Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5th annual Portland Beer Week Preliminary Schedule Announced

The shedule for the first half of Portland Beer Week has been announced and there are tons of great beer events going on, and this is only the first half!  Portladn Beer week goes from June 11-21st, 2015 with events going on all over the city.

The 5th annual Portland Beer Week is presented by Whole Foods Market, Columbia Distributing, Curb and Portland Mercury with this years 11 day celebration taking place June 11-21st, 2015 with events city-wide. Highlights include an official beer by Breakside Brewery & Fremont Brewing and extends outside of beer to a sandwich special from Bunk Sandwiches, beer ice cream from Salt & Straw. Attendees also get a free coupon credit for $15 towards your Curb taxi app rides during Portland Beer Week.

Returning this year are classics like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Rye Beer Fest, Sour and Barrel-Aged Beer Seminars and the Portland Beer and Cheese Fest. Some of the new events worth looking forward to are the Whole Foods Pearl Block Partyon Saturday June 20th and the combined Fruit Beer Fest and Beer Week Kickoff Party & Pig Roast on June 11th!

Official Beer of Portland Beer Week

Introducing the 2015 Portland Beer Week collaboration beer "Back to the Future IPA" a multi-city beer week and brewery project between Seattle's Fremont Brewing Co. and Portland's Breakside Brewery. Check the calendar for bottle release parties and tappings of this highly limited edition beer.

This IPA is a cross-border collaboration with Seattle's Fremont Brewing. We planned the beer together and each brewed a batch of it for our cities' respective Beer Weeks. When we set out to do this beer together, we knew that we wanted to make a big IPA and showcase some fun hop varietals that don't get much attention...yet.

We specifically chose new varietals that we think have a lot of promise, and it's named after the futuristic hops used in each version: Jarrylo and Equinox in Fremont's, and Azacca and Ella in ours. These beers very might well introduce you to new hop varietals that will be front and center in many IPAs to come.
ABV: 7% IBU: 68 Malts: Two Row, Light Crystal Hops: Chinook, Ella, Azacca

Beer Week Sandwich
Bunk Sandwiches has honored us with an official Portland Beer Week Sandwich available at Bunk Bar SE Water and a special Queso available only at Bunk Bar Wonder, both for the entirety of the beer week June 11-21, 2015.

  • Beer Braised Brisket & Gravy Po Boy with Bitter Green Slaw and Herb Salad (Made with Good Life Pass Stout) - $11 (Available at Bunk Bar Water and Wonder)
  • Deluxe Queso Dip with Beer Braised Brisket (Made with Good Life Pass Stout) - $8.50 (Available only at Bunk Bar Wonder)

Beer Ice Cream
Salt & Straw Ice Cream, our long time collaborators and partners once again grace us with a brand new Beer Ice Cream flavor this year made with an all-Citra hopped new IPA from Breakside Brewery and specked with actual Citra hop flakes. Available at special Portland Beer Week parties only.

Curb Transportation Special
Presenting Transportation Sponsor Curb is offering a $15 discount on rides for Portland Beer Week attendees. Request your Curb ride in seconds and watch your trained driver arrive in minutes. Curb drivers are always available and ready to pick you up. Curb works only with professional taxi and for-hire drivers. Every time you ride with Curb you’ll ride with a fully licensed, insured driver. No exceptions. Curb offers vehicle and payment choices to fit your needs. Easily book a taxi or for-hire car* and pay seamlessly with a credit card in the app or with cash in the car. *In select markets
Exp: 8/4/15
*only valid when booking and paying through the Curb app

Patio Drinking
Bar Vivant/Pix Patisserie opens their brand new Beer & Cider Garden just in time for early summer drinking and is our featured outdoor drinking spot. Throughout the week Pix & Bar Vivant will be offering free beers to Fruit Beer Fest attendees, featured brewer, beer and cider tappings, a pFriem tap takeover and week-long pFriem Beer Floats!

