Burgers was a lot of fun, and took me on quite an adventure as I explored the topic literally from coast-to-coast. Come with me on a virtual journey and I'll share some of my book process along the way.

Burger Reading List

I sometimes describe myself as a "method designer," after the acting school where actors try to live as their character as much as possible. My process is pretty immersive, and it usually takes a few forms:

  • Reading: Tim Ferriss says if you read three books on a subject, you're an expert. I'm not sure I totally buy that, but it's usually where I start. And for 33 Burgers, I read four. My favorites: Josh Ozersky's The Hamburger, and George Motz' Hamburger America.
  • Watching: YouTube is a great source for information, as long as you're not investigating pandemics or the deep state. I watched about 1,000 videos from George Motz (aka "The Burger Scholar") on the topic of burgers, and they are totally worth your time. Seeing him make an Oklahoma Onion Burger, and then making it yourself - I'll just say "You're welcome," in advance.
  • Tasting: I mean, it's a tasting journal. At some point, you have to put the rubber to the road ... err, tongue to the table? And boy, did I eat some burgers!

I was in New York this summer for the Fancy Food Show, and chasing burgers was a really fun way to experience the city in a new way. I did some research beforehand on some places I wanted to hit, and started with Joe Junior, the home of "New York's Best Burger," according to Eater. I felt a little like Will Ferrell drinking New York's Best Coffee when I walked in the door, but it was a solid, simple diner burger. It didn't blow my hair back, but it got me to the lower East Side, one of my favorite neighborhoods anyway (McSorley's, Burp Castle). It was also the place I tested my first draft.

Deluxe Burger from NY's Joe Junior

My second New York burger wasn't on my pre-show list, but someone in the New York meat business told me to visit Keen's Chophouse for their bar burger, and I think I found my new favorite fancy restaurant in New York. When a restaurant has been around since the 1880's, you know it's good. New York is a tough restaurant market and there are a million places competing for your dollar. If you can make it here ... for almost 150 years? You're doing something right. Mine was an equally simple burger, but every single ingredient was top notch. A perfectly ripe tomato ... in June? I have no idea how they do it, but make this a stop on your next trip, and not just for the ambiance. Go for the blue cheese burger. Avoid the overly-friendly Connecticut lawyer at the bar.

Keens Blue Cheese Burger

My last burger on this trip took me to the West Village and Emily, a pizza restaurant now known for another contender for "The Best Burger in NYC." Apparently, that guy that went to Joe Junior's didn't get the memo).  Pretzel bun, Pat LaFrieda aged beef, caramelized onions, cheese ... and of course, a secret sauce that's alleged to contain cheffy faves Kewpie mayo and gojuchang. It really was incredible (the service not so much), and next time I go to NY, I'll definitely go back. Maybe for the pizza ... but that's another book. 

Emmy Burger at Emily

Back in Portland, I couldn't omit some local favorites, starting with SuperDeluxe, aka Portland's answer to In n Out (which is slowly creeping north from California, but hasn't yet reached Multnomah County). I love me some fresh crinkle cut.

SuperDeluxe Burger in Portland

Portland is known for its food carts, and one of my favorite burgers in town is the SmashyBoi from Mid-City Smashburger. It's drunk food you can eat in the daylight, and at $5, it's easily the best value I encountered.

Mid-City Smashburger

And of course, I had to make some burgers at home, too. We buy our beef by the half-cow, so we always have a lot of burger in the house (thanks, Farmer Tim). George Motz' Oklahoma Onion Burger is a new family favorite - quick to make and truly delicious. 

Homemade Oklahoma Onion Burger

I'm constantly hearing from people that they love my books because they are a challenge contained between two covers. I've heard of people filling a book by traveling Africa tasting coffee, falling in love over 33 ice cream dates ... I had a great summer bingeing burgers!

Working to fill out and design 33 Burgers challenged me to explore restaurants and cities in ways I never otherwise would have, and I hope this book will be the backbone of your next burger barnstorm.

 - Dave

Letterpress: My New/Old Obsession May 26 2022

Like a lot of folks, I had some time to fill during the early days of quarantine. I've been a sourdough baker since before it was cool, so that was not really an option. Instead, I decided to learn to letterpress.

Detail of my "Wine Bottle Taxonomy" Letterpress Print

Above: My "Wine Bottle Taxonomy" print, inked by hand and printed with a deep impression on a 1927 Vandercook Proof Press.

What is Letterpress?

Succinctly, it's the kind of printing that Johannes Gutenberg did. Ink is applied to a piece of type – also known as a "letter" – and then pressed into a piece of paper. If you compose a whole bunch of letters into individual words, sentences, paragraphs ... after a few days, you have a page. In a week, you might have a few pages, and after a year or ten, you have a Bible. In Gutenberg's day, they didn't have Tiger King, so this kind of tedious activity filled the space between their plague outbreaks.

"Modern" Letterpress

Over the years, technological advancements have sped the process of letterpress up: improved type composition tools such as the Linotype machine, photopolymer print plates, self-inking mechanisms, and electric motors, to name just a few.

But the basics of pressing type into page, one color at a time, remain the same, hundreds of years later. This simple, physical, mechanical and tactile quality is what makes letterpress so charming to me.

My First Press

I studied printmaking in college at the University of Iowa, using mainly etching presses with carved wooden blocks that I inked by hand, with a glorified paint roller called a "brayer."

When I decided to get back into that kind of printing, that's basically what I started with: a  simple, hand-cranked and hand-inked 1927 proof press made by the Vandercook company. I bought mine on eBay from a helpful gentleman in California, which is a good place to look if you know what to look for. I didn't, but thankfully, I got very lucky with a knowledgeable seller who made sure I had the parts I needed to actually use the thing. Proof presses were designed to be used in busy print shops as a kind of prototyping press. Once you had your words and pictures locked up in a forme, you could use a proof press to quickly ink up and print a copy or two to share with your customer or coworkers, spotting any errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar before they made it to the production presses that printed much faster. Seeing an error in a printed piece is bad, but much worse when you see it reproduced a thousand times!

Some proof presses are self-inking, but my Vandercook (a "No. 1," fittingly) is not. In those first days of printing, I had to re-ink my artwork after every print, which got pretty old pretty quick! At my absolute fastest, I could reliably produce one decent-quality print every two minutes or so. Not so bad when the print had one color (as with my Wine Bottle Taxonomy print), but when a print had two or more colors (like my Essential Gin Cocktails print), a finished print might take me more like 4-5 minutes to print, or roughly 12 per hour. That's not very many!

On the plus side, this press has a print area of 14x20 inches (35 x 51 cm), which allowed me to start out with some good-sized prints right away, using a fairly small machine (it weighs around 250 pounds (115 kg) and is mechanically very simple.

My Second Press

I decided to upgrade to a platen press just a few months after acquiring the proof press, when I saw a good one come up on Craigslist. A box truck rented, I loaded an 1880's Golding Jobber with the help of my friend Nat and no small quantity of audible grunts (and a few gasps as it almost tipped over once or thrice). This press is also "gluten-powered," but the press' action is kept in motion by means of a foot treadle, leaving your hands to feed paper into the press' jaws (or "platen") in a kind of motion that feels like playing guitar, drums and accordion all at once. The main advantage of this press is its ink rollers, which cycle over the plate automagically, greatly speeding up the printing process. With this press, I was able to print much more quickly - perhaps 15 one-color prints per minute. Its only real disadvantage – other than building leg muscle mass asymmetrically – is its small print area: 8 x 12 inches. Too small for my larger prints, but just right for business cards, small prints like my Coffee Multiplication Table, and of course, my new Flight Decks.

My Third Press

I didn't set out to be a letterpress museum, but I seem to be acquiring printing presses almost as fast as I create new tasting journals! After a year of hand-inking my larger cocktail recipe prints, I decided I needed to upgrade to something self-inking with a large print area. That meant a BIG jump up in terms of weight when I added a 2100 lb (950 kg) 12x18 Chandler & Price to the mix. It's also too big to power with even my well-trained legs, so while it still requires a quick hand to feed the press, the action is driven by means of a 1 horsepower motor.

At some point, I'll probably run out of space, or have to do some horse ... err, press trading! I can imagine a world in which I trade my third press for something with an automatic paper-feeder, but for now, I'm just keeping a watch on my fingers and taking time to enjoy the smell of fresh ink, the feel of paper in my hands, and the satisfaction of a full print rack at the end of the day.

