Tag Archives: Oregon Brewer’s Fest

OBF 2017 x 2

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.

36045127992_8e04bc0a5a_z1) 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.

35818906580_598a099f93_z4) 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.

36077114311_18773d2981_z9) 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.

35818900250_f9a1f3cd72_z11) 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.

35407277433_e634f12e31_z16) 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.

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OBF 2016 Review

I had a realization walking through the 2016 festival this year: so long as the crowds aren’t insane, I really enjoy it. Because it’s one of the few places in Portland where I see people from different cultures coming to share beer. During an era of American politics where thick lines are being drawn to divide us from them, an event that’s just an “us” is nice to attend.

As always, these are the lightly edited notes. If I don’t think the description does enough, I’ll try to say whether or not I think one should try the beer. If there are mistakes, please forgive me, as I’m hurriedly trying to get these up so they may be of use to other festival goers.

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Old Town Brewing ale

Old Town Brewing, Kentucky Refresh-Mint: It has a mint nose, and a hint of lime at the finish. The goal was to make a mint julep beer and…well, I have to say they did it! I like it-YMMV.

Jing-A Brewing, Eightfold Path imperial stout: nose of chocolate pudding mix, dry, a little sweet. The flavors mostly match this, with a bitter chocolate note on the finish. But…this is a a collaboration with Elysian & 10 Barrel which means one of two things: This is a subsidiary of ABInBev, or it’s a way for Jing-A to get their way into the US. If it’s the latter, then the bummer is that I don’t know what a true-blue JA beer tastes like. If it’s the former…hey, it’s a good beer.

Collaborator, We Rye’d Like Kings, session IPA: This is a pretty subtle beer. Low ABV, lots of hops but nothing overwhelming, a little grainy flavor in the middle. It’s meant to be a really drinkable beer and it is.

North Island, IPA: NW IPAs have really taken a hold across the world, is what I draw from this beer from Japan. It’s pretty solid for what it is though! Grapefruit bent with a little malt in the middle before the hops take over, it’s a solid example of the style.

Shonan, Wiezenbock: This has a bitter finish that I’m not sure should be there. And I don’t get a bit of toasty malt flavors either. I think they overhopped it. There’s a creamy start to this beer that doesn’t quite jibe either; all in all, pass.

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Doomsday CDA

Doomsday, Cascadia Fault CDA: nose hints of gasoline and the finish is, once again, emphasizing the burnt roasted quality of the malt instead of the hops. I was hoping for something better, because the name of the brewery is kinda rad, but this beer is just not a good take on the style.

Seaside, Honey Badger Blonde: The honey badger may give no fucks, but this beer is entirely fuckable. That…didn’t come out quite right. This is a light, crisp ale with a solid malt nose and a super clean finish. There’s a nugget of sweetness in the middle and it’s an eminently drinkable ale.

 

 

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Melvin DPA

Melvin, 2×4 DIPIA: This is practically the definition of an exceptional juicy double IPA. Grapefruit nose, sweetness on the finish that’s strong enough to meet in a fine handclasp with the hoppy bitterness: have some.

Riverbend, Oregonized Love: It’s difficult to not let the good be the enemy of the great at this moment. Is this a bad IPA? No. But after the Melvin, it has too long a road to climb to meet the standard of the 2×4. I’d say give it a shot-but early.

Pints, Lemon Curd ESB: Lemon and a little spiciness on the nose. The lemon flavors pair quite nicely with the maltiness of the beer, with the lemon touching in enough at the finish to keep the beer really crisp. Recommended.

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Squatters Pale

Squatters, Bumper Crop: this has a great lavender nose and is super easy to drink. Sweet, with a little herbal pulse on the finish; I’m really enjoying this beer.

Brauerei Nothhaft, Rawetzer Premium Export Festbier oktoberfest/wiesn. This is exactly what it say it is. Complaint factor zero. It’s light, drinkable and a pleasant way to finish this festival.

 

Oregon Brewers Fest 2016

Twenty nine: that’s the number of breweries coming to the OBF this year that haven’t been there before. That’s a lot of beer to try and I’m pretty sure I won’t get to it all. On the upside, I’ve had beers from some of the local brewers already, so that narrows things down a little bit.

Still, looking at the list, there’s a pretty broad range of breweries, including a bunch from outside the US, which is super cool. The styles are, predictably, tilted heavily towards lighter fare; a lot of sessionable IPAs, lagers, fruit beers and the like. There’s still plenty of options though. So long as the beers are tasty, I don’t really mind the summertime bent.

