Friday, July 3, 2015

Bike 'N' Beer Accessories

My bike's better than your bike, my bike's better than your's...
After five years in Portland, the bicycling bug finally bit me. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. People love their bikes in this burg. For many Portlanders, life on two wheels is almost a religion. Folks are damn serious about their bikes and bike commuting. The Portlandia skit with Spike the rabid cyclist is pretty much a documentary... I'm on a bike!

I got rid of my car four years ago and I've depended on the the semi-reliable public transportation system (Trimet) to get around town ever since. NO! I did not get a DUI and lose my driver's license! Beer Guy PDX DOES NOT drink and drive, and neither should you! I've been sincerely trying my best to leave a smaller footprint on this planet and just couldn't justify owning and maintaining two cars for our two person household.

Now that I've finally bought myself a decent commuter bike, I can't believe I waited so long! Bicycling is AWESOME! I love it! It's almost as much fun as drinking beer! Of course, there's no responsible way to completely meld my two hobbies. Drinking and bicycle riding do not mix. Don't drink and RIDE. Drinking and bicycle maintenance also do not mix. However, I have been enjoying tricking out my bike with all kinds of cool upgrades. When will it stop? Maybe NEVER. There are quite a few fantastic beer-related ACCESSORIES that I've discovered that I MUST own. I can't wait to upgrade my bike with these...

1) Growler Cage - Yes, it is giant-ass water bottle cage that is humongous enough to hold a 64 ounce growler!

Check out the website HERE.

Now, I don't know if I would ever really need to transport a growler full of beer attached to the frame of my bike, but just knowing that I could, if I wanted to, is good enough for me.

The Growler Cage is encased in a waterproof neoprene sleeve that helps hold the growler securely. It fits in place of any water bottle cage and has an adjustable, sliding mount, It comes in a wide variety of colors and is in made in the US of A. Yay, 'MURICA!

A Growler Cage will set you back $55.00 and you can purchase one with PayPal. I'm trying to decide between the red or the black.

2) Wisecracker Seat Post Bottle Opener - Here's the scenario: You're pedaling through the park and spot your friends glumly hunkered around a picnic table--a six pack of fine Oregon craft beer sitting in front of them, unopened.

"What's the matter, my sad, beer buddies?" says you.

"Ah, maaaaaaan! We forgot to bring a bottle opener and now we're really, really thirsty!" whines your pathetic pal.

"NEVER FEAR!" you proclaim, "YOU CAN OPEN THOSE BOTTLES ON MY SEAT POST!"

How heroic is that? Very. The Wisecracker comes with a cheaper headset mounted version, too, but I don't like the idea of somebody yanking around on my headset. The seat post mounted version seems less...breaky to me.

You can purchase the Wisecracker on Amazon for $22.00, plus $5.00 shipping.

3) Beer Bottle Cap Valve Stem Caps - Seriously, why just cap your valve stems with those boring little plastic caps when you can cap them with BEER BOTTLE CAPS?

These are pretty flipping awesome, if you ask me.

One set of caps (that's two caps--one for each wheel) costs $10.00.

Honestly, if you're a particularly crafty individual with a regular supply of beer caps, you could probably make a set of these for yourself, but I'm not, so I won't.

These handcrafted marvels are available on Etsy. Click HERE.

4) Beer Gauge Level Helmet Sticker - My bike helmet is a cheapo, matte black thing I picked up at Fred Meyer. When I bought it, the clerk scoffed and asked me if I wanted to "wear it out." I believe he was insinuating that it was a darn ugly piece of crap.

Wouldn't that snarky clerk be impressed if he saw this nifty beer gauge level sticker affixed to my no longer dorky skull cooler? I'm thinking yes.

This sticker is made from high quality vinyl and can be easily removed once applied. 

Made in the USA!

Only $4.99 with FREE shipping from Amazon

Thursday, July 2, 2015

McMenamins - Copper Moon Pale Ale

A good moon risin'?
The good folks at McMenamins provided me with a gratis growler of their seasonal Copper Moon Pale Ale yesterday. I picked in up at the Kennedy School, the beautiful McMenamins location in my NE Portland neighborhood. It you've never paid a visit to the Kennedy School, you really should. It's the gem of the Concordia neighborhood.

The old elementary school has been converted into a hotel, brewery, restaurant, bar(s), theater and all-around awesome place to stay and hang-out. It truly is a cornerstone of community activity, much like it was when it was still a school--except perhaps just a tad more fun with all the beer. They have movies, lectures, concerts and all kinds of special events year round. You have to give a hand to the McMenamins for restoring the social, neighborly vibe of the place, along with the actual brick and mortar.