A Quick Thanks for Shopping Small November 11 2021

Like you, I've been hearing a lot about container ships waiting to unload literal boatloads of Chinese goods in LA and Seattle. Thankfully, I'm not one of those companies waiting for my ship to come in.

Aquavit - Scandinavian for DIY Booze September 03 2021

In researching my collaboration with Jacob Grier, 33 Aquavits, I became fascinated with this spirit's unique culture and traditions. Here's one favorite tidbit you might find inspiring.

There are two main traditions when it comes to making aquavit, Scandinavia's signature spirt.

In modern times, of course, you can go into any well-stocked liquor store in Stockholm or Oslo or Rekjavik or Copenhagen (or Portland), and purchase a well-made bottle of caraway- (and/or dill-) flavored snaps for your refreshment. Pop it in the freezer, and Sven's your uncle.

But there is another tradition I find perhaps more interesting - making aquavit at home. In the days before prohibition, many households in Scandinavia had their own alcohol stills, used to preserve excess grain and other seasonal ingredients from the harvest for later use as medicine and/or social lubricant. In modern times, home distillation is less common (actually illegal in many countries), but family recipes for aquavit persevere in another form - "infused aqavit" which I think is just about the ... ahem ... coolest thing.

The basic idea is this - take an off-the-shelf vodka, and infuse it with your own special, seasonal ingredients. It's a fun way to capture fleeting flavors and enjoy them year-round.

I made two different infused aquavits, both flavored primarily with caraway,* as well as other seasonal ingredients I had at-hand. Try my recipes for yourself, or use them as a springboard for your own concoctions. My advice - taste frequently - spices extract quickly, particularly with higher ABV spirits. I sampled a small spoonful every day until I was happy with the flavor, keeping in mind that colder serving temperatures will tend to mute flavors, so a little "bigger" flavor than you want is actually okay. When you're satisfied, strain the liquid through a coffee filter into a clean bottle and put it in the freezer until you're ready to serve! Some traditional recipes I read actually age in a pantry for up to 6 months, but I'm not quite that patient.

Rhubarb Aquavit

Rhubarb with Feet for Scale

My college friend Sara brought me some amazing rhubarb from her garden, the inspiration for this recipe. I've made it twice now! It's so good! Redder rhubarb will actually color the final aquavit, giving it a beautiful ruby color that complements its flavor. We consumed it together with a smorgasbord featuring gravlax and smoked salmon. It's said that aquavit helps the fish swim!

  • 750 mL Vodka (I used Smirnoff 100 proof )
  • 72g Rhubarb Stalks, split into 1/2" wide strips
  • 3 Tsp. Caraway Seeds
  • 1 Tsp. Coriander Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
  • 2 Tsp. Fresh Lemon Peel
  • 7g Sliced Fresh Ginger

Steep the above in a glass jar for 3-5 days, shaking to mix at least once per day. Sample daily. When desired flavor has been reached, strain contents through a coffee filter into a clean jar or bottle, discarding spices and rhubarb. Keep in freezer until ready to serve in small, shippable snaps glasses. Don't shoot - savor the flavor.

Homemade Rhubarb Aquavit and Summer Smorgasbord

Licorice Fern Aquavit

My crunchy country children attend a nature camp not far from our home just outside Portland. They go on long hikes, build fires, and learn how to identify plants and animals. My 8-year-old daughter can already name more trees than this veteran woodworker and former boy scout! This spring, they brought home a bowl full of licorice root, which literally grows on trees in the Pacific Northwest. Its stems taste strongly of ... you guessed it, licorice of the black variety.

Licorice Fern Aquavit

 Licorice Fern made a great-tasting, totally unique and naturally-sweet infused aquavit the color of bourbon. Here's my recipe:

  • 750 mL Vodka (I used Absolute Elyx, made from Swedish-grown winter wheat)
  • 33g Licorice Fern roots (discard leaves)
  • 3 tsp. Caraway Seeds
  • 1 Star Anise Pod
  • 3 Cardamom Pods

Steep the above in a glass jar for 3-5 days, shaking to mix at least once per day. Sample daily. When desired flavor has been reached, strain contents through a coffee filter into a clean jar or bottle, discarding spices and licorice root. Keep in freezer until ready to serve in small, shippable snaps glasses. Don't shoot it - savor the flavor.


Save the Bard! Virtual Burns Night 2021 January 12 2021

Robert Burns is kind of Scotland’s patron saint, mascot and poet laureate all rolled into one, and I’m going to be celebrating his birthday on January 25th as I often do, but this year it'll be virtual. I hope you’ll join me for a one-of-a-kind virtual event ... I mean, what else are you doing on a Monday night these days? Bring your own whisky and haggis ... my friends and I will supply the poetry (and other entertainments).

Virtual Burns Night


Special Guests

The event will be live on Zoom, so you'll need to RSVP here to get your invitationSlàinte Mhath!

What to Drink

If you'd like to join us with a traditional dram or three of whisky, my guests and I will be sampling Lagavulin 16, Aberfeldy 12, Dewar's 12, Talisker 10, and Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10-year-old, as well as Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt (from Japan).

Additionally, I'll be sampling some UK cider with my friend Grant. You may find that difficult to find outside the UK, so I'll suggest any dry cider with the word "Farmhouse" or specifically "Oliver's" on the label, should you be lucky enough to find it.

What to Eat

Haggis! This is the typically resourceful/parsimonious centerpiece of a Scottish Burns Dinner, which is made by filling a sheep's stomach with oats and odd bits of meat and suet. It sounds ... odd, but is actually quite nice. You can make your own (Vegetarians and vegans beware for obvious reasons), or buy one. Those in the United States who wish to order in a haggis can do so by phoning Lamb's Haggis in Roseburg, Oregon at (503) 673-7463 - be prepared for a short history lesson with your order!

Tatties and Neeps. Allow me to translate this colloquial spelling for my American readers: "Tatties" are "potatoes." And "neeps" are "turnips," though Charles Lamb (of Lamb's Haggis above) tells me that what we in America call rutabega is most similar to the 'neeps' used in Scotland. Boil and mash them up, adding a bit of carrots for sweetness and color if you like.

Scotch Eggs. My kids (11 and 7) unexpectedly love Scotch Eggs, and yours might, too. It will certainly be easier to explain than the haggis. I can vouch for this recipe.

Slàinte Mhath!

Where's My Stuff? December 20 2020

The deadline for receiving orders from me in time for Christmas has come and gone, but I am still shipping every day, and will continue to do so up to and including December 24th. You keep ordering, I'll keep shipping - hopefully your giftees will be so in love with the goods you send them, they won't even glance at the calendar!

I am starting to get some questions about arrival on orders placed before the deadlines, though, and thought I'd post some explanation here. I'm just one guy, so every sale means a lot to me, and I take it personally when you are disappointed or let down when it arrives slower than both of us would like.

When I Ship

For my part, I try to ship things quickly - often the same day they are ordered - and I personally drive them to the post office and hand them to the carrier. Those are the things I can control.

How Long Will it Take?

I generally tell people it can take anywhere from 7-10 days for first class packages to American destinations to arrive at your door once they leave my studio, but it's generally on the shorter end of that spectrum. Priority Mail is generally 2-3 business days. International packages are anywhere from 2-6 weeks.  Covid + Christmas, of course, have made everything a bit crazy this year.

But it's Not Moving!

I honestly think things are moving along, and I don't know what to do other than take carriers at their word - they say they plan on delivering all the packages they received before their posted deadlines ... on time. In my experience, when things are moving quickly, they don't always get scanned at every way point. They'll go from sitting in a processing center in Portland, seeming not to move, and the next day, show up on your doorstep in Wichita. It's disconcerting, I know - to me and you!

Is it Gone?

Things do go missing, but that's very, very rare, thankfully - perhaps 1 in 1,000. 

It Says it Was Delivered, but I don't Have It!

Usually one of two things is going on when something shows as delivered, but isn't in your hands:

  • The delivery person hits the "delivered" button prematurely and it'll turn up the next delivery day or so, or ... 
  • A neighbor or roommate grabbed the package, and it'll similarly find its way to you within a day or two.

The first option is pretty unpredictable, and you'll know better how likely the latter will be. I'd just ask you please give it a day or two before panicking.

If you have other ideas or feedback, please let me know - we're in unprecedented territory here and I know that everyone is doing the best they can - me, the carriers, and of course ... you!