I’ve got a press pass to the OBF this year and will be attending on the 29th. While I’ll be off all next week, I hope to have a post up either late the 29th or early on the 30th so people attending on the weekend can take whatever recommendations I’ve got. I’m not going to pick out any one brewery this year beforehand, because my process tends to lean more on “Is there no line for this beer? Let’s have that!” than “Hunt and acquire this.” What can I say? I don’t think lines are good for beer.

OBF 2015: the 2015-inging.

Once again, for your lively entertainment and this time before the festival is over, I present the (mildly edited) notes I took during the 2015 OBF.

I was fortunate enough to have my friend Fuz with me so you’ll see him referenced occasionally. I even took a few parenthetical notes about beers he had and let me try. Now let’s go!

Fuz snaps pictures while I go for the Maximius Brouwerij Salvator IPL (pictured). The nose on it is very nice, light, little chocolate malt, little hop character-touch of citrus, I think. However, the finish on this beer is nasty. Like green veggie bitterness and I do not enjoy this beer.

Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta is second and this is a better experience. Made with Earl Gray tea additions, the nose is prominent with that scent. Slight undercurrent of citrus hop but nothing to overwhelm the tea. The beer avoids a tea bitterness on the finish, wisely letting the hops do the work and the middle isn’t thick but strings the nose to the finish nicely enough. Fuz agrees; nice beer.

(Fuz beer: Lost Abby Witches Wit. Stinky, sulfury nose apropos to saison; flavors very good though.)

Anderson Valley: the Kimmie, the Yink, & the Holy Gose. This beer….tart, lemony tart. Lemon is actually a great reference here. On a hot day, a small glass of this for me would be quite refreshing. I don’t think I could do many glasses but having a nice puckery lightness, I could definitely do one. After all that, I notice a little bit of a wheat flavor, something bready to wink at ya before you go.

Breakside Rainbows & Unicorns (because Collaborator had a line. Fuck lines). I like the nose. Little bit of resin, little melon, nothing too strong. The bitterness shows up later, a long glance as you leave but the beer itself is light has a present but not demanding grapefruit flavor, and tastes fairly pleasant. Would go well with some salt & vinegar chips.

There’s a dude in a wild pink, teal & blue outfit, like Miami by the way of “gah, no” carrying a beatbox, looking to sell his hip hop cds. Ah, Portland.

(Fuz beer: Ft George stout, aged on peaches. He sniffs it 3x before taking a sip and looks unimpressed. “There wasn’t a peach grown within 100 miles of that beer”).

Laurelwood Hipster Sunburn-saison. This is just a nice little beer. Slight funk on the nose with a whiff of vanilla and then the beer is pleasantly sweet with a bright finish. I wish I had more to tell you but I like it and I hope people give it a shot. It’s pleasantly drinkable and should be tasted.

(Fuz: get a picture of me yelling at this beer. There’s this big part in the middle that doesn’t do anything and it’s like creamed corn. It’s the Payette and the nose is AWFUL, like chimera farts)

Melvin Hamber, hoppy amber. While I don’t give them much on the name of the beer, I didn’t think much of the name of the brewery either. But the beer? Forward piney nose, solid middle, pine finish and I like it. I would go back for another without questioning it for a second.

Sprecher Abbey Triple; I picked this up because the description mentioned a two hour boil. Two hours! But, this is smooth, sweetly fruity, nicely chewy, quite drinkable and at 8%+, it falls into that danger zone of “let’s have more-oops, too much”. Have some. Be careful.

Oh god. Oh, god. We are going to have to endure a jam band. You know how you can tell just from the way the bass player is doing his warmup/mic check, that you are going to have to listen to a shitty, shitty jam band? That ‘brwap-bap-bap-bap-brawp brap’ noise that they make doing some scale? Fuck everything about that.

Dunedin Mango Makrut Paradisio (pic). Front end is flowery and the middle is chocolate and then it all gets dirty and tastes like ass. No.

Tuatara Sauvinova-“International style pale ale”. What the hell does “international style” mean? Words should have meanings and in this case, the meaning is “this beer tastes like onions”. Avoid.

Boundary Bay Double dry hopped sorachi ace pale ale. It started well enough but the finish was dirty, dirty. Sigh. I suppose I’m going out how I arrived.

OBF 2015

It’s that time of year again: the Oregon Brewer’s Fest is coming up and they have once again been suckered-er, I mean, convinced– to give me a press pass.