The Copper Moon Pale Ale was poured from tap into my 32 oz. growlette and consumed the minute I brought it home. It poured into a pint glass a slightly hazy, golden copper color with a bright, white, foamy head. The head made it up to a half inch high and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin cap and some spotty lacing remained behind on the glass as I drank it.

Aroma was citrus hops up front, with mild, earthy malt in the background. (Copper Moon was brewed with 100% organic malted barley, according to the postcard I received in the mail.) Grapefruit and orange. Floral and spicy herbal notes.

Taste followed the nose with citrusy hops up front. I'm betting more than a few pale ale purists are going to complain that this brew is too hop forward for their liking. Ah, to heck with them! Copper Moon appears to be a purely NW version of a pale ale, and that's alright with me. Decent malt and hops balance. I really enjoyed it.

Medium to lighter mouthfeel with good carbonation and a smooth, clean finish, Very drinkable. No alcohol taste to this 5.3% ABV beer. 

Overall, this is a very pleasant pale ale and some very welcome refreshment on these summer days that are currently pushing up to almost 100 degrees. Good stuff and I'm giving Copper Moon a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4 and a Droolie. The Wonder Beagle approved of the smell very much.


Go get yourself some of this seasonal pale ale. It will be on tap at McMenamins locations through August.


Portland Brewing Celebrates the Oregon Brewers Festival With Limited-Edition Super S.M.A.S.H. Double Pale Ale

(PRESS RELEASE)
PORTLAND, Ore. (July 2, 2015) – With July heat in full effect and Oregon Craft Beer Month underway, it’s the perfect time to double your summer fun with an extra special brew. In celebration of the 28th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland Brewing is unveiling a limited-release Super S.M.A.S.H. Double Pale Ale. The specialty version of Portland Brewing’s summer seasonal takes its first-ever single malt and single hop (S.M.A.S.H.) Pale Ale to the next level. 
Similar to its pale ale cousin, Super S.M.A.S.H. features Goldpils Viena malts, known for their toasty flavor, and an extra heavy dose of bright, citrusy Simcoe hops. The result is a refreshing pale ale with a 7% ABV, slightly higher than the original 5.6%. “We were thrilled with how our S.M.A.S.H. beer turned out, so when it came time to think of a special beer for the Oregon Brewers Festival, the obvious choice was to double down on S.M.A.S.H.,” says head brewer Ryan Pappe. “It is still a single malt, single hop beer, but we raised the original gravity to boost the alcohol, while increasing the hops to keep pace.”
Super S.M.A.S.H. makes its debut exclusively at the Oregon Brewers Festival from July 22-26 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. When the festival ends, you’ll be able to find this small-batch beer on tap at select Portland-area pubs, growler stations, restaurants and Portland Brewing’s Taproom for a limited-time. In addition, discover all the Portland Brewing events happening during July’s Oregon Craft Beer Month here
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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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hopworks Urban Brewery Releases Three Rotating Seasonal Beers

Image courtesy of
HUB
(PRESS RELEASE)

Portland, OR - Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) today announced the release of three rotating summer seasonals - Pig War White IPA, Ace of Spades Imperial IPA, and IPX Single Hop Ale: Simcoe. Pig War is available in four-packs of 16 oz. cans, and all three beers are available in 22 oz. bottles, and on draft, throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Pig War White IPA
For this White IPA, HUB uses Hard Red Spring Wheat grown on the brewery’s estate farm on San Juan Island. This specialty grain imparts tart flavors, medium body and a signature wheat beer haze. Organic Northwest hops add layers of fruity, citrus-like flavor and crisp bitterness. A truly refreshing twist on a summer favorite. The name Pig War commemorates the confrontation in 1859 between American and British authorities over San Juan Island. Plato: 14, IBU: 60, ABV: 6%

Organic Ace of Spades Imperial IPA
This hopped out beast has a blend of NW hops added at every point: mash tun, first wort, kettle, hop back and dry hop. All this green goodness results in a beer with a huge citrus hop aroma, flavor, and a deep, clean bitterness. Organic Ace of Spades won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival and Best In Show at the 2014 North American Organic Craft Beer Competition. Plato: 19, IBU: 100+, ABV 8.6%

IPX Single Hop Ale: Simcoe
“IPX Simcoe” is the latest release in HUB’s single hop series, which has continued to be an educational celebration of hops for nearly three years. This release contains Simcoe hops that are both Organic and Salmon-Safe Certified from Loftus Ranches, a sustainable producer of hops in Yakima, WA. The hop is a well-known and popular hop for bittering and has aromas of citrus and pine. The single hop ale series highlights signature aromas and flavors of specific hop varieties. Each beer in the series is light-bodied with a dry, malt character and contains the same base recipe with the same finishing hop schedule. 60 IBUs and 6% ABV.

