Monday, August 31, 2015

Portland Brewing Throws Festival to Celebrate Noble Scot’s Return


Enjoy Scottish Tradition and Summer’s End with Food, Beer and Free Family Fun

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 31, 2015) — As we transition to autumn from summer, dust off your stockings and suit up in that old plaid kilt; it’s time for Portland Brewing’s Scottish Festival! The family-friendly affair features traditional dance and bagpipe performances, highland games and activities, live music from the band, New Shilling, and of course, Portland Brewing’s Noble Scot Ale. The outdoor celebration is free to attend and all ages are welcome. 

The liquid star of the Scottish Festival is Noble Scot. The complex and full-bodied Scottish Ale boasts notes of toast and caramel and a sweet, subtle smokiness for the bonnie days of fall. In addition to malts — 2-Row Pale, Smoked, Carapils, Roasted Barley and Melanoidin, — the seasonal brew is created with Northern Brewer, East Kent Goldings and Willamette hops. “We are excited to see fall return so we can bring this beer back once again,” said head brewer, Ryan Pappe. “At 6.5%, it has some alcohol to help fortify the body as we transition through autumn from warm weather to cold.” ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 25

Along with festive beer and food, enjoy the show as professional Highland Games athletes put on a dynamic demonstration of Scottish customs. Among them: a sheaf toss, keg toss, as well as traditional cabers, hammers, and stones. 

What: Portland Brewing’s Scottish Festival

When: Saturday, September 19th from 1:00 pm — 5:00 pm

Where: Portland Brewing Taproom — 2730 NW 31st Ave, Portland, Ore. 97210

Ahead of the event, people can show off their Scottish garb by participating in an online photo contest — just make sure to use the #NobleScot on Facebook or Instagram to be entered to win a $100 gift card. The contest ends Friday, 9/18 and the winner must be present at Saturday’s event to collect their prize.

About Portland Brewing

Founded in 1986 by craft brewing pioneers, Portland Brewing was a forerunner of the Portland craft beer movement. Driven by a love for brewing great beer for the people of Portland, Ore. and beyond, Portland Brewing is committed to delivering the best every time. From unique small batches, to seasonal brews and new year-round offerings, beer drinkers can expect variety, innovation, quality and great-tasting beer in 2015 from a company that, simply, brews with a passion for beer. Portland Brewing is located at 2730 NW 31st Ave., Portland, OR 97210. For more information about Portland Brewing Company, head to their website,Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

BridgePort Brewing Company - Tilikum Crossing Orange Line IPA

Got a ticket to ride?
There are a lot of things about our city that make us Portlanders proud. There are also quite a few things that we like to ceaselessly complain about. One thing that fits into both of those categories is our public transportation system. My goodness...where do I even start?

Portland's public transportation system, TriMet, is top notch. It's a combination of light rail (known as the MAX), streetcars and buses that can get you anywhere you need to go in the Portland metro area and beyond. $2.50 will get an adult rider a ticket for any of the three modes of transportation for 2 1/2 hours of use. An all-day pass costs five bucks. I pay $100 for an unlimited monthly pass. When you consider payments, gas and insurance that's cheaper than running a car any way you look at it.

Portlanders are also very concerned about pollution, energy use and sustainability. It's what we do en masse. We care about the environment and many of my neighbors have shunned individual automobiles (I wish more would) and committed to full-time use of public transit to get to work.

Ah, but we Portlanders are a fickle lot. We spend as much time complaining about the state of our public transit system as we do riding it. It's never on time. It often breaks down. We have to rub elbows with smelly weirdos. It costs too much. It's poorly run. Blah, blah, blah. We're never satisfied. It's the Portland way. Don't judge us. You just wouldn't understand.

Recently, our light rail system was expanded to reach a greater number of citizens in the 'burbs. The MAX Orange Line is set to open later this month, providing service out to the city of Milwaukie from Portland State University in SE Portland. A new transit bridge was built to make it possible--the first new bridge to span the Willamette River in 40 years. It's kind of a big deal.

The Bridge was named Tilikum--don't you dare laugh--which is a native Chinook word meaning people, tribe or relatives. The bridge is strikingly beautiful and will carry thousands of Portland commuters across its span by foot, bike, train, streetcar and bus. Click HERE for photos and more information.

