Monday, April 27, 2015

Laurelwood Brewing Company - Green Mammoth Imperial IPA

An IIPA of mammoth proportions?
Do you know what I love about living in Portland? Yes, I do love all of the wonderful, fantastical beers that seem to just drop from the sky, and I believe I've made that abundantly clear, but I also love the dedicated beer drinkers in this burg. Seriously, you can run into a beer fanatic just about anywhere in Portland. Right out of the blue, when you least expect it, you'll find yourself engaged in a deep conversation about beer with someone who absolutely knows what he or she is talking about, and not just in a bar. In a coffee shop, the dentist's office, the laundrymat; beer lovers are everywhere in Stumptown!

Just the other day, I found a bomber of Laurelwood Brewing Company's Green Mammoth Imperial IPA in the cold case at Grocery Outlet. I think it was five bucks. Score! When I brought it up to the register, the cashier asked me what I thought about it. I advised him that it would be my second time drinking it and he subsequently launched into an in-depth comparison of Green Mammoth to Laurelwood's Green Elephant IPA and Megafauna IIPA. See what I mean? People in Portland know their beer. 

"Slow it down there, Mr. Cicerone. You're putting my eggs on the bottom of the bag," I said. Well, not really, but that would have been cool...if I had thought of it. Anyway, what do I think about Green Mammoth, you ask?

The beer poured into my glass a clear, deep, golden orange hue. The bright, white, creamy head rose up to more than two fingers thick. Retention was impressive. Chunks and clumps of copious lacing were left behind all over the glass.

Aroma was hops and more hops. Citrus, pine and tropical fruit all mixed together in a delightful, hoppy symphony of smell. Caramel malt lurked in the background.

Taste followed the nose to a tee. Yum. Grapefruit, orange and tangerine citrus. Enough bitter hops zing to give the salivary glands a poke, but nothing too wild. Tropical fruit. Guava and some pineapple. Tasty, clean malt flavor. Just a hint of the alcohol contained in this 9% ABV brew.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Surprisingly smooth finish. What an amazing, easy drinker, considering the true IIPA pedigree. Bready malt and resinous pine hops flavors were left in a very balanced tussle on my palate at the end. Nice!

Overall, this is my kind of IIPA. Perfect for me. Laurelwood never disappoints, especially when it's an IPA in my glass. Here's another flawless rating: 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie. Merry the Wonder Beagle gave it a puddle of approval.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Buoy Beer Company - Czech-Style Pilsner

It's a Buoy!
Make no mistake, I am a totally devoted to the craft beer brewed right here in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. I live smack-dab in the middle of this amazing beer mecca. If you know anything about Portland, you know that there is no shortage of world class breweries for me visit. Dozens are mere minutes from the front steps of Casa de Wolfgang, and I frequent most of them, as this little blog can testify. However, I do get the itch to travel from time to time, and when I do, there are many other fantastic beer towns to be found in this state that I very much enjoy.

Astoria, Oregon is a coastal city that I never get tired of visiting. Not only is it a beauty of a town, situated on the mouth of the Columbia River, it has a magnificent beer culture all it's own--and it's growing. One of the most recent additions to Astoria's jewel-studded craft beer crown is Buoy Beer Company. They make some mighty fine ales and lagers. Tonight, I'm happy to be drinking one of the latter: Buoy Czech-Style Pilsner. 6.2% ABV and 32 IBU. My good friend Chris at PortlandBeer.com spotted me a bomber along with a big bag of swag from the recent Craft Brewers Conference held here in Portland. Thanks, Chris!

The beer poured into my pilsner glass a clear, golden yellow color with a bright, white, foamy head. The head rose up to almost two fingers thick and dissipated quickly. Minimal, spotty lacing was left behind. Pinpoint carbonation rose up from the bottom of the glass throughout the entire drink. Quite a beautiful beer.

Aroma was light lemony, grassy hops and bready malt.

Taste was mildly bitter, lemony hops. A little spicy, herbal bite. Biscuity, bready malt.

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate lively carbonation but with a pleasant creaminess on the finish. Both hops and malt flavors were left behind on the palate at the end. Clean, crisp with plenty of taste.

Overall, this is probably one of the very best American pilsners I've ever tasted. Lovely stuff! I could drink it all day and I really wish I had more than one bottle. The Wonder Beagle is drooling up a puddle for it, too. I'll see you the next time I'm in Astoria, Buoy Beer Company!

I'm giving this brew a very respectable Beer Guy PDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

11th Annual North American Organic Brewers Festival...

...announces new dates and adds import bottle garden

Eco-conscience beer festival will serve up more than 50 organic beers, ciders & meads

Drink me, I'm organic!
PORTLAND, ORE – April 23, 2015 – The world’s only organic brewers festival, the North American Organic Brewers Festival will celebrate its 11th years with a new date: the event has moved away from its traditional June weekend to August 13 through 16 at Overlook Park in North Portland. Event hours are Noon to 9pm Thursday through Saturday and Noon to 5pm Sunday.

