Category Archives: Festivals

Very Cool

It looks like Fresh Fest was a success!

(You can read about Fresh Fest from my post a last week, but the new article does a great job of recounting it as well).

I hope this helps raise the profile of brewers of color and the contributions they make to the industry. Why?

I can’t say it any better than the people from the article:

“The more diversity, the more minds, the better the industry is and the better that culture becomes,”

Fresh Fest

There is, for me, a lot to unpack in this article about Fresh Fest, which is the first festival to highlight breweries owned by African-Americans.

Now, I don’t feel qualified to comment on the difficulties that a person of color might have getting into the brewing industry, nor am I qualified to speak to the cultural forces that want to insist that people of color (and, for me, by extension, poor people) merely want cheap things. (I don’t think they do).

But I believe that reading and listening to the experience of those people is important and I absolutely believe that beer-or any food, really- should be for everyone. We all have to eat and it’s generally better when we eat together.

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

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!

The OBAs

I was a steward for the judging portion of the Oregon Beer Awards last weekend, which was a great time and a very well run event. I can’t post many pictures because we were asked to keep any identifying information off social media until after the awards are given at the end of February.

empty cardboard boxesStill, as part of a team that helped serve 1,029 different beers over 36 hours, I can tell you that we went through a lot of beer. Those empty boxes? Not even an eighth of what we dealt with.

Still, I got to see a lot of bottles, not just a few cans and more crowlers than I think we’d really like.

(From a pouring vantage, crowlers cause the most spillage, and wax topped bottles are the biggest pain in the butt to open, especially when you’re under a deadline.)

I also got to try some delicious beer and some questionable ones, though most relevantly, I got to meet some cool people. That’s really what it’s all about.

Well. That and the spoils.

Cases of beer
Twelve cases of beer isn’t a bad haul!

SheBrew 2018

Same as last year- The disclaimer: I know the people involved in putting this event together.

That said, I’m pleased to be promoting SheBrew again, as it’s the only local festival I know that spotlights the accomplishments of women brewers, both amateur and professional. Last year there were over 100 entries for the competition portion of the fest, coming from twenty-two states! This year I suspect will have even more entries, which is really cool.

Then there is the festival portion, where the amateur brews were poured and professional brews are offered alongside them-this year all of the beers offered by the pros will be made by women and many, I’m told, are being brewed specifically for the event!

The competition is February 24th and the entry deadline is the 15th, so get on it if you want in.

The festival, which is open to everyone, is on March 3rd and should be a great time.

 

 

Benfest 2017

In the Portland brewing scene, there are a lot of brewers with the surname Ben and….well any excuse to throw a party, right? Thus: Benfest-a festival with beers mostly made by people named Ben, or in honor of, as this year also saw the passing of Ben Flerchinger, a loved local brewer and part of the proceeds went to his family to help with the expenses of death.

Sigh. Sorry, folks. Looks like it’s going to a week with more downer feelings than usual.

Here’s the mildly edited notes!

Gigantic Benmosa; grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple. I’m not sure this is even beer, so much as a fruit drink that might have alcohol in it. Even the bitterness on the finish is heavily reminiscent of the pith of grapefruit. I don’t think it’s for me-that pith note isn’t something that I like. But it’s definitely what it says it is! And if you like mimosas, you should give this a go.

Breakside First Blanche; witber. This beer feels soft on my palate. Almost like a hug. It’s also very straightforward; little wheat malt in the nose, a dollop of tartness on the finish. I’m more into this one.
Gigantic/Sasquach collab, Been There Freshed That; fresh hop pale. Smells like band aid. Tastes similar. Pass.
36776416740_a04d66a981_cCoin Toss Benvention; Imperial mild. Milds are very difficult for me to tell you about. Like brown ales, their strength is in their forgettable qualities. There’s just enough malt happening here that I have something to chew on. It’s 5.2% ABV, which I don’t object to, but why not just call this an ESB? Probably because I don’t know enough about styles to say. But sit me down with a pitcher of this and a plate of nachos and I’m a happy camper.
Lucky Lab Benedict Palmer; lager with lemon and ice tea. Nose of sulphur. That makes my face wrinkle. There’s a corn note after that and this doesn’t unwrinkle me. The flavor has some corn and lemon in there, but they do not mesh well.
Three Creeks Stampede Strong ale; American strong. I cannot pick up anything on the nose to save my life. However the beer hits my tongue softly, gives me a nice roasted flavor, followed up by some sweetness. The Stampede also has a pleasant heft to it; the beer might hit the tongue softly but it rolls around with a little weight. That sets up the finishing hop bitterness and just a tiny pop of effervescence to end. The Stampede Strong makes me want to sit with some buttered popcorn in a movie theater. I feel like that would be a great environment with a pretty nice salty offset to the beer.
Laurelwood Ben There Done That; Kolsh. OK, so my current stance is: Old Town’s Kolsch > everyone else’s, which is why I wanted to give Laurelwood’s offering a shot.
Old Town is still safe. The nose on this Kolsch has that lager old hop nose that isn’t so awesome. However, after that? There’s a really pleasant beer to drink. It’s sweet, with a nice rounding effervescent pop around the sides of my tongue that I’m enjoying. It’s definitely solid, even if it doesn’t take the crown.
Deschutes BlENded; saison. Now this is a nose that pops up like a jack in the box. Spicey, a little funk and a little fruit in there. This beer is…a touch unusual. Mostly saison. That is: wheat malt, Belgian yeast spice note, but the finish is fruity and sparkly, like grapefruit champagne. I find this beer really interesting and very quaffable. Have at it.
36776417350_697553de95_cGigantic Macallan Barrel aged barleywine, pic. Oooooo boy. This is basically alcoholic, unsulfured molasses. Brown sugar syrup that will give you a buzz. It is REALLY good. It is also a beer to have one of, and a small pour at that, because at 15% it’s more dominating than Michael Jordan.

54-40 Half Cocked; IPA in the cask with Citra hops. The nose is ALL Citra, with sweet orange and lemon scents. There’s also just a little nudge of cut grass in there, too. The beer itself: solid. the nose is amazing, the liquid is very good but I almost want a more carbonated version so that it finished with some pop. However, the body of the beer has a solid malt adding a nice sweetness and hint of grain before the hop bitterness, which isn’t very intense at all, sweeps in to round it all out.

Ecliptic Benith; Grapefruit Gose. Wow, this nose is just a nice confluence of sour and salt and fruit. My first sip has me exclaim because of its tartness in comparison to all the other beers I have had today. That isn’t to suggest it’s bad, though. Just the opposite; the tartness is on point and the finish is dry like white wine. The contrast that this beer provides from the other styles here is more than welcome and I have to say, this might be the first Ecliptic beer I can endorse.