Holiday Shipping! December 14 2020

This time of year, I am shipping nearly every weekday, often the same day you order. I'm hardly Amazon, but I want your holiday wishes to come true almost as much as you do. That said, there are some limits to what I – and the postal system - can do. And, of course everything is further complicated by Covid-19 distancing. Fewer staff are working at mail handling centers and more packages are being shipped this year than ever before. Please be patient and feel free to reach out if you have questions or special circumstances. 

Learn more than you ever wanted to know about shipping here ...

The Return of the 3:33 Sales! November 12 2020

The 3:33 Sales

No doubt about it ... the holidays are coming fast. In 2018, I ran a super-fun series of promotions I dubbed "The 3:33 Sales," where I discounted a different product each day at 3:33 PST for every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Convoluted? Maybe. A ton of work? Definitely! Probably too much for a one-man operation. So, while I'm going to repeat the program again this year, it'll be a once-a-week situation instead of every day. Each Thursday from now to December 24, I'll run a different themed promotion, starting ... meow!

How It Works

  • I am going to be running one awesome sale every Thursday between today and December 24th.
  • Each sale commences at 3:33 PM Portland Standard Time (PST) and ends at 11:59 PM.
  • You'll need a discount code, which will only work during that particular sale. Codes will be posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and included in 3:33 announcement e-mails (sign up here). 

Get Reminders for Upcoming Sales

If you'd like to get reminders as sales begin, I've got a couple ways for you to get notified:

1. Social Media

I'll be posting updates on all the official 33 Books Co. channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

2. E-mail Reminders

Sign up for the weekly 3:33 e-mail list here.

What's On Sale?

You'll have to wait and see!

  • Thursday, November 12: $20 off Cider Mugs
  • Thursday, November 19: Buy One, Get One Prints
  • Thursday, November 26: 50% Off One Item
  • Thursday, December 3: 33% Off Posters
  • Thursday, December 10: Free WORLDWIDE Shipping Over $50
  • Thursday, December 17: 2 for 1 Drinking Coins
  • Thursday, December 24: 33% Off Gift Certificates

Whisky or WhiskEy? July 20 2020

If you're grammatically-minded, you might have noticed something odd at the liquor store when in the brown spirits aisle. Some grain-based spirits describe their contents as "whisky," while others add an "e" and spell it "whiskEy." What gives?

The answer is mostly a nod to style.

The whisk(e)y-making tradition originated in Gaelic-speaking Ireland and Scotland  sometime on or about the 1400's. Its modern spelling is an anglicization of the Gaelic Uisge beatha, or "water of life."

Scotch whisky has been the standard-bearer for centuries, and those that aspire to that standard often use the Scotch spelling (no "e"). 

George Dickel Whisky

Case in point: Tennessee's George Dickel wanted to make whisky as good as that made in Scotland when he hung up his shingle, so he spelled his product "whisky" as they do in Scotland. Balcones (Texas) is another American distiller I know (and love) that uses "whisky."

But most American distillers use "whiskEy," even those that are making Scotch-like whisky, such Seattle's Westland and Oregon's McCarthy's (double recommendation).

Here's a mnemonic that mostly works: if the country name is spelled with an "e," then that country's distillers spell whiskey with an "e," too:

  • Scotland, no "e" = whisky
  • Japan, no "e" = whisky
  • IrEland has an "e" = whiskEy
  • UnitEd StatEs of AmErica has three "e's" = whiskEy
  • Canada, no "e," = whisky

Now there are new countries making whisk(e)y that buck this useful trick (Sweden, France, England) but these distillers tend to adopt the spelling of the style they are emulating. As such, they mostly spell their spirit without an "e," since those countries are chasing Scotch whisky styles (and Scotch whisky drinkers).

The more you know!

A Little Patience ... May 13 2020

I'm still shipping nearly every day (busier than ever, actually - thanks for that), but things may take a little longer to reach you than they normally do, especially if you are overseas.

Lots of Labels

With social distancing rules in the workplace, postal facilities are operating with reduced staff, and thus, reduced speed. Please know that things do arrive 99.9% of the time, but may be a little slower than you'd like.

"Please, tell me more!" You asked for it! Here's more info on 33 Books' shipping practices than you probably need.

And as always, if you have a special need or request, get in touch! I'm happy to help if I can.

Wash your hands!

- Dave

How To Use 33 Oysters (Guest Post!) March 25 2020

This is a super awesome guest post written by my co-author and collaborator on 33 Oysters, Julie Qiu.

Immediately after deciding to pursue oyster connoisseurship, I created an oyster tasting log. I kept a meticulous spreadsheet of my ongoing oyster experiences, tasting notes, and overall impressions. Although data entry and analysis is much easier to do on the computer, you just can't replicate the tactile satisfaction of taking handwritten notes. Furthermore, tracking such complex data in a spreadsheet had its limitations. Those are a few of the reasons why 33 Books Co. creator Dave Selden and I collaborated on the pocket-sized 33 Oysters on the Half Shell Tasting Journal. Dave's ever-growing collection of simple, easy-to-use considered consumption tools allows anyone to improve their palate and recall.

33 Oysters Journal. Photo by Julie Qiu.

While Dave's books are designed for users to jot down first impressions quickly, I admit that some of the data components in the 33 Oysters on the Half Shell Tasting Journal (such as cup depth, meat-to-shell ratio, and flavor wheel descriptors) might seem a bit foreign to the uninitiated.

I decided to write this guide to help you navigate through all of it! But before we dive into the journal ...

Read the rest of the post over at Julie's Blog In a Half Shell. You should also follow her on Instagram.

Join the 33 Cocktails Beta Program March 18 2020

Looking for a way to amuse yourself while on self-quarantine? 

I'm working on a new book that will be dedicated to cocktails: tasting them, of course, but also refining them. It'll be called ... wait for it ... 33 Cocktails.

When I develop any new book, it follows what has become a fairly routine process for me. I typically start with lots of research. Yes, I do some drinking, but I also read ... a lot. I've been reading books* about cocktails both new and old, and tasting quite a few along the way.

I have a framework that I think is working pretty well, but I'd like to open up the process this time to you. Yes, you! 

All the details on the Beta program can be found here

* Some favorites so far:


2020 Road Show January 14 2020

After the rush of holiday gift-giving, you'd think it might slow down a little over here in Flavorland, but you'd be mistaken! I'm hard at work on a half-dozen or so new things™ which will be debuting in the coming weeks.

But first, I'm off to San Francisco this weekend for the first two of a few trade shows I'll be at this year. Here's a list of where you can come ogle my wares, and place orders for your store/company. Note that most of these events require registration and are generally intended for the trade. But if you can talk your way in, you should!

Good Food Mercantile
January 18, 2020
12 - 5 PM
City View at Metreon
135 4th St. #4000
San Francisco, CA 94103

Winter Fancy Food Show (Booth 2458)
January 19-21, 2020
10 AM - 5 PM Sunday/Monday,  10 AM - 4 PM Tuesday
Moscone Center, San Francisco

Handmade Gift Show
January 26-28, 2020
10 AM - 5 PM all days
Magnuson Park Hangar 30
6310 NE 74th St.
Seattle, WA

CiderCon (Booth 108)
January 30-31, 2020
10 AM - 6 PM Thursday, 9 AM - 2 PM Friday
Marriott Oakland City Center
1001 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94607

Specialty Coffee Expo (Booth 456)
April 24-26, 2020
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM Friday/Saturday,  10:30 AM - 4:00 PM Sunday
Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232

American Cheese Society Conference
July 22-25, 2020
Portland, OR


The 3:33 Sales: 2019 Edition November 21 2019

The 3:33 Sales

No doubt about it ... the holidays are coming fast. Last year, I ran a super-fun series of promotions I dubbed "The 3:33 Sales," where I discounted a different product each day for 33 days for at 3:33 PST. Convoluted? Maybe. A ton of work? Definitely! Probably too much for a one-man operation. So, while I'm going to repeat the program again this year, it'll be a once-a-week situation instead of every day. Each Thursday from now to December 19, I'll run a different themed promotion, starting ... meow!

How It Works

  • I am going to be running one awesome sale every Thursday between today and December 19th.
  • Each sale commences at 3:33 PM Portland Standard Time (PST) and ends at 11:59 PM.
  • You'll need a discount code, which will only work during that particular sale. Codes will be posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and included in 3:33 announcement e-mails (sign up here). 