This is Portland, so naturally, a special beer needed to be created for the Tilikum Crossing and Orange Line inaugural. Who better to produce that beer than Portland's OG craft brewery, BridgePort Brewing? BridgePort did it up right with their very first White IPA, and they named it Tilikum Crossing Orange Line IPA.

I purchased a bomber of Tilikum Crossing at Fred Meyer for $7.49. It's a limited release brewed with Belgian yeast, orange peel and 25% wheat. It was dry-hopped with Lemondrop Hops and comes with an ABV of 6%.

The beer poured into my pint glass a hazy, golden orange color with a clumpy, foamy white head. The head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A full cap was left behind, along with some spotty lace in the glass. Quite a lovely beer upon initial pour and inspection.

Aroma was lemony hops and biscuity malt. Spicy, herbal Belgian yeast. Floral notes.

Taste followed the nose. Lemon and orange flavors. Bready, biscuity malt. Crisp, clean wheat. Mildly bitter, lemony hops on the finish.

Medium to slightly thinner mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Dry finish. Those lemony hops and Belgian yeast flavors left subtly behind on the palate at the end. Nice.

Overall, this is an easy drinking White IPA. I've never been too wild about this style, but it works for me. Good stuff and an excellent representation of the grace and smooth lines of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge in liquid form. I'm giving this beer a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Wolf's Cane Shake of the Week: TOO SOON for Pumpkin Beer!

Ding dang it!
Due to a recent medical mishap that I'm slooooowly recovering from, I need to use a cane to steady myself and/or keep from falling into the gutter face first. I know, I know, I'm old and infirm. What ya gonna do? I put hot rod flame stickers on it, a la House, but there's really no cool factor to a cane, no matter how jauntily I try to walk down the street with it.

I really only need the cane when I'm ambling to the bus stop or find myself at a place where I need to stand for a long period of time. No big deal, but I figure that if I'm going to have this damn cane around for a while, I might as well put it to full use.

Those who know me already have me appropriately pegged as a grumpy, old crank. Now, I have a cane that I can shake at those excessively tatted and Swiss cheese-ily pierced hipster kids when they park in front of my house or play that crazy rave music too loudly. My gawd! How do they listen to that crap? DANG KIDS!

Wait, did that lady in the Berkies just let her overly-coiffed lapradoodle crap on the parkway without cleaning it up? Hey, lady! Yes! I'm shaking this cane in YOUR general direction! EEEE, OHHH, COUGH!

What? Portlandia is filming in my neighborhood again? Git the hell outta here, you Hollyweirdos! See this cane shakin', Fred and Carrie? WHEEZE, SPUTTER!

As you can tell, I'm having a lot of fun with my cane shaking, which has led me to create a new segment for my blog called Wolf's Cane Shake of the Week.

Today, I'm shaking my cane at the brewers who are putting their pumpkin beers out before the summer is even officially over. I saw several in the cold case at Fred Meyer today. What the hell? I'm not a big pumpkin beer fan to begin with, I'm just sayin', but this is ridiculous! Fortune Magazine posted an article about it this week and it appears these wily but unscrupulous brewers have a strategy to get their pumpkins in our faces as early as possible. It's a CONSPIRACY, I tell ya! Call Art Bell! Get Portland-hatin' Glenn Beck on the phone!

Pumpkin beers have long been "seasonal" brews, and I think it's important to keep them in the appropriate SEASON, which is FALL. It's the same kind of "seasonal creep" that we've seen from retailers for years. Thanksgiving and Christmas merchandise hit the shelves earlier and earlier all the time. It ruins the mood of these special holidays when the decorations are up so soon that they get sun-faded and dust-coated. COME ON!

Brewers, please stop trying to get the jump on each other and come to some kind of mutual understanding about the release date of pumpkin beers. Can we do that? I would be more than happy to arbitrate the situation, cane in fist, if that's what it takes. At least, wait until the first week of October. Um-kay? Don't make me keep shaking this cane at ya!

I suppose many of you folks who enjoy pumpkin beers are tickled to death to see your gourdy, vegetal favorites in stores this early. Why, why do you love these odd brews that so often taste like somebody spoiled a perfectly good beer by plunking a piece of gooey pumpkin pie into it? WHY? I'm shaking my cane at you right now...

