Burnside Brewing visit

Note: I totally meant to post this on Wednesday but instead I got sick. I seem to be having a rough time keeping on my schedule in 2011 but hopefully that will not be the case for long.

I’m part of the OBC board now and for our monthly board meetings we like to go to local brewpubs and check out their wares, make contact and perhaps even schedule a visit or a talk from the brewers for the group but we’re there mostly to discuss business, which nobody reading cares about.

What you might care about is the new beers that Burnside Brewing is producing and I’ve got a brief lowdown on them, notes taken from memory during a very busy meeting. Let’s go:

The Gratzier: maybe just not for me. I didn’t detect any flaws in the beer but the smoky flavor coupled with a wheat brew just didn’t jibe for me. That said, this is a resurrected style, so give it a shot because I promise you haven’t had anything like it before. Maybe you’ll love it.

The IPA: quite good with a very, very sharp bitterness spiking at the end. Piney notes there with a less pronounced nose, I wanted to have more of it to appropriately qualify this beer.

The Oatmeal Pale: a surprise to me in it’s luscious mouthfeel. It had a great body, more dense than your average pale but a subtler nose and as one might expect from an oatmeal tweaked beer, wasn’t as clear as your average pale. Still, a very tasty beer and I thought a wonderful take on the style.

I’m looking forward to going back and getting a better perspective on the beers as well as trying the food. Good stuff.

Whatever You Say #18

Check this out:


In some ways, this is really all you need to know about Roscoe’s, which I mean in the most benevolent way possible.

It’s a neighborhood joint that wants to have beer tastings and meet the brewer nights. It wants to play the Metallica and Pantera and Iron Maiden you loved as a teenager but give you the beer you were denied. The good stuff.

I am walking in with a friend tonight and part of me is suddenly cognizant (which is a more awesome word than aware will ever be because there’s a ‘z’ in it) that the beer that I’m picking isn’t just for me. When I have to play roulette for myself, I don’t care if I get a drink that’s less awesome because it’s just one drink. Compelling that choice on someone else suddenly seems unfair, because the most obvious person to ask has a PBR in front of her.

So I put the screws to it, step aside and ask another man what’s in his glass. Turns out, it’s Bear Republic‘s Wee Heavy, the Heritage Ale.

Talk about the gamble paying off! This beer is just excellent. Malty and chocolatey, no sense of alcohol, light on the tongue and just all around delicious, I cannot complain about the selection for tonight.

So we settle into a table and begin to chat away. Discussions of economics and enlightenment, the mindset of starvation as a youth, the attempt to appreciate bounty as an older person, money vs debt; basically bar talk with purpose. Yeah, yeah, I could give you specifics but then I’d be telling you about me and that really isn’t the point.

It’s all taking place under a reasonably well lit pub with good beer and enough TVs to be useful but not so many that you can’t ignore them if you want. I think I have to come back here-and I certainly have to recommend the pub to anyone who lives in the neighborhood.

Bill 444

At the Oregon Homebrewers Alliance you can get the latest information on Senate Bill 444. The bill is being scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee Thursday, February 10. This is a great time for people who read this blog and are in Oregon to call or email the members of the committee and politely urge them to support the passage of SB 444 along with Senator Prozanski’s amendments to the bill. The committee members need to hear from you if this bill is to succeed.

I don’t think you need to be a homebrewer to support this bill; anyone who has benefited from the efforts and success of the craft brew movement in Oregon, which pretty much includes anyone who drinks alcohol in the state, ought to know that their voice will help homebrewers everywhere continue to provide tasty or at least interesting beers for you to try and it certainly can’t be understated what the craft brew movement has done for employment in Oregon and recognition of this state as one of the leaders in the world of beer.

Thanks to the Oregon Brew Crew listserv, who listed the members of the Senate Committee and their contact information, which I have reproduced here for readers who feel so inclined to help out. And thanks to you, the people who take action.

Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee Contact Information:

Sen. Lee Beyer, Chair
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1706

Sen. Jason Atkinson, Vice-Chair
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
District Phone: 541-282-6502

Sen. Ginny Burdick
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1718

Sen. Chris Edwards
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1707

Sen. Fred Girod
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1709
District Phone: 503-769-4321

Sen. Bruce Starr
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1715
District Phone: 503-352-0922

The Vertical

mccarthy's whiskeyLast Saturday I was able to do a small vertical tasting of Clear Creek‘s McCarthy’s whiskey. I had bottles from ’08-’10 and was able to pour samples for me and some fine tasters, while we chatted and generally had fun.

The ’08 was the most mellow of the whiskeys; a very strong peat flavor but so smooth that even those of us who aren’t fond of the peaty flavor still enjoyed it. Of the three, this is the one that I felt didn’t need any water to bring out any other flavors but of course doing so was very nice.

The ’09 had the sharpest flavor to it. Of the three it was the one that had the largest whiskey bite at the end and sensation of alcohol to it. A drop of water really brought out some nice aromas and let the hint of vanilla in there shine a bit more. One person liked it the best because it was so bold and I have to say, that position holds a lot of merit for me. Be what you are, I say, and be bold about it.

Finally, the ’10 batch of McCarthy’s seemed to split the difference between the ’08 and ’09. It was a hint sweeter than the ’09, which helped take an edge off the bite at the end and with a drop of water, nearly had the smoothness of the ’08 batch.

All of these whiskeys were really good but I am mildly surprised at how easy it was to notice differences between the batches. Consistency is something I value when I’m trying to make beer-and I’m not suggesting that McCarthy’s isn’t consistent because it was easy to tell that the liquor was from the same family, just that small batches seem to allow for some variance that makes for an interesting whiskey, to me.