Get Reminders for Upcoming Sales

If you'd like to get reminders as sales begin, I've got a couple ways for you to get notified:

1. Social Media

I'll be posting updates on all the official 33 Books Co. channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

2. E-mail Reminders

Sign up for the weekly 3:33 e-mail list here.

What's On Sale?

You'll have to wait and see!

  • Thursday, November 21: 50% Off Holiday Hot Sauce Tasting Sets
  • Thursday, November 28: BOGO Everything
  • Thursday, December 5: Free Shipping Over $13
  • Thursday, December 12: Whisk(e)y Goods 33% Off
  • Thursday, December 19: 50% Off One Item

  • Three Ways to Make Cider at Home, Part 2: Apartment Therapy Edition October 16 2019

    I'm lucky enough to live in a hobby farm-type situation just outside Portland, though that hasn't always been the case. Now, I have space for both my own apple trees and a small cider press.

    But if you want to make cider from apples – and you absolutely should – and you live in an apartment ... I have an option for you, and you won't have to spend all your rent money on it, either.

    Why Make Cider from Apples?

    In my previous post, I outlined an extremely simple way to make cider at home that began with buying fresh juice from a local orchard or even a well-stocked grocery store. What that method saved in time and equipment, it lacked a little in both creativity and control. When you buy cider already pressed, you're usually missing some critical information:

    • What kind of apples are in it? There are literally hundreds of varieties of apples available, but already-pressed cider tends to come from eating apples - the kinds you'd see at a supermarket under fluorescent lights. It's generally made from whichever of the orchard's apple varieties that didn't quite make the "pretty enough to eat" cut - totally fine if you're going to heat it up with cinnamon sticks and bourbon, but for making fine cider, you might want a little more creative control, selecting apples with a good balance of tannins, acids and sugars.
    • When were the apples pressed? Believe it or not, some "fresh cider" might have been frozen and unfrozen from last year's harvest. If you've ever wondered how you're finding 'fresh' cider in May, here's your answer!
    • What is its sugar content/acidity/etc.? These things can all be measured once the jug is opened, of course, but I like to know what I'm buying. If you press your own, you can literally bite an apple to get a sense of what kind of juice you'll get. The grocery stores I shop at tend to frown on opening a gallon of cider for "sampling purposes" before paying for it!

    "So, How Do you Press Apples at Home, Dave?"

    Obviously, you could buy (or make) a press. Most people don't have space for bulky equipment that is used just once or twice a year (like that rowing machine, amirite?). Many homebrew stores have presses and grinders that you can rent, but you should call at least a couple of weeks in advance to reserve time. During harvest season, presses can be in high demand.

    But I have another method I think you'll like, both for convenience and cost.

    The juice craze of the early twenty-teens has resulted in a lot of juice machines finding their way to secondhand stores. My local Goodwill had three on the shelf when I looked last week, all under $20. These make perfectly good juice for the home kitchen, and don't take up a ton of space. 

    Making Cider at Home with a Secondhand Juicer

    I'm using Mountain Rose apples from my local supermarket which have a distinct rose-colored flesh. Their juice is also rose-colored, unlike what you'll find in the plastic jugs at most supermarkets, and at least one cidery nearby has made award-winning, single-varietal cider with its juice.

    Simply quarter the apples, flip on the juicer, and shove them in. It's definitely a slower process than a big press, but I was able to make a gallon of beautiful-looking juice in just under 30 minutes.

    Measuring Twice is Nice

    Once you have enough juice in the pitcher, fill a hydrometer with some sample juice. Hydrometers are a way to measure the sugar content of juice, which will tell you a bit about its potential alcohol content. They're available at any local homebrew store for under $20. (Pro tip: buy a cheap one if you are clumsy, because you will break it. I think I am on my fifth one!)  I had to let mine settle for a few minutes as the juicer had aerated the juice quite a bit, making it difficult to float the hydrometer initially.

    This juice came in at around 1.050 in the "specific gravity" (aka "SG") measurement system. There are other scales (Brix is common among winemakers), but either will work just fine. The inside front cover of 33 Cider Pressings includes conversion tables between Brix and SG, as well as a table to calculate potential alcohol based on your pre-fermentation and post-fermentation readings. Not to spoil the ending, but your final gravity, or "FG," is likely to be 1.000 or even a little less. Yeast really, really like the simple sugars of apple juice, and will eat all of it if you let them.

    Hydrometer Reading in Specific Gravity Scale for Home Cider

    But before we pitch yeast, let's take one more measurement. We're going to measure pH, which is another system for measuring our cider, this one describing how acidic the juice is to start. You can buy an electronic tool for this, but I find I use the inexpensive pH test strips from the homebrew store just as frequently, and they never run out of batteries. This juice weighed in at 3.5, which is a little on the acidic side, but totally acceptable.

    Testing pH of Cider with test strips

    I won't get into the science, but this is useful data to have should:

    1. something start to go off in fermentation like a transformation into vinegar (pH will drop as acetobacter convert alcohol to acetic acid), or
    2. you decide you want to correct the cider to make it more or less acidic to taste by adding acid of some sort later in the process. I am a low chemical intervention-type person philosophically, but you can read up on citric and malic acid additions if this idea is interesting to you. 

    I'm making a single-varietal cider here, but if you are making a blend, you could achieve a target pH by selecting a good balance of both low and high-acidity apples.

    Dump, (Pitch) and Stir ...

    The rest of the process is very similar to the beginner cidermaking instructions I posted previously, but in this case, you'll perhaps want to supply your own fermenter, which is a fancy name for some kind of container you can both seal and sterilize.

    You could absolutely use the plastic milk jug as before, or you could upgrade things and purchase a 1-gallon carboy from that aforementioned homebrew store. As long as you don't drop it, you can get years and years of good use out of it, and it's very easy to clean and accessorize. Mine is accessorized with a rubber stopper and airlock (from the homebrew store) which would also fit a larger 5-gallon size.

    If you sourced your apples from a store, you'll want to pitch a commercial yeast. Dried packets work great here as before, but I'd go with a wine yeast, which tends to let the flavor of the apples show through more than a beer yeast does. You've gone to all this trouble, why cover it up with yeast-derived flavors? We're not cavemen here!

    Cider in Small Carboy

    If you sourced your apples from a friend's orchard, or foraged them from a tree someplace ... you could go for natural fermentation. This is a much riskier proposition - not necessarily from a health standpoint - but from an effort wasted standpoint.

    I have always had good luck with natural fermentation, which uses the yeast already on the apples' skin to promote fermentation. However, it is a gamble, and it is possible that the yeast on your apples is either too funky or too weak to ferment the juice before other microorganisms get to it, increasing your chances of a gallon of vinegar, or more likely, a foul-tasting and/or -smelling drain pour. 99.99999% it wouldn't kill you, but as lawyers like to say ... it's on you, bub. Take your own chances.

    Next up - Part 3 of making cider at home, from apples ... so, so, so many apples!

    Three Ways to Make Cider at Home, Part 1: Dump and Stir September 12 2019

    I love everything about cider. The drink, of course, but also the making of it. There's nothing quite like a cool fall day and crushing and pressing apples outdoors with friends and family. I'm lucky enough to live in the middle of apple country, but even if you don't, it's easy to make your own cider at home with some simple equipment and materials.

    Over the next week or two, I'm going to share three ways you can make cider at home, starting with the method I lovingly refer to as "Dump and Stir." It's a great place to start your cider-making adventures.

    Adding Yeast to Home Cider

    "Dump and Stir" Cider

    1. Buy yourself two gallon jugs of juice. If you're almost anywhere in America, there's an apple orchard nearby (thanks, Johnny Appleseed), and most commercial orchards sell freshly-pressed apple juice to-go in gallon containers this time of year. If you can't locate one, many supermarkets sell fresh juice in the fall, usually near the orange juice. Look for organic juice with a recent press date. If bought at a store, it will almost certainly be pasteurized, which means there won't be any living yeast or bacteria in the juice. Un-pasteurized cider is far less common, but if you go to an orchard and explain your intentions, they may find you some in the back if you ask nicely and quietly, and it will result in a slightly more interesting cider.

    2. Find a homebrew store, and take along this very tidy shopping list.

    • A packet of yeast. Use dried wine yeast if you have great, fresh apple juice, beer yeast if you don't. Look for dried yeast, which is cheaper than "fresh" yeast.
    • An 18" length of plastic tubing. 
    • Optional: sanitizing solution. You can use a homemade bleach solution at home instead, but there are many ready-to-use options available for purchase if you want to keep it simple.

