Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 Fruit Beer Fest Preview

     I was invited to preview some of the beers for this years Fruit Beer Fest, sponsored by the Willamette Week, at Burnside Brewing. Burnside will be the location of the festival Saturday June 7th and Sunday June 8th, with a special VIP event on Friday the 6th.  This preview event was orchestrated by Ezra Johnson-Greenough who is in charge of organizing the festival.

Ecliptic Head Brewer John Harris
Ecliptic Brewing - Portland, OR - Lacerta Frambuesa
Style: Belgian Framboise
ABV: 6.5% IBU: 20
Description: Named after Lacerta the lizard constellation and Brewed in the Aztec style this light base beer is infused with cocoa nibs in the mash. Hopped gently to let the malt flavors shine through. Once fermentation started ramping-up pounds of Raspberries were added to the fermenter. Lacerta has a nice Belgian yeast spiciness that blends well with the fruit. The Cocoa nibs add a layer of flavor to the malt profile. I got a mild bubble gum flavor from this reddish beer. Available at the festival first and then will be released to the tap house.

Laurelwood Brewing - Portland, OR - Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana?
Style: Citrus Wheat Ale ABV: 4.4 IBU:14
Description: A tart old world wheat with mixed citrus (Various including Orange, Lemon, Lime, grapefruit and whatever else we can scare up) zest and juice. 100+ International Citrus Units. CITRUS ALL DAY LONG. This beer was incredibly aromatic and flavorful or oranges limes and lemons with some banana an clove character as well. Over 600 lbs of citrus fruits were processed to make this beer and it smells and tastes like it. Very unique, a definite must try.

Jason Barbee, Deschutes Brewing
Deschutes Brewery - Portland, OR - Peach Slap
Style: Sour Ale with Peaches ABV: 3.2% IBU: 22
Description Peach Slap is a crisp, tart Belgian ale with a generous helping of peach puree. The base beer is light but well rounded thanks to a portion of un-malted wheat, and gains complexity from the addition of juniper berries and pink peppercorn. For brewer Jason Barbee this beer was a happy accident. Originally meant to be an american version of a Belgian table beer the lacto got a little out of hand and made this a delightfully sour beer with a unique lime quality. At the last minute the decision was made to throw in 1% peach and habenero syrup that plays very well. Not a hot beer by any means but just the right amount of spice.

Lompoc Brewing - Portland, OR - Pear'n Kramer
Style: Golden Ale ABV: 5%
Description: A golden ale fermented with pears that were handpicked in Salem, OR by brewers a and bartenders of Lompoc in August 2013. This beer sat on those pears for 5 months before being transferred to another tank for conditioning where it was inoculated with a touch of gueuze. Pear Aroma with a slight barnyard flavor. This beer was named after one of the bartenders mom Karen Kramer who supplied the 40 lbs of pears from her tree.

Burnside Brewing - Portland, OR - Nero's Fiddle
Style: Graff ABV: 7.0%
Description: Burnside Brewing and EZ Orchards Cider came together to create this Belgian-style graff. A blend of late harvest Roman Beauty, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith apples was whirlpooled into the kettle at flame-off. The wort/juice blend was then fermented with a Belgian yeast to create aromas of apple, pear, vanilla, and rose. The proprietary blend of apples drive the flavor profile of this tart and dry summertime hybrid. Brewers Sam Pecoraro and Chip Conlon used a Belgian Strong Ale yeast to create this beer and cider combination beverage.

Alameda Brewing - Portland, OR - Mamey B
Belgian Dark Golden ABV 6.6% IBU: 45
Description: The Mayme B is a Belgian Dark Golden bier brewed with Mamey fruit. This tropical fruit native to the Caribbean and Central America has a flavor which could be described as a mix of sweet potato and pumpkin topped off with maraschino cherry and a almond twist. The mamey was added post boil in the kettle and also post fermentation lending this beer a lovely almond/vanilla character. Subtle hops meld with a simple malt bill of Belgian Pilsner malt, Special B, and the clean Belgian yeast to create an interesting and nuanced brew. The beer itself has a distinct Belgian taste with a strong vanilla charterer and spice and a slight black licorice flavor.

Widmer Brothers/5 Stones Artisan Brewery - Portland, OR - Up From San Antone
Style: Grapefruit White IPA ABV: 6.6% IBU: 55
Description: Up from San Antone is a White IPA brewed with coriander and the zest and juice of 100+ pounds of fresh grapefruit. This limited release collaboration was brewed with 5 Stones, a small brewery in Cibolo Texas (near San Antonio) that specializes in brewing with fresh produce and non-traditional ingredients. Named after a line in the song “Amarillo by Morning,” the name is a nod to the location of our collaboration partner and the liberal use of Amarillo hops. Up from San Antone has a wonderfully hoppy and grapefruity aroma, and the flavor is crisp and refreshing. Citrusy and bright, this is an amazingly drinkable IPA with loads of character. This beer is also brewed at 5 Stones and its called Back from Bridge City at their brewery. Cloudy beer with a big juicy grapefruit aroma, pretty hoppy and tons on citrus of course and the distinct flavor that comes from a pound of coriander.

Fort George head brewer, Matt Licata
Fort George Brewery - Astoria, OR - Pi Beer
Style: Fruit Wheat Beer
ABV: 5% IBU: 3.14159265335897932384...
Description: A 40% Wheat beer with a secondary fermentation on strawberries and rhubarb. It is light, tart, fruity, pink and very drinkable. Fort George head brewer Matt Licata was on site to discuss the creation of this beer which was originally a recipe from owner Jack Harris. Subtle rhubarb and strawberry flavors.  I got a chance to talk with Matt a little bit about brewing, very approachable and easy to talk to.

Gigantic Brewing - Portland, OR - Boysen The Hood
Style: Golden Tart Boysen Belgian ABV: 6.4 IBU: 19
Description: A tart Belgian-Style Boysenberry Golden, soured in the kettle and hand crafted using only pilsner, crystal and wheat malts as well as locally grown Mt Hood and Crystal hops. Brewer Scott Guckel used only naively sourced boysenberries from Oregon. This sourish lambic was kettle soured with lacto overnight and then fermented with Wyeast Leuven pale ale yeast to give the beer its unique flavor.

Sean Burke of The Commons
The Commons - Portland, OR - Citrus Royale
A last minute addition to the fruit beer fest preview they brought a reinterpretation of their Bier Royale that was so popular last year. This base beer of spelt, flaked wheat, and pilsner malt was the same as Bier Royal however it was soured with yogurt. This citrusy aroma was brought out from murcott mandarin, naval oranges, and mire limes a hint of horse blanket was noticeable as well. The goal, as brewer Sean Burke described it, was to have something along the same vein as a mimosa, which I think they hit pretty well. This beer is available in The Commons tasting room but I would imagine it would be gone soon.

Abram Goldman-Armstrong, Cider Riot!
Abram Goldman-Armstrong from Cider Riot! was also at the preview to tell us about a special tapping that will be at the fest. Saturday the 7th at 3:00PM he will be tapping a cider "Hedgerow Fruit" whose name is a nod the beer writer Michael Jackson, who used the term frequently. This cask conditioned, dry cider will be served in a firkin and contains black currants and Italian plums. Since this is a very small quantity and a limited release it will go extremely quickly.

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