Mississippi & Williams Pub Crawl
Saturday June 20th Noon-8pm $5

Back for it’s 2nd year the popular N. Mississippi and Williams Pub Crawl promises a day full of day and evening drinking with guaranteed discounts, special drinks, rare beer tappings and food at 9 locations along Mississippi and Williams with more venues and specials still being added.

Pick up a wristband for $5 at any participating location beginning May 7th or order in advance to be mailed to you (minimum 2 wristbands for mail order). Guaranteed $1 off drinks at every location from Noon to 8pm on Saturday June 20th.

Ecliptic Brewing 825 N Cook St, Portland, OR 97227
$3.75 pints, your choice
$7.00 Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks
Stormbreaker Brewing, 832 N Beech St, Portland, OR 97227
$1 off beers, more TBA
Bridgetown Beerhouse, 915 N Shaver St, Portland, OR 97227
$1 off pints
Beer City Bottle Shop, 4214 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217
$1 off beers, special tappings
Interurban, 4057 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227
$1 off beers
Prost! 4237 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217
$1 off beers
Lardo North, 4090 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227
$1 off beers, sandwich special TBA
Lompoc 5th Quadrant & SideBar, 3901 N Williams Ave Portland, OR
$1 off beers, special rare beer tappings
Tin Bucket, 3520 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227
$1 off beers

Portland Beer and Cheese Fest
Sunday June 21st Noon-5pm $35

The 4th annual Portland Beer and Cheese Festival returns to The Commons Brewery and their wonderful new space on 7th and East Belmont. Sample 10 lovingly paired craft beers and cheeses by Steve Jones of Cheese Bar and 10 different breweries. Enjoy complimentary free charcuterie from Olympia Provisions. And new this year we will have complimentary chocolate from local makers Woodblock Chocolate.

Tickets are on sale now for this great 21+ Father’s Day event. Each ticket gets you a punch card for all 10 beer and cheese pairings, a 4oz pour of each beer and 1-2oz slice of each cheese, also a collectible branded glass and complimentary charcuterie and chocolate while it lasts. Warning, this event usually sells out in advance so get your tickets now here. Check back in June for the full beer and brewery list.

First Half of Beer Week Events

6/11 Kickoff Party & Pre-Fruit Beer Festival Pig Roast @ The EastBurn
6/12 Official Portland Beer Week Breakside/Fremont "Back to the Future IPA" bottle release @ Whole Foods Pearl
6/12 Rye Beer Fest @ The EastBurn
6/12 Southern Washington Staycation @ Saraveza
6/12-6/14 Portland Fruit Beer Festival
6/13-6/14 Washington Beer Invasion @ Civic Taproom
6/13 Breakside/Fremont Tap Takeover & Draft Beer Release @ Belmont Station
6/14 The Rural Brewer @ Hawthorne Hophouse
6/14 Battle of the Belgians @ Bazi
6/15 New School's New Breweries Showcase @ Bailey's Taproom
6/15-6/20 All Day Happy Hour Specials @ Portland Brewing

And many, many, many more events are being added to the calendar at http://pdxbeerweek.com/event/kickoff-party/

Follow PDX Beer Week on Facebook
Follow @PdxBeerWeek on Twitter

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lompoc Brewing and The Meadow come together for a Beer and Chocolate Pairing

Beer and chocolate go hand in hand every day: whether roasty and smooth, puckering and butter, dark or bright, chocolate and beer often share similar taste profiles that pair exceptionally well. To showcase this, Lompoc Brewing has partnered with The Meadow for a Beer and Chocolate Pairing event on May 23 from 4 to 6pm at Sidebar, Lompoc’s barrel tasting room at 3901 N Williams Ave. Admission is $10 on-site, which includes the following three pairings:

Pairing #1: Proletariat Red & Pump Street Bakery Sourdough & Sea Salt Chocolate
The Beer: Deep chestnut in color, this beer has a toasted malt quality with biscuit undertones leading to notes of caramelized pear and cinnamon. This complex brew ends with sweet malt flavors that mellow into a mild hop finish. 6.2% ABV

The Chocolate: From Pump Street Bakery in Suffolk, England, this chocolate features a unique combination of two signature products: dark chocolate and sourdough. Sourdough crumbs and a touch of sea salt add crunch and a smooth, malty flavour to Venezuelan chocolate.

