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.


  • 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.


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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

10 Barrel releasing Rum Barrel Aged Pumpkin Beer

10 Barrel is releasing their second bottled pumpkin beer ever… Jamaican me Pumpkin - a 10.4% rum barrel aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale with over a year in the barrels.  Jamaican me Pumpkin will be hitting shelves in this coming week.

According to the brewery: “We had a theory that you could age almost anything in a Jamaican rum barrel and it would taste great so we decided to test that theory with an Imperial Pumpkin Ale.  With over a year in the barrels we came too thee conclusion: We were right!”

Jamaican Me Pumpkin is the latest beer in 10 Barrel’s annual barrel aged beer release following up 16 Barrels in 2013 and Rye’m or Treason in 2012.  Jamaican Me Pumpkin will be available in the coming weeks in all good bottles shops and specialty grocery stores around OR, ID and WA and at the 10 Barrel Bend and Boise pubs.

Friday, October 17, 2014

6th Birthday Party Weekend at Saraveza

This is a birthday party weekend!  Both Saraveza and Brewpublic are throwing their 6th birthday bash.  The twin Portland beer pillars will be having a party on Friday Oct. 18th and Saturday Oct. 19th, with a wide selection of beers.  More details below.

FRI. OCT. 24TH at 5PM It’s Brewpublic’s 6th Birthday or Brewniversary if you will!  We’re proud to host Angelo for the 6th year (Saraveza twinsies!) Join us for this intimate event as we toast to another year of keeping the dream alive.  Taps will include some of BREWPUBLIC’s favorite breweries’ including:
  • Fort George Brewery - Fresh Hop “Vortex” IPA
  • Oakshire Brewing - “Frederic’s Lost Arm” Saison
  • Occidental Brewing Company - Dunkelweizen
  • Laurelwood Public House & Brewery - “Cable Knit” Pale Ale
  • Falling Sky Brewing - “So Fresh, So Green” - Fresh Hop Lager
  • The Commons Brewery - “Biere Royale” Sour Ale w/Black Currants
  • Heathen Brewing/Old Old Town Brewing Co. - “Killer Cologne” Canadian Kölsch
  • GoodLife - “Comatose” IIPA
  • Ecliptic - “Lacerta Farmbeausa” Framboise
  • Upright Brewing - TBA

Be on the lookout for some giveaways for the annual Brewpublic raffle. Come on out and have some fun!

SAT. OCT. 18TH - Man alive! Has time gone by fast! It's been an impressive ride with breweries and bottle shops popping up left and right.  We've so enjoyed growing up in an industry that ceases to amaze.

Join us as we celebrate six years and salute the craft beer industry through our annual industry toast led by our resident baker, SugarPimp. Enjoy FREE cake & some suds made by the Saraveza crew.

For the occasion we’ll have:
- ALL DAY: Special employee draft picks (see list below).
- ALL DAY: Name our Stag!  Pick up a ballot and choose the name of the deer that protects and looks over the bar.
- 10PM: Annual toast given by SugarPimp with the last known keg of “Freaky Nasty”, our IIPA brewed by several of the Saraveza crew in collaboration with Breakside Brewery for our IIPA Fest.
- 10PM: SugarPimp birthday cake for all!
- And of course the Beers:
  • Agrarian "Freshy Sesh" Fresh Hopped Session Saison
  • Barley Brown’s “Tank Slapper” IIPA
  • Barley Brown’s “Pallet Jack” IPA
  • Block 15 2011 “Imagine” Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  • Breakside “Freaky Nasty” IIPA brewed with Saraveza crew!
  • de Garde “Whiskey Berry Bu” Blackberry Berliner Weisse aged in Bourbon Barrels
  • Logsdon Oak Aged “Seizoen Bretta” Barrel Aged Farmhouse w/Brettanomyces
  • New Belgium “Le Terroir” Dry Hopped Sour Ale
  • pFriem Pilsner
  • Russian River “Pliny the Elder” IIPA
  • Stone/Chris Banker/Insurgente  “Xocoveza” Mocha Stout
  • The Bruery 2010 “Coton” 2nd Anniversary Barrel-Aged Old Ale Blend

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ninkasi releasing two winter ales, Seligh'r and Imperiale

Ninkasi Brewing has just released their winter seasonal beers line up.  The classic Double Dark Alt, Sleigh'r and bringing back an old favorite Imperiale Double Stout.  You should start seeing these beers in stores soon and they will be available until the end of the year.

For more information see the press release below:

Returning to Ninkasi Brewing Company’s winter line-up Sleigh’r, Dark Doüble Alt Ale, and Imperiale, Imperial Stout, will be available this month throughout Ninkasi’s distribution footprint through December.

Hailing from traditional beer styles, these beers were brewed with winter in mind – dark and smooth.