    3. Empty one full jug and about two cups of the other juice into a crock pot or large pot on the stove at home. Add a cinnamon stick and/or several whole cloves and set to warm. Enjoy with friends, dose of bourbon, blended Scotch or rum optional. Save the empty container for step 6.

    4. Drill a small hole in the top of the cap which very closely matches the outside dimension of your tubing. Insert tubing slightly so it just reaches the bottom of the cap. This is your "airlock."

    5. Dump the yeast into the remaining jug of juice according to the instructions on the packet. Stir to incorporate the yeast and aerate the juice.

    6. Screw your airlock onto the juice jug tightly. If your tubing is a loose fit, use hot glue or candle wax to make as airtight a seal as possible where the tubing enters the lid. Place the other end of the tubing into a glass of water on a tray, and move the entire setup to a cool, dark place. Closets are good.  As the yeast eat the sugars in your juice, they will "burp" carbon dioxide gas and convert the sugar to alcohol. The tray will catch any splashing caused by the yeast burps!

    Home Cider Airlock

    7. Gently pour the cider into the clean, empty jug from step 3 once the bubbling slows wayyyy down (a burp every 20-30 seconds). Leave the layer of dead yeast in the first jug. You should sanitize the jug and hole-less cap with a bleach solution (find a recipe on the Google) or sanitizing solution you bought at the homebrew store. Cap the cider tightly.

    Racking Home Cider

    8. Enjoy! If you want a lightly carbonated cider, put the completely sealed jug back in the closet for a week before moving to the refrigerator. The yeast will consume the small amount of sugar still remaining and carbonate the cider. Keep the cider in fridge and consume within a week or two using your Cider Mug! Easy!

    Enjoying Home Made Cider

    Part 2: Apartment Therapy Edition

    You Say It's Your Birthday ... June 03 2019

    I recently did a very special batch of tasting journals for the 33rd birthday party of my awesome Instagram friend, Dr. Dance. She put together an amazing birthday party themed around tasting, and gave guests books to use during the event.

    "Read the Back of the Book." April 22 2019

    Good advice for all books, but on this Earth Day, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to walk you through the back of my beer journal for a moment. It'll all make sense in time, I promise.

    Back of 33 Beers Beer Journal

    Starting from the top, the blank area. Here, I often write little notes to myself, sometimes recommendations for new tasting experiences from people I meet. This particular book went with me to Baltimore last year, and includes some professional drinkers' recommendations* for breweries and bars to to visit (recommend: Max's Taphouse).

    Moving down, you'll see a handwritten-looking note from me indicating which beer I put in the ink for this batch of books. In this case, it's a hazy IPA from Olympia's Matchless Brewing. Yes, I put beer in the ink (and cider, and coffee, and tea, etc., etc.).

    And last but not least, just before the copyright notice, one last little note from me telling you about the earth-friendly materials and processes used in making my books. Told you we'd get back on track!

    TLDR: 100% recycled paper throughout, made in America, mostly in the Northwest, with soy inks in Portland.

    These choices aren't accidental, nor are they born of patriotism or local pride. Although I am generally guilty of both, I have a desire to make a low-impact product.

    Recycled means trees stay trees longer, and when they are eventually made into paper, they are used thoroughly and responsibly. Making books close to home results in a lower carbon footprint. And soy inks because the last thing we need is another oil well.

    So on this April 22, here's me wishing you a very Happy Earth Day from sunny Portland, Oregon. Thanks for reading.


    * Related, similarly good advice, "Ask a bartender/barista/server where she likes to drink." But I digress.

    A Graphic Designer Walks Into a Hop Field April 16 2019

    What does a graphic designer know about making varietal hop concentrate? After all, I'm no chemist, brewer,* farmer** or any kind of food scientist.

    What I am is really, really stubborn, and really, really passionate about hops! And apparently, that's what it takes! Through trial and error,*** I've figured something out. 

    I am beyond excited that people I respect think so, too! Jamie Bogner of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine made Bert's Beer Baster™ one of his Editors' picks in the February/March 2019 issue of this delightful magazine. Full review below in case you can't read the tiny print in this tiny staged photo.

    Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine Reviews Bert's Beer Baster™

    "When Dave Selden of 33 Books hit us up with the pitch, we were skeptical—what’s the point of hops concentrate like this? He shot back with a few use cases—understanding what each individual hops variety tastes like by adding to a “neutral” beer, the “Midwest wedding” case where you’re stuck drinking beer you don’t want to drink and can add some interesting flavor to it, and (of course) the homebrewer case—adding hops flavor without all the vegetal matter that absorbs and robs you of precious homebrew or clogs your siphon. Curious, we tried the concentrates ourselves (for science, of course) and found that in practice, they’re every bit as useful as he advertises for beer drinkers looking to understand unique hops flavors or homebrewers looking to use similar advanced hops products for their beers that the pros use. The concentrates are intense, but the “bang for the buck” factor is high, and in practice they’re perfect for everyone from beer enthusiasts looking to articulate the flavor of individual hops to homebrewers who want to add that hops character without all the muss and fuss."

    —Jamie Bogner
    Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine

    You really get me, Jamie. Thank you for the kind words.

    Stan Hieronymus, who literally wrote the book on hops, had this to say in his Hop Queries newsletter:

    "I’m a sucker for Centennial and the concentrate smells like splitting open a cone. They are not intended to be used as perfume, but it almost seems like they could be ..."

    —Stan Hieronymus
    Hop Queries

    If you'd like to give Bert's a shot yourself, there's a four-pack sampler available for $38, or you can try individual varieties for $10 each. I just added a new one, Saaz, which is in super short supply but super, super awesome. I hope you dig it.


    * I am a homebrewer.
    ** I do care for 30-something cider apple trees. So, more of an orchardist, really. 
    *** Soooo many errors. My first batches were charitably described by some as "extremely bitter hop-flavored milk." Yuck.
    ****Yes, he writes a newsletter about hops. Yes, you should subscribe.

    The Water of Life April 13 2019

    Today, we are in the midst of a whisky boom, and new distilleries are being opened all over Scotland. They're hard to find stateside, as most remain small and are still in a growth mode, but they're there, and if you're even half the geek I am, you're probably looking to try them, too ...

    Three Irish Whiskeys that Aren't Jameson March 14 2019

    Nothing against Jameson - it's great - but Ireland makes other whiskeys, too, and in the interests of exploration and fairness, you owe it to yourself - and the Irish people - to try a few others. Here's what I've got on my Irish Whiskey shelf at the moment.

    Three Irish Whiskeys that Aren't Jameson
    Redbreast 12 Cask Strength

    Redbreast 12-Year, Cask Strength
    Okay, so Redbreast isn't actually Jameson, but it is made in the same facility (Irish Distillers in County Cork). The two differ in ways that are illustrative of some key concepts in Irish Whiskey.

    • Distillation process: Redbreast is a single pot still Irish whiskey, while Jameson is a blend of of both pot-distilled malt whiskey and column-distilled grain whiskey. Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is a legal designation in Ireland which requires the whiskey in question be made of at least 30% malted barley and 30% un-malted barley and made in a traditional pot still, while some of the whiskey blend in  Jameson is made in newer, more efficient column stills.
    • Mash Bill: Redbreast is 100% made from barley, although the mix of malted vs. un-malted is unknown. Single malt Scotch whisky is made of 100% malted barley, but the Irish for a variety of reasons use a portion of un-malted whiskey in their recipes, which gives these spirits a full, creamy mouthfeel. Jameson uses other grains (corn, wheat, etc) as part of their recipe, in addition to the use of both malted and un-malted barley. This mix of grain and malt is what defines Jameson as a blended Irish whiskey.
    • Age: Redbreast makes a variety of expressions, but the one I have is the 12-year old. They make a 15- and a 21-year-old, both of which are highly rated. Jameson's Original doesn't have an age listed on its label, but it's generally thought to be a blend of whiskeys that spent at least 4 years in a barrel.
    • Alcohol: Standard Redbreast 12 is 40% alcohol by volume (abv); the bottle on my shelf is 57.7% abv, considerably stronger and undiluted, aka "cask strength." Before bottling, many mainstream whiskeys (Jameson, for example) are diluted with water to a standard alcoholic content of 40% abv. Whiskey nerds such as myself prefer to dilute whiskey to taste with a few drops of water just before serving.