Pairing #2: Cherry Bomb Smoked Red Ale & Askinosie White Chocolate with Nibs
The Beer: A collaboration for International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day with Burnside Brewing, 10 Barrel and Heater Allen, this red ale is crimson in color with a strong smoked flavor and aroma. Cherry smoked malt was used in the mash and in-house smoked dried cherries were added to the bright tank. There is a mild hop profile. 3.7% ABV

The Chocolate: Askinosie Chocolate in Springfiled, MO, handcrafts this single origin white chocolate with 34% cocoa butter, which Askinosie presses themselves from cocoa beans sourced directly from farmers in Davao, Philippines. This single origin cocoa butter is integrated with certified organic cane sugar and goat’s milk powder to create real, bean-to-bar white chocolate. Roasted cocoa nibs are then added to the back of the bar. The cocoa nibs are from the same batch of beans used to make the bar itself, so in just one bite you can taste the entire story—from sourcing to production.

Pairing #3: 2011 Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat & Francois Pralus Cuba
The Beer: A dark amber colored barleywine that was brewed in 2011 and aged for two years in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels. 9.4%

The Chocolate: This chocolate comes from Fran├žois Pralus, a master chocolatier and one of the few in France to manufacture his own chocolate. His Cuban chocolate is spicy, with a hint of licorice, slightly peppery, and long on the finish. Cuba is known for being a colorful island. Think about its coffee, cigars, rum and music, then try this Cuban chocolate; you will understand its beauty and the complexity of its aromas.

About Lompoc Brewing
A long-time Portland craft beer fixture established in 1996, Lompoc (pronounced Lom-Pock, not Lom-Poke) 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 Southeast, and the Lompoc Tavern in Northwest. Learn more at www.lompocbrewing.com.

About The Meadow
The Meadow specializes in artisan salt, the world’s great chocolate bars, bitters and other gourmet items for the bar and kitchen; it also carries a close selection of Oregon and European wines and vermouths. The Meadow has a shop on N MIssissippi Ave and NW 23rd Ave. Learn more at www.atthemeadow.com.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tavour, A New Take on Craft Beer Home Delivery

    With the rise of craft beer's popularity, and limited access to non-regional craft beer, people have been trading beers through the mail in order to get access to the best beers. Antiquated, prohibition-era three tier distribution laws limit the consumer's access to beer. In most cases, a brewery is not allowed to sell directly to the consumer, they must go through a third party distributor to get their product to the customer. As a result, not every brewery is able to distribute their beer to every part of the country that wants it. To get around this, a passionate group of beer aficionados have been trading beer through the mail. This allows people from all over the country to obtain sought-after non regional beers. Tavour.com, a portmanteau of taste and flavor, is the first step towards a solution to this problem.

I had the opportunity to talk to Sethu Kalavakur about his company Tavour.com.  Tavour is a website that sends at least one email every day to it's members with a beer offering. The email eloquently describes the beer and asks you to reply if you are interested in purchasing, and how many you'd like. This is a sample of one such email:


Sightings of Oklahoma’s famed microbrewery Prairie Artisan Ales are a once in a blue moon kind of event in the Pacific Northwest.

We’re talking specifically about Eliza5beth, a limited release Prairie Artisan Farmhouse Ale aged on apricots with Saaz Hops and Brettanomyces.

We’ve been holding onto a limited number of this highly rated beer to allow the fruit forward, adventurous flavors to reach their peak and now it’s time to drink!

Ripe notes of lemon and peaches head towards spicy, herbal esters finishing against a dry malt body. The Brett pops and keeps popping as it weaves its magic along a lush display of orange, grapefruit and peach into a sweet, stunning echo of apricot.