Brewed in the traditional German Alt way, Sleigh’r is darker than its traditional heritage, profiling a malt-forward, dry and toasty beer from Ninkasi’s Seasonal Release Series. “Sleigh’r is a true tribute to the spirited nature of the season,” says Ninkasi founding brewer and co-owner, Jamie Floyd. “A dark, rich toasted-malt flavor is balanced by just enough hop bitterness to make this winter offering deceptively easy to drink.”

Making its way back to Ninkasi’s Special Release Series is Imperiale. This Imperial Stout offers lots of roasted malt flavor, along with a rich, smooth and warming body. “Impeirale is the perfect beer to accompany any winter gathering, pairing well with hearty foods of the season,” says Floyd.

Both beers are available through December across Ninkasi’s distribution footprint: Oregon; Alaska; Arizona; California; Idaho; Montana; Nevada; Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sleigh’r  Stats, Dark Doüble Alt Ale
Series: Seasonal Release Series
ABV: 7.2 IBU: 50
Starting Gravity: 1068
Malt: 2-Row Pale, Crystal, Munich, Carahell, Roasted Barley, Chocolate
Hops: Nugget
Available: On draft, 12 and 22-ounce bottles
Description: A delicious Northwest seasonal brewed with winter in mind. A dark doüble alt ale, malty and delicious, it's sure to keep the winter at bay. And yes, Sleigh'r does rock!
Tasting Notes: An alt ferments with ale yeast at colder lagering temperatures. This effect gives alts a more refined and crisp lager-like flavor than traditional ales. The doüble alt means that it has been “Ninkasified." Regular alts are 5 to 5.5 percent ABV and 40 IBUs. Sleigh'r has a deep, toasted malt flavor that finishes dry and has 7.2 percent ABV and 50 IBUs keeping it in a perfect alt balance!

Imperiale, Imperial Stout
Series: Special Release Series
ABV: 9.1 IBU: 70
Starting Gravity: 1090
Malt: 2-Row Pale, Munich, Crystal, Flaked Barley, Roasted Barley, Black Malt, Carafa
Hops: Nugget
Available: On draft, 22-ounce bottles
Description: Rich, full bodied and surprisingly smooth, Imperiale Stout has a big roast hit up front. Dark malt flavors are balanced with an ample hop bitterness to finish.
Tasting Notes: Roasted malt up front, with a smooth and creamy body warming the mouth. Caramel, toffee, molasses and a touch of coffee notes are present but unified in one amazingly drinkable beer. Let us bundle you up!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GrowlerWerks, A new type of growler

Shawn Huff met Chris Maier in 2006, while in their masters programs at the University of Washington, working on a fuel cell project together for a business plan competition which they eventually won.   After graduation, they remained in touch and in August 2013 Shawn called up Chris to have a beer at Burnside Brewing.  Shawn offered to buy Chris a growler and he declined, explaining that it would go bad after he had the first beer at home.  Shawn replied “That’s the point. Let’s build a better growler,” and GrowlerWerks was born. With the addition of two previous co-workers from ClearEdge Power, Brian Sonnichsen and Evan Rege, the GrowlerWerks team was complete. The four do most of their work out of Brian's house in his basement bar, affectionately known as the "GrowlerWerks Design Center for Excellence."

     I met Shawn at BeerMonger where he brought and put the prototype for the uKeg64 on the table.  Almost immediately, a group of people saw it and came over to investigate.  This was no surprise, as I knew what it looked like and even I was impressed at this eye catching piece of hardware in person.

    When the GrowlerWerks team decided what was important in the uKeg system, there were 3 points that it needed to have.  It had to be vacuum insulated, so that it could be taken out of the fridge and warm beer wouldn’t have to be a concern.  It had to "pass the wife test", ensuring that it was cosmetically appealing and looks like it belongs in the refrigerator. Finally, it just had to work.  Other CO2 charged growler systems, while they have made steps in the right direction, have never really quite hit the sweet spot on functionality.  No other growler on the market had solved all three of these problems before.

 The uKeg has a continuously variable pressure regulator built into the cap.  This is unique because it does not cycle on and off, maintaining a constant pressure in the growler. This reduces foaming and maintains a high quality pour.  CO cartridges are standard food grade cartridges and will be around $.30 and last for one growler fill.  This equates roughly to $.05 per beer, and can be purchased through GrowlerWerks or Amazon.
     The uKeg has an extremely innovative design and is currently waiting on four patent applications; on the overall delivery, the regulator cap, the manufacturing process, and the design.
     This iteration of the uKeg was actually the second design.  Originally, the concept was to put a custom cap on a standard glass growler. However, after doing some destructive failure analysis with a bike pump, it was decided that glass was too dangerous to pressurize.  The manufacturing process has too much variability in the glass to assure that the growler does not explode if over-pressurized.
    Throughout our conversation, Shawn kept referring to the uKeg as a "fresh beer system," which is what they is trying to create.  GrowlerWerks isn't reinventing the growler, they're trying to create a new fresh beer system, unlike any growler before.