    I've had this particular bottle open for awhile ... probably because it's not my favorite. It's rich and sweet and full of interesting flavors of golden grapes and raisins and toffee, but the alcoholic flavor is overwhelming, even when diluted with water. I prefer the standard Redbreast 12 year for this reason. It just feels a little bit more rounded and harmonious.

    Teeling Small Batch

    Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey

    This whiskey is a product of the first distillery to open in Dublin in more than 50 years, opened in 2015 by the namesake Teeling family, whose ancestor opened the first incarnation way back in 1782. The original closed sometime in the early 20th century. The Teeling family have a more recent history with Irish whiskey, having opened the Cooley distillery (makers of Tyrconnell, see below) in 1989. They sold that brand in 2011 to Beam (now Beam Suntory), but were allowed to keep 16,000 casks of whiskey from the Cooley warehouse. It's not known how much of that is in today's Teeling Whiskey, but it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to guess at least some of that Cooley whiskey is being incorporated into today's Teeling - not too many new distilleries are able to supply the global market within 4 years of opening their doors!

    Teeling's flagship whiskey, the Small Batch, has a unique flavor derived from spending the last six months before bottling in Central American rum casks. It's got some unique banana flavors that nicely complement the traditional vanilla/sweet notes from the former bourbon casks it spent the first few years of its life in.

    It's also a blended whiskey, composed of approximately three parts grain whiskey to one part malt whiskey. For me, it's a really unique and very drinkable blended whiskey, perfect for sipping, even in warm weather.

    Tyrconnell Single Malt

    Tyrconnell Single Malt

    According to the Tyrconnell web site, “Before Prohibition, The Tyrconnell was claimed to be the best selling Irish whiskey.” Kind of a weird way of making a non-claim claim but this is a personal favorite whiskey of mine. It's unique in the Irish whiskey world for being distilled only twice (vs. the traditional triple-distillation process). Theoretically, this leaves more flavor in the spirit, which certainly holds true in this whiskey. It's aged in ex-bourbon barrels, and bottled at a somewhat diluted 43% abv, but punches way above its weight class in terms of flavor. Really cool and interesting tropical fruit flavors from dried mango to ripe cantaloupe. As a single malt, it's also made from 100% malted whiskey (vs. Redbreast's mix of malted and un-malted, and Teeling's combination of malt and grain), more like the Scotch whiskies I drink most often. Definitely worth picking up a bottle of this one.

    Whiskey Journal
    Getting into Whiskey?

    The best way to improve your palate is by taking notes. My pocket whiskey journal has helped tens of thousands of people get more out of their whiskey tasting experiences. Give it a try!

    Happy New Year! A look ahead ... January 07 2019

    Happy New Year!

    After a week or so of decompressing from all those trips to the post office, it's fun to get the creative part of my brain working again and start thinking about some new projects!. Here's the current list of what I'm hoping to launch in 2019:

    • 33 Tequilas: March-ish
    • Super secret tasting map project: May-ish
    • 33 Gins: July-ish
    • Oyster Tasting Set (Fall sometime)
    • Something 10th Anniversary related ... (November-ish)

    I might squeeze one or two more things in along the way, too ... and if that release schedule seems a little lighter than in previous years, you're not wrong! But I'm not slacking, I promise! I'm working on something a little bigger than I normally do ...

    33 Books HQ

    My family moved just outside of Portland in 2016, to a little area along the Historic Columbia River Highway called Springdale. The property came with a small apple orchard, which I've been bringing back to health, and added a few new trees in 2017 (16 or so!). You've probably seen more than a few photos of that process in my Instagram feed over the last 18 months or so! But ... it also has enough space for a small studio for me!

    Assuming all the legal dominos fall the right way, this is something I've always dreamed of: a new studio building, purpose-built to house 33 Books Co.! Aboce is a little rendering this amateur 'architect' put together. Financing is secured, now we're just putting together our land use application for the county we live in. Fingers crossed!

    The 3:33 Sales November 20 2018

    I am running one awesome sale for each of the 33 days of holiday shopping this year, starting Friday, November 23, 2018 (aka Black Friday). Each sale lasts just 33 min...

    The 33 Books Co. Holiday Roadshow! November 05 2018

    Well, the pumpkins are slowly rotting, which can only mean one thing ... it's time for holiday gift shows! I'll be selling my tools for considered consumption at a few events in and around Portland (and one special appearance in Seattle). I'd love to see you there.

    33 Books Road Show

    Gobble Up
    Saturday, November 17, 10-6 PM
    Bell Harbor Conference Center
    2211 Alaskan Way, Pier 66, Seattle, WA

    This specialty food event is open to the general public, as well as to restaurants, chefs, and other professionals in the industry. And, how can you beat free admission (with advance tickets)? I'll be there with my tasting notebooks and super-giftable tasting sets along with lots of other food makers, including one of my favorite hot sauce companies, Hot Winter.

    33 Books Co. at Baerlic's Woodworker Market

    WoodWorker Holiday Market
    Saturday, December 1, 11-6 PM
    2235 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR

    This is my third appearance at Baerlic Brewing's WoodWorker Holiday Market and it won't be the last. A mellow event that's well-curated, and ... there's beer! The event is a celebration of all things wood, from furniture to housewares; syrups to aged cheeses; jewelry to pizza; coffee to beer. I'll have a variety of my beer- and wood-inspired goods on hand.

    Portland Made Creator Market
    Thursday, December 6, 12-4 PM
    WeWork @ Pioneer Place Mall
    700 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR

    Don't buy gifts at the mall, unless you're shopping at Portland Made's pop-up market, hosted in WeWork's Pioneer Place Mall location in downtown Portland. More than 12 Portland makers will be there (including yours truly) with a wide range of goods and gifts. Come down for lunch and get some shopping done!

    Crafty Wonderland
    Friday, December 7, 5 - 9 PM (ticketed)
    Saturday, Dec 8 + Sunday, Dec 9 from 11 AM - 6 PM (Free, no ticket required)

    Oregon Convention Center, Hall D
    777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR

    This is the big one! Imagine a 60,000 sq. ft. hall at the Oregon Convention Center. Now imagine more than 250 of the best and brightest handmade vendors from the Northwest. Now imagine a company that makes unique tools for tasting beer, wine and lots of other good things, back there in aisle 9, booth number 183. Looks pretty cool, right? You have a great imagination. 

    You should do a book for ... August 15 2018

    It's an occupational hazard. Like an off-duty doctor being constantly asked to examine oddly-colored skin lesions, there is a point at every social event I attend where people start to play a game I call "33 Somethings."

    After meeting someone new and quickly explaining what I do - no easy task in itself - you can see the ideas beginning to form. 

    "Do you have a <person's favorite beverage> one?"

    Increasingly, I do have that book, as my tiny publishing empire continues to expand.

    "R(h)um?" Mais oui!

    "Mezcal?" ¡Si, señorita!

    "Mustard?" Uh, no. Are you serious?

    "Caesar Salads?" Wow, you must really like caesar salads.

    "What about ... you know ... 33 Chicks?" I'm sorry, I think I need to plug the meter ... Nice? to meet you?

    In all seriousness, I think I'm really fortunate to have such a flexible platform from which to publish and love the smiles these conversations inevitably create.

    For now, my focus remains on fine food and drinks, but who knows where this crazy boat is going? As Mr. Willy Wonka put it, "... the rowers keep on rowing, and they’re certainly not showing, any signs that they are slowing…"

    Getting Better All the Time ... January 28 2018

    When people ask me if I'm an expert in all the food/drink items I have books for, I often joke that "I'm more of a blue belt. I know more than your average person about all of them, but that's also enough to know I don't know everything."

    Thankfully, I know people that do know everything, and that's an awesome opportunity for me to learn and improve, two things that are very important to a one-man operation. Sometimes that growth even leads to refinements of my books.

    As an example, shortly after launching my 33 Meads book, I got some further feedback on its flavor wheel. Katie Heyn, formerly of the much-missed Mead Market here in Portland, had a few ideas for me after judging the 2016 Mazer Cup, which is basically the Oscars for mead.

    33 Meads Edition 1 and 2 Comparison

    She felt the flavor wheel was missing something to cover more full-bodied meads like buckwheat or fall honey meads, which tend to have a fuller, nuttier flavor. 

    In my own sampling, I realized I wasn't encountering tropical fruit flavors in mead as often I thought. And with more aged meads, pyments (grape mead) and melomels (fruit mead) available, the "fruity" section of the wheel was missing some low notes, the darker fruit flavors reminiscent of plums, red cherries and figs.

