Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The New School New Years Eve 5th Anniversary Party


The Portland based beer and cider webmag The New School is celebrating their 5th anniversary this New Years Eve with a party at Bazi Bierbrasserie.  There bevrage list will include 10 rare beers and ciders, raffle prizes and food from acclaimed beer Chef Paul Kasten (formerly of Wildwood). This years party will be a charity benefit for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Tickets can be purchased in advance through Paypal for only $5 and includes a buffet style dish from Chef Paul Kasten:
Pork Collar braised in wort and sliced into portions, served over roasted winter veggies simmered in the pork braising liquid, and fried sage.

Raffle Tickets will be on sale for $2 with multiple chances to win everything from Double Mountain Kriek t-shirts, Allagash Brewing Hat, Portland Beer Week shirts and even the new book "Oregon Breweries" by Brian Yaeger, bottles of Barley Browns Chaos (limited to 666 bottles), the 2015 Oregon Beer Calendar, a coupon for one of the first Growler Works uKeg's and even a New Belgium Cruiser bicycle.

Beer and Cider List (so far):

Block 15 - Cuvee Rouge 2013
Flanders inspired red ale matured in oak brandy barrels. Open fermented with our special blend of brewer’s yeast, two brettanomyces, and acid producing bacteria. A blend of five barrels matured 15 & 25 months in our wild cellar. Wonderfully complex malt body, aroma, and flavor with a balanced sour finish.

Burnside Brewing - Carribean Chutney
A special alternate version of Burnside's medal winning Sweet Heat. This one with Carribean spices, Lime, Cilantro and Yellow and Red Peppers in addition to Sweet Heat's Apricots and Scotch Bonnet chili's.

The Commons - Dark Czar
An Imperial Stout and Baltic Porter blend with Stumptown Guatemala Finca el Injerto coffee and vanilla beans.

Lompoc - Mon Cheri
This Belgian style golden ale was brewed with the Ardennes yeast strain giving off a mild fruitiness and finishing with a coriander spiciness. 5.5% ABV

Ninkasi Brewing/Devil's Backbone - The Devil Went Down To Oregon
Imperial Dark Rye collaboration beer with Virginia's acclaimed Devil's Backbone Brewery. 7.2% ABV.

Reverend Nat's - Applie Pie
Apple pie is a blend of mixed fermentation cider with Mexican piloncillo and bourbon barrel-aged apple wine spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Heavy fruit notes from the cider and subtle spice from the apple wine combine to create a unique wintery, pie-like drinking experience. 8.0% ABV

Oakshire Brewing - Hellshire IV
The breweries fourth entry into the Hellshire series is a blend of 3 different beers matured in bourbon and brandy barrels. Oakshire's Very Ill Tempered Gnome was the base beer and after aging and blending the final product is akin to an Old Ale or Barleywine. 10.3% ABV

Upright Brewing - Spollen Angel
A Belgian-style tripel – a fitting style to pay tribute to one of our favorite brewers, Chris Spollen. The crew here met him during his days at Amnesia up the street from us, but he’s played a big part in making Oregon beer great for much longer. More important than his contributions to the brewing community is Chris’ special personality that makes him a true blast to crush a couple beers with. The Spollen Angel is one we think he’d enjoy sharing – with a big spicy nose and well integrated layers of malt, hops, and yeast notes. 9.4%

Barley Browns: TBA

Hopworks: TBA

This should be a great event and opportunity to support a good cause with a chance to try some rare and exclusive beers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lompoc's Old Tavern Rat Vertical Tasting

Lompoc Brewing is holding a five-year vertical tasting of its popular Old Tavern Rat Barley Wine Ale. The event will take place on Tuesday, December 23 from 4pm to Midnight at Sidebar, 3901 N Williams Ave.

The years featured include 1998, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013. A flight of 4-oz pours of all five vintages costs $25.

Old Tavern Rat was named in honor of the famed Portland publican Don Younger, the business partner and close friend of Lompoc owner Jerry Fechter. Though the flavors vary with each batch, the beer is generally a very intense (like Don) strong ale with a malty body and plenty of caramel, dried fruit and roast flavors. The beer’s label is a painting of Younger done by the talented John Foyston, local beer writer and painter.

A Portland staple since 1996, Lompoc Brewing creates seven flavorful year-round beers, plus a ridiculous number of seasonals. You can find Lompoc in 22 oz bottles and on draft at locations around town, and at its five neighborhood pubs: Fifth Quadrant and Sidebar in North Portland, Hedge House and Oaks Bottom in SE, and the Lompoc Tavern in NW.
For more information, visit www.lompocbrewing.com.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 Holiday Ale Fest Roundup

As I walked into the Holiday Ale Fest this year at Pioneer Square the pleasant aroma of roasted nuts fills the air. I arrived to the fest just after 11 and there was no line at the door.  I walked right in and got my tickets and mug.  This year there was the option to upgrade an actual glass mug for the fest, I opted to just use the standard plastic mug for fear of dropping it on the brick floor.

Growlerwerks had a booth at the HAF and brought the prototype uKeg64 as well as the 3D Printed model of the uKeg128.  Once they reached the stretch goal they had  a scale model printed so they could see how it fits in the refrigerator.  The campaign just ended with $1,559,525 in funding.  Over 20X their original goal of $75,000.  Making the uKeg one of the most successful kickstarters ever to come out of Portland.
There was a huge selection of beers at the festival this year. I decided to try whatever sounded good this year instead of carefully planning out each beer and drawing the most efficient route to get from beer to beer.  This makes for a much more enjoyable drinking experience.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co - Luponic Distortion - Double IPA ABV: 8.5%
A huge citrus bomb with Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Amarillo, Chinook and Simcoe hops all contributing to the aroma and flavor.  A really good beer but it didnt really stand out as something really different just a good solid IPA. B+
McMenamins Edgefield Brewery - Lord of Misrule - Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Mexican Mocha Stout ABV: 7.6%
Really solid stout, sweet cocoa coats the mouth with a thick mouthfeel and you can taste the rum barrels that this was aged in.  A very sweet cloying aroma comes off this dark brown ale. The flavor of coffee and rum are present as well as the milk chocolate. Probably one of the better beers I had all night. A-

No - Li Brewhouse - Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer - Winter Warmer ABV: 7.5% IBU: 72
Copper colored beer with a mild whisky aroma and  malt profile.  The beer is smooth and coats your mouth as its drank. Both a strong oak and whisky flavor come through from the aging almost a detractor to the flavor of the beer though, mild hop character is covered by the whisky.  C+



Old Town Brewing Co. - Bluth's Original Chocolate Banana Hefeweizen - Chocolate Bavarian - Style Hefeweizen ABV: 5.5% IBU: 1I was immediately drawn to this beer because of my love for Arrested Development. Light brown beer with a caramelized sugar aroma.  The more I drank this beer the more I liked it. Not a huge banana flavor or smell but the chocolate is very present.  Roasted and warm bodies semlls like roasted nuts and candied sugar.  Having a lighter mouthfeel and medium body this beer was a real treat to drink. B+


Kells Brew Pub - MIC Stout AKA Boom Roaster - Coffee Imperial Milk Stout  ABV: 7.0% IBU: 55
A dark black beer with a deep brown head MIC Stout delivers an aroma of an iced mocha like you ordered a frappuccino from Starbucks.  The taste was sweet brown sugar and had a strong coffee flavor.  Truly a treat for any coffee lover. B

Rev Nats - Providence - This was a hot cider and not in the booklet.  I had to try it because it is not often that a hot beverage is served at a beer fest, and this seemed like the perfect local to have one. A very satisfying beverage on this cold night with lots of cinnamon and spices .  I'm not usually a huge fan of Ciders but this warm selection from Rev Nats was pretty good. B-

Cascade Brewing - Gingersnaps - NW Style Sour Strong Ale ABV: 12.1% IBU: 7
A deep bark brown almost black beer wit a huge ginger aroma.  The taste was more ginger and a small addition of a tartness.  Overall I was not really impressed with this beer and I was expecting it to blow me away with the required 3 tickets for a taster. Cascade has an excellent selection of unique and adventerious beers and are pioneers in sour beer making but when the envelope is consistently pushed you are likely to get a beer not everyone likes.  I did however hear a lot of people saying they really loved it which was why I decided to use 3 tickets on it.  Just not for me I guess.  C-

Gigantic Brewing - Red Ryder BB Gun - Cranberry Saison ABV: 6.3% IBU: 22
A light orange beer with a tart and crisp cranberry aroma.  Th beer had a slightly sour musty flavor with a light body and medium mouthfeel.  This beer didn't try to drown you in a cranberry bog but it was enough to give it a distinct flavor and smell. B-

Oakshire Brewing - Prestidigitation - White Chocolate Milk Stout ABV: 7.0% IBU: 23
I described this beer as good and that was pretty much it so that is a good signal that I needed to stop reviewing beers and just finish out the fest.  I did give it a B though for what that is worth.

