The Oregon Brewer’s Fest is in full swing now and I’ve got my (mildly) edited notes to share. As a bonus my friend Fuz came with me, took notes, and has allowed me to share those as well.
Between the two of us we got to try a whoooole lotta beer. His notes are in blockquote and…I think that’s all you need to know! Let’s have at it.
1) Chetco Brewing, The Chetco Effect pale. The sorachi hop nose is distinct and pleasant, the finishing bitterness not too prominent; as a first beer, this is solid. Clean, with a pretty dry finish, I can see myself having a full pour.
Beer 1: Ghost Runners Brewery, Chasing Fluffy Pink Unicorns:
Raspberry, pink peppercorn gose – it doesn’t over balance any flavors, but keeps them nicely in check. Perhaps a bit more of the saltiness of a gose would be welcome, but against fruit like raspberry a delicate touch is better.
2) Ancestry, Tiny Umbrellas IPA: grapefruit and melon in the nose. Onion in my mouth. I had two sips, just to make sure. And then? NOPE.
Beer 2: Three Creeks brewing, dry hopped apricot stonefly session ale – the beer delivers on all stages of the apricot, but it’s also the dried apricot, not fresh, and that means it’s less enjoyable for me. Dan liked it, but he also acknowledged that he’s fonder of dried apricot than I am.
3) Oproer, 24/7 IPA; I’m not getting a nose here and the finish tastes like dirt. “Clean dirt,” Fuz says, “but dirt.”
Beer 3: Perennial artisan ales, Ship of the Sun – terrible. Can’t finish. Can barely start. I suspect spoilage in transit. But: bandages should not be the aftertaste of a beer.
4) New Holland, Dragon’s Milk- Thai Curry. This is quite interesting. While there is a strong element of dried fruit in there-raisin is what I pick up and it’s all over-the finish has a definite Thai spice note to it. This is a rarity for me: a spicy beer that I can drink and enjoy. I don’t think I’d want a full pint of it but I know that this beer is going to rank very high on someone’s list.
Beer 4: Lost Abbey. I wish I could say that it was better. But it’s not. It’s perfectly fine, as these things go. But…
5) Sasquatch, Kremlin Ginger Blonde- The lime and ginger in the nose is distinct and mouth watering. The beer itself is just fantastic. The ginger isn’t overpowering, the lime is a nice hip check to it, and the beer is crisp and delicious. Just great. Pour me more of this, please.
Beer 5: Dunedin, Passionate Disenchantment – is actually not bad. Serrano pepper, coffee, and saison all do eventually-eventually work together. But it feels as if the brewery is trying to do too much with one beer, even a beer that can carry spice flavors. The pepper lingers on the palate-it’s not disagreeable, but I will need a stronger beer after this to stand up to this one.
6) Bridgeport, Deep Cuts: India Pale Wheat. This isn’t a terrible beer but it’s a bit weird. The malts feel like they are in conflict with the hops, where I don’t get a proper feel for the hops or the malts and…it’s muddied. I don’t think it’s flawed, but I’m not sure this was the best idea.
Beer 6: Oregon City, Plumbelievable – it’s too Johnny one – note, and the note hasn’t been built up on the best of plums, even though it’s built off of two fruits. The lacto detracts from the beer. It’s not a bad beer, but it’s too simple and too generic for my taste.
7) Cloudburst, Tigers In Tiny Spaces pale. This is…OK. That isn’t a bad thing. But it isn’t popping out at me either. In a way, this beer is a sip it and forget it but as with some beers, not noticing it is actually a plus. Give it a shot. Maybe I’m overlooking something.
Beer 7: Burnside brewing, Cannonball!: it’s actually quite pleasant, with the barrel making itself known. And each of the fruits comes through (cherry and pineapple), with the aftertaste definitely lingering more pineapple. Were I making it, 5% less pineapple. But it’s certainly a nice, round, well-balanced beer.
8) Boneyard, Enzymatic IPA: nose is faint but hints of honeydew and grapefruit. Unfortunately my pour was served both warm and a bit flat. It’s not bad…but it could be a heck of a lot better if it was served cold and bubbly. I am not sure that I can really evaluate this beer properly because it’s serve was so off.
Beer 8: Breakside, Dreamboat – a thing of cromulence. That is what I can say, at this point. It’s not bad.
9) Caldera, Cousin Rick Triple IPA: First thing I notice is that the color on this beer is outstanding. I love that amber hue. The nose harkens back to IPAs of old, with pine being the outstanding scent, though there isn’t much else. But as an IPA, this holds up very nice. A good roasted flavor, followed by a sweetness, followed by a hefty but not scouring bitterness, and I’m totally in for this.
Beer 9: Great Divide, grapefruit radler: the nose is off-putting. Day-old rind with a bit of flesh attached. The beer itself is perfectly drinkable, if it tends a bit more to the grapefruit than I would think would be in style.
10) Elk Horn, Sirberlin. A concoction of beer, lemongrass and lychee fruit, the first thing I notice is the grassy nose. The beer itself is tart, and high up on the thirst quenching scale. I enjoy this beer and would say that it’s working with a light pale malt base, which really doesn’t get in the way of the fruit/souring elements. Nice.
Beer 10: Pelican, Negar Pelicano: I like it, but it’s a bit thinner than Negro Modelo and similar beers. Still: very nice closing beer.
11) Druthers brewing, The Dare Gose: The nose has a little funk, a little coriander and hints of sour. The beer itself is pleasingly tart, with a dry finish reminiscent of white wine. Yeah, I dig it.
12) Crooked Stave, Single Hop IPA: the nose on this is full out mandarin orange and I love it. The flavors are thin, with a dirty bitterness on the finish. What a disappointment.
13) Old Town, Coconut Curryiocity: I don’t know what the fuck is going on here, but it tastes like meat.
14) Widmer, Thrillhaus: first off, if this is a copper colored beer then I am a monkey. Straw/golden if anything. But more relevantly, there is no nose and the beer tastes like I don’t even know what. It isn’t good. Bad corn, is what I finally come up with before pouring it out.
15) Walking Man, Yoga Pants ale. The nose brings the lavender and after that you have a smooth, sweet but not cloying ale with just the right amount of herbal flavor. I’d have a pint.
16) Terminal Gravity, Knuckle Buster red: the nose smells like caramel and the flavors support it very nicely. It also doesn’t weigh heavy on the tongue, which is a little surprising. It’s pleasant, drinkable and a fine beer to finish on.
And that’s it! I hope everyone has fun at the festival and gets to try some great beer.