Every Farmhouse fan should have the funky fruit experience of Eliza5beth under their belt. If you just can’t wait until it arrives at your door, stare at the trippy label online. Squint really hard at the visual Quaalude that is Eliza5eth’s label and the eye popping flavors of this beer might seep through the screen.

92 on Beer Advocate; 99 on RateBeer

LIMIT 4 PER MEMBER. Limited Supply. Requests processed in the order received. 

Prairie Ales - Eliz5beth - $11.99 for a 500 ml bottle
Style: American Wild Ale, ABV: 7.5%

When you reply with how many bottles you want, an actual person will send you a response, letting you know that your bottles have been set aside.  After 30 days from your first order, your basket is closed and then shipped to you for $14.90 flat rate shipping.  No matter how much beer you order. Currently, Tavour is only available in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington for shipment. But they are looking into expansion into other areas.

Q: How do you source all of these non-local beers?
A: We have a deep beer connection, Miranda from Portland was our first hire. She is the expert on knowing where different products are being released, and she manages all the brewery relationships. Washington state allows a retailer to buy beer directly from any producer around the country as long as they fill out that paperwork. What we have done is learned all about the paperwork and we help the breweries fill out the paperwork. And once that's done the Washington state liquor laws allow us to get beer directly from the brewery. Because we have enough of a scale now that we can move a significant amount of product these breweries we work with don't feel like they have to do all this paperwork just to move 5 cases. That's what most retailers do is only move 3-4 cases at a time. We can do a lot more than that, and that's why it works out as such a great relationship.

Tavour gets some beer from distributors, but more and more they are buying directly from the brewery. Tavour tries to build relationships and connections with lots of great breweries like Ale Apothecary in Bend, OR. Ale Apothecary gives them whatever they can because they know that most of their members are incredibly passionate beer fans. Brewers want the best beer fans to try their beer regardless of where they are. Inversely, beer fans want the best beer regardless of where it comes from. This is the business model upon which Tavour.com has been built.

Q: How is the shipping handled?
A: We use mostly regional carriers, there is no interstate commerce issue, they are completely debunked. Wine has made it clear through Supreme Court rulings that if your state is allowing a brewer to ship beer or wine outside, you can't stop your consumers from getting beer or wine from outside of your state. It's a two way street. There are very few states that explicitly ban both sides of the business like Texas and Utah. Most of the carriers still don't do it like UPS and FedEx. The regional carriers don't mind because we get prepackaged boxes to their hub and then they distribute from there. Washington state is pretty ahead of the curve on a lot of these laws.

Q: Do you see yourself expanding to other west coast beer cities?
A: Our focus is on building relationships with breweries. Any expansion in terms of setting up a base of operation would be for operational efficiency and so consumers could come pick up their beer. Which a lot of Seattle customers do.  While that's important that's not the critical part of our business now. Right now it's how do we get the best beer fans and the best brewers together. And that is the focus and we want to keep everything else on hold right now.

Q: Do you have any plans of allowing users to browse your inventory online?
A: No, probably not. Most of the beers we get are so limited that we would sell out immediately. So the whole notion of browsing is not that useful, and it also does not create the type of engagement for us that we are looking for. The one exception is that when a new person signs up they get to browse the previous inventories stock, because they have not had the opportunity to see the beers that have been offered. They get to look at that for a week and then we shut it off. I don't foresee us doing a regular e-commerce site. There's other things we are thinking about, we just pushed a release for our iPhone app it's still in its early stages, but it allows you to rate beers. One thing we could do is when someone rates a beer and tells us they really like it we can ask them if they want more if it. And we can procure that and send it to them. That's one way we can expand the way we get people beers, but as far as an e-commerce site that's not in the plans. The other thing about e-commerce is its not personal enough. One thing we wanted to do with Tavour is one of the reasons people love craft beer. It's about social relationships and friends. You rarely drink a great craft beer and don't talk about it with your friends. That's why we have an actual person respond to each request, so if they have a question about the beer they can answer it and let them know that the beer has been set aside for them.

