Portland Craft Beer Fest 2016

While Sunday was spent serving beer, Saturday I was at the OBC booth at the festival to talk to people about homebrewing. While there, I had the opportunity to try some of the beers and get some comparisons in with other members working the booth with me. As always, the mildly edited notes:

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Grixen brown

Grixen: Summer Brown Ale-this is a really nice, mild beer. Man it’s tasty. It’s not carbonated at all and that’s a little bit of a drawback but it still works, which is a testament to the quality of the beer. I can get a little toasted nut and dried fruit flavor but even without carbonation, this beer is so light that it doesn’t weigh on the palate at all. I’d ding the beer for lacking carbonation except at festivals, sometimes shit happens.

Old Town Brewing: Summer of 74-Not quite as sure about this one. There’s a fruity quality-the description says tangerine, hibiscus and green chili. I get some of the herbal note in the nose but the fruity quality is dominant. The chili is, thankfully for me, nearly invisible. Nearly. As the beer is just finishing, there’s a little extra ping on my tongue, almost metallic, that I think is a touch of zip from the chili. A nice beer but not for me.

Natian: Cease & Desist Imperial Milk Stout-this is…not as good as milk stouts I’ve made. The nose is solid-a hint of cream to the coffee. The body is not very rich, though and there is a metallic finish, kind of like putting my tongue on a 9-volt. One person suggests an element of smoke and that might be throwing me off too. But I think keeping it in oak barrels warped the more delicate flavors.

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Commons Pils

Commons: Pils- there is a faintly tart scent in the nose, with the pilsner malt up front-a touch of honeysickle there. But this beer finished with a touch of perfume and then poof, it’s gone. Very clean, very drinkable, another success from the Commons.

Royale: Fat Unicorn pale- The nose really isn’t very hoppy, though it does offer hints of perfume. But the finish is extremely bitter and the lack of balance is turning me off. It’s supposed to be more malt forward, according to the description but I’m not getting it. I’m trying to rub the bitterness off the roof of my mouth with my tongue and that’s just not fun.

Pyramid: Ditto IPA- at 4.5%, this is a session IPA but it’s possibly the best session IPA I’ve had. It’s light but not too bitter, the nose is floral without having the sharpness of something perfumed. It’s quite possibly going to be an unappreciated beer at this festival and that’s too bad. It’s worth a pint or two.

Uptown Market Brewing: Oatis Reddin’-This is under the red ale category and by golly you can smell the caramel malts right up front. It’s got a barleywine flavor to it, along with a creamy feel to it that I am really digging on.

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Rev Nat’s cider

Reverend Nat’s: Sacrilege sour cherry cider-the nose has some cherry and the middle brings the apple sweetness, but it’s the ginger spice finish that comes as a real surprise. It’s quite refreshing and very good-at first. However, the ginger is so strong that it lasts a bit longer than I’m comfortable with. The burning sensation at the back of my throat is making this a bit too uncomfortable and I’m just not so hot about recommending it. It’s almost great but for me the ginger is eventually overwhelming.

I had a Sasquatch Woodboy IPA after that but the ginger from the Sacrilege was warping my palate. I couldn’t get a good sense of the beer, so I feel it would be unfair to talk about it.

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