Okay, that's enough for shoulder is getting sore and I either have to swap cane shakin' arms or take a break. Time for my nap, anyway. STOP IT ALREADY WITH THEM THERE EARLY PUMPKIN BEERS! Thank you.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gigantic Brewing Company - Ume Umai

Plums and rice and malt, oh my!
Portland's Gigantic Brewing Company puts out some very interesting label art. Their beer is pretty darn exceptional, too, so it's definitely not one of those "lipstick on a pig" kind of deals. The aesthetic of the label is typically on par with the craftsmanship inside the bottle. For me, it provides just a little bit more excitement whenever they have a new release. Neato, keeno! Check out this collection of labels on Gigantic's website

Gigantic's Ume Umai is a beer brewed with plums and black rice. The label depicts two octopus-encrusted Samurai dudes clobbering each other with...octopus fists. I'm not sure what that's all about, but it looks pretty cool, nonetheless. This 7.5% ABV beer is described as follows:

Inspired by the Japanese flavor palate, we combined plums, black rice and pilsner malt to make a unique beer experience. Brewed "dry" in the Asian manner, Ume Umai is fruity, yet earthy and above all refreshing and delicious.
The beer poured from bomber to glass a hazy, peach/orange color. The thin. white head rose up to about a 1/4 inch and dissipated quickly. A light ring of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was stone fruit, apple and pear. Biscuity malt. Light spice and herbal notes in the background.

Taste was plums and sweet malt, backed up with tart apple. Subtle layers of complexity seemed to build with each sip. Interesting. The flavors really blossomed as the beer warmed up. No hint of alcohol. This is an easy drinker, but I definitely recommend sipping and savoring it for a while. 

Medium mouthfeel. Light carbonation. Dry finish but with a light creaminess that's definitely different.

Overall, this is certainly a unique brew. I can't even think of something to compare it to...nope, it's pretty much in a category of it's own. Really nice and I would drink it again. I'm giving Ume Umai a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Small Town Brewery - Not Your Father's Root Beer

Not root beer, but is it BEER?
I've been hearing a lot about Small Town Brewery's Not Your Father's Root Beer. Some people have been telling me that it's awesome and that I MUST try it. Others have described it as putrid, heinous swill. I really had no intention of ever trying it because I loath gimmicks. LOATH them. Also, there was no way in h-e-double toothpicks I was going to plunk down more than ten bucks for a six pack of something that I would end up pouring down the drain.


Trader Joe's sells singles of just about every beer on their shelf. Thus, I was able to buy a solo 12 ouncer for a buck fiddy. Even I can afford that.

First, I did a little online research about Small Town Brewery. It seems their provenance as a "craft brewery" is a bit...sketchy. Hey, who knows about anything you read on the interwebs? You can't believe anything nowadays. (This is the please don't sue me disclaimer.) However, I read one article that linked Small Town Brewery's primary investor to the company responsible for Four Loko. Remember that stuff? The alleged psychosis-inducing, high ABV, caffeinated concoction that was banned in a number of states? Somehow, I don't find that very hard to believe. Just sayin'.

Not Your Father's Root Beer is clearly just an alcohol fortified soda pop. The one I tried came in at 5.9%. Apparently, there are also HIGHER ABV versions of the stuff. Yikes!

I'm not going to give this stuff a serious review. Come on! I must say, it tasted pretty good. It was like A&W with an alcohol rasp at the end. I can't imagine what the higher ABV versions taste like. Same root beer taste, but way more...burning.

At least this stuff is being marketed toward the higher-end craft beer consumer and not stacked up in 24 ounce cans in the 7-11 cold case. There appears to be a level of responsible salesmanship involved, I'll give them that. I doubt you'll see too many kids (illegally) buying this brew at it's present price point.

I do have to warn you all that although it went down easy and tasted a-okay, the stuff gave me one mother of a headache! I get the same kind of temple throbbing pain whenever I drink wine, too, so take this caveat for what it is. Your experience may differ.

I would never buy this stuff again. Why not just dump a couple of shots of Everclear into some root beer? Personally, I like 100 proof Southern Comfort in root beer...doesn't give me a headache. In any case, lots of folks like Not Your Father's Root Beer, so what the hell do I know? I'm giving it the coveted Golden Turd Award. A brew so bad, it's good!