Another successful year at the Holiday Ale Fest I think I may get the glass next year if that is an option but I was afraid that I may have dropped the brick as the night progressed.  Hopefully it will still be an option next year.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Breakside Brewery - La Tormenta Review

Brewery: Breakside Brewery
Location: Portland, OR
Beer: La Tormenta
Style: Sour/Wild Ale
Serving: Snifter Glass (22 oz.)
ABV: 7%
IBU: 22
Malts: Two Row, German Acidulated and Vienna Malts, Crystal 20L
Hops: Amarillo, Equinox, Simcoe, Citra

Commercial Description: Our final bottled release for the 2014 brew year is an experimental sour ale made with a unique blend of citrusy, tropical and fruity hops. Bracing-yet-balanced sour notes combine beautifully with West Coast hop flavor in this sweet and tart ale. This beer was one of our most popular small batch offerings earlier in the year, and we’re excited to re-release it as a light and beguiling alternative to classic winter beers. Notes of blueberry, guava, grapefruit, and lemongrass are offset by a juicy acidity, medium body, and a moderate sweetness from caramel malt.

La Tormenta will be a regular fall and winter beer but only avaialable for an 8 week run.  Fermented in 100% stainless steel with lactobacillus giving this beer a clean tartness.

A (3/3): Cloudy golden ale with a thick, quickly dissipating head leaves whispy clouds of lacing to coat the glass.

S (10/12): Delicate hop aromatics with a definite similarity to some type of citrus juice that has been dry hopped.  Tangerine, orange, and lemon all come off the top of the glass from the Equinox hops that lend their unique aroma.

T (16/20): Lemonade sourness and a similar sweetness are the first thing that I think of drinking this beer.  The overly simplistic evaluation subsides as the Equinox and Citra hops come through and add a complex resinous flavor of grapefruit and tangerine.

M (4/5): Medium bodied with a short lived bitterness that just stops in to say "hi" as its leaving. Some citrus pith character bites your tounge, as if you're peeling an orange with your teeth.  This beer fills your mouth with flavor like you bit into a juicy piece of fruit.

O (7/10): Great balance a very unique beer with just loads of citrus character.  Possibly more citrus characteristic than any beer I've had before, from the picking it up to drinking it this beer oozes citrus. I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone looking to try something new and likes sour beers or even those who are just testing the waters on sours. A very enjoyable beer would be fantastic in the heat of summer.

Total: (40/50)









Two Bottle Releases from Upright Brewing

Upright brewing is releasing two bottles in the next couple months.  Fatali Four this Friday and is a wine and gin barrel aged beer made with homegrown chile peppers.  Also, Fantasia batch 4 which is a blend of two vintages on January 2nd..  More details below.  Fantasia will for the first time be available in larger quantities which will let people buy 3 bottles and may be available throughout the full weekend.  More details below.

Fantasia bottle release

Fantasia batch 4 is enjoying a great conditioning period and will be released January 2nd. This is the first bottling using a mix of two different vintages - 80% brewed from the 2013 peach harvest and 20% from 2012. The resulting blend brings the beer flavors reminiscent of a cellared version with more complex acidity. More detailed tasting notes to come before the release. 3 bottle limit per person, $20 each.

Because the batch is slightly larger than previous ones and a three bottle per person limit, we feel confident that the beer will not sell out right away and encourage people not to feel pressed in coming the specific release day as it will likely be on tap and available in bottles the entire weekend.


Fatali Four bottle release

Our annual seasonal bottle release of Fatali Four is done conditioning and set for release on Black Friday, November 27th. Brewed as usual with homegrown chile peppers courtesy of Ritch Marvin, this batch is showing more character than ever as the plants enjoyed a long summer like the rest of us. The combination of wine and gin barrel aging gives the aroma and flavor lots of depth, although the beer drinks very light and dry. Previous vintages have held up well for two years +, but like all our releases the beer will be good to go on release day. 6 bottle limit per person, $12 each.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bridgeport's 6th Annual Ebenezer Pub Crawl

It's that time of year again, Bridgeport is hosting their 6th Annual Ebenezer Pub Crawl through Multnomah Village in Southwest Portland. As always, this tradition will undoubtedly spread the holiday cheer. Dust off your Santa hat or bust out your wacky Christmas sweater and come join the crawl! There is no cost to attend the event so come and enjoy the holiday season with Bridgeport on December 4th. Here are the pub crawl details:

BridgePort Brewing Company’s 6th Annual Ebenezer Pub Crawl

Start of the Pub Crawl: 
John's Market
3535 SW Multnomah Blvd
Portland, OR 97219

Date/Time: Thursday, Dec. 4th at 5:00 p.m.
Pub Stops:
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. at John’s Market 
6:00 – 6:30 p.m. at Journey’s 
6:30 – 7:00 p.m. at Renner’s 
7:00 – 7:30 p.m. at O’Connors 
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. at The Ship 

Facebook Specific Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/627954970649298/

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Holiday Ale Festival Beers Announced

It's that time of the year again for the Holiday Ale Festival. A collection of the best holiday themed beers, from belgians to barleywines, porters to winter warmers, and spiced ales to stouts, these beers have either been crafted or blended specifically for the event or are hard-to-fine vintages.

Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square, located at 701 SW Sixth Ave. on the MAX Light Rail line

When: Wednesday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 7
11 am to 10 pm Wed-Sat, and 11 am to 5 pm Sun
To avoid lengthy lines, the recommended days for attendance are Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Why: While eggnog and hot toddies are commonly associated with the holidays, it’s no surprise that in the beer Mecca of the Pacific Northwest, craft ales are the drink of choice: specifically, big, bold ales designed to fend off the cold chill of a long winter night. The 19th annual Holiday Ale Festival gathers together 53 of these winter warmers for a joyous five-day celebration. The beers featured are rich, robust and full of complex flavors.
What they all share in common is their rarity – the festival works with every brewery involved to make sure they are sending a beer that has either been made or blended specifically for the event, or is a rare or vintage beer that isn't commonly tapped in the state – which has solidified the event’s reputation as the premier winter beer tasting venue on the West Coast.

Holiday Ale Fest Mascot Carol
Cost: To enter and consume beer, the purchase of an entry package is required. Advance ticket packages are available up to 11:00 am PST on Dec. 3 at http://holidayale.com/advance-tickets.php; advance general admission tickets cost $35 and include the tasting mug, 14 taster tickets and express entry all five days. Advance VIP tickets cost $80 and include the tasting mug, 30 taster tickets, bottled water, access to VIP lines (including special tappings), VIP only vintage bottles and/or draft, and express entry all five days. (Express re-entry requires a wristband and the 2014 mug, and is subject to the festival's capacity.) Door prices are the same, but do not allow for expedited entry.

A full mug of beer costs four taster tickets, and a taster costs one ticket. Certain limited release and special tappings may not be available in full mug pours, or may cost double tickets. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece.

For more info visit the Holiday Ale Fest on Social media
Twitter: @holidayale
Facebook: @HolidayAleFest
Instagram: @HolidayAleFest

2014 Holiday Ale Festival Beer List

10 Barrel Brewing Co. - Double Black Diamond - Double Black Ale ABV: 9.3% IBU: 30
Description: "Some people work their way up to the black diamond runs on the mountain, some people just go for it! 10 Barrel brewed this double black ale to have just enough roastiness and a hint of black licorice. Dropping! "

13 Virtues Brewing Co. - Barrel - Aged MAX Stout - Imperial Stout ABV: 10.5% IBU: 70
Description: "Patience is a virtue - and the 13 Virtues brewers took that true to heart with this beer. Aged in both Eastside Distillery and Bull Run Distillery Whiskey barrels for three to four months, the complexity of MAX Stout Imperial Stout is greatly enhanced, giving off oak and vanilla notes and textured layers of deep, dark secrets. Succumb to temptation…"

2 Towns Ciderhouse - Bourbon Barrel Nice & Naughty - Cider ABV: 10.5%
Description: "This specialty cider is fermented with dark meadowfoam honey and aged in Bourbon barrels with whole nutmeg, clove and cinnamon sticks. Crammed full of cheerful winter spices that mingle with the wood and sweet Bourbon aromas, this cider is sure to warm up your cold winter nights."