This year’s festival is going to truly be international, with breweries returning from the Netherlands and new breweries coming from New Zealand! That is pretty damn cool to me, because it guarantees that there will be beer that I have never, ever had before.

It looks like there may be more than 90 beers, so there is no way I can try all of them and still stay healthy enough to do this again next year. I can say, though, that I’ve been advised to try Anderson Valley’s gose, Widmer’s Collaborator vanilla pale sounds interesting, Kaapse Brouwers Rye ale looks appealing-lagered and then fermented? OK.

Laurelwood’s Hipster Sunburn might have my favorite name, Melvin might have the dullest but the website presentation earns it some points and while I don’t know what Tuatara, Uiltje, or the Yeastie Boys are doing, exactly (their beers are listed but the websites don’t link) I do know that they ain’t from ’round here, so I’m in.

All in all it looks like another fine spread of ales, although, as always, I could use a touch more variety and a little less IPA.

2014 OBF Wrapup (and haiku)

Dudebros on the bus
Your vulgar misogyny
Is quite unwelcome

Maybe next time you
Should not imbibe before the
Event in question

Once again, we have my (mildly) edited notes for this year’s Oregon Brewer’s Fest! Let’s get moving.

Ex Novo: Black & Wheat fruit ale- raspberry nose-sweet, finish is very harsh,  dirty; thin middle.

Beer Valley: Heavy Sugars Honey Ale- (pic) Nose has a farmhouse/creamed corn taste. Hint of plum? But there isn’t much else. It needs more of something; as it is, it tastes ethereal. Color is a nice pink though.

Crux: Off Leash NW Session- Nice fruity nose. The finish is a little strong on grapefruit. Still, very drinkable in heat. More malt would’ve made this beer super.

Dogfishhead: Aged Strong Ale- I can’t decide on this one. It starts solid but I get a soapiness in the finish. It’s just harsh, young and not ready for prime time.

Elysian: Perfesser Belgian blonde- nose has a funk, thought it was Belgian yeast but no; Brettanomyces yeast is doing that. It’s restrained though, as a sour but the finish is pushing me away, getting more funky as I sip it.

North trailers are too
Hot: people gravitate to
Shade: more trees next year

Crowds make the Southern
Ales challenging to get
Nobody likes lines

Deschutes: Gluten Free NW Pale- Nice. Dry finish, dankish nose is not too strong, easy to drink. One of the better ales I had.

Logsdon Farmhouse: Straffe Drieling Belgian tripel-(pic) soft Bazooka Joe flavor with a hint of white wine dryness. Chamomile is notable, and somehow it all comes together to be pretty quaffable.

Sierra Nevada: Coffee Milk Stout (collaboration with Ninkasi)- There is no milk here. It is a coffee stout, and barely achieves that on mouthfeel. Sigh.

The Dudes: Grandma’s Pecan Brown english nut ale- Expectation of pecan not quite met but this is a nice brown ale. Roasted quality is nice, a little nutmeg but it’s restrained; all in all I like it.

Sprecher: Abbey Triple Belgian tripel- Nose is nosy. Bah. But the flavors are soft, nothing to clove, fruity or harsh. Dry finish. I like this quite a bit, once I get past the nose.

Nimbus: Old Monkeyshine Ale, strong ale- I got this in part because of the name, I’ll admit. The beer is roasty. It’s a little thin but it’s not a bad beer. Strong ales just need to have a bit more density/oiliness in the mouth, to me.

Fitger: Hoppulujah IPA- Nice IPA. Grapefruit nose, nice bite on finish but there is just enough restraint to make it all work., since there isn’t a big malt presence. Dig it.

 

Crazy 88

There are 88 beers available at the Oregon Brewers Fest this year.

Damn, that’s a lot. More than one man can safely get through and keep a job, and as always I will have to pick and choose but I really hate doing that beforehand. Until my boots are on the ground I don’t have the slightest idea what will be available.

Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t look forward at all: Ex Novo is a new brewery in town and I haven’t had their stuff at all, Crux has been consistently good since I was introduced to them last year, The Dudes’ and Sprecher are new to me and offering at least interesting styles of beer that I don’t see often at the OBF.

Worst case, there are always the reliables: Widmer, Pelican, Deschutes, Elysian; year after year they produce tasty, drinkable beer and usually they want to liven things up at the OBF. Sure, they’ll be popular but maybe I can find a time when the lines are juuuust short enough that my patience isn’t tested.

On top of everything else, it rained in Portland recently, so our heat wave has been broken, even if temporarily. That should make the event far more comfortable.