Sunday, August 2, 2015

There's Even an App for THAT? Beer Apps Part 2

Welcome to the App Age!
I grew up in the "Space Age". During my youth, in the 1960's, the ultimate in high technological achievement was represented by the Apollo moon missions. They put a freakin' man on the moon! Well, some people believe Stanley Kubrick helped the government fake the whole thing, but I'm a believer. They REALLY put a freakin' man on the moon!

That incredible achievement was accomplished with the aid of some newfangled gadgets called "computers". The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) weighed over 70 pounds, had a processor speed of 1MHz and about 4kb of memory. Compare that to your typical smartphone, the kind that almost everyone carries around in their pocket or purse nowadays, and you'll soon realize that you personally own and regularly access thousands of times the computing power it took...to put a freakin' man on the moon!

My Samsung Galaxy S4 weighs less than 5 ounces, has a processor speed of 1.6 GHz and 16 GB of internal memory--and it's an old, soon-to-be obsolete model. It's a thing called Moore's Law. George E. Moore was a brainy computer dude and the co-founder of Intel. In 1965, he postulated that computing power would basically double every year. There have been various add-ons, changes and challenges to the theory over the years, but the basic premise that computers have been and will continue to become exponentially more powerful, smaller, cheaper and easier to access holds true to this day.

The tasks your average Joe or Jill can accomplish with their pocket-sized computer power is truly amazing. When was the last time you had to do any long division in your head or on a scratchpad? ("What's a scratchpad?" says all the Millennials in the room.) We have the world literally at our fingertips and  have almost instant access to any kind of information our hearts desire. Of course, my heart usually desires beer, so I'm focusing this post on beer-related smartphone applications. 

This is part 2 of what may turn out to be a series, depending on my blogging whims. Part 1 focused on applications dedicated to tracking beer consumption and rating the numerous conquests of the beer enthusiast. This post takes a look at some other kinds of apps that beer drinkers (and brewers) may find handy.

PairWise makes beer and food pairing easy for gastro-beerologists.
Some people actually care about what kind of craft beer they drink with the food they eat. They have distinguished, discerning palates and want to elevate their gastronomic experiences by making sure the beer actually compliments the food! That's a new thing for me. When I was growing up, beer WAS NOT allowed at the table and rarely in the house. Typically, my dad and uncles had to either drink beer in the garage or on "hunting trips". But of course, my dad's beer was not the refined, elevated craft beer of today. Truly excellent beer deserves respect and is now welcome at any dinner table, just like fine wine.

Enter PairWise. This handy application makes it easy for beer and food enthusiasts to find foods that pair well with a variety of different beers, based on expert recommendations and user ratings. You can search by specific beer or specific food. Once a pairing is made, you can rate the experience, make a few notes, and save your result for future reference. I've been trying this application out and I think it could be quite useful for the foodie/beer lover. Me, I'll eat and drink just about anything and would give almost any meal that includes ANY beer a five star rating. However, if you're a bit more picky than your's truly, you may want to give PairWise a try. Download at the Google Play Store HERE.


Wortcho brewin', Willis? 
I'm a homebrewer. Thank you, Jimmy Carter and Charlie Papazian! I'm not a very good homebrewer, I'm sorry to say. My brews are drinkable and sometimes, just by accident, dang delicious! I've been keeping all of my recipes and notes in a plain manila folder, like something out of the old Mission Impossible TV series. I even scrawled "Top Secret" across the front of the thing to discourage spies and prying eyes.

Truthfully, I'm terrible about keeping good brewing notes and it finally occurred to me one day...I BET THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT! And, of course, there is--several in fact. The one I really like is Wort Homebrew Calculator. This handy homebrew application helps you through your whole brewing process, from recipe creation to OG and ABV calculation to bottle priming. You can create and store recipes and utilize a wide array of useful calculators that are included in the app. Wort Homebrew Calculator is available for Android at the Google Play Store HERE.