Alameda Brewing Co. - Admiration IPA - American IPA ABV: 6.8% IBU: 65
Description: "Admiration IPA was brewed as a tribute to one of Alameda's favorite winter seasonal ales. A rich malt backbone supports an intense hop character of earthy pine and citrus derived from massive amounts of Centennial, Cascade and Chinook hops. Well balanced, yet intense, this IPA pays homage to one of the best."

Baerlic Brewing Co. - The Great Bear - NW Red Ale ABV: 6.5% IBU: 73
Description: "The Great Bear blends sweet candied malt flavors with spicy, piney and citrus hops. This beer is full bodied with a lasting hop spice that lingers after each drink. This beer is aged on beechwood taken from Baerlic's tasting room buildout and leaves a clean woodiness in this special release for the Holiday Ale Festival."

Base Camp Brewing Co. - Dunkelrauch Weizenbock - Imperial Grätzer ABV: 8.9% IBU: 41
Description: "Fruity deliciousness curls off the Southern Bavarian weiss yeast; Bavarian dark, German chocolate wheat, and a one - off wheat malt smoked in - house on alder and applewood deliver an avalanche of holiday hearth aromas and a velvety, rich body."

Bear Republic Brewing Co. - Do You Want To Build A Snowman? - Golden Barrel Aged Blend ABV: 6.8% IBU: 20
Description: "The guys from Bear Republic were as excited to make this blend as kids building a snowman after winter’s first blizzard. This collaboration blend with the Holiday Ale Festival's Preston Weesner pulls in four different barrels from the cellar, including Cuvee de Bubba, Pinot Noir re - fermented Kolsch, Tequila Barrel Aged El Oso Lager and Demolition Derby. Huge fruity notes of pineapple, strawberries and grapes snuggle up to spicy oak, tropical hop notes and a slight pleasing tartness."

BridgePort Brewing Co. - BridgePort Smoked Lager - Smoked Lager ABV: 5.4% IBU: 14
Description: "BridgePort Smoked Lager features a combination of six different special malts used to create a complex, dark caramel colored, smoky malt backbone and impart a distinct, yet very drinkable smoked flavor to a lager beer. Crystal hops balance out all that maltiness, offering a light, smooth bitterness. This lager is pleasing to drink on its own or paired with the hearty food of the cold weather season in the Northwest."

Burnside Brewing - Jingleberry - Imperial Stout ABV: 8.3% IBU: 53
Description: "This big, rich, imperial stout aged on fresh cranberries features hints of cocoa and toffee. It is a perfect pint for the holidays."

Cascade Brewing - Gingersnaps - NW Style Sour Strong Ale ABV: 12.1% IBU: 7
Description: "This NW style sour ale is a blend of Red, Spiced Red and Spiced Quads aged in Bourbon and rum barrels for up to two years on spices. This flavorful concert starts with alternating aromas of Bourbon and rum with a supporting harmony of spices including ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, and figs. Chocolate and rum hold down the low end while Bourbon and spice hit the high notes on the palate. The finish is a crescendo of raisins, dates, chocolate and ginger with a lingering boozy warmth."

Coalition Brewing - Big Maple - Imperial Maple Porter ABV: 9.0% IBU: 40
Description: "Coalition's popular Loving Cup Maple Porter has been training, beefing up, and getting ready for winter: meet Big Maple, Loving Cup's big brother. A blend of base malts provides the platform for a complex mix of specialty malts. Patagonia caramel 15 malt adds a malty sweetness, while two different chocolate malts provide layers of roast and chocolate notes. Vermont grade A maple syrup is added to the boil, bringing a subtle sweetness and maple aromatics. A whisper of smoke balances this winter treat. Enjoy this one - off beer while you can!"

Deluxe Brewing Co. - Dunkel the Halls - Dunkel Bock ABV: 8.0% IBU: 20
Description: "Deck the halls with a festive Dunkel Bock seasonal. This dark lager is brewed in the German tradition of a Bock, or strong beer, to warm the heart and soul during the chilly winter. Each sip of this Dunkel Bock is an indulgence, so treat yourself to this Deluxe beer and be jolly this holiday!"

Deschutes Brewery - Scarlet Flame IRA - India Red Ale ABV: 6.0% IBU: 71
Description: "Scarlet Flame IRA is a great choice for malt lovers and hop lovers alike. US Tettnanger, Crystal, Willamette, Saaz, Summer and Northern Brewer hops bring aromas of herbal spice and stone fruit, followed by a pleasant woodiness. Carared malt and black barley lend a full malt character, with dark caramel and toffee flavors."

Dick's Brewing Co. - Black Friday Stout - Imperial Stout ABV: 9.0% IBU: 40
Description: "Black Friday “the beer” was brewed to survive Black Friday “the busiest shopping day of the year."" Whether you ignore the whole fanatical event, or are one of the first in line, Dick's Black Friday Imperial Stout will start the holidays off in style. With a large quantity of specialty malts (Caramel, Black Malt, Black Barley, Chocolate, Brown Malt and Munich) this Imperial Stout has a tremendous depth of flavor. Magnum hops are added during the boil to balance the substantial maltiness and Mt. Hood hops provide a nice spicy finish."

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre - Belgian - Style Brown Ale ABV: 8.0% IBU: 25
Description: "A deep mahogany, Belgian - style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian - style yeast."

Drake's Brewing Co. - Jolly Rodger 2014 - Imperial Coffee Stout ABV: 9.0% IBU: 45
Description: "Rich and complex, this beer features luscious chocolaty and subtle roasted malt flavors that blend expertly with a specially made roast of Blue Bottle™ Kenyan Kangunu Coffee to create aromas of caramelized stone fruit and flavors of black currant, light tobacco, and caramel that complement the rich malt flavors of the beer."

Eel River Brewing - Gargantua II - Whiskey Barrel Vanilla Imperial Strong Ale Blend ABV: 11.5% IBU: 80
Description: Gargantua II started as an Imperial Strong Ale brewed with floor malted Marris Otter malt and a blend of English and German specialty malts. The beer was then aged on Bourbon vanilla beans and blended with a strong ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels for six months.

Elysian Brewing Co. - Knock on Nelson - Wood Aged IPA ABV: 7.1% IBU: 72
Description: "Knock On Nelson is Elysian’s first beer to be aged in its new foeders. The beer starts off with a hearty dose of Nelson Sauvin hops sourced from New Zealand and is bolstered by a sturdy body of pale, Munich and Caravienne malts. The brewers then aged this IPA in a first - run red wine foeder for six months. (Note: though aged in a foeder, this beer is NOT a sour.) "

Ex Novo Brewing Co. - Moonstriker - Mexican Chocolate Baltic Porter ABV: 8.0% IBU: 30
Description: "This Mexican Chocolate Baltic Porter is a collaboration with Moonstruck Chocolate. Enjoy the subtle notes of Mexican hot chocolate with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, chilies and chocolate. Feliz Navidad!"

Fearless Brewing Co. - Ichabod - Pumpkin Ale ABV: 9.2% IBU: 26
Description: "This Pumpkin Ale was made with Munich, Carmel and Biscuit malts, and seasoned with premium spices, all lovingly transported by the magical waters of the Clackamas River. Aromas of pumpkin pie spice and alcohol complement the bread/biscuit/spice flavor. The alcohol and hops give a slight fruitiness, which tapers off into a delicate pumpkin finish."

Feckin Brewery - Top O' The Feckin' Mornin' - Imperial Espresso Milk Porter ABV: 8.5% IBU: 35
Description: "This is a rich and full - bodied breakfast beer that promises to wake you up and mellow you out at the same time. The high gravity is balanced by the sweet milk sugar used in fermentation. Caravan Coffee from Newberg, Ore. offers the rich espresso flavors, while the sweetness of the milk sugar plays nicely off of the bitterness in the cold press coffee. Top O' The Feckin' Mornin' to you!"