Q: How are the beers stored?
A: We have a huge walk in cooler in our warehouse at 35-40°F so all the IPA's, pale ales, all the other beers that need a cool temperature get stored in that cooler. More cellarable beers like stouts and barrel aged beers get stored in the warehouse which is a little cooler than room temperature. It's near the water in Seattle so it's around 50°F, a cellarable temperature. Now what happens is all these beers are in our warehouse for maybe five weeks. They come in, they get offered, they get sold, and then they go out in the next shipping cycle. Because of the rolling shipping cycle beers will all leave the warehouse within five weeks. That's also one of the reasons that breweries from far away like working with us. They don't want to sell beer to somebody that's going to put it on a shelf and have no idea how long it's going to sit there. But our model has most beers going out within five weeks or less so they are very comfortable giving us their best products.

Q: How many employees do you have?
A: We have four full time employees and six or seven part time employees for different functions. The word is spreading pretty rapidly. There's a lot of people who want to get into craft beer who see this service as meaning they don't have to go driving around from bottle shop to bottle shop or to look for the latest release. All of these are things we do on their behalf. Its less effort for them so they can focus on the beer and focus on the brewery. From the breweries' perspective they get to know that their product is getting to customers quickly and it will be fresh. All these are reasons we have seen the rapid growth and as this continues we will hire to meet our business needs. We'll let the community decide how big we will get, we want to be involved as craft beer grows.

Q: What are your plans to expand to other states other than just the West Coast?
A: By the end of the year we will have a more clear idea. We want to get into wherever there are a lot of craft beer fans. Wherever that is, and legally allowed, we want to be there. Big population areas, like Michigan have a huge craft beer scene. There's a lot of people who sign up on our site who ask us to open there. A lot of people in Ohio are asking for us, New York obviously. There's a lot of big states on the eastern seaboard and Colorado is another big one. So there are some big states where people are signing up and asking us to go. We are going to focus on the west coast for now. We're going to make sure we serve these customers really well and we'll learn how to serve them well and from there we'll see where it goes.

Oregon residents are currently required to pay Washington State sales tax on all purchases made from Tavour.  

Q: How are you going to deal with Sales Tax in Oregon?
A: My hope is by late Summer or so we should have something worked out. We started talking with the Liquor control board early on about sales tax in Oregon they referred us to the department of revenue and we talked to them. We have to figure out how to do this, its something we have to solve. We didn't get a clear answer, it was just go read this document, go read that document. Then we said what do we need to do to prove that the sale is to an Oregon customer? Some discussion lead to they need a digital copy of their license every time others said just once. The technology part is maybe a couple weeks of work for us but knowing exactly what needs to be done and if that's going to be enough is a bigger problem. And I'm going to try to chase that down in the next couple months, and once that's done the technology part is not that hard to implement. Hopefully this will happen by late summer.

Q: How is it decide what people get which beers?
A: At this point everyone in a state gets the same beer. Very rarely do we send a different beer to different people in the same state. It's mostly driven by what product we can get. At this point there's much more demand than we can get product for. But when we get to a point where we can have more product on hand we'll get to a point where this person likes X type of beer, so we'll send him an offer to that type of beer. But before that we once the app is fully developed we'll start building profiles for what sorts of beers everyone likes and they will start getting custom offers in addition to the daily offer.

If you would like to join Tavour there is no cost to sign up, and you will not be be sent beer until you reply that you would like that day's offering.  However, if you are interested in obtaining specialty beers not available in your state, use this link to sign up and receive a $10 free credit after your first order. 

I'd like to thank Sethu Kalavakur for taking the time to talk to me about Tavour and I look forward to getting more amazing craft beer delivered to my doorstep.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bridgeport Brewing Releases Eighth Edition of Stumptown Tart

BridgePort Brewing Company’s own pin-up gal and Stumptown Tart, Bernie Dexter, is back on shelves for its eighth year. While the past eight years have celebrated popular berry combinations, this year’s brew brings the focus back on a northwest favorite – the raspberry.