You now have LESS THAN zero excuses for drinking and driving.
I don't know what more I can say about drinking and driving. JUST DON'T EVER DO IT! NEVER! Driving while under the influence of any drug--yes, alcohol is a drug--is the height of irresponsibility. At best, you can get arrested, tossed in jail, lose your job, friends and family. At worst, you can kill some innocent person and/or yourself with your 4,000 pound death machine. Beer is lovely, wonderful, delicious and fun. Please don't ruin it by getting behind the wheel when you've been drinking.

"But how can I get home from Curly's Bar after a long night of slamming multiple high ABV brewskis, Wolf?" you ask. Welcome to Lyft. Lyft is basically a taxi service. It's similar to Uber. I've tried both and I like Lyft the most. The application is super easy to use. You request a car to pick you up and the app knows exactly where you are by using your phone's GPS. The app tells you exactly how long it will take your driver to pick you up, providing his/her name and a photo of the car. All payment is done through the app, and you can use PayPal, which is my preferred method.

Easy-freakin'-breezy. Bam! You're home safe and sound! From my experience, the pick-up usually arrives in less than five minutes. The fare is cheaper than a taxi and every driver I've encountered has been friendly and professional. Download the Lyft app for Android at the Google Play Store HERE.

There's always the bus...
Last one. We have excellent public transportation in Stumptown, no matter how much we like to complain about it. I usually get to my favorite breweries, bars and taprooms by bus--sometimes by MAX train. It's called "pre-planning" and that's what I always do when I'm going out drinkin'. You should, too. No more preaching from me, but I'm doing my best to make beer enjoyment safe for all of you good folks over the legal drinking age of 21. A couple of years ago, I did an entire series of posts outlining the beer drinking spots located off most of the popular bus routes. Check that out HERE. Some of this info may need a little updating, but it's still fairly accurate.

Get the TriMet Tickets application for your phone and you can always have access to tickets, as long as there's money in your bank account. Get the app HERE.

Cheers! Now, go forth and compute!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Limited-Edition Lager Joins Portland Brewing’s Roster of Benefit Beers

(PRESS RELEASE)

Night Market Special Lager Celebrates Rose City’s Jade District

PORTLAND, ORE. (July 22, 2015) — Portland Brewing shines the spotlight on community, adding the Night Market Special Lager to its Guild’s Lake Series of neighborhood-focused beers. The unique, small-batch brews celebrate the Rose City’s collection of diverse and tight-knit communities, benefiting Portland one beer at a time.

The Night Market Special Lager honors the 2nd annual Jade International Night Market. The cultural event, hosted by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), unfolds this August in SE Portland’s Jade District. The draft-only beer is an Asian-spiced lager brewed with lemongrass stalks, Kaffir lime leaves and ginger. It features Pilsner, Carapils and Munich 20 malts, along with Liberty hops. Citrus notes swirl as upfront aromas, while a subtle heat from the ginger rounds out the experience. “Inspired by the flavors and aromas of the rich food heritages throughout SE Asia, I created a light-bodied lager that is bright and refreshing,” explains Portland Brewing head brewer Ryan Pappe. “Crisp, lemony, spicy and quenching, I hope this beer is the perfect companion while exploring the sights, sounds and smells of the Night Market this August.” Portland Brewing is the exclusive beer sponsor of the Jade International Night Market. Todd Struble, Jade District Manager, is enthusiastic about the partnership, “We are thrilled to partner with Portland Brewing to highlight the Jade International Night Market. We love supporting Portland breweries and part of our event is to include Portland's vibrant beer culture with our community and visitors!” One-dollar of every pint sold at the two-day event goes right to APANO.

When: Saturday, August 15, 5:00pm – 10:00pm Saturday, August 22, 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Where: PCC SE Campus, 2305 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97216
What: FREE event featuring multi-ethnic food & retail vendors, multi-cultural stage performances, mini farmers market, kids activities and Portland Brewing beer garden.

The Night Market Special Lager is only available for a limited-time, and can be found at the Jade International Night Market, Portland Brewing’s Taproom, and select Portland-area bars and restaurants. It’s the third beer in the Guild’s Lake Series, with others in the works.

