This morning, Mayor Sam Adams, Cable and Franchise Management Director David Olson, Hopworks brewer Christian Ettinger and members of the beer, and tech communities met at the Portland International Airport to send a very special package to Lafayette, LA.
Lafayette, which built the first municipal Fiber to the Home network in the US, is hosting FiberFête, a conference celebrating and discussing high-bandwidth, municipal networks. Portland will have an extra special presence at FiberFête, because along with representatives from the City of Portland, there will be about 15 gallons of Hopworks Brewing’s Gigabit IPA. The beer, a gift from Portland to Lafayette, is slated to be tapped on Tuesday evening and shared with FiberFête attendees, including members of Google’s Fiber for Communities team.
Sending the beer to Lafayette was no small feat. Given the tight timeframe, the kegs needed to be escorted on a commercial flight as checked luggage. Volunteers were able to organize and fund a seat on United Airlines, and David Olson signed up to fly with the beer.
The arrival of two kegs at the ticket counter aroused some curiosity, even among normally unflappable baggage handlers.
Like any luggage, the kegs had proper baggage tags placed on them. Once they were weighed and checked in, they had to go through the X-Ray machines, at which point a small problem arose.
Without going into too much detail, it turns out that the TSA can’t allow kegs to fly as checked baggage. Their X-Ray equipment cannot determine that fresh, tasty beer is the only thing inside the keg, and if they can’t confirm that, they won’t let them on the plane. Fortunately, Christian from Hopworks had some smaller, plastic kegs that could clear TSA screening. The two metal kegs were rushed back to the brewery for transfer and made it back just in time for the flight.
Much like Portland’s bid for fiber, the keg shipping was a serious team effort. From City staff, the brewers and members of the tech community, to helpful United Airlines, Made in Oregon and Powell’s Books employees, many hands made light work, and Gigabit IPA was finally airborne to Louisiana.