Posted: June 24th, 2009 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Events & Tastings, Newsworthy | 1 Comment »
It’s getting to be that time when I plan out what beers to try at the Oregon Brewers Festival at the end of July, so it’s handy that they put together a more robust list this year than in previous years. Now the list has name, style, description, ABV, and IBUs. Nice!
Now I wish someone would tell the breweries that we don’t need so many types of IPAs, and that maybe, just maybe, they could bring an interesting specialty beer or two instead of the same stuff they bring every year. If I can buy it in a bottle at New Seasons, do you really need to have that as your OBF entry? I think not.
Posted: February 9th, 2009 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Craft Brew, Events & Tastings, Experiments, Homebrew, Styles, Wheat | 6 Comments »
Inspired by Caldera’s ginger ale at the 2008 Oregon Brewers Festival, I thought that a wheat beer brewed with ginger would be a swell idea. I emailed Caldera’s brewer about their recipe, and he replied that they added ginger chips at flame off or hopback. Since I use neither a hopback or propane burners, I consulted a couple of other recipes and decided that 5oz of ginger in the final 20 minutes of boil should suffice.
The wort is chilling in the kitchen sink at this moment, and I’m hoping that I added enough ginger. The recipe was simple enough that if I need to increase the ginger for next time it’s no big deal – it’s only 6.6lbs of bulk light/wheat malt, 3/4oz of hops, a vial of liquid yeast, plus however much ginger I want to use. The ingredients cost roughly $30, so that’s a $3.60 6-pack. Nice!
I based it on “Lovebite Weisbier” in the Joy of Homebrewing. I’ll pitch the hefeweizen yeast before I go to bed, and we’ll see what the fermentation fairy brings in the morning!
Posted: November 9th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Chit Chat, Events & Tastings | No Comments »
At last, the beer list for the 2008 Holiday Ale Festival has been released! I’m making my short list of beers I really want to try, and while there are some definite snoozers (seriously, Alaskan Brewing, you’re bringing the Oatmeal Stout?), there are some interesting options.
Here are the ones I’m really looking forward to trying:
Of course, there are 30 other beers to taste, but these are my top 6 must have beers of the season. I’ll report back after December 5 with reviews of the event and beers.
Now back to my Kona Brewing Pipeline Porter…
Posted: October 22nd, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Events & Tastings | 1 Comment »
What’s that? It’s a sunny October afternoon and there’s a beer tasting going on down the street from my house? Perfect! ‘Tis the season for fresh hop beers, and the Fresh Hops Tastival at Hopworks gave OR/WA breweries a chance to show their seasonal stuff. I dropped my cat off at the vet up the street for abscess repair (ugh, why must he lose all fights he gets in to?) and drowned my sorrows with friends amongst delicious beers.
In general, I’m not a huge fan of super hoppy beers, so a Fresh Hop beer extravaganza could be treacherous for me. The good news is that there are a lot of brewers out there that know the difference between a good beer and a beer with just a crapload of hops added.
To cut to the chase, here’s what I had:
Cascade Lakes Warrior Fresh Hop Ale
First ale of the afternoon, it was crisp, medium-bodied, and surprisingly not floral or bitter. A good start!
Another non-hoppy choice, this was smooth with notes of caramel and malt the way a bock should be. Well-balanced, though, and not too sweet or strong.
Hopworks Parsec Pale Ale
I couldn’t resist an ale with a Star Trek bent, and the Parsec Pale is an improvement on their regular Crosstown Pale. Not as bitter, smoother, and certainly more alcoholic (6.9%!). Still on tap at Hopworks as of 10/22!
Lucky Lab’s The Mutt
I picked this because the hops was a homegrown mix, but the beer wasn’t that impressive compared to the other offerings. At the time, it seemed a little watery and mild. But I had a pint at the Lab two days later, and the beer had more body and caramel flavor.
This was a pretty standard golden ale, nothing super exciting, but generally drinkable and tasty. I’d like to try it again, and I definitely liked it better than the Anniversary Wit they had at the Oregon Brewers Festival.
Fort George Cohoperative
Another beer a I picked because it was brewed with homegrown hops, it was decent but not noteworthy.
Hopworks Fest of Fury
To be fair, I had a sample of this a couple of weeks ago and said “Damn, this is good!” back then. Well damn, it’s still good! Caramel and malt flavors, but not super sweet, and so darn smooth. I wish it were still on tap, because I would drink this every freakin’ day.
Pelican Elemental Ale
Usually, I avoid all the IPAs, but I tasted this when a friend got it and decided to try my own. It was good stuff! Not overly floral, biting, or bitter for an IPA, it was surprisingly well balanced and refreshing. I’d actually order a pint of it if I had the chance!
Beer Valley Black Flag Imperial Stout
I saved the stout for lasting, knowing it would kill my tastebuds if I had it too soon. This was good stuff! Not as sickly sweet as some imperial stouts, it had delicious dry chocolate and coffee notes with a hint of roasted nut flavor. So good! Maybe I should move to this magical “Beer Valley”…
In the end, Fest of Fury was the standout beer for me. Something about the smooth caramel flavor just sang to my tastebuds. If you missed the Portland tastival, you have one last chance in Eugene this weekend! I love a three-weekend festival with changing locations. I’ll definitely go to this again next year!