“Another beer promoter chose to move his Portland beer festival to our June date,” explained event founder Craig Nicholls. “Since we share the same pool of volunteers, and in many cases attendees, we opted for another date to benefit both events. The good news is August gives us a much better chance of drier summer weather!”

The NAOBF encourages brewers and beer lovers to “Drink Organic, Save the Planet, One Beer at a Time.” Designed to raise awareness about organic beer and sustainable living, the festival serves up 50 organic beers and ciders from more than 30 different breweries. Some of the breweries are certified organic, but most brew a one-off organic batch just for the event. Styles run the gamut from Ambers to Belgians to Wild Ales, with a bit of everything in-between. (A complete list of participating breweries in included at the bottom of this release.) The event also offers live local music, organic food and sustainability-oriented vendors and non-profits in a beautiful park setting.

This year’s event will also feature an exceedingly rare opportunity to sample draft beer from Pinkus, the world’s first certified organic brewery. Along with Pinkus Ur-Pils and M√ľnster Alt on draft, the festival is introducing the Merchant du Vin Organic Bottle Garden, featuring 11 bottled beers and cider from Pinkus in Germany and Samuel Smith’s from Yorkshire, England.

“When Samuel Smith’s opened in 1758 and Pinkus in 1816, chemical fertilizers and pesticides didn’t exist – all beer was organic,” stated Tom Bowers, district manager at Merchant du Vin. “Viewing the beer world from this historic perspective, these brewers chose to become the trailblazers of organic brewing for the modern era. By including Samuel Smith’s and Pinkus in this year’s festival, NAOBF has expanded the opportunity for festival goers to not only experience amazing beers from the world’s original organic brewers, but to taste history.”

Admission into the NAOBF is free. The purchase of a $7 reusable, compostable cornstarch cup is required for tasting beer, as are tokens, which sell for $1 apiece. A full cup of beer costs four tokens and a taste costs one token; select beers and ciders may cost double tokens. Patrons receive an extra token with a validated Tri-Met ticket or a ticket from the Hopworks Bike Corral (one discount per person).

The NAOBF is a family friendly event, and minors are welcome with parents. A kids area offers art activities, face painting and a root beer garden with complimentary Crater Lake Root Beer for minors (and designated drivers).

The NAOBF is known as the most earth-friendly beer festival on the planet. Festival attendees sample beer from reusable and compostable cornstarch cups made from domestically grown corn by a zero-waste, solar-powered company. Electricity needs are met with biodiesel generators. Volunteers receive organic cotton t-shirts (returning volunteers can wear past T shirts and get extra tokens instead). Food vendors are required to employ sustainable practices, and onsite composting and recycling stations are provided for festival waste and are supervised by recycling czars.

The NAOBF encourages responsible drinking and urges patrons to take advantage of the MAX Light Rail; the Yellow Line Overlook Park Station is adjacent to the festival. Attendees can also take advantage of the Hopworks Bike Corral, where volunteers watch over bikes for free (donations are appreciated and support the BC to Baja Bicycle Odyssey).

Why brew organic? Today's agriculture relies heavily on chemicals and often causes erosion and depletion of soil nutrients through loss of biomass. Organic farming is a growing industry that reduces erosion, pollution, and water shortages by using natural methods to fertilize crops and to fight pests and disease. A well-established organic farm can often produce higher yields than a conventional farm. Organic farming is typically more labor intensive and provides more agricultural jobs per acre than conventional farming. Workers on organic farms are also safe from the health hazards of working with pesticides and herbicides. Using organic ingredients to make beer produces a beer with the highest possible purity and also supports the small but growing industry of organic farming.

For more information about the NAOBF, visit naobf.org.

2015 Participating Breweries

13 Virtues Brewing Co.
Agrarian Ales
Alameda Brewing Company
Beau's All Natural Brewing Co
Bison Organic Beer
Coin Toss Brewing
Eel River Brewing
Falling Sky Brewing
Finnriver Farm & Cidery
Fish Brewing Company
Fort George Brewery
FOTM Brewing Co
Gilgamesh Brewing
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Kells Brew Pub
Lakefront Brewery, Inc
Lompoc Brewing
Loowit Brewing Company
McMenamins Concordia
McMenamins Crystal
McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
McMenamins Edgefield
Natian Brewery
Nectar Creek Mead
Ordnance
Pinkus
PINTS Urban Brewery
Reverend Nat's Hard Cider
Riverbend Brewing
Samuel Smith’s
Thirsty Bear Brewing Co.
Two Kilts Brewing Co.
Uinta Brewing Company
Vagabond Brewing
Viking Braggot Company
Widmer Brothers Brewing