The Guild’s Lake Series derives its name from Guild’s Lake, a former wetlands in NW Portland where Portland Brewing is now located. These beers pull inspiration from the local community with one-dollar of the proceeds from each pint going to specific neighborhood organizations.

###

APANO: The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon is a statewide, grassroots organization, uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice. APANO uses its collective strength to advance equity through empowering, organizing and advocating with Oregon communities.



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, July 26, 2015

Backwoods Brewing Company - Ridge Run Stout

Run for the border - of
Washington, that is...
Right now, I'm supposed to be penning my masterpiece review of the glorious 2015 Oregon Brewers Festival. Unfortunately, life's little surprises landed in me in the hospital for almost the entire duration of the event. Arrrrrgh! I hear that it was a total blast and that everybody had a great time. F...uh...fantastic for you, folks! Never mind me laid up in Legacy Emmanuel with all kinds of tubes and wires sticking out of me; Nurse Ratchet trying to stick yet another needle into my pincushion arms. That was freaking awesome!

Hey, I'm just joshin' ya. I'm so glad to be home and I'm well on my way to recovery. I'm hobblin' around with a cane, but I can still review a beer! Mind you, I can't DRINK the whole thing, but I can definitely get enough of a taste to form a semi-coherent opinion.

For my inaugural, new lease on life beer review, I've selected Backwoods Brewing Company's Ridge Run Stout. Wow! I'm glad I did! This delicious brew could probably raise Lazarus from the dead! It's that tasty.

The beer poured from bomber into my lil' stout glass a deep, dark mahogany--almost black--color, with a creamy, cocoa brown head. The head rose up to a finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A spotty cap of lacing was left behind. What a pretty brew!

Aroma was amazing. Cocoa, coffee and a subtle, creamy vanilla scent up front. Roasted malt. Hints of molasses and toffee.

Dang! This stout tasted even better than it smelled! Everything the nose foretold was present and accounted for, but there was also an appreciable mild hops bitterness in the mix, too. As it warmed, a very pleasant smokiness made it's presence known. Delicious! Wish I could drink the whole bomber and I assure you that as soon as I get the doctor's okay, I'll be doing just that!

Medium to full mouthfeel. Fantastic balance all the way around and I do believe I have a new favorite stout! Buy this one! Wow, I bet it would make a wonderful beer float with coffee ice cream, too! I'm giving Ridge Run Stout a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.