    And because I'm the decider, I made a new edition, which you can see for yourself, above. It's available today! The new version is on the left, and the first edition on the right.

    I make these kinds of subtle improvements to books from time to time, which you may have noticed ... or not! I'm working on some small changes to my coffee, chocolate and tea books that will come out soonish. Best to follow @33BooksCo on Instagram and Facebook and see when new editions debut.

    Holiday Shipping Season December 14 2017

    Ho, ho, ho! The elves and I are up to our knees in envelopes but thought we'd surface for a moment to provide some holiday shipping info for this, the season where postal trucks multiply like rabbits! 

    As usual, almost all orders are shipped within 1-3 business days, usually on the quicker end of that spectrum, sometimes even the same day! Everything is mailed (by hand, with love, Monday through Friday) from my studio in Northeast Portland, Oregon.

    2017 Holiday Shipping

    USA orders should be placed by December 18th for Christmas delivery if you choose the standard shipping option. You can order as late as to the 19th if you choose Priority Mail. As always, I will make every effort to get your package shipped as quickly as possible. If you have a holiday emergency, send an e-mail to  and I'll see if there's anything I can do!

    International orders probably should have been placed by November 28th, especially if you are shipping to Central/South America, Germany Africa or Asia. I can't guarantee the arrival of international orders as the process is mostly outside my control, but this is the season for miracles, and I will do everything I can to get your order shipped out quickly!

    Homebrew Like It's Your Job June 21 2017

    I've been a homebrewer since 2005 or so. I began, as most people do, with a lesson from another homebrewer, the HR manager where I worked. We brewed a beer on the loading dock, and three weeks later, I was officially hooked. "Brewing beer is easy!"

    Brewing riverside on the Metolius River near Bend, Oregon

    From there, I advanced bit-by-bit, gathering knowledge and recipes from books and the corners of the internet. I brewed like I cooked, starting with an idea, finding a recipe, and then ignoring most of its details as I created something which was usually - but not always - pretty drinkable.

    At right, an old photo of my friend Thom and I brewing riverside on the Metolius River near Bend, Oregon. We drew our brew water from the mouth of the river about 100 yards from its source. I'm the one in the Red Sox hat.

    While I had fun, there were two problems with this approach:

    1. I was never able to brew the same beer twice. The reason? I didn't take good notes, and those I did were often scribbled in the margins of loose sheets of paper. I made frequent ingredient substitutions, usually failing to write them down! If I took notes during the brew day, I'd often fail to record subsequent milestones, such as the final gravity, or how long it fermented, when I racked it, etc. 
    2. Brew days took forever, particularly as I moved into all-grain brewing. With good intentions, I'd assure my friends and family that "it should only take a few hours," and the projected finish line would move farther and farther away. Usually, I'd end up alone, in the dark, washing something, long after my helpers had lost interest. I missed a lot of dinners.
    33 Brews: A Homebrewing Log

    When I got the idea for my new homebrew book, I knew I could fix the first issue with good graphic design, which is where my professional strengths lie.

    The second issue was solved when I asked my friends at Gigantic Brewing in Portland if I could observe a professional brew day. In all my years of beer, I'd never watched a pro brewer at work, start to finish, despite having toured breweries in at least 20 states.

    The difference between home brewers and pro brewers? Pro brewers leave at the end of the day, and they pretty much know they'll be home for supper. They plan their brew day before they fire the kettle, usually to the minute. I took that idea, and modified it slightly for homebrewing. It's a segment of the page I call "Brew Milestones," and it just might save your marriage/friendships.

    The idea is that you put your time milestones in before you start. If you know you're going to fire the kettle at 1:15, write that in the first box. From there, your recipe should tell you how long to mash, sparge and boil. This way, you can work towards a plan, and you'll know what's coming next.

    Here's an example brew.

    Brew Milestones in 33 Brews: A Homebrewing Log

    Like my other books, this journal contains space for 33 brews, which should last you a good long time. Unlike my other books, it's a bit larger at 5 x7 inches. Still compact enough to put it in your pocket, and it'll keep all your recipes together in one convenient place. Happy brewing!

    Fun fact: this business started as a direct result of homebrewing. In 2006 or so, I was working in marketing at a technology company, and got curious about a blog software platform called Wordpress. To kick the tires, I set up a fake blog for my homebrewing collective, affectionately known as BS Brewing. I started writing about our beer and brewing adventures. With its memory-erasing side effects, beer can be difficult to remember the next day, so I made a little tool to help me take quick tasting notes, a project which became 33 Beers, my first tasting notebook.


    My Books, Your Logo March 30 2017

    I get asked about co-branded “33” books almost every day, which I take as a huge compliment. I'm delighted when people want to align their brand with my pocket tasting notebooks! Historically, doing so has required high minimums and cost.

    I was delighted to discover a new solution recently — an awesome, American-made machine sold by Ernest Schaefer Inc. that lets me add custom, foil-stamped imprints to my in-stock tasting notebooks! 

    Imprinted 33 Books

    This machine allows me to create logo'd books with quick turnarounds (about a week from order to shipment), very low minimums (24 books!) and you can mix-and-match titles in your order to hit my normal price breaks.

    Logo imprinted books make great retail items in tasting rooms, or use them at special tastings or events (wedding favors?). 

    To order, simply complete my inquiry form and let me know the number and flavor of books you'd like to imprint. I'll eventually need your high-resolution, one-color logo or artwork. I prefer Adobe Illustrator (.ai) if you have it. We'll collaborate from there! 

    A 7.09 Year Reunion February 07 2017

    It was super fun to run into Chris at last weekend's Artisinful Chocolate and Beer Festival at Culmination Brewing. As he walked past, he waved his book at me as he passed by my table.*

    Seeing the faded ink from across the room (I am a designer with very sensitive eyes, you know), I said, "Wow, that looks like an old one!"

    To which Chris replied, "I've had it a long time.**" When he got closer, I asked to examine the book, and when he flipped it, I saw a familiar logo, marking his book as either a first or second edition. Those printings were the only ones which used the BS Brewing*** logo. After that, everything said "33 Books," as that little book slowly became a little business.

    Fun memory - and great to meet a longtime fan! Thanks for sharing, Chris!

    A photo posted by 33 Books Co. (@33booksco) on


    * Actually, my electric delivery trike.

    ** If you're wondering why he hasn't filled it up yet, Chris told me he reserves it for "very special" beers only. He brought it to the fest in case he encountered something really magical, but has set the bar so high he doesn't always record a beer at every fest! 

    *** I started 33 Books Co. in November of 2009, as a side-gig to my side-gig: blogging part-time at I was still gainfully employed as Creative Director at a small interactive (websites, apps, etc) ad agency in Portland. Little did I know what kind of an adventure that little book would lead me on!

    Holiday Shipping Deadlines (and Buttons!) November 28 2016

    "I Have Great Taste" buttons

    I've been busy all year stocking stuff to stuff your stockings. Wait, that doesn't sound right ... What I mean to say is that I'm all geared up and ready to help you fulfill your holiday gift-giving dreams with a stockroom full of great gifts for those with great taste.

    From now until I run out, I'll be including a 1-inch round "I have Great Taste" button with every order, my little gift to you.

    Speaking of gifts ...

    When Should I Order to Receive Stuff for Christmas Morning?

    United States

    • Standard Shipping: order by Noon on Friday, December 16th
    • Priority Shipping: order by Noon on Tuesday, December 20th

    I'm in Portland, Oregon, so all times are Pacific Standard. Allow an extra two business days for APO/FPO addresses, and US Territories (I'm looking at you, Guam!)

    Everywhere Else

    I can't guarantee anything once it leaves Portland. Customs processing in the US or in your country can be totally hit-or-miss. Generally, things take 7-10 business days to arrive once they ship, but again, no guarantees. I do promise to ship your items within 1 business day of your order to improve your chances of gift-giving greatness!

    • Standard Shipping: order by Noon on Friday, December 9th



    A Vending Machine for Those with Great Taste November 14 2016

    When I was looking to move 33 Books Co. out of my garage this spring, I looked at a lot of prospective spaces. I knew I wanted something larger than my garage, with ground-floor access, and ... somewhere that I could sell my books directly to consumers: brick-and-mortar. A store. The final frontier.

    I had big ideas. Classes! New products! Booze! A cash register! 