Finnriver Farm & Cidery - Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider - Barrel Aged Plum and Peach Cider ABV: 6.5%
Description: "Finnriver began with its bright, dry contemporary cider made with Washington organic apples, aged it for six months in Bourbon barrels from Fremont Brewery and then blended it with organic plums and peaches from Pipitone Farms in Rock Island, WA for a sensation of soft ripe fruit and a velvety peach texture. The plum and peach sweetness that fills the nose is elevated to holiday status with a touch of vanilla, calling out the natural vanillin of the oak barrels. Farmcrafted and fermented on the Olympic Peninsula."

Firestone Walker Brewing Co - Luponic Distortion - Double IPA ABV: 8.5% IBU: 75
Description: "Firestone Walker's Luponic Distortion is a complex blended IPA boasting huge citrus notes by the crafty use of Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Amarillo, Chinook and Simcoe hops."

Fort George Brewery and Public House - Santa's Dinner Jacket - Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Red Ale ABV: 8.3%
Description: "Santa's Dinner Jacket pours a shade darker than ruby red, an attribute earned from aging in Bull Run Distillery barrels. Sipped slowly and allowed to warm, this beer tells a story of time spent in the barrel infusing this heftily hopped ale with notes of port, sherry, caramel and toffee. This is the beer Santa is thinking about as he is finishing up his annual flight around the world; the beer he will soon be relaxing with in front of his fireplace while the children are waking to appreciate his mighty efforts."

Gigantic Brewing - Red Ryder BB Gun - Cranberry Saison ABV: 6.3% IBU: 22
Description: "Damn, this beer has a beautiful red hue. The sweet aroma of cranberries melds perfectly with spicy saison yeasts. There is just enough fruit and tartness to balance the beer's finest pilsner malt. Just don't shoot your eye out."

Gilgamesh Brewing - Eastside Bandit - Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter ABV: 9.2% IBU: 20
Description: "A smoothly rich Baltic Porter aged in Eastside Distilling's Burnside Bourbon barrels, this beer features a hint of chocolate and a mild smokiness from the peated malts that blend perfectly with the barrels' smokey - oak Bourbon flavors."

Golden Valley Brewery - Pinot Noir Barrel - Aged Tannen Boom - Barrel - Aged Belgian - Style Strong Ale ABV: 8.2% IBU: 50
Description: "This spin on Golden Valley's classic winter warmer was fermented with a yeast strain traced to a small West Flemish brewery (""boom"" is the Flemish equivalent of ""baum""). Tannen Boom spent six weeks aging in French Oak Pinot Noir barrels sourced from R. Stuart and Soter Vineyards.  Pinot notes entwine with bountiful aromatic esters, while the full malt body is framed by oak and alcohol warmth."

Hopworks Urban Brewery - The Incredible Abominable of the Enchanted Barrel Forest - Barrel Aged Imperial Winter Ale ABV: 9.0% IBU: 100
Description: "The Incredible ""Abom"" is the infamous uncle of the renowned Abominable Winter Ale. This imperial version was laid to rest in freshly emptied Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels where notes of vanilla and spice mixed with the already delightful flavors of citrus and caramel."

Kells Brew Pub - MIC Stout AKA Boom Roaster - Coffee Imperial Milk Stout  ABV: 7.0% IBU: 55
Description: "This thick, black beer starts with a robust head of rich chocolate and notes of brown sugar. The mouthfeel is smooth and full - bodied, with notes of vanilla and a mild sweetness of caramelized sugar. This beer finishes with roasty notes and acidity from the Sidamo coffee from Ristretto Roasters that layer into a hint of light berry (think blue) with a touch of warming alcohol."

Lagunitas Brewing Co. - Scare City 2 - Red Rye Porter ABV: 9.0% IBU: 35
Description: "This Red Rye Porter is the second release in Lagunitas’ Scare City series. Ruby/tawny red in color with three different specialty rye malts, this beer also features cocoa nib syrup for a chocolaty flavor and an alcohol boost. The huge malt backbone dominates the subtle hop character, resulting in a big, malty winter warmer."

Lompoc Brewing - Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge - Belgian Strong Ale ABV: 8.5%
Description: "Named in honor of Belgian work horses – one of the strongest breeds  – this dark Belgian Style Strong Ale has been aging in Maryhill Winery Pinot Noir barrels for six months. It has a malty body and strong oak character, finishing dry with hints of chocolate and tobacco."

Mazama Brewing Co. - Noel Rouge - Imperial Wit ABV: 7.7% IBU: 20
Description: This imperial strength Wit was brewed with mulling spices and fermented with cranberries. It is a festive beer that is perfect to share among friends and family to warm up these cold winter nights.

McMenamins Edgefield Brewery - Lord of Misrule - Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Mexican Mocha Stout ABV: 7.6% IBU: 24
Description: "Appointing a Lord of Misrule, the official in charge of Christmas revelries and the Feast of Fools, is a holiday - time peasant tradition that can be traced back to Roman times. This dark and spicy imperial brew was made keeping all the joyful customs surrounding this ancient practice in mind. Brewed with cacao nibs, kilned coffee malt and habanero peppers, then aged in rum barrels post - fermentation, this Lord of Misrule is meant to inspire Saturnalian delight and promote merry mischief making in a time of year where good cheer and good beer can be one and the same."

Migration Brewing - Frankie Claus - Belgian Imperial Stout ABV: 11.8% IBU: 60
Description: "This Imperial Belgian Chocolate Stout was brewed with French cocoa, Belgian Trappist yeast, and plenty of attitude. Frankie Claus is layered with notes of banana, cocoa, dried red fruit and toasted almonds, creating a very smooth 11.8% ABV stout with a soft, warming finish."

Natian Brewery - Irish Water - Imperial Golden Ale ABV: 8.8% IBU: 72
Description: "This winterized version of Natian's Blonde Ale was brewed simply with 2 - Row malt and hopped solely with Zythos. A copious amount of honey was added to the boil, which fermented out completely, leaving a crisp, dry finish. The beer was then aged on Oregon oak spires soaked in Jameson Irish Whiskey and infused with organic Cascade hops from the Natian private garden."

Nectar Creek Mead - Triple Brett - Barrel Aged Sour Session Mead ABV: 6.5%
Description: "Triple Brett is a 100% barrel fermented sour session mead made from pure Willamette Valley honey. Blended from three different barrels, each fermented by a different strain of brettanomyces, this sour session mead combines the complex palate of brett - derived flavors and aromas with the subtleties of local honey."

New Belgium Brewing Co. - La Folie - Sour Brown Ale ABV: 7.0% IBU: 18
Description: "La Folie, French for ""the folly,"" is a beer steeped in New Belgium Brewing tradition. This wood - aged sour brown spends one to three years in big oak barrels known as foeders. When the beer finally hits the glass, La Folie is sharp and sour, full of green apple, chrery and plum skin notes. Pouring a deep mahogany, the mouthfeel will get you puckering while the smooth finish will leave you smiling. Not a beer for the timid, La Folie is a sour delight that will turn your tongue on its head."

Ninkasi Brewing Co. - Doppelbock - Doppelbock ABV: 7.5% IBU: 20
Description: "Inspired by winter and brewed specially for the Holiday Ale Festival, this Doppelbock is reminiscent of the season. With a sweet, toasted malt flavor, a hint of Noble German Mittelfrüh hops and a high alcohol percentage, this beer will surely help keep the merriment flowing well into the night. "

No - Li Brewhouse - Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer - Winter Warmer ABV: 7.5% IBU: 72
Description: "No - Li filled first - use Dry Fly Distillery wheat whiskey barrels – just hours after the spirits had been removed – with its Winter Warmer ale. The candy - like sweetness of the beer mingles perfectly with the warmth and oakiness from the whiskey barrels, while the strong hop presence balances out the whole experience."

Oakshire Brewing - Prestidigitation - White Chocolate Milk Stout ABV: 7.0% IBU: 23
Description: "With a sleight of hand and a few smoke and mirrors, Oakshire's created this anomaly of a beer style. Blonde in color, yet full - bodied and mildly sweet, this milk stout uses coffee, cocoa nibs and star anise to produce the flavors and aromas of a milk stout with the color of a pale ale."

Old Town Brewing Co. - Bluth's Original Chocolate Banana Hefeweizen - Chocolate Bavarian - Style Hefeweizen ABV: 5.5% IBU: 14
Description: "Also known as the G.O.B. Special, this beer is basically a frozen banana with double the chocolate, nuts and two sticks. Brewed to Pop - Pop's original (stolen) recipe to be a ""cold banana in delicious brown treat."" Two - row, wheat and chocolate malts comingle with Mt. Hood hops and cocoa nibs. ""There's always money in the banana stand! No touching!"""