About Hopworks Urban Brewery
Hopworks Urban Brewery, a certified B Corporation, strives to revolutionize and inspire the brewing industry with practices that drive quality, protect the environment and improve the community we live in. Utilizing organic malts and a combination of locally-sourced organic and Salmon Safe hops, the company’s 20-barrel brewery produces 16,000 barrels of beer a year for HUB’s two brewpubs and for distribution throughout the Northwest. In 2015 Hopworks expanded its range of sustainably-made offerings with HUB Hard Cider and will open its third pub at the Pine St. Market in Downtown Portland. HUB is 100% renewably powered and “cradle to gate” carbon neutral. Visit Hopworks online at hopworksbeer.com and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Ethics and Beer Blogging

My very first beer-related avatar...
It should be obvious to anyone reading this post that drinking craft beer is my hobby. Some people collect stamps or coins or travel brochures from motel lobbies; I collect beer drinking experiences. The problem with my hobby is that there is very little physical evidence left behind--other than my ample and ever-expanding beer gut--to represent the actual "collection". Sure, I could collect bottles or bottle caps, but that doesn't provide much detail, and my memory isn't all that sharp--according to my wife, anyway.

I started Beer Guy PDX back in February 2013 as a way to keep track of all the delicious craft beer I drink. It was really nothing more than a personal diary, a glorified spreadsheet, and I really didn't think anybody would be interested in reading my very unprofessional reviews and rants. Sure, I always imagined somebody out there was interested. I believe most bloggers are an odd mix of introversion, hope and hubris, myself included.

Looking at the analytic data on my blog, I know that about two hundred people read my blog posts every day. It's not a massive readership, but I certainly do have a loyal group of followers. The fact that people actually read what I write has absolutely changed the WAY I write and the content of my blog. For example, I now include news of upcoming beer festivals and events. I post information that I believe may be useful for tourists and local beer enthusiasts. Media and branding professionals send me press releases and I post many of them because I want to help promote the centerpiece of my obsession: Oregon craft beer. And while I do not consider myself to be a real "journalist" by any stretch, I have come to the conclusion that my little bit of power requires a little bit of responsibility.

I've created my own ethical tenets for beer blogging. They are as follows:

1) Keep it positive. I've read some pretty scorching beer reviews in other blogs. Personally, I don't see how that's at all useful or helpful. One of my main goals is the promotion of craft beer, particularly Oregon craft beer. It is a selfish goal, I will admit. The more successful the Oregon craft beer industry is, the more delicious beer there will be for ME to drink! WIN, WIN! If I taste a craft beer that I don't really like, I usually won't review it. The way I see it, there are so many fantastic craft beers that deserve a good word, it would be a waste of time to focus on the occasional clunker. There are some exceptions, like my coveted "golden turd" award, but those reviews are always tongue in cheek and about a brew that really, really deserves the turd.

2) Reveal any perks and freebies. I don't sell any ads on my blog. The ones you see are from Google AdSense. I don't have any control over the specific ads displayed and I receive very little money. They help pay for my web service fees and that's about it. Sometimes, brewers will send my a beer or two in the mail to taste and review--I know, right? How awesome is that? Also, I get invited to media events--beer releases, special tasting dinners, comped festival tickets. I always make an effort to be right up front about these situations. My opinions and my taste buds aren't for sale and I don't ever want it to appear that someone is buying a good review.

3) If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. This one goes along with number one. Another blogger wrote a mean-spirited review of a local beer festival a while back, and I found it so offensive I couldn't finish reading it. Much of the "review" focused on making fun of other festival goers for their personal physiognomy. Somebody was fat, somebody was skinny, somebody else was wearing white after Labor Day. That's not cool. I try to treat everyone with the appropriate level of respect and dignity. You won't find any mean in my blog, and if you do, please call me on it. I'll make it right.

4) Give credit where credit is due. I always try to cite the source of my information. If I snag a photo or a quote from someone else, which is rare, I'll post the credit. If possible, I'll post a link to the source.

5) Promote responsible imbibing. I never drink and drive and I will promote the use of public transportation and designated drivers as often as possible. Don't drink and drive.

6) Make it right. If I ever make a mistake in a post, I promise to always fix it as soon as I know about the error. I'll always take full responsibility for any screw up I make.

That's it. I hope my little ol' beer blog is a place people feel safe and comfortable visiting. I use some salty language from time to time, but hopefully, it's never too offensive.

Cheers!