“It’s hard to believe that we have been making this beer for eight years now,” commented brewmaster, Jeff Edgerton. “We knew it was only a matter of time before we would want to bring back a fan favorite like the raspberry."

Available in limited quantities, this year’s Stumptown Tart is a Belgian Style Ale infused with northwest grown raspberries. Since the initial release of a raspberry infused Stumptown Tart, the fermentation process of this ale has evolved to deliver a subtle, yet noticeable, Belgian yeast characteristic. A perfect warm weather beer, this easy to drink ale carries a lighter body and a refreshing tart finish.

BridgePort will host a ‘Tasting with the Tart’ party Thursday, May 20 from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the BridgePort Brewpub in Portland. Come by to taste this year’s beloved Stumptown Tart. Giveaways will be plentiful, and bottle model Bernie Dexter will be there ready to pose with guests for a Stumptown Selfie and to sign bottles of this new brew.

For more information on BridgePort Brewing Company, visit: www.bridgeportbrew.com

BridgePort’s Stumptown Tart Stats:
IBUs: 15.0  ABV: 7.7%  OG: 17.0  Color: Pink
Ingredients: Pale malt, wheat malt, crystal hops, Belgian yeast and raspberry puree.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Advanced Tickets for Portland Fruit Beer Fest now on sale

Advanced tickets are now on sale for the 5th annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival (June 12-14 2015) with an estimated 40% increase in size to accommodate crowds and the largest fruit beer list yet. The first festival dedicated to fruit beers popularity has demanded more space so organizers are happy to announce the addition of an extra lot west of Burnside Brewing allowing the festival to flow from the brewery parking lot, closing off 7th street and into the adjacent lot. This new addition allows much more space for attendees and spreads out the beer lines so there will be less of a wait. In addition to more space the festival is also opening up Friday evening 4-9pm for general admission early birds with all the beers pouring but space limited to Burnside Brewing's lot. Beginning Saturday June 13th the Fruit Beer Festival takes over the street and both lots with food vendors like Bunk Sandwiches as well as non-alcoholic drinks for designated drivers or kids. As usual the Portland Fruit Beer Festival will feature the most extensive list of fresh, juicy and exotic fruit beers in the world made in a variety of beer styles. 

Some of the participating breweries and cideries in 2015: Alameda Brewing, Baerlic Brewing, Breakside Brewery, Burnside Brewing, The Commons Brewery, Deschutes Brewery, Ecliptic Brewing, Ex Novo Brewing, Fat Head's Brewing, Fort George Brewery, Gigantic Brewing, Hi-Wheel Wine & Mead Co., Hopworks Urban Brewery, Kell's Brewing, Laurelwood Brewing, Lompoc Brewing, Lucky Labrador Brew Pub, Oakshire Brewing, Upright Brewing, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Reverend Nat's Hard Cider, 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Cider Riot. More TBA.

Homebrew Competition
The Portland Fruit Beer Festival is pleased to be teaming with the Oregon Brew Crew for another year and another Fruit Beer Homebrew Competition with winners in five categories including Light Colored (12 SRM and lower), Dark Colored (greater than 12 SRM), Sour / Wild Fermentation, Spice/Herb and Cider / Perry with an overall winner chosen amongst the winners of each. Homebrewers also have a chance to have their beers featured at our annual preview dinner at the EastBurn. More info on the Homebrew Contest here.

Now seeking OLCC certified volunteers! If you are an Oregon Liquor Control Comission certified server or are interested in obtaining a permit (which you can now do online) we could use your help in exchange for free entry, glass, tickets and merchandise! Contact jenn@mcpolanders.com for more info.

Regular Festival Hours:
Saturday June 13th 11am – 9pm
Sunday June 14th 11am – 6pm
Friday Evening Session
Friday June 12th 4pm – 9pm

Advanced General Admission
$20 for 12 tickets and a Glass, print your ticket for faster entry.

Follow the Portland Fruit Beer Festival:
Web: fruitbeerfest.com
Twitter: @FruitBeerFest
Facebook: Facebook