    And then I remembered an important detail: I don't particularly want to work retail! Set hours, schedules, the public ... no offense, but I like peace and quiet, time to design and print and make, where I can play loud music and listen to podcasts while I work.

    Thankfully, I had this realization before signing that lease, and am now located inside a working cidery (Cider Riot!) where I am happily shipping books and maps and coins all over the world, alone and happy.

    But, as fate would have it, my friends at said cidery opened a public taproom this summer, which re-opened the possibility of selling directly to you, gentle reader. 

    Rather than open a "book window" or standing awkwardly in the corner with a cash box and a box of books, I decided to use the power of techmology, in the form of a circa-1998 vending machine (a restored AP-111, if you're curious).

    I am pleased to introduce to you the 33 Books Co. Automated Bookshop and Larder.

    A post shared by 33 Books Co. (@33booksco) on


    It's stocked with 20 books of my own design, Drinking Coins on demand, and a small selection of my favorite goods from Olympia Provisions, Woodblock Chocolate, Daneson, Smith Tea and Portland Bee Balm should you require logbooks or sustenance while enjoying some of Portland's finest English-style dry cider.

    It's open - like the taproom - Wednesday through Sunday. For current hours, check out the Cider Riot! web site.

    Come see it (don't forget the folding money*):

    33 Books Co. Automated Bookshop and Larder
    (inside Cider Riot!)
    807 NE Couch St.
    Portland, OR 97232

    * The machine takes $1 and $5 bills, plus coins.

    It's a Small World, After All September 28 2016

    I just returned from the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show in Toronto. Beyond being a great excuse to visit a new city, it was a reminder how simultaneously small and large our world really is.

    Next to my booth: a Canadian born in Mexico City who imports coffee from Africa and the Americas. Later, a friend from Africa stopped by to chat about the coming U.S. election.

    And me, a boy from Iowa — in Canada for the second time ever — drinking it all in, literally and figuratively.

    It was the perfect place to debut my new coffee tasting map.

    World Coffee Map

    With it, and the help of your local roaster, you can take a journey of your own around the world of coffee, trying (and logging) samples from the 40 countries growing the world’s best Arabica beans. 

    It's the product of a lot of design experimentation, and an awful lot of research. I hope you enjoy your own journey. I know I did.

    It's a Tough Job, But Somebody Has to Do It! September 19 2016

    I just got back this morning from a quick (23 hours!) trip down to San Francisco, one of my favorite cities on the planet. It's got a killer food and drink culture, and I always try to visit a few new places (recommended: Cellar Maker Brewing) and stay in touch with some of my favorites (Zeitgeist: much more fun with a group). 

    I was there judging the Confections category for the Good Food Awards. I have judged before, but this was a new one for me (and pretty delicious, too).

    A photo posted by 33 Books Co. (@33booksco) on


    With beer, wine, cider, and probably every other beverage, there are general style guidelines (e.g. "IPA" or "Chardonnay") you can reference when evaluating a particular sample. The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP, for short) publishes very well-defined guidelines for hundreds of beer styles (Foreign Export Stout, India Pale Ale, Barleywine, etc.). When judging beer, you can compare the sample beer to this ideal, and note any deviations, which usually count as penalties. This removes most of the subjectivity from judging.

    But it also reduces the impact of how pleasurable a particular product is (in the BJCP judging system, only 10 of 50 possible points are reserved for "overall impression"). 

    I found it refreshing, then, when I got to the Good Food Awards tasting, and was told only to evaluate each confection on its sensory merits. How did it look? How did it taste? Did it meet your expectations for flavor as it was described?

    I had a great time focusing on the flavors I was experiencing, and not worrying too much about what it was "supposed" to taste/look like. There were some surprises in there - who knew I could actually enjoy a marshmallow - and a whole lot of sugar, too.

    Not a bad day at the office.

    "Are There Really 33 Kinds of Oyster?" May 28 2015

    33 Oysters on the Half ShellWhen Julie Qiu of the In a Half Shell oyster blog approached me about collaborating on an oyster journal, I wasn't sure. I like oysters quite a bit personally, but are there really enough out there for a whole book? "Definitely," was her answer, and after spending time working with her on this new member of the "33" family, and sampling several dozen oysters, I'm delighted to say I agree with her!

    America is home to five distinct species of oysters, and every bay or inlet where they are grown provides another layer of differentiation. Oyster aficionados call this sense of place "merroir," after the French word "terroir," and we can borrow one more wine word while we're at it: appellation, or "place name." There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of US oyster appellations, and 33 Oysters is a way to track your journey as you sample them.

    Terroir is a term most commonly applied to wine grapes, and it refers to the unique properties of a wine's home that can show in a wine's flavor and aroma. Soil quality, rainfall, altitude, sunlight and many other geography-related factors can decide why a Chardonnay grown in Champagne tastes this way, and this California version - same grape, remember - tastes completely different.

    In the same way, merroir can help explain the differences in flavor between different oysters. A C. gigas (aka "Pacific oyster") grown in Netarts Bay, Oregon tastes completely different from the C. gigas grown farther north in Washington.

    Which is all a very long way of saying, "There are a LOT of oysters out there."

    Bon voyage!

    Recommended reading: A Geography of Oysters, by Rowan Jacobsen

    A (Not-so-Brief) History of 33 Books Co., Part 1 November 05 2014

    The story of 33 Books Co. could begin a few places. In 2001, when I moved to Portland, Oregon, and first experienced its amazingly vibrant beer culture. That was also my first visit to the legendary Horse Brass. I opened the beer menu and thought to myself, "40 beers?! There's no way I could ever drink that many!" I had a lot to learn about my new home.

    Behind the United States of Beer Map October 07 2013

    When I first designed 33 Bottles of Beer, my goal was to create something small and portable that made taking notes on beers I tried fast and easy.

    Four years later, I think I've succeeded, with nearly 100,000 copies printed, a fact I still find incredibly hard to believe. I agonized on printing that initial run, wondering if I'd be giving them away for gifts for decades to come, or using them to steady tipsy tables.

    I've filled a good number of the books myself, most while attempting my "beer a day" project back in 2010. And while writing things down has helped me a great deal in remembering details about the beers I've enjoyed (or not), it's always felt a little solipsistic.

    So I created this map.

    Dave Holding Beer Map

    Detail of Surly Over-rated! West Coast IPA from Minnesota

    With it, you can try a beer from each state in the US, logging it as you would with the standard 33 Beers book. There's a flavor wheel, and space for recording the beer's name, brewer, date you tried it, and your own rating, from 1 to 5 stars. Here's a great beer from Minnesota, Surly Brewing's Overrated! West Coast IPA.

    The poster lets you take your reviews out of your pocket 33 Beers book, and put them on display for all to see. It makes a great visual for your cube, office, home bar, man cave, lady lair, dorm room ... I can't wait to see where they end up.

    Post your poster photos on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #unitedstatesofbeer and let's see who fills one out first, starting ... NOW.

    Featured Partner: A Kitchen Box August 22 2013

    One of the best things about my day is finding out all the cool ways "33" books are used. The stories of personal enlightenment, great travel experiences, discoveries make this a really fulfilling job. 

    I also get to work with a lot of really interesting partner businesses, one of which is called "A Kitchen Box." You may already be familiar with the box model, but if not, there are a growing number of interesting mail subscription services that provide you a package full of unique and engaging goods on a monthly or quarterly basis (check out the "Must Have Boxes" blog for a nice list/review). Usually there is some theme - in this case, culinary items - but the contents are a surprise until you actually receive the box. It's kind of like a mini-Christmas every month. Here's what it looked like when I opened mine a few weeks ago.

    Score! Freddy Guys Hazelnuts are a favorite stop of mine at the Portland Farmers Market, and while they're available in grocery stores here in Oregon, I think it's awesome the rest of the world gets to try them now. They are awesome (pro tip: get the pancake mix should you be lucky enough to visit their farmer's market stall).

    33 Pieces of Cheese was featured in AKB's inaugural box, along with a lot of other really fun cheese-themed items, including a neato bamboo cheese spreader, flour sack towel, original letterpressed "fig and onion jam" recipe, porcelain cheese place cards, cheese storage papers ... I'm trying not to ruin the surprise, but there's a lot of fun stuff in there.

    Check out A Kitchen Box!

    I Fear No Cheese June 24 2013

    The American Cheese Society's annual convention has been described to me as "the GABF of cheese." The mind - and my cholesterol count - boggles.