Friday, July 24, 2015

Craft Brewing Capitals Merge Talent Through Beer Exchange

(Image courtesy of Oregon Brewers Festival)
(PRESS RELEASE)
Portland and The Oregon Brewers Festival Play Host to Five of New Zealand’s Best Brewers
PORTLAND, Ore. (July 22, 2015)  With the Oregon Brewers Festival in sight, a flock of beer-centric Kiwis migrate north to pour their beer and share some Oregon beer culture. In pursuit of malty and hoppy enlightenment, the five brewers from Wellington, NZ visit Portland — home to 61 different breweries. “Portland boasts more breweries than any city in the world and is known as the Beervana of USA, ” says David Cryer, the man responsible for building the partnership between Oregon and New Zealand. The brewers’ journey overseas is part of the Oregon and New Zealand Beer Culture Exchange, which encourages the sharing of ideas and experiences between Portland and Wellington, two of the world’s foremost craft beer capitals.  
During their weeklong knowledge quest, the traveling brewers visit with many of Portland’s renowned brewing talents. In addition, they tour an Oregon hop field, lead tastings of their own New Zealand brews at Belmont Station, and represent the international brewing community on stage at the OBF opening ceremonies.  
The exchange is a partnership between the Oregon Brewers Festival and Beervana — New Zealand’s preeminent craft beer festival. Last August, roles reversed as brewing representatives from Portland travelled to Wellington for Beervana. When describing their city’s passion for beer, the folks from Tuatara Brewery say, “It probably helps that we’re based in Wellington where beer appreciation is not so much a cult as a full-blown religion.” 
Each of the five New Zealand brewers will collaborate with a Portland brewery during his stay.
Oregon breweries will individually release their collaboration beers. See brewery websites for more information.  
    You can meet the visiting Kiwi Brewers at the following events during Oregon Brewers Fest week:
    Wednesday, July 22 – Saturday, July 25  
     12:00pm - 9:00pm — Oregon Brewers Festival
    Tom McCall Waterfront Park
    - Find the New Zealand Brewers in the international tent 
    Wednesday, July 22     
    11:30am — Brewers Parade                              
    - Parade Begins @ 723 N Tillamook St.                          
    Parade Ends @ Tom McCall Waterfront Park 
    12:00pm — OBF Opening Ceremonies
    New Zealand brewers are introduced onstage @ Tom McCall 
    Thursday, July 23          
    6:00pm — “Meet the Kiwis” at Belmont Station
    4500 SE Stark Street
    Taste New Zealand beers on-tap 
    Visiting brewers speak about their beers and breweries                                                                              
    Be sure to try one or all of the following New Zealand beers available at OBF:
    • Death From Above — an experimental beer from Garage Project Brewery 
    • Johnny Octane — an imperial red ale from Panhead Custom Ales              
    • Riwaka Secret — a double IPA from Parrot Dog Brewery                             
    • Suavinova — an international-style pale ale from Tuatara Brewing              
    • Gunnamatta — an American-style strong pale ale from Yeastie Boys          
    The Wellington brewer representatives are in town for just one week! 
    About the Players: In a combined effort, the Oregon Brewers FestivalBeervanaNew Zealand Brewers GuildNew Zealand Hops and Grow Wellington helped coordinate the 2015 brewer exchange in Portland. Grow Wellington is the official economic development organization of Wellington, NZ. The five visiting brewers represent the following New Zealand breweries: Garage Project BreweryPanhead Custom AlesParrot Dog BreweryTuatara Brewery and Yeastie Boys.

    HUB Releasing Another Collaboration Project With New Belgium - B-Side EP

    (PRESS RELEASE)

    Portland, Oregon, July 24, 2015 - Hopworks Urban Brewery and New Belgium Brewing are getting the band back together to create their second collaboration beer, Organic B-Side EP. This Peach Sour Ale is being brewed at Hopworks with members from both companies’ brewing teams and will be released at a Rooftop Party at Revolution Hall in Portland on August 19.

    The name B-Side EP celebrates the B Corp Certified status earned by both sustainably-minded breweries as well as their love of bicycles and bike culture.

    B-Side EP is a kettle soured ale made by brewing the wort on Friday and then letting it sit over the weekend in the kettle. On Monday the wort will be transferred to the fermenter where it will join with 50 pounds of organic peaches and dry hopped with juicy and bright organic Amarillo, El Dorado and Chinook hops.

    EP refers to “Extended Peach” and also the extension of the project into Portland. The first collaboration brew, B-Side Organic Peach IPA, was brewed in Fort Collins and made its debut at the Oregon Brewers Festival earlier this week. It is available now at both Hopworks pub locations for a limited time.

    “As friends and B Corp allies, our B-Side EP celebrates our passion for beer as a force for good,” said Hopworks Brewmaster and Founder, Christian Ettinger. “New Belgium has long been an inspiration to myself and the HUB team because of their great beer and their commitment to sustainable brewing operations. It is a true honor to work together. In this playful collaboration we have taken our greatest combined skills and squeezed them into an organic beer that is packed with fruit and citrus aromas and flavors, and a tart finish.”

    To help celebrate the brewing of the beer, brewers from both breweries created a playlist of their favorite B-Sides and EPs. Everyone is invited to join in and listen by tuning into our Spotify playlist.

    To learn more about New Belgium Brewing, check out NewBelgium.com and for more info on Hopworks Urban Brewing, visit HopWorksBeer.com. Additional details on the release party will be announced as the dates get closer.

    # # #

    About Hopworks Urban Brewery
    Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB), 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.

    About New Belgium Brewing Company
    New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, and one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire, New Belgium brews ten year-round beers; Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Slow Ride Session IPA, Snapshot Wheat, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Lager, Blue Paddle Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Ale and Trippel.