Tag Archives: obf

OBF Wrapup

This line, redacted from my notes (because I didn’t have a whole sample) says a lot:

Got a hit of Fuz’s 13 virtues cherry wheat which has a funky nose and thin body. Nope.

That was very much the theme for me at this year’s OBF. Lots of fruit beers, most of which were weaksauce.

Now, I don’t object to fruit beer per se. The problem is that as a style, it’s vaguely defined. You can really make it about anything; there are no defining hops, malts or yeasts for that style as it’s about the ‘base style’. Doesn’t matter what you do, so long as fruit is a component.

Compared to nearly any other style where there are rigid parameters that give people a sense of what they ought to expect from that beer. That doesn’t mean that brewers can’t break those parameters: it’s done all the time! However, when you tell me something is an IPA with Lager yeast, with a hint of Carafa II malt, because I’ve had IPAs and lagers and Carafa II malt, I have a sense of what to expect.  So how do I really compare or tell you if that cherry wheat ale works? What kind of cherries are being used? What kind of yeast is standard? How hoppy should be beer beer? etc, etc, etc.

Because there isn’t a North Star to set my compass by, it’s very difficult to make proper evaluation . Fruit beers should be fruit forward but still to style. Well how the heck to I evaluate that? What tells me that something is fruity enough? What characteristics do I really seek out to help discover the merits?

To top it all off, fruit beer is difficult to do and I propose that part of the reason for this is because, again, the style is vague. I had beer after beer that was supposed to be fruit -centric and found it to be lackluster. In some cases, this came as a real surprise to me, because I tend to like breweries like Gigantic or Natian, and I know those people understand what they’re doing. I just didn’t think it went well and I would like to be able to say: This didn’t work for me because versus this just didn’t work, and speak with some authority.

The winners of the OBF for my palate were: Widmer’s thai beer, with touches of lime and ginger. Old Town Brewing’s Portmunder, a nice, drinkable ale that was underrated by the crowd, I think. Finally, Elysian’s Oddfellow pear ale, a beer that I have no doubt benefited from their Apocalypse experiments of 2012. So it’s not that fruit beers are inherently bad, I just wish there was a way for me to get a better grip on what they should be, so I can understand better if they made the grade or not.

Finally, I wish that a few more breweries had made beers for the OBF–I’m looking at you, 21st Amendment or 10 Barrel. At over 85,000 people, this is one of the biggest events of the year! Showing up with a beer I can by at Fred Meyers is not making a case for your brewery.

OBF Beer Reviews

I present, for your edification, my bare bones, only barely edited OBF notes on beer.

Gigantic’s & Juice; nose of mango! Grapefruit is too strong and bitter, flavor centered around the rind of the fruit. Really dislike.

Prodigal Son: Jackson Sundown (pictured)
Sweetness to this saison I was not expecting. Dry finish though: I enjoyed initially but after that it gets dirty. Muddy. Don’t like that.

Natian: Herbal Tenacious
It just tastes like weak tea, the herbal qualities lingering in a hateful way.

Ice Harbor: hefe
Dry Belgian nose,which I like, actually resembles a saison with its dryness, and I like that

Ohio Brewing: O’hoppy IPA
I don’t know that I love this, but after all the other weak sauce, this is a relief. Probably better as a red ale; this is not an IPA, but I’ll take it.

Yakima Craft Brewing: Heather
Why do I get fruit in the nose? Honey providing something? Clean finish hard to notice the heather. Not bad at all.

Surly: Overrated IPA
It’s got the bitter part down, solid not too piney, but there isn’t a middle to speak of.

Wildwood brewing: Organic Ambitious Lager
It’s good.  A beer I would have midafternoon on a Saturday when its too hot.

Stone: IPA (pictured, Firewood Walker in the background)
Very bitter, nice , biscuit note through the whole thing two asshole bitches cut in line, fuck them
(Late note: I think I might have enjoyed this beer more if I hadn’t had to stand in line for 10+ minutes and then been cut in front of.)

Elysian: Oddland Sliced Pear Ale
Nose is pleasant, with a solid malt strain enjoyed more than HUB’s pear offering.

Deschutes double impact Belgian ipa
Isssssss….ok. The drier finish of a Belgian is present, the hop nose and bitterness is there, but after waiting 15+ minutes, I didn’t care.

Boundary Bay: Bravo pale ale
Not much nose but it’s ok. Wants food, bitter finish, but drops off nicely.

I’ll wrap this all up on Friday.

OBF Haikus

Steel drums annoy
But then the conch shell comes out
What fresh hell is this?

