Oregon Brewer’s Fest 2018

This is a brief summary of beers I had at the OBF this year! I did this quickly, so any errors are mine and, given the heat this year, I think it’s worth taking into consideration the affect that the heat might’ve had on these beers, especially when coming from more reliable breweries. That said, I stand by my experiences and I hope this is a helpful guide!

Fremont– Limeshine: Hm…Not much nose to speak of but the flavor profile…is a bit detergenty. This is not a great start.

3 Mugs Honey AleThree Mugs– Passion of the Honey: the nose alone makes me happy. A little bit of guava, clover and honeysuckle makes for a great first impression. The beer is light and drinkable as all get out. I would happily drink a full pint and then another.

Hopworks- Completely Excellent: faint nose, just a little floral. It took me a few sips to really try and work through it, but the finish on this beer is just too harsh. There’s nothing sweet or balancing here, and the end feels unpleasant as a result.

New Holland– I like Pretzel Day: this has a sweet nose, maple right in front. It’s a bit like drinking a thin maple syrup. Now, either this is appealing to you or it isn’t. I’m ok with it, especially at this volume, but a full pour might be much.

Wedlandt– Perro del Mar: the nose goes caramel on me and not in a pleasant way: the sweetness is cloying. But if I don’t sniff at it, what I’ve got is a reasonably drinkable IPA. It’s not special but I don’t hate it.

Auga Mala– Sirena: a little bit of corn in the nose but not sickly or sweet. The beer itself is quite clean and I’d probably have more. But it’s a little forgettable in the way that many pilsners can be.

Transpeninsular– Playitas Cali Pale: the nose has a touch of vegetal and the beer follows up with that. So at least it’s consistent. But, no.

Oproer– Refuse/Resist: this is a very solid IPA. It has arrived at just the right time: after a few beers that just didn’t leave a strong impression, this tasted nice.

Gilgamesh– CBD Pale ale: Oh, this is a really solid pale. Gently pushing the tropical fruit, maybe kiwi? But really pleasant. Easy to drink, not too bitter, all around drinkable. I’d have another.

Aside: There are a lot of people wearing Star Wars shirts here. And not new Star Wars: Old school, 1977 poster Star Wars. It’s been the most common thing I’ve seen today, aside from festival shirts.

Zoiglhaus Elderberry Berliner WeissZoiglhaus– Elderberry Berliner Weisse: It has an elderberry scent along with that fruit soured ale element in the nose . And it tastes a bit Ike a sweet tart. It’s light and pops lively off the tongue. If you like the style, check it out. If you don’t, sample someone else’s, as it’s worth a taste.

54 40– Rick & Mortmunder: I was a little nervous because this had a sourdough nose, just like one of my favorite Kolsch ales and being as good as that beere is a high bar to reach. Thankfully, this beer does just fine. It’s sweeter on the front, the finish is really clean, it’s just a delicious beer. I’d recommend this to anyone. Drink it.

Lompoc– It’s Full Of Stars: There’s no nose, there’s no middle. It also tastes dirty on the finish.

Monkless– peppercorn imperial wit: the nose-and the flavors-don’t really push any peppercorn that I can discern. However, it’s a decent wit ale; a little clove in the nose, some banana in the flavors but nothing overwhelming. All in all, I enjoy it-but I think that if this beer was a little warmer, it would suffer greatly. There’s a shadow of an off flavor there, but it’s buried for now. A warmer beer probably wouldn’t cover it.

Gigantic Magnificent 527Gigantic– Magnificent 527: this has some pine in the nose, and that is the thread that ties it together. There’s a touch of malt and some pineapple notes but here’s a nice beer here and I hope they get to use this hop more.

Boneyard– Pinot Pulp: the nose is very reflective of the Pinot barrels they aged this in. And it’s got that light, white wine, citrus flavor, while finishing really cleanly. Maybe not for everyone but definitely worth tasting and I enjoyed it.

Binary– All Fugged Up: this has a malt forward nose and…that’s what the beer is. The hops don’t make much of an appearance that I can pull away from. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, rather, just one dimensional. Maybe better when it’s served colder, maybe better when I can sit an relax with it.

And that’s what I had!

But what I also am including as recommendations, based off of what I heard other people say they liked.

Terminal Gravity‘s Summer Honey
Heathen‘s Raspberry Rhubarb Sour
Riverbend‘s We Found Barb In The Strawberry Field
Rusty Truck‘s Sugar Shack Brown Ale
Caldera‘s Coco-Nutty Blonde

A Pale Blue Dream Of Me

pale ale with marijuanaJeeze the head on this! I might have to start asking for advice if this massive carbonation keeps up. Maybe I shouldn’t use any bottling sugar at all.

The nose from this is a wrestling match between the marijuana and the yeast.  A little malt in there, but I get that bready quality from yeast more than I get malty-breadiness. Think sourdough vs wheat.