Payette Brewing Co. - Bandito - IPA ABV: 6.5% IBU: 84
Description: "Celebrate this holiday season with Payette's delicious Bandito IPA. It is brewed with fair trade raw agave nectar, which gives it a natural sweet complexity, and then dry - hopped with Citra and Amarillo hops to enhance that extra fruity aroma."

Portland Brewing - 2014 Bourbon Barrel - aged Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout ABV: 10.0% IBU: 25
Description: "This very special Bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout was brewed just for the 2014 Holiday Ale Festival. This massive brew boasts a huge malty backbone from seven different malts, a Northwest hop profile, and notes of roasted coffee balanced by delicious cherry flavors from an Oregon - grown sweet cherry puree."

Rock Bottom - Yul Brynner - Santo Poco Style Strong Ale ABV: 7.4% IBU: 45
Description: "Don't let this strong ale's rugged exterior fool you; underneath the malt and the oak and whiskey, you'll find a tender complexity."

Rogue Ales - Rogue Whiskey Barrel Aged Caramel Porter - Imperial Porter ABV: 7.9% IBU: 55
Description: "Rogue Whiskey Barrel - Aged Caramel Porter is an imperial style porter brewed with lots of caramel malt to balance out the traditional roasted and coffee malts. It is then aged in Rogue (recently named ""Distillery of the Year"") Oregon Single Malt Whiskey barrels for more than three months to bring out vibrant vanilla, oak and whiskey aromas and flavors. All together, it is a flawless marriage of caramel, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and smokey, rich whiskey.  "

Rusty Truck Brewing Co - Santaweizen - Weizenbock ABV: 7.2% IBU: 26.4
Description: Santaweizen is a stronger version of the unfiltered German favorite. This beer was aged two months on medium toast French oak spirals infused with brandy.

Santiam Brewing - Golden Sultan - Belgian Golden Strong ABV: 10.6% IBU: 23
Description: "Light golden in color with excellent clarity and a creamy white head, this Golden Ale was brewed with Turkish sultanas and golden grape juice fermented with Belgian Ardennes yeast. Subtle fruity esters from the yeast combine with the stronger fruit esters of the sultanas. Smooth and creamy on the palate, this beer has an effervescent bubbly carbonation with slightly sweet and spicy notes and a dry, strong, earthy finish."

Seven Brides Brewing - The 503 - Barleywine ABV: 10.9% IBU: 50
Description: "No decoder ring needed to guess which area this pride of the Northwest hails from. Caramel and light fruity aroma, coupled with vanilla and gentle wood tannins from hand - toasted Oregon oak, build this complex, velvety smooth start to winter."

Sixpoint Brewery - Lump of Coal Porter - Robust Porter ABV: 7.9% IBU: 56
Description: "This robust porter, a collaboration with ""Beer Goddess"" Lisa Morrison, features a dark brown color and a deep aroma of dark molasses and cherries. The flavor is a mix of complex malts and bright stone fruits, and ends cleanly on your palate."

Slanted Rock Brewing Co. - Cordial Tease - Spiced Winter Ale ABV: 10.1% IBU: 25
Description: "Dark cherries and peppermint spice up the rich chocolate and caramel malts used in this special brew. Flavors of chocolate, coffee, caramelized sugar, dark cherry and peppermint tease your palate until releasing to a warm, soothing finish."

Stickmen Brewery & Skewery - Big Black Banana - Dunkelweizen ABV: 8.5% IBU: 15
Description: "The Stickmen brewers took their bananas foster beer (Bananas On Fire!) and dunked it in chocolate for the holidays. The Weihenstephan Weizen yeast provides banana and spice, the caramel comes from a good dose of Crystal 120 and Special B malts, and the chocolate from cocoa nibs and chocolate malt."

Stone Brewing Liberty Station - New Desecrator - Black Barley Wine ABV: 12.0% IBU: 100
Description: "What happens when you take Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and allow Liberty Station's Brewing Manager to play with the recipe? You get Old Guardian’s arch nemesis born from the shadows, New Desecrator.  This black barley wine has nearly the same profile as Stone Old Guardian, but surrounded by de - husked darkness. To give this demon its own flair, Stone fed it generous portions of Herkules, Amarillo, Comet, El Dorado and Pacifica hops. Coming in at 100+ IBUs, the New Desecrator may just kill Santa Claus end your holidays early. "

Vertigo Brewery and Taproom - Busted Head Red - Imperial Red Ale ABV: 9.0% IBU: 107
Description: "This huge, hoppy, amber - hued beer is bitterly out - of - balance for a traditional red, but has the ideal hoppiness for an imperial version. Just a touch of caramel malt complements the hop flavors in this winter warmer. Busted Head Red features without a doubt the most amazing finish, dry - hopped past realistic."

Viking Braggot Co. - Aurora - NW Amber Braggot ABV: 6.3% IBU: 50
Description: "This traditional Viking ale combines an organic base malt with light additions of organic roasted malts, juniper berries, fir tips and local blackberry honey to create a lighter winter braggot that still features all the spice and flavors of the season!"

Widmer Brothers Brewing - Frosty The Munchieman - Porter ABV: 6.5% IBU: 45
Description: Brewer Dan Munch's Robust Porter recipe starts with deliciously roasty black patent and chocolate malts along with Maris Otter to set the base. Liberty hops are then featured in three kettle hop additions along with a dry - hop addition. All finishing off with Oregon spearmint and Ecuadorian cocoa nibs to create the perfect holiday treat.

Lompoc releases their Holiday lineup

Lompoc Brewing has just announced their winter line up of beers and will be releasing them all at the annual Lompoc Holiday Beer Extravaganza on Tuesday Dec 2nd where they will be showing off the newly renovated Sidebar from 4PM to midnight. Press release below:

Just as Santa has eight reindeer, so does Lompoc have eight different holiday beers, including one brewed for Hanukkah. The annual Lompoc Holiday Beer Extravaganza will celebrate the release of them all on Tuesday, Dec. 2 from 4pm to Midnight at the newly renovated Sidebar, Lompoc’s barrel tasting room at 3901 N Williams Ave.

This year's lineup of holiday seasonals includes Blitzen, a spiced golden ale; Jolly Bock Lager; C-sons Greetings Imperial IPA; Old Tavern Rat Barleywine; Brewdolph Belgian-style Red; 2013 Bourbon Barrel Aged Holiday Cheer, a vanilla porter aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels; Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge, a dark Belgian strong ale aged in Maryhill Winery Pinot noir barrels; and the triumphant return of 8 Malty Nights, a chocolate rye beer brewed in honor of Hanukkah. (See all descriptions at the bottom of this release.)

The holiday celebration will take place in the recently renovated Sidebar, which has added a roll up glass door to allow in more light, booth seating, expanded taps and an all-new menu of small plates designed for sharing. There will be complimentary appetizers featured at the event.

All beers will also be available at the other Lompoc pubs on Dec. 2 as well, including Lompoc Tavern on NW 23rd Ave, Oaks Bottom Public House on SE Bybee Blvd, Hedge House on SE Division St, and Fifth Quadrant on N Failing and Williams. C-sons Greetings and Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat are also available in 22 ounce bottles, at a cost of $5 and $12, respectively.

Lompoc Brewing annually releases a large number of holiday beers, a testament to its seasonal brewing and barrel aging programs. For more information, call 503-288-3996 or visit www.lompocbrewing.com.