     The Kickstarter launches tommorrow, Wed Oct
15th at 7:00 AM PST, and will run for 60 days concluding on Dec 15th.  GrowlerWerks needs the Kickstarter money to cover tooling and manufacturing costs.  There are a variety of reward levels that can be chosen from.  The first 250 backers will get the uKeg for $79, and after that it will cost $99, a $20 discount from the retail price.  For any business that would like to carry the uKeg before it's available for retail, a 12-unit re-seller pack can be purchased for $900 (40% off future retail). This price will be an additional 10% off Oct 15th-17th. Several other levels can be purchased as well and these can be found in the infographic at the right (subject to change).  There will also be two stretch goals, the first being the uKeg 128, a one gallon version of the standard uKeg and the second will be custom laser engraving.
     GrowlerWerks is working with a manufacturer in China to keep the costs low. With quality control being paramount, they chose a manufacturer that has previous experience with this type of manufacturing.  The plan for distribution after the Kickstarter campaign is to initially sell online and then branch out into growleries, breweries and grocery stores; basically anywhere growlers are filled.
     All Kickstarter backers will receive limited edition, backer only tap handles.  There is a small set screw that allows the handle to be changed to different custom handles if so desired. Most kickstarter rewards will ship before Christmas, with only the uKeg itself shipping in May 2015.

     GrowlerWerks will be hosting their launch party tomorrow, October 15th at 5:30, at Hopworks Urban Brewery, RSVP on the Facebook Page.  You will have an opportunity to look at the prototype and see it in action.

UPDATE: The Kickstarter Campaign has began and the infographic has been updated.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Vote for the Best Trilogy beer from Bridgeport

In case you didn't know Bridgeport is asking the public to vote for their favorite of the Trilogy Series beers at  bridgeporttrilogy.com and the beer with the most votes will become a year long offering from Bridgeport.  If you haven't had 1 or 2 in a while you're in luck.  Bridgeport has come out with a 12 pack including three of each of the trilogy series and three of the award winning Bridgeport IPA.  So cast your vote now and have your say in what beer becomes a year around beer.

From the Bridgeport Trilogy Website:
The dream of a better tasting beer was born in portland, ore. It was the perfect storm - inventive brewers, crystal clear glacial water, barley grown in neighboring cities and most importantly, fresh aroma hops as far as the eye could see.

We celebrated our three decades of brewing the best way we knew how, by brewing three new beers. Now it¹s up to our fans to vote for their favorite and the winning brew will return as a year-long offering in 2015. 

Description of the Trilogy Series Beers:

Trilogy 1 Crystal Dry-Hopped Pale Ale:
We’re celebrating three decades of craft brewing in Oregon the only way we know how, by brewing three distinctive beers. This dry-hopped pale showcasing crystal hops is beer #1 in our series - made to honor the hop revolution that ignited the craft brewing movement thirty years ago.

Trilogy 2 Aussie Salute IPA: Aussie Salute pays tribute to the man behind the BridgePort IPA, Phil Sexton, with a cross continental collaboration between BridgePort's current brewmaster, Jeff Edgerton in Portland, Oregon and Sexton in Melbourne, Australia. In keeping with the IPA tradition of local hops, Trilogy 2 uses Centennial and Chinook hops from Oregon's Willamette Valley but is also influenced by two hop varieties from down under, Galaxy and Ella.

Trilogy 3 Brewers' Class: Trilogy 3 is the brainchild of students from the Fermentation Science program at Oregon State University. Their collaboration with our brewmaster created a session-style dry-hopped brown ale with nutty characteristics and piney hop notes.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Three Creeks Brewing Co. - Cone Lick'r

Brewery: Three Creeks Brewing Co.
Location: Sisters, OR
Beer: Cone Lick'r
Style:Fresh Hop Ale
Serving: Snifter Glass (22 oz.)
ABV: 5%

A (3/3): Pours a light golden color, topped with a white meringue head.  A moderate amount of lacing coats the glass as the beer is drank down.

S (10 /12): Notes of lemon are the first to come through, followed by melon and a lightly grassy character. Some vegetal flavor from the hop cones comes through to give it that distinct fresh hop flavor.

T (16 /20): Strong flavors of lemon followed by tropical fruit,  Though this beer does have a very low in bitterness the flavor is not. The malt flavor profile takes a back seat, letting the hops shine while still giving it enough balance to be delicious.

M ( 3/5): A very light bodied beer with a thin texture and soft carbonation.  Finishes clean and very dry.  The mouthfeel was probably the only detractor I could find in an otherwise great beer.  Cone Lick'r just felt a little thinner than expected when I drank it, but not a huge downfall.

O ( 8/10): Overall a fantastic beer with a great flavor and taste.  Do not drink this beer expecting an IPA you may be disappointed with its minute bitterness.  Still a good beer the flavor and aroma make this beer, not the bitterness.

Total: (40/50)