The flavor is different. It’s a little marijuana-veggie and finishes dry. It’s not sweet at all: the malt character is practically nonexistent. Practically, but not entirely. There is just enough sweetness to this beer to keep it from being one dimensional.

What I’m discovering is that these beers are difficult because of the marijuana flavor. It’s so strong that it’s very difficult to throw anything out there that will stand up to it.

Brew date: 3.23.18

Steeping Grains
1 lb Carapils
2 lb 2 row
1 lb C 30
1 lb Vienna
2 lb Golden Promise
1 lb Victory
Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME

1 oz El Dorado, .75 oz Idaho, 2 oz The Hog (mj) @60
1 oz The Hog, .25 oz Idaho, .5 oz Medusa @30
.75 oz Medusa @ 5

1/4 tsp Irish Moss @5 (for clarity)
1/4 tsp Gypsum pre boil (water treatment)

Yeast: Imperial Joystick (final use)

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.016

Secondary 4/27, 1oz El Dorado added

Bottled 4/29

ABV: 7.3

Whatever You Say 31\Second Pint Environment Oregon

Sunriver DIPAWhen I ask him what he’s drinking, he blanks. I can tell by the look in his eyes that I have just asked him something he was never prepared to answer. The full chalice in front of him does nothing to remind him what he has, so it’s the bartender who helpfully supplies the information: Sunriver’s 6th Anniversary DIPA.

One nice thing about coming back to Bailey’s: The bartenders recognize me and seem to know what I’m up to.

There are five hops in the DIPA and it shows; the nose is all grassy citrus and the finish is a punch up of bitterness with a swirl of lemon zest to keep it from being one dimensional.

But it skips any midrange. There’s nothing malty to hook on to. Which is what I tell the fellow when he asks me what I think. He’s more fond of the beer, thinks it’s pretty good and I believe it could be just a little better.

In the meantime, his companion is asking about where to get brunch tomorrow and well…Portland doesn’t mess around when it comes to brunch. You either want to get up super early and be there when the place opens, or just skip it and do lunch. But some solid suggestions are offered and we all go about the evening.

I seem to run into tourists frequently these days-I suppose Summer really is upon us.

Today’s second pint goes to Environment Oregon.

Oregon Brewer’s Fest 2018

Here we go again!

As always, I want to encourage people who are attending to use public transport to get to and from, and the website also says that they will have coupons for $5 Lyft rides home. Very, very cool.

The beer list is, as always, leaning in favor of IPAs but I’m pleased to see a strong selection of styles that highlight beer good for summer, without sacrificing some people’s desire for stouts, ambers or anything else.

I’m especially looking forward to the breweries from Baja, Mexico, to see what their beer culture brings to the table! I’ll have a blog post up this Friday with mini-reviews of the stuff I got to try, so anyone going on the weekend can live it up!

Spokane Pt 2 (2018)

The continuing story of a quack who’s gone to the dogs…

Iron Horse- Crazy Aunt IPA: a pleasantly drinkable, grapefruit oriented IPA. Bitterness levels are low, the nose is nice and floral. I dig this. I can see having another pretty easily.

Big Barn brewing Peone Wheat aleBig Barn Brewing– Peone Wheat ale: Funky nose! This is definitely mining the Belgian, rustic ales but it isn’t pushing the sourness too much. A little dryness on the finish too, elevating a white wine quality. Along with the fruity, farmhouse element, it’s drinkable but a little unusual. Part of this is the mouthfeel, I think; that dryness is accompanied by a grainy feel too. I wouldn’t say no to this beer but I’m not sure how many pints of it I’d want in an evening. But a full pint? Oh yeah.

Bitter Root Brewing- NW Pale ale, Single hop (Columbus hops): This has a fruity nose, almost candy like. That’s a little strange but it doesn’t throw me off. The hops show up in the finish, too: this beer isn’t too bitter, it’s more fruit instead, reminding me of kiwi, actually. In fact, the tropical fruit becomes more obvious the more I drink this beer. I like it, but the single hop usage might leave some thinking it’s a little one dimensional.

Twelve String- Batch 201 IPA: The nose seems to be duking it out between gummy orange and a hint of pine. Which stops me for a moment, that’s for sure. The flavor is similar, too. So, kudos to them for consistency. The nose disappears pretty quickly, though and the flavors follow a similar pattern; it tastes…bland?Which is really strange after the initial, weirder impressions. There’s a bitterness spike at the end, so it’s definitely punching the IPA bag but there really isn’t anything on the front end, once you get past the first impression. Too bad.

Whatever You Say 30\Second Pint Spread The Vote

The man next to me has just sauntered up to the bar at Rocky’s, so I ask him what he’s going to be ordering.

PBR at Rocky's“PBR,” he replies.

“Thanks much,” I reply, explaining what I’m doing.

“You’re probably glad I didn’t say, like some sorta whiskey thing.” He smiles.