BEER DESCRIPTIONS
8 MALTY NIGHTS: Dark brown in color and lightly hopped with English style hops, this chocolate rye beer features a roasted chocolate flavor and a sweet finish. Raise a glass and toast l’chaim to Portland’s first Hanukkah seasonal. 6.5% ABV

2013 BOURBON BARREL AGED HOLIDAY CHEER: Aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels for eight months, this robust vanilla porter combines big chocolate flavor and a full body with mellow vanilla notes, compliments of whole vanilla beans in the conditioning tank. 6.8% ABV

BLITZEN: This bright, straw-colored holiday favorite is dry-hopped with Centennial hops, dried apricots and coriander. The hops lend a slight spicy and earthy aroma, while the apricots provide a faint sweetness with a fruity flavor and aroma. 4.6% ABV

BREWDOLPH: This Belgian style red ale features a malty and creamy body. Brewed with the Belgian Ardennes yeast strain, it boasts a mild fruitiness and a spicy clove character. 7.7% ABV

C-SONS GREETINGS: Brewed and dry-hopped with all seven “C” hops, this beer features a deep copper color with a piney, citrusy, floral and resinous aroma. A rich, caramel malt finish and an endless developing hop presence complement its full hop flavor. 8.0% ABV

JOLLY BOCK: This lager was brewed with a generous amount of Munich malt to develop the deep amber color and rich malt flavor. The malty flavor is balanced with a spicy hop bitterness. 7.3% ABV

OLD TAVERN RAT: This dark amber-colored barleywine was aged for almost a year prior to its release. It has a strong bitterness that is balanced by the sweetness of caramel and toffee flavors. 9.4% ABV

PINOT NOIR BARREL AGED CHEVAL DE TRAIT BELGE: This dark Belgian strong ale was aged in Maryhill Winery Pinot noir barrels for four months. It has a malty body with notes of chocolate, tobacco, oak and plum, finishing dry and slightly tart. 8.5% ABV

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ninkasi Imperale High Gravity Stout Review

Brewery: Ninkasi Brewing Company
Location: Eugene, OR
Beer: Imperiale
Style: Imperial Stout
Serving: Snifter Glass (22 oz.)
ABV: 9.1%

I got a chance to review Ninkasi's Imperiale Stout this past week and decided to write a review of this seasonal release from Ninkasi.

A (3/3): Pours murky black, allowing no light to pass through. The tan head is light and frothy, like that of a cappuccino and leaves behind a dense, rocky lacing.

S (9/12): Deep roasted malt aroma with some coffee and lots of dark chocolate, There is some hop character but its not as complimentary to the roasted aromas as I would have thought. Some sweet vanilla and caramel flavors come through, but only as an afterthought.

T (15/20): The taste was that of coffee and dark chocolate.  After the first sip, the mild bite of the roasted malts come through in a slightly burnt flavor. The mild sweetness of raisin or plums is present and rounds this beer off nicely.

M (3/5): Imperiale has the mild alcohol bite, but it is to be expected with a 9.1% ABV beer.  A full bodied stout with a thick, silky mouthfeel that finishes creamy and stays coating your mouth for a few seconds after swallowed. It has a faint bitter bite, from the roasted malts, but it doesn't detract from the beer.

O (7/10): A very good imperial stout with a higher ABV, but not the burning sensation that sometimes accompanies that.  Silky really comes to mind when describing this beer it coats and stays with you for a decent time after drinking.


Total: (37/50)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Breakside Brewing releases La Tormenta - dry hopped sour ale.

The award winning brewers at Breakside Brewery are releasing their final bottle release of 2014 - "La Tormenta." Descrived as a love letter to Northwest-style sour ales and citrus fruit forward hops. Also Breakside is excited to release "Imperial Red" a brand new winter draft-only seasonal that combines the delights of huge hop bombs with a big malty body that finishes smooth.

La Tormenta - dry-hopped Sour Ale
Our final bottled release for the 2014 brew year is an experimental sour ale made with a unique blend of citrusy, tropical and fruity hops. Bracing-yet-balanced sour notes combine beautifully with West Coast hop flavor in this sweet and tart ale. This beer was one of our most popular small batch offerings earlier in the year, and we're excited to re-release it as a light and beguiling alternative to classic winter beers. Notes of blueberry, guava, grapefruit, and lemongrass are offset by a juicy acidity, medium body, and a moderate sweetness from caramel malt.

Stats: 7% Abv. 22 IBU.
Malts: Two Row, German Acidulated and Vienna Malts, Crystal 20L
Hops: Amarillo, Equinox, Simcoe, Citra
Packaging: 50L and 1/2 BBL Draft; 12/22oz Bottle
Availability: November 2014 - January 2015

Release Parties:
November 19th 5-7pm at ABV Public House, 23588 NW Clara Ln, Hillsboro, OR 97124
November 20th at The Beermongers, 1125 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
December 5th at Bottleworks, 1710 N 45th St #3, Seattle, WA 98103

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ninkasi teams up to support autism awareness

Ninkasi Brewing is teaming up with The Oregon Public House and C-Bar for “Pints For A Cause” on Wednesday, November 12 supporting the Beer Autism Hope Movement and Lance’s Room autism charity. On Wednesday, Nov. 12, $1 of each Ninkasi pint sold at both locations will go to support Lance’s Room.

The Beer Autism Hope Movement began in honor of Lance Rice, a beer historian with autism who overcame incredible odds at 55-years-old and embarked on a 35,000 mile brewery tour (including a stop at Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Ore.) in 2013 to raise awareness for autism. What began as a journey for Lance to fulfill his dream to author an American Brewing History Book became a miracle for the autism community and a movement to give back. The Beer Autism Hope Movement supports the autism community nationwide through Lance’s Room charity as well as charitable causes within the beer industry – from scholarships and vocational training for the disabled to sustainable farming and more.

“Pints For A Cause” was established by Ninkasi's Beer is Love donations program. The brewery encourages community give-back throughout all states in which it operates. One such way, is by hosting various “Pints For A Cause” events at its brewery and accounts, where a portion of proceeds is donated to a selected community organization.

WHAT: “Pints For A Cause” supporting Lance’s Room autism charity. $1 of each Ninkasi pint sold goes to support autism awareness.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 12

WHERE:
C-Bar (2880 SE Gladstone St., Portland, OR 97202) Phone: (503) 230-8808
The Oregon Public House (700 NE Dekum St., Portland, OR 97211 Phone: (503) 828-0884

This is your chance to stand behind one of the beer world's most inspiring historians - and give hope to all those who are touched by autism. Visit The Oregon Public House and C-Bar on Wednesday, November 12 to support a great cause and enjoy a great beer!

For more information visit: BeerAutismHope.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Holiday Ale Festival Presale and Beer List


Tickets are now on sale for the 19th annual Holiday Ale Festival, taking place Dec. 3 through Dec. 7 at Pioneer Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown Portland. The popular event will feature 53 big, bold ales in the main festival, plus another two dozen rare, vintage and specialty beers that will be tapped at various times throughout the event — including a vintage draft J. W. Lees 2009 Harvest Ale barleywine to be tapped at the start of the event.  A list of the breweries and beers can be found below.

What makes this festival standout from other similar events is the beer selection: the festival works with every brewery involved to make sure they send a beer that has either been made or blended specifically for the event, or is a rare or vintage beer that isn't commonly tapped in the state, underscoring the event's reputation as one of finest gathering of winter beers anywhere in the nation. These top tier breweries are supported by some of the nation’s most passionate beer appreciators who have the good fortune to be able to celebrate all their favorite breweries in one location.

A small sample of the lineup includes Cascade Brewing’s Gingersnaps, a NW style sour blend of red, spiced red and spiced quad ales aged in Bourbon and rum barrels for up to two years on spices; Eel River’s Gargantua II, an imperial strong ale aged on Bourbon vanilla beans and blended with a strong ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels for six months; Dogfish Head’s Rasion d’Etre, a Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast that is rarely seen in the Northwest; and Stone Brewing Liberty Station’s New Desecrator, a black barleywine with nearly the same profile as Stone Old Guardian, but surrounded by de-husked darkness.

Beer alternatives include two ciders: 2 Towns Bourbon Barrel Aged Nice & Naughty, a specialty cider fermented with dark meadowfoam honey and aged in Bourbon barrels with spices; and Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider, a Bourbon barrel aged plum and peach cider. There is also a Triple Brett barrel aged sour session mead from Nectar Creek Honeywine, and Aurora Amber Braggot from Viking Braggot Co, with juniper berries, spruce tips and local blackberry honey.

To enter and consume beer, the purchase of an entry package is required. Advance ticket packages are available now through 11:00am PST on Dec. 3 at http://holidayale.com/advance-tickets.php; advance general admission tickets cost $35 and include the tasting mug, 14 taster tickets and express entry all five days. Advance VIP tickets cost $80 and include the tasting mug, 30 taster tickets, bottled water, access to VIP lines (including special tappings), VIP only vintage bottles and/or draft, and express entry all five days. (Express re-entry requires a wristband and the 2014 mug, and is subject to the festival's capacity.) Door prices are the same, but do not allow for expedited entry.

A full mug of beer costs four taster tickets, and a taster costs one ticket. Certain limited release and special tappings may not be available in full mug pours, or may cost double tickets. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece. Previous years’ mugs will not be filled.