Posted: July 30th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Beer Reviews, Events & Tastings | 1 Comment »
July is the holy month of beer in Oregon, and the Oregon Brewers Festival definitely holds the high holy days. I always block out the first day of the festival on my calendar and make sure everyone knows I won’t be in the office that day. A girl’s gotta have some priorities!
With 72 beers on tap it would be difficult to try them all. So I make a short list of beers I must try, then beers I wouldn’t mind trying. This year I got through 14 beers before my tastebuds pooped out on me. And so, the beers:
Surly Brewing’s Coffee Bender
Oh man, this is the beer I want to have for breakfast. It’s rich and hearty like good black coffee, but it’s a beer. Not at all bitter the way cold coffee can be, not sweet, but perfectly balanced like the perfect cup of joe. Plus, they have a great logo!
Bell’s Brewing Porter
It’s hard to follow a stout coffee like Coffee Bender, so Bell’s Porter seemed a little weak and watery. As it warmed it improved, with stronger coffee notes and a little bitterness.
Deschutes Brewing 20th Anniversary Wit
After some palette-cleansing water, I decided it was time to move on to a Belgian style. Deschutes was serving from their crazy keg-shaped trailer, which was pretty awesome. The wit wasn’t awesome, but it was pretty good. Banana and cloves in the nose, but lighter than the average wit. We decided that it would make a good beer on a hot day when you didn’t want something sweet or high in alcohol. A fancy Pabst, if you will
New Holland Brewing Dragon’s Milk
Who could turn down a beer with a name like that? An ale aged in oak barrels, with that sweet oaky aroma, taste of alcohol at the back of your throat (8.5%), the flavor of chocolate that’s just bitter enough to balance the sweetness of the beer. Not a great hot day beer, but in the winter? Oh yes, I’d drink me some more!
Caldera Brewing Ginger Ale
Not the ginger ale you might expect! This was a pale ale brewed with a whole bunch of ginger in it. A crisp ale with a good malt flavor, but the zesty aroma of ginger and a tangy ginger flavor up front and a citrus finish. Really refreshing! I’d drink this all day on a hot day. It was so good that at the end of my drinking day, I got a full glass of it.
Kona Brewing Mac Nut Brown
I’ve grown to love many of Kona’s beers, from the porter to the lager, so the nut brown sounded like a good bet. It was a classic brown ale with a slightly bitter finish. I was disappointed that it had almost no flavor of macadamia nut honey. Decent beer, but not a stand out.
Standing Stone Brewing Almond Nut Brown
Well if you’re going to have one nut brown, why not try another? It was great to compare the two browns at the festival side by side. The almond nut brown was wonderfully smooth, had a great nutty flavor but wasn’t sweet, and had a creamy mouthfeel. Next to Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown, it’s my favorite nut brown out there!
Roots Organic Brewing Calypso Ale
And now for something completely different! Billed as an apricot and chili beer, this was really a chili beer. It smelled like pepperjack cheese, spicy and delicious. The scotch bonnet peppers added an interesting savory dimension, overwhelming the hops and apricot. At first I didn’t think the beer was spicy, it just tasted like peppers. But then WHAM, it was spicy! A warm tickle at the back of my palette. I was impressed that they pulled off a drinkable and tasty chili beer.
Iron Horse Brewery Quilter’s Irish Death
I had to try this one based on the name. Too much of this might be your death indeed! It’s an imperial sweet stout, so it’s 7.8% and quite hefty. It was almost warm and comforting like a quilt, and would be delicious in the winter.
Fifty Fifty Foggy Goggle White
Another wacky beer, this was like a hefeweizen meets a white. Cloudy and citrusy like a hefe, but flavors of clove and orange like a white. The addition of rosehips in the brew made for a tart finish like a geuze. Definitely and interesting beer!
Fearless Brewing Cream Ale
I love a cream ale, the interesting caramel and vanilla flavors of a good one just make my day. The Fearless version had a good malty aroma and flavor, but fell flat on the caramel and vanilla notes. The finish had a light citrus flavor. Pretty good, but not as delicious at Pelican Brewing’s Kiwanda Cream Ale.
Pelican Brewing Surfer’s Summer Ale
Speaking of the Kiwanda Cream Ale, I had to try Pelican’s summer seasonal. It was a crisp, malty ale with a lightly hopped finish. Tasted like the delicious spray off an ocean wave, refreshing and light. Not extraordinary, but a nice change from some of the more hefty beers of the day.
Goose Island Brewery Matilda
There were a lot of Belgian styles at the brewfest this year, and Matilda was one of the better ones I tried. It has a spicy sweet flavor with no floral hops note or bitterness, a cereal aroma (think Grapenuts), and a solid banana and spice flavor as it warms.
Old Market Pub Hopcask Triple Tripel Organic
I knew I was getting into a hoppy beer with this one, but I had to try an organic tripel anyway. This had a strong hops aroma, but not a floral one. The flavor was a little sweet on my tongue, but over all surprisingly well balanced. Of course, the finish was strongly of hops, so the takeaway was that it was overhopped for the style. But hey, I knew that when I ordered it! And interesting take on the tripel style, at any rate.
At the end of the day, Surly Brewing’s Coffee Bender and Caldera Brewing’s Ginger Ale were my two favorite beers. While at opposite ends of the beer spectrum, they were the two I could still taste from memory and wanted to have again. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s brewfest!