“Nah. Whoever you’re ordering, that’s what I’m having. I don’t judge. Besides,” I tell him, “day like today? (It’s crazy hot for Portland) I’ll take a PBR.”

He nods and asks my name, extending his hand. I tell him, he says he’s Noah. He’s got a black T with the Metal Mulisah logo on it and he seems happy to be patient while the harried bartender hustles through Rocky’s.

Which is not a place that I was ready to come to. On the southern outskirts of Portland, all I really knew about it was that it was the kind of place that I wasn’t going to find my people at-the beer geeks, that is. Which means it’s exactly where I should go.

Because this theme isn’t just about trying beer. It’s about people. And you can’t learn more about people unless you’re willing to get out amongst them.

Noah gets his beer and returns to his friends to play a videogame. I stay on the rail and try to drink it all in.

Rocky’s is the kind of place that will likely be playing something by Stevie Ray Vaughn when you walk in and strangers will greet you by calling you “boss”. It’s also the kind of place that has stickers for KBOO, a and one that says “Support your local bartender: Helping ugly people get laid!”

That local bartender will cheerfully offer that she knows all the words to Rapper’s Delight “even the 11 minute version” for karaoke, while friends cheer each other on at the video bowling game, with slogans stenciled in red on the ceiling, and everyone knows where the key to the bathroom is except you.

“I know you’re busy, love-” a woman says to the bartender

“Just yell at me, baby, I gotcha,” she replies, then: “Here ya go, mama,” when she brings the woman water.

In short: you kinda have to be here, even if you’ve seen ‘here’ before.

Today’s second pint goes to Spread The Vote.

Spokane Pt 1 (2018)

OK, it’s time for reviews of stuff I tried while I went on vacation recently. I spent $100 on beer so this post is going to be a series, because damnit, I need to justify spending $100 on beer.

Hale’s– Supergoose: caramel nose, sweet. This is surprising! The midrange is shallow though, and doesn’t give me much to work with. Effervescence pops nicely and the bitterness on the finish isn’t harsh at all. It’s actually pretty drinkable, despite not standing out that much.

Alpine Beer Co Willy Vanilly ale

Alpine Beer– Willy Vanilly wheat ale with vanilla: I got this because wheat and vanilla is a strange combination. So I’m wondering: How do you make that work? Well, the nose has no nose to speak of, so I’m a little lost. The beer tastes like vanilla; that isn’t a bad thing but I’m left with feeling like there is no there, there. I don’t have anything else brought to me because there there are no flavors to contrast with the vanilla, as there might be in a different style. So…it’s vanilla alcohol? And that’s…fine? Sure. It’s fine.

Puyallup River Brewing Co– Electron IPA: I purchased this because I liked the name. I am just a sucker for science and monster names.  Again, a strong caramel note here, but there is a sliiiight touch of pine as well. At first, I thought; Hey this reminds me a lot of the Supergoose, with its touches of sweetness, caramel, but with a little more hop flavor.

Then the finish kicked in and post the effervescence note, things taste dirt-like. This isn’t a solid look and I’m not down with this one.

Another Closure Tribute

With cider gaining a higher and higher profile in the adult beverage world, one of, if not the first, high profile cider place in Portland closed last Saturday.

Jeff Alworth provides a pretty good recap of Bushwackers and highlights something more people could stand to do more of: being happy to provide people with whatever they wanted, no judgment.

He was pro-cider, period. If people wanted Strongbow or Angry Orchard, they’d find it there, with no judgment from the house.

More of that, I think. And a toast to a place that helped usher in more cool things to Portland. Good luck on the next thing, whatever it is.

Whatever You Say 29/Second Pint Snopes

Coming off last week’s post, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between destinations and locals. The feeling of Von Ebert‘s is in sharp contrast to Hoplandia and that isn’t an indictment, but it’s definitely real. Von Ebert is a destination, not a local.

Von Ebert's Chapter 3 IPAI’m having a Chapter 3 here, described as a West Coast IPA. I had to briefly interrupt a conversation to request my choice for the evening so after that, I backed off so those people could enjoy themselves.

Fortunately, I have a friend with me tonight so I don’t have to sit here alone.

So: this beer is…the Okayest beer. The nose evaporates pretty fast, but what little I get involves grassy scents. The beer is orange-forward, especially on the finish there’s an orange gummy taste, and I don’t mind that. Dodges the sharper grapefruit flavors, which I’m very thankful for. But….it’s just there. I don’t hate it. I don’t want to share it. It is just a beer.

Similarly, Von Ebert, as a space, is just OK. I’m not sorry that I’m here but it’s clearly got that corporate sheen to keep it from getting too Portland. It wants to be a spot that out of towners can come and be in, without getting any impression of Portland.

It’s also a pretty new place, though. Maybe the feel of it will change in a year or two. The beer isn’t bad, so I think they’ve got time to liven it up.

Today’s Second Pint goes to Snopes.