Designated drivers in a party of two or more may purchase a designated driver wristband for $10, which includes Crater Lake Root Beer or bottled water for the duration of the stay (DDs are not allowed to consume alcohol).

Holiday Festival hours are 11am to 10pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 11am to 5pm Sunday. To avoid the lengthy lines that often accompany beer festivals, the recommended days for attendance are Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Holiday Ale Festival is for ages 21 and over.

Attendees stay warm and dry under clear-topped tents that cover the venue. Gas heaters create a cozy ambiance beneath the boughs of the region's largest decorated Christmas tree. In addition to beer tasting, the festival also features meet the brewer events, a root beer garden, food vendors, beer pairings with cheese, event merchandise and a coat and bag check that raises funds for the Children's Cancer Association. For more information, visit www.holidayale.com.

2014 BEER LIST

  • 10 Barrel Brewing Co., TBA, Double Black Ale with Black Licorice
  • 13 Virtues Brewing Co., Barrel-Aged MAX Stout, Imperial Stout
  • 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Bourbon Barrel Nice & Naughty, Cider
  • Alameda Brewing Co., Admiration IPA, American IPA
  • Baerlic Brewing Company, The Great Bear, NW Red Ale aged on Beechwood
  • Base Camp Brewing Company, Dunkelrauch Weizenbock, Imperial Grätzer
  • Bear Republic Brewing, Do You Want to Build A Snowman?, Golden Barrel Aged Blend
  • Burnside Brewing, Jingleberry, Imperial Stout aged on Fresh Cranberries
  • Cascade Brewing, Gingersnaps, NW Style Sour Strong Ale
  • Coalition Brewing, Big Maple, Imperial Maple Porter
  • Deluxe Brewing Company, Dunkel the Halls...With Beer & Jolly, Dunkel Bock
  • Deschutes Brewery, Scarlet Flame IRA, India Red Ale
  • Dick's Brewing Company, Black Friday Stout, Imperial Stout
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre, Belgian-style Brown Ale
  • Drake's Brewing Co., Jolly Rodger 2014, Imperial Coffee Stout
  • Eel River Brewing, Gargantua II, Whiskey Barrel Vanilla Imperial Strong Ale Blend
  • Elysian Brewing Company, Knock on Nelson, IPA with Nelson Sauvin
  • Ex Novo Brewing Co., TBD, Mexican Chocolate Baltic Porter
  • Fearless Brewing Company, Ichabod, Pumpkin Ale, Spice/Herb/Vegetable
  • Feckin Brewery, Top O' The Feckin' Mornin', Imperial Espresso Milk Porter
  • Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider, Barrel Aged Plum and Peach Cider
  • Fort George Brewery and Public House, Santa's Dinner Jacket, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Red Ale
  • Gigantic Brewing, Red Rider BB Gun, Saison with Cranberries
  • Gilgamesh Brewing, Eastside Bandit, Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter
  • Golden Valley Brewery, Pinot Noir Barrel-Aged Tannen Boom, Barrel-Aged Belgian-Style Strong Ale
  • Hopworks Urban Brewery, The Incredible Abominable of the Enchanted Barrel Forest, Barrel Aged Imperial Winter Ale
  • Kells Brew Pub, MIC Stout AKA Boom Roaster, Milk Imperial Coffee Stout
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company, Scare City, Wheatwine
  • Lompoc Brewing, Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge, Belgian Strong Ale
  • Mazama Brewing Co., Noel Rouge, Imperial Wit
  • McMenamins Edgefield Brewery, Lord of Misrule, Rum Barrel Aged Habanero
  • Migration Brewing, Frankie Claus, Belgian Imperial Stout
  • Natian Brewery, Irish Water, Imperial Golden Ale
  • Nectar Creek Mead, Triple Brett, Barrel Aged Sour Session Mead
  • New Belgium Brewing Company, La Folie, Sour Brown Ale
  • Ninkasi Brewing Co, Doppelbock, Doppelbock
  • No-Li Brewhouse, Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer, Winter Warmer
  • Oakshire Brewing, Prestidigitation, White Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Old Town Brewing Company, Bluth's Original Chocolate Banana Hefeweizen, Chocolate Bavarian-style Hefeweizen
  • Payette Brewing Company, Bandito, IPA with Agave and Tequila Soaked Oak Chips
  • Portland Brewing, 2014 Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout with Coffee
  • Rock Bottom, Yul Brynner, Santo Poco style Strong Ale
  • Rogue Ales, BIG ASS BARREL Maple Doppelbock, German Style Doppelbock
  • Rusty Truck Brewing Co, Santaweizen, Weizenbock
  • Santiam Brewing, Golden Sultan, Belgian Golden Strong
  • Seven Brides Brewing, The 503, Barleywine
  • Sixpoint Brewery, Lump of Coal Porter, Robust Porter
  • Slanted Rock Brewing Company, Cordial Tease, Spiced Winter Ale
  • Stickmen Brewery & Skewery, Big Chocolate Banana, Dunkelweizen
  • Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Liberty Station, New Desecrator, Black Barley Wine
  • Vertigo Brewery and Taproom, Busted Head Red, Imperial Red Ale
  • Viking Braggot Company, Aurora, NW Amber Braggot
  • Widmer Brothers Brewing, Frosty The Munchieman, Porter

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery launches crowd funding campaign today

I recently had the opportunity to visit with Christian DeBenedetti at the barn that will house his new brewery, Wolves & People. This farmhouse brewery, specializing in sour, wild and spontaneously fermented ales, is nestled inside a barn on his family's 21.5 acre hazelnut farm where he grew up and spent his childhood. As I pulled into the driveway, just off Highway 99 in Newburg, OR, I was amazed at how picturesque the area is, surrounded by vineyards and orchards.

Walking into the side door I see the six-barrel brew system delivered from Heater Allen Brewery on June 19th. Heater Allen had just upgraded to a 15-barrel system and Rick Allen had wanted the system to stay local so he worked with Christian to make the sale happen. The six-barrel, steam fired system along with the four, seven-barrel jacketed conicals are in fantastic condition.

Six Barrel Brew System from Heater Allen
Next to the brewing equipment lies 32 pinot noir barrels, most from Evening Land winery just up the road. Being contaminated with brett, the winery was getting a little weary of any funk that could show up in their wine. Christian plans to completely clean and recondition the barrels for his use. These barrels are only the beginning of his wood fermenting aspirations, in the future he plans to expand to a large foudre, as well as expanding his barrel selection to brandy, sherry, and tequila if he can find them. His ultimate goal is to build up a stockpile of barrels, so there will be lots of options when its time for beer blending. The "White Whale" of barrels he has been hunting for are sauvignon blanc, most wineries don't barrel age in them because it can triple the cost of production.

Conical fermenters 
From the brewery we walked through a couple of smaller rooms into a beautiful open space adorned with rustic wood. Everything in this room appeared to be original and from the same era the barn was erected. Christian's plan is to do some sanding and cleanup, to make it more welcoming but leaving the room close to its original state as possible. He really wants people to come to the brewery to just taste and hang out. There were zoning and permitting issues that needed to be worked out but they have been resolved.  Wolves and People will have a brewery/public house license so they will be able to sell pints and fill growlers.

Future bar location in tasting room
From the future tasting room we walked up an aged set of stairs to the attic to find a huge sculpture filling almost the entire room.  The "SoulBoat" was created by an old family friend Larry Kirkland. The sculpture had previously been on a traveling art installation tour with the Smithsonian Institute. At the end of the tour a new home was needed for the SoulBoat and the barn attic seemed the perfect location. Installed in 1994, the SoulBoat is covered in a thick layer of dust gives the impression that this has been here since the barn was built. The SoulBoat will most likely be opened to public viewing.

SoulBoat

Christian spoke nostalgically with incredible fondness about the barn, having spent much of his childhood helping his father bring in the hazelnuts to process and dry each season with his four older brothers and step sister. At several locations he pointed out where a piece of equipment had once stood or an elevator had passed through the floor. I could tell that this barn was not only the vehicle for his adult dream of opening a brewery, but was also an essential part of him. He told about his ninth birthday in which his parents got him a huge stack of hay bales in the back of the attic to build his dream-fort. In addition to a brewery this space has also been an art studio, was the previous home of wine barrel cooperage Oregon Barrel Works, and then winery for ten years.