Your apology
Rings as hollow as your soul
When you cut in line

Die die die die die
Repeat this five times next line

The variety
Of fruit beers is good but
The quality lacks

Dudebros to the north
Fortunately few beers to
Entice me over

Overhearing leads
To suggestions from strangers
My favorite part

OBF Wrapup

I want to start off with the good: everybody at the OBF who I met or dealt with was friendly and pretty cool. I even started talking to a man who was visiting from Pennsylvania, tagging along on his wife’s business trip. He asked me about a cool day trip and I told him to go to Mount Hood, then circle around to Hood River. Pretty awesome! Plus, the weather was really mild, which is a pretty nice boon at the end of July.

There was a pretty severe issue though: The serving mugs stunk, smelling of some unholy mixture of corn and rubber. I started telling people that it was like having to sniff a robot scrotum, if that gives you any sense of what we were dealing with. Worse: rinsing the mug out didn’t seem to help until at least halfway through my day!

As a result, I have to qualify nearly every beer I drank here: I either couldn’t smell it, or held my breath so I wouldn’t smell it because the mugs were so awful. That was a problem as you can see from some of my notes, starting with:

Dogfishhead: Positive Contact
Nose is really weird, milky ish? It’s light drinkable and has a hint of Saison spice to it. The style was listed as an experimental lager and I think it suffered greatly in my mug.

Maui Brewing: La Perouse White
Nice flavor very light fruity in a good sense. The style was witbier and I could sense there was something pleasant about this beer but again, the mug overrode some of my senses. (It was at this point that I talked to some other people and found out that everyone was having an issue with the mugs.)

Flying Fish: 16 Wild Rice IPA
I liked it! First beer I could smell, with a nice piney scent. I picked this one up because 1) it’s from New Jersey and 2) they brewred this beer with wild rice, brown rice and white rice, along with some base malts. I’m pretty sure that this let them have such a  hop forward beer yet somehow the rice holds it together. That is not something I would ever have expected.

My notes say the FF was the sixth beer I tasted and I could still smell robo scrote. Just sayin’.

Double Mountain: Goliathon
I wrote: “Velvety mouth and yummy Belgian thing.” They listed this beer as a Dark American-Belgo style and that probably sums it up well. I believe I went for this specifically because of what I saw on my Twitter feed on Friday. It was around this point that the mug I had was starting to lose it’s evil robo sex smell. By then, I’d washed it out with hot water, twice, borrowed from the Oregon Brew Crew’s brewing demonstration.

Odell: St Lupulin Extra Pale
I dig it! It is a really good pale NW style, meaning it was overhopped. Still tasty though. At this time, I also sipped on Prodigal Son’s American pale and found it vegetal and did not like it at all.

Red Rock: Elephino Double IPA
I wrote: “look you bring a double IPA to the NW motherfucker, you’d best bring the ruckus!
There’s no nose here! OK otherwise and a nice finish but double IPA? No.”
We’ll say that I was feeling my oats at this point and move on, shall me?

Full Sail berliner weissFull Sail: Chris’ Summer Delight Berliner Weiss
I wrote: “Good on them for a very different ale. It’s tart qualities at the finish really do help and crazy enough, make it feel summery like lemon aid.” This was a nice beer to finish out on; not to heavy or boozy and as the day was getting much warmer by now, the refreshing qualities of this beer really stood out.

Brewer’s Dinner notes

I had a really wonderful time at the dinner and I thank the organizers for letting me attend. I was able to try quite a few beers and although I had a bit of a challenge trying to take notes and photos with my iPad, I still had a great time. Although the beers I had don’t look to be on the menu for the actual festival, perhaps my experiences of the breweries can be a guideline for anyone else going.

Rusty Truck’s Pedal to the Metal double IPA
Tasty and not overwhelming, I enjoyed it. My compatriots were split, so your mileage may vary.

Pale Horse Raven’s Roost Imperial IPA
A little dirty at the end like organic beer. Nobody seemed to enjoy this and I’ve been told to avoid them in the future.

Deschutes GratzerDeschutes Gratzer
That…is different with smoky notes in nose and finish: not sure I chose wisely. Others really liked it so I’d say take a risk on this one if you like those kinds of flavors.

10 Barrel Seifriti 6 Belgian
Spicy in a nice low key way, went nice with pork dinner. This one was recommended and it paid off well.

Old Town pilsner
Not bad but demonstrates why pils need to be served cold.

Old Town PilsBurnside lime kolch
Smelled like Creamed corn but had a nice crisp flavor with a hint of lime. If I ignore the smell, it’s pretty good.

Now as an aside here; I’m not sure what people were thinking, serving a beer like a kolsch or a pilsner at an event like this, where servers are poured pitchers of beer, then those pitchers sit and wait in the heat, until someone comes along to ask for it. Which means that the beer warms up and lagers just don’t react well to such conditions. That’s why they smelled like corn and it’s really not an appealing drink scent.

Coalition Mr. Pigs pale
Tasted a bit thin, to my surprise.

That’s all my notes said! Everybody have a safe weekend.