The Six #1: Hopworks Pilsner

“You should do this, but for Portland,” my friend Fuz tells me. My initial feelings on the notion are lukewarm, because does anyone need that? There are so many articles out there, what is one more?

Later that night, I run into two Irish tourists at Bailey’s Taproom and they ask me what places they should visit. I spend nearly an hour talking to them. Clearly, I have opinions, so I’m doing this!

These breweries and beers shouldn’t necessarily be regarded as ‘the best’; rather, I would think of them more as ‘the representative-ist’. Places that, should you be in Portland, I’d recommend visiting because of the quality represented, but also the history (as I understand it) of craft beer here, and the variety as well. I’ll try and explain each as I go, just to be clear about my own thinking. There is, thankfully, no wrong answer. Just; where do you want to go? What do you want to have?

I’ll also have a friend with me, in part to facilitate some thoughts on why we’re here, in part to get some real-time feedback before I put pen to paper, to give an answer to the question: why are we here? So if I mention another human, that’s why.

Hopworks' Pilsner

We start with Hopworks Pilsner.

I’m here because this was one of the first lighter beers that I can remember being brewed in Portland-which medaled at the Great American Beer Festival. This was a pretty big deal, because at the time Portland was known for hopping the hell out of every style it could get its hands on. Hopworks’ Pilsner brought hope to people tired of hops and helped set the stage for more styles to be available here.

This beer has a great yeasty bread elements to the nose, and you can absolutely taste the grain involved. I am almost certain it’s two row, but it has a flavor that mass market pilsners just don’t. Plus, it’s got enough of a bite on the finish from the hops that I get a contrast between the sweeter grain and bread flavors.

It’s a damn fine beer and you can get it lots of places in the PWN, but let’s face it; you should visit their pub. There’s a broad selection of ales, including a cider and while some of them come and go, the Pils is always on tap.

 

Trends

I know, it’s a bit click-baity to have article titles like ‘the worst x in y’, however I thought most of the answers to this article pining on the worst trends in brewing were worth hearing.

Sure, some can be ignored-people criticizing taste trends, for example-but critiques about the treatment of women both as employees and consumers, the absence of people of color in the industry, the usurping of smaller breweries into larger ones that now pose as those tiny places, concerns about the distribution model; these are things that conscientious drinkers ought to take into consideration when we spend our money.

Little spoiler here: if you’re a consumer, you’d best start being conscientious about where you spend your money, whenever you can.

Round Two #15/Second Pint TP

IFieldwork: Tiger Uppercut hazy IPAndulging my inner 6 year old, I have bought the Tiger Uppercut by Fieldwork without looking at the style or knowing anything about the brewery, which is new to me, and the name, which is awesome.

It is sweet. The nose holds grapefruit, but the flavors drill into more of a grapefruit gummy thing.

When it hits my stomach, I can feel the alcohol arrive but rolling it around on my tongue, I wouldn’t notice that density unless I was looking. This beer has enough bubbly on the end to really cut out any sense of soda pop sweetness that a lot of hazy IPAs have. I find I that the finish is a lot cleaner than expected.

On the upside, that does make this beer a lot more drinkable than expected. Which I appreciate, since I’m just north of burnt out on hazy IPAs.

Round 2; the nose fades really fast. I’m a little surprised but now that I reflect, the nose on the first glass didn’t stick around either. That isnt’ to say that it’s gone, just…it needs some time to accumulate and build, I suppose.

Still, the second glass holds true; this walks up to the line of too sweet, but plants its foot firmly enough on the side of bitterness that it works really well. I think I’m a fan.

Today’s second pint goes to Transition Projects.

IPA 2 2019

Second IPA homebrew of the year!

The nose has a bit more citrus to it, less dank forest, but some of that foresty quality shows up too.

IPA 2 2019The reason this version has more citrus going on is because the OBC was gifted a bunch of Mount Hood hops and I figure; hey, let’s just use a bunch of these. So I deviated from the standard recipe in order to use them. I can’t be surprised that the beer is a little different.

The finishing bitterness is still pretty intense though and more old school bitter, piney so I’m keeping at least some of the qualities I’d expected. Good drinkin’ beer.

Brew date: 5/19/19

Steeping grains
7 lb Lamonta
1.25 Encore

Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME

Hops
1oz Centennial, Mt Hood @60
.5 oz Mt Hood @ 30
.5 oz Mt Hood, Centennial @5

Yeast: Imperial Dry Hop (2nd use)

OG: 1.077
FG: 1.014

2ndary 6/4: Added 1oz Mt Hood, .5 oz Centennial to secondary

Bottled: 6/8

ABV: 8.5%

Round Two #14\Second Pint POP

I can smell the Definitely Is IPA from a foot and a half away. So, I’ve ordered a hazy…

Definitely Is IPA-hazyI might not have, if my initial exchange with the barkeep had gone a little different:

“I’m not sure about the IPA or the Amber ale. Have you had either?” I asked.

“Well, they’re very specific. It just depends on which you’re in the mood for.”

Well. Thanks for that illuminating comment. I take a risk on the beer, because it’s a collaboration between Breakside and Wayfinder and they’re usually pretty solid.

The nose on this fades rapidly, and that’s…both bad, since I don’t get those flavors now, and a little good, since a radius of 18 inches is a strong initial olfactory broadcast.

It tastes like grapefruit soda with a champagne finish. Sweet, especially in the middle, a little rind-pithy near the end with a very dry finish to complete the cycle.

Barely a third of the way into the drink though, and that pith quality starts to amplify. It’s a good thing that this beer wants to finish dry, because that keeps the bitterness from sticking to my tongue for long.

It’s a bit of a shame, since the glass this has been served to me in is adorable. I feel as though a better beverage is due for this glass.

The second pour: Fuck Nazis.

I’m sorry. I’m distracted: Portland was subject to ‘protests’ by white nationalist groups today, and while there was a healthy showing by people who recognize that this is all terrible, there was also the Portland Police closing the Hawthorne bridge and escorting the white nationalists across it. The media got their panties in a bunch by people breaking the windows on a bus of fascists leaving the city (said fascists had started attacking people with hammers), and the racists got a great photo op and a police escort.

Because the racists and fascists are who we should be giving consideration to.

The description of what is, honestly, an adequate hazy IPA, fades in relevance to the fact that in 2019, I have to publicly say: fuck Nazis, because the Powers That Be have decided that making money is far more important than stopping fascism.

That’s weird, right? It’s certainly weird enough to put me off this beer.

Today’s second pint goes to Point of Pride.