The Wolves & People name is as full history and memories as the barn. Wolves and People was a nighttime tag game Christian played as a child on the farm with his siblings. It is still played by his younger family members and Christian occasionally jumps in. The Latin name for hops is humulus lupulus or "little wolf among weeds" because of the plants rapid growth. In addition it is also a reference to the Wolf Meetings held a few miles from the brewery by early settlers. These meetings, eventually lead to the founding of Oregon as a state. In a more philosophical sense Christian states that,

"In moderation, beer relaxes our inhibitions and inspires healthy laughter and goodwill. Meanwhile, a prevailing tension in human life is often between wildness and society, order/disorder, socialized 'acceptable' behavior versus the hunt for untamed creativity and exploration... in my mind, the latter is a journey that should never end. Otherwise we are just following the rules. Giving up. In this day of computerized, gadgetized everything, it's far too easy to forget that we are quite literally part of nature, part of the animal kingdom, yet we tend to be far more aware of cellphones and screens than the real people and (disappearing) natural world around us. Out here on the farm, we do our best to stay focused on people and place, music, and a sense of where are and what we are doing right now, not blips and beeps we have to 'upgrade' every 6 months. "

Wild yeast donating plum tree
Fermentation will be a huge part of Wolves & People's yeast forward beer styles. Three wild strains have already been isolated for use in beers from various fruit trees around the farm. Two strains are being used in an upcoming collaboration with The Commons, and a third was captured from a large plum tree in the field in front of the brewery.  Additional collaborations with Odell, Evil Twin, BoulevardThe Bruery and others are also planned.

One of the first expansion that will be made after the brewery becomes fully operational is the installation of a coolship in the back corner of the barns attic, behind the SoulBoat. Louvers will be installed the end of the barn, so the south-easterly prevailing wind can blow across the coolship. The yeast that comes in with the wind should have a distinctly different character from the fruit propagated strains. Since the brewery is surrounded by fruit orchards, there will be a variety of wild brett to feed the coolship. Christian plans to bottle condition almost all beer that is produced.

Wild yeast are sometimes unpredictable and can vary with the season, so the number of wild and spontaneously fermented beers Wolves & People will produce may as well. Early tests suggest the yeast is very viable so wild beers will hopefully be a substantial part of their portfolio. A list of the six beers, already on the schedule can be found below:

Coup de Foudre:  Meaning “lightning bolt,” or “love at first sight”, a wild golden ale fermented in foudres in the barn and seductively dry-hopped.
Sebastian: Dry-hopped saison made with estate yeast “Sebastian”, harvested from our oldest plum tree and aged in pinot barrels for at least 4 months. Later versions will transform with farm fruit additions.
Lupercal: Meaning “she-wolf”, this is a refreshing, complex, spruce-tip infused wild ale with fresh lemon peel, subject to a mixed fermentation with Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and our house wild yeast, Sebastian.
Brutaal: Brutaal, meaning “bold” or “audacious” in Dutch is our homage to De Ranke’s XX Bitter, which is itself a tribute to the original character of Orval, the Belgian pale ale that first captured our founder’s imagination and inspired his love for Brettanomyces beers.
Corylus: Imperial hazelnut stout with Magnum, Columbus, and Mosaic hops aged on estate hazelnuts in a mix of bourbon, port, and sherry barrels; approx 11-12%abv.
Landbouw: Meaning “farming” or “agriculture”, this is a dry-hopped, harvest beer based on grisette with a sociably low ABV of around 2.8% ABV.

Wolves & People will be self-distributed in the Portland area and throughout the state if possible. Most of the beer will be reserved for local consumption in the Oregon market. In addition, they will be working with Shelton Brothers, who only distribute a hand full of elite american breweries, to send the rest out to key accounts in the world. Jordan Keeper, the former head brewer at Jester King, moved from Autin, TX in October to work with Wolves & People.

Portland Craft Beer: What made you decide to transition from writing about beer to starting a brewery?
Years of writing about beer and breweries and writing my first book especially pushed it into overdrive, I've been writing about beers and studying beers since I was 18. That experience when you walk into a brewery, that’s amazing, it’s a beer you’ve tasted and you’re getting to see where it’s made for the first time and getting to meet all the people that make it around the world and some of them are just incredible personalities. I always wanted to get back into the production side of things." Even though I became a beer journalist in 1998 as well as a travel writer I always thought I would come back and get in the production side. I've written hundreds of articles and that’s great. But sitting in a chair and writing more articles is not what I want to do at this stage in my life; Even if they are amazing assignments and I know I’m lucky to get them, but this is a totally different level of interacting with beer having a chance to make it and share it is like a dream.

How did you recruit former head brewer at Jester King, Jordan Keeper to come brew?
Jordan and I met at the What the Funk Festival in Denver a couple years ago. We were just standing in the middle of the room tasting some beers and we got to talking. We were enjoying the incredible selection they had and I was peppering him with questions about Jester King, one of my favorite breweries in the world. We ended up talking for a couple of hours talking shop about his beers. I started telling him about my dream to do this and at that stage I was definitely planning to do it but I was not where I am now. He was really enthusiastic and excited to hear about it and we kept in touch. He let me know that he was leaving Jester King to pursue his own thing. I sent him a note right after I heard to have him let me know if he was coming through Oregon. We chatted and then it just went from there. We spent so much time talking about it he came up here and visited the farm for a day. By the end of the day we were convinced we had to make it work.

Sliding door to tasting room
What is something that will distinguish Wolves & People from other Breweries?
Building a brewery in Oregon is an intimidating thing. There’s already so many great breweries and so much great beer, great brewers, and great products everywhere. Wolves & People is going to be different because it’s a farm based brewery and it’s still a working farm. It’s out in this beautiful chunk of countryside. A lot of great breweries don’t have the luxury of this open space, so I think that will set it apart. There's not very many breweries here in the wine country. A few breweries are popping up but this is a region that could definitely use more brewing destinations. There’s 400 wineries in 30 miles radius of here. I think that will set it apart a little bit, the location. The ability to use our own well water, our own multiple strains of wild yeast as well as just spontaneous beers. We're going to use our own hops to the extent that we can. Like Agrarian has an acre I think that’s the extent of it for now. We're not going to be a hop forward brewery, I can tell you we're going to be more yeast and fruit driven and acid driven beers. I just see it as one of many great breweries in Oregon.

Being a working farm Wolves & People is striving to be as self sustaining as possible. They will be using and treating their own well water. Christian had the well water sent to a lab to be analyzed. After the results came back he sent them to brewing author John Palmer, to confirm his suspicions. John confirmed they had great neutral chemistry, which is ideal for brewing. I sampled a glass and it was very clean and refreshing. After all, need great water to make great beer.

Wolves & People will be running a crowd funding campaign beginning today on the brewing industry specific site CrowdBrewed. Similar to Kickstarter there will be different levels of buy in, but Christian explained one important difference, "CrowdBrewed has a higher rate of success than Kickstarter and Indigogo by five or six times and I think it’s because it’s by, for, and from your community." The crowd funding campaign will last 40 days and is going to be critical to opening the doors. The money raised will be used for a boiler, glycol chiller, as well as other brewing equipment and improvements (such as floor drains) to help bring the over 100 year old barn up to modern standards. There will be multiple levels of participation and award levels. Christian explains, "The CrowdBrewed Campaign is more of a chance for people to participate, giving them the added reason to come out to the tasting room and pick up their beer."

If you would like to get involved in the CrowBrewed campaign you can find more information CrowdBrewed site that launches today.

A huge thank you to Christain DeBenedetti for taking the time to show me around the brewery and farm.  I look forward to trying the beers the Wolves & People Brewery is going to make.

Find out more about Wolves & People:
Website: WolvesandPeople.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cantillon comes to Saraveza

Saraveza’s will be hosting a Cantillon Flight Night on Sunday, November 2nd from 4 to 6 in the Bad Habit Room.

Saraveza’s Vintage Program for a very special sampling of beers from the world famous Cantillon Brewery in Belgium. The host for the evening will be Saraveza's resident vintage beer expert, Tyler Treadwell.

To get a flight for this special event will cost you $30 for all five beers, plus a sampling of handmade snacks. Tickets are very limited and only available for purchase on their website. Cantillon is hard to find alone, but a flight with all of these beers together, is not something to be missed. A list of  beers that will be included in the flight, along with vintages and beer advocate listings is listed below.

This should be a very sought after flight so grab tickets before they sell out, because they will.